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Archives
8/31/2003 - 9/9/2004
9/16/2004 - 3/25/2005

Hoc non est blog
Well, it isn't! Yes, it has a date under which there's an entry describing some aspect of life here at the Moose ranch, or some comments on the world and culture at large, but this really isn't a blog. It's more like..... a web site that can be easily updated! Look - there's not even a comment system. Can't be a blog without a comment system.... Anyway, here it is. Enjoy.


Maundy Thursday

Friday, March 25, 2005 @ 02:37 PM

Last night was the Maundy Thursday service at church. The whole family went, even though Abigail had a little cough and was rather worn out.

The service was simple - reading from the Gospel of Mark, hymns, one choir piece, the sermon, and the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

The girls fell asleep during the sermon (not becase the topic was boring, of course), and woke up when we began the communion hymn, Ah Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended. Emily and I were quietly talking as the elements were being passed; I was asking questions based on what the pastor was saying, and she was answering. The pastor was emphasizing the personal nature of Jesus's death - when he says "broken for you," that it is not simply referring to a mass of people, but that if I trust in Christ, then it is for me that his body was broken. Something like the following exchange took place:

"Emily, what is the bread for?"

"Jesus's body."

"Was Jesus's body broken?"

"Yes."

"Who was Jesus's body broken for?"

"Ummmmmm....."

"Who did Jesus die for?"

"Ummm.... Jesus..... died..... for me!!"

"Yes, Emily."

"Jesus in my heart?"


Oh, I pray so, Emily, I surely pray so. Thank the Lord for covenant children and for His faithfulness to the promises given in baptism.

- Byron

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What a Clever Mommy

Thursday, March 17, 2005 @ 08:10 PM

Today for school, the girls worked on the letters P and Q. (Yes, they were minding their P's and Q's.)

Ever the resourceful and clever Mommy, Lise prepared an appropriate supper with foods that start with one of the letters!

We had Pork chops, Potatoes, and Peas. And Peanut butter cookies for dessert.

That's the great thing about homeschooling - you can work in learning anytime!

- Byron

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Unexpected Pleasures and Pleasant Reminders

Thursday, March 03, 2005 @ 10:32 PM

I'm realizing another of the really nice benefits of having high speed access. Every week, Maranatha Chapel, somewhere out in California, webcasts their Wednesday evening service. The broadcasts are also saved in the archives. Not that I'm a regular viewer / listener, but...

Yesterday's musical guest was Phil Keaggy, who can do more things with one guitar than anyone I know of.

The archive for Wednesday's broadcast is here. Phil comes on at about the 34 minute mark (just drag the slider). What follows for the next 90 minutes is just Phil and his guitar. And some amazing work - loops, layers, fret-playing, singing into the pickup of the guitar and looping that, patting the body of the guitar for percussion, etc.

At somewhere between 1:05 and 1:10, he does "Let Everything Else Go," the chorus of which is the following:

Oh I can't wait to see you Jesus, face to face,
Nothing in this world can take Your place.
All the pride of man laid low,
And all his works of gold,
Nothing can compare with what You are,
Let everything else go.

The thought of seeing Jesus face to face is a good thing to be thankful for on Thankful Thursdays.

- Byron

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Zoom Zoom Zoom

Wednesday, March 02, 2005 @ 10:03 PM

Well, we've finally joined the 21st century. And not a moment too soon.

We got ourselves a nifty new computer. Scads of RAM, scads of disk space, a do-everything DVD/CD drive, etc. I also picked up a wireless router, a wireless card for the new PC, and a network card for the old PC. Networking the two machines together was a piece of cake. It really was a kick to watch all our data flying from the old machine, through the router, across the emptiness of our living room, and into the new machine.

And then, we got ourselves a cable modem and broadband access through the cable company. Along with that, we got cable TV for the first time in over 10 years.

Now, this thing really flies. We can surf wicked fast. Sites load in no time. Large files download in a wink. We can watch streaming video. We can watch silly movies like We Like The Moon and The Llama Song without worrying about how long it will take to download.

I have made one crucial observation, however. The >2GHz processor, combined with the cable modem have enable me to find things faster. But I find that I do not read any fast, nor do I write faster. Sigh.

The best part of the whole setup is a snappy looking 19" LCD flat panel monitor. Paid a little more for that than for a CRT, but it sure was worth it. And we have lots more desk space.

