Author Archives: Jason

Dinner at the Haggard’s

On this beautiful Sunday evening, the Haggards have just finished a fabulous dinner.  It was a Haggard staple, Quinoa Burgers.  We found this recipe a few months back and have tried a number of variations off of it.  Tonight’s version was unexpectedly the most exciting to date.

Trying to have a day of rest, we don’t plan a lot and the meals are usually simple affairs.  To keep things easier, this lazy afternoon has been a tag team of sorts.  Elisabeth made the quinoa mix and I did the cooking.

Everything was going fine until the last four burgers went into the pan.  As I was scraping out the bowl, I licked one of my fingers.  “Oh, that’s got some kick!”  I ask Elisabeth if she put any red pepper in the mix.  No, she says, I did put a little black pepper and some paprika from the little plastic bag in the cupboard.

Well, what we thought was paprika, turned out to be cayenne pepper.  1 1/2 tsp later and we have some fiery paddies.  In the end it was a blessing.  We didn’t know how many aliments cayenne pepper treats until we looked it up.

Here is to a few nights of heart healthy leftovers and bum-burning BMs.


Don’t do this often, but I am procrastinating.

So this is Jason.  Yes, I am still a part of this blog, though no one would know it.

Anyway, I am sitting at the desk and should be studying my Account 131 book.  But it is beautiful outside and I figured I was due for a break.  Heck, I had been at it for at least 30 minutes.  About outside.  Well, it is snowing.  Lots.  Well, not Minnesota lots, but definitely Seattle lots.  Heck, I just saw some neighbors snowshoeing on the sidewalk out in front of the house.

The snow is beautiful and relaxing.

(If you are asking why I am studying Account 131, then we haven’t been in touch recently because lots has changed in the Haggard House.  I will try and post about that at a later date.  Today, I just intended on this short love note.)

That is all I have, but not to be outdone in the blogging world, here is a picture of what I am looking at.



Oh Those Dreams!

So Elisabeth and Ian came back from a visit to Mother Teresa’s last Monday.  I picked them up from the airport and was really surprised at how much Ian had grown, even in the five days they were gone.  An interesting thing happened that night though.  I am not sure if it was due to their return, but I sort of think so.

It was around 1 o’clock in the morning that first night and I fly out of bed and slam into the wall.  Still in a daze, Elisabeth asked what was wrong.  Still in a daze, I say something about thinking she was a snake, crawl back into bed and return to sleep.

The following morning, I notice a not-so-superficial gash on my left forearm and vaguely remember catching it on the night stand.


Now all of that would be interesting and worth a conversation, but not a blog.  It was the next night that makes this blog worthy.

That night, again around 1 o’clock.  I shoot out of bed and firmly tell Elisabeth to get out of the room.

“Elisabeth, get out of the room!”


“Quick, get out of the room!”


“Go, go, go!”


I shoo her out of the room, push her through the door, and by her accout, “act mean”.  I shut the door behind her and proceed to look for the green King Cobra that I am positive is under the covers of our bed.  Cautiously, I lift up the blanket.  I shake out the sheet, but alas, no King Cobra.

After making absolutely sure that there is no snake in the bed, I go in to the bathroom where Elisabeth is sitting on the toliet and tell her about the snake.  Understandably she is upset, but I don’t really notice, because I’m not really awake.  We both go back to our snake-free bed, but at this point we have woken up Ian (and when I say “we”, I mean me).  I sort of hear him crying, but after only a few moments I am fast asleep.

The next day I find out that after I fell asleep, Elisabeth listened to Ian cry, got back up, feed him, soothed him back to sleep, all the while frustrated that I had put her in this predicament.  I tried to make it up to her.  I said I was really sorry.  I tried really hard to suppress my smiles.

We laugh about it now and I am proud to report there haven’t been any snakes in our bed since.

Memorial Day 2009

By Jason

It is Memorial Day 2009. Memorial Day is always an interesting holiday for me. It didn’t mean much more to me than a day off of school/work, until Iraq and Christian’s death. In Iraq a friend, Bruce Smith, died in a helicopter crash. Years later, my good friend Christian Skoglund died, also in a helicopter crash. What was a day off now has a lot of meaning. Saying happy Memorial Day doesn’t really cut it.

