The Big D

So, I’m in Dallas. Yesterday I never unpacked my computer, so that’s why I didn’t post. I was up early yesterday morning preparing for my class, and then after class I still had errands to run and all my packing to do. I took Jasper down to a neighbor’s house to see about doing some work for them. I wrote up a list of all the available meal options for Lucy and Jasper. I finally left the house at 3:45—fifteen minutes before my estimated departure time!

On the way here, I stopped for a quick errand and then somehow made it to the hotel in downtown Dallas, where my husband was waiting for me. We got my stuff out of the car and up to the room, but then we had to drive the car several blocks to the parking lot where he had parked his school vehicle. The valet parking at the hotel is too pricy for us, so we parked at a lot that is less than half the price.

During the long walk back to the hotel, we stopped for supper. I may not have access to my usual walking track, but I’m getting plenty of walking in!

This morning my husband set off for his conference (on foot) and I had the hotel room to myself for most of the day. I took a nap. Mostly, though, I worked on the editing job I started way back in the summer. I have been looking forward to having this week of minimal distractions to get that job finished.

My husband came by at lunchtime but then went back to the conference, and I went back to work. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, so at suppertime we trekked all the way back to the vehicles and retrieved our umbrellas before stopping for supper on the way back. We did a lot of walking! I think I walked at least as much as I would have at home.

Parting Shot:

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The JFK Memorial Plaza—one of the things we walked past tonight.

Jesus Shall Reign

Jesus Shall Reign

Isaac Watts

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

Behold the islands with their kings,
And Europe her best tribute brings;
From north to south the princes meet,
To pay their homage at His feet.

There Persia, glorious to behold,
There India shines in eastern gold;
And barbarous nations at His word
Submit, and bow, and own their Lord.

To Him shall endless prayer be made,
And praises throng to crown His head;
His name like sweet perfume shall rise
With every morning sacrifice.

People and realms of every tongue
Dwell on His love with sweetest song;
And infant voices shall proclaim
Their early blessings on His name.

Blessings abound where’er He reigns;
The prisoner leaps to lose his chains;
The weary find eternal rest,
And all the sons of want are blest.

Where He displays His healing power,
Death and the curse are known no more:
In Him the tribes of Adam boast
More blessings than their father lost.

Let every creature rise and bring
Peculiar honors to our king;
Angels descend with songs again,
And earth repeat the loud amen.

 

Food & Friends

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to celebrate the recent Zambian Independence Day. Sunny, warm, and breezy, it was a perfect Texas fall day.

I actually spent much of the day digging through old photos and scanning them to share with Flynn’s future in-laws, who wanted some photos to use in the wedding. It was so much fun to see some of those old pictures.

When I wasn’t scanning, I was cooking. I made a huge Zambian dinner, only to have several of our guests not show up. Other than our own family, the only ones who came were our friends C.O. and P.J., lifelong friends who live here in town but whom we rarely see. So it was good to catch up with them. We sat outside on the patio and enjoyed the warm evening. We enjoyed the mosquitoes a little less, however!

I finished up the evening by cutting my husband’s hair. Tomorrow he leaves for a conference in Dallas and I’ll be joining him after my class on Monday.

Another Social Event & A Giblet Mystery

What an unusual week this is. Yesterday, I enjoyed a visit from my friend Connie, and today my friend Robin took me out for lunch. That is a big deal in more than one way—not only did I get to visit with Robin, but I got to eat lunch, which is something I almost never do. I had a very delicious Greek salad, and had a great visit with Robin, wherein I talked too much.

After that I ran some errands before meeting with my tutoring student, followed by more errands, going to the gym, and yet another errand! I have two big meals to cook this weekend.

In preparation for tomorrow’s meal, I cooked two chickens in my instant pot this evening. The first chicken had no giblets. I was a little surprised, because of course normally the giblets are left in so that one can make giblet gravy if one so desires. The second chicken had giblets. Many, many giblets. The cavity was completely full of giblets—at least three chickens’ worth of giblets. In fact, it made me wonder if someone at the meat packing plant got bored and decided to see how many giblets he could stuff into one chicken! Or . . . what if the second chicken was a zombie chicken that went around stealing giblets from the corpses of other chickens until it was finally decapitated?

