Happy New Year! And Travel and parties, and….

by John McNichol on January 16, 2017


Hey, all!

Jeanna and I had a wonderful new years! Some new friends of ours, the H——-s, invited us over spontaneously for a NYE visit, along with some other folks from their parish, Mater Dei in Irving, TX.
Jeanna had a wonderful time, especially! It was great to see her chatting with the ladies. Jenna’s been a trouper, but sometimes she’s had a tougher time adjusting to our new life out here. When they invited us again to a potluck at their parish, the teens groused a bit, but the little ones loved it, and…well, after we’d been there a while, I asked Jeanna if she was ready to go.
“No,” she said. “I wanna see my friends first!”

Friends! :D
So, we have friends. Most important: JEANNA feels she has friends. She had them before, people were good to her and I, but it took her a bit until she really felt confident enough about them to believe folks wanted to hang out with her, just for her, not just out of obligation or pity. See, hon? People TRULY like ya here! :D
And now she felt comfortable enough to say she wanted to stay LONGER. Yay!

At this writing, she’s visiting her family over on the west coast. Thank you, CheapOair! Making plane fare  affordable for folks like us! Whoo hoo!

Yahoo! Hooray! Friends threw her a party….and then her family threw her another party the next night!

Jeanna's Galls threw her a party! She's popular girl, eh?

Jeanna’s Galls threw her a party! She’s popular girl, eh?


…so, I’ve had be Mr. Mom the last few days. Hasn’t been bad, really. I’ve been cooking more than before; mostly breakfasts, but I made Georgian chicken for the first time the other night. Kids have been happy, and times that would’ve had us snapping at each other at other times passed with mellow-ness…mostly. :)

Also: Took the kids to the Dallas March for Life on Saturday! Saw a lot of folks dressed in different native American outfits, & found out many folks who were of Mexican descent were doing a repurposed Aztec dance, one that *had* been used to honor Aztec gods, but were repurposed for use to honor Christ and the blessed Mother when she converted the Indians as Our Lady of Guadalupe. Since OLoG is wearing the clothes of a pregnant woman, she is often honored at the March for life.

And honored she was! I am seldom prouder to be a Catholic than when I see what a STRONG Catholic presence is seen at every March for Life, from Washington to Texas, the Catholic presence is unmistakable and undeniable. I know there are both Christians and protestants that are pro-life, but the Church has stood strong against this horrible evil for as long as it’s existed, and especially for the past 40+ years since the infamous Roe Vs. Wade decision was handed down, starting at the Dallas courthouse where our march ended.

Enjoy the pics! I’ve kept some out since (surprise!) there was a good-sized bunch of student from The Highlands School there, and I don’t use pics with my students in them without permission. :)

Here’s a few! Enjoy!
dmfl aztec dancers

dmfl aztec dancers 3

dmfl aztec dnaces 2

dmfl before the march

dmfl james and claire

Clairebear and Jamsey and one of my colleagues from THS. Hooray!

dmfl march during

dmfl march is over

Heh! Chris couldn't make it since he had a B-Ball game. He won, & he scored!

Heh! Chris couldn’t make it since he had a B-Ball game. He won, & he scored!





At the Zoo…and…puppies?

by John McNichol on December 30, 2016

Fri Dec 30/2016

Hey, all!

Trying to find activities for a visiting college student and the rest of the family can be a challenging experience.
“Well, KatieKat, you chose the Library the other day, what else would you like to do?”
“Hmmm….the zoo?”
Sounds good. :)
Jeanna and I got up, made a nice breakfast for everyone, Susie had a friend over, and we all hit the Dallas Zoo. Yay for 1/2 price season! KatieKat, being used to the colder temps of Montana for college, was insistent that we NOT go on one of the 80 degree days we’ve been having down here in TX. Fortunately, the day was 59 degrees and thus met the approval of cooler-acclimatized college students, semi-jaded high school students and hyperactive little kids alike. :)
Also agreed to take two cars since everybody was getting squished in the Honda Odyssey….KatieKat distinguished herself by being a good navigator for Jeanna through the sometime challenging streets of downtown Dallas, and we made it!

Elephants! My 'ancient' camera was in good form today! :D

Elephants! My ‘ancient’ camera was in good form today! :D

Mandrill! Came right up to us! Did you know their posteriors are rainbow colored, too?

Mandrill! Came right up to us! Did you know their posteriors are rainbow colored, too?


Jamesy and Clairbear closing around at the children’s zoo…that poor little brass lamb! ;)


Christopherd and Clairbear in an underground bubble at one of the exhibits ! :D

…Jeanna, ever the resourceful one, had us made out lunches so that we wouldn’t have to buy the $10 hamburgers they typically sell at these places. :) So, we had good time.

