Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Reason #2 415 against "Santa Claus"

It's 12:17 am Christmas morning. I've just finished assembling the Big Wheel (thank you Grandma Suzie!). I'm supposed to let some jolly old elf take credit for this? I don't think so.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

david falls asleep, simon's sense of humor develops

David in Bed desaturated

Simon with nose 1

Simon with nose 2

treed in colorado

Last week, we drove to Colorado and back. It was a lovely vacation at Jaime's parent's house. The weather was beautiful and it was quite relaxing. David got to spend enormous amounts of time watching movies and playing, which was a welcome respite from his normal grind of playing and watching movies.

If you want a great adventure, head off into the woods with a three-year-old as your guide. David, Hildy (the grandparents' dog), and I went for a walk about one day in some Bureau of Land Management land adjacent to the Oakson's neighborhood. We were trotting down a wide path that serves as something of a road, when, without a word, David turned right and headed into a field of Sage Brush. I followed and Hildy ran up ahead and then returned, ran up, returned, etc. We descended into a gully and picked up a trail through some woods. David chatted and played. I showed him tracks of various animals. At one point he attempted to leave the trail again and plunge into woods whose thickness would only comfortably accommodate a three-year-old. I had to stop him. Eventually the trail looped around and deposited us just down the block from where we began. A paid guide could not have lead us on a more perfect walk. Here it is in Google Maps.

Our whole time in Colorado was sunny and mild. But the whole time, David could see snow capping distant peaks. He wanted nothing more than to throw snowballs. So he was thrilled when, a couple of days later, Grandpa Steve took us up to another wilderness area with proper trees and snow. He would ask me to make a snowball for him and then throw it at me. It was delightful watching him run around like a little boy jump in snow and investigating rocks and stick and playing fetch with Hildy.

At one point in the trip, Jaime and I were sitting onthe porch while David played in the yard. Suddenly he anounced that he was going to climb a tree and disapeared around the house. Jaime asked me, "are you going with him or are we going to take him home in a cast?"
I was skeptical, "he won't get off the ground."

So, we waited for him to return.

And we waited.

And waited.

Finally, I went to investigate.

David Treed 2 David Treed B&W

Of course, no vacation is complete without sickness. Simon had a fever of 104 at one point. But hey, we are old pros at this.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

summer rescue me

While driving, I often sing Love Rescue Me, by U2. David calls it the "sha la la song" and insists that I sing that verse first. Yesterday, David interrupted me after I sang this part:
And the sun in the sky
Makes a shadow of you and I
Stretching out as the sun sinks in the sea
"And then it's dark" he said. I didn't quite catch what he said the first time and asked him to clarify. "The shadows stretch out and the sun sinks and then it is dark."

Very true. And it is happening earlier and earlier. This week, the last before the time change, marks the end of our favorite summer activity, evenings in the park.

To commemorate the passing of another season, I dug back through my files and pulled up some summer photos that never got posted.

Enjoy. As always, clicking on this photo takes you to the rest.


Monday, October 29, 2007


Several of you have commented in this blog but I had the moderation settings of incorrectly set, causing your comments to sit in purgatory until a benevolent intercessor brought them to my attention. I have freed them and fixed the moderation so all comments will go through without problems until someone says something sufficiently boneheaded to make me close the entire comments module in a fit of seizure-inducing eye-rolling.

later, unmoderated fans

Monday, October 22, 2007

CJOnline - Festival gives taste of cuisine, religion

Go read CJOnline - Festival gives taste of cuisine, religion in which, apropo of nothing, I reveal to the world the ancient secrets of our mystery cult.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

can we just make it a celebration of me?

"David, at 4:00, Alexander and Sebastian are having a birthday party."

"Can we have cake how about vanilla ice cream can we put candles on the cake and put fire on the candles?"

Friday, October 19, 2007

Simon Lounging









A friend mine bought a new Mini Cooper that arrived last weekend. I assume they spent the weekend just driving around. I know when I got each of my bikes, I took every oportunity to just go ride it. It's like first having your driver's licence--just gotta go. Well, Simon got his licence to walk last week and he has just got to go, too.

