Monday, January 31, 2005

Happy Birthday, Andrew!

Happy Birthday, Andrew! Posted by Hello

No, today is not Andrew's birthday, but today I got some photos of it. Andrew's girlfriend went to Ethiopia right after Christmas and was there for his birthday. I was quite impressed how she managed to organize a surprise party for him, complete with balloons and roses at the airport and a meal with friends at a restaurant. Today I got a CD of photos from her trip, and thought this one would look nice in my blog. I aso received a wrap/scarf/skirt from Kenya which is cool.

I talked briefly with Rachel this afternoon. She said student teaching went pretty smoothly today--the two troublemakers were absent! She told me the other day she was interviewed and photographed for a blurb in the school annual on student teachers.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Carolina Wren?

Carolina Wren Posted by Hello

Actually, I don't know for sure if this is a Carolina Wren or a Brown Creeper. They both are brown with a white eye streak and they are next to each other in the bird book, so I guess they are similar. I think the coloring is more like the wren, but it was acting like a creeper as it climbed the tree that holds up my clothesline.

It has been a slow day here, I think I'm ready for Gary to come home. I did get some reading done and a project caught up, so I haven't been lazy the entire day. And I talked to two out of three kids, and they seemed like they were doing well. Maybe the third one will call tomorrow.

Rachel survived her first week of student teaching, though she sounded somewhat overwhelmed. She said her supervisor said she needed to have more flexibility when things don't go exactly like planned, and she admitted that is not an easy thing for her. Keep praying for her.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Uncle Martin and Auntie Helen

Uncle Martin and Aunt Helen visit Texas Posted by Hello

After work today I drove to DFW to meet Helen and Martin and their friends Peg and Mel who were having a 4 hour layover on their way to Guatemala. They had never been to Whataburger, so that is where we went for lunch. The weather was terrible today, lots of heavy rain, so my drive home along IH360 was slow and crowded, but it was worth it to be able to see them. During lunch I explained to them what blogs are, so if they don't lose the URL before they get to a computer, they might see themselves here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove Posted by Hello

Today's bird is a mourning dove. I should have saved that one for a day when I'm sad. I'm not sad; in fact, I'm happy. The weather has been lovely, I enjoyed a visit from a friend today, and Rachel's email today said each day is getting a little easier than the day before. I'm thankful to God for helping her get off to a good start with student teaching.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Male Cardinal Posted by Hello

The weather was so beautiful here today, warm and sunny. Soaking up the sunlight on my afternoon walk feels good.

I've just about completed my house rearranging that started before Christmas. Today I added a CD player to "my room" and reengineered the futon to make a lovely reading spot (except the cat seems to have taken it over).

Monday, January 24, 2005

The Robins and My Chickadee

Mr. and Mrs. Robin, with cousin Charlie Posted by Hello

Today was Rachel's first day of being Miss Rachel, the Kindergarten teacher. Well, she's not a real kindergarten teacher, but she's getting close! She started student teaching a private Christian school called School for Children (doesn't that seem like an odd name?) This assignment will go for 6 weeks I think, then she will switch to 2nd grade at a public school for 6 more weeks. She has to be there at 8am and gets off at 4:30 pm, except for Tuesdays when she has to stay until 5:30pm. She called me briefly this afternoon to say she had gotten through the first day OK, and she sounded happy but tired. She said her day might go smoother if she figured out the night before what she was going to wear. She also figured out why teachers wear sensible shoes :-)

We are so proud of her to reach this step. Pray with us that God will continue to strengthen and care for her and guide her regarding decisions for her future.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Carolina chickadee Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Dark-eyed junco/slate-colored junco Posted by Hello

I'm still experimenting with my new camera, and a tiny camera like mine isn't intended to take closeups of wildlife, but anyway--you can at least tell this is a bird, I hope. I haven't seen many birds today--the homeschoolers' football game that has been going on all afternoon in my backyard might have something to do with it. :-)

Today I finally put the Christmas photos up on my website. There are two new sections of photos, one for Christmas at home and one for Christmas at Grandma's. You can see photos of our white Christmas. The link to the website is shown on the right panel. ------------>

Thursday, January 20, 2005

David at the Inauguration

David phoned just as I was leaving for work this morning. He was calling from the inauguration. He had found some Taylor friends to hang out with, giggly girls by the sounds. He told me yesterday he went out and bought a coat so he could stand to attend. He sounded like he was having fun. It was a federal holiday for DC. So I guess he didn't get arrested for selling two of his four free tickets to the event.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

This is a test Posted by Hello

Monday, January 17, 2005

Holiday and Dinner Out

We had a day off work today so we spent it wisely: slept in until 9:30 (of course I was up several times putting the cat out, letting the cat in, feeding the cat, turning the faucet on for the cat, shutting the faucet off--but I digress!) then Gary and I each started separate cleaning projects. He worked on cleaning up his office, as he promised me he would do. Now it is 12 hours later and it hardly looks like anything was done, but he assures me it is all about infrastructure, or something like that.

