Friday, May 29, 2009

Finally Friday

Here are some friday bits and pieces:

For a short week this one sure seemed long. Even though I only had to work 4 days this week it seemed more like 10. But we made it to Friday and today is starting out well. I got another good workout at the gym and I did weights today just to “mix-it-up”. See my Tuesday post for details.
Last night the sky was a beautiful color. My father used to call it “sky blue pink” but I don’t know if that was something he made up or heard somewhere. The color is more like blue-orange than blue-pink. No matter what you call it, it is amazing.



This morning I saw the most amazing creature. I think it was an albino raccoon. It took me by surprise and I started to turn around just to make sure I wasn’t seeing things but I was running late so I had to press on. I saw lots of other things this morning too including a large red fox and a deer in my neighbor’s yard. I blame it on the moon.



I found another use for the grass catcher on my lawnmower. For those of you with children you know that lawnmowers are famous for picking up things like toys that are left in the yard. But who knew this could happen…..











Ok truth is he climbed in on his own right up the shoot. Please don’t try this at home. This is a trained cat. Please don’t try to pick your cat up with the lawnmower. No cats were harmed in the making of this photo.


Cucumbers are in. I am finally realizing the fruits of my labor in the garden. I picked these last night in my garden. I should have more ready tonight as well as squash. I also noticed that my tomato plants are loaded. Thank you God for giving me a green thumb.




Well that about wraps it up. Have a great Weekend everyone,
Greg

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thankful Thursday (digging deep)

Thankful Thursday

I added the digging deep part because Blessings aren't always obvious and sometimes we have to dig deep to find them. They are still blessings. Where do I begin? Today I am reminded of a Jimmy Stewart western I saw once. If I remember correctly he was a single parent in that he had lost his wife for some reason or another. I can’t remember why but for whatever reason she was gone. He had a huge family of boys and they were all seated around the dinner table and the blessing went something like this:

God we thank you for your blessings. We planted these crops, and when the drought came, we hauled water from the stream. When the locusts came we drove them away. We pulled the weeds and kept the cattle out of the fields. We harvested the crops and prepared them for this table. I really don’t know what you had to do with it but we thank you anyway. Amen

Please forgive me I am working from memory and my memory isn’t what it used to be. Does anyone remember what movie that was from? The point is that even though some blessings don’t look like blessings they still are. So here is my list for this Thankful Thursday:

1. I am thankful that even though I lost my temper last night with one of my children, I didn’t resort to violence and no matter how they try my patients, I still love them. (yelling isn’t violence is it)

2. Right now I am very thankful for this great cup of coffee. I didn’t sleep well and it is the only thing keeping me going.

3. I am thankful for teaching myself to type over the years because I am looking at a huge pile of paper work in front of me that has to be done today.

4. I am thankful for my physical results that I will be getting in about two hours. I am assuming here that it will be a good report but even if it isn’t, at least I was still alive to show up for the physical. If the doctor says anything negative I am going to reply: Am I still alive? Then it is a good day.

5. I am thankful that it is payday and I still have a job even though sometimes I wonder if it is all worth it. Somebody tell me it is please.

Well there you have it.

Have a great day,
Greg

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's time for Phase 4.

For those of you that have been playing along, I mean killing yourself along with me, it's time for phase 4 of the 30 X 5 Challenge hosted by the world famous Linda at 2nd cup of coffee. What's that you say, this is just another challenge and Linda's blog is just another blog? Well shut your mouth cause we can do it. First off, Linda is on the cutting edge of the blog fitness craze and secondly phase 4 was my idea. Well unless you hurt yourself doing it in which case, I had nothing to do with it, blame Linda.






That's right this was my idea to do the switch up thingy. Just think pretty soon I am going to be like Ivan from Rocky 4 and you know what that means. You all will be saying things like; He isn't human, He's a machine, Somebody stop him before he makes another video. Not to worry, I won't make a video but "I will break you" if you get in my way. That was one of Ivan's famous lines in the movie. Anywhoo.....Picture me as Ivan.




