Making New Blogs With Dad

Today Dad, AJ, and I are making blog accounts together.  AJ chose Blogger and I chose WordPress after an extensive long period of looking over the many blogging sites and reviewing the different qualities of the following sites: Blogger, WordPress, Picasa, and Photoshop.  Listening to Dad sometimes gets boring, but it was a little fun to know what all the other sites have out there.


dirt sandwiches and other delicacies

Eating freshly boiled soy beans last night reminded us of boiled peanuts – not altogether a pleasant recollection for most of us. Delightful, I thought, but then I like boiled peanuts.

Here’s a concoction borne of desperation years ago when there was no jelly found in the house:

Special Sandwich or (later) Dirt Sandwich
a recipe by John and A.J. Egleston

2 slices of bread (toasted dark as “rocks” or “burnt wood”)
peanut butter (smooth or chunky “clay” or “mud”)
some brown sugar (“sand”)
a little cinnamon (“dust”)

Toast the bread, dark but not burnt. Then spread as much peanut butter as you like on one side of each slice of bread. Sprinkle some brown sugar on top of the peanut butter on one slice of bread. Then sprinkle a little cinnamon on top of the brown sugar. Turn the other slice of bread upside down on top of the slice with the brown sugar and cinnamon on it so the peanut butter seals in the rest. Cut into as many pieces as desired, or eat it without cutting it up. Enjoy!

Nutritional value: probably not much

Sharing this with A.J’s class was almost as fun as offering a variety of cheeses (including gorgonzola) with a reading of The Old Man Who Loved Cheese by Garrison Keillor. It was amazing how fast Tee and A.J. moved toward the kitchen when these were offered again recently for lunch. Dy outlawed the addition of M&M “pebbles” but chopped nuts or chocolate chips occasionally appear. (The pic comes from 2004 while we were housed in Bayview Cabin at Cedar Campus.)

None of this compares with my childhood memory of being driven almost an hour on North Georgia backroads to an all-you-can-eat fried catfish joint – and home again – by my Uncle Wyman. He reportedly died yesterday morning, and I trust is enjoying better fare.

As may you – j

soothing sounds of customer dissatisfaction

This is not one of the more important things going on around here, but it was somewhat sad and amusing.

Earlier this month we ganged together an order for two small computer-related accessories – one for us and one for a friend. The items arrived and I put ours to use and passed along the other. Our friend discovered when they went to use it that their unit had been packaged so as to conceal a manufacturing fault. The plastic part looked as if it had been scuffed forcefully against a sharp metal edge, and I couldn’t tell if the damage was more than cosmetic. (There were even bits of mud on the opposite side, as if from the scuffer’s shoe.)

So I called the manufacturer (who will go unnamed), from whom we’d purchased directly. A very mellow guy answered and guided me through the return authorization process to the point where we were awaiting the ticket number.

I should mention I was multitasking a bit, supervising two kids at their homework, so my attention was somewhat divided. As I reengaged the phone call, I realized what I was hearing: snores. This continued for a long moment as I considered the reality and pondered how to respond. Finally, after several attempts to jump-start the conversation over about a minute, the agent resumed without any indication he was aware he’d been napping.

I’ve spent lots of hours on hold, receiving or offering technical support, or navigating customer service. This is the first time someone’s gone to sleep on me by phone. When I called back to speak with a call center supervisor, I was told they’re based in the Philippines, so it was an early morning hour there.

Another recent discovery is where one can create custom parodies of motivational posters. The photo above, taken of the kids years ago as a joke, finally came in handy.

About ready for a nap myself – j

A.J.’s Eve of Christmas Eve proposal

A.J.’s waking words, uttered as he walked into the living room where I had a PC going:

I’m writing a poem. It’s going to be called, “The Eve of Christmas Eve.” Unfortunately I’ll die before it’s done…(oh, good! [saw mom’s new blanket on the back of the loveseat and wrapped himself in it]…because Christmas isn’t coming very fast.

