Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What did I say?

Sunday morning was a rough one for Cari. Nothing seemed to be going right for her. Even at church one of our friends noticed that she was a bit on edge.

"Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?", he asked her.
Before she said anything, I answered, "She wakes up on the same side every day."

Monday, February 27, 2006

Amazing NEW Product!

I must be living in a cave. How did this NEW, innovative, product slip past me for so long?
Today I discovered Hershey Kissables!

Imagine this. Take a Hershey Kiss, shrink it down, and then cover it with a color candy coating.
The guy who thought of this new product will probably find himself climbing the Hershey corporate ladder.

Oh, wait. That guy just invented a deformed M&M. Turns out that this is nothing new at all. M&M's have been available since 1941 (I researched that). Kissables were just announced a few months ago.

Kissables come in FIVE, count them, FIVE amazing colors.

We have blue, red, yellow, green, and orange. If you are keeping score, you noticed that M&M's come in those colors plus more.

Before long we'll see the dark chocolate kissable, valentine's kissables. Be on the look out for the new Kissable with the letter K printed on the bottom available this summer. Can you imagine printing letters on a piece of candy?! How innovative! Why hadn't they thought of that sooner?

Oh, yeah. They already did that too.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Stupid Birds

I keep a bird feeder well stocked for all the birds to enjoy. In return I get to enjoy watching various birds eat their lunch at my house.

Yesterday there were about twenty birds between the feeder and the trees in the yard. We had cardinals, Blue Jays, Robins, and about three variety of smaller birds that I don't know the names of. I put my new zoom lens on the camera and went to sit on the porch.

Slowly. I mean, REALLY slowly, I opened the door and stepped onto the porch. It took about five minutes for me to open the door, step out, close the door ever so gently, and sit in a plastic chair.


The birds were gone.
"Stupid birds!", I yelled to any that were within earshot.
Giving up was not an option so I sat in that chair staring at the empty feeder. Slowly the small birds came back. I wanted a nice shot of the cardinal with all his color.

Heard a noise, looked to my left, saw the bright red feathers in a tree near the feeder. Put my camera to my eye, and


"Stupid cardinal!" I hope he heard me that time too. I was tempted to go and take my feeder down. It takes one bird to ruin it for them all! For a few minutes I thought about camping on the porch all day just to make the stupid thing starve. Then I'll go take a picture of it laying on the ground for being too stubborn to eat while I was out there.

As I argued with the cardinal, three small birds decided to feast and ignore my screams.

The best picture I got of the birds that day was a Robin. As I was walking out to get the mail, this bird was standing at the base of the mailbox. I didn't see him until I was close enough to kick it. No, I didn't take my frustration out on this bird. It did fly a short distance to a tree in my yard. I was able to walk over and take a very close shot while he sat there.The cardinal should take a lesson from the Robin.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Fun with Fotos

Playing around with the camera today. I saw this technique somewhere and gave it a shot.Paper Thin door

Paper thin Hood. Be sure to enlarge this one to really see it well.

Paper thin shower curtain was my third idea. It was not approved by the censors. Also, the paper thin door got locked while Cari was in the shower. Guess she was getting nervous as I ran around the house shooting pictures.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Not a great adventurer

Plans were in place for several days to go on a new hike. The hike was listed as a "strenuous" hour and half hike (one way). The trail was noted as not being well marked and crossing streams in several places.

Since my last hike, I had heard several complaints that I should not have gone alone. This time I got a friend to go with me.

That was the plan until my friend called last night and said he wouldn't be able to go because he wrecked his car.

This morning I was still determined to hike. While debating if I should take the planned hike alone I pictured myself either lost, on the side of the trail with an injury, or being mauled by a bear. After all that, I packed my backpack for hiking.

Then I started getting nervous and chose a shorter trail to a different waterfall. Today I went to see Station Cove Falls. . .alone.

Shortly after entering the woods I saw fresh paw prints in the mud. This increased my level of tension. Every five steps I was looking side to side and checking behind. Every rustled leaf caused me to pause and look for the glowing eyes of some predator.

