Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Day At The Lake

Here's a few highlights of our day at the lake today.

Amanda and her friend Abigail swam for a good two hours!


Best friends forever (when they're not fighting)


Nothing is better after swimming than grilled hamburgers and hot dogs



And I got hang out with the love of my life...pictured here with me

Our House Guest

Here's a picture of Boo (our black Cocker Spaniel) with our house guest for the week, Rosie. Some friends have been on vacation and, being the dog lovers that we are, we volunteered to keep their dog while they were gone. Besides, Sully (our other dog) LOVES to play and since Rosie is a puppy, we thought he'd enjoy a little hyper-active company. Rosie has been a wonderful guest whining and scratching at the back door when she needs to go out. Our dogs, on the other hand, have been lousy hosts. I don't know why, but neither one of our dogs really like Rosie. They growl at her when she wants to play (which is all the time!). Boo sorta growls "leave me alone, I don't want to play", but Sully goes into attack mode (as much as he can being a little dog). Sully has played with dogs bigger than himself before, so I don't think Rosie intimidated him. I'm not sure what his problem was, but he was not much of a host. He did play chase two times, but only when he could chase Rosie...he snapped at her if she chased him. Poor Rosie...her tails wags non-stop and she just wants to play (also non-stop). Oh well, we're loving on her and she seems to be managing OK. She's been an excellent guest and is welcome back anytime as far as the non-dog members of the house are concerned.

A Bus Story

This is the best picture I have of our church bus. Isn't it beautiful {sarcasm}? We hope to get it repainted and get the church name updated sometime this year. Anyway, thought I'd share with you "A Bus Story".

Once upon a time (this past Sunday), one of the CDL licenced drivers of the church told me the bus had a bad leak in the radiator. Since I am in charge of keeping the bus running for the church, that meant just one thing...take it to the shop on Monday. I can do many things, but auto mechanics does not even show up on the radar of things I can do well/correctly. On Monday, I checked and sure enough, the radiator was bone dry. I filled it with water and prepared to take it into the shop. I drove to church, turned it off, went to my office to get the paperwork from last time we had the radiator worked on and then started the bus back up to go to the shop. It started, then it died. I tried to restart it, but the bus would have none of that. GREAT! Now the bus not only has to be repaired, but it also has to get to the shop (on the other side of town) without running. Since I was trying to get it fixed for the youth department, and since I knew our youth pastor (Shaun) knew quite a bit about auto mechanics, I gave him a call. He came, looked at it and said he would work on it. Bless his heart...I don't think he had a clue what a time commitment he was making! Here's a brief overview of our week:
  • Monday
    • A call to another mechanic in our church helped me determine that the no-start problem was fuel related and not electrical.
    • Called Shaun.
  • Tuesday
    • Went to AutoZone and bought front fuel pump.
    • Shaun installed fuel pump. Bus does not start. Shaun determines to install new rear fuel pump inside fuel tank.
    • Shuan found source of leak in radiator. I went to AutoZone again to get part. AutoZone does not carry it.
    • Went to O'Reilly Auto Parts and got part of fix problem. Shuan installed it and radiator leak was fixed.
  • Wednesday
    • Went to AutoZone to get rear fuel pump. They do not have it in stock at that store, so I drove 40 miles round trip to get it from a store that had it in stock.
    • Wrong fuel pump! Shaun and I researched and believed we found the correct pump.
    • I went back to AutoZone. Could not order fuel pump we need...out of stock with vendor. Returned old one.
    • Went to O'Reilly Auto Parts and order rear fuel pump.
  • Thursday
    • Picked up fuel pump from O'Reilly's. Wrong pump again!
    • Shuan returned pump, talked to guys at shop and orders once again. Part will be in Friday.
  • Friday
    • Yea! Correct fuel pump this time. Shaun picked it up and installed it (this included dropping the fuel tank!)
    • Bus wouldn't start.
    • Shaun replace spark plugs. Bus started!!
    • Shaun turned off bus, cleaned up and tried to start bus to park it...it would not start. Drained battery trying to start it.
    • Shaun called me and I went over with jumper cables. Bus would not start. Then bus door would not close (electrical problem).
    • Shaun fixed door issue (just a looses plug). Bus still would not start.
  • Saturday
    • Who knows what is going to happen. Shuan is going to look look through the manual he bought and see if he can find something else to check.
    • I have spent several hours researching {the wrong} parts and going to pick up parts {both right and wrong parts!}. Shaun has spent double that time actually working on the bus.
To be continued...

