Monday, December 29, 2008

I See What You're Saying. (the final attempt)

Wow, it's December 30th already. If you are reading this then I had a last minute break through and was able to load the video. I got it ready several days ago but when I went to load it last night, I had lots of problems. I had another post all ready to go which included the uncut version of my video but I really wasn't happy with the results. But then if you are reading this , I guess I was able to load it ok. I hope you like it. To see the rest of the vlogs, check out 2nd Cup of Coffee.


video



Just kidding Linda. I had a lot of fun with this one and hopefully the next one (hint hint) will be even better. How does "Vlog, summer of 2009" sound? See you there.



Have a great day,

Greg

It's almost here.

Well tomorrow is the big day. Not only is it the last day that I have to work this year but it is the day for the world famous "I see what you're saying" Christmas edition video spectacular. If you haven't heard of this event I have to ask "Where have you been?" It is only the biggest event that ever came to blog world. This event is again being hosted by Linda over at 2nd cup of coffee, so get your behinds over there and check it out.

Me, I have my video ready for posting and although it is only two minutes long, I can say that the Academy has already contacted me for a possible award nomination. I would like to thank everyone who made this award possible........ Ok it is only in my head. Anywhoo, mine will have a surprise ending that is sure to keep you guessing so make sure to come back tomorrow to see my masterpiece.

There is little else to report on. I guess I could put down a few bullets:

1. The weather was great. Nothing like 80 degrees and sunny in December.

2. We went to see the movie Yes Man. It was funny, sick, stupid and so true all at the same time.

3. If you have never had fresh fish, you don't know what you are missing. It was outstanding.

4. I almost hit a deer. I had to stop the car completely and she just stood there 4 ft in front of my car, like she was saying; "I dare you" Then she walked off.

5. I hate sand gnats. How can anything so small bite so hard?

6. The gym was packed this morning. I guess everyone is feeling guilty.



Have a great day and SEE you tomorrow.

Greg

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas

Well it's the day after Christmas and I am back at work. That alone is a Blessing as many people are out of work due to layoffs. We had a wonderful Christmas at our house and it was filled with Peace and Joy. (Unlike the woman who got fired from Lowes for wearing a Christmas lapel pin. More on that in my next post)


I had Christmas Eve off too and we celebrated in the traditional southern fashion. We went fishing. The weather was great and we were totally ready for Christmas so we decided to take the boat out to do a little fishing. Unfortunately, we had boat trouble because the motor didn't want to shift into gear but we were still at the boat landing so we simply reloaded the boat onto the trailer and headed back home to get our smaller boat. It ran a little rough but we did make it to our "Hot spot".


We fished for about an hour and a half and managed to catch 5 fish. They were all "Sheephead" and the biggest one was right at 7 lbs. Looks like the family will be eating fish this weekend. Everyone caught at least one fish and my oldest son caught the biggest one. After we returned home, we cooked up some oysters that were left over from out office Christmas party and they were great. After we finished eating the oysters, we got cleaned up and headed out to church for the Christmas Eve service.





The service was outstanding and it ended with the singing of Silent Night where the only light in the room was from the hundreds of candles. After that we headed home and all went to bed so that we could get up early.


Surprise surprise, everyone slept until 7. We had a wonderful Christmas and everyone got lots of presents. I made ham and cheese omelets for everyone and then we simply enjoyed the day. I fixed a ham for lunch and the weather was so nice that we ate out on the deck. How's that for Christmas weather? I hope everyone had a Very Merry Christmas.


Have a great day,

Greg

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What I need for Christmas.

I have been giving this a lot of thought but to tell the truth I really don't need anything for Christmas. There may be a few things that I want but nothing I need. Then I got this great idea from a first time visitor to my blog named Just a Girl and it made a lot of sense. Whenever there is something that I don't know (which is very seldom haha) I go on line and look it up. So I decided to follow the lead of Just a Girl and look it up to see what I need. So I went to Google and typed in "Greg needs" and then hit enter. These are the top 10 results. I eliminated repeat entries.



Apparently this is what I need:




Greg needs your stem cells or bone marrow. I didn’t even know I was ill but obviously I am and it is pretty serious.

Greg needs a new Tyre. Perhaps they mean Tyre banks? I think that falls more into the want and not need category. My wife may have something to say about this.


Greg needs you. Well at least Auntie Greg needs you and I don’t even want to click on that link to see what that means. I knew I was an Uncle but not an Auntie.


Greg needs a friend. Ok I can always use a new friend. This one defiantly applies.


Greg needs your help. I didn’t post this but since it is out there, please send money. Lots and lots of money.


Greg needs your prayers. This is something I will never turn down although there are those who could use them more.


Greg needs 3kg of sugar for a recipe. I am not good with conversions so this recipe may not come out tasting very good. Is that the same as 3 lbs of sugar?


Greg needs your opinion. Wrong. You know what they say about opinions. haha

Greg need upwards of 150 models to pose for a book I guess I am writing. I didn’t remember starting this but obviously I did and the title is going to be N*kid Las Vegas. I impress myself. Please get those photos’ in to be considered for the project. Oh and if my wife finds out about this, I am a dead man.


Greg Needs SMS/SCCM Queries. ????? Is it politically correct to say that? I don’t even know what this means but obviously I need it. Otherwise I wouldn’t be out there asking for it.

Have a great day,
Greg

Monday, December 22, 2008

Call off the dogs

Good news everyone. I panicked for nothing. It looks like all that got blocked were web sites which involved streaming and those who frequently posted videos. From what we could figure out, we now can't listen to radio stations via the Internet and we can't go to sites like YouTube. So far the only way that it affects me is if you attach a YouTube video to your blog, I will have to wait until the evening to see it. I can live with that. The radio part is a little aggravating because the power plants are usually in remote locations and radio reception via normal methods is poor.

In other news, my wife and I have decided to give up the Real Estate business. With the state of the economy, doing that part time just doesn't work. When things were booming, we got frequent client inquires but now we seldom get any. Unless you have the time to go out searching, chances are that you won't get any business. I have no regrets though. I worked for two really great Brokers who just happen to be married to each other and learned a lot from each of them. I did work for one not so great Broker as well but as the saying goes; Two out of three ain't bad.

Last night my wife and I went to a Christmas party at their house (the great brokers) and we had a great time. I really like both of them and have always felt like they were family. Last night we found out that in fact we are related by marriage. You see my wife's brother's wife's father's brother's wife is somehow related to this woman. I tell you we are almost brother and sister. Anyway, I am sure we will remain in contact because my wife plays tennis with her and we also go to the same Church.

The only down side I found to the real estate business at least for me was that I discovered that many people put real estate agents down there with lawyers. On many occasions when I was having conversations with a friend or an acquaintance, they brought up that they were interested in buying or selling real estate. I would respond with "Well I am an agent and would be glad to help you out if you like". After saying that, one of two things happened. Most often, they would ask for a card and say that they would call me but you know, none of them every did. In fact if I brought it up again or called them they seemed offended and would have some kind of excuse why they had to use someone else. The second response I got was immediate "Run for your life....It's a blood sucking real estate agent". I lost several friends this way.

So in the long run, I think it just wasn't meant to be. Maybe people like us the way we are and even though I feel people like us, they just don't want to cross that line from friendship to business. After giving it a lot of thought and at the suggestion of the pastor at our church, we decided that we should let it go. No he didn't tell us personally to give it up but he did talk about being satisfied with where you are and giving up that worship of money. He made a lot of sense and I know that we were getting caught up in the money craze. Things have already started to simplify and I feel that this year we will be even better off.

Have a blessed day. Only two shopping days until Christmas.
Greg

Who knows?

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Who knows what today will bring, or for that matter the next minute or even second of my life. See I just changed what I was writing and a minute ago I didn't know I would do that. I sometimes wish I has a tiny peek into the future but then its that not knowing that makes life interesting. Today is sure to be an interesting one for me.

Last Friday we all got an email notice at work stating that today, a major Internet blocker would be in place which would block us from going to many Internet sites. They stated the reasons for this action but it all boils down to increased efficiency. Time on the Internet=lost production. Well for most people, not me. I know how to work and blog at the same time and actually increase production.

