Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lost in the Fog

Did you ever have one of those light bulb moments? When all of the little independent thoughts finally align and out of it comes a common theme or idea. Such a moment occurred for me this morning as I busily got ready for work. Ironically this came at a opportune moment and fell in line with what I planned on posting today. I will tell you more about the idea that came to me at the end of this post so let me get right to my story for the day.

We had a boat when I was growing up. It was a 21ft “Classic” with a 115hp Mercruiser engine. It sat beside the house under the chinaberry tree because there wasn’t room in our garage with all of Dad’s “treasures” in there. Because of this, it usually took a day of cleaning to get it ready to use. We only used it a few times a year and more time was spent cleaning and repairing it than fishing in it. If you are a boat owner, you know that the worst thing you can do to a boat is not use it. Ours was no exception. It was prone to breaking down.

When we did use it, the usual destination was out in the ocean. We never went alone though because of the possibility of breaking down. We always went with several of my Dad’s friends who also had boats. There was safety in numbers he would say and if one boat broke down someone else could get that person home. That “person” was usually us and I can remember being towed home on more than one occasion.

This one particular trip sticks in my memory because it was different than the others. It was a calm morning without a bit of wind. We headed out on the long drive to the inlet with boat in tow. The heavy boat caused Dad’s Bronco to sway and jerk as we drove through the dark streets. At 5 am, there was no traffic on the road other than a few dedicated fishermen and Dad would curse each time we caught a red light and go over his reasoning of why he hated traffic lights when there was no traffic. We arrived at the boat landing still in the dark and began the difficult process of unloading the boat.

Dad didn’t trust the emergency brake on his Bronco with good reason because it had let us down in the past so I placed a large block of wood behind one of the tires. Then we all assembled at the boat and pushed with all our might and got the boat off the trailer. There were three friends that went with us that day and they arrived and launched their boats as well. The inlet was just around the bend and soon we were at the sea buoy about to head out.

I had never seen the ocean as calm as it was on that day. There was still no wind at all and the surface of the ocean looked like a mirror. There was however a thick fog hanging just off shore and it was moving in slowly and getting thicker by the minute. My father and his friends discussed the fog and calm and were deciding where they wanted to try going. Usually we stayed in close to shore, only venturing out less than 10 miles. At that distance, on a clear day, we could still see shore which was comforting because back in those days we only had a compass and a chart to navigate with. There were no GPS’ or cell phones and we couldn’t afford a radar or depth finder . These days no one would dare venture out in the ocean with only a compass and a chart.

Based on the sea state, my father and his friends decided to head out to a place called “The Party Grounds”. I had heard of it but never been there myself. I was excited but a little frightened as well since it was 25 miles off shore and I had never been that far out. The Party Grounds was a “hot” fishing spot where according to the stories, everyone caught fish. It was deeper than where we usually fished so we were expecting to catch Red Snapper and Grouper in addition to your usual Black Sea Bass.

We headed out at full speed. It was really spooky since we were basically running blind in the fog. I don’t know how fast we were going because we also had no speedometer on any of the boats. We simply went by the compass heading and hoped that the fog would lift before we got to the fishing spot. After a long time, somewhat over an hour, the fog did lift. The ocean was still glassy and way up ahead, I spied a small flag attached to a buoy. Right on target I thought and we headed for the flag and began to fish.

The first thing I noticed was that it was much deeper than I expected. Dad said that was to be expected at this reef but after he dropped his line, he said the same thing. We guessed it was about 100 ft deep but our chart said that it was supposed to be around 70 ft at The Party Grounds. And where were the other boats I kept asking. Dad said that the fog probably kept them inshore but he expected to see some on their way out soon. We caught a few fish but nothing like I expected. Around 11 we decided to head in because we knew that it would be a long ride back. The wind was picking up too and we wanted to get in get in before it got rough. There were still only the 4 of us fishing at this spot.

It was still calm enough to go fast so we went in at full throttle. After about 30 minutes of driving, up ahead there appeared a multitude of boats. There must have been 50 of them fishing in one particular area. As we got closer, we noticed that there were several buoys in the area marked with a number that corresponded to The Party Grounds. The fog was so thick when we were heading out that we crossed right over the reef without seeing the buoys. We were lost without even knowing it. Looking at the chart, there was another reef at 35 miles and this must have been where we ended up.

Lessons learned:

It is easy to get lost when driving in the fog. Without a final destination in sight we often miss our mark and end up someplace that we don’t expect. I drove around in the fog for a long time but now I can see my final destination and will keep it in sight. My advice is this: Stay out of the fog. Once you are engulfed by the fog it is hard to find your way out. Keep in the light and focus on your future and where you want to go. If you find that things are getting foggy for you, stop and wait for the fog to lift. I now carry my cell phone, a radio, and two GPS’ in addition to a compass when I go out in the ocean. I also have a dept finder so I can see what is below me. If I get lost in the fog on my lifelong journey, I have The Bible and the word of God to direct me. I am focusing on my final destination. Have I gotten soft or just smarter? What do you think?

Ok now for my light bulb idea. I have been trying to work on my book and keep getting distracted. I have decided to take some of what I have been writing on this blog and expand it a little to go into my book. These stories of my childhood will be chapters in my book so you are getting an early glimpse of my book by reading these stories. There will be some modifications for the final project but the theme will be the same: Life with my Father. So what do you think?

Have a great day (if there is any left after reading this long post)
Greg

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Up around the bend


Do you ever wonder what is up around the bend? Do you ever sit and ponder what lies ahead in your life? I do. Sometimes I wish I knew what tomorrow will bring but then after I give it some thought I realize that it is best not to know. I mean it could be something bad and I would hate to waste today thinking about something bad that was going to happen tomorrow. I think most people would agree. This is especially true since it is such a nice day today. Instead we live our lives for today and wait for that “tomorrow train” to arrive. But like any train ride, we have to be ready for it. Tomorrow will be here soon enough and if we are not ready then it might just pass us by. Also we want to make sure the train we are waiting for is the right one.