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Hat

I LOVE this picture! This is the Octopus Hat I was telling you about from VBS this year.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Mystery Unsolved

Well, the turtle mystery is unsolved. We checked with the guy who we thought might have put the turtle in our yard, and he said he did not. And then, upon closer examination we noticed that the new turtle had a flat shell and webbed back feet...a water turtle. Looking even closer, we noticed a light red spot behind it's eye. This turtle is a Red Ear Slider...it not only likes the water but spends most of its time in the water. There are no creeks, ponds, etc. within a couple miles of us. We have no idea how this water turtle ended up in our back yard. Since it could not stay with our box turtles, we took a few more pictures (pictured here with Little George), measured it (8 inches long, about 6 inches wide) and looked for a place to let it go.


Amanda and I headed to a spot on Lake Arlington where we used to have a geocache. On the way down to the water, we saw several more Red Ear Sliders so we figured we picked a good place. Amanda took a picture of me with the turtle just before I set it down on the bank.


As soon as my hands came off the turtle, it dove into the water. If you look closely you can see it under the surface of the water (above and to the right of the shadow of my head) just before it disappeared into the muddy depths. We walked back up on the bridge and spotted it coming up for air and swimming around a couple times before we left.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Good, The Bad, The Puzzling and Something to Be Thankful For

THE GOOD

This is a picture of the Prava Suites near the Galleria Mall. This picture off of their web site will have to do since I forgot to take our camera! But Brooke and I got away for the weekend to celebrate our 14 year anniversary (which was actually on the 12th, but we were just now able to get away). My parents came to pick up Amanda after VBS on Friday, we finished cleaning up the church after VBS and were able to head out around 4pm. With the rain and traffic, it took us an hour to get there, but the hotel was beautiful. It had a huge atrium with a a fountain and glass elevators looking into the atrium. We stayed in a nice suite that had a living room area, a large bathroom and a bedroom. We checked in, went to Chili's for dinner, walked over to and through the Galleria Mall to see how the "other half" lives/shops, watched a {loser!} movie and then did not stay up too late since we were both worn out from VBS. Got up this morning, used the GPS to find an IHOP, had a good breakfast, picked up Amanda and came home. As always, wish it could have been longer, but it was really nice to get away just the two of us.


THE BAD

This week, our washing machine started making noise. I know NOTHING about fixing problems like this, but since I'm a guy and it is expected, I pulled the thing out, unscrewed the back panel, took it apart and looked at it. Yup, the motor was making "a noise". My diagnosis...the thing is going to die soon. Time to start looking for a new one. (Part of the "Something To Be Thankful For": we have some friends and their parents just bought a new washer/dryer and said we could have the washer...free!). Anyway, I put it back together and told Brooke we would use it until it quit working. Well, after we got back today, Brooke went to wash and it quit working. I tried to pull it out and it was stuck. You see, several months ago the washer developed a leak and we didn't know. It leaked for weeks (maybe months). I only found the leak because the floor started to warp from all the water damage. So today, the washer stuck because the leg had worked it's way through the linoleum and into the rotted floor. I pulled it out and decided I would tear up the linoleum and put down a piece of plywood on top so we would be OK. I did not realize that once I tore the linoleum off I would be able to see to the ground! The sub-flooring had rotted that bad. I started trying to tear it up and figured I would have to replace all of that myself, but it did not take long to figure out I was in over my head. I called my Dad, but he was not home. I knew I was in trouble.

