Month: April 2013

  • A Happy Surprise, A Desk, & A Delicious Dessert

    Today I got up and made “cheater” cinnamon rolls for my family. I just used crescent roll dough and kind of smoothed it together before brushing on melted butter and adding cinnamon sugar. Of course I couldn’t have any, but I got some pretty positive feedback.

    I had quite a bit of paperwork to do today, because I wanted to make sure I had really tied up all the loose ends before our year-end co-op picnic tomorrow, so I can pass back as many papers as possible. It feels so good to have that all done!

    After lunch I was resting and reading in my room when the phone rang. When I answered, a voice on the other end informed me that this was a prank phone call–from Zambia. Right away I knew who it was. My friend Don never just says hello and identifies himself. He was trying out a free internet phone service and we ended up talking for 40 minutes. We have plenty to talk about because we have been friends for 46 years. That made my day!

    Soon after I hung up, my friend Molly showed up with a desk. She and her family are moving out of state, and they had a large desk up for grabs. Spencer’s “desk” is just a table with no drawers, so I was thrilled to be able to get him a real desk with some storage space. And they even delivered it! I will be so sorry to see them go, though.

    And, for the icing on the cake, so to speak, Lina made lemon meringue pie for dessert without being asked or begged or coerced in any way.  Even without the crust, it was yummy!

  • Two Social Calls in One Day

     Today I had to go early to Walmart to do our actual shopping. Saturday’s chai party was the first one in a long time where we completely ran out of food. Usually we are stuck trying to figure out how to eat up all the leftovers!

    So anyway, I got the shopping done and we got the food put away and then I found more papers to grade. I had a feeling there were a few more! It feels good to get it all sorted out though.

    It also felt wonderful to not have a class today. Instead, after lunch I headed out with Lucy and Jasper. We dropped Lucy off at the farm and then Jasper and I drove just a little farther to our friends Steve and Angie’s house. We had never been to their new house, which is out in the country. Jasper’s job was to entertain Angie’s two preschool boys so that Angie and I could have tea and carry on a conversation. It was pretty chaotic at first, because the boys were so excited to see Jasper, but eventually he got them happily playing in the playroom and Angie and I had a nice visit. We also went outside to see the guinea fowl, including the hen that’s sitting on a clutch of 20 eggs.

    Then it was time to go back to the farm to pick up Lucy, only when we got there, she and Ilse were out on the horses and nowhere in sight. So while I waited for them, I got in a short visit with my friend Kim and also got to see 4 adorable kittens, a flock of goats including one extremely pregnant nanny, a newly-hatched button quail, five wild rabbit babies which they’re raising, and assorted cats, dogs, horses, and cows. Kim sent us home with some of their wonderful farm eggs.

    I’ve spent the evening doing some planning for Mary’s dress. I need to get to work on the mock-up ASAP.

  • Chai Party Day

    Well, I have really been having issues with the internet today, so here’s hoping that I am actually able to post this.

    Today was a chai party day, so getting ready was kind of the primary task. I started by doing all the shopping early this morning with Jasper. I must say it was a huge help having Lina here. She helped with the cooking, cleaning, and even sorting out card decks.

    After the shopping, my main goal of the day was to get the rest of my grading done, and I think I just about achieved it. There may be a stray paper lurking here or there but I think I did almost all of it.

    The chai party had a very slow start but is now going well and we went all the way through the first twelve gallons and had to make more! The students have exams next week and graduation is a week from today.

