Yarn & Books

Today started like every weekday does at the moment, with me getting ready for my essay class. Shortly after it ended, Lina arrived to have lunch with us! She had to come into town to do some business, so she considerately came today so she could also help me with the yarn classes—and boy did I need help!

We had two first-timers today who wanted to learn to crochet, and several others who were crochet beginners. Plus several kids who still need help with knitting, and a couple of crochet prodigies who were ready for more challenging projects! It was a very intense couple of hours.

When yarn class ended, I took Lina to the bank to take care of some stuff and then we continued on to the bookstore as she had some books to drop off. And then, to my amusement, she bought one of the very books that I had dropped off yesterday!

We came to the house and I kept Lina company while she ate supper, and then she retrieved her laundry from the dryer and headed on home. It was good to see her and hear how she and her cat are settling into their apartment.

My new sandals arrived via UPS today. I will try not to launch into a jeremiad about my shoe woes, but the reality is that finding shoes that fit and are comfortable is just about impossible for me. But my one pair of walking sandals have just about worn out after some 15 years, and I know I’m going to need something to walk in on my trip.

So I ordered some new leather sandals from Amazon. Of course, I had to get men’s sandals because the ladies’ shoes don’t come in my size. (I had a specific brand I wanted because that’s what my old sandals are and they’ve been pretty comfortable and functional for many years.) I wore the new sandals for about an hour and they are definitely going to need some breaking-in. The footbed is very comfortable but the straps rub in a couple of places.

When Jasper got back from church this evening I made him take a few minutes to shoot some crochet videos for me so I can post them for my students. He hates doing it but he’s the only videographer I’ve got!

Book Club

Thank goodness, today was a little less intense than the last couple of days. I finished reading my book early this morning and then got ready to teach my class. I am working my students hard but it is good for them, right?

Since I had finished reading the book, I was able to squeeze in a much-needed nap this afternoon before heading off to my book club. I had the bright idea of asking the barista to bring me my tea halfway through our meeting instead of getting it at the beginning. This made things much easier on my prehistoric plumbing.

The book we read was The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. It was a hard, hard book to read—not one that I’d ever have chosen for myself. And we had quite a discussion about it, enriched by the presence of one of our members who is a Vietnam veteran and has written a book about his own experiences.

The ten of us who were there represented quite a variety of backgrounds and philosophies, but I love that everyone is respectful of everyone else and willing to listen to each person have his or her say. Afterward a few of us hung out in the bookstore and kept the conversation going even longer. It was a very thought-provoking book.

I drove home and made supper for Walter and Jasper before heading to the gym. I am walking two miles a day now and it takes a little longer, so I may have to start going a little earlier!

Peopled Out

First of all, I owe you an apology for not posting a hymn yesterday. I am so far behind on everything I want to do and have been working so hard to do it all, that some things have slipped by the wayside.

Yesterday I got up and made a nice breakfast like I always do on Sunday morning. It’s the one day of the week when we all eat breakfast together (all three of us at the moment!). But then I had to rush around assembling a salad and getting stuff together for my day while Walter and Jasper went to church in the van. I also set up the rice maker and got a pork roast going in the slow cooker so the family would have something to eat for supper.

Shortly after they left, I took off also, headed for Arlington on the far side of Dallas (about 150 miles). I ended up at an AirBnB house where the fine folks at WORD were putting on an event for people like myself who are leaders of writers’ groups.

I missed most of the first class, but there were three more, all of which were valuable. I was very glad to have taken a quart of strong hot tea with me because I needed it to stay focused through the afternoon. Listening to everyone else talk about their groups was so helpful and I think I have a better grasp now of what some options might be for our group. Despite spending the entire afternoon in the company of mostly strangers, I felt almost energized.

We ended with an informational meeting and a potluck. I had taken some Greek salad fortified with chicken, and some lemon brownies. I didn’t linger, however, because I had so much work waiting for me at home. Once again, I absquatulated.

The drive was livened somewhat by listening to the audiobook of my book club book, which I am still struggling through. I knew that using my driving time to listen was the only hope I had of finishing the book, because at home I would not have time to read.

I arrived home sometime after 8:00, and got to see Jade and Spencer briefly when they came to get something to eat. Meanwhile, I had two classes to prepare for.

This morning I jumped right back into my class prep and laminated yet more handouts and made a batch of gluten-free brownies for my kids’ snack. I ran out of time before I finished my grading, but at least I was ready to teach my essay class this morning and my Story Quest class this afternoon. The only problem was that as an introvert, I had spent the entire day yesterday “peopling” and I had a long day of more people ahead of me, with no recovery time. This is mentally exhausting to me. By the middle of Story Quest, I was feeling the strain. Those kids are very loud and boisterous and I snapped a little at one of them, for no reason other than that I was so tired of having questions and comments fired at me as from a machine gun. I wish I had just taken a deep breath and hung in there a little longer!

And once the class ended, I had only an hour’s respite before getting back into the car and driving up to Mount Pleasant for a meeting about the Renaissance Faire. Once again, I used the driving time to listen to my book.