Since I get to work early just to get the morning report out, I often have some time left before my day officially begins where I can go on line and read the Bible or read personal emails. I am not sure if those sites will be blocked today. Then once my day starts, I have the Internet on in the background all the time. I use it for repair part searches all day so I just keep it on. Sometimes when I am waiting for replies from vendors I will check out my blog and then yours to kill some time since I have to be sitting at my desk to get those phone calls. No time lost there.

I guess the big question is if this saves us time, what will we do with the time. I am betting most people will walk around and visit with their neighbor or call people on the phone or maybe even send a few emails. I doubt seriously if there will be a ton of extra work accomplished today because of this action. Now that would be something interesting to find out. Just how much extra work gets done today because of this. I bet with all the extra work being done, we may just get that Christmas bonus. OH that's a good one. I made myself laugh.

So if you don't hear from me today, don't worry. I will catch up with you all tonight. Maybe I will include a picture of my nice clean office. Just FYI. I already cleaned it on Friday since I got all my work done early before the holidays.

Have a blessed day,
Greg

Friday, December 19, 2008

What's wrong with this picture?

Remember those old picture puzzles in “Highlights” magazine where you had to find things that were hidden in a picture. No, you say? Well click here to remind yourself. They always had them in my doctor’s office and I would concentrate on the picture puzzle to try and forget where I was. I hated going to the doctor. I was never a big fan of shots and once it took 4 nurses to hold me down to give me a shot but that’s a whole different post.

Anyway, that’s how I felt last night at my son’s Christmas Band Concert. As I looked around the room, there were so many things that to me were just wrong. Don’t get ME wrong, the Concert was outstanding and I hope to put a short clip on my son’s blog later today but some things just seemed inappropriate.

First off, we got there a half hour early just to get a good seat. (like that is possible in a gymnasium) After we were seated, two women showed up with numerous children and the entire group proceeded to cough and hack like they were one step away from death. Ok I understand that perhaps they really wanted to see their child perform so much that they risked spreading their fungi to the entire population of Charleston but that wasn’t the case. I know this because they didn’t watch the concert. The two women talked the entire time and not only that, one was texting while talking and the other was braiding a child’s hair while talking. I didn’t’ see them look up one time to watch the concert. One of the younger children broke the seat behind them and made a loud noise and her mother glared at me like I did it. So I guess they only came to be seen.

There were 4 different bands performing last night and I really wanted to see and hear them all. Of course I had a hard time hearing them with the ladies talking but at least I could see them…..NOT. All during the concert, people (adults) kept standing up and taking smoke breaks and going to the bathroom. I mean for heaven’s sake, I have the world’s smallest bladder but I can hold it for 45 minutes. These people sat quietly while their little Johnny or Judy was playing but had no problem getting up while the other bands played. Some people just don’t get it. It was hard to concentrate too because one lady just let her son run back and forth through the entire concert just to keep him quiet.

Ok now here is the part that seemed odd to me and I am not sure how you all feel about this but I want to get our opinion. Right next to us was a family from India. It was obvious by the way the looked and dressed. I am not stereotyping here but not many Americans wear Saris. They had a little girl in the band and I think that is great. However the part that got to me was when they started the concert out by saying the Pledge of Allegiance. These people didn’t say it or even put their hand over their heart. So I thought it was odd that we would have a family who comes all the way here from India to be a part of this great country and then either doesn’t know or just won’t say the Pledge. Am I the only one who thinks this is odd?

Now I am not complaining here although I am starting to get a sore throat and if it turns into a full blown nasty cold you can expect to hear me complain. That’s just what I need…..to be sick for Christmas.

Anyhoo, have a great weekend. Tomorrow is the last day of the Arelston-cha, Armers-fa, Arket-ma. Let’s see if the director gets a message from me printing that. (She gets a message whenever someone writes those three words in one sentence.) But, if you do get it, have a Merry Christmas Sarah. See you tomorrow.

Greg

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I started out this morning to write one of those ranting posts and to tell the truth I almost had it finished. However I took a break to read a few of your blogs and I settled down and decided to participate in Thankful Thursday. Thanks Kelly and Edie for reminding me to be thankful. Here are 5 things that I am thankful for.

1. I am thankful that I came to my senses and deleted that other post and instead went with this one. I hate when I sound negative because negativity is contagious.

2. I am thankful that my son Gregory passed his Black Belt test last night and now he has a Black Belt in Karate. I was impressed with his performance and I dare say that the guys that he was kicking were impressed as well even though they had on padding.




3. I am thankful that our Chicken, Lucy is still alive. She has lived through two hunting dog attacks (one recently) and one raccoon attack and is still with us. Last week she started laying eggs again after an 8 month dry spell.

4. I am thankful that I still have a job with so many people around me who are unemployed. I am also thankful for my family and the home we live in.

5. I am thankful that I live in a country that allows me to worship whomever I chose and I chose to worship God. And I am thankful that I can celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas.

I know I tossed in a few more than 5 but I am thankful for so many things. So what are you thankful for?

Have a Great Day,

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Christmas Tag

I got this from Edie over at Rich Gifts. I got it from somewhere else too but my mind is in a fog right now and I can't remember who else tagged me. Thank you, whoever you are.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? – Coffee for me please. I am not big on either Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate.

2. Does Santa wrap the presents or just sit them under the tree? – It depends on how busy I, I mean he is. He tries to wrap them all but sometimes he runs out of time.

3. Lights on house / tree are colored or white? – There is a mixture this year. The tree is multicolored and outside it is half and half. Actually they are all white on the inside.

4. Do you have mistletoe? – Yes but it is still in the tree in the back yard. I need to get out the shotgun to get some down.

5. When do you put your decorations up? The Day after Thanksgiving.

6. Favorite Holiday Dish (Excluding dessert)? – Without a doubt, stuffing. My stuffing is the best.

7. Favorite Christmas memory as a child? – Grandma Green always made popcorn balls and party mix for all of us. She put gumdrops in the popcorn balls and I loved them.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? – My cousins spilled the beans for us. I forget how old we were though.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? – No way. You can wait one more day.

10. How do you decorate your tree? – We have lots of ornaments that we have collected over the years. We always get a real tree. I usually put on the lights and the angel and my wife puts the ornaments on.

11. SNOW. Love it or dread it? – Love it as long as I don’t have to drive anywhere.

12. Can you ice skate? – Yes. For about 2 feet then I fall.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? – Nothing comes to mind.

14. What is the most important thing about Christmas to you? – Spending time with family and discussing the real meaning of Christmas.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? - Peanut Butter Fudge.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? – Staying home and enjoying a quiet day.

17. What tops your Christmas tree? – An angel carrying a little light.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving gifts? – I prefer giving.

19. Favorite Christmas Song? – Oh Holy Night.

20. Candy Canes, Yum or Yuck? - Um, somewhere in between.

21. What do you want for Christmas? – Peace on earth

22. Do you attend an annual Christmas party? – Not for a long time but we will be this year.

23. Do you usually dress up for Christmas Eve or wear PJ's? – Casual. Who wears PJ’s anymore?

24. Do you own a Santa Hat? – Yes but I don’t wear it.

25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with? – My wife, children, and anyone else who drops by.

26. What is your favorite Christmas decoration and why? – The crochet ornaments that a neighbor made for us. We used to go over to her house and talk with her because she was so lonely. She told great stories. At Christmas, she gave us a box of handmade ornaments and we put them on the tree every year. She died the year after she gave us the ornaments. Every year we think of her.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh you better watch out, you better not cry.......

He sees you when you’re sleeping.
He knows when you’re awake.
He knows If you’ve been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake.

Saturday at the market, the young lady in the booth next to us began singing Christmas songs. I quickly joined in much to the dismay of my son who was totally humiliated. At first we tried to come up with the words to “The 12 days of Christmas”. Not the real version but the redneck version written by Jeff Foxworthy. We got most of the verses right but we did miss a few. It didn’t’ matter though because no one else around us knew the words so we got away with it. However I didn’t get away with something else I did.