Afterwards, a Looooooong drive up to Plano to drop off Susie’s sweet galpal, and then another lounge drive home….then another loooooooooooong drive out there (seeing a pattern yet?) to look at- puppies!


KatieKat and Christopherd checking out the adorable merch! ;)

Yep! We were looking at puppies at a house…a lady helps the hUmane Society get them bought and adopted. It was an hour drive, and the kinds WANTED ONE. I could tell Jeanna was reluctant, and kept wavering. Fights, tears, cheers, jeers. We had nothing for the dog at home except a blanket to sleep in…needed to buy lotsa stuff…but it was SO CUTE!

“Hon, take a walk around the block. If you want the dog x (a 9-week old golden retriever runt), we’ll get it. If you don’t, it a night and see.”

Kids mad, but even the adoption lady could tell Jeanna wasn’t sure and counseled her to wait. Assauged the upset afterwards with a late dinner at McD’s (Jeanna said maybe that was the reason folks were cranky- no dinner yet?)

Got home. Some kids mad & in rooms the rest of the night. Some kids quick recovery and playing video games 2 min after getting home. We’re fine…I hope.

It seems lately that we do a family outing that goes good until near the end then it goes to arguments and tears, but oh-well. We”ll try again. I hope we give KatieKat good memories of her family for when she goes back to the frozen north…maybe a family hike/walk tomorrow?

Dear God, help us to have a good time together, and see our family time as a source of renewal and strength. Amen.


Christmas! Post Christmas! And other Stuff!

by John McNichol on December 28, 2016

Hey, all!
Merry Christmas!
Oldest and KatieKat flew out here for Christmas, and we had a good time.  Short? Yeah, but there’s often too much at these things to either do them justice or put them in the proper context. :)

Oldest flew back on the 26th, KAtieKAt is here for about 2 more weeks. In addition to pics from the hockey game Dano and I went to, here’s a few from the trip to Snuffers and the fam on a trip to the Dallas Library (Katiekat’s choice…unusual? Yeah. But so’s my family…). A long trip downtown, made longer by the lack of proper coffee and ice cream shops open past 8pm for the discerning tastes of KatieKat, Jeanna and Susie. [grumble…grumble…coffee is coffee…don’t care what they say in the northwest…grumble…hungry…) . GPS got us lost on the Dallas Highway system going home- something weird, telling us to take exits that don’t exist…even after I updated it. Someone must not have told the good folks at Garmin that there’s a ton of construction always going on in Dallas. Ah well! Made it home. :)

Yesterday, three-point-five hours at the local DMV to get out Texas licenses. This was our Third attempt to get the junk done and…succcess! “You are now Texans. Congratulations!” the clerk said. a bit weird…no one behind the counter smiled. The girl did thank us for putting up with their long wait, but still. Said a little prayer for them and then a prayer of thanksgiving for the wonderful job I get to do each day that makes me smile and laugh out loud again and again.
God, thank you for my family. Please ignite the faith in my kids that need it. Help me to trust in you . Amen.


Watching the Dallas Stars play- lots of dazzle Dazzle, and fun stuff! When they give the stats on the opposing players who score, the audience yells “Whoooooooo CARES?!?” :) Fun stuff!


Dano at the hockey game! Go Stars!

Dano at the hockey game! Go Stars! (and stop sneaking looks at the Ice Girls/Cheerleaders, boy! ;) )

Dan after the game in front of the arena

Dan after the game in front of the arena


Jeanna and all 7 at South lake Shopping villiage. Ate At Snuffers- best fries in the country, and saw the best Barnes & Noble in the city, too. :)


The boys and I playing Blade Runner: The Game (I design board and card games as a hobby. Yes, geek. :0 )


Visiting the Dallas Library. A young girl with dark glasses was playing & singing so beautifully on the 4th floor it brought tears under my eyes. Glad Jeanna was able to hear her with me.

The eye in Dallas...creepy, but Christopherd, Jamsey and Clairebear love it! :D

The eye in Dallas…creepy, but Christopherd, Jamsey and Clairebear love it! :D

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Date Night, and Merry Christmas!

by John McNichol on December 19, 2016

December 19/2016

Hey, all!

Lot happening the last little while:

1) Eaxms. My students finished them a few days ago, and I am still wading through finishing them (hope this is the day!) while doing the life-thing right before Christmas. While I was at work on Friday & the kids were done, I looked around my room. I was wearing a suit and reading glasses, sitting at my (somewhat) mess desk, and the thought occurred to me: When people ask me what I do, I can say:

“I’m a high school English teacher.”

