Monday, December 31, 2007

Mmmmm! V

I like pancakes. I like whole wheat pancakes, buttermilk pancakes, buckwheat pancakes, and cornmeal pancakes. I don't care for fruit or nuts in my pancakes.

Another thing I don't like is store bought fake maple syrup. I like syrup that has been tapped from a maple tree in some state where they have snow and the people wear plaid woolly caps with ear flaps. I don't like syrup whose primary ingredient is corn syrup. In fact, I don't really like corn syrup at all. I think corn syrup is responsible for obesity, autism, diabetes, tooth decay, moral decay, and idiocy.

I do, however, like homemade fake maple syrup. Place 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, two cups water, and 1 teaspoon maple flavor in a saucepan. Heat until the sugar melts, stirring frequently. Do not boil. Bottle and refrigerate. Pour over your buckwheat pancakes and feel the sugar rush.

It's like eating candy for breakfast.

For the Record

In college, I made a speech advocating the legalization of marijuana. I do not believe marijuana should be legalized.

Final Post of 2007

Thanks for reading. Have a great New Year.

Mmmmm! IV

French fries.

Take an Idaho Russet, wash and peel it. Slice it and bathe it in hot oil. Drain and salt. Eat and die of coronary artery disease.

French fries are the reason I am not very critical of alcoholics and drug addicts. You see, I have an addiction to french fries. Seriously. Thankfully, french fries are still legal.

When I was younger I tried to go a week without eating french fries. I lasted about three days before I fell off the wagon. Now I don't even try to stop.

I like In-n-Out's fries. They taste like real unadulterated potatoes. But you have to eat them hot. Like when you're in the car driving home from work. The people at In-n-Out look at me with pity when they see me for the third time in a week.

At least I'm eating my vegetables.

Another Thought

Bathrooms don't clean themselves.

A Thought for 2007

If your wife asks you to do something, she is probably not "just kidding."


Tabitha powers a volley past Tim.

I have always wanted a ping-pong table. I was very jealous of the kids who had them when I was young.

Yesterday we bought one. It was on clearance at Target for only 90 dollars. After opening the box and staring at the seemingly thousands of tiny little parts, I got it put together late last night.

We played our first "game" this afternoon. It was the most fun I've had with Tab in a long time. Well, at least it was fun until I started to take pictures to record our fun for posterity.

Ready for action. Notice the feet spread at shoulder width, knees bent, the right hand up and ready, the intent stare, and the pursed lips. Nothing will get past this guy.

It turns out you can't take a picture and play ping-pong at the same time.

He was here just a minute ago.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

One of my Favorite Photos

Tabitha has a great eye for pictures.

A bridge somewhere in Northern California.

Do You Know Why I Like Cows?

Because cows make milk. And we all know what is made from milk.

Dairy cows at Point Reyes.

Happy Birthday Anya

My Tattoo

I never got a tattoo when I was in the Navy. I couldn't think of anything that I wanted to have on my body for the rest of my life. The ideas I did come up with are, in retrospect, really dumb - a happy face on my palm or a tattoo of Eyeore. I can't tell you how happy I am that I didn't get those tattoos.

After we got married I started to think of tattoos that would represent how I felt about Tabitha. I asked my tattooed friend T.J. what he thought of a little stick of dynamite (TNT... Tim 'n Tabitha... get it?). His answer was succinct, "That's stupid." So I went back to drawing (thinking) board.

I am a little superstitious about tattooing Tabitha's name on my body. She would probably dump me as soon as the ink dried. And then I would have a constant reminder of my stupidity. I still wanted something meaningful that didn't say "Tabitha."

And then I had an idea. Ephesians 5:25 states "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." It's a beautiful verse that sums up how every husband should act toward his wife. Paul set the bar very high. We (husbands) should be striving for this every day.

I got inked. On my finger. Underneath my wedding ring.

Do I succeed at living up to the verse? Not always. Do I trust in God enough to help me live up to it? Sometimes. Do I have a constant reminder of how I should be treating my wife? Yes.

Skater Chick

Aidan @ the Park

Thursday, December 27, 2007


We had dinner last night at Las Campanas. It is a lovely open air Mexican restaurant at the Mission Inn. When we checked in with the hostess I said, "We'd like to eat outside, please." She replied, "All of the tables are outside, sir." Tabitha looked at me with pity and then told the hostess, "He was joking."

The Iraq War...

It's our mess. We need to clean it up.

