Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Rachel got her project turned in OK on Tuesday. But we've gotten late night phone calls from her on Tuesday and Wednesday asking for help with other homework. One was a linguistics question, right up G.'s alley.

Email from A. sounds like he and his fellow expatriate coworkers are all sick with diarrhea, possibly giardia. They are supposed to fly somewhere tomorrow in a chartered plane, so I hope they are all better by then.

G. is still "almost" done with the Ethnologue. I sure wish he could have a few days off soon. But more deadlines loom...

We haven't been to a hs football game yet this year. Friday is homecoming.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Update on Monday

D. called us from Delaware this weekend. The Leadership training group spent the weekend in some fancy beach house. They went out for a crab feast which he said he enjoyed, but it is a lot of work for the amount of food you get. He is trying to stay alive until payday.

R. has to turn in part 1 of her big project tomorrow. She seems to have most of it under control.

A. is having a busy week in Ethiopia with visitors from Kenya. He has hired a charter plane to take them to a town in the west on Thursday. He was quite proud of himself for getting a good deal on it. He will have a chance to talk to his boss about various business matters.

G. is still working hard on the Ethnologue. It is getting close. His paper for the November conference is due on Thursday, so he's busy with that too. And today he got orders to go to Colorado Springs for 2 days Oct 10-12.

Friday, September 24, 2004

"A triumph of globalization and the internet"

That is what A.'s email to me today said. I quote: "Are you having any luck with Rangers playoff tickets? I am in the virtual waiting room in another window on my internet browser now, hoping to get some. Wouldn't that be a triumph for globalization and the internet, if I could get playoff tickets in the virtual waiting room from Ethiopia!"

And then another email dated an hour later:

"Hi mom and dad,

The triumph of the internet is complete. I got eight tickets for the first Rangers home playoff game. They are in the third deck on the second row, two thirds of the way down the third base side. I really wish I was home to go to the game.

Why don't you invite *** and see if *** wants any of the tickets. I know he is a real fan. Maybe *** is/could be around and would want to go. You can use the tickets however you want. If there seems to be no one interested there is always eBay."

This child is crazy. He is a real fan. Anybody need tickets to the Rangers' playoff game 1? Wait, do we even know if the Rangers' are in the playoffs yet?

Thursday, September 23, 2004

The Bible

Today my 80+ year old former coworker came to my office and told me to get myself over to the museum before the Bible exhibit closed. I'm glad I did. It was cool. The display, (completely unguarded and I admit it was hard not to touch*) included a cuneiform tablet, a snatch of scripture on papyrus, an OT leather scroll, a sheepskin parchment, an early Hebrew codex, individual leaves from the Gutenburg, Tyndale, Coverdale, and Geneva bibles, and a complete KJV from the early printings. There was also a working replica Gutenberg press. G. was in a meeting at the time, so I sent him over to the museum as soon as lunch was over, as they were starting to pack up the display this afternoon.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

We talked to A.

today and he seemed like he needed to talk since he spent the first 25 minutes of my 45 minute phone card talking nonstop. He told us all about how his project is going (slow), how it is to do business in a 3rd world country (slow), how the internet connections are at various hotels, cafes, and guesthouses (slow, slow, and slower). His boss comes from Kenya on Friday, so that will give him someone to talk business with. He told us about "getting a good deal" on chartering a small plane for next week when SP bigwigs come to visit. He is having so many cool opportunities.

I talked to D. earlier in the week. His hoped-for pay increase went through, but he is totally broke until payday comes, so we had to send him some $$. Luckily G. just got paid for some of his outside consulting. D. has discovered canned tuna on clearance sale.

R. seems to be doing pretty well since I helped her get a start on her big project. I haven't talked to her much since then, but I think she's doing ok.

I got the van fixed yesterday at our local mechanic. New seatbelt and the front seals were changed.

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Most Powerful Woman in America

is Condoleeza Rice. David shook hands with her (and with Bill Frist) after church on Sunday. His impression of her: "She's pretty short."

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Letters from Ethiopia

We recently got a postcard and a letter from A. in Ethiopia. He enclosed his new business card:

I don't think the email shown on the card actually works yet, but the phone number does.

