Dec 28, 2011

Welch Village Tiësto Powder

I'm without child this week for Christmas break.  I probably should be cleaning toilets or dehoarding my daughter's room, but I'd rather play on powder.  Escaped to ski Welch Village the last couple days.  Also drank a Caribou with blog friend Cari.  She likes her coffee frou-frou style.






Off to the toilets and dehoarding Pigtails' room I go! 

-Beard

Dec 23, 2011

Defending the Defenseless

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.  - Luke 2:7

Mistletoe smooches and red-wrapped packages itch to be ripped.  Hot spiked cider ushers in Christmas cheer.  Alas, I'm kidless and alone this holiday, so I have time to ponder and write about a topic I'm passionate about. 

This post is dedicated to the millions of sons, daughters, mommies, daddies and grandparents that will never have the opportunity to celebrate a Christmas.  They will never be.

I recently submitted a comment response to an abortion post on the blog Becoming a Super Mommy.  The author chose not to publish my comment.  It'd be a waste for a thoughtful response to be snuffed out, so I'll post it up here.

The gist of Super Mommy's piece was a pro-choice essay on abortion.  She wrote her article in a respectful manner, without name-calling those that oppose her opinion.  I'm thankful for that, and enjoy discussing with people that don't try and sucker-punch me in the nuts.

The problem I have with Super Mommy's post is not that I disagree with her opinion, but rather the high number of factual errors she slipped in.  The point of my response was not to provide my opinion or say her thinking process is tarnished, but rather to correct inaccuracies so readers can make up their own opinion with accurate information. 

I won't make any friends with this post, but I don't care.  Let's go:

Dear Super Mommy,

Thanks for posting on this topic.  I enjoy reading an opposing view when it's well thought out and respectful, which is how you scribed your post. 

I'd like to correct a few inaccuracies in your article.  Some of your "facts" are flat wrong.  I'll do my best to deliver this in a respectful manner.  I'll put parts of your post in "bold quotes" below, followed by my responses. 

"I don't believe that an embryo is a person." 

Criminal law recognizes an embryo as a person.  Most state laws are written such that when a pregnant mother is murdered, the perpetrator is charged with double murder, regardless of how many weeks pregnant the mom is.   

"Let's talk about that word- choice...." 

You fail to mention the choice of the father.  Mothers alone are allowed to abort the baby, regardless of the choice of the father or the baby.  

You also say you don't believe a baby is human until about 20 weeks.  

You know that 1% of all abortions in this country are performed after 20 weeks (1), right?  And 1% works out to nearly 16,500 babies per year.  So in the past 30 years, that is nearly 500,000 "humans by your definition" that have been aborted.   Hundreds of thousands, no, MILLIONS of babies have been aborted that would choose life if they could speak.  To say that abortion should be the choice of the mother alone is a close-minded approach.  An open minded angle would allow the father and baby to have a say in it.  Since the baby can't speak, it's the duty of a civil and Godly society to protect those that are the most fragile and defenseless.

"There's a reason that abortion isn't mentioned in the Bible too directly- it was totally accepted.
God and I are firmly on the same side of the personhood issue.  If anything, I'm more pro-life than He is."

Um, you conveniently left out a large heap of Bible verses that hit on babies in the womb.  Unsure if you haven't read the Bible or are choosing to exclude verses that don't support your position.  Since your readers should read the truth, I'll fill in the blanks for their sake.  Below are a few verses, I can keep going if you'd like:
Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers? (Job 31:15).
Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God (Psalm 22:9-10).
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:13-16).
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute (Proverbs 31:8).
Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked (Psalm 82:3-4).
Children are a heritage from the LORD,
offspring a reward from him (Psalm 127:3)
This is what the LORD says—he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you...(Isaiah 44:2).
Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived,
And now the LORD says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength (Isaiah 49:5).
          When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb... (Luke 1:41)
The word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1:4-5).

"First of all, it would be a miracle to women who want to have babies everywhere- one in three pregnancies end in early miscarriage."

Wrong, the correct answer is 20% (1 in 5) of pregnancies end in miscarriage (2).

"The vast majority of abortions occur within six weeks of conception."