Now this isn’t why I am posting, but I do want to say thank you to all the service members today and the families of those no longer with us.

About this post. Two things really; ok, three. One, I have been feeling quite industrious lately. Saturday I was planning on going on the first bike ride of the season, but my bike pump was broke. I needed this little part that could not be found at Gregs or any other place. So I went down to Recycled Cycles and found this other part, that wasn’t the right one, but with a little surgery, it works. Saved me from having to buy a new pump, $30.

Second, I have this American Flag that I have never flown. I decided today was the day. I went to Fred Meyers yesterday, but flag poles are $23. I didn’t want to spend that, so I rigged a great flag pole out of spare wood, some wire and a few screws. It looks great. I am watching it now as I type and there is a sense of patriotism that simmers in me.

Third, the aforementioned flag was acquired while deployed to Iraq. When I was stationed at Baghdad International Airport, there was a way to purchase a flag and then the Rangers I was working for would flag it over the base and give it back with this cool certificate. This flag is the best thing I have from Iraq besides my memories.


Christian Skoglund 1976 – 2007

by Jason

My friend Christian died on this day one year ago. He was a helicopter pilot in the Army and died in a crash. Over this last year, I have thought a lot about him.

The last time we spoke was two days before my wedding when he called me from Italy. I miss him. He was a great friend.

Christian and another roommate Rich had this on our house answering machine when we lived together during flight school.

For other videos here is his wife’s Youtube page.

I love you, Christian.

Honey, I can’t take out the garbage, my back hurts.

So I have a short story to tell.

(For all of you that don’t know, this is Jason, the other contributor to this blog who never contributes. In fact the last time I did, everyone thought it was Elisabeth.)

It was December 26th, 2006. I was home (Youth Wise) for the holidays. Elisabeth and I had only recently gone out on our first date. I didn’t have the money to travel back to Georgia to be with family, so I spent the holiday season on my own. Don’t cry for me, I was fine. Anyway, I have a couple days of off work and spend most of the time on the phone with Elisabeth. She is in Coeur D’Alene at her mom’s. When I say most of the time, I mean “$230 cellphone bill” time. During my marathon calls, I found that our leather couch, given to us by Jen and Annette, is the most comfortable place. Well, that particular evening, or maybe it was an afternoon, my memory fails me, I notice that the very expensive slip cover covering the leather couch has slipped down in the front. Not thinking much of the 27 oz cover, I lean over to pull it back up and hear this incredible SNAP! Nothing happens immediately, but I know from experience that I am in for it.

The minutes tick by.

5 minutes – things feel warm

10 minutes – slight tension

13 minutes – things are definitely getting tight

22 minutes – oh, this is gonna hurt

30 minutes – “I CAN”T FEEL MY LEGS, SOMEONE CALL A DOCTOR!” (Just kidding about that last part, but we are talking serious pain.)

I gut it out that day, mostly because this has happened before and I figured I could wait it out. But by December 27th, I can’t take it. If you have never had back problems you will not understand, but for those few, those Band of Brothers, we will weep together. By the 27th, I am crawling to various places: bathroom, kitchen, the damned couch. It hurt so bad that I would laugh at myself. That laughter would them bring me to my knees, more laughter, then crying mixed with laughter. I ended up at the doctor, who gave me a few mild narcotics and prescribed PT.

Eventually the pain reduced to a manageable level, I stopped shelling out money for useless PT, and life went on, though never back to normal.

Fast forward 18 months…

I have tried two different types of “back crackers”, listened to innumerable pieces of advice (next up palates!), and finally succumbed to my wife’s pleas and went to see a real doctor. A$20 co-pay and 5 minutes and I am off to get the second MRI of my short life. $300 and 40 minutes lying really, really still and my innards are photographically dissected. Another $20, only 3 minutes, one prescription for a cortisone injection, my stomach drops, and I know the problem. I have a ruptured L5 disc. Lucky me!

Don’t believe me, here’s the proof.

