Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Creepy Kitty

I was laying in bed last night and looked up near a tall bookshelf.  There is a stuffed Koala on the shelf, it's been there since the shelf was built.  I think what caught my eye was the animal next to the stuffed one.

The cat was sitting up there perfectly still looking at me. It was as if she was trying to blend in and not be seen.  It was kind of funny because the cat has never been seen up there before.

It was also kind of creepy because I was trying to sleep and this cat was sitting high up in the corner of the room staring at me.  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bugging Me

I've been spotting some pretty unique looking bugs in my yard over the past week.  I'm not sure what they are, but they are kinda creeping me out a bit.

Let me know if you know what these are and if I should have killed them.

1. This first one reminded me of a super giant form of a stink bug.  Maybe he's like the grand emperor of stink bugs.  The spiny part just behind his head was like a plate armor.

2.  This crazy looking beetle has some strange red markings on his back.  He was hard to photograph because he was moving so fast.  With scary markings like he has I'm not sure what the hurry was.  Ain't nobody going to mess with something looking like that.
No bugs were harmed (even if they should have been) in the making of this blog.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review: Paper Towels

Cheap paper towels made of bamboo.  That's what we are reviewing today.

First let's talk about how they tear off of the roll.

It seems that the perforation for tearing is stronger than the towel itself.  We didn't have a single towel tear fully down the line on any of the eight rolls we used.    Let's give that a rating of zero out of five.

Next let's talk about their absorption since that's what their primary function is. There's three kids in this house along with a few animals.  That means there is always some spill to clean up.  How did the cheap bamboo paper towel do?  Let's say it would have been easier, and more enjoyable, to try and mop up the spill with a cat.  A cat with claws.   But the towels did manage to spread the spill a little thinner and that helped with evaporation, so we'll give that a 1 out of 5.

Finally, let's talk about texture and softness.  At nearly every meal around the table everyone has a paper towel in their lap or in their hand.  The first time the cheap bamboo paper towels made their way to the table it was immediately clear.   We all commented on it and tried to give the remaining rolls away to my sister-in-law.  She refused our generous offer.   Let me try to explain what it is like using these paper towels to wipe your mouth.  Take a sheet of lined notebook paper.  Slightly crumple it in your hand.  Now wipe your mouth with that.  If you like that feeling, try these cheap bamboo paper towels.  I didn't like it and I rate it zero out of 5.

In conclusion.  Don't buy these cheap paper towels made of bamboo.  Unless you are out of notebook paper.  They will probably do a better job as note paper than they do as paper towels.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

On the Field

It's high school football marching band season!!!

That means watching many great marching bands take the field each Saturday in competition.  Of course it's great to watch our kids perform but it's also fun to watch the other bands.

 Liberty HS marching band started off with a 3rd place in their division and the drum section took first for our division.  That's a great place to start off the season.

So if you are looking for me on a Saturday over the next month, find out where the marching band competition is and I'll be there.  Be sure you bring some sunscreen.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Hiking at Night

This past Sunday morning at 1:30 am my alarm clock sounded.  It was time to get up and head over to Table Rock for a hike in the dark.

By 3 am the ranger was leading our group of 16 up the Table Rock trail so that we could witness the sunrise from on top of the mountain.  Hiking at night was a really interesting experience.  Your senses are much different at night without having your sight to distract your brain.

This is a trail I have hiked nearly a dozen times and I feel very familiar with the route, but at night you can only see the your next two steps and nothing around you.  The boulders beside you look like giant rock cliffs in the dark.  It was like being on an entirely new trail.   I was near the front of our line and several times I turned around to see a line of headlights coming toward me.

Rain had threatened to cancel our hike but thankfully the rain had moved away before we started and the forecast only called for a 20% chance of rain.  It was cloudy and at our altitude it was like walking through fog.

There were a few in the group that were particularly chatty but they stayed near the back of the line and didn't bother me.  During breaks I would get to listen to their conversations and I would wonder how someone could be so chatty at 4:30am.  When we reached Governor's Rock we sat down and took a break.  After a minute everyone had clicked off their flashlights and the talking stopped.  The 17 of us sat on the bald rock face looking into the darkness and listening to the silence.  This moment would become my favorite moment of the entire trip.

At around five in the morning we reached the three mile mark of the hike and it started to rain.  Many people stopped and put on rain gear but I just stood and got wet since I didn't bring that stuff.   Prior to the rain it was very humid and I was sweating a lot on the uphill climb.  The soaking rain actually felt good and I didn't mind being wet.

We crested the summit and continued our hike to the overlook.  Below is a picture of our hike from my GPS.  We were on the pink trail.
A few minutes after we sat down on the edge of the mountain the rain stopped.  It was 6:15am and sunrise was at 7:16.  We were hoping the clouds would start to move out to allow us what we had hoped would be an amazing view.   As I sat there, I was getting colder and colder.  The wind was blowing through the valley and hitting against my wet clothes.  I brought my knees to my chest and wrapped my arms around my legs.  Curled into this ball I attempted to stop the wind from hitting most of my body.  It helped keep the wind off of my core and I stayed in this position for the next fifteen minutes.

Still shivering, I decided to see how wet my pullover got during the rain.  I dug it out of my bag and found it to be mostly dry.  I decided to strip off my wet shirt in exchange for the pullover in an attempt to remove the cold water from my body.  That helped a lot and a few minutes later I was more comfortable.