“Wrong station”
The other day, I was driving home after a day’s work, taking an alternate route through a bad part of town and I stopped at a stoplight. Ahead I saw a young woman walking my way. She was smiling and waving at all the cars passing by. She was dressed in a pink skin tight body suit with high heels and a fur coat. I hate to judge people by the way they are dressed or act but I could tell that this girl had a very old profession and was busy working. A police car with its blue lights on slipped up behind her and honked the horn. The girl spun around with a big smile on her face and her hand waiving until she noticed who it was. I could see the expression on her face change and she started for a second to turn and run. I felt sorry for her and her lifestyle and wondered how she got in her present situation. She looked to be only in her teens or possibly low twenties. The nice police officer took her to the station but I bet it wasn’t the train station.
“Wrong direction”
An old co-worker of mine was telling about his heart attack one day. He tends to be a smart (you know what) and is always running his mouth in a crude manner. After having a heart attack, he was taken to a hospital where they immediately began open heart surgery. While he was on the operating table, he was technically pronounced dead twice. By this, I mean his heart stopped and they had to shock him to start it again. When he was telling the story, he said: “you know that stuff about seeing a bright light is a bunch of garbage. I died twice and didn’t see any light” I quickly replied: “maybe the light was behind you and you were heading the wrong way” There is an old proverb that says “Many a truth is said in jest”
"Right train"

So are you getting on the right train? They all leave from the same station but some are heading north while others are heading south. There is nothing worse than hearing “Next stop Chicago” when we thought we were heading for Orlando Florida. If we get on the wrong one, we might find ourselves saying: “We should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque”. Personally, I am waiting on the Glory Train and letting that long black train pass me by. So what train are you waiting on? Are you ready or are you still waiting to buy that ticket? Don’t be left out in the cold. It’s just around the bend.

Have a great day,
Greg

Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday update

Well we made it through another weekend. To tell the truth is was a great one despite the weather. Lots of good things happened. Here they are:

We voted.
We got DSL.
We went to dinner and had a nice meal.
We got some work done around the house.
I finished repairs on my boat and the test run went great.
We had a great service in Church.
I fixed home made chicken soup.
The family is all happy and healthy.

I am sure there is lots more but I don't want to bore you. I have a great post for Tuesday. It will be funny but also contain a hidden meaning. Don't you just hate that?

Happy Monday,
Greg

Wait hold the phone, I almost forgot. I got a raise this morning after only being here 4 months. ( I was going to say yea me but instead I will say Thank you God. )

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Coffee


I love my coffee. There is nothing like starting the day with a nice hot cup of coffee. Sunday coffee is especially nice though. On Sunday mornings I can sit quietly and enjoy my coffee without all the distractions of the world around me. I can slowly sip it and savor every precious moment. It's just me and my coffee.

I have loved coffee for as long as I can remember. My Grandmother Lottie first let me taste it. Her real name was Carlotta but everyone called her Lottie. I called her Grandma Lottie. She would sit in her tiny kitchen, reading the paper every morning and sip her coffee. She drank it strong and black. She would only make one cup though because she believed in moderation.

On weekends, I would drop by and visit her. She would offer me breakfast but I usually declined because I knew she didn't have much and I didn't want to take what little she had. On mornings that I said yes though, she would make a small batch of pancakes for me. She would make them from scratch and almost never had syrup. Instead she would put a small mound of sugar in the middle of the stack and then add a few spoon fulls of her coffee right out of her cup. Then I would smear it over the pancakes and enjoy. Those were great memories. I really loved Grandma Lottie.

Back then, there wasn't the selection of coffees we have today. Hers was strong,full of flavor and almost overpowering but she liked it that way. Today though, you can get it in any number of ways. From dark rich Colombian to sweet creamy lattes. I still like mine simple but not too heavy. I still sometimes have the the traditional Colombian but I prefer a more modern contemporary coffee. I think coffee is great anyway you serve it.

I gave up coffee for a while. No particular reason, I just thought I would try life without it. Coffee must be really powerful though because when I didn't have it, I craved it every day. I longed to have it back in my life and thought about it all the time. I know I could never live without it. Sometimes when I wake up early and lay in bed, all I think about is coffee. The good thing is coffee is everywhere. If I get up late and miss it at home, I can find it anywhere from the grocery store to the library.

Coffee is in every country too. I doubt if there is any country where coffee can't be found. You may have to look hard in some places because it isn't out where everyone can see it but I know it is still there. Even in countries like China where most people drink tea. coffee is still there. In poor places like Ethiopia there is still coffee. The other day I had Ethiopian coffee by the way and it was good. I just want to say "coffee is good".

On cold winter mornings, there is nothing better than a hot cup of coffee. As you sip it, it enters you and warms you from the inside and before you know it, you are warm all over. As long as I sip it, the cold stays out and I feel warm inside. On hot days I enjoy a glass of ice coffee. Coffee is so refreshing. Coffee is great. Well I have finished my coffee but I want more so let me go get it. I hope you are enjoying your morning coffee.

You could say coffee is a lot like God in every way I mentioned above. Have a great Sunday,

Greg

Thursday, January 24, 2008

How bad do you want it?

Breaking news:

South Carolina is under attack. We survived the first surge of attackers but a second wave is now upon us. No it’s not a foreign country with weapons of mass destruction. This is something more deadly and underhanded. Yes I am talking about politicians and special interest groups. They are invading our homes and lives with a barrage of advertising in hopes of swaying our vote. Fortunatly, in a few days the Democrats will back off just as the Republicans did but be ready. There will be a third round.

The first problem I have with all these ads is the way they say them. “The American people want……” or “We want…….”. They presume that because a group got together with a common interest, all Americans feel the same way. Bad assumption! “We” often don’t agree with their opinion. In many cases “they” are a minority but want you to believe that joining their cause makes you part of a majority so you should jump on the wagon or be left out in the cold. Think for yourselves people and look a little deeper into the issues.

