Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jars of Snot

Copious amounts of snot - too bad snot isn't like gold- that everybody wanted and was willing to pay for- or this week we would have hit the mother load. Sometimes I wonder how much snot we are really making- and to measure that one would probably want to collect it in a glass jar. Then I envision someone like Calvin going around and attempting to sell it. I can almost envision what a jar of snot would look like. Wanna see?

Yeah, I don't blame you for politely declining. I would too. Maybe it's a good thing I don't have Calvin for my son. But he's probably fit in here anyways.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I like to see the glass half full- That being said- here are some advantages to having your whole family down with the flu/cold/crud. It is really quiet economical.

1- Save on heating oil. With 3 of the kids running over 100 degrees there is really not much reason to heat the house- if you're cold go stand by one (that is assuming you are not being snuggled to death by the three already).

2- Save on groceries- yup most of the groceries we bought on Saturday are still sitting here shinny and new- at most we have gone through lots of juice and ramen. And the pan of rice crispie bars lasted a whole 20 hours.

3- No whining or fighting. Yes, we have some fussing but Tylonal cures that.

4 for the first time in their lives the kids understand how to be quiet. I haven't had to tell Galen or Ian to shut up once today- or even to be reverent during prayer time.

But from the activity levels it looks like Clay and Ewan will go back to school tomorrow. They actually have been walking around today and one even asked for some entertainment.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Man's duel roles

A lot has been said about women being cast in duel roles of prostitute and angel- but much less has been said about man's duel roles of dufus and wise father. Our recent media has been filled with men playing the dufus- Men like Homer Simpson and Tim (the tool man) Taylor. These men are always making a mess of things and their wife is always right. In fact, there has been so many father as dufus characters that sometimes we forget the other role.

Fathers can be wise men. In the TV shows of the 1960s and 70s it was the Father who knew best and the Father who always gave wise words of council at the end.

My suggestion today is that we don't look at our men as being either one, but look at them simultaneously in both lights. That they can be both wise and pig headed, funny and serious, and hardworking and a goof off. That the dufus is the wise man in a different light.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

wow- good article

It's called "Getting prepared"

Here are some excerpts:

But let's take it apart. Starting from the very general, what are the current macroeconomic objectives, if you listen to the hot air coming out of Washington at the moment? First: growth, of course! Getting the economy going. We learned nothing from the last huge spike in commodity prices, so let's just try it again. That calls for economic stimulus, a.k.a. printing money. Let's see how high the prices go up this time. Maybe this time around we will achieve hyperinflation. Second: Stabilizing financial institutions: getting banks lending ¬ that's important too. You see, we are just not in enough debt yet, that's our problem. We need more debt, and quickly! Third: jobs! We need to create jobs. Low-wage jobs, of course, to replace all the high-wage manufacturing jobs we've been shedding for decades now, and replacing them with low-wage service sector jobs, mainly ones without any job security or benefits. Right now, a lot of people could slow down the rate at which they are sinking further into debt if they quit their jobs. That is, their job is a net loss for them as individuals as well as for the economy as a whole. But, of course, we need much more of that, and quickly!

So that's what we have now. The ship is on the rocks, water is rising, and the captain is shouting "Full steam ahead! We are sailing to Afghanistan!" Do you listen to Ahab up on the bridge, or do you desert your post in the engine room and go help deploy the lifeboats? If you thought that the previous episode of uncontrolled debt expansion, globalized Ponzi schemes, and economic hollowing-out was silly, then I predict that you will find this next episode of feckless grasping at macroeconomic straws even sillier. Except that it won't be funny: what is crashing now is our life support system: all the systems and institutions that are keeping us alive. And so I don't recommend passively standing around and watching the show ¬ unless you happen to have a death wish.

Right now the Washington economic stimulus team is putting on their Scuba gear and diving down to the engine room to try to invent a way to get a diesel engine to run on seawater. They spoke of change, but in reality they are terrified of change and want to cling with all their might to the status quo. But this game will soon be over, and they don't have any idea what to do next.

