Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Mmmmmm socks.  Is there anything more delicious than pair of freshly-worn socks?  I hardly think so!  Or least our dog hardly thinks so.

Leo the puppy, weighing in at a solid 120lbs now, has been able to slip down an entire sock for a while now.  We first noticed the phenomenon late last summer.  Sometimes it's a small wash cloth or a hair scrunchee, but usually it's a sock.

Yesterday he apparently found a buffet of smelly foot coverings and really went to town.  He yaked up two of them by the evening and then kept trying to cough something else up.  This was worse than cousin Eddie's dog yaking on a bone under the table during Christmas dinner: it produced puddles of vile, oozy stomach liquids.  After consulting with a vet and giving him a dose of peroxide, he finally calmed down a bit.

My wife weathered the night on the couch so she could tend to the silly beast and mop up whatever he produced.  (Thank God for her!  I suck at dealing with noxious fluids!  Oh and compassion, I suck at that too.  If it's even a thing *eye roll*).  At about 4AM his heaving even woke me up-all the way in the bedroom with an air purifier on for white noise, for crying out loud!  So I did the dutiful thing and went to see what the hubbub was all about.

He had finally coughed up a big chunk of bone.  Not his own bone, mind you.  How would that even work!  No no, part of a cow bone.  Like a two-golf-ball-sized chunk of bone with some kinda sharp ridges.  It seems he had gnawed this off of the cow femur we had gifted him in celebration of the Day of Christ's Mass some days prior.

One barium cocktail and two x-rays later, the vet had discovered a mass  (this is vet speak for "sock") in his stomach which, so far, is moving it's way through Leo's GI tract.  Hopefully it finds it's way out on it's own, bringing an end to this wretched saga.  But mostly avoiding a costly surgical procedure.  Ah, but I repeat myself!

Update  The vet called this morning to tell us that the mass had passed and Leo's plumbingis back to operational!  Also his bleeding has calmed down and he hasn't thrown up any more.  Phew!  He'll get to come home later this afternoon, in exchange for a small pile of cash.  At least we don't have to muck around with Obamacare for this.  This time!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 In Review

So it's been two full years since I've blogged anything?!  Wow, how time flies!  Well this time last year I wasn't feeling particularly bloggy or retrospective.  You'll see why below.  The process of preparing this has rekindled some interest, though; especially seeing how ridiculous Facebook can be.  So maybe I'll do this blog thing a bit more.  We'll see.  And now I present: 2013 in review.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 In Review

After taking the year off, this year it was definitely time to reflect on the past year and prognosticate the upcoming one, like the double-faced Roman God Janus, for whom the month of January is named after.   I've seemed to be a bit more ADD this year, so in celebration of my briefer attention span, my post this year is less verbose and more snippets.  What a wild ride this year was!


new years day in india with my awesome wife.

black spots in toe-nails for a month

Visiting with and praying for families in mumbai.  nalosapora. pastor abraham's village.

riding atop a truck, up and down the mountain.



lisfranc dislocation fracture.

10 weeks on crutches.  with ice.


what does being "relational" look like, anyways?

kane kaiser.

St. Joe meet: argument and turning point

districts.  regionals. one match away.

broken camera.

team leader

teaching misssions class.

Broken TV and an extra power supply board.


new bike for boo.

looking for medicene at 2AM in fulton on anniversary.

nepal. twice.

the spiritual Eisenhower of Nepal.

taking my son to nepal.

Switching to Benettis and cafe breve

sharing christ to bikash with Daniel in pokhara

class 4-5 white water rafting the upper seti, in the himilayas, at the start of monsoon season

swim season

Rising early. Driving with coffee.

first massage ever.

B2 stealth bomber messed up Daniel's race

Galaxy tab no more

Cooking with the kids.

new roof from state farm.

zen body therapy

grandma chambers passed away. 

okc visit.

grandma's sister is awesome.

built front porch roof.  with friends and the kids.

elisa can cut a board.


KJV research and teaching

decompression therapy

communication, compassion, understanding

learning the importance of fathers.

Hogpound brown and friends at McCoys

daniel framing

bike wreck with SUV.

Stupid Conan.

master cleanse

Ren Fest

backpacking with all the kids


diving in the freezing cold rocky falls

Best. Etoufee. Ever.

marital growth

teaching electrical to daniel and adrian

the entmoot.

