Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Back to Work

We got home from south Texas in less than 10 hours Sunday night. The Covers were kind to host a party, more or less in David's honor, after we returned. Gary and I attended for a few minutes, but I was too fried from driving so we didn't stay long.

On Monday Rachel and Gary and I went back to work. Rachel is resuming the scanning work that she did last summer. There is probably enough work to keep her busy for her holiday break. The office is very quiet because most people aren't working this week.

David had two days to just do nothing and hang out with his friends. He played some frisbee and last night went to a Mavericks' game with a friend. We got up at 5:30 this morning to take him to DFW and he phoned to say he got there safely.

Tomorrow Laura flies to Ethiopia. We will be in prayer for her and Andrew.

Unfortunately, I've caught a cold, the first one I've had in a very long time. Gary might be getting it too. Gary is really liking his new hammered dulcimer, and I like my new tiny digital camera.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas and Happy 29th Anniversary!

Gary gave me just what I wanted: 20 hours of true love to clean his office!

At midnight we loooked outside and found it was snowing, and this morning it was beautiful. We hurried out to take photos, since this happens here only once every 100 years.

I really love my cool new camera, but I won't be able to upload any photos until I get home.

We've tried to phone Andrew, but all circuits are busy.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Santa Claus in a Golf Cart

My mom pretty much runs the place here, a mobile home community of winter Texans known as Bibleville. Some people live here year round, but most are only here for the winters. Anyway, the UPS man brought all the park's packages to mom's house today since the office was closed. She had to deliver them so I went with her. It might be south Texas, but it is freezing here. Literally. The golf cart steering wheel was dripping with icicles and the wind was bitterly cold. I went with her as she dropped off 6 or 7 packages to various folks around the park. It reminded me of my growing up in cold Michigan.

It is Christmas Eve, but we've decided not to go to church tonight due to the bad weather. I feel sorry for those families here who don't have heat. And I bet they are worried about the orange crop too.

We've been sluggish and lazy most of the day. But I guess that is what vacations are for.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

In McAllen

We arrived safely at mom's house at 5pm yesterday, just as mom was locking up the office for the Christmas holiday. We had terrible weather for the first two hours of driving down from Dallas--heavy, cold rain and, since it was still dark, it was quite miserable to drive. We stopped in Austin for a 30 minute break when David phoned one if his HS friends who goes to school in Austin and she joined us for hot chocolate at at place that called itself "Not Starbucks." I drove the beginning and ending legs and David drove all the time in the middle.

We went out to Mexican food for dinner )they know how to do Mexican here :-) and mom had a cherry pie at home for dessert. We aren't going to starve while here. We walked around the park a little too to see what Christmas lights are up.

We started the annual 1000 piece puzzle. It is of a painting, not a photograph, so it is on the easier side. Rachel seems taken with it this year.

Mom recently added a bit to her home here. She has a mobile home that had a room off the side, and now the room has been enlarged and behind it is a little "garage" for tool storage, washer and dryer, and a place to keep her bicycle.

Today we are basically doing nothing. We are reading old magazines, studying the user manuals for my camera and Rachel's phone, watching TV, listening to Elvis Christmas followed by Handel's Messiah, eating, being lazy. Oh, and Gary is doing rocket science on his laptop when he isn't trying to put puzzle pieces in with his magnifying glass.

We are happy to be here, but sad for those who are missing this year: greatgrandma and Andrew.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Yay for Rachel!

Today has been a big day for Rachel. She found out that she passed third of three teacher certification tests for Oklahoma state. That is just wonderful news. She has student teaching to do next semester, and she is now eligible to apply for a teaching license. We are so proud of her. Thanks to everyone who prayed for her.

She decided that she needed to have a new hairdo that would suit a teacher. No more hair falling down in her face and getting in her way. Late this afternoon she got it cut.

Here are the before and after photos.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

In Oklahoma

Rachel couldn't find a suitable ride home back to Dallas, so I ended up driving up here this afternoon. I had a headache this morning, but managed OK. Rachel's last exam was 4:30-6pm and since then we've just been doing laundry and cleaning and packing her stuff up. We hope to drive home early tomorrow morning. It is nice that she has a private room so there is a bed for me to sleep in.

Rachel has an appointment for a haircut on Friday. I think she may get it pretty short, in preparation for her semester of student teaching.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Third Sunday of Advent

The week flew by pretty fast, after our busy weekend. On Monday night we attended the Messiah at Bass Hall in Ft. Worth. It was the second time I had been there, and first time for Gary. It was great, but we had these annoying 20 year olds in front of us who definitely grew up watching Sesame Street. At intermission we changed seats.

