Monday, May 30, 2005

Biggest day of racing!

So many things going on today. We had a cook out at our house this afternoon. We had a great time with a lot of the friends we have made since moving here last July. I learned I need to practice my game of horseshoes also.

Today was also one of the single biggest days of racing.
This morning we had the European Grand Prix for Formula One.
Next was the Indy 500, showcasing their star Donica. She didn't win.
finally, tonight was Nascars longest race of the year, the Coke-cola 600.

The F1 race showed some drivers having problems in various corners, going off into the gravel.
A wreck in turn 1, lap 1, caused several problems also.
F1 races are not known for their side by side racing, but they did do a bit of it today, and a few great passes.

Toward the end of the race, the leader Kimi Raikkonen was nursing a front right tire that was falling apart. You could see his car shaking from it, and bits of rubber falling off.
With one lap to go, second place Alanzo was only 1.5 seconds back, and gaining.

That bad tire finally gave out. At about 190 mph, the front suspension broke (from the vibrating) and the tire came up on top of the car. That was the leader on the last lap.

I haven't finished watching the Indy 500 (thanks TiVo), so I can't tell you how boring or exciting it was.

An extremely long race due to a record number of cautions. At least one caution was caused by Dale Jr taking out his team mate. Idiot. Another caution was caused by Brian Vickers. Idiot. That wreck took out Jeff Gordon who had a car that could win. But the wait was well worth it.
Cari and I were layed back on the couch, watching the cautions. Then, at Lowe's Motorspeedway, the Lowe's car came to life.
Jimmie Johnson restarted 4th with seven laps to go. With two to go, he was in 2nd. He tried to make a move for the lead twice without success.
WHITE FLAG! Darryl Waltrip (commentator), was saying Jimmie would NOT be able to do it. Last lap, turn 3, Jimmie makes a run on the outside. Coming out of turn four side by side!!
Jimmie gets the nose of his car out there and takes the checkered flag by .02 seconds. Two hundredth!!! AWESOME! I was jumping up on my couch!

AWESOME!!!! Great day of racing.

Saturday, May 28, 2005


I purchased an ice cream maker.
If you have never made ice cream before, the first thing you should know is that it takes a LONG time.

My first batch, I made old fashioned vanilla. You cook up some stuff on the stove. Chill it in the refrigerator for two hours. Then mix in some more stuff. Put your final bowl of stuff in the churner and let it go for about an hour. Then freeze it for about two to three hours. So, you're looking at about a six hour process. When you want to eat some ice cream, six hours is a long time.

The second biggest lesson is to find a soundproof location. When I plugged that mixer in at 8pm the sound was enormous. I thought my dishwasher was loud. This thing made my dishwasher sound like a cat purring.

The model I got is 4 quarts. That didn't sound like a lot to me. The number 4 is just not impressive. Quarts also sounds small. Not like 4 gallons! After making my first batch, 4 quarts is more than enough. That's a lot of ice cream.

So, how did it taste? It is awesome ice cream. I've always like Breyers ice cream best, and this home made ice cream ranks up there with Breyers, if not a touch better. Now, that I have tried it once, I need to come up with my own recipes.
I already bought a jar of cherries to dump into my next batch. Any other suggestions? Maybe I'll throw some chocolate in with the cherries.
I just can't eat my first batch fast enough, so I can start making more. In the past week, I've had ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not everyday, just at some point through the week.

So, let me know what you think I should dump in there. I'll let you know how great it tastes.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Schools Out!

Randy finished kindergarden this week. This picture is a few days old. He now has his cast off. His arm is a bit weak, and I think he may be a little nervous to use it. As a result, his left arm has stayed pretty much at his side this week.
Now, we have a first grader living in our house.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Two objects can not occupy the same space

The other night we had such bad lightning storms that the thunder woke even ME up. My alarm clock, sitting in my room, can not wake me up after it rings for twenty minutes solid. You get the idea that this was some serious thunder storm. It also woke Meredith up. Her room is upstairs, and she stood at the top of the stairs screaming until Cari went and got her.

