Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Case of the Missing Red Licorice

Six-year-old Greg and seven-year-old Jon will go to any lengths to find where candy is hidden. Greg, the one with the curiously red lips, has already found the red licorice, and has climbed up on the kitchen countertop to get a plate to put it on. Jon is caught red-handed on an opposing countertop.

Last Night's Sunset

Boulder, Colorado

One of the prettiest places in Colorado is Boulder. My work took me there this week. This picture of the mountains they call "flatirons" was taken looking straight into the sun at about 3:30 in the afternoon.

Boulder is often in the news. This week students at Boulder High School were objecting to the words "under God" in the pledge of allegiance. Isn't it amazing how such a beautiful place produces such misguided leftists? This is also where Ward Churchill came to infamy. Boulder is very expensive. A house there costs twice what it would cost twenty miles down the road in Golden, which also has its share of leftists.

Friday, September 28, 2007

With Deep Appreciation!

Most of you already read the Ambulance Driver blog. He is one of the best writers on the web. Yesterday he wrote some very kind words about Colleen and me, for which we are deeply appreciative.

One of the many things I like about Ambulance Driver is that even though he is very, very knowledgeable about all things medical, as well as humanity in general, he chooses to identify himself merely as an "Ambulance Driver". His medical competence is astounding, yet he chooses to identify himself with all of us who are just trying to overcome our human foibles and be decent human beings. One of the things I enjoy most about reading his blog is how he uses humor to bring down to size pompous, greedy, or hypocritical people who abuse positions of power in families and in various institutions in today's world.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Words Matter

The Denver Post has a story today about an animal shelter volunteer who has been accused of coaxing a basset hound to perform oral sex on him. The same gentleman was arrested in 1998 in a Denver park for "unlawful public indecency". Just wondering: what would be lawful public indecency?

Turning To God For Strength and Courage

In my last post I urged readers to check out a wonderful new blog entitled Walking On. What I did not tell you about the blog is that the woman who writes it has six children, some of whom are losing their vision to a disease called retinitis pigmentosa. On her blog she has written poems to two of her boys who are losing their vision. She talks about how they continue to hold their heads high, not complain about what is happening to them, and share the beauty that they both have within. These children are so fortunate to have such a wonderful, loving mother who turns to God to find the strength and courage to carry on.

Blogger is doing its thing to her, too. The comments section is not working at the bottom of her posts. I am sure it will be fixed in a few days. Don't let that deter you from visiting her blog. You will be inspired by her faith and courage, as well as by the wonderful children she is raising.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Domestic Violence

In my career as a child protection caseworker and county director of social services, I had many cases where domestic violence was occurring. In those cases, my clients were the children and also the adult who was the victim of domestic violence.

Recently I have found a wonderful blog entitled Walking On, in which a wonderful woman tells how she and her children escaped the abuser and made a life for themselves. I highly recommend this gritty woman's blog to my friends in the blogosphere!

And while we are on the subject, there is another blogger I want you to know about. Skywriter can write like nobody's business. She also escaped an abuser, but not before he beat her during her pregancy, causing her to lose her child. She is now a federal agent, and previously did a career as a pilot. You will enjoy both of these bloggers immensely, as they are both individuals of substance, who are living very worthwhile lives.

My own wife was the victim of domestic violence in her first marriage. He was convicted of false imprisonment. We have later learned that he taught his oldest son to touch his sister's private parts when he was seven and she was two. He is living underground to escape prosecution for his crimes against his own children.

Of course, abuse is not confined to the male species. Males can be victims of females as often as females are of males, in my experience. Certainly children are abused and/or neglected as often by their mothers as by their fathers. Sexual abuse of children is thought by our society only to be done by males. My experience, though, is that females perpetrate as often as males. You would never know it by visiting convicted sex offenders in prison. About 90 percent of them are males.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Boys At Play

I decided to pay attention to my six and seven-year-old sons tonight, as they were playing. The six-year-old used his powers to kill the Ice Monster. However, the Ice Monster had a red crystal heart. When he died, he got too close to a post that was filled with demons. The red crystal, which was made of ice, crashed against the post, causing a fire. The sun came. The demons could not stand the light from the sun and the red crystal, and they flew out of the house and died. Then there was no more evil shown in the universe. The only evil left was down in Satan's house.

