Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I don't think I have ever done tie-dye and recently, I got the idea that we should try it.  We used RIT dye with some hot water and set up our operations at the table.  I don't have a lot of photos from the activity because I was too busy making shirts for myself.    

 This was an easy activity that we all enjoyed.  The results looked great, nobody spilled any of the buckets, and  it was cheap.
BUT. . . The colors that we initially saw were faded quickly during a first wash.  In addition, the red didn't seem to set because we washed the red shirts together and they all bled into the white - making pink shirts.  Most of what we made still looks good and the kids had a great time making it and now I can say that I've done tie-dye.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I got into bed last night and immediately had the sense that someone had crushed up some croutons and poured them under the blankets.  I jumped back out of bed and stared into the darkness for a moment.

I brushed my hand across the bed sheet and felt not just a few crumbs, but a sandbox full of bread under the blanket.  What the. . .?

As I started to remove the remains of someone's snack I found one large chunk.  Again I ask, "What the . . ."?

After a bit of clean up I was able to get back into bed with the smallest crumbs remaining.  It's like having a pebble in your shoe, and leaving it there.

This morning I asked Cari what she had been eating in the bed yesterday.  "Nothing." she said.  I told her my story about last night and she acted like she didn't notice any crumbs.  "Really?", I said.  "There was enough bread in that bed to bread ten chicken breast"!

After some further investigation it turns out that one of the kittens had been given a crust of bread.  The cat decided to eat that snack in my bed.  This prompted a new rule in the house:

Rule 294: Do not give cats crusty bread.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some vacuuming to do.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Painting with a Flashlight

I've seen this done on Flickr.  In fact, I've seen it done a million times better than what I accomplished.  I set my camera up in a dark room just try it and see how it would go.  Making these photos was pretty easy and was a lot of fun to try.  Basically, you set your camera shutter to stay open for several seconds, I was using eight, and then use a flashlight pointed at the camera to draw lines in your photograph.  The first few times I just waved the flashlight like a crazy person, and that pretty much was the result I got.

I handed Cari the flashlight and this was her first try:

This was my last try at it:

I have some other ideas for the next time I give this a try.  One of my ideas is to try and write my name.  It will be backwards in the photo, but I should be able to flip it in Photoshop to make the letters right.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Punch You in the Face

Have you ever had a coworker that everytime they spoke you wanted to punch them in the face?  

This person isn't necessarily a bad person.  It's not always pure evil that brings the punchy feeling out.  Maybe this person is really friendly.  So overly friendly that the snake like qualities show through the smile and you know it's fake.  Maybe it's the endless posturing.  Maybe a good punch to the face will knock some posturing out of a person like this.  I don't know.  

These are some questions that I won't ever know the answers to. I don't resort to violence to solve my problems. Unlike the UC Davis campus police dept.

So how do you handle that posturing, snak-ey co-worker without a punch to the face? Stay focused on what's important. Ignore the non-sense and keep on working.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Not much to say today so I took some leaves inside for some photography. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Scavenger Hunter

I had a scavenger hunt last night at my house.  We were hunting for all things battery operated.  I know you've had this hunt in your house.  You just opened something new that needs some batteries or you want to use a battery operated item that has dead batteries.  At that point, it becomes an all out search.  Nothing battery operated is safe!

The batteries I needed were triple A.  Ugh.  Those are the tough ones.  I mean, double A are just laying all around the house.  Everything uses AA.  Everything except this wireless keyboard I'm dying to try out with my tablet.

I start my search in the living room.  TV and DVD remotes use AAA . . . I think.   After I found the two remotes, and popped open their battery doors, I realized that no, they don't use triple A.  Next stop was kids toys.  No AAA there either, but the kids complained that they, too, need some AAA batteries.

At this point, Cari suggested I run over to the store and get a package of batteries.  It would take fifteen minutes to do that and be home again.  But I refused her suggestion.

I checked the junk drawer for the third time thinking that the elusive batteries were hiding in the bottom of the drawer.  Nope.

I headed into the office and started digging through a box of random stuff in a closet.  There I found a small blinking light that clips to your belt while walking or biking.  I don't think I've touched this light in ten years.  I clicked the switch on and it started to blink.  Upon popping the cover off, I discovered two AAA batteries.  SCORE!

This scavenger hunt only took me forty minutes to come up with two AAA batteries.   These were Sears DieHard branded batteries manufactured in the 1990's.  Is Sears even still around?   My cordless keyboard worked beautifully with these batteries.

Now I know where to look the next time I go on a scavenger hunt for AAA batteries.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Late Shaver

It may not always appear to be the case, but I really don't want to be late to work in the morning. Most times I make a good effort at being on time.

That's why I was so frustrated driving to work yesterday morning. I was about five minutes from the house and tracking five minutes early to work!! I was going to be to work prior to the start of my shift. That really is something to be excited about.

That good feeling came to a hault as I caught a glimpse of myself in the rear view. Two large patches of my face were missed while shaving. They were obvious. I believe the other cars around me on the road could even see them.

I considered my options but wearing a SARS mask for the day didn't seem like my best option so I turned the car around to re-shave. This time trying harder to get my entire face.

After quickly shaving, I jumped back into the car and texted my boss, "10 min late." It killed me to send that to him. I was going to be early! Seriously! I hate shaving.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hello Mr. Wilson!

I looked over at my new neighbor.  He was pressure washing his house.  Then I looked over at my son. He was playing in the yard.  I looked back over at my new neighbor working on his house and I wondered if he remembers Dennis the Menace.  

The guy is older than I am and should remember the character, but that doesn't mean he does. It's funny, because this guy reminds seriously reminds me of Mr. Wilson.

