Is Ignorance Bliss?

Katie just informed me that she watched a documentary on 9/11, which made me think. I often hear people talk about shows they watched that hold no interest for me. I'm not sure exactly why that is, but I feel there isn't much to be gained from certain subjects. They may hold some perspective as to the triumph of the human spirit, but I feel like the negatives outweigh the positives. Here are a few things I don't really want to get into detail about.

The Holocaust
Climate change
Crimes against children
True crime in general
The dangers of [x common thing in your life that will kill you]

When it comes to man's inhumanity to man, I feel like I get it. I know people can be horrible; I don't need to know all the details about specific Nazi war crimes to understand the depths to which people can sink. I feel like maybe this leaves me ignorant, but I don't know. If I see a headline about another Catholic priest involved in a child abuse scandal I don't think I need to know anything about the specifics. I know it's horrifying, and that seems like enough.

Curiously, as one example Katie won't watch The Dark Knight with me, which is fictional, but she thinks it's "evil." And it is pretty intense, but for me the triumph of the human spirit is worth the slog through the rough stuff. There's a distinct difference in my mind between this and some real events that are hard to watch. Maybe because I don't necessarily know how it will end. But there are also plenty of bad fictional things I'm not interested in either.

So is there something wrong with not wanting to know every detail about some of the horrible things that happen in the world? Again, I am aware of the things that happen; I see the headlines. I just want limited information.

The Most Interesting Baby in the World

Yesterday was James's birthday, and it seems like a good time to reflect on the experience of having him join the family, and this crazy parenthood thing in general.

James is a really happy baby most of the time. He's super smiley and has some rather suave looks.



He's just started saying a couple words. As with many babies, he started saying "Uh-oh" quite a while ago, but I never know if it counts. From a linguistic perspective, he's communicating an idea verbally, so yes. He also says "Cat," or "gah" and uses the term for dogs too. And it seems like he is constantly asking, "What's that?"

He started off doing the same monkey crawl Clara did, using one knee and the other foot, but he might be settling into more of a regular crawl. He's been standing for a while now, and the other day he took one tiny little step while free standing. Our kids don't generally walk for another month or two after hitting the year mark, so he's more or less on schedule.

As far as the family stuff in general, we decided this is it for us. We're too old and mentally fractured to try going through this again. So we're trying to enjoy this time knowing that we will miss it soon. When James is 10 Sam will be 20, so we could have a kid in college, one in high school, one going into middle school, and one in elementary school. Way to drag things out, I guess. It's still hard to think of myself as a father, and a supposedly responsible adult. These changes come upon us gradually, but incremental growth is what life is all about. Right?

Van Ambition

My summer has consisted of two intense colds bridged by an ongoing sinus infection, and now I seem to be developing bronchitis. This is very odd for me; I don't recall so much summer illness ever before. But with illness comes the opportunity for interesting dreams. And while I was half asleep for the last portion of the night between coughing fits, I had another one.


My family went to University Mall in Orem, Utah. I ended up dropping off Katie and the kids and parking the van somewhere. I think we were looking for some Sunday dresses for Allison, but the store manager had boxed up all the dresses her size and donated them to charity. So we went out to try to find the van. It was night, and we couldn't find the van. I ran all around the mall looking, and finally found where I had parked it, but it was gone. 

We called the police but had a hard time getting through. We found someone we knew who helped us go to the police station. The police eventually found some surveillance footage of the parking lot. There was some dog doo in the area where we had ended up parking, and it had something to do with some antibiotics and a rich old lady who lived on the other side of the mall property and her business. For some reason this old lady had apparently stolen our van.

I was demanding a new van in payment, as well as a second car as a penalty for the old lady. She loved the theater, so apparently we put on some kind of big production to make known our demands. I woke up before we knew exactly how things turned out, but it seemed like we would probably get what we wanted.

Of Monsters and the Moon

I had a couple interesting dreams last night.

First, it was as though all of Stephen King's creations existed at once in a world and were trying to get me. It was one of those dreams that doesn't necessarily terrify me, but it does leave me feeling exhausted. I remember trying to find where I could go that they wouldn't find me, although I really don't remember anything about specific monsters.

Second, it was the Rapture, in a pretty protestant-style situation. The good people were allowed into heaven. What you did was to wait until the sun appeared like a square cursor on a computer screen, and then stare at it, and you and whoever you were touching ascended. I was trying to gather my family. Katie put on warm clothes, because at altitude it's freezing, of course, so I followed suit. It felt like things kept delaying us, but we finally were ready.

