Monday, September 29, 2014

2014 Week 39: Remembering and Keeping-on

 I did not get to see "Baby Abecca" (as Jude calls her) this week :-( except in photos.
So I will post my favorite pic by Dominique Lee Photography, a young community friend.

This week Mike has accomplished many things, though getting to the bottom of his recurrent leg pain is not one of them.

Monday he hung the tapestry we chose and ordered on our mini vacation in Nashville, IN.

Throughout the week he continued to work on the deck. I helped him some on Friday with the last phase, the staining.
He's determined to finish the huge task before the weather changes.

Following a short break after the accident with his sculpture, he picked up the broken pieces and began the restoration process. He does not, will not give up. I have always admired that. The new 'member-tree' awaits further coating.

Perhaps I learned from Michael to keep on keeping on no matter how long it takes. That's why I collect tortoises. They sit on my kitchen window sill as a constant reminder.

Thursday was a special anniversary that I look forward to every year. It marks the new beginning for Sam and Kristie. And being TBT (Throw-back Thursday), I include these reminders of the end-of-rehab ceremony and celebration.

I don't know why Sam was not in the picture, but he never forgets to publicly recognize that memorable day of deliverance. Here are his words on Facebook this year as he is away, traveling for work.

I am in New Hampshire, their state moto is "live free or die" 14 years ago today Jesus pulled my wife and I from the depths of hell (addiction). In the last week I have lost 2 friends to addiction, 1 an overdose, and 1 suicide, both drug induced. I am so saddened by the despair, and pain that addiction causes so many. At the same time it is a great reminder of how blessed I am to be not only alive, but free! Thank You Jesus!
Before class Thursday evening, I went to the visitation for one of the mentioned above--a young woman. I remember when she helped us paint the mural for Sam's Upland skateshop years ago.

Friday, my neighbor and I walked two and a half miles. I am so grateful for a weekly walking partner and the beautiful weather we are having.

Tired and red-faced

Saturday, was another gorgeous autumn day, perfect for the memorial of a cycling friend. He was an outstanding athlete and musician. The celebration of his life was an outdoor musical event at Prairie Creek Reservoir. He came from Norway years ago.

His widow and his bike

Daughter and granddaughter sing a Norwegian country song

Beach burial

Meanwhile in Ohio, Stephan was carving a monster-pumpkin, 400 lbs.


Sunday afternoon we had our only tandem ride of the year and it was very brief. Mike belongs to the Greenway committee. They are working to bring the trail through our area and town. Taylor students are producing a promotional video and needed footage of riders using the trail.

Here's a puzzler for you: Can you tell what important piece is missing?
Come back next week for the answer.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

2014 Week 38: Many family moments

We are very blessed to have our growing family living in the area. Birthdays are added opportunities for family fellowship.

Diane (9/11), Kristie (9/17)

Diane preferred the traditional birthday song whereas Kristie enjoyed the Krazy Koch version. . . until it would not end! 
(How long should each candle represent one year?)

Wanna guess who is the center of attention at family gatherings now? Forget the birthday celebs!

Happy Nanna!

Los tío-abuelos
The first time great-uncle Sam got to meet Rebecca. (They have similar hair-dos, don't you think?)

I captured the first pictures of the little family!

Matt and his girls
A Kern-family collage where the little 'Kernel' is wearing the outfit that claims each to be her favorite.

"Daddy's favorite girl"                                         "Mommy is the BEST"
For Kristie's birthday Sam planned a romantic two-day getaway and enlisted the grandmothers to help keep the family routines going smoothly.
Kristie left precise instructions for each of us. Here's my list for all day Wednesday and Thursday morning, which included driving back and forth to pre-school and soccer practice twice each.

However, there was time for play. We put together the best track and village ever, according to Zion.

Thursday morning came all too soon. The big boys went off to school at different times. 

Surprisingly, the train track was still intact and Zion would have left it that way, but 'hurricane Jude' would not allow it.

Day two: a long walk; bike ride; and Lego fun
So, yes, it was a full week. In addition to all the above family fun, our regular weekly commitments and more. 
Michael had many medical-related appointments. The recurring debilitating pain is still there, but he may be closer to a diagnosis and solution.

During his pain-free moments he continued to work on the tree sculpture and admirers keep coming.

This photo arrived yesterday from the Wandering Wheels group that made our place one of the destinations on the last day of their week-long Fall Breakaway.

Saturday was the Fall Harvest Party at Victory Acres, our local CSA (community supported agriculture).

I took a cole slaw dish decorated with spiralized radishes. A little person also thought it attractive.