  • Twelve
    So, last night Xanga wouldn’t let me post anything. I assure you, yesterday did happen. It was the day we actually celebrated Jasper’s birthday, starting of course with his breakfast in bed. This time I got my preparation time down to 50 minutes, which was a 10-minute savings over the previous three times. He loved the breakfast but wasn’t able to finish it in one sitting!
    Lina called later in the morning to say that she wouldn’t be home until almost supper time because she needed to take Flynn to the car repair shop to pick up his car. So, I got going on making Jasper’s cake. He had requested another turtle cake, which meant baking four little loaf cakes for the legs, a large oval for the body, and a small oval for the head. We used an iced ice cream cone for the tail. He also wanted the cake to be both chocolate and peanut butter, so I made chocolate batter and then made yellow cake batter with peanut butter instead of oil. I dropped globs of peanut butter batter into the chocolate batter and the result was a marbled chocolate and peanut butter turtle.
    I also started the relish for the nshima dinner that Jasper had requested for his birthday, and made the dough for mandazis. My friend Robin came over with her two youngest daughters so there was a nice lull in the afternoon while we visited with them. After they left, we had mandazis to fry, a cake to ice, and nshima to make. AJ came over and we had a delicious dinner, followed by an episode of Top Gear.
    Then Jasper finally got to open his gifts. He received the Nerf gun of his dreams, a soccer jersey, a book, and various other odds and ends. He also got his very first sword. When Lina and I were at the Faire on Sunday, and were asked to man the weapons shop for a while, Tim (the owner) told me that for payment I could pick anything from the store. Well. He had a couple of scimitars left, and considering the fact that we had looked everywhere to get a pirate sword for Jasper, I couldn’t resist. It’s different from all his siblings’ swords, and due to the shape it can’t be pulled quickly from the scabbard. It is also not sharpened–an important consideration when giving a sword to a twelve-year-old!
    We finished up the evening by eating the turtle cake and watching a video (after Jasper went to bed). 
  • Change of Plans

    I had a plan. I liked my plan. It was a good plan. Today, I found out that my plan would not work. There were tears. I was very disappointed. But, I came up with a Plan B that I felt I could be happy with. I thought the problem was solved. Then, Plan B got shot to pieces. It wasn’t anybody’s fault. There is no one to blame or point a finger at. The fact is that for some reason the universe failed to align itself according to my wishes. So, I’ve been rather sad and grumpy. I have a Plan C, but don’t know whether or not it will work.

    Flynn had a change of plans today too. His car failed to start and he ended up having to get it towed. He is currently renting a vehicle while the fate of his car is being decided. Lina drove to Dallas this afternoon to go to the symphony with him and I know they are having a great time.

    Meanwhile, Jasper also had a change of plans today. Today is his birthday. Can you believe my baby is twelve years old? He spent the night across the street with his friend Ben, and then had the time of his life helping to mow Ben’s lawn this morning.

    We are not celebrating his birthday today because he had a piano recital this evening and because Lina is not here. Since Lina is not here, we didn’t have transportation to the recital, so my sweet neighbor Kim offered to let Jasper and me ride with her (Ben was also in the recital).

    Jasper had told me this afternoon that he was not sure which two pieces he would be playing for the recital. He was sure about one, but not about the other. I texted his teacher to ask, but she didn’t get it in time. When we got to the church where the recital was held, and got a look at the program, Jasper was dismayed to discover that his teacher had him down for playing the “less favorite” piece. He went and talked to her and came back all smiles, saying that she had said he could play the “more favorite” piece.

    He was the last student to play, and he played his two pieces well. The second piece in particular was flawless. Afterwards, I went to thank Liz (his teacher) for letting him play the other piece. That’s when I found out that the piece he played tonight was a piece that he just got for the first time yesterday. Liz had wanted him to play a piece that he’s been practicing for weeks. Instead he learned a new piece in one day and played it for the recital. Now that’s a positive change of plans!

  • The Great Shoe Hunt

    I am well aware of the fact that I fail at many things. One of the things I apparently have failed at is the preservation of Lina’s shoes. Over a year ago, when we went to our niece’s wedding, Lina was on her way out of the country and after the wedding she sent her “dressy” shoes back home with us as they are no use to her in Africa.

    What I failed to do was to track what happened to the shoes when we returned home. I should have boxed them up and designated a sibling to put them in Lina’s storage area. I spent many, many hours before Lina’s arrival cleaning up in that room. I found many shoes, some of which I suspected might be Lina’s.

    When Lina arrived and moved in, she found one of her dress shoes. One shoe. Not a pair. Then, suddenly, it became imperative for her to find the other shoe, because Flynn scored some deeply discounted symphony tickets and Lina is driving to Dallas tomorrow to go to the symphony with her brother.

