The Germans Have Landed!

Today started with a grocery shopping trip, followed by another grocery shopping trip, followed by housework and cooking. We see our German relations so rarely it is a big deal when they come.

Arnold (Walter’s little brother) and his wife Angelika arrived at suppertime while Walter was at his evening job. I had already finished making a super-supreme pizza to have for dinner, but we chatted and waited until Walter came home.

After supper, Walter took Arnold and Geli on a tour of the campus while I went shopping once again to pick up a few items I hadn’t known we needed when I went shopping earlier today.

After I returned home, Mercy and Daniel and Bri came over to greet and meet Arnold and Geli.

Tomorrow, I’m sure there will be a lot more talking!


Laundry and Housework

Our house was a beehive of activity today as we feverishly tried to make the house a little more welcoming for our expected guests. I also got in over an hour of weeding and am almost done with the rose bed and the flower bed at the end of the driveway. Thanks to all the weeding, I also have a pretty good start on a compost pile.

This afternoon Jasper and I watched a movie with Lina (we watch at the same time on opposite sides of the ocean and message our comments to each other). We will probably do that again soon while Lina is still on vacation!

Mercy and Bri came over and did a bunch of cleaning for me. The kid’s bathroom is now very clean and so is the kitchen! I worked on washing linens and making up the bed in our makeshift guest room. Later I sorted through a bunch of odds and ends in the kitchen, a job which was long overdue.

Tomorrow I go shopping a day early so I don’t have to do it once our family members arrive. Walter’s brother and his wife are visiting from Germany, so I don’t want to waste any of their short visit out running errands.


Keeping Busy

Today was a day in which I made a point of being busy because the alternative was feeling sorry for myself (dry fasting is no fun at all). So, this morning I went out and finished pruning all my rose bushes in front of the house, and also did some watering and weeding.

This afternoon I ran a couple of errands, did some paperwork, planted a hydrangea, had a nice long video chat with Lina, and serged a bunch of fabric preparatory to pre-washing it.

I also got some knitting done and watched a video with the family this evening. I’m kind of glad the day is over.

So Manly

I have been to quite a few manly places in my lifetime, including a stock car race and a couple of rodeos, but I don’t think I’ve ever been anyplace manlier than the metal scrapyard I took Jasper to today. I was the only female customer, that’s for sure. There were many manly men in every direction.

We had no idea what we were doing. Jasper had brought some scrap metal to sell—but it was hardly worth it—nine cents a pound. He got a whopping 36 cents!

We asked if they had any big chunks of steel with flat surfaces that might be suitable to use as an anvil, and we were given hard hats and directed to “Road B.” The guy made it clear that I should not even get out of the car in my flip flops.

When we drove around back and found Road B, I didn’t even want to get out of the car. There were just large piles of rusting metal, with looming heavy equipment in the background. Jasper found a huge chunk of steel almost immediately, but there was one big problem—it was too heavy for him to lift. Being a practical guy, he found a pipe that he could use as a lever, and after a herculean effort, he got the thing to the car.

The problem was that even with both of us putting all our strength into it, we couldn’t lift that piece of metal into the trunk. I’m guessing it weighed well over 200 pounds (and I am also an arthritic weakling). We drove back to the office and explained our dilemma. I thought maybe they would offer to help us get the object into the car, but no. It’s all on you to move what you want to buy. I really wished my husband had time to take Jasper on this excursion.

We had been there long enough that I had to ask to use the “facilities,” and then I was sorry I asked. The “facilities” were lacking in two things that I consider to be essential—toilet paper, and a sink. It was a very manly place. It was kind of like what I’d expect to find back in Africa.

Back on Road B, Jasper went looking for smaller pieces of metal that he could use to make things out of, and along the way he found another chunk of steel that was a little smaller. He was able to carry it (with some difficulty) to the car and get it into the trunk. He found two other pieces of metal bar that he thinks he can use.