She asked if she could sleep with us, and on a rare occasion, Cari allowed it. When I woke up, Meredith was on the couch. As I slept, this conversation took place in the middle of the night.

Meredith: Mom, I need to sleep on the couch.
Cari: why?
Meredith: because dad is squishing me.
Cari: yeah. Go ahead to the couch, I'll help you.

This gets filed under: children who don't like to sleep with their parents.


Last night, Talkin' Hand posted an entry to this blog.

Talkin' Hand writes from time to time here, but last night, things just got out of hand.
If you happened to read the entry sometime over the night, then you should know the entire post was a made up story. That's right, not true. Not even a little bit.

If you didn't catch it before it was deleted early Tuesday morning, then you will never catch it.

To Michelle, who posted a comment about that story in my entry about the civil war:
Since the story here was made up, we have no real knowledge on how that will work out. Let us know how that experiment works out for you and Kelly.

Due to the fact that Talkin' Hand has crossed the line, it will be a long time before you see another post on this blog written by him. If ever.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The South will rise again!

We went to the "Battle of Central" yesterday.

As far as I can tell, there was not an actual "Battle of Central". This event was put on by the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the 2nd South Carolina Rifles. I was doing some reading and found a bit about General Sherman. He very much hated South Carolina, in part because that is where the war started. He held a lot of responsibility of the war to the rebels here.

"I'm going to march to Richmond. . .and when I go through South Carolina it will be one of the most horrible things in the history of the world. The devil himself couldn't restrain my men in that state."
*William Tecumseh Sherman prior to his infamous campaign of the Carolinas.
In the battle we saw, the rebels were dominating. Cannon fire from both sides. Constant troop movement and rifle fire throughout the field.

Cari did not wear her American flag, but did manage to wear all red/white/blue. She did not look to excited to see her soldiers fall. Toward the end, a small group of Union soldiers came from the right around a clump of trees. The rebels had advanced ahead of this clump of trees.
Cari bumped my shoulder a couple of times and had a big grin. I just shook my head no, as we watched the result. When the Union soldiers opened fire from behind the Confederates, it was over. You can see a picture of the melee below.

There wasn't an overwhelming feeling of "redneck celebration", but it was certainly present.
Bumper stickers on cars proclaiming things such as:
"The South fought the first war against terrorism"
"If you don't respect this (picture confederate battle flag), go back to Yankee land"
"This flag (confederate battle) is considered a hate symbol only because of your ignorance"

The program that was available also offered similar words,
". . .Confederate States of America were invaded by foreign troops."

Of course, I can not leave out the shirts and other items proclaiming, "states rights".

It was a great time at the Battle yesterday. Lots of opportunity to learn from the booths set up. One teaching about the weapons of the civil war. Another taught about the make shift hospitals. My favorite was a man telling about living conditions as a soldier. The re-enactment did not rewrite history. They just chose a battle to suit the needs of their audience.

I took over 100 pictures, Here are some of them that caught my eye.


Confederate and Union soldiers engage on the battle field!

Calvary support

Three elements were represented at the battle today. Artillery, infantry, and the quick moving calvary.

The kill.

Two rebels take down a Union soldier and show him how to use a bayonet.


a rebel soldier taking a break before the battle.


Lots of cannon fire at the battle of Central. We were sitting not far from the line of Confederate cannons, and you could feel the explosion. It also left behind an enormous cloud of smoke.

Popgun Girl

This girl is the daughter of a confederate soldier. She was playing near where we were sitting.

Rebel Soldiers

Rebel Soldiers marching past the barn.

Union Soldiers

Union soldiers hanging around camp before the battle.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Battle of Central

Civil War. War between the states. Blue vs Grey.
There is a civil war reenactment this weekend in a town called Central not to far from home (15 minutes). We will be heading up there on Saturday to check it out, so Cari and I were discussing what we would wear last night.