Bible Names

Many people like to name their boys after people in the Bible. Some names are relatively common such as David, Jesse, Daniel, Matthew, Timothy, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, and Peter. These parents aren't trying very hard.

The more adventurous parents start mining the Old Testament prophets for names like Hosea, Joel, Amos, Micah, Nathaniel, Zechariah, Jonah and Jeremiah. They should be commended for trying to be a little different.

I'd like to see parents step up, do a "Barry*" and knock one into the bay. How about some kids named Nahum, Naggai, or Esli. Imagine the fun at school when the teacher reads off the names Maath, Semein, or Joda. How many kids do you know who are named Melki, Cosam, or Eliakim? Not very many, I'll bet. Amminadab, Ram, and Terah - these names rise to the top of the stack of college applications. I'll wager that Arphaxad, Mahalalel, and Methuselah won't see their names everyday.

It's a big Bible, folks. Let's get a little creative. Who's with me?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day

I'm going to dig something.

Abigail's new kite.


"No, I think it goes this way."

A beautiful day to be outside.

Christmas Eve

We enjoyed the company of Grandma and Grandpa Herrity and Grandma and Grandpa Brown on Christmas eve. The first present Aidan opened was a toy vacuum cleaner. He spent the rest of the evening "vacuuming" the floors. Abigail got her first Bible from Grandma and Grandpa Herrity.

"Aidan, over here."

The most fun a 2-year-old can have.

Abigail's first Bible and it's pink, too.

Monday, December 24, 2007

My 50th Post

I don't really have anything to say. I just wanted to mention that this is my 50th post. Other notable 50s:

- the number of years in a half century or quinquagenary
- the distance in miles of a long bike ride
- the denomination in dollars of the Ulysses S. Grant note
- the number of years in a "Golden" anniversary
- a decade notable in the U.S.A. for the rise of rock and roll music and youth culture
- the distance in miles of a very long run
- the caliber of the Browning M2 machine gun
- the number of pennies in a half dollar
- the distance in feet of a very short walk
- the Eisenhower years
- the distance in feet of a very long jump
- the decade in life in which one may start getting a "senior" discount
- the number of posts a blogger reaches in one month when he is bored at work

Sunday, December 23, 2007

While We are in a Linking Mood...

This is the website for an English graffiti artist named Banksy. He does some pretty cool stuff.

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know

A friend of mine had me look up this link a while back. It was fascinating.

I like Alternative metal but I usually listen to mellower stuff.

Happy Birthday

Today is Aidan's birthday. He is the big Two-point-Oh.

Here is where we began. He was about 4 1/2 pounds when we first met him. He was tiny but so cute.

Two of my favorite people.

Let him eat cake.


... I love cheese.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Four Fingers Pointed Back at Me

I struggle with something.

I am pretty jaded from my work. I can often look at someone and make judgements about them. The scales have been removed from my eyes. I can know certain things about people just by looking at their size, weight, hair, clothing, demeanor, and complexion.

But many times, this knowledge leads to an opinion. I become judgemental. I stop seeing a person and instead see a problem.

I need to stop being judgemental. I am no better than anyone.

Mmmmm! Again

Did I mention I like cheese?

Daddy's Little Helpers

On Wednesday nights I take all the trash out and put the bins on the curb. This last Wednesday, I had two little helpers. They emptied the trashcans into the trash bag and then Aidan wanted to carry one of the trash bags out. It was as big as he is. But he didn't want any help. As he grunted and pulled he said, "exercise."

My two-year-old son knows the word "exercise."

I can't wait until he starts mowing the lawn.


Every year we have evaluations at work. There is a line that asks about your educational attainment and goals. Every year I wrote that I intended to earn a Master's degree, usually in a field with no relationship to my job. This year I decided to stop fooling myself.

I am never going to earn a Master's degree. I was fortunate to finish my Bachelor's. If it wasn't for my Mom and Tabitha pushing me I would still be about 12 units short of my degree. Me and school have always had an uneasy relationship.

There were too many distractions in college - UEFA Champions League Football, work, sleep, and Tabitha. I would take a class and then get distracted by some tangential topic covered in class. I would then fall behind while devouring everything I could find on that topic. While it satisfied my curiosity it did nothing for my grades.

It turns out that educational mediocrity has a long history in my family. I am somewhat unique in being a 3rd generation college graduate. However, Grandpa, Dad and I all struggled to complete our degrees. I struggled and I now have no delusions of ever continuing my "formal" education.