Then we had to take these finds to the scale and weigh them so Jasper could pay for them. The new “anvil” weighs over 100 pounds, so that is good! All three pieces cost a total of $30.

We drove back home and Jasper got a friend to help him install his new anvil on the stump in his blacksmith area. It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind shape!

4-16-18 anvil

I think it looks kind of like a lightning bolt.

I also got some more weeding done this morning—until I weeded my way right into a fire ant nest. I returned in the evening and got more weeding and pruning done. I also planted my borage seeds, which arrived on the weekend when it was too cold to plant.

My Diabetes Miracle #14: Not All Tears are an Evil

During the last week or so, I have shed many tears—but maybe not for the reason you might think. If you’ve been following this blog, you know I have been working in my yard quite a bit. I’ve planted roses and vegetables, and done some weeding and pruning and watering.

What you might not realize is how revolutionary this is. I love gardening. I actually had to learn how to garden in school. Early in our marriage, we had a big garden and grew a lot of vegetables. However, as I got older, my weight became more and more of an issue. A car accident twenty-two years ago made kneeling all but impossible.

Several years ago, I bought a garden scooter seat thing so I could at least sit in it to prune my roses. I haven’t even managed that for at least three years, because it was so exhausting and uncomfortable trying to lean forward over my beachball-sized belly. Gardening was just one more of the things I had to give up because of my size and poor health.

Last year, very early into this new way of life, I planted some mint, chives and basil and grew them on the front steps. That was doable. I just had to step outside every day to water them. The mint and chives are still thriving! (Basil is an annual.)

This year, I wanted to do so much more. I started getting seeds and potting soil and so forth. Then my rose bushes arrived, and Jasper and I went out to plant them. As we worked at it, I realized how sadly the other roses have been neglected. They were overgrown with weeds. They hadn’t been pruned in three or four years.

So, I started going out for fifteen or twenty minutes at time, pulling weeds. The second time I did this, I found myself crying. There I was, sitting on a little stool, leaning forward to pull weeds, and it was not uncomfortable. There was no big belly in the way. The sun was shining. A breeze was blowing. It was glorious. Tears of gratitude streamed down my face.

I’m sure I won’t like weeding so much come the inferno of June and July, but right now it feels like a gift to be able to go outside and enjoy the sunshine and take care of my plants. It’s just so amazing to be able to do things I never thought I’d do again.

Another reason for tears lately is that I passed a couple of significant milestones. I have now lost 90 pounds, and weigh less than I did on my wedding day back in 1981. I have not weighed this little since before my wedding. Here is what I looked like on my wedding day:

July 18, 1981

Sadly, the weight is distributed much less attractively now than it was in 1981—but I am just so thrilled because I had given up all hope of ever being this weight again. Now please understand—I was a fat bride, and I’m still fat. But I’m less fat than I have been in thirty-seven years, and that is a huge achievement for me!

Here is a photo that Mercy took of me on Saturday:

4-14-18 full length

I still have a long way to go—but it helps to remember that I have also already come a long way!


With Harps and With Vials

With Harps and With Vials

Arthur T. Pierson

With harps and with vials, there stands a great throng
In the presence of Jesus, and sings this new song:

Unto Him Who hath loved us and washed us from sin,
Unto Him be the glory forever, Amen.

All these once were sinners, defiled in His sight,
Now arrayed in pure garments in praise they unite:

Unto Him Who hath loved us and washed us from sin,
Unto Him be the glory forever, Amen.

He maketh the rebel a priest and a king,
He hath bought us and taught us this new song to sing:

Unto Him Who hath loved us and washed us from sin,
Unto Him be the glory forever, Amen.

How helpless and hopeless we sinners had been,
If He never had loved us till cleansed from our sin:

Unto Him Who hath loved us and washed us from sin,
Unto Him be the glory forever, Amen.

Aloud in His praises our voices shall ring,
So that others believing, this new song shall sing:

Unto Him Who hath loved us and washed us from sin,
Unto Him be the glory forever, Amen.



