Sunday, May 11, 2014

In a Holding Pattern

Silence .. nice to have.  However, I have neglected this blog (sorry blog friends.)

Here is a smattering of what has kept us busy:

The end of March Tom resigned from KCM, giving them their requested 90 day notice.

Via our Monkeys on the Roof blog we launched our cyber yard sale on April 1.  As items sold, I removed them, so only one post about real monkeys on our roof remains.  By the time we left Chingola on April 10 we had sold most items, including our Nissan Patrol.  Crazy way to hold a "house sale" but it worked.  Tom had a busy week after he returned selling most of the remaining high price items.

We drove to Lusaka on Friday, Mary took her ACT on Saturday, then Tom dropped both of us off early at the Lusaka airport.  He drove home solo and got to Chingola before we took off to Nairobi.
Our flights home were long, but uneventful until we approached Houston.  Tom only had one close call on his drive.

We arrived at the beginning of Holy Week and experienced a wonderful Triduum and Easter Vigil!

Mary took a small role in "The Children's Hour" along with Kate who has a lead role.  Her first rehearsal with the cast was the same day we arrived home.  The show is still running one more weekend.  Friday night Meghan, Peter and I attended.  It is a compelling play.  They have only one more weekend of a 3 weekend run.

Meghan started her new job at Lone Star College .. beginning in the same capacity that Kate did at the testing center.  The shorter commute and regular hours are a welcome change for her.

Peter celebrated a low key 21st birthday by helping make funnel cakes for the Knights of Columbus at the CTR Parish Festival.

Last weekend we celebrated Mother's Day with brunch at Local Pour.  A week early, but no waiting in long lines .. it was quiet and much more special.

This past week Mary continues to work hard on her American and British Literature classes (final two for her diploma).  She officially registered with LoneStar and we continue to go out driving.

Peter's spring semester concluded with his Environmental Science final on Thursday.  He interviewed with Target, but hasn't received the 2nd interview, yet.  He is still hopeful, but is continuing to apply for work at other places.

Best news?  Tom will be coming back to Houston before his June 28 completion date.  The company agreed to pay to the end of the 90 days, and let him take vacation without returning.

And, provided several things out of our control (as always) fall into place Tom and I will be relocating later this summer.

I realize these are only the highlights .. Thought you might enjoy seeing both Josephine and Richard. Both pictures were taken our final day in Chingola!

Mary with Josephine, our trusted housekeeper.

Richard, our gardener.

It was bittersweet saying goodbye to both Josephine and Richard.  We will be concerned for their future wellbeing, but also trust that they will do just fine.  Both are continuing to work for Tom on a much more part time basis until he leaves.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Thursday in March

Outside, early this morning we had a nice, gentle rainfall.  The typical (if there is such a thing) rainy season is about to come to an end.  This time last year Mary and I were back in the States so we missed seeing the faucet turned off.

With less than 3 weeks until our departure I decided to capture the scene from our front door.  Soon all this green will turn to brown, at least on the ground.  Trees won't begin losing their leaves until September, with the advent of spring.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Is Anyone Out There?

Testing one .. two .. three ..


Is this mic on?  Can anyone hear me?

Okay, guess I need to do some 'splainin' .. as to why this blog has been silent since before we made our return to Chingola.

For one thing, we arrived here to find out the house internet was toast.  As in, apparently the system sustained a lightening strike close enough to fry several critical pieces of equipment.  And since we are not at the top of the food chain at KCM, it took over 2 months to get us reconnected.

In the interim, we used an MTN dongle, but it was touchy .. not especially liking my little MacBook Air.  And the other two laptops it did work on .. one is Mary's (on it's last legs) and Tom's borrowed one (sloowww as molasses) don't have our photos.

So, that said, I'm back online.  And have been for a little bit.  The other sniggling thing that has kept me busy is helping Mary make the final slog through her American School courses.  Yippee!!  I am happy to announce that she has only the two literature courses to complete, a final Algebra II exam, and one more to finish World Geography!  Fortunately, Mary is a sharp cookie, and Physics and Geometry moved fairly quick after we returned here.

