Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Early Holiday Wishes

Usually I wait until this coming Friday to extend this special holiday wish, but the mood has struck me tonight:




Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Did You Get That Memo?

I received an e-mail today from a (still bitter, apparently) Sooners fan. I thought I'd share, and respond here:
just found your blog looks good. the reason to
email i wanted to know ifthat phony call against the sooners was worth it seeing
how your seasonended up. at least i hope your a honest duck fan not many of them
you willagree the sooners got screwed. hell the repaly offical quit because he
newthey blew it. keep up the good writing and by the way

Well, J, thanks for the compliment. Yeah, we had a bit of a let-down in the latter stages of our season, didn't we? I saw it coming, I'm afraid, during the Cal game. As for whether that "Phony" call was worth it, well, since I don't believe in karma, and thus don't believe there's any causal realtionship between the UO-OU game and the rest of our season, It's rather a moot point, isn't it? But if gloating over the Would I prefer we had beaten the Sooners without the controversy? Sure. But that's the way the ball bounces. Teams have lost games due to blown calls by officials forever. What do you propose -- that every bad call ever be reversed retroactively?
As for intentionally insulting all Oregon fans by questioning our "honesty": well, if that's what passes for sportsmanship in Soonerland, I'm afraid you don't have much moral standing to complain about a blown call. Besides, people who root for a team whose nickname historically was synonymous with cheating (at the land grants), really shouldn't throw stones. Glass houses are pricey these days. And, while we're on the subject of being honest, do you expect me to believe that if the situation had been reversed, and Oregon had lost the game on a blown call, the Sooners and their fans would be any more inclined to surrender the victory? Yeah, right.
Do I think Oklahoma got screwed? Absolutely. Do I feel bad that the outcome of the game is tainted by that? Sure. Do I think the Ducks themselves intentionally did the screwing? No -- they played to the best of their ability, they played clean, it was a lousy officiating crew that screwed you guys. Do I think the Ducks should have the voctory stripped from them because of htis? No. If they had intentionally cheated to get the win, yes. But again, these things happen, and the best we can do is to fix what breaks so it doesn't happen again. And finally, do I think you're a crybaby poor sport with no life for feeling the need to email me about this months after my last post on the topic, let alone the game?
Oh, Hell yes.

Musical Geography Question of the Day

In what city is there gonna be a certain party at the station?

(Last Round's winner: Tony of blah blah blog fam... er... notorie... er... of blah blah blog)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Musical Geography Question(s) of the Day

Where did our fathers spend their weekends?

Where are we living?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Conference of Champions

I make no bones about being a fan of the University of Oregon Ducks. However, whenever I can do so without conflict, I also root for the University of Southern California, and have my whole life, because my grandfather and father were, and mother is, lifelong Trojan fans. My Grandfather swore to his dying day that the greatest football player in history was Ambrose Bierce [huh?] Schindler [thanks, mom].

Even when the Pac-10 race is tight, there's one game, fortunately non-conference, in which I ALWAYS root for USC, regardless of the ramifications for the Ducks.

Which is why tonight's outcome gives me some consolation after the Ducks' heartbreaker in the Civil War:

USC 44
Notre Dame 24

Fight On.

Friday, November 24, 2006

One More Reason to Give Thanks

My very first attempt at a merengue pie (lime), cooling before dinner yesterday:

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I Wish I Knew Jack

I wrote the following post two year ago, and can still be found in my archives for this day last year. I really can't add much to it, so I thought I'd update and repost it.

Today marks the forty-second anniversary of the death of, arguably, one of the men who most influenced Western thought in the Twentieth Century. He also happened to be one of the men I admired most greatly, so it seems fitting that I should mark his passing.

Though most of the world recognizes his name when they hear his initials, his friends called him "Jack".

He was a war veteran, and his service influenced much of his later thought.

His romance with his wife was the stuff movies are made about.

He was a thinker, a man of convictions, whose words stir the soul, stimulate the mind, and challenge the will into acts of conviction.

And so I bid him Rest in Peace. He has shaped the way I think, as he has many others I know. Here's looking forward to meeting you on the other side, Jack.

C.S. Lewis
November 29, 1898 - November 22, 1963


OK, so I felt the need to add a Lewis Quote:

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."

--Mere Christianity

Monday, November 20, 2006

Musical Geography Question of the Day

If the local guitar picker got his guitar picking thumb, in what city are you?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Moment With Mike and the Bots

Tonight The Feared Redhead and I were watching one of our favorite television shows, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which was rebuilding a house in Dundee, Wisconsin. My Minnesota-born wife with the Wisconsinite relatives had never heard of Dundee, so I Googled it.




I hate to admit it, but the first thought that came to my mind consisted of two words:

Packers! Woooooo!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Musical Geography Question of the Day

If she died of a fever, and no one could save her, where did you first meet her?