My educational goal is now: "to read everything I can on topics that I find interesting." I just need a bigger library.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What's Really Important (Updated)

This Christmas season we American Christians should remember what is really important.

- We must fight for Nativity scenes on city halls.
- We must boycott when retailers have "Holiday" catalogs instead of "Christmas" catalogs.
- We need to defend our right to erect crosses on public lands.
- We need to go to the mat to protect our right to post the Ten Commandments in government buildings.
- We must protect our tradition of having "In God We Trust" on our coins.
- We need to fight attempts by the Godless atheists to remove "under God" from our Pledge of Allegiance.

If we as American Christians don't stand up and protect our Christian traditions, who will? Are we going to allow the ACLU and the secular humanists to walk all over us? These public displays of our devotion to the Gospel are more important than:

- The scourges of AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis
- Poverty
- Refugees displaced by war
- The lack of clean drinking water for most of the world's population
- War
- The exploitation of the environment
- Sex trafficking
- Homelessness in developed countries
- Child and Spousal abuse
- Drug and alcohol abuse

We as American Christians know what is important. Fight the good fight.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Think I Threw Up in My Mouth a Little

After dance class we stop at McDonald's for dinner. Abigail likes Chicken McNuggets and it's too late to cook dinner.

Tonight as we were waiting in the drive through, I was thinking about what beer to pair with a McDonald's meal. It has to be something light, crisp and insubstantial just like the food.

Budweiser immediately popped into my mind.

Crap beer for crap food.

Mmmmm! III

I like chocolate. I like chocolate that is not too sweet and not too bitter. Between 60 and 70 percent cocoa is about right.

I hate white chocolate. White chocolate is for people who don't really like chocolate. I like chocolate.


I went to the dentist today. While the dentist was probing my tooth pockets with a pick to check for bone loss I told him, "Anything you want to know, I'll tell you."

Who needs waterboarding. All we need to do is provide dental care for our detainees (prisoners of war) and they will tell us anything. My mouth still hurts.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Church Bird

Abigail mentioned to Tabitha last night that she didn't have a Bible of her own. So Tabitha let Abigail take one of her old ones to church last night. This morning Abigail told me the Bible had a "church bird" on it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Have you ever been afraid?

I have.

I am.

I'm not talking about the "oh my gosh, something is out there" icy chill but sweating kind of fear. I'm talking about the low level but constant worry in my head. This fear makes me think that disaster is always just over the horizon.

Evolutionary biologists say that humans who were predisposed to worry actually had a very strong survival mechanism. They stayed alive while the care-free proto-humans set themselves on fire, fell through the ice or were eaten by sabre-toothed cats. I can't deny that worry keeps you alive, but it sure saps the joy from life.

I am at the threshold of the next phase in my career. But I'm afraid. I worry that I'm not smart enough, knowledgeable enough, strong enough, or shrewd enough. I worry that I can't do it and I'm afraid to fail. Tabitha wants me to do it and I want to do it but I keep dithering. I could not do it and stay where I'm at for the next 20 years. I won't have to face my fear but then I won't know the joy of achievement.

We have been discussing a move to Washington for a while now. We would like to live in a more rural environment with a slower pace of life. We would like to have weather that isn't just various varieties of "hazy sunshine." But I'm afraid. I'm afraid of finding a new job. I'm afraid of selling our house and trying to buy a new one. I'm afraid of looking for a new church and making new friends. I'm afraid of living on a dramatically reduced income. I'm afraid and it's very frustrating.

I'm afraid that if I start trusting God, he is going to ask me to do things that make me afraid. I'm afraid that I will have to dramatically change my habits. I'm afraid that God will want me to talk to people who unnerve me. I'm afraid that God will want me to go places I don't like (such as Las Vegas) and do the work of his kingdom. I'm afraid that God will want me to give up my self-satisfied middle-class American life. I'm afraid of change.

Tabitha has suggested that I pray about this. As with so many other things, I suspect she may be right.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Abigail's Christmas Program

Abigail sang with her Kindergarten class tonight in the school's Christmas program. She was really cute.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Jackpot Millionaire

I used to fantasize about winning the lotto jackpot. I would think about all the things I could buy and do with the millions of dollars. I knew where I wanted to buy the first house (beach) and the second house (mountains), and what gasoline powered toys I wanted. We seldom bought tickets but it was still nice to think about sudden wealth and the changes it would bring to our lives.

It turns out the changes would not be positive. Many lotto winners find themselves in worse financial trouble than before they won. People get crazy when they can buy whatever they want. As I've gotten older I've realized that I can't really be trusted with the money I have now. What would I do with even more money?