Today, the first day of Autumn, I began to see signs of leaves changing color.
What changes are you noticing?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

2014 Week 37: Technology, Trees, Time

Can you tell I like alliteration?
Monday I spent focused time learning how to prepare a presentation for class using all the many resources available through technology. It went well. No problems. I was excited. However, Tuesday in class, nothing worked. No problem with the presentation, but I just couldn't get the projector to work and my connection timed-out. All part of my learning-curve. The students blamed it being Tuesday as something seems to not work on those days. Perhaps it is best, we had a very interactive language class anyway. And Thursday, everything worked just fine.

Back to Monday. We had another great meal and fun time at Stephan and Karen's. Two friends from other countries were there. We always enjoy talking about language, telling stories and jokes, comparing cultures.

Notice how Nova, the kitten, enjoys visitors. We also went to look in on the rabbit colony.

The Mama Rabbits

Toward the end of the evening we noticed the super moon and mist. And every time we go, we notice something else Stephan has done. Among other things this time the screen doors he made and the swing between the trees out front (see below to the right).

Tuesday I tried to walk through our woods from the road, but the old path was closed with summer growth. However, I did glimpse the large fallen oak tree Mike had told me about.

Speaking of trees. . . he has been working off and on all week repairing the sculptured tree.

First he had to sand off the fungus that grew out of all the grooves outlining the icons, then bleach to remove any mold. Now he is retouching all the colored figures.

He also spent a lot of workable segments of time spraying the deck with bleach to clean it, a task that has to be done every so many years.
All this, and much more, was accomplished during moments when he was not in pain, until it returned and he'd have to sit for a while. Yes, the mysterious and persistent pain has interrupted him repeatedly. So, as is his way, he researched at length. Many others describe what he has. Only one person he read about had found relief. He sent for the book about pressure points immediately, and had it overnighted. It seems he may have found a solution, though it will take time.

Yesterday, the 12th was the last day of the Wandering Wheels Fall Breakaway, a week-long bicycle tour. They had asked to come by, see our sculptured tree and tour the new house. We, somehow forgot, or thought they were coming on Saturday. Our confusion became apparent when a few faster riders began to arrive. Mike came in to inform me and tell me not to panic. I never tidied the entire house so quickly!
They were a very friendly appreciative bunch, thirty five in all, from as far away as New York, Canada, Wisconsin, and I don't know where all.

The crowd leaving

Today we enjoyed Elijah's soccer game in Yorktown. He was chosen and tried out for the travelling team.

The goalie in action and happy for the team victory.

I promised a photo per week of our sweet great grandbaby. I had to borrow this favorite pic of the week from Kayla. Can't wait to see her again, hopefully tomorrow on her one month-a-versary!

Photo credit: Leah

Sunday, September 7, 2014

2014 Week 36: Labor Day . . .

The day began earlier than usual for us with the annual race. Mike made a brave effort but the hip pain returned very early. Again I beat all the other females my age who did not show up.

Another t-shirt, another medal
I could have walked in the parade with several groups, but chose the Upland Greenway. Mike is on the committee working hard to join sections of the trail that would bring it through Upland.

We enjoyed hanging out by Leah's house to watch the rest of the parade and visit with family and friends.
Rebecca Rose slept through all the attention.

Two great grandmas cuddle the little sleeping beauty

And was well protected by three body guards. Can you see two of them? The third one is on the other side, of course.

Labor Day officially marks the end of summer activities. The weather and other changes will follow.

The flower garden at the end of summer
We've enjoyed watching the birds as we eat breakfast. Some wait their turn, others fight for theirs.

Stephan delivered this ice sculpture to an event and then stopped by on his way home.

Butter Flies

Michael finally got some relief from the recurring hip pain. The chiropractor and ex-rays determined what was causing it. He goes back a couple times this week for further adjustments.

Mother, however, has been dealing with vertigo for a week or so and still no relief. We went to see her Friday to be there when the therapist was  scheduled to see her, but she did not come.

Saturday we went to Malachi's cross country meet. It was a huge invitational with 71 teams, 2016 runners total--small and big schools, girls and boys. He did well, a second personal record in a week!

We took in yet another town festival in neighboring Matthews--the Covered Bridge Festival. Michael walked considerably more than he has been able to although he did stop and rest for intervals.
We met up with many people we know, always a lot of fun.

So, teaching is going well although I am still exploring the new text book and all the resources available.

Here's one of the questions the students are learning and I ask you, ¿Qué hay de nuevo? (What's new?)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

2014 Week 35: Pain, Pets, Problems, and Precious Ones

Monday Mike tried another therapy session in Indy. He continues to have recurring episodes of excruciating hip pain which limits or interrupts exercise or physical activity.

I loved this scene at Stephan's that evening, everyone enjoying one another's company while waiting for dinner, and Nova the cat surrounded by light, laughter and love. Ah, the life of a pet!

