Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy when Fighting

My kids love to argue and fight with each other. Especially now, during Christmas break. "Get away from me!", "Stop pushing me!", "MOM!!"

Yesterday morning we let them play some video games. They were playing Super Smash Bros. A cartoon type fighting game. They were playing great together. They were laughing and helping each other. Cari observed, "They only get along when they are fighting."

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Scratch Your Eyes Out!

While driving home from the post office, I noticed a hawk on the light post near the tennis court. I was only a block from home, so I grabbed my camera and headed back to the tennis court. The car door opened slowly as I tried to sneak up on the bird. It didn't work, because as I stepped out, it flew off of its perch.

Lucky for me, the bird landed on a tree not far from where I was parked. I put the zoom lens on my camera and started taking my pictures. I slowly stepped toward the tree. The bird was certainly watching me now. I paced in a semi circle around the tree. With every pass I got a little closer. It seemed to go on for an hour but it had only been about ten minutes. I continued to take pictures as I walked. As I took the camera down from my face, I realized I was now only about ten feet from this magnificent bird. The branch he was sitting on was only about seven feet off the ground. As I made my semicircular passes, he would turn his head to keep an eye on me.

He started to look a little twitchy and I realized I wouldn't be allowed to get much closer. I stood still for a moment, admiring this creature. That moment, I looked at the long, sharp, talons and realized this creature could claw my eyes out at any moment.

Images of me running back to the car screaming with a hawk tangled in my hair rushed through my head. I squinted my eyes thinking my eyelids would protect me in case of attack. I took two more pictures. Then I took a daring step toward the hawk to get even closer. The hawk took off and flew over the lake.

I walked back to the car. Not screaming, and with both my eyes intact.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Puppy Slippers

Here's a very short video Meredith and I made. It is a test of making stop motion video.
We made one that turned out a bit better earlier, but the subject was not very interesting. Maybe in the future I'll try this technique again.
click the photo to get the video

Where's Waldo

Around 8:00am on Christmas morning, roughly an hour after we started unwrapping presents, I got this picture. It's my own little Where's Waldo puzzle.

Where's Meredith?

Monday, December 25, 2006

The answers are. . .

Congradulations to RJ, the only one to guess all the gingerbread houses correctly. Too bad he was disqualified for having two guesses. No winner today. Better luck next time.

The house I created in my imagination quickly became realized. . . as an ugly lump of sweets.
Randy's skyscraper wasn't going to be that tall at first. After he saw my creation, he decided he wanted to build the tallest one. With the added marshmallow tower he was able to claim that title. Meredith is pictured with house version 2. The first one collapsed under the weight of too much candy on the roof. Cari worked quietly amoung the commotion. She didn't snack like the rest of us did either. At the end when she took her powdered sugar as snow, I called her a cheater. I didn't realize the sugar was available as snow. Looking back now, I don't think there was enough snow in that bag to give mine the detail Cari had.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Gingerbread house

We spent some time this morning making gingerbread houses. Here's a picture of each creation. Can you guess who made which one? Cari, Randy, Meredith, and I each made one.
photo above is #1

Photo above is #2

Photo above is #3

Photo above is #4

Wii online!

Written with the Wii.
More tonight.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Do you hear that?

Cari laid in bed, almost asleep. I had been in bed for about five minutes when I heard the noise. Kinda a shredding noise. The dog perked up and was looking out our bedroom door. "Cari, do you hear that?".

She didn't even open her eyes, "yeah. good night."
"What is it?", I asked .
"paper ripping. good night."

Who is ripping paper in the house? The kids have been asleep for hours. I couldn't handle it, I got out of bed and looked down the hall. This is what I saw:
The cat decided she would tear into the bag of DOG food. The dog just watched quietly. Maybe she was hoping the cat would get the bag open. Like a pinata full of dog food. I put the bag in the closet and went back to bed. Cari was now fully asleep. I woke her up a little bit, "Just the cat trying to get the dog food I told her."

Cari let me know she didn't really care, "Go to sleep already"!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

All in a Name

Cari really appreciated all the comments the past few days. She kept bragging to me how many comments she got and how wonderful she is. I really want to thank you all for that. Nothing better than listening to Cari rub it in!

We decided not to save the Wii for Christmas because it isn't a Christmas present. It was just something we wanted to buy.

I was home while Cari wrote that and we discussed her using my name. I thought about it for a few minutes. Then I told her just to do it. It was a rare moment, my name on the blog, so don't expect to see it here again. Not anytime soon anyway.

That's something I think that makes blogs interesting. Especially blogs you have read for a while. You are always looking for clues about that persons life. Things that are between the lines of the writing. It is looking at the backgrounds of photos. (And then comparing couches). It's noticing the details like a name in the writing. It makes videos like I made recently even more interesting.

Sometimes I purposely keep the clues out. Most times I try to secretly weave them in. That was why I told Cari to go ahead and use my name. I thought you needed another clue.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

For Sale?

Over the summer we were in a shop and saw a box of photographs for sale. These were pictures of local waterfalls and things like that. The pictures were not framed, they were matted and wrapped in plastic. Printed roughly 11x14. The quality of the images didn't seem to be any better than mine. The difference was these prints were thirty dollars.

If I could have my dream job, it would be selling photography. I would go out a few days a week taking pictures. Come back, have them printed and sell them.

Sometimes I take my photos to work and show them to a few people that have shown interest. One woman told me a while back that she would like to print them and hang some in her house. WOW! One of my pictures? At her request I filled a CD full of waterfall pictures and gave it to her. She printed some and even brought in some of the 8x10 to show me. I don't know if she hung them up or not, I didn't ask her.