I also scanned this photo, recently developed, of A. and me at the airport as he left:

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Back Home

I made it safely back from OKC. I did get pretty drowsy after the first 50 miles, so I stopped to buy some lime diet coke. I got back on the road, took one drink, and proceeded to knock the rest of it over on the floor of my car. I guess the shock kept me awake until I got home.

G. was mowing the driveway when I drove in. That is his way of raking up the leaves. He stopped and gave me a sweaty kiss and then went back to mowing.

My time with R. was pretty good. She is working very hard on her project, and over the time I was there she finished three-quarters of the part that has to be turned in Sept. 23. I helped her find stuff in the 25 books we had, then I photocopied them. After she read them and highlighted them, and summarized them in a written document. I punched holes in them and put them in a binder. We both worked on the bibliography which has to be in APA style.

R. has a nice little printer which cost less than $100 last fall. Not only does it make b/w and color copies, it also scans and, best of all, it makes b/w or color copies. So all those 25 books we were able to photocopy right there in her room. I was able to refill the ink cartridge, too, so that made it fast and cheap to make the necessary copies. And she has a nice, heavy-duty 3-hole punch which served us well in getting the copies into the required binder. I also reformatted her flash drive and made backup copies of her working files, so now she is set. She still has a lot to do on the project, but not so much to do before next Thursday.

Looks like she may try in late November to take the last of 3 standardized tests toward her teacher certification. If she fails, there would be time to retake it in February so that she could begin job hunting during spring break. Yikes! that sounds soon!

We got a letter and a post card from A. today. I guess the mail works, if slowly.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Not much news

I guess it has been a few days since I've written. G. has been very busy with the Ethnologue. Lots of other people have been putting in lots of time too, but he is carrying a big share of the load.

R. phoned last night feeling pretty overwhelmed, so she talked her dad into letting me go up there for a couple days. I will leave tomorrow after lunch and return late Saturday afternoon. I hope the van keeps running ok and doesn't leak too much oil. That car has to last us at least another year. The seat belt on the driver's seat broke today too, but fortunately, I can stretch it across to latch it in the latch on the passenger's seat. Pray for my safe trip.

We've heard a little from A. He got some real mail in his post box so he'd love for any of you to send him some real mail. I figured out a way to scan papers that he needs and send them by email. He needs to take care of certain business since his gazillion dollar loans are starting to come due.

D. is doing ok too. He found some people to go play frisbee with on Sunday afternoons. He found them on the internet!

Today I almost killed the cat. It got in the car when I didn't know it, and when I came out of my meeting an hour later, it was nearly cooked to death! Lucky for her, the meeting got out early.

Friday, September 10, 2004

It's Friday

I'm ready for a weekend, but there won't be much rest this weekend since the Ethnologue still isn't finished. Gary will be putting in many more hours. I finished my original 33 pages of editing, but someone else didn't get theirs done, so now I have 20 more pages to do.

D. called this morning from DC with good news/bad news. The good news: he gets a pay raise before his first week of work is over. Apparently he gets $2,700 per year more than they told him because he has good grades. "'Bout time those A's did you some good," I told him. The bad news: "I don't get my first paycheck until October 10. Can you send me some $$?"

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Medicine and music

Yesterday G. and I had our annual physicals. Though you could hardly call them annual since the last one was two years ago. There was the usual and expected "eat less and exercise more" command. But in general, I think we'll live. My cholesterol and blood pressure numbers were better than G.'s, but his weight and blood sugar levels were better than mine. I have a few achy joints and he has a sebaceous cyst and a ganglion cyst (whatever those are).

We went with friends to the Dallas Symphony dress rehearsal last night. They were doing Beethoven's 9th with chorus. We've gone to these dress rehearsals before and they were almost like performances. Last night, however, it was indeed like a rehearsal, so it wasn't as fun to be there. It is nice music.

G. is still beating his brains out trying to get the Ethnologue finished. He needs a vacation, but that ain't going to happen any time soon. He got lots of good response to his plea for copy editors for the 32 sections of things he wanted edited. About 4-5 have already been turned in. I'm halfway through my section, so I need to get it finished. It is hard reading in 8 point type.

