I was so thrilled to have a day where I was home and could
work on schoolwork all day, but it didn’t quite turn out as anticipated. I
spent the morning organizing my Geography notebook. Walter started working on
the roof of the house (the overhanging part). That work has to be done before
the end of the month if we are to keep our home insurance.
After lunch I had a visitor who had arranged to stop by—a complete
stranger. He had started reading my memoir, had purchased copies for his three
siblings also, and wanted me to autograph all four books. He and his siblings
also grew up in Zambia and had gone to Sakeji, but it was after my time. So
anyway, we ended up talking for close to five hours. Not only had we gone to
the same two boarding schools in Africa, but our parents were in the same
mission so we had a lot of mutual acquaintance. I think I met his parents once
when we lived in the Zambia in the early 90s.
Needless to say, I didn’t get much grading done! One of the
things we talked about was the Sakeji hymn, which sparks such an emotional
response in anyone who has attended there. So this evening I pulled out my
autoharp for the first time in months and played through the hymn.
Somehow I’ve got to figure out how to find time to play some more . . .
I also cooked some chicken and started a new knitting project
today when taking a quick break from school. We are into the time of year where
I am working on projects I can’t show you!
This morning, like almost every Friday morning, was grocery shopping
time. I am kind of relieved that Aldi has not yet been overrun with Christmas
merchandise—but I know it’s coming soon! And what a relief to know that we
would have enough fridge space for everything!
Jasper helped put away the food and I attended a webinar that
showed me some amazing features of Scrivener (my writing software) that I hadn’t
known about. Now if only I could remember how to do all that stuff!
Then a homeschool friend came over for a knitting lesson and
learned about the importance of gauge. We had to rip out a project and start
over as it was just too big.
I did make it to the gym for a walk and then waited in line
for close to 40 minutes just to pick up some pizza for the family. And I still
had to go to Walmart to pick up some items that Aldi hadn’t had.
Lucy made some apple pastries for dessert and Tanner came
over to enjoy them too. I am looking forward to a weekend at home with my
toppling stack of papers waiting to be graded.
Well, this is actually a video of a game whose existence I
didn’t know about until a couple of days ago. Pato is an Argentinian game that
seems to be a cross between polo and basketball, with a little tug-of-war
thrown in for good measure. Amazing!
So sorry for last night’s silence. My computer froze up for
hours and I couldn’t “unfreeze” it without losing a lot of work. After
restarting it this morning (I couldn’t even do that last night) it seems
to be doing better.
Yesterday, like every Thursday, was a rather frenzied “getting ready for Geography” day. Although the students take turns in making food to share, I always have plenty of cooking to do as well. Yesterday was our last day in South America, so we had quite a feast: Chilean pork empanadas, Chilean quinoa salad, fried plantains (because everybody really likes them), Brazilian cheese bread (the crack cocaine of the bread world), Brazilian lemonade, and Brazilian brigadeiros.
I had some complaints about how sweet the brigadeiros were—but
a rather stunning number got eaten! The designated chef made the empanadas and
salad, but I still had to make the GF empanadas and everything else. So it was
a very busy morning and I was thankful for Jasper’s help! (Note: the empanadas
in the photo were the very clumsy-looking GF ones. The “real” ones were much
I had arranged for a Brazilian friend from church to share
with us about her homeland, but she ended up having a schedule conflict, so we
set up a Skype session instead, only to have a problem in that we could see her
but not hear her! So I put her on speakerphone and as she talked we looked at
the document and photos she had sent me. It actually worked pretty well!
Now everyone in the class wants to go to the Caribbean AND
South America. I am doing my job!
After class ended, Walter came home and hitched the trailer
to the van and he and Jasper and I drove to Kilgore. For several months now I
have been hoping to find an inexpensive fridge to replace our auxiliary fridge
which died. We have missed having cold water to drink but there simply hasn’t
been room in the fridge for any beverage except milk. I had just been realizing
that I really ought to start hanging out on Craig’s List to see if I could find
anything, and then my friend Desirée contacted me saying she had a fridge she
needed to get rid of, and she had remembered that I needed one. What an
So we met her at her storage unit and Walter and Jasper
manhandled that big heavy fridge onto the trailer and got it all strapped down.