I've decided the only way I could remain sane if I came into sudden wealth is to practice a reverse tithe. I would give away 90% of the money and keep the remaining 10% for my family. With the 90% I would give money to various charities including homeless shelters, scholarships for poor kids, my church, other churches, clean water projects for emerging countries, AIDS prevention and treatment, a private army in sub-Saharan Africa, inner-city ministries, and others.

As I have yet to win the lottery and it doesn't seem likely that I will, what do I do? Do I wait for the day when I come into sudden wealth or do I start tithing now? I think I can start now. I have a long way to go to climb up to 10% much less 90%. I better get moving.

Good Lunch

I had lunch today with Adam. We went to a pretty good Thai place called Gra/Pow. It's been a while since Adam and I had a chance to talk. We discussed God, family, and the church. What could be better?

It's nice to have a chance to talk with people who are not coworkers. It helps to reduce my cynicism.


I have only ever had two cavities in my 37+ years. I had a cavity filled in a molar about seven months ago. Now I have a cavity in the molar opposite it. It's starting to hurt. I need to call the dentist.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Lately I have been reading people who have completely different worldviews arguing amongst themselves about the meaning of Scripture and what it means to follow Jesus. I was starting to get a little bummed out reading these people who are never going to come to an agreement. I figured it was time I started reading the Bible myself so I could impose my own worldview on the Scriptures.

About two weeks ago I sat down and read through the Gospel of Mark. It's the shortest so I thought it might make a good place to start. I was reading along and everything seemed familiar (I have been attending church for a long time). And then I came to this little passage:

12 The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. 14 Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it. (Mark 11:12-14)

And then this one:

20 The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. 21 Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!” (Mark 11:20,21)

Imagine the sound of a record scratching. Got it? That's what I heard in my head. When I was back in college studying poetry, the professors told us there is a reason for every word in a poem. And then I have been told to pay attention to the passages in the Bible that don't seem to make sense. They are there for a reason.

But what is the reason for this passage? It's too early in the season for fruit. Jesus knew that. One obvious lesson from this passage is: don't make Jesus angry. But there had to be something else.

Two nights ago as I was laying down to sleep after a long day in the salt mine, a thought popped into my head. Maybe Jesus expects even immature trees (or believers) to bear fruit. Maybe as believers we aren't supposed to wait around for that day when we finally become mature. We need to start bearing fruit now.

Or maybe Jesus was just really hungry. Any thoughts?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Mmmmm! II

I like beer. I like beer brewed with top fermenting yeast. I like beer that you can't see through when you hold your glass up to the light. I like beer that has a thick, creamy head that lingers. I like beer that tastes like burnt toast with a hint of honey. I like beer that tastes good cold. I like beer that tastes even better when it's not so cold. I like beer that hits your taste buds like a heavily loaded 18-wheeler driven by a meth-addled madman 4 hours late to his destination.

That's right, I want the taste of my beer to whack me over the head with the flat side of a shovel. I like my beer when it pours like 30-weight motor oil. I don't drink beer because I want to quench my thirst - that's what water is for. I drink beer because bitter is better sometimes. And it pairs really well with an 18-month-old Vermont cheddar.

One is enough. Sometimes one is more than enough.

I've Been Tired

Really tired. I can sort of remember a time when I wasn't always tired. But I think it was a long time ago. Work nights I'll get between four and five hours of sleep. On my days off I'll get about eight. Between long hours, a long commute, and an early rising daughter, I have a hard time fitting in enough time for sleep. Can we lobby for a 29 hour day with the extra hours when I need to sleep? Who would we talk to for that?

Friday, December 7, 2007


I like cheese. Not the hokey movie, crappy music, polyester leisure suit cheese. No, I'm talking about the curdled, cut, salted, pressed, and aged kind of cheese. The kind that comes wrapped up in plastic in the grocer's dairy case. The kind that keeps for months in the drawer in my refrigerator. The kind that all the health nuts say is the worst thing I could be eating (not french fries?). The kind the veggies won't eat because some cow had milk forcibly pulled from her aching udders. I love cheese and I love cows for giving up their precious milk so a cheese maker can craft a wheel of sheer creamy bliss.

