Wet Week

February 23, 2018

It has been a dry winter here in Texas, but this week we had over 6 inches of rain. It was cold and rainy almost every day and by yesterday I was starting to feel a little  S.A.D. I think it is supposed to clear off by Sunday.  It looks like Portland is having a little snow, according to this photo of Micah and Emma that Sarah kindly sent.  Micah’s face looks so much slimmer than the last time I saw him–I guess he is growing tall.

Gary and I made a short trip Lakeside Park on Friday to look for a few more species for my Great Backyard Bird Count. Here is a line of cormorants looking for the Loch Ness Monster.

Gary has had a really busy and exhausting week with so many unfinished things along with finishing the 21st edition of the Ethnologue. He has a cold, but it doesn’t seem like it is getting worse, so I guess he’ll be good to go to Germany on Sunday.  Today Rachel and I went out to buy some Texas souvenirs for Gary to take to our exchange grandbaby in Germany (I mean, if we had a German exchange daughter, then we must have a German exchange granddaughter, right?).  We found baby Anna a Texas stuffed animal and a couple other items too.

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7097

February 21, 2018

Today is International Mother Language Day and that means it is also new-Ethnologue-version Day. Thanks to our programmer, Chad, getting up at 3am and working his magic, the 21st edition went live this morning! Lots of work by lots of people!

I made 21st edition cookies to celebrate at our office coffee break.  Linzer-style sugar cookies with either raspberry or chocolate filling, in two sizes:

We were calling this “Death by Ethnologue” week because it is really so much work to get all the moving parts to land correctly at the right spot and the right time.  Gary and many others have been putting in lots of time and energy this week.  For example, our programmer got up at 3 am to make today’s edition even possible.  I hope it is just a cold, but Gary is feeling tired and half-sick, and he needs some rest before he leaves on his next big trip on Sunday.  (Too bad he has 97 unread emails in his work inbox…).  I supposed it hasn’t helped that the Olympics have been on, either!

Anyway, if you are interested in learning how the number 7,097 came about, click the link below to read a little article Gary wrote for the release of Ethnologue 21.

https://www.ethnologue.com/ethnoblog/gary-simons/welcome-21st-edition

 

Sunday School Report–Was that a Typo?

February 18, 2018

We are slowly chugging our way through the Old Testament history of the Jews. Today I heard a gratifying statement by one of my 6th graders as I was telling part of the story of King Solomon: “Wow, that makes me want to hear the next part of the story.” Music to a teacher’s ears. 🙂

I do have to say that today we had a pretty funny reaction to the story of King Solomon’s marital life. First, I had to explain what a concubine was. Then we read on: Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. One of the 5th graders stopped me and said, “700 wives?!? Is that a typo?”  That made me LOL.

So I had to explain how that could possibly be true and then another kid said, “Can you imagine trying to take a family photo? You’d have to get in a helicopter to do that.”

In other news, Rachel insisted we take Gary out to Los Lupes after church for an early birthday dinner.  On his real birthday, a week from today, he plans to be in an airplane headed for Germany.  He couldn’t seem to get enough chips and salsa: (click the photos to see them in a larger format)

In yet more news, today I tried again, and failed again, to make French macarons.  These were somewhat better than last try, but still far from perfect.

 

 

Gary is Home

February 12, 2018

Gary’s plane home from LaGuardia was a bit early so I stayed home from the office and worked from home on my Bibliography project until it was time to go to DFW.  I confused myself yet one more time with the new parking garage at Terminal E, so I was walking away from Gary’s gate instead of toward it, but we eventually found each other and made it home safely.

Gary enjoyed a visit with Andrew, Laura, and Bella over the weekend.  They went to the Botanical gardens, but got rained out.  They went to a piano concert at a Presbyterian church in Manhatten on Sunday afternoon and then out for Korean food after that.  On the subway ride home Gary made the mistake of handing Bella his phone:

Why I Teach Sunday School

February 11, 2018

Our pastor asked me to give a two minute speech in church today about why I teach Sunday School. If you set your stopwatch, you can read it out loud in two minutes.  Go!

My name is Linda Simons and I teach 5th-6th-7th grade Sunday School. Two other ladies who are regular teachers in children’s Sunday School are Diane Pegues and Marna Bayless–you know, the alto section of the choir. In fact, one day a year or so ago our very astute Tristan came to Miss Marna and asked, “Do you have to be in choir to teach Sunday School?” Well, no, you don’t actually have to be in choir to teach Sunday School. We also have Sandy Gaskins teaching and there a number of you who have taken a turn as a substitute. We thank you for that.

One of the reasons I teach children’s Sunday School is that I’m a believer in Bible literacy. By that I mean our kids benefit from these three things:
Knowing about the Bible itself. Things like who wrote the Bible, the languages used in the Bible, how we got the Bible translated into English, knowing the books of the Bible and being able to locate a chapter and verse
Knowing the main stories of the Bible-the historical places and people of the Bible and being able to put them in chronological order.
Knowing the main themes of the Bible like who God is, how he interacted with people in the Old Testament, who Jesus was, and why he died and rose again.