The sky begins to turn lighter about 30-40 minutes prior to the sunrise and I saw nothing but clouds in front of me.   In this photo below I should see another mountain (Stool mountain} and the cliffs that lead to Caesar's Head.
At 7:16, the official sunrise time, it began to rain again.  Several of the group had already turned back but now the rest of us decided it was time to go.  We had stayed until sunrise on top of the mountain.

The light rain continued for my ninety minutes down to the base but I never got as cold as I was when sitting on top.  I heard someone ask the ranger how this rated on his sunrise hikes over the years and he answered without hesitation, "At the bottom".  

We didn't get to see the sun come up and we got soaked in rain but this was still an awesome hike in the night.  Hiking while surrounded by total darkness is not something I have done before and it was worth getting out of bed for.

I'll also be forever grateful for those quiet five minutes looking into the darkness with sixteen strangers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Restart the Day

Yesterday I got a few blocks from home as I headed to work when I realized the car didn't feel quite right.  I swerved a few times in the road trying to judge what was going on.

After a few minutes of evaluation and looking at the indicator light on my dash I decided that I had a flat tire and started looking for a well lit gas station to remedy the situation.

When I stopped to fill up and check all of my tires I found one of the rear tires to be at zero PSI.  zero.  I filled it up and went to park at the gas station for a few minutes.   Ten minutes later I checked it and it had already fallen 5 PSI.

This was not a great way to start my day.  I drove over to my favorite tire center - you have a favorite place for car tires, don't you? - and I sat in their parking lot for an hour waiting for them to open.

Once they opened they had me taken care of within fifteen minutes and ten dollars.  

Before I left the parking lot I sat in my car for a moment and decided that my day would start at this point, two hours after I had left the house.   It was time to restart the day. Tuesday could still be a good day.

Monday, September 15, 2014

High School Football Update

Liberty is 2-1 at this point.  This past Friday was sooooo close.  With about 1:30 left in the game Liberty was up by seven.   The opponent made a few quick plays and scored.  With the extra point we were now tied and Liberty recovered received the kickoff with about 30 seconds left to play.

Looking to break the tie and make a few big plays, Liberty tried a pass play that resulted in an interception.  With 5 seconds left to play, the game tied, and the opponent in control of the ball, they bring their kicking team on to attempt a field goal from about the 45 yard line.

The kick was good, resulting in a last minute loss for the team.  The crowd for the other team was going crazy as they watched their team take the momentum of the game.

Not the result I wanted to see but it was a very exciting end to the game.

Meanwhile, this girl is happy to be at the games as long as you fill her up full of candy (which she had a mouthful of during this photo).

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Commotion

There was a lot of commotion coming from the kitchen last night.  I heard a couple of things fall of the counter, which is a normal sound when you have cats.  But then I heard a lot more things falling to the ground and I knew a real mess was being created.  That's when I started to suspect the dog.  Dogs are always involved when the real trouble starts.  

When I got into the kitchen I found the junk drawer in the end cabinet opened and a cat laying inside.  He had pushed all the junk out and was digging around in the drawer.  When I pulled him out I discovered the source of the commotion.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Don't Go That Way!

About a month ago I wrote about reading the journals of Captain James Cook in this blog.

After struggling to find time to read I'm nearly finished with the book.  I already know how his life ends and I know that I'm very close to that point in the book.  In these closing chapters of his final voyage I feel like screaming at him, "No! Don't go that way"!

It's kind of like watching the Titanic movie.  Everyone that went to see that movie knew exactly what was going to happen.  But for an hour we watch and wait for that ice berg to hit.

Cook visited the Hawaiian islands during his third voyage.  He was the first European to discover the islands and the natives were impressed with the ships and iron tools.  At that time Cook named the islands the Sandwich Islands.  He stopped and traded with the natives there before heading North in search of the NW passage that Europeans were searching for in the late 18th century.  

After exploring the coast of Canada and Alaska, Cook sailed back to Hawaii where, after staying a while, the natives killed him.

The book I'm reading is the journals of all three voyages around the world and all the places and people that Cook discovered along the way.  In all of his travels he makes a point to have friendly relations with the native people he encountered.

It's really exciting to read about his discoveries and his descriptions of the people and places that Europeans had never seen before.  I don't want that excitement to end so I keep turning the pages hoping that there is just a little more adventure on the page before he returns to Hawaii for the final time.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

800 Tons of History

I love history and I know that not every historical home or place can be preserved as we make room for the future but sometimes a place deserves a little more time.

In Greenville, SC the most recent place to be saved is the Wilkins House dated to 1876.   Thanks to the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, this house, that was slated for demolition, has been picked up and moved to a new location where it will be restored and opened for tours.

The moving of the house cost approximately $760,000.  A developer provided half of the funds and the other half of the funds were donated by the public.

Here's a link to a story on the Palmetto Trust website that includes some great photographs of the house.  

Here's a link to a news story that shows the house moving down the road.

As a lover of history I'm grateful for organizations like the Palmetto Trust that is out to protect as much of our history as they can in South Carolina.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Mouth vs Butt

Sometimes something happens and I think, "that would be good for Twitter."  Other times I think, I need to blog about this.   There are also times when I think I should do both.

Here's the end part of a conversation from last night:

"Your mouth keeps saying you are going to the store but your butt says you are staying in the bed."

Monday, September 01, 2014


Minecraft.  Showing siblings they can be in the same room without fighting.