The Big Blow

Tonight we are supposed to have one of our famous nasty southern winter ice storms. This one is said to be for real.

What we expect is freezing rain that builds up on trees and power lines. The roads become impassible and eventually tree limbs break and take out the power lines. Our world becomes a dark, cold, glazed icy mess.

They started salting the roads today and the local energy company said to expect a loss of power for sure.

As you may recall, Gigi hates power outages. So I have attempted to trick the ice storm gods by setting up the generator in advance.

This generator is a life savor for me. It basically fires up a few critical circuits. It keeps the refrigerator going, it keeps the water well working, and it keeps the TV and Internet going. What more could you want? Heat maybe?

I will build a fire in the fireplace if the outage goes on long enough.

Hopefully, things will be okay. Oh, for the warm breezes of ST Croix.

Deep Diesel Thoughts

Yesterday I filled my hulking 37 gallon fuel tank with diesel. I have this way of thinking that there I am, filling this tank for the last time before I take my vacation. When I get back, this pre-vacation fuel will still be in my tank. My brain is somehow reasoning the closeness of the upcoming event in diesel fuel.

But it went further. The fuel I was buying was from a Hess station. Hess fuel originates from Venezuela. The fuel is refined in St Croix at the Hovensa refinery.

So somehow, all this fueling has, and will come full circle. It was meant to be that I travel back to the home of my diesel fuel.

I need to get my head checked.

Okay, another subject. I hate when I order something online and pay for express shipping only to find out that they sat on the order for three days before they rushed ship it. The whole point of express shipping was that I was in a hurry.

Focus Time

The animals are getting clingy like they do when they know we are about to travel.

This year we decided to pack in the guest house just to be a little more covert. The dogs have figured out that we are up to something. I guess me carrying bathing suits across the yard is too obvious for the smart minds of border collies.

I got a new phone, a new number and a new carrier this past weekend. I hated my old Blackberry and despised the carrier Nextel. The Blackberry is a lousy phone. Nextel didn’t work in the Virgin Islands.

So hello Cingular, the new AT & T. Do any of you remember what AT&T stands for? American Telephone and Telegraph. I’m ancient huh?

We have a house sitter coming to take care of everyone so Gigi and I are writing instructions on how to feed the cats, the dogs, the horses. She doesn’t do birds so I am taking Boscoe the parrot to a friend’s house for the week.

I am struggling to focus on work this week. I woke at 4 AM just from the sheer excitement of anticipation about my upcoming travels. Gigi popped up at 4:45.

Okay Reg…focus.

A Vacation Moment…….

Massively Cool Update……

We have a trip booked on the schooner on Friday the 9th. Then a few hours break and then Jump Up! I can hardly contain myself.

Now back to the regular post....

Our friend Terry who lives on St Croix, emailed me this morning and made a suggestion for when we visit next week. She said that the 1925 schooner "Roseway" is on island and is available for charter.

How cool would a ride on this old vessel be?

She suggested a 2 hour cruise. I can’t wait.

Lots of pictures to follow.

Stupid Commercials

I’m watching the national news on the ABC network, and one of the sponsors is Livitra, an erectile dysfunction drug. Apparently they feel comfortable talking about this so I will too.

They warn that if you have an erection that lasts for more than 4 hours then you should call the doctor. Ya think? Hell I would call my doctor, the paper, my mother, my college roommate, and everyone else.

Good golly! 4 hours is your queue that something is wrong? At 3 hours and 58 minutes you thought all was swell (no pun intended)?

Horse Manure

This morning we did a thorough stall cleaning at the barn in anticipation of being out of the country next Saturday. This involves really cleaning down to the dirt in each horse stall, and then laying down a 3 inch layer of fresh sawdust.

I rolled each barrel of manure back to a pile we call the Crappalachians. This pile takes on the shape of a mountain range. In the spring of each year we hint to local gardeners that we have composted manure for the taking and we hope they do take it.

Today it dawned on me that we have a whole feces based ecosystem back at the barn.

I saw a flock of chickadees picking at the manure for any undigested grain left behind. We have tons of birds back there.

I have seen squirrels and rabbits doing the same.

We always have a few mice. We have snakes that eat the mice. We have hawks and owls that eat both snakes and mice.

All this from horse manure.

Dogs in Stores

At lunch today, I cut through a high end department store makeup counter on my way to the shoe repair department.

There was a woman there at the counter who was dressed like she was ready for Halloween, with some rodent looking dog in her arms. I commented to my friend Ty that I bet they would kick me out of here if I brought in my dog Cedie.

Ty then told me a story about a blind friend of his who lives in Washington, DC. He has a seeing eye dog that goes everywhere with him. One day he was in a very high end retail store doing some shopping. Ty explained that his friend has some vision but it is very limited.

Suddenly his dog gets explosive diarrhea right there in the store. I mean this poor dog must have been pinched up for hours and his owner had no way of knowing that his dog needed to go.

The poor guy was suddenly enveloped in stench and potty noises while people around him started screaming. Poor guy…..poor dog.

I’m not sure why I am telling you this, but it is funny now in retrospect.

Red Bull

I have a good taster. I enjoy food and I love wine with all the subtleties that each bottle produces. While tasting can be pleasurable, I find that tasting can be a source of displeasure.

Gigi gives me many supplements every morning to “try and keep me alive” as she says. Two of those supplements are fish oil and cinnamon. Every so often, I’ll let a little digestive burp and am surprised when I suddenly taste something like a two day old cod. Recently I belched cinnamon, and I kid you not, brown powder blew from my mouth. It was more pleasurable than the cod I assure you.

Yesterday I bought a Red Bull energy drink. I didn’t know what the hell it was. I had just seen them around convenience stores a lot and I knew the younger crowd drank them. They had two kinds of Red Bull energy drink. I bought the sugar free and was shocked to find out it cost $2.

