Monday, September 26, 2011

month 9

Son, you are now three quarters of a year old...that's 0.75 if metric catches on in the States by the time you are old enough to care.

For the stat keepers - you still have only 2 teeth, although I feel more coming under your pink and healthy baby gums.  Your average hours of sleep per night has dropped back into the ~ 3-4 hours area.  You weigh just under 20 pounds.  Oh, and there's something else...

And suddenly, everything changed!

We love you, son.  This year is flying by, and it's both exhilarating and terrifying to see how having a kid transforms the formerly quotidian into an exhausted, happy mess of a family routine.

Monday, September 19, 2011

competing interests

Have you heard of the phenomenon where grocery store shoppers are confronted with 30+ kinds of ketchup and end up not buying any of them, basically overwhelmed by the choice?

I'm dealing with something kind of like that in my pursuit of an interesting life.  First, the givens:

  • I have a job that takes 40-ish hours a week
  • we have a home that requires a healthy amount of time to keep up
  • there's a 20lb ball of need rolling around my house that will take as many hours as you care to give it
now, the "discretionary":
  • i used to run, and thought at times that it might come to be one of the defining aspects of my middle years - "that guy runs, barefoot, for 10s of miles at a time!".  Now, the prospect of carving out X miles * 10 minutes is more involved than a quick check to see if I have 10X minutes open.
  • i'm interested in installing some solar power systems at the house, with a minimum goal of running some water pumps and lighting in the back yard and with an advanced goal of tying into the grid and watching my meter go backwards
  • speaking of the garden, the wife and I have had some lofty ideas about landscaping for aesthetics as well as gardening for produce to actually eat and show our child where at least some of his food comes from
  • continuing in the vein of food production, I've long had an interest in hydroponics and other methods of intense cultivation with minimal resource input - I like the idea of a year round herb garden in the house, plus maybe some peppers, tomatoes, etc
  • a long running theme in my relationship with a certain couple of friends has been an interest in writing and sharing our writing with the twin goals of encouraging each other's production and actually getting a finished product that could be shared/marketed/sold to a wider audience
  • maintain relationships - I have long prided myself on maintaining real world (non-Facebook) relationships with a handful of friends, but the last year or so has really put the strain to that effort.  Hanging out with or communicating regularly with friends should come naturally, but it sometimes seems that we (society) have restructured the mechanisms of life to make this sort of interaction more difficult rather than less.
I have all of these goals (and maybe sundry others), and I do occasionally make progress on one or two (I ran last week!  and might run today!  and I got into a frenzy of home improvements last month that resulted in under cabinet lights, a slightly more organized garage, blah blah blah) but in general I find that my head hits the pillow at the end of the day that saw me primarily deal with that 20lb ball of need, some grocery shopping, and enough work to get a paycheck in the pipeline.

My hope is that by naming and sharing the goals I may be able to see the situation in a slightly altered perspective and see a new way forward.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

book review

I recently re-read Lamb by Christopher Moore, and I enjoyed it thoroughly the second time through.

The full title is "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal", and I would like to say that I enthusiastically recommend it to any and all readers, but I suspect that the truth is more complicated.

The story is decidedly unorthodox in it's theology (mostly; see below), and many sincere Christians would likely be offended by many different aspects of the book, while many readers who come to the book without much exposure to modern Christianity might miss out on a good deal of the "inside" humor.

Lamb's general premise is that the 4 gospels recognized by the mainstream church cover only the beginning and end of the life and ministry of Jesus, and that approach leaves out a lot.  In order to fill in the missing years, "Biff" is resurrected by an angel, sent by his old buddy Jesus in the modern era, to write a new gospel in celebration of the second millenium (the book was published a few years back).

I find the book and the narrative of the Messiah's middle years very funny, and poignant, and spiritually edifying (from my decidedly liberal spiritual vantage, at least).  The likelihood that the novel gets the details correct about what Jesus did between 3 and 30 is pretty slim, but it's a fun speculation.

My own background of 1000s of hours in Sunday school and in personal study of the Bible made the references to the actual scripture jump out, and the way those references worked in the context of the narrative were often clever; in one instance, we see a young Jesus (and Biff) laboring at a housebuilding site where they hear the master craftsmen explain to the homeowner why the foundation had to be excavated down to the bedrock and back-filled, as a "house built upon the sand will not stand".

The liberal use of profanity, the open discussions of sex and sexuality, and the non-orthodox elements of the story did not bother me, but I can see how my more religiously inclined friends might take offense.  In an interesting twist, near the end of the book Biff offers a synopsis of the gospel as he saw Jesus teaching it, and the main points line up pretty tightly with the general, modern Protestant orthodox approach.

So, to wrap this up, I found the book entirely entertaining, and I think anyone interested in the story of Jesus or the evolution of the Christian faith, either from an insider or outsider perspective, would find it a good read.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It should be apparent

Being a parent can be so hard sometimes.