At first it was like he was possessed in some sort of trance. He had been taking a significant number of steps for a couple of weeks, but if he really needed to get anywhere, he would drop and crawl. He can crawl as fast as a Mini Cooper. But, suddenly, last weekend, he just started walking and walking and walking with no purpose, from one corn of the house to the other. The first day it stagger four-or-five steps, teeter, fall, get up, stagger. His stance was wide, his legs unbending, his arms akimbo like some Frankenstein monster cowboy. Each day he could go further and further without tumbling until he could basically walk a straight line over flat ground without a problem. Eventually, he got better on uneven ground and can sometimes change direction without toppling. Today, he walked to me on the sidewalk in front of Ninas--a sidewalk that more resembles a recently-collapsed building.

But, now that he has mastered the skill, is over it. Sometimes he walks, sometimes he crawls. No big deal. It just depends.

He still is not eating significantly. But there is improvement there. Each week he chokes a little less frequently and we get bolder with our solid food experiementing. I assume that something will click in the arena, too, and he'll suddenly want to devour every solid thing he can get his hands on.

Later, Minifans

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


With David's charm, charisma, and dashing looks he could focus his enthusiasm for football into a highly profitable and physically safe career as a sports broadcaster.

Mom's always have the last word

I just saw an X-ray of a boy's arm with a break which allowed the bones to overlap by an inch. This injury occurred whilst playing football.

Did I mention, An Inch.

From this moment forward the only sports my lovely angelic boys are allowed to play are:
Underwater Basket Weaving
Competitive Knitting
Air Hockey
Horse Shoes
Speed Walking

The Mother has spoken.

Monday, October 08, 2007

the fightin' miters

I am working 2 football games 2day &wont get 2 start watching K-State ku until late. So, if U text me during the game i won't read it until after i'm done. GO CATS.
Msg stored at: OCT 6, 8:40 am

Msg Delivered at: Oct 6, 8:41 am

U might as wellget used 2 it, David already likeS it & Simon won't B far behind. Warms the cockles of my heart.
Msg stored at: OCT 6, 8:44am

The man speaks the truth. Dad referees high school football. Last Friday night Grandpa, David, and I drove to Solomon to watch him referee an American Football match between the Fighin' Solomon Gorillas and the Fightin' (and winnin') Frankfurt Wildcats. Interesting thing: they have seating for fans of the home team and for fans of the visitors, but not for fans of the referees. I really didn't expect David to catch much of what was going on during the game but he surprised me. After the first completed pass (and tackle), he turned to me with a look of pure delight on his face and exclaimed, "He caught the ball and the knocked him down!" Later, he described a scuffle at the last ten yards from the end-zone with similar glee: "They're fighting!"

But dad might not have hit the mark with Simon. Saturday, while the rest of the state was driving west to Manhattan, we headed East to Kansas City to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the church in which Jaime and I were married. On the way, David asked out of the blue if Simon would get married when he grew up. I said that I hope so; that he either marry or take monastic vows. Turns out, this was a prophetic conversation. Later that day Simon cinched the decision by crawling to the middle of the nave and picked up the orlet--a small circular rug that the bishop stands on--declaring his intentions as far as I am concerned. How does that relate to football? Well, bishops are busy on Sundays, which in the world of TiVO is probably not the impediment that is used to be, but we can hope, can't we?

later, hierarchical fans

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

mean kids

I have always encouraged David to be friendly and outgoing. Either because of this or because he inhereted his mother's natural social exuberance, he is able to hold is own well in social situations. He is conversational and friendly with just about anyone regardless of age. I remember when he first got his tricycle last year an we were walking/riding down the sidewalk when a neighborhood boy who is a couple of years older planted himself in the middle of the sidewalk, stopping David. Enthusiastically the boy said, "I have a Spiderman scooter in my basement."

There was a pause just long enough for me to wonder to myself how David would respond to this aggressive friendliness, then he replied with equal enthusiasm, "wow!"

On the playground, I encourage him to play with other kids and if he does strike up a playground friendship, I have taught him how to introduce himself and ask the name of his playmate.

Here is my question: doesn't anyone else do this?

Many times lately I have watched out the door at a scene where David approaches a group of neighborhood kids, all of whom are either a bit older or a bit younger than David, only to be ignored at best if not treated rudely. This evening he was playing outside as I finished feeding Simon. I went to check on him. He was outside among several people. One group was Christopher, who is a year younger, with his mom. They were leaving and David was tagging along trying to strike up a conversation--probably about Buzz Lightyear. Christopher's mother was ignoring David and Christopher was simply an oblivious two-year-old. I kept thinking to myself, why doesn't she stop and help Christopher say hi to David and explain that they are leaving and that he hopes they can play later? Shortly David turned to some older boys were wrestling. He was doing that hesitant step-hop thing that someone on the outside of a social circle does as they try to interject themselves into that circle. Fortunately, one of the boys was the only socially competent child in our neighborhood--the same one with the Spiderman scooter, if memory serves. He interacted with David, sorta. He held his friend in a a full nelson and let David hit him in the stomach. It's something.

