May 7, 2013

  • Baby Steps

    Guess what I did today? Guess. I finally cut out the mockup for Mary’s dress, and after I finish writing this entry and drinking my tea, I’ll be up late sewing. It took me most of the day, not just because I had other stuff to do, but also because I ran out of my good pins and the other pins I have are such losers. They are too blunt to pierce the fabric I’m using, and after bending pin after pin I got a little frustrated. I was desperate enough to get online and pay the big bucks to order the only pins I’ve ever found that I actually like. No way am I using the blunt ones once I start working with satin and chiffon!

    The biggest excitement of the day was when the DHL truck stopped in front of our house because I knew it was delivering my mother of the bride dress and Lina’s bridesmaid dress. I was pleasantly surprised by my dress. I feel quite certain that I couldn’t have found anything I liked near as well if I had gone shopping here in town–and the cost would have been higher also.

    This evening was our last Literary Society dinner of the school year. We were discussing Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi, so we met at a “Southern” restaurant. Two of my students weren’t able to come, and I missed them, but we still had an enjoyable dinner.

    After our dinner, Lucy came with me to run and errand and then I left her to amuse herself while I went to a 4-H meeting at another restaurant. My friend Tammie, who has been our 4-H leader, is stepping down, so we are trying to figure out how to keep our club going. I would really like to be more involved in 4-H next year, especially since I won’t be teaching co-op classes again and Jasper really wants to join too.

    I came home to find Walter showing his Germany slides to Lina. He’s still at it . . . 

May 6, 2013

  • A Moving Experience

    Yesterday we got up and had a rather leisurely breakfast before hitching up the trailer and heading out in the van for Dallas. All of us except for Mercy went. We ate lunch in the van on the way and arrived at Flynn’s apartment early in the afternoon.

    While the manly men moved furniture from Flynn’s second-story apartment to the trailer, I packed up Flynn’s kitchen. Once the trailer was full, we drove all of 300 yards down the road to Flynn’s new apartment complex. Now everything had to be carried up to Flynn’s new second-story apartment. I stayed in the new apartment and started setting up the kitchen while others made two more trips to bring all of Flynn’s furniture and appliances to his new place.

    Walter set up Flynn’s bed in his new bedroom. The new place has a little loft which he has already set up as an office with his computer desk and chair. The new apartment is probably about the same size as the old one, but it feels more spacious because of the cathedral ceiling in the living area.

    It certainly does not have a spacious kitchen. In fact, I have a strong suspicion that the architects who design apartment kitchens have never so much as boiled a pot of water in an actual kitchen, let alone had to make a sandwich or chop some vegetables. There are a few inches of counter space on either side of the stove–enough to hold a coffee maker on one side and a blender on the other. There is an actual counter beside the sink–just big enough to hold the microwave but not big enough to also hold a dish drainer. The toaster oven has to be stacked on top of the microwave. There are two miniscule drawers, neither one of which is actually large enough to hold a standard silverware organizer. This is not a kitchen for someone who likes to cook, and neither is any other kitchen I’ve seen in an apartment. Good thing I don’t live in an apartment!

    We have a family tradition, dating back to our first night in our “old” house, which is that we must have hot dogs for the first meal in a new house, because on that night in 1994, that was the easiest meal I could think of to make with what I had on hand. The kids insisted on hot dogs when we moved into this house of course, and Flynn had hot dogs on his first night in his first, second, and third apartments.

    So last night there was no question about what to eat for supper. Flynn had already laid in a supply of hot dogs and buns, and there was chili and chips also. It was a convivial meal as we perched wherever we could find a spot to sit (Flynn has a lovely dining table but does not use it for eating at).

    We left soon after supper, satisfied that we had helped him get most of his moving done. He still has a few odds and ends at his old place, and of course will need to clean there, but he has all week to do that.

    Today Mercy and Spencer both started working full time for the summer. Spencer is working on the paint crew on campus, and Mercy is working at the library during the mornings and on the paint crew in the afternoon. They are both carrying on a family tradition too. I worked on the paint crew the summer I got married and have always been grateful–knowing how to paint a room is a valuable skill to know!

