Thursday, December 31, 2009

Eternal Earthbound Pets replies

Much to my surprise, one of the principles of Eternal Earthbound Pets replied to my email. Except that he didn't reply to my email, he replied in the comments to my blog post about the email. You can read it in context there or, um right here, with a couple of editorial comments.

Hmmm..yes, I see your email in my business partners trash:>

He handled inquires for West of the Mississippi. We now only have one email address. I handle all contacts:

I guess given the publicity and volume of mail we were getting in August/Sept he didn't feel your inquiry merited the time to respond. Reading your letter in detail now, I can porobably understand why. But I'll undertake to answer it now.

So, you don't believe in Rapture doctrine yet you spent an inordinate amount of typing and explaining the fictional doctrine of Rapture believers for us... as though we are unschooled in the various end times interpretations. Thanks for that.
He is making that up. my whole letter is barely 16 sentences and the only "explaining" I do is about two sentences to set immediate context for my question. Hardly an inordinate amount of time. I would not presume to know more about Rapture and Tribulation theology than anyone else who has studied it. I used to know more than I do now, but those parts of my brain have been given over to details about childcare and SQL.
There are opposing opinions as to what the Tribulation would be like. According to interpretation of Revelation more than 1/3rd of the world's population will be spared/survive the 7 yrs; and those willing to accept the sign of the beast will beable to conduct business, share in commerce, etc. But frankly, since the potential of such doctrine being real is perhaps 1 in 500 Billion, we don't concern ourseves with the nightmarish myths of the deluded.

Your comment about anti-christian propaganda frankly falls under the same heading. In fact, given that atehsists are nothing if not realists and pragmatists, it would be hard to deny our error in the event of dead corpses rising out of the grave, et al.

Thus, if we have rejected the imaginary propaganda of theists because it is devoid of any evidence now, how much easier would it be to dismiss as false the so called anti-christian propaganda you claim will follow the rapture when prima fascia evidence for theistic belief being true would have been observable? Your dicotomy is invalid and patently silly.
I am sort of disappointed on this point. My dichotomy is patently silly? The whole Eternal Earthbound Pets concept, and my entire response is patently silly. Either my letter too silly or poorly-executed to be actually be funny, like jokes David makes up, or it is just not a funny joke, period. Oh, well. They can't all land.
Finally, may I recommend that you start your own business and offer $50.00 pet euthanasia coverage in lieu of pet rescue. As a christian yourself evidently you perceive a greater value in death than life, or figure rapture believers to be so inclined. Infact, why stop with pets? For $100.00 you can offer to euthanise "leftbehind" christians whose families beamed up when they didn't.
Crap, I wish I had thought of that. It sounds like the premise of a SyFy channel series, like Dexter, but with Kirk Cameron.
Not being a death cultist, which is the mainstay of Christian belief, I don't put an awful lot of thought into such matters. I'm simply offering a service to those death cultists who care about their pets, and want inexpensive insurance that I am certain to a degree of approx. 500 billion to 1 I will never have to execute.
So, there's your answer. Sorry it's so late.
So there is their answer. Sorry it took me so long to bring attention to it. I got busy with holiday stuff.

Oh, and happy New Year/Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord/Feast of St. Basil the Great. This Christmastime has been so high-effort with the weather and a sick wife, that I decided to pass on proper commemoration of the new year other than watching "Stardust" and drinking some port (which I probably would have done anyway given that I have tomorrow off).

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Christmas this year--at least the beginning of it--has felt over-shadowed. I know that my feelings don't matter at all in relation to the marking of the Nativity of Christ and that most important aspect of the holiday was the highlight. Because of the weather, very few people made it to Liturgy so that only David and I served at the altar. I loved serving with him and he enjoyed the additional responsibility. The weather was a blessing in other ways as well. I love snow and we got to go sledding--Simon's first time. Snow is a pleasant challenge and always creates memories, like getting stuck in grandpa's driveway having Uncle Paul tow me out. But for all the fun and beauty, the weather definitely overshadowed the larger family gatherings and celebrating of the feast.

Poor planning was another dark cloud. It is the same complaint every year with me--I hate spending the weeks prior to Christmas in a stressed rush to finish everything. The things that I enjoy most--cooking and wrapping gifts--I do quickly at the last minute. I have already outlined a timeline for completing the Next-Christmas Project. I begins basically now and is complete by the beginning of Advent so that all I have left is cooking and wrapping so that I may give those activities the time they deserve and really enjoy them. I was thinking about what this means--a year-long preparation for Christmas. Hopefully, if I do it right, it will mean that I am giving the appropriate amount of attention to it at any given time rather than having to think about it 24-7 during the Advent season, which is better spent in a more reflective preparation. It will also spread out my focus on making/buying things for others and anything that focuses me on others is good. It is possible that an easy, well-paced year-long preparation for Christmas will be very edifying.