I wasn’t sure if I needed to shake it or treat it like a carbonated drink. I gave it a few shakes and opened the top to a dull thud.

There was a very putrid sweet smell like antifreeze or brake fluid. I paused to read the can again just to make sure I wasn’t about to drink some power steering fluid. No, it was a Red Bull. So I took a big swig and boom! It tasted like someone had dumped Pixie Stix in a cup of brake fluid. Nasty!!!

I called Gigi and asked her about this stuff. She was clueless and said not to drink it. Then she questioned how I knew what brake fluid taste like?

You can smell stuff and get a good idea of what it tastes like with the exception of some cheeses.

So if you drink that crap more power to you. I’ll pass and keep my $2 from now on.

Blogger Volume II

It has been a year since I started blogging. The whole experience has been a wonderful for me.

Never would I have thought I could or would write some 427 posts about my life and thoughts, and publish it all for the world to see…..and someone would read it.

I guess us bloggers are exhibitionists of sorts, needing attention and admiration of others? Or maybe we are so narcissistic that we can’t see the obvious? Perhaps we have just fallen into the great abyss of connectivity and want to be a part of it all.

I’ve been outright busted once the past year, and I have had a few complaints about some of my opinions and subject matter.

I used to write regularly about my annoying neighbor until she stumbled upon my blog found my words hurtful. I never responded to her publicly, but I stopped writing about them. It was not like we were going to salvage some great relationship. So I just let the weekly salvos about them die down. It was easy to write about them. Everything I said was true. But looking at my words from their point of view, even though they were true, were probably mean spirited at best. Gosh I miss writing about them.

I find my writing to be therapeutic at least for me. Some days the multiple postings flow with ease. Other posts are written but they are rejected by the “Reggie editor” and are never published. Rarely do I find writing drudgery.

The friends and relationships I’ve formed online have been the real prize. I think about each of you daily and look forward to reading about your life and thoughts.

So I’ll turn the page and begin another year. Blog on, blog on.

I'm Tired

I drove over much of the earth’s crust today. I’ve been in the truck for 15 hours. I am tired.

About twice a year, I visit my few clients that live on the southern coast of North Carolina and northern coast South Carolina. Then I visit my other sister who lives on the SC coast.

I saw the Atlantic Ocean and am glad to report that it is still there.


I Slept in Ted Kennedy’s Bed

Let me explain myself before you go running from your computer trying to avoid blowing projectile vomiting all over the place.

First, yes, I am talking about democratic senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, brother of the President of the United States, and brother of Robert Kennedy. The same man that has a fat head and drinks a lot of scotch and killed a woman but was never charged with the crime. That is the same Ted Kennedy that I refer to.

I first suspected my ill fortune in the winter of 2004. We had secured lodging at a nice 4 bedroom villa in the Shoys section of St Croix. Once we unpacked, we began to explore our new surroundings and wonder around the home.

My friend Don who is a staunch conservative was perusing the guest register when he screamed, “Look at this! Ted Kennedy was here last week.”

Sure enough, there it was, a scratchy note thanking the owners of the villa for a great time. It was signed Ted Kennedy.

Could it be the same Ted Kennedy? How could we find out for sure?

Don speculated that if Ted Kennedy was here for a week, then surely there would be leftover bottles of scotch somewhere. His hunch was right, mere moments later our second clue surfaced. From a cabinet in the kitchen, Don proudly withdrew a partially consumed half gallon of Dewar’s scotch.

The large vessel of scotch was truly the smoking gun.

Now speculation began about where he actually may have slept. Everyone shivered and looked around as if their skin was crawling.

How could we find out for sure if “the” Ted Kennedy was there the week before? If so, where did he sleep?

Our final answer would lie with the housekeeper. The housekeeper was our friend, Margaret.

Margaret came Tuesday morning to clean and wash. We hugged and exchanged pleasantries. We had known Margaret for a year and trusted her.

I finally got to the point and asked Margaret if in fact Senator Ted Kennedy was here last week. She smiled and said, “Yes.”

“Where did he sleep Margaret?” I asked.

“In your room Reggie” she said. Then she added, “His wife slept in that other room.”

Well, it was settled. Senator Kennedy was here as we suspected. As feared, he had slept in my bed.

So my friends, I am not proud of this….but I slept in Ted Kennedy’s bed.

The Little Details

I am starting to pack for St Croix and realize that my list was a bit idealistic. For example I NEVER travel without a bag of Hampton’s salted peanuts in the shell. How do they get the salt in the shell? Peanuts need to be added to the list.

I have been looking for my favorite hat with no luck. Today, the Carolina hat, as in the "University of North Carolina", hat suddenly appeared. Thank goodness. I had already pictured me sitting on the boardwalk, all tan with my hat, on drinking a Corona beer with lime, looking very cool. No other hat would do. I did have a less cool back-up hat ready just in case.

Then today, I realize we are flying on US Airways. US Airways has screwed up earphones that have two prongs. So these strange earphones need to be added to the list. I wouldn’t want to miss a sitcom rerun or some cheesy movie. I don’t think we have enough time for take-off, a movie and landing, so I expect recycled TV. The US Airways headphones are on my desk at work ready to be packed.

Celtic Women

Oh my!

Back during the holidays Gigi and I stumbled onto a public TV special called Celtic Women that featured an endless array of angelic beauties belting out in the most beautiful voices.

Little did I know that while I was writhing in my chair, Gigi slipped off and ordered me the CD, DVD, and tickets to the Charlotte concert in March. Nice presents Gigi.

Yesterday the DVD arrived. I hooked up the speakers to my computer and floated away in my own little world listening to songs like "Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)".

Now I’m all a flutter again like some teenage girl.

Oh my!

Is There An Adult In The House?

Didn’t you think that when you became an adult, that you would be somehow wiser, and decisions would come naturally and easy? I thought I would be this calm and wise adult and all my thoughts would be grown up thoughts.