Last week, I was showing her some photos from my most recent trip. She told me how much she loved the pictures. She asked for an updated CD. I jokingly said she should pay me for them. Then I told her I wouldn't give her another CD.

She isn't going to anything wrong with the pictures. I just didn't feel good about handing over my work. I did it once. I changed the conversation and went about my day. A few days ago she asked me again about the pictures. She offered to pay for them. This caught me off guard and I told her I would talk to her later about it. That conversation hasn't happened yet.

I've been thinking about this. I would really like to SELL some photos, but this is a friend at work. I don't feel comfortable asking her for an amount of money that I think the pictures should get. It's strange because I don't want to give her the pictures and I also don't want to sell her the pictures.

So far, I have decided that I would take one of the prints that is her favorite and give it to her for Christmas in a frame. Not the file on a CD, just an 8x10 print.

If I could just get everyone willing to pay for my photos, I would have my dream job. For now, I'll just keep giving it away.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Cari's Fun Friday

I have never actually written an entry on Duck's Blog. Occasionally, I will write a short comment, especially if Ed's story isn't favorable to me. But, here I am.

Let me start by saying I am a fantastic wife. Ask anyone. There are many examples of my greatness, but none so noteworthy than how I spent Friday morning.

This all started a few weeks ago, with the release of the Nintendo Wii. I had originally said we weren't spending that much money, and we certainly weren't getting one the week before Christmas. Until... it became hard to get one. Most people know that I (and Ed) can't pass up a challenge. Getting the Wii became more than getting a gaming system, although I adore Zelda. Getting the Wii became our new passion, the reason to leave the house, the reason to pick up the phone (to call all the gaming stores with 100 miles.) I HAD to have one. Hopefully before anyone I knew got one.

We had heard that Walmart would have them on Wednesday of last week. Ed worked early, so he could not go wait in line. I had to take the kids to school, so I couldn't go wait in line either. Our Walmart is in the middle of nowhere, so we were a bit hopeful that I could get there early enough, and maybe get one. I got to Walmart a few minutes after 8 am and saw several Wii boxes being carried around the store. One lady told me that she had gotten there at midnight. I quickly went to electronics to find out that they only had 12, and that they were all gone. I WAS offered a Wii for double the price in the parking lot... That was not part of the game... Sort of like cheating. I WOULD get a Wii and for the retail price!!!

Thursday night we started talking about me standing in line at EB Games the next morning. I was not really fond of the idea. It was COLD. About 20. I don't like to be cold. Suddenly the game seemed to get out of hand.

But, did I back out? Did I disappoint my wonderful husband? NO, I did not. I took the kids to school and headed into town. I expected to see a long line (if the wackos got in line at midnight out of town, certainly by 8:15 the line in town would be long.) Boy, was I wrong. I was FIRST. First to get a Wii.... (Picture me dancing) Wait a minute... First?? Me??? Maybe they weren't getting them in today and I was the only one not to know. Maybe I had finally snapped and sitting outside when it was SO COLD, was crazy. Should I leave??

NO!!! I was going to find out if they were getting one. I only had to wait 2 more hours before they opened. At nine, the line for the Dollar Tree next door was getting long. Still no one at the game store. Where was everyone? At 9:45, I got out of the car and waited next to the building for them to open. A car pulled up, FINALLY someone else almost as crazy as me. At ten they let us in and told us they might, MIGHT?, get a Wii shipment. I told them I was staying, that the guy the day before told me they were coming. The older lady from the car was staying too. Suddenly we were bonded. Best friends. Within about 5 minutes the store was busy with everyone wanting a Wii. I made sure that EVERYONE knew I was first. Old lady and I talked about kicking anyone that tried to get in front of us. At about 10:15, the worker decided we were hovering around the desk too much and passed out cards...

Mine said #1!!!!! He only gave out 6!!!! A few other people waited too, just in case the delivery information was wrong, and more then 6 were coming. One guy tried to get someone to give up the ticket. He had no job, and 5 kids... Too bad, I thought. If he had no job, how was buying the Wii going to help?? Also, if he had no job, he could have been in line much earlier. The 5 other chosen ones and I had a nice morning. It was warm in the store and the employees were fun. About 40 people came in asking for the Wii. Some begged, some cried, but they were sent away. We started pointing out all the UPS trucks that went by. When our truck came into the parking lot we all cheered, and rushed the desk. 20 minutes later I was holding my (I mean our) Wii. It was beautiful. How wonderful was I??

I got a Wii for Ed!!!

I WIN!! I WIN!! (Picture me singing!!)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

We have the Wii!

We got the Wii! The Wii is awesome! Holding the box last night, I wondered if we should sell it for twice the value on ebay. That thought ended and I carefully opened the box. Cari was out and the kids were in bed. It was nice and quiet in the house as I unpacked the Wii. When Cari got home we tried some bowling and some tennis and it was very cool. Then I tried some Zelda before going to bed. Yep, it was good too.

This morning we let the kids try some bowling and the four of us had a lot of fun with it.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


We still don't have a Wii.

Walmart put some on sale this morning. People started lining up last night at midnight. Cari was there around 8:30am this morning and one lady that had one was still in the store. She told Cari she would sell it to her for only double the price. How thoughtful. Jerk.

The search continues on Friday.

One Link Wednesday

I don't have much to say tonight. Here's a link for you. They are taking votes for the 7 wonders of the world.

Go HERE to place your vote. Just be sure you vote for the best ones!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Brasstown Falls

Here's what Cari was looking at just beside us.