The only problem now is where to put the old computer.

As far as the cable TV, somebody asked why we didn't have it for 10 years. I replied that there wasn't anything on. I found out that there still isn't.

That's not quite true - the Food Channel has the Iron Chefs show.

We thought that winter was almost over, but over the past week, we've had more snowy days than not. And that includes about 6-7 inches on Monday and Tuesday. With the weather outlook, it may be the middle of March before it all melts away.

Last Thursday was a snowy commute. I had to stop to clean off my windshield wiper. After I got going, I came upon a very bad accident. I found out the next day in the paper that someone was killed trying to get onto the highway. Now I don't think that the timing was such that if I had not stopped I would have been part of the accident, but I did wonder.

Today was also a snowy commute. I had to stop to add blue stuff to the car. When I got going again, I came upon another very bad accident. The red car was almost unrecognizable. That one was also a fatal accident. According to the traffic report, the accident had happened quite a while before I went past, so I know that the timing was such that I would not have been involved had I not stopped to refill the washer fluid. But I did wonder.

We decided to call this a smiling Providence.

I'm not too sure if Emily's getting wise (as in smart-mouthing) or if she knew she was making a joke, but... The other day I pulled in the driveway after work, and Mommy asked Emily who was here. Emily replied:

"Mickey Mouse!"

- Byron

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GOD! CAT! RED! MOM! HAT! BED!

Thursday, January 27, 2005 @ 09:35 PM

No, this isn't some kind of weird word association game.

It's "brag on Abby" time.

These are the first words that Abigail learned to read.

Tuesday morning, I had to talk to her on the phone because she was having one of her fits - biting, screaming, etc. Mommy Moose was trying to get school started. I told Abby that I wanted her to be able to read a word when I got home.

After supper, I took her to the chalkboard and wrote "GOD." I asked her what the letters were, and what sound they made. They I got her to put the sounds together, until it clicked in her brain, and that light went on and she realized that when she was saying "g oh duh" (oh how do I write phonemes?) she was really saying God.

You should have seen her jump and dance and yell. For the next fifteen minutes, we heard a steady stream of "G! O! D! GOD! G! O! D! GOD! It says God, Daddy! It says God, Mommy!! G! O! D! GOD! I can read! I'm learning how to read! G! O! D! GOD!"

I taught her "CAT" and "BED" right after that, and she was reading all three words from the board.

Last night, we learned "MOM," "RED," and "HAT." She would go through the whole list, first spelling them, then saying the word.

Tonight, I had the second set of three written on the board, and I asked her what words were there. She looked at the board, and read each one - without spelling it. Just looked and said, "Mom. Red. Hat."

It was really something to see her light up. This is just one reason why we home-school. I would have completely missed seeing that lightbulb go on if she had been at school. And I doubt that a classroom teacher would have allowed her to gallop around shouting "G! O! D! GOD!" at the top of her lungs.

Progress is being made.

- Byron

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Thursday, December 16, 2004 @ 09:26 PM

Hip Hip and Hooray

The event started out on schedule. I arrived home from work in plenty of time to make our appointment. We changed, got the girls appropriately attired, and left for the courthouse. Still plenty of time - it's less than a mile away. We found a parking spot in the nearby municipal lot and wandered over to the courthouse. That's where things got confusing.

We ended up turning into the new wing of the building, not the old wing as we should have. We took the wrong elevator, and wound up at the wrong set of courts. The people weren't even too sure where our judge's courtroom was. But we went back down the elevator, into the old section, and up the other elevator. We found the right courtroom with minutes to spare, and with our near frantic lawyer waiting outside.

The proceedings didn't take very long - I think we were expecting something much longer. We were asked a few simple questions, the proper papers were passed back and forth, and then it was over.

The twins were officially in our family. What we knew to be true in our hearts was now true in the eyes of the state.

That event happened five years ago tomorrow, December 17th. We've got the picture to prove it.

And that's why we can sing:

So here's to you, and three cheers to you
Let's shout it, "Hip, hip, hip, hooray!"
For, out of a world so tattered and torn,
You came to our house on that wonderful morn
And all of a sudden this family was born
Oh, Happy Adoption Day!

Full lyrics here.

And that's my Thankful Thursday report.

(For the story leading up to Adoption Day, click here.