So, what is there for them to do? Forget "growth," forget "jobs," forget "financial stability." What should their realistic new objectives be? Well, here they are: food, shelter, transportation, and security. Their task is to find a way to provide all of these necessities on an emergency basis, in absence of a functioning economy, with commerce at a standstill, with little or no access to imports, and to make them available to a population that is largely penniless. If successful, society will remain largely intact, and will be able to begin a slow and painful process of cultural transition, and eventually develop a new economy, a gradually de-industrializing economy, at a much lower level of resource expenditure, characterized by a quite a lot of austerity and even poverty, but in conditions that are safe, decent, and dignified. If unsuccessful, society will be gradually destroyed in a series of convulsions that will leave a defunct nation composed of many wretched little fiefdoms. Given its largely depleted resource base, a dysfunctional, collapsing infrastructure, and its history of unresolved social conflicts, the territory of the Former United States will undergo a process of steady degeneration punctuated by natural and man-made cataclysms.

In the United States, the agricultural system is heavily industrialized, and relies on inputs such as diesel, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and, perhaps most importantly, financing. In the current financial climate, the farmers' access to financing is not at all assured. This agricultural system is efficient, but only if you regard fossil fuel energy as free. In fact, it is a way to transform fossil fuel energy into food with a bit of help from sunlight, to the tune of 10 calories of fossil fuel energy being embodied in each calorie that is consumed as food. The food distribution system makes heavy use of refrigerated diesel trucks, transforming food over hundreds of miles to resupply supermarkets. The food pipeline is long and thin, and it takes only a couple of days of interruptions for supermarket shelves to be stripped bare. Many people live in places that are not within walking distance of stores, not served by public transportation, and will be cut off from food sources once they are no longer able to drive.

An even simpler approach has been successfully used in Cuba: converting urban parking lots and other empty bits of land to raised-bed agriculture. Instead of continually trucking in vegetables and other food, it is much easier to truck in soil, compost, and mulch just once a season. Raised highways can be closed to traffic (since there is unlikely to be much traffic in any case) and used to catch rainwater for irrigation. Rooftops and balconies can be used for hothouses, henhouses, and a variety of other agricultural uses.

Another category of real estate that is likely to go unused and that can be repurposed for new communities is college campuses. The American 4-year college is an institution of dubious merit. It exists because American public schools fail to teach in 12 years what Russian public schools manage to teach in 8. As fewer and fewer people become able to afford college, which is likely to happen, because meager career prospects after graduation will make them bad risks for student loans, perhaps this will provide the impetus to do something about the public education system. One idea would be to scrap it, then start small, but eventually build something a bit more on par with world standards.

College campuses make perfect community centers: there are dormitories for newcomers, fraternities and sororities for the more settled residents, and plenty of grand public buildings that can be put to a variety of uses. A college campus normally contains the usual wasteland of mowed turf that can be repurposed to grow food, or, at the very least, hay, and to graze cattle. Perhaps some enlightened administrators, trustees and faculty members will fall upon this idea once they see admissions flat-lining and endowments dropping to zero, without any need for government involvement. So here we have a ray of hope, don't we.

Of course, cars and trucks will not disappear entirely. Here, again, some reasonable adaptations can be brought to bear. In my book, I advocated banning the sale of new cars, as was done in the US during World War II. The benefits are numerous. First, older cars are overall more energy-efficient than new cars, because the massive amount of energy that went into manufacturing them is more highly amortized. Second, large energy savings accrue from the shutdown of an entire industry devoted to designing, building, marketing, and financing new cars. Third, older cars require more maintenance, reinvigorating the local economy at the expense of mainly foreign car manufacturers, and helping reduce the trade deficit. Fourth, this will create a shortage of cars, translating automatically into fewer, shorter car trips, higher passenger occupancy per trip, and more bicycling and use of public transportation, saving even more energy. Lastly, this would allow the car to be made obsolete on the about the same time scale as the oil industry that made it possible. We will run out of cars just as we run out of gas.

I've covered what I think are basics, based on what I saw work and what I think might work reasonably well here. I assume that a lot of you are thinking that this is all quite far into the future, if in fact it ever gets that bad. You should certainly feel free to think that way. The danger there is that you will miss the opportunity to adapt to the new reality ahead of time, and then you will get trapped. As I see it, there is a choice to be made: you can accept the failure of the system now and change your course accordingly, or you can decide that you must try to stay the course, and then you will probably have to accept your own individual failure later.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Routines, Routines, Routines, Routines

Mike and I are learning just how important it is to stick the the routines with Galen. One would think that after 10 years we would have sort of a clue. But guess not.

