Sunday, December 9, 2007

Didn't I Just Rake those Leaves?

One of the disadvantages of living in the South is that the growing season lasts - oh, maybe 11+ months of the year! This weekend the temperature in Houston was in the 80's and I worked up a sweat raking the leaves and mowing the lawn. (It's hard to get into the Christmas spirit with high temps and humidity.) I noticed today that the back yard is in need of raking - again. Trees are wonderful things until they start to drop their leaves.

I have one tree in the front yard that begins to drop it's leaves in August. But it is now putting on it's second set of leaves for the year. They will be on the tree until February, and then I'll get to rake them again. New leaves will come on again in March.

Mom is visiting Bethany/Zak/Jaks in Phoenix this week so Nanna and I are "batching" it. We will survive, but we miss the "heart" of our home. Yesterday afternoon, Leanna and I put up the Christmas tree and nativity sets. I wasn't as structured as when Mom puts the lights and ornaments on the tree, but Nan and I both think it looks great.

I only have 8 more working days this year. I am taking every Friday off and my last day is Dec 20th. I return to work on January 7. I'm looking forward to the break (and to not teaching early morning seminary.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

They Came, We Saw, He Conquered

We had a wonderful visit with Beth, Zak, and Jakson at Thanksgiving. It was great to be able to visit with them and - especially, to bond with Jakson. He and Grandpa had a great time together. (Thus - he conquered our hearts.) He is a very "busy" boy - always wanting to do something. We pulled out all the old toys that were worth keeping. I remember when Jeff/Jon played with the same toys. It was also nice to be able to give him back to his parents when he started to smell.

Mom invited a widow lady from our ward to spend Thanksgiving dinner with us. She commented on Sunday how much she enjoyed being with us.

Bethany helped to make my blog better looking. Thanks to her!

I've posted some pictures of the week on my Web Album. Click on the link on the right to view.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Slow - Slow - Quick Quick

We've still got it!

If I were asked what was the most valuable class we took in college, and what we still use all these many years since graduation - I'd have to say social dance. Mom/Anne signed us up at the local community college to take a dance class this semester. The class has been going on for several weeks (like about 6 weeks) but this last Thursday was the first time I was able to attend with her. (My AP trip and stake meetings prevented us from attending earlier classes together.)

The class is just a bunch of us oldies who get together for this class. Someone brings a CD player and music. Mom and I are the youngest couple there. Anyway, as the class progressed, the instructors commented that we must have taken dance classes before. We admitted that we had in college. Everyone was amazed that we still knew many of the steps. (I guess it's because I kept my skills up while dancing with Bethany in the kitchen when she was young!) The instructors had to leave early to go to a play at the college while the rest of us stayed to practice. It ended up that Anne and I became the "substitute" teachers and were showing steps to the other couples. Then, since there were more ladies than men in attendance, Mom sat down while I danced with another old lady. It was a fun evening. We have a few more classes to attend this semester.

On Friday, Mom had volunteered to assist at the college play taking tickets and serving the refreshments after the play/musical. (It was Kismet, for those who want to know.) Mom was put in charge of all the volunteers that night and she was short-handed. So I got to help take tickets, seat people, serve the refreshments and clean up afterwards. The play wasn't that professional (kind of what you'd expect from a community college), but it was a fun evening. I enjoyed working together with Mom. We are going to more of these kind of activities over time.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

It is the Best of Times, it is the Worst of Times

We are having our two weeks of good weather in the fall. The evening temperatures are into the 50's. The daytime temps are in the low 70's. No humidity, bright sunny days. The weather is such that we want to leave our windows open all the time to get the fresh air. Mom and I go for a walk both Sat/Sun mornings just to enjoy the weather. It is the best of times.

The downside is that ragweed pollen fills the air and my eyes are dry and itchy. I am able to use a nose spray so that my sinuses don't give me a problem like when we first moved to Texas. But I have to be very careful to not touch my eyes or they really give me fits. It is the worst of times (at least for my eyes.)

I still have 15 days of vacation to take before the end of the year. We planned it out so that I am off every Friday for a half or a full day. This past weekend I used the time to take care of some necessary "honey-do's" that needed to be done.

We gave the two sofa's that were upstairs away to Salvation Army (the brown love seat and the white leather sofa). We also donated three old recliners to the SA. After I got back from my trip, Mom and I went shopping for some new furniture. We now have a nice leather sofa for the family room and two leather recliners for the master bedroom. Too bad our kids don't live close to us so that we could recycle our old furniture to them. (Maybe that is why they don't live close - hummm?)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

If it's Friday, this must be Singapore

I'm sitting here in the Singapore airport waiting for my next flight to Hong Kong. The business lounge has free computers for passengers to use, so I'll take a few minutes and just say hello to everyone. I'm halfway through my AP trip, and I'm looking forward to my return home. I was pleased to have Jonathan call me yesterday as I stood in line at McDonalds waiting for my breakfast. I talk to Mom every day since my cell phone is a world phone and is suppose to work everywhere.

