Free At Last, Free At Last

September 16, 2014

I rescued two live oak trees on the church property today, rescued them from outgrown staking wires. I didn’t ask anybody’s permission, I just took the pliers and cut ‘em loose, and not a minute too soon. (Later someone mentioned they had been planted 5 or 6 years ago by folks who no longer attend the church.)


A Night at the Symphony in Ft. Worth

September 14, 2014

We enjoyed our evening listening to A Triple Concerto by Beethoven and Tchaikovsky something or other, and a shorter piece by a 34-year old Australian woman. Thanks, Dave and Sharla, for the use of your tickets. I believe they were in St. Louis to be with baby Anna. We were barely dressed for the event, but I don’t feel safe in heels ever since I broke my ankle.




Gone to Seed

September 13, 2014

We got up early for some birding. Can you believe it was 57 degrees? Two days ago it got up to 101! We didn’t see a lot of birds, but it was interesting to see the mist coming off the lake, and we also saw some nice seeds:


I’m including this terrible photo to show why I need a better camera!!


They were having an event to teach kids how to fish at the park today:


I almost stepped on this tarantula:



Bad, then Better

September 11, 2014

Yesterday, I felt down. No real reason, but today I feel better.

After we got home from our Michigan trip, it appeared our expensive Baby Emma tree was dying. Not sure if the neighbor boy watered it too much or too little, but the leaves became all spotted, and then all brown, and then fell off. But the stems didn’t fall off, which seemed odd. Anyway, today Gary noticed it has come back to life! Look at this new growth, even though it is fall.

And while he was discovering that, he also found this huge rainbow. (Photos of rainbows never turn out as good as the real thing.) If you look closely, you can see the dead leaves on the Emma tree just below the rainbow.

Then there was the case of the broken mug. Gary was mourning the loss of his constant companion of 20 years. I mounted a search for a replacement through every cupboard in the Key Building kitchen and sent out the sad news to one and all that no replacement could be found. But then, Auntie Carol to the rescue! She is donating hers to Gary to make things better.

Lastly, I was wondering why never get to listen to my music. I don’t have an iPod, and my music is all stuck on CDs or on my computer. Then I set my mind to it and discovered how to share my music from my computer to my tablet, moved the tablet to the living room, added speakers, and YES! I have music again. (I’m sure anyone under 30 could have done this task in a fraction of the time…)

A Bag from a Bag

September 8, 2014

I’ve made a few more reusable bags in the last weeks. Experimenting with different sizes, handles, and latches.



I’m trying to perfect the process to come up with one that is exactly right for carrying to work each morning. I am using one I made, but I’m not quite happy with the size or the latch, but it does have a good handle. I have an actual pattern that I used sometimes, but I’ve also found a way to make them without a pattern, if the original bag is of suitable dimensions. That is, 20. lb bags work better than 50 lb. bags.


September 6, 2014

Two big bits of news from Andrew and family: Laura passed her citizenship interview and is scheduled to be sworn in in early November! Next day, Isabella started 1st grade. Wow, where has the time gone?

These late summer wildflowers are called Snow-on-the-Prairie. The showy part isn’t even the flower; the tiny flowers are hidden inside.

On TV last night there was an hour-long documentary about Kent Brantly, the doctor who contracted eblola and was transfered back to the US. Very interesting story. Speaking of Ebola, the folks at the CDC have contacted us to use the Ethnologue maps of West Africa to track the spread of the disease. The Ethnologue isn’t just for linguists it seems!

Speaking of doctors, a few days ago you saw Gary’s face with bandaids. One was just a wart, the other was another precancer which he has scheduled to have further burned or frozen off in a couple weeks.

Birding Report

August 30, 2014

We got up early to go birding. The weather was quite bearable until about 10:45am. Gary found a new spot in Dallas county where we could expect to see migrating shorebirds. Which we did. The place is about a 25 minute drive, not too far from the old Cowboys’ Stadium.

Our “best” find might have been a Loggerhead Shrike, but my best photo was of this cooperative Broad-winged Hawk.



I nearly stepped on this interesting looking caterpillar, which Gary got close to with his glasses.



We counted 33 species on this trip, and if we were better ear-birders, probably a few more.

Andrew Simons, ABD*

August 29, 2014


(nice photo taken by my niece, April Burt, who calls her business Arras Photography–Unraveling Your Story)

Congratulations to Andrew for passing his A exam this afternoon. That means he can officially start writing his dissertation, and be on the job hunt on the side. He told us that it is likely he will not finish this coming June, but rather add another year. He is expected to have funding for an extra year, as well as continuing his dorm father job, so that is nice. Further, Laura is just about to start a new job, so that would give her a longer stretch.

In other news, Isabella starts school next Tuesday.

*all but dissertation

Visit to the Skin Doctor

August 28, 2014

Or, as Grandpa W. puts it, to the “dermatological den of horrors.” It was only two months since the last skin cancer was removed, but we didn’t want to wait to have a couple things looked at. The dr. removed the wart just under his eye, and took a slice off something on the tip of his nose.
He said the shot in his nose was one of the most painful things he has ever felt! At least the assistant warned him first!

It will be several days before we get the pathology report.

In other medical news, I decided to try to get my annual eye exam done before we have another deductible to start on in October. I was able to get an appointment tomorrow with a brand new dr. at the practice where we’ve been going for years. Turns out he was a student with David at BCM in Houston.

Other than going to the doctor or to work, we’re trying to get a newsletter out, so look for that in your mailbox in the coming days.

Sports Round-Up

August 24, 2014

On Friday, Gary reminded us that 25 years ago, we had watched Rangers’ Pitcher Nolan Ryan strike out his 5000th batter. That is a lot of KO’s! I remembered that for some odd reason, Andrew wasn’t there, which was strange, since he was a true Ryan fan. Gary didn’t believe me until Andrew confirmed that yes, he had gone to spend the weekend with a friend, whose name he can’t even remember. (photo stolen from the internet)

In other baseball news, Gary has been quite the Little League fan this weekend. Minutes ago the South Korean team beat the South Chicago team, in a good game. And it was pretty amazing about Mo’ne Davis who gives new meaning the the phrase “you throw like a girl.” (photo stolen from Sports Illustrated)

And can you believe how bad the Rangers have gotten? I do believe they have the worst record in the MLB at the moment! Sad.

As for me personally, the only sports one can do in this heat is the occasional dip in Rachel’s pool and maybe a few rounds on the stationary bike while watching some TV.


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