Friday, August 28, 2015

Family Camp Photos

Every year, the First OPC faithful and friends gather in central Oregon for Family Camp. There are educational speakers, fun activities for all ages, a lot of starchy food, a Talent Show (some say it should be called a "variety show" - see previous post), and a Bananathon.  Tertia really, really, loves the game called "carpetball" and I managed to snap the picture at just the right time to capture her gleeful expresson.

Both of these large but bedraggled moths were at the base of a light pole one morning, in various stages of what looked to be a hangover or perhaps something more serious.
 The highlight for some is the waterslide.  Some just watch.
 Some look forward to it all year long, but shriek with terror all the way down.
 Some create a splash larger than they are, obscuring my dedicated effort to capture them for their grandmother.
 And some go back repeatedly for as many times as they can fit in.
 I managed to capture a dragonfly in flight.
There are, of course, a lot of dishes to be done.
 I had a child on each team for the Bananathon. Quarta's team eventually won.
 Tertia's team placed second.
 Well, when you want to go left, you have to paddle on the right side of the boat.
A whistle shows all the tasks have been completed and the banana has been eaten. And that wraps it up for another year.  Some of us come back from Family Camp more exhausted than we were when we left.  But ironically, we aren't the ones who have been doing the high-intensity activities.  It is a mystery.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I am the Very Model of a Modern Presbyterian (The Family Camp poem)

I am the very model of a modern Presbyterian.
In erudition, I surpass the average seminarian;
I know theology, both redemptive and historical--
My library is organized in order categorical.
I’m very well acquainted too with all the views millennial,
I understand the sequence of the councils ecumenical,
I have profound insights concerning hymnody and psalmody,
With many harsh invectives on that “modern worship” comedy.

I write extensively on apologetics VanTilian,
And would never stoop to sing in a venue vaudevillian,
In Hebrew, Greek, and Latin I’m an expert grammarian –
I am the very model of a modern Presbyterian.

I’m “semper reformanda” in all matters theological,
With a gentle fondness for the classical and pedagogical.
I reserve particular disdain for the dispensational ,
Because it promotes everything emotive and sensational.
In ecclesiology my views are credal and confessional,
Eschewing all those trendy terms like “emergent” and “missional”
I’m sure I never will be accused of being remotely relevant –
Or may I be stomped upon by a rampaging elephant!

I’ve got at least five strong arguments to counter the Arminians,
I can “posse” and “peccare” with the wisest Augustinians.
I know the ins and outs of all the spheres Kuyperian—
I am the very model of a modern Presbyterian!

My views on orthodoxy derive from deep antiquity;
I renounce and calumniate all workers of iniquity;
I spend my time reviewing the Westminster Shorter Catechism
And never would take a part in any sort of fanaticism.
And so I came to Wamic to participate in Family Camp
(A more convivial experience than my final Koine Greek exam!)
I cheered for all the youthful contestants in the Bananathon,
And, to wrap it all up, here I am, singing this silly song.

Our worship has simplicity and also authenticity,
I acknowledge, even so, our undeniable eccentricity,
In short, from all eternity, I am pre-destinarian –
I am the very model of a modern Presbyterian!

August, 2015

(first performance, graciously recited by Dan Dillard, 8-21-15 at the OPC Family Camp talent show, Camp Morrow, Wamic, OR)

Katherine Chapman

Thursday, August 13, 2015


In medical terminology, disarticulation is the separation of two bones at their joint, either naturally by way of injury or by a surgeon during amputation.

I find myself very disarticulate lately, not in the medical but the verbal sense, having been compelled by my own sense of -- what? Justice? Outrage? -- to watch the long versions of all the videos so far released by the Center for Medical Progress, exposing the criminality, the barbarity of Planned Parenthood's sale of tissue from aborted fetuses. There I witnessed the disarticulate (medical) state of an 18-week child, torn limb from limb, and displayed for the hidden camera as if for sale at a grotesque market: orbits (eyeballs), limbs, brain, liver and possibly the elusive thymus, whatever that is. (Of course the intact specimens are more valuable than the disarticulated ones, and for the right price, Planned Parenthood doctors will be happy to try to procure some of those for you, even if that means illegally altering abortion techniques). There are no words adequate for the horror, but those of us who feel it deeply are still compelled to try. If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the millions upon millions of words that must inevitably flow forth as each frame of video triggers an infinite trauma.

