The three year old stayed with us last night. We all had a good time. He was well behaved, potty trained, and played nicely with Fresh and Petunia. We can do this, I thought.

And today they yanked him back home. Some sort of court order.

Don’t know what the deal is. I don’t know whether he’s going back to something better or not. All I know is that when Heidi told him he was going back he said, “No!” And this is a quiet kid.

That kind of shit rips at my heart. Back and forth and back again, right before Christmas. I don’t know who to be pissed at because I don’t know the story. All I know is that the kids should not be pawns in these grown-up squabbles. They deserve better.

Well, little pardner, you can some back anytime you need to.

Easy Go…

Easy Come.

Well, our foster parent break lasted three days. We just got another call to pick up a one month old baby. Heidi said “No” with no small reluctance — we just haven’t caught up on sleep yet — but agreed to take one of the older siblings. So Heidi’s on her way now to pick up a three year old African American boy. So we’ll have a new kid when I get home from work. Merry Christmas!

And this is a CPS case where they’ve been removed from the home. We don’t know the story about what this kid’s been through or how long he’ll stay with us. We’re going in blind here. Blind faith

And another one's gone…

Olivia went to her new forever family on Friday. She’ll be home for Christmas.

Her adoptive parents were ready to go the international adoption route, with all the attendant expense and hassle. And here Olivia was, pure blood Kenyan, lying in a local foster home, free for adoption. An international adoption wrapped and delivered almost to their doorstep. God brought them together.

So, am I glad she’s gone? Yeah, guess so, in that I’m glad she found an adoptive home so quickly. I’ll miss her, as she was a very sweet and charming baby, but I’m mostly glad for her. It didn’t start out looking very good — a baby with health problems is harder to find a home for and several prospective parents had already turned her down. We figured we might have her for several months. Instead it was two weeks. Praise be.

And I have to admit I love going to bed knowing that I don’t have to wake up until morning.

Praise be.

Spam found poetry

When I’m deleting spam my finger is about as quick on the mouse as a thirteen year old boy playing a first person shooter game. But the text in two of the posts today caught my eye:

from “Melissa Thornton”

couturier capitulate
scimitar syndrome
hosiery avaricious quadrangle
shagbark hodge
petrel budge
translucent cox spiral
bloop leek
possessive maurice franca
riverine extradition

and from “Bernal Perry”

cochrane orography
bijective dc ramble magnitude
tehran confocal anthropomorphism
gnome floodlit bullet einsteinium
mississippi descriptive transceiver
benchmark anastasia bag
stupor mccallum men olden

I didn’t bother to open the attachments. I figure that the random words were some sort of tracking mechanism. But they make some interesting found poetry. Maybe I should look at my Spam a little closer?


Oh Yeah? Says Who?

As we prepare to gather with all of those more difficult, seldom seen relatives — you know, like the brother-in-law who *still* listens to Rush Limbaugh religiously — it’s best to steer the conversations away from topics like politics and religion at the earliest opportunity. But if you just can’t keep from veering that way, like if you have brothers-in-law like mine, here’s a helpful article. A logic professor explains How To Argue.

At the very least, lacing terms like “ad hominiem” and “contingent proposition” into your arguments can create enough confusion in your average Rush fan to buy you enough time to plan an escape.

Down By Maslow

I think I have pinpointed why I am feeling so Scroogey lately about Christmas, so Status Quo lately about my personal relationships, so ambivalent lately toward my many creative, spiritual, and intellectual projects (like this site, for example) — Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs.

I’m lower on the hierarchy as of late, so the higher things in life are getting short shrift:
We have a newborn around and I’m not getting much more than four hours of sleep a night. A blow to my Physiological Needs.
I have had one important deadline after another at work, which represents a threat to my Esteem and Belonging Needs.
And I’ve been concerned about money lately, which touches those Security Needs.

No wonder I have a dearth of inspiration for Aesthetics, Self-actualization, and Transcendence lately. I’m busy shoring up the bottom of my heirarchy. I know it’s not a normal state when sleep time dominates my calculations about what to do with my evening and cuts into time with my wife. My brain cannot contemplate higher things when it is taxed into worrying about preparing for this meeting or paying that bill.