That was 3pm this afternoon. I walked over to the church to grab some tools and a friend was there to help me put chairs back in the sanctuary. He had not gotten the message that the chair setup time had been moved to 4pm. I'm not sure Mike would see it as a "God thing" since he ended up helping me for the next 4 1/2 hours, but I sure saw it that way. I told Mike we weren't doing chairs until 4pm and told him I just came to get some tools. When I told him what happened, he volunteered to come help me. He ended up helping for an hour, helping me put chairs up in the sanctuary and then coming back and helping me for another couple hours.


SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR

This is what the floor looks like now. It may or may not get tiled. But the important thing is, it is no longer rotten and I can get my washing machine and dryer back in there now. Oh, I forgot to mention that the guy who built the house covered half of the sub-flooring with cement (see picture above, right side) and the other half with particle board, Masonite, three layers of linoleum and some roofing paper (that black stuff) thrown in for good measure!

What I am most thankful for (besides having the project done) is my friend Mike. Mike and I are not like "best buds" who do everything together, but he proved to be the truest kind of friend today. He gave 4 1/2 hours of his weekend to help out a guy who didn't know what he was doing (me) and who would still be working on the project had it not been for his (Mike's) help. I could have covered the hole, but Mike did some stuff that I never would have thought of (which would have caused me problems later had he not done it) and it certainly looks a LOT better than if I had done it myself. I am so very thankful for a friend like Mike.

THE PUZZLING

Brooke let the dogs out this evening and Sully ran up to something and started barking his head off. It turned out to be this large box turtle. I tried to put the turtle next to Grumpy (our largest turtle) and Little George (our smallest turtle) for a size comparison, but since the new turtle would not come out of his shell for a picture, it's hard to see how big he really is. We're not exactly sure how he got in our yard. Brooke says one her VBS workers mentioned finding a turtle in his back yard, but Brooke thought he said he had let the turtle go. All we can figure is this guy heard we had turtles, so he brought it here. I don't know...we'll ask him tomorrow. In the meantime we'll take some more pictures before taking him out into the woods near a nice creek and letting him go. He's pretty cool, but he's too big for our turtle pen and I'm not sure how we'd get him enough to eat.

So there you have it: The Good, The Bad, The Puzzling and Something to Be Thankful For.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Proud of My Wife

I only wish I had a picture of Brooke wearing her octopus hat to put with this blog posting. Oh well...I will get a copy and post it in a few days!

Our church has been doing Vacation Bible School all week. This is not Brooke's first year to lead a VBS, but I think she has really come into her own this year. One of the biggest areas I have seen Brooke grow in since becoming Children's Director at our church is building and leading a team. She has recruited some great people at our church to help in the children's department on a regular basis, and she has done the same for VBS. Of course it helps that Vine has a GREAT volunteer team. Those that volunteer, volunteer for everything! One volunteer told Brooke this was the smoothest running VBS she has ever worked (here and at her old church). Brooke is building a team and is getting comfortable enough to be able to lead them. I watch her talking to the VBS leaders, giving them instructions, answering questions and praying with them. Her confidence level has grown a LOT, and with that, her ability to lead. She has a family working with her this week who have been children's pastors before coming to the Vine. I think one of the (many) hard things about being a leader is drawing in other great leaders to work with you. There is always the fear that there is somebody who can do something better than you. But leaders who can overcome this can build a great team. I have seen Brooke work with this family, reap the benefits of their excellent ministry, get input from them and now get excited about picking their brains and turning them loose in other areas. That's a sign of a maturing leader.

Of course Brooke has always been good at being the "designated fun person". This has helped her out this week with her workers as well as the kids. Really, you've got to see the crazy octopus hat!

I could go on and on and some might accuse me of being a bit biased, so I'll mention just one more thing. Being an administrative type, I can appreciate a well-oiled machine (project). Brooke is not a natural organizer (remember, she's the "fun" one"), but she really has had her ducks in a row for VBS this year. From visionary planning through the preparation and on into the execution she has had the plan and worked the plan. I'm impressed.

