Tag Archives: my family

Until Next Christmas

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Today our Christmas tree comes down. It’s a big job and I’m still trying to pump myself up to do it. Has to be done, it’s getting too dry. But we always love our Christmas tree, and once it’s gone, we’ll miss it for a while.

The thing we want, though, is to make this Christmas work all year, by God’s sovereign grace, in answer to our prayers–to make it carry on all the way to Christmas 2019, drawing people’s hearts to Jesus Christ Our Lord, amen.

Memory Lane: Goofy Stories

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I grew up in a large family, and as the first of the grandchildren, I got a lot of attention. It was all loving attention, but some of it was a little bit odd.

I’m thinking of certain things that certain adults told me that turned out to be quite untrue. For instance, Grammy (my daddy’s mother) told me never to swallow chewing gum because, if I did, a gum tree would grow inside me. I can’t say I believed that; but I did stop swallowing chewing gum.

When I went to kindergarten, I was upset at being away from home, so I cried. This encouraged the other kids to pick on me mercilessly, to make me cry some more, for their amusement–good old public schooling!–but Grandma (my mommy’s mother) had a solution. Watching the news on her small-screen TV, with me sitting on the floor by her feet, she pointed at the screen and said, “See that man? He’s never cried in all his life. And now he’s on television!” I forget which newscaster that was–it’ll come to me at 2 a.m. tonight.

Now, why did Grandma say that? Obviously I already had no chance to match the newsman’s level of stoicism, I’d already blown that. Even at five years old, I found that story a little hard to believe.

My grandmothers told me those weird stories for my good, because they loved me. It just seems, in retrospect, a funny way to show it.

How about you? Did you ever get any curious stories like that? If it’s not too embarrassing, please share! I’d hate to think I was the only one.

The Dinosaur Whose Name Kids Can’t Pronounce


I was administering a spelling quiz one day at St. Helena’s School, fifth grade, and I asked the kids if they’d like to tackle a really hard word for extra credit. They were all for it, so I gave them a minute to get ready, then laid it on:


And waddayaknow! None of them got it.

Piatnitzskysaurus was a 20-foot-long carnivorous dinosaur from the Jurassic Period in Argentina. Not many people have heard of it.

We adults are sometimes abashed by the ease with which small children toss around the names of dinosaurs that stymie us grownups. But when I wrote “Piatnitzkysaurus” on the blackboard, these really rather bright children just threw up their hands.

It makes me think of a time long ago when Uncle Bernie was trying to read to me from a dinosaur book and stumbling over the names, none of which he’d ever seen before–but of course I knew them already, even at the age of eight. Oh, he had a devil of a time with Ramphorhynchus! I remember it kept coming out as “Rumpadykus.” But he meant well, and for me it will remain a fond memory.

So the next time a little kid tries to show off at your expense by throwing around the names of dinosaurs, fire back with Piatnitzkysaurus. He or she will be in awe of you.

Movie Review: ‘Death on the Nile’ (1978)

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We hadn’t seen this movie in several years, so we watched it the other day and it was just as wonderful as ever.

It isn’t always easy to get an all-star cast to work together, but in Death on the Nile, the stars are out in force. What a cast! Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot, supported by David Niven, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, Lois Chiles, Maggie Smith, Simon MacCorkindale, Jack Warden, Olivia Hussey–whew! With Angela Lansbury, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of an alcoholic romance writer who’s seen better days. Fantastic performances all around.

And if you like movies with lavish sets, exotic locations, and a plot that twists and turns all over the place–well, this one’s for you. Want escape? This film’s got it. For 140 minutes, you’re out of here. Much, much better than the David Suchet remake.

In a little while, we’re going to follow our New Year’s custom of watching George Pal’s 1960 classic, The Time Machine. Followed by Patty’s heavenly pork casserole for supper.

Happy New Year, everybody!

A Lesson for Puppies

I can sympathize with these little puppies and their aversion to tackling stairs for the first time. It reminds me of my first time on a bicycle without training wheels.

No problem, my father was going to hold on to the back and push, all I’d have to do was pedal. I did that, and got going pretty fast. But I still hadn’t quite gotten the hang of steering, and soon a hazard loomed before me: The Ruts. That was just a little bumpy area where the playground met the end of our street, but my mother, for no reason I will ever understand, had told me that The Ruts were too hard even for the big kids. Why in the world did she tell me that?

Anyhow, I was headed straight for The Ruts, so I turned around to tell my father to stop the bike ’cause I didn’t know how, The Ruts are comin’–and he wasn’t there! He’d let go some minutes ago, and was standing some distance away with his hands on his hips, all smiles because his little boy could ride a bike. Only when the little boy discovered that, the little boy went down like a ton of bricks! Fap!

