Our precious second son, Wilson Maynard was stillborn Saturday, August 5, 2006 at 7:01am. He was 22 weeks early and weighed only 2.9 ounces. We named him after my wife’s grandfathers.

We were able to spend twelve hours with him at the hospital before we asked the funeral home to come for him.

We miss our little “baby bump” terribly.


(l-r) Grandpa, Lou and Great-Grandpa, showing their game faces before we dig into the feast.

On the menu: chicken, meatloaf, green bean casserole, cheesy potatoes, broccoli salad, two kinds of fresh, homemade pickles, fruit salad, zucchini bread, raspberries, cantaloupe, blueberry pie (two, actually), blackberry pie and chocolate chip cookies with toffee bits. Soda, ice tea and water to drink. And the best weather you could imagine: 75 degrees, hardly any clouds, no humidity.

Not bad for an impromptu picnic that wasn’t even on the calendar this morning at 8:30. (We just supplied the super-cute kid and the raspberries. The Klein women can cook up a storm when they put their minds to it.)

Originally uploaded by Occasus Pars Clamo.

The Grand Rapids Press has an article on the front page of Weds. July 19th’s paper about vegetable gardens at various GRPS elementary schools being vandalized. And yes, it is a shame that some sub-morons would destroy a vegetable garden just to spite 8 year-olds.

But when I reflect on what a good portion of our popular culture teaches kids today, the first thing that came to my mind was this passage from C.S. Lewis’ Abolition of Man:

…[A]ll the time – such is the tragi-comedy of our situation – we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more ‘drive,’ or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or ‘creativity.’ In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.

I’ve been using Google’s Picasa photo organizer and editor software more and more recently. It’s by no means as powerful or flexible as Photoshop, but it handles cropping, contrast and color correction (and the occasional sharpening) that I find is mostly all my photos need. [That’s an awkward sentence, but I don’t have the patience to correct it tonight.]

Here are a few before and after shots to prove Picasa’s powers. The first is a photo of my son sleeping. The second is a test I ran on one of Jennyanydot’s (from The Common Room) pictures. (If you’re not already, you should be reading The Common Room every day.)

Still Life with Baby, Blankie and BinkyStill Life with Baby, Blankie and Binky (final)

Cool on the creekCool on the creek - revised

Boy am I glad I finally dumped my blog over at Blogger. The user interface was terrible and made me hate blogging.

The straw that broke the camel's back was Google deciding that Memorial Day didn't rate a logo change.

Making Cookies with Mom
Originally uploaded by Occasus Pars Clamo.

Courtesy of Cook's Illustrated's The New Best Recipe cookbook:

Thick and Chewy Chocolate-Chip Cookies
The simple cookie with the gourmet touch

Makes about 18 3-inch cookies

  • 2-1/8 cups (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; mix until just combined. Stir in desired amount of chips.

3. Form scant 1/4 cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball using fingertips of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Each half will have a jagged surface where it was ripped from the other; rotate each half up so the jagged surface faced the ceiling and press the halves back into one ball so that the top surface remains jagged. (The nooks and crannies you have created will give the baked cookies an attractive and somewhat rough, uneven appearance.) Place formed dough onto one of two parchment paper-lined cookie sheets, about 9 balls per sheet.

4. Bake, reversing cookies sheets' positions halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes (start checking at 13 minutes). Cool cookies on cookie sheets. Serve or store in airtight container.

Recipe provided by the editors of Cook's Illustrated.

Couldn't have said it better myself.
h/t The Corner

Dangerously Incompetent
Originally uploaded by Occasus Pars Clamo.