Latest Writings

Hannah’s new pet

We visited Columbia yesterday. Melinda, Hannah, and I went to the “Columbia Repticon” Reptile show. Boy where there a lot of snakes there. (Along with a lot of odd turtles for some reason..)

But Hannah talked me into another pet.

A spider.

It just so happens it’s natural color matches Rockwell’s hair.

rockwellSpider

Posted on 7 February '16 by , under pets. No Comments.

Skiing in Maggie Valley NC.

We (Rockwell, Hannah and I.. Melinda did not want to go for some reason) went skiing this weekend to Maggie Valley and the cataloochee ski area Actually.. snowboarding. We all learned to snowboard. It was AWESOME. I can say that I actually got it down enough to go down one of the black diamonds. I’m not good, but I clearly was not the worst. Hannah made it down once without ever falling… even if 25% of it was braking. (what I call the board being perpendicular to the slope.. I don’t know the lingo’..) We really had fun. We went with youth from Holy Trinity Lutheran to “Lake Junaluska”. 13 of us total, 11 kids and two chaperons. The kids were.. different. More on that later.

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I think Rockwell had the most fun of anyone. He did not want to leave. He was the first on the slopes, wouldn’t take a break, and was the very last person to leave of all the kids. And even then he was not happy that he had to stop. He said “I think I want to do this professionally!” and that is before he even really knows how to rock it. We will clearly be back to do it again. This time with Melinda. :)

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I would have more pictures and even video… if I had not lost my phone. :( That was the only bummer of the trip.

I have two observations:
1.
Ok, so about these kids.
“When I was young…” Social status was primary. I remember getting into a group like this, and all the kids wanted to know was who was boss, and what the pecking order was. Really, when I look back on it, our lives were ruled by this dynamic. Even as you got older.. jobs were available because you knew someone… or not available because you did not.

These kids? They really could not care less. The older ones hung out with the younger ones, Some of them just hung out or didn’t, depending on a mood. It was really pretty amazing. On the trip there, during the trip, and on the trip home, I feel like they were LESS of a burden than 13 Adults would have been, and I’m not kidding about that. They were nothing but prompt, polite, and self sufficient. (as long as there was food available.. lol) They said, we would like to walk to the church” when it was church time, and they were back in the meeting place when the skiing was over. (OK, they were worn out and there before they were even supposed to be.. :) ) Get this.. It was a 250 mile trip there, and a 250 mile trip home… 13 people in the van. You know how many times we stopped? twice. And when I say twice… I mean once each way. I was driving. You know who asked to stop? No one.. I had to stop to pee.
Were their noses in their phones? Of course. And I don’t care.
These kids are going to make SOOO MUCH better adults than we EVER were its not even funny.

Good on you kids. The future is going to be awesome. and you are going to make it that way.

2.
People are SO MUCH more honest these days, so much more, that its making commerce easier, and cheaper for all of us.
Do you remember back 30 years ago going skiing? The paperwork you had to fill out to rent skis, then when you returned them they had to cross check and make sure you were returning the right ones and they loved charging you late fees and such? Those days are LONG GONE. We rented skis, and they simply wanted your liability form. they handed you the skis, (or board) and boots, adjusted them slightly, and you were on your way. When you returned them? “Put them in the stack over there and have a good day.” No accounting whatsoever. I think they realized that 99% of people return them, and the cost of saving a percent did not make it worth the time lost to account for it, or the customers lost to hassle. same thing with the rental trailer we used for bags, the guy did not even open it up to see if it was clean. he met me at the gate in the van, had a handheld, punched in the code on the trailer, and said, “any problems?” I said no, he as 60$ you want to put it on the card on record? I said yes, he handed me a receipt, and I was out of there in 5 minutes. Astounding really. 30 years ago they would have had to have had a checklist of damage and inspected the inside and it just would not have gone that smooth. people are better people today than they were before. simple as that.

Posted on 18 January '16 by , under Events, Holidays. No Comments.

Christmas Crash

I got the chance to ride the greeneway with a friend. I guess I was a little excited, because I was not paying the attention I know I should at the treacherous wood bridge.. (that bridge has gotten me twice before while I was running). It was in the morning before the sun burned off the dew, and the bridge was slick.. the front wheel went right out on me, and I was in clipless shoes. I was more mad than hurt though… Mad that I allowed it to happen, and SUPER mad that I was not wearing gloves! That said, I’m 51, and I got up and all that was wrong was I was missing a bunch of skin. I even finished the ride, along with a couple PR times! :)
Here is the leg.. but my palm was the worst for it… arrg.

christmasleg

But Hey, I did 14 more miles after the crash, so it must not have been that bad.

christmasride15

Posted on 29 December '15 by , under Activities. No Comments.

Aluminum and water beads

After making sculptures with Ant hills, we stumbled across this one.. pouring aluminum into water beads! Works surprisingly well.

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Pretty!

WATERBEADS

And here is the process:

Posted on 28 December '15 by , under Activities, kids, projects. No Comments.

Sugar season, a cache, and an anachronism.

Arthur Shealy invited us to crush some sugar cane again this year! I drug Dale with me.

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Starting the boiling process. I swear Arthur, if you allow that cane juice into the pot without being finely strained one more time….

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The kids seem to like going geocaching… at night. Here is one in the woods.

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Rockwell played “Joe” in the Christmas play this year. “youre WHAT??” the funniest line of the night.

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Rockwell also played with the high schoolers at the North Augusta Christmas tree lighting.

