Saturday, December 29, 2007

Santa made it...

...despite the Texas wind turbines. And Bethany made it, too!

Everyone's least-favorite tree topper.
(Karen & I LOVE it!!)
(BTW, the kids noted that the Santa voice that accompanied the sleigh bells outside their windows sounded remarkably like Aunt Kristy's! Hmm...)
Karen thought of a terrific gift...REAL New Hampshire maple syrup made by my childhood friend, Melanie (Cray) Blake. Her family makes it themselves!!

Can you tell how content I was to have that sweet Bessie Lou home again? It does NOT matter how old your child gets...she'll always be your BABY. (The blue jewelry belonged to my crazy red-headed grandmother, Lea Emma, Dad's mom. It felt so nice to wear it on Christmas Eve.)

Hope you all had a quiet, happy, blessed Christmas with the ones you love...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas in peril for West Texans!

How will Santa ever make it to Abilene?

A coach sent me this today accidentally as he tried to email it to Mike...but I loved it enough to share it. (My favorite part is the turbine on the far right of the cartoon; it kinda' reminds me of a Claymation Christmas spoof I once saw done on Apocolypse Now...)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Abilene High teachers...

...go above and beyond the call of duty in this video! (Is it any wonder that AHS beat Hebron last week after this inspiring pep rally number?)

Good luck tomorrow at Texas Stadium, Eagles!

Update: Abilene's mighty Eagles had a rough game yesterday, and Pflugerville won in overtime. (The game was tied at 14 points each at the end of regulation.) A friend of mine, who used to be inside the AHS "Champ" mascot suit, sent me a rather naughty email at 1:43 in the morning, suggesting that Pflugerville ...well...let's just say that my potty-mouthed friend converted a taboo 4-letter word into a new, non-existent 5-letter word with a P in front...

Congratulations, Abilene Eagles, on a terrific year and for tying the 1955 school-record for the second-most wins in one season. Everyone at Cooper and in Wylie followed your progress with support and enthusiasm and respect...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Christmas Concert at the Civic Center

We just got home from the first-ever matinée performance of the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra's Christmas Celebration. It was wonderful, and we really made a girls' afternoon of it, meeting Kirsten at Starbucks before the performance. In fact, she snapped the picture above!

In the Christmas spirit yet?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007


What a wonderful day! Bethany, SNOW, turkey, sweet potatoes, Grandy's rolls, SNOW, three different kinds of pie, and COLD weather and oh, yeah--did I mention SNOW? It's been snowing almost all day!

In fact, AT THIS VERY MOMENT the kids are out in the front yard making a respectable snowman who could hold his head high in any snowman convention. (Usually, our Abilene snowmen are 45% dirt and grass.)

Not much sun in the "sun room" for Hannah's after-turkey nap...

Right now, Bethany and I are in here enjoying the toasty fire Houston made and stealing a minute at the computer to blog all the thanks and happiness. Karen is outside taking pictures of Sir Snowman and the kids. She'll probably need the computer in a few minutes to do her FIRST blog since we moved in together.

Time to go call Mom and Dad and Russell and tell them how thankful I am for each of them...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

In the wee, small hours...

...when crazy dreams wake you up, what do you do?

After I shot the two bad guys in my dream (and told the third one who was hiding in a cupboard to "drop it" and surrender), the police instructor told me that I handled the situation badly. You apparently have to identify yourself and give them the opportunity to "drop it," even if there are THREE of them and they have already killed your partner. Glad to wake up from that dream, I lay there thinking it's a good thing the Abilene Police Department doesn't need me because I'm clearly NOT law enforcement material....

...which reminded me that Jeff Cooper & my dad (both law enforcement material) tell you to always be aware of your surroundings, but when I'd come into the house earlier, I had a dog on a leash, my purse, my school clothes & shoes (I'd just worked out in shorts & sneakers), AND was talking on the cell phone to my mom, checking on Dad who is in the hospital. So I grabbed a flashlight, car keys, and a trusty black hound to venture outside at 2:48 a.m. to be sure the car was locked so Jeff Cooper and my dad would be proud of me.

