Monthly Archives: December 2006

Irrelevant R. Colitis

I received an email today from Irrelevant R. Colitis. Niiiiice name.


I’m writing this while sitting on my couch staring at our Christmas tree. The radio is playing Christmas music. It’s beautiful classical stuff that’s driven by the voices of choirs resonating in cathedrals.

My wife is here with me, though she’s fallen asleep snuggled under a blanket with her mug of hot chocolate not even touched. I, on the other hand, am warm with the aforementioned chocolate.

My children are warm in their beds — lets call it, “nestled all snug in their beds.” All of them are resting peacefully after an adventurous day.

My brother and his wife came by for a wonderful visit earlier this evening. They’re in town for Christmas and it’s a treat to see them. It’s especially fun to see our girls having so much fun with them. It’s nice taking time to visit with loved ones that we don’t see often.

I can remember from my childhood sitting in a room lit by only a Christmas tree. It was a magical feeling: pondering the cold winter outside our house while we stayed warm inside; pondering the magical, mystical aspects of the Christmas story, with God sending a gift to humanity and angels announcing His kindness to shepherds in the field; the anticipation of the presents I would open on Christmas morning. Sitting here pondering my Christmas tree I’m connected to those far-away Christmas memories somehow.


We all know that as adults Christmas morning is nowhere near as fun as it was when we were children. Oh, it may well be more meaningful pondering the birth of our Savior; or we may now enjoy the fulfillment of watching our spouses and children open gifts that we’ve selected more than we enjoyed being children ourselves opening whatever Santa had brought for us. But still, as far as raw fun goes, present-opening was better as children than it is as adults.

Well Tina’s managed to make this Christmas’ present-opening pretty exciting for me. She’s gone and okay’d a purchase that makes me as giddy as a child while I await the UPS delivery. We’re getting a Roomba!

Yep, I’m going to get a robot. That is cool to me in at least 3 different ways. But allow me to ignore all of those ways for now and concentrate on a near-inanity: that is, what to name our new Roomba?

I’m a big fan of the show Futurama. On that program they often name their robots using a rather utilitarian formula: a robot is named after it’s function, and then the suffix “bot” is often added to complete the name. Examples: Humorbot, Preacherbot, Fatbot, and Hedonismbot.

So, I’m thinking our new Roomba robot should be named Suck-bot. How’s that?

Alumni Deplorably

Subject of a SPAM.


I don’t tend to think of myself as trendy. In fact I take pride in my thrifty resolve to not replace stuff that works fine simply because something newer, better has come along. For example: my ’93 Toyota Camry. I bought it used, paid it off, and then drove it until it was barely worth anything on trade for the minivan we desperately needed after so many years of fertile lovemaking.

For another example: my five-year-old DV camera that was still top-of-the-line four years ago but definitely behind the technology curve ever since. I’ve kept that thing long past its freshness date and have used it to record every preschool play and awards ceremony that my children have ever been a part of. It barely records at standard TV quality let alone DVD quality. However, I continue to use it because I can take pride in the money I save by not updating.

My facade started to crack last Christmas when I used some gift certificates to buy a Tivo. While Tivo was not a cutting edge technology, owning a computer that would watch TV for you so that you didn’t have to was still a little unusual at the time. And then this Fall my wife and I decided to have Verizon run a fiber optic cable to our home. While the combination of services we receive via the fiber optic costs us less than what we were paying for them previously, it still feels a little cutting-edge to have the evening news beamed in via laser beam.

Today I was taken by a desire that is also hard to square with the pride I take in sober frugality: I want a Roomba!

The Video Project

I’m about to restart my family video project. When Cora was very small I used to shoot long stretches of her doing very little. Playing these back was rather boring. After Callie was born I kept taking just as much video but my goal changed. Instead of trying to capture specific magic moments (like baby’s first step) I would try to get a representative sample of what was going on for us at the time. A few minutes of crawling, a few minutes of play, a few minutes of messy eating. Then I’d cram the best of this footage onto a DVD. There was a time when I was producing these short compilation DVDs at a rate of one each month.

For some reason I fell out of the habit of using the DV camera. It could be that the DV camera is just so much larger than my digital still-photo camera. I take the still camera everywhere and shoot several pictures per day. The DV camera simply fell out of use.

But I want to restart the project, especially now that Cameron is around. Infants change fast so I want some video to remember these early months.

And I’m serious about it too. I just spent money to upgrade my old video editing / DVD making software.

Terms In Use

The Sisters

I call my two girls “The Sisters.” Cora and Callie are less than two years apart in age and are rarely apart physically either, preferring to do most everything together.

The Matthews

My two closest friends are named Matthew: one wants to be called by the full name Matthew while the other is fine with just Mat. I also have at least two other Matthews in my regular circle of friends.

Since all the Matthews know each other the sum of their combined influence on me can be thought of as a cross product of their individual influences on me. (Anyone remember their matrix equations from Linear Algebra?) I refer to “The Matthews” as a shorthand for this cross product of the Matthew Matrix.


Tee is shorthand for my wife Tina. She is the most wonderful, beautiful, supportive, inspiring person I know. She’s persevered through three pregnancies to give me three wonderful children and, amazingly, she’s made love to me way more than just those three times. I’m her servant, fan, and partner forever.

In Need of a Drink

I don’t think I’m an alcoholic because I’ve never cared for hard liquor, but I’m really efficient with the beers. Once I start drinking I keep drinking. Did someone bring home a six-pack today? I’ll drink the six tonight. Did someone bring home a case of beer? It’s gone in four days tops: sooner if I drink one or two in the afternoon before lighting up on them after the kids go to bed. In fact, one of our casual family guidelines is that beer is not brought into our home. I only consume alcohol at restaurants and other outings.

As one way of blowing off steam I have a regular every-other-Wednesday playdate with my friend Greg. He teaches an eventing class at the community college and we meet at at a local restaurant after his last class. Yeah, when I said restaurant I meant bar.

Because of late December close-to-Christmas-ness Greg and I missed our regular outing tonight. Man I was pissed. I look forward to the beer buzz. In fact, it’s a touchstone of my week; something I look forward to.

So I’m at home and pissed that Tee is out Christmas shopping on my beer night, and my beautiful wife brings home a six pack when she returns. Very nice. She’s too thoughtful/good for me.

Fussy Baby and Kids

That was today: Cameron wouldn’t take a nap, wouldn’t take a bottle, only wanted to be held and entertained. Holding the baby constantly means that I have to leave the Sisters to entertain themselves most of the time. That in turn means that toys end up spread all over the place and my parenting of all of their interpersonal conflicts becomes simply yelling at them from my perch on the couch with Cameron.

Wifey let me slip out to dinner and a movie with a friend of mine tonight: one of the Matthews. We saw Blood Diamonds. Its tale of greed, civil war, child soldiers, refugee families and violence upon violenct would have made for a very powerful documentary, but I ended up disgusted that this sort of thing is served up for entertainment. I spent much of the film silently asking God’s forgiveness for humanity’s many many sins.