It's a scratching post. For a BEAR. We didn't see a bear, just the evidence that one was here.
You may have to click and see the larger picture, but these are definatly claw and teeth marks. Do a google search on brown bears and you'll find images just like this. The scratch marks didn't seem fresh, and we weren't really afraid of the tree itself.
So, we continued our hike to view this three tiered waterfall.

The trail to view Brasstown falls follows along the side of the creek. It's really a neat trail because you can hear the falls along the whole trail and you can also get great views from several angles.

Here's a few pictures of the falls.
Although a bit slippery, we made it out of safely. No bears found us. No freaky murderer found us. In fact when we left, the truck was still there. Cari pointed out that the truck may have been sitting there for a month. If that's the case, we didn't see any bodies out there either. Just another beautiful waterfall to add to our list.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


It's been a few weeks since Cari and I went hiking. The best time to go is while the kids are in school. Lately, there have been extra days off from school and my days off were falling on the weekend. Last week I had a day off during the week AND the kids were in school.

I woke up the morning of the hike to hear rain hitting the window. I closed my eyes and went back to sleep for a while. When I got out of bed around 9am, the rain had stopped. Cari said another band of rain was on the way. We were desperate to get some hiking in. Cari checked the radar, and noticed that the area we wanted to go didn't have any more rain coming. By ten we were in the car.

After driving for an hour into the middle of nowhere, we arrived. In the parking area we saw a beat up truck. The truck was off the ground on large tires. The windows were tinted dark. We had driven two miles down a dirt road, cell phones are useless at places like this. Cari and I looked at each other. Without saying anything, we both knew the other was a bit nervous. Was there some murdering freak out here? There was a minute of discussion. We talked about not taking the hike. "Would you feel any better if it was a Cadillac?", I asked.

I popped open the trunk, we grabbed our hiking sticks, and hit the trail.

The trail was covered in wet leaves. Under the wet leaves was smooth, wet rocks. The trail required a bit of climbing down, and in these conditions, that meant I was holding onto a lot of tree trunks and roots on the way down. A few times, I just sat down and slid on my butt to the next tier. Just another obstacle in our desperate attempt to complete a hike.

I set up the tripod at one point so we could take some pictures.One more element to get our hearts pumping was right next to us.
Next I'll show you some pictures from Brasstown falls and what it was that had Cari's attention in this picture.
I hope you can BEAR the wait to read about it.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Christmas Letters

Do you know about the Christmas family letters? It's the letter you write to tell everyone about how perfect your life has been this year. Little Johnny is the smartest and most loved kid in his class. Remember?

The owners of the company you work for treat you like family and you love your job! Just like your last three employers. You aren't upset about anything. You husband quit his job and found some downgrade of a job, but, "he gets more done around the house now". Little Sally played the lead roll in the first grade play. She was the greatest and we were such proud parents.

Sometimes these letters come from people that I haven't seen in several years. They could write anything they want. In fact, they do. One particular letter makes me laugh every year. I get the letter, then call a mutual friend that I still have contact with. He tells me the truth behind the words in the letter. Everything is so exaggerated. Sometimes I laugh so hard, tears roll down my face.

If you are one of the people that writes the family letter, don't be offended. I think it is a great thing. Just don't lie and exaggerate everything. If you do, send me a copy, I could use a good laugh.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Soapstone Bowl

I was out taking pictures today and found this Soapstone Boulder.
It's really interesting. Read the sign for more info.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Well, as usual, I'm a bit behind. Only recently have I started really watching videos on YouTube. I have seen some before, but didn't really spend any time looking at the site.

Now that I have watched a bit more for a few weeks, I can say that YouTube is fun.
Everyone has heard of it, but if you haven't really checked it out, you should.

This girl, Lonelygirl15 is now famous. She was posting video blogs onto YouTube. She had a great story and lots of people were watching her videos. Then she was outed as a profesional actress. Pretty big deal really. Everyone thought they were watching the problems of a 15 year old girl.

I had seen some of her videos before she was outed. Anyway, here is a link to her story. I found it very interesting how the whole thing took place. Even if you weren't familiar with this story, you might find this interesting.

While you are on YouTube, search for BlendTec. One of my favorite short videos.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Conserve Energy

child: "How does saving energy help the environment?"

first adult: "Saving energy means the power plants won't burn as much coal to produce the energy. So there will be less air pollution."

2nd adult one room over: "Yeah, it's better if the nuclear power plant would cut down on its coal burning!"

names have been hidden to protect the identification of the first adult.

Friday, November 24, 2006


It's 4:30am and I've been awake for thirty minutes. I'm headed to work to deal with all the maniacs that love to shop on this day. I'll drive past a Walmart on my way to work and I'm sure their parking lot will be full already.

It'll be a fun day watching the sales numbers get bigger and bigger on that computer screen.
I'm off for work. Have a good day, shoppers!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Birthday! - the conclusion

I followed Cari into the bedroom. She got her pajamas on and climbed into bed.
"What is your problem?", she said half laughing.

I laid down on the bed. My strategy wasn't working at all. I crossed my arms and stared at the ceiling as I came up with a new plan.
My tone changed from a pitiful whimper to an almost angry sound. I didn't say much for the next few minutes. With a frown on my face I continued to figure out a way into Cari's head.
Cari said, "I can't believe you are getting angry about this".
"I'm not angry.", I said with a frown. "If you don't want me to have the wheel today that I'm fine with that."
I was trying some sort of reverse psychology. Obviously I have not been trained in that field because Cari replied, "Ok. Good night".

I sat up quickly and suggested we go out and take one more look in the box before bed. Cari refused but said she had to get up and check the timer on the coffee pot. That was my first hint that I was going to win. She didn't want to give up the fight but she also didn't want me to give up. She was enjoying this and would give me clues of hope when she suspected I may quit.

