Saturday, 31 December 2005
So we missed a call from this man.
Thanks for taking the time to call, and yes, we'll certainly meet someday. Love to you all and praying you have a peaceful family Christmas (and new year, as Chris pointed out to me).
Wednesday, 28 December 2005
Rose is interesting, because for a long time we'd thought Chris the only Christian in her family. It's since turned out that Rose's family have a strong Christian faith and have been involved in all kinds of things. I'm not sure where it might take us in the future, but I feel it's significant that God has brought this to our attention after so many years.
She's also the oldest female in her family remaining, at 85. Quite remarkable.
Let me quote this post by Nikita:
Back To Work After Christmas
-But I have a LOT to tell!!
I'll start from the beginning and apologize now for the long post coming up!
Christmas Eve, Dan came to my Grandparents house (Grandma Joy etc) and the whole family was round. Grandma cooked a lush dinner (Jacket potatoes, cold meat etc etc)
and we played muder in the dark!!! Was very funny! :D
Cameron, the youngest cousin at 4 yrs old, wouldn't part from Dan! hehe!! And Dan didn't get annoyed that much with him! wow! lol!
Christmas morning was kinda boring. Everyone was cranky for bein woken up early!
But about 18:00 things started to get intersting...
My (great) Aunt Dorothy had given the grandchildren (us kids) £30 to give to a single chrity we think needed it most.
We went round the room, and each kid voted secretly for the chrity they wanted. I voted for OpenDoors. But as nobody had ever heard of it in my non-christian family, I decided to make a quick plea and tell them about what OpenDoors did.
Then we voted again. There was 5 kids voting, 2 didn't vote for OpenDoors, 2 others changed their mind because of what I said, with the guidance of the Lord. £30 is now heading to OpenDoors.
This caused a big discusion with my family.
Like "If there is such a thing as God, why do so many people worship other 'Gods'?" and "If there is such a thing as a 'God' then why do young people die?" "Why did the Tsunami happen?" etc etc
I prayed to God to guide me with what I needed to say, to show me the right verses, and to help my family understand the Christain faith.
He guided me.
He showed me the verses, I quoted them to my family,
and He helped them understand why I became a Christian, and I hope and pray that the Lord can give them more hunger to search for Him.
After the discusion,
Brooke (my 11 yr old cousin) said that she believes in God. Uncle David said he thinks something is out there and wants to find out what. Uncle Craig wants to keep 'open minded' but thinks Christianity is the way forward.
Brooke and Ginny, the only other girls that voted for OpenDoors, on Christmas Day, decided they want to come to BCC youth group and want to become Christians.
Dan phoned as soon I'd finished talking to my family.
I ran upstairs and actually burst into tears! I was SO happy!!
I think felt the Lord speak through me! It was scarey but amazing! I was quoting from the Bible, I was talking to Craig, Grandma, David, Ginny, Brooke, Grandad and Mum about God!!!
It was AMAZING!!
Kita - you, Dan and Liv do good things to our hearts.
Tuesday, 27 December 2005
With a little help from my trusty (rusty) hacksaw and drill the new closure plate for the rayburn has been persuaded to fit. It's been running about an hour and seemes to be OK. However part of the process required cutting of some mineral fibre rope, and just like glass wool, the fibres have stuck in my skin in odd places.
I've just got back from work now, having popped in to top up the liquid nitrogen conatiners we keep cells frozen in.
LN2 is amazing stuff.
It has a crystaline transparency that water cannot match, and because it is so inert, all polished surfaces stay that way without corrosion. Looking down into the biggest dewar (vacuum flask to non-scientists) you have a brilliant clear view to the bottom. All that disappears when you stop adding nitrogen, as the moisture in the air condenses in the freezing gas stream, turning to fog.
Monday, 26 December 2005
Sunday, 25 December 2005
Saturday, 24 December 2005
Thursday, 22 December 2005
Olivia will be a little late due to a work training event.
