Monday, Bloody Monday

ginger
My son got sick in the middle of the night Saturday night and didn’t quite make it to whatever receptacle you prefer to the floor. Like, he walked around the room while it was happening and I wasn’t even aware it happened until 1 am Sunday morning. That was a lovely hour of bleary eyed cleaning, and I just cleaned just enough to get by. I wife went through a second time on Sunday.

The good news is he’s feeling fine now, though I’m still feeling a bit scrambled today. So, enjoy another photo of our kitten. Pictures of cats are blog-cheating, I know. But on the other hand, meh.

Always Cats

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So the above has happened at our house. After having gone 14 years with the knowledge we would never have a pet because of my wife’s allergies and lack of every having one, we got a cat. Then we got another. Both are from shelters.

You see, our daughter had become obsessed with cats. Like really obsessed. Talked about them constantly. My daughter is also in the gifted program at school. Her IQ is like just below Evil Mad Scientist. And so we got her an encyclopedia of cats which she read from cover to cover and memorized and can now tell us all the different breeds and traits from memory. If you even need to know about the Maine Coon, I have the girl for you.

Then she would just sit at the computer looking at the local shelter’s cats. She would just sit there staring longingly, or sometimes call us over to tell us how cute the kittens were. Then we took her to the shelter, just to look. At some point along the lines, my wife broke down and we got the first cat.

And then we were visiting my wife’s family and her childhood friend was fostering a bunch of kittens. We were just going over to look. But there was this little orange poof of a cat there. So cute. And then we had two cats.

And our lives are improved by it, I think. They add a bit of independent happiness to our lives and they entertain each other well enough. Things are good. We are happy.

But the poop. The poop I could do without.

Welcome Everybody

I’ve gotten a crap-ton of new “followers” here the past few weeks. I’m sure a few are bots and such, but I imagine some of you are real people, so thanks for the follow! I’ve been blogging much less the past few years but there is a ton in the back catalog(the My Fiction tag here is a nice place to start) and I hope to write more in the coming year.

How NOT To Wake Up In The Morning

Note: This is also posted at my main blog, paulliadis.com/blog

About two weeks ago, I had a really rough time at my ice hockey game. It was 6:30 on a Saturday morning, and I was tired, and we were coming off a two week hiatus due to Penn State Spring Break (we have a lot of students in the league and therefore wouldn’t have much players while they are gone). Anyway, those are my excuses. It felt like I was wearing two left skates that game. I fell numerous times for no reason, which doesn’t happen to me anymore. I also took a pretty good check near the front of the net, which resulted in a penalty for the other team. By the end of the night, my back was wrecked.

And it was sore for the next week or so, sore in a way it never has been before. It was pretty rough, to be honest.

Last week, I was sick most of the week and so was my son (4 years old). We did a lot of laying around. That sucked, but it gave my back some time to heal. In fact, I would say by yesterday it was back to normal. And then this morning happened.

So, my son hasn’t been sleeping well because his nose is all stuffy and he can’t kick his fever. So every hour or so he’ll meander over to our room and ask for me. Always me. There’s no real reason why he wants me, I mean our daughter always asks for he mum. It’s just what they do. He asks for me, I place him in his bed, and once it seems he’s asleep, I go back to my room. So, the past few nights I’ve been waking every hour, just as I’m about to fall asleep. I might as well have a newborn.

This is how things went last night until around 5:30 AM, at which point I put the kid in the bed with us and then once I knew he was asleep I snuck to his room, hoping for what would in all honesty be a power nap. In the other room, my alarm was set for 6:45 AM so I could wake for work.

That hour of sleep was glorious. I settled into a nice, deep rest. I couldn’t tell you what I dreamt of, but I do know I was in a deep enough sleep to hit REM.

Then the alarm went off.

What happened next would make a great slapstick comedy scene in a Tim Allen movie. Exhausted, schlubby old Dad, rapidly flips over to switch off the alarm, only to send himself airborne, face-first to the floor. Dad lands on his face/left hand and tweaks his just-healed sore back. This will be HILARIOUS in the movie version. The real-life version isn’t as funny, although I appreciated the blog post material.

So yeah, sore and tired today. It could be worse, though. In the Tim Allen version, I’m sure the poor toolman would’ve landed on a toy on the floor and injured his wang.

A Cough In The Night: A Parent’s Nightmare

I’m a light sleeper. This needs to be said upfront. If there is a noise in the night I hear it. Except for my own snoring.