I will spend this next week end in Hong Kong and attend church there. Regular services due the the time difference with General Conference. (I'm having trouble typing this note as some of the letters on the keyboard are in different locations.) Next Wednesday I fly to Shanghai - a new location for me.

I've been fighting a bug the past few days. (It better not be malaria!) One student I had this week told me as he shook my hand how he almost didn't come to the class because he had been sick, but didn't want to miss my training. I thanked him for his interest and discretely wiped my hand on my pant leg. :-)

I'll be sending out a letter of "AP Week Two" when I'm next in the office on Monday. My love to all.

Friday, September 14, 2007

But where do I put my socks?

I'm getting ready for my next round-the-world trip. But this time I am going to some new locations. It may not be so fun. I fly out 3 PM on Sunday, Sept 23 through Frankfort, Germany to Mumbai, India. (You may remember that Frankfort was in the news recently as a foiled terrorist bombing target. Yes, that Frankfort.) I arrive in Mumbai at 1 AM on Tuesday morning. I was going to fly in a few days earlier, but learned that India has a religious holiday earlier in the week. (Something about dunking a 25 foot statue in the sea.) So everything is pushed back. I fly to Singapore on Saturday. I've found the location and time of the church for that Sunday. On the following Friday, I fly to Hong Kong. Although it is conference weekend, they will still have fast and testimony meeting because of the time difference. (They tape it for viewing the following week.) After a couple of work days in Hong Kong, I fly to Shanghai, China on Wednesday. I will teach two days and then on Saturday I'm off to Tokyo. (I haven't found the church information for Tokyo. Jeff, can you suggest something?) The following Wednesday (Oct 17), I return to Houston. I'll be gone three and a half weeks - that's a long time.

The reason I am going to Asia is to provide some much needed computer training. It will be a brutal trip. I didn't know how bad it would be until I checked with our local medical department. I've been tested and have strong immunity to mumps, measles, and rubella - no boosters needed. My TB test was negative. I had to get a booster polio shot, typhoid oral booster, and something called a Twinrix (Hepatitis A/B) booster. I have to start taking malaria tablets two days before I arrive in India and continue for 7 days after I leave. I've also been told to only drink bottled water. And I'm to make sure that the bottle does not have it's seal broken. (They tend to reuse water bottles over there.)

The nurse stopped by my office today to provide me with a personal medical kit. You can see from the picture all the stuff that I am to take. I may not have room in my luggage for socks! I've got everything you can think of to cure (?) or stop diarrhea. I've got my own syringes and replacement needles in case I have to go to a doctor. (They also tend to reuse needles in India and China.) The nurse gave me a suture removal kit and butterfly bandages. I've got all kinds of high powered insect repellent and bug killer. I was even issued my own supply of antibiotics - to kill the microbugs.

Still, it is a chance in a lifetime to be able to travel to these locations and sample the local culture. I may never make it back to the more exotic cities.

I had previously told our Bishop that I would be traveling this fall and he called Bro Lacey to be my back-up seminary teacher. This means that Mom and the other parents are off the hook.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

So - who needs to sleep anyway?

As you may have seen in Leanna's blog, school started this week. That also means that seminary started this week also. Once again I am teaching seminary - the Old Testament. We don't have "sissy seminary" here in Texas - we have Real Men teaching Real Seminary at 6 AM. Our ward has two teachers. I get mostly the Seniors and Juniors as well as one Sophomore who lives close - probably 8 total will normally show up. A good size class.

I find that every day there are three separate lessons - the one I prepare, the one I teach, and the one I wish I would have taught.

I've got another round the world trip coming up soon. (The bishopric has found a sub for me to teach seminary while I'm away.) I will be gone for three weeks this time, all of it in Asia Pacific. I will be in Mumbai, India (we called it Bombay when I was growing up), Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai (China), and Tokyo. I have to go to these cities to train users in our computer system. (Remember that I picked up some added responsibilities a few months ago? This is part of that responsibility.) I've been getting immunizations and arranging for pills so that I won't get sick while away. (Anyone care for a malaria tablet?) Working the visa applications for India and China is a hassle.

I will try to take pictures and post them on a web album. I will be gone from Sept 21 to Oct 13.

Between seminary and all the travel, I don't think I'll be getting much sleep for awhile....

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Old Dog Learning New Tricks

Look at me, I'm publishing on the web! Anne is always "encouraging" me to write more to my family. Since Jeff and Jon have returned from their missions, I haven't been as diligent in writing. Maybe this old dog can learn some new tricks. If my siblings/kids want to know what has been happening in my life, they can refer to this blog. We'll see how it goes.....

Isn't that a talented grandson! I used to do this same trick with Bethany. We have lots of pictures of me holding her like this. But we gave Bethany her photo album and she has them now.