Busy Week

I see I failed to post again last night. This is my last super-busy week of the summer. I think. Since the last time I posted I got to go out to dinner for my birthday and I received beautiful flowers from my children. I also was given funds to buy new azaleas bushes for our front yard, which have already been planted. On Sunday we had the official birthday dinner but of course no cake. Everyone else had strawberry shortcake and I had, well, strawberries with some cream.

Yesterday was my two-class day, and since I goofed off so much on my birthday I ended staying up till 1:00 a.m. Sunday night finishing my grading. Today’s class went pretty well and we have only three days left. After that it will be just one class a week for the next five weeks.

Tomorrow, we have house guests arriving. No time to get bored, that’s for sure!

My critique group met this evening and once again I received some good suggestions for improving my manuscript. Those ladies have been such a help to me!

 

 

Our Uptight Northern Neighbor vs. Me

Today of course I had class in the morning. After lunch I had very stressful visit to the post office. I had to mail a letter to Canada. I have mailed stuff all over the world, but mailing stuff to Canada stresses me out than all the other countries combined. Every time I have to mail something to Canada, I kind of want to just nuke it out of existence so I don’t have to deal with it again.

Don’t get me wrong. I actually love the country of Canada, and have many Canadian friends whom I love dearly. What makes me want to scream is the red tape involved in sending anything there. It took half an hour and multiple forms (and a horrifying amount of money) just to send one letter by priority mail. Grrr!

I was able to work out at least a little of my frustration in the gym afterward, and since then I’ve been busy mostly doing paperwork and paying bills. Because sending something to Canada wasn’t enough fun for one day.

A Long Day & A Dinner Guest

Today is the summer solstice. This is a happy occasion for me, because it means that the days will start getting shorter again, and three four months from now we might have enjoyable weather again.

I got up feeling so much better than yesterday. What a relief! I was able to prepare for my class and teach without worrying that I might pass out.

This afternoon I had some errands to run and some baking to do, because our friend Lee was coming for supper. I made a batch of my famous molasses spice cookies (his favorite) and a spice cake. I tried a new chicken recipe for supper and tweaked it a little to make it better. It was a hit!

We always look forward to Lee’s annual visit. He comes down from Illinois every summer to teach science camps here. As the years go by, there are fewer and fewer of us to enjoy his visits, though. When the kids were young he would always bring a science activity for them to do and it was so much fun. Tonight it was just Spencer and Jasper here.

I haven’t heard from Lucy so I have to assume she is enjoying her week at camp. Three more days until I have to make the trip to pick her up.

Dallas & Dizziness

Yesterday was a long day. We went to church as usual, but as soon as we returned home it was time to load the car and get ready to leave. We left later than I had planned on, but I had allowed for that.

Lucy and Mercy went with me, and our first stop was the college in Waxahachie where Lucy’s arts camp is held every year. After five years of going as a camper, Lucy is now on staff for this camp–but she still has to pay her own way.

After we dropped Lucy off, we headed up to Love Field, where I had a few last minutes with Mercy before she had to get in line for security. It was hard to let her go, knowing we won’t see her again until next summer. She will be in Colorado until she leaves for Russia at the beginning of August.

Once I got a grip on my emotions, I drove to the north side of Dallas to visit my friend Susan. Susan and I have been friends since our college days. She is in the process of selling her house, so she took me to see her new place, which is still under construction. I can’t wait to see what it looks like once she moves in!

After having supper with Susan, I headed home. By the time I made it, I felt both dizzy and queasy, and the feelings did not go away overnight. Most of the day today, I had to stay off my feet as I felt so much dizzier standing up. It was quite a challenge to get through teaching two classes, but I survived. Shortly after my second class ended, the dizziness began to ebb. I sure hope it stays away as I am teaching every day this week and next!

Early Celebration

Today we had to celebrate Father’s Day a day early, because Mercy is here and because tomorrow I will be taking both Lucy and Mercy to other destinations, and only Jasper and Spencer will be here to celebrate with their dad.

