Sunday, September 24, 2017

2017 Week 38: Chores and more

What's happening at the Koch's?
This week I want to focus on Michael as I didn't include any of his activities last week.
He has accomplished a great deal this summer: painted sections of the siding; sealed the driveway; cared for his beehives. (Sadly one of them became infested with wax moths and didn't make it. There are five colonies left.)

The evidence
The latest project: felling dead trees, making sure they'd fall in a safe direction; loading and moving them; splitting the logs and stacking the pieces. 

Our resident engineering student giving advice
This is an ongoing project. Four trees down and four more to go. 
Stephan will pick up several of the right-sized logs suitable for the timber frame house he is preparing to build.

Not to mention all Michael's other ongoing involvements: robotics; pottery at the Red Barn; the satellite project; and very regular bicycle rides.

What's happening in other Koch households?
Last Sunday was Kristie's birthday. I'm borrowing this sweet photo of the royal treatment she received that morning. This weekend, the college boy came home so Sam and Kristie could get away.

Wednesday tap class was quite a mental and physical workout--trying to learn new steps and a new dance routine as well as remember the old one--but very entertaining as well.

Big teacher, little teacher

I popped in to visit mi hija Thursday and got some good pics of the family pets.

Top: Zeus; lower left, Ruff; lower right, Cleo

Signs of autumn greet me on gray days and sunny days, but the heat wave we are experiencing (several days in the 90's) tell me summer is loathe to leave.

Grading was my focus. Tests and homework packets were spread out on the counter most of the week. I discovered that listening to audio books makes the task bearable, even enjoyable.

I finally learned how to use an app to access library books, and now I'm on a roll, three in one week. At this rate maybe I'll catch up on all the recommended reading.

I lean toward memoir and biography. There are so many life lessons in these stories.
I'm curious, do you enjoy audio books?

The week ended strolling hand in hand with Michael through the numerous vendor booths, rows of rebuilt old cars, and food concessions at the popular and chaotic event in the neighboring town, the Ducktail Run. We settled on a sweet treat to share.

Looking old but happy

Sunday, September 17, 2017

2017 Week 37: Life--Full and Fleeting

My plants prospered and multiplied outdoors but it's time to begin thinking about bringing them indoors. Summer will officially be over in a week, though pleasant, even warm weather may linger.

Times and things change. Seasons come and go. Friends and pets also. 
We attended two memorial services this week, celebrations of lives well lived. Last night we heard of two older friends in Argentina who left this life for a better one. 

We are so grateful when we see our young ones making decisions and taking steps in light of eternity.
"I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3John 4

Last Sunday we witnessed Zion's step of faith in baptism. You can watch a little video the church put together for the occasion--Baptism 9.10.17. It is customary at The Gathering, their church, for the family to surround the special water tank as the candidate is prayed over and baptized.

Pastor Brandt praying for Zion; the cousins; children's pastor Stephanie baptizing Zion

Monday after four hours of teaching, it was a real treat to meet my friend Julia for Thai food at a nearby restaurant..

Stephan always has culinary surprises for us Monday evenings, and we never know who all will be there.

Full table, fun food

Sadly, the next day, one of  their dogs went missing. Wednesday she was recovered from the animal shelter disoriented and blind, not sure exactly what happened, how or when.

Poor Gracie

I spent time this week looking back at my family's earliest years in Argentina in an effort to recall and retell those stories. I scanned, enhanced, posted photographs and also read a year's worth of "Aunt Margaret's" weekly letters written in 1959. I need to return those treasures to her next time I go to Grace Village.
Here are two sample photographs:
Our little family and another couple were scheduled to leave on the José Menéndez, a cargo ship, September 7, 1945. We were all aboard, and trunks loaded. Grandparents toured the vessel and noticed the small cabins. The farewells that followed anticipated a five year separation. However, our visas had not arrived, even though both families applications were mailed at the same time. Our belongings were unloaded and we were left behind.

A few months later, we finally left New York on the day after Christmas 1945, the final voyage of that same ship and my first time at sea.

New York City, Christmas 1945

Thursday I had a little visitor. We heard the neighbor children playing on their play set so we walked over to entertain them!

Rebecca loved the trampoline and was not afraid of the froggie

Our Friday evening fun was the Adopt an Angell concert, a delightful event to raise funds for the Angell family to bring a Korean child into their family.

