Happy Birthday, Roy!

March 19, 2017

I don’t really know Roy very well, but he attends our church and turned 90 this week. His wife and her relatives provided a Vietnamese potluck for our whole church today. I made him a cake:

In other news,

  • Gary has arrived safely in Bangkok and has good internet in his room
  • Rachel’s spring break is over and she goes back to work this week
  • The neighbors brought a live rat over to our house this afternoon asking if our cat wanted a tasty morsel.  I declined.

Gary is Off

March 17, 2017

We got up at 4:15 this morning to get Gary to the airport for an early flight to Seattle (then on to Seoul and Bangkok). And you know how when you know you have to get up early, then you can’t fall asleep? Yeah.

Anyway, he called us from Seattle so we know he got that far safely. We were at the dedication of the aquaponics setup at the center when he called. I’ve learned a bit more about this: SIL owns the set up, and plans to feed folks in the cafeteria with the food which is already growing like crazy. And it won’t be long until the tilapia are ready for a fish fry! Enjoy the photos of the set up and of Rachel with Jessica and Baby Hope (who is having strabismus surgery in two weeks in St. Louis).

If you are interested in learning more, here are two 5-minute videos where John Cheng (Jessie’s husband) explains to students from Dallas Theological Seminary who came for a visit.
Part 1

Part 2

More Bird Photos

March 13, 2017

No real news today, just thought I should post some more of my recent bird photos. They are a-singin’!

Orange House Finch–they are usually red.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Northern Cardinal

Field Sparrow

Field Sparrow

Cedar Waxwings


The Little Mermaid

March 12, 2017

Yesterday afternoon Rachel and I attended the Family Music Theater’s performance of the stage musical of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. It turned out to be a lot of fun.

It reminded me of Rachel’s 9th birthday in 1990. We were in Oregon for the summer and, if my memory serves me correctly, Auntie Teresa made a Little Mermaid/Ariel cake for the occasion. I scanned this photo from Rachel’s scrapbook. There is not a clear picture of the top of the cake, but the colors match Ariel, so I’m pretty sure that’s what it was. Teresa, do you remember?  This was taken at Grandma and Grandpa Simons’s big house in The Dalles.

Baby David is not in this photo (BTW, he turned 33 yesterday!), but you can see Andrew and Rachel with cousins Wendi and Kara.

Homemade Pasta

March 10, 2017

The second thing I bought at the Boutique sale was a slightly used pasta maker. I didn’t buy it for pasta, but thought I could use it for some of my fondant decorations when I do cake decorating.

But then Rachel and I decided to try the pasta. I found a couple recipes on the internet, one easy, and one hard. Guess which one I chose?

We had fun with this little exercise, and I was surprised at how good the pasta tasted.  Not only that, Rachel actually enjoyed making dinner.


Blooming Tea

March 7, 2017

Normally, when I shop at the Boutique, everything is free. However, once a year they have an auction/sale where they sell “the good stuff.” They use the money to pay for the electricity.

I bought two items this year. The first was this clear glass teapot that came with several tea flowers that bloom from a hard pod to something that kinda looks like a flower! Quite a nice conversation piece at coffee break. (I’m donating it to our office break room so us tea drinkers can have a teapot along with the coffee pot.)  The photos show the steps that happen when you put the pod into boiling water.  The tea itself was a mild jasmine flavor.

Gary’s Birthday, pt. 2

March 2, 2017

Gary got a few late presents. First of all, there was a nice card with some cash that arrived yesterday so we will got out for a treat.  Yay!

Then there was the Amazon gift card that got delayed, but it finally arrived and it will let Gary buy himself some more books for his Kindle.

Lastly, there was a package that arrived yesterday with and Echo Dot, aka “Alexa.”  It is a small device that you talk to and it finds info for you.  It is made by Amazon and here is a link to see what it looks like.  (Google has a competing device that does similar things.)

It seems more like a toy than something serious, but on the other hand, for a blind person, it could be quite handy.  Here is a 30 second video of Gary asking Alexa about his calendar schedule.  I love how she schools him about taking out the trash!  (You may have to listen to it a couple times to tune in to Alexa’s computer voice.)

Happy Birthday and Shrove Tuesday

February 28, 2017

Gary’s birthday was celebrated in a modest way on Sunday. He picked Bobo China for lunch after church, and their portions were plenty big enough for two meals so I didn’t have to cook all day.


Except we did “cook” a chocolate pie which cooks in the refrigerator.


Today we enjoyed pancakes for breakfast at the Center–nice of the Center director to put that on.  Gary added dried cranberries to one and choco chips to the other.


After breakfast I went and looked at John and Jessica (Sage) Cheng’s aquaponics setup that they are building near the Center dining hall. It is going to be huge and amazing! How do you like this lettuce post??


These plants are growing in a bed of gravel with water filled with fish doodoo flowing through the pebbles.  This is a small demonstration garden, but the ones they are building are huge.  We’ll try to go to the ribbon cutting and take more photos when the time comes.



February 25, 2017

Let’s see, what to update.



The internet doesn’t have enough food photos, so I’ll add a couple more. I recently made this yummy, crusty bread in the cast iron pot that Andrew and Laura got me for Christmas. I also made lasagna in the covered casserole that David and Sarah got me a year ago Christmas.

In spite of my previous post, the Ethnologue isn’t really done. Poor Gary labors on to get all the tiny details right. Today he worked on acknowledgements and the introduction. There is always a stray punctuation mark or trailing space to throw off his calculations. But anyway, it is close.

It is about time to start the taxes, isn’t it. That is always a big chore. I’d better get started. Rachel’s will be more complicated now that she’s a business owner (of sorts).

The weather here has been crazy warm. It got up to 90 this past week and it is February. I fear this will mean a miserable summer.

Well, I should go finish the laundry and bake a birthday cake.


February 21, 2017

Today is International Mother Language Day, so that means it is also the day a new edition of the Ethnologue goes live. Gary and his team have been working very hard to meet the deadline–a few things remain to be done, but the new edition went live late this morning.  Yay!

The official count of living languages on this earth is now 7099.  If you are interested in how the above number of living languages on this earth was reached, please read the Ethnoblog where Gary explains the process–some are added, some are subtracted each year due to languages going extinct or new ones being separated from other ones. He also mentions how many changes were made to the database since a year ago, and what new data has been gathered in the last year.  My pet name for the Ethnologue: the book of a million details.