Last night they spent quite a while getting it into the house. Two doors had to
be removed from their hinges but they finally got it in! Last night I put ice cube
trays in the freezer and big pitchers of water in the fridge. When I checked
this morning, the ice was frozen and the water was cold. Hallelujah! I will be
able to do some cooking ahead for the holidays.
The rest of the evening was pretty frustrating due to my
computer issues, but I did get some reading done for next week’s classes.
Today was a day in which I worked all day but don’t have a lot to show for it. I worked on school stuff. I tutored a student. I did a bunch of advance prep work and cooking for tomorrow’s geography class. It’s going to be great.
The last few days have seemed like a reading marathon as I
have struggled to keep up in all four books I’m reading (3 for classes and 1
for book club). As of today, I am caught up! But of course I have plenty of
reading to do by this time next week . . .
This morning I had my elementary English class and the kids
did a great job reciting their memory poems for me. After they left, I had half
an hour to get ready for the blond brothers, who normally come on Wednesdays,
but this week they had a schedule conflict. So that was almost five hours of
teaching and then I had half an hour to get ready to leave for book club.
By the time I left for book club, we were in the middle of a
deafening thunderstorm and torrential rains. I was held up on the way by a multi-car
accident on the highway, including a pickup truck that was burning like a
bonfire. Emergency vehicles had not yet arrived. I really hope whoever was in
that truck got out in time.
It was good to be back with my book club buddies even though
I struggled quite a bit with this month’s book, due to the amount of American
football in it. The lady who brings the snacks outdid herself this time,
bringing Italian food including prosciutto and parmesan cheese, rolls and gelato
(the book is set in Parma, Italy). I could eat the meat and cheese—in fact I
think it’s the first time they’ve had anything I could eat. But I have to admit
it was hard to watch everyone else rave about the gelato!
By the time I drove home the rain was much less intense. I
changed and went to the gym, only to discover that a volleyball game was in
progress, and the track is not supposed to be in use during actual games, so
instead I went to Walmart and picked up a couple items we needed.
This evening I actually had time to watch a video with my
husband—a little lull before getting back to my backlog of class work.
As you may remember, last year’s Writers in the Field was an
epic mudfest, complete with tornado warning. This year we had glorious weather.
I picked my friend Barbara up early on Saturday morning and we headed west,
with a stop at Buc-ee’s so she could buy breakfast and experience Buc-ee’s, and
so I could retrieve my perfectly-cooked omelet from my thermos.
We arrived at the venue a few minutes before classes started,
so had time to get our badges and orient ourselves. One of the first people I
saw was my friend Amber, another critique group member who had also come for
her first experience with Writers in the Field and would be sharing a hotel
room with me.
The day passed in a succession of classes. The one I most
wanted to participate in was a leather journal-making class, but it was already
full. I was relieved to find that it would be offered again on Sunday and I
immediately got my name on the list! Instead I went to classes on starting a
video channel and the future of spaceflight, and then it was my turn to
volunteer at the registration desk. Since I also did this last year, it is now
My two hours volunteering passed pleasantly, and then I moved
on to an alternative energy class—always a popular topic with me. Following
that, I eagerly showed up at the Tandy Leather booth to make a drawstring pouch
that I thought would be a good visual aid for one of my classes.
One of the things I like to say about myself is that I “never
met a craft I didn’t like.” So this weekend was my first real introduction to
leather crafting. I liked it. And Jeff, the Tandy representative, was such a
gentleman. I love my little drawstring pouch. And when I heard that he would be
offering another leather journal class on Sunday, I added that to my schedule.
He provided all the materials for free!
Having finished my pouch, I went to a class on author branding,
and finished up with a survival demonstration of fire-making in the wild. I
consider myself pretty adept at starting fires, but I still picked up a few
Barbara and Amber and I met up and drove to our hotel and got
checked in before heading to a nearby Chinese restaurant for supper. After our
long day outdoors, everyone was tired, so there was no partying that evening.