The other night there was an ad saying that “We need to stop the building of all nuclear power plants in the US. There’s that “We” again. The ad said that we should find out which candidate supported this view and vote accordingly. Another ad said that “we no longer need coal plants and should go to renewable energy sources like wind and solar power” Again the ad said to vote accordingly. A third ad said that “we need to cut our dependency on foreign oil” and also mentioned one candidate’s stance on the issue. All these ads centered on saving the environment and making this world a better place to live.

We all want that but how bad do we want it? The only reason the power companies keep making power plants is because people want power. If we cut back on our power usage, then there will be no need to make more plants. The power companies are not going to spend billions of dollars on a new plant if they can’t sell the power. Are you willing to cut back? Would you give up hot showers and substitute a lukewarm shower? Will you push the thermostat up in the summer and down in the winter and live with being a little cold or hot? Will you give up your clothes dryer and hang your clothes on a line to dry them? These things alone would drastically cut back on power consumption.

Does your car get over 35 miles per gallon? If not maybe you should trade it in on an economical small sized car or do you want to keep that SUV because you like the space? Do you have solar panels on your house and a wind turbine in your back yard? Why not? Aren’t you concerned about the environment? These are all things we can do right now. Any of us can do them today. We don’t have to wait for the election to make a change. And you can control these things in your life.

Several candidates say they will “force” the power companies to go to renewable energy sources and do away with coal and nuclear. Who do you think is going to pay for this? That’s right the power companies will have to pass the savings along to the consumer and you can expect your power bill to double. Can you afford that? The candidates can, they are all wealthy. And do you really think a candidate that has ties to the oil industry is really going vote against their personal fortune and cut back? Would you?

So how far are you willing to go to save mother earth? You can act today or wait for the election and hope the new President does the right thing. After all they haven’t let you down in the past…or have they? If you put your faith in the future President you will surely be let down, Instead, put your faith in God and take action yourself.

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.

Psalm 118:8


Have a great day,
Greg

PS I am Greg C and I approved this message. :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Happy Wednesday Everyone

We are having a heat wave today. The weather man said is was 48 this morning when I got up. I tried to watch the news but it was full of bad news and I wanted to start my day out on a positive note so I switched back to the weather channel. Not to dwell on the bad news, but what makes an actor so special that they take top billing over other things that happen in the world. Not to take anything away from them but they are a human being just like the rest of us. I am sure thousands of people died yesterday. Any accidental death is tragic in my book. It's funny how 48 feels so nice after a few days in the 20's. We got more rain this morning too so we are above normal on Wadmalaw Island. No drought here.

I really love the rain. It is so cleansing. And speaking of cleansing, I finished book #1. Yea me. Ok I know I am a slow reader. I enjoyed Genesis although there was a lot of violence and adult content. On to Exodus. Sorry no fishing today. You know you can't fish in the rain. :) Wow I rambled this morning. Sorry

Have a great day,
Greg

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Will Power

As I slip and slide on my trail to having a better body, I decided to take a look at where I have been and where I am going. Up until I was a junior in high school, I was short and plump or “husky” as my mother used to say. No sense sugar coating it. I was fat. Then sometime during that year, I began growing taller and before I knew it, I was almost 6 ft tall and hadn’t gained an ounce. I was also in great shape and was finally satisfied with my body and knew this was where I would stay for the rest of my life. Yea right!

Now fast forward to the present day. I Have since grown a half inch taller and put on a few pounds. Ok maybe a few more than a few. I am now overweight again. I have tried everything in the book to lose weight too. Most things work to some degree but it all comes down to will power. The basic answer to my or anyone’s weight problem is simple. ”Eat less”. I can use whatever excuses I want but eating more got me where I am today so eating less is what will get me back to where I was. I don’t need a GPS with a track back feature to figure this one out.

Over the years I have tried every diet plan known to man from Weight Watchers to the grapefruit diet. I did lose with many of the plans that I tried but in the end I gained all the weight back and then some. I put some of the blame on advertising because everywhere I look these days I see an ad for food. We humans no longer eat to live, we live to eat. And most of the TV advertising is on right at dinner time. But most of the blame lies with me. I got myself into this mess so I have to get myself out. I even came up with my own diet and it did work…for a while.

Greg’s Alphabet Diet:

It is really simple. The basis for this plan is variation. It is designed so that you eat a variety of foods. In theory and with moderation and a little common sense, it will work. You go through the alphabet one letter per day and you have to eat what starts with your daily letter. For instance, day one is the letter A so you eat something that starts with A like apples. Day two is B so you eat something like bananas. Day three is C so something like Cabbage. Some letters are tougher than others like Y or Z but then if you like Yak or Zebra you can make out pretty well on those days. I started out pretty good on my own diet. After all, I invented it so I wanted to make it work. The first time through the alphabet I did well and lost weight.

Round two came and I was getting more hungry by the day. No, starving is a better word for it. I began getting creative. Instead of eating Apples I had “A” Mc muffen. Pertty clever huh? On B day, I was out of bananas so I headed to town for more. That’s when I saw the sign. After sitting at a red light for what seemed like an eternity I realized that they had just what I needed inside. After all, it was B day and anything that started with a B was on my diet. I went inside and placed my order. I will have a #2 with a coke please. Oh and make it “B”iggie sized. Well that covered my B.

Things went downhill from there. Cheating became a part of my diet and I would have things like Cup of ice cream on my C day, and Dutch apple pie on D day. E day was easy. “Everything” was on my diet. And so I failed at yet another diet. I don’t recommend the Alphabet diet unless you have tons of will power.

So I have discovered that any diet is nothing more than a crutch. I mean some give you good meals and diet suggestions but each is just an “aid” for “eating less”. I am not saying anything good or bad about diets. Everyone is different and everyone responds differently to different diet approaches. Some people enjoy the meetings and some like the prescribed pills. I know what works for me....Nothing short of eating less. So here is my plan.

