Category Archives: Family Stuff

General-interest stuff about our family

Don’t Ask

How often do we casually ask someone we encounter how they are? Passing a casual acquaintance in the grocery store isle, the nearly universal greeting is to ask how they’re doing. Run into an old classmate you haven’t seen in a few decades who has their arms full of kids and is clearly on their way somewhere, and we ask how they’ve been. I know I’m guilty of it, and I’m pretty sure almost everyone else is too. This kind of callous or ignorant questioning needs to stop. We don’t really want to hear about our former classmate’s recent divorce … Read the rest

Grandpa’s House

When I was young my parents would take us over to my maternal grandfather’s house almost every Sunday evening. I have a great many memories of that house and the people in it.

My Grandfather’s house was a small pale-green concrete-block structure built shortly after World War II in Kearns, UT. As originally constructed, it had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a small kitchen, a living room, a small family room, and not much else. I doubt it was much more than about 1200 square feet. Grandma and Grandpa occupied the master bedroom with its rather small attached bathroom. As you … Read the rest

Quitter

I don’t have a lot of patience for quitters. I’ve spent so much of my life pushing hard through difficulty and frustration to accomplish whatever it was I was working towards that it irritates me deeply when someone (especially someone close to me) gives up on something that is ostensibly important. To some degree, giving up feels like a moral weakness or failure. Setting something aside for a while is one thing… An inevitable thing in mortal existence… An uncomfortable but bearable thing… An acceptable thing. Giving up with no intention to circle back and try again later is quite … Read the rest

Uncle John

My uncle John giving me my first salute as a Second Lieutenant

One of the core principles everyone who has ever gone through basic training will understand is that being invisible has it’s advantages. When your bus drives through the installation gate for the first time on your way to training, you develop a pit in your stomach and start to wonder just what you have gotten yourself into. As you watch others get chewed on, you try to shrink into oblivion and do everything you can not to get noticed. At least, that was my experience. No sooner had … Read the rest

An alternative approach to printing my poetry – Kickstarter

For almost a year, I’ve been trying to get spare change together to have a collection of poetry I’ve written printed.   However, I have teenagers, and the unfortunate thing about teenagers is that they are expensive.  In spite of my best efforts to sock away a few dollars here and there, every time I had almost enough cash set aside something would come up, and I’d have to start over.

In the mean-time, though, I’ve gotten occasional feedback from the few people who were actively waiting for the final result.  It seems they are getting impatient.  As a result of … Read the rest

Homebrew Antenna Analyzer (part 1)

In the ham radio community, homebrewing is a term used to describe making your own radio gear.  For most hams, this doesn’t go much beyond building and tuning an antenna out of copper pipe or wire, but I’m not really your average ham.  For one, I am almost never on the air.  That said, as I’ve spent more time recently reconnecting with my roots as an Electrical Engineer, I’ve opted to use my license as an excuse to play around with ideas.

In the process of building my last project (the sunrise light http://www.diligent5.org/?p=1849) I bought an Arduino Uno … Read the rest

Geeking out part two

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a project I’ve been working on that uses a raspberry pi to mimic a sunrise as a sort of alternative to an alarm clock (https://www.diligent5.org/?p=1849) .  It’s generated a rather long list of learning experiences including things like the timing issues I wrote about previously.  After thinking about it, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to document a few of them.

First, debouncing switches can be easy or hard…  If you’re as dumb as me and want to set the system up to discriminate between long button presses, short button presses, and … Read the rest

Quiet compassion

This fourth of July we were invited for a second year in a row to go with friends to their family reunion at the family’s farm/ranch outside Grants, New Mexico.  I have to say that this family represents the kind of accepting and down right Christian people I think the world needs more of.  Let me explain.

Many years ago, when the patriarch and matriarch were young veterinarians just out of school, they landed in this small town west of Albuquerque and set up shop – the husband dealing with large animals, and the wife handling the small ones.  As … Read the rest

Family vacation

My family didn’t take a lot of what some would consider vacations when I was a kid. An annual trip camping for a few days in the nearby mountains was about all we managed most years.  There were also times when we packed up to go somewhere more exotic like a national park, or to visit relatives far away. Among the memories of these trips I have shadows of memories where my parents were stressing about them — both before and during.  I sometimes think a lot of the stress was financial, but the root cause is somewhat immaterial.  The … Read the rest