Pups, I feel your pain.

The Ol’ Milestone… Almost

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It looks like I’m going to fall short of 100,000 views for the year by a little less than 2,000. So close!

I believe it was Violet Crepuscular–or was it Voltaire?–who said life is like a Mille Bornes game. You’re rolling along, slapping down those 100-mile cards, sometimes a 200, and suddenly you’ve got a flat tire (“Creve!”), or a red light, or a speed limit (“Limite de Vitesse”) and you’re either stopped or slowed. You need a spare tire (“Roue de Secours”) or a green light, whatever, to get going again. Unless you were holding on to a Puncture-Proof (“Increvable!”) or a Right of Way card: then you can execute a Coup Fourre. But it’s hard to come up with a Coup Fourre in real life. Although not as hard as pulling one off in a game of Monopoly.

I’ve just written my Newswithviews column for the week. I only have to write one of those per week, but it feels like a lot more.

But tomorrow’s New Year’s Day, and we are hoping for a rest. We like to watch The Time Machine on New Year’s Day–that wonderful George Pal production from 1960, starring Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux. And we’ll have Patty’s pork casserole for supper–heavenly! And since we set up our air purifier and started her on her medicine, Robbie hasn’t coughed much. If she’s coughed today, I missed it. She’s been a very good girl about her medicine.

So again, thanks to all of you who visited this blog throughout the year, and shared your comments–and your prayers–and gave us your fellowship.

Tomorrow we’ll crank it up again.

Can Your Cat Speak English?

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They say a dog has the intelligence of a two-year-old child and can understand more than a hundred words.

My old orange cat, Buster, had that beat by miles. Two examples:

As he sat in the window, I remarked to him, “Buster, have you noticed how fat your sister’s getting? She needs more exercise. Why don’t you chase her up the stairs?” He jumped down from the window and did just that.

Another time, while he was recovering from dental surgery and still a little groggy, and slow in getting motivated, I made a suggestion to him, based on the fact that we had his litter box upstairs in the bathroom. “Whattaya say, Buster? How about we go up to the bathroom and have a pee?” And up he went, straight to the litter box: and he was just fine after that.

Another one of our cats, Henry, liked baseball and would argue about it to the best of his ability. I’m sure he understood what I was saying to him, but I was much too dense to understand what he was saying to me. It was either about stealing bases or stealing the runners who were on the bases; I couldn’t figure out which.

We’ve Got Our Air Purifier

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We were going to watch BBC Narnia today, but you know there’s never any rest. Our air purifier arrived ten days early, in a gigantic box, and we’ve just finished setting it up, after 2:30 p.m. It’s getting kind of crowded here, what with the Christmas tree and now this device.

Okay, it’s plugged in and humming away, supposedly removing allergens from our air. I have high hopes for this. Robbie’s cough, Patty’s trouble breathing, and my allergy attacks which bring on sinus infections–if we can clean the air, all three of us might be doing better. But it is technology, which means I don’t understand it, and won’t be able to fix it if anything goes wrong. So all I can do is give it a few days and see if it makes a difference. I will have to spend more time dusting than I used to: the replacement filters are expensive.

Please pray that this winds up working for us!

Back from the Vet

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All right: X-rays, blood work, antibiotic injection, thorough examination–the works. You should see the bill. They had to give me smelling salts. And of course Robbie didn’t cough the whole time she was at the doctor’s. In fact, she hasn’t yet coughed today.

For the time being, the antibiotics might help, our new air purifier (due in January) might help, and they’re going to do further study of the blood work and the X-rays just to make sure they know what’s what. Please, Lord, let the air purifier be the solution to the problem. That’ll be me you see turning cartwheels on the lawn.

So that’s that for now. I came home and ate soup and brownies. It’s my freak-out and I’ll handle it my way.

Everybody, your prayers are greatly appreciated.

*Sigh* … Back to the Vet

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Our cat, Robbie, has had a bit more than her share of tribulating. I’ve got to take her to the vet first thing tomorrow because lately, for no reason we can think of, she’s coughing. We had at least two years of having to medicate her for that, and at last the cough went away… but now it’s back.

In the meantime, the cost of the asthma medicine has doubled and you just can’t find a rubber mask that fits over a cat’s face to deliver the medicine. We used to have one, but they don’t last forever and now we can’t find a new one. And we’re still medicating her for a hyper thyroid. I don’t know: maybe that medicine needs to be a little weaker. She’s put on more weight than we’d like to see. Maybe that’s making her cough. We just don’t know. Hopefully the doctor does.

It seems all of us around here are taking turns being sick. Gets to be a bit wearing, after a while. We would be thankful for your prayers.

If you don’t see any posts here tomorrow morning, it’s because I’m not here, either.

This was supposed to be our week off.

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