Wednesday, 21 December 2005
I always wondered what the point of carols was, and why people would especially want to sing them, after all, the words are frequently contrived and a little cringe-worthy. I've finally figured it out. The point is to have a bit of a jamboree together, visiting houses, stopping off for food and drink and having a mostly well-behaved party.
Seems fair enough.
I wonder if this is how many religious festivals started?
There's some value in this thinking too. I'm a natural humbug, and while I enjoy doing things that are a bit wild, I can also be reserved and look askance at those doing slightly outre things that I don't naturally gravitate to. A little self-analysis can be useful for figuring out what makes me tock when others tick.
Tuesday, 20 December 2005
Answer: Chuck Beret.
MD "Can I have the keys to the company car?"
Me "Here they are, and by the way, it's full of fuel"
MD "Well, what can you say to that!"
Oh yes, it's a barrel of laughs here.
Monday, 19 December 2005
There's a website for it of sorts, but not especially impressive, so I see little point in linking to it.
Matt - say "Hi" to Cas for me.
Sunday, 18 December 2005
The trailers made it look good, so I picked up the DVD in Gatport Airwick.
Darn silly thing to do.
Tedious and embarassing in it's stupidity, not to mince words.
If you haven't seen it then count yourself lucky. I'm just glad it only cost £6.80 instead of £16 for proper cinema tickets.
Saturday, 17 December 2005
And the guilty party:
Pulling the Rayburn to bits.
Those with long blogging memories will remember last November and there's a certain sense of deja vu re-reading that archive. The guy that replaced the water jacket last year put a metal plate in wrong - above instead of below the insulation, and also upside down! That last pic shows what happens to mild steel after a prolonged period in intense heat.
I was just talking with Chris about how the burner works and how simple it was. Used the immortal words "it's not rocket science" when I realised that actually it IS like rocket science. The main difference is that we're generating heat, rather than propulsion.
Ho hum. Better buy some more coal.
Thursday, 15 December 2005
Thanks if you were praying for me to make it - I got home around 4.45ish. Really tired now (I kept falling asleep) but have managed to stay up until a reasonable bed time, so here I go.
Time-zone reintegration isn't half as 'hi tech' as it sounds.
Wednesday, 14 December 2005
It seems our flight to Chicago has been cancelled. Fortunately our travel agent in the UK has booked us onto a Northwestern airlines flight around the same time that is still on, so we *should* make it home as planned.
Tuesday, 13 December 2005
Monday, 12 December 2005
The presentation seemed to go OK. But I just feel isolated, a bit useless and inadequate really. Been thinking about Sarah, and that's not lifted me up either. The guys here are smart, sharp and have already done most of the background work required (or aso it seems) so I'm feeling dull, slow, insecure and inadequate.
There's no way I'll give in to depression, but I'm certainly aware of it, lurking in the background.
It's probably lack of sleep, accumulated over the last few days, and will lift once I get enough. I was tempted not to mention this, but it doesn't seem useful to hide things like that.
Don't worry about me - I'll come through, but this is just how it is for now. We're heading off for dinner in about 10 mins.
Missing my family - blood and extended. See you all in a few days.
Met some people from the company I used to work for (R&D systems) that were good ad interesting. Had a huge bacon cheese burger in a sports bar (made up for zero lunch).
Finally got to my hotel at about 9.30pm. Now I'm unpacked and have surfed a little I'm off to bed.
Oh, BTW. Jon - great to hear how you got on yesterday. Keep hanging in there. I think there is a lot of healing waiting for you.
Sunday, 11 December 2005
I also put a wreath on the door, ivy twisted around a twiggy circle with red gingham bows.
2) The stove didn't go out even though we were out of the house for 5 1/2 hours, and the house still feels warm.
3) Best of all, Jon came to church.
It was a really good meeting, I was certainly touched by God. I hope Jon felt some of that too.
Set alarm for 6.30.
Woke up at 5am worrying about catching the flight.
