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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Busy as hornets.

The weekends remain family off-limits time, which is good for all involved.

Saturday the Boy (Elder)™ and I went to soccer practice and the barbershop. While not quite the Freckled Beckenbauer of last year, he's a mobile, stingy defender. Unfortunately, he tries to stop and think out the plan of attack when he actually has the ball. Tonight's his first real game, so we'll see how that goes.

We (ok, I) went to confession in the afternoon and attended Mass on Saturday evening so that we could attend the Renaissance Festival on Sunday. A good time was had by all, at least until we left. Then the whining commenced.

This weekend, the theme was Scotland, Land of Long Drizzles and Longer Feuds. And Sheep. Lots and Lots of Sheep.

Or something like that. A Scottish theme of sorts. Many cabers were tossed, kilts displayed, and Caledonian wares offered, with the best T-shirt line being: "It's a kilt. If I was wearing underwear, it would be a skirt."

We snacked on the usual soup-in-a-breadbowl and the kids all got overpriced trinkets. Heather refused to let me get a walking staff topped with a black glass orb--for only $45, too. I guess there's only so much cultivated eccentricity she's willing to put up with.

We saw the Joust, which started with a moving salute to the fallen in the armed services by an Air Force color guard. The Joust is always worth a stop.

The oldest three enjoyed the bungee/trampoline set up, even Rachel, who was big enough to ride, if only barely. She's fearless, and a joy to watch.

We finished with a stop at the Zucchini Brothers juggling show, which was really, really impressive. Anybody who can keep a garden weasel, a de-canned Spam, a machete and three other objects going in the air while perched on a makeshift teeter totter deserves admiration.

In less fun news, Maddie went to the allergist yesterday, and she suffers from two of my allergies (ragweed pollen and mold) and two unique ones (dust mites and dogs). The latter is not quite an eviction notice for our dog, as it seems likely that she has some immunity to it. But it could be, long term, depending on how she does with the assorted treatments. We're hoping it does not come to that.

More as time permits.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Your moment of meditative leisure for today.

Or, known in the vulgar as a "timewaster":

Kenai River Run.

You'll never be so disappointed to catch a six-pound fish in your life.

Thanks to my Mom for the find, and yes, folks--you're welcome.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

News of the creepy.

First, the light-hearted, and sure to be a hit in the Fellrath household: Where The Deep Ones Are, a parody of the classic children's story set in Lovecraft's Innsmouth.

Second, and just straight up eerie, an article on the Wendigo phenomenon in light of the unspeakable murder in Alberta.

On a related note, Jamie and I and a couple other certified neeerrrrrrds used to play Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu RPG, set in the world created by H.P. Acquisition of "mythos knowledge" was an integral part of the game. Essentially, what happened was if your character found some grim tome/artifact/Civil War chess set (no, really) and decided to read/examine/utilize/cast a haphazard glance at it, you would acquire knowledge of the Lovecraftian world and use it to become more powerful and to fend off the grim slavering insane extradimensional beings whom you'd be better off not knowing about. However, with each point of knowledge there was a concomitant loss of sanity, which in my opinion was the most valuable character trait you possessed. Failure to make a "sanity roll" meant your character could flat out lose it in crucial situations and could become Alpo. My character, a 20s PI armed like Mad Max in Thunderdome, steadfastly refused to read/handle/glance at any of the "weird crap."

"No, you can curl up with Abdul Alhazred's long lost Moaning and Bleeding Codex of Ghastly Ends, Professor Twitchy. I'll be over here cleaning the sawed-off. Oh, and by 'over here,' I mean Maryland."

Worked out pretty well for me, not so good for the autodidacts.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sometimes, the clouds break unexpectedly.

Let nothing disturb you, nothing frighten you.

All things are passing.

God never changes.

Patience obtains all things.

Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God.

God alone suffices.

-- St. Teresa of Avila

On a prayer card my wife found today. More fitting than we could have imagined.

Good news from out of the gloom, he says cryptically.

And Maddie has medical clearance to be a regular six year old girl again.

Thanks for all the support, prayers and good wishes.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The end of singing the tetragrammaton.

Hallelujah!

Not that I ever sing or use it now, having long been repulsed by the idea.

Look, Jesus told us to address God as "Father," and never as "[Tetragrammaton]."

Thus, I will no more call God "[the four letters]" than I will address my dad as "Dale." Or even as "Bilko," his nickname (really).

Seems pretty simple.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Maddie's home.

She's on strict "house rest," but at least she's no longer at the hospital.

She's a brave, strong girl.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Guest post

This is a guest post, from Dale's Other Half. I'm just going to copy because I can't do it twice.

My big girl is at the hospital.
Madeleine started wheezing at her cousin's birthday party this afternoon. It sounded worse than it has in the past, so I just asked my sister for her nebulizer and all.
For about half an hour, maybe 45 minutes, all was well. Then it returned just as bad as before.
We stopped on the way home to get a Frappuccino; Daddy remembered getting coffee when he'd have attacks as a child. Her nighttime medication didn't kick it, either, so Daddy took her in.

She had an hourlong treatment (of what I don't know) and they X-rayed her lungs. They're keeping her overnight on oxygen and an IV (she threw up four times from their stuff). They do anticipate her coming home tomorrow (Monday), I think.

Daddy's with her. I know others who have left babies alone at the hospital, and Madeleine isn't alone, but this is my first time.
Frankly, I'm terrified. Since we've got a pretty good praying contingent, can I ask that?

And over here, it's the same.

