My Sister Writes About Mom

My Sister Writes About Mom

Elise - The Frugal Farm Wife »

The day after the funeral, I was thinking about planting flowers at the grave for Mothers Day, and as soon as the phrase “mom’s grave” went through my mind, I was glad that I was alone in the house. For a while, I just sat on my bed and cried.

And I cried reading this.

An Anniversary I Will Forever Remember

An Anniversary I Will Forever Remember

Below are some of the hardest words I will ever write. I’ve written much of those words before writing this part at the top and I have cried — no, I have wept. I have had to stop and walk away for a bit. But I need to write this, I need to preserve it, and I need to tell it.

Sunday afternoon, all eight Draper siblings, the two spouses of the siblings, and all 5 grandchildren (well six technically with one in my sister’s womb) gathered together in my parents’ home to belatedly celebrate their 32nd anniversary. My dad is a semi-truck driver — owner operator — and he got a well paying load that he needed to take to feed the family, but it would have him out of town over the anniversary. So we decided to celebrate later. And that’s what we did.

It wasn’t anything special. We talked trucks, politics, life, other mundane things, nothing too exciting. The young grandchildren ran around playing, grandma (my mom) would coax one of them to let her hold them or sit on her lap occasionally.

We gathered around the table and ate food, had brownies and ice cream, gave my parents gifts, etc. Mundane, and normal celebration. As usual, my dad would rib and tease my mom about silly things. Sometimes she fell for it, not knowing (as always) if he was serious, other times, she knew better and didn’t fall for it. Occasionally, she would punch dad on the shoulder for some particularly funny tease. And at one point, my parents had a kiss in honor of their anniversary that had us children begging them to get a room. My parents loved each other more than any other couple I have ever known. Yes, I love my wife passionately, but I’m not even sure I know how to love that much yet. It will take me many more years to achieve that kind of love.

As usual, a little while after the meal, and after some more small talk, my sister, her husband, and their kiddo cleared out. And my family also began to clear out. As usual, my three kids old enough to make the rounds on their little feet ran around giving hugs and kisses to aunts and uncles, and especially to grandpa and grandma. And Kaylee was passed around. As usual my mom lingered over the precious little infant bundle.

And then we left with words I don’t exactly remember, but were along the lines of, “see you soon.” And why wouldn’t I say that? As far as any of us knew, my mother was healthy and vibrant. And she was only 56 years old. It turns out, “see you soon,” was presumptuous.

My wife and I went home and at bedtime put the kids to bed. As is my habit, I was watching a little TV (I’m re-watching Stargate SG-1 if you must know) when I received a phone call. The caller ID read Charlotte Draper. I answered with something like, “Hi Mom, what’s up.” It was my sister — the oldest sister still living at home. She explained in an unsteady voice that mom had a heart attack and was not breathing. Dad was trying desperately to revive her with CPR and chest compressions.

I fumbled around the house looking for my keys, a shirt, shoes and who knows what else. I had a hard time finding them all through the tears.

I drove pretty fast. Somewhere in the back of my mind I was afraid an officer of the law would see me and delay me by pulling me over for such outrageous speed. Any time I saw headlights I would slow down to something a little more reasonable. It was the most helpless thing I have ever felt.

After what seemed like an eternity, I arrived at my parents’ home where an ambulance had arrived and the medics were trying desperately to revive my mother. My dad was looking on helplessly and praying, standing on the back bumper of the ambulance. Not long after that the ambulance took off.

My dad took off after the ambulance in the car, my sister Johanna jumped in with him. The rest of us didn’t quite know what to do. My sister’s husband Gabriel was there. Johanna (I believe) had called him to come help and he had been with my dad trying to revive my mom. We prayed, then I wondered around the living room a bit while my siblings sat around bleary eyed and crying. Then I took Gabriel back to their house only a minute away so he could talk to my sister Elise.

I don’t remember exactly how, but we figured out we should get in the family van and get ourselves to the emergency room to be with dad.