***quick pause to pray for Dad and to ask YOU to pray for him, too!! please pray that his leg will be healed and that he and diabetes come to working terms with each other since they have to live together for many years***

Well, there was no sleeping after that, so from 2:50 until after 5:00, it was time for a delicious reading opportunity. I finished the delightful French children's book The Pull of the Ocean by Jean-Claude Mourlevat (a former German teacher!) and read the introduction and first three chapters of Barbara Brown Taylor's Leaving Church. Yum.

Hoping your Thanksgiving Eve is filled with tasty books,

P.S. Did you hear the Jeff Bezos interview on NPR? What do you think of Amazon's Kindle? (399 dollars? Gulp. Good thing there's free shipping...)

UPDATE: After watching the Kindle video on the link above, I'm hooked. This will be the Christmas present I want NEXT year, when the price comes down a smidge and the glitches are all worked out...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Early Morning Conversation

Karen: “I don’t know what kind of eye drops the doctor used on Houston yesterday, but his eye is as dilated as it was last night!” (Houston got a chemical burn on his eye yesterday after a chemistry class did a lab on acids--and apparently didn’t wash the tables afterwards. Houston and another boy got burns just by sitting at the acid covered desks!)

Kristy: “He can borrow my sunglasses today. Or he can just go with an eye patch like Menachem Begin. Oh, wait…it wasn’t Begin. Who was that Israeli guy with the eye patch?"

Karen: “I have no idea. What year was that?”

Kristy: “I dunno. 1972, maybe?”

Karen: “I was seven that year. You were forty.”

Twenty minutes later:

Karen: “Have you ever heard Coach --- sing?”

Kristy: “YES! He’s amazing! He kinda’ reminds me of Shaft.”

Karen: “Who?”

Kristy: “You’ve never heard of Shaft? You never watched that show? Oh, never mind. I was forty in the seventies.”

Karen: “I remember some shows from the seventies. My first crush was Hutch from Starsky & Hutch.”

Kristy: “My first crush was Starsky!! I loved him and that beautiful car. I specifically remember wanting to be a grownup so bad during one episode when he made a right turn near a corner store…I particularly remember thinking that I couldn’t wait to be an adult because I could just pull in that store and buy a whole bag of Cheetohs for myself. I *could not wait* to be the boss of me…what I ate, when I went to bed, what I drove!”

Karen: “You are so funny. You were independent from the time you were born…at the age of forty.”

Kristy: “The ironic part is…now that I’m a grownup, my hips don’t want me to eat a whole bag of Cheetohs. I’m finally a grownup and I STILL can’t eat what I want!”

Karen: “Blog that.”

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ann Arbor happiness.

This weekend's second celebrity sighting--Sara Kelly Johns!
(WAY more exciting than seeing Sen. Hutchison in the airport...)

Ann Arbor is lovely--lots of trees that still have their fall color, ducks floating on ponds outside the hotel room & the ProQuest office, cool weather...too bad I forgot to pack two spare AA batteries for my camera (which went dead after taking two pictures)! Grrr.

So, in the meantime, you can check out the pictures at Sara Johns' ProQuest album on Flickr:

Oh, and we talked about databases (and school libraries and kids and budgets) and ate at Gratzi (Italian) and Amadeus (Hungarian) which were both yummily amazing...but the real joy in this weekend is wrapped up in the people. Smart, interesting, thoughtful, well-traveled, and simply fascinating. (Seriously, last night, I raised my glass of Hirter Brivat Pils to toast and clinked glasses with J. Linda Williams, WHO IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION!!) The night before that, I ate dinner with Sara Johns, THE PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL LIBRARIANS. (This is like spending your weekend with Spielberg and Scorsese. Or Page and Plant. These two are the rock stars of the school library world!!)

Happy and with a tummy full of paprikash,

UPDATE: One of ProQuest's cool new marketing posters with a flying saucer on it led to discussion of the classic film The Day the Earth Stood Still...which J. Linda Williams was in. About eight minutes into the film, look for five year-old Linda & her dad getting up from their picnic blanket and pointing at a UFO. (This, btw, raises Ms. Williams even higher than Robert Plant it's like I spent the weekend with The Police.)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Celebrity sighting!

