Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm Not Dead! I Feel Fine!

I'm not posting much these days, and I'm certainly not reading much, either.  I'm sorry to those of you that think I should be doing other wise.  It's just that I can't seem to find a moment to breathe.  Work has been intense lately.  I'm still trying to figure out how to do twice the work with half the workers.  That seems to be common in today's economy.  Of course, there's been plenty to do at home, as well.  This past weekend we moved Bucky and China to a larger coop.  Our nieghbor Dustin tried grabbing Bucky first.  Then I gave it a shot.  Finally Mike managed to grab the little bugger.  He is the absolute meanest rooster I have ever seen!  And the smallest!  I guess he tried to make up for his size!  He's put marks on both Mike and I before, and has even drawn blood!  He's a pretty rooster. (see his pic in my last post) But I just assume not go near him if I can help it.  Our swimming pool has been green for a month now.  We've attempted to clean it, but each time we get close we get more rain, or get busy and skip a few days.  So out of frustration, Mike has emptied it out.  I guess it will go unused till next summer. 

I still haven't put those chickens in the Bargain Trader.  I don't think they are going to be so easy to sell this time of year, really.  And all these little ones are certainly too small to eat. 
 Okay, so this pic is a couple of weeks old.  But really, they aren't much bigger than that.  It's funny, when I go out to feed them in the evening time, I always feed the chickens under the lean-to first.  But all these little chicks are running around, so they come running to me to get some dinner.  They are quite skiddish, though.  For every time I take a step towards them they turn and run like I was a fox.  It's the funniest thing, really.  I have to let out a giggle when I see them do it, even when I am alone. 
I am thinking of going back to school.  Really, I'd like to go to nursing school.  When I first went off to college I was a biology pre-med major.  I wanted to be a doctor.  But I thought it was more important to play volleyball in the sand pits than attend boring labs and lectures on microbiology and cellular morphology.  They even sound boring!  My grades starting slipping, so I ran off to Texas, finished my degree in ministry, then ran off into the army to pay off the sacks of loans I had taken out to pay for six years of college.  Now, nursing school would be too hard to pull off, methinks.  I'd have to attend labs and clinicals during the day time, and I'm not sure how I could work a job to pay my bills and go to classes like that at the same time.  But lately, I have been thinking, maybe I should persue a Masters in Business Management.  I like my current job, it pays fairly well, especially for this area, and a Masters degree could potentially open doors for major advancements.  But of course, I've not really done any research.  It's such an ambitious goal.  Most of the time it seems unobtainable.  Sometimes I think I really just need to simplify my life.  But I can't think of too many things that I'd want to go. 
Well, there's no rhyme or reason to today's post.  I'm just typing as I think.  Hope everyone is doing well.  I apologize for not visiting much lately.  I will be back to normal soon.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back To Mormalcy?

I love summer.  I think summer is the most wonderful time of the year.  Even from a kid I always enjoyed summer.  I was very close to my great aunt.  My great uncle passed away when I was four years old from cancer.  My aunt remarried and moved from New Jersey to Texas.  So from the ages of 8 to 18 I flew to Texas every summer to stay with her and her husband.  I've also spent summers working on fishing boats, playing football in the fields, building forts in the know, all that boy stuff boys do when they are young.  From the time I can remember, my summers have always been busy.  This summer, really, has been no exception.  It's been one thing after another. 

Of course, I was a pall bearer at my cousin's funeral last weekend.  That's not an activity anyone wants to attend during the summer, or any other time of the year for that matter.  My poor aunt told me that she was holding up okay, but the hard part was going to be after all the people were gone.  She has a 21 year old son with Down Syndrome.  Her son was her support line.  I told her that her other sons would help look after her, but she said it was different with Charley.  She said they looked after each other.  She's still gonna be in need of good thoughts and prayers.

My great aunt that moved to Texas is coming to visit next month.  They are on their was to visit friends in New York, but they are stopping by here in Greenville to give my mom a break.  She has been living with my other great aunt (sisters) who is 91 years old.  She has broken her hip twice and is not mentally or physically able to care for herself any longer.  I'm gonna try to take a day off to visit her for the weekend while she is here.