After following her around the house, we ended up laying on the bed again. I tried crying. I tried laughing. Nothing was working. She continued to threaten going to sleep and discussing this more in the morning. Then she asked me, "What do you think your chances are at getting the wheel tonight?"

I didn't want to sound confident. I told her there was a ten percent chance of me getting it. In my head, I felt like I had an eighty percent chance.
"Go play with your new wheel.", she said.

"I WIN! I WIN! I WIN!!" is what I thought, but I said, "Thank you!"

She told me that it was never planned to be a birthday present. She intended on letting me open it from the beginning. She just wanted to watch me beg for TWO HOURS!

The comments I received the other day were great. Thank you. They pretty much turned out as I expected. Women take Cari's side, men on mine. Thankfully, Abbie and Michelle didn't leave a message because that would have put my side into the minority by far.

So I have now had several days with the new wheel. It's great. It was well worth the battle I put up to get it.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Happy Birthday! Part 2

Cari ordered my birthday present a month a head of time. She told me the day that she ordered it that I would not have it until just a few days before my birthday in December. The reason to order it now was to ensure its availability.

When it arrived the other day I begged to open it. Cari, of course, refused. Inside the box is the Logitech G25, a racing wheel and pedals. I have read every scrap of information I could find over the past three months. Now, it is sitting in a brown box in my room. How can I wait a month to try it?

I asked Cari if I could take it out of the brown box and photograph the product box. She agreed, but reminded me it would not be opened. After a few minutes of obsessing on the box, I took my photos.It was still not time to give up on getting my wheel. I needed to wear Cari down, but I had to do it in a way that would not cause her to get annoyed and take the box out of the room.

"Can I open the box and smell it?" A request that should seem harmless to her.
"Smell it?" she looked at me like I was crazy.
After a few minutes I negotiated the box getting opened long enough for me to smell it. It was then closed. You might be wondering what a Logitech G25 wheel smells like. Inside the box the wheel and pedals were covered with clear plastic bags. The pleasant aroma was a mix of leather and plastic.

The next time I opened it was to get the instruction book out. Again, it was immediately closed.

I felt like I was getting closer to wearing her down. The box had been opened twice.

She stood up to leave the room and go to bed. Going to bed would be the end of my battle. I had to stop her. Down on my knees I begged. Yeah, like a small child that wants a piece of candy, I was groveling at Cari's feet.

On her way to the bedroom, she told me that opening it would ruin a special moment of my birthday. "It's already special. Let's open it and really admire its specialness!"

She continued to walk to the bedroom. Of course, I followed. I was desperate to get at this wheel. Cari had a huge grin and laughed as she realized she had total control.

Now I am begging you, my readers, do you really think it is fair to make me wait a month? Show Cari that it is already a special present and I should not have to wait!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Happy Birthday?

Look what the UPS man left for me!
What's inside? This box caused tears, laughter, and some strange behavior. Most of that before the box was even opened. I'll tell you about that next.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Some people are just crazy about shopping. The best time to identify this group is on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. The real shoppers will meet at retail stores around 4:30am no matter how cold it is.

Why call it "black Friday". One person said it is because shoppers go out while it is still dark. The real reason is because that is the start of the shopping season where retailers make a bulk of their profit. I had a friend that was a store manager at a Toys-R-Us. She said that the store loses money for operating every month until "black Friday". She said as a manager it is scary to watch your store not make any profit month after month. They make up the whole year in two months.

The ads that come out that day can be exciting. The retailers keep it under tight wraps until the day.

In fact, my own company will not release the information to me until just days prior to the ad coming out. That makes it a bit harder to do my job, but they feel they want to protect the information.

Thanks to I was able to obtain a list of my companies ad for "black Friday" and most other major retail stores. Another great site is They had several of the same ads and then some others.

I wonder if my company will feel like they can now give me the official information.

Monday, November 13, 2006

It's my fault

Sometimes I don't realize all the people that read this blog. There are roughly four people that leave me messages on a regular basis. It's easy to forget how many people are reading this. I got a call from my good friend Rick today. He told me that I cost him an hour and a half of sleep last night. I haven't talked to him for weeks and I wondered how I cost him sleep. He said he read the blog last night and downloaded Google Earth after reading what I wrote. He stayed up too late tagging houses of family members. No need to argue, I assumed the blame, "Yeah, I guess that's my fault Rick."

I had this past weekend off from work. On Saturday we took our Cub Scout den on a hike in the mountains. The trail was almost two miles. We all had fun and the boys collected some of the fallen leaves, trying to find ten different tree leaves. There were some complaints after we passed the half way point. It was getting a bit long for them. Having been the one that chose the hike, I said to the complainers, "This is a great trail guys. If it is too long for you, it's my fault."

Both of my children have strep throat. Cari took them to the doctor and got them medicine on Friday. By Saturday they were acting like they felt better but come Saturday night they were coughing again. On Sunday the kids and I stayed home from church. Cari went on without us. There was two reasons for this. The kids were still sick and I was still sleeping. I got up with the kids when Cari left. By the time she pulled into the driveway after church, we were running around outside flying paper airplanes. "If the kids missed church because they are sick they don't need to be running around in the yard." I was told.

After one more throw, I answered her, "It's my fault."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


We were talking today at work how men will spend lots of money on toys. Women will spend money on things for the house, yarn, books, and things like that. Normally costing a fraction of the toys. One woman in particular was complaining about her husband running out and buying expensive gifts for himself without consulting her. I'm talking about three thousand dollar gifts!
When she complained he said that it was his money. I'm under the impression they still hold separate bank accounts.