I am fortunate; I have no direct experience of abortion to trigger PTSD if I watch these videos. But even so, I am experiencing this as a very real, sickening, terribly depressing ordeal. I believe this is the fundamental moral issue of our lifetime, and we have arrived somehow, this very summer, at a turning point in history.

I don't usually go in for melodrama, but when I learned of the experiments being done with this tissue -- humanized mouse models? -- my immediate thought was that, surely, our civilization is doomed. And not in the distant future, either. God has never withheld judgement for long on those civilizations that practice child sacrifice, and we have the other side blithely articulating the utilitarian argument -- it will cure cancer, HIV, Parkinsons; you must be anti-science -- with no regard for the tiny fetal flutterings of a quickening conscience, because they have long since aborted it.

I have been haunted recently by the short story "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," by Ursula K. Leguin, which posits a sophisticated, utopian civilization which depends upon the abuse and enslavement of just one undesirable imbecile child. What if all our advanced medicine, all our vast wealth, is really dependent on this barbaric trade? I prefer the optimistic view that there are ethical alternatives, and decent people can work hard to create a better world without cannibalizing unborn infants. But what if this filthy practice is so deeply embedded, through networks of graft and backroom deals and kickbacks that stretch to the highest levels of government and academia, that it is like an inoperable parasite stuck to the very spine of our nation? The latest video, although it contains no graphic footage, lists researchers at Harvard, Stanford, U. Mass, Oregon Health Sciences University who receive tissue from Stem Express, the trafficking company that connects Planned Parenthood with supposedly legitimate researchers. These are institutions I would like to think well of, that have all added in some significant way to human health. What if their work is all dependent on the trafficking of infant human spare parts? How many of us would have the courage to walk away? To tell the truth about the abusers? To insist on full informed consent?

Watch if you can, and then read some more articulate than I can be.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Randomday (Monday Edition)

Miss Tertia has new glasses.  They are a stronger prescription than before (which was pretty strong already).  Glad for the friendly people at America's Best who made sure she got the best frames for the weight she needs and fitted them nicely.  She tried on two or three, but went right for the pink ones.  It was much easier than the 4-hour round trip to the ophthalmologist office in Tigard, but they were awfully friendly too, considering how late we were with the traffic.  I may or may not have taken a solemn vow never to drive to Tigard again, but it was better after a Burgerville blackberry milkshake.
This is exactly how I feel this summer.  Sleeping in a sunny but precarious spot is really all I aspire to.  Actually, I have been busy with things not many other people really care about... working on a volunteer unofficial Latin for Duolingo course, and now putting it on Memrise.  For a break, I try to solve at least 20 cryptograms every day.  I feel compelled to watch or at least listen to the entire long versions of the Planned Parenthood expose videos, which tends to make me feel depressed and lethargic.  As does the thought of back-to-school (though in a totally different way).  Yep, the eccentric, somewhat antisocial, lazy cat metaphor is pretty much me all over.
 There was a really pretty full moon a week or so ago.  This was my attempt to capture it.
Plum season is over.  I picked this birds' nest off of one of the broken branches, with the plum in it already.  I don't think the birds were actively using it but it was on the part of the tree that is going to have to be cut back anyway.  Grapes are now just beginning but they are still a bit tart.

Quarta had to be driven to camp this morning.  Fortunately it was not in Montana this time, but it was in Oregon and I may or may not have gotten somewhat lost while Quarta was becoming quite carsick in the twisty roads above the Gorge.  I ended up calling Steve when I figured we were not on the road I wanted to be on (the "shooting prohibited" signs were a huge clue) and he was able to help me figure out I wasn't as lost as I thought I was, and the camp was really just a mile away.  This may be the adventure that convinces me a smart phone would be okay.  As a side note, we discovered that Quarta has no time to think about being carsick when she is talking on the flip phone to Daddy.

