Archive for June, 2013

Making a list and checking it twice

I thought it would be fun to share my personal packing list for an upcoming camping trip.  Note that this is NOT the official “Team Roberts Camping List.”  That one includes all the general camping supplies, food supplies, recreational equipment, etc., and includes about 140 items.  In addition to all THAT, here’s what I myself am bringing:

4 white sox
1 sweatshirt
1 shorts
1 jeans
exercise shorts (sleeping)
4 T-shirts
1 collared shirt
swim suit
swim shorts
Bahama Mama?
head lamp
cell phone charger
cell phone
MP3 player
MP3 player charger
Mighty Bright
toiletries (re-set alarm clock)
med box
red belt bag
2 Kleenex packs
lens cloth
journal & pen
floppy hat w/ headband
8 AA batteries
2 glasses straps
coloring book, colored pencils
field guides
2 dirty clothes bags
clip shades
1 Kleenex pack
DL, credit card, cash
mechanical pencil

Last time I traveled, I did it without making a list.  A few things were forgotten, but we managed OK.  It does take a lot of time to make the list, but it sure reduces my stress level, and that’s important to me!  I decided my peace of mind is worth the extra work on the front end.

The good life with ALL the kids here!

Here are some things I’ve am enjoying this week:

Jessica’s fun foods:  natural peanut butter, raw green beans, chicken stir-fry, strawberry muffins, homemade (from scratch!) honey oatmeal bread.

Andrew being taller than Jessica.  And very handsome.

Getting to meet Lori Ann, after hearing so much about her.  She really is wonderful!

Katie and Jessica doing ALL the stressful camping for our packing trip. . . or was that packing for our camping trip?

Josiah smiling more.   = )

Josiah cutting his own hair for the first time – with his beard trimmer(!!) – and looking good afterwards.

Hearing music and conversation down in Jessica’s room.

Playing bridge, even though in the first rubber of some dozen hands, Katie never once took the bid.   = (

Andrew helping Jessica with the Durango features, so she’d be prepared to take her diving test in it.

Katie burning my favorite albums to CD, so I can listen to music again while driving.


Special visit

My folks came to see us today, specifically because . . . drum roll, please. . . all of our kids are home at the same time!!!  What a blessing to have all eight of us around the table again.  That hasn’t happened since Christmas of 2011.

We talked, ate, did a lot of dishes, discussed, “toured” the new camper, played pinball, and played pool.  There was no “Trouble in River City,” but Grandma did sink the eight ball with style to give our team (Grandma and me) a well-deserved win over the opposition (Grandpa and Jessica).  However, I guess I should tell the full truth:  Scott and Katie then proceeded to beat Grandma and me, first in one of the shortest eight-ball games in history, and then in one of the longest!

I especially appreciate their coming to see us, because I know that they are both in pretty much constant pain and traveling is difficult.  It was a fun time and a very special visit.

Jeopardy question: What is 94?

Answer:  The ambient temperature at the end of Scott’s PK ball game.  (at 9:40 PM)

And even though they lost to Church Army (13 to 5, had nine regular players plus Trey, but were missing the two Steves who are both solid players), watching Trey hit the ball, get on base, work his way around the bases, barely make it back to 3rd after running on a fly ball(!!!), and eventually sliding safely into home brought tears to my eyes – especially when the  Church Army fans all cheered for him.

Some things are more important than winning.

Our government at work

It is fairly common to complain about the workings (or lack thereof) of government entities.  Much could be said in a negative vein, on the local, state, and/or national levels.  However, it’s probably a good idea to temper those frustrations with warmer sentiments, and so I offer the following.

Due to some aches and pains that have made running difficult, Scott has been looking for alternative forms of exercise.  He walks about a mile and-a-half while he’s praying, but he has also taken up bike riding early in the morning.  He rides along the same shoulders where I walk and covers two miles in what appears to be a fairly high gear.  Then after walking and cycling, he drives down to Big Rock and swims laps in the creek!

He couldn’t drive to Big Rock until we got the Durango back.  I don’t know how to explain how torn up the flooding this spring left the creek road.  It’s so bad – scoured down to bedrock that is jagged and in some places up to a foot difference in depth – that only a four-wheel drive vehicle with high clearance can even get down that road.  And you do have to very gingerly “walk” the car up and down over all the rocks.