I am going to stay away from the TV and those dinner-time food commercials. I am going to eat healthy and in moderation. I am going to exercise and get back into shape. In a nutshell, I am going to make my body a temple. I am asking for strength daily after my morning reading because I know that only I can make myself thinner. I am going to ask God for help daily and my blog friends for support. So who is with me? Any and all prayers or words of encouragement will be accepted.

Have a great day,
Greg

PS: I am working on a prune, grapefruit and cabbage diet if anyone is interested. It is not only guaranteed to make you lose weight but also friends, family and your dignity. :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

It's official

That's right. It's official. No doubt about it. It's cold. Really cold. Being From Florida, anything less than freezing is cold but this is really cold. The thermometer said 23 this morning. This was verified when I went out to the greenhouse and the wet grass crunched below my feet. I had to light the heater in the greenhouse this morning because I knew the kids would be sleeping in and the fire would go out completely.

The kids have the day off. It is MLK day. We have to work here at this company as many people do. I hope UPS is working. I am expecting a package. I am posting about willpower tomorrow so please tune it. See you then.

Have a great day,
Greg

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What a night

Last night, I took my son to Kim's Japanese steak house. We both love it but my wife and youngest son don't care for it so the two of us went alone. The problem with going there with only one or two people is that you get seated with people you don't know. This could be good or bad though but you are really at the mercy of the hostess.

We didn't do very well last night. We were seated between a seemingly nice couple and a family of 5 including three small children. When we first arrived, the small child beside me was crying and I almost asked for another table. We decided to ride it out though. He finally calmed down after his parents counted to three about a dozen times. Once he sat back down, I noticed he was sniffling and he began sneezing so I am sure I will get sick.

About two thirds of the way through dinner the nice man beside my son began coughing and sneezing too. It seems that he was allergic to shrimp and he was having an attack since his steak was cooked on the same surface as our shrimp. I am sure the 8 bottles of Sake didn't help much either. Anyway, he went out for some fresh air but still looked ill when he returned.

I just knew he was going to get sick there at the table and I kept looking for an escape route. I don't mind saying I am a mercy puker and If I see or hear someone getting sick I will join right in. My back was to the wall, literally so if he did get sick I was ready to mow down the sick child and his mother to my right and get the heck out. Thankfully he never did though so we made it through another dinning experience.

We have decided we want to take more people next time and fill up our own table. It is safer that way.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fishing with my Father. And other things.

Sorry I missed posting yesterday, but I had a lot going on at work. I did however start it and this is what I wrote:

"Fishing with my Father"

We ate a lot of fish when we were growing up and one reason was because my dad loved to fish and was good at it. On weekend mornings when the tide, wind and temperature were right you could expect him to head out to his secret spot and bring home enough fish for two or three meals. We had fish cooked every way imaginable but we fried it most of the time.

As far back as I can remember, I would beg to go with him because I loved to fish and also because this secret spot was so good. His spot was in the intercoastal waterway just north of Ormond Beach Florida, only a couple of miles from home and on the edge of Tomoka State Park. Dad had a key to get into the park because he was the Fire Chief for the town and he needed access to get in if there was ever a fire.

After unlocking the gate, we would drive in and park as close to the river as we could get and then hike down a small trail to the river’s edge. There were no houses around for miles along this side of the river and we often spooked dear or other animals as we walked along the trail.

When we got to the edge of the river we would get things ready and then quietly wade in and begin to fish. From the bank, this spot looked like any other place along the river but it was what was below the surface that made it so special. For starters it was on the edge of the Tomoka River basin which was wide and shallow. This was the area that connected the basin to the intercoastal river so it was a transition between shallow fresh water and deep salt water. The bottom of the river was sandy and solid and also littered with rocks and oyster shells which attracted bait and larger fish.

FYI: The Tomoka River is where they used to film Tarzan movies with Johnny Weissmuller.

Not only did I enjoy the fishing but also the quiet and beauty of the area. On these still mornings, the stars would still be shining when we started to fish but there would be the faint sign of morning off to the east. The still water shinned like a mirror and the slightest movement of a fish could be seen. It was over a mile to the ocean but you could hear the waves crashing on the beach. As dawn neared, you could hear the sounds of people heading out from homes across the river. It was about a mile across the river at this point but the sound traveled well with nothing to stop it.

Just before dawn, the sky would turn from navy blue to light turquoise and the clouds would lose their dark appearance and turn shades of pink and orange. I would usually stop fishing for a few moments and stand there quietly watching the sky. Suddenly rays of sunshine would burst from the horizon and shoot toward the heavens. Slowly the sun would appear, looking like a huge red ball of fire. The sun’s rays would touch me and I could feel their warmth in the cool morning air. Once the sun was totally above the horizon, I would resume fishing because the fish always bit best at this time of day.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

This morning I planned on posting my entry from yesterday (as is) as soon as I got to work. As I drove in this morning, I had a lot on my mind. My brain was on overtime and skipping from one subject to another like a CD that has gone bad. For some reason, I started thinking about my post and wondered if it meant something deeper. I thought back to my school days and something that used to drive me crazy.

In literature, after reading a poem or short story, the teacher would ask us what the author was thinking or trying to say when they wrote what they did. I always thought this was a waste of time because the only one who knows what the author was thinking was the author and most of them were dead and gone. Our analysis of the work was just a guess based on the person’s life or the time period in which they lived. Anyway I decided to look at what I wrote yesterday and see if there were any underlying meanings or symbolism. This is timely since it is “Thinking Thursday” so here goes:

It reminded me a lot of something that happened when I was even younger. Walking the path in the darkness, My father having the “Key” to get in. Wading in the water,
Being half in and half out, Leaving the darkness for the light. Feeling the warmth and seeing the power. Yes it reminded me of being baptized. It also reminded me of life itself. People rushing around, lost in their daily lives. Struggling to make it from day to day and missing the beauty around them and how people are more than what you see on the surface. So what did the author mean when he wrote "Fishing with my Father"? That is for you to decide.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day.