- Byron

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Saturday, November 27, 2004 @ 08:30 PM

He was shot behind the davenport!

And if that isn't fatal, I don't know what is.

Ask the girls what's new in the livingroom, and you'll get one of three answers: sofa, couch, or davenport.

After over a year of a livingroom without a couch, we finally had one delivered yesterday, along with a matching love seat for the space under the windows in the bedroom. They're not new - they're solid pieces that have held up well, acquired from a friend. Lise says they're even the kind and pattern that she would have picked for herself. We did have to change things around in the livingroom, and work around a half-assembled Christmas tree.

Of Storage Units, Optimism, and Sentimentalism

The storage unit was supposed to be only temporary - until we sold the old house, bought one out in the valley, and moved out of the cottage. But life seems to be happening while we're making other plans, and Christmas time is upon us once again. Which means that the boxes containing Christmas need to be retrieved.

After returning from another surgical exploration of the unit and removal of the desired boxes, I concluded three things:

  • I was glad that I brought the big van.

  • I will remind myself to be less optimistic, and not pack the Christmas boxes against the back wall, ten feet in. This applies to the summer goods as well - the fans, clothes, and swimsuits.

  • Each time I visit the storage unit, I become less and less sentimental over the Old Things that we have packed away in boxes. It's a good thing there's eBay.

Turkey Day

It was a quiet Thanksgiving here at the moose ranch. The big activity of the day was moving chairs and the computer desk to rearrange the living room to accomodate the new chesterfield.

I did the turkey as usual, and prepared the stuffing as usual, and prepared the carrots as usual (dill plus honey plus lemon juice).

Lise tried a new recipe for a sweet potato / potato casserole with cheese. The picture in the magazine must have been done with yams, as there was a nice two-color effect. We used sweet potatoes, as the recipe directed, and they're nearly the same color as the potatoes, so the effect wasn't quite as dramatic. The directions required that the casserole be baked in a 375 oven for 15 minutes. I discovered that after one removes the turkey from the oven, it's a good idea to leave the oven turned on if a casserole is about to be inserted. So, the potatoes didn't quite bake up as desired, but they were good anyway.

Small Town Goings-on

The local theater is running an every-now-and-then "Classic Film" series. This weekend's presentation was The Wizard of Oz. We didn't tell the girls where we were going or what we were going to see until we were inside the theater and buying our tickets. They were suitably excited. I kept trying to say the lines along with the movie, but Abby kept "shushing" me. The print was good visually - it was a restored version, and the colors were brilliant. The sound, however, was quite scratchy. It sounds better on the videotape at home.

After the movie, we grabbed coffee at Abigail's (the local coffeehouse, named after the proprieter's daughter) and a hot dog for supper. Asked what she had seen that afternoon, Emily replied, "Dorothy Garland!"

Tonight's activities? See if the Christmas tree lights work and try to get them on the tree. And go through the girls playroom playing "keep or toss" in preparation for Christmas day. Must make room for some new things. But not too many.

We started Advent slightly early tonight, reading the collect (1928 BCP) for the first Sunday in Advent before the girls' bedtime. I like the way the prayer reminds us that God in the person of Jesus Christ came to earth at his birth, but that He also will come again at the Second Advent to take His children home.

- Byron

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Monday, November 22, 2004 @ 10:28 PM

Daddy Promises

God has placed you in my care.

I will be here as you sleep... and I will be here when you wake.

I will always be here for you, whether you can see me or not.

I promise.

I will listen with my heart and not just my ears. Sometimes ears hide.

I will mend teddy bear holes and remind you that puppies like to chew. I will show you that kisses and bandages can fix most anything.

I will accept the fact that we may not always see eye to eye.

From way up here I can see far, but from where you stand, you can see important little things that my up-in-the-air eyes miss.

I will teach you right from wrong and will buy only washable markers until you learn the difference.

I will show you how to tie your shoes, how to whistle, and how to catch a high fly.

I will say I'm sorry and ask you to forgive me when I've hurt you. Sometimes even good dads make mistakes.

There is only one perfect Father, our Father in heaven.

I will read wonderful, true stories to you about the world's beginning, a terrible flood and a sturdy ark, a Savior born in a stable, and a miraculous resurrection.

I will teach you that books are more important than just words on a page.

