Photos from NY Trip

December 10, 2016

I’ve been playing catch-up since returning from NY earlier this week. Lots to do to get back to normal. Oh, and then there’s getting ready for Christmas, writing a newsletter, taking Gary to the dentist, getting a new battery for Rachel’s car, and stuff like that.

I’ve finally got my photos into a Google album. They don’t have captions, but I have grouped them together so you can probably figure out what they are. Topics include: transportation on plane, subway, taxi, train; visit to Fordham; Botanical Gardens; meal in Chinatown; 9-11 site; Thanksgiving meal; and a few other items, too.  Once the album opens, click on the first photo, then you can use the right arrow key to scroll through each photo.  There are quite a few photos in this album, but I hope you’ll take the time to glance through them and see Andrew, Laura, and Isabella in their new environment.

https://goo.gl/photos/UF9CXgEfnCNHXhTu7

 

Home from NY

December 8, 2016

Our trip home from NY on Tuesday was uneventful if a bit tedious. I wish I could sleep on planes like some people I know. Rachel was glad to see us, as we were her.

This trip kinda cut into the Christmas season, so I’ve decided to skip sending my usual goodies to one and all. Lack of time is the main reason, but I’m also acknowledging that everybody is “on a diet, has diabetes, and has too many sweets during the holiday season” anyway! The only exception will be mailing Grandpa Simons some of Bella’s sugar cookies.

Speaking of mail, our mail has been a mess for about a month. After 30 years of getting our mail in the same cubbie, we suddenly were getting no mail at all. This note was one of four that it took to finally, I think, get it sorted out. There were also phone conversations with the local Post Mistress and local mail carrier and an email sent to the federal PO system.

dsc02192

Once all mail arrived, there was a veritable mountain of in on the counter top to sort through.  I can’t ignore it, because I want my counter top back!  Actually, I sorted through it at 5:30 this morning when I woke up early.  90% of the bulk went into the recycle bin, 5% bills to pay, and 5% forward to Andrew’s new address.

Besides mail, we’ve had other things to deal with on our return:  Gary had to go to the dentist early afternoon and sit in the chair for two hours while the dentist drilled his tooth off in preparation for a crown.  And then we discovered Rachel’s car wouldn’t start and when I tried to remove the battery to go buy a new one, but it was too heavy for me to lift out and too wedged in there, and I lost one of the bracket pieces.  Somehow I got it back together, almost, then used the jumper cables and got it started long enough to drive it to the garage where they will put in an new battery and bracket, for a consideration.  So now I have to drive her to work today, but hopefully it will be finished by the time she finishes work.

The Good Things about our Visit to NY

December 4, 2016

Our time in New Rochelle, a largish city about an hour’s car drive north of NYC, is coming to a close. Andrew and Laura return from Scotland tomorrow and we return to Dallas on Tuesday.

I’m totally bummed out about driving in this city–I feel like a failure, and apparently the guy behind me agrees as he keeps beeping at me.  Or maybe folks here just beep for the fun of it.  I’ve never driven anywhere where they honk at people so much.  Also,  the roads are so narrow–makes a guy appreciate Texas with its wide roads.  And there is no place to park, too much traffic, no 90 degree corners, only parallel parking (and you have to pay even to do that–no free parking anywhere) and oh, did I mention–the guy behind me, the guy beside me, and the guy across from me are all honking.  At me?  I can only assume so.  Then there is the driveway:  bushes blocking the way so I can’t see to exit–maybe I should just honk and pull out without looking?!?  And then when I return to the house, there is a mandatory 17-point turn that one must make to maneuver the big car in a small driveway to make it point outward–it would be a fatal mistake to try to back out.  To pick Bella up from school one has to park a quarter of a mile away–fortunately, picking her up is only necessary on Mondays.  It is also kinda scary to walk a block to her bus stop–about a million cars are driving (and honking) to the High School which is nearby. And to top it all off, my dumb GPS has failed me once more.  So to switch to using Google maps on my phone like the rest of the world, I’m trying to figure out how to keep the phone screen from going blank and how to scotch tape my phone onto the display bracket of my failed GPS so that I can mount the phone to the windshield in order to see the phone while driving.  Oh, and to make the font big enough to read while driving and to keep the volume loud enough to be heard over all the people honking at me!!!

dsc02174

OK, now that I’ve got that off my chest, I can think about the good things here:

  • Andrew and Laura have a great house.  Spacious, beautiful wood floors, double hung windows, full basement and full 2nd story,   All of Grandma and Grandpa Simons’s Mexican furniture fits well and looks great here.  The walls are covered with lovely pieces of art from around the world.  And they have a big Christmas tree set up by the fireplace.  There are a few things that need to be done around the house and yard (in particular, they need a new lawnmower shed) but it is a nice, comfortable place for them and they have room for visitors.
  • Andrew and Laura can both get to their jobs on public transport.  Which is good, so they don’t have to have cars honking at them to start and end the workday.  It would take some doing to learn the system (commuter trains, buses, subways, Uber, taxi) but they seem to have figured it out.
  • Bella rides the bus to a public school with well paid teachers (at least that is what the newspaper said).  She is making friends at school but I know she kinda misses having immediately available playmates like she used to have in Ithaca.
  • There is a nice Lutheran church next door where we visited today.  The church has a BIG parking lot adjacent to Andrew and Laura’s house, and no bushes by the exit.  Sometimes they use this space for auxiliary parking.  The church service was very “high,” and felt a lot like an Anglican service.  Beautiful stained glass windows which Bella liked seeing from the inside–she said they were “blurry” when viewed from her house.  :-)  She attends after-school care there three days a week–no driving required.  We met a nice couple there–the husband teaches at Fordham in Andrew’s department.
  • There are several place to eat within short walking distance–the Chinese takeout was good and the slices of pizza weren’t bad either.
  • There is a children’s library very close by and Bella is a card-carrying member.
  • Bella and I had opportunity to make Christmas cookies yesterday and today.

dsc02173

In New York for Thanksgiving

December 1, 2016

I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve had plenty of things to post about, but I’m away from my nice big computer monitor and instead am trying to make a little tablet think it is a full sized computer–not much luck!  Also, hard to work with my photos without my normal computer software–I’ll sort them out and make an album of the good ones after I get home.

dsc01973

We (Gary, Rachel and I) arrived here on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and thus began a long list of “firsts” for Rachel:

  • First taxi ride
  • First Uber ride
  • First subway ride
  • First commuter train ride
  • First time to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge
  • First time to see the Statue of Liberty
  • and probably a few others I forgot about.

20161127_144542

We arrived in time for Thanksgiving, and Rachel went back to Dallas the Monday after, but Gary and I are staying on a week more to babysit Isabella while Andrew and Laura are in Scotland for a conference.  While Rachel was still here, these are some of the “touristy” and regular things we did:

  • Visited Andrew’s new place of employment, Fordham University (but it was closed)
  • Ate heroes at a deli in Little Italy
  • Went to the Botanical Garden
  • half of the group went to Central park and the Central Park zoo
  • made apple and pumpkin pies with Bella
  • watched Laura and Laura make a fabulous and complicated Thanksgiving meal
  • half of us went to Central park and the Central Park zoo
  • half of us went to the Met which could have taken days but we did it in hours.
  • went birding near the ocean
  • put up Christmas stuff (well, I mostly watched)
  • installed solar light along the sidewalk
  • went to Grand Central Station
  • Found the sculptures that our friend John Collier made for a church near ground zero
  • visited the 9-11 memorial
  • ate Dim Sum in Chinatown
  • walked across the Brooklyn Bridge along with about a million other people
  • ate at a Salvadoran place nearby
  • and learned the ropes for getting Bella to school and back and to her activities.

Andrew and Laura made it to Scotland after a delay for a day in Paris–I could think of worse places!  Today they visited a famous castle.

We’ve talked with Rachel several times and it sounds like she has everything under control.  Only problem, not her fault, is that somehow our mail is not being delivered properly–it has been messed up for about two weeks and we can’t seem to get it straightened out.

Taking care of Bella is turning out to be pretty easy.  At this stage she pretty much takes care of herself.  She loves to do so many different things, including cooking.  This evening she made salad with “carrot infused oil” (her words) in the homemade dressing!

bella-by-christmas-tree

Angel Tree Gifts

November 20, 2016

Rachel doesn’t have any kids of her own to buy gifts for, but she enjoys picking out gifts for a name chosen from the Angel Tree at her church.

20161116_162536

She also did an Operation Christmas Child shoebox a month ago.

We had our church’s annual Thanksgiving dinner tonight–early start on the turkey! I made a pumpkin pumpkin cake and it turned out kind cute:

dsc01965

This morning the Tower of Babel was the lesson for my Sunday School kids–a dream lesson for linguist-SS teachers. For once I had tons of material at my fingertips: The Book of a Thousand Tongues, several translated NTs, and photos from the Solomon Islands. And, let’s not forget the 3-volume set of the Ethnologue as well as its Executive Editor for a guest speaker!

