An Injury and a Concert

After years of leaving all the lights on when he goes to bed, Spencer has suddenly started turning them off. Which is great, except when I am still in my “office” and then when I go to bed, I have to turn off my light, and then make it through the dining room and hallway in total darkness.

Last night I misjudged the location of a chair in the dining room and my foot slammed into it hard. In fact I’d be willing to bet money that I have a broken toe. So it was a rough and painful night and today was a bit of a challenge. I taped the affected toe to the one next door and limped around as best I could. I hope it heals quickly.

This afternoon I limped on into the Walmart hair salon for a trim. An unexpected consequence of my change in diet and my weight loss is that for the last month, my hair has been falling out by the handful. Considering that my hair already was half as thick as it was in my youth, it has been very alarming. I am researching my options and taking some supplements. I happen to be pretty fond of my hair! But it had become so thin at the ends I had to have several inches cut off. When the lady was done, I looked on the floor and there were just a few sad little wisps of hair after cutting off five inches! I am hoping at least some of it grows back.

This evening was our big date to the Beach Boys concert on campus. We have been looking forward to it for months! I wore a tie-dye shirt and my husband wore a tropical shirt. A local car collector added to the ambiance by displaying some of his prized classic cars outside the auditorium. This woody was my favorite:

10-9-17 Woody

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This time the audience was a little less geriatric than the last one we went to two years ago. It was a fun evening and we really enjoyed it.

10-9-17 Beach Boys

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Nearer, Still Nearer

One of the hymns I was working on yesterday was this one, which I wanted to play and sing in church today, because it is one of my all-time favorite hymns. I first learned to love it during a very difficult time in my life. I was grieving, deeply depressed, and in a place I didn’t want to be. Every Sunday I was required to go to a Sunday School class, so I went with my roommate to a class consisting of some 500 Baptist girls.

Almost every week, we sang this hymn, and we sang it a Capella. Imagine 500 ethereal female voices singing this! It sent shivers down my spine every time—and it also spoke to my soul and my desire to be “safe” in a place where I felt so unwelcome and out of place.

Years later, I would sing it to each one of my babies as I held and rocked them to sleep. As the decades pass, I find I love this hymn more rather than less.

Nearer, Still Nearer

by Leila N. Morris

Nearer, still nearer, close to Thy heart,
Draw me, my Savior—so precious Thou art!
Fold me, oh, fold me close to Thy breast.
Shelter me safe in that “Haven of Rest”;
Shelter me safe in that “Haven of Rest.”

Nearer, still nearer, nothing I bring,
Naught as an offering to Jesus, my King;
Only my sinful, now contrite heart.
Grant me the cleansing Thy blood doth impart.
Grant me the cleansing Thy blood doth impart.

Nearer, still nearer, Lord, to be Thine!
Sin, with its follies, I gladly resign,
All of its pleasures, pomp and its pride,
Give me but Jesus, my Lord, crucified.
Give me but Jesus, my Lord, crucified.

Nearer, still nearer, while life shall last.
Till safe in glory my anchor is cast;
Through endless ages ever to be
Nearer, my Savior, still nearer to Thee;
Nearer, my Savior, still nearer to Thee!

 

International Phone Call and Music

Today started, as most Saturdays do now, with a call from Mercy in Russia, where it is a lot cooler than it is here. I had to hand the phone off to my husband so I could take Jasper to help out with a 4-H event. I stopped at Walmart for a few things before going back home, and still was able to talk with Mercy quite a while!

Later, I picked Jasper up so he could go to work with Walter. I got some sewing, paperwork and music done. Anytime I decide to play a hymn I have already arranged in the past, I go through it very carefully to make sure I used the best possible chords. My skills keep increasing and I am often able to come up with a better arrangement if there’s been a gap of several months or more since I did the first one.

About Grocery Shopping and Sleep

Friday, as you know, is not my favorite day of the week, but there was no escaping the grocery shopping today.

While in Aldi, I saw something that bothered me at the time and that has continued to bother me since. There was a mother there shopping with her two preschool children, both of whom were sitting in the seat at the front of the cart. The kids never made a noise or looked up because they were glued to the video they were watching on some electronic device. (I don’t know if it was a phone or something else.)

This certainly made it possible for the mom to shop in peace, but I found it rather stunning that she felt the need to distract her kids in this way. Most kids I’ve observed find shopping to be an adventure! I worry about such young kids being encouraged to entertain themselves electronically. Do they ever play outside? Have they learned to play with sticks and rocks and dirt and water? Will they grow up demanding to be entertained instead of entertaining themselves? This troubles me.