We all laughed and joked together about making large purchases. I couldn't help but to think this woman's marriage can't be a very strong one. If they are acting independently are they more than room mates? It's kind of an exaggeration to say that, but shouldn't the married couple act as one unit?

My newest toy is much cheaper than that. My new toy is Google Earth. It's free! It's been around for a while and I have always heard people talking about but never took the time to download it.

YOU MUST TRY GOOGLE EARTH. Don't laugh too hard, but I will tell you that I was up until three in the morning the night I installed it. Why? I was tagging all the race tracks around the globe. I was zooming in and tagging houses of my relatives. Google Earth is FUN! I even found the house of one of you!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Hiking among the Fallen

Our latest hike took us back into the mountains in search of another waterfall. The trail was heavily covered in fallen leaves. The smell of fall was strong in the forest of red, yellow, and orange. We talked about revisiting some of our previous hikes during the winter to see how things changed. Some places would not even look familiar with the bare trees.

There were a lot of fallen trees along the trail. One particular tree fell over a valley between two hills. It was a bridge! I talked about climbing up and walking along the top of the log for a photo. Cari laughed, saying I would fall, and we continued our hike. Only a hundred yards past the log, I turned us around and got the camera out of the bag. Something inside me wasn't going to let that "bridge" go unchallenged.

I walked about thirty percent of the way out and realized the top of the log was not as flat as I thought. I felt like I was walking on the top point of a triangle. I took baby steps trying to get farther out for the picture.

My feet felt shaky after a few pictures. As I stood there I realized I was not going to be able to turn around. I threw my walking stick down and sat straddling the log. Of course, Cari was there to snap more pictures of my weak moment. I was between six to seven feet off the ground and did not feel good about turning around, even in my sitting position. I scooted backward hugging the log. I'm sure this was funny to watch. At least that's what Cari said.

After an hour of hiking, we arrived at the falls. There wasn't a tremendous amount of water flowing, but the scene was gorgeous. A rock wall of about 60 ft was in front of us. Many jagged cliffs stuck out from the face causing the water to dance it's way to the ground. Someone had made a bench from some stones and a half log that we used to take a break. Cari told me that this was now her favorite one. It was funny, because she says that almost every time.On our hike out, we came across another "bridge" of a fallen tree. I challenged Cari to climb up there for a photograph. Just like the first time, we kept walking. About a hundred yards up the path, I stopped and looked back. There was no convincing Cari that walking that tree trunk was the right thing to do. Maybe next time.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A lesson in Geocache

I decided to introduce Randy to Geocaching. What boy wouldn't love to seek out hidden treasure? The cache we were seeking was hidden in the cracks of Stone Mountain.

We arrived at the spot and did some searching. It didn't take us more than ten minutes to find the cache. I explained the game to Randy as I signed the log. He looked at the trinkets inside and decided there was nothing worth taking.

I took a sun catcher out of my backpack and placed it in the cache. Then I started to pack up. Randy protested. "I want that thing."

"It's been in a drawer for years at our house. I don't think we need it. I have three more like it at home."

He started crying, "I want that one." I desperately tried to explain to him that we were trying to share with others playing the game. He claimed a bad person would find it and smash the sun catcher.

His attitude continued to disintegrate. I snapped this picture of us with the cache.
I agreed that we would continue our hike and discuss the situation. At least that got him moving again. I didn't hear much about the cache until we were started down the mountain. Then the boy started getting crazy again. Crying and having a fit that he wanted the sun catcher. I offered to leave a yoyo from my bag in its place. He of course didn't want me to give up the yoyo.

He told me to erase my name out of the log, take my sun catcher back, and pretend we had never been there.
I distracted him past the turn off point leading to the cache as we continued to the bottom. Unfortunately the second half of our father/son hike was ruined by his fit. He wouldn't stop talking about it or crying about it.

Back in the car he continued his fit for about twenty minutes.

It will be a while before I even consider taking him on another geocache hunt.
It wasn't all bad, the happy picture at the top of this post was taken while at the top.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

sheep + dog = sheep dog

I think I'm getting finished up on telling you about our last Stone Mountain trip. Just this story tonight and one more about Randy and I doing some Geocaching on the mountain.

As I have said, the Scottish Highland games were in town the weekend we were there. This event kinda reminded me of a medieval fair. Most men wore kilts, there were more bagpipes that I could count, and tents selling all sorts of things littered the grounds.

We watched a few bagpipe bands march in the center field. All the bands were fun to watch and we got to hear Amazing Grace seven times. It must be required for every bagpipe band to end with that.

The highlight of out time with the Scottish had to be the sheep dogs. This was quite amazing to me, especially when I compare the intelligence to my dog. For the first demonstration, they let a few ducks out on the field and placed a small wooden bridge in the center. The dog slowly stalked the ducks and actually got them rounded up and had them walk up the bridge.

The trainer talked a little while about how he trains the dogs. It is all whistle commands. Each dog is trained to listen to different whistles. He told one dog to walk ten steps left on the third whistle. Sure enough, the dog did just that. Not only was the dog amazing, but you wouldn't believe the amount of whistles this man could produce.
Next they let some sheep into the field and showed how the dog could control them. Again. Really amazing to watch and see how smart those dogs were.

We walked among the tents before we left. Although the kilts looked very fashionable, I decided to wait until next time. I wasn't sure what clan colors would look best on me.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


We arrived back to camp after the laser show and decided to have a nice camp fire.

As Cari was getting Randy and Meredith ready for bed, we could hear bagpipes playing not far from our own site. The Scottish Highland Games were at the park the same weekend, and many of the Scots were staying in the same campground.