Wrong.  Please be honest when stating your "facts".  The data doesn't support what you are saying.  The truth is 67% of all abortions are performed AFTER 6 weeks (1): 

Center for Disease Control abortion data from 2008:
6 weeks - 33%
7 weeks - 19.8%
8 weeks - 15%
9+ weeks - 32.2%

"
The US laws regarding adoption put so many protections in place for the birth parents that at almost any time, a family can simply lose their adopted child."

I agree with you that adoption is (in my opinion) overly expensive and a difficult thing to pull off, especially in the U.S.  Wish there was a way to do it with less red tape while also protecting, screening, and ensuring the children will be adopted by safe and loving families.  I respect those that take on children through foster care or adoption.  I am considering housing a foster child at some point, but it might be difficult to turn the knobs and make it happen being a single dad.

"A lot of people say that if you don't want to have a baby, you shouldn't have sex.  But that is nonsense.  Sex is a fundamental, basic need of most adults." 

Abstinence and self control are differentiators between humans and dogs.  We don't go around sniffing each others butts, and we have the ability to control sex.  I've chosen to refrain for 8 years since I'm living outside the covenant of marriage.  Not what I want to do, but I am choosing to do the right thing.  And I've also decided to not sniff any butts.

Final point, then I'll shut my cake hole.  Your last section gets to the gut of your post and your priorities: 

"Imagine working on your Ph.D. and being pregnant....should you give it all up in order to have a baby?"

Wow.  That's a bleak set of spectacles through which to view life.  You believe it an intrusive inconvenience to give up a Ph.D. to have a baby?  Help me understand how earning a degree > creating human life?  I would die for my daughter, let alone sacrifice a degree.

The very nature of parenthood is sacrifice.  My wish for mothers considering abortion is their hearts would be softened so they'll choose self sacrifice rather than forcing their son or daughter to pay the ultimate sacrifice.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. - Joshua 24:14 

-Beard  

Dec 18, 2011

Pigtails' Christmas List = OfficeMax

My daughter's hooked on playing school these days.  

I often hear markers scribble-tapping the whiteboard down in the basement as she teaches a class of 25 invisible 3rd-graders.  Girl recreates the entire school day, from morning Pledge of Allegiance and prayer to spelling bees, pop math quizzes, recess, lunch, art clay pots and PE.  No siblings to quench her tutoring thirst, so I get coerced into joining up and playing the part of a random hyper kid in class that gets busted and his name written on the naughty board. 

She seems to get a "fix" when writing names on the board, casually daring me to act up and talk without raising my hand to see what happens.

I learned you earn a free ride to the Principal's office after three ticks beside your name.  And there's a limit to how many times you can ask to go to the bathroom in a 3-minute period.










"shut your mouth or you're off to be paddled by nuns!"



Which brings us to her Christmas list.



filthy fingers wants not 1, but 5 hand sanitizers

Good selection there, including a detective kit, gift cards, an elf and a sister.  She later scratched off a few things she didn't feel would happen this year, like a step mom and make-up.  I asked her the top two items she wants the most.  Without delay, she lit up and yelled "highlighters and red pens for playing school, of course!"  Kid explained it's difficult to grade papers without those tools.

Fine by me.  I can knock out her top wishlist items with a $3 OfficeMax flyby.

-Beard

Dec 15, 2011

Night Run

My daughter was away for a couple hours last night, so I grabbed the camera and snuck in a quiet night run.  

1:45 into the video, I was cruising past this cozy bistro in my neighborhood.  Slipped by unnoticed as dates laughed and a busy chef worked the flames.  Never eaten there, I should.





There is extra ordinary in everyday life.  You just have to search a little.  And be in shape.

-Beard

Dec 12, 2011

Song #49

Church yesterday, the cantor directs us to page #49 of the hymnal.  Page 49 was stuck to page 48.  I wedged my finger in there and carefully pried them apart, afraid I was going to rip one.  

Inspected the page and noticed a plump dried booger hiding there in the lower right-hand corner.  That puppy welded the leafs together like crazy glue.  Song #49 is Patience, People.  Apparently, the gentleman/toddler/wild baboon clutching the hymnal the prior week was lacking patience to the degree that they invoked the pick and wipe method rather than unloading into a hanky.  

