Thursday, November 30, 2006

Crazy Weather

Yesterday it was 80 degrees and the roses were blooming nicely. Today it is 30 degrees and they being dusted with ice pellets.

Rachel got her first experience owning a car in the bad weather today. She had a half-day sub job scheduled, the second half of the day. I warned her to get out to her car a little early to scrape the ice, but she had no idea how long that would take. Furthermore, she had no ice scraper. So I had to give her the one from the van. (I'll have to buy her an ice scraper for Christmas. Hmm, seems like I remember buying one her for former bf about a year ago because he got caught in the ice without a scraper, too.) Anyway, I came home from the office and helped her scrape it off and gave her a 30-second lecture about driving in the bad weather. Fortunately, the school she is subbing at is only a couple miles away.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Busy Week

Thanksgiving week for us included:
  • Gary ordering his new black suit, thanks to his parents' generosity
  • a picnic at the lake
  • Rachel, David, Sarah attending an MK pizza party
  • Lots to eat on Thursday noon
  • Lots of pie to eat Thursday evening, made by Jesse
  • Rachel and David's friends over for a game of Full-Contact Spoons
  • Rachel, David, Sarah visiting their Arlington friends
  • Picking up Rachel's bridesmaid skirt at the store on the busiest shopping day of the year
  • Attending a show at Family Music Theater
  • Picking two ticks off Miss Kitty
  • Going to the store to buy tick medicine for Miss Kitty
  • Picking Andrew up at DFW
  • Interacting intensely with Andrew for a couple hours
  • Cleaning up David's decorated car
  • Dropping Andrew off at DFW on his way to Ethiopia
  • Attending church
  • Eating at Ton's

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Our Thanksgiving gathering was small this year and I made way too much food. However, I'm going to enjoy all those leftovers.

In the evening a number of Rachel and David's friends came over for Jesse's pie and a game of spoons and meeting each other's new girlfriends.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


David and girlfriend Sarah arrived safely last night. I celebrated the occasion by baking some sticky cinnamon rolls. Then they took Gary to Men's Wearhouse this morning and he spent his wad--photos later when the tailoring is completed.

After that, we decided on a short picnic to Cedar Hill State Park during this lovely weather. We headed for our usual secluded spot only to find a couple dozen big trucks and tents and cameras and lots of people. We stopped and asked what was going on and were told we needed to leave because they had the whole section of the park for filming parts of a TV show called Prison Break. So off we went.

We found a stand of rushes and near that some great lines of tracks. This one is a large water bird, probably an egret or heron.

Tonight the three kids are off at an MK pizza party and I'm thinking about spending all day tomorrow cooking.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Gary's New Computer

Six years ago Gary was given an IBM laptop computer. This computer technically belonged to the U of Pennsylvania but was on "indefinite loan" to Gary. He was given this machine because of his work on certain linguistics and computer projects, headed up by Dr. Steven Bird.

Fast forward to our recent trip to a linguistics conference in Austin, TX. Steven was also at the conference and saw Gary give his presentation using his laptop. At that point Steve said, "You need a new laptop." Days later, he had one, from the same source as the first one. Here is a photo:

Notice Gary's hand in the photo. He is using the built-in finger print scanner to unlock his machine (instead of a password). Cool, huh? Here's a closer view of the device:

Now if you need to know the specs for this machine, here they are:
IBM ThinkPad T60 Professional System
* 5.4 lbs. (2.45kg) with battery and optical drive installed
* 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo T2500 processor
* 14.1-inch SXGA+ display (1400x1050 pixels)
* 128MB ATI Mobility Radeon X1400
* 1.0GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM
* 100GB (5400rpm)
* Plays and burns CDs and DVDs
* Gigabit Ethernet; Wireless (802.11b/g); Bluetooth; 56k modem
* Lithium-ion battery -- up to 4.3 hours of battery life
* Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2**
* Ports: Three USB 2.0 ports; parallel port; infrared port;
dock/port replicator port; external display port; AC adapter; RJ-11;
RJ-45; audio: headphone/line-out, external microphone; two card slots
* Biometric Security Fingerprint Reader
* Three-Year IBM international limited warranty with Next Business
Day At Home Service, plus ThinkPad Protection accidental damage
return-to-depot repair service (1 year warranty on the included

As I mentioned above, we've since upgraded our wireless router, so with this machine we can connect to the internet in the far corners of our house. It took some doing to get the new machine and network set up, but now if you come visit us with your wireless laptop we can provide connectivity for you.

Speaking of visitors, we've had a number of them lately which has been fun (if busy). Later this week we will be having more, specifically David and his girlfriend. Details to follow.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Busy Day

We did a lot yesterday, starting with breakfast at Panera Bread. That is kind of a yuppie place we go to once in a while, but we went there specifically to see if Gary's new laptop computer would work in the wireless internet there, which it did. I had a yummy cranberry walnut bagel.

Then we walked over to Circuit City to buy a new wireless router for the new computer. Our old one was just too tired to work with the new technology. And since the computer was free (I hope to blog about that sometimes) we decided we could afford a new router.