So if you've read all of this and think it is "a bit much"...too bad. My blog, I can brag on my wife if I want to. I'll rant and rave about immigration, "global warming", gun control or something else for my next post.

Brookie, I'm impressed and proud of all your work this week. I love you!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Read the Sunspots

"The fact that science is many years away from properly understanding global climate doesn't seem to bother our leaders at all. Inviting testimony only from those who don't question political orthodoxy on the issue, parliamentarians are charging ahead with the impossible and expensive goal of "stopping global climate change." Liberal MP Ralph Goodale's June 11 House of Commons assertion that Parliament should have "a real good discussion about the potential for carbon capture and sequestration in dealing with carbon dioxide, which has tremendous potential for improving the climate, not only here in Canada but around the world," would be humorous were he, and even the current government, not deadly serious about devoting vast resources to this hopeless crusade."

"Climate stability has never been a feature of planet Earth. The only constant about climate is change; it changes continually and, at times, quite rapidly. Many times in the past, temperatures were far higher than today, and occasionally, temperatures were colder. As recently as 6,000 years ago, it was about 3C warmer than now. Ten thousand years ago, while the world was coming out of the thou-sand-year-long "Younger Dryas" cold episode, temperatures rose as much as 6C in a decade -- 100 times faster than the past century's 0.6C warming that has so upset environmentalists."

Read the entire article, Read the Sunspots, for an excellent perspective on "global warming". As always, please forward a copy of the article to Weird Al (Gore).

If You Can't Compete...Legislate!

That's what the liberals want to do. Companies sponsor radio shows (i.e. pay for advertising) that draw an audience. Radio stations play radio shows that draw an audience and draw sponsors. Conservative talk radio gathers a bigger audience and thus draws more sponsors. And liberals don't like the fact that they can't make the cut in talk radio, so what do they want to do? They want to legislate what radio shows a given radio station broadcasts because they can't offer anything that competes. So if Station A broadcasts Rush Limbaugh for three hours a day, five days a week, liberals want to force that same station to broadcast liberal whine for three hours a day, five days a week. It's what happens when your ideas are too weak to stand on their own merit. If you can't compete...legislate.

Read the article that got me all fired up here.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Go Green...Buy a Hummer

With all the alarming "facts" about "Global Warming", our earth-loving friends are leading the way by by "green cars" to be more friendly to the environment. Here's a quick question for you: Which is more environmentally friendly, a Hummer or every body's favorite, the Toyota Prius? Would it surprise you the environmental wackos have botched it again? You pay more for this environmentally friendly green car to save on gas. Guess what, building a Prius does more damage to the environment than building a Hummer, and you have to own the Prius more that 5 years before it starts saving you money on gas (relative to the extra price you pay) and the car is only designed to last for five years.

Just a few interesting facts. You can read more here and be sure to pass along a copy to your environmental wacko friends!

China Arming Jihadists

New intelligence reveals China is covertly supplying large quantities of small arms and weapons to insurgents in Iraq and the Taliban militia in Afghanistan, through Iran.

U.S. government appeals to China to check some of the arms shipments in advance were met with stonewalling by Beijing, which insisted it knew nothing about the shipments and asked for additional intelligence on the transfers. The ploy has been used in the past by China to hide its arms-proliferation activities from the United States, according to U.S. officials with access to the intelligence reports.

Some arms were sent by aircraft directly from Chinese factories to Afghanistan and included large-caliber sniper rifles, millions of rounds of ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades and components for roadside bombs, as well as other small arms.

The Washington Times reported June 5 that Chinese-made HN-5 anti-aircraft missiles were being used by the Taliban.

Read the whole story here.

Happy Father's Day

I had a happy Father's Day...but it was on Friday. Sundays are kinda busy days at our house and today in particular was busy as we were decorating the sanctuary for VBS after service. So Brooke and Amanda celebrated Father's Day with me on Friday.

