Month: July 2008

  • I do like a guy who's not afraid to read the instruction manual:


    Don has been vastly impressed with Dan's excruciating care as he attempts to mend the water pump, painstakingly marking each part or bit as it's removed so it can be replaced correctly.

    And now he goes off and buys a book, to  boot.

    Don went out to price canopy-type things for him, as it's so blasted hot out there (Joe said his climate control thingummy was registering 102 degrees), but apparently there were only pricey ones left.  Victor comes over and spends the afternoon, helping as best he can.  Joe wanders in and out. 

    Dmitry's at Carolyn's. 

  • Good grief, THIS certainly puts our nation's economic problems in perspective.

    Zimbabwe introduces $100 billion banknotes

    Zimbabwe's troubled central bank introduced $100 billion banknotes
    Saturday in a desperate bid to ease the recurrent cash shortages
    plaguing the inflation-ravaged economy.

    The bills officially come into circulation Monday, although they were on the foreign currency dealers market Saturday.

    As high as they are, though, the bills still aren't enough to buy a loaf of bread. They can buy only four oranges.

    The new note is equal to just one U.S. dollar.

    Once-prosperous Zimbabwe has seen an unprecedented economic meltdown
    since it gained independence in 1980, with the official inflation rate
    now at 2.2 million percent.

    One. Hundred. BILLION. dollars!  e-faint

    And one of 'em won't even buy a loaf of bread. 

    How does any nation have an inflation rate of 2,200,000%e-Eeeeeek

  • Lest we forget....

    From this morning's Voice of the Martyrs newletter:

    Pastor Sentenced to Re-education Through Labor - China Aid Association

    On July 4, Pastor Zhang Zhongxin was sentenced to two years
    re-education through labor in Jining city in Shangdong province.
    According to China Aid Association (CAA), "Shandong
    Re-education-Through-Labor Management Committee issued a written
    decision sentencing Zhang Zhongxin to two years re-education through
    labor. Authorities accused him [Zhongxin] of cult participation in the
    ‘whole scope of the church' organized ‘Sunday school training courses,
    preaching the gospel to the northwest, Tibet and other places for
    missionaries and pioneers sermons.'" CAA added that in 2005, Zhongxin
    established The Rainbow Missions Fellowship and Timothy Bible Training
    School in Jining city, Shandong province, where Christian leaders are
    trained. Zhongxin has appealed his sentence. Pray for Zhongxin and his
    family during this difficult time. Ask God to give them courage as he
    appeals his sentence. Ask God to protect believers in China who face
    trying times as the government cracks down on believers ahead of the
    Olympics next month. Deuteronomy 33:26-27

    I wonder why the Chinese government is stomping on Christians ahead of the Olympics?  e-11_confused

  • It might be time to consider taking cover. Or maybe the bus.

    Dmitry has his learner's permit.   nervous

    Actually, it's not likely to do him much good just yet, as he doesn't have a car to practice with, as Don's and mine both have insurance restrictions on them that disallow anyone under the age of 25 from driving them.  Joe and Dan have cars, but the accompanying driver must be at least 21.

    So.  There we are.  Learner's permit in hand but without a car to practice with.

    The Sears Driving School includes 14 hours of actual driving instruction - seven hours observation (translation:  being a passenger) and seven hours behind the wheel.  All the slots are booked until the end of the month already, though.  Bless his heart, he's really nervous at the thought of getting behind the wheel of a car.  Unlike all my other children, he'd be perfectly happy never driving.  And considering the unsafe drivers that populate the streets, I'd much rather he not drive, too, but there one is.  Eventually he's going to have to, so it cannot be avoided forever.  Tell you what, though, he's not going to be permitted to drive at night right off the bat.  I think those communities are sensible that have rules saying newly licensed drivers are limited to daylight hours for the first six months. 

    A couple of days ago Charles was at the Navy recruiter's office out in Lubbock  -  he accompanied a friend who's considering enlisting, intent on making sure only accurate information is provided  -  and while idly leafing through back issues of "All Hands" magazine, came across Alex:


    See him up there in the left top corner?  ;^)

    That reminded me I hadn't checked the Seventh Fleet Band news site for a couple of months, and I came across a couple of other photos taken from his spring travels:



    They're either back now, or will be soon, from Tokyo Disneyland, where they went earlier in the week.  They've promised to take heaps of photos of Hannah at what Charles called "Mickey Mouse House" back when we took the kids to DisneyWorld when he was three years old. 

  • One of the most fabulous things about the internet is YouTube.

    I love YouTube, as it's possible to find darn near anything one has ever watched on it.  For instance, how long has it been since you've watched Torvill and Dean's magnificent Original Set Program from 1984?  The one they danced in both the Olympics and the Worlds?

    Well, that's too long.