A Faire Day

After a tiring and stressful week, what I really needed was to spend several hours outdoors listening to music. By an amazing coincidence, that is what I was already planning to do!

After last night’s powerful storms, this morning dawned cold and sunny. It was perfect faire weather. I made myself a huge breakfast because it was my only meal of the day and I didn’t want to be tempted to eat at the faire.

Mercy and Daniel had agreed to go with me, at least for a while, so after they got here and I struggled into my garb, we set off for the faire. I love that this faire is only a fifteen-minute drive away. So handy.

As I drove, I was a little anxious, wondering if a certain booth would be there. Since we first started going to Renaissance Faires fourteen years ago, our favorite booth was always “the white tent,” whose proprietor, Carol, is one of the sweetest ladies on the planet. (The real name of the booth is “The Shop at the End of Time.”) When the old faire closed down four years ago, Carol moved to the new one.

Carol’s booth is an eclectic collection of oddities and adornments, and what makes it special is that most of them are very affordable. She has lots of stuff for a dollar! Hers is always the first booth I visit because I am bound to find at least one little thing I can’t live without. But when I went to opening day of the faire two weeks ago, the white tent was conspicuous by its absence. I felt more than a little bereft.

You can imagine my relief when I arrived at the faire today and saw Carol’s tent before I even walked through the gate! I made a beeline over there to greet her. It turns out she was delayed by car trouble—something I understand only too well!

Mercy and Daniel explored for a while and I went on to listen to my friends of Triskelion perform. The wind was brisk and even in sunshine it was cold day, but the sun beamed down and the trees have leafed out and are dressed in that wonderful bright “new leaf” green. It was heavenly.

Mercy and Daniel joined me for the birds of prey show, and we met up again for the joust at 1:00, after which they left. I spent the day migrating from stage to stage and listening to music. I rarely spend much money at the faire these days. I don’t eat food or buy drinks. I save up my change all year so I can tip performers though. I know how big a deal it is when audiences are small and you make your living performing.

I know I keep saying it, but there are few things I enjoy more than sitting outdoors in a beautiful setting and listening to music played and sung by performers who are only a few feet away from me. Over time, some of them (like Floyd and Sarah of Triskelion) have become my friends. Another group I’ve enjoyed a lot in the last few years is Faire to Middlin’, also a husband/wife duo. This afternoon, when they were setting up for another show, I was the only audience member there (which has happened before).

So “Mab Middlin” handed me a list of their entire repertoire, and said “How about you pick our set list for us?” The songs were helpfully categorized into “lively,” “funny,” and “pretty.” I knew most of them, and I was surprised to see some songs on there that I like but have never heard them sing—so I requested them. In fact, although some other people did show up, I got my own personalized concert. How cool is that?

I also was the lone audience member at a Triskelion show, so they tried to come up with songs to play that I haven’t heard them play a jillion times. We figured out I’ve been listening to them since 2010, so I’ve heard most of their repertoire. I did get treated to some new songs they’ve been working on, though, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

One fun thing about today’s faire was that there were an inordinate number of people I knew there. Not the people who work at the faire, whom of course I expected to see, but other patrons like me whom I know through homeschool groups or other activities. Two of my former students were there and although I passed them multiple times, they didn’t so much as hint that they might know me.

I ended up talking for half an hour to a friend from way back who was there with her family. She is a fellow diabetic who noticed how much weight I’ve lost so I shared with her what I’m doing and why. I’m always so thrilled when someone notices my weight loss—it doesn’t happen very often!

The last thing I went to was the second joust, where I sat next to an adorable family with eight children. The mom sat right next to me with a toddler on her lap. The (very theatrical) jousting uses exploding lances, and when one of the lances shattered on contact, the little boy burst into tears. He was so upset that the lance was broken! His mom had to work hard to comfort him and convince him that it was designed to break.