So many near and far need to know, experience and be reminded of God's extravagant and faithful love for us, me included.

What about you? Do you live knowing you are loved?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

2017 Week 36: Many Mixed Emotions

Typical week for us: very full and varied!

Sunday, Leah's family and friends came to bury her pet cat in one of our burial plots.

After sunset we enjoyed a beutiful fireworks display in celebrration of our town's sesquicentennial.

Monday was the last day of the grand celebration and the popular annual Labor Day parade, preceded by a 5K race. Even though I haven't run in a long time, I attempted to run/WALK and once again had no competition in my age group. I placed same as my age! Does that mean each year I'll be worse? Anyway I'm grateful for the opportunity, the 45' 53" time, and my daughter coming out to cheer me on as I passed her house!

We usually park our chairs by Leah's house for the parade and then visit others stationed nearby.

Family members present; Rebecca already enjoying "parade loot."

I planned to visit Mother Tuesday so made arrangements to see Malachi while in Winona Lake. We met at an ice cream shop by the lake. We decided it does not quite meet Ivanhoe's standards. ;-)
However, from the comparison of Malachi's selfie with Mike's high school picture, we all agree there is a strong family resemblance!

Mike felt I should visit my brother Lynn in Pennsylvania, and was willing to take off a couple days to go with me. Wednesday morning we set off on the nine hour journey. When we realized that evenings are not good visiting hours, we decided to stop not far off our route to visit Aunt Fae in Evans City.

With Aunt Fae and cousin Kae; lovely new framed photo--Phil's senior prom, Fae a sophomore.

We had such a fun time sharing memories and discoveries from old letters. We had to laugh at the memory about Mother (Kate) and her pet peeve--smacking and loud eating sounds. Her brothers teased her mercilessly and she would often leave the table.

12 year-old Phil's letter to his traveling preacher-dad

The back story to this letter is told in the following article that appeared in an American Family Association and Uncle Phil's response years after the incident.

We enjoyed reading these and other memories with Lynn Thursday morning. He and I shared some mates together, wonderful nostalgic fellowship.
Lynn has lost weight and is very limited by  the ravages of liver disease and LBD, but his spirit is alive and well. Our time together was precious.

Our Friday evening fun was at the Delta vs Burris soccer game. We're grateful for the opportunity Elijah has to be on Delta's first soccer team. BTW, Delta defeated Karen's Burris students 6 to 2. (Sorry, Karen.)

Elijah, Delta's #25

Saturday's excitement was a wedding. The bride rode in two Circle Tours of the Basque Country with Mike. And, after being pronounced Mrs. Sean Richardson, rode off on a tandem with her new husband, side saddle in her wedding dress, down the lane lined with bicycles!

Sara Hemmick's outdoor wedding and Circle Tour reunion with Dane & Laurie Davenport and Tate and Chelsea Gaines

This week's travels afforded the opportunity to listen to an audio book and finish two colorings!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

2017 Week 35: Big and Small; Old and New

My flower plot grows differently each year. This summer the hydrangeas, which were pruned way back, grew enormously, and the begonias look stunted.

Even so our days are made up of the big and the small.
Michael completed two fairly large projects. Sunday afternoon and most of Monday he was tiling the Community room at MadJax for use by the First Lego League which opened Tuesday. 

After dinner at Stephan's we swung by the elementary school in Yorktown, so Moriah could see, hug, and congratulate her little brother who won an award for running 100 miles over the summer.

Mike and I were fascinated by the mural in the entryway. Notice the details. How many little creatures can you pick out?

Resting in the park after a hard day's work.
The other project took most of three days. 

Michael tarring the driveway
The Upland 150th celebration continued over two weekends and included a midweek family movie at the Lion's Club. So Nanna Leah, Rebecca and I enjoyed the latest Smurf movie.

Nanna (photo by Rebecca); Nanna, Becca, and puppy enjoying movie and popcorn.
It was a BIG week for our new housemate, Moriah. It can be overwhelming to figure out class schedules and expectations, stay on top of homework and social events and interactions. Thankfully she has made friends and a wing of one of the dorms has adopted her. 

Moriah's varying roles: student; my technical support; Rebecca's preferred game partner. 
Saturday, Rebecca spent a few hours with us while Queen Kayla was presiding over the princess party at Cornerstone Center for the Arts where she teaches dancers of all ages. Fall classes are starting up next week. Notice the castle she made (with her mother's designing help).