Remember last week I wrote about some strange people at the market? If you don’t remember, don’t bother going back to read the post. I erased it. Saturday, the person who runs the market, dropped by to see me. It seems that she has this Google notification thingy that emails her when certain words are combined into one sentence. Anyway, she got a notification because I put those three words together in a sentence in that post. So she read it and much to her surprise, she saw my picture and knew it was me. I never realized that people from around here were reading my blog. I decided that it would be best to delete that post since I really don’t want to offend anyone….even weirdoes.

Knowing this, I looked back at some previous visitors and much to my surprise found a few which were labeled government. I am guessing that our government has some of the same search engines out there looking for things that might be anti-government. Nothing surprises me anymore about our government. But just in case I am being watched at this very moment, let me say for the record that I love our government. Even though it is full of corrupt people and many of our laws just don’t make sense.

Speaking of not making sense; Right in front of us at the market was this Menorah. At least that is what we thought it was at first. I have to tell you that I am not all that familiar with the Jewish religion but my first impression was that whoever put up this display not only couldn’t count but they were color blind. You see, there were only 7 candles and I thought there was supposed to be 8 on a Menorah. Also I thought the candles were supposed to be white but this had three green, three red and one black candle. Well Duh, it wasn’t a Menorah, they were Kwanzaa candles. I had to look it up to find this out. Anyway, I also found out that it isn’t anything to do with religion; it is all about being thankful at the end of the year for a bountiful harvest. If anything, it seems to more align itself with New Years than Christmas.

Well some judge sided with the non-Christians and put a hold on the “I Believe” license plates here in South Carolina. He cited that it was a case of separation of Church and State, and the law strictly prohibits combining the two. This sounds like a law that needs to be changed. I am about tired of this but then a long time ago Jesus said this would happen.Thankfully, Jesus also said:

Luke 6: 22 Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.



Have a great day but be good, because He knows everything you do.
Greg

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Good news, bad news

First the good news. I got the packages mailed off yesterday. I am so proud of myself for not waiting until the last possible moment. The lady at the post office said that they should all arrive before Christmas. Because I had so many to mail, I didn't insure anything so if they arrive broken please don't tell me. Remember, it's the thought that counts anyway. I just hope none of you are let down since they are just simple presents. Also don't give away what they are since I sent most of you the same things and some will arrive before others.

Now that bad news. It was cold today at the market and my head feels like it is about to explode. I hope I am not coming down with something. I just took some fish oil tablets and a high dose vitamin C, hoping to ward off any sickness. As soon as I finish here I am going to bed and it is only 7 pm. I may not get to all of your blogs today but I will finish tomorrow if I feel better. Other than the headache and almost freezing to death, it was a pretty good day. And you won't believe who I saw at the market today. The big man himself, Santa Claus. There were also characters from a play that is in town. It is going to be "A Christmas Carol". I am just glad there were no ghosts running around. I'm off to bed.

Have a great night,
Greg

Well it's Sunday morning and the vitamins, and 11 hours of sleep did the trick. I am much better this morning and just a little wind burnt. It is a brisk 39 degrees in Charleston so we are probibly in the low 40's here at our house. Good thing we are a little warmer too because I am sure the fire in the greenhouse stove is completely out. Everything will be ok and it is supposed to be a little warmer today.

Have a wonderful Sunday,
Greg

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday Tidbits

With Christmas just around the corner, I just like a lot of you am finding it hard to make time to Blog. Even though my world revolves around blogging, I am struggling to come up with a decent post so let me just give you a run down of what is going on in my life.

1. I found Luke. It was right where I remembered it, right after Mark. I find Luke much more readable than Matthiew or Mark for some reason. Even though the stories are approximately the same, they are told a little differently and it is easier to follow. Or maybe I am just a little dense and it took three times to sink in. :)

2. I am busy as a beaver trying to get ready for Christmas. I have most of the presents and I am trying very hard to get the gifts I promised ready to send. I always have trouble finding boxes to send presents in. Does anyone else have this problem?

3. Mr T is very sick. Most of you know that Mr T is our cat. The other day my wife found him almost dead at our door step. She rushed him to the hospital and they were able to save him although he is still really sick. It appears that he was attacked by a dog and has some minor internal injuries. So he is inside, recovering and hopefully we will be able to let him out in a few days. The Vet obviously doesn't have that Christmas spirit though as evidenced by the Vet bill. Oh and if the owner of said dog happens to be reading this, be aware. That was my son's cat and he is wanting to even things up. We are not dog lovers and this isn't helping.




4. Update on the sign issue. After last nights town meeting, the town folk agreed to support the proposed zoning changes at the winery. They however still don't want any signs telling people it is out there. So for now they have put away their torches, and pitchforks. There will be other causes soon I am sure so don't take that tar and feathers back to the store yet.

5. Who let the heat out, who who who? If this is global warming, I am the tooth fairy. This has been the coldest November/December in Charleston history. At least for as long as I have been here. I have gone through more wood already than I usually do all year. Consequently, we have had to again gather wood so that we will have enough. I am accepting donations of seasoned oak if anyone here has any that they want to GIVE away. Split would be nice too. :) Oh and could you stack it too. I figure as long as I am asking, I may as well go all the way.

Well I better get cracking on some work. Hope everyone else is having a good holiday too. I mean it could always be worse and I still have a lot to be thankful for.

Have a great day,
Greg

Monday, December 8, 2008

And the winner is...........

Drum roll please. Wait wait wait, hold the drum roll, this is a simple Chirstmas drawing and I don't want anyone expecting a new car or boat or anything like that. Let me remind you that the grand prize is "hand made." I may toss in a little something else but it will be a modest prize but a fun one neverless.

Ok I didn't have a number generator or anything like that so I put the 10 names on pieces of paper and drew the winner out of a bag. Hey it worked. So without further ado, the winner of the grand prize super duper fun Christmas prize is.......

Beverly over at Dancing with Daffodils.

And now for the really good news. I have volenteered for "two" pay forward gift giving thingies so everyone who entered gets a prize. I simply love giving. This includes: Kelly, Beverly, Edie, Scarlet, Katherin, Patrice, Monogram Queen, Marla, Daphine, and last but certainly not least, Angie. The order that the names are listed are the order in which you commented on my blog post. I didn't play favorites, I assure you. So if you would like a small present. (it's kind of silly) Just email me your address to gcushing@scana.com. Better hurry because the post office is getting slow already. And should you not want to be included in the second prize, just email me and tell me that too. I won't give away the fact that you are a party pooper.

Oh and don't worry, I am happily married and NOT, I repeat NOT a stalker so don't be afraid to give me your address. I haven't stalked anyone in almost a year now. Just kidding, I have never stalked anyone. Well I was never convicted, just kidding again. I don't do that kind of thing. I am too busy making Christmas crafts. So what are you waiting for? Christmas is just around the corner.

Have a great day,
Greg

Thursday, December 4, 2008

7 Christmases



Last week, we went and saw the movie, 4 Christmases. It was pretty funny in certain parts but a few areas were less humorous. Well this isn’t about that movie. This is a meme that I invite you to join in if you like and tell us about 7 Christmases past. No tagging involved here. Just play along if the urge hits you. So here are 7 things about my past Christmases.


1. The stockings were hung.


As far back as I can remember we had stockings but ours were really socks. We didn’t have a chimney though and hanging them by the kerosene stove in the hall just didn’t seem right so we would put them on the edge of the couch by the Christmas tree. We didn’t get toys in our stockings like kids do these days. We usually got the same thing every year. We got an apple, an orange, some nuts with the shells on them and some individually wrapped hard candy. Coincidently our father liked those kinds of nuts and my mother liked the hard candy.