That’s something I take pride in. If I was in a cubicle somewhere, I’d feel far less fulfilled. As a teacher, I feel like I touch the lives of students and families in a way I never would in other professions. And I love it. And I love teaching for one of the Top 50 Catholic Schools in the USA, and I love it even more that my kids get to go here, too. :)

2) Got a bunch of Christmas stuff done. Tree is up, lights are on the house, and a good chunk of presents bought and a few wrapped. I was able to download mine from Steam, an online game service. A truly nerdy game called “WARHAMMER 40K DEATHWING”, where you move armored super-soldiers of the future through deflect spaceships and blow up space bugs. Muwuhahahaha! (its a guy game). :)

3) Date night! Jeanna and I had a few coupons to burn, so we went to Cracker Barrel for dinner. The place still gives great food, and for about 1/2 the price of other restaurants. After that, we got to see the new Star Wars Movie, Rogue One. We got the ‘last’ two seats in the theater- odd that they had rows & numbers in a movie theater- but though they were in the last row, they were comfy lazy-boy chairs, and they had open seating on either side- no need to climb over folks if I went to the bathroom! Whoo Hoo! Jeanna and I had a good time, and a great evening, trying out the picture feature on her phone (she’ll email those to me in a little while).

The kids continue to adjust. I got Susie a babysitting through the ICON network out here, and the people were nice enough to invite our family to brunch after Christmas is over. Yay! New friends, great people.

I was able to get a pair of tickets to a local hockey game, at just 1/4 the price of a regular game! Yay! It’s been I-don’t-know-how-long since I’ve seen a live, pro hockey game, but Tuesday I get to take Dano to the first game he’ll have ever seen! Yay!

4) Got a chance to broaden the kids’ horizons a bit, taking them to see some dear friends’ children ‘Christmated’ (given Confirmation and Communion on the same day) in the local Ukrainan-Rite Catholic Church, St. Sophia’s. A bit of a drive, but worth it. And the priest was very personable, and our guys had a good time. Even the teens didn’t complain once we got settled, and none of the kids were the first to ask ‘can we go now?” :)

God, thank you for the gifts you give us. Help us to love and appreciate what you do for us, and to love you , your Church, your Mother and the Saints above early things,


Happy Birthday…Happy Advent, too!

by John McNichol December 13, 2016

12/13/16 Hey, all! lot in the last few weeks: 1) Jeanna’s birthday was a few days back! Great time- we managed to get everything on her list, and had a lovely little celebration for her in the dining room! Thanks to some of the good folks at the Irving Catholic Online Network (ICON for short), […]

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Happy Thanksgiving!

by John McNichol November 24, 2016

Nov 24th 2016 Hey, all! Well, the elections have come and gone, and SHE”S NOT THE PRESIDENT! We had a great party at our new lace last Saturday, inviting several of our old friends from College at Franciscan University who settled with their families in the Dallas area. Among them Daniel Barker, USAF and author […]

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Date nights and Train Travels!

by John McNichol November 12, 2016

11/11/16 Hey, all! I’ll post political stuff about the new president later. Tonight: I’ve been trying to find new stuff for us to do here, and fortunately Dallas doesn’t disappoint! A wrong turn on the way home got me at a local DART (the train into town) station, and that set me thinking… A little […]

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Happy Halloween!

by John McNichol November 3, 2016

11/3/16 Hey, all! We had our first Halloween in the Li’l ole’ state of Texas! Jamesy was a convict Christopherd was a martial arts guy. Calirebear was Ilsa from the movie Frozen I was…Vault Boy! From a popular video game series called Fallout. I was even able to get a working replica of the Pip […]

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Nice weekend!

by John McNichol October 14, 2016

10/14/16 Hey, all! Where to begin… The THS Blazers won last weekend! Playing great football, and I got to do the ‘Dab’ again …this time flanked by Susie and the Cheerleaders afterwards to celebrate! Unfortunately, they had me try a new dance afterwards on Monday called (ahem): Ju-Ju-On-The-Beat. Despite my attempts to learn from a […]

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Play the Ponies! Release the Anthology!

by John McNichol September 25, 2016

9/25/16 Hey, all! In writing news: less than a month before Image And Likeness,  the anthology of fiction themed with JPII’s Theology of the Body, hits the virtual shelves! My story, Two Kinds of People, is among the accepted pieces in the group. Great stuff, and I fully encourage everyone to get a copy & […]

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