I have learned to make decision and the decisions I make come with thought and experience. But underlying it all is the chassis of a 14 year old that has never gone away. That reality scares me sometimes.

I see this in all men and a lot of women.

I am at the age now when I knew my father to be a wise man and provider. Boy did he fool me. My Dad was a funny and fun guy that could make anyone laugh with his humor and insight. But he knew exactly what I am saying today, about identifying the inner 14 year old.

Whenever a difficult decision was needed he would call out, “Is there an adult in the house?”

That saying of his, was partly to make me laugh, and partly the realization that no one ever achieves the childhood standards that you thought resided in all adults.

I personally enjoy that inner child I find in me. I banter back and forth with him in my mind and he makes me laugh.

But sadly, when I do adult things, the inner 14 year old has to go away. I guess that is the essence being an adult.

The Hartford Stag

Does anyone notice the major difference between the two pictures below of the Hartford Stag?

They have just rendered him Johnsonless. How politically correct. Thank you Hartford for not making me see deer genitals anymore. Give me a break!

I noticed right off. I was always proud of the fact he was anatomically correct.

Food Smells

Have you ever noticed when you open a fresh bag of potato chips it smells like someone just farted?

Have you ever taken home leftovers from a restaurant and run a quick errand and leave the leftovers in the car? When you come back to the car it smells like someone just farted.

I still eat the chips and leftovers, but the smell disturbs me.

Duke Update

Remember Duke?

We got Duke on Halloween from the pound and he had a badly broken leg.

The specialist (Gigi thinks he is hot) said to let him heal as he was.

Well it appears old Duke is doing fine and he is getting wonder lust and trying to herd along with Haley.

Gigi wants to take him back to the specialist (cause he’s not bad on the eyes she said) just to make sure he is okay for physical activities of a driven border collie. Yeah, right, Gigi.

Island Connectivity

Last year I had this great dial-up speed from our villa in St Croix. I kept is running 24/7 and blogged freely. This is when I began blogging regularly.

The connection was so good that I ran a web cam most of the time and posted copious pictures to boot.

When I went back to St Croix in May, we stay at the other end of the island. The dial-up would not connect, and the wireless they had at the bar stopped working on Tuesday. I got terrible bloggers backup and lost my will to blog by Thursday.

This year I planned to activate my old Earthlink account and use dial-up again. Then I found out that there is no longer an access number for St Croix with Earthlink, so plan B. Plan B involved another dial up account, preferably a local company.

I found a company in the northeast US that happen to also service the US Virgin Islands. He said I could get a local dial-up for a month and that would be fine. To set up the account he needs the actual local number I was going to call from.

So I contacted the rental folks of our villa and they gave me the villa phone number. But they warned that the line had been down for a while and were not sure it would be repaired until after my visit. Local folks down there think that this poor service level is charming. It just pisses me off. Not having a net connection make me stress out.

Oh great! If I can’t have dial-up of any kind, then plan C, what ever that is.

There are one or two wireless places that I could travel to and upload and check email.

She did say that there was a wireless connection at the villa. I am suspicious. The last wireless connection I had there was a satellite feed that was slow at best, and lost connectivity with the passing of each fluffy cloud. Then the feed completely crapped out on Tuesday.

So hopefully I will have a decent connection and be happy as God intended. Or I will scrap around like a wild animal looking for a connection to post blogs.

In the best case scenario I will run a webcam. I have set up the template on the right bar of my blog. I must keep the picture small to conserve bandwidth.

So, one way or another I will post.

A Vacation Moment.....

Tonight I saw a Moko Jumbie on the St Croix Webcam.

The stilt dancer is a traditional folk character that was originally brought from West Africa. They recall images of tall robed figures moving through the dark African night, to strike terror into the hearts of those who did wrong. The word "Moko" is derived from the name of a West African God and "jumbie" or "ghost" was added by liberated slaves after Emancipation.

In three weeks Gigi, Judy, Tom and I will be there in person looking at moko jumbies live at Jump Up.

Jump Up is a street festival in St Croix that allows for late shopping, music in the streets, vendors of foods and spirits, dancing and dozens of steel drums played magnificently by the children of the island.

Every year we seek out a lady that offers the very best pound cake for sale in the western hemisphere.

Christiansted is not a late night party town, so by 10 PM or so the music will have died down and the vendors will have packed up for another festival and we will be heading home.

I can’t wait to hear the music.

Delivery From Hawaii

We are having a Pineapple Express weather pattern. This is new to me and I am excited about it.

The "Pineapple Express" is when we have a weather system that has its origins from the Hawaiian tropics. Hawaii provided the moisture yesterday for our first ice storm of the year.

Hawaii is a hell of a long way from here. So I looked national, heck even global radar and sure enough a string of clouds is coming from Hawaii. It comes onshore in Mexico, then it skirts through the southern states.

Today it will go further south and will return back to NC on Sunday.

Down in the Virgin Islands it is common to get haze from African dust storm off the Sahara desert. Most Atlantic hurricanes originate the same way and they come plowing through here from time to time.

Wow! This is interesting stuff to me. I just sit here on my butt and nature delivers stuff to me from 7,000 miles in opposite directions. That is halfway around the globe.

A Beautiful Word

Mandible is such a beautiful and powerful word. I never get to use it.

Mandible sounds like it should be a beautiful instrument in a symphony orchestra. “I just love the way she plays the Mandible”

Maybe even a Mandible could be a formal piece of furniture. “We inherited Grand mothers Mandible. Isn’t it just beautiful?”

Mandible even sounds like a part of a high order church. “They brought their gifts and laid them before the Mandible”

A grasshopper shouldn’t have a mandible, but he does. He has two.

Cooking By Numbers

I stumbled on something rather cool I think. It is a site called “Cooking by Numbers”. Their slogan is, “Don't bother going shopping, let's cook with what you have.”.