Of course, none of this matters a whit to the boys. I remember back when each of them was very young--around their first or second Christmases or birthdays, when they would open a present and be so absorbed by it that we would have to remind them that there is another present to open. Reluctantly, they would put down the first to open the second and then be absorbed by that. Not now. Even gifts that they absolutely love are rapidly dropped in favor of the next box, creating a blizzard of paper, ribbons, and Scotch Tape in the house that was as intense as the one outside. Their enjoyment this year was increased by the snow as well as by the gifts that they gave. We spent some time making low-relief plaster casts of their hands as a couple of gifts. We also spent quality time one afternoon picking out gifts from each of us to Jaime. Jaime did the same getting them presents for me. So they were just as excited when other people were opening their presents.

A few family members got them Barnes and Noble gift cards, which we went out and spent last night. Part of me wanted to exert some control over what they got, but I resisted. I am pretty happy with the haul. Simon got a book featuring anthropomorphic bulldozers, another featuring Cars characters, a stuffed "Max" from Where the Wild Things Are, and a kit that contains a rocket powered by baking soda and vinegar. David got a book featuring Batman, a kit about the solar system that includes models of the planets and a mini-cosmosphere, and a book of knock, knock jokes. He is trying to learn how to tell a joke. Since I used the word "learn" in the previous sentence, and because I'll make him read the jokes himself, I am considering it homeschool material.

So nothing overshadowed Christmas for them. The weather meant we had our service early in the evening so they both got to enjoy it--Simon had his mom to himself and David got to serve. The snow meant all kinds of fun. They weren't rushed about anything. They had fun making and buying presents. And, of course, they had fun receiving them.

Christ is Risen!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Altar Boy

Altar Boy

So, I mentioned before that David and I have been practicing at being an altar boy. Today was the big day. Having practiced several times and told everyone who would listen that he was going to be serving, came in the back stairway after Sunday school, got his robe on, came in, prostrated, got his blessing, and then served like an old pro. Before he came up, I prayed to various and asorted saints for patience, not knowing how well he would do at the paying attention and not driving me crazy. Prayers answered. He did wonderfully, alternately paying attention and being fascinated and curious about everything that was happening and asking a continuous stream of questions.

Everyone agrees that he was adorable. One young woman told me that when he came out, she smiled at him, and he winked back at her. He waved and smiled and I think even gave a thumbs up to someone. Given the chance, he would have kissed babies and made campaign promises, I am sure.

We have two other young boys in the parish who do not serve. Both are several years older than David. One of them has served in the past, and the other has served in other parishes. I have sometimes wondered if they did not serve because they didn't want to be the only child serving. This is an area where I am the most pleased with David--his comfort with pretty much anyone regardless of age. He can hang out with and converse with adults and then go play with toddlers. Today, one of the other boys mentioned to his mom that he had been thinking about serving again and might do so next week. Perhaps David will make it easier for other boys to come hang out with the Subdeacons.

He was curious as to why he only has an altar-server's robe whereas I have a cassock and orarion in addition to a stichera. I explained that it is because I am a Subdeacon. He told me that, when he grows up, he wants to be a Subdeacon, just like me.

Dream big, son.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


"What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love."
- Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
I didn't grow up with brothers. One of my brothers died as a toddler and I hope intercedes for me before Our Heavenly Father. The other is quite a bit younger than me and has always lived in another town. I consider it a flaw in my character that I did not develop closer relationship with him. I have often envied the camaraderie of men who grew up together--brothers that I have seen in my extended family, books, and movies. Adult brothers often seem to interact within a constant running in joke, a funny, brave, and moving story about their lives together. Of course, sometimes that story is not funny and many brothers have tragic and conflicted relationships. Either way, the facets and flaws of masculinity seem to be amplified when brothers are together--stimulated by a lifetime of continuous reinforcement.

I was moved to reflect on this relationship when I saw this beautiful photograph of a groom with his two older brothers. The one on the right is friend of mine. Something about the groom's posture reminds of how I felt just before my own wedding. When I saw this photo, my first thought was about my own three sons. God willing, they will someday be gathered like this. They will posture, tease, horse around, recite old jokes and stories, allude to secrets kept between themselves. They will support each other, take council with each other and love each other. God willing they will be comrades in arms, teammates, shipmates, soul-mates. God willing, God willing, God willing. This is my prayer for them, that they will always be brothers.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

This post composed in a blog that may also contain traces of wheat or dairy

Simon has had some pretty serious digestive problems since he began eating. I won't inflict the details on you. Receiving nothing really useful from the medical establishment, we have experimented ourselves. Our first breakthrough came from taking mild out of his diet. The second came by taking wheat out. The difference is noticeable and possitive, but it does make life a little bit difficult. Difficult in a pathetic and cute kind of way.