Today, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was in the DFW airport signing her book in the airport! (Oh, I'm in Michigan, btw.)

And here's some really special people, despite their lack of celebrity status...Franklin Broncos! (Guess you could call us "F list.") Now that our campus is closed, we meet once a month at Los Arcos.

Little Marty!
(Welcome to the world, Anson!)

(Notice only one nerd showed up in her Bronco gear. HA!!! What a loser!!!)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Happy Gunpowder Day!

Although we Americans won't be burning Guy Fawkes in effigy or celebrating around bonfires tonight, the least we can do is to post our targets from Saturday's handgun proficiency test. (I shot low and shot wild and had some trouble with misfires, but a passing score is what's important!)
Now if all bad guys would just hold still like this kindly miscreant who allowed me to shoot him repeatedly at different ranges and waited patiently for me to clear the chamber of the misfired rounds. Quite a thoughtful fellow!

Here is one Dan snapped with his camera phone of me clearing the chamber of a misfired round. (And no, the close target is NOT my target!They don't cut girls any slack at the range...)

Reading: Prayer: Does It Make a Difference? by Philip Yancey & Our Lady of Weight Loss: Miraculous and Motivational Musings from the Patron Saint of Permanent Fat Removal by Janice Taylor

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Twin Tuesday

For some reason, Karen insists that Patsy from Monty Python & the Holy Grail and I are the same person...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Card-carrying TEXAN.

Today, I...

*walked my dog on a street called "Margaritas Way"

*went to a gun & knife show

*bought ammo

*(and a holster!)

*ate a brisket sandwich

*redeemed a gift certificate for cow hooves (That's right. Hooves.)

Born in Corpus Christi and (hoping to be) buried in Abilene,

Friday, October 19, 2007

How art thou?

Karen and I were doing okay with our new Amish daily newspaper delivery, home phone, cable TV, or Internet...or so I thought until she signed up for a free 14-day trial of a certain local Internet provider!

It's SLOW and a little unreliable and she couldn't get a hold of Tech Support the other night (when it wouldn't work at all), but it's still a link to the outside world. (Weather! CNN! The Cooper band schedule, the church calendar, NetFlix, online banking...yes, the link is a little tenuous and painfully UN-quick, but we're still sorta' connected...and it feels kinda good.)

Now the struggle is going to be not to fall back into my Internet addiction! Not very likely since life has become crazy busy...and who has time to watch pages load like we did in the old days?

Currently reading: Prayer: Does It Make a Difference? by Philip Yancey (two chapters a week for Ladies' Bible Class) and a YA Lone Star book (The Wizard, the Witch, & Two Girls from Jersey)

The Yancey book about prayer is wonderful...contemplative, WELL-WRITTEN, well-researched, life-changing, powerful...we're loving it! The last three chapters have sparked excited discussion in our Tuesday night class, and we're all so happy that we listened to the Christiansons' book recommendation. (Hey, David and Kayla, what should we read next?)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I feel sorry for you...

...if you don't work with fun people who like to dress alike.

*I feel sorry for you if you never had a chance to shoot a Makarov. (FUN!)

*I feel sorry for you if you don't get to see West Texas sunsets and sunrises...and enjoy the TWO double rainbows we've had this week!!

*And I feel REALLY sorry for you if you missed Jeff Walling's closing lecture of ACU's 90th annual Bible Lectureship last night. (Sorry, College Roomie who knew about Jeff Walling's speaking abilities before any of the rest of would have loved last night's lesson from Micah. Yes, I said MICAH.)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Makarovniks, unite!

Here's video of Dad's Makarov and me on our first outing...'s a true love affair, and I called him after church last night and offered to buy it. (He did NOT say yes.)

So here's my cunning plan...Dad and Mom will have to come to Texas to get it, if they really want the Mak back. (Oh, and pry it out of my cold, dead fingers...LOL!)

P.S. What would we do without Kirsten & her trusty video camera? :-)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The embarrassing video footage.

Well, Kirsten was as good as her word...she has added video of me jumping off the diving board to her blog! (And YES, I have to hold my nose.)

Laugh it up.

You can see the videos at Kirsten's blog (entries on Sep. 1 & where May Bee goes off the diving board willingly on Sep. 1, and the other one where she is PUSHED by a well-meaning niece!).