Buttermilk Sky

Taken on the campus of Lane Community College:

Growing Up Too Fast

This picture was taken tonight, and while it's a bit blurry, it's significant:

That dark blur at the top of the stairs, entering the slide, is The Lad -- about 7 or 8 feet up, which he ascended by himself, and down which he descended by himself -- at 21 months!

I'm proud, but sad. He's supposed to stay little, dammit!

The Lad: Camera Phone Photoblogging

These pictures cover quite a few months:

The very first picture I took of him with the camera phone, thios time last year:

Last spring, just before he started walking:

Also last spring or winter:

Also back in the spring or summer, before he gave up the bottle. We had a surprisingly easy time making the transition, but this day, not even sleep could rob him of his ba-ba:

Early summer. You buy them toys, they play with the box:

Early summer, a glimpse of things to come *shudder*:

At the same mall -- dream big, little boy:

This past summer, we took him to Lone Pine Farm to see the tractor:

And the goats:

The sheep weren't so thrilled to meet him. Mutton, anyone?:

We bought fresh produce that day. Like any good Oregon boy, he loves berries:

And watermelon:

This summer, at the park:

He liked the sand at the park so much, we had to:

At the Portland Zoo:

This Halloween (he was too sick to wear this outfit trick-or-treating):

So Much for being the Cool Dad

I had a bit of trouble with the stroller the other day:

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Sound of Silence

Sorry for the lack of posting, not much to say these days.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I've Been Everywhere, Man

A tip of the Toque to Maximum Leader at Naked Villainy, who turned me on to this quiz:

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
North Central
The Northeast
The South
The Inland North
What American accent do you have?

The results aren't surprising, considering how much I've moved in my life -- Born in Oregon, I moved to California at 4 -- Southern first, then Northern. We moved to Idaho when I was in the 4th grade, and back to Oregon for my high school years. I went to bible college in Indiana, then moved to San Diego, then back to Oregon. Along the way I developed best friendships with Michiganders and Texans and married a Minnesotan. So like my ethnic background, I'm a dialectic mutt.

So what's the Oregon accent? It varies from region, but for the most part it's typically western -- slower, and a bit lazy in our pronunciation.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

When You Gonna Wake Up

When you gonna wake up strengthen the things
that remain?
- Bob Dylan, "When You Gonna Wake Up?" Slow
Train Coming
A few political matters to attend to tonight:
OK, there's no way around it, this was a bad night to be a Republican. We've lost control of the House, and at this hour the Senate is still up for grabs. Closer to home, it looks like Oregon is stin unready to face the fact that a generation of Democratic governors has left us in the economic backwaters of America, and thanks to Measure 43 being defeated, teenage girls can't get a tattoo without her parents knowing, but she can get an abortion.
But things could be worse. For one thing, a lot of the Democrats being elected across the country are moderate and conservative Democrats: Anti-Tax, pro-Life, Pro-Sencond Amendment. And while Pelosi may be Speaker, she doesn't have the unanimous support for all of her agenda from all of the House Dems.
So here's my message to fellow Republicans and conservatives: Butch up. Let's not act like the Left did in 2000, 2002, and 2004. No whining, I don't want to hear "they stole it!", no threats to move to Canad... er Australia. Let's look at what went wrong, look at what we did right, and, like the song says, strengthen what remains. It's more important now than ever that we fight the good fight and stand up for our beliefs. Balls, Boys, Balls!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Kitchen Theology

I believe there is a very special Hell reserved for chefs who take without asking from another chef's Mise en Place.

Friday, November 03, 2006

New Blogroll Addition

Today while checking my site traffick, I discovered that I was linked to by a page that listed a whole bunch of Blogs that had blogged on the John F "Not so Swift a Boater" Kerry kerfluffle. While checking out that link, I stumbled across another blog and just had to add it to my blogroll.

Why? Well, for three specific reasons:

1. He's a fellow conservative, and a well-spoken one at that.

2. He's a fellow Oregonian. 'Nuff said.

3. He served in the U.S. Navy, specifically in the amphibious fleet. Now, for this I have a doubly soft spot in my heart for him. I come from a family brimming with sailors, on both sides of the family. My father, my sister's husband, two paternal cousins and a maternal cousin all served or are currently serving in the U.S. Navy, including one who retired after making a career of it. My best friend Vulture Six also served in the modern U.S. Navy. In addition, my maternal grandfather not only served in the Navy, he served on an LSD in Worl War II. My grandad was a real man, the kind of man who made Ernest Hemingway seem like a pansy. He worked during his life as a ranch hand, a ranch foreman, a laborer and later a superintendant of a salt harvesting operation, and a shipfitter in the Navy. During his service, he went aboard a sister ship that had been struck by a kamikaze and rescued several men from a burning compartment. He was a father, a husband, a grandfather, a hunter, an angler, a joketeller extraordinaire, and all around just plain one helluva man. So anyone who has any sort of connection to him, be it personal or via career path, is ok in my book.