Leah added two members to my turtle family this week.

Kayla and Rebecca ballerinas
Labor Day weekend is always huge in Upland and more so this year with the town birthday celebration. The town was overrun by shoppers hoping to find good deals in the 200+ yard sales. I stopped by two. We don't need anything but I was tempted by a couple treasures. The most irresistable were these antique books: four Louisa May Alcotts and an Uncle Remus--memories of years gone by.

Michael and I started the day with a pancake breakfast at the Victory Acres farm. It was chilly enough that we needed to warm up by the fire.

Later, after Rebecca went home . . .

ATV fun with abuelo.
. . .we ended the day at the BBQ Rib Fest listening to the Cumberland Gap blue grass singers. We enjoyed them so much we stayed three hours!

While there we learned that when Leah arrived home from a wedding she discovered her pet cat had died. She was quite devastated. This was her last photo of him, incidentally caught in the sunflower pic.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

2017 Week 34: Still rearranging

Adjusting to new circumstances is probably a constant in life, felt more strongly at times.
This was a week of new beginnings for many of us. I started teaching Monday morning, 8:00 a.m., and it was the best "first day" ever!
Sunrise when I left early morning

Early afternoon, I tried to catch a glimpse of the eclipse without looking directly at the sun, by taking a selfie. The sunlight overpowered, though mostly blocked. However, I know the partial eclipse was happening because I saw it through Michael's welding helmet.
Trying to catch a glimpse of the eclipse

The last couple weeks I've been learning about a once-in-a-lifetime type event that happened when I was only two and a half. I always knew that we'd lived through a locust invasion and recalled some old photos. Then I came across my parent's description in their letters.Wow!

La Carlota, Córdoba, Argentina
January 6, 1947
"Now the grashopper plague. It has come to Carlota. I took a picture of it yesterday and hope to take more so that you folds will believe what we say. [wish I could find that one old photo]They cover the trees, ground, houses and all so that there is standing room only. There is a river just at the edge of our pueblo, but that did not bother them at all. They came right across the river. They march just like an army and keep coming without end. They eat and eat and never stop--people must stand at their doors all day to keep them from entering and eating their clothes and food. The poor people in Santa Eufemia are pretty well tired out fighting them. The fight against them is certainly a good example of what a war must be like. If you want to win a war all you must do is have plenty of men so that no matter how many are killed they still keep marching on. They fight these with fire throwers and kill thousands but there is no diminishing of their numbers. They cover your doors so that it is very hard to enter the houses without letting them in and getting some on you also. There are so many on the railroad tracks that the oil they have in them greases the track to such an extent that they must use sand and they can only carry enough sand to last for a few miles. Trains come in 6 and 12 hours late."
I probably will not experience that again in my lifetime.

We continue to move things around, rearrange, clean.
I like the new location in the living room of one of Mike's masterpieces.

The Harpist

I washed rugs, and had help with floors, and windows. We even opened up the oven doors to get at the inside of the double panels. 

Thursday was my least favorite. I spent the entire day trying to figure out Ivy Learn a new program where we are required to post syllabi, activities, deadlines, grades. Because I signed on so late, I did not go through the training.

By Friday it was time to get out a bit. Our town is celebrating their 150th anniversary with two full weedends of events. I met Kayla and Rebecca at the Farmer's Market where the festivities began.
And today, Saturday, Nanna Leah was at the festival with our favorite little girl.

Both days Rebecca was sporting new sundresses from her birthday gifts. How do you like her favorite pose?

Say Cheese

She was especially interested in the parade of dogs and got to pet one. This is my favorite photo of the day. Thanks, Leah!

Meanwhile Welcome Weekend is going at our neighboring university, all kinds of activities. Tonight, as I write, I can hear the festive music. And our young friend is over there enjoying herself. Tonight will be her first night to sleep here and call this her home-away-from-home. She hasn't had much time to unpack. Hopefully she will be able to find the bed and get some rest.

Michael is back to his regular routine--robotics Tuesday and Thursday, and pottery at the Red Barn on Wednesday--as well as feeding his many birds, looking after his bees, and house maintainance and yard upkeep. And always extras on our calendar. Today he is at a family fair promoting the robotics team with a few of the team members and two of the robots. Even with a full schedule, he does not miss a long bike ride almost daily.