Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday Funny

Today's Friday Funny is dedicated to Kim in all her karate-chopping, kicking-butt glory!
My friend who just graduated from Navy Boot Camp sent me some Chuck Norris jokes in his last letter. I guess there a lot of them. These were the first ones I'd ever heard and I thought they were pretty funny. If you know anymore please share.. .............

Chuck Norris has a night-light in his bedroom. Not because he's scared of the dark but b/c the dark is scared of him.

Chuck Norris doesn't sleep. He waits.

Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas.

Chuck Norris had a heart attack. His heart lost.

It's been said that the tears of Chuck Norris can cure cancer. The problem is, Chuck Norris never cries.

Hope all of you have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Still thinking about this whole friendship thing...........I've always been a a deep thinker, but not always a good talker or writer b/c I can never adequately express my thought stream into words. I think a lot; too much, Ell says. I dissect and analyze everything.........every action and reaction, every word whether spoken or written, and above all, every intention. I try to figure out the true reason, conscious or subconscious, why people do what they do. Most of the time all it gets me is more confused.

Friendship and the art of being a friend are two things I have thought a lot about in the past 9 years. Why 9 years? Ell and I got married 9 years ago. The summer we were married we were one of thirteen weddings in 6 months; eleven of them from the end of June to the end of September. We literally had only 3 weekends in those 3 months when we didn't have a wedding to be in or be apart of, or attend. It was crazy but really awesome. With the exception of one couple, all of the people getting married were very close friends of ours. So we got to experience all the joys and pains of learning to be married right along with our friends. But as marriage tends to do, we also came to realize who we did and didn't get along with as couples. Being friends with one person is easy if you both have similar likes and dislikes. But when you throw four or six or eight personalities into a mix the results are not always as pleasant. Ell and I learned that and adapted to the friends with the least amount of friction. The blend has changed many times over the past 9 years, and that is usually where the analyzing and over-thinking came in.

Ell and I have had a big Jamaican Party every February since we've been married. The original concept was to let everyone escape the cabin-fever of Winter, leave the kids at home, and reunite with old friends. The first year our entire group of married friends and a big contingent of our unmarried friends attended. Over the years new friends were added to the invite list as some people dropped off it due to the friction I just talked about. Through all those changes, we still averaged thirty to forty people at the party every year. The past couple years Ell and I came to the realization that the party had become the only time each year that the entire group of old friends got together. And for some reason that started to bother me.

I couldn't help asking myself, "Why didn't anyone else have something to get the group together? Were we the only ones who cared? Was it fair that we were the glue that held the group together? And since this was the only time each year to see old friends, why didn't everyone always come?" The more I thought about it the more often an answer came up I didn't want to admit........Maybe those other couples didn't want or need to be our friends; or anyone else's for that matter! Ouch! And as bad, or sad, as that sounds that may be the most truthful answer there is.

When children turn a couple into a family, priorities obviously change. Ell and I have chosen to not have children. And even though we have had the pleasure of being a part of that change in many of our friend's lives, we can never fully know everything that it does to a couple. The need or want to have friends can get pushed to the back burner with everything that raising a family requires. All extra energy is sapped with dirty diapers, sports games, college planning, and so much more. Having forty people over for a party is probably the last thing on their minds. And going anywhere without the kids just doesn't seem right. In other words, "old" friends are set aside for "new" family. And no, I'm not saying that's wrong. I'm merely saying that it leaves a hole in the relationship with those old friends. And that hole isn't always clean or healthy.

So even though I may have figured out some answers, it doesn't make me feel any better. All it does is make me think more. Too bad that's what got me here in the first place!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What is a best friend?

Sunday night I got to do one of my favorite things........Spend some quality time with one of my best friends while sitting on my porch, watching the sunset, smoking our pipes, and as Guy says, "Trying to solve the world's problems." When I do those things with this particular friend, we usually engage in great conversations. Common themes include Politics, Religion, Communism, Gardening, and the fact that some of the best micro-brewed beer in the world is brewed right here in Ohio. Sunday was no exception, but our conversation was one of a different and more personal nature, the topic of Friendship.

We were discussing the term best friend and how it differs from person to person. (BTW, we were not discussing this inside a marriage, If you are married and don't consider your mate your best friend you have issues that need addressed before you can even begin to wrap your thoughts around this concept!) The main point we talked about was how it's interesting how someone can consider a person their best friend and how that person doesn't hold the same opinion of them. How is that possible? The answer is b/c friendship is such a personal thing. He said his brother didn't have a lot of friends (by choice) and that he was probably his brother's best friend. But he did not consider his brother to be his best friend. It was a pretty obvious example of that personal importance.

