Monday, December 31, 2007

It's almost time

Less than 13 hours left in 2007. I have been working on my goals for 2008 and I think I have them ready. Actually I have decided on only one for next year. It's too early to let the cat out of the bag though so you will just have to drop by in 2008 to see what it is. I will give you some hints but no fair guessing.

I had about 5 on my list and was trying to make them all positive. In a nutshell they were things that would make me a better person, physically, mentally and spiritually. All would be challenging and I would need a lot of help to make them happen. I still couldn't decide which ones I really wanted to commit to because I didn't want to bite off more than I could chew. There is nothing worse than setting your sights on a goal and then not being able to make it. (see 2007, 2006, 2005, etc goals)

Anyway I finally took a break from all my goal setting and that's when it hit me. The one goal for 2008 that would really mean something to me. It would make me a better person and not only that, it would help me reach all of my original goals. Actually someone else suggested it but it is what I was looking for. Sound impossible? Just wait and see. Nothing is impossible.

Happy New Year everyone.

Greg

PS don't expect me to be up at midnight. I will be asleep way before then. :)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Goals and remembering

As the year comes to an end, I am again thinking about my goals for the coming year. I have some already in my head but I think I need more. So far most of mine are general and I do want to pin myself down to some specific ones. You don’t want to just have those “ Miss America” goals like; “ I want to do good things for good people and be a sugary sweet person blah blah blah. “ Goals need to be specific and measurable. That is something I learned in Management class. They must also be achievable so no goals of becoming the next President although I do think I am as good of a candidate as the ones we have. Wait, I am not worth 208 million dollars.

This year all my goals are going to be positive. I want to start things and do things and go places. In the past all of mine have been negative like lose weight, Stop doing this or that or be less of something. In general I want to make a positive impact on the world. I know, I am only one person but a little positive change is better than no change at all. If everyone does one positive thing then maybe we will see it. This sounds over simplistic but I do think it is possible. If you don’t believe me think of the opposite side of the coin:

As most of you know, yesterday’s terrible tragedy is Pakistan was felt around the world. Bhutto’s death was caused by one person . I know there were others behind it but one person carried out the suicide mission. If one person can make such a negative impact, why can’t one person make a positive one? I think it deserves a try. Rather than dwell on this lets think of positive things we can all do today. Lets remember She who worked for peace in the world and do what we can to keep her work alive.

Have a great day,
Greg

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What's in your future?

Did you ever have one of those job interviews where they ask you: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” This is one of those questions where there is really no right or wrong answer. You start second guessing yourself wondering if you should say that you will still be where you started or really lay it on the line and tell them that you hope to be the CEO in five years. As someone that was forced to ask such ridiculous questions, the best thing you do is give a wishy washy answer about doing positive things for the company. The wrong answer is: “God willing I will be laid up at home drinking beer and watching television while waiting on a compensation check from some work related injury.” It may be true but that’s not the right answer.

The truth is who knows where we will be in five years or even one year for that matter. As we end another year, every radio and TV show is focusing on: 2007 the Year in Review. They cover the best and worst happenings of the year on everything from fashion to parenting. Most of it bores me so I don’t watch much TV between now and January. I like to take this time and start planning on the coming year and things that I want to do. I wish I could predict where I will be this time next year but I really can’t. (right now I am working on the rest of the day) I can set goals though and try to move toward those goals throughout the year. If you are like me and set goals, here is something fun to do.

Write down your goals and then seal them in an envelope and send it to a friend. Ask the friend to keep it and not open it but instead to mail it back to you in one year. I did this once and was amazed at how my goals had shifted with time. In my envelope, I included a dollar bill with a note that said “if you are having a bad day, buy a coke with this dollar. You deserve it.” I forgot about the letter and busted out laughing when I got it and saw the dollar. I was having a bad day too so it was especially nice.

On another note:

I was "warned" about the new Church we are going to. I was told it was too “cultish.” They hug you there and its way to social. People mingle and talk before and after church and they are way too happy during the service. They play uplifting music and dare I say it "have a guitar player". "It is more of a social event" where you come out feeling good and happy. People actually sing out loud. “Church shouldn’t be like that.”