My fire was rough getting started, but after a few fist fulls of newspaper to get it going, I felt like it was burning well. I threw some larger pieces of wood on top.

With the kids in the tent, Cari and I sat near the fire. We watched and waited for the actual fire to start. The wood was slowly burning, but there wasn't much in the way of flames. I stooped over to rearrange the fire. When I looked up, Cari was staring at the Scots. "What's going on over there?", I asked her.

"They have a huge fire over there", she replied. I looked toward the five foot flames. What I saw was six bagpipe players and about a dozen people dancing, all illuminated by huge flames.

Cari talked about becoming Scottish for the night and joining them. I looked back at my own campfire that was putting out nothing but black smoke. That's when fire envy set in. The next forty minutes were spent trying to get my fire going. Cari told me if she went over that she would bring me back a burning log to get our fire going.

Once the bagpipes stopped, Cari announced she was going to bed. My fire was a failure. I stayed up another twenty minutes staring into the darkness. Where did I go wrong? Will a handful of men wearing skirts (kilts) out do me? Having already surrendered to them on my bagpipe skills, I would need to beat them on fire building.

We were going to be camping one more night, so I had one more chance to prove my ability at fire building. "Tomorrow night the Scots will have envy over MY fire", I thought as I crawled into the tent.The next night the Scots were back out in full force. This time my fire was bigger and hotter. In fact it was almost too big, and too hot. I didn't tell Cari, but I was kinda hoping the Scots would come over with their bagpipes and dance around our fire. After the last log burned, we realized how cold it really was outside and went to bed. That night, Cari didn't mention going to be a Scot a single time.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bubble Man

The modern day Pied Piper must be Bubble Man. While in the field waiting for the laser show, I noticed large bubbles floating in the air. I walked over and saw the mass of children surrounding a man making bubbles. My own children walked over with me and joined in with the mob.

Bubbles attract children by the dozens. Bubble Man was getting swarmed, and he continued to walk across the field, with the swarm chasing him. Finally, he asked all the children to sit down in front of him. I watched with amazement as I watched all the children sit down obediently. If I ever become a teacher, I'm getting a bubble wand to show my authority over the kids.

What is so interesting about watching a grown man make bubbles? How about making giant bubbles, then blowing smaller bubbles inside of the big one? How about having a girl wearing a fleece sweater hold a bubble in her arms and bounce it? It's true. Bubble Man knows tricks.

After Bubble Man's visit, the wait for the laser show to start wasn't long. Thankfully, this Pied Piper didn't return for our children. He just disappeared over the hill.

The laser show is displayed on the side of the mountain. It is a huge show, taking up the entire face of the rock. Music selection was good and large fireworks were mixed into the show.

After the show, we had to walk over to the dock and take the water taxi back to the campground. This gave me an opportunity to show off my lacking sense of direction. I tried to get my family to follow me to the right at the intersection, but Cari won, leading us straight across the street with a mass of people. Sure enough, boats waited for us across the street.

Back at the camp our kids were asleep in the tent while I decided to start a camp fire.
The moments after starting my fire are the events that created fire envy. I'll tell that story next.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


My work schedule has changed at the last minute twice this week. Unfortunately, this means my posts to the blog have been delayed.

Sorry to keep you waiting. Its just been crazy. Straight away after work yesterday was CubScouts. Tonight was church.

Maybe tomorrow you'll here more from me, Friday at the latest.

At the end of work today, I got to volunteer at the fire station. We went out on a fire truck to install fire alarms in homes. Riding a fire truck was pretty cool. The firemen were great to hang out with for two hours. One of my co-workers is going with them on Friday, they promised to take him to a rough part of town. HA! He's in for a surprise!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Back from Camping

We just arrived back home from camping at Stone Mountain, GA. We mostly only went because I was running out of things to write on the blog. Two nights of camping gave me at least a weeks worth.

We first went to Stone Mountain around this time last year for Pumpkin Festival. At that time we purchased the annual passes, so this was our last chance to get another use before they expired. If you have never been there, it's a really cool place.

As I get time this week, here's some things you might read about:

camp fire envy
Randy's first experience Geocaching
Scottish Highland Games
$50 for cheap dinner
Stupid semi truck drivers
laser light show featuring Bubble Man
and more. . .

Friday, October 20, 2006

My name is Kamal

I had to call India three times yesterday. This was a frustrating experience. Thankfully, the friendly people at GE were paying for the long distance call.

Use your best Indian accent and this is what I heard: "Thank you for calling GE customer care, my name is (in a different, forced accent) Alan, how may I help you?"

ALAN?!! Ok, that's his real name. Alan told me to call a different number for the department I needed. Again, I was routed to India and spoke to "Michael". I laughed a little while on hold.

It was obvious to me I was speaking to someone in India, but the two people I spoke to had American names.

I laughed a little more when Michael told me I had to call a different number. He gave me the same number that Alan had given me.
"Michael, I called that number and you answered.", I told him. "What good will calling it again do?"
It took about five minutes for him to understand that concept. He really didn't want to talk to me. Then he told me to call it back and to not choose an automated option, let it go to operator.

Of course, he wouldn't be able to transfer me, so I hung up and called again. When I finally heard a voice it was again in a very heavy Indian type accent. The name given, "Sarah".

Am I supposed to feel better about GE directing their customer complaints to India if the person answering the phone has an American name? It's like a game.

When "Sarah" told me her name it sounded so rehearsed and forced that, like the ones before her, I didn't believe it.

From now on, when someone calls me at work, I'm going to be "Kamal".

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The NEW park

We decided to take the kids to the park we discovered in Pickens while geocaching.
The park has a lot of really unique things that make it really interesting.