Jasper and I watched a movie this evening, and then he went to watch Spencer perform at a musical event on campus. I pulled out my autoharp and spent an hour playing for the sheer joy of it. I had wanted to take it on my trip, but we didn’t have room.

Speaking of my trip, I feel obligated to tell you something. This was my fourth trip to Colorado. On the other three trips, I learned (over and over) to my sorrow that I do not sleep well at high altitude. Night after night, I would lie awake in bed staring at the ceiling. I could. Not. Sleep. It is very distressing for one who normally is half asleep most of the time!

On our last trip three years ago, I bought two different sleep aids, only to find that they didn’t seem to help at all. This time, I read a bunch of reviews and then shelled out the money for this rather pricy herbal sleep potion:

NoctuRest

I took it every night during our trip and slept better than I do at home. In fact, I believe I actually caught up on my sleep during this trip. So I feel obligated to tell you about it. I don’t know how well it works for other types of insomnia, but it really helped me with my altitude-induced insomnia.

Two Classes

Normally, I like to “front-load” my week, with the most demanding activities taking place on Monday through Wednesday. This year, the system didn’t work out, so Thursday and Friday are my most demanding days.

This morning I did school with Jasper while also preparing for my afternoon class. Everything took longer because I am still getting used to my new computer, transferring files, and installing things.

Today for the first time this school year, I had all 10 of my students in class at the same time!

10-5-17 class

Aren’t they a good-looking bunch?

After class ended, I had to do some speed reading before going to my homeopathy class. I did not get much reading done during my trip, except what I had to in order to keep up with my students. I feel very overwhelmed by all the information being presented in the homeopathy class.

I was tired and sleepy by the time I got home, and glad to sit and watch a video with Jasper and Walter. Then it was back to working on my computer file transfers. I am very anxious to get all my manuscripts transferred safely to my new computer.

Settling In

Today was an unpacking and settling-in day. Most of the settling-in for me involved trying to catch up and get ready for my class tomorrow. I fear there is no way I can get all the grading done this time!

Jasper was back to doing school also, of course. He wrote a charming story for his English homework involving axolotls and blue-tailed fire-bellied newts.

I miss many things about Colorado, but not the parallel parking!

Home Again

Yesterday was a long day on the road. We started off with an excellent breakfast at our hotel, before loading the car and taking off into the fog and mist. It was very overcast and cloudy for much of our trip, and we drove through a few rain showers.

The thing I don’t like about the drive from Amarillo to Dallas is that the highway goes through a succession of tiny little towns, and every time the speed limit goes way down. So you can’t just set your cruise control and enjoy the scenery, because you have to keep paying attention to the speed limit.

My friend Gwen had asked me to stop in and visit on my way home, and as I was making good time I was able to do so. They recently moved to a new place, so this was my first time to see it. Jasper and I also got to meet their new horse (a gift from neighbors) and feed him carrots. Gwen and I chatted over tea, and it was a nice break. We talked about our high school days—so long ago!

Unfortunately, by the time we left, we had Dallas rush hour traffic to contend with, so getting past that was stressful and time consuming. After that, the last 90 miles of our trip seemed to take forever, because I was so tired and ready to get out of the car.

I still had to stop at Walmart so I could get the wherewithal to throw together a quick hot supper for my husband and Jasper and I when we got home.

It is good to be home! Hot and humid, but still good . . .

Descent

This is the second post I wrote on Monday:

It always makes me sad to drive from Colorado Springs down to Amarillo. First, there is the fabulous scenery between Colorado Springs and Raton, but it’s still sad to think I am leaving it all behind.

Jasper and I stopped in Raton for a quick visit with my friend Donita, and a nice cup of tea, before continuing on. After Raton, the landscape flattens and tilts downward. Even though I’m going home, I still hate to leave the mountains. I feel so much better physically in the drier air and higher altitude.

We rolled into Amarillo at suppertime and after we checked into our motel, we went down the street to a Chinese place, where Jasper got to eat octopus for the first time. (I had some too, but it was far from my first time.)

I had chosen this motel on purpose because of its indoor pool and hot tub. I thought we could enjoy a quick swim after our day on the road—but no, the pool and hot tub are out of commission! *sigh* Well, we needed to work on Jasper’s homework anyway.

Tomorrow we have the long drive home, with another brief visit on the way.

A Birthday, A Rodent, and a Glimpse of the Sun

Note: After switching computers, it has taken me a while to figure out how to get access to my blog again. This is a post I wrote on Monday.

I intended to post on Saturday, and again yesterday, but it ended up not working out. Saturday was Mercy’s birthday. I was so glad to hear she had a wonderful day, going to a museum and then out to lunch with friends, and then coming home to flowers from her boyfriend.