When I got to the falls I sat down to get a drink and get my camera out. When you sit at the base of a waterfall the only thing you can hear is water. It is very loud. During the hike in I had used my sense of hearing more than anything to avoid finding wildlife. Having lost that sense kept me looking around even more.
It was beautiful there but I could not get myself to relax. After thirty minutes of taking pictures and sitting down to admire the falls, I headed out.

Just as I started feeling a bit more comfortable, I came across this print in the mud.
More catlike, in my opinion, than the first. My major problem with this was that it was next to my shoe print going in. This cat was here AFTER I went in.

Sitting in the car, I laughed at myself. I am not a great adventurer.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Don't eat the ribs

While at work yesterday I received a text message. I flipped open my phone and saw this:

From: Cari
Making ribs
love self madly
made self
happy love u 2

My first thought was that Cari had gone crazy. I tried to call her for some clarification. She didn't answer. After reading the message three times I figured that she made some ribs. It also seemed she had seriously fallen in love with herself. She called me back and said she was on her way to the park with the kids. She also had three neighbor kids with her too. Now I'm really thinking she has lost it. Cari went on to tell me how good the ribs she grilled turned out.

When I called from work in the evening she told me that she had talked with the Yankee neighbor and his ugly pregnant wife. At five in the morning Thursday, they would be dropping off their young Yankee boy for her to babysit.

"Put the ribs down. Don't eat any more ribs. Maybe you didn't cook them enough. I think you have some kind of food poisoning that affects the brain.", I told her.

This morning she woke up with that "What have I done?" kind of look.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Not anything that can eat.

Randy's birthday is quickly approaching. What he wants for his birthday changes about every time he takes a bath. He'll see something he wants and tell you he wants it for his birthday. Two days later, and even sometimes two hours later, he is asking for something different.

One of his recent requests was made to his mother. A hamster. For some unknown reason, Cari bought into this idea and approached me with it. Why we would want to purposely infest our house with a variety of rat I do not know.

A few years ago Randy went and got a dog for his birthday. It's still alive, but the boy can hardly can manage feeding it once a day. Taking care of a hamster would certainly not fit into my agenda and I let Cari know that. I did my best to destroy any hope of owning a hamster in Cari's mind.

Then I read these posts over at Tammy's blog. She purchased a hamster for her son. You can read for yourself how that turned out. POST 1 POST 2 POST 3

Now it looks like Randy will be getting his own digital camera. This is something that he has been asking for pretty consistently. We'll see what else he ends up with, but I can guarantee that it will not be a living creature.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Trying my best

I really had something I was going to write about today. The problem is I can't think of it because the dishwasher is running.

This is not an indication that the dishwasher is somehow hooked to my brain, because it isn't.
Our dishwasher is one of the loudest appliances on EARTH! When the jerk designing this unit was done he probably plugged it up and tested it. Then he ripped out all of the sound insulating materials out of it before he was satisfied.

So the things I wanted to write about will wait until morning. You can blame the friggin' dish washer for the delay. Have a good day.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Good Morning!

Still laying in bed this morning, I twisted my head around to look out of the window. It was still dark. It was just before seven. After debating in my head for a few minutes I decided to go for it. I jumped up and got dressed quickly. Grabbed my camera, poured some coffee, and headed out the door.

I was going to hike today but there was a threat of rain. Last night I decided to cancel my hike. So, where was I going in such a hurry? Since I woke up early I decided to head up to Glassy Mountain and take some pictures of the sun coming up. There were only two problems I encountered. The first was that once up on Glassy Mountain, I realized the sun was on the other side of the hill. Only a minor problem, because the early morning light would still give me some of the color I was looking for. The second problem was that I forgot about the threat of rain. Driving down my street, I noticed several small drops of rain on the windshield. Thankfully, it was not raining on the mountain.

As the sun rises, the light changes VERY quickly. I took these two pictures exactly five minutes apart from each other.
Sitting up there you don't hear any cars. You don't hear any airplanes. There are no other sounds of people. That doesn't mean it's quiet up there. Sounds of roosters fill the air. When they take a break, the moo'ing of cows fill the space.

On my short hike back out I came across this rose in the path. It couldn't have been there more than over night because it still had so much color. As I stopped to take this picture I thought about the story that may be behind this rose. Did someone drop it intentionally because of hurt feelings? Did someone receive a dozen roses and this one fell as she walked back? Was there a proposal involved?