But wait! There was one more evil demon: The King of the Second World (our six-year-old) defeated the demon. The General (our seven-year-old) killed all of the "callers". The job of the callers was to call the devil to make more demons.

Boys need to see themselves as powerful; able to protect people from evil.

The Nativity Story, According to Our Six-Year-Old Son

Three-year-old Sara asked her mom, "Why did Mary have the baby Jesus?" Colleen tells Sara all about the need for a Savior, so that our sins can be atoned. Not liking that answer, Sara turns to her six-year-old brother and asks the same question. He answered, "Back in those days, you had to be married to have a baby. She did not want to marry that Joseph guy, so God put the baby Jesus right in her stomach, so she would not have to marry him."


Today a school official called our house. My wife, Colleen, answered. The official told Colleen that a teacher had noticed that our fifteen-year-old son, who has very large bones and is slightly obese, (got the gene from his biological father's family) has not seemed to be eating lunch at school the last two weeks. The school official started to tell Colleen about the free lunch program. Colleen said, "Stop right there. It will take me thirty minutes to get to the school. I want to meet with you, the principal, the teacher who made the allegation, and our son." The school official said, "but, but." Colleen said, "I will see you in thirty minutes."

Next, a wardrobe change: off with the boots and jeans, on with the hose, Bruno Magli shoes, and a professional-looking dress. The wheels on the van spin just a bit, as she backs out of the driveway.

No official but the lady who called was available to meet with Colleen when she arrived. Colleen asked the lady to take notes of everything that was said, then read the notes back to her at the end of the meeting. First, she asked our son to show the woman how much money he had in his wallet: $41.00! Colleen knew that, of course. She and our son have been working on a ranch this weekend for ten dollars an hour, mucking horse stalls, and doing general barn and livestock maintenance. Colleen noted that he had enough money in his wallet to purchase a lunch today; in fact, enough for several days!

Next, Colleen asked our son to tell how many kinds of lunchmeats she had purchased and brought home for him yesterday. His answer: "Four, and a bunch of other food, too," as he pulled a granola bar out of his pocket.

Colleen told the lady that she appreciated the teacher's concern, and that she has a plan for the rest of the week. She will make up four cards with smiley faces on them. Our son is to take the card to the teacher who made the allegation, show him his lunch every day, and have the teacher sign the card. Our son is then supposed to bring the card home for his parents to see. If he has a signed smiley face every day for the rest of this week, he no longer has to bring the card to the teacher in the upcoming weeks.

People make assumptions about large families. We feel the need to be proactive whenever we encounter those assumptions. One assumption is that because there are so many children, they must need a free lunch. We could not possibly be adequately taking care of them, now could we?

Why is our son not eating, if, in fact, it is true that he is not eating? He knows he is overweight. It was not a problem the last few years when he was homeschooling. Now he attends a school that has cute persons of the opposite gender also in attendance. I predict that in no time at all he will be svelt, even if he does have to eat his lunch!

Colleen has finally been able to talk with the principal. The principal admitted that she had talked to the staff about talking to parents about free lunches, BECAUSE THE SCHOOL WILL QUALIFY FOR ADDITIONAL FEDERAL DOLLARS!

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Tip From A Loving Brother

Three-year-old Sara has a problem. She overreacts to the slightest thing that goes wrong. She just loves to cry and moan and present herself as a victim.

Today six-year-old brother Greg decided to tell her the story of the "boy who cried wolf." It seems that there was "a village with people in it. Nearby there was a wolf. In the village there was a little boy who cried all of the time, and always pretended that his life was miserable. One day when he was crying, the wolf came and ate him. So, Sara, if you don't stop crying all of the time, the wolf is going to come and eat you."

Sara replied, "Okay, can we play monsters now?"

It Won't Be Long Now

Although we are having summer-like weather on this first day of fall, I know that it will not be long now before the first frost. Here's a photo of the four-tiered garden at the end of summer, as some of you have requested.

Now I am going to try to divide as many of the perennials as possible and plant them in new spots.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

An Afternoon At The Salon

This afternoon Colleen and the kids were back in Walmart (We forgive those who trespass against us, sometimes). She noticed that they had a hair salon, and she noticed that we had children who looked shaggy, so the entourage proceeded toward the salon. You know how they have big pictures of models with the latest hairstyle? Well, two-year-old Linebacker Dude was particularly mesmerized by one poster of a female model, whose breasts happened to be showing. He quietly climbed up on the chair to get a closer look. Suddenly he exclaimed to his three-year-old sister, "Look, Sara, balls!"