Dad? [Hmm?] Can we celebrate Christmas Eve on the 23rd instead of the 24th? And then Christmas on the 24th, please? By the way, I have a reason for that also, besides getting to open presents earlier. Saturnalia, which is what the Romans celebrated…[interrupted by Tee pointing out a new present under tree]…because then Christmas doesn’t have to be on the first day of Saturnalia, when they celebrated Saturn, one of the Greek gods, also a Roman god.

Breakfast calls – leftovers from yesterday’s brunch – and distracts us temporarily from this important discussion. – j

Satisfaction, contentment, BBQ, Tee pix and rehab

Several guys at the office are reading The Contented Soul and discussing it over weekly lunches. Monday’s discussion of the difference between satisfaction and soul contentment led me to an experiment this week. I knew it was culminating last night at supper.

When the rest of the family left Tuesday for a two-day visit four hours south, I thought I might try to be content with the food available in the house. The breakfast foods, yogurts and leftovers were fairly satisfying, but didn’t keep me from suggesting dinner to a workmate. I got a raincheck, worked late both evenings, and avoided any spending. The quiet hours of reading took me into the wee hours, and offered a different kind of nourishment.

Everyone’s return on Thursday was followed by a supper of instant macaroni and cheese – filling, but not the baked kind A.J. and I (at least) prefer. The leftovers were delivered to me in time for lunch Friday; I’d somehow managed to forget them at home.

Last night’s dinner was delayed by my late arrival from work and the further wait for the charcoal to be ready. But was it worth it! The grilled ribs with (for most of us) Sweet Baby Ray’s bar-b-que sauce were (for me, at least) a perfect complement to Aunt Dana’s spicy preserved asparagus and slices of French bread topped with the same aunt’s strawberry jam. “Wow,” I kept saying frequently throughout the meal. A.J. got to gnaw several bones Florida Gramma would have enjoyed. We ate almost half the jar of jam, and the asparagus was finished, mostly by me.

The delicious combination was matched plentiful quantity; we usually treat meat more as a condiment than the main dish. The whole shared experience more than made up for the previous days’ slim fare and balanced the solitude. The past day had also seen Dy and I move from opposition on an important decision-making process toward collaboration, which has continued today. A measure of contentment was restored along with the physical and relational satisfaction.

Okay, enough analysis for now. Tee’s visit with the DJs at a local radio station almost two weeks ago is now visible at (or for mobile devices). The promised CD of her on-the-air chats arrived this week, and I’ve been commissioned to make at least one copy.

Meanwhile, my Mom has completed her first week of rehab from gall bladder surgery. After the previous posting, she went into the hospital and surgery soon followed, placing a drain when removal proved too risky. Not having a cell phone, we kept up by public phones and at friends we visited on the way home from Cedar. (We got to see more of Sleeping Bear Dunes [] this time too.) Your prayers will be appreciated for her fuller recovery and for safe and sustainable arrangements once she’s home. I’m looking forward to being some on-site help when visiting later this month.

Hoping you’re finding contentment with the best – j

Tee joins the DJs Tue. 7/24 8-9 AM Central

This is your heads up about some planned fun. A local Christian radio station features a “Life Kid of the Week” throughout the summer. Tee won the drawing and gets behind the microphone of WNWC this Tuesday between 8:00 and 9:00 AM. If you’re within the reach of the Internet and can play streaming audio, you can tune in as well. Visit and listen online to the FM station.

Do they know what they’re getting into? She gets to read the weather, at least, and interact with the morning crew. We never know what will come out of her mouth, so it could get interesting. One friend has marveled at Tee this past week, considering the transformation since her first trip to Cedar Campus with a feeding tube and pump.

We’re finishing a week’s vacation around Cedar’s annual Pastors Seminar. It’s been refreshing to meet the Lord at the edge of the water and wilderness, and to hear his word relayed by Ben Patterson along the theme of God’s joy and ours. (Anyone can order recordings of Cedar’s speakers since about 1980 at We’ve all caught up with friends and made new ones, and will visit more on the way home.