The sun still shone brightly as I drove home. What a beautiful day it was—full of peace, which is just what my heart needed. Lucy returned this evening from her final rugby tournament of the semester. They lost one game and won a game, and she seems pretty happy with how it went.

Here at the house, someone from the insurance company finally made it out to look at the roof, and discovered that in addition to the damage we knew about, there was enough hail damage from last Friday’s storm to make it likely that we will need a whole new roof—again. Our current roof was installed due to a hail storm several years ago.


Whew! I knew yesterday was going to be taxing, and it was. All morning I was busy with preparations for class, but I also had stuff to do in the kitchen. I didn’t even get out to water all my new plants until late in the afternoon!

Class went well, but we ran out of time. I have a tradition at the last class of having the students read aloud their last assignment—a creative story that has to contain certain elements. By the time we had finished with the quizzes, I knew we were going to be pushing it to get through all the stories. The kids loaded up on goodies and took turns reading, but as I had feared, only five of the seven kids had time to read before class ended. Jasper was one of the ones who didn’t get to read, and I felt bad because he had really psyched himself up to do it. Everyone enjoyed hearing the stories we did have time for, though!

As soon as my students left, I had to jump into preparations for supper and for the arrival of our house guests. Our lifelong friends Don and Gwen were coming for supper and to spend the night, along with their son James, so I wanted to have a nice dinner. Mercy and Daniel and Spencer also joined us. One of the things I made was mashed cauliflower with cheese, which has been a huge hit with almost everyone who’s tried it.

Of course we stayed up late visiting, and then when I went to bed I couldn’t sleep at all. This has been happening a lot in the last couple of months, and I’m not sure what to blame it on, other than the arthritis pain in my hips. Even if I take melatonin and pain meds and infuse relaxing essential oils, I still often can’t fall asleep until after 2:00 a.m. Last night it was even later. It’s getting to the point where I’m afraid to go to bed.

So today, I’ve been dragging a little. I still got up and made a big breakfast for my guests before going out on my weekly grocery shopping trip. After lunch, I drove to Walmart in hopes of beating the storms that we knew were coming. I got into the store all right but then the rain hit and I got totally drenched going back out to the car!

When I got home I made some tea and then Jasper and I sat down together and read each other the stories we didn’t have time to read in class yesterday. It was a fun little interlude.

This evening I had to sit down and make some repairs to some of my garb so I can wear it tomorrow. We’ve had more storms, some of them quite intimidating, but the power is still on!


Tomatoes Planted!

Today was busy. Besides school, we had tomatoes to plant. This involved getting a tarp out onto the lawn and then dumping all the bags of potting soil and additions onto the tarp and then mixing it all up before putting it into the grow bags I had bought.

I had SO MUCH potting mix—but it only filled three of my five bags. So I need to save up until I can buy enough dirt for the other two bags, one of which will have cucumbers and the other one zucchini.

Jasper was a big help with that stage of the project. I watered the soil in the bags and then planted the plants I had ready. More to come! I couldn’t find any borage here in town so I had to order some seeds. The nice thing about working outdoors on a fine spring morning was that it kept me warm. Normally I’m freezing on Wednesdays because that is my dry fast day.

Jasper and I had a lot of school to do, and I also had some cooking/baking to do before I took him to youth group. Tomorrow is our final class, so we are having a “party” after the quizzes. I still have grading to do, so I will not ramble on here.


So, there were no tomatoes planted today. Jasper and I had a lot of schoolwork to do. This afternoon we went to Lowe’s to get the rest of the planting supplies I needed. I thought we’d be in and out quite quickly. I was wrong.

It took me forever to find the things I needed. He was looking for some things down in the lumber section. Each of us thought the other was going to seek us out, with the result that we each waited a long time for the other one! Finally we met up again and came home, but by then it was too late to start a big planting project and still get other things done. Maybe tomorrow.

This evening was the monthly knit night at the library, and there were only four of us there this time. It is an enjoyable break for me and I finished the dishcloth I was working on. Then I had to come home and do more school.