More Rain

I love rain. I really do. But this many days in a row? It does get old. I woke up to the sound of heavy rain and thought, Really? Again?

It was a pretty typical school day, except that we did English first so Jasper could go to Mercy and Daniel’s for math tutoring at lunchtime.

I went to Books-a-Million this afternoon, in search of a good reference book, and tried to shield my eyes from all the other cool stuff. I was checked out by a former student of mine (and dear friend to two of my daughters) who set me up with a teacher’s card so I can get a discount every time I shop there. I should have done that years ago!

I’ve found that it takes a little more motivation to go to the gym in cold, wet weather—but I did it anyway. And because I was freezing for most of the day, I pulled out some winter clothes, only to have to put most of them in the donation pile because they are too big. I may have to get a couple of new things to get me through this winter. And I need to launch an exhaustive search for my awesome little hand warmer, because I really could have used it today.

Can’t We Have Something Other Than a Drought or a Flood?

Today was yet another day of rain. Everything is soggy. We needed rain—I just wish it could be more spaced out! And it’s chilly too—I put the big comforter back on the bed and wore my slippers today for the first time since spring.

It was also the last day of Lucy’s fall break, so I took her out for lunch. Mercy and Daniel drove home from Memphis this afternoon, where they’d been visiting with Mary and Jordan.

Jasper and I went to Walmart so that he could get some spray paint for one of his projects. While looking at the paint, I noticed they had some glow-in-the-dark spray paint. Jasper and I looked at each other. We both knew we had to have it. Not sure what I am going to do with it, but I’m bound to think of something cool!

Today I made it up onto the track at the gym right before a volleyball game started, and they didn’t kick me out, so I was able to get my full walk in and watch some of the game at the same time. I don’t often get that much entertainment.

 

Home!

For the last several days I’ve been telling myself, if I can just make it to Monday afternoon, I can take a nap. Well, I made it. This morning I was very busy preparing for and teaching my class, but once that was over I was able to take a much-needed nap this afternoon.

Now, I just have to finish my editing job and figure out whether or not I’m going to attempt NaNoWriMo this year.

Most of my things from the weekend have been cleaned and put away. My sandal straps are still wet so I had to wear socks with my sandals for my walk tonight, to keep the straps from chafing my feet too much. The weather has turned cold and is once again rainy, so it’s been a hunker-down kind of day. Looking forward to more of the same tomorrow—I don’t mind at all when I’ve got dry feet and a warm house to stay in!

A Shelter in the Time of Storm

Given the events of this weekend, I thought this hymn might be appropriate for today!

A Shelter in the Time of Storm

Vernon J. Charlesworth

The Lord’s our rock, in Him we hide,
A shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide,
A shelter in the time of storm.

Refrain

Oh, Jesus is a rock in a weary land,
A weary land, a weary land;
Oh, Jesus is a rock in a weary land,
A shelter in the time of storm.

A shade by day, defense by night,
A shelter in the time of storm;
No fears alarm, no foes afright,
A shelter in the time of storm.

Refrain

The raging storms may round us beat,
A shelter in the time of storm
We’ll never leave our safe retreat,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

Refrain

O rock divine, O refuge dear,
A shelter in the time of storm;
Be Thou our helper ever near,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

Refrain

 

What a Day! What a Weekend!

I stayed up later than I planned at the hotel last night, trying to get homework done. Didn’t finish. Still, when the alarm went off this morning, I jumped right out of bed and started making tea and packing. The hotel even had eggs and sausage patties, so I had a quick breakfast as I worked on packing up and organizing my stuff.

I checked out and left in plenty of time to make it to the venue and get set up for my class. And I was thrilled to note that it was NOT raining at all! However, when I arrived at the venue, there was a long delay while the amazingly patient parking crew tried to work it out for everyone to park somewhere along the driveway, as the parking lot was still too soft to park in. Well, you could park in it—you just couldn’t get back out!

I might have panicked a little bit at this point. The minutes were ticking away, and I had two boxes full of stuff to haul in and set up. I explained my dilemma to the parking helper who came to direct me. He told me I could drive up and unload and then come back to a spot on the driveway.

I found a fairly solid spot right up against the fence, but by the time I hauled everything into the saloon, there was no time to move the car, so I left it where it was and concentrated on setting my stuff up. That’s when I realized. Those great class notes I went to so much effort for and had to use my husband’s computer to print up? I left them in the hotel. One of my classic blunders.