Monster made of tires:

Tire Swings:

Zip line:

They also have a sandbox with purple sand, a climbing wall, and several twisty slides. There are enough tires around you might think this is an abandoned truck stop. That really isn't the case. It's a great park.

The kids were having fun and I was running around with the camera. Cari spotted a little boy playing pretty much by himself. He was probably 2-3 years old. Over a period of time observing him, Cari decided there wasn't any adults watching over him.

She went over and tried asking him where his mom was. He wasn't able to speak clear enough that she understood. By this time another mother joined Cari with this little boy.

I stayed clear of the whole situation. Randy and I were at the climbing wall.

Turns out the child's parent was with a large group away from the playground near a baseball field. Cari had went over asking if anyone belonged with the boy. The mother seemed bothered that Cari was asking about her son.

It's hard to believe a parent would leave their child on a playground hardly in eyesight of where she was. When a concerned adult comes over to find the parent, you are nothing but a bother. . . just like her kid. If that lady would have been more responsible three years ago, our population wouldn't have hit 300,000,000 until eleven seconds later this week.

So at the end of our visit, Randy and Meredith had a great time, I had taken a lot of pictures, and Cari re-introduced a mother to her son. Maybe next time we'll just go to the park across the street from the house.

Monday, October 16, 2006

James made my day!


A Nascar show car was brought to my work to be put on display for a few hours. A show car is a car that ran in races and after they retire it, they ship it around to do promotions.

I started talking to the guy in charge of the car after I had watched him rev the engine and spin the tires while parking the thing for display. Being the race fan I am, I was checking out all the finer details of the machine. "If I could get my wife up here with a camera, do you think I can take a picture sitting in it?", I asked the guy.

James replied, "sure."

My new friend, James. I made a call home. This was an emergency. I have never sat in a race car before. When I called Cari, it didn't matter what was going on, she needed to get to the store ASAP!

When Cari got there, James let me climb in. Let me tell you, it is a tight fit to sit inside one of those cars.

Then James started directing me to flip a few switches. The final click started the engine. The engine was loud. I pushed on the gas pedal just slightly and the engine quickly reacted with a cracking and popping roar. This was AMAZING for me!

Kinda silly I guess that I was so excited to sit in a car with the engine running. I do that every day. But this was a NASCAR. This engine was LOUD. This WAS exciting.

People walking into the store stopped to look in the passenger window at me. I pushed the gas and they had to back up because of the noise.

After a few minutes, my ride was over. I shut the engine off. James stood there for about thirty minutes explaining all the gadgets and safety gear inside of the car while I was still sitting in it. Cari took a lot of pictures for me.

I felt like I had just won a race. Hours after I climbed out of that car, I was still excited.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Camping with the Scouts

Randy and I went camping with the cubscouts Friday night. This was our second trip to the scout camp. The week leading up to our night, had beautiful weather. The nights were cool, and the days were warm in the sun. That all came to an end on Friday night as we slept outside in our sleeping bags. It dropped into the low 30's Friday night and seemed to be just as cold when we got up Saturday morning.

Before we left, Cari said she may turn on the heat at home because it was going to be cold. "If I'm sleeping OUTSIDE, you can certainly survive one night inside without the heat on!", I told her.

She agreed that the heater may not come on, but the mattress pad would be cranked up.

We had our campfire Friday night and the various Packs in attendance were allowed to get up and do a skit. We saw the same skit three times. Only two boys, including Randy, from our group were there, so we didn't do a skit.

Saturday we got up at 6:30am and started packing up. Breakfast was a cold Hardies biscuit and some juice or coffee. What a way to start the day. Standing in freezing weather eating stuff my dog would pass up.

Then we went on to our activities. BB guns, bow and arrows, fire starting, a hike to see a 200 year old stone bridge, and games in the field filled our morning. My favorite game in the field was dodge ball. First, the adults formed a circle and threw at the boys. After we got done hitting our sons with a soccer ball, the boys made a circle with the parents in the center. This time there were two balls. I could hardly keep track of both. I focused on one ball, only to be hit in the leg from behind.

Randy started becoming a bit over tired and got quite the attitude unfortunately. In dodge ball, when he was out, he decided he would quit and he stormed off by himself. At fire building, he started whining when I his turn to try and start the fire with a flint was over.

I have no pictures to share. I purposely didn't take my camera so that it wouldn't distract me.
When we got home on Saturday afternoon I didn't feel very well. I took a three hour nap and then went to bed early as well.

Right now Meredith is talking nonstop in my ear as I am trying to finish this. I'm getting a headache.

At least I'm sleeping indoors again.

Friday, October 13, 2006

be back tomorrow

Going camping tonight. I'll be back Saturday with some stories for you.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Geocaching is hard

Instead of a single trail, Cari and I went Geocaching yesterday. We planned a route for about five caches. On our last one, a trail that lead to a the TOP of a waterfall, I was cussing. These geocache people are nuts. I suppose Cari and I are those people now, but the people that hid this box were some sick people.

We hiked past the end of the trail. Then we headed into the woods up the mountain toward the top of the waterfall. Once there we lost the trail and wandered around the woods at the top of this mountain. Thorns and bushes were scratching our legs.

Holding onto the GPS, we started back to where we lost the trail. Sure enough, there was the box under a fallen tree. We had stood in that same place about fifteen minutes earlier.

All in all we were 5 for 7 in finding the caches.

Here's a picture of Cari watching the GPS as she jumped sideways. The unit tells you how fast you are moving and she wanted to know how fast she could jump. I think the record was 3.4mph. She's a quick jumper.

