Category Archives: Musings

Ancient foes?

Catching Up

One of the problems with our blog being out of commission for so long, is that our life did not stay on-hold. Instead, it rushed onward with little regard for the lack of proper recognition. As everyone knows, if an event isn’t recorded on the blog, it didn’t happen. For that reason, I will try to recap.

Perhaps most significantly, we brought home not one, but two kittens. No, I can’t really explain how that happened, although I suspect that a blow to the head may have featured prominently. Miri (five months) and Misty (two months) have settled into our home as if they have always ruled here, graciously allowing us to serve them in various capacities. I must say, it is pleasant to have the pitter-patter of little feet around the house again, even if it is of the four-footed variety.

Although they first were not the best of friends, the two kittens alternate between chasing each other as ancient foes, and napping together as bosom buddies. They survived their first visit to the veterinarian, and have accustomed themselves to our chaotic household as much as is possible.

Ancient foes?

So much for bitter emnity.

The second interesting thing that happened in January was a sudden snowstorm. Here in Washington, we mostly keep the snow on the mountains (where it belongs, according to many grown-ups). It is not unusual to have an entire winter devoid of any significant snowfall in the lowlands, especially as close as we are to the Puget Sound. Last year was like that — I think we received only an inch or so. Very disappointing to kids.

In January 2012, however, it was a different story.

Death-defying sledder

The kids lost no time in putting together a sledding party, at a nearby golf course.

When this year’s snow arrived, there was much rejoicing. We had as much as 8 inches of snow one day, and another inch or two the next. If it weren’t for widespread power outages, the storm would have been even more appreciated, as schedules and plans were canceled, and families hunkered down.

Sarah and Julia

Sarah really enjoyed having Julia visit.

We were powerless for only about 90 minutes, and were able to host some friends overnight — it was a festive occasion from our perspective. (Not so fun for those who went 4+ days without power, losing freezer food in the process, heating stones on their outside grills and then wrapping & putting them in beds, just like in Little House on the Prairie.)

Of course, after a week or so, everyone is done with the snow, and expects it to melt away (which it, being Washington snow, properly did). I have to chuckle when I compare it with memories of Michigan and Connecticut snows, which turned to ice and became a near-permanent part of driveways and sidewalks, for months and months.

As always, it is impossible to reflect on a month gone by without mentioning how blessed we are by our Lord Jesus. God is so good to us, in so many ways. We have been mostly healthy (apart from the sore throat and cold that is stalking us this week) and much happier than we deserve. Thanks to a bonus from my employer, we were able to pay off all our Christmas debt, and we are looking forward to Spring with joy and eager anticipation.


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Not my actual website

Three Weeks of Bloglessness

I should have known. As soon as I made a New Year’s resolution to blog every day, I knew something would go wrong. I made it eight days, and then Kathy made an innocent request:

“Why can’t we change our blog theme? Can’t we upgrade our version of WordPress so we can change the theme? I hate having to wait for you to change the background and graphics …cause you’re so busy, dear. “

Right then, I should have told her what I tell my work customers, when I don’t want to do something: “That just isn’t technically feasible at this time.” But, then, she wouldn’t believe me anyway.

Or I could’ve said, “Tell you what. Here’s a thousand dollars to forget about upgrading.” I would’ve been way ahead, in terms of the cost of my time.

But I was naive and I agreed to do it. Oh, wait; one minor problem, if I upgrade WordPress, I’ve got to upgrade PHP and MySQL. OK, no big deal, I did that — so far only a few hours lost. Then I upgraded our blog, and sat back to enjoy the rest upon my laurels.

Not my actual website

For about 10 minutes, until the website went down. And stayed down. And wouldn’t come back up for more than a few minutes at a time, no matter how I cried, cajoled, fussed, and opened trouble-tickets with my hosting company.

It seems the increased resource utilization of the new versions of PHP and MySQL were just too much for my little server. So I upgraded the server — still no luck.

