May 29, 2018

Bella is hoping for a trip to DQ when she comes here in August, so we checked out some of the blizzard flavors for her tonight.

In other news, Gary had an eye appointment today, but nothing new to report.

I think I forgot to post this photo of a pottery bowl that Rachel painted recently.  She’ll never be a Grandma Judy when it comes to pottery, but her green bowl is just the right size for the dinner salads we have around here.  Rachel and two of her girlfriends went to a place downtown where you pick out a naked piece of pottery and then paint it, and then come back a few days later to pick it up after they fire it.  It was a fun activity for them.

Speaking of Rachel, her singing at the DFW National Cemetery yesterday included a visit with the paramedics when she nearly fainted just after this photo was taken.


Saving Money on Saturday

May 27, 2018

About a week ago two of our three toilets started not flushing all that well, and you might guess how much we love to deal with house issues around here. But we got up early on Saturday morning–it is already stinkin’ hot around here–and we decided to pretend we were knowledgeable plumbers. We rediscovered the sewer cleanout that Wendell had hidden so well so many years ago-the support beam underneath that little part of the deck had been eaten away by something, but we just ignored that.  We used the garden hose as a makeshift snake and between the hose and the plunger, we knocked the blockage loose and by 9am we felt we had done a day’s work. Or at least save a day’s worth of money.


In other news, here was Friday’s cake on its way to a Sweet 16 birthday party.

I almost skipped church today because I was not needed to teach Sunday School, and more to the point, I am half sick (fever of 1 degree).  But I went anyway and then after Gary and I went to a local pupusaria.  I only ate one of mine because I didn’t have much of an appetite, so Rachel can have the other one in her lunch next week–not to worry about her getting my sickness because she is the one who gave it to me!

Speaking of Rachel, she is going to sing with her church choir tomorrow at the local veteran’s cemetery for Memorial Day–I hope they don’t all pass out from the heat!


May 23, 2018

One of my jobs at work is to process reimbursements for people in our section who travel on business. I do the bookkeeping work to pay people back for “out-of-pocket” expenses. I processed Gary’s OOPs today from his recent 2-week trip to Malaysia where the hotel was prepaid and included breakfast and lunch. It was up to each of the 100+ conference participants to buy their own evening meals at nearby restaurants.

Well, it seems like Gary’s idea of having dinner at nearby restaurant is to go to a convenience store and buy ramen noodles, Oreos, and a coke on Sunday.  He spent a total of $20 for evening meals the entire time he was there!  And he spent $0 of his own money to buy gifts for his family back home, not that we care that much since Malaysia isn’t really known for its chocolate!

In other news, I took yesterday off work.  Instead of going to the office for the morning I swept the deck, potted some flowers, said goodbye to our house guest, fed the birds, cleaned out a junk drawer, wasted some time on Facebook, unenrolled in our company health insurance, got the oil changed and inspection done on our car, paid the registration for the car, and went grocery shopping.

Let me end with a photo of our church sign, an update on the Golden Rule:


Gary is Home

May 20, 2018

Two hours late, but he made it Saturday morning around 10am, landing after a 12 hour flight from Tokyo. He had the unique experience of watching the royal wedding live during the flight! That reminded us of listening to Prince Harry’s father’s wedding over a battery-powered radio while living in Fo’ondo village, Malaita, Solomon Islands. Quite a change in technology over those years!

Gary took a nap for a couple hours then got up and mowed the whole lawn, which definitely needed it. I kept yapping at him to drink a lot because we didn’t want another near-fatal case of jet lag (some of you will remember).

In other news, Baby Emma is climbing the walls:

I guess she learned a lot from this experience a week ago:

On the other side of the country, Andrew is building a retaining wall:

And Isabella is giving her first violin concert (she’s the cute one paying attention): 🙂

Lastly, hardly a post can go by without a bird and/or a cake photo:

Cake Update

May 18, 2018

Two more cakes this week, one given as a gift, one for pay.

When I get up in the morning it should be time to go pick up Gary from the airport.

Happy Mother’s Day, But Not for Everyone

May 13, 2018


Here is a photo of my mom for Mother’s Day.

I had a happy Mother’s Day, if low key.  Rachel and I drove to Taco Bueno for my Mother’s Day celebration, and I didn’t feel a bit envious of the 30 people standing in a line that snaked out of Texas Roadhouse!  I’m sure that Mother’s day is the busiest day of the entire year for local sit-down restaurants.  After that we drove to the outdoor mall and bought a couple pieces of expensive chocolate at Lindt’s Chocolate store to make up for our modest lunch. 🙂 I also got a call from Gary in Malaysia before church this morning, a video call from David and family, and texts from Andrew (whom I had had a long chat with a couple days ago).  Gary told me he couldn’t call his mom because she didn’t use WhatsApp–a cell phone app that lets you phone people over the internet–but I’m sure he would have called her if he had been stateside.