Do you like the watch to the left? I have one just like it (as if you didn't know I was going to say that). I told Brooke I was wanting a new watch, but I was not thinking of something quite this nice. This is a WaveCeptor watch which means that it captures the atomic clock signal from Ft. Colins, CO at 5am each morning and resets itself to the correct time. That is pretty cool. And unlike my last watch, when I hit the light button, I can actually see what time it is! Brooke also got me a couple pair of shorts and two nice t-shirts, both badly needed.

Today was a busy Sunday, as usual. We got to church around 8am and Brooke got stuff ready for kids church and organized some VBS stuff. I got the computer/video ready as well as our iGrow classes. We had a bit of excitement as a lady had an anxiety attack and thought she was having a heart attack. We called 911, the firetruck and ambulance came, she was taken to the hospital and her husband called later today to say they were at home and she was OK. After church, we stayed until 2pm decorating for VBS. We grabbed McDonalds for lunch, came home, Brooke napped, Amanda played on the computer, I went on a 2 cache geocaching run (found only 1) and now here we are. I guess the girls are going to watch a movie at 8pm and since it will no doubt be a chick flick, I'll either watch the Military Channel down here in my office or do some more reading. Happy Father's Day.

Calling for Keith Ellison (D-MN) to Resign

That's right, a United States Congressman, Keith Ellison (D-MN), is going to speak at a CAIR banquet, despite the fact that CAIR has been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas funding case.

...Ellison, less than three weeks ago, was the keynote speaker at the 4th Annual Convention of the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society (MAS-Minnesota). While he spoke, MAS-Minnesota had on its website material discussing waging war against non-Muslims and the murdering of Jews. The material is still located on the group’s site.

Following his appearance, Americans Against Hate (AAH) demanded that Congressman Ellison denounce MAS for its anti-Semitic and anti-Christian statements or resign from office. Ellison has remained silent on the issue.

Read the whole story here.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Must-See Video

I'm guessing this video is 5-6 minutes long (I did not time it), but it does an excellent job of giving a brief and accurate description of what the conflict in the Middle East is really about. The video cames from a website called Terrorism Awareness.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Good Things

If you've been following my blog this last week, you've read about the grueling parking lot work trying to remove dirt and grass that has taken over the edges of our church parking lot. Looking at what was left to do and the number of day left until the parking lot people are coming to stripe and resurface the parking lot, I realized I could not get it done on my own. I called an "emergency work day" for this Saturday and sent out an email asking 8-10 guys to meet me in the church parking lot this Saturday from 8am-10am to finish up. I just sent out a second email saying "Good news...we don't need to work on Saturday!"

I had considered getting a Bobcat or some other such equipment out to the church, but while shoveling up the dirt and grass, I realized that would tear up the asphalt. But all that time in the sun made me desperate for some sort of solution other than shovels and straight hoes. On Tuesday, I bought a stiff-bristled push broom to help clean up where I had removed grass and dirt. I took it to the grassy dirt area we had not done yet and began to sweep. The grass did not go away, but it did move some dirt. Thus, the idea pictured above was born...and it worked! I rented an 8 foot sweeper, swept over the dirt area 10-12 times, spent about 30 minutes with the shovel and hoe and it was done. The area looks great, I didn't have to spend another 4 days shoveling and we do not need another work day. These are all good things.


Speaking of good things...anniversaries are good things. Brooke was a bit disappointed that I did not blog about our 14th wedding anniversary this past Tuesday, June 12th. It's not that I forgot and not that it's not meaningful, it's just that we didn't get to do anything special that day. The bad news is, our schedule is pretty crazy right now on the weekends with VBS and all, but I'm working on something special for next Friday night, June 22. VBS will be over and I'm hoping to help Brooke relax and get away from it all for a short time. I can't tell you anymore because Brooke reads my blog too, but I'll have other pictures to share with you after next weekend. Good things.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Spending Time With GeoPunkin

Today was kinda a crappy day so I decided I needed to get out and relax with some geocaching. Brooke told Amanda I was going out and Amanda asked to go with me. Man, the only thing better than geocaching is geocahing with my favorite partner, GeoPunkin. So we went out and grabbed five of them tonight. We geocached, pretended Amanda was rich and owned every store in Texas, listened to a little Radio Disney, talked about how much we love Mommy and ran by QT before coming home. It was a good Daddy/Daughter night. Came home and finished Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia together before she went to bed.