The real problem here is that, when I see David rebuffed by these kids (and their parents), I am actually seeing myself. For reasons that I have never satisfactorily determined, I was socially incompetent as child. Typically, I was picked on teased, and excluded. These are of course memories of an eight-to-twelve-year-old, not a three year old. And they are memories that I long ago deactivated in favor of the present reality in which I am quite the man about town. But when I see David treated this way, those feeling rush back. I am heartbroken and even feel a little of the shame that plagued me as a child that somehow it was my fault that other kids were mean--that maybe they were right and I was unworthy of their attention. It floods back in an instant and for an instant and my heart breaks.

I have no idea how David feels about this. Not having my life experience, I assume that he does not share my feelings. There is evidence to suggest that he is sometimes hurt. One time Christopher was rude to him out of simple two-year-old orneriness and the look on David's face was crestfallen. Other times, he seem oblivious, like when Cody, a five-year-old with anger issues, was berating him so strongly that I almost intervened just as his dad stepped in. David seemed oblivious to this. He just wanted to see Cody's new bike. But he is not going to be oblivious forever. I keep watching because I know that sometime soon, it is going to sink in. He is going to get really hurt by the way these kids treat him and then he is going to dish it right back out. He is going to be mean to Christopher or to some other new kid who moves in. Now don't get me wrong, I don't believe that this behavior has to be learned, it is the default mode--especially for children. I just wish I could see more parents trying to teach their kids a different mode.

Friday, September 28, 2007

saint joachim

A joke:
While flying him back to his homeland to visit his mother, Themios Papadopoulos' plane crashes in the sea. Themeos, the only survivor, washes up on the shores of a small deserted island. Thanking God for his life and seeing that he may be stranded for awhile, he sets to building a church for himself as well as procuring means of survival. He is stranded for quite a long time until one day a ship spots his distress fire and sends a rescuer to the island on a life raft. When the rescuer arrives he observes that there are two buildings on just back from the beach. He asks Themeos what they are.
"They are churches," the castaway replies. "Orthodox Churches."
"But why are there two of them?" the newcomer asks.
"Because," George says loudly, pointing at one of the buildings, "that is the Church I go to, and," thrusting his finger angrily at the other, "that is the Church I don't go to."
Maybe three people reading this will get that. Maybe fewer.

I have decided that we need to open a second Orthodox Church in Topeka. Then, David needs to go to that one. Our expectations of him are pretty minimal--try to be minimally disruptive. But sometimes, he is simply unable to do that. This is most apparent when both Jaime and I are with him. He jumps around, crawls around, dances around, plays around and generally does everything to get our attention.

But lately, I have been serving in the altar. We have developed a pattern like this. David and I go to church around 9:00. I serve in the altar and he is supervised by whomever might be closest until Sunday School starts. By the time Sunday School is over and Liturgy begins, Mom has arrived. For the time that he alone, is an angel. He is quiet and still.

This last Sunday, Jaime and Simon were under the weather, so it was just David and I. He went to Sunday school during matins and then was up in the nave by himself during all of liturgy. I expected this to be too much and was prepared come some stand in the nave with him. But during the first half of Liturgy, I observed him standing still and silent next to Sarah, his 13-year-old girlfriend who sings in the choir. During the latter half, he was not quite so perfect, but did better than one could reasonably expect of a 3.5-year-old on his own.

So, clearly, he is ready to take his place in society and Jaime and I are just distractions. We need to open a sister church and he can go there. This weekend, I'll say something good or bad about the Patriarch and plant the seeds for our division.

later, Greek fans.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

simon's birth

I was cleaning out some files on my computer when I came across a text document containing a blog post about Simon's birth that I never posted. So, I posted it to its proper spot back in August 06.

Go read "he's here!"

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

so, who are these boys that we live with nowadays?

So, who are these boys that we live with nowadays?

Well, David begins talking the moment he gets out of bed and stops sometime after he goes to sleep. He still loves cantaloupe, but won't each much more then that. I assume that, generally, he behaves like a three-year-old ought to, but I honestly don't know. He continually alternates between a cooperative, thoughtful, conversational little boy and a howling banshee. He is pretty much potty trained--we have to remind him to go, but he no longer goes to the bathroom anywhere other than the toilet.