    I could delay no longer–I ordered the fabric for Mary’s wedding dress today, not having been able to find what I wanted here in town. Like it or not, I will have to use it!

  • When I was a kid in boarding school in Africa, we had “prayers” (a devotion time) every afternoon before supper. If it was raining, it would be impossible to hear the teacher because the rain was deafening on the tin roof. So instead we would “sing through the alphabet,” choruses starting with each letter in succession. All Your Anxiety was one of the favorites for the letter “A,” the other being At the Cross. We had to sing loudly to hear ourselves over the rain!

    All Your Anxiety

    Edward H. Joy


    Is there a heart bent, o’erbound by sorrow?

    Is there a life weighed down by care?

    Come to the cross, each burden bearing;

    All your anxiety–leave it there.



    All your anxiety, all your care,

    Bring to the mercy seat; leave it there

    Never a burden He cannot bear,

    Never a friend like Jesus.


    No other friend so swift to help you,

    No other friend so quick to hear,

    No other place to leave your burden,

    No other one to hear your prayer.




    Come then at once; delay no longer!

    Heed His entreaty kind and sweet,

    You need not fear a disappointment;

    You shall find peace at the mercy seat.



May 4, 2013

  • Long Day

    Today was graduation at the university, which means that my husband had to get up and go to work at 3:00 a.m. I lolled about in bed until 6:10, when I got up for my weekly Walmart excursion with my usual sidekick, Jasper.

    By the time we returned home, Mercy, Spencer, and Lucy had all left to go to graduation. We got food put away and Lina made a big batch of oatmeal cookies.

    I got some cleaning up done in advance of finally starting to work on Mary’s dress mock-up. I need to alter the sleeve pattern, and I have to admit that altering is not one of the things I enjoy. I am going to have to be very strict with myself so that I don’t try to wimp out of it.

    Walter worked at the university till noon, and then he and Spencer went out to do their usual Saturday jobs, which took them till supper time.

    Lina made us a wonderful supper–a mango/chicken/rice/avocado salad that was delicious. I love having a second cook in the house. After supper, Walter went out to do yet another job–burnishing a floor. I don’t know how he stayed on his feet.

    Tomorrow, we are going to help Flynn move. I really hope his new apartment complex treats him better than the current one has.


May 3, 2013

  • Everyone Knows It’s Windy

    Ruthann Friedman

    Yesterday was windy, but today was windier. It was 42 degrees this morning and felt like 33! The Weather Channel warned us that there was a Lake Wind Advisory today. We decided not to rush out to the lake right away, in hopes that it would warm up. Besides, Spencer had to get his I.D. card at the university, so we waited as he went over to the correct office twice, only to find that the people were out doing stuff with the seniors.

    Finally we gave up on the card and headed out to the lake at about 11:30. The sun shone on the Indian paintbrushes and other wildflowers that were liberally sprinkled over the median and verges of the highway. The grass glowed with life. It was a beautiful drive.

    When we got to the lake and stepped out of the van, we realized that the wind was much more intense out there. Although I had warned everyone to bring a jacket, no one was warm enough. Once we got our things to the picnic table, the boys huddled up together on the grass under the picnic blanket. There was lots of laughter as they crawled to the table without losing blanket cover. Despite the cold and the wind, we had a delicious lunch and reveled in being in the great outdoors. I was so glad I hadn’t got around to putting away my thermoses yet. Tea is extra sublime when you are drinking a piping hot cup of it outdoors on a cool and windy day.

    After lunch, Lina, Spencer and Jasper all went on a long hike along the lakeshore, while I stayed to hold the fort and Lucy tried to get some sun on her winter white legs. I got so cold sitting in the shade (because I have to watch my sun exposure very carefully) and having the wind blow on me, that eventually I got up to go exploring myself. I decided to go have a look at the cypress trees that I love to photograph when I am at the lake. The last time we were there, the cypress trees really looked as if they might be dead, and I was almost afraid to look.