Never mind, there may be time for a snooze on the plane, if my bod will let me.
Wonder who will stock a replacement jet for the rayburn? Sorry you had all that too my love.
For those not in the know, this is an oil fired stove (the same as an Aga) which is a major source of heating itself, but which also runs the central heating. Toni mentioned in his blog about not sleeping that he thought it was making funny noises, obviously that wasn't just the product of an over tired & over active brain. This morning it was making more funny noises, it sounded like it couldn't fire up, & when I went into the kitchen I could smell oil. So I have turned it off. I suspect that the jet needs cleaning, or something simple like that, but I can't do it. Poor Toni, he's going to have a lot to do when he gets home. We were meant to be going Christmas shopping next Friday, & putting the tree up on Saturday, but I wonder if we'll have time.
Whilst outside gathering winter fu-ooo-el to light the little stove in the living room, Carolyn rang to invite Ben & I to lunch. What a blessing!
Said little stove has smoked profusely & made the room very smelly, but appears to have lit now. We also have a couple of oil filled radiators & a fan heater, so we are not totally without heating. I need to get the large oil filled radiator downstairs but it is rather heavy & our stairs are steep & twisting. I wonder if muscle man can be persuaded to get out of bed to help?
Saturday, 10 December 2005
All done with the aplomb of a peri-pubertal teenager trying to convince himself he looks OK.
Yesterday's journey was a 'mare though.
The plane was delayed by about 2 hours at Gatport Airwick, partly due to fog, partly due to everyone else talking a long time to eave. The pilot announced that to save fuel, he wouldn't be making up the time.
We literally ran through part sof Fort Worth's airport, only to then wait 35 mins for baggage collection. Bags re-checked, 20 mins through security. From which we ran to the train that taook us round the airport to our terminal, then ran down to the gate just to be told the plane left early and we'd already missed it.
Mexican food, a couple of beers and 2 hour to kill let me sleep a little, then being on a quieter plane let me sleep a little more - probably an hour in total.
WE got to Tom and Jenny's party around 11.00pm - almost exactly 24 hours after leaving home. They had a lovely warm welcome for us, and made it somehow feel worthwhile afterall, just for that. Finally slept at about 1.30am (7.30 in the UK) and woke around 6.30.
So here we go - a grey and un-characteristically cool Texan day. Thanks everyone that prayed for me - I had no right to hold up so well.
Friday, 9 December 2005
Shortly after writing the previous post, Jill, a friend from years ago, rang me (NOT having read it) and was able to talk & pray with me & generally encourage me. She had been at a prayer meeting but left early & on the way home remembered that she wanted to ring me, so that definately sounds like she was prompted.
Eventually I said I needed to go as I had to pick Ben up (the car is driveable but has only one headlight & he didn't want to stopped by the boys in blue.) I was just putting my shoes on when the phone rang. It was Sue who had read the blog. She simply said 'Is there anything I can do?'. So I said 'Well.. you could pick Ben up', which she is kindly doing. That meant I was home just now to receive Toni's 'phone call from the States.
All this goes a long way to restoring my faith which was being shaken a bit. He really does respond when we cry out to him, he does sometimes seem to wait until we are desperate though (or is it that it is only then that we really cry out?).
BTW, Toni's flight was delayed this morning for 2 hours because of fog. He was ringing from Dallas where he is changing flights for his onward journey to Houston. He did not manage to sleep on the plane so he has presently (at 10:30 pm GMT) been awake for more than 40 hours & doesn't expect to get to bed for about another 8 hours!
So, do we lose our no claims bonus or fork out?
Either way it is going to cost a packet I suspect.
And Toni isn't here, & I have so much to try & do re Mum's house move, which I was going to do this week but didn't because of Ben being in hospital. And Toni was going to help but now isn't here to do it.
I just want to run away & hide.
He and I take slightly different views. I think it's great. But then I always was a Christmas humbug.
However, while checking out the bible I did come across Galatians 4 v9-11. Slightly out of context, but food for thought over Christmas and Oester (to give it the original pagan name).