On the way I got a phone call. We were probably five minutes away. Somehow my dad choked out to me that mom was gone. The doctor had declared death. I was unable to get all the words out to my siblings, but they knew. We all frankly knew that despite CPR and chest compressions, she had not been breathing for far too long. But the finality of it was too much.

There’s much more to tell, but it’s too much of a blur to untangle at the moment. We were surrounded by friends at the hospital. We made phone calls, we comforted dad, we comforted each other, we cried with friends, we hugged a lot. But nothing helped. My dear mother was gone.

My mom loved her children and grandchildren. She poured her life and soul into us. There was nothing more important to her. There was never a question in my mind that my mom was there. She was a constant in my life. She saw me born into the world, she saw me grow up and learn to ride a bike, she saw me fumble with schemes and plans to elevate myself in the world, to make money, to make a life for myself. She was with me when I hugged her, she was with me when I had a bad attitude from time to time as a teenager. She was with me when I was married. She would wait anxiously for news of her grandchildren’s birth. She was there for birthdays, rainy days, thick, and thin.

And finally, my mother was a Godly women who loved the Lord and desired nothing more than that her children should walk in His ways. I know with assurance where my mother is, and that one day I shall see her again.

My mother, in many ways, may have been an ordinary women, caring for an ordinary (more or less) family. But she was one of the most extraordinary women I have ever, or will ever know.

Apple’s Podcast App Revisited

Apple’s Podcast App Revisited

So you see what it takes to get me to write. There have been many things I wanted to write about over the last little bit. But I’ve been so doggone busy. The Google Reader imminent shutdown really made me want to write. But this… this makes me write. You can see what’s near and dear to my hard: Podcasts.

The internet is abuzz with the the news of Podcasts 1.2. Chris Breen has a good rundown of the new app. And I agree that this is the version that should have shipped in that it is far better than the previous app. But it still has some serious flaws that make it not worth using for me. Believe me, I want to use it, I want it to work. I was genuinely excited for the update. The addition of playlists stations is nice and brings it on par with Instacast in that way. And the stilly and quaint reel to reel playback screen is gone, for better or worse (I sort of liked it, but it was a wee bit hard to use).

Here is my biggest frustration. The reason I want this to work is because I spend as much time working at my Macintosh computer as I do out and about with my iOS device. iTunes, with which my phone syncs every night when I plug it in, has podcast subscription capabilities. But I rarely plug my phone directly into my computer. It syncs overnight and so podcasts could sync that way, but I might work at my computer for a couple hours, then head out in my car and want to pick up my podcasts where I left off. Without a physical sync this was impossible. And what if I subscribe to a new podcast on one of the devices? It’s cable (or Wi-Fi sync) time to get everything on the same page.

Apple is touting full subscription sync for this version of the app, but here, as I have found, is the rub: that subscription syncing is only between iOS devices, NOT between iOS and it’s sync master, iTunes (isn’t that quite odd? iTunes syncs with the iOS, but only iOS devices can sync podcasts with each other over the air). This is growing beyond frustrating. Let me explain my experience.

Being excited as I was for this new version of the app, I went and downloaded it, and added a couple of my favorite podcasts to the app. I let the latest episodes download, then I fired up iTunes and waited, and waited, and waited. No podcasts were added to the podcasts section of iTunes. This must be some sort of mistake. So I closed iTunes, forced the podcasts app on the iPhone to refresh and tried again. Still nothing. So I manually subscribed to the podcasts in iTunes and played the latest episode for a few minutes. To my great delight (perhaps the only delightful part of this experience), even though the subscriptions don’t sync over the air, the playback position does IF both devices have subscribed to the same podcast and downloaded the same episode. Yay.