Greg

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Truth about Cat and Dog "People"

I know this is long but I assure you, you will learn a lot if you stay with me.

People are usually divided into two groups, Cat people or Dog people. We are Cat people. We have had a few dogs through the years but have always come back to cats. Even when we did own dogs we had cats and the dogs knew who was boss. There are big differences between these two animals so it stands to reason that most people like one or the other.

Dog people like to say that dogs are faithful because they usually are attracted to one person the most. It is said that they are “man’s” best friend but most of the time they are “one man’s” best friend. They will be friendly and faithful to one or maybe two people but everyone else beware. A dog may be faithful to his or her master but will often turn on other people without warning. To me this isn’t being “friendly”, its taking sides .

I think Cats are neat and in my opinion, man’s best friend. There I said it, “Cats are man’s best friend”. Cats are straight forward, they either like people or they don’t. Most of them don’t play favorites although cats seem to like or dislike certain people. Cats love me for some reason and love to rub up against me and get in my lap. I tell my wife that they just know intelligent people and want to communicate with (me) us.

You can kick a dog and he will keep coming back for more but if you kick a cat, he will either run away or shred your leg into little bits of meat. My father used to buy cheap dog food for our dogs saying that “they will eat it when they get hungry enough”. It was true. After a few days they would get hungry and eat it. If you put out cheap cat food you can count on feeding the possums or raccoons and can expect a nice dead rat on the front porch in a few days as a sign of protest. If a dog gets thirsty, he will drink out of the toilet which is something no self respecting cat would do.

Cats are just smarter I tell you. The old toss the ball and bring it back exercise would never be done by a cat. Ours will chase a small ball but only until they discover it isn’t something to eat. If our inside cat wants to go out at night he will either rustle the mini blinds or put his paw on me to wake me. Notice he doesn’t try to wake my wife. See he is smart. :) Just kidding dear.

One day, one of our cats had a large king snake cornered near my shed. They were both sitting motionless only inches apart staring at each other. I don’t usually kill snakes and especially not useful ones like a king snake so I walked up behind the cat and tapped him on the tail with my foot to break them up. Big mistake!!! The cat flinched, the snake struck, and the cat turned and climbed a tree, only it wasn’t a tree, it was my leg. He climbed completely up my body and jumped over me.
Well the scars have since healed and faded from the claw marks up my leg and I am still a cat “liker” but for a long time wondered why the Bible mentions snakes but not cats. Don’t you find that strange? No mention of cats at all. (I could be wrong on this but I think this is right) What’s up with that? Even in the rotten years, the Bad News Braves, got a “mention” in the sports section once in a while. This all leads to today’s theory”

Disclaimer: The following information is intended as humor and only loosely based on fact. This is all my theory but it is possible. :)

“God doesn’t like cats.” What else could it be? I mean a negative comment in the Bible would have been better than no mention at all. Because of this and being that Noah was a child and follower of God, he didn’t take any cats on the Ark. It’s a fact that he didn’t’ take cats on the Ark but there may have been other reasons like the fact that kitty litter wouldn’t be invented for several thousand years. All I know is they didn’t get invited.

Now imagine these cats left outside the Ark when the water starts to rise. You know they had to be begging to be let in. Here is another fact: Cats are selfish so instead of saying “we are out” I am betting they said: “I’m out”. It’s every cat for himself at this point. They are also not good at grammar so instead of saying “I’m out” they said “me out”. They also can’t say their T’s very well (if you can show me a cat that can say a T, I will rescind this post) so when they said “me out” it sounded like me-ou, which is pronounced meow, which is why cats say meow to this day. Is this all starting to make sense? Clear as muddy water, no pun intended.

Ok so the water starts to rise and most living creatures drown but cats have those claws and somehow managed to hang on to the outside of the Ark. Can you imagine the trauma that was instilled in their little brains as they clung on with water all around them? This is why to this day, they hate water. It’s getting clearer isn’t it?

Now when the water finally subsided, the cats saw the people making offerings (another fact) to God and they felt they should make their own little offering to the “solid ground” so they went out and buried their “offering” and to this day whenever you scare the poop out of a cat he will bury it. See what you learned today: More about cats that you ever wanted to.

Be kind to your cat today. They are survivors. Hence the reputation for having 9 lives. I could go on and on but I will spare you.

Have a great day,
Greg

Monday, January 14, 2008

Looking Back

If I were to look back at last week, I would have to rate it as a 10. But since I am no longer looking back, I can't do that. Ok I will digress for just a moment. Last week was outstanding. Everything I touched, seemed to turn to gold. I couldn't begin to list all the positive things that happened to me so you will just have to trust me that it was a wonderful week.

I owe it all to the changes I have made in my life. First off, I am eating right. No I am not dieting, I am just eating properly and because of that, I am loosing weight. I am taking my vitamins regularly too and that is helping. I am getting more sleep so I am wide awake when I get to work. Now that I am getting more sleep, I am cutting back on my caffeinated coffee some more in hopes of getting down to a safe level. Ok I did have that Starbucks on Saturday but I felt I deserved a little treat. I am not letting work get to me and I was actually able to walk away from a situation that needed attention on Friday. Things worked themselves out and everything is ok this morning. I was able to spend my time at home and because of that, enjoyed some monetary gains. I have quit worrying about things too and I am letting things take their course and because of that, I have much less stress. I think I am finally relaxing and enjoying life. Oh well better get moving. Time for my morning reading. Have a wonderful day everyone. Looks like it will be a great week.

Oh I did always want to own a farm and may one day.

Greg

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Weekend Report

No it's not the weather report but it if was, it would be a really good report. It has been mild the past few days and we got a little rain as well. It is sprinkling this morning and around 60 degrees. I can handle that.