One of the most frightening noises in the night I’ve found, as a parent, is the child’s cough in the night. Not just any cough. THE COUGH. The one where you hear it and your think to yourself, “whelp, looks like I’ll be doing laundry at 2:30 AM”. That cough.

You are usually okay if it’s just one cough. I mean, hey, humans (yes, kids are humans) cough. But if you hear a bunch of them, strung together, and that last one sounds a little…wet? You better get yourself on your horse and in that kid’s bedroom. Oh, and on your way, grab whatever trash can, bucket, snow boot you can get. What you catch now, you won’t have to clean up later.

This happened last night, which is why I’m writing. I hear my 4 year old son in the other room, cough, and fight or flight kicked in. I got there in time, only without the bucket. That’s when I called for my wife for backup.

To be honest, though, I think I’m a bit lucky in this regard. I have a co-worker who has this happen like once a week and all night. Ours are more like twice a year and one and done. Stuff happens. Kid feels better. I wrote that last sentence because I don’t believe in jinxes. Fingers crossed.

So, whatever. I’m a bit tired today, but my wife has it worse. She’ll be home with both sickies today, most likely watching Disney all day. Maybe they’ll watch Wreck it Ralph again. That’s a good flick.

(note: this post also appears at my main blog paulliadis.com/blog I’m posting here as well because people actually read my stuff here)

What Do You Do by Mr. Rogers

I came across this song written by Mr. Rogers today and just had to share it. It’s as relevant today as when he featured it on his program. I’m certain adults would do well to ponder his words as well.

Oh, and did I mention he read this before the United States Senate?

What Do You Do?
Fred Rogers

What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong
And nothing you do seems very right?
What do you do?
Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag?
Or see how fast you go?

It’s great to be able to stop
When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song!

I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish.
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman.
And a boy can be someday a man.

Oh, it’s great to be able to stop!
When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song!

I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish.
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman
And a boy can be someday a man

I know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can…

That’s what you do!

Ponder This

“If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor’s crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.”

This Sunday is the tenth anniversary of the terrible attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania that occurred Septerber 11, 2001. It was a dark day in this nation’s history. There is no question about that. I only wish we had reacted to that dark day in a different way.

The War Prayer

by Mark Twain

It was a time of great exulting and excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and sputtering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest depths of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles, beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast doubt upon its righteousness straight way got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety’s sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came – next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams – visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! – then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation:

“God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest, Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!”

Then came the “long” prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory – An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher’s side and stood there, waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, “Bless our arms, grant us victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!”

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside – which the startled minister did – and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:

“I come from the Throne – bearing a message from Almighty God!” The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. “He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import – that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of – except he pause and think.

“God’s servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two – one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this – keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor’s crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

“You have heard your servant’s prayer – the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it – that part which the pastor – and also you in your hearts – fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: ‘Grant us victory, O Lord our God!’ That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory – must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

“O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them – in spirit – we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with hurricanes of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.”

[After a pause.] “Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits.”

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

Where Oh Where Is Our Leader?

 Now it is time to take longer strides–time for a great new American enterprise–time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on Earth.

Source

These were the words of President John Kennedy in 1961, urging our country to be a leader in the quest to step foot on the moon. We have no such leadership anymore.

Just imagine President Obama, saying that line above but replacing “space achievement” with renewable energy. Maybe it isn’t so hard to fathom. Now, however, imagine him taking real concrete steps and leadership in that direction. A pipe dream, no?

You can get pretty depressed thinking about it, to be honest. That the people we have elected to lead us don’t have the will, desire, or influence to do what is right. And it has depressed me until I realized that we still have power and influence. Sure, we don’t have the power over a nation. We do however, have power over ourselves.

This is how change is going to happen. Sure isn’t going to come from Washington. There’s too much money influence in oil and coal and natural gas. We’re gonna have to do it ourselves.

Think about it. We all have control of our households. We can recycle. We can use better light bulbs. We can shy away from plastic, and reuse things rather than throwing them away.

Let’s focus our attention a little further. Do you work in an office? Do they recycle or compost? Would it really take much effort to start? How about the school your kids attend? And what about the town you live in? And so on and so on.

Pretty soon people get used to greener ways of life. It becomes the new norm. They start asking “why don’t we recycle?”. If enough people start asking, eventually those in charge will have to listen. They would be losing too much money not to.

Where is our leader? Take a peek in a mirror.