The meeting went pretty well, but it was difficult for me to stay focused when all I really wanted to do was curl up and hibernate for a couple of months! We are in the final weeks before the faire and there is still so much to be done.

Twilight was deepening when the meeting ended, and as I walked out to the car I was greeted by the sight of the brilliant full moon. I drove home by its silvery light, once again listening to my book. Book club is tomorrow, and I think I’m going to be finished by then!

Before It Blows Up . . .

I apparently forgot to post this yesterday . . .

We’ve been having problems with our microwave. It still does a fine job of heating stuff up, but the problem is that it turns “on” whenever you open it, leaving us all to wonder if we are being bombarded with radiation. Jade said that her family’s microwave did that too—“before it blew up.”

So, I resigned myself to the inevitable and ordered a new microwave from Walmart. I got the biggest one I could find (out of over a hundred models) but when Jasper and I set it up today, I was dismayed to see that it is smaller in every dimension than our old one. I fear that my days of being able to microwave a 9×13 glass pan are over, as are my days of being able to put any tall container in the microwave. It’s okay. I’ll adjust. Microwaves have always made me nervous anyway, but sometimes they are just so dang convenient.

The nice thing about having to replace the microwave is that I also had to reorganize that whole part of the kitchen, which desperately needed it. If only I had time to do more of that instead of what I really did have to do today—which was a lot of cooking and school prep and critiquing and laundry.

A Class & A Meeting

We made it to Friday! Our family of 12 is now living in 6 different places (but 3 of them are in Texas). Lina continues to settle in at her new place.

This morning I taught my essay class and then this afternoon I did my grocery shopping. The next three days are going to be very busy and I am trying to figure out how to get everything done.

I also did some reading on my book club book, which I am not enjoying. So much more to read before the meeting on Tuesday!

This evening was a writers’ meeting, a group that I am not in charge of so I can just go and listen. The speaker was a former professor of Mary’s who has left the teaching profession and is now crafting websites. I missed my friend Barbara who normally keeps me company at these meetings, but I was able to take a few notes about author websites.

The restaurant where we meet is kept very cold and the seats are hard on my back, so the moment the formal part of the meeting was over I absquatulated.

New Class, Same Students

The power outage last night hit late, well after a strong windstorm had blown through. When Walter came home from work I had enough lanterns lit for us to find our way around the house. Before going to bed, I went around turning off the lights I thought I had left on.

At 1:30 a.m. I was jerked out of my well-deserved slumber when our bedroom light suddenly blazed forth. I leapt from the bed to turn it off, hoping I would get it before it woke my husband up. Then I went through the house and found quite a few more that I had missed! I sure was glad to have the power and the air conditioner back on, though.

Today was the first day for my essay class, which is one I haven’t taught for a while. A couple of students changed their minds about taking it, so I only have four teenage boys, three of whom just finished taking my paragraph class a week and a half ago. The other one took the paragraph class last summer. So everyone involved pretty much knows what to expect! We will be meeting every weekday morning until Friday the 26th, so I am back into more busy-ness.

After lunch I took care of a few chores and read some more in this month’s book club book. I am finding it very slow going and have yet to be very interested in it. So, after wading through a few more pages, I took a break which consisted of taking a box of books to the bookstore, getting a cup of tea there, and talking with the owner while browsing through a book of knitting patterns that someone had just brought in. That book never made it to the shelves of the store . . . .

Here’s how I see it: if I take in, say, fifteen books, and I walk out with three, I’m still winning, right? I’m still reducing the overall number of books in my house. My ironclad rule is that I always have to take in more than I take out!

Parting Observation

Seen in the gym parking lot this evening: a girl of maybe ten years, wearing t-shirt and shorts, big fuzzy pink winged pig slippers, and sipping with delight on a milkshake. That girl was clearly living her best summer life right there.


Note: I wrote this last night but was unable to post it due to a power outage.

When Lina was born a “few” years ago, we became a household of three for the first time. Today, when Lina moved out, we became a household of three again—at least for the next month while Lucy is still in Alaska!

Lina has done a stellar job of restarting her life from scratch after nine years on the mission field. She got a car and found part-time ways to make some income while diligently seeking a fulltime position, which she now has. Her sister Mary did a fundraiser to provide some funds to furnish her new place, as she had very little furniture of her own.

So today we borrowed a neighbor’s SUV and towed our trailer down to Lina’s new apartment in Nacogdoches—twice. (Our trailer is quite small.) On the first trip, we took most of the stuff, packed into two cars and the trailer. Her apartment is quite charming and the entrance is shaded by blooming crepe myrtles:

Since I am not supposed to do heavy lifting (and since my arthritis makes it impossible anyway), I worked on stuff in the apartment—lining drawers and shelves, putting away silverware, hanging up a shower curtain and a bunch of clothes, etc. Lina and Walter lugged everything in through the heat and then they took off to pick up Lina’s piano, which she was given by her new headmaster. Getting the piano out of the trailer and into the apartment was a major challenge. They really needed by help, but I was completely useless because I have zero grip strength due to my arthritis. So they ended up having to roll the piano on the sidewalk which was far from ideal. Once the piano made it into the living room, Walter began putting some stuff together. Lina helped him assemble her bed frame, and then while she went to get the requisite hot dog supplies for lunch, he assembled her dining table and chairs.