I tried to ignore and sing Patience, People, but it was too late.  No sound, but my stomach was going up and down as I suppressed a laugh before communion. 

Pigtails caught on, she covered her mouth and pointed, then we both cracked up.  Once you start laughing, it's hard to stop.

Who does that, uses a hymnal as a Kleenex?

-Beard

Dec 11, 2011

Techno Trail Trot

White dust and a bright 30 degrees, perfect day for a 60 minute, 9-mile trail run.  If you missed your workout this weekend, no worries.  I burned the calories for you.  Easier than a 5-minute abs VHS, simply hit play below while tipping back a Diet Dew.  You'll be able to breath again without needing to unstrap your pants.

Spotted a pair of bald eagles hooking fish from the river, four white-tails hauling the mail and an awake owl.  No humans.  I think they're all at Wal*Mart buying Christmas crap the chubby brats will be bored of by 12/27.

I've written how much I enjoy these wooded runs.  
Now I'll show you.

 

-Beard

Dec 7, 2011

Warm Summer Art

Late autumn's draft goose bumps my back on the walk into work.  And a 10-degree wind chill shreds my lips to paper on lunch runs.

So let's flip the bird at December's bite and soak up warmth for a few minutes.

Summer festivals are the best.  The Art Fair's a full day of free, Pigtails returns home with a smile and face painted, clutching a goody bag stocked with treasures she crafted.   

Rewind to June, digital SLR gets it done:








  












































































































































Alright, back to reality now.  I'd better pull out the shovel, a white storm's blowing in.     

What would you be doing right now if it were 80 degrees outside?  If you're one of those jerks luckies who lives where it's nice year round...I don't want to hear it.

-Beard

Dec 5, 2011

Bubble Gum On My Beard: Put the Seat Down

Cari from Bubble Gum On My Shoe bats out her third guest post today.  We've been doing this joint blog thingy where I post on her blog and vise-versa, providing two different angles on the same topic.  
 
We plunged into the early days of single parenting with part 1 and pontificated on single parent self esteem in part 2.  This time, we talk about the future of parenting, especially for a single mom raising a boy and me raising a girl.  Head over to Cari's blog if you'd like choke the smoke I'm blowing.  

Cari's up:
 
It’s a safe assumption my newborn son could smell my fear as my husband and I walked out of the hospital. Males are sparse in my family, girls I know, boys...not so much. To comfort myself I muttered, 
I'll potty train the girl, the boy is yours. Any "talks" about sex, related questions and any other general maintenance in the lower region will fall to the gender specific parent.
We high-fived and went home. Utterance to the wind people; two years later I was divorced with a 4 year old daughter and a 2 year old son. So how is this young chap going to fair being raised by a single mama? Some room for speculation here, but as you will see; he will have valid reasons for Therapy down the road.
I don't force gender specific toys, boys need to learn to be nurturing and girls need to pretend to blow things up and wrestle every so often. Perhaps the scales are tipped in favor of my daughter who paints my son's nails, and dresses him in glittery pink tutus; but she'll also participate in an episode of 'when dinosaurs set fire to and destroy the shark ship'. They play, they are kids. I'm not worried about what anything might "mean", my son has Autism, I'm just glad he's playing with toys period!  My non-issue with the toys has produced a very girly-girl and a rough and tumble boy.
I never thought I'd say, "How did you get so dirty?" and "where are your pants?” multiple times a day. The pants-less-ness is astounding alone.  And boys are smelly, I don't get it. We are still facing the hurdle of standing to pee. I never realized this was a big deal until I blogged about it. It made me recognize I know nothing about the rites of passage where the malegenitalia is concerned; I can't write my name in the snow with pee or just unzip and let it go. The fact that I have to deal with penis related issues makes me anxious. Have I answered the question, "why is my pee-pee bigger?" NO!  NO I have not. I'm terrified and can't think of anything that is appropriate for a repetitious 5 year old and doesn't sound like it's straight out of the Encyclopedia Britannica. And really, I can't honestly answer a question of that magnitude to a child I refer to as Boo-Boo. More therapy.
My hope is that his Dad will be around to answer some questions to which I have no answer when he is older. If he isn't, I'll do the best I can. The teen years with my daughter worry me more than my son. I dislike that my son doesn't have a good role model present displaying what a good husband and father should be. I will have to continue to make sure men like that are in his life.
I can say this, for my son as he grows older, he will be sensitive to the needs of women. He'll have no choice really, poor kid. I'll also get to mold my perfect gentleman, yeah, yeah, stop rolling your eyes and let me dream a little longer. One thing is for certain, he will be loved and know it, and that is what's most important.
 
