Monthly Archives: July 2002

Zen-like Contemplation

I purchased a video camera a few weeks ago, thinking that it would be fun in a couple of years to watch videos of Cora when she was a baby. Actually, the fun of watching the videos didn?t really play very heavily in the purchase decision. What did play heavily was the idea that, when Cora was older and more of her own person, and when my ideas of responsible parenting ran headlong into the ginsu-knife-wielding ninja of her sense of personal freedom, I could sit down and watch videos of when she was a little baby and couldn?t imagine anything more enjoyable than playing in my lap and blowing raspberries at the camera.

Anyway, I was filming Cora tonight as she was playing with Tina?s hands. Little girl, one hand gripping mom’s thumb, the other hand gripping mom’s pinky finger. Great footage for me in twelve years when I need to remember how simple parenting used to be. This is the sort of thing that I’ll want to remember, right?

Well, as I was watching the playback of this beautiful scene, I realized that the most dated part of watching this footage in twelve years won’t be seeing little Cora: tiny, perfect, and completely mine. The dated part will be listening to my own running commentary, and hearing me mention Cora’s “Zen-like contemplation” of her mother’s fingers. Zen-like contemplation? Am I a Zen master? No. Do I have any special affinity for eastern religions? No. That reference comes to me entirely out of pop culture: Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme and the rest.

When I bought the video camera, I imagined that having a window back on when Cora was little would make me smile. I hadn’t considered that Cora might smile, too, but for a different reason. These tapes record her parents when they were much younger than she’ll ever be able to remember us. Probably more than watching the things we do on tape, listening to the things that we say might be a great way for Cora to get to know the us that we were when we started to raise her, and to help her understand the joy and the wonder and the uncertainty we felt when raising her was a brand new proposition.

Can’t think ‘tumor’ without ‘um’

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been growing more preoccupied with an approaching doctor’s appointment. Hopefully, this appointment would tell me that the cancer I’d had surgery for in January hadn’t come back. Hopefully.

The hard part is not knowing how to spend my time. If I’m healthy, why spend time sitting up at night worrying about an illness that isn’t coming back? Maybe it’s all gone and I’ll live a long and healthy life and never have to deal with it again. In that case, it’s silly to run around somber all the time when I should be overjoyed: I beat cancer!

On the other hand, maybe it’s spread and I’m about to start a frightening spiral of unwelcome treatments and diminishing health. In that case, what am I doing breezing through life when I should be holding my infant daughter and consciously appreciating all of the blessings of faith and family in the uncertain amount of time that remains?

So what do I do? Coast through life like I have all the time in the world? Or else start making all of my plans as if I won’t be alive in a year from now, and start judging the value of everything I do based on that shortened scale? Should I be preparing to die? Um. . .

Well, the doc says everything is fine. I can forget all about it now, if I want to.

I have a life that can be taken for granted. I have comforts and distractions and no good reason to look up from my day-to-day affairs to ponder the whole. And at the same time I have a fantastic wife and a beautiful daughter and all of the blessings anybody could want. Carried by the flow of the day-to-day, I can overlook how precious those blessings would seem if I’d only stop to appreciate them. I guess I’m lucky in that regard, because in six more months I’ll have another cancer check-up, and in the weeks beforehand I’ll start sitting up at night, counting all of my blessings again.

Going Astray

I heard a news story today about civilian casualties from American missiles aimed at military targets in Afghanistan. The report said that these civilian casualties were accidental, and generally caused by stray missiles. That phrasing caught my attention: the juxtaposition of stray and missile. The gravity of the two words is all wrong. Stray is a term used for unmatched socks left over after folding the laundry. It doesn’t sound right when describing a missile that exploded in the wrong place and killed the wrong people. “Don’t worry, Mr. Dari, the United States government doesn’t suspect you of helping Al Qaeda. That was a stray missle that killed your family.” Shouldn’t the seriousness surrounding the firing of a missile preclude the possibility of that missile wandering off target?

I know. I’m oversimplifying. Nobody wants to kill innocent people when they’re choosing targets, and once the missile is launched then physics and weather and terrain and engineering all play a role in foiling the best laid plans. I’m just wrestling with the difference between the ideal situation and the real world.

I also got to thinking about other words that would bother me if I heard them too close together. For instance, a lighthearted execution. Or how about a car crash with just a few fatalities? Maybe an emergency room doctor who sends you home because he’s fairly certain that you’re not having a heart attack?

(web)Site Unseen

Okay, I’ve spent the weekend working on getting the templates and style sheets in order so that this page looks the way I want. Now I’ll turn my attention to more informative posts than what I’ve done up to now. I’ll keep tweaking, but I believe that the tweak-to-post ratio on this page has now shifted. More information and less presentation.

Not that I think there will be a crowd of people rushing to get in here. In fact, I’m only certain of one faithful reader. (Hi, Tee!)

But the number of people who find what I’m posting isn’t the point. The point is the posting itself. The web in general and the phenomenon of web logging in particular have offered me a chance to communicate, and I’m responding. It’s like the proposition accepted by the street preacher in a crowded subway station. My voice may never rise above that of the crowd, and I have no hope of reaching everybody, but if you come close enough then maybe you’ll hear what I’m saying, and hopefully you’ll be glad that you did.

Today’s entry

Here’s an entry just so I have something entered for a different day. I want to see what the day separations look like. I’m not really happy with the spacing between the same-day posts, so I imagine I won’t like the spacing between the days unless they really do something to set it off.


Okay, got it. I took out the “alternate” style sheet link and everything started working in Mozilla. Great!

What’s going on?

You know, this page looks great in Internet Explorer, but Mozilla doesn’t seem to pick up the style sheet attributes. Everything in Mozilla is rendered as plain text! What’s going on?

Quit Fooling Around!

Okay, this post, though still designed to test some Moveable Type features, will at least be serious. Where did the name for this weblog, “And He Was,” come from? It happens to be the title (almost) of a Talking Heads song that contains this line:

“No time to think about what to tell them; no time to think about what she’s done.”

‘No time to think’ seemed to pretty much sum up most of the weblogs I’ve read, so it seemed appropriate. Will this log be thoughtful? We’ll see.

First Try

Okay, this is my first blog entry. I’m testing the layouts of this template, so forgive the fact that I’m going to add several paragraphs of nonsense below here.

Can I use HTML? within an entry? Both italics and bold?

The water is wide, I can’t cross over. And neither have I wings to fly. Build me a boat that can carry two, and both shall row, my love and I.

Whenever I see your smiling face I have to smile myself, because I love you. And when you give me that pretty little pout, it turns me inside out. There’s something about you, baby, I don’t know. Isn’t it amazing a man like me can feel this way? Tell me how much longer it’ll grow stronger everyday.