So you go to the site and you tell them what is in the refrigerator and what is in the cupboard. It covers a basic list in both areas.

Once you load your ingredients on hand, you click “Find Recipes” and you are presented with ideas for dinner with what food you have on hand plus the recipe to cook it.

Pretty neat huh?

Life Got Exciting Again - Charlotte Crime

This afternoon I was driving home, minding my business, going down a very familiar route. I was second in line at a stop light when I started hearing sirens. Suddenly a blue pickup, driven by a redneck, comes flying by me, tires squealing.

Behind him were two NC Highway Patrol cars, two Charlotte Police cars, and two Mint Hill Police cars all in a heated chase.

I called Gigi and she tuned in the local news to watch it all via helicopter.

This guy drove in 10 minutes what takes me 45 minutes in normal traffic.

What was strange is the chase started near where our club is and ended up not too far from my office.

So today, life got more exciting.

Here is the local news account.

It Was 72 Here Last Friday

Winter Storm Warning

248 PM EST WED JAN 17 2007



Here Is My First Picture

This is my first picture with my new camera. The box looked like an elephant sat on it but the camera was okay.

This is my friend Don sitting at my desk using my desktop computer. You don’t normally see this on the webcam.

On the top left you’ll see a school of pink shrimp. The middle I have a sign that says ‘No Whining”. To the right are the legs of my webcam.

Then you see dog pictures and books and stuff.

Judy and I had a big laugh talking about Ali saying her lunch tasted like butt. This sentence had nothing to do with the previous subject so I just threw that out.

Should I Pack Now?

Life has really gotten boring. Last night I watched Idol, tracked packages, and watched my MIL eat left over Christmas chocolates the whole two hours. A solid evening, huh?

I’m dying to drag down the suitcase and begin packing, but I know my clothes will end up dusty and wrinkled if I start now. I have decided what to take and plan to go minimal.

I wonder what a nudist takes to a nudist resort. I guess you could wear back what you wore down and just go natural in between. I can’t imagine. I would be spraying a lot of Lysol around. That’s it. A nudist would take some flip flops and a can of Lysol.

Taking my golf clubs is still up in the air. I’m the only one in our group that plays. Dragging the clubs down 2000 miles just for a single game is cumbersome.

See how boring my life is right now? I’m down to verbalizing thoughts.

My Package Moved!

Package 1 is coming in from the west.


Package 2 is coming in from the east. Package 2 has been busier today than package 1.

RALEIGH,NC, US 01/16/2007 2:47 P.M. ARRIVAL SCAN


01/16/2007 6:30 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN

One Bright Spot

This is the winter grind, to me its winter’s version of the dog days of summer. The days are short, cold, and uneventful.

One bright spot though. I get to track my packages.

Remember earlier in the week when I ordered my camera and SD cards? Well I got notice last night by email that both were shipped and both have a UPS tracking number.

So I rush off to the UPS site to look up my number and see where my package is (here this pharmaceutical industry? This kind of stuff can be done).

There it was. My departure scan, arrival scan and so on. One package is in one city and another package is in another city. On Friday they will converge at my office and I will be a happy boy.

So at least I’ve got that going for me. I’ve got to go now and see if my packages have moved any. That didn't sound right did it?

A Rare Rant

It was a semi fretful holiday.

Gigi is still quite sick. She recovers just barely and then rolls back to a fever and bed rest. She has been sick since Christmas.

I took her to the doctor today. This is her third visit since she has been sick I was ready to unload only to find that the doctor was called off on an emergency.

My MIL is here for a few days. The dogs absolutely love her. Enough said.

Gigi and I were talking on the way into town about the crudeness of the pharmaceutical industry in the US. We were thinking about actually seeing a doctor, then getting written scripts, then waiting an hour for someone to count pills.

With all due respect, I know pharmacists are highly educated. My grand-father was, and my cousin-in-law and a friend are pharmacist.

Good Lord, can’t this business be at least somewhat computerized? Wouldn’t it be faster and more efficient for the nurse to transmit the exact prescription to the pharmacy for us to pick up on our way home? Instead we wait in line with a piece of paper with sick people waiting for our overpriced drugs?

Why is it so difficult to count pills? Are you so busy compounding drugs like my grand father did? No!

Why can’t common controlled medication be pre-counted like over the counter drug are; especially the most common drugs. That would free time for the real difficult pill counting.


Inspirational and encouraging. This song really made me "feel good".

Another Day Off?

Today is Martin Luther King Day in the US. Anything to do with a federal or state office is closed, plus the banks and stock markets.

The holiday was thrust upon us by labor unions in the 70’s. Then the most big lipped and wrinkled human and president we ever had, Jimmy Carter, brought forth the idea of honoring King with another day off in the middle of the worst time of year for weather.

Finally the beloved Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in the 80’s.

States and municipalities have fought against this day ever since. It wasn’t until 2000 that the final two state holdouts became compliant with the federal mandates.

My own city just this weekend dedicated Martin Luther King Street from the former 2nd street. I though every guilt ridden community in American had a Martin Luther King street by now.

So, this is a day of guilt and reflection. What a fun time we are having, eh?

A Vacation Moment.....

Every year when we go to St Croix we end up renting a Wrangler Jeep. A Wrangler Jeep is uncomfortable, eats gas, and has no storage for luggage or groceries. You can barely fit 4 adults in a Wrangler.

Every year we debate whether to get a real car or a Jeep. The Jeep always wins out every year.

As soon as possible we take off the roof. If it rains we simply pull the drain plugs and ride on.

The combination of looks, power and drive feel make the vehicle unique. Driving a Jeep down there is like putting a “tourist” sign on your back. I don’t care. I am a tourist and I love driving a Jeep for a week.

It is so much fun to ride at night with the top down through the country side with the warm air blowing through your hair. Yes, both the men on this trip have hair.