We had a great Saturday. Because of the warm weather, we decided to till up the ground a little in preparation for a veggie garden. Once we get the ground ready, we will go ahead and plant green onions, lettuce and strawberries. We are going to try to go all natural this year. To hear more about our all natural gardening, please visit my son's blog: "Wadmalaw Gardens". I am sure he will be making a post and also including more photo's once he gets up. :) It's 6:30 on Sunday and he is still in bed. Can you believe that?

We got some free fertilizer yesterday as well:


"Hey I want some of the credit for the fertilizer"




And the fine tuning of the garden was done by Lucy and Ethel:


"I can see they are going to be a problem."



After a fun day of playing in the yard, we headed out to Church and had a wonderful service. I focused on parenting and afterwards we decided we are pretty good in this area. I used to feel bad about loosing my youngest son in Disney World but after hearing how two parents lost a certain "Son" themselves I no longer feel bad. No names mentioned here but the parents names started with J and M and the sons name started with J. I don't like to get involved with name calling. At least it didn't take three days to find our son. :)


Today will be a day of rest for us. It is time to unwind and relax. I went to the store this morning and got a great cup of coffee to start my day. Yesterday morning I went to Starbucks with my son. I had a coupon and so we were able to get away with only paying a small amount. Actually it was more than I paid this morning for this cup. Does anyone else think Starbucks is overpriced? I mean it is good and all but so is this cup and it was a quarter of what they charged yesterday. After I finish my coffee and finish blogging, I will be making country ham and eggs. A special thank you to Lucy and Ethel for providing the eggs. We keep them in a chicken tractor at night. It is something we saw on P Allen Smith. If you want to hear more about how we keep the chickens, again visit my sons blog and he will tell you more.

Have a wonderful Sunday,

Greg

Friday, January 11, 2008

"F" is for Faith, and Friday

TGIF, That's Thank GOD it is Friday. He brought us through another week.

Faith is a difficult thing for me. It is hard to have faith sometimes with all that happens in our lives. Faith also means different things to different people. To me it means not having to worry. It’s letting things run their course and trusting that in the end they will work out for the better. It means that even thought I don’t see what’s ahead, I know in my heart that there is a plan and that I trust that there is a good plan for me.

You need to have a lot of faith when driving in the fog or rain. You need to trust that the person in front of you will have their lights on and keep moving so that you don’t run into them. That is hard to do sometimes and I struggle with it. That is why when I am driving in the rain or fog I am a nervous wreck. It doesn’t help that one or my aunts was killed in an accident in the pouring rain. I always think about that when I am driving in the rain. I guess this would be faith in other people and anyone that knows anything about South Carolina Drivers knows that is a risky thing to do.

A few years ago we took the boys to Wet and Wild in Orlando. I really love water parks and this was a big one. There was this huge water slide that started on the top of a tower and then went almost straight down before sending you horizontally to allow you to slow down. I watched several people go down it before getting up the nerve to climb the tower. There was a short line at the top and soon it was my turn to hit the slide. As I sat down on the slide and waited for the previous person to clear the landing area, I noticed that I couldn’t see the slide over the edge. All I could see was that I was up really high. I knew the slide still had to be there but something in my brain said “this is not a good thing”. To go down this slide I was going to have to push myself off a very high tower without being able to see where I was going and have faith that the slide was going to catch me and take me safely to the ground.

When the man said “go ahead whenever you are ready”, I closed my eyes briefly and gave a little push (ok I stopped long enough to say a quick prayer) but I did do it. I don’t mind saying, I will never do that again. Even though it was exciting, once was enough. I will stick to the “Lazy River” next time. For those that have never been that is a little stream that runs through the park and you sit on an inner tube and float down it. I guess I just don’t have faith in man’s ability to make something perfect that works every time. This is probably a good thing also.

I constantly work on my faith in God as well. I mean I believe in God, and always have but my faith has never been what I would consider a strong one. Each time life gives me one of those little kicks I wonder why and try to second guess everything. It is difficult when I am faced with a tough decision or an apparent setback because I want to “push” my way forward and not “allow” things to happen. I never know if what I am doing is the right thing or just what “I” want to do. I also rationalize that because I can’t move mountains that my faith just isn’t strong enough especially when all one needs is the faith of a mustard seed. So I will keep working on this one. Have faith in me.

By the way, I am still reading daily. And when someone says “ the world has gone straight to the toilet” I can say, no it has been that way for a very long time. I have discovered a lot that was apparently skipped over when I was a child at Bible study. I guess it was too adult for us.

Have a great day,
Greg

Thursday, January 10, 2008

To C or not to C, That is the question.

I have decided to label Thursday as "Thinking Thursday". I will try to come up with some thought provoking subject to make you think a little and get your brains working again. Some of you work yours daily but others don't :). It seems the more I sink myself into deep thought, the more I see clearly if that makes any sense.

The C I mentioned in the header is Caucus so this post is actually titled, To Caucus or not to Caucus.

Several nights ago, there was a local talk segment focused on the caucus'. After discussing the outcome of a particular caucus, the discussion turned to the purpose of the caucus and what to do next. This "expert" said that the purpose was to show the American people who the most likely candidate to win was thereby allowing us to make an intelligent decision and not waste our vote. In his opinion, voting for a long shot was wasting out vote and we should vote for one of the front runners if we wanted. Well I don't agree. I plan on voting for my favorite candidate and so be it if he doesn't win. Oh no I just let the cat out of the bag. I said "he" OOPs.



Sorry people I had a lot more on this post this morning but something happened and I got blocked from blogger while I was writing this and most of it was lost. I will make up for it tomorrow.

Have a great night,
Greg

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Working Wednesday

I haven't decided on a theme for Wednesday yet but I am giving it some thought. I will take inputs if anyone would like to make some suggestions.

