Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Gainful employment

Andrew got his employment contract today from SP. He will be getting a nice salary, health and dental insurance, housing and food and travel all paid for, and all business expenses reimbursed. Not bad.

He also got a yellow fever shot today for $150. At that price, it is nice it will be reimbursed.

David finally got an advisor at the community college to let him into the second semester of organic Chemistry at a different community college. That's good, because he needs the class to apply to med school.

Rachel is working now. The work isn't going very fast, and today we had some hardware problems, but she is going ahead.

The three of them just left to go see Spider Man 2.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

School bills

Yikes! I just did the math and signed the papers for R's last year of college payments. It is way more per month that we can pay, so pray God will provide somehow. She got no scholarships, no loans even since this is her 5th year. (For spring semester she gets some, during her student teaching, but not much.)The payments will go on our credit card; I hope we don't end up with a bunch of credit card debt :-(

The Miss Texas pageant is on TV now. We are watching because our neighbor boy, Jesse Cover, is one of the escorts for the ladies as part of the Singing Cadets at A&M.

We are sure hoping Rachel's job gets going this week.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Bible study

Andrew has a one-way ticket to Africa now. He leaves July 24. He is making appointments for a yellow fever shot, dental appointments, and making plans to travel all over the country to say goodbye to his friends. He will have some kind of orientation in Nairobi, Kenya before moving to Ethiopia. He has already been warned that the telephone and internet services in Ethiopia are terrible :-(

Rachel's job STILL isn't completely organized, but we did make significant progress yesterday when we finally got the detailed instructions about how to do the scanning.

We are hosting a college-age Bible study on Friday nights this summer (7:15-9pm) and last night was the first meeting. 14 kids came for the Bible study and another couple came for the fun time afterwards 9-midnight. We more or less opened it up to any college aged MKs and asked them to RSVP if they wanted to come and could more or less commit to coming for the entire 8 weeks. We probably would have had even more come if we hadn't restricted it that way, but our house isn't big enough for many more than that. We are watching the Gospel of John video cut into 8 segments as the text we are studying. Gary is leading the study. It went well last night I thought. Everyone seemed interested and asked good questions. We got a nice group of kids, a good chunk of them were kids we had never met before. Most of them stayed for the fun time and played an all-comers domino game called Chicken Foot. Our kids are fortunate to have such good friends.

Andrew is flying to NYC this afternoon to go to a Yankees-Mets game tomorrow, but Gary has him replacing some of the rotted wood on the outside of our house before he leaves.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Busy day

Rachel's job has still not gotten completely organized yet, so she hasn't yet had a typical day. She has made some progress toward getting it organized, but the guy in California has not been prompt about doing his part, so she still hasn't gotten much done.

Rachel and I have started swimming during lunch hour. That time seems to work well. She is always cold, so the heat at midday doesn't bother her.

Tonight Rachel and Andrew are at a Rangers' game. They should be back soon.

Today David reinstalled the operating system on this computer. It took a bit of doing, and I still don't have all the software reinstalled, but I'll get to it eventually. I've quit using Internet Explorer and am trying something called Foxfire instead.

Doro phoned us from Germany this afternoon. Her luggage arrived and they were eating the American candy while watching the European soccer playoffs on TV.

Andrew found out he will probably leave for Ethiopia July 22 or 23. He's got a lot of people to visit and a lot of baseball games to attend before then, to say nothing of getting a visa, getting a yellow fever shot, going to the dentist, packing, etc.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Home safely

Doro phoned us and left a message today saying she got home safely even though her luggage hadn't.

Andrew talked to an SP person in Kenya today for almost an hour this morning, finalizing some details of his upcoming job in Ethiopia. Looks like he will leave the end of July. He has to have a yellow fever shot before then, and cholera if he hasn't already had that. The guy in Kenya, Scott, is the East Africa director and told A that he had been fairly skeptical about him coming. He wasn't at all impressed that he had just graduated from Harvard, but when he learned he had done his undergrad at Taylor that changed things--Scott is a Taylor grad too!

