The Newest Dr. Simons

May 26, 2016

13308639_10155091768674848_5086159354211253751_oToday Andrew had his dissertation defense (at Cornell this is known as one’s B exam), and he passed.  Yay, Andrew! His three professors had several comments, but they were all constructive and not aggressive. They signed the paper and then we went out to lunch to celebrate. Now he’s taking a nap to recover.

20160524_185623We have been here a couple days, and so far the weather has just been perfect, although the locals are mentioning how hot it is. We’ve been out to Sweet Melissa’s for Two-berry Twist ice cream. We’re making plans for a party with two other graduates and their families for Saturday after the Ph.D. hooding ceremony.  I’m planning a cake, but it won’t be a really fancy one since I’m in someone else’s kitchen.

2016-05-26 15.42.44

There is the official university-wide graduation on Sunday morning which we probably won’t attend, and then a smaller event at the Ag college which we will attend.  Then we have to run Gary off to the Ithaca airport so he can depart for Australia.

60 Years is a Long Time

May 21, 2016


Today we drove to Waco to celebrate Joice and Karl Franklin’s 60 anniversary (and it was Joice’s 85th birthday too.  Their daughter organized a large surprise party  and lots of our colleagues, especially those who knew the Franklins from the PNG days, drove down.

The famous pickled onions showed up again, this time dried and made into a bracelet for Joice.  (Please excuse these fuzzy photos–taken with my phone and I forgot to turn on the flash.)


Turns out that Karl and Joice’s daughter and family live just half a mile from Jesse and his family, so we surprised them by ringing their doorbell.




Global Big Day Includes a Lifer

May 14, 2016

In honor of the Global Big Birding Day, my friend Lois and I had planned an early morning birding trip to the State Park, but it was raining when we got up, so we canceled. Then it stopped raining, and we decided to go for a short time anyway. So glad we did–she saw at least two lifers, and I saw one.

I also saw a rare gull–well, rare for Dallas, that is. I verified with the eBird curator (aka eBird police) that this gull is a Laughing Gull, and they usually don’t come to Dallas.  And the curator even called it a “nice” find.  Yes, that is high praise.  :-)


My lifer, also verified by eBird, was a White-rumped Sandpiper–a tiny little shore bird that was hanging out with a Wilson’s Phalarope and the above gull.  That brings my lifer total up to 402.





Here’s the Wilson’s Phalarope:




Nice to Have Gary Home

May 12, 2016

Gary got home safely from Thailand this afternoon after being gone just shy of two weeks.


They have opened up the new parking garage at DFW’s terminal E and it has a brilliant innovation in it. Each parking spot has a red or green light showing if it is full or empty, though they don’t show up so well on this photo.


During closing ceremonies outgoing Executive Director Freddy Boswell, a colleague who also worked in the Solomon Islands, was given this very cool gift custom made out of shell money by Solomon Island artisans. I have a little necklace or two made from these shell disks, but this is impressive!


A Photo for Isabella

May 12, 2016

DSC00346Parents of Bella: please show her this photo (click to enlarge). It is a flock of Cedar Waxwings that were hanging out in the Isabella tree recently. That Elm, planted in her honor, has been growing really well and is probably 25 feet tall by now. For that matter, the Micah Oak and the Emma Ash are all growing nicely this spring as are the kids themselves. When I see these trees I pray for my grandkids.

Emma’s Birthday Pary

May 9, 2016

Emma turned 3 on May 1, but her official party was on Saturday. She followed in the footsteps of many princesses these days and went for the Frozen theme. I was so happy to see these photos from the party–what a cute little girl!  Her mom made a princess cake using a real doll, so cute.







We plan to be in Portland when Micah’s birthday rolls around, so we are starting to plan a cake and a party for him.

Gary Does the Laundry

May 7, 2016

Yeah, I’m shocked by that headline too!

But before we get too excited, he says it cost $7.50:


Gary’s New Toy

May 5, 2016


Just a very few days before Gary left for Thailand we bought him a new toy–a 10″ Amazon Fire tablet. It was quite reasonably priced and the goal for its use is so Gary can hold it close enough to his face (that is, the focal length of his strongest glasses) so he can read stuff. He’s still learning his way around it, but I think he’s going to like it.

It has a front and back camera, so you can take selfies just like with a phone.  Some of you will recognize our friends in this photo taken in Thailand.




When Your Boss Is Out of Town

May 5, 2016

…you can go birding whenever you want. I had a great time at Cedar Hill State Park this morning. The weather was wonderful, the park was quiet, and I saw 30 species, including a lifer! Here are a few photos (but not of the lifer, which was a Wilson’s Warbler).  The lake level was very high again, but that doesn’t stop all the fisherpeople. (Click on photos for a better look.)



Here are a few bird photos from today, but like I said, no Wilson’s Warbler.  Or Yellow Warbler, or Painted Bunting.



Western King Bird



Snowy Egret


Killdeer family that wouldn’t get out of the road


Eastern Phoebe


May 4, 2016

Gary has been in Thailand for a few days. I asked him to send a photo I could use on the blog, but so far that hasn’t happened. He has emailed me a couple times so I know he got there, plus someone else sent a photo he was in. His hasn’t been able to use his debit card, so no luck getting cash out of the ATM yet.

Here is a photo I can post:


This is Gary and me with Gary’s SIL colleague and Cornell mentor Joe Grimes. Joe was in Dallas to do the typesetting on the Hawaiian Pidgin Bible so we talked him into going to Ton’s for dinner before Gary left for Thailand.

Rachel started her new little job yesterday. Only 11 hours per week and not much over minimum wage, but it is at her church with people she knows, and so not too stressful and not a long drive away. She will be the second teacher in the 4 year old class.  She has several more weeks’ worth of data entry to do at the volunteer job Gary has her working on, so she will keep doing that on the mornings she is not at her new job.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.