I hope I'm a quick runner after she reads this.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I don't trust you anymore

I feel like I've been lied to. It's happened a few times. Kinda like "The Boy Who Cried Wolf".

Cari and I rented and watched the movie, Wedding Crashers last night. We got this movie because it came highly recommended from multiple sources.

When it was over I was wishing I had spent at least the last hour of my life doing something more enjoyable. It was that bad for me. I was bored.

The whole movie wasn't that bad. The first half especially, had some funny moments. If you don't want to spoil the funny parts, then don't watch the trailer. The problem, for me, with this movie is that it became incredibly predictable. The plot was boring and the same jokes started getting old.

So, to all my friends that recommended this movie, "I don't trust you anymore."

I should have stopped listening to you all after you told me to watch "The 40 Year Old Virgin".

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Football, soccer, baseball, and golf. I'm not really too enthused by any of those sports. For me, it's auto racing that I have passion for.

When a fan of baseball turns on a game they can almost always tell you where the game is by sight. For me, it's racing tracks. Just a few quick glances at a F1 car cornering, and I'll tell you where that pavement is. Show me a picture of a track layout and I'll tell you the name of the track by it's shape.

Like any fan of sports, I want to see a good match. I also want to see my favorite team win.

This morning I watched the Formula 1 race. With only two races to go and the championship tied, it was to be a great race. Michael Shumacher, the world's greatest race car driver had an engine explode during the race. Essentially taking him out of the running for the championship. He retires after one more race and had a chance to retire as the champion. It has been six years since he last had an engine expire during a race. That alone is an achievement in Formula 1 where technology is pushed to the limit. V8 cars running at 19,000 rpms. Compare that to your tachometer.

If you hadn't guessed, my favorite team didn't win this morning.

Change of plans

I ran out of time this morning. I planned on writing this morning after church, and before work.

Then something happened and I changed my topic.

Now it is time for work and you'll just have to wait until later to see what was so important to disrupt my morning.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Hike to Lee Falls

Today's trip started a little differently. We stopped at a GeoCache site on the way to our hike. After we found it and took a travel bug with us, we were on our way again.

Our next stop was not a planned one. We drove past a small box turtle in the road. We stopped, but our motives for stopping were different. I wanted to stop and see a turtle and get him out of the road. Cari wanted to keep him. Cari was determined that she should keep him. I questioned her on where she would keep it while we hiked for the afternoon and after a few minutes she released the critter. I had written detailed notes last night so we could find this spot easily. The trail to Lee Falls is not an official trail and doesn't have any markings. My last direction said to turn right, onto government road 715A. Drive 1/2 mile and park on the right just before the bridge.

I turned onto 715, drove 1/2 mile and parked just before the bridge. The next note on my paper said to head North through a field. There was no field where we were. I convinced Cari to hike into the woods with me. I held the GPS and was looking for a trail. Any bare spot between trees became my "trail". It just didn't feel right. Cari suggested driving up the road further, but I wanted to try one more time. After thirty minutes tramping through the woods, I gave up. I suggested we drive a few miles to the state park and ask a ranger. When we got back in the car, Cari once again suggested driving up the road a bit more. We did, and then I saw 715A. I had turned on 715. We turned onto 715A and drove 1/2 a mile, parking on the edge of a field just before the bridge. I caused us to waste about an hour of hike time. Taking it slow just went out the window. We normally take a picnic at eat at the falls. No time for that today.

The trail was awesome. Walking through three fields, crossing several creeks, and a thirty minute walk in the woods takes you to a very rocky creek. We climbed the rocks and got to the top of a hill where we were able to stand and admire this beautiful scene.

The GPS came in handy for sure today. The trail was not always clear on the way out. Looking how we came in made a difference. We also used it earlier when I was trying my hardest to get us lost in the woods off the wrong road. In my defense, it was odd that there was a bridge 1/2 mile up on 715 and 715A. If the bridge wasn't on 715, I might have caught my mistake earlier.

On the way out, we were talking about what a great hike it is and how beautiful it all is. Then Cari mentioned her pet turtle again. I agreed if it was in the road again, that she could keep it as a pet. We have a dog named Turtle. We talked about if we had a turtle, we would name it, "dog".

There were no turtles in the road going home.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Stay at home dad

Today I was a stay at home dad. It was my day off and Cari went with Meredith on a class field trip. That left me alone for the day. I suffered through it ok.

It's been months since I've had a day like this. I didn't really know how to handle it at first. In my head, I was like the scene in Home Alone when the boy realized he was alone and went nuts for a day.

It was tough sitting in my pajamas until noon watching tv. When I got bored with Tivo, I strolled over to the computer for a few hours. I was preparing and mapping the hike for tomorrow. Yes, another hike story tomorrow.

Then I did something totally unexpected. I did something productive. My brother, Grant, got married this summer and I hold the only video of that wedding. They have waited patiently for me to get that video onto a DVD. I made a huge step by getting it onto the computer and putting a title on it. After I edit the reception a bit, it'll be on the disk. Becky and Grant will not believe I actually did it. I promised my mom that I would have it in the mail by next week. From the beginning it was one of those things I would take care of when I got some time. That time was today.

Cari got home and was tired from helping with two classes of five year olds. After Randy and I washed my car, I went in and straightened up the kitchen, made dinner, and cleaned up afterwards. This might not sound like a big deal to you. When I told Randy I was making dinner, he asked if he could help light the grill.
"What makes you think I'm cooking on the grill?", I asked.
He answered, "You only know how to make things on the grill."

Not tonight. Toasted ham and cheese. Is that a step up from grilling or a step down? Does it help that I made tomato soup with it?