So if Church doesn't uplift you then what does?

Have a great day,

Greg

PS: my prediction is that 2008 will be a great year!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Hello everyone. Having a great Christmas here so I don't have a lot of time to write. We went to a very nice dinner party yesterday and I ate enough for 10 men. Then the hostess brought out the main course. After dinner we met another friend for the evening Christmas service at Church. Good thing the lights were on because I was a little sleepy after eating all that food. It ended with a lovely candle light message and prayer with everyone singing softly in the candle light. I could have never made the midnight service as sleepy as I was.

The boys let us sleep late which was nice and then we all opened presents and had home made banana bread and beverages. Lunch is going to be early this year so you better get moving if anyone wants to eat with us. :) The house already smells like ham. We are also having crescent rolls, string beans, Potatoes and a salad. Its diet tomorrow so eat up today people!

Merry Christmas
Greg

Friday, December 21, 2007

Potpourri

I took the day off yesterday from work and also from blogging to get some rest and relaxation. As luck would have it though my sons muffler decided it was a good time do dye so I started my day out in the muffler shop. We left his car there though and headed out to go fishing so I did have some relaxation. I forgot to bring my camera though so there are no pictures of the fish we caught. We caught 6 Sheepshead and ended up keeping 4 for dinner. The weather was about perfect and my sons and I had a great time. For those that have never seen a Sheepshead, here is a picture I took last year of some we caught. Notice they really don’t look like sheep but do have some big buck teeth for eating crabs and barnacles. They are a very difficult fish to catch and I was glad to see that both my sons caught some. I fished just until I caught one just to make sure I could still do it.




I looked up Sheepshead on Google and this is what I found. Ha ha ha.




The only bad part of the day was that it got so warm that the sand gnats were out. If you have never had the good fortune to be around sand gnats you don’t know what you are missing. They are called flying teeth or no-see-ems becase they are tiny but pack a sharp bite. Nothing kills then or even drives them away. All you can do is drown them with bug spray and hope for a stiff wind. They are famous for attaching you when you are trying to work or concentrate like when you are fishing. When we got back to the dock we all looked like we had the chicken pox because we were covered with little red spots. Here is what they look like:




Today is my last day to work before Christmas. I am looking forward to 4 whole days off. I will do some baking this weekend but I am planning on taking it easy most of the time. We are having our holiday dinner today and I made Tater Salad. That’s the same as Potato Salad for those that don’t speak southern. It is a great recipe with lots of taters, butter, sour cream, mayonnaise, bacon bits, onions pickles and a touch of mustard. See how nicely I decorated the Tater Salad with pickles? :)




I am defiantly in the Christmas spirit this year even though we are having a warm spell right now. It is almost too warm to do any serious baking but I am going to give it a go. Don't forget the reason for the season:




I hope everyone has a Very Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Book Report: "The Glass Castle"

I don't read many books these days. I guess because I have to do so much reading at work. My sister let me borrow a book on tape recently and I have to tell you about it. It was "The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Walls.

It is about Jeanette's childhood and the things she went through. Her family lived like nomads and the things that she went through made my childhood look great. After listening to this book, I felt better about my own childhood and the struggles we had. I also came to terms with the fact that some people live like they do out of choice and are happy being the way they are and don't want to improve. I won't give away the ending but I highly recommend this book. There is some adult language so be forewarned. It reminded me of a story.

A frog and a scorpion come to a river. The frog is about to jump in and swim across and the scorpion asks if he can ride on the frogs back to get across. The frog hesitates at first because he knows that the scorpion could sting him and kill him but then he rationalizes that if he were do do that they would both drown so he agrees. About the time that they reach the middle of the river, the scorpion stings the frog and he begins to die. He asks the scorpion. "Why did you do that, now we will both die" The scorpion answers "because I am a scorpion. It's what we do."

Sometimes we can't change people, we just need to accept them the way they are.

Have a great day,

Greg

Monday, December 17, 2007

Blame and Credit



“My” Pahthers won !!!