The plan was to have plenty more finished while we were home in Houston between Thanksgiving Day and New Years.  We both ended up very, very ill, as I've told more people than care to hear about it.  The bottom line is that absolutely no schoolwork was accomplished, but once we recovered we had a very enjoyable time with Kate, Meghan and Peter.  Tom arrived, flew to Denver and brought Ray back with him, we had a relaxing, fun Christmas celebration, then Tom flew with Ray back to Denver. He got back to Houston in time to help out a friend do some home repairs, we celebrated New Years at home, then flew back to Zambia 3 days later.  Whoo!!

Okay, some snapshots since we've been home:
Waiting at Harare, Zimbabwe airport for our flight to make the last leg to Lusaka.

Our yard was definitely overgrown!  Hayfields everywhere, and lots of beautiful wildflowers.

Intending to cut Dahlia's for the table, I spied this spider and her captured honey bee.  Needless to say (but I will anyway) I left the spider to her work and opted to just take photos.

As a nice treat midweek (March 12) which was Youth Day, and a holiday, we drove about 65 kilometers and visited Nsobe Game Park.  Another blog with more of those photos later.

 And what is our blog without monkey stories and pictures!

You can see these guys have absolutely no fear of us.  They have crossed the iron gate at the front door, eaten most of the rose buds (they prefer white), and one made it into the house!  Fortunately, as Mary says, my "mom" voice was sufficient for it to exit as I was busy trying to figure out how to shoo it out.  I just said "Out! Now!" and the monkey left.  All it's friends stayed on the back patio, and spent a lot of time looking in at the zoo!

Yes, those are monkey's dancing on the roof!  It is a favorite haunt.

Baby monkey in a tree next to the house, playing hide and seek!

Morning ritual, I walk Tom out to the garage when he leaves for work.  The guards (all of them) stroll past and stare.  We've taken to staring back and so far we win!  Makes me want to wave my arms and tell them we aren't going to change into something else SO STOP STARING!

Right next to the garage .. this day we had monkeys everywhere, for most of the day.  They only look cute .. they are scavengers, and ready to take what they can.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Going to Our Other Home!

We leave our Houston house in a little over 3 hours, and should be back in our Zambian house by Sunday afternoon.

More when we get back …

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ringing in 2014 (a day early)

Happy New Year!

We have a lot to be thankful for as 2014 begins.  Foremost in our own minds is that Elizabeth (our oldest daughter) is out of the hospital in Germany, and healing after a root canal gone bad.

Monday happened to be a day all of us (me, Tom, Peter, Kate, Mary and Meghan) could be together in Houston.  So we visited a friend's home, helped with a few small home improvement projects, then on the way home stopped at Babbins for delicious food, great wine and fun conversations.

Afterward we went to the theater and watched "The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug"
We all enjoyed the exciting action, and incredible sets.  Though perhaps the purists object to the artistic license taken, I thought it added a lot to the background that otherwise would have been missing.

Last night consisted of small snacks, some football, a movie (Monsters University) and toasting with champagne at midnight while our neighbors were outside setting off a lot of fireworks!  Today we celebrated the New Year with Mass at CTR in honor of "Mary Mother of God."   It likely is the last Mass we get to enjoy for 6 months!  We will definitely miss our Houston faith family!!!

Both the University of Arizona and the Aggies won their respective Bowl games.    Tom has enjoyed being able to watch college football with Peter, as well as a few pro teams playing since he's been home.   Sunday before Christmas Tom, his dad Ray and Peter went to watch the Texans get trounced by Denver!

Two days and we might be on a plane back to Zambia.  Not certain whether we actually will get to leave that day, but we'll keep you all posted!  Our schedules never seem to completely align with reality.  Mainly we just don't want to get stuck overnighting along the route, getting our baggage lost, or having to sit on a plane on the tarmac waiting for repairs!!!  But, we'll see.  Whatever happens it most certainly will add to our store of stories.