A Visitor & A Reality Check

Today I was privileged to receive a visit from my friend Connie, whom I hadn’t seen since last February, when I visited her at her home in El Paso. She and her husband are in town for a visit and it was so good to see her! Connie and I have been friends for twenty years, since she and her husband first moved here. We were neighbors for many of those years, until they moved away a few years ago.

So it was good to take some time out of the day and catch up with an old friend over a mug of tea. We will get to see both her and her husband on Sunday at church, so I’m looking forward to that too.

10-25-18 Connie & me

After she left, I started working on our lodging in Colorado when we go for Flynn’s wedding. I had hoped we could stay with a friend, but it didn’t work out, so I realized we’d need to get an Airbnb, since I will be making the wedding cake and I need a kitchen to do that.

I have never stayed in an Airbnb before, and I have heard from multiple people how inexpensive they are—and I guess that’s true, if you’re comparing it to renting multiple hotel rooms. But all I can say is—Yikes! I went ahead and booked the place, but I’m in absolute shock over what it’s going to cost. (And yes, this was the cheapest one I found that had the features we need.) I am going to have to rejigger our budget for the next several months in order to make this work. It may take me a few days to recover from the blow.

54 Years

Fifty-four years ago, the country of Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia) became an independent nation. We flew our Zambian flag today, but won’t have our annual dinner until the weekend, when more people can come.

My finger didn’t get better or worse overnight, but during the day it improved until by this afternoon it didn’t hurt any more than it normally does. I was finally able to get some things done!

One of the things I did was to make some butterscotch bars and chai for Jasper to take to youth group. I am trying to do this once a month so the kids get a homemade snack and a hot drink.

I am working on a new knitting project but it is one of those things I can’t talk about. I am in the home stretch on my red scarf also.

It started raining again this afternoon and has been pouring for most of the evening. We have already exceeded our average rain for October by quite a bit!

Handicapped

For the most part, my health has improved dramatically over the last twenty-one months—but I still have some little glitches, and one of them is that occasionally I wake up in agony, because the middle finger of one of my hands is severely inflamed (it can be either hand). I can’t bend it, I can’t straighten it, and I certainly can’t touch anything with it because the pain is excruciating. Today was one of those days.

A few years ago, I learned that sometimes running hot water over the affected hand for a few minutes will make the pain go away quite suddenly. Not today though. No matter how many times I tried the hot water treatment, the pain remained. Usually, even then the pain goes away by itself by lunchtime—but not today. And wouldn’t you know it—everything I planned to do today required the use of my left hand? Typing on my computer keyboard was out of the question. Every task on my to-do list was undoable without the use of my hand. Even closing my car door was a real challenge.

While dealing with all this pain, I had to get dressed, so I put several articles of clothing  together, making an outfit that I thought would be whimsically bohemian. Instead, I looked like an aging vagrant who was wearing her entire wardrobe at once. I had to change, even though undoing buttons was extremely difficult and painful.

One thing I could do was go to my watercolor class, but I was pretty apathetic about it because by then I’d been in pain for several hours and I was just so tired of it. I painted a vase of roses and a rather roguish-looking pumpkin that I ended up being kind of happy with. It was just such a relief to focus on something other than the pain and what it was keeping me from.

By the time I returned home I needed a nap. I find pain very exhausting, and it didn’t help that I was also chilled most of the day. I couldn’t really rest, however, because the pain wouldn’t let me. That’s when I gave up. I broke my fast so I could take some pain meds. (I can’t tolerate ibuprofen on an empty stomach.)

When I got to my writers’ meeting this evening, the meds had taken the edge off the pain, which was great because my more immediate concern was the possibility of frostbite. Our public library is always cold, but today they outdid themselves. I am so thankful I wore my warmest sweater! I kept my hands in my sweater to keep my finger from getting worse.

The bright spot at the meeting was the lady who hadn’t seen me for a while and didn’t recognize me at first because I’ve lost so much weight!

Back home afterward, I finally had enough relief to be able to type! Not pain free, but doable with gritted teeth. So it’s been a rough day. Tomorrow will be better. I’ll be sleeping with warm socks on my hands in hopes that my hands will be back to normal in the morning.