Well they aren’t actually my Panthers, they are the Carolina Panthers but I am going to take credit for the win. Since they won, I am going to bathe in the glory of the win and associate their name with mine. Last week though, “they” lost. Those darn Panthers lost. They weren’t My Panthers then. When they win, I am willing to take credit for the win but when they lose it is all their fault.

That seems to be the norm these days. Whenever something good happens, we want all the credit but when things go sour, it is someone else’s fault. I have a little joke that I say at work from time to time. People are always afraid of getting fired and I tell them that I am not afraid of it. Seriously I know I could always find another job but this is what I tell them.

If I quit, I have to go home and tell my wife and family that I gave up a perfectly good job and lets just say I won’t be on Their “good” list this Christmas. There might even be some negative words spoken about me in the discussion. However if I go home and tell them that I got laid off, then my boss is the bad guy. I would probably get some sympathetic hugs, a pep talk and we would come up with a plan.
If I get a raise then I earned it but if I don’t get a raise then those guys didn’t give it to me. Whenever something positive happens we are willing to step up to the plate and take full credit but when something negative happens we go searching for someone to blame.

We went to a new Church this week and I really liked it. It might be a little too modern for some and too uplifting for some others but I liked the atmosphere. The sermon was great with a Christmas theme, a good solid message and even a little humor thrown in. Part of the message though was about Credit and how we humans are willing to take credit for anything good that happens in our lives. On the other hand though, when something goes bad we turn the credit into blame and go looking for someone to blame. Often times in a crisis situation we can’t find anyone to blame but ourselves. In these times instead of taking credit or blame for our situation we often turn to God and blame him for what has happened.

People are always asking: “How could God let the bad things happen in the world?” We forget to ask: “what did I do to deserve the good things that happen in my life?” Or: “What did I do wrong to let these bad things happen?” If we turn the tables on who is to blame for the bad things that happen and who should get the credit when things go right, maybe the world would be a better place to live. If we take the blame when things go bad in our lives then we can take actions to make them better. I do want to be a better person but the only one that can make my life better is Me.

The truth is I have nothing to do with the Carolina Panthers. I couldn’t tell you the name of a single player or who the coach is or where they stand in the rankings. I really don’t watch a lot of sports at all. I don’t participate in a lot of sports because I am not very good at them. I chose to do other things besides practice. I decided not to play and it is totally my fault for not being any good at them. I concentrated on other areas when I was younger.

It’s a new day today and the sun is shining. It is a little cold for my taste but then that takes care of the mosquitoes. Today I am going to thank God for the good things in my life and not dwell on the negatives. Positive is so much nicer. I would like to take credit for the lovely scene above but instead I Thank God.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Just Remembering

Wanda made me think about Christmas traditions. When we were young,we would go to Grandma's house for Christmas and she would always make party mix and popcorn balls for us kids. She knew that party mix was my favorite. Later on in life when the big dinners were long gone, we would go up and see her and exchange presents. She would still make the party mix for me each year. She didn't have a lot of money and usually someone else would buy her the ingrediants to make it. I still make party mix each year but I wish I had a good popcorn ball recipe. I tried to make them several times and they came out tough. Hers were always chewy but never tough. Maybe it was the love she put in them along with some good gum drops.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Poor old Jeff"

Mom always said that. But don't cry for him, things are looking up.

First off my brother is a drug and alcohol addict. He has been this way since high school and he is now 55 years old. Wait I forgot, mom says he doesn’t drink and only takes legal drugs. He lives with his 80 year old mother, on her social security check. He hasn’t had a real job in over 15 years. About a year ago, we thought he had hit rock bottom. He had run out of friends and money and because of this had to cut down on his booze and drugs. I mean he was able to bum a small amount of money from mom but she wouldn’t give him enough to support his habit. After all she did already buy his cigarettes.

Because he was out of money, he was starting to dry out. For the first time in as long as I can remember, he wasn’t drunk or high when I saw him. He kept talking though about all this money that he was going to get and I believe that was what was keeping him going. Since he was a child, he complained about aches and pains and had every excuse not to work or even do chores. Through his life, he was "fortunate" enough to get rear ended and also break one of his hands and well the pain was just unbearable.

