:::this is the way the world ends:::

Author: Shotts (Page 1 of 5)

Happy Thanksgiving

Always good memories on this day, especially, gentlemen. Amazing to think of those Thanksgivings hosted in saintly cities. Hope your holidays have all been great, with good ones yet ahead. And very soon forty. Happy Thanksgiving! A raised toast to you all!

Recent Sightings

Just putting in a post to say it has been excellent in recent weeks to see Toby and his family, Peters and his family, and Ned and his family. It was also emotional to me at last to bring our boys up to Coronado Heights. I see some hollowness in them already…


Nice to turn some thoughts away from the hospital for a moment to muse on you all and our Thanksgiving tradition. I trust you all have much to be thankful for, and that the holiday is great.

We are doing well the last two days, and are now out of the ICU. Today, the last of Griffin’s various tubes and wires came off, so it feels monumental and freeing. We may be discharged as soon as Friday, it sounds like. So, indeed, we are thankful and glad, and have appreciated all your friendship and support and good thoughts and words. The last weeks, and especially the last two weeks, have been hard ones.

In so many ways this has been an extraordinary year, and as the holidays approach and take us in, I hope to muse on that with you all soon.

Happy Thanksgiving.

News from Aspengren/Shotts Household

I have a bit of news that I need to share. Jen and I brought our seven-month-old Griffin in on Friday for a procedure to look into his throat. He has had croup and has suffered a lingering lack of breath the last few weeks.

They discovered that he has congenital subglottic stenosis— essentially, he is rapidly outgrowing his windpipe. They are recommending surgery and suggesting we do it soon, as his windpipe is the size of a preemie, which may result in an emergency airway restriction. So we need to avoid that, and hope to avoid a tracheotomy.

From what we understand so far, they will take tissue from his ribcage and reconstruct a larger airway for him. Then, he’ll need to be sedated for five days and stay in the ICU. Then he will need up to two to three weeks for recovery, as he rebuilds strength and muscle after being under anaesthesia for so long. So we’re expecting to be in the hospital for most of November.

We’re letting this news sink in and also feeling grateful that we live in a time and a place where this is “fixable” and he can go on to lead a normal life. We have a lot to be grateful for, and we’re hopeful.

We do not yet know when they need to perform the surgery, but will be talking with the surgeon on Monday. He suggested “sooner rather than later.” The surgery will be done at Children’s Hospital, and we feel we’re in the best medical hands we can be. They have performed this surgery over 500 times, we’re told, and in Griffin’s case, success rate is high.

Thanks for any good thoughts you can give us. I will report in as we know more.


Perhaps a Last Go Around with Potter

I managed to see the final installment of the Harry Potter films last night, and figured that nothing has lit up the blog in the past quite like debating Potter, the books, the films, the cultural relevance of the series. So, why not employ the Resurrection Stone and bring this conversation back.

I’ll let this general subject stand, and comment below with hope to hear some of you chime in, if you’ve seen the new move or not.

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you all have a great one. Sorry you’re not all arriving up here in the cold and snow this evening for a night of Asian food before we have the usual feast on Thanksgiving Day. Tradition looms large in memory.

Amazon Kindle

Not Jeff's Kindle I got one. Anyone else? Care to muse and discuss? In this early stage with it, I’m finding the Kindle surprisingly readable and fun. In its way, it’s making reading "new." At the same time, I find myself gravitating toward nonfiction with it, rather than the more traditionally "literary" genres of fiction and (certainly) poetry. Maybe I’m used to seeking out information on a screen, and so nonfiction feels more comfortable in that format. In any case, it’s been an interesting Christmas gift…


I’m curious what all of your plans are for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Of course, I always think back to our run of Thanksgivings and miss them.

Jen, Beckett, and I will be going to Washington State to be with my parents and sisters. It should be great, and it will be nice to get together with them in our new “home” headquarters. It will be the first time taking B on a plane, so I’m sure it will pose interesting challenges. Any flight advice would be welcome, from those of you who have flown with one-year-olds…

I hope you’ll all have good holidays. Let us know what you’ll be doing to celebrate.

Hold the Phone: Conversation among the HM

As I promised in my comment on the last post, I thought I’d put something up in the hope of getting some communication going. So what better subject than communication. Specifically, about the phone.

I have to admit to all of you, though it’s no surprise, I have probably been the worst about keeping in touch with all of you by phone. I’m sorry for it. I’m the same way with my family and with other friends. Some of this is my laziness; some of this is my busy-ness; some of this is probably a reliance on this blog, facebook, and email to make communication more convenient for myself, perhaps even at the cost of “real” conversation. Some of this too is also a disposition against the telephone, which seems to run fairly deep in my family.