Thank goodness I have studied and researched so thoroughly over the last few weeks in preparation for this class. I felt fairly confident that I could wing it. Since the ground had had all night to “dry,” I optimistically put my sandals on before getting out of the car. By the time I made it to the saloon my feet and sandals were thickly coated with mud. I had no time to even think about it.

I hoped for five or six attendees. I started off with eight or nine, and had at least fifteen by the end. We talked about and demonstrated reed pens, quill pens, glass and metal dip pens, slates and slate pencils, and sealing wax. The time went very quickly and I think everyone had a chance to try everything out. I had made plenty of reed pens so everyone could have one to take home. Whew!

I had some appreciative comments from attendees after the class, and answered several questions. One of the ladies had used one of the quill pens to write a letter from one of her characters to another. I love that. I got everything packed up and hauled back to the car (with help) and at that point I made the call to abandon my sandals. I put them in a Walmart bag and left them in the car, setting off to my next class through ankle-deep mud in bare feet.

To my amusement, I had several comments through the day about how hardcore it was for me to be going barefoot everywhere. Some people had purchased galoshes overnight, but many others were wearing ordinary shoes—which I’m pretty sure will have to be discarded after this weekend. Bare feet seemed like the most practical choice for me. (Not my FIRST choice, mind you, but practical!)

I took some great photos of the epic mud, but for some reason they vanished from my phone. I’ve been having this problem quite often lately and I don’t know what to do about it. I’m so frustrated I can’t show you how severe the situation really was!

I attended another class about the Renaissance, one about historical dyeing materials, one about the life of a Tudor courtier, and one about field research. I also went to one about survival techniques. I am such a sucker for a good survival story!

This photo does show what much of the ground looked like yesterday:

10-13-18 foot in mud

And this is what my feet looked like today after getting them as clean as I could with paper towels before driving home.

10-14-18 feet after being wiped

(You can’t really see the fire ant bites, because they’re covered with mud.)

I had a few anxious moments trying to back out of my parking spot and turn around, as several people had gotten stuck right behind my car. I did a four-point turn and although my wheels spun a couple of times, I was able to keep at least half of wheels on firmer ground and I made it out without help! I couldn’t make any stops on the way home because I couldn’t see myself walking into any establishment shoeless, and with such filthy feet.

When I got home, it took me twenty minutes to hose down my shoes and feet until they were clean. I’ve been frantically trying to get ready for tomorrow’s class ever since.

Parting Shot:

10-14-18 Titanic guy in mud

I totally understand why this guy did not choose to go barefoot!

Writers in the Flood

I had a perfectly good reason for not posting last night. Our internet went out in the middle of the afternoon yesterday, and stayed out for the rest of the day and all evening. I went to a writers meeting in the evening and when I came back, we still had no internet. That really put me in a bind, because I needed to print out my notes for the class I’ll be teaching tomorrow, but my printer is wireless and requires an internet connection in order to operate.

So I packed and prepared for Writers in the Field, and went to bed at midnight disappointed. And wide awake. I think I finally dropped off to sleep after 3:00 in the morning. I had no choice but to get up at 6:00 and prepare to go, but I kept checking the internet “just in case.” Finally I had to wake my husband up and ask if I could plug a flash drive into his computer and print my notes on his printer, which is an old-fashioned “wired” one.

As a result, I left quite a bit later than I wanted to, and was made even later by driving through rain all the way. Sometimes it was so heavy it sounded like I was driving through a hail of bullets instead of a rainstorm. There were also two traffic jams due to accidents which slowed me even more.

I finally pulled up to the venue in pouring rain, only to be turned away as the field they use for parking was too sodden to use. I was directed up the road to a gravel area where I could park. So instead of being right outside the gate, like I had planned, I was half a mile away. There would be no quick trips out to the car for any reason.

I gloomily ate my thermos omelet and drank a fortifying cup of tea before rallying my resources and getting myself organized. I regretted my decision to wear an ankle-length skirt, but there was nowhere to change. The rain was coming down in buckets. Thank goodness I had to foresight to stop by Walmart yesterday and get a cheap rain poncho. I needed it!

Since I hadn’t had time to make myself the bag I wanted, I was trying out a new tote bag that can double as a backpack—thank goodness. I opened the door of the car and set my flip-flop clad feet on the ground—only to have them sink into four inches of mud. I put on my tote bag/backpack, put my poncho on over the top of it, and opened my umbrella before sliding my feet out of the mud and slogging out to the road. It was a half-mile walk to the venue through a torrential downpour. Much of the time I walked through ankle-deep running water or mud.