So the next time you travel, treat yourself to a Wrangler Jeep.

On The Phone

This morning I had three objectives. No four.

First I wanted to buy my new camera. I decide on a Canon A710-IS. I looked at Circuit City and it was $359. I checked Sams Club and it was $298. I did a Google and found a place called Broadway Photo and it was $242. What a difference. So that got accomplished.

Then I need to activate the old Earthlink account for dial-up from St Croix. I have done this for years. I simply activate the account for a month, use the local access number and shut the account down until I need it again. So I talked to the person and rationally told them what I was going to do. The agent did everything in heaven and earth to sell me bundles of landlines, wireless phones, DSL, you name it.

So I go to look up the local St Croix number and I am unable to find it. I went to the support chat room and they were unable to find it. The number is no longer offered.

Now I have to call them back to disconnect. Oh you would have thought I was their last customer. She couldn’t understand why I was doing this horrible and regretful thing that I was asking them to do. Finally she listened to my problem and she disconnected the account. I told her for the past hour that I have been a very happy Earthlink customer and not to take this so personal.

So, mission not accomplished.

Now I have to call American Airlines and pay them $200 to cancel my flight since I booked on US Airways instead. They charge this must to reinstate my air miles. $200 is a lot of money for zero fun. I am dreading this call.

Lastly, I called Direct TV to cancel one of my receivers. It was the one I took camping and it was very old and undependable. I will now take two TIVO boxes when we camp.

Now I am going to have to find a local St Croix dialup provider. I can’t go a week without a connection, no way.

A Fly??

Caution to Canadian Readers – The following post contains descriptions of actual warm conditions on January 13. Reader discretion is advised.

I just finished mucking the horse stalls. It is January 13, 70 degrees, and I saw a friggin fly! Yes friends a fly in the dead of winter. I do dislike flies immensely, but I was kind of glad to see the little fellow. You know why? Cause he’ll freeze his nasty little ass to death in few days! Haaaa, haaaa!

I thought of anther strange thing.

Isn’t it strange that if you dig up a grave that is a few to a few hundred years old then you are a grave robber.

Give that grave a few more years and you have a PhD in archeology and you are simply doing your job.

Oh She Is Slow

I got in Shirley’s line this morning. Oh God is she slooooow. Shirley is slow as steam off a dog turd.

It was an error on my part. All the checkout lines were full, all but one. I rushed over and before I could back out Shirley had made eye contact with me.

Shirley is an old lady that works at the local Food Lion super market. Everyone avoids her line. It’s not that we are all impatient, God know I am, but Shirley is not only slow but a poster child for inefficiency. She apparently lives completely in the present and cannot think a nana seconded ahead to streamline the checkout process. Picking up a bag of oranges is a discovery to her.

And oh Lord she is a talker. So here I am, in her line by mistake and trying to be nice to a woman I resent.

Shirley…for the good of the community, please turn in your smock.

Isn’t it Strange?

Isn’t it strange that in North Carolina it is illegal to knowingly sell a used mattress? Yet I can go to any hotel in North Carolina and rent a used mattress.

Isn’t it strange that I can go to a place and pay a woman to rub and massage every part of my naked body but one, and it is moral, legal and I can tell my wife about it? Yet in the same circumstances if she touched that one forbidden place then I am immoral, she is immoral, the whole act is illegal and my wife would more than kill me.

Isn’t it strange that we spend billions of dollars for research to save lives yet spend billions more researching how to kill more people effectively via the national defense?

A Vacation Moment…….

Margaret called tonight. She is our friend in St Croix. Margaret has a kind heart and always keeps up with us.

Margaret knew it was about time for us to visit so she called and she wanted to know the exact time we would be there.

Margaret always updates us on the “real news” of the island. She knows everything and everyone.

Her voice is like music to me. She has the heavy Cruzan accent and she always has a big smile. Margaret especially loves Gigi.

We both love Margaret.

Stop Your Bitchin'

Today everyone seemed kinda, sorta, whiney. I think of course it’s the time of year since I am a winter hater.

We have had good warm weather for winter, lots of days off, we have Monday off here in the US, and still people seem unusually whiney.

I have a bit of a skip in my step. Business has been good lately, I’m off Monday, and temperatures should be in the upper 60’s for the next few days. Plus I play golf tomorrow. And…winter vacation is three weeks away!

What’s not to like?

A Vacation Moment…….

I love the boardwalk at Christiansted Harbor in St Croix. The boardwalk is a very wide wood plank deck that skirts the business district. There are no rails on the deck so you could easily just walk in the Caribbean Sea. Not to worry though, the water is shallow.

The water in the harbor is crystal clear, warm, calm and blue. Moored in the water are sailboats of people that live in the harbor. They drive their dingy to shore nightly for dinner and drinks.

In the middle of the harbor is a small island with an old hotel built on it. It takes a 50 second ferry ride to get there. It is fun to go there and look back on the city while relaxing on the white sandy beach.

Lining the boardwalk are various bars, cafes, stores, hotels, shops, until you get down to the very end and you arrive at the airport where Seaplane flies. It’s fun to watch the planes circle the harbor and then land on the water. Seaplane provides the island hoping service of choice in the Virgin Islands.

At the other end of the boardwalk is Fort Christian. It is a museum now. Out front of the museum is a grassy field with a band shell. It would be a good place for a concert although I have never seen a concert there.

Some of our favorite restaurants and hangouts are on the boardwalk.

At night the boardwalk becomes a social place. It is well lit and usually you find good police bike patrols. Also at night very large fish come directly up to the restaurants and beg for table scraps.

Lastly I enjoy the webcam there on the boardwalk. I can never resist calling someone back home to taunt them at my good fortune, while I stand in front of the webcam waving back to them.

Get Naked, Real Naked

Is it just me or does everyone else feel like this?