Oh, he does put the seat down, every time. You're welcome future Mrs. Boo-Boo, you're welcome.
 

Dec 1, 2011

A Single Dad's Dating Diatribe - 3, The Game


Today, let's blow darts at The Game.

The Game is one of good intentions but oft sour results.  A dating couple smears on the plastic grin and pretends to be that which they are not in order to be a good catch.  

You know what I'm talking about.  

Neither person farts, she's without blemish and the two of you have barely a verbal smackdown the first year of getting to know each other. 

It makes sense that we act this way.  After all, nobody would date us if they knew our flaws, sin and undesirable traits, right?  So we gloss over our own skeletons and perhaps the junk of the other person and pretend everything's great.

But wouldn't it be in the best interest for a couple to determine compatibility early on rather than playing The Game for months or years before realizing the other person is not who you thought they were?  What's bad is some couples never really have The Chat, he puts a ring on it and they end up not knowing the person they married.

I think it would save time, broken hearts and set up realistic expectations if all dating couples worked through a few frumpy steps early on.  I'll even suggest the following would nip many divorces since there would be fewer hooking up to the wrong person in the first place.

  1. Ditch The Game - Other than Chutes and Ladders, who has time for games?  I certainly don't have the luxury to dink around.  Get to the point and don't pretend to be somebody you are not.
  2. Have The Chat - By the second or third date, sit down and have The Chat.  This is a frank discussion about the good and bad traits on both sides.  If done honestly, this is a painful, humbling process.  Now's a good time to go ahead and fess up on that meth' addiction, habitual bedwetting problem and your secret collection of porcelain gravy boats.  
  3. Make The Decision - Split for a couple days and ponder, pray and chew on what was discussed in The Chat.  You'll have a hunch on whether there's a spark or dud there.  Meet up and decide if the two of you will hug or split.  
  4. Zip Up - If you decide there's a connection and want to move ahead together, refrain from the physical stuff.  Sex outside of marriage clouds judgment.  What you feel is lust, not love.  Especially for men, you'll overlook certain problems if you are sleeping together.  Keeping your pecker in your pants will allow you to evaluate the relationship with clarity, without sweater muffs and pheromones drunking up reality.

      If I were to sit down and have The Chat, I'd say something like this:

      The good:
      I'm a top-notch dad who turns the discipline and love dials to mold a sweet daughter who cares about others.  Years of single fatherhood has chiseled me into a domestic warrior.  I can handle anything from diapers and colicky brats to slow smoking a turkey, spinning a pizza pie from scratch, laying tile and toilets and leading crafts for Pigtails' Brownie Scout meetings.  I have a good job, am fit, a sharp defender of my Christian faith and a seeker of truth and wisdom.  And I use deodorant.

      The bad:
      I'm negative, critical and often see the glass as half empty.  The tear of our marriage covenant through ex's infidelity has soured my outlook on marriage and family to the point where I have doubts about being able to love again.  Love appears to be a feeling that fades.  And the actions that demonstrate love cease when the other person "doesn't feel in love."  Oh, I usually leave the seat up, so there's that.

      Yuck, the above is a shameful bucket of ugliness.  But it's the truth.  I gain nothing and am unfair to the other person if I continue playing The Game and pretending.  So I'm finding help to work through my bucket of shame.  I want to empty that crap out so I can be clean, free and happy again.  

      Mostly, I want to love again.

      - - - - -
      What do you think about The Game?  Would those in the dating pond be wise to open up and partake in The Chat early on, rather than teeing up for another 18 holes of The Game?

      Or am I all wet?   

      -Beard

      Nov 29, 2011

      Guinea Pig Adventures - Gizmo Takes a Bath

      Gizmo racked up the miles and blood pressure on our watch last week.  He needed a bath after riding robots and Jeeps, so the fruit of my loins dropped the long haired varmint into the tub for a loofah scrub down.