For all of those reasons, I hereby commend to you The Bow Ramp. Go read. He seems like a good guy.

For a Beavers fan.

It's Not Always About the Money

Some of you may recall the pleas I put out about a year ago for financial support and prayer for Jaqcui Probst, the little Oregon girl with a big medical problem and a bigger heart. With the support of many people, her surgeries were more than paid for. I feel good knowing I did what I could, and knowing so many people gave.

Well, while the giving financially isn't necessary anymore, the prayers are still needed. I just received the following email from her family, along with permission to reprint it on my Blog:

Second Verse, Same as the First...

Well Everyone,

We're having a serious deja vous experience around here. Once again, we will soon be boarding a plane to New York for a surgery for Jacqui, her second. Well, second of this type. I was counting them up the other day and this will actually make a grand total of 23 times under anesthesia for various surgeries and procedures. No wonder we can't seem to shake off that shell-shocked look! The good news is that this
time, it is courtesy of one of her surgeon's private grants. For those of you
who are scratching your heads thinking we were finished, uh… so did we.
Allow us to explain...

Last year, as you know, there were some complications with Jacqui's surgery. We knew there likely would be, so it really didn't catch us by surprise. Jacqui's Lymphatic Malformation (LM) was even more extensive than originally thought and it made for some serious challenges for her surgeon. We are asked a lot, “Didn't you go to New York so nothing would go wrong?” The answer surprises some - "Well, no, not really." The primary reason we went to New York was that we knew there was a very high probability, almost an inevitability, that something would go wrong. When it and if things did go wrong, we wanted her to be in the most experienced hands possible so that the problems would be addressed quickly, appropriately and with experience and skill. And, that is exactly what happened. Looking back on the entire experience of everything that happened makes us incredibly grateful that her surgeon did have such extensive experience. The rare occasions where we ponder what might have happened had she been in different hands results in a sensation not unlike staring over the edge of a 1,000 foot cliff after a nasty tumble in its general
direction. About all that goes through your head while your heart pounds at 100
miles per hour is "Whew!!" Then we thank God for all of you and your prayers!

Jacqui's surgery last year went very well over all. Her LM was successfully removed and we have had no incidence of recurrence, which is very good. Chances are very small now that it will re-generate. Her breathing is worlds better! We really have to listen to hear her now when she is sleeping and she no longer needs a heart-rate monitor for apnea. Her cyclic vomiting syndrome and migraine symptoms appear to have stabilized and she hasn't had an episode since January. She has been regaining nerve function in the right side of her face and is right on track with anticipated recovery rates. Every month we see new improvements. She has had a very, very good year!

Now, about last year's surgery complications. The surgery was a long one - just over 8 hours. The surgeon told us that it was one of the most difficult surgeries that he had done and estimated that the mass they removed was about 2 pounds. It was so large that it had pressed all the structures in her neck far left of center - muscles,
blood vessels, everything. That made it impossible to guess where everything was
ultimately going to end up after things had a chance to settle down for a few
months after the surgery. Because of this, they had to leave more skin than they
had originally planned on to give things room to return to as close to normal as
possible positions in her neck. This resulted in a baggy section of skin under
her jaw-line and meant that a follow-up procedure would be necessary to do
cosmetic touch-up work. So, just out of the gate we were already looking at a
second surgery. Also, all of the fat tissue in her neck had been pushed up into
her cheek or over under her chin by the LM with very little fat tissue in her
neck or jaw line. This too would need additional surgery at a later time to
position it correctly.

Then there were breathing complications. She had to have a temporary trach put in which, incidentally, didn't slow her down at all. In fact, she decided she was done with having a trach several months early at about 3 am on Christmas Eve morning of last year. She pulled it out herself. She did such a very fine job of it that we were not able to put it back in place. So, after being scared out of our wits followed by a 3 am ambulance ride which Jacqui referred to as “allotta fun“, we had the unique joy of spending Christmas Eve day in the hospital. We waited while it was debated whether or not Jacqui needed to have her trach put back in place surgically. After several hours of her bouncing-off-the-wall antics, the hospital staff finally conceded that she
didn’t appear to be in any eminent danger of respiratory distress. I think they
all sighed in relief when the lobby doors closed behind us. Ken later asked
Jacqui why she pulled her trach out. Her reply? “I had things to do.“ What a

During our stay in New York, Jacqui had another complication. Her drain, a device that was temporarily placed to route fluid away from her incision line, lost suction and she had to go back to surgery to have it repaired. The suture line became stressed from the extra procedures and some stitches prematurely broke loose requiring another surgery to put them back in place. All of this unfortunately made it impossible for the incision to heal in the nice thin line that it would have had it been able to have been left undisturbed.

