Archive for January, 2017

childrens reading

24 January, 2017

I’m working my way through reading Katherine Applegate’s “The One and Only Ivan” in the evenings with the childrens. (I gotta say, this book is heavy,… topics touched on: animal rights, divorce, alcohol, death, suffering.)

MrG is reading, and really enjoying (yay!!), “Kid Owner” by Tim Green.

MsS is reading Chris Colfer’s “The Land of Stories”.

Me & MrC are reading “13 Skyscrapers that every kid must know.”

catching up with 2016 – election results

19 January, 2017

In the days before the election, I remember thinking, looking at the popular website FiveThirtyEight, which gave Trump like a 30% of winning. And teams with a 30% chance of winning, win all the time.

That night, I remember watching the results roll in, thinking, it’s over, when we went to bed.

The next morning, I had the job of telling the childrens. Best they hear it from me, than from someone at school, right. Of course, they growing up in Seattle area, with a couple liberal parents, of course they wanted Secretary Clinton to win. And of course they have heard plenty of the bad accusations of Mr. Trump.

When I told them the news, that MrTrump won:

  • MrGrunty reacted like his favorite sports team lost
  • MsSqueaky said  “but __ is Mexican”
  • MrCuddles said “They won’t build a wall. The people who voted for him won’t want to pay it, it costs too much money. Like $137. Or more!!”

I explained to them, that we all pay taxes….congress decides how to spend it.
I addressed MrTrump, as “President Elect Trump”, because that’s what he is.

Now that I think of it, I had laughed at MrC use of $137, but maybe that’s about how much the wall would cost for each person who voted for Trump.


smiling this morning

18 January, 2017

things that made me smile this morning

MsSqueaky wanted a cup of tea. (btw, pity the poor girl, I recently read her Orwell’s “how to make a perfect cup of tea” essay.)

MrCuddles was coloring.

MrGrunty was creating a word-find for his BFF-Alex.

Hidden Figures

16 January, 2017

Go see Hidden Figures.

Great story, awesome women, history, rockets, USA, math. What’s not to love?

Our childrens enjoyed it too.


wonderful days

15 January, 2017

yesterday, me & MsS were first ones out of bed. We snuggled under and blanket and read our respective books.

later, MrG had his first basketball game of the season. So happy he’s back with his coach. MrG did well, had a couple buckets, a rebound – which he jumped into the air to coral (I didn’t know he did that!), a steal. He got scolded for passing to a teammate when he had an easy layup opportunity. The other team was down a few players, so we loaned a couple of our best. One of MrG’s assignments, to guard our best scorer that we loaned out.

today, while his sibling were scouting, MyC and I built a fire in a fire pit outside.

Hebrews 12

13 January, 2017

My brother, who’s a preacher, (hey, every family has one!), asked me for some inspiration stories about running because he’ll soon be preaching on Hebrews 12.

As usual, I wasn’t much help…


I got no inspirational stories aboot running races.

Running sucks.

The only reason people do it, is because they can’t catch a ball, so they can’t participate in a real sport.

Or, we run to get away from predators.

You know which animal predators that humans can out run… well… snakes,…uh…spiders… raccoons… you get my point. Alpha predators remind us where we belong on the food chain. As dinner.

You hear about the two friends hiking, they see a big, mean, hungry grizzly. One friend starts to run. One friend says, “You’re crazy! You can’t outrun a grizzly.” The other yells back, “I just have to outrun you!”

Running sucks.

You ever notice, after the race, you are basically right back where you started?

Why run?

To beat your own time? Don’t worry, Father Time will beat you.

Why run?

For fleeting glory? Every weekend, millions of Americans do some sort of race, and pay lots of money for shirts, prizes, entertainment (because there has to be some sort of payout!) …and most people can only name one or two famous athletes (usually because they are embroiled in a cheating scandal.)

Why run?

To feel good? No, that’s the drugs your brain makes because your body is so very uncomfortable. That’s hurt until it feels good mentality. That’s what mystics do when they flog themselves. What did Jesus say about people who draw attention to their fasting [suffering]?

Why run?
Health? Running is one of the worst exercises for your feet, knees.

Running sucks.

What, you still want inspiration? How about the story of when your daughter first started walking. You were so proud. She, was so very full of joy. It was so difficult, and one day, she could do it. The world had so many more possibilities. She was so happy. She could take steps. Her parents seemed to be happy. But. Movement. Freedom. Challenge accepted & conquered! One step. Another step. Still standing. one step two step. Still standing. She wanted to move faster. This was great. StepStep, so fast, almost falling but step-step-step-step little legs moving little feet. Just like falling, but, because her feet could move fast, because she was running, she never hit the ground. Running is a controlled fall, she discovered. And she laughed and ran and ran and laughed, and didn’t want to stop. Ever.