A West and a North View of Tonight's Sunset

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Six-year-old Greg came to me with a terribly stressed-out look all over his beautiful face. He urgently sought my attention. "Dad, you have to do something right now, or else the chicken is going to burn really badly. It has been cooking all morning!"

I explained to him how the crock pot works. Of course, it was not the first time we have used the crock pot. What was different was that instead of having it in the back corner of the kitchen, as we did at the house in Golden, now we have it right out in plain sight. I was glad to be able to relieve that stress!

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Six-year-old Greg asked me tonight, "Dad, have you ever had a dream that robbers came into your house and stole all of your stuffed animals?" "No, son, not that I can remember." "Well I did, and the boss of the burglars was eating a burger as long as the earth!"

Okay Freudians, give me your interpretations.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Wife Accosted By WalMart Greeter!

It's true! It really happened to Colleen tonight as she left with a cart full of diapers, Pull Ups, Wipes, Juices, and a plastic table cloth made in China. Mau was tantruming (just came back from a visit with biological mother). "Let me see your sales receipt," demanded the rather large greeter. Colleen could not find it, could not find it, then finally found it. The woman slowly checked everything, but Colleen was beginning to doubt if the woman really knew how to read. Finally, Colleen snatched it back and demanded that the woman follow her to Customer Service. Colleen then demanded to see someone who could read. Someone came up and read all the items on the list and then profusely apologized to Colleen. As she drove away with Mau screaming, Colleen dialed the store and asked to speak to the manager. The manager explained that the greeter was trained only to ask to see a receipt if the door buzzer goes off, which did not happen in this instance.

Tonight's Sunset

Yes, it is fuzzy. It was getting dark, so I used the zoom to try to capture the colors. Got the colors, but sorry about the fuzz.

Two Excellent Human Beings

Thanks to The Poor Farm for bringing this to our attention.

Friday, September 14, 2007


My wife has a wicked sense of humor. We have a three-year-old who just loves the sound of her own powerful voice. She happily carries on a conversation with anyone, about whatever comes to her imaginative mind. Whenever we get a call from a telemarketer, Colleen hands the phone to our three-year-old. Tonight she talked for a while, then handed the phone to Linebacker Dude, who will be three in January, but is already trying to keep up with his sister. Linebacker Dude "pushed the wrong button", and soon one could hear the disconnect buzzer. That telemarketer is not likely to call this house again. Both children enjoy their role of speaking to people on the phone two or three times a day.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Hillary Clinton "suspends disbelief", as she listens to a man of impeccable integrity testify before the Senate., chief fundraiser and policy maker for the Democrat party, gets a rate discount from the New York Times and names its own date of publication of a full page ad calling General Petraeus "General Betray Us". Neither Clinton nor Obama condemns for their classless act. Are the Democrats going to field a candidate who could actually be President of the greatest nation on earth? If so, it will have to come from somewhere other than the present field of candidates.

Update: The Times charged MoveOn $65,000 for the ad, which normally costs $181,692.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Inadvertantly, An Ambassador For America!

Six years ago today they did the unspeakable deed. Unbelievably, there are many people who believe that if we just sit down with these Islamic fanatics, and be nice to them, they will stop wanting to kill innocent people. Democrat presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is in Syria cowering before the Syrian dictator, Asaad, who is one of the most ruthless people in the world. Do you think a Syrian would be allowed to come to America and criticize Asaad, as Kucinich criticized President Bush in Syria? The answer is no. The answer is that the Syrian would be killed and his family would be tortured and killed. Will any member of the media ask Kucinich about his cowardice and stupidity? Will any of the other Democrat candidates challenge him when he returns to the land of the free? We shall see.

Nevertheless, Kucinich is doing more for America, inadvertantly, than could a busload of State Department ambassadors. The Syrian people can watch him on television, and say to themselves, "that America must be some wonderful place. We know that we could never criticize Asaad, even in our country, without placing ourselves and our families at risk of torture and death". The citizens of Iran will also notice, and long for the kind of freedom America gives clueless people like Kucinich, to speak out against the U.S. Commander-in-Chief on the anniversary of 9-11-01.


