Monday, June 30, 2008

Speed or Skills?

In the seventies my parents were involved with a sports car club that would inspire the race car driver in me. When they started they would take part in rallies that involved scavenger hunts. These races allowed any sports car, so my parents dragged us along in the Volvo they owned. It was a lot of fun. My father would drive while my mother navigated the trip. Where most races require speed to win, but this type of race was won by how well the driver's steering racks up points assisted by the navigator. They had to work as a team, driving each leg of the race with great detail. They were equipped with a list of landmarks, distances, and time frames in which to reach their destiny and complete the course in the fastest time. Speeding was not allowed. The course had been mapped out and the timing was regulated, so arriving too soon would cost you points. Learning to read your odometer, maintain your speed, and identify your landmarks became of the utmost importance. I'm sure it helped having lots of landmark watchers along for the ride. Whether you choose a scavenger hunt or a speed skills course, both require speed and skills, just on different levels. I took the faster, sexier, I mean sportier ride!

That's right! I'll drive a 1 litre formula 3 any day!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Replacing Siding from Decades Ago

Our house is undergoing a face lift of sorts. When we moved in nearly four years ago, the landlord had renovated the inside of the house but had not done any improvements to the outside. It's a cute little dwelling but really needed to be updated with its look.

This month he decided it was time to start some much needed repairs beginning with the face lift. He had once told me that if he put siding on the house he would have to raise my rent. I assured him that if he raised it, I would have to look for other living arrangements. This house is all I can afford on my 28 hours per week, but that's another story. He also told me that if he puts in central heat and air he will do the same. My offer remains the same too!

Back to the siding. It is in sad repair, so much so that I was told by a reliable source that it was so old that there might be some asbestos in it. I'm no expert on asbestos, but isn't that what causes mesothelioma? My sources have told me that if the siding contains asbestos it cannot be removed from the building it is on, but has to be sided over in an effort to protect the installer from asbestos particles flying around in the air.

My landlord said the siding was free of asbestos but I am not so sure I believe him. Since the dwelling was probably built in the late 40's maybe early to mid 50's, it could be a possibility. Either way, he decided to replace any weakened boards and side over the existing siding. Whatever works for him.

All I know is that this little cottage of mine is looking good!

Tomato Worms?

Today when I arrived home, I checked the tomato plants to see how they were weathering the hot temperatures. To my surprise I found a beautiful 3 inch worm suspended from one of the first plants. Though its beauty is magnificent, it is a harmful predator to my garden.

I promptly ran inside to get my camera to capture this unwanted visitor. It had eaten all of the leaves off of an eight inch stem of the plant. I checked online to find out that it is what is called a "Hornworm" the common enemy of the tomato plant. One of the sites I visited had a gentleman that collects the worms, so I will check his site out and see why he is interested in these live worms.

For now it is in a container in my kitchen eating on a part of another plant that is not doing so well. It appears to have some sort of root rot or over watering problem. I'll need to look that one up online too!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Progress in the Garden

It's been about six weeks since Jenn finished planting her tomato garden and it's coming right along. You can see from the pictures below how much the plants have grown. If all goes well, we should soon have lots of red, juicy, beef steak tomatoes to share with friends and family. Like all other home grown in NC, these will not effected by the recent recall for salmonella. It's funny how Jenn chose to plant tomatoes, especially since she doesn't like them at all. The marigold didn't seem to grow much at all, but they still produced flowers. Great job, Jenn!

Tomato plants as the garden is first planted.

Those same plants four weeks later.
Wow, what growth!

I wonder if we can get a flower bed planted in the front of the house before the 4th of July?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Plants for the Patio

On Sunday the kids and I stopped by my parents house to wish my Dad a "Happy Father's Day" and to visit. We brought with us gifts for the patio that they recently had put next to the French doors on the backside of the house. He was so surprised, and this would give him something to do to help keep him active. Both of my parents are enjoying their new patio, and they enjoy the flowering plants they have growing all around their yard. I can hardly wait to see how and where he planted the newest additions. If he hasn't gotten them in the ground before the weekend, maybe we can help.

I know just the person to help me, help Dad get the job done!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Vintage or Ice Age?

My teens are always teasing me about being from the prehistoric ages when the cavemen walked the earth and dragged around their women. They are too funny, or so they think they are! For instance, when a new style of vintage sunglasses comes out, they swear it's entirely new since there is no way humanly possible they could resemble those we wore in years prior to their existence.