So then I subscribed to a couple podcasts on iTunes. As expected from my experience trying it the other way, these podcasts did not automatically show up in the podcast app on iOS. A manual sync with a cable did make them show up. But here is the rub. THE SUBSCRIPTION SWITCH IN THE IOS APP DID NOT GET TURNED ON. You have to manually do that. So even though the podcast was synced over from the iTunes library, the podcast app does not consider that a subscription, it’s just sort of parked there.


This does not seem that hard to get right. I don’t understand why Apple is making this so painful? I don’t get it. I want the features to work as advertised.

Here is what else I would be giving up to switch away from Instacast:

  • Push Notifications for new episodes
  • Show notes (why does Apple refuse to support this when this is such a standard now?)
  • More robust media management

I must admit that I am not thrilled with Instacast 3’s slightly more dumbed down media management, but it is still way better than what Apple’s app offers.

And I am excited because Instacast has teased that a Mac client is in the works with full sync. As a podcast geek and power user that will make me extremely happy. I will finally have what I have been longing for these many years.

But the real bottom line for me is that there are still not good and easy podcast solutions for the average person. Apple’s app still adds complication by not working quite as advertised, and by trying to hard to make things easy. Sometimes trying to make things easy adds unexpected complication. And solutions like Instacast simple are not easy for mainstream consumers to grasp. Podcasts remain just out of reach for many average consumers in my opinion.

What is so maddening is that Apple could make this so easy and so good, but they just can’t seem to manage it.

P.S. That icon is still hideous.

Here is the orginal article I wrote about podcasts, and a quick follow up to that.

New RSS Feed

Just a little house keeping

I know I haven’t been writing much, I’ve been crazy busy. I want to get around to writing about the Google Reader shut down, but I just haven’t had the time.

No, this is just a note somewhat related to Google and RSS. I was using Google’s FeedBurner for the site’s feed. This was to keep track of the subscribers. But Google has become hostile to RSS, shutting down the user facing side of their RSS world, and they’ve been pretty negligent with FeedBurner as well. I don’t trust them with my feeds anymore. With that in mind I’m trial running a different feed service as an alternative to Google Reader that I have finally found. I wanted to trial it here before I switched MovieByte’s feeds over to it.

Everything should auto update as I have always used a 302 redirect from my feed’s actual URL. And even if you have the FeedBurner URL in your RSS reader, you should still be directed to the new feed since FeedBurner is set to send a permenant redirect.

In any event, your feed readers should be set to check the URL: and that will get you to the right feed.

The feed service I’m going with, the only solution I’ve found as a viable alternative to FeedBurner, and as far as I can tell is actually better, more simple, more focused, and gives me exactly what I want, is Check ‘em out if you are looking for an alternative to FeedBurner as well.

“Not a Person Until 18 Months”

“Not a Person Until 18 Months” »

While Gray argued that the unborn should be protected in law because abortion is the violent killing of innocent human life, Mercer argued that there is nothing ethically troubling about abortion, at one point suggesting that a baby isn’t a “person” until around 18 months of age.

Man, my new little “not a person” sure is cute!

Mercer agreed that the unborn are human beings, and that abortion is the deliberate killing of a human being, but argued that the notion of “human being” is not a “morally relevant concept.”  Individuals are not special by virtue of their “species membership,” he said, but become “persons” and worthy of protection because they possess certain “ethically salient properties” such as the ability to experience pain or pleasure, self-consciousness, and rationality.

This is wickedness, pure and simple. And while current typical pro-choicers may slam this guy as an extremist and not representative of the pro-choice position, this is where it leads. This is where we are headed.

FaceTime Patent Troll

FaceTime Patent Troll

Arstechnica »

A $368.2 million verdict against Apple has been upheld in the Eastern District of Texas, putting patent holding company VirnetX in a position to collect both royalties and damages from Apple if it continues to use its VPN and FaceTime technologies. Judge Leonard Davis ruled late Tuesday on Apple’s request for either a reduction in the damages or a new trial, denying both requests and ordering the two companies to work out a licensing deal on VirnetX’s patents.

This is why we can’t have nice things.