But, when I finally made it to the registration desk, I was greeted with warmth and enthusiasm. There’s not much you can do when you’ve been planning an event for a year and it happens to fall on a day when severe weather moves in!

My first class was about world building. We all crowded around the instructor on the stage where we could be out of the downpour, and also close enough to hear her yelling over the pounding of the rain on the plastic roof! There was nowhere to sit and I hadn’t been able to lug my chair all the way from the car along with everything else.

After that I had signed up to help at the registration desk for two hours, which at least was indoors. While there, we learned that the food truck which was supposed to provide lunch had got stuck in a ditch and would not be making it. Tex (our fearless and resourceful leader) sent some minions out for pizza.

Then the tornado sirens went off. We were all herded through the rain, thunder and lightning to the only indoor space large enough for us all. Tex pointed out all the experts in the room and got everyone networking until the tornado warning was lifted. I surreptitiously rolled the waistband of my skirt up several times to try and get the sodden hem high enough up to be clear of the mud when I walked outside. The worst muddy spots had been strewn with cedar branches to provide some traction. It smelled heavenly!

I went back to the registration desk and eventually the pizza arrived. It was greeted with great joy by my coworkers! (And no, I was not even tempted, to be honest. It’s so not worth it.) When my volunteering stint was over, I set off to check out the “country living” station. Halfway across the gypsy grounds I realized that continuing to wear my flip-flops was pointless and possibly foolish. The mud kept trying to take them away from me and in some places was so slick I was in real danger of falling flat on my face.

So I picked up my footwear and continued on my way barefoot, with a big grin on my face. You know how many years it’s been since I walked barefoot in the mud? A lot. It brought back so many memories of going barefoot in Zambia in the rainy season. I stayed barefoot for the rest of the afternoon. It was the only thing that made sense, under the circumstances. Others were doing the same thing.

I did have to chuckle a little about it though. After a great class on Renaissance customs, I found myself in the Mead Hall in a nice comfy chair, attending a chocolate and tea tasting party. There I was in a high-class gathering, lit by chandeliers, with my mud-covered bare feet. I learned some new things about chocolate, though!

The last class for the day was on Victorian ladies’ clothing. The presenter has a large collection of museum quality historical ladies’ garments. I loved getting to see all the tiny handsewn details.

By then the rain had finally stopped, so I took my muddy bare feet out to the muddy road, and put my muddy flip-flops back on when I got to the part where the road was firm enough. I was a little worried that my car might have sunk too deep into the mud for me to be able to get it out, but I didn’t have any trouble.

I was a little self-conscious when I arrived at my hotel and walked into the lobby to check in. My feet and lower legs were absolutely filthy, but what could I do? I couldn’t get clean until I got to my room!

There is nothing quite so glorious as being warm, dry, and clean when you have been cold, wet, and dirty all day! I have spent the evening doing homework and reveling in the fact that the forecast for tomorrow morning is just “overcast.” I’m teaching at 10:00 in the morning and would appreciate your prayers!

I Went to a Meeting and a Knitting Lesson Broke Out

It is getting down to the wire for Writers in the Field. I finished clear-coating my boxes today and did school with Jasper. I started organizing all the things I’ll need and made sure my calligraphy pens had fresh ink and were working well. I made a nice breakfast for Sunday morning and got it put in the freezer for Walter and Jasper.

This evening, I dropped Mercy off for a babysitting job and then continued on to my craft-oriented small group. I am more than halfway done with my scarf now. This time there were three other ladies in addition to the hostess and me.

One of the ladies had noticed me knitting at a previous social event and had said it was something she wanted to learn how to do. So tonight she came and sat beside me to watch me knit. She was so interested that our hostess pulled out some spare needles and yarn, and we had a knitting lesson right on the spot. She did very well! I gave her my phone number so we can set up a time to work some more on it, but she actually caught on very quickly. I have taught so many people to knit over the years. Some stuck with it and some did not!

When I got home, I still had a bunch of stuff to do, including critiquing, more class prep, grading, and roasting some nuts to take with me this weekend so I won’t be tempted to snack on whatever is available there. So much left to do tomorrow!

 

Nothing to See Here

It’s been another busy day. Schoolwork, errands, taking Jasper to youth group, walking in Walmart because there was something going on in the gym.

I also got some clear-coat on one side of my boxes and will do the other side tomorrow. And I cut a couple more quill pens. They look perfect. They just don’t write very well.

