Category Archives: fun

Bent Objects

There are a few blogs that I follow that are just plain fun.  This is one of them.  It is called, Bent Objects because the author takes common household objects and personifies them with a little wire and a lot of imagination.  Hope it makes you smile too.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Prehistoric Citrus Were Very Clever Hunters

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Paper Training Our Little Dog, Frank

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgDynGCzpjg]

Fifty is Nifty

It is now 12:08 AM on the 19th, so I can say with confidence that my 50th birthday was a great day. Thanks to all of you who made it so special… I am a blessed man!  Check out this video my friends made for me…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUBZ_02fytg]

The Cruise

disneycruise.jpg We are back from our Disney Cruise. Yes, I said, Disney. On the advice of a coworker who did a Disney Cruise for his honeymoon, we decided it was worth a try. In a word, WOW. Disney is second to none in customer service! We did seven days in the Eastern Caribbean with stops at St Maarten and St Thomas islands. From St Thomas, we took an excursion to St John. Every night we had great food, excellent service and lots of rest and relaxation.  Click on any of the photos or here to see a short slide show of photos.

americascup.jpg The first two days at sea, I was still feeling sick. I have been feeling poorly since February 1st and the trip to the ship from Charlotte was more than I was ready for. Having two days at sea was just what I needed to get well. By the time we reached St Maarten, I was ready for the sailboat ride excursion we planned. Little did I know that this leisurely sailboat ride was really an America’s Cup sailboat race in which we were the crew! What a rush. Early on in the race, the boat was tilted so far that water was about to come over the side where Jeanie was sitting. One of the crewmen asked if anyone was uncomfortable with the current position of the boat. Jeanie said, “I am!” He shouted back, “Get over it, there’s nothing I can do about it!”

We met the guy who created Yoda for the Star Wars movie and picked up a neat gift for someone we know and love who has loved Yoda for as long as I can remember.

trunkbay.jpg At St John, we visited Trunk Bay, which must be one of the most beautiful places in the whole wide world. There I did my first snorkelling. I enjoyed it with the one exception that it was hard for me to see without my glasses. They had markers under the water explaining what we were looking at. I could see them, but I couldn’t read them. I could see the fishes and the coral which was just beautiful.

After leaving St John / St Thomas, we had one day at sea before we would arrive at Castaway Cay (say “kee”), Disney’s own private island. They had a problem with one of the ship’s engines and the captain announced that, since we would be three hours late, they were going to refund everyone $100 and provide all rentals of floats, bikes and snorkel equipment for free. I thought to myself, “Disney even fails well!”

The final act of great customer service was the luggage handling. Like all cruises, they handle getting your luggage on and off the ship, nothing special there… however, Disney didn’t just take our luggage off the ship for us to pick it up, they sent it to the airport and transferred it to Delta who moved it on to our destination. We didn’t touch our luggage until we got back home! Unfortunately for us, they don’t have any control over the air traffic system. We spent the entire day in the Orlando airport waiting for our flight to take us home. We arrived safely though and we’re struggling to get back into the swing of real life…

I leave you with a recording of the coolest ship’s horn you will ever hear.

The San Francisco Trip

cimg1233-small.JPGJeanie and I just returned from a trip to San Francisco and Berkeley, the new home of our daughter, Erin and her hubby, Justin. We had a great time and a few adventures; some planned and some not so planned. I am learning that the unplanned adventures are where growth occurs… or not. These are the places where it is possible to get un-stuck. What follows is a highly summarized photo tour of our trip. From over 500 photos down to 16, I would say I did pretty good. Click here for a slide show of photos.

Click here for a quick photo tour… Continue reading The San Francisco Trip

High School Reunion

Last weekend was my 30th High School Reunion and I don’t get it. None of my classmates showed up. Instead, they all sent their parents in their place!

Seriously it was a great time. It seemed to me that everyone was more relaxed than at previous reunions. Maybe we have finally gotten to a place in life where we are going to just be ourselves no matter what people think. Or maybe we just don’t really remember one another and we pretend that we do. Or maybe it was just me who doesn’t care any more and can’t remember anyone.

That’s not true though. While there were a few that I honestly don’t remember at all, there were a few who I would have recognized anywhere. In the middle of a conversation, I noticed Doug walk by and made a mental note to be sure to say hello to him.

As soon as the opportunity presented itself, I walked up to Doug, looked him in the eye and said with confidence, “I don’t remember a lot of people here, but I sure remember you.” Without looking at his nametag, I asked, “How are you, Mike?”

I thought he would burst with laughter as he pointed to his nametag and said, “I am Doug. Mike is my brother.”

I know my face was red, but it was way too funny for me to be embarrassed for long.

It was interesting to notice my feelings around my old friends. Thirty years ago, when we were together all the time, we were teenagers with all the hormones and emotional overload that goes with it. Talk about intense feelings! When I felt my stomach do the little flip thing, I asked myself what it was all about and realized that I was reliving some of those old feelings both good and bad. When I realized it, I gave the feelings a 48-year-old kick in the pants. No one knows what I’m feeling. No one can see inside me. And I am not the same person I was 30 years ago… and neither are they.