    In this clip - taken from the World Figure Skating Competition - it's funny how the commentator pronounces "cape" as "keep."  Never heard that before.  What I cherish about this particular clip is that once the music starts, the commentators shut UP.  That's an excellent quality in a commentator, to my mind.  The couple's dance from the Olympics - broadcast on ABC - is also available, but mercy Maud, Peggy Fleming and Dick Button babble all the way through it. 

    BTW, does anyone recognize the music?  I love it and would like to find and download it, only the piece is never identified.

  • So is anyone else watching "Next Food Network Star"?

    For those who saw it last night.....mercy Maud, what on earth got into Paula Deen?   e-11_confused

    She was flat-out rude to Lisa, telling her  -  after having already made quite clear Lisa's mac-and-cheese wasn't up to snuff  -  that "Actually, I hate it."

    Well, golly, Deen certainly has the kick-someone-when-they're-down routine down to a science, doesn't she?  e-7_mad

    What's really puzzling is trying to figure out why that nasty bit wasn't edited out, as it showed Deen in an extraordinarily unflattering light.  e-headscratch

    I was sorry to see Kelsey go, though pleased Aaron did so well.

    Incredible that the latter plumb forgot the second part of the throwdown, i.e. the Chicken Parmigiana he had to make!  Bless Lisa for managing to give him The Eye sufficiently that he remembered it.  Twenty minutes before the end!  And yet he pulled it off.  Amazing.   

  • Are you ready? Can you believe it?

    It's finally happened.

    One of the Russian Federation has left the teenage years behind. 

    Yes, today is Dan's 20th birthday!  e-aw

    This evening we had burgers at Fuddruckers to celebrate this auspicious occasion; here's Dan opening the music-playing card I gave him:


    And Kathy explaining something about her card:


    The guys are too funny....a good deal of the meal was taken up by them showing each other the various photos and videos they've taken with their cell phones:


    It's amazing to think how quickly the past five years have gone by since Dan arrived home.  Contrast this photo, taken by Karla, Dmitry's host mother, during the Bright Futures' Camp in Nov. of 2002, with the one following, taken this evening:

    (Dan, Victor, Dmitry, Joe)

    Actually, Dan hasn't changed that's Dmitry who would be rather difficult to identify now.

    In any event, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAN!  e-banana

  • The previous is not the only successful achievement of the past week, BTW.

    On Friday morning Joe surprised me by strolling out of the house a few minutes after 10 a.m., saying he's going to pick up Dmitry.  Turns out he'd completed all his coursework, so he was free to leave.  He earned two credits this past three weeks!  One away from being a senior.  

    And this evening when I stopped by Elaine's, I discovered that Marebear has been having no small success on her swim team:


    Two first place ribbons!  How about her?!?!   e-thumbs

    Not only that, but she knitted the scarf flung elegantly about her neck.  Isn't she talented?  e-ghost

    Margaret, naturally, has talents and skills of her own, the stinker-binker:


    HA!  That'll learn her to call ME a stinker-binker!   e-nogood

    While at the mall today I stopped by a Hallmark store out there, only to discover they're not joking about the whole Christmas-in-July thing:


    Yes, it was the opening day for this year's Hallmark ornament selection, and do you know there was a line at the check-out counter?  With woman holding baskets of ornaments?  I can't decide if I'm more flummoxed by the idea of wanting to spend money on Christmas ornaments when it's 102° outside, or the idea that they expect to be able to find the stuff they bought come December.  e-11_confused

  • One of the videos from Friday evening:

    Others available here:

  • Goodness. It's been a heck of a week.

    Driving from here to North Richland Hills and/or Keller and/or the Westpoint area and back most days has made for a driving-intensive several days, as Bethany and Brianna took part in Christ Chapel's MusiCamp.

    When picking up Brianna early in the week, I also got to see precious Bridgette:



    Big ol' blue eyes! 

    On Thursday I had the boys over, too, so that's when the annual Piggies In A Puddle took place:



    Finally Friday evening came, and with it the performance the children had worked on all week.  Bethany and Brianna were so excited!


    Due to a horrid fatality accident on 820, Kirstin tried but wasn't able to make the performance so I video'd each singing bit with my FlipVideo.  It's hard to pick out the girls, though.  Here's a still I took, and I can locate Bethany but am not perfectly certain which was Brianna:


    A few shots after the show; first is Don with Brianna and Brianna's other grandmother, Taylor:


    Don with the girls:


    And lastly, him with Bridgette:


    I kept thinking what a fabulous time darling Hannah would have!  She's still a bit young, but in a few years she'll be able to participate, too.  If my arithmetic is correct, the first year she'll be old enough will be the next-to-the-last year the B's can be in it.  Wouldn't it be a kick to have all the older grandkids plus Meredith and Margaret in it?