I will be your biggest fan. I will cheer just as loudly when you're losing as when you're winning.

I will teach you that giving is more important than taking and that God asks us to help others.

I will explain that God filled the world with different kinds of people and different colors of people. He loves them all the same.

This makes the world a more interesting and beautiful place.

I will laugh at "knock-knock" jokes and "Why did the chicken cross the road?" jokes, if you will laugh with me.

I will not yell if you leave your bike out in the rain.

I will let you learn about rust and responsibility ... and that walking to school takes a long time!

I will learn from you things that I've forgotten ... that everybody needs a secret hideout, that trees are for climbing, and that pockets are for rocks.

I will be there when your good friend isn't acting good at all. I'll say, "The world is full of best friends you haven't met yet."

I will teach you about Jesus, your very best Friend, who will never forsake you.

I will kiss and hug your bad dreams away ... and I'll sometimes kiss you in front of your friends.

I will teach you how to talk to God, and I will teach you to listen so you can hear when God talks to you.

I will tell you the truth.

The truth is that I love you.

God loves you.

I will tell you so every day, every single day.

I promise.


That is the book "Daddy Promises" by Kerry Arquette. I have read it to the girls about once a week (on average) since they were very small. It's reserved only for those nights when Lise is out. By now, they can almost quote it by heart. And they still ask for it.

- Byron

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Monday, November 22, 2004 @ 01:55 PM

Yippee! Valerie Noticed

Valerie noticed the new addition to the world of blogs.

- Byron

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Thursday, November 18, 2004 @ 10:28 PM

Oh, is it Thursday Again?

Have two Thursdays really gone by?

Thankful things:

1. Laurel on the Mountain - Go ahead, click on it. Yes, someone else succumbed.

2. A friend's infant son, suffering from infant botulism, is off his ventilator, and slowly improving.

3. Emily and Abigail are much better behaved this week. I'm tempted to ask them "Who are you and what have you done with my children?" Abigail is talking more in complete sentences, Emily is being a helpful sister to Abby, Abby is more cheerful overall, etc. We have had a mostly good week.

Other items of note:

Would anyone like to buy a house? We still have one for sale. We did survive a scare this week resulting from someone at the mortgage company mis-reading a year and coming to the false conclusion that we had no insurance on the house and demanding that we do something immediately. A simple phone call fixed that one.

Last Saturday, we had pictures of the girls taken. I suppose that you'll be wanting to see one or too here. Well, when I get some decent scans, I'll put them up. Emily was quite taken with the whole process - she requested that we hang a picture of her and Abby up in their bedroom.

- Byron

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Thursday, November 04, 2004 @ 10:02 PM

Thankful Thursday

(After an idea from Kelly)

1. That the election is over.
2. That we have a new septic tank.
3. That Emily is no longer suffering from stomach distress and getting sick, as she was on Wednesday.
4. The word juxtaposition.
5. Books on tape for a one hour commute.

- Byron

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Tuesday, November 02, 2004 @ 09:32 PM

The Deed is Done

The votes have been cast, and now we wait. The outcome will be just what God has ordained. Everything's Going Exactly According To Plan.

It was good to know that voter turnout in our little town was over 90%. But that's not too hard when there's only 142 names on the roll, and nearly everyone votes. Waiting in line for three hours is not something that we're acquainted with.

I don't know if we'll stay up and watch the final tally or not. I expect the newspaper will let me know what I need to know in the morning.

- Byron

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Monday, November 01, 2004 @ 09:48 PM

Ya Think He'd at Least Have Caller ID

Over the weekend, our caller ID box registered several calls from "Unknown Caller," and the answering machine had nothing but a dial tone each time. I was getting annoyed at this person who kept calling and didn't have the courtesy to leave a message.

This evening, it happened again, except we were all at home. The phone rang, I checked the caller ID, and sure enough, it was Mr. U. Caller. Determined to find out what was going on, I picked up the phone and said "Hello!" and waited.

"Hello, this is George W. Bush....." the voice on the other end began.

- Byron

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Thursday, October 28, 2004 @ 10:02 PM

Look! Archives!

OK, so it's not all that pretty, but this little non-blog finally has an archive. Everything from 8/31/03 to 9/9/04 may be found here. As this grows again (albeit slowly), old posts will be moved to the archives, and the Archives list will grow.