What do i want for Christmas? A large wooden spoon apparently.
My car to take me to the airport arrives in 3 1/2 hours.
I had my first inkling that things weren't going to be easy when I couldn't finish in time tonight at work. Calling home so I could stay another 30 min, I found Chris was in tears.
Dashed home. Attempted rather feebly to comfort wife. Cooked dinner. Greeted newly returned son.
Ben popped out to see some friends (they needed hugs from him, apparently) and we engaged each other's attention in a way that helps most males sleep after. Note this bit.
Dashed back to work. Sorted laptop. Collected papers to read in preparation for meeting. Picked up data. Packed box. Wrote a couple of orders. Dashed home again.
Toward the end I could feel things becoming increasingly imprecise. Most of this week has felt like it was wasted. There's been a cold going round that takes the edge off people, and with Ben in hospital, my edge has been truly off. Today, when the rubber hit the road and I HAD to get stuff done God was gracious enough to give me a sharp brain.
It's like I rode through the eye of a storm, with calmness around and thoughts flowing reasonably clearly.
Tonight the fug was returning, but the brain would not stop sizzling from the days business.
Got home, packed the case with the stuff Chris had so kindly ironed. Went donstairs, ironed a pair of jeans to wear while travelling, dashed around and got all hot before climbing into bed. Had our last (by now, too warm) cuddle and then completely failed to sleep.
My head was too full, overflowing with thoughts, awash with streams of words, imaginings and intentions running through it. Must find that hat. EZ81 or 5Y3 rectifier. Add an extra line to that organisation chart. Should I go to guitar centre or Rockin' Robins? Will Mervyns have any good trousers. What will Gopal want to know. 170pF or 180pF. Is the Rayburn OK - I'm sure it sounded 'wrong' when it fired just now. Wish I could blog my *thoughts* without typing.
My head felt swollen, face tender. No position was comfy.
At 1.15, with 3 hours left before the alarm, I got up.
So here I am. There was nothing I fancied on the spirits to help me sleep (that Hungarian Apricot brandy will make me feel hung over) so I'm sipping a beer, typing twaddle.
In 24 hours it will be 7.55pm (local) and I'll be at someone's party, attempting to make conversation without saying anything too stupid or too rude, and trying not to fall over. Maybe I'll sleep on the plane?
Hope you all slept well. This took me 40 minutes to type.
Thursday, 8 December 2005
Wednesday, 7 December 2005
Sue and Ian - thanks for hosting last night: good fun having en-masse fondues (2 meat, 1 cheese and 1 chocolate, for those not present)
And thanks too to Tracy and Peter, for leaving a magazine and card for Ben. That was really kind of you, to think of him.
Just another day at work here. Headache, tired, runny nose. Just keep on going.
Tuesday, 6 December 2005
You're Love in the Time of Cholera!
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Like Odysseus in a work of Homer, you demonstrate undying loyalty by
sleeping with as many people as you possibly can. But in your heart you never give
consent! This creates a strange quandary of what love really means to you. On the
one hand, you've loved the same person your whole life, but on the other, your actions
barely speak to this fact. Whatever you do, stick to bottled water. The other stuff
could get you killed.
Take the next dumb quiz
at the place all the geeks have nothing better to do.
The doctors can't understand why it is that he's only had intermittent pain, rather than constant, as they'd expect. They did a CAT scan (no labrador jokes please) but we've not heard if there were any conlusive results from that. So he waits in hospital, pleasantly bored, to see what's happening next.
He must be feeling normal, because he insisted on walking with us to the car. After saying goodbye I turned away, then back to say one thing more and all I saw was his leg disappearing as he jogged round the corner heading back. I don't believe in fate, but if I did I'd suggest he likes to tweak it's nose. Rather like his father.
Livi came with us too, and it was nice to spend time with her, having not seen her on Sunday.
Once again, thanks for all your prayers and care.