Eventually, I moved to another hosting company and built a new server from the ground up. Along the way, I learned a lot about the CentOS variant of Linux, about Postfix, and Spamassassin. I learned to perform a variety of sysadmin tasks I had never needed to bother with, as a snooty programmer. You, of course, have now learned more about these topics than you ever could have wanted.

Unless you’re a nerd. In that case, you’re probably saying, “You fool! Why didn’t you just limit the Spamassassin settings to one child process, and set MaxSpareServers in Apache to something reasonable, like 5?

Please feel free to identify yourself in either camp, in a comment. Altogether, I spent at least sixty hours (unpaid, of course) doing all this.

But now, I think the blog is up, and hopefully up to stay. If only I thought it was worth it. I hope she likes this plain, white background…


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DSC_1464 (Medium)

A Visit with Timothy

My nephew Timothy has been visiting with us the last few days; it has been a pleasure for us to have him with us. Sadly, he heads back to college tomorrow, taking some of the fun with him. On Friday, he joined us for a game party, and on Saturday he helped to pick out Rachel’s new kitten. Today we taught him to play Stone Age — I particularly like having him around because he takes even longer than I do, to decide what to do in a given game-turn.

I’m always being hassled for my careful, deliberate style in playing games. The kids like to tease me about it:

“Hey Mom,” one of them will quip. “It’s my turn after Dad’s turn, so I won’t be able to wash a load of laundry. I can, however, wash the dishes, clean my room, mow the yard and attend a swim meet while we wait for Dad.”

My children are hilarious.

Timothy missed his little brother, so Daniel stood in for Samuel.

I think part of the problem is that I play games, not so much against the other players, but against myself. I want to play each game (within the context of the luck of the draw and the choices of the other players) in the most efficient way, maximizing my chance to win. I don’t so much care if I win or lose, but mostly I want to be sure to squeeze every possible advantage out of each of my turns. I particularly hate to win when I don’t know how or why I was victorious.

It was a good day. We enjoyed Tung’s teaching on Luke 6 in Sunday School, an excellent lecture by Andy Frye of Worldview Academy fame, and a delicious meal back at home. My parents came by for a quick visit and belated birthday celebration for Timothy, and then we read a few chapters of our latest Gordon Korman book (A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag). We played a few more games (Race to the Galaxy, Stone Age) and finished the evening with a Tim Hawkins DVD. All in all, we counted the day a success.

Sometimes you count yourself lucky to get your own hand back from a game-turn.

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The End of All Things

I never thought it would come to this.

In spite of all the hype of the Mayan calendar, and 2012, and all that, I didn’t really think that the world would end this year.

Don’t get me wrong — Jesus can return any time He likes. But now the clock is ticking: Rachel picked out a kitten today at the Humane society, and we’re scheduled to bring it home on Friday.

Rachel with her soon-to-be-adopted kitten.

We’ve been without a pet for so long, we don’t really believe it will happen, I’ve been racking my brain for what will prevent us from being cat-owners; this is why I am feeling so apocalyptic.

Kathy tried to stage this picture, telling them all to point at the kitten … but she forgot to tell them where to point.

Clearly, we’ve forgotten all the lessons we learned from previous pet ownership, as chronicled in The Cowardly Cavy Caper.

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Photo-less Friday

Some days nothing works.

This was such a day. I upgraded our version of WordPress to 3.something at Kathy’s insistence, but in doing so, I pretty much killed our web host. We keep running out of memory for the simplest tasks, and every time I get the server up, my spam software stops working.

Anyway, I can’t seem to upload photos to the blog under the new setup, just yet. Maybe tomorrow.

Still, we had a lovely game night, and (although I lost a lot) I had a good time. I ate WAY too much, and (to add insult to injury) forgot to go to AnyTime Fitness after everyone had left. Now it is too late (yes, I know, AnyTime is open … ANY time) — I just can’t bring myself to leave the house now, when it is so late.

Lets hope that tomorrow brings me great success in all my various goals.

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