Neither of us comes from a back ground were we had strict routines for anything- our families were pretty laid back- that approach does not seem to work with my Galen. One can blame it on autism, or on him just being a kid.

But the fact remains that anything unusual will give us payback the first time we want him to wake up for something. And this weekend that was today.

He fights like a wild cat to wake up and get on the bus if he had a broken routine during the weekend. That means that the movie and ice cream was too much for him yesterday. Probably added on top of being at his cousin's house all day on Saturday. It got a little much for him to a point were he wanted to run home around noonish on Saturday. I don't think he is used to being picked on by girls near his age nor was used to sleeping in the basement because the toddlers were throwing up.

And then Sunday I brought them to their grandma's to play- and we stayed up a wee bit passed their bed times- I thought it would be ok- as there was no school the next day- but I guess not.

So here we are again, trying to figure just what percentage we can deviate from our routines and be safe for Galen. The percentage is looking smaller all the time.

As it is we already start our bedtime routine after school. They come home, have to play out side and do their chores. Then they are allowed 1/2 - 1 hour computer time. Then it is dinner time. They have to do their chores. We have snack and scripture study. Then the boys have to gather their school stuff, and it's story time until they all hopefully zonk out cold by 9 pm. If it's a weekend the routine starts with dinner time- and might include a bath.

We don't have much of a morning routine yet- we keep it pretty short- like get the kids up, dressed and on to the bus. This lasts for about 20 minutes.

Oh well, if I am stuck with routines I might as well make the most of them and add good habbits for myself and house. Like what to pick up, clean, change and prepare after the kids are on the bus. (usually the kitchen, the laundry and start dinner)
and at night- getting myself studying time.

Enough rambling. Have a good day.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Today I went to a big grocery store in Brainerd, instead of our local, small one. I had a gift certificate for it and had to pick up my boys several blocks away. It was interesting (and frustrating) to do my weekly shop there.

Most of all, what struck me was the miles and miles of plastic instead of food. I felt there was no connection at all to where the food came from or even anything to hint at what's it purpose was. If I didn't know I was supposed to eat what came from a grocery store, I am not sure people could convince me to.

There was no physical sensations associated with the shopping that would remind me of food. All touch was smooth and solid, even the floor I walked on was smooth, the visuals were all smooth. The only smell was old ice and human perspiration, a touch of bleach. Even in the produce department, there was no fruity or earthy smells. By the time I got to the back of the store, I felt totally disconnected from the world and begin to wonder if that is how most people live now days in America?

With the complete lack of sensations the only things helping you to decide what to buy would be the price signs and pictures on the boxes or plastic bags. No wonder Americans are fat-

I also found the huge size overwhelming. "Food, food, everywhere, and none of it to eat."

Then I went outside, and I had wind on my face, and a temperature that made me feel my skin again. And I breathed in, stale exhaust, and I looked up- as I usually do at night- but there were no stars to see. And inside I cried. "Is this what we have done to ourselves?"

"Where is the beauty? where are the sensations? Where is life in a city?" Are we, as a culture, sensory depriving ourselves? To a point that we seek the simulations of violence in video games, just to feel alive?

Are we so disconnected ?

Saturday, February 07, 2009

more pics- again

more pics

pictures for you

My web slide show program crashed, so I guess I am just going to have to do pictures the old fashioned way. sigh.... It was going to be a really cute one too.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Thank you for your presence.

Yesterday was my birthday! I am a whole year older and wiser too, then I must have been last year at this time.

People have (especially my mother) asked me what I want for my birthday. And you know, I don't really "want" for anything. The one thing I have wanted most over the last few years is now squirming on my lap and trying to eat my mouse. (and I'm not talking about the cat).

And I thank her for her presence. I was in great want/ need of her presence. And I thank you for your presence in my life. For all that you have done for me. For all that you have listened to me prattle about my newest acquired knowledge and daily challenges. And for being there and caring about me, and letting me hang out with you.

Your presence means more to me then stuff. Thank you for being present.