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Friday, January 30, 2009
Now THAT'S What I Call a Vacation Rental

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Paint, Urine, Coffee Grounds and Other Refuse
OK- I left out the mashed banana guts and grape skins, and the usual diaper contents. Typical day around the house- lots of messes, half-cleaned! All in all, a good day, though. We completed a Kindergarten II workbook page, watched the latest library-provided Blue's Clues video, painted plaster dinosaurs, had fish sticks and tater tots for lunch, put together a chocolate chess pie, finished loading the dishwasher and started it, and even took out the kitchen trash (after the coffee grounds incident, unfortunately!) A bit mundane, this life, but good. I won't miss potty training, though!!

Now, should I be concerned that my baby likes to eat coffee grounds?

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Sunday, January 25, 2009
What's in a Name?
A lot, if it's 1917 and you're Russian. The name "Bolshevik" roughly translates to "member of the majority/greater party", while the opposing "Menshevik" has a corresponding meaning, i.e. "member of the minority/lesser party". As it turns out, the Bolsheviks were NOT actually more numerous than the "Mensheviks", but in a culture not given to much questioning or critical thought, these appellations were taken at face value, and may have played a large role in the eventual domination of the "Bolshevik" party.

I wonder whether our society is as interested in serious examination and critical synthesis of facts and issues as it once was. I doubt it. In many ways, we seem to be attracted to the simple and the easily absorbed. We can keep track of which celebrities have been married (and to whom), who won the last 10 Super Bowls (or NCAA basketball tournaments), and which recording artists got their start on American Idol. When it comes to sustained examination of an issue, our increasingly sensorily-overloaded psyches go ADHD (I know I have that tendency).

When all the major TV network newscasters, major-market newspaper editors, and federally-funded radio talk shows lean leftward, do we as a culture have sufficient capability of sustained critical thought to see through their biases as they insidiously color the commentary we receive on world events?

And by the way, how does Garrison Keillor think it's OK to ridicule W's courageous struggle with alcoholism on national radio, after the man's left the presidency, for heaven's sake? Is alcoholism a joke now, or is W simply not a human being? And that bit about how everything he did was "stupid"? This is how A Prairie Home Companion honors returning veterans? Please show some decency, NPR. This is disgraceful.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Snow Day

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The Audacity of Hope or a Rare Political Complaint
Brenda dares to hope that President Obama will re-think his stance on abortion. That is audacious indeed. I know I should wish the new administration well; I certainly don't want the recession to deepen, or health insurance to become completely unfeasible, or terrorists to kill my countrymen (here or abroad). In that sense, I do wish President Obama well. However, I find myself struggling with a great deal of reluctance for several reasons.

1. Most fundamentally, I don't believe that the Democratic party has the answers or will even move us in the right direction. I am ideologically opposed to just about everything they've chosen to make an issue of for pretty much my entire adult life. I have studied economics, and a lot of things have to go right for a socialist economy to prosper. As far as I can tell, Sweden is about the only one that meets those conditions. Elsewhere, socialism is in a heap of trouble.

2. I am a cynic. "Hoping" at the behest of a politician, particularly one with whom I do not agree, ain't gonna happen. James Madison asserted that if men were angels, government would not be necessary, and politicians have proven time and again that they are not in danger of immediately joining the heavenly choir. The way the left has latched onto every possible weapon to castigate the Bush administration has reinforced my utter lack of trust in them and their machinations. As others have pointed out, how can W be both an idiot and an evil genius? And yet, many seem to hold these conflicting ideas and cherish them in their hearts as a means of dehumanizing a man with the heaviest responsibilities on earth confronting an awful reality not of his own making.

3. Respecting a member of a group of people who have collectively treated my ideas (and we who hold them) with utter disdain and vitriolic contempt is not easy for me. I have heard references to "those idiots who voted for Bush" from people I respect and like. Some of my good friends act as though it is quite obvious that our outgoing president is a moral degenerate simply because the consequences of consequential policies include both tragedy and triumph- every time. Even if the policy is to do nothing, there are likely tragic outcomes.