While he loves nothing more then Buzz Lightyear and Lightening McQueen, he still has room in his heart for many good books including Where the Wild Things Are, pretty much anything by Dr. Seuss--especially How the Grinch Stole Christmas, anything about Church, and many others. semi-monthly visits to the library are a must.

He is jealous of Simon--more so now than before. But he also wants Simon to be someone with whom he can wrestle and play roughly (this is his primary way of playing) and so he ends up pestering his little brother until the baby screams and a time out is in order. Right now, Grandpa Gib is feeding Simon yogurt and David is loudly doing everything he can to distract them.

I've come to really cherish the few moments that David and I get alone. He is old enough now to be interested in exploring the world and he is delight to converse with on all manner of topics. He loves to run and play and wrestle and hit t-balls. He is turning into a boy and I am surprised how much I am looking forward to teaching him to be a boy.

Simon is tall and lean. Very suddenly, last week, be began babbling almost constantly (except when prompted to) while saying nothing. The only actual words he knows are "hi," "dada," "mama," "Nina." When I come home from work he smiles and says "Hi, dada!" and throws his arms open to me. He can, and will, walk four-or-five steps at a time. He loves exploring everything he can. He spent 15 solid quiet minutes the other day examining the straps on Davids booster seat.

He will eat only yogurt voluntarily. He will eat other baby foods if we put them in a bowl and give him a spoon of his own and then feed him with a second spoon while he also feeds himself. But when he is done, he is DONE and don't question it. He goes from zero to furious in an blink. I do not look forward to his stubborn temper when he is three.

What he still will not eat is real solid food. Anything with more texture than applesauce is of no interest. Until a few weeks ago he would frequently gag on solids. Now, he just sucks on them and spits them out. We are going to have a specialist examine him to see if there is really a problem or if he is just putting it off until he gets something really good.

Climbing is his true love. I put him in his high chair yesterday, walked across the kitchen and looked back to find him on all fours on top of his tray. He climbs up the couch, up the stairs up David's recliner. He can climb the plastic "rock wall" step/ladder toy in Holliday Park. He watches David constantly and imitates him. If David leaves one of his toys laying about and Simon gets a hold of it, he will begin playing with it exactly as David does.

I cherish the few moments alone I get with Simon. He laughs and snuggles and chases. Every so often he will just reach his arms across me and lay his head on my shoulder. Sometimes, while crawling, he will suddenly stop and lay down flat on his tummy with his head turned and his arms outspread.

I also cherish the moments the three of us can just be together playing. I can usually coerce both boys into a cooperative game of rolling a ball from one to the other. Or we'll go for a walk with David on his trike and Simon in the stroller watching David and giggling as he zooms by, a blur of red and feet and energy.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

simmons' summer fun

Mom and Alex took some great photos of the kiddos this summer and sent them to me. View them as a set here.



defective yeti links to this manifesto and heated discussion against the use of nuts in certain foods. It is hilarious and when I mentioned it to Jaime, she suggested I compose my own manifesto against fruit and chocolate. Great idea. Here it goes:

"Don't combine fruit and chocolate. It's disgusting."


Need some clarification? Don't dip fruits in chocolate. Don't put fruit in chocolate candy or cake. Don't combine fruit-flavored things with chocolate flavored things.

Don't get me wrong (well, you can if you want, I don't care), I love fruit and I'm so into chocolate that I may have to have estrogen therapy in my post-middle-age years. But the two of them together are gross. The best analogue I can think of is Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Both are good actors who have done some lovely work separately. Together, they are a disaster--three movies that should be purged from our collective cultural consciousness. The one exception I can think of is the banana. Bananas are tolerable with chocolate--especially if ice cream is involved. Bananas and chocolate are like "Joe Versus the Volcano--" Acceptable in certain circumstances.

But that is it.

I love nuts in just about anything, though. I'll eat nuts with fruit, nuts with chocolate, but not fruit, nuts, and chocolate--unless the fruit is a banana, and there is ice cream involved. I know what you are thinking--"what do you do with the fudge and fruit toppings in a banana split?" Well, I haven't had a banana split in about 25 years, but I recall it takes some work to avoid the parts where the fruit and fudge toppings mix. Frankly, if I ordered one now, I would simply forgo the fudge altogether. Ice cream, strawberries, pineapple, and the cherry (not to mention, the nuts) are reward enough to put off chocolate until I'm done and have cleansed my palate.