She said she would probably wear one of her shirts with the American flag on it.
"You are not serious!", I responded.
"Uh, yeah.", she couldn't figure my questioning of her.
"You are in the friggin' south. Going to a civil war battle. You will not wear the wrong color.", I explained.

In fact I hope to purchase a civil war style army hat. One I would probably wear one time a year.
Cari argued that our families were not from the South, and we should go waving giant American flags. I'm just not comfortable going to a redneck party, full of confederate battle flags, and rooting for the other team. I'm not saying I will be a rebel flag flying redneck, but I will not be singled out as the "yankee".

This prompted a discussion about at the end of the battle. Will everyone go home sad?
I'll take plenty of pictures and I'm certain I'll have some excellent stories to tell when we get back.

I just hope I can keep Cari's enthusiasm controlled when the Union soldiers slaughter the guys in Grey.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Family Tree

Planted our first tree together tonight. It is a Fosythia. More of a shrub than a tree. It will be filled full of yellow flowers in the spring time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Mall

This is the mall in Pickens, SC

As you can see from this one shot. All sorts of items can be purchased at the mall. Chickens, rabbits, box of junk, and whatever mystery is in the cooler.
Some of the most popular items available are guns, knives, fishing equipment, antique anything, and pharmacy supply.

Guns, knives, and fishing equipment are pretty self explanatory. Antique does not always mean really cool old items. Sometimes, I found at the flea market, that antique just means old. It could be broken, it can be a rusty coffee can, or it can even be an old dog.
Pharmacy supply. I could not believe the amount of tables set up to sell old advil, old razor blades, old cough syrup. You get the idea. I think it is all the stuff the dollar store rejected.

This flea market is the largest one I have been to, and is quite fun to go look around. If you don't get there by 9am, all the good stuff is gone, so the early bird gets the worm on this one. If you can't get up that early, you might still be able to buy a worm at the Pickens flea market. Every Wednesday starting at 4am!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


We spent all day yesterday finishing up our laminate floor project. I took the carpet out of the living room, ripped up the padding, and pulled the staples from the plywood. Everywhere except the corner where the TV is.
The grey box on its side in this picture is TiVo.

We couldn't unplug TiVo. When we finally made it to the corner, Cari and I both started laughing at ourselves. We didn't want to disable TiVo, or unplug any of the surround sound speakers, so we were willing to install floor under this spider web of wires. Television, more specifically, TiVo, is so important we couldn't miss it for even an hour. Contrast that to this post at a blog I read.

There were some tense moments as Cari crunched herself in the corner, trying desperately to not snag a wire. I would look over and check vital signs from time to time (is the red recording light still on?). We installed the floor in that corner like surgeons. When TiVo was placed back on its perch, on top of the television, we hugged. What a night.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Fedex is not my friend anymore

I ordered something online a few days ago. I paid $6.00 for 2-day, Fedex, shipping. I wanted to have this before the weekend.

I tracked my package and everything was going great. It said on the website, delivery by 4:30pm. Cool.

Cari got back from picking Randy up at school to find a door tag. They did NOT leave the package. They will try and re-deliver on Monday.


Can you tell I'm a bit irritated? I really am. UPS (my new friend), would have left this small package near my door.

Now, I have to drive a friggin HOUR to go pick up my package at the Fedex station.
I sure hope that Fedex car crashes hard in the Nascar race this weekend.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

Why Me?

I spent a good portion of my day off working in the yard with Cari today.
Just before it was time to pick up Randy from school, I was going around with the hedge clippers. We have a row of holly bushes on the front and side of the house, and they were due for some shaping. I'm not as good as Edward Scissorhands, I'm just trying to achieve a simple box look.

I noticed time was running out, so I started moving a bit quicker. Ok, I was moving franticly. You would think I was in a race. Cari was across the yard, pulling weeds. I rounded the corner and kept hacking away at the bushes. Then it happened.

I dropped the hedge clippers.

With my hands to my head I started screaming.

Cari came running over as I fell to my knees.

