Monday, November 29, 2004

More Credit Card Theft

Ugh! Those nice guys in Italy are at it again. Over the weekend there was a $400 charge on our debit card from a gas station in Italy. This time in was using a different debit card number than the last time, and this is a card I've only used for a couple months. Three additional charges, totaling over $10,000 from a travel agency in Italy, did not go through. So the credit card company contacted me right away, and then cancelled the card, but it is a nuisance to set up automatic payments again, etc. At least the credit card company is doing a good job noticing these things.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Homework, Housework, Shopping

I didn't sleep so well last night, and I woke up too early. That gave me time to start the housework before Rachel woke up and wanted me to help her with the homework. So I made turkey soup, cleaned up the kitchen, cleaned my bathroom. Then my neighbor phoned and asked me to go walking with her. Rachel got up and had soup for breakfast (I need to buy some milk!) then we started working on an assignment for her Early Childhood Curriculum class.

She had to make up six age-appropriate self-directed educational activities around an insect theme, and they had to be such that they could all be attached to a folding board that could be set up in a classroom. She came up with six pretty good ideas for the activities, but she needed some help implementing them. So I helped cut and glue and apply contact paper. She has a brilliant plan for coping with this problem when she gets to be a classroom teacher: "I'll just get the parents to help me!" And knowing her, she will do just that.

We had some lunch and cleaned up the mess we had made and at 3pm went shoe shopping. At the third store we finally found her a pair of short black boots to replace her old ones with holes in them. And then we came home, had some more soup, cleaned up the kitchen, cleaned the other bathroom, vacuumed the floors.

The only other exciting thing that happened today was lending our van to some resourceful MKs who went street shopping and found a couch. No, that is not the same thing as dumpster diving.

I got a few photos of Thanksgiving, so I'll try to put them up on my website soon.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Almost Thanksgiving

Rachel got home safely last night, but she and her ride had to sit in north Dallas traffic for about 3 hours. We had had a storm earlier in the afternoon that closed even the big roads. She seemed so happy to be home.

Today I went out and did stuff with Rachel--first the library, then the bank, then to the school teacher store. She wanted to buy something from every aisle, but since she was using her own money, she had to limit herself to just a few insect-related items. The checkout lady gave her her first teacher discount.

Gary was quite pleased with himself to win his first ever Ebay bid. He got an out of print piano song book of the light jazz songs for which he already has the CD.

Tomorrow we plan to spend the day with the Martins. Rachel will make green bean casserole, and I will open cans of olives, pickes, and pepperoncinis. Gary will probably do his part and fall asleep while watching the Cowboys.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Homemade bread

I made a double batch of homemade bread today. Half of it goes to the church bake sale. It smells good.

R had her big test today. She thinks it went OK, but we will just have to wait 4-5 weeks to find out. Now she needs to find a ride home for Thanksgiving.

D called this morning. He's doing well. He starts his Kaplan training tomorrow. He worked 6 hours at Best Buy today. He still hasn't got his Christmas plans organized.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Life goes on

G. seemed to have a decent time in California and a nice weekend with his parents in Phoenix.

A. woke me up this morning with a phone call from Ethiopia. He had forgotten that the time is an hour different since we went off of Daylight savings time. He called because he needs a copy of his Harvard diploma as part of the red tape to go through to become SP's legal representative. So I took it out of the frame and scanned it and sent it to him. (How did we manage in the days before the internet??)

D. phoned over the weekend saying he had gotten a rejection from the PhD and MD programs at Johns Hopkins, and a rejection from the PhD program at Stanford. So he won't be applying to either of those places. He did get, unsolicited, an invitation to apply to Washington University Med school (and they're the number 1 med school). But he probably won't apply there either because he says he wouldn't have any chance of getting into their PhD program. Here is a quote from an email from D. today:

Best Buy work was good. It's enlightening to work a straight 8-hour shift with only a 20 minute break in the middle. I can't believe I have it so easy here at NIH. The frisbee tourney was good. We lost in overtime during the first game, so I didn't have to spend all day out there. Then I went downtown and bought a suit (egads!). The alterations will be done on Friday, and it should look pretty sharp. It came to $250, but I still need shoes and a belt. It never ends, does it? Good thing I have three jobs. I got my stitches out this morning and I'm actually pretty happy with how my face is looking. It's much less swollen and misshapen than it was a week ago

R. has been working so hard the last 10 days. She's got two things due tomorrow, another thing on Thursday, and her big test on Saturday. But she's been handling the stress better than usual. Keep praying for her.