Amber fell asleep reading and I stayed up a little later because I had a LOT of
reading to do. From now until May I will be reading at least four books a
month, and I am finding it hard to keep up. And I had planned to do some work
on my computer but I couldn’t find the mouse I knew I had packed and in the end
I never even took my computer out of its case.
On Sunday morning I think I entertained Amber with my
tea-making routine. I made a big mug of tea to have for breakfast and then made
a thermos full of tea to save for the afternoon. The three of us met in the
hotel dining room for breakfast and then drove back to the venue for another
day of classes. I was all about the leather crafting yesterday! I started the
day making my leather journal at the Tandy booth. Jeff had at least a hundred
different leather stamps we could use, and stains for coloring the leather
afterward. I had a lot of fun experimenting.
Later, I joined the bookbinder for the handsewn leather
journal class, where we learned to sew and bind a little journal. That journal
used a much softer leather since we had to sew through it. The whole process
was quite time consuming, but I greatly enjoyed it. Then Jeff was offering a
belt-making workshop, and I couldn’t resist! I don’t even wear belts at all,
but Jasper always seems to be in need of them, so I made one for him. I didn’t
have time to make it fancy, but it’s very sturdy.
Other classes I took were on toxic plants and wildlife,
lost-proofing yourself in the wilderness, Antiques Road Show of the Tudor
Court, and Victorian Ladies’ Needlework.
By Sunday afternoon I had amassed the following loot:
1 belt, 1 fringed leather pouch, and 2 journals. The brown
one has removable inserts and the black one is actually sewn to the leather. I
am still working on a closure for that one.
Barbara and I drove east as the sun set behind us and the
glorious pearly-white full moon rose in front of us. Watching the moon rise is
one of my favorite things about driving home from Dallas in the evening.
I felt very stressed and pressured when I arrived home, though,
because I had a LOT of class work to do and I couldn’t find my computer mouse!
I completely unpacked my suitcase and no mouse was to be found. I KNEW I had
put it in there, but it had somehow vanished. I cannot work fast enough without
it, so I had to make a late-night run to Walmart to buy a new mouse.
I was up late and up early to do more class prep and take
Sammy to school before my class started. After class I had a doctor’s
appointment which went well. Hopefully I’ll get my lab results tomorrow, but
the doctor was thrilled with my progress since the last time she saw me a year
and a half ago.
When Jasper got off work, he wanted to go to the battery
store on the north side of town to replace his watch battery. By then it was
raining steadily and I didn’t want to have to take off my socks, so I went to
put on my clogs. The clogs that I took to Dallas for the weekend but never
wore. Can you guess what I found in one of my shoes? Go ahead and guess.
I picked up one of my clogs to put it on and my computer
mouse fell out of it. I have no idea how it got in there, but I had a good
laugh about it. Now I have two computer mice.
Jasper and I both had watch batteries replaced and then after
taking him home I went for my walk in the gym. I was glad to have a dry place
to walk! I have spent the evening reading and preparing for my classes and for
my book club meeting which is tomorrow.
Some lovely beaded Victorian “Berlin Work” from the Victorian
that what I have always loved most about this hymn is the tune—the Welsh tune
Bryn Calfaria by William Owen. So majestic and glorious.
Sinners, Poor and Wretched
Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity joined with power;
He is able, He is able, He is able,
He is willing, doubt no more;
He is willing, doubt no more.
Come, ye needy, come, and welcome;
God’s free bounty glorify:
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings us nigh;
Without money, without money, without money,
Come to Jesus Christ and buy;
Come to Jesus Christ and buy.
Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.
This He gives you, This He gives you, This He gives you,
’Tis the Spirit’s rising beam,
’Tis the Spirit’s rising beam.
Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and mangled by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all;
Not the righteous, not the righteous, not the righteous,
Sinners Jesus came to call;
Sinners Jesus came to call.
View Him groveling in the garden;
Lo! Your maker prostrate lies!
On the bloody tree behold Him,
Hear Him cry before He dies;
It is finished! It
is finished! It is finished!
Sinners, will not this suffice,
Sinners, will not this suffice?
Lo! th’incarnate God, ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood;
Venture on Him, venture wholly;
Let no other trust intrude;
None but Jesus, none but Jesus, none but Jesus,
Can do helpless sinners good;
Can do helpless sinners good.