I'm still a little leery of the stinky soft french kind. I like mine firm, crumbly and aged at least a year, preferably longer. I like cheese that ranges in color from creamy white to very pale yellow. I like cheese that is so sharp it makes my jaw ache a little. I like cheese that satisfies that craving for meat. I like cheese that asks, no, demands to be washed down with a glass of ale. I like cheese that pairs well with chocolate. I like chocolate that pairs well with cheese. I like cheese that pairs well with other cheese.

I hate Velveeta.

A Simpler Christmas, Perhaps

Tabitha and I have decided to scale back our purchases for Christmas this year. The toys we get for the kids get played with only a very short period of time before becoming "clutter." And Tabitha and I really don't need anything else. But it is hard to break old habits.

I see all sorts of things that I want to get for Tabitha. I see things that I would love to have. I see things that I really want to get for Abigail and Aidan. And then I look around the house.

Our giant house crammed full of stuff. And I think about how little some people have - luxuries like food and clean drinking water. I wonder if I am really honoring the birth of Jesus by buying a trinket for Tabitha and asking for a new, bigger, television. Am I teaching our children to be doers of the Gospel or consumers?

At this point, I am teaching them to be consumers. I have bought into the delusion that stuff will make me happy. But worst of all, I don't really even believe that it will. I just buy stuff compulsively.

We are going to try to use this Christmas season to break our consumer habit. We are going to try to be faithful to the Gospel. We are not going to try - we are going to do.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

(Relatively) Youthful Insensitivity?

A while back I was at a family party talking to my Great-uncle Hank. Hank was on the pointy end of the spear when the Allies were pushing into Germany back in 1945. He has at least one Purple Heart. He said that he was one of the first men across the bridge over the Rhine at Remagen. I said, "I played that on a video game."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Made It

Abigail and Grandpa stretch their legs at a rest stop south of Butte, MT.

We arrived safely home this evening around 5:30. We were in the car over 36 hours total, travelling over 2500 miles. My car is dirty. Snow, wind, rain, mud, fever, and ice cream - we are tired.

It's good to be home. Tabitha and Aidan were very happy to see us. We were very happy to see them.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Time to go Home

I started feeling sick yesterday. I can tell when I'm coming down with something because my back, neck, and hands start to ache. By last night I was running a fever. The thought of driving all the way home while sick did not appeal.

Dad decided to take the rest of the week off and drive down with us. He got a good deal on a one-way plane ticket home. We haven't been able to go on a road trip together for a long time so it should be fun.

The fever broke in the middle of the night and I'm feeling better today.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Fun in the Snow

We arrived in a winter wonderland yesterday. There was about 6 inches of snow on the ground and the road leading up to Mom and Dad's was covered in snow and ice. We almost made it up to their driveway when all forward motion stopped. I climbed out of the car and put the chains on. I hate to put on chains. My hands were frozen.

After we warmed up, it was time to get cold again. Mark had been sliding down the road on Saturday so we knew the road was good for sledding. We climbed up the road and started sliding down. Abigail and I slid off the road and into a small snow bank. She didn't like having snow on her face but fortunately Judy had some proper snow gear for her.

Mark, Dad, and I got our exercise pulling the girls up the hill and sliding down. We even got Judy and Sara to slide down together. With warm clothing on, Abigail loved sliding down the hill.
Today we woke up to rain. All the snow is melting and turning to slush. There will be no more snow play this trip. You can't sled in mud.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Road Trip Day 2

Abigail woke up at 4:30 AM. So did I. Why wait for the restaurant to open when you can get on the road. We left Pocatello at 5:30 and drove in the dark for about 2 hours. It was cold but fortunately the roads were clear. We arrived at Grandma and Grandpa's (and Aunt Judy and Uncle Brandon's and Aunt Sara and Uncle Mark's) house around noon. Abigail was very excited to see her cousins.

Abigail likes to take pictures.

She specializes in self portraits.

Real Montana snow.

Real Montana cousins.

Road Trip Day 1

Abigail and I left home at about 7:30 AM PST and arrived in Pocatello, ID at 9:00 PM CST. We drove about 800 miles.

Aishe and Abigail enjoyed a rest stop in Southern Utah.

It started snowing when we passed Beaver, UT. My heart rate elevated around this time.

We stopped for ice cream in Scipio. It was still snowing.

The roads were clear through Salt Lake City so we pushed on to Idaho. Abigail was asleep within 10 minutes of getting our room.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Road Trip

Abigail and I are leaving for Montana this morning. We are aiming to get to Salt Lake today. If we can get farther it's a bonus, but it will depend on the weather.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Morning Ritual...Interrupted

We like to go to Starbucks. Tabitha goes everyday for her Chai. She doesn't have to order, they recognize her car. I generally only go on weekends when I have to go to work. We drive to Starbucks separately, enjoy our morning cuppa, and then I go to work. Last Saturday was a little different.