As a Christian, I realize that it is my responsibility to show Christ's love to all humanity. The truth is, I'm not doing so well. I've been wounded by some whom I hold dear, and it is easy to deflect that bitterness onto those I don't know who have said the same things and benefited from a general tar-and-feathering of us conservatives. Christ's mercy is so much greater than mine, but I can not disregard it, nor his command to love. Pray for the new president, and for us who are left with stiff necks, mired in our human pride.


Monday, January 19, 2009
Spoilin' for a Fight
We had a tremendously fun weekend as some friends of ours came down for the weekend, causing other local friends to pay us visits as well! All in all, it was extremely amicable, considering there were four boys under the age of five in our house for the better part of three days. The most memorable altercation (to me, anyway) was between my two oldest, over nothing less than the proposition that: 1. the sky has a face and, 2. it is sad. This was a little cuter than the typical fight, but we regularly have to referee shouting matches between our literal son and our imaginative one, so it was hardly unexpected.

John and Isaac were downright absorbed by this toy. I have never seen anything like it. Thankfully, Jonah brought two (addition and division [he is three, but stands a good chance of scoring higher than I would on the SAT]), so the one fight we had over it was solved by locating the second one. Other than that, there was some Zingo played, some videos viewed, and even some cooperative Wii play. It's a shame it has been so cold, but we did just fine without the option of playing outside.

Now if Daniel and I could just get healthy!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Could Be Worse
When you wake up in the dead of the night, breathing only with great effort, it is a relief to find a two-year-old draped across your stomach.

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Monday, January 05, 2009
General Update
Well, things at work seem to refuse to settle down. I had another big deadline New Year's Eve (for which I had to do some work Christmas weekend, since I had to take a sick day for Daniel), and we're doing some follow-up on the earlier project, while the next huge project looms over our heads (we're not ahead of the game). Thankfully, since we did our extended family Christmas over Thanksgiving (except for the things we have to mail to family in Michigan STILL, and well, I am not sure what to do about family in Lebanon!), Christmas preparations were not bad. I wrapped a number of things as they came in (largely from others- I didn't buy much for us), and still others arrived in wrapping paper, so Christmas Eve here was low-stress EXCEPT for cranky baby on antibiotics. He's feeling much, much better.

We've been baking cookies every week or so, which was fun sometimes (I ended up doing quite a bit on my own, which is just fine). It's always fun to eat the cookies, and baking has gone much better with the oven repaired (Paul replaced the bake element a week ago). We even tried a chocolate gingerbread recipe I received via email from Lowe's Foods. It was fairly good, but I think it would have been better if our kitchen weren't quite so cold (butter never softened, even though it was out all day and all night, and the "room temperature" melted chocolate chips started to harden all on their own (and fairly quickly at that!).

Last Friday we did a family trip to a local science/ children's museum. The highlight for Daniel seemed to be watching a tortoise try and escape its enclosure (it was very easy for him to see from the stroller), though he also enjoyed the play areas. The rest of us were excited to pet an extraordinarily friendly wallaby, which was soft and fuzzy like a kitten. Not many families get the chance to pet a wallaby. Not around here, anyway!

We had a nice Christmas (we had Christmas dinner at the home of some friends with a number of other guests), and had a good New Year's Day (some friends came over and we had a quiche brunch), with some additional fun fit in here and there. Now that we know about the museum, we may go back a few times to visit the wallabies. There are also supposed to be meerkats, but they seemed to be trying to stay warm underground last Friday- we saw neither head nor tail. We'll definitely have to take Uncle Todd!

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Isaac: Mama, my HAYew peeps gwowing! And Jay's hayew peeps gwowing, too.
Mama: It does?
Isaac: Yeah, and youw hayew peeps gwowing!

(Next day)

Isaac: My [sun]gwasses peep fawwing down!

I thought he knew "keeps", but you can't make up stuff this cute, so I hate to disabuse him of the notion. And yes, I know he's got a duckie towel, not a chick towel, but still.


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