I moved two bookshelves, two cupboards, and stuff in two closets, continuing the domino effect that started before Christmas when we gave Rachel's bed away. The result is now we have a music room with piano, dulcimer, guitars, African drum, flute, French horn, and lots of music and music books. (There is also a corner cupboard with toys for the two little African boys to play with when them come to visit me.)

And now Rachel's old bedroom has been converted to MY room--my computer (plus two other computers seldom used) a futon for guests, a dresser now being used for sorting stuff that comes for David or Andrew and the closet with off-season clothes. Eventually, I may move my rubber stamping stuff in here too, or even my desk for doing the family finances, but I'll have to think on that for a while. My computer is now situated in such a way that I can see the TV in our bedroom, so I can do two things at once :-)

We worked hard on all this today, then went out for a late dinner at Outback Steakhouse. Why did we go there? Because we had a $20 coupon, of course. Gary had steak and I had shrimp. Nice change from Taco Bueno :-)

Rachel made it safely back to school last night but couldn't get her computer to work. Late this afternoon she phoned the computer services guys, and they came to her dorm to check out the problem. And indeed there was a problem, something about a blade in a server for rooms 1-6 in the dorm. They fixed it, and now she's happy. She had her first day of teacher seminar which lasts this week, and tonight stared her once a week class on The Exceptional Child. (That's what I had--a pile of exceptional children.)

I've still got a couple hours of stuff to do to complete my house rearranging, but tomorrow it is back to work, now that Christmas vacation is finally over.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Christmas Vacation is Finally Over

It ended today when Rachel left to return to college. Now I will catch up on a few unfinished chores that have been hanging over my head since late November.

Rachel did end up doing quite a bit of scanning work, which was good. It will be a few weeks before she sees the money, but it will help with another college payment. Just 5 more months of payments to go, but it is still a lot of money. If we get a tax refund, that will help make a payment also. And maybe Gary will do a consulting job in Michigan sometime in the spring.

We haven't heard much from David except that he plans to attend the inauguration this week. And that he's taken up some of his brother's ways when it comes to selling things on ebay.

I phoned Andrew yesterday but had a terrible connection. That made me sad because we had some Very Important Things to discuss. He had a great time with Laura visiting him. She got some digestive sickness part of the time, so I hope she recovers quickly. At least he has internet connections, so that means we get most of the Important Information eventually.

Rachel starts her teacher seminar right away tomorrow morning. Then student teaching starts in another week. She is both excited and scared, but I think she will do OK. Please pray for her with student teaching, as well as for her to find a job for the fall. Applying and interviewing for a teaching job would need to happen later this spring.

She ended up with a good selection of "professional" clothes. I spent quite a bit of time shortening pants and remodeling stuff from the botique, but I think she is pretty much set for new clothes.

Tomorrow is a Center holiday--yay! Gary has promised to cash in some of his I'll-clean-my-office hours. His office badly needs some cleaning. Yesterday he fixed my bird feeder which had fallen over. The legs would no longer work because the bottom 4 inches of the post had gone rotten. So now it is 4 inches shorter, but it is standing strong. I hope the birds come back.

We will be doing some thinking about rearranging more rooms over the next few weeks, the music room and my new computer room (Rachel's former room). OK off to Arlington for Bible study.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Train, Movie, and Lunch

Today was kind of unusual for me, different from my usual routine. It started out the same, went to work and R. went early with me too. (She's been working during her Christmas holiday to make some spending money for next semester when she won't be allowed to have a job.) We decided yesterday to go to a movie today which is in limited release called Hotel Rwanda. The only theater it is showing at is on the north side of Dallas, but it is located just feet away from one of the light rail stations. So we drove 8 miles and parked the car at the nearest mass transit station, then paid $2.50 for an all-day pass, and rode the train to Mockingbird station. After we bought our movie tickets we ate lunch at the Noodle Kitchen. R. is not an adventuresome eater, so she had a chicken sandwich! I had something called Thai Pad Ew, or something like that, which was fried noodles with broccoli, sprouts, and chicken. It was good.