I've got lunch and dinner plans for tomorrow with some of my lady friends, something I like to do when G. is away.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Gary is gone

We left for DFW at 4:30am--the good thing about that is that there is no traffic at that hour. I made it there and back in an hour, so went back to bed until time for the annual Wycliffe Day of Prayer that was held at the big Baptist church.

David has bought his tickets to come to Texas for his first medical school interview at Baylor in Houston. He was also invited to apply for their accompanying Ph.D. program. I saw the schedule--it starts with breakfast Friday Dec. 3 and doesn't end until 7pm or later. He will fly to Dallas on Southwest late Friday night and then back to DC late on Saturday. So we'll get to see him for less than one day.

We also are expecting another visitor that weekend--more details on that later when plans are finalized.

Rachel turned in the first of two big projects today. She didn't quite get one section as long as it was supposed to be, but she gave it a good shot. I hope the teacher isn't too hard of a grader :-) She gets a tiny break tonight when she attends a concert. Tomorrow she has to get going on her 20-page paper that is due Tuesday. So far she has about 4-5 pages done. So keep praying for her. I am proud of how she is sticking with it and keeping her composure amidst the stress.

Andrew has gotten his Ethiopian drivers license, now he needs a vehicle. He is going to Awassa this week in an attempt to get permission to start work there. He got some official document this week that had been signed by Colin Powell which is supposed to make him an official entity in the country.

Auntie Carol is here visiting for 3-4 days; she leaves Saturday. She always cheers us up. She took us out for enchiladas last night in exchange for free bed and breakfast.

Monday, November 08, 2004

David's surgery

David survived, but he sounded bad on the phone when I just talked to him. He had been sleeping and was pretty groggy. He said they cut quite a bit of skin away, it was like he had a bad facelift! He goes back tomorrow to have it checked. I don't think he will feel well enough to work tomorrow.

Sunday, November 07, 2004


D. got his first invitation to interview for med school: Baylor medical school in Houston on Dec. 3. Looks like he starts his Best Buy job later this week, and will start as a Kaplan tutor in January. He also made his first installment on paying his parents back for the $ for his setup costs--good for him!

G. played his Jesus Loves the Little Children/Jesus Loves Me/Go Tell it on the Mountain medley for offertory in church this morning. This was the first time he had ever performed there. He got lots of compliments afterwards, and comments like, "I didn't know you could do that." G. leaves for Fresno on Thursday morning and will have dinner that night with long time supporter Stan Johnson and his daughter and family.

R. made some good progress on her projects this weekend, but she still has a lot to do. We need to keep her in our prayers.

Friday, November 05, 2004

When you read this, please

She has two big school projects due before Thanksgiving and will be taking the third of three standardized tests on November 20 to secure her elementary teacher certification. School and tests are not easy for her, so pray
  • that she will be able to concentrate and finish her work,
  • that she will not get discouraged,
  • that she will indeed pass the standardized test on Nov. 20.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Minor surgery for D.

D. phoned me last night and said he was having a cyst removed from the top of his nose, near his eyesocket. It has been there for four weeks. He went to the first doctor who sent him to an ENT, and this guy is going to remove it on Monday. It will be outpatient surgery, but it will be at a hospital OR. This is yet another thing this kid is doing all on his own. He won't even have his mommy there to drive him home from the hospital :-(

As part of his quest to learn more about being a dr., he said he would ask the dr. if he would let him hold a mirror so he could watch as he cut it. :-)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Identity Theft

Apparently G. has been off to Italy buying things on our credit card. Over $700 of charges were made, but thankfully the credit card company observed that the charges didn't look right and contacted us. A new card is being issued.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Chili for watching election returns

It has finally turned chilly in Dallas, so I decided to make chili (haha, get it) for dinner. This is a really good recipe that comes from A.'s Acton Elementary's 1st grade chili cookoff during 1986, the year of the Texas sesquicentennial. I've made it many times since then. It is a good recipe to make for a crowd, and I thought a good thing to eat while watching election returns tonight

Lasso Chili
Quantity: a lot

Brown together in a large pot:
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped green pepper

2 cans whole, stewed, or diced tomatoes with juice
2 cans tomato sauce or 1 can tomato paste with water
2 cans kidney beans

Then add the spices:
2 tablespoons chili powder
4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 large bay leaf
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons oregano
2 chopped garlic cloves

Simmer together for at least 30 minutes, or put it in the crockpot and eat it when you get home from work.