UPDATE 8/11/08 9:25AM: They're keeping her until tomorrow as her lungs don't look as clear as they'd like. There's an in-room DVD player so she'll be watching Princess Bride, Holly Hobbie, and whatever else she wants ad infinitum.
Thank you all graciously for your prayers.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Why posting has been splotchy.

Work, of course. The bills keep coming in every month, necessitating a delay in my career plan to be a Stand-up Philosopher.

Homelife. Mostly fun, though our house-selling plans are on indefinite hold now. To say housing prices have cratered in our neck of the woods understates it. If we tried to sell, we'd get slaughtered, as the going rate for homes like ours is now about 20% less than we currently owe on the mortgage, never mind the original 2001 purchase price. But that doesn't mean that we aren't in the process of decluttering and improvements.

Two Saturdays ago, some good neighbors and I dug 7" of topsoil out of what we call "the Corral." The Corral is 150 square feet of space enclosed by our partial privacy fence. I put in a small plastic shed and stored various implements out there, including the kids' outdoor toys at wintertime. But, being merely packed earth, it was weed infested and a home to at least one rat, despite my best efforts at poisoning. However, last year Heather came up with the brilliant idea of having it paved with concrete. One of our good neighbors put the forms in and used his truck to bring in two yards of sand after we'd removed the soil. All he charged us was reimbursement for the sand, and the concrete was an easy (and cheap, for concrete) buy thanks to a local contractor working on a nearby project.

Needless to say, our good neighbor is getting a steak dinner out of it from me. Oh, and more of our good neighbors put the bulk of the topsoil to good use, filling in holes dug by enthusiastic dogs. Using what I didn't save for the flowerbox, that is.

The concrete was poured and it looks great. Actually, it would make a fine enclosed patio, if we didn't need the space for storage.

However, the digging out of the plants and stale soil triggered an asthmatic reaction in me, which was followed by a stubborn bout of bronchitis which I'm still not quite out of.

However, I am delighted to report that the next day we Prices were able to confirm the existence of two other bloggers, Alan the Sheepcat and Woodrow the Wannabe Intellectual. Alan e-mailed me and told me that he was going to be debating about homosexuality and scripture in a Presbyterian church outside of Windsor on Sunday July 27, and wondered if we could meet.

We jumped at the chance and sprinted over for the second debate which started at 11 am. Thanks to Price Family timing, we saw the last fifteen minutes of it. But the kids had fun at the church (which, despite the Presbyterian name, is an evangelical church affiliated with the Willow Creek Association).

From what we saw, Alan did great, and the exchanges were cordial and irenic, which is not always the case in such discussions. Alan also says he will have the MP3 version of the debates online at his blog eventually.

We met Woodrow after the debate and we all went to a local Mongolian restaurant, which wowed the kids. "You get to fill your own bowl *and* watch it cook?!" Not surprisingly, they did a fine job of clearing their plates while Alan, Heather, Woodrow and I engaged in conversation about important topics and yes-I'll-take-you-to-the-potty Dale/Rachel/Madeleine. Both are capital gentlemen and I hope to meet with them again.

Oh, and if you're travelling to Canada, make sure you have your passport when you come back. The Canadians wave you across so long as your explosives are properly secured, but our guys will run you through the officious gauntlet on the way back if the polaroids of your birth in an American hospital are grainy. My brother (also in CBP) tells me that we caught the guy on a bad day, but I'm not so sure. You have been warned.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Michigan minister gets prison for quoting the Bible.

A story that should be higher on the national radar, but isn't.

He quoted Deuteronomy 28:14-22 in a letter to a judge while in jail. The judge testified he didn't find it threatening, but the Rev. Pinkney still got three years in prison.

Uh...

Granted, he strikes me as a bit of a blowhard, but this is an injustice.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Remember all that nice stuff

...I said about the Vox Nova blog?

Permit me to retract a lot of it. The posts themselves can still have value, but the comment boxes are, in the main, utter crap, a free-fire zone of bad faith, insult and readily-cast aspersions. Even the contributors jump in, and I was appalled to see Steve "Feddie" Dillard subjected to infantile taunts by one of them.

It's not all on the left side (somebody called Morning's Minion a "loon"), but it's clear there's no interest in maintaining even minimal levels of respect over there. And yes, I'm not exactly guiltless myself, but I never quite reached the level of calling someone a "f-ing hypocrite" or flatly stated that responding to an opponent was an occasion of sin, nor have I suggested that my opponents were mentally ill, or made (deeply ironic) accusations of moral cowardice.

There's a lot of growing up that needs to happen over there, posthaste, and there's no hint it's going to happen.

So I have a free spot in the blogroll now, available for a low monthly fee.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

One more reminder.

Though I addressed after it happened, I did so in too-mild terms, and it's been bothering me more since. I cut my friends a lot of slack, as the rules in the sidebar warn, and I cut too much then. I edited the comments and left a note in there a while ago, but it's only to draw more attention to it in a separate post.

Do not call someone a "piece of s--t" in the comment box, or tell them to "f--k off." They reduce the comments boxes to sewers quickly and more importantly, they mar the human dignity of the insultee. As an aside, I addressed it privately with Victor at the time and we are fine.

OTOH, I have no problem with stating that someone's argument is cowardly, etc. Keep directing it to the argument's substance or lack thereof and I'm cool.

Those of you who have read this endeavor from early on (salutes to both of you!) know I'm not looking to run a high-toned salon here. It's a pub with regulars and the occasional Shea-lanche visitors chatting about whatever. On occasion, mugs shall be shaken, chairs shall be splintered, but at the end of the day the house is put in order and even the summoned cops can enjoy a pint.