On the way back I took Tertia shopping at Cascade Station and we found a clearance pair of Ecco shoes in her size (4.5) at DSW.  So I signed up for a customer rewards card, since the Famous Footwear that used to be so convenient to us is now closed.  Tertia was willing to look a little in one more store, Ross, but when we came out and I offered her the choice of what store to go to next, she said she wanted to go home.  So I said, "I guess you aren't the shop till you drop kind, are you?" and a sweet lady who was going out at the same time overheard and said, "You are blessed! It's expensive!" I guess we are.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Mother/Daughter Washi Dress

I stumbled across someone's version of the Washi Dress while browsing Pinterest a month or two ago, and thought it might be a good pattern for Tertia, whose short stature makes it difficult to find adult sizes and styles that fit and are appropriate, yet who is too large for girls' sizes anymore.  The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea, so I ordered the pattern.  We had a wedding to attend last weekend, and while it was an easy matter to find a store-bought dress that Quarta likes and that fits her, I had been looking for months on and off for Tertia with no success.  So I made this up out of some pretty floral quilting yardage I had been saving.  I made the Medium size, but I cut off about 6 inches of length, and raised the position of the pockets by 2 inches; no other adjustments.  This pattern is supposed to have a pretty high waist, but as you can see it is on the low side for high-waisted.  If I make it again for her, I will take it in more at the shoulders, because it tends to gap at the neckline and the neckline is just a bit lower on her than I'm comfortable with.  I might even grade the bodice from a size S at top to M at bottom, while keeping the other adjustments I made.  I was worried 6 inches was too much to cut off, but not really... it still hits her at the knee.
I then made another size M dress for myself, but since I'm shaped differently from Tertia I needed to do something called a "full bust adjustment" (I debated about the propriety of discussing my dress size online, but I figure the Chinese hackers have already got most everything else available about our family through the OPM data breach, so they can eat their hearts out with the knowledge that there is about a 5" differential between my high bust and full bust measurements).  I also followed the instruction videos for putting in a partial lining, and I love the simplicity of this much better than the facing instructions that are included in the pattern.  It does require you to do some origami-like rolling and stitching things into a tube, but it worked so well with the fabric I used.  It is one of my vintage sheets, so fun!  If I make this again for myself (and I hope to), I will probably grade it from a M at the top to L at the middle, and do a smaller full bust adjustment.  And I will add a bit of length to the upper bodice, because those darts were just a wee bit too high the first time.  However the neckline fit me perfectly.  I didn't try the U-shaped cutout this time, but I would like to try it when I make it again.
I like this pattern for a host of reasons:

  • it has excellent support on the designer's webpage, so that a confident beginner/ intermediate seamstress can attempt even the intimidating process of altering a pattern to custom fit.
  • it also is one of those viral patterns online, so there are a lot of other people who have made it and blogged about it, which I think 
  • it has that high-waist, figure-forgiving line.
  • it works really well to flatter a teenage girl with the unique figure challenges of Down syndrome.
  • it also has a tunic-length version, which would also flatter said teenage girl and could be made in a variety of fabrics that she would really enjoy.
  • the designer has made 3/4 length sleeves available, which translate to long sleeves for said girl, and make it a pattern that works for other months besides summer.
  • it's sweet without being juvenile
  • it has NO ZIPPER to put in! (or buttons or other closures)
  • therefore it sews up pretty quickly.
  • it has pockets!
  • the shirring at the back, done with elastic thread in the bobbin, is kind of fun to do, and it's fun to give it a shot of steam from the iron when you're done and see it pull in.
  • there are a lot of different variations of this dress that I want to make, both for Tertia and for me. A Little Black Dress, maybe (for me).  A wardrobe of dressy casual tunics, for Tertia. At least one more dress for Tertia, for dances or parties in the wintertime.
It was a lovely wedding, with a garden reception.  Tertia and I enjoyed our Washi Dresses.  I'm really glad I found this pattern, and grateful to Rae for designing it and giving such good support and encouragement to make it turn out well.