This evening, my niece, Sophia, was baptized. As usual it was a lovely service. I'm sure I'll be able to link to various people's pictures soon. Afterward, we had cupcakes as a celebratory snack. My mother, who is allergic to wheat, made regular cupcakes as well as gluten-free ones. Simon initially grabbed the wrong one, got it unwrapped, and had taken a small bite when Nina realized his error. I grabbed a gluten-free one and switched them. Then ensued a five minute conversation in which Simon, in his most pathetic whine, tried to convince Nina that his first choice was ok to eat.

Generally, though, he is a trooper. Verifying before eating most anything that it has neither dairy nor wheat. Bananas: no dairy, no wheat, Chicken: no dairy, no wheat, hot dogs: no dairy, no wheat.

Most of his bowel problems seemed to have cleared up, though he is still afraid of certain bodily processes. I dare say that he is even gaining some weight, which leads me to suspect that he has some form of Celiacs. I was hoping for a mere allergy or intolerance, but he has had a number of symptoms that indicate Celiacs, and has had improvement in a number of way since giving up the wheat that also indicate that may be what we are dealing with. But it will probably be a few years before we know for sure.

Friday, December 11, 2009


I have uploaded a small variety of new photos to Flickr.

I came on this site one night in the boys' room, which I believe is an alternate ending to either Curious George or King Kong.


School time. Haven't talked much about that, but it is going ok. We don't do enough, but David is learning to read, write, do math, etc. When it is going well, it looks like this. Simon occupies himself on the other side of the table, usually with crayons and a coloring book. But here I decided to see if he has what it takes to begin doing some basic letter shapes . . . he does not . . . but look at the way he is holding the marker. It's like he was born with it in his hand. He also has much more interest in drawing, etc. than his brother.


David reading Where the Wild Things Are to me.


Getting violent on Thanksgiving.



Jaime was on the phone and Simon hopped up next to her . . .


To enjoy another Thanksgiving tradition.


David reading to Simon.


Thursday, December 10, 2009


It actually bothers me a bit how much the new one moves around inside his poor ailing mother. He'll have these bouts of squirmies (to use the technical term) that feel like he is a couple of wrestling puppies egged on by toddler swinging a kitten. It makes Jaime miserable. But, by all other accounts, he is healthy and growing so I have to feel gratitude while I sympathize with Jaime, who feels like she is having her life essence sucked out of her. This has been a more difficult pregnancy than the previous ones. But we have friends who have been so sick as to be bed-ridden for their entire pregnancy, so I am grateful that it is not worse.

In unrelated news, please take the Nook off of your Christmas list for me.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Where David surprises me by paying attention and Simon is sick

David behaves as well as any five-year-old in church--fidgety, tired, bored. our agreement is that he knows what points in the service that he is expected to stand, and for the rest he simply needs to not distract others. Then, I don't hassle or lecture him. If I see during the service that he is not standing, then I will limit his play for the rest of the day, expressing my concern that we are overworking him, which is why he must be so tired in church. But generally, he does ok and makes regular, if uneven, improvement.

We have decided to let him begin serving in the altar at Christmas. So last week, after church, I found an altar-server's robe that fit him and took him in to the altar to show him around and start teaching basic etiquette. I also gave him a lamp to see if he is able to carry it around while wearing an altar-server's robe. I started showing him the basics of the processions. We got to the readings:
Me: while everyone is singing 'Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal,' we stand here. Then when Father says 'Dynamis' we go out this way . . .
David: And stand by the carpet.
Me: Right! Then, what do we do after Reader John is finished with the epistle?
D: We go over here [turns, goes to the correct spot]. Then when Father is done reading [the Gospel] we do this [turns to the iconostas, bows turns and goes back into the altar]
I was stunned. I had no idea he was paying so much attention. Fr. Joseph and I decided tonight that he will serve for the first time on the 20th. He was elated.

In other news, Simon has a fever and mild cold symptoms. It seems like a mild flu with one exception. He has a red mark on his back that seems to be growing. We fear that it may be a spider bite. This was a bigger concern yesterday when the fever and some pain were his only symptoms. The addition of other cold symptoms makes me think flu but it could also be that he is suffering from a bite, but has also caught the cold that David has been carrying around for awhile.

We wait and see.