In thinking about what our foster child, "Linebaker Dude," needs, many people give us suggestions. Some say he needs to be an only child. Some say he needs to be around lots of children. Some say he needs to live in the country. Some say he needs to live in an urban area. What nobody says is that he needs parents who will provide leadership!

Remember, he has been mostly on his own his whole life. He is used to doing what he wants, and only what he wants. That is not how you become a civilized human being. Human beings require someone, somewhere along the way, to provide leadership; to teach the child that he can trust his caretaker, who has certain basic expectations of the child in terms of behavior. Someone must be there to teach the child the basic realities of life, and inspire them to follow your example. The child cannot be the one who is in charge. The adult must be in charge. It is the child's job to follow the lead of the parent, not the other way around. Too many parents nowadays are abdicating that leadership role. Children are left to follow the lead of whomever it is that they are spending time with: MTV? Peers? Rock stars? Pedophiles?

Why are so many parents abdicating their responsibility to lead? What are we afraid of? Social Services? That we won't be seen as "child-centered"? That the child will be angry at us? Our society gives kids the message that they are equal to adults. Movies and t.v. ridicule parents, especially fathers. Simpsons? Family
Guy? Need more examples? Are we just too busy to give the child our leadership? Then we need to change our priorities, because we do not have any more important responsibility than to provide leadership to our children.

Have parents of today become wimps? If so, how did that happen? If our children don't do well in school, we blame the schools, and ask the government not to leave any child behind. However, how much value do the parents place on learning? What examples do the parents set? What about housework? Do parents do it all, or do they expect the children to join in and help?

Parents of children are not the only wimps. Have you noticed how many dog owners fail to provide leadership for their dogs? Check out Cesar Milan on the National Geographic Channel's Dog Whisperer show. Most of his clients are "successes" in our society, but let their pets run all over them. Horse owners do the same thing. They give their horses forty acres in which to graze, sparkling clean barns, all the right foods and minerals, the best in ferrier services and trainers, but fail to command respect and provide leadership. Disobedience is allowed day after day with no consequences. If no one expects the child, dog, or horse to listen and obey, they won't!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Have You Seen My Boxers That Say "Feeling Lucky?"

Our teens went to an all night teen thing sponsored by our church. Afterward one of their best friends, a sweet, attractive redhaired female came to our house. Our daughter has been sleeping all afternoon, but our son has been having a great time with their (his and his sister's) friend. It is almost nine p.m. here now, and our son just came over to where Colleen and I were sitting, and asked the question that is the title of this post.

After we rolled on the floor with laughter, I suggested to my son that perhaps he might want to consider a more subtle approach. However, as it turns out, I had just washed and dried those particular boxer shorts, so he happily pulled them out of the dryer and went to teach his friend how to play the guitar. Anyone want to guess what song he'll play on the guitar?


That's right, this photo needs context. If someone posted this photo in a book advertising children available for adoption, many people would choose this child, Linebacker Dude. What is the context? We were at back-to-school night for the three older children who are attending a charter school. LD started to misbehave. I picked him up to hold him, but he squirmed away and started to tantrum. (Why don't we take photos of our children during tantrums?) Believe me, if I took a photo of him during one of his defiant episodes, no one whould choose the child in that photo. Make a note, Bob: get a photo of defiant LD to post on the blog.

So, anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, the tantruming child. He headed for the door. I followed. He ran across the grass. I waited and watched, as a good hunter would do. When he got distracted, I made my move, scooping him up and placing him on this post, which was about four feet above the ground. We stayed there, waiting for Colleen and the rest of the family to catch up with us. Now he had a predicament: do I jump down and probably hurt myself, or do I ask Daddy to hold me? He chose the latter strategy. "Hold me, Daddy." "What, LD, I can't hear you." "Hold me Daddy." "Oh, you want me to hold you?" "Hold me, Daddy" "Okay, LD, if you insist"! Sweet victory!

However, it lasted only until he was off the scary post, then he tried to squirm away again and run, which I could not let him do, because people were leaving in their cars. So I held the kicking and complaining, very muscular little fellow all the way to the van, which, of course was parked what seemed like a mile away.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

"I'm Not Gonna Miss Them"

Flies. They seem to go with horses, with country living. When the sun fills the bedroom with its rays, the flies remember to gently kiss my lips. Who needs an alarm clock? Tonight a cold front moved through, and hundreds of the gentle little creatures clamored to come in and enjoy the warmth. The title of this post was just spoken to me by my wife, as we sit back-to-back at our computer desks.