Monday, 5 December 2005
Chris rang this morning, and I understand that he'd not had a recurrence during the night. They ran another ECG and BP test and the same abnormality was present in the ECG as before. Chris is going in now, and should be there in time to talk with the doctor when he comes round later.
It's funny, yesterday apart from early 'wobbles' I was fine, but today I feel quite fragile. Not good as I really need to crack through some work, but maybe if I can throw myself into that I'll be distracted enough to get over it.
Thanks everyone for your prayers, thoughts and best wishes. Special thanks to Jon for expressing your concern even though you're in the middle of a really bad time. Special hug to Olivia because I know you've been very worried too.
Sunday, 4 December 2005
At 6 am this morning I was wondering if that would happen.
Ben came home from work yesterday with a high temperature and a headache, feeling pretty rough. Went to bed but didn't sleep well. Some time before 6 he woke with a crushing chest pain and cold sweating, came down and woke us. It was bad enough to double him up, even when being sick.
Everything here said 'HEART PROBLEM' in 10ft high letters of fire, and we dressed and rushed to the Horton hospital A&E. We were taken seriously, and he was quickly admitted and ECG'd, then ECG'd again. His trace was quite seriously abnormal, and blood samples showed raised enzymes indicative of heart damage. He was given brufen, Asprin another un-named drug and nitroglycerin, while at the same time put on Oxygen. His heart showed mild arrythmic behaviour, and a 3rd ECG was again quite abnormal. Eventually he had a chest X-ray and was moved to the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) where he eventually recovered. He's being kept in overnight for observation.
After Chris came home to collect a change of clothes, books and food for him they came round with an ultrasound scanner and checked his heart over. Apparently his aortic ventricle is bicuspid, rather than the standard tricuspid issue. Not the cause of the problem though. They also noticed some fluid around the heart, and have concluded the cause is pericarditis due to a viral infection.
I have a feeling this has originated downstairs. We will be praying more carefully to cover our family in the coming weeks. I'm just grateful that no real harm has been done, and that we've only been mildly inconvenienced. This could have been so bad if it had happened while I was in the US.
Thank you Father, for looking after us.
Saturday, 3 December 2005
Then I almost made the mistake of thinking I was being honoured instead of tagged.
Seven things to do before I die:
1. Plant a church 'myself'
2. Hold my natural grandchildren
3. Make it to retirement
4. Gig with a loud, anti-social rock band
5. return to mountain biking
6. See my extended family go on to maturity
7. Learn another language
Seven things I cannot do:
1. Run a marathon
2. Smoke Eddie van Halen
3. Fully understand women
4. Eat without restraint
5. Lift more than my bodyweight comfortably
6. Enjoy vegetarian food
7. Hear clearly
Seven things that attract me to my spouse:
1. Our unity
2. The way she balances our relationship
3. Her hair
4. Shared experience
5. Nice boobs :¬)
6. Her love
7. Her refusal to be weak.
Seven things I say most often:
2. How are you?
3. Is that your first lie today?
5. Good to see you again
7. God, help....
Seven books I love:
1. Ringworld, Larry Niven
2. The Hobbit, J R R Tolkein
3. The bible, NIV study edition
4. 9 o'clock in the morning, Dennis Bennett
5. The Lord of the Rings.....
6. The Stainless Steel Rat, Harry Harrison
7. Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
Seven movies I would watch over and over again:
1. 2001, a space odyssey
2. Blazing saddles
3. Men in Black
4. This Is Spinal Tap
5. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
6. Lord of the Rings – all of them
7. Easy Rider
Seven people I want to join in too:
7. Sarah (two red boots)
Friday, 2 December 2005
Missed Livi too.
About a decade ago I read a book by Charles Simpson, talking about (among other things) the need for 'Fathers'. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it didn't seem to be really happening. It seems to have taken 10 years and a lot of growth, change and 'life' for it to be coming real.
I'll go read some blogs in a minute and find out what I've missed.