One day, Scott decided to call Taney County Road and Bridge.   He told the friendly receptionist lady where the road was and what condition it was in, and she said she’d send someone to check it out.  A mere FOUR DAYS LATER, our fair county has already begun hauling in and spreading truckloads of gravel on that road!  The project isn’t done yet, but certain sections are much more drivable than they have been.

Three cheers for responsive local government!

Space for growth

I remember when that little double wide was hauled in, but I don’t remember how many years ago that was.  A single lady had it set up and lived in it for maybe a couple years.  Then she sold it to the Ipocks and they lived there for several years.  They eventually built a “stick house” next door and moved most of their stuff out of the trailer.

There’s always been an interesting collection of stuff around their two homes.  I could say more, but since we have lots of interesting collections of our own, I won’t.

Now Erin has taken a job as assistant principal (at least I think that’s the title) at a school in Republic.  They will be moving to a rental duplex in Republic on July 8, where they intend to live while they build their next own house.  Over the weekend, the trailer was hauled off in two pieces.  They split it down the middle, and at one point, I looked out and saw just half a house sitting there!  This evening, we walked down Coffee Road and the whole house is gone.

I’m happy for them, but I know that Andrew will miss playing with their kids, and the empty patch of dirt looks kind of forlorn.  Shouldn’t be a problem, though.  Grass groweth, and weeds groweth even more.

Advice for drivers of small cars

Don’t drive your small, four-cylinder car down a completely washed-out dirt-and-gravel road.

Don’t drive your small, four-cylinder car past a sign stating, “NEW OWNERS – NO TRESPASSING!”

Don’t drive your small, four-cylinder car off the washed-out dirt-and-gravel road up and over a high embankment and down the other side into deeper loose gravel.

Don’t try to reverse your small, four-cylinder car back up the embankment you just slid down, because the only success you will have will be digging your small, four-cylinder car axle-deep into the gravel.

If you hike a half-mile back to the highway to try to find someone to pull your small, four-cylinder car out of the loose gravel, take your cell phone with you, so the towing company can call you back to confirm your location.

In short, if you feel compelled to off-road, do it in a high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle, and stay off people’s posted private property – even if you want to swim there.

Brown + red = ?

Scott and Andrew got home from the father-son camping/canoe trip this evening.  It sounds like they had a number of adventures, including one in which crawdads featured prominently.  I think all the guys had fun, more or less, and even though Andrew flatly denies it, he did get some sun.  He’s not really burned, and he claims he did use sunscreen in a few key areas, but he is somewhat darker and slightly red-tinged.

This, too, shall pass.

May the “Requiem” rest in peace

Tonight our local choir, the Branson Chamber Singers had the honor of sharing the stage of the Jones auditorium at C of O with the 70-member Taneycomo Festival Orchestra.  The orchestra presented several pieces, a couple of them especially wonderful and moving, and then we did our joint performance of Gabriel Faure’s Requiem.  It’s a 30-page piece in seven movements, and the text is all in Latin.

We (the choir) have been rehearsing it for a couple months, but at only two hours a week – and some of our members don’t read music! – we had clearly not mastered it.  The guest conductor, Joe Peters from Florida, was, I suspect, somewhat disappointed in us when he directed out two final rehearsals this week.  While the orchestra was outstanding and clearly had the whole thing down pat, we were still struggling to sing the right notes at the right time with the right Latin pronunciation, while Joe was trying to get us to bring out the finer points of mood and expression.

Last night’s rehearsal was frankly pretty bad, and I was concerned about our performance tonight.

However, I guess we all went home and practiced our parts today, and God was really gracious to us:  we sang it better than we EVER have!!!  I was so excited.  It was a lot of fun, and while it was certainly far from perfect, I think we did Mr. Faure proud.

Note:  “Requiem” means “rest.”

Jessica’s in the States!

I got home from our choir concert tonight, and there was a chat window from Jessica!  She’s in Chicago and says she’ll have a lot of stories to tell us.  We expect to see her face-to-face on Monday.  That will be a happy day.  Don’t anyone tell her that most of her bathroom ceiling has gone AWOL. . .

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