Through the miracle of "working on consignment", he managed to find a lawyer who took his case and finally was able to get him Medicaid. For those that don’t know about Medicaid, it is very hard to qualify for. My mother tried but couldn’t get it but my brother could. And since he has all this pain, his doctor (quack quack) prescribed pain pills. About 6 months had passed since I saw him last. His speech is now slurred and he has to lean on things when he stands. But fortunately, he can still drive mom around. He was able to buy a car because his money was retroactive and he got a big cash settlement. Good thing too because he had to pay that lawyer. Now he can drive to get his free medications.

Now the stuff they give him is pretty strong but to tell the truth it isn’t strong enough for him. He has developed a tolerance for drugs and likes to brag about how much he can take without it affecting him. The time he broke his hand, the doctor gave him enough pain pills for two weeks. He had 30 of them and the prescription said ”take one every 8 hours”. He told me about it and said that he ran out after two days. “Greg these aren’t S#&*” he said. “I could take the entire bottle at one time if I wanted” I wanted to say, why not try two bottles with a whole bottle of Jack Daniels but I didn’t.

He has lots of friends again now too. They call at all hours of the day and night and then drop by and he goes for short drives with them around the block. Mom says that he just needs a little privacy and insists that nothing illegal is going on. When we tell her that he is taking drugs, she defends him and says he is in a lot of pain. Funny the exrays don’t show anything. When we had evidence that he was selling drugs, she said that the girl that bought them was in a lot of pain too and couldn’t afford to go to a doctor so what he was doing was a good thing. He has a heart of gold she says.

Now here is the good part. The local police won’t do anything about it. He is just a small time drug dealer and they want the big fish. It has been two days since I contacted the Medicaid office via email and I have heard nothing. I have to have concrete proof. So my brother will be spending our tax payer money to buy and then sell drugs and there is nothing we can do about it. And we wonder why the system is so screwed up. Oh and don’t worry about him starving to death. He gets food stamps. So once a month he treats his friends to lobster and steak and the rest of the month he lives off of my mother’s social security. She won’t throw him out either. We are just picking on him.

I hope this post makes someone angry. I hope that it makes someone that knows someone in power mad and that something gets done about it. I would rather see him in prison than living like he does but I am powerless to do anything.

Ok here is the positive side. My kids know what is going on and swear that they will never ever touch drugs. They don't even what him to touch them.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Life isn't Fair !!!

I hear that a lot these days, especially at Christmas time. Life just isn’t fair. So what does it mean when someone says that? For starters you never hear people at the top saying that. I doubt if any corporate executive ever looked at their lowest paid employee and said that. No, it is usually said when someone sees that another person has something that they want. So in essence, they are saying “Hey, he got more than I did.”

So fair isn’t even the right word to be using. If you truly feel that way, then what you should actually be saying is “life isn’t equal”. I know you have heard the saying “No one said life was supposed to be fair.“ But just so that no one can ever say that again, I am saying it now. Life should be fair. So there you have it. I said it and you may quote me on that. Greg said “Life is fair” Notice I didn’t say life is equal, because it isn’t.

So who out there wants less? Not many of us I am afraid so what we need to change our statement again. Admit it, we don’t want equality, we want what they have. We want more. Now that that is out in the open, maybe we can find out why. Is it something we are born with or something that we learn?

Lately all you hear about on TV or Radio or around the office is Christmas. And what do most people ask? What are you getting for Christmas or what do you want for Christmas? We have all asked our children what they want for Christmas too and have gone as far as to have them make a list and tell Santa what they want. It’s all about want, want, want, want. It would be different if it were need and not want.

Can you imagine if you weren’t allowed to ask that question? What if no one was allowed to ask for presents at Christmas? What if all you could do was give gifts and not ask for any in return. That’s an interesting idea. What if this season was all about giving and not about getting? What if you could only give gifts to someone you didn’t know or to someone who couldn’t give you anything in return? Maybe give gifts only to someone that has nothing, just because you want to make them feel special.