In the winter when you get naked for what ever reason do you feel real naked? Like, more naked that in the summer?

I was shucking off all my clothes this morning before getting in the shower and I felt very, buck, stark naked. I almost felt like I was doing something bad.

I guess it because of all the clothes you wear this time of year.

A Vacation Moment…….

The flight down to St Croix is fun. On the plane Judy and I may calmly glance at each other a few times and smile, but inside we are about to burst with the excitement of a 4 year old on Christmas morning.

After flying over water for a few hours you start to see a few lush green islands, then suddenly you bank hard left and descend to the runway.

I love the St Croix Airport. I like looking out of the plane window and seeing green everywhere with the trees waving in the constant breezes.

Went you arrive you have to walk down steps from the plane to the tarmac and walk to the terminal. I mentally pretend I am the President deplaning at a campaign stop as I walk down the stairs. I pretend I am waving to an adoring crowd.

Sometimes you have to wait while the other plane next to you is using the only set of stairs at the airport. This seems crazy to me but it is part of the island charm. One set of stairs for two arriving flights within 10 minutes?

As you leave the tarmac a local agent waves you to a set of doors where you dump out at the front of the airport. You never actually enter the building; you just pass through some glass security doors.

By now the warm air and tropical breezes have embraced your body and you can feel everything changing for the good. You see happy faces, confused faces; vendors, cabbies and car rental people hold signs. I look for my name.

For the first time I converse with someone whose accent sounds like music to my ears. I’m back. They always laugh at my last name.

Meanwhile you move to the luggage area where for the first time in months you sweat with no effort. It is always stuffy at the open air baggage claim. But before you enter baggage claim there is a stand with the most delicious rum punch and it is free. A donation is requested and I actually think it is the local Boy Scout Troop sponsoring the rum punch.

After a while….or sometimes a long while…you luggage appears, you load the jeep and make your way across the island to your home for the next week.

Remember to drive left!

Big Dog Day

Today is garbage day here in Midland. Garbage day marks the passing of another week but more importantly it is a day of great anticipation for the dogs of the house. For you see dogs are universally born with the instinct of hating garbage collectors.

The excitement builds as I walk around this morning collecting waste and rubbish to roll out to the curb.

The actual arrival of the garbage truck is a well kept secret. I have seen it as early as 6:45 AM and as late as 4 PM. The dogs are aware of this and will stay on a semi state of alert most of the day.

As an added bonus, the UPS delivery truck can show up on the same making the household utter confusion. Peaches despises the UPS man. I have seen her snarl at the big brown truck in another city. I don’t know if she hates the corporate logo, delivery people in general or thinks its our UPS delivery man.

I’d better roll the waste can to the curb now.

Things on EBay... Gross!

I’m not making this up.

I just finished supper, I’m sipping a glass of wine and it occurs to me to see if anyone is actually selling dentures on EBay. Why it occurred to me to look for this, I do not know.

So I check it out, and not only are dentures for sale, but a guy has a jug of new dentures for sale.

Let it be known that dentures are for sale on EBay, and if you know anyone that needs 27 upper and 18 lower dentures then you only have 2 days to bid.

Everything Was Just Fine When I left at 2:10......

I just finished a workout downstairs and took the elevator back to my office from the basement to the first floor. There stands a guy that rushes the elevator door as soon as the door opens in a complete breech of elevator etiquette. You always wait for the elevator to empty then go on board. Jeeze!

Then I sat down and look at the news to see that Canada has filed a complaint against the United States over what it claims are illegal government handouts to American corn growers, and is challenging whether the billions of dollars in overall farm subsidies paid out by the U.S. government comply with international commerce rules.

Oh great. I thought we were like border buddies. Now I’m feeling tensions from Canada all the while thinking that I may not be playing by the international corn rules. Double damn!

A Vacation Moment…….

Have you ever been to a casual beach resort bar/grille and seen all the cool signs hanging around pointing to some remote destination like Miami, FL 850 miles, Holland, MI 2640 miles etc?

I’ve always thought, who would go to the trouble, but it sure is neat. I enjoy reading all the stupid signs and license tags from far off places.

Well this year I did go to the trouble. This year I have a nice metal sign with an arrow that says Midland, NC 1851 miles. I am going to hang it at Full Moon Beach Bar among the other silly and cool signs.

A picture will follow.

A Community Service

We have a lot of “drug deals gone bad” here in Charlotte which results in someone being shot or stabbed. It seems there is no other way to settle a drug deal dispute here in NC except for shooting or stabbing your foe.

Why can’t they just bitch slap each other, run the other way and save their drugs for possible a good drug deal later? This would curb our murder rate significantly which was 80 plus last year. In this way you would no longer have drug dealers that are now murderers, just bitch slapping drug dealers.

I’m sure that would make the news too.

I Make Some Folks Mad

Occasionally I get berated for stating my opinion on my blog of my reality of my world as I see it. This has happened more than several times. Part of the title of my blog, “and This makes Some Folks Mad” is derived from the fact that no matter what I say, I am bound to piss someone off, and I do.

Sorry for the word piss, I think it is crude but folks use that term now.

Several of the folks I make mad have either written or told me that I made them mad (angry) and implied that I should write a retraction to correct the situation, or reword the post. How can I retract my reality and be honest with myself?

Maybe part of my problem is my inability to write and master the written word to explain exactly what I mean when I write. Blame my 8th grade English teacher. Blame me. But don’t blame my reality.

I never write to make folks mad, never. Sometimes I think people read more into my statements than was intended. I think carefully about what I am writing and am comfortable with what I have said when I hit the “publish” button.

Often I will sleep on a post if I think it may be even slightly controversial. I may ask the opinion of my spouse, but rarely do that. What she reads is news to her too 99% of the time.

I never want to start controversy or strife. I write this blog to chronicle my life, my thinking, and maybe to make you laugh. Nothing more.