Amanda is always better than me at finding these little ones hidden in evergreen tree limbs. Tonight was no different. I walked right past this one and she saw it in no time at all.


This cache was created especially for kids...lots of cool trade items. It's all abut the treasure as far as Amanda is concerned.

Ms. Butts Caught Stealing Toilet Paper

The story is not as funny as the headline, but it caught my attention nonetheless.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Base Burning

You've heard of base jumping, right? It's where crazy people jump off of cliffs, buildings or other structures with a parachute and hope it opens before they hit the ground. We'll, I've come up with a less lethal, yet still painful if wrong, alternative. I'm calling it base burning. Let me explain.

On Saturday, we had work day at church. I was out in the sun. One person offered me some sun screen. I refused but went to my wife to get some. She said I didn't need it. Well, it appears sometime between me asking Brooke if I needed sun screen and the end of work day something changed. I burned, but not badly. I was much more worn out than I was sun burned.

Jump ahead to Monday. We didn't get all of the grass around the edges of the parking lot cleared, so I got an early start (7:30am) on that this morning. I considered sun screen again, but then the idea of "base burn" came to me. I figured I had already burned and should be OK this time around. Now that makes about as much sense as jumping off a building and hoping your parachute will work, doesn't it? So I got too much sun again today. Noting severe, but the backs of my arms are pretty sore this time.

But I must tell you about the grass removal "experience" today. I tackled a section of the parking lot where the grass had grown into the parking lot as far as six feet. There was a lot of grass in the dirt, so it was rough going. I finally figured out I could wet the area down (actually try to SOAK it) and the grass roots came up easier. There were still remnants of parking stripes on the ground, so I tackled the area one parking spot at a time.

As noon approached, I was pretty "over-sunned" and pretty tired. I was ready to quit, but looking at the spot next to me, it seemed small enough. I thought, "If I have a goal in mind, I know I can do it". I was right, I got it done.

But there were a couple mis-calculations that cost me today, and they both had to do with a lack of understanding (or thought?) as to the weight of wet dirt. When I started out, I had two trash cans. The plan was to fill them with the scooped up grass and dirt and then dump those into the dumpster and start over. When I had the first two trash cans filled up, I tried to drag them toward the dumpster. I'm guessing they weighed at least 350 pounds each (no exaggeration). They were even too heavy to try and drag someplace to dump out in the field. So I borrowed Stan's pickup and hooked up the church trailer. For some reason, I thought I could heave those trash cans onto the trailer (on 18-24 inches off the ground), but I was wrong (again). So I proceeded to shovel the dirt from the trash cans into the trailer (talk about feeling silly) and then went to dump the trailer in the back of one of our fields. That was around 9:00am I guess.

Since the trash cans did not work, I just scooped the dirt/mud/grass roots into the trailer for the rest of my day. When I was looking at that one last section around noon and trying to determine if I had the strength to do it, I neglected to take into account how difficult it would be to empty a 4x8 trailer full of dirt and average of 2 foot high! When I got out to the field, there was no scraping it off the back of the trailer...it was wet. I tried to unload it one shovel at a time, but even that was challenging with all the grass roots holding big clumps together. By the time I got it the dirt out, I was beat for the day.

I cleaned up the trailer, put it back, put my equipment away, ate lunch, talked a friend into getting me a second 52oz. Gatorade, took a shower and then pretty much sat at my desk working the rest of the day.

So today I learned not to fill trash cans with heavy dirt/mud/grass roots, don't underestimate the amount of effort it will take to empty a trailer full of this stuff and do not subscribe to the idea of base burning.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Too Much Sun, Too Little Time...But Still Good

I've had church work day on the calendar for a couple months now, and sign up has been going on for the past three weeks.. Three people had to cancel, but three showed up who did not sign up, so that worked out OK. I had 14 guys and one lady come today. I was up a little before 7am and headed to Wal-Mart to pick up some bottled water which came in very handy in the heat today. My first helper showed up at 8am and I put him on the riding lawn mower. He mowed for three straight hours.