Every complication was addressed with incredible skill and efficiency. The compassion displayed by the entire surgical team was overwhelming. We really couldn't picture the surgeon's level of concern being any greater for his own child. After all the complications had been addressed and we were getting ready to go, the surgeon did something extraordinary. He told us that whatever needed to be done to get Jacqui to his initial intended goal for her, he was committed to seeing through to the end - at his expense. He told us he wanted to bring us back to New York in a year and fine-tune the unexpected cosmetic issues that had surfaced for her. All on his tab. We were overwhelmed. We told him that we hadn't come to New York for an iron-clad guarantee that nothing would go wrong, but rather because he was the best qualified individual to see to her needs if something did go wrong. He gave us a tired smile. His response although nearly unheard of in medical circles was a commonplace one for him, "Whatever it takes. Whatever it takes to get her to where she needs to be - I am committed to getting her there." We thought that as her parents, we were the only people alive possessing that level of commitment to her medical care. How wonderful and unexpected to find that same deep-seated commitment in our child's surgeon!

A brief side note: We have been fortunate to find not just one, but two excellent surgeons. Some of you may remember that we had been told Jacqui would need to have a couple of surgeries to strengthen her trachea. Thanks to her wonderful new ENT in Seattle, those procedures are on hold indefinitely. While assessing the state of her trachea in January, he noticed a tissue flap that was falling over her vocal cords whenever she took a breath. He removed it in a simple lasering procedure, suspecting that it might be heavily contributing to her breathing complications. He was right and her breathing has improved so dramatically that the other corrective surgeries have been put on hold and it appears they may not be necessary at all. He is a very detail oriented person and we are so grateful that he notices what he calls
“little things”. His attention to such “little things” has had a huge and positive impact on Jacqui’s health.

We are hopeful that this November’s surgery in New York will be her last surgery for a very long time. Her surgeon plans for this procedure include the following: Achieving as much symmetry in her face and neck as possible, removing the excess skin left behind in the first surgery, repositioning any necessary adipose tissue, and repairing her LM removal scar and her trach scars. He also plans to assess the percent of nerve function that has returned to the right side of her face compared to her left by measuring electrical potentials of the nerves and comparing them to the left side. This will give us a better idea of how well her nerve function is recovering. This surgery is expected to be about a 5 hour surgery in contrast to the surgery last year which was estimated at about 10 hours.

Our itinerary?

We plan to leave here on Saturday night, November 11th, see her surgeon on Monday November 13th in clinic, see an assortment of other specialists involved in her surgery on the 14th and 15th, have surgery on the 16th, suture removal on the 22nd, fly into Portland late on the 23rd (Thanksgiving Day), and return home Friday morning the 24th. Then the plan is to sleep like zombies until one of the kiddos insists on waking us up (thanks to Jacqui's baby brother, that interval may be painfully brief).

So, here we are one year later. Very soon, we will be boarding another plane to New York because of the care and commitment of a very special surgeon, because of steadfast friends a loving family, and because of the extraordinary kindness of a community. Our airfare, apartment rental and Jacqui's medical expenses all paid before they even accrue. If ever you find yourself doubting God's faithfulness or the significance of prayer, call. We'll talk.

Deepest gratitude for each of you,

Ken and Michelle Propst (and Jacqui and Kyle too!)

P.S. The photo is from Jacqui’s 4-year pictures. We purchased the negatives and rights to copy and transmit the photos from her photo session.

So again, thanks for all the support, dear readers, and please keep up the prayers.

And yes, I've already let the Probsts know that if Jacqui likes younger men, The Lad is available.

What He Said

There's a series of political ads going on here in Oregon for Representative Peter DeFazio. In the ads, he and his supporters tell you that you should vote for his opponent if you want "more of the same in Washington", then goes on to list a litany of woes. He then tells you to vote for him if you want "change in Washington".

The funny thing is, guess who the incumbent who's been in Washington for-freaking-ever is? You guessed it, Pete. His opponent is the challenger, he's the incumbent. So I guess he's going to change htings by doing what he's always done?

But let's give him the benefit of the doubt, and accept his argument that if re-elected, he'll "turn this country around". Is that what we really want? Go read this excellent post by Tony at Blah Blah Blog, and see what "more of the same" looks like. Then ask yourself if you really want to turn this country away from all of that.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Musical Geography Question of the Day

If every one of them loggers looked like Paul Bunyon to you as a skinny kid about sixteen, to where did you ride the train?

Bonus Question:
Why would this blogger post a question about that place?

Update 1:59 PM PST 11/03/06
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?