    Well. She looked high, and she looked low. She looked under furniture, into the eave spaces, in closets. Her one shoe remained lonely. This morning she went shoe shopping and it didn’t end well. It usually doesn’t for the girls in this family. When your feet are both long and wide, your options are extremely limited, especially if your budget is also extremely limited.

    Eventually, she found some shoes online, and a coupon which made them affordable, but of course that does her no good for tomorrow! So I am loaning her my “dressy” shoes which really aren’t dressy at all if you look too closely at them, but she will be wearing a long skirt (also borrowed from me) so I’m hoping no one looks too closely at her feet. Her feet are larger than mine, but the shoes have a little bit of stretch to them, so we’re hoping she can hobble to her seat and then surreptitiously remove the shoes during the actual symphony and then put them back on to hobble back out to the car. Hope it works!

    In other news, we were supposed to go to a picnic today but after a rainy night and the arrival of a cold front, it has been postponed. In fact it turned into a lovely day but it would have been a bit chilly for a picnic. I got my grocery shopping done finally and then I had a student come for tutoring (my one ongoing commitment). Lina and I dropped Lucy off at youth group and then continued on to the craft store to get some supplies for candle holders for Mary’s wedding. We might also have stopped for a drink at the bookstore next door.

    Tomorrow someone has a birthday.

  • Not Enough of Nothing . . . Yet

    I’m not sure if I’ve ever bragged about doing nothing before. Well, I’m not really bragging. And I might have done a tiny little thing or two. But the reality is that I slept in just a little this morning. Then I made sure the trash was taken out and checked my email before taking a nap.

    I did make my bed and start cleaning up my desk and update my checkbook and pay some bills, before having lunch and then another nap.

    I also got supper going and went grocery shopping. I did not do any grading or class preparation, because today was my first “down” day in I don’t know how long.

    This evening I went to my writers’ meeting, and I didn’t have to go an hour and a half early because Lina could take me. I was so glad I went, despite the fact that I was desperately drowsy for the first half. Our speaker had some excellent information that I haven’t heard elsewhere and it was well worth my time to be there.

    Since then I haven’t done anything more exciting than pick the chicken meat off the bones and get it put away. Never a dull moment around here . . . 

  • Showers of Blessing

    Yesterday did not go at all like I expected, but that’s okay. It was a wonderful day. We had breakfast with Flynn before he had to head back to Dallas to get ready to go to the opera. Meanwhile we of course went to church.

    After church it was time for Lina and I to make our last foray to the Faire. We were looking forward to seeing the final joust and finding out who the winner for the whole season was. And of course we hoped to go around and visit all our Faire friends for one last time before next spring. (Well, Lina won’t see them again for who knows how long!)

    Once again I hurriedly got supper put together in the slow cooker and then struggled into garb before taking off for the Faire with Lina. It was just the two of us this time, using up my last two tickets. It was a beautiful sunny day, just a little bit warmer than the day before. We arrived in mid-afternoon, and since Triskelion was singing as we walked through the gate, we stopped to listen to them. This is their fourth year at our faire, and I have enjoyed them every year. Lina, of course, had not heard them before this year so I was glad that she also enjoys their singing.

    We promised to attend their 4:00 show and then headed on up to the Armoury to visit our friends Carrie and Tim. This is the great thing about being a regular. You can have a wonderful time without spending a cent because it is just so nice to spend time with people whose company you enjoy. After a few minutes Tim asked me if we had plans for the afternoon. I wasn’t sure where the conversation was leading, so I cautiously admitted that our plans were flexible.

    It turned out that Carrie had to go dance (she’s part of the dancing troupe) and Tim really wanted to participate in the final ax-throwing tournament, so he was wondering if I’d be willing to mind the shop for a while. How could I resist? After being a customer for ten years, I was more than happy to mind the shop so he could go throw axes. Sure, doing so would conflict with Triskelion’s show, but they would be performing on the stage directly across from the shop, so we’d still get to hear them.

    So, I got the cash envelope and a few instructions, and Tim went off to his tournament. Lina watched the dancing for a while before joining me. There weren’t very many customers, but I did sell $10 worth of merchandise! The one disappointment was that we didn’t get to hear Triskelion after all. The dancers had come up into the vicinity to do their show, and the drums would have drowned out the guitar and singers. During a bit of a lull, some other musicians joined Triskelion, who were waiting patiently on the stage. One of them was a girl who played the bowed psaltery–an instrument that fascinates me. I was tickled to get to hear it “live,” so to speak.