My big report is due this morning and it isn't close to being ready. This is no fault of my own as I did have it ready a week ago. Let me explain. I had this big schedule all ready to go and then the boss decided to switch dates on me. That means that all 500 of the records needed to be changed. If that wasn't bad enough my boss decided to make other changes too, which were not easy to do. I didn't have enough time to make all the changes so they get what they deserve. Now I do have a helper but he does more talking than helping. In the words of Foghorn: "His mouth reminds me of a motor boat. All the time talking. It just keeps going putt putt putt putt putt putt putt..... That thing never stops" He actually slows me down. :)

I hope to be back this afternoon after the big meeting.

Have a great day,
Greg

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Looney Tunes




I think I am going to devote Tuesday to silly things. I will call it "Looney Tunes Tuesday." I am going to try to put some structure into my blog and this will be the first day with a theme. It stands to reason that I start out with Looney Tunes Tuesday because my DW thinks I am off my rocker for blogging and my kids always wonder about my sanity.

Favorite cartoon:

My favorite character is Foghorn Leghorn. I often quote lines from his cartoons and use them in real life. "I say, I say son, I'm not a chicken. That's a chicken." (pointing to the sleeping dog with a fake comb on his head) I guess the reason I like him is that he tends to be so sarcastic and I am the same way. I also love his southern accent which I can relate to. I consider myself southern even though I don't have an accent. Anyway, it amuses my sons when I imitate him so I keep doing it. "one of these days I'm gonna smack that boy."

The Weather Channel is wrong:

They were wrong on the hurricane predictions last year and so far they are wrong on the lack of rain. We have had more rain so far this year than I can remember in January's past. I would hate to be a weather man. Most of them look goofy. Usually the anchor men and women have fun with them and joke about them. They try to take credit for the good weather and then get blamed when them screw up the prediction. They also have to try to make something out of nothing as you really can't predict the weather. It's just an educated guess based on a bunch of facts about past weather.

Speaking of weather:

I did see where there were tornadoes last night. I have always been afraid of them since seeing the Wizard of Oz as a child. I once had one pass within a block of me but never saw it because it was raining so hard. I did hear it though and it was pretty scary. I have a theory about tornadoes though. They are caused by the wake from alien space ships. You know when a jet passes they cause a whirlwind as they speed by and these space ships do the same thing. The aliens aren't dumb so they use clouds to hide in and that is why the tornadoes are usually accompanied by a storm. Here is why I think my theory is true.

Ask yourself who sees the most spaceships? The answer is people that live in trailer parks. Its true, I am not making this up. Now ask yourself, where do tornadoes usually hit? That's right trailer parks again. So I believe that these aliens are spying on trailer parks. (no particular reason they just know that sometimes there is a lot of interesting activity going on there.) After they get in close, they get spotted and have to exit in a hurry and accidentally cause tornadoes. See it is all making sense now. And you thought I was nuts. Next time, I may tell my theory on what causes lightening.

Have a great day,

Greg

Monday, January 7, 2008

What's up Doc?

I am not sure what is going on but it is taking longer and longer for this blog to load. I really don't know much about the mechanics of blogs though so I dont' know what could be wrong. Is there such a thing as a blog virus? If so, what can be done to protect against it. I can open up my other blogs or everyone elses blog just fine but this one takes a long time. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

The cold is gone now for at least this week. Yesterday was great after that cold spell we had last week so we took advantage and went fishing. It was nice and warm (about 70) when we launched the boat and it ran great. We had only a little bait but we managed to catch several including 3 really nice sheepshead. The biggest was about 5 lbs. So last night we had fresh fish for supper. I cooked up sone shrimp too. I love fresh seafood.

Have a great day,
Greg

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Dedication


I slept in this morning. I didn't get up until 530. Wow did that feel great. After stoking the fire in the house, I headed out to the greenhouse and got that one going again. It was about out but thanks to some fat lighter and a match, it was soon roaring and heating things up. Looks like the plants made it through another cold snap. Now it's time to get more wood ready and reorganize before the cold hits again. After getting the fires going, I settled into my chair with a hot cup of coffee to watch my favorite channel, The Weather Channel.

They were running a short segment this morning about Rock Climbing. It takes a lot of physical and mental ability to be a rock climber. More than that, it takes a lot of determination, dedication and guts. This segment was filmed at Yosemenie National Park at a particular rock face that is 3000 ft tall. My guess it is a very popular climbing spot as they showed a number of people on it at this particular time.

This is something that I have no interest in as I am afraid of these kind of heights. Hanging on the face of a rock by a rope is just not my cup of tea and my hat is off to anyone that can do it. These people had the best equipment though from their shoes to ropes and hooks and test them over and over before attempting such a daring feat. This wall is so challenging that it takes several days sometimes to climb it so they rig up something that lets them sleep and eat on the face of the rock and rest over night. Besides the expensive equipment, they train for months or even years before doing it. Some people even devote their entire lives to climbing rocks such as this. Wow impressive.

Me I just head off to work each day and maybe go fishing or swimming on the weekends. I am no thrill seeker trust me. This weekend we are doing something really challenging. We are going to do Adopt a Highway and pick up trash on our street. It is 10 miles long so we won't get it all done but we will hit the worst spots. It has become littered with trash which blew out of cars and trucks or was thrown out. We enjoy doing it and it teaches the boys something about responsibility.

There are almost 3000 people that live on this island but less than 20 that regularly pick up trash. We make 4 of the 20. Some people wave as they pass, some honk their horns and others just fly by us in disgust and see how close they can get to us. Once in a great while, someone will slow down and say thank you but it doesn't happen very often.

I wonder how many rock climbers or other devoted individuals live on this island. I know for a fact that there are many. There are rock climbers, runners, hunters, fishermen and who knows what else. These enthusiasts spend tons of money and time devoted to their sport of choice. And I am not saying that is a bad thing. I love to walk, run, go fishing just like the others but I devote a portion of my time trying to make this a better world. When we go to our favorite island, we swim and fish but always end our trip by picking up trash on the beach. Often we find birds, fish or turtles tangled up in the trash that people discarded into the ocean.

