Archive for December, 2007

toby and dara domain

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Finally – now set up: For all your Toby and Dara Mogendorff needs (um, mostly photos), go to…. today!


Monday, December 10th, 2007

This conversation happened in the car on the way home from swimming class tonight, between Emma and a boy who is having issues remembering the difference between Moses and Jesus (something to do with being a baby in a basket/manger):

Toby: So… How do you live with God?
Emma: What do you mean?
Toby: How do you live with God?
Emma: What – I don’t understand the question.
Toby: I mean: how do you live with God?
Emma: In… In what way?
Toby: In a dead way

for charity

Friday, December 7th, 2007

This morning Toby and the other kids in his class were at the atrium of the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis doing charity work – specifically ringing bells to get people to put money in the collection bucket for the Salvation Army.

I went over to see them (it’s less than 2 blocks from my office so it would have been pretty pathetic not to) – it was great to see how much fun they were having, and also how many people responded to them and gave money. I took a few pictures too; unfortunately most of them didn’t come out too well, except this one of Toby and his great friend Ben (click on the picture to embiggen):

Toby and Ben

storm pics

Friday, December 7th, 2007

We’ve had a lot of snow this week. Lots of sidewalk shoveling to be done, which is a bit of a hassle, but can be nice to do if you’re out in the evening and it’s quiet, plus it’s a good workout.

Commuting has been tough – not so much for us, living and working centrally in Minneapolis – especially for people in the suburbs. One person at work left the office at 3:45 on Tuesday and didn’t get home till after 7:30 (it usually takes her a half hour). Here are some pictures of traffic issues in the snow.


Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Had an interesting semi-discussion (it was over too quickly to be a full discussion) with someone last night. We were chatting about morals and religion and people’s interpretations of god. The person I was talking to said how much she likes the Jewish religion (apart from some of the Old Testament versions of a very tribal, vengeful god) in that on the whole a lot of the morals are around you have your life to live therefore make the most of it and do good because it’s good to do good. I’m not hugely versed in all this but my understanding is that there’s not the Christian concept of heaven, so you have to do what you can while you’re alive and then that’s it. That may freak some people out, but I’ve been thinking about a couple of ideas/quotes I read in the last year: firstly, just because something would be nice, like heaven, doesn’t actually make it real; secondly as Mark Twain said (approximately) “I was dead for billions of years before I was born and it never inconvenienced me in the least, so why should I be worried about being dead again?”

Anyway, someone else butted into the conversation and made the point that you can’t or shouldn’t trust reason if you’re a faithful person. She said (and this is a direct quote) “Reason always leads to error.” I mentioned how reason can often lead to the truth, like Galileo using observation and reason to note how the universe is not Earth-centric, and how this so freaked out the Church that they made him recant his ideas. This seems to be an example of non-reason leading to error.

I was thinking about the conversation this morning as I was reading an excellent article in the New Yorker about scientists looking at retroviruses which over time have actually become part of the animal genome (this is sometimes referred to as “junk DNA” because it doesn’t seem to do anything, but in the past may actually have helped the host organism, by doing things such as protecting against other viruses or helping the process of placental births to come about), and are yet another piece of evidence in support of evolution: when they examine the chimpanzee and human genome, this retroviral DNA between the two species matches so closely that it’s almost impossible that chance would have allowed this to happen.

in continents

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

If you’re on the main page of this blog and you scroll down and look at the sidebar on the right, you’ll see the little clustrmap picture, which shows approximately where in the world visitors to these humble pages are viewing them (these humble pages with horribly mangled grammar). You can also click here or on the map itself for a closer look.

Reason for mentioning it is that I just noticed I now have had visitors from all the major continents except Antarctica. I hadn’t noticed the blips from South America or Africa before. How exotic! Also in case you’re wondering who is viewing from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, that would be our Bermudian visitors.


Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

A couple of nights ago Toby asked Emma the following question: when the Egyptian army were chasing the Israel people through the Red Sea and God sent the water to kill them, did they have children who were sad that they were all dead?

Although I’m biased in thinking that he’s a smart kid, I think this is a pretty smart question. Emma, who through her degree has a lot of theological knowledge, was able to acknowledge his question and say that each year at Passover the descendants of the Israelites do remember the Egyptians and their children, because they know that they would have been sad.

One of my friends I mentioned the question to said that at least there weren’t as many children as there had been shortly before, because God had recently done away with all the firstborn of Egypt, so you could glibly argue that this might have helped (but not really of course). It’s a good thing Emma didn’t mention this – as the firstborn of my family this bit of the story used to freak me out when I was a kid, and as a parent it still does.

family baby news

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

This just in (or should I say, this just out): a new second cousin for Dara – one Reuben Jack Arthur Hope. He’s the first boy Hope of his generation (of this branch of the family) so the pressure’s on him already. Congratulations to Tom and Mrs Hope, and to Reuben!

bermuda pictures

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Finally, pictures of our Bermuda trip. It’s been so cold in Minneapolis I haven’t been able to stop shivering for long enough to be able to type, let alone use iPhoto. Anyway, I think the pics came out pretty well – here they are

dara update

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Haven’t written anything about Dara for a little while. She’s doing really well – generally she’s a really happy little person and we’re really enjoying that she’s more sociable every day, not to mention that for the last few weeks she’s been sleeping about 8 hours a night which is amazing. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Today was a big day for her. She had her three-week-belated two month checkup, which involved being measured (23 inches now) and weighed (11 pounds 1 ounce, up from 7 pounds 1 ounce at birth) and jabbed with needles for a few vaccinations. Dr. Williams seemed very pleased with how she’s doing and she was very well behaved with him.

After that we dropped her off at daycare for her first day, as Emma’s doing a couple of weeks of part time. We met with the teacher, Theresa, who has been working there for years and seems wonderful, and got all the bits and pieces sorted out – diapers, clothes, milk etc – and saw the other little babies who might be Dara’s friends over the coming years. Apparently Toby went through to see her after he’d had his lunch to make sure she was OK – what a good big brother. When we picked her up she seemed very happy in the room, but also (I imagine) was excited to see me and be picked up. Now that she’s so much more sociable and aware I think she probably will have enjoyed looking around and watching all the people, so I’m sure it was a good thing for her.