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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Writing Time

It is that time again. Nanowrimo is here. Otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. I participated last year and it really jump started me finishing my first novel. I ended up at around 88,000 words. I wrote almost every night through the month of November. It was great being able to track my progress and have know others were working toward a similar goal. By the way, the goal on the website is to write 50,000 words for the month. This is a really difficult goal, but if you work at it you can reach it.

Along with the website I have a quote from Ray Bradbury about writing that inspires me. The quote is from a Writer's Digest interview.

WD: You're terribly prolific, but a lot of writers produce one book in a lifetime. Would you advise young writers to spend all their time polishing one piece or to go for quantity?

BRADBURY: It simply follows that quantity produces quality. Only if you do a lot will you ever be any good. If you do very little, you'll never have quality of idea or quality of output. The excitement and creativity comes from a whole lot of doing; hoping you'll suddenly be struck by lightning. If you only write a few things, you're doomed. The history of literature is the history of prolific people. I always say to students, give me four pages a day, every day. That's three or four hundred thousand words a year. Most of that will be bilge, but the rest ... It will save your life!

I will be starting a new novel next month. I am not sure which one yet. I could do the sequel to the one I finished, or one of the two others that are bouncing around in my head. I encourage you to participate if you have a story inside you. Even if you never finish it you will enjoy the experience.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Light Time

A solar powered light. Sounds stupid right. Sounds like something out of Japan. I always thought so, until I saw these. Then I saw where someone made their own for much less. It is a nice accent for the yard and works as a portable night light when brought into the house.

The sun jar essentially captures the sun. It really does live up to its name. I had to build my own. I found a solar powered yard accent light at Big Lots and a canning jar Kelly had left over. I also used glue, a rubber band, aluminum foil and armour etch. I like how it turned out. I would like to find some jars like the ones pictured, but until then I will be happy with the one I have.

The unlit jar

Jar on. There is a light sensor on the top. I used the nickel to cover it so that it would shine.

The electronics inside the jar. I use the rubber band to hold the batteries suspended so the light shines out. I also put a piece of aluminum foil on the bottom so that the light would reflect out. The lid was two pieces. I just glued the solar panel to the outer part of the lid and did not use the other piece. I think it would look great for a bunch of these to hang from a tree.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rabbit Time

We bought Clara a rabbit last summer at the Chesnee trade lot. It was only a few dollars. It was a cute white rabbit and Clara loved it. We had a rabbit hutch that Pat brought by so we were set. We brought the rabbit home and named it Sally. Clara was sure it was a girl. Many months later we found out that the rabbit is a boy. Clara disowned it saying that I could have it. She would have nothing to do with a boy rabbit.

I have since named it Monty.

I think I can train it to be an attack rabbit.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bat Time

I have a shed where I keep my tools and building materials. It is often a mess. I have had many creatures sneak into the shed; several mice, a bird, various spiders, a snake, and currently a bat. I was cutting wood for the kids swing when I saw it sleeping in the rafters.

Creatures of the night must distort my camera because I could not get a clear picture.

I thought about killing it. I do not like creatures trespassing into my domain. Then I decided that if I hit it with a shovel and did not kill it I run the risk of needing a rabies shot, or of being bitten and gaining bat powers. It could be a radioactive bat.

We do live next to this.

However knowing my luck I would end up like this guy.

I guess he is happy, because he is laughing his freaky bat head off, but I could not afford to replace clothes every time I went batty.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lindy Time

Today is Lindy's birthday. She is four years old today and has grown into the comedian in our family. She will do anything for a laugh. She likes to blurt out random phrases at times, and often they are quite funny, at least to me. She once saw a pocket and said, "A pocket, I want to put my hand in it." Another one of her sayings was to answer any question asked of her with, "Because Yes." or "Because No." The question did not really matter. She would just throw that out there and smile.