Friday, September 14, 2007

not yet

David on a bike that is too big David is pictured on a bicycle given to us by a friend of Jaime. Unfortunately, he is simply too small for it right now. This is compounded by the fact that he cannot, in a pinch, remember how to brake. So we find him careening down a hill on a bike that is too heavy for him to control, which he cannot stop. There is a smaller-sized bike for tots, but I see general problems with that as well. Three-year-olds don't have a great sense of balance so anything that perches them a couple of feet above the ground is going to have to have training wheels, which seem to make the whole thing pointless. Riders can't lean in to a curve with them giving them the turning radius of a Mack truck. Also, if the rider does lean, the training wheel causes the rear wheel to lift off of the ground. If he is leaning because he is trying to get up a hill, then the whole thng stops.

When did the preschool set move to bicycles? What happened to the Big Wheel? This was my ride of choice until I was old enought to balance on a bike unaided by training wheels. It was fast, cool, and didn't tip over unless I really really wanted it to. I don't see the kids these days riding them, but I think it is what David needs if he wants to roll.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

how not to talk to my kids

Please, don't talk to my kids until you have read this.

Monday, March 05, 2007


Last night we relaxed a bit with the old TV and watched some America's Funniest Home Videos. After dinner we settled in for some Incredibles. Once the movie was over and it was time to extricate the DVD David offered to take it out and Jason had the remote.

If only I had had the camera rolling. Every time David went for the DVD Jason would hit the eject button and make the disk go in and out. At first David was surprised but he quickly started to scold Jason. "You stop that daddy!" he would say with a wag of the finger and the cutest frown in town.

A post doesn't do the scene justice but rest assured we laughed for a long time. I can't wait until Simon gets old enough, maybe then we can submit that footage and score some big $$.

UPDATE: this is Jason. Making the dvd player close just as someone is reaching for is an old joke of mine that just never stops being funny. With David, I realized that one of the funny parts is that when and adult is reaching for the disk, they pull back not wanting to force the issue and break something. So I can exploit this delicate handling to keeping them hooked for a long time. Not so with David. Our little story ends with him simply grabbing the dvd tray as it closed, pulling it back open, and popping the disk out.


This morning I felt as if I had not slept for two days so I laid in bed longer than I should have. At 8:30 I woke up to the sound of running water in the bathroom. As David is not a huge fan of cleanliness I jumped out of bed to assess the situation.

Thankfully he was not trying to turn the house into a swimming pool. Instead he was trying to wash rose petal cream off his hands and face. This lovely shade was smeared all over the sink and counter. It was also on the wall leading down to the living room. There the trail gets cold until you get to the love seat where it is delicately smeared on the cushions.

At the scene of the crime is my purse. All contents spread out, money every where, and at the center is one of my favorite lipsticks with nothing but a nub left.

Days like this help to remind me David is 2 and not 26.

Watering Hole

Whilst standing around at work discussing fried food on a stick a nurse commented that her husband hates gravy. After I recovered from my shock she clarified that she continues to make gravy for their meals but now the menu states "country fried steak and sauce", "biscuits and sauce".

Friday, February 16, 2007

the machine is us

Ironically, I read about this in the newspaper. It's very powerful. I wonder what he thinks about it. I would like to go ask him myself, but I'm not vital enough to be sent to this event.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The real deal

The other night I set aside the fact the weather was horrible and no good mom in her right mind would take her young children out in such weather and made the trip to the mall so David could let off some steam at the play area. As an added bonus I called up our old neighbor and arranged for his best bud Colin to meet us there.

After a joyous reunion involving a lot of squealing (imagine young girls at a boy band concert) Colin and David made their way to the padded play area. Once inside the soft foamy enclosure they proceeded to run over, push and shove each other and any poor sole who got in their way as they played super heroes. At any given point one of the boys declared they were Superman.

Shortly after we got there a little guy in a full on Superman costume entered the scene.

Devastation was brief.

Within seconds David (wearing his Favorite turtle shirt) assumed the identity of Super Turtle Boy. Apparently his powers enabled him to run faster than any turtle ever.

Friday, February 02, 2007


Val posted once a long time ago that she had intended to track the development of the twins' sense of humor. I thought that is a great idea, but didn't do anything with it. Well, now it's a meme.

Simon is laughing. What's so funny? Peek-a-boo, of course. Cracks him up.