Trusting you’re hearing better than this – j

berry berry

Woo-hoo! Black raspberries galore along the local park’s trail. If others have picked since we did last, it didn’t show. I was grateful for A.J.’s help and told him so; he decided he didn’t really need my help. To the tune of “Oh, Susanna”:

“My Dad, he is a good helper…
A little big around! [A.J.’s contributed line]
He helps me pick the berries
Wherever they are found.”

We went this time earlier in the morning – but not too early – and with long sleeves and pants. For facing the hazards of ticks, poison ivy, stray yellow jackets, thirst and hunger, we were rewarded with about five cups.

A.J. offered a lady walking the trail a handful of berries (not all ripe), which were gladly accepted. When I did the same a moment later from the other side and down a ways, she took a few more and traded a couple of the wild turkey feathers she’d found. Said that turkeys are meant to remind us to share our blessings. (Because of the first Thanksgiving?) We were generous knowing it’s God’s bounty far excelling what we could manage to grow in our yard – and this on public property.

I should have been doing my chore instead of writing, as the family’s back from the library and primed for some raspberry pankakes. Mmmmm…

Hmm, somehow can’t title this post once it’s saved. – j

"Napkins just get in the way [of eating]."

That was A.J.’s quote of the day, as we headed out the door this morning, breakfast in hand (at least). “You end up eating the napkin”…some of it, we think he means.

Speaking of eating, we’re enjoying our neighbors’ generous sharing of a vegetable co-op shipment with us this week. My personal favorite, which no one else tolerates, is the fennel.

Thinking of heading back to the berry patches soon… – j

Summer holidays

Our house was just a bit too far from last night’s fireworks at the nearby park to make any money from allowing people to park in our driveway. Earlier in the day, A.J., Tee and I picked several cups of black raspberries at that park, after a tip from a friend who found them. Avoided poison ivy and enjoyed some of the fruits of our labor – that’s a good 4th!

A.J. admired the entrepreneurial initiative of those who allowed parking even in their yard for the much bigger celebration across the lake a few evenings ago. That – the biggest display in the Midwest with 15,000 shells – attracted about 50,000 people. Many of us participated in what could have been the world’s largest Pledge of Allegiance; could that be done outside the U.S.?

We decided that day, just in time to celebrate it, that a person’s silver birthday is the one where their age equals the hour of their birth (in military time, if past noon). A.J. enjoyed his, pretending the huge fireworks show was in his honor. Best moment: his gobstopped reaction to the volley synchronized with “the rocket’s red glare.” He’s been memorizing the additional verse to the anthem. And enjoying his flying birthday gifts almost as much as Dy; Arey was kind enough to fish a couple of the toys off the roof when my back kept me grounded.

I should post the poor verses Arey and I crafted as clues for A.J.’s party treasure hunt with a military theme. We won’t get any further use from them past the kids’ few minutes enjoyment, and as they refer to spots in our yard.

Heard recently in the household, when Tee was asked how many pancakes she’d eaten: “I only had one!…Okay, maybe four…”. Talk about instant repentance.

Travel plans for the summer are starting to fall into place, including a couple of solo trips – me to my Mom in FL and Dy to visit a friend in Texas. That’s after we envelope a week at Cedar with play, exploration and visits.

It was a relief to read of Alan Johnston’s release in Gaza, even if the context of Hamas’ struggle for control of the area and its clans gives it a bitter edge. Like him in his captivity, Dy just discovered the local BBC broadcast.

And at least one teenage member of the family has already gotten tired of grilling out – just when my skills are improving. – j

your "once in a blue moon" opportunity

Tonight is the night. If only do something “once in a blue moon,” here’s your chance. There’s a blue moon out.

It happens every two and a half years, or so, but sometimes twice in three months. It’s a second full moon in one calendar month. Do the math.

And about as common as recent entries here. The silence has been for good reason. More about that soon.

Since the moon rises after our two youngests’ bedtime and sets before even one of them rises, I’m taking bets on whether or not Dy or I take the trouble to get them up to glimpse the astronomical non-oddity around midnight. And about how clear the sky will be.

Blue moon blessings – jdata