A Call From Paradise

My friend Leslie called me this morning from St Croix. She wanted me to see her and her new baby girl. Her baby girl is 9 months and she is about as tall as Leslie.

She said the weather there is perfect.

One fact finding mission……the pole in the background has been painted, hence the removal of the tape.

I plan to make time when Judy and I can stand in front of the cam and talk to some of you guys.
Click the image for a larger picture.

A Vacation Moment.....

I have a packing list this year for my travels to the Caribbean. The first year we way over packed. Gigi actually took 24 pairs of shoes the first year. We needed steamer trunks to carry all our stuff.

Year by year I have taken note to what I actually need and use. Having a washer and dryer at the villa makes the task even easier.

Here is the list for a week of sun and fun.

Snorkel, mask and flippers
Camera and charger (I need to buy)
Computer with St Thomas dial-up
Beer coozie
Convertible Pants and convertible jacket (wear)
Flip flops
Topsiders (wear)
Hawaiian casual shirt (wear)
Hat (Carolina)
3 tee shirts
2 Dockers shorts
1 casual shorts
1 dress Hawaiian casual shirts
2 golf shirts
2 swim trunks
4 boxers underwear (yes I am a boxer man)
Meds and shave kit
Midland Sign 1851 Miles (I’ll explain later)
Phone Splitter and 25’ phone cord for dial up

The Good Life

I played golf today.

It is 55 degrees, breezy, and there is a steady to heavy rain falling.

I was alone. No one was on the course. I was wet but not cold. I got to thinking what my Scottish ancestors would have done. They would have played golf.

So I imagined myself big hairy sideburns, a heavy Scottish brogue and played despite the weather. I played well and had fun.

Now I am dry and warm and I am enjoying a glass of red wine watching football.

The good life!

A Vacation Moment…….

You know you are really on a big time vacation when you go somewhere that requires you to drive on the wrong side of the road. It makes you feel like you are doing something so wrong and bad, but it feels good.

Yes, driving on the left hand side of the road is exhilarating when you are used to driving on the right hand side. Everything is opposite. You constantly fight instinct to correct your behavior.

You come up to an intersection and challenges abound. What lane do I turn in? Where do I look? Oh I love it!

In St Croix they drive on the left and rent traditional left side driver cars that we dive on the right hand side of the road here on the mainland. So I look forward to driving down the windy roads by the ocean with my left arm brushing the tall dry grasses that grow right up to the pavement.


Life can be divided into two kinds of people. There are nap people and there are non-nap people.

I am a nap person. I have always liked a nap in the afternoon. I mostly “catch a nap” on the weekends and usually they are only 30 to 45 minutes. I find naps to be very refreshing.

Non-nap people are very strong in their beliefs. Most claim that they wake up in an uncontrolled state of grumpiness. I used to wake up grumpy as a child, but I wake up happy now.

I used to take a medication for epilepsy that required a daily nap. Now my medications don’t make me sleepy, I am just napping for pure pleasure.

I took a nap today and it was wonderful. I slept so good that I though it was morning when I woke up. That momentary confusion is a sure sign of a good nap.

A Vacation Moment.....

Just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean you have to revert back to some lowered station in life. Relax yes, but be able to entertain at moments notice like a lady or gentleman.

A few years ago Gigi invented the St Croix hors devours and they have been a hit countless times since. In fact, I just saw her in bed with Duke eating these.

The recipe is as follows:

1 can of Kraft Sharp Cheddar squirt cheese
1 box of Saltines
1 jar of stuffed green olives

Squirt the cheese on the cracker in a fancy pattern. Slice an olive into two parts. Put the olive (olives) on top of the cheese. Place on a plate or tray and serve. Use a doily added presentation.


Tension at Home

Poor Cedie is down to her last nerve and Gigi is standing all over it. As you may recall, Cedie (our three legged aussie/border collie) has a very low tolerance for coughing. Even the mere act of clearing your throat may set her off to a low grumbling growl as she leaves the room. She sounds like a cross between a Wookie and Hillbilly Bear.

Add in 10 days of Gigi being sick, coughing and hacking and you can imagine the tension going on in this household. Right now Gigi and Cedie are barely on speaking terms. Cedie just looks at Gigi like, “You disgust me.”

In brighter family news I now have my proper coffee creamer. Oh thank goodness for Carnation Evaporated Milk with vitamin D added. Maybe it was the vitamin D that I was missing and Zig will miss always?

A Vacation Moment…….

Vacation is more than mental and location. Vacation is about food, bad food that is suddenly good for you.

Take Cheetos for example. I love them, especially the crunchy kind. I like the way they look, the way your fingers turn orange after eating them, the way they crunch, especially the way they taste.

When I go on vacation Cheetos are called carrots to signify that they are no longer off limits.

So the next time you go on vacation, treat yourself to a bag of fresh St Croix carrots. They are good for you.

Boy Am I Stupid

I like creamer in my coffee. My favorite is evaporated milk followed by half and half, then low fat evaporated milk, then just regular full fat milk. You can see I have given this some thought and have a clear hierarchy of preferred creamers.

Way, way down the list is the powdered stuff. If I must use the powdered stuff then I prefer a name brand like Coffee Mate. Very last on the food chain, right up there with pond scum would be a store brand creamer like Food Lion brand lite. This is the worst of the worst. Already it is a cheap and bad knock off of a less than desirable product anyway and they have further stripped it of any dignity by making it “lite”, what ever that is.

Skim milk is not suitable for anything so its only mention will be here. Have you noticed how skim milk has a blue tint? What is that?

Normally we go to Sam’s Club warehouse store and buy copious quantities of Carnation evaporated milk. Somehow over the holidays this got all used up. Not to worry…we have good old regular milk which is a suitable backup. But this gets more complicated.