Update

November 19, 2016

The purge continues. Today it was the piano.  We hope the neighbors down the street get some good use out of it.

20161119_151515

20161119_152326

20161119_152350

Then, it was sorting through piano, french horn, guitar, hammer dulcimer, flute, and tuba music. Some of it is on its way to Half Priced Books.

We also had a memorial service for our of our early SIL and Wycliffe leaders, Frank Robbins. I made some mini cupcakes for the reception.

20161119_095449

The weather has not felt very fall-ish this week. In fact it got up to 87 one day. No wonder my accidental lettuce is growing so well.  It made some good BLTs this week.

20161118_124224

This next week we go to NYC to see Isabella and her family. Should be fun!

Random Artwork

November 13, 2016

I’m still cleaning up my photos from recent months. Here are some “art” shots that range from 25 years ago to 2 days ago.  The first photo is of a picture made entirely of fingerprints.

20161102_101143

David’s artwork from early elementary:

dsc01320

Stonehenge minor at Joe Pool Lake:

dsc01337

Stained glass history of Bible Translation:

dsc01610

Ice and water:

dsc01660

Rachel won a free night at a Paint and Praise Party at her church:

dsc01932

Supermoon tomorrow night!

dsc01942

Birding in Florida

November 12, 2016

Just in case you were wondering, I got 8 lifers on our trip to Florida (click on the list to see a slightly more readable version of it):

2016-11-12-13_22_35-world-life-list

We saw a total of 73 bird species while there–not too shabby.  See them all in the list below.   I’ve cut and pasted the list from ebird, since I’m not sure making a link there works.

If you want to see photos of some of them, click on this album  https://goo.gl/photos/vHaZMZPGb4Zw6gtSA

The birds are not ID’ed there, so you’ll have to figure them out yourself.  :-)  (I’m still trying to figure out the best way to do photo albums now that Picasa is no longer being supported.  I hope this works.)

Florida Year List

Alphabetic Taxonomic Location S/P Date
1 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 04 Nov 2016
2 Blue-winged Teal Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 04 Nov 2016
3 Wild Turkey US-Florida-Orlando-Martin Andersen Beachline Expressway – 28.452x-81.069 US-FL 07 Nov 2016
4 Pied-billed Grebe Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 04 Nov 2016
5 Wood Stork Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
6 Double-crested Cormorant Boggy Creek Airboat Rides US-FL 02 Nov 2016
7 Anhinga Boggy Creek Airboat Rides US-FL 02 Nov 2016
8 American White Pelican Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
9 Brown Pelican Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
10 Great Blue Heron Boggy Creek Airboat Rides US-FL 02 Nov 2016
11 Great Egret Boggy Creek Airboat Rides US-FL 02 Nov 2016
12 Snowy Egret Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 04 Nov 2016
13 Little Blue Heron Wycliffe Bible Translators Center US-FL 01 Nov 2016
14 Tricolored Heron Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 04 Nov 2016
15 Reddish Egret Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
16 Cattle Egret Boggy Creek Airboat Rides US-FL 02 Nov 2016
17 Green Heron Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 04 Nov 2016
18 White Ibis Boggy Creek Airboat Rides US-FL 02 Nov 2016
19 Glossy Ibis Boggy Creek Airboat Rides US-FL 02 Nov 2016
20 Roseate Spoonbill Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
21 Black Vulture Boggy Creek Airboat Rides US-FL 02 Nov 2016
22 Turkey Vulture Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 04 Nov 2016
23 Osprey Boggy Creek Airboat Rides US-FL 02 Nov 2016
24 Sharp-shinned Hawk Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 06 Nov 2016
25 Bald Eagle Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 04 Nov 2016
26 Red-shouldered Hawk Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 04 Nov 2016
27 Common Gallinule Boggy Creek Airboat Rides US-FL 02 Nov 2016
28 American Coot Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 04 Nov 2016
29 Limpkin Boggy Creek Airboat Rides US-FL 02 Nov 2016
30 Sandhill Crane Wycliffe Bible Translators Center US-FL 01 Nov 2016
31 American Avocet Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
32 Black-bellied Plover Parrish Park/Max Brewer Causeway US-FL 05 Nov 2016
33 Killdeer Wycliffe Bible Translators Center US-FL 31 Oct 2016
34 Ruddy Turnstone Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
35 Sanderling Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
36 Dunlin Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
37 Short-billed Dowitcher Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
38 Long-billed Dowitcher Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
39 Greater Yellowlegs Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 06 Nov 2016
40 Willet Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
41 Lesser Yellowlegs Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
42 Laughing Gull Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
43 Ring-billed Gull Parrish Park/Max Brewer Causeway US-FL 05 Nov 2016
44 Caspian Tern Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 04 Nov 2016
45 Forster’s Tern Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
46 Royal Tern Parrish Park/Max Brewer Causeway US-FL 05 Nov 2016
47 Rock Pigeon Parrish Park/Max Brewer Causeway US-FL 05 Nov 2016
48 Common Ground-Dove Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
49 Mourning Dove Wycliffe Bible Translators Center US-FL 01 Nov 2016
50 Belted Kingfisher Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
51 Red-bellied Woodpecker Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 04 Nov 2016
52 Downy Woodpecker Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 04 Nov 2016
53 Pileated Woodpecker Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 06 Nov 2016
54 Eastern Phoebe Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 04 Nov 2016
55 Loggerhead Shrike Wycliffe Bible Translators Center US-FL 31 Oct 2016
56 Blue Jay Wycliffe Bible Translators Center US-FL 01 Nov 2016
57 American Crow Wycliffe Bible Translators Center US-FL 01 Nov 2016
58 Fish Crow Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 04 Nov 2016
59 Tree Swallow Merritt Island NWR US-FL 05 Nov 2016
60 Sedge Wren Best Western hotel Titusville US-FL 06 Nov 2016
61 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 06 Nov 2016
62 Northern Mockingbird Wycliffe Bible Translators Center US-FL 01 Nov 2016
63 Black-and-white Warbler Wycliffe Bible Translators Center US-FL 01 Nov 2016
64 Palm Warbler Wycliffe Bible Translators Center US-FL 31 Oct 2016
65 Yellow-rumped Warbler Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 04 Nov 2016
66 White-crowned Sparrow Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 06 Nov 2016
67 Vesper Sparrow Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 06 Nov 2016
68 Savannah Sparrow Orlando Wetlands Park US-FL 04 Nov 2016
69 Northern Cardinal Wycliffe Bible Translators Center US-FL 01 Nov 2016
70 Red-winged Blackbird Boggy Creek Airboat Rides US-FL 02 Nov 2016
71 Common Grackle Boggy Creek Airboat Rides US-FL 02 Nov 2016
72 Boat-tailed Grackle Boggy Creek Airboat Rides US-FL 02 Nov 2016
73 House Sparrow Best Western hotel Titusville US-FL 06 Nov 2016