Saturday, September 01, 2007

September's first schizophrenic post...

First, please pray for my dad...he's been in a Virginia hospital since Tuesday, and his leg is in terrible shape! Please pray that he will be able to keep his leg! Please also pray that Mom, who is in delicate health herself, can stay strong during this ordeal. (Our brother spent the day with them and called with an update on the way back to Charlotte tonight. It is VERY serious. There is no way Karen & I can get to Mom and Dad to help, and we feel SO helpless...but we can ask you to say a quick prayer for our dad...)

Second, please also pray for Mike, who lost a friend today to an accidental death. He is a husband and father...and a friend to Mike and Mick, who are both shaken at the loss of a friend in the prime of his life.

Third, and on a much lighter note--this morning, Karen and I took a break from the stress of our situations and took her kids (and my dogs) to Abilene's 4th annual Doggie Splash Day. It only cost $2 per dog, everyone had so much fun...and the dogs and I are in the Abilene Reporter-News! Dan and Kirsten and Jaeger were there, and she has threatened to put embarrassing video footage of me (holding my nose as I went off the diving board!) on her blog.

Please remember our dad! Thank you in advance for remembering him in prayer this week...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Did you see the lunar eclipse this morning? It was eerie and beautiful and blood-red and spooky and a whole lot of other adjectives that won't come to mind before a third cup of coffee.

I risked Texas-sized mosquitoes, dog "patties," and May Bee's ankle-destroying craters (she's a digger) to see the moon, but she was spectacular and SO worth it!

P.S. There's another lizard (gecko?) in our house. This morning, a disembodied pinkie finger ran down the hall! (No wonder I didn't mind standing in the yard and then the street at 5:30 in the morning...the scary stuff is INSIDE the house.)

P.P.S. Keep me lifted up in prayer, please. Tonight, our Ladies' Bible Class starts the book Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey, and it couldn't come at a better time!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ultra hip.


That's right. Librarians. (You'll need a New York Times account to read this article...or two seconds to sign up for a free account.)

Have I ever mentioned how much I adore my job?

*On a personal note: If you are the praying kind, please keep me in your prayers. (Prayer=248.3, if you're into the Dewey Decimal System...)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wordy Wednesday

August has been BUSY and really interesting. Not only did I do three days of staff development, but I also helped the Tech Support Center set up and check the district's computers. Our computer techs work really hard, and now the teachers who worked side-by-side with them have a new appreciation for just HOW hard! Oh, and we worked in many, many rooms/wings/buildings without air conditioning.

Without air conditioning, y'all. In Texas. In August. (Did I mention that I have a new respect for our computer tech team?)

Here are a few memories of the past week:

Server issues and cables. (Lots and lots of tangled network cables, printer cords, keyboard and mouse cords, power cords, computer phone cables, power strips, extension's a wonder I haven't dreamed about a massive tangle of cords that won't come undone!)

Gum under desks. (Crickets, too!)

Sometimes with every color of the rainbow...

Here's a computer lab we built...without network cables. Without DESKS, even!

"Old Age and Treachery"
This sign in one of the district's gyms cracked me up. (I worked for years with the coach who wrote it...and he's a BIG y'all feel free to point out his terrible grammar, but I'm keepin' my big mouth shut!)

In front of Woodson Early Head Start. (We worked on computers all over the district this week...offices, elementary schools, high schools, you name it!)

Elementary schools are more fun, though. Madison doesn't have any statues like this...

This giant statue reminded me of Tanzy, our city zoo's elephant who died a couple of days ago at the age of 49. Now that Tanzy is has gone to that Great Veldt in the Sky, they're going to permanently move her exhibit mate, Tanya, to another zoo. Going to the zoo just won't be the same...

Story at .

UPDATE: Oh, I forgot to tell you--the four days of hard work at Tech Support were actually FUN! You could order onion rings to go with your Harlow's burger, knowing you would work them off/sweat them off later that afternoon. (And going to Mr. Gatti's with GROWNUPS was certainly a new experience!)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dog Days Parade!

If you missed ArtWalk in downtown Abilene tonight, you missed out!