It was hard to find a picture for these posters because Lindy has a habit of glancing away from the camera as you take the picture. There are dozens of pictures where Lindy has a sidelong glance at something to the side.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Clara Time

Today is Clara's birthday. She is our independence baby. She will be 6 years old this year. She is very excited about first grade this year. She is growing up so fast. She likes to make things. She makes cards for people, pictures, books, and even lamps. She seems to me to have a very artistic sensibility. I have watched her grow into a little "helper". You can ask her to do just about anything and she will agree to help out.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Build Time

This weekend the girls and I built stuff together. Clara and I built a lamp on Friday and on Saturday we went to the Lowes Build and Grow session.

The lamp idea came about becasue Clara asked me if we could build a lamp. I think she asked because we got Kelly a new lamp for her birthday. I bought the materials at Lowes, which could be the subject of a whole other post. She helped me epoxy the socket to the shade, cut the rod, and drill the holes for the base. She did really well and you can check out our result below. Lindy wants to build a lamp now also.

It works!

I have always gone by Lowes and seen that you can sign up to build all these little projects. This last weekend was a pirate ship. I asked Clara if she wanted to go with me and she said "No." Lindy, the sensitive one, looked and me comfortingly and said she would go with me. I thought she might be too young for it, but could not deny her attempt to comfort me after the rejection by me eldest. I told Lindy that she could. Then Clara's sense of sibling rivalry kicked and she wanted to go also. I signed her up also. We got there a little before 10am because it said on the website it was only the first 50 would get to participate. We were the first ones there. The holes for the ships were all predrilled so you could just set the nail in the hole and hammer it in. A good idea to protect little fingers. Clara and Lindy did a great job putting together their ships. They hit every nail at least once. I had to help a few times to get the nail in all the way. At first the girls were timid about hitting the nail, but by the end of the build they were swinging with all their might. Clara was a real pro by the end. They each got a ship, apron, saftey goggles, and a badge for their apron. It was a really cool experience.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Father Time

Father's Day is so much fun. I got this cool led light from church. I can pull the light apart and a retractable string keeps it attached to my belt loop. How awesome is that? Allow me to tell you if you do not already know it is very awesome. You can never have too many flashlights. Speaking of gifts Kelly bought a some hair clippers so she can give me hair cuts for life. The kids bought me some pack of cards. They are so sweet. For dinner Kelly made Chow Mein and a Cheerwine cake for dessert. The cake had a cream cheese/fluff icing. It was delicious. The Chow Mein was quite tasty also. I have a great family.

My plate...yum!

The Chicken Chow Mein

My piece of Cheerwine cake. To make it you add a can of Cheerwine soda to a cake mix and stir. Then bake it. You can do this with any kind of soda I think.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mountain Time

We went to Pisgah National Forest this Wednesday. I remember going there as a kid and wanted to take the kids up. There is plenty to do up there and it costs very little. I called my dad and asked him about directions to the picnic area we went to as kids. After getting the directions we packed up the car the next day and headed over. Needless to say we missed the turn and had to backtrack about 15 minutes, but it was a good chance for the kids to try out the dvd player in the van. Clara loves it. We got there and I showed everyone the picnic area, which by the way has changed since I was last there over a decade ago. Does that mean I am old now? The picnic tables were made out of huge pieces of lumber. The place where me and Matt would build a dam is gone. The river even looks the same. The cool part about the picnic area is that the river splits near there and there are two streams. The one next to the picnic area is fairly calm, cold as ice but calm. If you cross through it to the other side you will see a rock cliff and a pool beneath. Most kids like to go up and jump off into the pool which is fairly deep. I jumped it as a teenager. There were some kids and teenagers jumping it. Clara decided that she wanted to jump it. She asked me and I told her we would go up and check it out, I knew that she would not go. I did not want to crush her spirit. The cliff was about ten or twelve feet from the pool. I was impressed that she even suggested it. She took a Zoe tube with her up there. We made out way up the cliff to check it out. She said she wanted to jump, but better judgement ruled the day and we decided to hold off until she was older. Also some rangers came by and suggested she not jump. The weired part was that they were dry, and to get to where they were you had to cross water. She got off the cliff with her pride intact. Just going up there took a ton of courage and I am proud of her for being brave.