Judo practices.

3rd BB for the year.

taking over security team.

Lots of Langley overnights

Thanksgiving in Branson

Running 6 miles in the Ozark Mountains

Praising God for healing

Crazy marriage counselling.

Wrestling practice at Raytown

kidney stone and car wreck

Elisa's violin performance with Joe

i hate mudding

listening to the girls plot their room upgrades

finishing the bedroom

Crazy christmas eve service

Relaxing Christmas even and Christmas day

teaching Paul how to build a better capp

rock band 3!

family time


 And for the coming year: the big question is, where the Mayans right?  Well I've got other, smaller question too, and a few things noteworthy of celebration to look forward to.


Justin and Rachel!

New Orleans!

Another Neitzey?  Another Latore?

high school or home school?

Nepal for Daniel, again?

Orissa for me?

Romania for Li?

Branson half-Ironman 2012?

New car?

more teaching?

marriage ministry?



Monday, October 17, 2011

Hiking the OT: Lessons learned

Back in "the day", I remember hiking always being a simple affair.   My pack never weighed much more than 20 lbs and that would include fresh foods, often some canned foods, and a small cast iron frying pan.   It still baffles me how I was able to do that.

Fast forward to over ten years and three children later...  Every trip I've taken in the last several years I've also taken my son.  This time, I brought the girls, and one of their friends.  Every trip since those blissful, lightweight days, I've had to learn some lessons.  In the last six years of trips, I've come to appreciate the value of a lightweight pack and a hastily prepared meal, even if it lacks flavor.  But this time, with three little girls in tow, wow: there were lots of lessons to learn!  As every, this blog is for me and me alone so I record my thoughts here to supplement my always strained memory.  But if this helps anyone else out then great!

Lesson #1: It's not enough to prepare the equipment for the kids; you've got to prepare the kids for the equipment.
  Too ill-fitting packs and too much weight and bedeviled us for the first day.  About halfway to our destination, we made some good progress on the fit of each pack, but those were all work-arounds.   Backpacks work by directing the weight of it's contents to a persons hip bones.  None of the hip belts were tight enough for any of the girls!   Fortunately they each brought a hoodie or sweater that could be tied around their waist to help "shim" the belts, but it took some practice to get this down for each one of them.  Also fortunately, the weather didn't turn cool enough that they actually needed to wear these.
  Also I didn't stick close-enough to the 20% rule.   The 20% rule dictates that you don't carry more than 20% of your body weight in your backpack.   While this is a "rule of thumb" for adults, it's an absolute law for the kids!  The 2nd day went much better since we had eaten all of our food and were able to move a lot of the extra weight from the girls packs to my own, which ended up at 40 lbs

Lesson #2: Teaching time was required in advance
  Aside from working the physical details out ahead of time, I should have invested some time with each of the girls during the weeks prior to the trip teaching them about maintaining and using their packs and equipment.  This would've expedited the camp tear-down.
  But more than then how-to's of packing and camping, we should have also spent time talking about team work, facing difficulties and expectations.   A couple of afternoon practice hikes, accompanied by some conversation, would've provided an great teaching platform for this.  Following up with an evening fire and some hot coco or apple cider would be a great finish.
  Expectations should have been established.   For an adventure such as this, the upward-outward-inward model fits.  An appreciation for nature, it's beauties and dangers, as well as what it teaches about the Author of nature directs us upward.  The strengthening of the bonds of friendship through a common experience, shared trials and teamwork directs us outward.  Learning your personal limits and being forced to surpass them teaches us about ourselves.  This understanding would have provided some great context for the kids.

Lesson #3: Responsibilities should have been delegated ahead of time.
Isn't this always a critical point of failure in leadership?!  There was so much to do to prepare that it was quite overwhelming.   There was quite a bit to do at camp also and I had way underutilized my sons abilities.  Practice sessions from Lesson #2 would naturally lend themselves to delegation.   Had the burdens of camp been more thoughtfully identified and shared, our entire second day would have been much easier than it turned out to be.

Lesson #4:  Girls are different
  This is the first trail I ever brought my son on.  It was tough, but he did great and had a great time.  This is the first trail my good friend ever brought his son on, and it went about the same.  For both of our boys, the difficulty of the experience installed confidence in them.   After the trip, they had a feeling of accomplishment.  On this trip, with the older girls, this seems to have been the case; but with the younger ones I'm not as sure.  It will take some time to sort that out- did the difficulty actually act to discourage them?  Or do they just need more moral support than the boys required?  