Tabitha was a little irritable as we were leaving the house, but it wasn't too far off of what could be considered normal. I was following her and she seemed to be driving slower than she usually does(I typically have trouble keeping up with her). The wheels in my brain started to turn.

When she pulled into the parking space she wasn't centered in the space. Abigail and I got out of my car and walked over to Tabitha's car; she was still sitting in the car. When we went inside, the barrista asked her "No foam, no water?" but she didn't reply. I answered for her as the wheels in my head started to turn at a furious pace.

We went out to the patio when we got our drinks. Tabitha sat at the table and blankly watched the kids play. As the wheels in my brain started to smoke, I went to her car and got her glucose meter. I pricked her finger and put a drop of blood on the test strip. The meter read "34." That is a little low.

Actually, it is extremely, potentially life-threateningly low. Normal range is between 80 and 120. I was once feeling hypoglycemic - I was shaking and couldn't concentrate. Out of curiosity we tested my blood sugar and I was at 79. So I had to do something. When Tabitha has low blood sugar like that, I usually attempt to get her to drink something for about ten minutes. If she still hasn't taken anything after ten minutes, I call the paramedics. I've called the paramedics about a dozen times in our married life.

Fortunately, Starbucks has juice. I went inside, grabbed a box of apple juice from the case, and told the barrista I would pay for it in a few minutes (it's nice when they know you). I put the straw in the box, held it to Tabitha's lips and told her to drink the juice.

Thankfully she did. I was able to coax her to drink the entire box and within about five minutes she made a comment about what the kids were doing. I knew she was going to be okay. I tested her again (54) and fed her a donut. She was back to normal. I recounted what she had done while she was low and we laughed about it. And then I went to work and Tabitha took the kids home.

Aidan threw up again today...

... so I stayed home from work to watch him. He was fine yesterday but he only had Gatorade to drink. This morning I gave him milk and he threw up in the car on the way to school. I'm not very smart but I used my puny powers of deduction and came up with a conclusion. It's the milk.

Or more precisely, the Lactaid. It was a new carton, but it smelled slightly sour so I dumped it out. I will give him some more milk this afternoon and see how he does. I'm hoping it was only a bad carton. He is acting fine. He is cheerful and playing with his toys. Maybe he just wanted to hang out with me today.

Our New Lake

It has finally come. We woke up this morning to the pitter-pat of rain. Of course the streets are flooded and cars are sliding off the road. Here is a picture of the intersection near our house. It's a nice little lake.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Why do we do this?

Aidan threw up three times today. I didn't know his stomach held quite so much.

Abigail didn't want to eat the stew I made for dinner. "I don't like it."

They had better do something cute tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

An Open Letter...

... To Aidan's Biological Mother,

We've never had a chance to meet you but you've given us a wonderful gift. He is almost two and we are so happy he is part of our lives. We look at him and wonder what traits he got from you.

He has strawberry blond hair with just a hint of a cowlick. It was curly in the back before he got his first haircut. He has big brown eyes and a little turned-up nose. He has a cleft on his chin.

He's very smart. He learns new words everyday. He loves trucks, tractors, motorcycles, airplanes, and helicopters. He is very mischievous. He loves to tease his sister but he also adores her. He is asserting his independence - he's started to say "no." He talks on the phone. He pretends to talk on the phone.

He loves to go to the park and swing on the swings and slide down the slides. He pushes himself around on his little bike. He loves to sweep and vacuum the floors. He loves it when we read to him. His favorite book is "Goodnight Moon" but he calls it "boon." He charms everyone he meets.

When he is hungry or tired he gets upset. He doesn't like bed time - he usually cries for at least five minutes before he goes to sleep. He always sleeps through the night, though. He loves cheese and bananas, but milk doesn't agree with him. He loves his "baba." When he used to see his picture he said "beebee" but now he says "Daidan."

We only know a little about you. We know you were young and already had a little boy when you found out you were pregnant. We know you hid your pregnancy from your family. You were very brave to go through that alone. We can't imagine what it must have been like for you to decide to give up your baby. Thank you. We will do our best to help him become the best man he can be.

Sometimes when we see a young woman, we wonder if it might be you. We know you are out there, somewhere. We hope you are happy and healthy. Even though you may try to forget him, we will never forget you. Even though we don't know you, you will always be part of our lives.