I said goodbye to the house, and I felt very emotional about it. We ascended, which really only lasted a few moments and then were were on the moon. So warm clothing wasn't necessary (let alone supplemental oxygen). It was as though it were a waypoint on the way to Heaven. We were in a large building, and it was really pretty indistinguishable from Earth. There were mundane concerns like finding a place to live, and it was kind of disappointing that it felt more like a government bureaucracy than a religious experience. At one point it sounded as though we would be able to return to Earth, as it would be the Celestial Kingdom, which shifted things more to an LDS theological perspective. That's all I remember.

Developments

The thing about having young kids is that things tend to change frequently, and we've had a few things happen. So this is more of a family journal type post.

Since last summer Allison has been wanting to learn to ride her bike without training wheels. We've worked on it a few times, but I didn't think she was ready. She got a new bike for Christmas, and it still seemed kind of heavy for her. But a friend brought her smaller bike over and Allison just started practicing balance, and then started using the pedals, and within a few minutes she had it. She tried her own bike after a while and got that down too. It was amazing to see how fast she picked it up.

James finally started crawling. Our kids have an interesting history there. Sam never crawled but went straight to walking, holding our fingers for several months until we were at a church activity one evening and he just took off to chase other kids. Allison crawled normally. Clara did her monkey scoot thing which was amazing. And last week James finally started crawling as well. He seemed to do the normal crawling at first, but now he seems to be settling into a crawl like Clara did, swinging his left leg wide and planting on his foot, then scooting on his right knee. We'll see if that keeps up.

Katie has been substituting for the organist at church, so she's been going over to practice in the evenings. Last Friday she took Allison and Clara. They were running down a ramp in the chapel when Clara tripped and bashed her head into a bench. We took her to the urgent care, where she had to get stitches. Surprisingly that was the first time any of our kids has had to get stitches. I say it's surprising because of how many times I had stitches as a kid. So far none of our children has quite my reckless nature when it comes to personal injury, but Clara and James are still pretty young.

That's it for now.

Camp Frozen Dune

So, that happened. Camping, I mean.

Friday afternoon the boy scouts gathered at the scoutmaster's house to caravan to the camp site. Questions about where we were going were answered by naming some person that apparently everyone in Idaho knows. "It's at so-and-so's place." Oh. Okay, then.

Eventually I was able to get someone to point out where we were going, more or less, on a map. And eventually we were off. The property was a patch of dirt in the scrubland just a few minutes from some local sand dunes.


We basically got there in time to set up camp and cook dinner. Then we hung around the fire and the kids told scary stories while I tried to watch the Jazz game on my phone (there was surprisingly decent reception). Of course it rained a bit, which is pretty much a legal requirement when you camp, and then it cleared up and the temperature plummeted. We all scrambled for our tents and, in my case, shivered for the next 8 hours.

I hadn't been camping in 20 years, so maybe I just forgot how cold camping was. I had brought several jackets and plenty of warm clothing, and I put on as much as I reasonably could, but I pretty much lay there all night shivering. The air mattress was better than being on the ground, I'm sure, but I basically didn't get any sleep. I got up around 4 to find a bush, and the one positive thing I can say is that the sky was incredible. I don't know if I have ever seen stars like that. I eve caught a couple shooting stars, as Friday night was supposed to be the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower.

I was happy when people got up and moving around 6:30, and I could get moving again. I went on a run with one of the guys in the ward who is a crazy ultramarathoner, and we packed up after breakfast. We stopped by the dunes themselves to let the boys run around and jump off them for a while.



Sam is the one in the air there.

He had fun, which is what is important. But I'm hoping we can go in the summer next time.

Fix-It Weekend

Last weekend was kind of an interesting one where lots of things seem to happen close together. It started Friday, when Katie informed me she had driven to the school and had gotten a flat tire. I had her use the tire inflator to get enough air in it to get home. Later I couldn't see an obvious nail or anything in it, so I took it back where we had gotten it for warranty-covered repair. They had to replace it, but of course they didn't have the same tire in stock so I had to pay for an upgrade. Blah.

On Saturday the kids went outside to hide plastic eggs with candy, and Sam put one in the furnace exhaust pipe, which drops down into our basement. I spent all day trying to flush it out, using a shop vac from either end to suck it out, then an air compressor, and even a hose to flush it out with water. I never managed to find it, but things were obviously moving through the pipe well enough so I patched things back up. I ordered a 30-foot flexible inspection camera that attaches to my phone, so when it arrives I'll see if I can find it.

While going to get the PVC pipe to repair the cut pipe I had used to try to find the egg, I noticed one of my windshield wipers was messed up. When I got to the store I took it off and left it sitting on the hood, telling myself to remember it was there. Of course I didn't, so on Monday morning when I drove to work in the rain I had no wiper (on the driver's side, naturally). I had to stop for a new one on my way to work.

An interesting but not ideal weekend. Tonight Sam and I go on his very first campout, with the scouts, so we'll see how this one goes.