Then I told him something I had talked about with the guys in my youth group when they asked about friendships. When trying to define your best friends, think about getting married. If you were getting married in one month, and ignoring the socially politically-correct family requirements, what 4 or 5 guys would you have in your wedding? What 4 or 5 guys would you ask to stand with you and show the world the people you share your life with? Those people you picked are your best friends. And the part that makes this a great exercise is that it applies to anyone at any time; young or old, married or divorced, man or woman. (Well women would need to pick women, but you get the idea!)

Using that idea with those guys in my youth group created an interesting situation I didn't expect. At least four of them said they would have me in their weddings! That brought up the question should we, or do we, feel bad about not reciprocating those feelings back at the same level. The potential for emotional hurt is very real if someone puts themselves out there and the feelings are not returned. [Not saying it is necessarily so] but those guys in my youth group might be a little upset if I didn't say I considered them friends. My friend's brother might feel the same way if my friend told him how he felt. That is unless as adults we realize the point that friendship is a personal thing. And that our feelings are just that, not necessarily the same as those around us.

Not sure why I shared this, just been on my mind since Sunday.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Hello Sam's friends...

The much anticipated pictures of Sam's wonderful garden!!
Sam's Tobacco.How tall are his tomato plants, well, here is Jackson walking beside them and he is about 38" tall. Look at those marigolds!

Sam's hand with an onion. Check out all of the peppers on this plant! Wow!!

Jackson with a zuccini and a picture of a zuccini plant! Here is Aurora with one of the big carrots.

I hope you have enjoyed these pictures. It took me forever to get them all on here, the blog site would only let me upload one at a time. Have a wonderful day!!


Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Funny

A woman's car broke down while she was traveling through the desert. An Indian in full costume, complete with headdress and buckskin chaps, happened to be riding by on his horse on his way to a family reunion. He offered the lady a ride to the nearest service station on the back of his horse. She graciously accepted.

The ride was uneventful, except that every few minutes the Indian let out a "Ye-e-e-e-h-a-a-a-a" so loud that it echoed from the surrounding hills.

When they arrived in town, he let her off at the local service station, yelled one more final "Ye-e-e-e-h-a-a-a-a" and rode off.

"What did you do to get that Indian so excited?" asked the service station attendant.
"Nothing," the woman answered. "I merely sat behind him on the horse, put my arms around his waist, and held onto the saddle horn so I wouldn't fall off."

"Lady," the attendant said, "Indians don't use saddles!"

Kudos to Guy for finding another great funny. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My week

This has officially been the longest streak in my short life of blogging without a post. I feel dirty.

So here is what has been happening in my life since we last talked. All last week Ell and I were preparing for our big party. I took Friday off to do final preparations for it, as well as for my birthday. In my entire 14 years in the job force, I have only worked one time on my birthday. Some people take off the first day of Summer or the day after Thanksgiving, I always take my birthday off. Or in this case, the day before. My little sister came up on Wednesday with her two little rugrats(which I love!) to help us get ready. The party kicked off with a cool breeze that left people scrambling for sweatshirts and flannels, but it made for a perfect evening around the bonfire. As for attendance, there were about 15 people who we really thought would be coming that never showed up. But even with that, the final tally of guests was 49. A pretty good number I think. We had great food, played horseshoes until well after dark (which was interesting) played some poker, watched the meteor shower, and stayed up all night talking around the fire. I didn't make it all night which I was a little disappointed with. I just couldn't stay awake. I think I was so beat from getting everything ready during the day. I should have napped!

We spent Saturday cleaning up, seeing my sister off, and sleeping. Bright and early Sunday morning we headed up to Lakeside. Ell and I took a few days of work off to spend a little R&R with each other. Lakeside is definitely the place for that. We slept in, played some shuffleboard, spent quality time with some of our best friends, ate too much, played some tennis(I lost miserably to my wife but it was fun,) and got to see my friend Chip Richter do a concert with world-renowned fiddle player Ed Gainer. It was only two days but it was so much fun. Tuesday I took the youth group on a canoe trip on the Mohican River in Central Ohio. Again, a lot of fun. Tuesday night we took one of our younger couple-friends to the new Quaker Steak & Lube in Austintown, Ohio for all you can eat wings. If you have never been to a Lube, you are missing out. The wings are great and the atmosphere is even better! My only problem was that I hadn't eaten any meat all summer. And to break that fast with 49 hot, saucy, spicy, greasy, skin covered wings may not have been the best choice. I felt so bad yesterday. Not sick or upset-stomachy, just weird. My body wasn't ready for that kind of re-introduction to the meat group.