I hear a lot of talk these days about how the government is so messed up. People blame the leaders for many of the things that are wrong today. I agree that this country isn't going in a direction that I feel it needs to in many respects but then I am sure there are some positive things happening as well. I work in the power generation industry and you wouldn't believe the changes going on to improve emissions. Unfortunately few countries are following suit and big countries like China are making no advancements at all.

So ask yourself, are you so devoted to sports and self entertainment that you have lost sight of what really matters? What have you done to make this a better place to live? If we all pitch in, we can make a difference. And I think it is time to stop complaining about the President and get out and vote. Stop complaining about the trash and get out and pick it up. Stop complaining about hatred and violence and do something about it. Lets just stop complaining and do something. Enjoy your weekend but please do something positive.

Have a wonderful day,
Greg

PS, Honk if you read this post. :)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Bad Advice or Good Advice?

My father never gave me "that" talk. He avoided all that personal stuff like the plague. I don't remember him ever hugging me or even saying I love you, I am proud of you, or anything on a personal level. He never showed emotion unless it was anger. I don't count his happy moods when he had had a few too many.

When I was around 16 though he did give me what he considered good advice and at the time, being of that age, it kind of made sense. He told me "Never sleep with a woman unless you could see yourself married to her". Of course he wasn't talking about actually sleeping he was talking about "it". He couldn't even say that word. As a young boy of 16 it sounded pretty good but now that I am older and a father (ok and a grandfather too), I realize it was very bad advice. I mean what he said is true if you don't read into it. He meant to say that you may end up getting a girl pregnant if you have sex with her so she better be someone you could marry. But it also said "its ok to have premarital sex". Not exactly what a responsible parent should be telling their teenage son.

Some of his other great words of wisdom were:

Don't get married until you are 40.

Never invest in anything. It's too risky. Put your money in the bank.

Never loose a fight. If you find you are loosing, cheat. Pick up a baseball bat and even the score. There is no glory in getting the you know what kicked out of you.

Take two table spoons of butter before you go out to a party where you will be drinking. That way you can drink more. Yuck.

Never tell your mother more than you absolutely have to. Coincidentally, mom never gave me "any" advice.

No wonder I am so messed up. So what great words of wisdom did your parents give you? It had to be better than what I got.

Have a great day.
Greg

PS for better advice, go to http://www.biblegateway.com/

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

"Brrrrrrrr"

Thats "Text" for I am cold.

Ok who unplugged the heater? So is this Global Warming? This is way too cold for the south. It was 35 when I got up at 4:15 and now it has dropped to 32. The weather man is calling for it to drop another few degrees this morning before starting to warm up.

Fortunately we built a nice fire in the stove and another in the greenhouse stove so I woke up to a warm house and a pretty warm greenhouse. (55 deg) I ran out with my robe on and stoked the fire and got it heating back up. I did the same in the house and after a hot shower and a nice cup of coffee, I felt pretty good. I hope my son appreciates me keeping that fire going and saving all the plants. We still have a lot blooming at "Wadmalaw Gardens". (his web site) Drop by and say hi to him if you have time.

Have a wonderful day,
Greg

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

HERE IT IS!!!

Welcome 2008. I slept late this morning, the sun is almost up and I am still not dressed. I am enjoying my coffee and doing some blog reading though so I am not totally wasting my day. :) Before I get to today's announcement, let me tell you about last night. We got some fireworks and set them off in the front yard. My boys love them and they are legal in this state so not to worry. It was the last day of hunting season so the hunters were out in force. It was way past sundown and the hunters were looking for their dogs across from our house with loaded guns and whiskey on their breath. I think we might have disrupted their last chance to shoot a deer in the dark but then that is illegal anyway so I am not upset. When the first aerial bomb went off, trucks came screaming down the road toward us as the other hunters came to see what they got. OOPs sorry.

Ok here it is. After struggling with my 2008 resolution, it finally hit me. In my work, I write procedures to perform maintenance. Its funny, whenever something goes wrong on a job, it is usually because someone didn't follow the procedure or the instructions. I tell them: "Just follow the instructions written for you" If they had, chances are, things would have gone right. I put a lot of time in writing them and they are there to help and guide them through the job.

In my life, a lot of things are going wrong. Nothing big mind you, but little things that aggravate me and keep me on edge. There are people at work that are annoying, my weight problem, blood pressure due to weight, my health, loosing my temper over little things, etc etc. Then it hit me. I am not following the procedure. I have read it and used to know it quite well but to tell the truth, I have lost track of many things. Many of you blogger friends have reminded me of some things that I had forgotten. Thank you all. So in 2008, my goal is to read "The Bible" from cover to cover and not only that, memorize passages to strengthen me and improve my life.

That's it. I hope it was everything you imagined.

On a side note, I think I know which copy I will read. Years ago, I worked for a summer at a packing shed. On a slow day, the owner asked me to take some boxes of books to the dump for him and throw them away. Curiosity got the best of me and I glanced through the books before tossing them in the dumpster. First I found a "sailors companion" which was a book written in the 40's telling sailors about ports of call. It was quite rare. Next I found several navy books that I knew my son would love. There was one telling you what to expect on returning home from war and another on identifying enemy aircraft. I will share some of them one day. Finally deep down in the book was a Bible. I couldn't possibly throw these treasures away so I kept them.

Now let me tell you something about the owner of the packing shed. His wife's maiden name was Kennedy. She was somehow closely related to JFK. The Bible was originally given to one of the Kennedy's and had a name in it and the date. In several pages there were prayers that the owner was studding. Several were prayers devoted to JFK asking for strength and guidance for him as President. That tells you how old this copy is, I think it would be fitting that I read this copy. What do you think.

Happy 2008!!!!
Greg