I had a very busy day in and out of the kitchen. I harvested a bunch of basil and washed and froze it. I cooked two whole chickens in my Instant Pot, and of course since I did that, I had to make bone broth after I had picked the meat from the chickens.

I also made the custard for ice cream and roasted some walnuts. I also had to take Lucy to work and go pick up prescriptions and buy ice for making homemade ice cream. I was so glad Mercy arrived in time to help me put the enchiladas together.

I have avoided making homemade ice cream for a long time, because of course I can’t ever have any for the rest of my life, but I wanted to make something my husband would really enjoy, and he has always loved my homemade cinnamon walnut ice cream. It certainly seemed to be appreciated!

After supper we watched a movie with Mercy. This is her last evening at home for probably at least a year. Tomorrow she flies back to Colorado, and at the beginning of August she flies to Russia. Even though she hasn’t really lived at home for a couple of years, she’s been nearby for most of it but now she lives in Colorado and soon she will be across the ocean.

I finished the evening working on hymns for tomorrow. It’s going to be a long day, with lots of driving in it.

Loser

There. I admit it. I’m a loser. I’m frighteningly good at losing things. A couple of years ago, I lost my “little” camera that I liked to slip into my handbag when my “good” camera was too bulky. I thought I knew where my camera was. Over time, I tore the house apart looking for it. It was not to be found.

A few months ago, I was sorting through and tidying up my study area, when I found the long-lost camera. It was quite safe, nestled in the corner of a basket I had searched at least a dozen times.

There was just one problem. The battery was dead, and during the camera’s long absence, I had lost the charger. So I put the camera into a little zippered case and did nothing.

A few days ago, I thought I’d just check and see how much it would cost to replace the battery charger. Not much at all, it turns out. The charger arrived yesterday and I immediately put the battery in to charge.

This morning, I put the newly-charged battery back into the camera and to my delight, it turned on! I had to reset all the settings on it but I didn’t care. I was just glad to have the thing back.

Then I had to get ready for today’s class and I set the camera down instead of putting it back in its case. I have no idea where it is. I was not trying to hide it so it should be in plain sight, right? Nope. So now I have a charger and a memory card reader, but the camera is once again missing! *sigh*

Why couldn’t I have lost something else—like diabetes, for instance?

A New Class & An Old Friend

Today was the first day of this year’s Paragraph Perfection class. I’ll be teaching every weekday until the end of the month. I have six students, three of whom are also in my Story Quest class, so they’ll be working hard for a couple of weeks!

The first class went well and I think they are a good bunch of kids.

This afternoon I had to straighten out a mess at the credit union and then Jasper and I went to the gym. I made pizza for supper, and didn’t feel tempted to eat any even though today was day five of my fast. I’ve had such bad experiences with pizza that it really can’t tempt me anymore.

After Walter ate supper, we had a visit from an old friend who is in town visiting his brother (also a friend who happens to live across the street). It is always so nice to catch up with someone we haven’t seen in years. I get to experience that quite often as I have lived a long time and made a lot of friends!

Flag/Lake Day

Yes, we did fly our flag today. Didn’t you?

Today was my last free day for the month of June. Every weekday from now till the end of the month I will be teaching, and the weekends are also booked. So I thought it would be a good day to spend a few hours at the lake.

I admit I did have a few misgivings. Normally when we go to the lake, we take a grill and make some special food. Today, I knew we would not do this, since I am still fasting and my willpower does have limits! So Jasper made a sandwich to take and I got him a fast food breakfast on our way out of town.

Since the water is now plenty warm to swim in, we dressed in our swim things. This was a bit of a challenge for me. Normally if I swim at the lake, I wear shorts or capris and an old T-shirt.  I found a couple of pairs of my old swim shorts, only to discover that the elastic had died and they were therefore unwearable. How dare they fail me after only fifteen years or so! Fortunately I did finally find a pair of shorts that would work.