We are once again in possession of too many chickens.  We've had a good hatch or two this year, and we have lots of young chicks.  Since I am completely unable to sex a chicken at hatch I often wait to see if it's gonna be a cockrel or hen before getting rid of it.  I try to keep some of the hens to replace to older hens that are no longer laying.  The older hens end up in chicken and pastry like the one we had last night.  In fact, I'm having leftovers for lunch today.  My two biggest daddies are Perogi and Bucky.

That's Bucky on top.  He's my mixed bantam and Perogi on bottom.  He's RI Red, but I'm sure he's got something else in him because he's got a pea comb.  But I've got other daddies, too.  I've got a couple of silkie roosters that mated with white bantam hens.  So I've got some bantam chicks running around with feathered feet and five toes.  But I need to get rid of some of them, so I will be putting an ad in the Carolina Bargain Trader to sell some of them off.

Oh, I also got another pigeon chick born!  My white pair has laid on eggs three times this year to no avail.  Finally, yesterday, a single white chick hatched!  I'm so hoping it lives.  My black pair has hatched two chicks this year.  Four actually, but only one gets the needed attention, I guess.  So only two have survived.  She is now sitting on another egg or two.  Here's to hoping!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Still Here

Just to let you know I'm still here.  Filling in for our inside sales guy, who is out on vacation this week.  Also, my cousin passed away this week.  He was only 35 years old, in good health, didn't smoke or drink, and he had a stroke.  His family has had a rough go of it.  His father drowned a few years ago.  His younger brother has Down Syndrome.  And his older brother hurt his leg bad at work a couple of years ago, and still has trouble with it.  If you're a praying person, please remember the family of "Charley".  I'll be back later.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

If You Can Read This, Thank A Teacher

I was thinking today about my English teacher from high school.  She, I think, was the coolest teacher I ever had.  She made learning fun.  We read Shakespeare in high school.  Now for the average young teenager, Shakespeare  is no where near the top of any reading list, if there absolutely has to be one.  But she actually made it interesting.  She would give us the play version.  Then students were assigned parts to read.  One might be Othello, one might be Iago, one might be Hamlet and so forth.  THEN, if the weather was nice, we would go outside on the lawn to read the play whilst sitting on blankets.  But not by any ordinary means.  We would, instead of using the conventional door, exit through her classroom window.  AND THAT'S NOT ALL....after simply reading the play, we would then take an excerpt from the play, put on make-shift costumes, go to the auditorium and act out the play...on film. 

 Sometimes she would let us order burgers and fries from Keech's Grill just down the road from the school.  Instead of the regular school lunch of vegetable beef soup from a giant can we would eat unhealtily in her classroom.  She had a giant inflatable gorilla that sat in the corner of the classroom.  She had a little bear on a unicycle that would ride a string across the ceiling.  Instead of student desks we had dinner style tables with students facing each other.  We had REAL round table discussions.  And we could write anything (but perverse) things on the table with markers.  When the table was full, we'd paint it and start over.  She pushed her books and things up and down the halls in a grocery buggy.  To say the least, Mrs. Annie Cutler was the most amazing teacher I ever had.  And I spent six years in college. 

However, she was NOT an easy teacher.  Her tests were often open-ended questions that required a paragraph or two.  And they often were detailed enough that you had to do some major thinking and material recall to answer correctly.  But in the end it was all worth all the work.  When we had papers to write with a certain word count, we were not allowed to count words such as a, and, the, but, nor, for, and so.  We were also required to keep a journal that we had to write in at least three times a week.  We could write about anything we wanted to with the understanding that she would be reading and grading what we wrote.  It was really a way to get good grades to counter act her often difficult tests.  I once wrote an entire page using all the words I was not allowed to count in my papers.  I got an A for originality.  Really. 

I was scanning the net looking for information on her.  I found a site called "Rate My Teacher".   Ratings were from one to five with one being bad and five being great.  For easiness her rating was a 2.7.  As I said before, she wasn't easy, but she was fun.  But for helpfulness and clarity she had gotten 5.0 in both categories.  Here is a quote I found about her on the same site.  
"She has PASSION and instills it in us for learning. She uses learning styles to the advantage of ALL!"