So I’m curious about what to do about this. I bet I talk to my little sister once, maybe twice a year on the phone, and then probably see her in person around once a year. I’m a little better with my older sister, but not a lot better. I talk to my parents probably once a month or so on the phone, to catch up, make plans, whatever. We’re really not that involved with each other. Part of that I chalk up to a Scandinavian reserve; part of that I chalk up to long distance (the four groups of us are literally spread out into all four time zones in the lower 48 states). Part of it has to be something else–a feeling of not wanting to interfere or comment too much on anyone else’s choices or ways of living.

I guess it’s somewhat the same with the HM, you all–although I have probably been better in the past of staying in touch with many of you at various and specific times even more so than my family. I always enjoy talking with each of you when it happens, but it’s become rarer and rarer. Yes, we’re all married now, some of us with children or on the way; yes, we’re all busy; blah blah blah. I’m always a little saddened when I hear from Toby, say, that he just talked to Peters, when I haven’t spoken to Peters in quite some times. I’m saddened to know I was last to find out that Peters and Amanda are pregnant, and that was largely because of my unavailability or very slow way of responding to a phone message. I’m also saddened but understanding of the fact that I’ve had a voice message in with Peters for at least a week, maybe ten days now, and haven’t heard back. I have fostered a kind of no-call zone, and I’m sorry for that, if that’s the feeling among the group.

In the way of a question and conversation, I guess I’d like to know how much you all are talking with each other–via phone and in person, especially–but also via email, facebook, whatever. I don’t know, maybe you’re all out there faxing each other daily reports. And I’d be interested in knowing how you have handled distance and communication not only among ourselves but also among your own families and other friends.

Maybe a lame way to try to get some conversation going on the blog, but it’s been on my mind.

Francisco’s Journey (Shotts Part V)


Francisco woke on the other side of the bed from where he thought he had fallen asleep. He had always been a restless sleeper, Rachael told him. She was sleeping, her back turned to him still, and maybe she was dreaming something better than what they had become together.

He pulled himself up onto the pillow. The window was a frightening prospect, so he kept it closed, the shade down, a little longer, please. She’s pregnant, she’s pregnant, she’s pregnant. That’s all he saw now when he looked at her, the little heartbeat somewhere inside. This would be so much harder, he thought, placing his hand on her hip, if he loved her. The three of them rested there in the dark.

It was a memory from before the decision, one that returned when he lost time. One of the only times it seemed like there was a three of them to speak of. It was in that grieving period after Rachael had told him she was pregnant, where he pretended to happiness, even though he knew it meant their relationship would end, and where there was no more reason to take precautions with sex. She was over every night, and they wrung out whatever remained of their time.

“You awake?”

“Yes.” She turned to see the ceiling. Then she turned to see his face. “Why do you remember this, Francis? Why this moment, every time. Every time you take that stuff?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, stop it. At least remember the sex, if that’s all we had. At least remember that.” She laughed and turned back away from him and yawned. Her whole body stretched beneath the white sheet.

“Don’t call me Francis,” he said. “I don’t know why I come back here every time. I’ve got to stop doing this.” He looked at her. His memories were supposed to be fixed. They weren’t supposed to talk back to him.

“Maybe you love me. Maybe you love our baby.” Her hand rubbed the sheet at her belly. “That’s why.”

No one ever understood creative types. “Maybe I’m in this for the story. And that’s it.”

“I think you love me more than the story.”

He stood up and pulled open the shades. It was dim morning, at best. He turned back to her. “I love the story more.”


The Half-Blood Prince

harry-potter-half-blood-prince Peters suggested a discussion on the latest Harry Potter movie installment, so I thought I’d get that thread moving forward, now that I have seen it. I liked the movie a lot, as a summer popcorn adventure and also because the sixth book is one of the two best of the series (the best being the third book).

I did miss Voldemort as Voldemort (and Ralph Fiennes’ incarnation of him), and the movie is rushed (though not nearly so much as the last one), but overall it produced the eerie feeling I was hoping for, given the dark lake sequence where Harry must feed Dumbledore the weakening potion, the lake’s undead beings, and then the rush to the end and Dumbledore’s death. But it wasn’t so eerie or dark that you couldn’t enjoy the adventure of it, which was perhaps some of the problem with the movie of The Order of the Phoenix.

I thought the great addition was Jim Broadbent as Slughorn, and the memory sequences with the younger and teenaged Tom Riddle (I wish these could have been lingered on). I wanted more of the Order involved throughout, and I wanted more Snape in the movie, but I take those wantings more to be sign that I liked what was there.

The third movie remains clearly the best in the series, and given that I didn’t think the seventh book was as strong and Warner Bros.’ decision to make it into two installments, I am assuming that will remain the case. Still, I admit I enjoyed getting back into the Harry Potter world more than I thought I would.

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