If you’ve read about any of our family’s previous moves, you know that a requirement is that the first meal in a new house has to be hot dogs. By the time Lina returned and cooked the hot dogs, she had a table to sit at and chairs to sit on!

As soon as we finished eating, we had to get back on the road to come get the rest of her stuff, including her loveseat and her comfy wingback chair—and her cat, who was very disgruntled after being subjected to a bath. It takes about an hour and fifteen minutes each way. While Lina and Walter loaded the trailer, I grabbed a quick cup of tea. I needed it!

The second unloading went much more quickly, and I had more clothes to hang up so at least there was something I could do. It would have been nice to stay and help her for longer, but Walter still had his cleaning job to do, so instead we went to Chick-Fil-A and had a quick supper before saying goodbye.

As soon as we got home, Walter had to leave for work. I went to top off the tank in our borrowed car and return it, then went to work on getting ready for tomorrow’s essay class.

And finally, two months from today I fly to London. I have planning to do!

Parting Shot:

Lina by her new front door.

Lina’s Last Day

This morning I was up getting ready for my tutoring student. It seems like every time I’m trying to get ready for him, either my computer or my printer acts up and I end up being really stressed. But anyway, I did succeed in getting everything ready in time.

After he left, I ran an errand and then came home and took a nap. I no longer have time to do that every day so I am happy when it works out, because I am still often tired.

Lina of course was packing and sorting all day. I worked quite a bit on preparing for my essay class which starts Thursday. I did a lot of printing and laminating. And Jasper came home in really bad shape, suffering from heat exhaustion. Apparently he thought he didn’t need to take shade breaks while working outdoors in the heat today. After drinking lots of water and taking a shower, he started perking up a little. Maybe tomorrow he’ll be willing to take his breaks!

Our neighbor dropped her car off so we can use it to pull a trailer down to Nacogdoches tomorrow. Lina and Walter worked hard to load the car and trailer, but it still looks like it will take two trips. The trailer is quite small.

I did find time to squeeze in my walk at the gym this evening also. I added another couple of laps so by next week I should be up to two miles a day.

Tomorrow will be a busy day as we take Lina’s stuff down to her new apartment. I can’t do any heavy lifting but I should be able to help with unpacking once we get there. Lina has never had her own place here in the USA, so this will be a first for her. And did I mention she’s taking one of the cats with her? Neko, sometimes referred to as Ginger Pants, is moving to Nacogdoches with her. He has no idea.


I wish I could report to you that I finished sewing my “practice” dress. I haven’t even started. All I did is get it cut out. There is too much going on!

Yesterday we went to church. During the summer we continue to go early even though there is no Sunday School—for us, anyway. The youth still meets so we go early to get Jasper to his class and then we have an hour to sit around and read while waiting for the service. I kind of miss Sunday School.

In the afternoon I taught Jasper how to make lasagna, at his request. I sat beside him and talked him through it while I made a pan of low-carb lasagna using spinach instead of noodles. Both kinds turned out pretty well! Spencer and Jade came for supper as usual, so I even made keto garlic bread.

After supper we watched documentary about Apollo 11 while I worked on my knitting. I had hoped to finish that project last night, but instead I finished it this morning at about 7:30.

It’s a vest. I made it in four days while doing a lot of other things too. If I knitted nonstop I bet I could have made it in two days! This is possible when the pattern calls for size 17 needles—even when you make it at least eight inches longer than the pattern specifies. My original thought was that I might take it on my trip. However, now that I’ve got it, I realize it is both bulky and heavy and I don’t want to travel with it because it is so big, I’d have to wear it on the plane. I will look forward to wearing it here in winter.

Also, notice I am posing in front of our ivy again. I’m trying to take advantage of it while we still have it. We will soon be forced to pull it all down if we want to keep our house insured.

Lina left this morning to take a carload of her stuff down to her new apartment in Nacogdoches. She also had her internet installed while she was there. Wednesday is her actual moving day. She was back in town to help Walter one last time at the daycare center this evening.

I spent the morning preparing for class and grading papers and making goodies for recess and trying to track down and eliminate the smell in the kitchen. (It’s much better now.) Then my students arrived and we talked a lot about using dialog in stories.

After class I just had to go to Walmart to get a few things for an event my husband has tomorrow, and make supper. And I finished another knitting project! It was just a dishcloth. I am trying to slowly build up my stash of dishcloths again. Now I just have one project on the needles, but it is a big one and I am trying to resist the temptation to cast on a new project right away . . .

Battle Hymn of the Republic

Battle Hymn of the Republic

Julia Ward Howe

Mine eyes have seen the glory
Of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage
Where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning
Of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watchfires
Of a hundred circling camps
They have builded Him an altar
In the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence
By the dim and flaring lamps;
His day is marching on.

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet
That shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men
Before His judgement seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him;
Be jubilant, my feet;
Our God is marching on.

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies
Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom
That transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy,
Let us die to make men free;
While God is marching on. 

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.