At 9am, the rest of the crew showed up. We hauled some brush to the dump, did some weed eating, trimmed the hedges, painted a warning stripe and stenciled "Watch Your Step" in front of step people often trip over, cleaned some hard-to-get-to windows and dug up grass that we had killed along the sides of the parking lot. When we prepared to get our parking lot re-striped, I found out just how much the grass had grown into our parking lot. We reclaimed almost 3 feet (width) to our drive in and out of the parking lot. I think this scraping and digging was the hardest work of the day. One of the guys commented that he thought this kind of work is what people in hell must have to do!

We we worked until 11:30am and then began cleaning up because it was HOT and the guys were getting pretty worn out. The one lady who showed up to help ran a weed eater for almost 2 hours! After that, she went to get us some pizza and even stopped by her house to fix us some fresh fruit.

Everybody helped clean up and I think we were done, lunch and all, by 1pm. I then came home and moved around the dirt that got dumped here. We have BAD sink holes in our back yard, so I had the guys dump the dirt and dead grass we dug up into my back yard. It does not look too good right now, but after a couple rains and about six weeks it will look OK. I have two pick up loads full of dirt and it still did not fill all the holes completely.

All in all, we finished about half of what needed to get done. I will have to call and see if I can get somebody with some sort of equipment out to finish scraping off the parking lot before we get it striped at the end of the month. I've also got some hedges that will have to be trimmed, but I guess the rest will wait until it cools off some in the Fall. I think I'm going to have to plan at least 2 work days a year. Although today's Work Day consisted of too much sun and too little time, it was still good. If 15 people worked for 2.5 hours, I figure that is 45 man hours. Think how much time I would be out in the sun if I had to all that myself! I will be writing a number of Thank You notes on Monday!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Glad I Mowed Last Night

The weather said there was a chance of rain today, so I mowed last night. I'm glad I did because I've been able to relax and not have to worry about much today. It's been a little over two months since I've been geocaching and I finally got back out today. It was pretty warm and the mosquitoes were out in force, but it was great! Amanda took this picture of me at the first cache of the day.


GeoPunkin did just one cache with me today. Brooke went along and read a book at the park while Amanda played and I geocached. This first one was called "Cross-A-Doodle-Doo" because the cache was found between this cross and a little "farm" that had roosters (which we heard). Amanda crawled back in the wooded are with me (see picture above) to find the cache and take a picture. When she did, she was SWARMED with mosquitoes. She snapped the picture and then literally RAN out of the woods.

Last cache picture. This was a red plastic coffee can (wrapped in cammo tape) hidden in an evergreen tree.

The Military Channel
We got DISH Network a couple months ago. The 100 channels plan we got what quite an upgrade from our USDTV plan we had, but we did not go with the big 250 channel plan. I mention that to say that we do NOT get the Military Channel which bums me out 'cause they have lots of great shows. But the good news is, DISH previews various channels each month. Our first month, we got a preview of Animal Planet all month. Well, guess what one of the preview channels is this month? You guessed it...the Military Channel! So now I'm watching shows like "Anatomy of the F-18", "Untold Stories of the Navy Seals" and "Firepower". I am liking it!

So that's what I've been doing today...watching recorded shows from the Military Channel, geocaching, sleeping late (slept until 9am this morning) and chillin' with the fam. Oh yes, also talked to my friend Stan who is coming home after being in the hospital since Sunday evening. It's bee a good day.

Now we're off to hang some door hangers advertising VBS coming up week after next, then I'm coming home, sitting down with my Diet Coke and reading some more Black by Ted Dekker. Suppose I'll have to think a little more about church Work Day tomorrow. Can't get in touch with one guy who is supposed to bring a big trailer that I need, another just called to say he can't make it and it might rain. Oh well, guess we'll take care of most of that tomorrow, but I'm glad I mowed last night so I could relax today.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Weekend Highlights

Been a busy weekend. Here's just a few highlights.

