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.






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