2. Always a shepherd, never a wise man.


Every year, the church we went to would put on a Christmas pageant. Everyone would sing songs and the children would perform the Christmas Play. For some reason I always had to be a shepherd. I wanted to be a wise man but those parts went to the older boys. Many years later, after we switched churches, I was chosen to play Joseph. When you think about it, Joseph was a step down from a shepherd. Still no wise man. :)

3. A new fishing pole.


I can’t remember ever not loving to fish. Dad had lots of old rods and reels in his garage and I would take them apart and fix them so that I had something to fish with. One Christmas I got a brand new rod and reel. I was so happy. The very next day, I got on my bike with that new fishing pole and headed down to the river to try it out. I remember that it was very cold that day and I was bundled up in heavy clothes but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from fishing. On the way to the river though, I hit a bump and as I was falling, my fishing rod went in the spokes and was broken into little pieces. I never even got to use my new fishing pole.


4. Levi’s please.


This particular Christmas, everyone was asking for Levi’s denim jackets. I was no exception. I wanted one in the worst way. I hinted, then begged, pleaded, hoped and prayed that my parents would come through for me. That Christmas morning, I ran to the tree and quickly spied the package that I knew was some kind of clothes. As I tore it open, I could see that it was a denim jacket and I felt like; finally I got what I asked for. As I held the jacket up to admire it, I noticed that it wasn’t a Levi’s jacket, it was an imitation made by J M Fields. You could tell because of the little label and also the name on the brass buttons. The first time I wore it to school, the other kids made fun of me so I took the jacket off. From then on I would wear the jacket in the mornings but take it off and put it in my locker when I got to school.


5. Christmas kiss.


One year, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to go caroling with her church youth group. I gladly accepted. It was a lot of fun and we rode around in the back of several pickup trucks sitting on hay and sipping hot coco. As the night wore on, it got pretty chilly so my friend and I (a girl) began snuggling under a blanket to stay warm. Somehow, we began holding hands and when we got back to her house after the caroling, we kissed. It was my first real kiss. After that, we dated for about a year.


6. The truth about Santa.


I actually found out about Santa from my cousins. The spilled the beans many years before after they stayed up and caught their parents wrapping presents. I was shocked. One year, my father played Santa for the city. Back then, there was only one Santa in town. Not like it is these days where every store in town has a Santa. I spent a lot of time up there around the “North Pole” because my new girlfriend was one of the Santa’s helpers. She wore a little pixie outfit and I felt I should keep an eye on her because I heard someone at school say that the elves up there were cute.


7. Our first Christmas….apart.


Our (my wife and I) first Christmas was actually spent apart. We had met in October and only been dating for two months. I went to Florida to spend Christmas with my family and she stayed in SC with hers. I already knew she was the one for me so I wanted to get her a nice present but I wasn’t sure what to get. A friend of mine worked at a jewelry store and said that I couldn’t go wrong with jewelry. I decided on a nice emerald necklace to go along with the jewelry box that I had already purchased. At that time, it was the most expensive present I had ever bought. I wrapped it and left it at her house for her to open on Christmas. She was impressed with her present and we were married the following June. No since wasting time. Because I was in the Navy, we spent many of the next Christmases apart but we are still together.


Merry Christmas everyone,


Greg

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Guilty?




Are you guilty? I know I am. A lot of people are feeling guilty this time of year. Obviously, a lot of people are feeling guilty about overeating on Thanksgiving because there was a larger than normal crowd at the gym yesterday morning. Usually there are only about 5 or 6 people working out with me at 5 am but yesterday there were about 25. It was nice to have the company but I bet the crowds will thin out in a few days. That is usually how long that guilty feeling stays with you; Just a few days. As I suspected, today there were only 5 of us working out. Wow that was fast.


I wasn’t working out today because of guilt, it was my normal routine. But what I am guilty of is “guilt giving”. Ironically, that subject was touched on during this past Sunday’s sermon. When I see someone in need I feel guilty and I give so that I don’t feel guilty. If those Salvation Army people are standing out in a freezing rain, I feel guilty and give a little extra. This year as I usually do, I made a pledge to the United Way. They are good at making me feel guilty. They show me photos of people in need and then remind me how much I have and the rest is history. The problem is that guilty giving isn’t habit changing so it usually doesn’t last.


The fund raising drive was several months ago but the money won’t start coming out of my check until January of 2009. However recently we were informed that due to the state of the economy, we won’t be getting a cost of living raise next year. Since it has been months since I saw the photos and heard the stories, it was easy to forget the need and think about myself. My first thought was to see if I could cancel the pledge to the United Way. I am sure I could if I really needed to but truth is I don’t. I decided not to take such drastic actions. I will survive.

So why should I continue to give? Well first off, I am better off than most people are these days.
No I am not wealthy by American standards but by the “worlds” standards I am. Most of us, even the ones struggling here in America are in the top 10% of the worlds people when it comes to our living conditions. It isn’t always evident but it is true. Did you know that the average income in India is 20 dollars a week? Secondly, I enjoy giving. Even though I sometimes feel pressured into giving at work, I do like the feeling I get when I give to a good cause. I just have to stop feeling like I have to give and just give because I want to.


There was a coat box at church this week as well, reminding us that people not only need food, they need warm clothes. There was no one standing there harassing anyone, just a small sign and a box. Sunday afternoon, after church, we cleaned out our closets of clothes that we don’t wear. There were many items that had never been worn. Yesterday, my wife took them all to the Goodwill store. There were three large bags of clothes, and also a VCR and some tapes. Hopefully, someone can put them to good use. I like giving to Goodwill. This year, I will try to give more than ever before just because I want to and not because I feel guilty.


Ok so time to give away just because I want to. (see it was worth it to read all of this post)
In my spare time I make simple Christmas crafts. These really aren’t valuable but they are homemade and hand crafted by me. (that’s better than made by elves) I won’t say what they are though so it will be a surprise if you are the recipient. If you are interested, just leave a comment on this post and ask to be included. I will put all the names in a bowl and draw one lucky winner. If I am feeling really generous (not guilty) which I am(hint hint), I may throw in some other local items and possibly pick one or two runners up. Who knows what all you will find in the grand prize.


Have a wonderful day,
Greg

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tis the season

Yes it's the season for The Super Spectacular Christmas Edition of:


"I See What You're Saying"

Please watch the following non-paid, non-solicited, non political advertisement.




video


For more information, please visit Linda's blog by clicking here. Even if you aren't participating in the video event, check out her blog, it is a hoot. And make sure and tell her you heard it here first. Just in case she hits the lottery and has some extra cash to give away, I want to be on her "nice" list this Christmas.


Also I have been tagged by Edie so stand by for some exciting facts about ME. I know you can't wait. :) I will post the results in a day or two.


Have a great Sunday,


Greg





Friday, November 28, 2008

Someone pinch me.

Either I am asleep or I died and went to Heaven.

This morning, my son and I headed out at 445 to do the last of our Christmas shopping. My wife and other son left shortly thereafter. Did anyone else go out? Very few people in our area did. We got to the mall at 530 and were able to get a great parking spot. Inside Belks there were very few people. We finished shopping there in about 45 minutes.Everything we bought there was at least 50% off. Then we went to Dicks sporting goods and shopped there in less than 30 minutes. Everything we got there was on sale too and we got some great deals. Then it was off to Home Depot and Lowes which is where we entered Heaven.

Normally those two places are a ghost town when it comes to finding some help but not this morning. When I got out of my car at Home Depot, someone greeted me before I even got to the door. Just inside the door, two more sales associates greeted me. Then while I was shopping, no less than 10 sales associates asked me if I needed any help. At the register, a cashier came out to grab me to insist that I check out in her isle. I left speechless but without one item so I headed across the street to Lowes.

When I entered Lowes. I almost started hyperventilating. Normally they treat you like you have leprosy. If a sales associate sees you, they turn away and run so that they don't have to associate with you. Today though there was a greeter at the door. As I walked down the first isle, I passed two more sales associates who greeted me with a smile and said thank you for shopping at Lowes. I knew at this point that I was dreaming and that soon I would wake up to find that things were like they used to be;

I remembered the time I went there to buy a large fan. As usual, I found the fan myself but it was on the top shelf (15 feet up) and there was no one in that department to help me. I pushed the help button and a lady from the next department came and turned it off and told me that someone would be with me shortly. After a few minutes I pushed the button again and the same lady again came and turned it off. I told her I was still waiting and she explained how she couldn't help me because she was from the next department.