So now A is going into overdrive thinking of all the things he has to do and all the friends he has to see before leaving. No doubt, more trips to wherever are coming up.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Doro leaves

We took Doro to the airport this morning. She called from Atlanta to say her flight had been delayed and therefore she would be missing her connecting flight Frankfurt-Hamburg. We all cried a little and when we got home she had left us a very cute picture. It was our bodies drawn cartoon style with our faces cut from photos.

As soon as we got back from the airport we got serious about rearranging the house to make room for the boys and esp. to figure out a way to pack Andrew's stuff into storage. We are in the process (we got a good start on it today) of turning half of the larger bedroom into a storage room. We moved the double bed into the smaller room. It will be crowded, but I think it will work.

Andrew got some info about a possible move to Africa, but still no firm details.

Last night when we got back from the airport there was a small copperhead snake blocking the door to the house. The push broom happened to be right there so I just pushed it off into the grass. Doro had a nightmare about it.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Homemade pizza

Today has been kind of a slow and lazy day. I did the laundry but that is about all. I wanted to work on adding photos to my website, but my computer is acting cranky and I got too frustrated with it and gave up. We need to reinstall the OS and start fresh.

In a little bit we drive to Grapevine Mills Mall to pick up Doro, home from her tour of the east coast. We'll bring another student too.

I resituated a little bit of stuff today, taking R's stuff out of G's office and packing it into a corner in the piano room. After Doro leaves we have a big job to find a place for all of Andrew's stuff. I sure wish we had a garage or attic or storage shed or something.

Anyway, late this afternoon R. decided to make homemade pizza with Chimbai, the 8-year old African boy who hangs out here quite a bit. They did almost all the work themselves, and it tasted great. She is so patient with him and let me tell you, he is a handful.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Rachel's new job

Rachel sort of started a job this week. The reason I say sort of is because we got the broad "ok" from the guy to go ahead, but a number of details are yet unsettled and the guy hasn't written us back to give further instructions.

She will be scanning materials from the SIL archives in the basement of our building so they can become part of the Rosetta Project, which is an organization (not Christian) that is interested in preserving things for long periods of time, esp. language data from lesser-known languages. David and Andrew both did scanning for them 2-3 years ago, and now they have new funding to add to their holdings so we're trying to get Rachel in on it too.

But the work isn't easy. There are lots of decisions that need to be made by either Gary or me before scanning can begin, then the scanning itself is done in a specialized, picky way, so it isn't as easy as one might think.

Hopefully it will get a bit easier for Rachel and she will be able to make a little money. We are trying to schedule our day to have her come to work in the morning (her "office" is a desk near mine), then we go swim laps during lunch hour, then eat lunch we brought with us, then work more in the afternoon. Hopefully, she will be come more independent so I don't have to stay at the office all afternoon.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Home again, home again

We got here safely, and are happy to be home. We had six large suitcases, and six carryon pieces, but a large taxi arrived and took us to the airport. No snags along the way, and Andrew slept all the way home. David was at the airport to meet us, and had taken the seat out of the van, so it was easy to get the luggage in.

Rachel and the neighborhood kids were here to greet us, and since then I've been doing laundry and unpacking.

Tomorrow at 7am I have to drive Andrew to the airport--he just can't sit still. He's going to Canada for his friend's wedding and plans to hang around Montreal for a couple days before that.

I'll get back to work tomorrow, and hopefully, Rachel will get started with her scanning job later this week. Lots of details to work out about that, but I sure hope it works.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

First fun, then work

We got up fairly early (Andrew stayed out again all night, got home at 5:30a and the sun starts getting up before that), and left at 8am for church. We walked 15 minutes to the subway station, then rode for 10 minutes, then got off at Park Street Church. The young couple who were the greeters were Taylor grads. The church isn't that big, but it was cool. The choir was well above average, good pipe organ too. Outside the door was the cemetery where Paul Revere, Mother Goose, and victims of the Boston Massacre are buried.

After church we walked some of the Freedom Trail, toured Old Ironsides, and ate lunch at a little place nearby. Then got a different train back to Harvard, arriving just before 3pm.