I taught my Sunday School class today, as usual, but we didn’t celebrate Mother’s Day. That’s because I teach an entire class of motherless children. Really. One child’s mother abandoned him and now his granny has custody. Another pair of siblings were removed from their mother for neglect and were adopted by a couple in our church whom they call by their first names. The mother of a fourth child committed suicide. So, yeah, no big celebration of the holiday for them. The good news is that each of these kids has other loving and responsible adults looking after them and they are being raised in the church where lots of other people love on them too. They are turning out to be great kids.

In other news, yesterday’s cake was a big hit with the 91 year old, who doesn’t look a day over 70 to me!!

Quilt and Sewing Cake

May 12, 2018

I must be getting better at this cake decorating thing because the last 2-3 complicated orders I finished at least a day ahead of schedule! That makes for a lot less stress. 🙂

This cake was partially disassembled for transport to Waco for the 91st birthday of my friend Debbie’s mother. Debbie bought an antique toy Singer sewing machine and I designed the cake around that. Also I took a photo of a quilt that he mom had made years ago and used that as a guide for making a fondant quilt block.

I was pretty happy with the way this turned out and I hope it made it safely to Waco.

If you’re into the details like I am, click here to see a photo album of the step by step process.  Click on the first photo to enlarge it.  Then in the upper right corner you should see a little letter “i” in a circle.  If you click on that, you will get a caption about the photo.

More Steps Toward Getting Old

May 9, 2018

Today I finally signed on the dotted line (of course, nowadays there is no dotted line, only electronic signatures) to purchase my Medicare Supplement and Part D Drug coverage. I ended up using an agent that Wycliffe recommended. Now I need to go cancel my regular health insurance that I’ve always had through Wycliffe.  It will be Gary’s turn in a few months.

Speaking of getting old, two of my closest non-work friends retired last week.  They now plan to spend more time with their grandkids.

My Big Day

May 6, 2018

I got up early and went to the State Park.  I was thru the gate by 6:35am.  The weather was beautiful and the birds were singing like crazy. For a few minutes I felt almost overwhelmed to sort out and ID all the different birds I was seeing and sounds I was hearing.  I kept at it until noon and I went home with 37 species.  I added a few more from the back yard and neighborhood and ended up with a total of 45 for my Big Day.  I didn’t see the hummingbird that had been hanging out on myfeeder–I did see some wasps there and now I wonder if the the hummer was killed by the wasp.

All week has been good birding here since the mulberries are getting ripe and the buntings are passing through and the weather is perfect.  Here are a few photos from yesterday.  The moon was still out when I started.

I saw an unusually large number of herons and egrets, including this Little Blue.

This Turkey vulture let me get pretty close while it was drying out its wings.

There were many Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, and they are always fun to watch.  They let you get pretty close too.

The Painted Buntings and Mockingbirds sang loudly all morning.

This isn’t a bird, but interesting nest built by a funnel-web spider.

At 6:30am there were only a few folks at the park, but as the morning wore on, more and more people showed up, including this group of people learning how to go fishing.

In the evening Rachel and I drove to north Dallas to attend the wedding of an MK she graduated with in 2000.  It was a fun wedding with both Hawaiian (where she was born) and Cinco de Mayo touches.

Lastly, Gary got off this morning for his trip to Malaysia.  He texted me from the plane, so I know he was at least on board along with a number of other colleagues.  At the last minute we were searching unsuccessfully for two of his hand-held magnifiers and he is basically lost without them, so I hope at least one of them got packed.  He did have another one for backup.


May 4, 2018

Not a lot to report on today. Gary is busy, busy (what else is new??) getting ready to leave on Sunday for a 2-week trip to Malaysia. He’s trying to get a bunch of academic papers turned into a book before then–well, at least the first draft of a book.

Today at about 5pm our back yard suddenly exploded with birds I haven’t seen in a while: Mr and Mrs Painted Bunting, Mr and Mrs Indigo Bunting, Mrs. Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and a Orchard Oriole of indeterminate gender. Rachel actually gets credit for spotting the Indigo Bunting.

Tomorrow is Global Big Day and I plan to spend most of it birding. But Gary won’t be going with me because he’s got a book to write, etc. In the evening Rachel and I will go to the first-time wedding of one of her classmates.