David, meanwhile is telling jokes. Rather, he is telling a joke:
What does the gingerbread boy put on his bed?
Cookie sheets!
Ha! I taught him this. It is from Reader's Digest--Marla got a subscription for Christmas.

He has no idea why it is funny, but enjoys the reaction and his delivery is spot-on--especially since I make him tell to everyone we encounter "hey, David there is that stranger standing on the corner I made you smile at when you were four-months old; go tell him your joke."

Later, laughing fans.

portrait of a young man as an artist

David drew his first self portrait last night. First, he drew a sort of oval shape that was slightly angular at one end. This was inside a larger, incomplete oval but I don't know if he considered that part of the composition. He declared this to be himself. I complimented him on his work and asked where the eyes are. He drew two circles next to each other near the top of the inner oval. I asked where the nose is. Another circle near the center. Then,I asked about his mouth. For this, he scrawled a wildly crooked and off-center line near the bottom and off to the left, giving the impression of a smirk with some serious attitude.

Here is the very cool thing: he did this on the bottom of the bathtub. He has washable crayons that are made for the bath and draws all over the bathtub and shower. I've never seen his draw under the water, though. He was sitting in the tub and just drew this on the floor of the tub in front of him. I thought about trying to get a photo of it, but as soon as he was done, he began scribbling over it. By the time his bath was over, the drawing had been washed away completely.

For me this was a perfect piece of art--like and icon only truly exists in the space of prayer or a mandala until the sand is dumped into the river, this existed for just a moment, only the two of us saw it, and then the piece, with the moment, was gone without pretension of permanence or importance. A photo would have spoilt it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Yesterday I tried to start potty training David. I was determined to be a "good" mother and not turn the TV on and diligently work with him on going potty in the potty. I even refused to put pull-ups on him and made sure a large stack of underwear was handy.

My game plan was to keep him in rooms lacking carpet which means keep him out of the living room. So we set up shop in the kitchen and the first time he peed on the floor it was no big deal. Clorox the spot, new undies, on with playing. The second time he peed I was annoyed but no big deal because it was in his room, Clorox the spot, new undies, on with the morning.

The Third time he peed I was at the end of my rope as it wasn't even noon yet. And this time he did it on the carpet. Occasionally David can sense when Jason and I are so angry he decides to stay out of our way and obey any request made of him. Well this was one of those times so he played quietly in his room the rest of the morning as I cleaned and rushed to get ready for work.

By the time I got to work I was completely defeated with the potty training after only a morning (yes I am a pathetic mother) and depressed because my gifted child just didn't get it (or seem to care that he had peed on himself all morning).

Today a co-worker was telling me about her weekend. She has three small children and on Sunday while mom was working and dad was sleeping the kids decided to turn the house into a swimming pool. Literally. They took all the Tupperware out of the cabinets and proceeded to flood almost every room with water. The beds were soaked clear through, water was a half inch deep in some places and the couch was soaked.

Lets just say I don't feel so bad about a small pee spot on the carpet now.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Veda Mae Gilbert, Memory Eternal

I haven't written since Tuesday even though there has been a lot to write about--Simon is laughing and David drew his first self portrait. But it seemed disrespectful to not first write about a great loss in our family.

Our phone rang at 3:00 am last Tuesday morning. As I made my way to the phone, I prayed that it was a wrong number. No one wants the kind of phone call you get at 3:00 am. It was not a wrong number. It was That call. It was about my grandmother. She collapsed earlier that evening and was ambulanced to the hospital. I spoke with the nurse later on. He said that she was conscious, awake, and communicating. Then, he turned around to do some paper work, and when he turned back, she was gone.

The week since then has been one long hectic day of coordinating arranging, crying, consoling, and wandering around in a disbelieving stupor. The funeral was Friday. She was buried on Sunday.

During the sharing portion of the memorial service, I said something like this:
Veda was a person with a very strong sense of right and wrong. She had great moral clarity and was also very outspoken making her, at times, somewhat opinionated. Her sense of right and wrong was so strong that she could actually be hurt when she saw someone making wrong choices.

This could be a little difficult to deal with because there are many times in my life when we disagreed about right and wrong and didn't feel like she should feel injured by my decision. Of course she was very often correct, but sometimes, we simply had to disagree and deal with it. Somewhere in my teens I realized that if I was making a decision for myself that Veda would not take kindly to, the best approach was the direct one. Be straight, assume she is an adult that can handle the truth, and tell her what is going on. When I did this, she wasn't shy about letting me know where I was wrong, but she never wavered in her love and acceptance of me.