Lesson #5: More time to prepare
  In order to implement the aforementioned lessons, it would have been necessary to begin planning at least three months prior to the date, and preparations, including the teaching sessions, at least six weeks prior.  During the two weeks prior, as my wife and I were gathering up equipment for everyone, it became painfully obvious we were getting into the game late.   All my previous experiences were inadequate for me to have predicted these lessons-learned.   Experience is, after all, the best teacher.

  There were many positive lessons-learned as well.   The packing list was in good order, thank God!  Had it not been, we might not have been able to have compensated for some of the planning deficiencies.  The time of year was absolutely perfect.  The mileage was right on target for a group like this.   If seen both bad weather and high mileage break down grown men.   A mistake on either of those points would have been catastrophic for this team!  The itinerary was spot-on (we just didn't stick to it on day two!).  My personal pack-weight, while a bit heavier than I preferred, was great.  It included some great meals and accommodated me being able to pick up weight from the girls.  And Lamberts is always a good call.

  The best part, by far, was the team.  The men, including my son, were exceptionally patient through many trying moments and ready to pitch in and help with whatever needed to be done with not a single complaint murmured from them.   At least not to me ;-)  All in all it was a great trip and I'm already excited for the next one.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Eye of the storm?

The major symptoms seem to have subsided for now.  It was nice to wake up from a restful nights sleep and not have a headache at all today.  On the other hand, my appetite has picked up quite a bit and hunger pangs have been a bigger issue.  The lack of pain and nausea also means that my mind is more free to think about food!  Glorious food!  

Right now, I could really go for some Fritos and french onion dip.   Definitely one of the biggest challenges thus far was to prepare the family dinner... and then watch them eat!  Braised beef served aloft a mountain of veggies with the drippings cooked down to a nice sauce and drizzled over the whole lot... it smelled heavenly.  I think I really nailed the proportions of the veggies, too.  I tend to use too much onion a lot of time but this had a more balanced look to it.  No complaints from the fam as they stuffed their mouths in front of me.

Monday, September 12, 2011

This Sucks

Possible symptoms of detoxification kicked in hard last night.  Hard like a punch to the face from Kimbo Slice.  Hard like flying into an SUV at 15+mph while on a bike.  I won't divulge all the nasty details, but the most debilitating one is the chronic, splitting headache.  It abated for part of the day but came back in force this evening, about an hour later than when it first hit last night.  Also the drink is becoming far less tolerable.  Even with the lime, I was unable to chug down the last little bit I took a run at.   But I'm going to go for one more day... like a recovering drug addict, I'll just have to take this day-by-day.

Okay, I'll mention one nasty detail.  I'm tired of playing "Fart or Explosive Diarrhea?"  I always take the safe bet on that one.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mystery Drink Revealed!

Today was the day.  After three days of 'easing in' to this regimen, I finally have begun the full-on lemonade diet.   Actually lemonade fast seems more appropriate, and I think would help dispel any myth that this is for weight loss.  Nonetheless, my first encounters with 'the drink' were not pleasant.  The after taste of the grade-b maple syrup was what rubbed me wrong.   Also, it was difficult to be at church while my mind was in such a heavy, low Calorie induced fog.  But we persevered... past the donut platter, replete with manifold baked goodies... past the fresh, brewed pots of Oddly Correct coffee... For some reason, home made pot-stickers and sushi rolls were set out today: an MBT first!   But we persevered... then all hell brake loose!  Chocolate cupcakes and a large chocolate sheet cake whose thick, moist bread was somewhat squashed under the weight of so much icing, settling o'er the top like a freshly fallen, heavy snow snow... But we persevered...

So far I have downed 3 cups of concentrated concoction.   I've already figured out that I don't need to dilute it nearly so much as recommended: that only prolongs the torture.   Just now, I've mixed up a new batch, another 2 cups.  But this time I added a single lime in place of one lemon.  Wow!  What a difference that makes!  The overall flavor us much, much better and the strong tartness of the lime even overwhelms the finish so that the drink is now beyond tolerable.

I guess this guy had it right all along.