"What? What happened? Are you alright?", she was looking me over for blood.
I just pointed toward the holly plant in front of me.
"I cut a wire coming out of the satellite dish!", I cried.
We looked at each other with some amount of fear. There are four cables coming out of the dish, and into the house. Would the cut cable effect our beloved TiVo?
Now, Cari became really concerned, "Which TV is that? Is it. . .TiVo?"
I ran inside and turned on the TV. I got a clear picture. I switched to the second TiVo tuner and got a picture. Whew.
Bedroom TV checked out ok also.
I have a cable running into the video card on the computer also. Started up the TV program on the computer. . . "Searching for signal." This was the best case situation if a wire had to be cut.
I tried to piece it together by hand a bit, but that did nothing. I'll have to buy a coupler and piece it back.
That was a close call.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The doctor is: IN

When Meredith was sick last week, Cari took her to the doctor. Meredith could not take medicine because she was vomiting so much. A prescription was written for an oil medicine that rubs onto your wrist and helps reduce nausea.
Only one pharmacy in the county has this special oil. No problem, this pharmacy is probably downtown, near the hospital. No, this particular pharmacy is not in town. He is out of civilization, up in the mountains. Does he take our insurance? Nope. But, if you want this special oil potion you will need to bring with you:
-the beak of a spotted owl
-two pedals from the purple crocus flower
-a gallon of water taken from the Table Rock basin
-two grams of bark taken from the Japanese Maple

When the ingredients are taken to the "pharmacist", he will produce one vile of oil potion.
Refills are hard to come by.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Cari woke me up this morning and said that Meredith has learned the family motto.
"What's that?", I asked.

"You are wrong, and I am right!"

"That's our motto? I don't say that.", I replied.

Cari rolled her eyes and informed me that I say it all the time.

I replied, "Nope, you are wrong, and I am right."

Monday, May 09, 2005

Mother's Day

What Cari got for Mother's Day:

Two sick children and a husband going to work for the day.

Saturday, May 07, 2005


We have a new game.

When you play horseshoes, or read about it, you will certainly remember the clank as the shoe hits the metal post. Not the way I play. Watching me play, the only sound you will remember is "thud", as the shoe hits the dirt at least five feet away from the post. Occasionally, I hit a rock in the yard, and a smile comes across my face to hear that clank.

When we bought the set, I felt like I was getting a small set. A total of four horseshoes in the set. That means only two throws per person. There is no way I can even come close in only two shots. Why don't they include at least three per person?
Cari was very quick to answer my question, "How many horses have you seen with SIX feet?"

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Cheater, Beware!

Cheaters tend not to be as smart as they might think. Already this year, in Nascar, several teams have been caught cheating. Sometimes, as simple as speeding on pit road. Penalty: go to the end of the longest line (if under caution). Sometimes it gets a bit more serious. Such as happened to Kevin Harvick and team. They were caught using a false fuel cell. Penalty: Crew chief suspended for several races, a fine, and loss of points.
People really cried that the penalty was too much.
Here's a new standard.

BAR Honda was caught cheating in the last Formula One race. During a weight check after the race, the team was asked to empty the fuel. After doing so, the car met the minimum spec. Another inspector found a second fuel tank, still holding some gas. After draining it, the car was now too light. This could create a huge advantage. Often the fastest laps are run with very little fuel weighing them down.

FIA, the ruling body of Formula 1, said they want to see BAR Honda excluded from the 2005 championship, and a fine minimum of a MILLION euros!
They must have been seriously cheating. That 11 lbs short on weight is expensive.
Keep in mind, the penalty of exclusion would apply to both cars in the team, although only one was found to be illegal.

Of course, BAR Honda appealed. Their final sentence was to be banned for the next two races and placed on some probation. They also had their points taken away from the last race (where their car was found to be 11 lbs light). The chiefs at BAR Honda still want to fight this. Why, I do not know. This penalty sounds much better than the one I first listed. The fight continues, as the head of Formula 1 has told the teams not to appear at the Spanish Grand Prix in Spain this week. BAR Honda is looking for options to get on the track.