So faced with a long To Do List, a Stack of Bills, a crammed Schedule, and a running Sleep Deficit, I am paralyzed into a less than actualized state. I’m not an Actualized Person lately. I’m not feeling like an Actual Person.

Of course, I know exactly what I must do. Surrender all those Needs and take the next right step, taking this advice from the Gospel of Matthew:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? [7] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” — Matthew 6:25-33

Evolution of Cooperation

Here is a very nice summary of Robert Axelrod’s book, “The Evolution of Cooperation” and its implications about team dynamics and how to build an atmosphere of cooperation when people are split between cooperative and competitive inclinations. (via Future Now)

A few weeks ago I was in team training with a bunch of co-workers and we had to play this game called “Win As Much As You Can” which was essentially an Interated Prisoners’ Dilemma scenario. I found myself wishing everyone was familiar with Axelrod’s ideas.

So go read it just in case I ever find myself on a team or in a community with you. It’ll give us a head start.

I do so like resources that make a left-brained analytical case for the importance of relationships.

My Giftmas Wish

Well, one day after I get all dramatic about not being inspired, inspiration hits.

I can’t think of any thing I want for Christmas. That’s been on my mind lately since people in my life have been asking. The only things I want for Christmas aren’t things. Primarily what I want is time.

Time to meditate. Time to sleep. Time to do art. Time to read. I want time.

And then it hit me. What I want is a Fermata. One of my very own.

I would be so much more productive with my Fermata than Nicholson Baker’s Arno Strine. I mean, come on, the ability to stop time and all he can think to do is take women’s clothes off and catch up on work? I’d be so much more creative with it. Use it for good and not for evil.

Whaddaya say, Santa? I’ve been a good boy.

How would you use a Fermata?


I’m feeling uninspired lately. Work has been more demanding. Life has been more demanding. When I do get a few minutes to post, I’m too tired to be creative. And I think it’s showing. I’m in an online slump.

Comments are way down here at Overflow, so is traffic. I can see why. Even I am getting tired of my happily married dedicated father spiritual seeker ouvre. Yeah, I love my wife and kids. Yeah, I believe in God and try to live my faith. So what more can I say?

I lack any sort of edge. I don’t feel it any more. There is no more “say.” I need more “do.”

So I’m not gonna post until I feel inspired again. Who knows when that will be. Feh.

Full House, Empty House

I like my house. I like it best when it is filled with people. Last night was one of those filled with people times.

We had a party for 50 or so fellow parishoners last night. The house was alive with loud converations, squeals of laughter, boisterous shouts, people talking with their mouths full. Our house has not been so full in quite some time. We had to use chairs and tables from our church to accommodate them at a sit down dinner. At least we didn’t have to cook for them all — we just provided the space. And we are indeed blessed with space.

To make room for the friends, we had to move a lot of the smaller furniture out to the garage. Lots of toys and nicknacks got stowed away. Clutter got stowed away. A bunch of stuff I’d just rather see not come back out got stowed away. I liked our house in the pre- and post- party state. Clean, with lots of open spaces where Stuff would usually go. It was nice to look at the expanses of open floor and imagine that we lived lives that didn’t cover that floor with toys and clothes and newspapers and clutter.

I realized in that moment how large a percentage of my time is spent in a sysiphian battle against clutter. Making room for the People by moving around the Stuff. It was nice to sit and enjoy my momentary, perfectly illusory, victory over the Stuff in my house.

But, I know, People come with Stuff. Accommodating People means dealing with Stuff.

So I know that I do not really want the kind of life that leaves our floors uncluttered. I know I do not want an empty house because empty house means it’s empty of people. Stuff comes along with people like flotsam on the tide. I certainly can appreciate the low tides when the house is clean and quiet. But without the high tides, without the kids and the dogs and the old folks and their toys and newspapers and shoes and mail and book bags, without the clutter and chaos, without the Stuff, the place is just kind of stagnant.

The next wave comes this weekend, with a house full of family. Then another bunch three days after that. A lot of People. A lot of Stuff to move around. Like the tide.