The movie was very intense, very good. Some of the movie was easy to relate to since we have lived in the third world. But we never had to live in a place where there was so much killing and tribal hatred. The most moving point of the movie was when the UN peacekeeper had to tell the story's hero, "We think you are dirt." "Pardon me, who is we?" "The west. We don't care if you kill each other off. Our governments have told us to pull out."

Tonight we carpooled to Bible study in Waxahachie, and on the way there I volunteered to tell about the movie I had just seen. The point of the movie was reinforced: the people in the car with me had never heard of the Hutus or the Tutsis, though it was only 10 years ago and a million of them were killed.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Gary is home

Gary got home safely from California on Sunday night. He was able to visit our friends the Hights and ended up staying over night with them one night. Then Uncle Martin drove him back in to the city the next morning. He had tried to go see his Aunt as well, but that visit got canceled due to illness. One other time he tried to go see her and she was unable to have him come due to broken bones. Hmm, hope this isn't a trend.

Rachel is home for one more week. Still doing some scanning to make some money (she can't have a job next semester), and still going shopping. Shoe shopping for her is so painful. She wears a women's 5.5W or a child's 3.5W and hardly any stores have that size. She did end up buying two pairs: one for $90 and one for $10.

We haven't heard very much from Andrew since Laura has been there, but we think things are going full steam ahead. He starts teaching some kind of development class soon too, and I don't really know many of the details about that yet either.

Gary bought himself a Mel Bay How to Teach Yourself the Hammered Dulcimer book. Rachel has figured out how to pluck out a few tunes too.

It looks like Rachel has found a ride back to SNU for Sunday, so that would be nice, if I don't have to drive her. Amazing--she is starting her last semester of college! Pray for her--student teaching is a lot of responsibility. And pray that God will clearly direct her to the right job after graduation.

David is teaching his Kaplan MCAT test class now. And still waiting to hear from various medical schools.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Rachel Goes Shopping

I hate shopping. But Rachel loves to go shopping. She got money for Christmas gifts so she could buy "professional" clothes in anticipation of her semester of student teaching. Apparently part of her grade is how she is dressed. Anyway, we went shopping today and she got shoes and a suit.

Does she look like a kindergarten teacher?

I think all the little boys will fall in love with her :-)

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Christmas Gifts with Photos

I'm using my new camera to spice up my blog a little. Here are the Christmas gifts with photos:

David got a stethoscope from Rachel:

Rachel got a cell phone from Mom:

Linda got a funny book about editing from Grandpa:

Gary got a hammered dulcimer from everybody:

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Trading Spaces

Rachel has cable TV at college and when she isn't studying diligently for a test, she has been known to sneak a look at those home remodeling shows. She came home with lots of ideas of how to redo one of our bedrooms in view to her moving back home after graduation in May. (That idea itself may be a topic for another blog, but not today.) Anyway, we pared her pile of ideas down to something a little more doable for a couple of amateurs without a professional designer and carpenter standing by: move the furniture out, clean, repaint (in two colors, neither of which was white!), move different furniture back in.

We started the project Thursday--a trip to buy paint and masking tape during lunch hour, then in the evening we cleared out the room (thanks go to a friend who helped move stuff--I hope your back is OK).

Friday and Saturday we worked long hours to repair, tape, retexture, paint, and repaint the walls, then tape and paint the trim. It all went reasonably well until we locked ourselves in the room and couldn't get out. I had taken the door knob off both sides of the door, but failed to take out the part that actually goes into the door frame (there must be a name for that piece, but I don't know what it is). When the door got pushed shut, we discovered we couldn't get it open again. "Not to worry," thought I, "I'll just use the screwdriver to open it." But when I started poking at it with the screw driver, I couldn't get it to turn. So I kept poking and whoops! a stray piece of the mechanism fell down into the inside of the hollow door. At that point Rachel said, "I'll crawl through the window and go get dad." So we pushed the screen out of the window (Lucky for us it is a low window) and she went and got dad (who was still asleep and leaving his girls to do all this man-work). Well, he came and grumbled at us, then we tried more screw drivers, and when that didn't work he crawled back in the window and took the hinges out--that didn't help either. Then he tore apart another door knob and latch from another door to see if that would help us figure it out, but they weren't identical. This all went on for an hour and finally I managed to jimmy the latch from the inside with a flexible putty knife--and since the hinges had been removed, the door came crashing down on my head when I finally got it open.

Anyway, our project is almost complete, and now we need to put the blinds back up and move furniture back in.


Saturday, January 01, 2005

This is the before photo