Because of this, I learned what unconditional love looks like. When I eventually recognized that in another woman, I married her. Veda also taught me that integrity is the best course. Be honest and direct and let the chips fall where they may. These lessons have served me very well and kept me more-or-less on a straight path--or I at least return to that path eventually. I never consider two options in my life without thinking about what Veda and Gib would think about it--they are my own personal "what would Jesus do?".

In the course of the visitation, funeral, burial, visits to the house, calls, cards, and online condolences, we heard from over 400 people over the last week. I know that the majority of these who knew Veda personally also saw in some measure this sense of morality combined with love that I saw. I know it touched and guided them too. I know that all of us will continue to be guided by Veda and that her memory will be eternal.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hawk Eye

Unlike David, Simon is all eyes. He'll watch you walk by, he'll watch you leave the house, he'll even watch you watching tv.

The one thing he really keeps an eye out for is David.

My guess is he's already figured out you must always stay alert to the possibility of being attacked by the over abundant love David has for all of us.

At times it can be quite painful.

Friday, January 19, 2007


So, I had four teeth pulled out of my head today. Apparently, I've been trying to cram 32 teeth into a 28-tooth mouth. Next time someone tells me I have a big mouth, I'm coming after them with pliers. We pulled them because I'm getting braces--time to straighten them all out. It will be strange having straight teeth. I'm looking forward to it.

The ones we yanked are the first premolars, also called the bicuspids. They are the double-pointed teeth right behind your cuspids--your canines. Today, I've learned what they are for--eating. Your wedge-like incisors, front and center, are for tearing vegetable matter, your big, flat molars at the back are for crushing nuts and seeds, and your cuspids are for battling rivals in your territory. But once the vegetables have been torn, the seeds crushed, and the rivals vanquished, basic chewing seems to fall to the first and second bicuspids. I discovered this today by trying to chew a piece of soft cheese--something that needs neither tearing, crushing, nor vanquishing. I couldn't do it. it just rattled around in the space where my teeth used to be. It's a weird feeling and has reduced me to eating only foods that I can masticate between my tongue and the roof of my mouth. I assume that a solution will present itself before I wither away.


Two of David's favorite people in the world are Naomi (~16) and Sarah (~13), sisters who go to our church. They have three other sisters whom David also loves dearly. He talks about them before church, he stands with them during church, and he talks about them on the way home from church. Jaime and I were supposed to have a meeting after church on Sunday and we told David that he would be going to the girls' house to hang out and be sat. Thrilled. Unfortunately, the weather obligated us to cancel the meeting so David didn't need to go over. He was crushed, but we told him that Naomi might come over the next day to take pictures of him for a school project. "Will Sarah come too?" This is all he talked about the rest of the night.

Fortunately, Naomi and Sarah did come over the next day for a little glamor shoot. David was in heaven. I think he showed them and explained every single toy he owns. He even offered Naomi a seat in his chair. When she explained that she didn't think she'd fit, he assured her "I think your butt is small enough."

Socially, Monday was a big day for him. After Naomi and Sarah, left, we visited the Eakes-Kahns to share in the twins' Christmas bounty--"share" being a negotiable word for all three boys. He had fun. Every day since, he has done his past/future inversion, talking at length about how we are going to go to Alexander and Sebastian's, describing what has already happened with anticipation. Then, he sinks when I explain that we are not going over tonight. Everyday. Day.

Oh yeah, here's proof:

Sarah David Naomi

Sebasian (or Alexander) David Alexander (or Sebastian)

Friday, January 12, 2007


People regularly tell us that Simon is beginning to look more and more like David. Below is a recent photo of Simon with a 4-month photo of David for comparison. I'll let you decide for yourself (that it is not true).


And a solo for good measure.


Later, compliant fans

Thursday, January 11, 2007

order up

Granny Great says:
I don't think you noticed the other night, but David picked up a "Steak & Shake" ad and asked me what I would like. I told him the salad. He pointed to it and said he would take a hamburger and french fries. I showed him a picture of a new yogurt milk shake they had and he said, "I'll take a yogurt milk shake too!" He was serious about the whole thing.

ideas of the day # 234982, 642322, and 8202243

I think Mac is going to lose this lawsuit with Cisco over the iPhone trademark. Just a hunch. A couple months ago, I read a blogger who speculated that there was no way Mac would abandon the iPod name recognition and that they would call the product something like "iPod, with mobile." My suggestion: iGo. Do you have Steve Job's number?