So what is my plan you might ask. First off I am going to switch my eating habits. With summer here I have a garden full of veggies so I will be eating things like cucumbers for breakfast. Sounds yummy doesn't it. Actually it isn't that bad if you put on some vinegar. And as for my routine changes. I have graduated from the elliptical trainer to this beauty.



Ahem, Now don't get your gym shorts in a wad, I am talking about the stairmaster 4000 and "it will break you" if you let it. Tomorrow morning I am going to show this machine who's boss and we are going to party like it's 1999. I don't know what that means I just like the way it sounds. So join in this phase of the challenge if you dare. Or are you Chicken?





Have a great day,

Greg

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend 2009

Wow what a weekend we had. It started with a great day at the Market on Saturday. The crowd was larger than usual because it was the first day of Spoleto. It is a festival that takes place every year here in Charleston and the town is full of tourists that came for the event. There are events all over town and a lot of them take place in and around Marion Square. There were bands,pony rides and tons of extra food and art vendors. There was a crazy band playing in the square and after playing for several hours they lead a parade through the streets of Charleston. Here are some photos I took as they were leaving the market area. I would have taken more but business was booming and I had to stay close to my booth.









Sunday was great as well. We stayed close to home and just relaxed. Relaxing is something that my wife and I seldom do so it was a nice change. Today was Memorial Day. We started out by watching some memorial services around the country that were being shown on TV. After that, we relaxed again. As my son said; What's up with that? The boys aren't used to seeing their parents take it easy. But we did. I cooked BBQ chicken with fresh green beans, mushrooms and onions out of my garden. For desert we had strawberry shortcake. We had lunch outside on the deck and while we were eating, we had this little visitor.




I hope everyone had an equally great weekend and I hope you stopped to remember our service men and woman who sacrificed so we can live like we do.

Have a great day,
Greg

Friday, May 22, 2009

Waiting on the elevator.

Have you ever been in a tall building and stood there waiting on the elevator only to find out after a long wait that it wasn’t working? Or sometimes the elevator does arrive but it is full so you let it go and wait on another one? I know I have many times and I end up scolding myself for not taking the stairs in the first place. Truth is I am capable of walking up stairs and could use the exercise but I still find myself pushing the elevator button just because it's the easy way out or should I say “up”.




When I was very young, we visited NYC and one of the places we went was the Empire State Building. At the time it was one of the tallest buildings in the world and we wanted to go to the top just to take in the view.



When we got there however there was a very long line waiting to get into the elevator and the sign said that the wait was about an hour long. My father was very impatient and didn’t want to wait that long even though we had no place else to go. After seeing how many people were crammed into the elevator, my mother decided that she couldn’t possibly get in with that many people so she said she didn’t want to go either. She was claustrophobic.


Being a math whiz, I did some basic calculations of 2 steps per second, and 1860 total steps and figured that it should take less than 16 minutes to reach the top. I convinced my father that we could take the stairs and make it in a fraction of the time. So we started up the stairs at the two steps per second pace. However I forgot to figure in fatigue and the two steps per second turned into one per second and then less than one per second. Soon we had to rest every few floors but in the end we made it to the top in about 40 minutes. That was still an improvement and we didn’t have to get into the crowded elevator.


Metaphorically speaking, I have been taking the stairs for most of my life while I watch other people hopping on the elevator. They push that little button and the elevator just happens to show up but when I push it I just stand there waiting and it either doesn’t come or when it does come, it is already full. When I think about all the time I have wasted waiting I makes me ill. I have come to the realization that in most cases I am going to end up taking the stairs so I might as well just go ahead and do it as long as I am capable. I am not destined to ride the elevator but taking the stars isn’t that bad. Just think, when that fire breaks out, I will be ready:




Have a great day,
Greg

PS. How many people can say they "climbed" the Empire State Building? Well other than me and that big monkey.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thankful Thursday (It’s the simple things)

It's Thursday and you know what that means. Time again for Thankful Thursday. Please join us over at Truth for the Journey and lets all be thankful for the little things in life.