After she left, I went to where she was and saw that she was just standing there talking on the phone so I decided to get the fan down myself. There was no ladder so I just began climbing up the shelves. When I got to the top, I held on with one hand and grabbed the fan and swung it down to the next shelf. Just then, the same sales lady happened to walk by and she began screaming for me to get down. I just kept working myself and the fan down and told her; Don't worry, If I fall, I will sue the store and not you. She ran off to get the manager but you know what? I got down and was gone with my fan before they returned.

So back to today. As I walked by the registers, all of them were open. Two had customers checking out and the ladies at the other registers were standing at parade rest waiting on the next person to help. But just my luck, they too were out of the item that I wanted. I felt like just buying something just to make sure I wasn't dreaming. Oh well. I did get all my Christmas shopping done. This item was for a craft that I was making to sell at the market. We just got a call that the market will be closed tomorrow due to rain so I have time to get that item.

Hey is anyone up for a Christmas Giveaway? I think I still have time. It would just be a Christmas craft. Let me know if there is any interest.

Have a great day,
Greg

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What happened to Luke?

When you hear the name Luke, who do you think of? Some people immediately think of Luke Skywalker. Not me, I was not a big fan of those movies.



Others think of Luke and Laura.




Oh come on confess. I know there are a few General Hospital fans out there. Ok ok I will go first. Many years ago, in the time of Like and Laura, I was a General Hospital junkie. For about an entire year, I watched General Hospital without fail every day. Those days are behind me now though but I remember them well.

Still others (myself included) when hearing the name Luke think of the Gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.


But soon thereafter I think of Matthew, Mark and Mike. Which brings me to my subject for the day. "What happened to Luke?"


My Aunt and Uncle had two boys. Their names were Matthew and Mark. When we heard that they were expecting another child, we just knew if it were a boy they would name him Luke. They did have a boy but they named him Mike instead. We all thought she was on a Biblical theme but it turns out she was on the M train. I can’t say I have heard the name Mike mentioned in the Bible. Maybe it was but I just can’t remember it. And Mike was anything but Biblical.

One summer we went to visit them in upstate NY. So there were 6 of us boys and our parents staying together in a two story house. They lived on a highway outside of town and there were no other houses for miles in any direction. One afternoon during our stay, our parents decided to go into town and have dinner. They left me in charge which was no big deal because what trouble could six unsupervised boys get into out in the country. There was also an abandoned apple orchard next to the house. So to pass the time we decided to go “exploring” in the orchard. Well one thing lead to another and before I knew it, each of us had a large pile of apples waiting on the first unsuspecting motorist to come by.

The first to arrive was an older model car with only an old woman passenger and a younger man driving. We bombarded the car as it went past and several apples found their target. The car slowed down but then went on. Next coming up the road was a large semi-truck. There was a huge hill in front of us so the truck was forced to slow down making it an easy target. I think we were 6 for 6 on this one and we quickly reloaded and hit it again. This time the truck stopped and began backing down the highway on the shoulder.



We left our posts and ran through the orchard and into the house. There we sat quietly with all the doors locked as the truck came to a stop in front of the house. How did he know it was us? Well duh, since we were at the only house within miles it was pretty obvious. I got everyone together and we agreed that if we just kept quiet he would go away. He was a huge trucker dude about 6’ tall, weighing around 300 lbs. He was covered in tattoos and had one that said “I hate kids”. At least that is what we suspected. I was too scared to look. After knocking on the door and not getting any answer he finally began to walk away. Sweat was running down my forehead. Too close for comfort I thought to myself. That’s when I heard him. Mike that was.

Let me stop here and tell you that their parents were what you could call morally liberal. They had few rules and didn’t believe in discipline. The two older boys had done a great job of teaching Mike every curse word known to man and the parents thought it was cute. Mike was a tiny boy with a big mouth.

Mike had climbed out of his bedroom window and was on the roof of the porch.
“Come back you dumb %#@* and fight like a man. He yelled.
“That’s right you big *%&$. We can take you. There are 6 of us in here.”

The man stopped and turned around and started to come back to the house but ended up just shaking his head and walking away. We all ran up to the bedroom in an attempt to shut Mike up and get him to come back inside. Mike continued to taunt the big man calling him a big %$#* coward for walking away. I have never felt so relieved as when he finally drove away.

A few hours later our parents came home. We were all sitting in the living room watching TV like little angles. My Aunt asked how it went and what we did. Mark spoke up and said that we just watched TV and nothing special happened. My Aunt smiled and said: that’s great, we are just glad you didn’t throw apples at cars or trucks. Oops busted. It seems that the old woman and her son and also the trucker both stopped at the only restaurant in town for dinner. News travels fast in a small town.

And speaking of Mark, I just started reading it. You know, the book that follows Matthew. I love the story of how Jesus healed the leper. After he healed him, Jesus told him not to tell anyone about it but to simply go live a good life. The leper though went out and told everyone what had happened, which forced Jesus to stay out of the large towns from then on. I wish the woman and the trucker had kept quiet. My Aunt and Uncle had to stay out of town for a while after that little incident too. And now you see why I say that Mike was anything but Biblical.


Have a great day,
Greg

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Caught off guard.

We are having unusually cold weather for this time of year. It really caught me off guard. Usually we don' t get this cold until January or February. Normally we spend a lot of time in November and December gathering wood for our two wood stoves. We have one in our house and one in the greenhouse. We also supply a lot of wood for my mother in law who heats her house with a wood stove. The reason we wait until this time of year (other than me being a procrastinator) is that the cool weather gets rid of snakes and spiders and makes it easier to work.


This year, the cold just kind of slipped in and was upon us before we knew it. One day it was warm and the next it was cold. It was cold at the market yesterday too but I was prepared for it. I wore my long underwear and brought along a heavy coat. I also didn't bring very much stuff because I knew the crowd would be sparse because of the cold. It was a good thing I packed light too because I was hit with another obstacle when I arrived. It seems there was a festival the night before and some of the setup equipment was left behind. They had to move me to another location but it was not a big deal since I had so little stuff.


Even though it was an inconvenience to move, I didn't complain. I just went where they told me to and made the best of it. Several other people that had to move did nothing but complain. In the end I sold just as much in this location as I did in the other location. When I went to leave at the end of the day, the director stopped me and thanked me for not complaining. It seems I was the only one who accepted the change without complaining. Because I was in a new location, I got to meet several new people who I normally wouldn't see or talk to. See there was a positive side to this.


The day started out a little slow though because it was 32 degrees. I used the slow time to walk around and meet some of the people in the area. I did a little window shopping too. I wasn't there to buy anything so I just looked. One of the booths had some nice paintings. I noticed that there weren't any prices on his art though. Do you know that saying "If you have to ask, you probably can't afford it?" Well it is true at the market. If the prices aren't on the items, chances are they are expensive. If you have to ask, don't bother asking. Good advice for many things in life.


They changed the service time on me today. Caught off guard yet again. I hate getting caught off guard. I forgot about the change so we will just be spending the day together at home. Good thing I made that nice warm fire. If only I could get warnings or advance notice for things like this I wouldn't get caught off guard again.


This morning I was reading Matthew 25 about the coming of the Son of man. Lots of people are worried about this. People are worried because there is no tag that says "this is it, the end is near" The Bible says "you will know without a doubt. Just like asking what the price was for those expensive items, if you have to ask, you already know the answer...... This isn't it. He isn't going to slip in and just be here. It will be so spectacular that we will know. There will be no doubt.

I do want to be ready though. He will come when we least expect it and without warning. Like a thief in the night. I am sure if we knew the exact moment He would arrive everyone would be ready. But we don't so we better get ready now. Tomorrow may be too late. Now I have to go out into the cold and chop some wood. I wasn't ready but I am getting there. And as for chopping wood on Sunday........ Didn't someone say; If your mule is in the ditch, get him out? I wish I could remember where I read that.