- Byron

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Sunday, September 19, 2004 @ 08:41 PM

Finally, Erie Pictures

OK, so it only took almost three months to get around to getting these up. I can't blame delays at the photo lab or anything else. But finally, here they are: the pictures from our trip to Erie to visit the Dunsworths.

- Byron

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Thursday, September 16, 2004 @ 08:55 PM

Attacked by Nuts

The attacks don't seem to stop. I thought that we were done with this, but every now and then, the nuts will attack again. It started about two weeks ago, and had its peak (I thought) this past weekend.

You think you can relax. You think it's quiet. Then, blam, comes another hit. Or a simple *plop* and rattle. It's really annoying.

But that's what I should expect, having a cottage right under the oak trees. Our roof is being pelted with acorns, or larger branches that just happen to be loaded with acorns. Instead of crushed pebbles for a driveway, we now have acorns. A visitor with a pickup drove home with the bed full of the nasty nuts.

I'm trying to find a good time to tell the girls: "Remember that the mighty oak was just a nut like you."

Fall Is Here

The warm weather of summer does not seem to want to let go, but we have had some definite fall-like mornings around here. Signs of fall include: the closing of Idlewild (or, as we tell the girls, it's sleeping for the winter), the coming of the Flax Scutching Festival in Stahlstown, and on the same weekend the Ligonier Highland Games.

But the most sure sign of all that fall is hear happens on Friday nights. Friday night means football.

I have had to transfer my loyalties this year from Greensburg-Salem to Ligonier. (Sorry G-S Golden Lions.) Ligonier is a much smaller school, with a much smaller stadium, but no less school spirit when it comes to the games.

Last Friday night, I took the girls to a home game, and we stayed and watched the whole game. Well, I watched most of it. The girls watched some of the game, watched the cheerleaders (and tried to imitate them), watched the band (and tried to direct), and played with a friend who's family we just happened to run into.

I couldn't leave, of course, because the game was not decided until 2:47 left in the 4th quarter. Ligonier was driving for a TD; the QB swung wide right and ran towards the end zone, but fumbled at the one. The other team started at their own 1 yard line, snapped the ball and fumbled. Ligonier recovered for a touchdown and the lead. A late Ligonier fumble recovery sealed the victory. The girls were happy.

But I think they were happiest when the visiting band did selections from The Wizard of Oz for their halftime show.

The home band also performed songs that were written before the band members were born - amongst them was Chicago's "25 or 6 2 4." I asked Emily if she knew "25 or 6 2 4" and she replied confidently, "Yes." Makes me wonder what Lise is playing on the stereo while I'm at work.

Thinning the Herd

This next part is not for the squeamish.

It finally happened. I finally got my deer. With an extremely high caliber weapon.

Dusk and dawn is the time when the local deer population is most active. Dawn also happens to be the time I drive to work.

The other day, I was driving along when a small deer appeared directly in front of the car. Not much I could do, so I hit it.

The car hit the deer broadside. It (the deer, that is) didn't go under or over the car, it just bounced away. Also, it hit the car directly between the headlights. Neither headlight was damaged in the least. I lost a part of the plastic grill, but that was all.

The deer, alas, did not fare as well. It was struck again by a car coming the opposite way. It came to rest beneath a "deer crossing" sign.

I'm thankful that God preserved me, and I sure don't want that to happen again!

Grandma and Grandpa's

The week before Labor Day, we sent Lise and the girls back to NH to stay with Grandma and Grandpa for the week. They got a chance to get caught up with their aunts and cousins and Pepere on Lise's side as well.

I went up on Labor Day weekend to retrieve them and visit Mom and Dad as well. On the whole, it was rather a pleasant trip.

And, if you're ever in the Manchester, NH area and are looking for a church, drop in on the Amoskeag Presbyterian Church, a newer OPC congregation. By God's gracious provision, they are meeting in an old church building that was once occupied by one of the early Presbyterian congregations in the city.

The service was structured quite appropriately, with lots of scripture reading. The Lord's Table is celebrated weekly, and I was quite pleased to find that the cup I had contained wine. It was only later that I found out that the trays had wine in the outer rings, and juice in the inner rings. I guess I was just luc.... oops can't say that. It was another example of God's smiling providence.


There goes another nut on the roof. Dang, those things are loud.

- Byron

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Last Updated on 7/20/2005