We have some special memories that only we can share and friendships that will remain for our whole lives. I am blessed!

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

This was the theme Jeanie and I chose for our first cruise. We just returned yesterday and I can sum up my feelings by saying, “If you have never been on a cruise… try it.” This is Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas. It was great to just be able to wander around the ship and find out what was what. Eat when we wanted to without worrying about paying for it. Live music throughout the ship. Few rules and few decisions to make. We could just let go and not worry about what will happen next. The crew addressed all of our questions in plenty of time to get where we needed to be with what we needed to have.On Tuesday, for our first excursion, we took a trip in a glass bottom boat out to a live coral reef to see the fishies. Here we are out on the front of the boat. That bridge like thingy sticking out of the boat probably has a name, but I don’t know what it is. Standing out there, the wind was blowing in our face, the boat was bouncing in the waves and we were going pretty fast.


On Wednesday, we toured the ancient Mayan City called Tulum. This site is right on the Caribbean Sea and the water was gorgeous. We were a bit disappointed that we couldn’t walk in or climb the stairs of the buildings. They roped everything off to preserve it.


The view of the Caribbean from the cliff at Tulum took our breath away. The water was so clear and so green. Other places it was deep blue.

We walked down some stairs to the beach and waded in the water. I built a drip sandcastle. The sand was very different than what I’m used to. It was less gritty and kinda mushy. The predominant mineral in the area is limestone and I could feel the limestone in the sand.

On the way back to the ship, we shopped in Cozumel. The merchants there were really pushy. They would call out to us to come “spend our last money” in their shops. One of the funniest lines that we heard over and over was “almost free”. At least it would have been funny if they hadn’t meant it. Neither of us care if we ever return there.

Thursday’s adventure was a zipline through the jungle followed by tubing through a cave in Belize. Belize was formerly a British colony and won its independence in 1981, so the native language, surprisingly to us, is English. We rode in a tour bus about 35 miles from the city to the location of the Arial Trek. This trip was along their major East/West highway, which was not much wider than the street our house was on. I was fine with the bus passing cars… even the dump truck. When it started to pass another tour bus, I got scared. Fortunately, he gave up trying. The aerial trek was an absolute blast! They had towers in the trees as high as 40 feet above the ground with cables stretched between them. After we were strapped into harnesses, we walked up the trail to the first tower, which was on the side of a hill. The first run was pretty tame to get us used to the equipment. After that, we were flying high! This photo is Jeanie finishing the longest run. She was terrified and couldn’t wait for it to end. I was terrified and thrilled too, but I can hardly wait for the next opportunity to do it again.

The workers all wore shirts that said on the back, “When was the last time, you did something for the first time?” We both loved the motto so much we each bought a shirt and adopted this as the theme for our cruise. We did so many firsts on this trip. Even the cruise itself was a first.

After the aerial trek, we had a good lunch and hiked to the other side of a hill where we got setup for cave tubing. We took a short hike around to the other side of a hill and jumped into the cold river into our tubes. The water carried us into the cave, which was completely dark except for the lights we had strapped on our heads. At first, Jeanie and I got swept off the wrong way and went through a bit of a drama getting back on course. Our guide, Leroy, was a champ at saving us and straightening us out. I really enjoyed him. He has a great outlook on life. As we floated through the cave, he was singing “Don’t worry, Be Happy”

Back on the ship that night after dinner, the dining staff all danced through the dining room. This is me doing the Macarena with our waiter, Kirat and our dining companion, Rich. Rich and his wife, Theresa were assigned to our table each night and we enjoyed getting to know them. As veteran cruisers, they gave us lots of tips. Rich taught me to order everything you want when the waiter comes. He said, “They only take your order once, so order everything you want at that time. Two or three appetizers and even two meals. Try it all.” I took his advice and had some excellent food. The ship also had a buffet, but I didn’t like the atmosphere as much.It was too much like being at the feeding trough.

Yet another first for Jim was climbing the wall. At the stern of the ship (that’s the back to those of you who have never been on a ship ) was the rock climbing wall. I had never done anything like that and wasn’t sure I could do it. The guy that went before me gave up about half way, so I was even less sure when I started. About half way, I saw why he gave up. The handholds got smaller and further apart. I stopped, tried a few different positions and finally got past it. At the top, I rang the bell and looked back for this final photo by Jeanie.

It is great to be home, but I wish the house would stop moving. I still feel the swaying just like I did on the ship. Mostly the ship felt still, but one night in particular, it was moving a lot and the wooden hangers in the closet were clacking together. It sounded like bones from a skeleton. I just lay in the bed and thought about getting rocked like a baby in the cradle, while the skeletons danced in the closet.

Would I do it again? I can hardly wait!