Wow it would be kind of like giving gifts to someone else’s baby that you didn’t even know. Talk about not fair.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Our Son isn't "Normal"

Well that’s what they told us at the “trial” yesterday. Ok it wasn’t a trial it was a parent/teacher conference but it more closely resembled a trial. First off you would expect it to be a one on one meeting between teacher and parent but it’s not that way anymore. To start out with all the 5th grade teachers participated as some kind of unified front. Then they brought along the guidance counselor, the student psychiatrist and the principal for good luck. That makes it 6 to one odds. Pretty even I must say.

So what is "not normal" about our son you might ask? Well he just isn’t like the other kids. First off, he likes people and tends to get close to them and look them in the eye when he talks with them. He also smiles a lot which makes the other students as well as teachers nervous. As one teacher put it, he gets in my “space” when I am talking to him. To put it another way, most kids and adults don’t like it when you are less than 3 feet from them. He needs to be more normal and less warm and friendly. You know, show some disinterest or aggression.

Wait he is already showing too much aggression in his drawings. That is “not normal” item number 2. He is a big history buff and loves watching the history channel on TV. He doesn’t have any video games so that is what he does for entertainment. He loves airplanes and loves to draw them. Since they are usually fighter planes, it shows aggression. I used to draw similar scenes when I was his young and I can tell you that I am so far from aggressive it is not funny. We will work on teaching him to draw monsters and evil things so that he isn’t aggressive.

Ok here is “not normal” item number 3 and this one will shock you. He doesn’t dress like the other kids. He doesn’t follow the latest trends. He doesn’t wear those gangsta-pants with the crotch down to his knees. He prefers to wear sweat pants that fit him and could care less about fashion. Because of this the other kids pick on him. Ok let me get this straight. The other kids pick on him and this is HIS problem? Did I miss something?

And speaking of getting picked on, our son doesn’t know how to handle being picked on or aggressive behavior. You see we never fight or argue in front of him so he doesn’t recognize this kind of behavior. I guess we need to be more like normal parents and fight in front of our kids.

So after all that the Principal asked about his test scores. In SC they make the children take something called MAT tests, which show where your child stands in relation to other students his age in the state. The guidance counselor said “this isn’t about his test scores”. The Principal said he just wanted to know how my son was doing academically. Well he does test above 95% of all the kids his age she said.

I am so glad he isn’t “normal”.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

New Web Sites

This morning someone sent me a link to a list of where all the "speed traps" are in the area. Along with this email I also got a few replies from some others that got the same email thanking the person who sent it to us. Obviously these people don't know the difference between "reply to sender" and "reply to all" but that is neither here nore there. What gets me is how many people think it is ok to speed and are very excited to know where these traps are so they can slow down in those areas. Here are a few other ideas I have that some people may be interested in.

What about a list of where the cameras are located in Walmart so that people that want to shop lift can do so without fear of getting caught. They could also post on a website pictures of all their undercover workers so that we can watch out for them too. The site could be called www.ItsOkToSteal.com

How about a website that tells you how to get out of paying child support. That would be very valuable for all those fathers who only made a little mistake and now have to pay for it. That site could be called. www.HowToAvoidResponsibility.com

As you all know from my picture, I am really into fishing. The fish in that picture was released because it was over the size limit. When we go fishing we only keep what we need and we always obey the size and catch limits. A number of people that I showed that picture to said that they would have kept that fish. Just last night I saw someone catch a fish that was too small but he was going to keep it anyway. What would help those people out would be a list of the Wildlife officer whereabouts so that they can keep any fish they like. We could call it. www.IWantToBeaPoacher.con

Finally I know some people that would actually like some of the web sites mentioned above. Several of these people think they are good people simply because they go to Church on Sunday. During the week though they lie, cheat, steel, gossip and do basically anything they can get away with. They truly believe that going to Church alone makes them a good person. Well I have news for them. They should check out the site: www.GodIsWatchingYou.com

Have a wonderful day.

Greg