We thank you so much for what you have done. Maybe someday, we can meet you and you can see him. If it never happens, know that we will always love you for this wonderful thing you did for us.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


It's rare that I spend a Thanksgiving at home. This year was no exception. I had to work. So I spent Thanksgiving at the hospital in the company of my coworkers. Tabitha and the kids went to Ma and Pa Herrity's to celebrate the day. Ma and Elizabeth roasted a turkey and Tabitha made some pies. I will have leftovers today at work for my (post)Thanksgiving meal. It's not really the same.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Before I Forget...

Happy 39th Anniversary Mom and Dad.

You Can Almost See My Teeth

Aidan and Daddy go to Montana

About three years ago my parents moved to Montana. A few months later, my sister Judy followed with her family. And then this summer my baby sister, Sara, moved to Montana with her family.

Is it something I said?

We talk on the phone but it's not the same. So I have travelled up there about once every six months or so. We've driven there a few times, we've flown up a few times and I've flown with just the kids once. Last Easter, we even interrupted a trip to Spokane with the In-laws to drive over for dinner.

In October I decided to drive up with Aidan. We took the Mini. We drove 800 miles the first day. We laughed, we cried, we ate Dairy Queen in the car. It was fun.

Here's What We Do For Fun

Brave Little Girl

Abigail has been taking swimming lessons every summer since she was an infant.

At the end of the week they let the kids go off the diving board at the pool. An instructor walks out to the end of the board with them and then drops them into the waiting arms of an instructor in the pool.

Last summer, she went off the three foot board with no protest. We clapped and cheered and then we lost sight of her. We thought she was in line for the three foot board again. Then we heard a collective gasp from the watching parents.

We looked up and saw our teeny-tiny daughter at the end of the ten foot board with her instructor. She was clearly scared, but we yelled encouragement to her. She didn't protest when the instructor dropped her into the pool but she was shaking when she came out of the water. She told us she was scared. We told her she was really brave and we were proud of her.

This year she took a class with one other little girl. Abigail started swimming independently and loved jumping into the pool from the side. After a few days the instructor started letting them jump off the three foot board. Abigail loved it. At the end of the week it was time for the big jump.

I asked Abigail if she was going to jump off the high dive. She said she would. She jumped off the three foot board a few times and then climbed the ladder to the high dive. She walked right out to the end of the board and jumped. She was not shaking when she climbed out of the water.

All I can say is that I never would have jumped off a high dive when I was five. No way, no how.


The nights when I am home I like to give the kids a bath. I am a clean freak after all. I will usually bathe Aidan first and then let Abigail have her bath. Apparently I am giving Aidan his bath when it is time for him to have his evening bowel movement. Twice in the last week he has pooped in the bath.

When it happens, I scoop all the toys out of the bath and put them in the sink to rinse off. I stand Aidan up and rinse him off. After drying him and putting him in his jammies, I clean out the tub.

Poop pretty much feels like you would imagine it feels.

Fortunately, the toilet is right next to the tub. I am not really very squeamish anymore. I have seen a lot of blood and other bodily fluids at work. But if you told me ten years ago that I would be scooping my son's poop out of the bath tub with my bare hands ... well... Can you really wash your hands enough after that?

Aidan's Birthday

Aidan was born on December 23, 2005. We finalized his adoption on November 7 last year. We thought it might be a little unfair for him to have to celebrate his birthday so close to Christmas so we decided to have a birthday party for him in November closer to his adoption day. Last Sunday, Ma and Pa Herrity, Elizabeth and Bill and Hillary Catling came over to celebrate Aidan's 2nd birthday with us.

I ordered a cake decorated with trucks from Stater Brothers (who has time to bake anymore?). Aidan loves trucks and tractors and motorcycles. He is turning into a little gearhead. He didn't understand how to blow out the candles so I had to help him. Next year he will probably do it himself. It was a good time.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I have a friend here at work who is from Scotland. We talk about football (soccer) on occasion. I like England, he doesn't. Scotland failed to qualify for the Euros when they lost to Italy. England needed only a draw against Croatia (at home, at Wembley) to go to the tournament. England lost 3-2.

My friend was disappointed Scotland didn't qualify but I don't think he really expected them to (his hopes have been dashed too many times). But he was really happy England failed to qualify. He was positively gleeful or at least as gleeful as Scottish people get.

Wikipedia defines Schadenfreude as "pleasure taken from someone else's misfortune." The Scots are very happy right now.