I skipped my hike and found some great scenes this morning.

By the way, it never did rain today.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Race Time

We participated in the CubScouts pine wood derby race. They give you a chunk of wood, four plastic wheels, and four small nails. You make your chunk go down a hill faster than the other guys.

The first step was to cut out a shape. I took care of this step. Looking back I think Randy could have done better than I did. The platform for the scroll saw was not level, so after cutting it, I had to spend an hour sanding it.

Next was to weigh the car down. What I did w. *@)($*@&!$@LK@*!(#

(This section has been censored to protect trade secrets)

By this time I had the chunk of wood weighed to approximately five oz. and had it sanded into a car shape.

I let Randy paint is however he liked. Then we put it away for a week. The day came to race the cars and I pulled the box from on top of the refrigerator.

THE WHEELS! I had ten minutes to stick the wheels onto our car. What a huge thing to forget. After jamming the wheels on and arriving at the race location, we had to sign in.

They weighed our car at about three ounces. Two ounces too light. I should have used a scale back home. I walked over to a corner with some duct tape and a pocket full of quarters. Fifteen minutes later I was back in with a car that weighed 4.9 ounces.

As we watched the boys race, you could tell they didn't really care if they won or lost. They were all having a blast. Another look around the room showed that the dad's didn't want to lose. Arms folded across the chest, each dad would stare at the track with complete concentration. If you didn't build it fast, staring at the track won't help.

Randy won his first round, thanks to me staring at the track in full concentration. We didn't make it past round three. All the boys went home with a trophy. Wait until next year! I will build the fastest block of wood you have ever seen. . . I mean. . . WE will build the fastest car.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Suttle hints

Parents love it when their children draw pictures for them. When I got home from work late last night I noticed a drawing on the floor. It was in front of the television. When I walked over to see this drawing, I noticed a phone number above the art. This morning I asked Randy what the number is about. "It's Floam. You should buy it. I wrote down the number for you.", he told me.
The picture had nothing to do with the product. It was just a ploy to get my attention on the phone number.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Circle of Life

The Japanese beetles devour my flowers in the spring and summer. The beetles I don't kill escape to the ground. There they breed and create white grub worms. These very large and nasty worms will eat the roots of my grass and cause dead spots.

Then, in the winter, the gophers smell the grubs and start digging tunnels in my yard. The more grubs there are, the more gopher tunnels I will see.

So far, there is nothing good for me about this life cycle.

It's about to get worse.

The dog then senses something going on in this raised parts of the grass. Immediately the dog starts digging up the tunnels looking for the intruder. The dog finds nothing and an entire section of my yard has been turned into a pile of dirt.

The grubs that survive the gophers will emerge in just a few months as beetles. The beetles will work hard at destroying my flowers while I'm trying to repair the yard, starting the entire cycle over again.

Sometimes I feel like I'm on Candid Camera.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Ringling Bros & Barnum & Bailey

The Greatest Show on Earth! (lite)

The people that produce a circus are not stupid. After getting past security and into the building the first thing you, and your children, see are tables full of noisy, colorful, light-up toys.

Immediately, my children's' hands reached for the tables as I tried to lead them to our seat. There was a VERY strong gravitational pull but Cari and I escaped without purchase.

Once in our seats the battle continued. Men and women walking up and down the aisles carrying armfuls of cotton candy ($10) and snow cones ($8). Cari and I stayed strong and quieted the call for overpriced goodies.

The reason I said this was the Greatest Show on Earth (lite) is because that's exactly what it was. There are three traveling groups that put on circus shows with Ringling. This one is a one and a half ring circus for a smaller venue. What this means is they don't bring the lion tamer. Instead you get the lady that trained a cat to walk around with a bird on its back.
Here is the strong man about to catch a fired cannon ball. It was the last stunt he did for us.

The elephants were really cool to watch. Especially when they picked up two of the performers by the leg for a quick snack.

Pretty sure this group of guys were under the influence of some drug. Seven motorcycles inside a small steel ball. Most of them followed each other around in a circle, but then one of them got dizzy and started going around top to bottom, just missing the rest of the group.