Youth. Will they never learn that we are where we are because of our past and that our past is often repeated; even in fashion!

Paraffin or Wax?

If you had asked me a few years ago which I preferred when it comes to the type of substance my candles were made of, I would have given you a puzzled look. But today, I understand them a bit better. My daughter sells candles as a hobby, and when she told me that there was a difference in how the two burned I was surprised. I thought all candles were made of wax. Apparently not. You see if I understand it correctly, wax melts away from the flame and runs down the side of the candle as it is used up, whereas paraffin melts as the flame heats it up and it evaporates as it continues to burn. You need to make sure that your paraffin candle is in a container made for burning this type of candle as it needs a place to liquefy and then harden again after each use.

I love my paraffin candles!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Where, oh where has my vision gone?

Thursday night Jenn and I watched the movie "27 Dresses" and by the end of the movie my eyes were so strained that my vision was blurred no matter what I did. I had been sitting at an angle and squinting my eyes to see the screen, so it's really no wonder I was unable to focus. I guess now would be a good time to consider getting a new pair of eyeglasses to replace the ones I have misplaced. It's not that I need them for work, or for reading, and not for functioning as far as activities goes, but they do make it easier to watch television, and to see extreme details in the tops of tress as I drive down the road. In fact the doctor said there was literally very little change in my vision from what is normal. So, if the fund are available, and I can find a frame I like, it will be time for a new pair of glasses.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A C N E Treatment

When I was a child, no one ever had to tell me to go outside; I went. My four brothers and I played from the time we finished breakfast until the time we had to come in, bathe, and get ready for bed. We would come inside only to eat a meal, go to the restroom, or in case of threatening weather. We spent countless hours running, jumping, riding bikes, sliding, swinging, and swimming. We even spent hours exploring the natural habitat that surrounded us, and conducted our own science projects watching the growth of polliwogs.

We were fortunate to have been raised in neighborhoods where children were primarily safe from danger, and going outside as a group was both safe and common place. Today children are far less fortunate in most areas of the country. What most of those children could use is a good dose of acne treatments, A C N E treatment as in All Children Need Exercise, and I mean more than the constant repetition of their fingers on a game controller. We are raising a generation of children who don't know how to keep themselves physically fit.

Mine are more active in school these days, and those activities include physical as well as mental demands, from FFA SAE projects (developing, planting, and tending a garden) to participation on a lacrosse team (player and manager).

If your child were restricted from outdoor play within the neighborhood with a group of friends, what would you do to insure that their need for physical activity was satisfied? How do we change directions?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wow! The Patio Looks Great!

The kids and I made a trip to my parents home to see their latest project, the new patio. Wow, what a difference it makes in the landscaping of the back yard. As you can tell by the photograph, it is in natural tones and is complimented by the patio furniture they chose to place in the center. The next part of the project is to fill those pots with flowering plants, and to nurture the growth of the grass around the outside edge of the patio. I have no doubt, that when it is all finished and in bloom, that it will bring them many years of enjoyment.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Men's Jewels

Though some men might like to read about their jewels as a subject of a blog read round the world, I would bet most don't. One such man who loved to show off his jewels, and probably still does, is "Mr.T" from the television show about four misfits trying to make right the wrongs of society. What prompts a man to talk about or wear men's jewelry the way "Mr.T" likes to?

Do you like wearing lots of gold or silver with your suits? How about a simple, but elegant watch that makes a statement about your style? You know, Father's Day is just around the corner. If that someone special is a good boy, perhaps he'll be showing off his jewels right here! ;)

Oh behave baby!

Whole or Term?

A couple of months ago I made an inquiry online to get a quote on life insurance policies. The biggest question I had was which is better to purchase after the age of 50, whole life or term life insurance policy? While whole life insurance seems to be the choice of many at an early stage in one's life, it might make more sense for someone after 50 to choose term life which might serve them better. My concern is that if longevity is predominant in our genes, then why not go for the whole life policy? My great-grandfather lived to be 97, and his daughter, my grandmother lived to be 93. That means if I chose term life it would run out when I am either 72, 77, or 82. Can you do an additional thirty years if necessary, and if so does the cost stay the same? I've not received an answer to my questions, so which one would you choose?