I want to let everyone know that the much-requested pics of my garden are coming soon. My sister has a really nice digital camera, and she took a lot of pictures this weekend. So she is going to do a guest spot here on "eleven" and post some pictures. Look for it soon.

One last thing..........there seems to have been a lost episode of a Friday Funny due to my non-posting. It has been recovered from the archives (actually one of my kids sent it to me yesterday, thanks B!) So you guys don't go into withdrawal, I'll share it with you now...........

Lost Friday Funny
The Lone Ranger and Tonto went camping in the desert. After a long day of riding they pitched their tent and both men fell fast asleep.

Some hours later, Tonto woke the Lone Ranger and said, "Kemo Sabe, look towards sky, what you see?"

The Lone Ranger replied, "I see millions of stars."
"What that tell you? asked Tonto.

The Lone Ranger pondered the question for a minute then said, "Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and billions of planets. Astrologically it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time wise is appears to be approximately quarter past three in the morning. Theologically it means the Lord is all powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have beautiful day tomorrow."

"What does it tell you, Tonto?"

"It tells me you dumber than buffalo chips. Someone stole our tent!"

Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What a day!

It's like everyone in the podunk town where I work found out I was going to be off for a few days and so they all decided to come in today. Then an unscheduled visit from my boss took out about an hour of my useful worktime. I had big plans to write out a few drafts and get them posted tonight. Well that didn't happen. Or anything else I had planned either. All I ended up doing was opening accounts and putting out fires. Which by the way, got me a little fired up today.

At the bank I used to work for, upper management had these things they called "Success Stories!" They were incorporated into our goals and into our incentives. The idea behind them was that we were to go above and beyond the ordinary and go the extra mile for our customers, and then share those stories. What a great idea, right? In theory yes, in reality no. What ended up happening was that the idea was never fully defined, and my peers used any crap they could find. If a customer came in and wanted a checking account and they sold a savings account too, that was their success story. What a load of BS! All that's called is taking care of "ALL" of the customer's needs. All that is, is good customer service. Why would you not sell them a savings if they needed a savings? I always disect and tear everything apart, and so I thought this was a stupid idea. And as luck would have it I got called on last the week the idea was introduced in our weekly district sales meetings. I expressed my views and told my boss and all the other managers what I thought of the idea and what I thought of each one of their "success" stories. I was reprimanded quite sternly by my boss. My only rebuttal was that I wanted a definition; b/c everything I had heard to date was what we should have been doing on a daily basis. And how could she as a superior not demand that level of responsibility from her subordinates. She didn't agree. And since I can't work with or for someone I don't respect, I quit soon after that.

Skip ahead to my present job. As I was reading my email this morning, I came across a letter my District Sales Executive had sent to all the branches. It talked about how in the last manager's meeting (which I did not attend,) each manager had nominated a person from their branch for an award that exemplified quality customer service. Then a winner had been picked from the submitted names b/c this person had gone above and beyond her duties. (Sound familiar?) As I read the story, I realized I was right in the middle of doing the exact same thing for a customer of my own. The only difference was I wasn't running to tell my boss how great I was and how much I was a kiss-up. And no, I am not jealous in any way. The only thing that person showed me was that they need a babysitter to nurse and burp them. Are we adults or are we children? I love a good "Congratulations!" every once in a while. But not for doing the same job everyone else is doing too.

Since I'm obviously just ranting after a hard day, I'll shut up. Talk at y'all later!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The beauty of Perseid

I love watching the stars. Since I was a kid they have fascinated me. I remember the exact time in my life when that fascination started. At 3:30 am the morning of my 12th birthday my parents woke me up and told me to get dressed and come outside with them. They spread a blanket on the ground and we laid down and stared up at the stars. I asked them what we were doing and they told me to just watch the sky. One minute later a huge shooting star streaked across the sky. It was so amazing. I had never seen a shooting star before. The thing that confused me was how my parents had known that it was going to happen at that exact monet. I sat up to go inside while asking them that question.They told me to lay down b/c there would be more. No sooner had I laid back down when two more shooting stars streaked in unison across both sides of the sky. Over the course of the next hour we must have seen 30 or 40 more. My parents said they had heard on the news the night before that it was going to happen and they thought it would be a cool birthday present for me.