 

Zucchini

My Sundays have changed quite a bit recently. First of all, we sometimes have our small group on Sunday evenings, which means we can’t have our family dinner on Sunday every week. Secondly, Mercy and Daniel are now also keto, which means the menus need an overhaul. When it was just me, I could still make the usual comfort food and just not eat it, but now I want to make sure there is food that Mercy and Daniel can eat.

So yesterday I roasted a ham. I also roasted potatoes for those who can have them, and a whole cauliflower for us keto folks. I made some keto rolls ahead of time. Then I had bought some zucchini with the vague idea that I would do something with them.

I had a bucket full of green cherry tomatoes after cutting down my tomato plants on Saturday, so I decided to make something up using ingredients I had on hand. I made some cream-cheese-stuffed zucchini boats with the green tomatoes and baked them in the oven. They were a huge hit and even my non-zucchini-loving family members liked them. So if you would like the recipe, I posted it on my recipes page (see the tab at the top of this page and it will be the first recipe).

Today of course I had my class, and as I was getting ready I realized that I couldn’t find some papers I needed to hand back to my students. After thinking it through very carefully (and looking in every possible place), the only answer I could come up with is that I left the papers in my hotel in Dallas two weekends ago. I had taken some papers to grade with me, and I must have left them when I left my class notes for that weekend’s workshop! *deep sigh* Fortunately they were only vocabulary worksheets.

This afternoon I went out to get the envelopes for mailing chai orders, and also ingredients to make another batch as I had more orders than I anticipated. I don’t ever get to drink it myself anymore, but it sure does smell good!

There was a guy in the Walmart parking lot desperately trying to give away fresh hot peppers from his garden. I declined.

 

Heavenly Sunshine

When I got up this morning and saw it was a glorious sunny day, the first in over a week, I knew I would be featuring this hymn today. Note: The original lyrics say “Heavenly Sunlight,” but I have only heard it sung as “Heavenly Sunshine” my whole life, so that’s what I’m using here.

Heavenly Sunshine

Henry J. Zelley

Walking in sunshine all of my journey,
Over the mountains, through the deep vale;
Jesus has said, I’ll never forsake thee—
Promise divine that never can fail.

Refrain:
Heavenly sunshine! Heavenly sunshine!
Flooding my soul with glory divine;
Hallelujah! I am rejoicing,
Singing His praises, Jesus is mine!

Shadows around me, shadows above me
Never conceal my Savior and Guide;
He is the light, in Him is no darkness,
Ever I’m walking close to His side.

In the bright sunshine, ever rejoicing,
Pressing my way to mansions above;
Singing His praises, gladly I’m walking,
Walking in sunshine, sunshine of love.

 

Doing Things Indoors

It rained all night, my friends. I am so, so tired of rain. It stopped raining during the morning and this afternoon we even had a few minutes of actual sunshine. But it was still far too wet for my husband and Jasper to do their yard jobs. Jasper had spent the night at Mercy and Daniel’s, so he just stayed there and slept in very late.

I got up and went to Walmart while it was still raining a little, and then came home and made a big batch of chai mix to fill the orders I’ve received. The whole house smelled heavenly! Eventually I got it all bagged up so I can start mailing it out on Monday or Tuesday. And by the way, if you were hoping to order chai mix from me next month, let me know soon!

I also had plenty of work to do on my computer, reading to do for class, and work in the kitchen too. Since my husband had time on his hands, he finally put up a row of hooks for me to hang my lanterns from. I have been wanting this for several years! He also put a hook in the guest room for me and helped me hang a picture in my office nook.

I went outside and cut down my tomato plants after picking all the tomatoes. Most of them are green. Too bad they are cherry tomatoes because I’m not sure how I would fry them! I have a couple of cucumbers almost ready to pick from my second planting. I also have some new fire ant bites on my left foot, just as the ones from last week were starting to heal.

Jasper came home briefly, and then went with Mercy and Daniel for the second night of scaring people in the library.

Lucy and Spencer went to a rugby game on campus and our team won! Spencer came over afterward to help Walter with the hook project.

I made a big pizza for supper and then made some keto rolls for tomorrow. I only got about half of my to-do list done, but that’s actually pretty good for me.