What did we do Saturday? Well, not much, since Flynn had to work all day (from home). Lucy and I went out to get some things from Walmart, and you can imagine our delight when we walked outside into brilliant sunshine and Lucy at long last saw the hulk of Pike’s Peak looming over the city! What a beautiful and welcome sight.

I made a nice supper so we could eat together while Flynn took a break from work.

Later, Lucy was doing my hair when she began gibbering excitedly. Flynn and I had trouble understanding the source of her agitation at first. Finally she managed to explain to us that she had seen a mouse on her shoe! It had run down the hallway before she lost sight of it.

Flynn was skeptical. He looked up and down the hallway. Nothing. Since there’s not much you can do about a varmint you can’t see, he shrugged and went back to what he had been doing.

Later, we all went to bed. About half an hour after that, Flynn heard noises. He found the source of the noise—a mouse. He roused Lucy to help him and the two of them (later joined by Jasper) tried to corner and trap the mouse, which had apparently been nesting in Flynn’s closet—in his pants!

They settled for barricading it in the closet and everyone went back to bed. Having kept a plethora of mice as pets over the years, I was not in the least surprised in the morning when Flynn discovered the mouse had absconded. He therefore changed its name from “Jerry” to “Cotton-Eyed Joe.” Joe is still at large.

Sunday we again went to church with Flynn, although he had to work before and afterward, and even during our group video chat with Mercy to celebrate her birthday.

Finally, in the middle of the afternoon, Flynn was able to take a break and take Jasper up to Denver to enjoy some laser tag and tacos. We girls went back to Manitou Springs, did some window shopping, and had some supper before heading back to the apartment. Poor Flynn had to work the rest of the evening.

A High-Altitude Excursion

Well, I got kicked off my computer before I could post last night. Yesterday was a quiet day except for when I got to go meet a friend for lunch. We had a nice chat over Middle Eastern food.

Flynn had to work late again, so I did some cleaning for him and had a nice hot meal waiting when he finally was able to come home. This week has not turned out at all the way we thought it would.

This morning, Flynn went to work early again. Later in the morning, Lucy and Jasper and I took off for Manitou Springs. I knew Lucy would love it there. We found a parking spot and then spent some time browsing through a hippie emporium where I found a hat (and many other things, to be honest). It is so extremely rare for me to find a hat that fits my oversized head that when I do, I feel obligated to buy it. Besides, I figured I would be glad to have a hat later in the day.

We browsed our way down the street and stopped into a coffee shop for some hot drinks. The weather, instead of clearing up as predicted, was chilly and drizzly. Even on this National Coffee Day, I drank tea. It’s not that I don’t like coffee. It’s just that the only way I like it is with lots of cream and sugar, by which time it’s more like liquid candy and as we all know, I can’t even have sugar at all anymore.

After the coffee shop we continued on to a shop that sold work by various artists. There were several displays of ceramic items, which are one of my known weaknesses, and the reason I had sought out this shop in the first place. I have a tradition of buying a souvenir mug when I am on a trip, and if I can get a handmade one, why not?

I found a gorgeous blue mug, and possibly a bowl to go with it. After that, I was almost relieved I didn’t find something else I was kind of looking for.

Flynn finally got off work for the afternoon, so we met him at a nearby Thai restaurant for lunch before heading to the cog rail station for our ride to the top of Pike’s Peak. It was a little sad to be setting off for the summit of a mountain in mist, fog, and rain. It was our only chance to go and it was so wet and foggy!

But amazingly, about halfway up the mountain, just as we got to the groves of aspens with their golden leaves, we rose above the cloud layer and found ourselves in glorious sunlight, which made the aspens glow with color. It was a beautiful ride, despite the tight quarters. The seats on the train were not designed for tall people. We sat facing each other, which meant Lucy and I had to alternate knees, while Jasper and Flynn went for the double knee-lock.

When we emerged at the top, I was glad to have my new hat as temperatures were below freezing there. I offered to take photo of the kids, and a man standing nearby insisted that I stand with them while he took the photo with my camera.

The kids got drinks and the famous donuts, while I browsed around the shop and took photos outside. During the half hour or so we were on the summit, the weather went from sunny to thick fog to sunny again. There was quite a bit of snow, which made Jasper happy.

I handled the altitude better than I have in the past, but I was still quite happy to return to the warmth of the train, even though I found the seats very hard on my back and knees. All four of us dozed on the way back down, and of course once we descended through the clouds we were back in the gloomy weather we’ve had all week.

We rendezvoused at Flynn’s apartment before going out for supper, as we had run out of suitable food from which to create a main meal. It was a lovely day and I am so glad Flynn was able to come with us today.