Randy asked me why they say it's the Greatest Show on Earth. I told him they think they have the best show. His reply was, "Well, SpongeBob is a good show."
The circus was fun and at the end of it, everyone took a nap. Except me.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Are you the biggest LOSER?

No, this is not going to be about that television show. I couldn't stand to watch more than five minutes of that program. If you like it, good for you. I won't hold that against you. There are people that would also waste their lives watching Scrubs. Another show I'm waiting to get cancelled.

So, what is this about? This IS about weight loss.
Last year a group at work decided to work toward losing weight together. They formed themselves into a support group. They split into two teams to add some of that competitive spirit. That's a great idea. Too bad it wasn't for everyone. I tried to sign up. I was laughed at. I was spit upon. I was ridiculed. Well, I really did get laughed at. For me, it wasn't about losing weight, it was about being healthy. Guess only certain elite are allowed to compete at being healthy.

That contest has ended. It is time to start again. Seeing the sign up sheet on a desk at work, I signed up. My goal to lose was 180 lbs. That would put me at about -20 lbs. Again I was laughed at and my feelings hurt.

Then they let me in. Why the sudden change of heart?
Maybe it's because since the first contest started I have become the boss of the leader of this elite fat group.

There are no teams this time. There is a pyramid graph to show where everyone is at. The more you lose, the higher you go.

How much weight do I need to lose? Probably no more than a few pounds. I'm not in it for that. I'm also not in it for the health part of it. The sole reason I'm in this is so I can beat Rick. The bet is that I can't lose 1/2 of what he loses.

During the first three weeks I have dropped every week. -1, -1, -two tenths. Rick has done much better than me but slow and steady wins the race.

I'm going to finish my ice cream!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Revenge! (Nascar style)

You will want to remember what happened last week to fully understand this.Exactly one week after I was wrecked several times by another driver, I was still angry.
This time I started in the rear of the field. After several pit stops during cautions, I found myself in third place. I hardly had enough fuel to make it to the end and I knew the first and second place cars would need to stop. The lead became mine when they pitted. They fell almost a full lap down to me. For the next sixteen laps I led the race, trying my best to save fuel.
Disaster struck with about five laps to go. The caution came out and the two guys that pitted were sitting right behind me. They had much fresher tires and would be much faster for the final two green flag laps. One of those guys was the guilty one from last week. While under caution I warned him that if he tried to pass me it could get ugly. Maybe he didn't hear me. Maybe he didn't believe me. It didn't really matter.
Going into the last corner of the last lap I forgot to brake. I also cut the wheel to the right and destroyed both of our cars. He made a comment about me getting my revenge. I didn't say anything. I was so happy. In my chair at home I had the biggest smile.

But he wouldn't give up. In a car with three wheels, he drove in reverse along the wall toward the finish line.
I drove my own injured car on a mission straight for him. He would NOT beat me to the line!
My second hit flipped his car upside down and he never made it to the finish line.

The result:

The guy I wrecked is one of the administrators of the group. He and another admin got into a private discussion. After about fifteen minutes I was pulled into their private talk.

Admin2: What happened tonight? Did you come into the corner too hot? Tires give out?
ME: Well, he got beside me and I cut the wheel into him.
Admin2: You wrecked admin1 on purpose? (He said this with disbelief)
ME: That's correct, I intentionally wrecked him. I warned him that I would do so.
Admin2: (he seemed at a loss of words) Well, we can't just go around doing that.
ME: I know that.
Admin1: (obviously very upset) I can't believe you would give up second place to do that.
Admin2: Does this have anything to do with last week.
ME: It has everything to do with last week and it's over now.

These guys must be CSI or some crap. I was furious after last week and then the next week I wreck that car. After I told him twice I drove into the other car on purpose it was like he didn't want to believe it. They decided I needed some kind of punishment. Whatever, I was on cloud nine after getting my revenge. Especially after I heard it in his voice how upset he was.
They decided, with my help, that the punishment would be to take away 100 points. I dropped from second in the standings to fourth. They could have taken a thousand points away and I would have still been very satisfied.

If I could do it over, would I do it again? Absolutely.