Cheating just doesn't seem to pay off.


This is the picture I submitted to Nintendo in their contest. Only one entry per person.
The contest is over at Touching Is Good
Maybe I'll win something.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Imagine you are driving down the interstate at 80 mph. You are near the city, so let's say there are three lanes of traffic. There are lots of cars out there, and it makes you a bit nervous. You are never sure what the car in front, beside, or behind you is going to do.

Well, that is nothing. . .

These guys are traveling at 190+ mph. More than double what you drive on the interstate.
They drive three or four wide going into the corner, while only using two or three actual lanes. Just like you, they really don't know what the car in front, beside, or behind them is going to do.
Did you catch that? 190 MILES PER HOUR! Inches apart from each other, and all 43 cars want to be in the same spot. I would imagine it is a challenge to keep your car stable at that speed in a corner. I would imagine it is a insane challenge to do that with people bumping into you!

Some of you that read this are not racing fans. You are the crowd that says it makes no sense watching cars go in circles.

To fully appreciate Nascar, you really need to attend a race in person. Just once. The sound. Oh, man, when the cars go by, you can not hear the person standing next to you. The sound is awesome. TV does it no justice. The speed! Lose focus for one second and your car can be airborne, barrel rolling down the back stretch. These tracks are not smooth. They have bumps, cracks, dips, just like the highway.

I have a video I took from Daytona. I held the camera still, pointed at one spot on the track. 40 cars drive by that spot in about 1.5 seconds. You see nothing but a blur of color.

Watching Talladega this past weekend just reminded me of the amazing achievement of Nascar racing.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Arm: the update

Randy went and got some x-rays done today. They do it right through the cast. So, it didn't bother him too much. He goes back in about three weeks to probably get that cast off his arm. The first week or so, he seemed to have a tough time with it. Now, he doesn't fuss about it much. You can see "Mr. Wood" in his good arm in this picture. It is a piece of laminate that suddenly became a friend after he drew a smile face on it. I think I'm going to start doing that. Draw a smile face on something and it becomes "Mr. _____".

Monday, May 02, 2005

Sunday Drive

Went for a drive after lunch today. Jack and Micky took us for a tour of some awesome mountain spots. We ended up at Ceasar's head. I took over thirty pictures. This one is of Table Rock. We stopped at one point called Bald Rock. You get out and walk on this huge slab of rock, and when you get closer to the edge, you realize you are walking on the edge of a mountain. The view was awesome up there.

The roads are very winding, and elevation changes were making me feel a little car sick on the way home. I closed my eyes and ended up falling asleep. This is not a reflection of how interesting the views were, or how much fun I was having. It was more a reflection of how comfortable the car was.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

You want me to eat what?

These bags contain milk, sugar, and flour.

After sitting on the counter for well over a week, Cari will add a few more ingredients and turn it to bread. How do I know so much about the process of letting milk sit and rot for a week on my counter? These bags will be Cari's second batch of this. The first batch was completed today. I came home from lunch and Cari offered some of her "fresh" bread.
"You made bread?", I asked.
"Yeah, it's from that bag I had on the counter.", she said with a smile.
"Oh, the bag that has been ROTTING for two weeks is now bread?"
I picked a piece up and put it near my mouth. Cari had the look of someone that was playing a practical joke. I paused to smell the piece in my hand. I asked several questions about the process of turning fermented milk and sugar into bread. Then I took a bite. Before my mouth was closed, Cari was asking if it was the best bread I have ever tasted.

It is good bread. Amish cinnamon bread. Part of the secret is taking a portion of your liquid goo, and pouring it into more baggies. So, every batch breeds about four more. This is where the recipe shines. Nobody wants a bag of rotted milk in their kitchen, let alone FOUR. So, you start giving bags away to your "friends" and neighbors. Before long, everyone will have special bags to hold their milk, flour, sugar mix.