    You can imagine my relief when I cleared the obstructing vegetation and saw the cypress trees covered with spring green leaves. Furthermore, I could walk right up to them because they are no longer in the lake, which is still very low. Not even their tippy-toes were wet. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen these particular trees close up, and I might have taken way too many photos of the branching roots and bright green leaves.

    The wind was blowing the lake almost to the feet of the trees, and the lake there was brown instead of blue–the first time I have ever seen it like that. There was wave after wave of little whitecaps blowing ashore.

    I also found some fearsome tall spiky plants with pink flowers growing near the lake. I looked them up when I got home and found out they are “nodding thistles,” an import from Europe that has spread over much of the USA, apparently.

    Even though we were only at the lake for about three hours, it seemed much longer. The explorers eventually returned and we gathered up our stuff and returned to town through the gorgeous landscape, arriving in town in time for Spencer to finally get his I.D. card, which he will need to have when he begins his summer job on Monday.

    I love the lake. I love having it to ourselves. I love the peace and the silence and the semi-tamed wildness of it. I wish I had a cabin at the lake. 

May 2, 2013

  • Surprise!


    Today I got to surprise someone. That is always fun. I’ve been thinking about my friend Jean, whom I hadn’t seen since her 90th birthday party in September, and thinking how thrilled she’d be to know that Lina is back. I asked Lina if Jean knew she was back, and she really didn’t know.

    I cooked up a plan. I called Jean at home this morning. No answer. So I called her son’s business. She wasn’t there either, but he gave me her cell phone number. I called the cell phone number. Again, no answer. I was mystified. A few minutes later, Jean called me. She had been unable to answer my call because she was in her car driving to work. How many 90-year-olds do you know who still go to work every day?

    I asked her if she had plans for lunch and she said no, so I offered to come get her and take her out for lunch. She loved the idea so we set a time for me to come. I never said a word about Lina. It was overcast, windy, and deliciously cool today, making it perfect for a lunchtime outing.

    Lina and I set off a little early and stopped at the curriculum warehouse that was on our way. We didn’t have time for some serious browsing, but we did look around a little and buy a few items on clearance. Then we continued on to the town where Jean lives and drove up her son’s shop. She was waiting in the front of the shop. I got out and went in first, and she was so happy to see me! In fact she was focused on me and didn’t look over to see Lina at all. So I said, “Look who my chauffeur is today,” and she looked and her whole face lit up! She was so surprised and delighted.

    We took her across the street to a Chinese restaurant and had a lovely visit over lunch. What a sweet lady she is and what a blessing she’s been to our family for the last 21 years or so.

    Later, I had a phone call from Mary, who is currently visiting dear friends in Georgia. I’m more than a little jealous, but at least I’ll get so see some of them when they come in for the wedding.

    This evening we had our Bible study, which Lina is now part of, and that was a lovely way to end the day.

May 1, 2013

  • A Picnic Day

    Today was the day of the end of year picnic for our co-op classes, since last week the weather was too bad to have it. I have to admit I was not all that enthusiastic about having to get up and get ready to go somewhere, but I had promised Jasper that we would go.

    Jasper cheerfully made scrambled eggs for us all for breakfast, and we eventually straggled out the door almost half an hour late. We were driving way up on the north side of town to a house we’d never been to before. Well, Jasper had been there because his good buddy Isaac lives there, but it was new to me!

    By the time we got there, there were lots of families there. It was a property in the country with two ponds, a big playground, and plenty of woods to play airsoft in. I was able to pass back papers to four of my students and visit with a couple other moms while the kids played. It was so enjoyable to be outdoors in such a beautiful setting.

    We got back home in plenty of time for piano lessons, and then Lina, Mercy and I went out on another shoe excursion, with mixed success. We also stopped off at the craft store and I got the first few supplies for Mary’s wedding jewelry. Oh, and Lina and I ordered our dresses for the wedding. I really hope they arrive in plenty of time!

    I made a big pot of chili for supper and that was a big treat because I don’t make it often. Tomorrow, I really need to do some sewing.


April 30, 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!

April 29, 2013

  • 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.

April 27, 2013

  • 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.