Monday, December 31, 2007


My last post of 2007. Post number 224 this year.

I debated for a while this morning what I would write about. I have a few things to tell you but I'm not sure I should end the year with a post picking on Cari.

I also have a video to put together for you titled, "WAGON OF DOOM!"

There just won't be time to get that together today.

Maybe I should tell you about taking pictures during church.

I think I'll just start 2008 with those ideas.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cow Milk

Did you know that a cow has to give birth to produce milk?

You probably did. Not me. For some reason, I always thought that cows just produced milk. It was one of their jobs. Just an endless supply of milk.

Recently, I was talking to a former dairy farmer and he was talking about constantly breeding the cows to keep them producing. I didn't let on to my ignorance. I just nodded my head as if I was saying, "of course!" The farmer talked about keeping very careful records about pregnancy, birth, and milk production. Due to the aggressiveness of bulls, they impregnated their cows artificially.

I got home and Cari was breastfeeding the baby. I shared my new knowledge with her. "Did you know cows work like people? They have to give birth to produce milk too."

She just stared at me. Either she just learned something new or she couldn't believe I just figured it out. I'm not sure which one it was and I wasn't going to ask.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas morning

Here's the house at 2am when I went to bed:
Here's a photo of Christmas exploding:
Here's a photo from 9am Christmas morning:
Kinda reminds me of last year. Do you see the trend?

Randy was the first one up, he's always the first one up. It was around 5:30am. Cari sent him back to bed. Around six, he was back up and walking around. I got up with him. We went down to examine what Santa left in the house. Around 6:30 he went up and got the rest of the house up.

Cari always does a good job of trying to pace us while we unwrap gifts. She sits at the tree, guarding the presents. Holding back the ravaging claws of the kids. Through her careful shopping, she has ensured each child will open the EXACT same number of presents. She hands one to each. They tear it open in about two seconds, show off their newest prize possession, then prepare themselves for the next box.

The rest of our day was spent together playing games, watching movies, and eating the great meal Cari prepared. I also tried to cut my finger off while opening some toys.

By that evening, I could tell Cari was ready to move on from Christmas, but she was too tired. When I got home from work yesterday, it was all gone. The toy Santas, the Nativity, the tree.

Things are mostly back to normal today. Everyone like normal, right?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas games

I'll write about Christmas morning in the next post or two. I'm too tired tonight.
One of the games we opened this morning was Jenga.

Here's a few photos of us playing.

As you can see, Amanda knocked over our record breaking tower. The girl in that 2nd photo doesn't belong to me, but she had fun playing.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


What's the number 25 mean to you? What does it make you think of?
A quarter?

The atomic number of Manganese?

The size of the full roster on a major league baseball team?

The number of days your sister in law is staying with you?

Yeah, that's right. She's here for 25 days. That is by far the longest anyone, except our kids, has stayed with us. She's already been here almost a week.

This really isn't a problem for us. So far she has been very helpful with the baby. She has also helped Cari finish Christmas shopping. That kept me from having to brave the mall the other day.

The only problem I have had with her so far is her camera. She always has that camera on her. When I am tempted to do something stupid, I have to stop and check for her. Like the day I was tasting some breast milk from the baby's bottle. With Amanda's laptop, that kind of thing shows up on Facebook within the hour.
For now, I'm camping out in my office.
Cari just knocked on the door. Someone tell her I'll be out in 19 days.

Not that I'm counting.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I was inspired by The Rake and his trip last weekend. So, yesterday I went out to do some exploring. Here's a map of my trip:

I'm finishing my map in Google maps. When I'm done, I'll put a link up. If you are interested, you will be able to view my route in more detail and see the photos on the map. You can also turn on satellite view in Google maps.

My first stop was to the town of Central. Central was founded by the railroad when they set their headquarters there in the late 1800's. It is 133 miles to Atlanta and 133 miles to Charlotte. They have a museum in the building of an old Victorian house. It is only open on Sunday's, so I walked through their gardens. There are a lot of statues, fountains, and benches. Most of the statues were wearing scarves and hats.

My next stop was across town to the Central Roller Mill. I'm sure this building used to be a center of economic activity. Today it is a safety hazard. I walked around the building and took some pictures. You can see inside through all the broken windows that there is still a lot of equipment inside. In a couple of places you can see the original wood framed windows and support beams. In all the wood, you could see that it was roughly milled lumber. It almost seemed as if they milled it with an axe and got "close enough".
After I left the mill, I went down Gaines street toward a bridge I had seen before. It is one of the scariest bridges to drive on around here. It is an all wood construction that crosses a double set of rails. Up close you can see that the boards were coated with a tar or oil. The bridge is barely wide enough for two cars.
Across the street from the bridge is the New Olive Grove Missionary Baptist church. Like many old churches in this area, there is a cemetery next to the building.
Up keep at the cemetery didn't seem very high. There were a lot of over turned flower pots, a large tree that had fallen and not been picked up, and an entire section of tomb stones I could not reach because they were located in a dense stand of trees.
One of the most interesting things I found were several stones that were hand carved. The spelling was way off on these. Obviously written by an uneducated person. This one says:
Roada (can't read last name) Died June 26, 1918
You can see how they wrote it
There were also a few of these stones. It looks like a hub from a wheel or a part of a pulley. The center was filled with concrete and the message carved in. I could not make out many words on any of these. The last word on this one appears to be some form of Johnson.
The cemetery obviously belonged to a group of poor, uneducated people. There are some more modern looking stones and even some recently placed stones. It was very interesting walking through there.