Just before Christmas Gigi bought some very decadent eggnog and I bothered to read the calories on the label. So I decided to cut the eggnog with regular milk just to get it to a lowered level of guilt in my mind. I poured the eggnog in with about a half container of milk. So now I have a container of what looks like milk but is diluted eggnog. Then I run out and buy a new ½ gallon of milk. By the way the diluted eggnog was wonderful especially with the spiced rum I made back at Thanksgiving.

Fast forward the story to Wednesday. Gigi is sick and makes one executive decision to throw out the eggnog which I approve. The sentence is carried out and I hear the glug-glug of liquid going out of the plastic jug. Goodbye eggnog.

So I wake up yesterday and pour milk in my coffee but it tastes funny. I sniffed the milk jug and it was eggnog. Gigi had poured out the milk. No wonder, she couldn’t smell.

So today I get up and realized that I am without any creamer. What makes me mad is I was perfectly capable of getting good old evaporated milk most anytime yesterday but I didn’t.

Suddenly I remember that my father-in-law used powdered creamer so I run over to the guest house and rummage around. Sure enough his cheap ass had a big old jar of Food Lion “lite” creamer. Better than nothing, but barely, one step up from skim milk and the imagination.

So What Is Winter?

People keep talking about what a warm winter we are having like cold is the only problem I have with winter. Sure, abnormally warm weather helps but there are other issues I have with winter.

Let’s look at the fixed and variable issues of winter. Fixed issues include;
Short days and limited light.
No leaves on trees
Brown grass
No flowers
More rain/ice and less evaporation that causes more mud
Brown everything, sticks, mud, dirt, grass
Limited outside activities

The variable here is cold. Here in the south a regular winter we may get a bad ice storm that knocks out power and makes the roads too slick to travel. Or we may get a few snow falls of 2 to 3 inches tops. This would be a bad winter.

Every ten years or so, we’ll get a foot to a foot and a half of snow just to keep us depressed. This will shut us down for days.

Typically in the winter we have highs in the low 50’s and lows in the high 20’s. So with lack of sunlight to evaporate and freezing at night the ground stays wet and muddy.

This year we are having days on average of the high 50’s to low 60’s and I am thankful. Still we have the fixed issues of winter that are constant.

So….warm is a concession but I long for spring. Thanks for listening.

Let The Good Times Roll!

The banter with my sister has started. It is 30 days until we travel to St Croix. Judy and I will work ourselves up to a frenzy discussing the fun we will have.

I ordered a new pair of Sperry boat shoes and sunglasses just last night. In a few days I’ll activate the old Earthlink dialup account so I can blog and post pictures.

We talk about getting off the plane and feeling the warm moist air. We talk about how fun it is to see all the happy people arriving. We are greeted with a free rum punch at the luggage area. The ladies wait for the luggage while the men get the jeep and tear the top off.

We talk about relaxing by the pool and watching the sun go down.

We talk about fun we have had in past years and the fun we anticipate.

So to you Judy….let the banter continue!

Two Things I Do Not Like

One is board games or any games. I even don’t like to play cards but I will if necessary. I don’t have the concentration for board games. I have played them and didn’t like them. I especially don’t like chess and dominos.

I don’t like to go to a talk where the speaker tries to interact with the audience. If I am there, it’s my option whether or not I listen to you. Don’t ask me questions. It just makes me mad.

I guess it is a concentration thing too.

A Tasty Kernel

I like popcorn. Gigi loves popcorn. For the most part fresh popcorn is crunchy, salty and has a great corn flavor. It is pretty consistent if it is fresh.

But every once in a while you get a piece of popcorn, a single kernel that tastes fantastic! What is that? Why can this be repeated? I have often wondered if this is a kernel that maybe a worm was cooked in. If that is the case, then bring on the worms.

I had one such tasty kernel of corn yesterday while waiting for our supper to be prepared. Oh it was good and very blog worthy.

Have you noticed dogs feet smell like popcorn? Go ahead, find a dog and take a whiff. It is universal.

And one last thing….I found another pearl last week while eating an oyster. This one was fairly nice, almost black and about the size of a BB.

Workout Time!

This could possibly be my last blog entry for a while, or forever for that matter. You see I have not worked out since December 21, 2006. I have eaten bacon, cheese biscuits, candy, nuts etc to my complete pleasure. I feel puffy and bloated.

I just know that in a 30 minute cardio workout that I will kill over…..I can just feel it.

I will report back hopefully, until then I bid you adieu (Ali says that I think its cool).

PS – I made it!

Good News….Bad News

I have increased my time available to surf the Internet by at least 80%......I have increased my time to do other things by 80%.

I may be late to the dance here but last night (about 7:30 PM) I finally, in a glow of light and angelic singing, figured out how to use RSS on Google Reader! I mean how cool is this?

First I loaded all the blogs I read. Now if ol’ Zig or Ali update then, pop! I see immediately who has updated and I can go directly to the blog and not waste time looking to see if James updated, Ali Kat, etc.

I loaded all the news feeds I read, along with sports and weather and bam! Only updated material is presented back to me. I feel empowered!

For those that are still unenlightened then please read the article I saw yesterday and expect a host of heavenly singing to follow.

Happy 2007

We made it home very alive and well. Gigi is starting to gradually improve some. Haley jumped up in the bed this morning and sniffed her face just to check for signs of life. We always figured Haley would be the first to eat us if we died and this supports our theory.

Now it’s time to unpack, clean up and store away Christmas stuff. We left things as they were the day after Christmas so we need to deal with all holiday stuff today.

We had a great time in Alabama. Aunt Barbara is a food genius. She can whip together good, large meals in no time, feed a big crowd, and break it down in no time. By day three you begin to see a montage of leftovers presented in the most appealing way. She does not waste a morsel.

Now it is time to face reality. No more bacon for breakfast, no more snacking out of tins, and no more sitting on the sofa watching football. Back to the gym and back to work tomorrow.