Kids update: D. started work on Tuesday and sounds like that went OK. He got an official magnetic ID badge with his photo on it to let him into his lab. There is a rec center on his campus that he can attend for pretty cheap, and they gave him a metro pass so he doesn't have to buy that.

R. is doing OK, but already feeling overwhelmed with the amount of reading she has to do. She started her job yesterday too. She does lunchroom duty from 11-12, then goes back to campus for her own lunch, then is the Kindergarten aide from 1-3. This schedule is for Mondays and Wednesdays. Her big project for one of her classes is on Illiteracy.

A. has been putting the final touches on a proposal for the actual projects SP wants to do. He is working closely with church leaders but he has his own bosses to keep happy as well as the church leaders. He's also trying to buy a computer, a truck, and rent a house and office.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Labor Day weekend

We spent Friday evening at work, trying to get the Ethnologue finished. It is taking so much time to take care of so many details. Now G. is trying to find dozens of copy editors who can read the 558 pages twice to find all the missing commas and things like that. He sent out an email plea to all of Academic Affairs and hopes on Tuesday when we get back to the office lots of people will volunteer to help. Some people already started over the weekend. My assignment is the first 33 pages of Africa, and it is in 8 point type, so I can hardly read it. I've only finished page 7. Ugh.

Reports from Washington DC are pretty good. D. went to the big Presbyterian church yesterday. He said that Conilizza Rice and John Glenn attend this church. He found they don't have high speed internet but rather dial up, so that isn't good. His car cost over $600 for repairs :-( but he did find out that he gets a $100/month metro pass for getting to work. He enjoyed his retreat but said he didn't understand much of it at first, and this was the first time he had been around so many smart people. He said they are all foreigners, only the student interns are Americans.

We talked quite a while to A. on Saturday. He was getting kind of lonely. He tried to buy a new office computer, but hasn't succeeded yet. He's trying to buy a pickup truck. He's trying to find a house and office to rent in Awassa. He did meet the US Ambassador to Ethiopia. He seems to enjoy hobnobbing.

R. was sick last weekend, and sick again this weekend, but when I talked to her today she was doing better. She has a couple classes this year with massive amounts of reading, something she doesn't do well with. But she always tries hard, so she will make it. She will be writing her big project on literacy.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the home of friends from church who live on a lake. I learned how to drive a jet ski and took Gary for a ride. We also went swimming and boating and had a fish fry. Tonight we went to our friends house who live in Arlington and had a picnic with them. Now I need to get back to editing the Ethnologue.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

D. had a bad day

D. drove to NIH today to get signed up for his new job. He parked his car in the parking garage, and when he came out two hours later, it wouldn't start. He had left the lights on (will he get mad if I mention this is the third time he's done this and he's only had the car a month??) He got someone to jumpstart the car, but then it seemed to run rough. On the way home, it stopped completely in the middle of an intersection doing a left turn. Not good. He had to leave it there and go find a garage. He eventually had to have it towed to a garage and the prognosis was it needed a new battery and new alternator plus the towing. Let's see, how does that ad go??

One tow truck--$50
One new battery--$100
One new alternator--$200
labor to put them in--$200
learning to turn the headlights off--priceless

Safely there

D. has arrived at his new home safely. He phoned from the church parking lot saying he was at the church, but didn't know the house address. He had me get into his email and find a phone number. He didn't even have a pen or pencil to write the phone number down, but just typed it into his cell phone while he was still talking to me on it.

Then he called back a couple hours later saying he had gotten moved in. There will be four men living there in the upstairs bedrooms, sharing one bath. There is a kitchen and living area downstairs, and a basement too. He'll have today to get settled in and buy some groceries, then his job starts tomorrow with a department retreat at the Shenandoah National Park.

In other news, R. has had her seemingly obligatory bout of illness at the beginning of the semester, and is now feeling better. She is still trying to decide if she likes having a private room or not. She got to spend some time with her former roommate last night, who now attends a different school in town, when she came to campus for a visit. She also made her first Walmart run by getting a ride with the freshmen who live in the room next to her. The floor is all upper classmen with private rooms except for one room of two freshmen.

R. also managed to find a little job in spite of the fact that she was awarded no workstudy funds. She will be working 6 hours at the private school where she will be teaching next semester--two of those hours on lunchroom duty.