Have a great Sunday,

Greg

Friday, November 21, 2008

The leader of the band

Thursday was exasperating for me. I traveled to Columbia with three co-workers for some company training. The training itself was good but several people in the class were very annoying. One particular person did nothing but complain and try to find fault with the system. He had a "this will never work" attitude and it was all I could do to keep my mouth shut. I think nothing sets me off faster than a bad attitude. I guess because it is totally unnecessary.



Not only was he disrupting the class but he was doing it in a way so as to try to get others on his side. I really think he felt that he was speaking for the entire class when he was whining. He did manage to get two others complaining but the rest of the class and the instructors were just aggravated. I could feel myself getting close to saying something so I just began cutting up whenever he was talking. My co-workers and I would just go off on our own little tangent and totally ignore him when he spoke. The funny thing is that this job was totally voluntary and we all had to fight to get it but obviously he just isn't satisfied no matter where he is.



I did get to see two old friends and leave a note for a third. So the trip was not a total loss. Now I have a new dilemma. I will be going back to this building for more training in the future and all three people I know who work there have said for me to call and let them know next time I am coming so we can have lunch together. Now I have to make sure they are all good friends so it isn't awkward.



The best part of my day though was when I got back to Charleston. Last night was my youngest son's first band concert. He has been playing trumpet for only two months and it is obvious to us that he has lots of musical talent. In addition to the trumpet, he also plays the guitar. My wife and I both played in the band but we were just average. It was so great to see him in concert. I used to play the trumpet as well and I am sure he will be better than I was. Check out his concert by clicking HERE. He would love some visitors and comments.

Have a great Friday,
Greg

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

15 Random things I'm not afraid to admit

Hey I stole this from My ADHD Me but don't tell her. Here are 15 random things about me that I am not afraid to admit. Actually if I were afraid to admit them then I just wouldn't list them. So you will never see a post that says 15 random things I am afraid to admit. If I did, it would just be a blank page. Enough already, let me get to them.

1. I took two years of German in high school but I can only say two or three things. I am however available to accompany you to Germany and when asked I can tell the waiter that you don't like bratwurst and that we aren't from here. I had to take a foreign language and the only other language open was Spanish. I didn't think it would be of any use to speak Spanish. Who knew.

2. My father was one of the first lifeguards on Daytona beach. When he was a lifeguard, on a good day he would have 15 or 20 people on the beach. Now they have 15 or 20 thousand. When I was young, we would go to the lifeguard parties on the beach. Talk about wild parties. They would initiate the new lifeguards and after seeing what they went through I decided not to become one.

3.Our highschool band went all the way from Florida to California just to be in the Rose Bowl Parade. I got sick the morning of the parade and had to stay behind. Just my luck, so close and yet so far away. We were staying in the UCLA dormitories and after the band and band parents left, the place got wild. Even though I missed that parade, I did get to play at an Atlanta Falcons football game and I played in the parade at both Disney World and Disney Land. Not many people can say that.

4. I once went skinny dipping in Barbados. We were at a club right on the water and it was late. There were just Navy guys at the bar and we knew everyone there. A couple of us decided to go for a swim. The water looked great, it was dark and we had been out to sea for two months. So we got just outside the club,undressed and ran the 25 ft to the ocean and dove in. When we turned around guess what we discovered? There was a second floor to the club and it wasn't full of Navy men. It was full of women and couples. The other thing we discovered was that the light from the club was still bright enough to see once you got away from the club. Oops. We were young and foolish.

5. I originally wanted to be a forest ranger when I grew up. I found out that there was no money in it so I changed occupations. Then I was going to be an architect but I thought there was no money in that either so I went in the Navy. I saw those commercials that said, Go Navy, see the world. I did get to see some places like Barbados but mostly I saw grey machinery. Actually I went to Italy, Scotland, Canada, the Bahamas and I saw the lights of Cuba.

6. One of my ancestors came over on the Mayflower. That's the good news. The bad news is he was an indentured servant. We were slaves when slavery wasn't cool. Sorry that was bad. But the truth is we were. What can I say.



7. As I said I was born and raised in Florida. I am actually a third generation Floridian. We were referred to as Florida Crackers. Back then it was ok to be called a cracker. I guess you could say I was cracker when cracker was cool.

Ok insert seventh inning stretch here. Everyone stand up and sing "Take me out to the ballgame."

8. My parents were Democrats. There I said it, now hate me. My father and I used to cook fish-Fry's for various fund raisers. Once we cooked for the Florida Democratic party and Governor Burns showed up. I cooked for a Democratic Governor. OH the shame of it all. We cooked for Jimmy Carter too but he didn't show up. I bet he wanted to come but the secret service diverted him.

9. I saw Gary Lewis and the Playboys in concert. And yes they sang "This Diamond Ring" and "Everybody Loves a Clown." Talk about a rock concert......Not. But the price was right. Free. That was in Wisconsin. On the same trip I also tried my hand at ice skating on Lake Geneva. I guess I should say I sprained my hand instead of tried it. Who knew ice could be so hard. I didn't mind falling. The embarrassing part was when little kids began skating circles around me while I tried to get up.

10. When I was in Italy, they were offering us a free trip to some place called Pompeii. I passed on that trip. Who wants to see some place that makes pom poms anyway? I never was good at geography or history.

11. I love California. I spent some time there when I was in the Navy. The first time I went to San Fransisco I was 19. I was walking down the street by Fisherman's Wharf and there was a woman walking in front of me. I thought; wow these California Girls are tall. About that time the girl stopped and turned and I thought.... And she could use a shave too. I lived a sheltered life growing up in Florida.

12. I have a hair phobia. I am not sure why that is. I can sympathize with cats who get those fur balls in their throat and then get sick. If I get a hair in my mouth, I do the same thing. If I see a hair in my food I won't eat it. I don't care if it is mine. One hair, the food goes in the trash. The same goes for bugs. Bug + food= trash. Enough said, I am getting sick here.


13. Speaking of food, my most favorite dish is lasagna. Who am I kidding, I love food. I love to eat. I live to eat. I need to diet.


14. I sometimes bite off more than I can chew. Take this post for instance. I thought it would be easy but I have started it several times and each time I run out of steam and have to quit. Am I that dull that I can't find 15 things to talk about? Hello is anyone still with me? Wake up people.


15. Yea I made it. Ok for those who are still here, I have a confession. I have a deep dark family secret that one day I will shock the world with. Well at least my blog readers may be shocked. No one else will probably care. Well maybe some people would but it won't be earth shattering. It is something that I have kept to myself for many years. A few other family members know about it but the outside the family world is clueless. It is based on fact with a few theories thrown in but I know that my hunch is right on the money.

Well that is about all I have to say for now. It sure is cold here today considering we are in global warming mode.

Have a great day,
Greg

Monday, November 17, 2008

Road Trip

Well I am back. I bet you didn't even miss me. Sunday morning my oldest son and I went on a road trip.




We went to visit a college that his is interested in. Here is a hint as to which one it was.




The weather was great for traveling. It was cool and clear and traffic was light. There was however a lot of traffic going the other way on Sunday. Saturday night was a big game for the Tigers and they beat Duke in Football. My son isn't interested in going there for the football but he does like the team. We stayed in a nice hotel in Anderson which was on Clemson Blvd. The same road goes by the college so it made it easy to get there this morning. Not much else happened. We did have a nice dinner last night at Applebees and then got a good night sleep.

This morning, we had a great free continental breakfast at the hotel and then we had an interview at the college. My son is still a junior in high school and they were impressed at how motivated he is. The counselor said that she doesn't get a lot of juniors who actually come to visit and speak with them. After we spoke with her, we visited with the head of the agricultural department and he also was impressed. This afternoon we simply drove home. This is the view from our hotel room. The leaves were still changing there but with 20's expected tonight they should all be gone by the end of the week.





Sorry there isn't more to report on but that about did it for the weekend. I hope everyone else had a good one. I am tired so I will visit all your blogs in the morning.