Once home we had to get serious about cleaning and moving stuff into the giveaway room. I think G. and A. made 10 trips altogether. Andrew put his bed, chair, desk, mirror, dishes, lamp, etc to sell for almost nothing on an honor payment system for international students coming in next year. I don't know if he did it that way because he is generous or because he is too lazy to try to sell the stuff. Then I scrubbed the disgustingly dirty bathroom, swept his room, and washed a few walls. But really, his roommate is going to get the worst of the cleaning since he is staying for another two weeks. Somehow he has managed to live here without basic cleaning supplies for two years :-(

Now he is off for dinner and yet another party. We declined to go with him, we're too pooped. Besides, the conversation will all be in Spanish.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

More packing

Andrew came at 6am from his all-night party, slept a little, then we all went and met his Taylor friends at the subway stop and went to breakfast with them. It has been so nice for Andrew to have them here, studying at Gordon Seminary, the two years he has been here.

After that, we got serious about packing. By 3:30 or so we had 12 boxes and 1 suitcase ready to take to the UPS store. They called a taxi to take the stuff there. The first taxi was snooty and refused to take the stuff; they got a van taxi and that worked better. But it cost over $300 to ship it back to Dallas. Andrew came home depressed, not because of the money he just spent, but because he owns too much stuff. Add to that 6 large suitcases and a full complement of carry on bags.

Then he and Gary took another load of stuff to divest--more furniture to give to next year's incoming class of international students and lots of clothes to the recycle bin. While cleaning we found a drawer full of pennies, nickels, and dimes. We sorted out the silver stuff and went and bought cokes with it from the vending machine.

Then Andrew took a short nap, and now has gone off to have more farewell parties.

Friday, June 11, 2004


Today was spent mostly packing. But it started out by meeting friends from Wisconsin for breakfast who just happen to be in Boston this week to visit relatives. Then I came home and started packing but Gary had another meeting, this time a business lunch with the director of the Forum of Bible Agencies who happens to live in Boston. While we were doing this, Andrew was having one last brunch with his friends from his program.

Andrew managed to find a friend with a bathroom scale, so we are using that to weigh the suitcases. Did you know the airlines have gotten picky about suitcase weight? Anything over 50 lbs you get charged for. We brought empty suitcases with us, but that won't be enough, so lots of boxes will go by UPS.

Then I made pasta with some ingredients in Andrew's cupboard and added the chicken leftover from the box lunches at graduation.

Then at 6pm we left for Fenway park. We went on two trains to get there, and one bus to get back. Auntie Carol met us there, always good to see her. The Red Sox won, but they tried to lose in the top of the 9th. Then at 11:30 Andrew left for an all-night party with his friends but Gary and I went to bed--if you can call it that.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Master Andrew

Yay, Andrew did it! He graduated today and now is a Master of Public Administration, International Development.

The pomp and circumstance about did us in! Andrew had to start at 7am with a class photo. Then they lined up, processed to the Yard, listened to speeches, had degrees conferred onto over 6000 students en masse, then they went to the different schools for the diploma ceremony where individual names were read and diplomas given. There was a third part, but we were pooped after the first two, so Kofi Annan had to talk without us there to listen.

The weather was terrible. The first two days here were stinking hot, then it rained and didn't quit until lunch time today. So we sat in the rain. Our umbrella was not big enough for two people, so rain dripped down my arm for two hours. I tried to soak it up with the Harvard newspaper. Our seats were also terrible, for both ceremonies. But the lunch was good, we met up with our friend Carol, and Andrew introduced us to lots of the good friends he has made. I hope my photos turne out.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Duck tour and more

We had a fairly uncomfortable sleep last night--we would come to Boston on the hottest day of the year, and there is no A/C. So sleeping on an arrived was kind of hot and sticky. We got up pretty early and walked to the subway stop, then rode two subways to the Prudential Center (which happens to be where Gary came to a conference last January). We had breakfast at Au Bon Pain (that's French for El Buen Pan, as Andrew's Latina friends say) then went on a "Duck Tour." Ducks are WWII amphibious truck/bus things. The tour was about an hour and a half, all around Boston and then all around inside the Charles River basin. It was pretty fun.

While doing this, Andrew's cell phone rang and he didn't answer it, but when he checked it later it was his (potential) new employer saying they needed an updated resume by 2pm. So we took the two subways home and Andrew got busy getting it revised and sent out. Then I trimmed his hair, ironed a skirt, and we went off to hear a Nobel prize winner give a lecture at the KSG forum. (Very cool building, BTW.) And now I'm in the library of that building, blogging. Gary just took a photo, but since I don't have a digital camera, I can't post the proof just yet!