Then Tuesday night we had a sit-down dinner with our church Bible study group. A message on my answering machine said it had been canceled due to the death of a sister of one of our members, and somehow I didn't get the message that it was back on until two hours before mealtime, and I was supposed to make a potato casserole. Hard to do when you don't even have a potato in the house. Fortunately, Janet had a bag of spuds to lend me and I managed to whip something together.

Then Thursday night we attended a choir production at the church of one of our coworkers.

Friday night was choir party, so by Saturday I was pretty ready to sit home and do not much.

I did so little that Gary couldn't find any clean brown socks to wear to church today since I hadn't done the laundry :-( But we were too busy today to do it, so I guess he has to wait at least until tomorrow. Tonight we had the church's family Christmas. Lots of nice music including Gary's cool arrangement of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear."

We thank God for helping Rachel last week to finish all her big projects. She has exams this week and unfortunately got kind of sick over the weekend. She is also still looking for a ride home on Wednesday night or Thursday morning and I'm hoping I don't have to drive up there again.

This week promises to be busy too: I've got to get the Christmas packages in the mail, the oil needs to be changed in the van, finish writing the Christmas cards, and of course, do the laundry.

David has bought a ticket home, Dec 21-29. He may have to quit his Best Buy job since they probably don't like him being gone those days.

Reports from Andrew are good, though I do believe he is certifiably crazy! His attempt to buy Red Sox tickets yesterday failed, sorry to say. He reported good meetings with USAID and some progress getting permissions for the AIDS project they hope to start. We also learned he will fly to NC in April for some meetings.

OK, lots to do, so I'd better go to bed so I can get some strength to do it all tomorrow.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Busy Weekend Over

Well, we survived our busy weekend, but just barely. All went well during the drive home from Oklahoma last night until we were 4-5 miles from home. Some guy decided he wanted the part of the freeway that we were occupying more than we did. I had to swerve over into another lane (at 65 mph) to avoid him. Gary said, "Nice save," as my adreneline surged.

It ws nice to see Rachel. We arrived late Saturday night and dropped Laura at Rachel's room and the spent the night at a minus five star motel. Next morning we bought cinnamon rolls and at them in the dorm lounge before going to her BIG church for the morning service. After that it was Taco Bueno (Laura's choice) then we hung out a little before taking Laura to the airport. Gary decided to pass the time by getting sick. So we snuck him into Rachel's room ("Man on the floor!") and he slept for a couple hours. I spent the time reading and commenting on Rachel's big paper that is due on Tuesday. It will be over 20 pages. At 6pm was Rachel's last college concert. There were 4-5 anthems followed by Mozarts's Coronation Mass which we enjoyed very much. Then the long drive home in the dark.

All went well with Laura here. She and David picked out and put up the Christmas tree on Saturday afternoon with help from the two little African boys from next door. It looks great and it was nice to have some help with it. Laura and Rachel stayed up late Saturday night with girl talk, which they seemed to enjoy. I got some good photos which I will have to organize one of these days, but I'm too busy at the moment.

Andrew is expecting a full written report about Laura's visit, but I told him I need a day or two for reflection first. But we did have a good time with her :-)

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Nice to See David

David got off the plane at 10pm last night in a suit that he had bought all by himself! He had five separate interviews at Baylor Medical Center, three for the PhD program and two for the medical school program. He says he thought the PhD ones went better than the medical ones; I guess now we just wait and see if they liked him.

Laura is here too, more about that later :-) Now Laura and David have gone off to buy a Christmas tree.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Pray for David's Interviews Tomorrow

David called me at work this morning from the DC airport, just to say he was on his way to Houston for his medical school interviews tomorrow. It turns out that someone from his lab knows someone who is on the admissions committee for the PhD program, so David was given phone numbers, etc and told to go meet him. That sounds like a helpful coincidence :-)

Then Andrew called about 30 seconds later to ask me what the difference was between earrings that had a post and ones that were shaped like a hook. (He was buying Christmas presents.) He also told me to enjoy my visit with Laura. He's is flying to Kenya tomorrow for a few days of meetings.

Rachel is trying to finish the last 5 pages of her 22-page paper. She wasn't feeling well yesterday so she skipped work and took a 5 hour nap :-( Today she was some better, but still slept all afternoon. She needs to work hard tonight.

Laura arrives at 7pm tomorrow night, then David at 10. We should have a fun and interesting weekend.