My Genius Idea

So, as I mentioned, I am very busy this week getting ready for Writers in the Field plus a ton of other stuff, and I had what I thought was a brilliant idea for my breakfast on Saturday. I wanted to do a trial run first, though, to make sure it would work, so I elected Jasper to be my guinea pig, since I don’t actually get any breakfast until Saturday!

This morning as my husband was leaving for work, I put on a kettle of water and got out my newly-acquired wide-mouth vintage Stanley thermos. Ziplock omelets are a favorite around here, and I had a feeling I could make one in a thermos. If you’re not familiar with ziplock omelets, here’s the normal way to make them:

  • Fill a large stockpot about ⅔ full of water, cover and bring to a boil while you prepare the fillings.
  • Put out a variety of ingredients such as: cheeses, ham, onion, green pepper, tomato, mushrooms, hash browns, salsa, chives, broccoli, avocado, etc.
  • Have guests write their name on a pint-size Ziploc freezer bag with permanent marker.
  • Crack 2 eggs (large or extra-large) into the bag (not more than 2) shake to combine them.
  • Each guest adds prepared ingredients of choice to their bag and shake and squeeze to mix it all up. Make sure to get the air out of the bag and zip it up.
  • Place the bags into rolling, boiling water for exactly 13 minutes. You can usually cook 6-8 omelets in a large pot. For more, make another pot of boiling water. It works best to have the lid on the pot while the omelets are boiling.
  • Open the bags and the omelet will roll out easily. Be prepared for everyone to be amazed.

So anyway, I mixed up the eggs and filling in a zip-lock bag, squeezed out all the air, sealed it, and put it down inside my thermos (I had to fold the bag in half but it fit easily). Then I poured boiling water in to fill the thermos, and screwed the lid on. When Jasper was ready for breakfast an hour and a half later, the omelet was perfectly done and piping hot.

Saturday morning I will be leaving the house early to drive to Dallas. I do not eat breakfast that early, but I like the idea of having a nice hot breakfast before a long day outdoors. I will make my ziplock omelet and take the thermos with me, and I can eat my breakfast once I get there. I am very proud of myself for thinking of this.

It was a pretty normal school day and I also ran some errands. I did quite a bit of painting. This is just me being obsessive. I had bought a cheap wooden box and a couple of trays to store things in for the class I’m teaching this weekend, and for some reason I felt compelled to paint them. Which means I for sure won’t have the time to make the bag I’ve been wanting to make for the last year! Lucy thinks I don’t need any more bags, but she is wrong. I need a very specific bag for writer events where I need to have a water bottle, my sketchbook for notes, and the lap board for supporting the sketch book(plus multiple writing implements, etc.). I have some awesome fabric too—just not a lot of time!

Jasper went to Mercy and Daniel’s for math tutoring, supper, and being talked into helping with the public library’s Halloween event. I’m sure he’ll have a great time scaring people.

This evening I also finished composing a document I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks now. This is a handout for my class this weekend, because clearly I am incapable of teaching anything without creating a handout to go with it. This one required a great deal of research and I am glad I finished it and was able to print it.

A Challenging Week

First of all, I want to wish a very happy birthday to my son-in-law Jordan, the university math professor and husband to my daughter Mary. He spent the day teaching, of course, but we had a nice video chat with him yesterday.

Yesterday I was in the nursery at church again. We only had one toddler, but of course you still have to have two adults in case one of them needs to leave the room. So I didn’t really have anything to do except watch an adorable little girl play.

I spent much of the evening frantically preparing for this morning’s class. I had a big stack of grading to work through, and my lesson plan to prepare, and a quiz to update. This morning I went right back to work printing and laminating and I actually got everything done before my students arrived—but just barely.

Today I finally tried my hand at cutting some quills. They look fine, but they don’t write very well. I hate to do any more because I have a very limited number—but I want to get better at it!

As I look at the rest of this week, I feel more than a little daunted. I’m supposed to go to meetings on both Thursday and Friday evenings. I have to go grocery shopping on Friday morning and tutor on Friday afternoon. And early Saturday morning I am off to the Dallas area for Writers in the Field! I’ll be teaching my class there on Sunday morning, so Saturday I can just enjoy the classes and my two hours of volunteering.

And somewhere in there, I have to read and review a book, do all my grading and reading for class, and get ready to teach again next Monday. I’m not sure I can fit it all in, but somehow I have to.