1. I want to say again that I am so thankful for my family. Last night we all pitched in and raked under the magnolia tree. Now raking under a tree sounds kind of simple but this magnolia is the largest one I have ever seen and it takes hours just to rake under this one tree. (new photos to follow soon)

2. I am thankful that I have a full tank of gas and that my little car still gets over 40 mpg and that is without a government mandate. I highly recommend the Honda Civic. No one has to tell me to conserve. I just do it.

3. I am thankful that my job is going well even though I am totally overloaded. One thing for certain, it makes the work day go by really fast.

4. I am thankful that I am cutting back on my coffee and am not down to only two cups a day which shouldn’t be confused with Linda’s 2nd cup of coffee blog. She is the one leading the charge on the 30 X 5 challenge by the way in case you haven’t been working with us.

5. I am thankful that I live in a country that has lots of water. This morning I brushed my teeth with clean water, shaved with hot water, got cool water at the gym from one of two water fountains and then took a nice hot shower after I worked out. I am trying to get in the 80 oz of water a day for my 30 X 5 challenge and all my water is free and there for the taking. I can also get super filtered water from Mr. Zippy’s water service for a mere 50 cents per gallon. In many places in this world people are drinking muddy water if they have any water to drink at all.

There you have it, my Thankful List for this Thursday.

Have a wonderful day,
Greg

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday

Wow it is Wednesday already. Where is the time going? I am busy as a beaver these days at work and at home but at least I am able to work. The clouds have begun to break up here and we have warmer weather on the way. How could I not wake up happy? And if that isn’t enough, look what I got in the mail last night:



It was from Sonya over at “Truth for the Journey”. She has a wonderful blog and I enjoy reading it and participating in Thankful Thursday every week. I won a contest over there last week and this was the prize. I have heard about this book and wanted to read it so I put my name in the hat and I won.







Also I am excited to be getting so many readers even though some of you are shy and don't leave any comments. I want to invite any new readers to leave comments when you visit, especially you visitors from far away places like; Canada, Mexico, Japan, Latvia, Denmark, Ireland and Germany just to name a few. Those were locations of some of my recent visitors. To tell the truth I don't even know where Latvia is so if you are from there please fill me in. So to all of you ghost visitors here is a VIDEO just for you. It's another one of those feel good videos that make the guys say ewww but I like it. Make sure and watch it all because the ending is awesome.





Have a great day,

Greg

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Flowers

When I was young, we would stop and pick up my Grandmother and take her to church. She always went with us. Now that I think back I actually never saw her drive and she didn't even own a car. I will have to do some digging and see if anyone knows why. She did love to garden though and in the summer she brought flowers from her garden to put in our church. I owe much of my love for gardening to her.


So here are the new additions to our garden this Sunday and I would like to dedicate them to my Grandmother Green. If she were alive today she would be proud of my gardens.

This is a Confederate Jasmine.



Bottle brush.



We have our first squash and they plants are blooming like crazy.

This is a daylily that is a cross between a Leomnade and a Plum crazy. We don't have a name for it yet.

This daylily is called Frankly Scarlett.




This is Lantana that I picked one time when we were at a park down in Florida. I pulled up one little root and now I have a huge plant.




This daylily is called Orange sherbet.





Pink Mexican petunia.







Blue Mexican petunia








And finally this is a new rose that my wife recently got.






We had a great day at the Market and at the Tea Festival yesterday. And I am still participating in the 30 X 5 challenge over at Second Cup of Coffee. This is water week so make sure you get plenty. I lost another lb. I am not bragging, I am just saying. :)
Lets all have a great week.
Greg


Friday, May 15, 2009

One man's Treasures.