Then off to Home Depot where Gary read every label on every can of roof patch goop before buying one gallon and a package of fiberglass fabric.

Then Gary spent the rest of the day up on the roof, but the weather was perfect for such a job. He had to repair places where tree branches had dug holes into the shingles.

I spent the rest of the day doing laundry, cleaning house, and cooking dinner for visitors. In the middle of that we got a call from Andrew who is in Houston for two nights, visiting David on his way to Boone, NC for SP meetings.

And then after dinner the last thing I did was install the new router. I had a couple problems along the way, but one of the visitors was able to help me and now it is working. We haven't tested it down at Rachel's end of the house, but we are hoping the wireless will reach down there too.

Today we are taking our visitors to church with us, then having lunch at Ton's before they go back to the airport.

Monday, November 13, 2006

St. Ignatius Loyola?

Do you see a resemblance?

Our friend John Collier invited us to lunch yesterday at Cafe Express in downtown Dallas. After lunch he dressed Gary up like St. Ignatius and took some photos of him in Greenwood cemetery. John is using Gary as a model for a sketch for a sculpture that he is doing for someone (sorry, I missed the details).

As always, it was great to see John and Shirley and a few other Kimball church friends too.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Annual Prayer Day

Yesterday was the Wycliffe annual Day of Prayer, held in town's big Baptist church.

We played hookey from the afternoon sessions, instead enjoying a long hike in the beautiful weather. So nice for a few hours to not be in the office or chained to a computer or in a meeting. (Like that shot of the poison ivy?)

We invited Sally to eat dinner with us. Sally was a bridesmaid in Stan and Betty's son's wedding, close friends with their daughter-in-law.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Another Picnic a the Lake

Our friends and supporters Stan and Betty have come to spend several days with us. We are having a couple days of very warm weather so we decided to get in another BBQ at the lake before winter.

And since we sent Stan and Betty to the store, they came back with yummy steaks, which tasted great. We got to the lake early, but due to the season and the lack of daylight savings time, we ended up eating in the dark.

Is this what it looks like to sail off into the sunset?


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Gary Gives a Talk

Gary often goes to linguistics conferences, but this time, I went too. Well, that is an overstatement; I only attended the first three talks. Besides the free muffins, the high point of my involvement in the conference was when Gary introduced me to Famous Linguist. I was asked, "Are you a linguist too?" to which I replied (in monosyllables), "not since I had kids."

Thursday night Gary ran through his large print notes to make sure he had it down to twenty minutes.

Cindy drove us to the UT campus and we actually found a place to park very near the meeting hall.

Registration included a light breakfast. The only hold up there was that someone had not learned how long it takes a big coffee urn to perk, and that you can't plug two big coffee urns into the same circuit. What do they teach those kids in school these days??

Our friend and colleague Steven gave the opening keynote speech. I understood a bit of it.

Gary's talk was entitled, "The SIL FieldWorks Language Explorer Approach to Morphological Parsing." FieldWorks is software to help field linguists manage and describe vernacular language data. Morphological parsing is has to do with studying grammar.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Surprise Visit

Gary and I were in Austin last night and today for a linguistics conference. At noon I had said goodbye to Gary and was a minute away from getting into a friend's car to drive back to Dallas, when I heard, "Hi, Mom." So standing in the middle of a street on the UT campus I looked up and there was David! He had driven to Austin from Houston to see us, and to introduce us to his new friend. We ended up finding Gary and all having lunch together. An hour later, we were off to Dallas, David was off to Houston, and Gary was back at his linguistics conference.

Next post--more about our trip.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Busy and Expensive Afternoon

Right after lunch Rachel and I went to Bealls to use my 25% off coupon so she could buy a pair of blue jeans. Total price was under $15, so that was good--and that was her money, not mine, making it even better.

Then I had a nice little chat with Andrew over Skype, except that my voice kept fading, while his was strong--usually it is the other way round.

Then I started doing errands--first to Sears to pick up a lawnmower that Gary bought over the internet. Some assembly required.

Next, a stop at Sherwin-Williams and their color matching computer. This was to buy exterior paint that matches the Sears siding we had installed 15 years. The Sears "15-year" matching paint is no longer manufactured, but the Sherwin Williams computer made a perfect match using a chunk of that 15-year paint which has recently realized its time is up and is flaking all over the place. This time I bought "25-year" paint--I do not plan for us to ever paint again. We'll either be dead or in a retirement home and somebody else can do the painting.

Last stop was at Goodyear. Two new tires on the front and an alignment. He said it was badly out of alignment which made the tires wear on the edges. The nail in one didn't help, either. Inspection is due this month, so at least the tires will pass.

I'm off to DFW in an hour to get Gary. He's got a long day tomorrow with a speech to the board of directors in the morning, then a drive to Austin in the afternoon. He presents a linguistics paper on Friday morning. There was a press release to the Charlotte Observer about his (and others') speech on Monday. Maybe I'll post it later if I can't find a link to it.