Saints and angels joined in concert,
Sing the praises of the Lamb;
While the blissful seats of Heaven
Sweetly echo with His name.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!
Sinners here may sing the same,
Sinners here may sing the same.
Good news! My dad is home! He is still waiting on some test
results, and is on some new meds, but he’s back home with my mom, which means I
can stick to my plan of visiting them later this month.
All the phone calls back and forth this morning meant that I
was a little late with my grocery shopping, but I still got it done.
I experienced another failure in trying to pay for my new CD.
My credit union can’t do international bank transfers, as I discovered yesterday,
but they told me they thought the post office could do an international money
order. I looked it up online, and the post office does indeed do international money
orders—but not, it turns out, to the UK (or Canada). So I will just have to
write a regular check in dollars and send it via snail mail to the choir. With
a note begging them to get a PayPal account!
This evening I went to my writers’ group meeting (not the one
I lead). The speaker was a journalist whose talk made me a little nostalgic for
the long-ago days when I edited our college newspaper. It all sounded so
I am trying to pack and get ready for Writers in the Field,
which starts tomorrow. I have to leave early in the morning, pick up one of my
writer friends on the way, and try to get there before all the fun starts at
10:00. There are no thunderstorms or tornados in the forecast this year! It’s
going to be amazing.
Jasper and I were very busy this morning cooking for
Geography class. I started off making the dough for the dessert, as it needed
to rise. Then Jasper helped me with all the cutting-up of stuff for the
Colombian stew. Then we both made arepas—he the “normal” ones and I the keto
ones. Somewhere in there I also got the dessert assembled and in the oven and
the rice made.
We have moved on to South America now, so when the other gentlemen
arrived we watched a video on Venezuela and Colombia while eating our delicious
lunch. We also had a quiz over North America and the Caribbean before going on
to learn more about South America. The time always seems to go so quickly!
After the other boys left, Jasper finally sat down and soaked
his feet. We have a situation going on with his toe. He waited until he had a
severely ingrown and infected toenail before mentioning it to me. It may
already be too late to stave off medical intervention, but we are going to try.
Toenail woes are all too common in our family. Many have suffered, but Flynn
most of all. He endured three years of misery and many painful procedures
before finally getting both big toenails removed permanently. In those days I
kept a “toe basket” in the bathroom with all the supplies I needed for
medicating and bandaging his toes. It was pressed into service again for Spencer
and Lucy, but has languished in obscurity for several years now.
Until today, obviously. One of my jobs tomorrow is to buy all
the supplies I need to replenish the toe basket. Jasper will be soaking his
feet daily and keeping a medicated dressing on the toe in hopes that we will
see some improvement.
In other news, my dad is spending the night in the hospital
after experiencing several hours of chest pain last night and this morning.
Pray that the cause of the pain will be found and that he’ll be able to go home
tomorrow as planned.
This morning we had to say goodbye to Jeff and Rose as they
continued on their trip. I hope it won’t be another seven years before we see
Meanwhile, I had tutoring students to prepare for. The blond
brothers were as always a pleasure to work with.
And this evening, I finally got to listen to my new CD!
Remember when I was in Rochester Cathedral and I happened to be treated to a
concert by a male voice choir? Well, after several emails with the director, I
received their CD in the mail a couple of days ago but haven’t had time to
listen to it until now. Several of the songs on the CD are songs I heard them
sing live. What a treat that was!
But anyway, I have a dilemma now. I have received the CD and
it came with an invoice—but I can’t figure out how to pay. I was hoping they could
accept PayPal payments but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I will have to go
to my credit union and see if an international bank transfer is possible.
Clearly, this choir needs someone who knows something
(anything!) about marketing. They didn’t have any CDs for sale when they
performed in the cathedral. I bet they could have sold quite a few! And they
don’t have a convenient system set up for those like me who are willing to go
through the cumbersome process of ordering a CD and need to pay for their
purchase! Surely one of those guys has a wife that could set something up for
them . . . it really is a good choir!
Tomorrow is geography day and it’s our turn to cook. I guess
I’d better get rested up.