Sunday, December 31, 2006

Christmas in Honduras, part 2

Besides all the good food, Andrew managed to find himself surounded by beautiful women on Christmas day.

I haven't gotten a report yet, but this group was to have spent a couple days in Copan visiting the Mayan ruins, where we enjoyed a day last July.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas in Honduras, part 1

We were sad not to see Andrew and Laura this Christmas, but they had a nice Christmas with Laura's mom, Miguelina, and sister, Lorena, with them for several days. They had some traditional Dominican food for Christmas dinner, goat and pasteles en hoja. Andrew kindly sent me these photos of the long process that Miguelina went through to make this dish.

You start with mashed green bananas seasoned and colored with annatto.

Wash the banana leaves.

Spread some of the banana mixture on the leaf, then add a spoon of seasoned cooked meat (I think Andrew said it was three different meats cooked together.)

Cover the meat with more banana mixture.

Fold the banana leaf around the banana and meat.

Wrap each packet in paper (maybe parchment paper?).

Tie securely.


Then steam them in a big pot, but he forgot to take photos of this step.

The dish near the top is what they look like after they are unwrapped.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


When Grandma Judy phoned us from Arizona on Christmas day we were already talking to Andrew in Honduras via Skype. So we put Grandma Judy on speaker phone, then put the microphone of the computer up to the speaker on the phone and microphone of the phone up to the speaker of the computer and let her talk to Andrew.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Boxing Day

Christmas jello.
Every new homemaker needs a rice cooker (though I personally have never used one).

David has already taken Gary to Men's Wearhouse this morning and picked out new black shoes for Gary (to go with his new black suit and red tie that matches Rachel's bridesmaid outfit). Rachel has gone back to work too, at least she has babysitting today. I'm going back to work tomorrow. My mom should be arriving back home soon too, as her flight was late this morning.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas morning turned into Christmas afternoon for us. Rachel and David didn't even wake up until noon. But we eventually got to open our presents. We all got lots of nice things! Gary got several CDs and we listened to them while putting together another puzzle which was a gift from my sister.

I had tried to buy Gary an adjustable dulcimer stand for his gift, but after several phone calls, it turned out not to be possible. So then the choice was one like this at sitting height, or another at standing hight. I chose sitting, but I think Gary would have preferred the standing hight.

We ended up with a very nice dinner, even if it took until 2pm for the ham to get done.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Three in the Family Tree

After church today I had Gary take this photo, even though he grumbled the entire time about making a spectacle of himself. Looks like we ended up with three different shades of red. I wanted a photo of mom and me with the new clothes Gary bought us.

After the service Rachel suggested a new place to eat, Johnny Carino's, which we enjoyed in spite of it being halfway to the airport. We got a family lasagna for three of us, and it would easily have been enough for all four of us, as we ended up bringing some home.

Late tonight we go pick David up from DFW.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Nativity Story

True, I've read the book, but I also wanted to see the movie. We all went this afternoon, and were not disappointed. The only really novel thing in this rendition of the story was that Mary didn't like Joseph, at least at first.

After the movie we had some "concrete." That is the Sheridan's Custard's name for a Blizzard, and they are so big we got two to share between the four of us. Then off to the grocery store, like most everyone else. The aisles were really crowded, but I have stood in line longer the day before Thanksgiving.

At the moment, the last pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are about to go in.

Friday, December 22, 2006


My mom arrived safely yesterday afternoon. She travels light, one little suitcase. She mailed the Christmas gifts ahead, so she didn't have to worry about them while traveling. Rachel made dinner for us last night (with a little help from me with the dishes), and then Rachel went out and bought us a new puzzle to work on--I had forgotten to buy a free one at the botique.

At the moment Gary is on the phone with Andrew. Andrew's company has opened a new office in Tegucigalpa, and now they are trying to port the software that Gary wrote to the new office. But, of course, it is never that easy.

Before he started talking business, Andrew told us about a Christmas gift he got yesterday. He got to his office and there was a cardboard box three feet long on his desk, a gift from the bank where his company does their million-dollar business. It was a roast pig. (The photo above I snatched off the internet; I wish Andrew would have taken a photo.) He was taken aback by this gift, but when he took it down to the staff kitchen, his staff knew exactly what to do with it and made short order of it!

We are about to go dress shopping, believe it or not. Gary is buying new dresses for me and my mom for our Christmas gifts. Fortunately, he's letting us pick them out. After that, we're going to Panera Bread for lunch.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


David arrived here in Dallas safely last evening from his home in Houston, stayed long enough to do the dirty laundry he brought here with him, and then left on a 7am flight this morning to go visit his girlfriend's family in Seattle. He forgot to bring his coat and his jacket, but he managed to borrow this coat from Andrew's Boston days.

Even though he lives in Houston, David owns a snowboard. He made a box for it from some scrap cardboard and off to Seattle it went with him this morning.

In other news, Rachel has a cat to cat sit, but it seems to hate her. Or maybe it just hates the trauma that it has recently been put through.

My cold is much better. I felt lousy all day Sunday, but was better by Monday and went to work as usual.

My mom will be arriving soon--I need to get the bathrooms cleaned before she gets here.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


I'm staying home from church this morning, a rare occurrence. I've got a cold, or flu, or something--runny nose, stuffy head, achy muscles, and my teeth all hurt. This is what I get for bragging that I didn't get it when Gary had it about a week and a half ago. I attended a wedding shower yesterday even though I wasn't feeling great. Today, besides church, we have a wedding and a Christmas program to attend, but I don't know if I'll make it any of today's activities.

Rachel is teaching children's church this morning and had a ton of activities planned, including making Christmas tree ornaments, wrapping gifts, and smelling incense and, of course, telling the story with a child-friendly nativity set. Speaking of Rachel, I hope you saw her blog about her first ever dinner party last Thursday.