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Rockwell found a friend. She was trying to convince him to attend NAHS, and join band.

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Can you spot the anachronisms? I see three of them! They all still work too!

anacronisim

Posted on 17 December '15 by , under Events, Uncategorized. 3 Comments.

Don Trump Rally today!

The girls wanted to go to a Trump rally in Aiken today. No doubt he has some support in Aiken! LOTS of people there to support him.

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Melinda, mid reaction to something he said.. too funny!

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My favorite sign of the whole rally. There were a couple groups of people that caused a fuss, but nothing major, AND Trump actually said; “I dont mind the protesters.. we all should be protesting more!”. That response supried me a tad.

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The girls got bored half way through and decided to join a small contingent of “protesters” out front. I love the guy dressed like a communist! My favorite chant was them saying the pledge of allegiance to the flag, and at the end repeating “And liberty and justice for all! And liberty and justice for all!”

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Posted on 12 December '15 by , under Events. No Comments.

Random Activities. Lasers and Ants.

Hannah and I stole and idea off the internet, Melted some aluminum, and poured it into a Anthill. We did not think it even worked, until we pulled this out the ground!

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Here is the setup before firing..
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Ready to pour!

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Melinda is working on her science fair project. She is measuring the fringes of a interference pattern in order to figure out the wavelength of light. The calculation is actually quite basic: wavelength = fringe distance*double split spacing/distance between measurement of fringe and the split. We did the math… and it worked perfect, first time out. That was actually pretty exciting. She has three different colored Lasers to measure.

mellaser

Posted on 6 December '15 by , under Activities, projects. 1 Comment.

Melinda and Maverick at Palmetto stables.

Leighton, the owner of Palmetto stables, took some pictures of Melinda on Maverick, the horse M has been riding.

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All of these are winners.

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Posted on 29 November '15 by , under kids. 1 Comment.

Running, fitness, and Joy.

I must say, I really feel good after running. I feel cleaner than ever after sweating then a shower. As it is, I seem to only find time to run when it’s dark, either in the morning or in the evening. You would think it would be dangerous to run at night, but as it turns out, if you roll your ankle and/or fall enough times, you figure out how to do it without hurting anything. I am completely comfortable running in just enough light that I know I am on trail.. and running down the wooded (but paved) greeneway that follows an old rail bed in the dark with the moon filtering though the trees is… Magical. Truly beautiful. Joyful. I mean, as I’m running I’m saying to myself… “This is like a movie dream scene..wow.” Sometimes there are little patches of fog (not even as wide as the path, “little”.) sometimes there are deer out on the path that just stare at you as you go by, It’s just magic. I wish everyone could experience it. Another thing that happens is your sense of smell goes to 11. I can tell when people are doing laundry as I run over manhole covers. Sometimes, if everything is just right in the mornings, I can smell animals on the trail, (or more likely their scat) Interestingly enough, It’s not unpleasant. I have been running for almost 3 years now, (3 in December) and the experience of having the trail to yourself and nature is really the best part. The feeling of fitness is an awesome bonus.
As I write this, It turns out Chicago received their largest November snowfall on record today, and I am reminded of, as a kid, going out and riding in ~2″ of fresh snow at night, snow that has not had any car tracks on it yet. While it’s still snowing. The silent kind of snow. That was pure joy too. Might be the only thing that beats this. I really am looking forward to my kids experiencing Both. :)

happyparade

Posted on 22 November '15 by , under Activities. No Comments.

Holloween Halloween this is Halloween.

After COMPLETELY disappointing the girls, and missing a chance to see a intimate live performance of Rocky Horror Picture show Thursday. (We were 6,7,8 in line, and there were only 5 tickets left.. grrr.)
We tried to do some fun stuff anyway. Friday night, I took the older girls to a couple of abandoned houses. One was formerly a house of a wealthy local individual that died a year or so ago.. the family has not emptied it out yet, and its becoming decrepit.. paint peeling and wood rotting.. yet not a single window is broken. It is still a house. And therefore we were hesitant to go in. But we did anyway,,, just to check out the library! We took nothing and did no damage,, just looked around. We did not want to use much light, as to notify the person in the garden (guard) house that we were there…. So we did not get to see much. But it was still fun!

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A little reconnaissance.. here is the library during the daytime though a window.
hauntedlibrary

Then we decided to go to an old confederate cemetery in the woods in Beech Island. It is the private plot of the people that used to own the Redcliff Plantation.. sorta’ spooky!
confederatecem

Then we came back to North Augusta and went into the house down the street at 813 Georgia.. It’s been abandoned and gutted all the time we have lived here.. But you can’t tell from the outside! (Otherwise all the neighbors would have complained by now, right?)
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Ghost call, it’s for you!
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Then, Saturday night, after we all went to the biggest Jack-o-lantern Jubilee EVER! (38 special played.. what a crowd. First year they sold alcohol helped I am sure.) Melinda went to a Halloween party at a friends house. When I went to pick her up, a friend of ours, Chris Flecheck, was picking his daughter Raven up too. He decided we all should climb the huge dirt hill that is across the street from the party. I think he might have been drinking.. lol. But I am glad we did! It was fun!
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Melinda was the first to the very top..
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Friends join in.
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All the girls gather, (or should I say stumble, because I don’t know if they ever got to a full standing position..) on the smaller hill. They were cracking up the whole time.
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Posted on 1 November '15 by , under Holidays, kids, seasons. No Comments.