My Ruptured Disc

Notice the black bulge pushing into the round white spot in the center of the picture? (And no that is not my butt you are looking at.)

Normal Disc

Here is what a normal disc looks like.

Well, I think that is all I have to say.

My Grandma died, April 3rd, 2008

It is hard to think about my Grandma dying.  She is the first relative of mine that I feel like I knew well that has passed away.  Growing up, she was always called Grandma with the pool.  My mom’s mom was Grandma on the farm; Kathryn was Grandma with the pool.  I think it either comes from the house in Houston or from John Knox Village’s pool that we would swim at.  That was so long ago, I can’t remember.

Most of my memories come as a comparison between my grandma’s.  Today, it seems bad that I would compare the two, but I don’t think that as a kid I did so thinking one was better or worse, just different.  The thing about grandma that I remember the best was the food that she had.  Grandma with the pool had sugar.  She would have little Shasta, 6oz, sodas in her fridge.  She always made these chocolate or butterscotch cookies by melting chips and mixing it with some sort of cereal.  They were great.  She always had candies and cookies.  She was a grandson’s dream.  My other grandma didn’t eat sugar.  Instead of chocolate, she had carob chips, honey or fructose was sugar, dried fruits and jams were sweeteners.  I liked eating at Grandma with the pool a lot better. 

We would also go out to eat with her.  When she lived in Orange City, there was this little restaurant in Deland that to this day is one of my favorite places.  Whenever we would visit, that is where I wanted to have breakfast.  Ponce a De Leon Springs State Park.  There was an old sugar mill that had been converted into a breakfast place.  It was unique because the old wooden tables had a hole cut in the middle where an electric griddle was placed.  You would order whatever pancakes or eggs or meat that you wanted and they came to you raw.  You would then cook them in front of you and eat them hot of the griddle.  They had a whole selection of syrups too. (This was before I ever went to IHOP.)  We only ate there a couple times, but I certainly remember them well.  Even to this day, I ponder the idea of starting my own restaurant with the same setup.  At the time it seemed brilliant.

Long John Silver’s was the other great restaurant.

Besides the food, another great memory that sticks in my mind was her energy.  Grandma always had more energy than people 30 years her young.  I remember visiting her on family vacations where we would go shopping or the beach or to a spring and she would walk circles around my dad.  She was always going, always talking.  We would talk about all the things that she was doing at John Knox.  Helping at the library, playing games, eating with friends, taking people to church.  She kept driving probably a few years more than she should have, but she didn’t kill anyone so all’s well that ends well.  Grandma was a little fire ball.

She hated the sun.  Too many years of cooking her Swedish little self to a brown crisp as a young woman lead to numerous fights with skin tumors.  As a result, on even the hottest Florida days, she would be bundled, head to toe, with her wonderful polyester clothes.  Big hat and sunglasses were hidden under her ever present umbrella.  Even in Florida it didn’t rain that much.

Grandma’s house smelled like moth balls.

Grandma had this great coffee table made of brass.  I really wanted that table when I was young.

Grandma loved a good deal.  She would always tell us about the $100 shoes that she bought at the thrift store for $0.50.  I always thought that spending even $0.50 on something so ugly was a waste of money, but she loved those shoes. 

She always wore high heels, which helps when you are 5’ nothing.

Finally, Grandma loved Jesus. 

Grandma loved Jesus. 

She would talk about the things that she had read in the Bible.  She had notes all over her house reminding herself to pray, praise, thank Jesus for His blessings.  I can’t say enough about how much she loved him.  I hope I will have that same love when I am old.  For years all she wanted was to go and be with Him, a very noble thing.  One Christmas when I got older and started to realized that I too love Jesus, though not as much, I bought her a new Bible.  It was a New King James Version, Large Print.  I don’t know how many times she would remind me that I bought it for her and how much she loved it.  I cried the last time I saw her.  She wasn’t there, her mind wasn’t, but her Bible was.  On her lips where prayers to Jesus, prayers that others would know Him and love Him as she did.  By her side was that Bible, note scrawled throughout it, the pages well worn.  In her heart was God’s love.

I love my Grandma with the pool.