       
      For reasons unknown to me, Pigtails' stuffed animals wear underpants.  She tried installing tighty whities on the guinea pig, but he wouldn't have it. 





      We handed Gizmo back to the neighbors on Sunday.  Pigtails cried.  Other than some thin spots from heavy petting, he was no worse for wear.  

      She asked, but I haven't budged yet...

      -Beard

      Nov 26, 2011

      Turkey Recap - A Cow, Plow and Mega Chow

      SHUT THE DOOR, WE DON'T LIVE IN A BARN!!  So said mom when I was a boy and left the house ajar on a winter day or tarried at the open fridge too long.   

      I didn't grow up in a barn, but we spent much time in or near one.  

      My parents hauled my sister, bro' and me out to visit Grandma and Grandpa's farm every couple weeks.  Excitement to arrive made the hour slog to their country oasis drone on forever.  I couldn't wait to leap outta the Dodge Aspen station wagon, eager to stomp muck in my cowboy boots and pee in the breeze beyond the barn.  Grandpa or his twin boys, Uncle Bruce and Brian, would tractor me out to pasture on the Allis Chalmers.  

      We'd feed cattle.
      Collect a dusty load of alfalfa.
      Rifle a couple rounds of .22.  
      Or just sit and listen to windy silence.

      It was the antithesis of city life.  I loved it.  



       
      Grandma and Grampa passed a few years ago, Uncle Brian took over the family farm, and it's been awhile since I've visited.  So I was happy to learn Uncle B. and his wife would be hosting Thanksgiving on the farm this year.  A chance to let Pigtails run ape-wild and pee behind the barn.

      It was as open and free as I remember it decades ago.  I chisel plowed a couple acres with the big turbo diesel John Deere.  Family gabbing mixed with turkey and smoked ham hit the spot.











      no idea what's going on there








      word







       -Beard

      Nov 22, 2011

      Guinea Pig Adventures - Gizmo Steals a Jeep

      Day 4 of babysitting the neighbor's rat-pig.  She won't put him down, look at the fear in his eyes.



      And she forces dad to "snuggle" him, then snaps pics as collateral. 



      I'll admit, he is talented.  Gizmo drives robots.  Big deal you say, cats can too.  Well, the cheeky little squeaker upped his game tonight.   

      I'm sitting here minding my own business, cramming pork potstickers down my face when the bleepin' guinea grabs the keys and just takes off in the Jeep.  Unbelievable.  Kept driving back and forth, taunting us, before finally leaving for good.  He's probably headed to the store to snag some lettuce and wood shavings.


      You don't suppose my daughter will try and twist my arm into adopting her own pet when it's time to return him?  She signed a contract with a pinky swear promising she won't bug for one.  We'll see how that one plays out at the end of the week.

      Better go find that smelly hairball...

      -Beard

      Nov 20, 2011

      Guinea Pig Adventures - Gizmo Drives a Robot

      Our neighbors are skipping town for Thanksgiving, so Pigtails' been badgering me the last couple to let her adopt their guinea pig while they travel.  I shot her down at first, saying we didn't need a soft rat smelling things up worse than they already smell around here.  

      She didn't relent.  
      Those brown eyes put up a feisty fight.  
      Guess who won the battle?






      The kid was jumping around, flush in the cheeks with excitement as they handed us Gizmo in his tiny prison cell.  I made daughter hook me a pinky swear before agreeing to take on the hairy little pig:  we're not going to purchase our own guinea, I won't be the one responsible for shoveling the food in and the poop out, and no hair bows.  Gizmo's a boy, and boys don't like sissy bows in their fur.

      So Gizmo's in charge of the blog this week.  We'll chronicle our adventures as Pigtails puts him through the wringer.  She mentioned tiny diapers, a trip to the park and hot laps in the stroller.  Poor guy, he's going to end up with high blood pressure and wearing doll dresses by the end of the week.

      A couple days in, we've realized this is no ordinary guinea pig.  Gizmo's got skills.  I thought the neighbors were being all braggy when they said he knows how to drive a robot.  So we tested it out, turns out they weren't lyin'. 



      Next up:  Gizmo wheels a Jeep.

      -Beard