Have a great week,
Greg

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Weekend Update

Wow so much to report on so little time. It is 5:15 am and I have to get ready for the Market but I think have just enough time for a quick post. So here goes;

I went with the hotdog sales idea for Good Neighbor Fund. Like anyone thought I would have selected one of the other options. And I am happy to say it was a huge success. The odds were stacked against me for several reason. The last person who was in charge of GNF used to schedule these fund raisers and then forget about them and the people finally gave up on them. I guess they had more faith in me though because lots of people participated. I had 3/4 of the plant workers buy hotdogs. Reason two for failure was that there was a class going on at the plant yesterday and they decided to go out to lunch instead of supporting my cause. No biggie I still did well.

The third thing going against me was that I didn't start advertising until Wednesday afternoon. The reason was that we had another benefit lunch on Wednesday and I wanted to wait until that one was done so that I didn't take from his fund raiser. His was for a local family who recently lost their son in the War in Iraq. I think we all know someone touched by this war.

The management team was impressed though and they were happy with the results. In addition to the money I raised some people brought in toys for the cause. That makes me happy because I don't like to shop. Next week I will host another dinner and then go out and shop. This was a come from behind win for the GNF. And speaking of come from behind, does anyone recognize this beauty:




That's right its Secretariat. You know the Triple Crown winner. Well here is some gossip for you. Yesterday on my way to work, I was driving not far from my house and saw something in the road ahead. It was something big, really big. I immediately locked my doors just in case it was a robber or an alien. It turned out be a horse that had gotten free. It was running down the road. I tried to catch it but it wouldn't let me so I coaxed it off into a church property to get it off the road. It stayed in that area for about 4 hours until the owner finally realized it was gone and went out and found it. Well I hate dropping names but can you guess who this horse was related to? You guessed it, Secretariat. Turns out this horse is a direct descendant of the famed race horse. Now I can say I know royalty.

Today is trash pickup day on Wadmalaw. If any locals are reading this, Please join Pat at the 4-way stop on Bears Bluff Rd to clean our highway. My wife and I have to work so she already did several miles of the road earlier this week. I think the meeting time is 9 am. How's that for a public service announcement?

Have a great Saturday,
Greg

Friday, November 14, 2008

No IF's AND's or But's

Have you noticed how many people are praying these days? People who never used to pray or at least were never outspoken about prayer are now vocal about it. I guess it could just be that they kept it to themselves. I remember back at my last place of employment when I put on a luncheon for the people who worked for me. I invited the support group to joins us as well. Before the meal, I said the blessing. After I finished one of the ladies said; “Way to go Greg, I never knew you could pray like that.” I can't believe she said that. Anyway, people are praying these days much more than they used to. I guess it is a sign of the times.

We start our little town meetings with a prayer. An elderly black gentleman usually does the honors. I like his prayers because they are so inspiring. He starts out with grand descriptions of God, then asks God for his blessing on the meeting, thanks him for the blessings he has given us and then gives a short ending.

At the last meeting though, he was caught off guard. Usually there are 5 to 10 people at the town meetings. However the other night, due to the topics being discussed, there were about 100 people there. This man arrived late and opened the door to see a full house. Because he was late, they started the meeting the minute he arrived at the front table and they immediately asked him to say the prayer. Normally he gets there early enough to sit and gather his thoughts before being asked to speak.

This is how it went:

Oh Precious Heavenly Father, Creator of all the universe, Master from the beginning of time, Wonderful giver of life, Ruler of man, All knowing, and ever present, Forgiver of sins and our eternal God. (big pause) In his blessed name we pray, Amen.

My son looked over at me and gave me that confused look like he missed something.
It reminded me of the time I went to subway and ordered my favorite sandwich at the drive through. When I got where I was going, I opened my package to see the sandwich I love. It was golden brown on the top and smelled wonderful. I bit right in and began eating. I was about half finished when I noticed that something was missing. There was no meat in the sandwich. I have to tell you though that it still tasted pretty good without the meat. I felt the same about his prayer. Even though he never said anything in the middle, the beginning and ending were great so it didn’t matter.

In addition to hearing a lot of people talk about praying, I have heard a lot of people say that their prayers haven’t been answered. Now I know not ALL people are saying this but some are. I thought maybe with this rush of prayers, God is overloaded. No, that’s not it. He can handle the volume. Then I thought maybe people are just saying bad prayers. I mean the first time I tried to ride a bicycle I did some things wrong and maybe a few of you are too. Now before you start gathering stones hear me out. And no I am not by any means an expert on praying but there are a few “don’ts” when it comes to praying. Just remember;

No if’s and’s or but’s.

If’s

If you are putting IF’s into your prayers you may be messing up. IF’s are usually used when we are in a jam and we want out so we are willing to cut a deal.
God IF you will just get me out of the speeding ticket, I will promise to go to church every Sunday and put money in the collection plate. From what I know, God doesn’t make deals like that. Again I am no expert but I think I am right on this issue. Agreeing do so something IF God will do something for you won’t get your prayer moved up on His to-do list.

And’s

Now when we were young, “and’s” were ok because we were young and thought small. I remember saying my prayers; Bless Mommy AND Daddy AND Brother AND Sister AND Grandma AND Fido AND Kitty AND……… I just realized that most kids are taught to start their prayers with Bless Mommy and Daddy. I never realized that but parents have a racket going on there.

Too many “And’s” can soften a prayer.

If you are asking God for something then there should be something that you really want or need. This is not a congressional bill so adding little things on as riders won’t work. God is not going to answer your prayer to give you inner peace and throw in a new car. Nice try though.

But’s

Adding But’s makes it a “my way or no way” prayer. For example. God help me get out of this financial situation BUT I want to keep everything that I own. Or God I can’t take this pressure at work BUT I want to keep my job or get a better one. People what to God to help them out but they want it their way. This isn’t Burger King. This is "The King" you are taking to.

I hope these pointers helped a few of you out. And speaking of being taught how to pray. I am reminded of this story:

A mother was teaching her very young daughter how to pray. She was teaching her the Lord’s Prayer. After reading it to her daughter the little girl asked why God had so many names. Confused, the mother asked what she meant. The girl said. Is God’s name; Art, Hal or Ed? Still confused the mother asked what she meant by that. The little girl said; “Well you just said Our father who is “Art” in heaven and “Hal” or “Ed” be thy name.” So which is it?

Have a blessed day and keep smiling and praying,
Greg

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sign sign everywhere a sign

I know some of your remember that song. It was by the Five Man Electrical Band. I wonder what ever became of them. But this post isn't about music. It's all about signs.


One of the big no-no’s discussed at that town hall meeting the other night was the use of signs. For some reason the people of our great island are opposed to signs. They of course were directing this complaint toward one person who just happened to be the owner of the winery. It was just one of many complaints that the planning board heard from the good citizens of Wadmalaw.

The person leading the discussion objected to the winery signs because they are “not part of the natural scenery of the island.” However there are lots of other signs on the same road which also are ‘not part of the natural scenery’ and no one complained about them. It was obvious to me that the real complaint isn’t about signs at all. However after giving it some thought, I agree that it would be great not to see any signs at all on our “natural” island. In the letter that I sent to the planning board today, I countered the complaint with a few sign complaints of my own.

So on my way home today I took note of the signs that I saw wondering how these same people would feel if we took them down as well. That is what they were asking for anyway and I aim to please.

The first sign on our island is an advertisement sign for a benefit 5k Run this weekend. No since beating around the bush, let’s get rid of it. Next I came to the speed limit sign. People don’t follow them anyway so take it down. The directional sign at the fork in the road…….Who needs it. Our island is only 40 square miles so anyone could drive the entire island in a few hours.

At the fork there were also business signs, political signs still up after the election and a huge land for sale sign. It has been there for several years and the complainer at the meeting mentioned that one particular winery sign had been up for two weeks. Two years is a lot worse than two weeks. Take them down I say. Now we are getting natural aren’t we? Up around the corner was a happy 40th birthday sign which is totally unnecessary. I wasn’t invited anyway. Watch out here comes the intersection where the stop sign is. It is going to be dangerous without that sign.

I counted over two hundred signs on our street alone. It is 7 miles long though. Now that all the signs are gone, everyone should be happy. Only one more block to go and I think we will have them all, Oh I see one more and yes it has to go too. A sign is a sign and according the planning board all signs are bad.