Then we went to sliding rock and she and I both slid three times. The second time we both went under water and she freaked. I thought she would not go a third, but did and went under again. That was it for her. Thank goodness, because I was freezing at that point.

Finally we stopped at Looking Glass Falls. The girls liked seeing the falls I think, but were tired so we did not stay long. The only pictures we have are at the falls. It was too hard to wrangle the kids and keep a camera dry anywhere else.

Looking glass falls

Clara and Lindy in front of the falls.

Me and the girls in front of the falls, picture courtesy of ten second delay shot. Kelly was with Charlie who was sleeping in the car.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Park Time

We went to the park this morning. It has been rainy the last few days and I have been wanting to go for a walk with the family some morning. It was nice this morning so I thought this would be a perfect moment. The girls enjoyed it and Charlie had to climb every bench. It was nice. Clara searched for treasure around the fountain, we found some there one time and she has to search every time we go by it. Lindy contented herself with pushing her buddies around in the stroller. Here are some pictures from our outing.

Lindy taking a break by the fountain.

Charlie restrained from climbing into the fountain.

Clara posing by the fountain.

Charlie being cute by a tree.

We found this "growing" in the mulch of one of the trees. Neither Kelly nor I could identify it. However, I am pretty sure it is the initial landing force of an alien race.

Panorama of the park that I made using Windows Live Gallery.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Reading Time

I teach English Language Arts. I work hard to teach my students about the language they speak, write, and read. I teach for many reasons one of which is that I believe reading is important. Reading is integral to our society. You have to read street signs and you have insurance policies to read (however if you are like me the document more of a cure for insomnia than anything else). If you can read you can learn how to do nearly anything. It may not give you the skill to do it, but it gives you a basic understanding. It is really hard to convince seventh graders that reading is important. My job is to help raise reading levels to the next grade. I and the teachers I work with buys books on subjects that they are interested in. Teachers have worked for decades to help their students read.

Then I read this. I have to believe that Mr. West made this comment purely to be contrary, and "cool". He apparently has a habit of making controversial comments, I base this on my extensive research. I am very frustrated by this rapper. This celebrity is undermining every teacher that has ever said, "Reading is important". This person must be prevented from spreading a message of illiteracy/alliteracy to youth. I don't know how to do it, but I bet there is a book where I can find out how to.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bath Time

I have given all my children a bath. They like to splash and play in the water. That is not a surprise to me. Sometimes the girls would get out of hand and water would be everywhere. That happens, but the other night I gave Charlie a bath and it was like a tsunami, in a hurricane, followed by a flash flood. The boy went crazy. He was diving from one end of the tub to the other, he was throwing his face into the water, he was splashing as hard as or harder than the girls ever did. It was non-stop. There were no breaks to catch breath, or expel water it was constant movement. I would sit him down and he would just take off again. I could not video his romp in the tub, the camera is not an underwater one, but the video below is pretty much what it was like.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Motivational Posters

I found the website BigHugeLabs, and it has lots of fun things you can do with photos on it. I made these posters using the site. You can use the pictures in a variety of ways.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Is it Christmas?

Is today Christmas, my birthday, or some other special day where people give me things that I do not deserve? The reason I ask is because look at what Kelly got me!

Three pounds of Cheez-Its is awesome. If you know me then you know I enjoy all things cheese. Cheese makes everything better. The joint supplement because I am old. I know 30 is not really that old, but my joints hurt and this stuff makes it feel better. Fraggle Rock was one of the shows I watched as a kid. I would like my kids to see it. Kelly is the best.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine Time

I have not posted anything in a while, because I have been busy. Today however is an important day. Last year on Valentines Kelly and I cut out hearts and hung them in the girl's doorway. They loved it. About two weeks ago Clara reminded me about and how much she loved it. I guess it had more of an impact than I expected. So we had to do it again. It is really simple. We just cut out a few hearts and hung them up or taped them to the wall.

After we gave each other cards and our gifts, Clara made herself a rain hat.