Then it was a reception at a fancy room, then off to a dinner at a guy's house who invites Christians over once a week and gives them a fancy meal. He's a millionaire, sits on the boards of a number of philanthropic organizaitons. Then it started raining, but when we started walking home it pretty much quit. Now I need to iron Andrew's gown.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004


We got up very early and David took us to DFW. Our flight was eventless, the way flights should be. Gary slept, but I never can, so I'm pretty tired now after only 4 hours of sleep last night. We got a taxi from the airport to Andrew's apartment. His apartment is kind of the pits, but for over $1000/month, what do you expect? He also hasn't tried very hard with food preparation, so there is no food in his kitchen. But the nearest grocery store is almost 2 miles away, and no one has a car.

The awards ceremony was long, but cool. Andrew got a nice award that says: The Raymond Vernon Award 2004 to Andrew Simons for Outstanding Commitment to International Development.

Then we watched about half of the MPAID students jump off the foot bridge into the Charles River. He said the water was pretty nasty. Then he came and took a shower, put some laundry in (laundry room is on the 21st floor), then we walked a mile to a Chinese restaurant. We hadn't eaten all day, but I didn't feel very hungry. After that we wandered through Harvard Yard, took a few photos, and then wandered home. We all have to sleep in one small room because Eric's family is here from China, and they have the living room. Gary has already fallen asleep with a glass of water in his hand. I better figure out how to blow up the airbed.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Off to Boston--a little early!

Andrew phoned early afternoon today and said he has just learned that he will be given some award tomorrow at the Kennedy School of government's award ceremony. Our original plans didn't get us there until 6pm, but he wanted to know if we could come earlier. Well, it turned out we can and it didn't cost extra (since these are frequent flyer tickets). Then Andrew talked them into presenting his award later in the program so that--if the plane arrives on time--we should be able to get a taxi and get to the ceremony in time to see it. So we leave for the airport at 5:45. Guess I'd better go pack, huh?

And we had a nice dinner at Chili's for Rachel's birthday, and we got Doro dropped of to start her bus tour.

Happy Birthday, Rachel!

Today is Rachel's 23rd birthday. She won't be getting any gifts, I'm afraid, but we do plan to take her out to dinner tonight. She has not been able to find a job yet this summer. We have an idea for a nonconventional job, but it won't start for a couple more weeks. Today Doro leaves for her 12 day East coast trip, then tomorrow Gary and I leave for Boston. Anyone reading this can pray David and Rachel don't kill each other off while we are gone, and don't die of starvation either!

Friday, June 04, 2004

Still waiting on the car repairs

I called the shop today about the blue car. The machine shop that is looking for cracks in the head has been without electricity since Tuesday. So no progress.

Poison Ivy

I have a bad case of poison ivy on my left eyelid. My eye is nearly swollen shut. I didn't even touch the stuff. We had friends over for dinner on Memorial Day and when we started talking about poison ivy I pointed some out that is on the edge of our yard. Then our friend started bragging about not being allergic and picked it. So then I cringed and told him to go wash his hands. And apparently when he did he deposited the oils on the faucet which I then picked up and rubbed on my eye. Ugh.

My boss gave me some expensive stuff to scrub it with. It took the itch away briefly, but the swelling has just gotten worse. I'm quite miserable.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Power outage

Last night we had a big thunderstorm. Doro hadn't really experienced many storms like we get here so she was interested in it. The power went out for an hour and half so I lit all my gift candles and we sat around telling stories. Then we decided to roast marshmallows.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Rachel's new haircut

Last night Rachel decided to let Doro give her a hair cut. Seemed like
Doro pretty much knew what she was doing so we encouraged Rachel to go
for it. If she has short hair she might be willing to come swimming
with me more often too. So Doro cut it and it looked cute. Then somehow
Rachel decided she wanted it a bit shorter and it ended up quite a bit
shorter. But it looks good.

She is hoping sometime in June to get new glasses too, so she will have new look before the month is out.