    The ax tournament went so long that we missed the last joust, but that wasn’t so bad. We had a beautiful view on a beautiful day and it was fun to sit and watch the Faire go by. By the time the dancers left, it was too late for Triskelion to play because someone else was scheduled for that stage. To our delight, Floyd from Triskelion came up a few minutes later and gave us one of their CDs as a consolation prize! Further, he offered to play for us down at their booth if we could make it down there later.

    Eventually, Tim returned with two trophies–one for third place in the tournament, and another for having won the most tournaments overall during the course of the Faire. I gladly turned the shop back over to him and Lina and I walked on down to Triskelion’s booth. Leah (one of the three) had already left, but Floyd and Sarah were still there so they played and sang several songs for us. What a treat! Lina and I sang along with the last song–Wild Mountain Thyme. I love the wistfulness of that song.

    Eventually we did make it back to the forge to say goodbye to Shadowhawk and his wife Sarah, and his partner Dan. Then a final goodbye to Tim and Carrie and a slow meander down to the gate. It was such a beautiful and enjoyable afternoon. After leaving the Faire, we went on to Barnes & Noble for a drink and Lina might have browsed a little before we headed home. We also talked to Mary on the phone because it was her 22nd birthday and the first one she has spent away from home. She and Jordan are having to change their plans so we are waiting to hear where they will be going and what they will be doing after they get married.

    Today, I had my last English class for this school year. We made some treats and my students brought some too. One of them brought me a beautiful bouquet of pink roses. I do love roses so. We played a writing game and finished off by enjoying our snacks and watching an Agatha Christie mystery.

    Shortly after my class ended, I had my final tutoring session with one of my other students. She also brought me an unexpected gift–a gift certificate to my favorite yarn store, which I sometimes refer to as the Realm of Perpetual Bliss and Serenity.

    I feel very blessed right now–a lovely day at the Faire, a good end to my English class, beautiful roses, and yarn!

    Tomorrow, there is only one really big thing on my agenda: sleep.

  • I Know That My Redeemer Liveth

    Jessie B. Pounds

    I know that my Redeemer liveth,
    And on the earth again shall stand;
    I know eternal life He giveth,
    That grace and power are in His hand.


    I know, I know, that Jesus liveth,
    And on the earth again shall stand;
    I know, I know, that life He giveth,
    That grace and power are in His hand.

    I know His promise never faileth,
    The Word He speaks, it cannot die;
    Though cruel death my flesh assaileth,
    Yet I shall see Him by and by.


    I know my mansion He prepareth,
    That where He is there I may be;
    O wondrous thought, for me He careth,
    And He at last will come for me.



  • A Faire Tail

    Silly me. I was so exhausted last night when I posted that I failed to mention one of the primary events of our day at the Faire. When we were watching the juggler’s act, Jasper somehow slipped off the stone bench he was sitting on and he somehow got his pants snagged on a rock. To his horror, he ended up with a three-cornered tear in the back of his pants and even (much worse!) a hole in his underwear!

    This created quite a dilemma. What to do? I had him carry my chair, because when he has the strap on his shoulder the chair covers his back quite nicely. I thought that maybe my friend Carrie might have needle and thread in her stall, but I hated to ask, and that would require Jasper to remove his pants while I worked on them!

    Then I had a brilliant idea. I looked up at the armoury and sure enough, they still had some animal tails. Jasper and I went up there to look. The fox tails were by far the prettiest, but not in my budget. So we picked out a coyote tail and I attached it to his sash and it covered the tear perfectly! For the rest of the day he had a tail.

    I must say that I don’t understand why people who don’t have ripped pants buy these tails and wear them everywhere. They are a huge seller at the Faire. I just can’t understand why you would go to the Faire and feel like you just could not leave happy unless you had an animal tail hanging behind you! But a lot of people get them. Jasper was very grateful for his! And, since our Faire is called Canterbury Faire, that means that Jasper has a Canterbury Tail!

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