She also hosted parties at her home for her students.  Not the crazy-go-get-drunk-teenager type parties.  She'd grill hot dogs and hamburgers.  Each student would bring a side, a drink, or a dessert.  And on occasion we'd roast marshmallows over a camp fire.  She had her bathroom painted to look like meadow with a white picket fence around the wall and a tree painted up the wall and branches extended across the ceiling.  Many thought she wore the same clothes every day.  But that wasn't the case.  She would find a shirt or skirt she liked on sale and would buy 5 or 6 of the exact same thing.  I know this for a fact, as she brought her students into her room to have a look in her closet!

I had heard that she had passed away.  To my extreme dismay I found her obituary on line.  I'm not sure what the cause was, but she passed away on March 7, 2009 at the age of sixty-three.  That's not the sort of news you want to hear about a hero.  Mrs. Annie Cutler was a great teacher and an amazing person.  I'll never forget her khaki skirts with blue or pink blouses and the signature sweater tied around her shoulders.  And for whatever reason I was thinking of her today,  I thought it would be a great tribute to memorialize her in a blog post.  Teachers are wonderful resources that carry on throughout our lives.  I think that the get far too little credit (and pay) for all they do for us and our children.  SO........


You Left A Legacy!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Cry Baby?

Well, the weekend came and went, a bit uneventful.  We went to the folks and tried a little fishing, but the weather was uncooperative.  The rain we weren't suppose to get came on Saturday afternoon, and again on Sunday.  The weatherman, or liarman, as I prefer to call him, said it was going to be partly cloudy with temps lower than they have been.  They seem to do well on the temps, but they have a hard time "guessing" at the actual weather.  I should have been a guesserologist.  You get paid to guess at the weather!  Anyway, it's Monday, and back to the salt mines.

I appreciate all the well wishes I got last week.  But looking at all of that I must have made myself sound like some sort of cry baby!  I would be lying if I said I was never a cry baby.  I'm an awful patient!  When I get sick I need a "mom" to bring me chicken noodle soup, check my fever regularly, bring me cold, wet rags...well, you get the idea.  A BIG BABY!!  I get a bit fussy when people break plans for less than satisfactory reasons, too.  But, for the most part I keep my mouth shut when I need to, and often when it needs to be open.  I do tend to make a lot of plans for myself to get this or that done with a timeline.  But if I say I'm gonna do something, then that is my intention.  And occasionally I overbook myself.  I might cross a deadline or two, but I'll get the job done.  Besides, I'm happier when I'm busy.  I prefer to be a constructive type of person.  There's always something to do.  Laundry, mow the grass, paint the shed, a new roof for the pigeon coop, move the bantams to a bigger coop, sell the bitties, paint the porches, replace the steps.  Okay, most of these are really just examples, but things to get done nonetheless.  Maybe you have different things to get done.  I'm quite sure if you look around, it would not be that hard to find things to do. 
From all of that rambling, I need to deduce that boredom is an excuse.  I do not like to be bored, and it's a rarity if I ever am.  I do find time to relax.  I eat dinner slowly.  I watch television.  I eat ice cream in bed while watching "The First 48" or something on the History channel.  The only REAL drawback I find to being busy, whether it's working or playing, is that it makes time go by so much faster.  It astounds me that in less than a year I will be half of seventy.  I have a feeling I'll be one of those guys that has some sort of mid-life crisis.  Pityful me.  But I don't want to be a cry baby.  Life is good, isn't it?  Sure, there are ups and downs.  We lose friends, we disagree with family, we have financial hardships, we face illness.  Those are facts of life.  But we breathe, we see beautiful flowers, birds, mountains, we talk with people, we make new friends, we listen to music.  Overall, if we stop and smell the roses, as clicheish as that may sound, we will realize that life, after all, really is pretty good. 
Okay, my blubbering has gone on long enough.  I'll leave you with a pic I took at the beach that I really love.  Have a great week!!

Okay, I gotta laugh at myself.  after proofreading before posting I realized I was whining to start with!  I'm not a cry baby, though!  Really!!