On my way to Six Mile, I turned off at the community of Cateechee. I found this brick building there:

There were lots of signs warning trespassers. Next door to this was a trailer home that looked occupied. I stayed in the car. The community is mostly old mill homes and trailers. The streets were narrow, and I started to wonder if I should be out there. Once I got home I learned there is a large mill along a creek in Cateechee. The mill is the reason the community was formed. I'll go back someday and check out the mill and get some photos. I believe the building has been demolished and just the ruble and foundation are left. The name Cateechee is named for a woman from the Choctaw tribe. She was kidnapped by the Cherokee during a battle and kept as a slave. In her tribe of Choctaw her name was Issaqueena. A white man that did a lot of trading with the Cherokee fell in love with Cateechee. When she over heard the indians planning an attack on Fort Cambridge she snuck out and traveled 96 miles to warn the settlers. She ended up marrying that man.
That is the story told in tradition. The men building the mill named the town for her. The neighboring town on the railway is named Norris. Named for the owner of the mill.
On my way home I had an emergency. Marked by the red triangle in my map. It was at that point that I had to go to the bathroom REALLY bad. So bad, that it hurt. There obviously is nothing but a few homes and cattle out where I was. I started feeling around the backseat for a bottle as I drove. I couldn't find one suitable. I looked down at my bottle of Gatoraid that I was drinking. I hadn't drank even half of it. As bad as I had to go, I didn't want to waste my drink.
I barely made it home. When I pulled into the driveway, I left the car door open and rushed inside.
After such a great trip, it was almost ruined by those painful last ten minutes.

Favorite Video of the Week

Here's my favorite video of the week. I could watch this over and over... at least the first fifteen seconds. They use some bad language, so don't have your volume up if kids are nearby.


What I love the most is the sincere concern from the cameraman.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Pain shoots through my body

With his help, I put together a basketball goal for Randy a few days back. It wasn't overly complicated to do, but did require about one hundred nuts and bolts. Some of the Chinese directions didn't make any sense and I had to rely on common sense for some of it. That means I had to do some parts twice.

The next morning at work my arms were killing me. It was all in the wrist and forearm. Had I only tightened one hundred nuts it would have been ok. It was undoing and redoing my mistakes that killed me.

That night at work I was taking apart some cardboard displays. I had to flatten them and decided not to use my sore arms. I stepped into the large box and started kicking the corners out until flat.

About ten minutes later I knew something wasn't right. I sat in the car to drive home and my shins were in great pain. I thought about the drive home, holding my foot on the gas pedal. OUCH!

I think I'm going to just take today to rest.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Not Lost Yet

I went out driving around the other day with my camera. It was one of those times that as I went, I would make random turns. I ended up finding some really pretty country. A lot of horse pastures and a few big houses. After about thirty minutes I decided I had to stop because I was beginning to forget which roads I had taken. I figured I would eventually make it back to the main road, but I didn't want to end up on the other side of the county when I did.

I didn't find too many opportunities to take photos. One time I stopped in the middle of the road to check out an OLD barn that was down in the woods. As I got my camera out, I looked in the rear view and saw a guy standing in the road watching me. He was about a quarter mile back. I kept getting my stuff ready until a car approached from behind me. This was a small road with no shoulder, so I decided to skip the photo and moved on.

The one shot I did take was of this horse pasture:When I got home I didn't think this was a great shot. So I started playing with it in Adobe Lightroom. First I cropped it. I didn't want as much sky in the shot and the house on the left was distracting. I kept the horse off to the right third of the shot.

Next, I played with the idea of black and white for this. I didn't like the complete black and white, so I went back to color and started to de-saturate all colors one by one. I took all the color out except for red and orange. Next I went to a section called split tone. It allows me to change the light area tone separate from the dark area tone and then adjust the balance of each. I played with it to get the look I wanted. Although the day I took this was unseasonably warm, in the 70's, I wanted this to have a very winter feel. This process took about fifteen to twenty minutes. Here's what I ended up with.

I was pleased with the results. I believe this shot is a lot more interesting compared to the original. With the software that is available, you can change a photo in endless ways. Sometimes, changing a photo can be as much fun as taking it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A nice dinner

Last night we went to dinner with my group from work. We had all decided to get our spouses and go out for a nice dinner.

I admit, this is not a comfort setting for me. I was on my best behavior. Our salads were brought out and I didn't take a bite until everyone had been served. I was really watching the details to keep my manners.

As the dinner went on I began to relax a bit. As I took a sip of my sweet tea through the little black straw, someone asked one of my coworkers a question about work. It was a simple question about something that happened only an hour earlier. The coworker shrugged her shoulders like she didn't know.

That's when I spit sweet tea on the guy across the table from me.