Studio Space

One of the things we liked about our new house was the three car garage. I was excited to have a garage big enough to actually park a car in and Tabitha was thinking about a place to work on her art. But fate and a canoe kit intervened.

About a year ago I got a Pygmy Taiga wilderness tripper canoe kit. I was going to build a boat. My friend Brett (who got a kit of his own) and I built a table out of 2 sheets of plywood in the garage. This, as you might imagine, took up a lot of space. I started working on the canoe, gluing panels of okoume plywood together, drilling tiny holes, wiring the panels together into a canoe shape, and epoxying all the seams. It was beautiful. There was a 17 foot long canoe in my garage. And then I stopped working on it. There the canoe sat, unfinished, while I spent my free time napping and watching all the soccer games I recorded.

Time passed.

The garage collected more detritus. The canoe rested on sawhorses waiting for my gentle caress. Tabitha asked if she was ever going to get a place to work on her art. I foolishly suggested she could could use the "guest bedroom." She suggested that we could clean and reorganize the garage to free up space for her art. I am many things, but organized is not one of them. Finally, things came to a head.

Tabitha attended an art educators conference last weekend in Pasadena. While at the conference, she bought a portable pottery wheel. The conversation went something like this: Tabitha:"I did a bad thing." Tim (visions of car accidents flashing through his mind): "What?" Tabitha: "I bought a pottery wheel." Tim (relief): "Oh, cool."

So we cleaned and reorganized the garage. Tabitha has space to work on her art. I might finish the canoe in time for next summer, if I can only turn off the TV.

Low Brow Humor

I used to be a little bit of a movie snob. I watched indie flicks that were notable mostly for their lack of plot and slow pacing. I fancied myself an intellectual. Who needs entertainment? Not me.

And then I saw "Dumb and Dumber." It was a watershed event in my life. I laughed so hard I almost wet myself. When Jeff Daniels was on the toilet I just about died. I mean, who hasn't had explosive diarrhea. And the bird with his head taped on... and the hot sauce... and the beer bottle. I'm laughing just thinking about it.

I've got no time for the horror/slasher/Gore genre. Why would I want to fill my head with that kind of stuff. "Saw(II,III,...XIII)" and "An Inconvenient Truth." Puhlease. The same with all the gratuitously violent action adventure flicks like "Die Hard" or "Bad Boys." Guns, explosions, car crashes, and suspended physical laws!!???!? I live that every day.

But "The 40 year Old Virgin." I've got all the time in the world for that.


About three years ago we bought a new home. We traded our 100-year-old two bedroom house for a brand new four bedroom house. And then we started to fill up the empty space. Our old furniture didn't really go, so we bought a bunch of new stuff.

Our queen size bed was dwarfed by the vast expanse of our bedroom so we got a king size. We moved the queen size bed downstairs to the "guest bedroom." Now Tabitha and I can sleep in the same bed and not even touch each other.

We had another queen size bed which we put in Abigail's room. What 3-year-old wouldn't want a queen size bed of her own? That would be Abigail. She slept in our bed for the next 2 years. Now she has a twin size bed like a normal little girl. Or a little girl with normal parents.

We still had an extra bedroom upstairs so we got another kid, Aidan. Fortunately he can't climb out of the crib yet, so we don't have to worry about him wandering around the house in the middle of the night. He might get lost.

So now we are a family of four in a 2800 square foot mansion with a three car garage and cupboards in the kitchen that are still empty. We need to buy more stuff just to fill the empty space.


We could get rid of stuff and live in a smaller house.


I have a 12 inch cast iron skillet. My Mother-in-law gave it to me because she was not using it. It is my favorite tool in the kitchen. It is heavy, black, grimy, and greasy. It is not pretty. But I love cooking with it. I use it for everything: spaghetti, bacon, chicken, pancakes, hamburger. It is naturally non-stick and heats evenly. I love my skillet.

You can't put it in the dishwasher. I run it under hot water and scrub it out with a brush. To dry it, I put it on the stove with a burner turned on low. Every once in a while I rub some oil on it to keep it seasoned. I love my skillet.

But there's a problem. Sometimes, I forget that the fire is on underneath the skillet. I put it on the stove to dry and then I get distracted. I will find it later when I smell the faint tinge of hot iron. I decided a while back that I would only dry the skillet using the lowest setting on the stove. It takes longer but it doesn't seem to get hot enough to set the skillet on fire.

I don't want my skillet to kill me.