Unstoppable When Motivated

One of our dogs, a Lhasa Ahpsa named Fluffy, is an amazing athlete. Although she is a small dog, she can hurtle herself into a thirty gallon trash receptacle when hungry or in heat. Currently it is the latter. I promise to take a picture the next time I catch her in the act (the act of jumping into the trash, I mean).

Who Knows What Is Best For The "Working Man" (And Woman)?

Columnist David Harsanyi today in the Denver Post notes that union officials like to talk about what is good for the working man. Then, Harsanyi asks, why not give the working man the freedom to choose whether or not to join a union? Harsanyi points out that unions use the dues of the working man to help elect candidates that many working people would not personally want to elect! Nationwide there are now 22 states that are right-to-work states. There likely will be a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2008 in Colorado, which, if passed, would give workers the right to choose.

The estimated political expenditures of Big Labor in the 2004 election cycle was $925 million! Harsanyi concludes, "it's about money and power. Nothing inherently wrong with those things, I suppose, unless you take them without asking." Read the whole thing here.


I just caught Hugh Hewitt's radio show. Hugh is replaying a speech made today in the United States Senate by New York Senator Chuck Schumer. Schumer is saying that the reason Al Qaeida was driven from Anbar Provinceis is that the Sunni Sheiks realized that the American troops were ineffective failures, so they had to take matters into their own hands and drive Al Qaeida out!

What is worse, a Senator who solicits sex in an airport bathroom, or a Senator who demeans the sacrifices of American troops who have fought and died in Anbar Province and elsewhere in Iraq? Both political parties need to clean house.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Seems Like There Ought To Be a Middle Ground

Female three-year-old to six-year-old brother: "I am going to be really nice to you and marry you when we grow up." Brother, raising his voice, "Oh, no you are not!" Sister: "Okay then, I will talk to the monsters, and the monsters will get you!"

Monday, September 03, 2007

Tonight's Sunset

The bottom photo was taken first, looking east. Something reminded me to turn around to the west. It was orange rain!


As the sun went down, bringing us lavenders, purples, pinks, and oranges, Jon went out one more time to play with Charm, our fast-growing standard poodle puppy.

These Caught My Eyes Today

A ladybug enjoys the brilliant orange gallardia. What would a garden be without ladybugs and bees? The next picture is also a gallardia, but one just beginning to bloom. The third photo is of dwarf zinnias.


Mau Mau just awakened from her nap. When I went in to get her she held out her hand. I almost took it, but then I noticed it was covered in brown. Then I noticed that the other hand was also covered in brown. "Poopy?" I asked. "Poopy" she answered. At least it is better than what Linebacker Dude, otherwise known as Michelangelo, would do.

Side Benefits

My wife is just a few days away from her period. Want to know how I know? Well, there is the one surefire clue of an extra heavy blanket on her side of the bed. But the clue I like best is how she parents. For these next few days, no child will get away with whining or any other spoiled brat behavior. If they dare try, they will be verbally put in their place like nobody's business. There will be a house full of well-behaved children for the next few days, I guarantee it!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Let's Ride!

These photos are in reverse order. We decided that there was about one hour before susnset, so it would be fun to ride the horses. Seven-year-old Jon is getting to be a very confident rider. The rain came right after this photo of the prairie grasses and sunset.

It Is Still Warm, But It Won't Be Long Before Jack Frost Appears

Temperatures are still in the nineties, but it will not be long before the first freeze, so I snapped this photo of the four-tiered garden late this afternoon.

Temper Tantrums

The yellow slide is the one she did not want. The green slide is on a steep hill, and lets you fly a good six feet from the bottom. It will be really fun when there is snow...and there will be snow! You have to push open the trap door to get to the top.

You never know what is going to incite a full-fledged tantrum. My 31-month-old foster son usually tantrums when we put him down for a nap. Yesterday my 23-month-old foster daughter flew into a rage when I would not allow her to go down the very steep slide we have for the older six children. We also have one just right for her, but she wanted to go down the one that the older kids enjoy. She stayed mad at me for at least fifteen minutes, until I could direct her attention to something else. Both have wonderful volume in their voices, as I am sure the two neighbors with "for sale" signs would be happy to tell you about.

Flowers That Caught My Eye Today

I just happened to have a camera in my pocket while gardening this morning.