"Don’t look in the attic."

Remember that movie? There were also “Don’t look in the basement”,” Don’t look under the stairs”, and “Don’t look behind you”. I was a horror movie junkie when I was younger. If I watched anything like that these days I would have nightmares. What about; “Don’t look in the back yard”? Remember that one? I remember it like it was yesterday. It wasn’t a movie; it was the story of my life as a child.

My father was a saver. I am not talking about him being a lifesaver although as a fireman he was that as well. He had the mentality that a lot of people growing up in the depression era had that you should never, ever throw anything away because one day you just might need it. (might=probably won’t) Because of that, our backyard resembled a junkyard. Over the years that junk managed to work its way around to the sides of the house, into the garage and at times even into the front yard. Just picture Sanford and Son times 10.

I spent many days cleaning and trying to straighten the things up but with that much junk laying around it was just about impossible to make the yard presentable. There were little pockets of neatness that I carved out for myself like the garden area and a small area under the oak trees that served as my sanctuary but for the most part it was just piles of junk. And junk was really all it was. There were motor parts, pieces of old rusty sheet metal, more tires than I could count, wire, screen, tons of glass and little parts from who knows what. You know; valuable stuff. Or at least it was valuable to my father.

Once, my mother decided to get even with him for going away on a trip with his friends. She had me load up the truck and take as much stuff to the dump as we could haul. She had me do it because I was the only one living at home that cared and because I could drive a stick shift. We hauled junk for two days and when we were finished, we hadn’t even made a dent in it. When dad came back from his trip, he and my mother didn’t speak for three or four days. Of course Mom threw my name into the pot so Dad wasn’t too happy with me for while either. But soon he got over it and before long he had everything replaced with new treasures.

My problem with the mess was that I was ashamed of the way we lived. I was beginning to have friends and they wanted to come over but I managed to keep them at bay for years and years. Well up until the most embarrassing day of my life. I was a junior in High school. All of my friends were well off and lived in really nice houses with clean yards and some even had yard maintenance men. I had been to all of their homes but none of them had been past my front yard. If any of them ever came over to give me a ride somewhere, I was standing out by the street a half hour before they were supposed to arrive. Maybe that is why to this day, I like to get where I am going early. That’s something to think about.

That day in school I mentioned to a friend that our dog had recently had puppies. She said she loved puppies and wanted to see them so I told her I would bring them by her house to show them to her. She insisted that it would be easier for her to stop by my house to see them. Fear shot through my body like an electric shock at the sound of those words. All that day at school, I worried about it and finally came up with a plan. I would build a small pen (God knows I had plenty of wire laying around) and bring the puppies out front thereby keeping my friends out of the backyard. I knew that this just might work. So that day after school, I rushed home to put my plan in action.

I ran into the house and dropped off my school things and told my father what I planned to do. Of course he said to just bring the friends around to the backyard because in his words “it aint that bad”. Just then my mother said with a smile on her face; “your friends are here”. Mom always got a certain amount of pleasure pitting us against dad and she knew this was a golden opportunity. So I rushed out the front door in an effort to head them off but they were nowhere to be seen. I ran around the house, hoping and praying that I could beat them to the backyard but no luck. They were at the gate and to my intense shame saw our junky back yard. They petted the puppies for a few moments over the fence and then I hurried them away. I was so embarrassed that I almost cried when they left and for a long time, I had trouble facing them.

When I think back, I try to tell myself that it was no big deal. But it was a big deal for me back then. The truth is none of those treasures that my dad kept were really worth anything to anyone but him. In the end he just left them all behind and went on his way. And the only thing left today are a few scars that I still carry. But I did learn something from all this and I am realizing it more and more as I get older. You can’t take it with you no matter how you try. In the end, you leave with nothing. In the end, Donald Trump will leave this world with no more than Donald Cushing. So with all your possessions gone your worth is what’s inside of you. I wonder what God will say to Donald Trump as he stands before him? Perhaps: “Donald…You’re Fired”? But only God knows that.