Spent most all day Friday and until 5pm on Saturday working on Holy Spirit teaching for our church's iGrow classes. The classes started today and I had to get my part done to print the manuals. We had 12 people today and think we will have at least 2 more joining us. I have the privilege of overseeing these doctrine/discipleship classes, and I really enjoy it. We have different staff members and elders teaching and it interesting to see different people respond to the different styles of our teachers. Our youth pastor, Pastor Shaun, taught on salvation today. He is a storyteller and a number of people who have never heard him teach before really enjoyed hearing from him today.

Today was busy as normal. I usually get to church around 8am to get the computer ready (I head up the team that runs the worship software, video announcements and Power Point for Pastor's sermon), to get iGrow stuff ready and to make sure the Greeting Team has everything they need. I ran the computer in second service and began training a new person to work as part of the team.

After church we went to lunch with a precious lady in the church who has adopted a number of special needs kids. She and her family are great and we enjoyed spending time with them.

After getting up from a brief Sunday afternoon nap, I had two messages on my phone. One was from a friend who was checking into the hospital tonight with bad arthritis and the onset of diabetes. The other was from a friend who just went and picked up his new motorcycle yesterday. So I called to check in on my first friend and went to visit the second.

Then I went for a bike ride, replaced the log book at one of my caches, came home and watch a little TV with the fam, cleaned my office and am now blogging. The only other plans I really have for the evening is to do some more reading on the first book of a trilogy I have started, Black by Ted Dekker.

One more thing. You may notice something new along the right side of my blog. It says "Rob's Twitter Status". I had heard about Twitter before but wasn't too impressed. A friend of mine mentioned it to me again not long ago and I looked at it again this week. There's not much to Twitter, you just sign up for a free account and send a quick post whenever you want to tell people what you are doing. I don't know why I like it, but I'm kinda hooked right now. It's certainly not like there is anything exciting about my life. I just think it's kinda cool you can log onto my blog and see what I've been up to. I could see how it would be fun if you had a bunch of friends on Twitter. I don't know...the draw may not last, but I'm having fun with it for now.

I still really enjoy my turtles. This is my favorite, Little George, going for a swim. Little George knows who I am...I'm the food guy. This little bugger is what I call a "meat-eating turtle". The other two enjoy lettuce and fruits as well as worms and bugs, but Little George is pretty much a meat-only guy. It is fun when I get into their pen with a box of worms...he literally comes running. If I don't get him something to eat pretty quickly, he tries my toes to see if they are giant worms!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Press Tries to Frame NASA's Global Warming Statements

I'm still trying to figure out who it is that is trying to "frame" statements made by NASA's Administrator Michael D. Griffin's comments. Here's the link to the FoxNews story, here's the excellent points he made followed by somebody's attempts at damage control. "Global warming" alarmists are ignoring issues such as Dr. Giffith brought up.

Quotes from Dr. Griffith
  • "I have no doubt that global — that a trend of global warming exists," Griffin told National Public Radio's Morning Edition in an interview aired early Thursday. "I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with."
  • "To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had, and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change," Griffin said.
  • "First of all, I don't think it's within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown," he continued. "And second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings — where and when — are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take."
The Spin - Attempts to Minimize the Impact of These Excellent Points
  • NASA initiated damage control Thursday as it tried to clarify remarks made earlier in the day by the space agency's administrator, who told a national radio audience that he doubted whether global warming was really a problem. {This is how the article starts, yet there are no quotes from NASA to back up this assertion.}
  • Griffin, an aerospace engineer by training, may hold views contrary to many NASA staffers. Astrophysicist James E. Hansen, head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, testified to Congress about impending human-caused climate change in the 1980s, and more recently accused the Bush administration of trying to prevent him from speaking out about the issue. {Again, why are there no quotes from NASA saying Dr. Griffin holds contrary views?}
Dr. Giffin makes some excellent points Weird Al will never address. Who are we to claim to know the "ideal temperature" for the earth in the first place?