Friday, December 15, 2006

New Toy

Gary's new computer came with Photoshop disks, but Gary didn't want them. So he let me have them for my computer.



Gary comes home tonight and tomorrow is Saturday. Maybe he can paint the wall for real.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Off to Orlando

Gary is in Orlando this week, doing stuff in his role as enterprise architecture consultant (details as to what that means were given in our last newsletter). Speaking of newsletters, I'm in the process of getting one out now. I guess Christmas is a stupid time to send one since everyone else is sending yearly family letters, but hopefully some people will have time to read them anyway.

I got my packages mailed this morning, and I need to balance my checkbook and a few other chores, but I should concentrate on the newsletter for a day or two.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

New Jacket

We picked up Gary's new clothes from Men's Wearhouse and he wore one of his new jackets to church on Sunday. And he's wearing it again as he flies to Orlando for the rest of the week.

Last night Rachel and I attend a big Christmas pageant at the big Baptist church in town. Quite a production, with live animals, including a camel who bumped his back on the door frame at the back of the church and turned out not to be potty trained. Whoops!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Dinner at Ton's, part 3

This makes the third Sunday out of four that we've managed to go to Ton's with visitors. This time we went with coworkers Bryan and Joan. Not only are they coworkers, but Joan and Gary grew up together in Santa Cruz, CA. It is always great to catch up with them.

I used the leftover branches from our Christmas tree to build this wreath, and I stole the pine cones from the neighbor's tree. But doesn't the wall look horrible? That's because Gary is in the middle of one of the never ending repair/repaint/remodel projects.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Home Group Christmas Party

We ended up with 14 people at our house last evening for dinner, our regular group plus one visitor and Rachel. That is a tight squeeze for our house, but we managed by stringing three different tables together which necessitated moving a couch. After dinner it took a few minutes to rearrange the house again so we could sit around the tree for our white elephant gift exchange.

We had three yummy soups, but I learned the hard way that soup doesn't really work for buffet-style serving using Christmas styrofoam plates! Poor Rachel got hot soup all over her hand, so then we passed out real plates to go under the styro ones.

I got a too nice white elephant gift--a blank journal. But as you can see, Bob wasn't too happy with his gift!

Now I need to spend another couple hours putting the house back to its original configuration. Next job: get busy on the Christmas gifts. Two packages for us arrived today, so I'm feeling like I'm way behind.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Car Repairs

Rachel's car got two new axles today instead of brakes. They also cleaned and adjusted the brakes, so I hope they quit squeaking.

Well, I need to stop blogging and get to vacuuming my house to prepare for our Bible study's Christmas dinner here tomorrow evening. And I have to bake cookies too. But I finished the decorating, including turning the castoff branches from the Christmas tree into a nice wreath. I'll get photos sometime.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Rachel had no sub job today (which is kind of unusual), so I had her drive to the garage where I dropped of the van for its annual inspection. We went off for lunch and then to the Dancewear store so Rachel could buy some character shoes. No, she has not taken up dance, but these particular shoes will stay on her feet and have heels and closed toes, which is what she needs for Jessica's wedding.

Then we went back to the garage and they said my van failed inspection--power steering fluid was leaking. So I left the car with them to be fixed and Rachel drove me home. I have to drive to the airport tonight to pick up Gary and his coworker, but I guess the trunk in her car will be big enough to hold the luggage.

While I was writing this post, Andrew called from Houston. He's spending the night at David's house on his way back to Honduras from Ethiopia. He said his time went well there, but he did end up extending his stay by two days. He was reminded of how hard it is to do business in that country, but he was also reminded of the good personal friends that he and Laura miss from there.

I've got our tree decorated, and Rachel has a few things up on her side too. I'll get a photo of the tree sooner or later.

Later--The leak in the power steering was nothing more than a loose clamp, so they fixed it for free and I got my car back before the trip to the airport. Gary did arrive safely and got a chance to chat with Andrew while we were driving home from the airport. We left Rachel's car at the same garage to have the brakes looked at--they are very squeaky.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Gary is off on another trip, this time to Calgary, Canada. We were already running late when we left for the airport, and then about two exits down the road I asked him if he had his passport, which he did not. So we raced back home, calling Rachel on the cell phone and having her go in our house to get his passport and have it ready to hand us, which she did. To shorten the story, we got back to DFW 30 minutes before flight time, and I didn't hear any more from Gary, so he must have gotten on the flight. And the weather forecast for Calgary is COLD. He returns Tuesday night. Next week, he goes to Orlando, but at least that is in the right direction.

Sadly, Rachel's cat seems to have disappeared and we are afraid it has met its end in the woods. The cat was pretty sassy and probably didn't have enough sense to stay away from the bobcats or coyotes. Rachel is pretty sad.

Speaking of Rachel, she's still subbing every day. Tomorrow she has two half-day jobs at two different schools. We're hoping she can get from one to the other in less than 10 minutes. She is getting excited about being a bridesmaid in Jessica's wedding in January. The oriental style blouse that she is wearing arrived on Saturday. It doesn't quite fit, so I'm doing some alterations on the embroidered and sequined silk.

Andrew was supposed to be in Houston tonight, but he contacted David and said he was staying in Ethiopia two extra days, so will overnight with David on Tuesday night.

David is tentatively planning on spending some days of the Christmas holiday visiting his girlfriend's family in Seattle. Other than that, he's taking lots of tests and getting ready to start clinicals soon. I guess he gets $$ for new clothes for Christmas, since he has to dress up every day for his clinical work.

Tomorrow I hope to finish decorating the house for Christmas, especially the tree and getting a few lights outside.