Proverbs 11:4 Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

Have a wonderful weekend,
Greg



Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thankful Thursday and Sad News

It's Thankful Thursday over at Truth for the Journey and I have so much to be thankful for, let me get started.

1. I am thankful for the rain we had last night. Our day lilies are getting close to blooming and this will be just the jumpstart that they need.

2. I am thankful for the birds that were singing as I left my house this morning and headed for the gym. I always love hearing the sounds of birds.

3. I am thankful for all my friends at the Gym. My attitude is rubbing off and everyone there is getting to know one another. Now when I come in, I am greeted with smiles and hearty good mornings.

4. I am thankful that I have a job to go to everyday and several more to keep me busy during the week.

5. I am thankful for lots of little things that keep me smiling even when I am surrounded by things that might otherwise get me down. Things like this shocking news that I heard this morning:

"Swine Flu claims first celebrity."





The carrier has been identified!!!


Have a great Thankful Thursday,
Greg

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Plants plants and more plants.

One of the things we have been doing lately is weeding our plants. It takes a really long time to do it by hand. Of course we could use weed killer but are trying to stay as natural as possible so we don't. It is back breaking work but well worth it as our plants are really healthy. After I finished weeding tonight I decided to take a few more photos to share.

These are sunflowers just getting started. The plants in the background are zinnias.



We planted gourds to make bird houses but also just because we like them.

My tomato plants are starting to get big and should have buds on them very soon.



A little squash plant.

And we have cucumbers on the vine already.


This is called a society garlic. It smells like garlic when you brush against it so it helps keep animals out of the garden.


And here are some of the potted day lilies that we have been weeding. Those are loquat trees in the background.




As you know there is only one thing that really scares me and they love to live in the garden. Growing up in the South like I did, I know what the web looks and feels like. And these eggs were a dead giveaway.







Most of the time, they are timid and not at all aggressive but when they have eggs watch out.






When I poked the eggs with a stick, she came out and stood her ground to protect them.





Ok does anyone not know what kind of spider this is? In case you don't know it is a black widow and capable of killing you. And did you know that they eat the males which is how I knew this was a female.


The first three day lily varieties are blooming. These are called #1 Pink, Apricot Cream and Plum Crazy.










I thought it was best to end on a positive note.

Have a wonderful day,
Greg

Monday, May 11, 2009

Blog worthy stuff.. Kind of.

I know, I know I have been complacent in my blogging. I have been reading some of your blogs but I have been so busy that I haven't even stopped long enough to comment. Some blog buddy I am. Even the man in the moon hangs around more than I do.



Friday golf. Tiger has nothing to be worried about. Let's just say that out of the 4 of us, I had the highest score and it wasn't even close. It was a great day though and any day off from work is a great day. Speaking of Tiger, Tigger Tiger likes to chase the golf balls when I am practicing in the front yard. Here he is waiting on the next shot.



Saturday market was a success. After a wonderful breakfast wrap made by our Irish chef, we sold plants and wine like they were hotcakes. The lady selling hotcakes also said that they were selling like hotcakes. Now I promised Sara that I wouldn't blog about the strange sighting that we had on Saturday so I can't write about the guy wearing the flowery sun dress. I do keep my promises so mums the word.

Sunday was Mother's day and my wife wanted to relax out in the boat so that is what we did. We started out fishing several miles off shore and then came back to the beach that we like so much. The fish were biting but so were the sharks. My son didn't like the photo that he took so I had to cut myself out. That is my arm though. Better that I cut my arm off than the shark doing it.




Sunday afternoon we just sat around and worked in the garden. It was more play than work. Our day lilies are about to bloom and so are the water lilies. This one is in our fish pond. I hope everyone had a great mothers day. My brother took my mother out for lunch but he made her pay of course. Hey he still took her....I guess.



Have a great day,
Greg