Top

Post-trip Update

November 10, 2016

I am still sorting through the photos from our trip and willl post some of them soonish, but for now, just a little update.

I spoke to David today who is in Ft.Worth. But since he didn’t bring any grandbabies with him, I refused to see him. Well, that’s not exactly how it happened, but …

I also talked to Andrew and Isabella today after remembering to pay up my promise to Bella for her marathon reading contest for her school. See the video here: https://www.razoo.com/us/story/Tm9t5f

Rachel has been getting a few more babysitting opportunities. They seem to be a bit on-and-off, but she has found two nearby families that want her help on a more or less regular basis, if for short times. We’d like to see her work at least 20 hours per week, and she might almost be at that. She is signed up to take a CPR class at the Center on Saturday. We thought that was a good idea for a babysitter.  Rachel also got her first report from her new “business” of renting out her house.  The property management company made some little repairs, etc. as they moved in a new renter and by a month from now we’re hoping there will actually be some income to speak of.

Speaking of Rachel, she was complaining that she wanted pumpkin pie, so look what she did while we were at choir practice last night:

20161109_214301

Yesterday I did some computer consulting with an older lady from our former church (Hi, Mary!). She said to tell Grandpa Wendell she knows just how he feels!😉

On Tuesday we did our civic duty and voted.  I had a very difficult time finding anyone I liked to vote for.  In the end, I used my penmanship skills.  We stayed up late to see the results.

20161108_163526

 

Time to Go Home

November 6, 2016

We fly back to Dallas tomorrow after our week of meetings at the Wycliffe Center and then a weekend of birding. Both events went well and we were glad to be here. I got lots of photos and after I go thru them I’ll post the best ones as I get time.

The weather was perfect with just a little shower this afternoon. The worst part is all of the Beware of Alligators signs all over the place! The alligators are creepy.  We saw several of them in the wetlands where we were birding.

For now, just let me post two photos of our rental car. My first time to drive a hybrid which is nice for slow speed birding because it doesn’t make any noise! It also has a dial shifter–cool, but it takes some getting used to.

rental-car-hybrid

dial-shifter

We are in the town of Titusville, very close to Cape Canaveral. Everything here has a name like Space Shuttle Inn, Rocket Road, and Astronaut High School. We could see the launch pad towers from where we were birding.