She found some packing material that I was saving to ship books. She made the hat to keep the rain off. I thought it was cute and Lindy thought she looked fancy. Maybe she will design clothes one day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Voter Education Time

I listen to WBT 99.3 out of Charlotte to the Tara Servatius show. Today while listening a guy called in and said that "It was all over" in reference to Barack Obama becoming president. He felt like Obama was going to ruin our country and there was nothing to be done. I was shocked and decided to call in. If he does not like the president then he has four years to do something about it. We do not give up on something we believe in. We fight for it. I waited for a while before I got on and I shared my feelings. Tara said that guys like him were in the minority. I was glad to hear it. She went on to say that we need to educate others about the issues and about what is going on in our government. So being a teacher I have decided to do just that.

We have a new president. I didn't vote for him. The reason I did not vote for him is simple. For me it is about one issue. If the candidate agrees with me on it then I can consider their other platforms. That singular issue is abortion. I am against convenient abortion. That is an abortion someone has because a baby would not be convenient in their life right now. I am no doctor and I am sure situations may occur where the life of both the mother and the baby may be in issue. I am a christian and I understand the concept of sacrificing one life to save another. In our contry abortion is far too common a thing. I do not condem any woman who has had an abortion. I blame misinformation and decietful doctors. I have read about the development of the baby and I can tell you that abortion is not the simple procedure it is portrayed as. A life is being destroyed when an abortion is done, except in this rare case where even being torn from the womb could not destroy. I implore you to not take my word for what abortion is. Research it yourself. Make your own decision.

For me my decision is simple; as a former fetus I will always oppose abortion.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sloppy Snow Time

If you visit Kelly's blog then you know that she has planned out dinner for the week. Tonight she made sloppy joes. They were very good. The night before she made pork chops and noodles. I have no pictures because it was so good I could not stop to take pictures.

I do however have pictures of what me and Clara did last weekend. We went snow tubing at Moonshine Mountain. We went all the way to the top first and then rode down the middle slope. I held onto Clara's tube. She enjoyed it for about two seconds. Once we went down the first slope it sped up significantly. Her face went from smiling to absolute terror. I found out later that speeds were up around 35 mph because of the cold. We downgraded to the "bunny slope" after that. She loved it and would have stayed until we succumbed to the freezing temperatures.

The slope on the far right is the bunny slope. We went down the middle one first.

Believe it or not but this is her smile and not the look of horror.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Game Time

I like to keep up with brain research. Sometime the research done on the brain is really bizarre. For example this study shows that tetris can help people forget traumatic experiences. Imagine if this pans out. Part of the gear that people responding to accidents might be a gameboy with tetris on it for the survivors so they can better cope with the tragedy. That would be weird.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Lindy Time

Lindy's favorite thing to do is pillow fight. All I have to do is mention it and she starts clearing a space and grabbing pillows. The funny thing is that she is so floppy. Sometimes when I pick her up she will go limp and it is like trying to hold jello. Her bones just go liquid. It is really funny.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Time to Eat!

If you did not know Kelly is a creative and fantastic cook. Look at the delicious meal she made the other day and guess what it is.

Okay think you know what she made. If you guessed hamburgers with fries and green beans you would be partly right. The burgers are made from black beans. For our anniversary in 2007 we went to Biltmore Estate for the day. We ate lunch there and Kelly had a chicken salad sandwich and I had a black bean burger with avocado mayonnaise and pineapple salsa. I know it is not your normal fare, but how could I pass up having such an interesting meal. For the record it was great. One of the best meals I have ever had at a restaurant. On the other hand Kelly's chicken salad was not very good. We had some left over black beans and rice that Kelly had made. She made them into patties and was sauteeing them with olive oil when I walked in the kitchen. I saw them and thought they were burgers until she told me otherwhise. The girls ate it and never knew the difference.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Crazy Clara Time

I have read that kids have roles that take on according to their birth order. The oldest is a leader, the middle a mediator, and the youngest a comedian. Well I think all my kids want to be comedians. Especially Clara who is so funny sometimes. She loves to act silly and these pictures prove it. I don't know where she gets it from. ;-)

Then she has a creative side. She and her Grandma Cox made a cake while she was at her house.