Why do our kids benefit from being Biblically literate?
They understand Western civilization, history, and the English language better
They understand Ginger’s sermons better
They understand people–including themselves– better, because the Bible says a lot about the human condition.

My goal is to give my students at least a foundation of understanding about Christianity because, you know, they are likely to question it in the next few years–if not now, then later. My hope and prayer is that when they are faced with the question of embracing or rejecting Christianity for themselves, they will remember what they learned in Sunday School and also remember the people there who loved them.

Update

February 11, 2018

I’ve briefly spoken with Gary and he is in New Rochelle with Andrew, Laura, and Isabella.  On Friday night he took a direct train from Philly to New Rochelle.  I’m jealous he gets to see Isabella and I don’t.

Today was another cake, this time for birthday party.  We’ve had almost one cake order per week since Christmas.

I got up early this morning and went birding with my friend Lois at the state park.  We saw 28 species and the Northern Harrier that we saw was a lifer for her!  A cold front came in while we were there and it got colder by the minute, but there were lots of birds about.  I think we saw 1000 migrating Robins, but I only reported 700.

I just love this picture that Rachel took of her class this week  (remember to click on the photos to get a better view):

She must be a good teacher because they love to all play “teacher” and take turns sitting in teacher’s chair and teaching the Bible story.  That makes me smile.  She is also getting Valentine gifts ready for them:

Positive and Negative

February 8, 2018

Here are some recent not-so-fun things

  • having to drive 80 miles to get a special permission slip from the Low Vision doctor
  • making a bunch of wrong turns in downtown Dallas on the way to said doctor
  • waking up three times before the alarm went off at 3:30am
  • finding a quarter inch of ice on the car at 4:15am
  • driving to the the airport in the dark after scraping off the ice
  • taking a wrong turn at the airport and wandering around (you’d think I’d never driven there before…)
  • coming home, going back to sleep at 5:30am and waking up freezing cold
  • discovering there was no hot water for a shower
  • discovering there was no propane (why this should happen when we’re on the keep-the-tank-full plan I do not know)
  • driving Rachel to work so we wouldn’t have to scrape her car
  • calling the propane company and them telling me they would get to my house in 8 or 9 hours
  • coming home from work and finding the house was now 57 degrees
  • finding out my credit card quit working while at McDonalds to warm up
  • finding out Gary had the same problem when he tried to use the credit card on his trip

Here are some recent good things

  • Gary got his permission slip from the Low Vision doctor (for a mere $80)
  • with said permission slip, Gary was able to renew his driver’s license once again (not that he actually drives much…)
  • the wait at the driver’s license place was less than one hour
  • Gary made it safely to Philadelphia in spite of his 2 million best friends also arriving for the Super Bowl parade
  • the propane company apologized for my inconvenience when they arrived after only 6 hours
  • a wonderful, hot shower
  • a good start on a big but temporary project at work
  • a good night of sleep
  • a new credit card is activating and working

One Year Old Birthday Cake

February 3, 2018

Today’s cake was a rather fancy one in the theme of Big Little Man. Large white cake with small carrot “smash” cake. And smash he did!!

We’ve been invited over to a coworker’s house to watch the Superbowl, so that is on tap for tomorrow evening.  Rachel is working hard on preparing lessons for the month of February.  Gary’s driver’s license is about to expire, so he has to go to the Low Vision Clinic and get an exam so they will give him a letter to take to the driver’s license place.  That process will take all of Tuesday afternoon.  Then he flies to Philadelphia on Wednesday and gets to see Isabella over the weekend.  I’m jealous.

In other news, Gary and coworker Boone had an article published in Christianity Today online yesterday.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/2018/february/kenneth-pike-sil-wycliffe.html

If enough people click on it, maybe they will put it in the print edition.  🙂

In Sympathy

February 1, 2018

I need to make myself some more sympathy cards.

My cousin, 11 years younger than me, has passed away. So has the Keith whose name is the shower cake shown in the previous post, the grandfather of this baby to be born in March. And our friend Denise’s father just passed and her mom is about to go on hospice.  They are wondering whether to wait and have a two-for-one memorial.

There was the time when all my friends were going to college.
Then they were all getting married.
Then they were all having kids.
Then their kids were all going to college, getting married, and having kids.

Now they are dying.

The Lost is Found, and other Updates

January 29, 2018

There was some minor rejoicing around this place over the weekend as two long-lost but still-missed objects were found:

  1. Gary’s “best” pair of glasses.  You know, the ones held together with plumber’s putty that he uses at the computer.  He was sure they had been thrown out with the Christmas wrappings.  Rachel found them in the crevice of the new recliner.
  2. My 1/2 teaspoon from a matched set of six Pampered Chef measuring spoons.  This was missing for many months and I had given up.  I found it when, for some unexplainable reason, I decided to clean the bottom of the dishwasher, which one does by removing the rotating arm, filling it with vinegar and baking soda, and then scrubbing.  During the scrubbing at the very back, under a hidden lip, I found the  lost spoon.  It was covered with months of soap scum, and its writing had worn off, but I was happy to get it back.

In other news, I learned the hard way not to store carefully decorated cookies in the oven.

Many hours later:

And there was a cake too.  Sarah from Sarah Drive is expecting her baby boy in a couple months.