We humans are a strange species. We compete over anything. But mostly, we compete with ourselves. We compete with that guy in the mirror, who’s like, “look, there are plenty of things going on right now, get organized, and then get a fresh start, and you can go running tomorrow.”

We compete with that guy in our heads who is always there reminding us, “your friends will still like you no matter what your time is for this race, they’re good people”  that guy who later reminds you “dude, you gave up easy. Can’t you push yourself? What’s your problem? Lack of character, that’s it! Soon, your friends will find out that you are undeserving.”

We compete against the laws of physics. Your tendons have a certain strength, (and it gets a little less every day after 40, amirite?), and there is nothing you can do to stop the relentless march of time, which crushes all things, which destroys all things, which forgets all things. We humans have imagination. What if? we wonder, and we plan, and we hope, and we strive to beat physics, to do what is not possible, to grasp for a moment the hint of a taste of the immortal. And we’ve seen it in others. And we want a piece of it ourselves. Some get it a time or two. Most never do, because gravity, it will bring you down.

Years ago I did a marathon. Once. Learned my lesson. It sucked. About 18 miles in, I bargained with my body, please let me finish, and I promise never again. And, up the hill, allegedly there were hula dancers to encourage us. Yes, thank goodness for hula dancers. Something to get my mind off the…WHAT???!!!??? FAT OLD MEN with grass skirts and coconut bras playing ukulele!!! I hated Portland, so, very, much. Kept going. Few miles left, I got passed by an old guy, passed by a dude running the race in a suit, a pregnant lady w/ a stroller went past. And there, ahead, in the middle of the road, was a young girl, waving, telling the runners “good job”, she gave me a hi-five and I started to cry. I hoped that one day I would have a daughter as awesome as that girl.  (Spoiler alert: I do.)

I have no regrets. It was a voluntary project, that I had to plan for, to work at, that needed dedication to finish. And it still sucked.
Remember what the USMC says: “Pain is just weakness leaving your body.”


12 January, 2017

Yay, the neighbors big tall tree, on a hill, leaning towards my house…has been cut down. And, the arborist tells them the base was rotten.

MsS and I played Scrabble.

MrG went to basketball practice.

MrC wanted to play Life, but a sister got grumpy and threw the car across the room.


Chains – Laurie Halse Anderson

11 January, 2017

I enjoyed reading Laurie Halse Anderson’s Chains.

Story, what was it like for a young female slave in 1776 New York City?

I believe Anderson put a lot of work into the history. Each chapter starts with a historical primary source quote. Some of the major events of the story actually happened, but most of the characters were made up. I liked how characters spoke, style and vocabulary: “confuddle…brainpan…et…wot” are examples.

“The war seemed fought with as much paper as bullets, what with the letters and the passes and permissions piled on the table, orders received and recorded, recordings of conferences noted down.”

Often, one thinks of the American Revolution in terms of battles, or fine speeches and documents by Founding Fathers. But this story reminded me, war is terrible for most people that just want to be left alone. It seemed strange that British citizens were being tried for treason to America, because some of their neighbors had voted for independence / war with Britain.

“How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?” – Samuel Johnson.

History is complicated, amirite?

catching up with 2016 – part 1

10 January, 2017

So… the day before Halloween, I had my childrens & MyBetterHalf help me out with a cunning plan. You see, the childrens had Hallowen off from school, and I was gonna stay home with them. But, I didn’t want people to miss me at work.

So, we purchased a foam head, we painted it. We got some of my clothes and stuffed them with blankets and pillows. And we set a dummy at my desk. (used sunglasses, so didn’t have to worry about unrealistic eyes)

The final touch, the attention to detail that really makes a prank go well, I set up my screensaver to go through a folder of screen shots of my work (careful not to display any personal info).

The first person in the office said it looked creepy, the dummy sitting there in the dark office, staring at the computer screen.

Other folks said, “you seemed more productive yesterday than usual.”

brown shoes

9 January, 2017

…it’s been awhile since I had brown shoes. Come to think of it, I think the last time was like, 4th grade, I vividly remember trying to fit in, trying to play soccer, in the middle of the scrum, not knowing what I was doing but kicking at the ball, and evidently I was bad, because one of the cool kids cried out “ouch, get those whomper-stompers outta here!”  Which, we all thought was funny.

Anyway, last night, I took the childrens shopping. And I just gotta say, it was alright. They didn’t complained. They helped. It was alright.

And now I have brown shoes, which are like WAY better than the ones I foolishly kept wearing for a couple months. Falling apart. No support. No cushion. No traction. What the heck, I know that it is important to have happy feet!

I think my other shoes were retired right around Halloween…