Hey I don’t make the rules. I just abide by them. There is everyone happy now? The truth is there were only 4 very small signs that said “winery” and had a small arrow showing which direction to go. There are thousands of other signs on the island so what is the big deal about the winery signs? We are back to “they have and I want.” No one complained when they weren’t making any money. Now that they are, everyone wants a piece of the pie. But what’s wrong with that anyway. It’s ok to want what your neighbor has isn’t it?

“You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” I mean 9 out of 10 isn’t bad…….

Be careful what you ask for or wish for. You just may get it.

Have a great day,
Greg

You are what you eat.



I don’t really know where that expression came from. I understand the concept and in part it is true. There is a guy that does the TV show Man vs Wild where he eats all kinds of dirty things and he "appears" to be healthy. So are bugs and dead animals really good for you? If you broke them down to proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals you would find out that the basic foods he is eating are the same as the ones normal people eat they are just in a different form. I will stick to my good old steak, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy. No worms are going in my mouth. At least not willingly or knowingly.

This morning, I read that the opposite is also true. You are what you don’t eat. Now that’s a strange statement isn’t it? Said a different way that is; what comes out of your mouth and not what goes into it determine what you are made of. Who the heck said something so crazy and what does it mean? Well our bodies are basically fuel burning machines. No matter what we eat, it comes out the same. Ewwww I know gross thought isn’t it. However we can determine and control what we say. Many times we are judged by other people simply by what we say. Someone else always judges us by what we say.

Last night I attended another town meeting. The things people said there amazed me. There were so many lies being told that I expected a bolt of lightning to hit the building at any second. Thankfully that didn’t happen. At times I had trouble keeping quiet though because I knew some of the things being said were so untrue. I decided not to get into it though and just listened and let everyone vent. There is an old proverb that says; Never argue with a fool. People may get confused as to who is who.” I know it will all become evident in the light of day. This morning, I wrote a long letter to the town council expressing my feelings. I am still waiting on a reply. They may be waiting by my home to ambush me.

As for the statement above, any guesses who said; “What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.'" Anyone, anyone, anyone.......Kelly is that you raising your hand? Patrice, do you have an answer? Anyone anyone.


Have a great day,
Greg

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

Veterans Day means a lot to me. I really appreciate all that our service men and women do for us and want to say thank you to all of them. It makes me angry to hear people talk about what they do like it means nothing. In today's world, freedom comes with a price and there are those out there who really don't appreciate what they have. They cut down our nation and complain and gripe about how bad things but the truth is we have it pretty good. No we have it great. I have been to other countries and see real poverty and am thankful that God allowed me to be born in this country where we have so much.

Our preacher touched on this subject this past Sunday and I realized that it was true. Those of us who were fortunate enough to be born in this great country need to get on our knees and thank God for allowing us to be here. Then we need to rise up and thank our service men and women for allowing us to remain here and enjoy the freedom that we have. So today I challenge you to go out and find someone who has defended you or is still defending you and thank them for their sacrifices. No not me.

And lets not forget about the families who support our service men and women back home. When I was in the Navy, my wife took care of things at home and I know it was no piece of cake for her. She not only had to take care of things at home but she had to also worry about what was happening to me. She took care of my Daughter like she was her own and I can never thank her enough for that.

Check out my beard. :)



This is me, my Grandmother(Green) and my brother at his boot came graduation. I know Grandma Green was very proud of us.



This is me reenlisting on board the USS Vallejo. In addition to the Vallejo, I also served on the USS Richard B Russell, the USS Von Steuben, The USS Daniel Boone and the USS Kentucky. I did some calculations and I have spent about 8 years of my life actually under water. I guess I am a true "Squid" :)




I remember my retirement day like it was yesterday. I held it on the pier beside the USS Kentucky.I remember being so proud and then a little let down because I was leaving the Navy behind. On the drive in to the base that morning, there were protesters outside the base gate and it really made me angry that they were protesting on my day. They were protesting against me not realizing that I did it for them. In other countries they would be shot for protesting against the government. It was so ironic. Some day they may no longer have the freedom to protest.


Have a great day and thank a service member for it.

Greg

Monday, November 10, 2008

So many options so little time.

Ok so I got these hotdogs and don’t know what to do with them. First off, they are frozen and have never been thawed so they are still good. Eventually my 11 year old would eat them or his kids would eat them once he grows up and has some so they won’t go to waste. I just hate taking up all that room in my freezer for hotdogs. So I have come up with a few ideas of what to do. Let me just toss them out and let you decide what to do.

First off Thanksgiving is just around the corner and since we are cutting back just like everyone else is (or should be hint hint) I could always serve them for Thanksgiving dinner. At first I had this great idea of blending them up and trying to form them into something that resembled a turkey but after I got that image in my head I got sick to my stomach.

Then I thought about serving them just like they are but the best part of the Thanksgiving dinner is in my opinion the stuffing and I don’t know how to stuff a hot dog. I could always get one of those turkey basters and blend the stuffing into a mush and try to force it inside the dogs. Again this didn’t sound too appealing.

How about something like a standing rib roast but instead of ribs I line the dogs up around a pan and make something creative like that. I can just imagine serving a lovely dish like that to my guests and hearing the applaud as I presented the masterpiece. But what would go with a special entree like this? Perhaps tater tots, Doctor Pepper and Moon Pies. Just another great idea floating around in my head.

Of course there is always po mans surf and turf. You know; fish sticks and hot dogs. Two great treats that go great together. The best thing about this dish is you just have to put one big glob of ketchup in the middle of the plate and you can use it for both dishes. The second great thing about this dish is that you can use your fingers to eat it. No after dinner cleanup if you use paper plates. And rounding out the reasons this dish is so good is you can serve it with French fries and use the ketchup for all three. This is truly finger licking good.

Then I got this crazy idea but it really way out there. I could sell hot dogs at work. No, it’s not for my own profit but to raise money for GNF. That’s Good Neighbor Fund which incidentally I am taking over as of this morning. Last night it dawned on me that the woman who used to head the GNF up at our plant transferred about two months ago. Since she left, no one has stepped up to the plate to take over so I decided to do it myself. And to kick things off, this Friday I will be selling hotdogs to raise money for the charity. What the fund does is raise money and collect toys during the holidays. It is similar to Toys for Tots. Then we include them with Christmas baskets that are handed out in our community.

So which of the above ideas do you all like? If anyone picks the formed turkey you will be obligated to have Thanksgiving dinner at our house and enjoy the meal with us. And yes you WILL have seconds because there won’t be any leftovers.

Have a wonderful day,
Greg

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Big disappointment.

Hot dogs anyone? We were expecting a big crowd at the winery for the Blessing of the vines but People just didn't show up. We had some people but only about half as many as the summer festival. So now we have lots and lots of hot dogs. The weather was just about perfect so that wasn't the reason for the sparse crowd. I guess the economy has everyone scared. This mountain of hot dogs has me scared. Not really, I do have a plan. I will tell you more if I am able to pull it off.



The BBQ people next to us didn't do well either. They also brought bottled water but they were selling it for $2.00 a bottle and we just couldn't do that to people so we kept our price at $1.00. Once people found this out, they came to us for water. At the end of the day, we barely broke even so we didn't get rich like we planned.



This morning I got up early and went out and got a cup of coffee. I felt I earned it by working all day Saturday. After I got the coffee I went down to the local boat landing and watched the sunrise. The weather was again just about perfect and the sunrise was spectacular. After the sunrise, I came back home and fixed breakfast for everyone. Then we headed out to church. Today's service was titled "How to be rich". The first thing the preacher said though cracked most of us up. He said, I am not going to tell you how to get rich, just how to be rich. It was a great sermon and the point was that most of us don't realize just how well off we are. There will always be someone with more money than I have but I bet they don't have more hotdogs. :)



So let me leave you with the sunrise as seen from Wadmalaw Island. The first two pictures are of Church creek and the rest were taken at the boatlanding.Even though Saturday was a disappointment, this sunrise made up for it.























Have a great day,
Greg