Jasper brought his inflatable tube and a pump to blow it up, so that’s the first thing he did when we arrived. Then we went on out into the water. By this time it was about 11:00, so I knew I was in danger (sun exposure issues). Still, it’s no fun to swim alone so I wore my hat and we took turns on the tube. We weren’t really out there very long but I knew I’d be burned anyway–and I am. It still remains to be seen if I’ll also be sick tomorrow.

Jasper had his lunch and then we went for a walk to get a closer look at the beautiful cypress trees that live on the edge of the lake.

6-14-17 cypress trees

I have been going to this same lakeside park for 38 years now. There have been many changes in the landscape during that time, but this line of trees has endured for decades now. If anything ever happens to them I’ll be devastated.

Jasper went for another brief swim before we packed up and headed home. It was not a long visit, but it was so relaxing. On the way home we stopped at a sporting goods store in an effort to find Jasper some sandals. Like his big brother Flynn, he wears size 15 now and Walmart didn’t have anything to fit him. Unfortunately, neither did the sporting goods store. I have ordered him some sandals from Amazon so let’s hope they are a good fit!

Parting Shot:

6-14-17 wildflowers

There were many wildflowers at the lake today.

 

Backyard Tragedy

Today has been kind of a rough day. Right before I left on my trip, Jasper discovered that his bees were being robbed (by rival bees) so he restricted the entrance to give them a fighting chance. This morning, though, he found the hive empty. Our bees are gone. Again.

Honestly, I think it hit me harder than it hit him. I was in tears for much of the morning. He has invested so much time, effort, and money into beekeeping over the last three years. He has lost two hives and we have yet to see even a single drop of honey after all his hard work. He has tried so hard to take good care of his bees. He built this hive up during the fall and winter by regular feeding and the hive was thriving into the spring. We don’t know what happened. It wasn’t hive beetles this time. It is so discouraging.

While still in mourning for the bees, I had to run some errands to get the rest of the ingredients I needed for making chai mix, and when I returned home Mercy was here! She is helping out with a camp on campus this week, so we won’t really see her at all until next weekend, and then she’ll leave.

I spent much of the day making chai mix. I have been taking orders for a couple of weeks and whatever profit we make will go toward Mercy’s outgoing expenses. I had a fantastic response but that means it will take a while to make and bag it all. Then quite a bit of it will need to be shipped. The house sure smells good, though.

I also spent some time practicing my autoharp for tomorrow. I have missed playing it but playing was hard today as my fingers have hurt a lot with arthritis. I also got some writing and editing chores done. So much catching up left to do!

A New Appliance

Last night, after working two jobs, my admirable husband spent the evening doing a frustrating task. He was attempting to install our new dishwasher. We have not had a functional electric dishwasher for quite a few years now. Our human dishwashers have been functional only intermittently, so this is a big blessing for us.

It took some doing, and some frayed nerves, but we now have a dishwasher again. I am so thankful.

This morning I got my grocery shopping out of the way before going to meet my friend Darlene for lunch. Then I had to hurry home to prepare for a “catch-up” lesson with two students who missed the first two classes.

I decided to treat Walter and Jasper to pizza for supper, so I went to the drive-through to get it. They didn’t have one ready for me, so they asked me to pull around into the parking lot to wait. As I sat there waiting, I had a ringside seat to an interesting little drama.

A police car pulled in to the drive-through, but it turned out he didn’t want pizza. He was blocking someone’s escape. Another police car drove up and parked on the ramp. The policemen got out and had an intense discussion with a young man who was hanging around in front of the pizza place. Just as a third and fourth police car drove up, the man was cuffed and led to one of the cars. Now there was a whole congregation of policemen talking to a couple of other people in front of the pizza place. I have to admit I was curious.

Then my pizza arrived and I had to carefully maneuver around all the police cars to get back out onto the road! That’s life in my neighborhood . . .