When I became an adult I learned that this phenomenon was called the Perseid Meteor Shower. It is something that happens every year between August 11th and the 13th; the peak between 2 and 4 am in the morning of the 12th. In addition to seeing a possible 60-80 shooting stars an hour (the rest of the year has an average of 5-10,) if it's clear enough the Milky Way becomes visible and the amazing Aurora Borealis fills the sky with color. It makes for one beautiful and memorable night.

Over the years, I always invited friends to watch the Perseid shower with me. Unfortunately it wasn't always a good show. Clouds, storms, and fog have messed with the view on many occasions. There have been about 5 great years out of the last 15. But I am excited b/c the forecast this year looks really good for the night to be a success.

As an added bonus, during August this year Mars will be the closest to Earth it's been in the last 5000 years. One report says it will be as bright and big as the full moon. I'll have to see that to believe it, but even if that fact turns out to be not-so-accurate, it will still be a sight to behold. So make sure you take some time this month to gaze into the night sky. You won't be disappointed.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday Funny

A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him. The waitress asks for their orders. The man says, "A hamburger, fries and a coke," and turns to the ostrich, "What's yours?" , " I'll have the same," says the ostrich.

A short time later the waitress returns with the order. "That will be $9.40 please," she says and the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment. The next day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, "A hamburger, fries and a coke." The ostrich says, "I'll have the same."

Again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.

This becomes routine until the two enter again later in the week. "The usual?" asks the waitress. "No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato, and salad," says the man. "Same," says the ostrich. Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, "That will be $32.62." Once again the man pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table.

The waitress can't hold back her curiosity any longer. "Excuse me, sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change out of your pocket every time?" "Well," says the man, "several years ago I was cleaning the attic and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes."

"My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there." "That's brilliant!" says the waitress. "Most people would wish for a million dollars or something, but you'll always be rich as you want for as long as you live!" "That's right. Whether it's a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there," says the man.

The waitress asks, "But, sir, what's with the ostrich?" The man sighs, pauses, and answers, "My second wish was for a tall chick with a big butt and long legs who agrees with everything I say"...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My bubble has collapsed

In the ever-continuing saga of me vs. my workplace, I had yet another setback. Turns out my blogging on other computers in the office has also been discovered. They didn't trace anything back to me, but one of my tellers was sent a warning about being on this type of format. Well she didn't even know what a blog was. And since I don't want to have to fire someone for something I did; I'm back to drafting and posting when I can. I really need to get the internet at home. :-)

Why Summer Rules

Kimmy has once again challenged her readers. So here is my list of 30 reasons I love summer.

1. It's not cold
2. I don't have to make a fire every day after work. (I know sitting in front of fire on a cold winter day sounds romantic, but it turns out it's not when you have to do it everyday just to raise the temperature above 42 degrees in your 180 year old drafty log house. And waking up twice a night to fill it to keep it at 60 degrees. Only to do it again the next evening. It gets old........ quick.)
3. Swimming
4. Suntans
5. Fresh tomatoes
6. Fresh beans
7. Fresh peppers
8. Fresh cucumbers (I could finish the list this way, so I'll move on.)
9. Smoking my pipe on the porch
10. Bonfires
11. Fishing
12. Camping (I actually love this all year.)
13. Tee shirts and shorts
14. Driving with the windows down
15. Water fights
16. Watching the stars without the risk of frostbite
17. Parades (I know there are parades in the winter, but they usually suck!)
18. Fairs
19. Canoeing
20. Sweating (Sure beats shivering!)
21. Seasonal summer ales
22. Frogs singing their horny love songs
23. Ell in a swimsuit
24. Watermelon
25. Frisbee
26. The shocking feeling you get stepping from the heat into an air-conditioned building
27. The way ice cream melts in your mouth
28. Working on my old VW (It won't start in the cold.)
29. Outdoor concerts
30. Grilling

And one last thing...........I HATE WINTER!!!!!!!!!!!!! The only good thing about that horrible season is that it kills the bugs and the weeds for a few months! Hope you enjoyed my list.............