My son doesn't really remind me of Dennis the Menace, but he could learn. Maybe it's time to do a Google search and let the boy see some old television.
I don't think Dennis the Menace was a bad kid.  Dennis never meant any harm to Mr. Wilson, the old man just wasn't ready for it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


The fall color is lasting longer than I had expected.  A few weeks ago, when we traveled to NC I thought it was near peak color and that it would fade in a weeks time.  I'm still seeing photos with plenty of color out there and the Greenville area of SC has magnificent color to see as of two days ago.

I think last year, by the time we got to peak color there were a few storms that blew through and knocked the color to the ground.  The photo in this post was from downtown Asheville last weekend.  There's still plenty of time to get out and enjoy the world before it turns grey for the winter!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


To celebrate being a couple for twenty years, Cari and I took a weekend trip over to Asheville recently where we stayed in a nice hotel full of hipsters.  The hotel was downtown, one block from the Grove Arcade and two blocks from the Occupy Asheville group of hippies. We were close to everything.
We spent the day walking around downtown checking out the architecture that surrounded us.  We also visited some great shops full of boards games, yarn, more yarn, and rocks.
We stopped by the Occupy Asheville protest that was busy enjoying a beautiful weekend in the park.  Once we realized nobody was going to get maced, we got bored and moved on.

There are some truly amazing places to visit in this town, and one that got our attention is the Basilica of St. Lawrence.  From the outside, you can see that this church is a beautiful structure.  But when I went inside I wasn't prepared for what I saw.

A large dome structure of ceramic tiles met us when we went inside.  The stained glass windows on every wall were very detailed and brightly colored.  From inside, you don't see any brick.  Just stone and ceramic.  It is beautiful and it was no wonder to us why the Catholic church gave this place the special recoginition as a basiclia.  (the B+W image is not mine, but shows the scale of the large dome in the sanctuary).
After dinner we headed back to the hotel room where we contemplated doing some more shopping as we watched horrible TV.  We went down to the lobby restaurant / bar for a few minutes and found the place to be full of hipsters. We immediately retreated back to our room.  Right.  So, just in case you missed that, let me say this another way.
On a Saturday night away from home, six PM,  in for the night watching bad TV and shopping for yarn and board games on an iPod.  This isn't said as a complaint.  We were both very content and pleased to spend our evening this way. Together.

The next morning we headed back to the Biltmore house, one of our favorite day trips this year, and checked out the Christmas decorations that now fill the house.  The pipe organ in the main dining room was playing on this day and the music can be heard throughout the lower level of the castle.  It was worth another visit.

While we were at Biltmore we attempted our best imitations of being hipsters. 
 After spending more than half of each of our lives together, we have become more like each other in a lot of ways.   Who else would enjoy a weekend avoiding hipsters and looking in shops of yarn, rocks, and board games?

Every day I find myself extremely fortunate to be with such an amazing woman.  On top of all the other wonderful things I can say about her, she is perfect for me.
There's nobody else I would rather share these adventures with.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Who's Scared?

Meredith wanted to be a goth girl for Halloween.  Cari helped her with some makeup and Meredith already had the attitude down pat.

I could tell throughout the night that she was really enjoying her new look.  When I pointed this out to Cari, she asked me, "What if she wants to look like that again tomorrow?"

Friday, November 04, 2011


ZZZZZ....  huh? . . . . ZZZZZZ . . .  huh? . . . . ZZZZZZ . . . . Ugh. . .

What's your morning wake up like?  Do you hit the snooze button?  Maybe you're too cool for an alarm clock. Maybe you just open your eyes, hop out of bed, and start your day without being late.

That description doesn't fit me at all. I set two alarm clocks every night.  I'm not talking about just turning two alarms on each night.  I change the times on each one every day.  Sometimes by only ten minutes.  While I'm setting my two clocks I also verify that they are set for different times, usually three or four minutes apart.  If you have a hard time getting up in the morning feel free to use all my time tested strategies.  Did I mention one clock is set with the real time and one is set roughly ten minutes fast?

So my two alarm clocks are set.  One is across the room on a dresser and the other is on the bedside table.

Somewhere around 5:00am (+/- twenty minutes) the first alarm will sound.  I promptly hit snooze and go back to sleep.  For three minutes.  When the second alarm goes off I promptly hit snooze and go back to sleep.  For seven minutes.  By the way, that's a sweet seven minutes!  Keep in mind that one of the alarms caused me to get out of bed, walk a few steps, pound the buttons on top of the alarm until the sound stopped, stumble back into bed, and snuggle up in the blankets.

This process will repeat for two to three cycles.  Sometimes I don't hit snooze for a few minutes on one or both clocks and the alarms will get within one minute of each other.  It's really annoying when you hit snooze, close your eyes, and then another alarm jolts you before you even get comfortable!  What kind of snooze lasts less than a minute?  This one minute spacing also happens with poor planning during the alarm setting phase.

As I get closer to actually getting out of bed I will turn off an alarm instead of hitting snooze and then go back to bed and wait for the second alarm to sound so that I can turn it off as well.  Yeah, I am very aware that I could turn it off without waiting for it, but that's not what I do.

Once both alarm clocks are off I'm up and ready to go.  Unfortunately for Cari, she too, is usually awake at this point.  She doesn't need an alarm clock. How many do you use?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Something NEW

The house across the street sold and someone has been doing a lot of work over there during the past week.  Not sure who bought it yet, but since the Yankees left, I haven't been able to write much about my neighbors.

Seems that we might have another character unknowingly joining this blog soon.

Randy went to get some toilet paper so we can welcome them to the neighborhood later tonight.  They just painted the porch, so we wanted to . . . say hi . . . before the paint dries.