Not on purpose. It's just what happens when you try and take me out.

I didn't think that the girl shrugging her shoulders was that funny. I think I just had a small cough that I couldn't suppress fast enough. With tea in mouth, and hands down by my plate, I started to turn my head. I wasn't fast enough. The tea sprayed out between my lips as if I was a sprinkler.

Everyone started chuckling. Everyone except for the guy across from me. I apologized and explained that it's hard taking me anywhere nice. That's a good way to make an impression on my coworkers' families.

"So who was the freak spitting tea?" That's what they were saying as they drove home.

"MAN! That was stupid!" That's what I was saying on the way home.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Guess what I played last night on the Wii. What's that? Did you say Mario Galaxy? If you did, you would be correct!


Cari decided to play hide and seek with the game. If I could find it within five minutes, then I could have it. She laid on the bed with a smirk and started an actual timer. I ran into the closet and searched a couple of places. Then I climbed up the the attic stairs. I glanced around the attic without getting off the ladder. I came back down and looked in her dresser.
"45 seconds!", she said. I went back to the closet and moved some clothes around.
She started laughing and said time was up. I went over to the bed to beg for another chance. She told me I was a horrible seeker. I didn't overturn anything. I hardly looked UNDER anything.

As we talked she told me it was not in the attic. Finally, she agreed to show me where it was, with the idea that she was going to re hide it. She was really liking my unsuccessful attempt at seeking. I pulled it out of the bottom of her jewelry box and handed her the white box.

I left the room and stood in the hallway. She closed the bedroom door for about a minute. When she came back to the door she was holding the timer. "Two minutes."
I couldn't do this in two minutes. I negotiated it up to three.

The timer started and I went straight to the baby's crib. Tucked inside the liner was Mario Galaxy. I held it up victoriously and laughed an evil laugh. When I stood in the hallway, I listened very intently. I didn't hear the closet door or any dresser drawers move. I was able to eliminate most of the hiding spots before I even went into the room.

Cari was very disappointed that I found it. She wanted to continue the hide and seek game. She also did not want to appear that she gave in by giving me the game early. We agreed that we would still hold off from showing the kids another week or so.

Last night, when everyone was asleep, I played. For those that have a Wii, this is a great game. It's got to be one of the most creative Mario games ever. It was about 1:30am as I sat in the living room playing last night when someone came and sat next to me. Randy asked what I was playing. OH MAN!

He said he got up to use the bathroom and heard me playing something. I told him I was going to surprise him with the game in the morning. He said, "If you wanted to surprise me you should have not been playing it so loud." He went back to bed, but it was the first thing he mentioned this morning.

If you are wondering what I'll be doing later today, I'll be saving the princess.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Tried to take some Christmas photos of the kids tonight. It didn't really work out and I was getting frustrated. We'll try again this weekend.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I ate it

Have you ever had someone offer a unique food that you've never had before?

First, they offer it to you and extend a handful of the substance your way. You look at the food and then up at the person. You don't take any and you don't say anything. You're probably thinking of ways to politely refuse.

Next the person eats some of the food to show you it won't induce vomiting and it won't kill you instantly. They normally will over exaggerate their enjoyment of this substance. In my case, it was cheese curds. He stood in front of me squeaking his cheese curds with a big smile. It really looked like he was having fun eating them.

Then his hand, holding a bag of curds, came my way again. I took one into my hand. Immediately, he says, "No, you have to take a handful. That's the way to eat curds."

I don't know. I'm already on the edge of even tasting them, and he's asking me to fill my mouth with them. I took two pieces.

Cheese curds are created during the cheddar cheese making process. It's my understanding you will only find good cheese curds in Wisconsin or near a cheese producing facility. Cheddar cheese is aged from thirty days to a year depending on the sharpness. Curds are not aged. They are taken straight off the vat. They don't age and don't have that sharpness at all.
One of the other differences from cheese that I noted is the texture.
Most cheese has a clay like texture. Curds are shiny. They are irregular hunks of cheese with a high gloss. A rubbery texture. They squeak against your teeth. Also, you eat curds warm or room temperature. AFTER I ate some of these curds he told me they had sat on his kitchen counter since the previous day. I don't know how I feel about leaving cheese lay out for a day before eating it.

The final stage of receiving a new food happens as soon as you pop one in your mouth. The person offering this new food, wants to ensure that you also enjoy it. A lot of times, they will let you chew it and swallow it before they ask if you like it. Most likely they will stare at you with interest while they wait.

I finished my first bite and thought about it. Cheese curds are good! I took a few more out of the bag and squeaked them in my mouth. When I got home I asked Cari if she wanted me to try and get some for her. She said, "Absolutely not."

So for those that haven't had any, I recommend you try them if they are ever offered to you.
For the five or so that have had them, did you like your curds?

Sunday, December 02, 2007


The other day I ate some cheese curds. Most likely, YOU never have. I posted a poll. Take a second and answer the poll. My guess is I won't have more than three "yes" answers. I know Michelle will most likely be a yes on this. There might be a few others.

By Tuesday, I'll tell you how all this happened and what I thought of my curds.
Eating a strange new food is worth a blog story.