On the news this morning, they were previewing what stories were coming up in the next 30 min. One was about "smart" elevators that are transforming the way elevators operate. I said to myself: "Hmmm, smart elevator. Elevators should have a central console for all of the elevators in a bank on each floor. Riders enter the floor that they want to get to on the console and it tells them which elevator they need to go to. Programming would group riders for fewer stops." Sure enough, that is exactly how they work. That was the fastest realization of an idod evar. Add to this a key-bob or cell-phone activation so you can even bypass the console.

Idod3: Workout videos for moms that include cartoon/Sesame Street Characters so the toddlers can watch along allowing parents to get in a workout without ignoring the offspring.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

idea of the day: averting dis-aster

From: Jason Gilbert
To: 'RK'
Subject: idea of the day--averting dis-aster
Two steps to be completed over the course of the next couple of decades. Step 1: Perfect infrared technology so that every car windshield is equipped with it, everyone owns the equipment to see infrared, and that equipment is light and easy to use. Step 2: replace all street lights porch lights, yard lights, and head lights with infrared "lighting" (projectors). Exclude the lighting that architects use to make the exteriors of their buildings look pretty at night so we don't have to hear them whine.
Step three: walk out in a night reclaimed by darkness and look up at the stars. This would actually be SAFER at night because we could really saturate the cities with infrared lighting that appears much brighter than what is currently acceptable with public lighting.

We would have to do an environmental impact study on animals that can see the longer wavelengths, but I assume it would be less than the impact of our current daylight-at-night situation. Of course certain areas wouldn't do this--like Time's Square--but if we could eliminate 80-90% of the current lighting, we could see the stars again.

From: RK
To: 'Jason Gilbert'
Subject: RE: idea of the day--averting dis-aster

Go camping.
From: Jason Gilbert [mailto:jgilbert@allenpress.com]
To: 'RK'
Subject: RE: idea of the day--averting dis-aster
OK, not a recreational issue. I am trying to eliminate light pollution and create an environment where the night sky, and the darkness of night in general, are a part of our lives again.


To: 'Jason Gilbert'
Subject: RE: idea of the day--averting dis-aster
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7 RSV)

guess we better rename it EDOD: EVIL idea of the day.

From: Jason Gilbert [mailto:jgilbert@allenpress.com]
To: 'RK'
Subject: RE: idea of the day--averting dis-aster
dude, God can so see in infrared. So, since my idea actually increases the amount of "light" even though we can't see it, it is a spiritual improvement over the current situation.

To: 'Jason Gilbert'
Subject: RE: idea of the day--averting dis-aster
ah, i see. and i retract as well, because evil things have to be backwards of good things. so an evil IDOD is just Dodi. if you see one walking down the street you can say “howdy, dodi!”

Saturday, January 06, 2007


I keep forgetting to tell you, Simon has been rolling over from his front to his back since Monday!

He is sick again. It's a head cold with a fever. A physician that Jaime works with informed her that when a child as young as Simon gets RSV (which Simon had a couple of weeks ago), it can permanently increase their susceptibility to respiratory problems in the future. Nevertheless, he is still generally quiet and content--he just sounds like Darth Vader.

In other news, Jaime bought David some of those woofle-ball clogs that the kids are wearing these days. I'll let Dooce do my griping for me.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

word of the day

Jaime just left me a message: The word of the day is "caperon" (rhymes with "apron"). This is a magical apron that, if worn properly, allows you to fly.

12 days of christmas

For your enjoyment on this, the ninth day of Christmas:
The twelve days of social work case management as preformed by Jaime
On the 12th day of Christmas, my social worker gave to me:

12 Rolling walkers
11 ER visits
10 Round trip cab rides
9 Days of hospice
8 Oxygen tanks
7 Community referrals
6 Chamber pots
5 Crisis stablization days
4 Days of rehab
3 Nebulizers
2 Free wound vacs
And a month of free prescription pills!

Monday, January 01, 2007

idea of the day: radio purchase

Idea of the day: while listening to you car radio, you can press a "buy now" button when you hear a song. The mp3 file is emailed to your computer and the dollar is deducted from your credit card.

I came up with this while listening to my "Yahoo!" station on Jaime's computer and folding laundry. "Buy now" is a Yahoo! feature, but I can't use it because the DRM is not compatible with my mp3 player of choice.