I have wished that for Brutus, but haven't known how to make that happen. The decision to find him a new home, and the way it came about, was quite traumatic. But in the end turned out well and the actual move Tuesday morning went more smoothly than we could have anticipated.
We placed his breakfast in the cage and Mike stayed nearby talking soothingly after closing the door. In the car I sat next to him and kept him calm as he anxiously observed his changing surroundings.
His new home is with our former consuegra (co-inlaw), widowed and living alone. Already that first day he proved to be good company for her.

My first class was that evening and, among other activities, we had fun with some skits that help to associate the Spanish vowel sounds with a situation or scenario they will remember.

There were problems, however, that we are still working through. Tuesday I found out that I had been given a different edition of the textbook than the students. By Thursday although I had access to the internet, I could not figure out how to get the audio to work. Technology has transformed the class room.

A package came from my cousin this week. She found a very old Bible that my grandfather must have given to my mother. There is a sample of her handwriting as a child. I wonder how old she was?

Michael spent two and half days helping Stephan with their well problems. The water had ecoli, and needed to be chlorinated. In order to do that, Stephan had to locate the well, dig it out, disassemble, change some things, put it back together. They ran into beaucoup problems. Hmmm. . . it may have been a good deal to pay to have it done.

Friday afternoon Sam's three younger boys spent the night.

There they go, and here they come. . . over and over. . . back and forth. . . up and down.

"It's too early to let go of blankie. . . or maybe not"
This is the big weekend in Upland--yard sales everywhere. So we went down town, and stopped at a few. The boys picked up a few toys or treasures.  We stopped at Leah's to see how theirs was going.
The best part was to see little precious and her lovely mother and radiant grandmother!

I suspect that from now on my weekly blog will NOT be complete unless it has a picture of baby Rebecca.

Zion remembered the playground at the church so we ended our adventure with a play time there.

After they left, Mike and I had fun running around town on the ATV!

Come back for more about the town festivities next week.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

2014 Week 34: The Week's Miscellany

Health issues, decisions, disasters and more. The good and the bad always hand in hand.

Monday was Mike's follow-up appointment with Dr. Sundaram at IU Health in Indianapolis.
The good news: no traces of cancer! The potentially bad, more sarcoidosis nodules detected on thyroid.
We visited our friend Sara (fellow Circle Tour rider) over lunch and she shared her venison stew with us.

I was asked to teach a Level 1 Spanish course at Ivy Tech, and have been asking God and others for direction and advice. I promised to give an answer by Monday night. I said yes.

Tuesday, our friend Jenni gave us both massages to relieve our hip and back issues. She is very skilled

That evening I went to an orientation for adjunct professors and received the texts I will be using.

Wednesday I received the Master Syllabus and the next day met with the Department Chair and Assistant Coordinator to fill out a hire packet. So, here we go, plenty of work (and fun?) ahead. I will be teaching Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 - 9 PM.

Mike got on his bike again and rode 12 miles! He's gone out two more times this week, and feels better, although the hip pain comes back and slows him down.

Thursday evening our young friend from Little Rock, Arkansas, arrived to spend the night before moving into the dorm at Anderson. He was rather worn out from driving all that way but stood around long enough that we persuaded him to play a game of Hand and Foot before retiring for the night. What were we thinking? He beat us soundly.

Calculating the final scores                                                      Gloating
That night severe storms and heavy rains hit our area. A neighboring town got over 9" resulting in serious flooding. We had a little over 5" and no real damage.

The weather was very timely for the new parents. Matt was sent home from work and could go with Kayla to second doctor appointment for baby Rebecca. She had lost a bit too much weight by Tuesday, but is gaining now.

Schools were closed for 'rain day'! Skye took this picture of their flooded back yard.

More babies! Leah was up all night acting as midwife for her beagle Cleo's first delivery. A rough time--two live births but the last two puppies were stillborn.

Saturday we both left the house shortly after 8 a.m. Michael had an event where the robotics team showed off their robots at a family fest. And I went to grandson Malachi's cross country meet. As a sophomore he is now on the varsity team. It was not the best day for a race--soggy ground and hot and humid weather. Uncle Stephan was there to offer encouragement.

Then I headed to the Broadway house to help paint, or at least touch up some spots.

Bye, bye, Broadway house after 13 years of good memories!
On the way home I just had to stop at Kayla's and hold Rebecca again. Still so tiny and such a doll!

All week, at various intervals, Michael has been working on his latest piece of art, preparing it step by step for an eventual bronze casting. Over the months he has spent hours and hours painstakingly perfecting even the smallest aspect. Finally all the parts were assembled onto a 'tree' for the series of coats before the wax melting stage. Alas, this morning disaster struck (most likely Brutus the cat) and the shattered pieces are irrecoverable. This is the only memory we will have of a long anticipated beautiful work of art.

Mike is still recovering. The cat may have a different home soon!