Tuesday, November 14, 2017

2017 Week 45: Special Days

Can anyone claim on their tombstone to have loved in this way? 

True love
Last Sunday, as I was publishing the blog post, thanks to energy from our generator, at the church, by candle light and the hard work of many, the annual Kidoli's spaghetti dinner was prepared and served to an unusually large crowd. (Maybe there was no other place to go in our darkened town!)
These cute young servers raise money to go shopping and fill Christmas boxes for children in other countries as part of Operation Christmas Child. Always a fun community event became memorable!


Tornadic winds hit the area not too far from us. Structural damage and power outages hit parts of Muncie and surrounding areas. This did not affect the building where I teach, but Michael could not work at the robotics shop as planned, nor Kayla at her dance studio across the street. The weather did not affect Monday dinner, tho' still cold and rainy. Friend and neighbor walked over through the mud.
Faithful guest, neighbor friend--Jasmine
 We continued the weekly art get together even with only three this week. I was determined to rescue some early failed or incomplete pieces from the first class where we experimented with washes and masking. I added some touches of color to bring out what I had meant to say. We tried out Leah's water color pencils and watched a tutorial on painting a grove of trees.

Watercolor practice pieces

Thursday, I spent the afternoon with Mother who seems to be doing well even though she'd had another minor fall. Again we read old letters, some of Aunt Margaret's with more details about a very difficult situation the missionaries had to confront and deal with back in 1960.
Contact with my high school classmates is ongoing, in fact I had two phone conversations this week! One with Helena who lives in Italy and another with Vicenta in Berazategui, Argentina.
Someone posted this old photo of our school.


Friday there were several posts that reminded me of a holiday I'd forgotten, Día de la Tradición to celebrate an era of Argentine history--the life of the gaucho (cowboy).

Gaucho on the right, painting by Emilia Cané, daughter of one of my compañeras.

The holiday commemorates the birthdate of José Hernández, the author of the epic poem Martín Fierro, about the life of the gaucho. I looked for my copy of the book we read and studied in school.  I also found another one given to me by a friend, parts of the Bible written in poetic style and language of the Martín Fierro. Both are so fun to read, wish I had more time.


Saturday, of course, was our holiday to remember and recognize our veterans. 
Stephan carved a sculpture of the iconic Iwo Jima statue for an event in Illinois.


Sunday was our belated family birthday celebration of Samuel's 39th! These are always special times together. My favorite moment was when Sam was going through all the photos I had scanned the day before--his life from baby to young adult. A small crowd gathered to enjoy, reminisce, comment. It is always interesting to hear what and how our children remember their life experiences. Photos are wonderful sources for details of events and surroundings.

Since he was 12 or so, Sam asked for a skateboard for his birthday every year. This time though he asked for "more of the same" the only one he got was the teeny tiny one Leah skillfully painted for him.



Sunday, November 5, 2017

2017 Week 44: Surprises


What a downpour! Power is out. Thankful for a generator.

The huge surprise of the week was actually reencounters. Some classmates in my high school graduating class started a group on Facebook. They searched long and hard and found me! Read this blog post from 2010 to understand how unlikely and unexpected this is--High School Graduation.

We are all scattered, a few no longer with us, and some have yet to join the group. Daily chats and posts slowly bring back faded memories and renew friendships. We share photos and stories. Most of us had forgotten the graduation ceremony. One was able to locate the button pinned on our uniform by a parent.



Monday after class, lunch and shopping, I went to cover for Kristie who had a job interview. I was welcomed by smiling pumpkins, and played Skipbo with the "Mad Scientist" when he got home from school. A while later Kristie arrived with Captain America.


Tuesday was the last class our friend Jason had committed to guiding us in water-color techniques. However, we decided to continue meeting with whoever can come, and invited another local artist to join us.


That evening Leah had fun welcoming interesting visitors. Do you recognize anywone from the art club?


I, on the other hand, had only one "trick-or-treater" show up, and may have frightened the cute little unicorn.


However, she got over it quickly and took over my camera to get a picture of her escorts.


The next day was their anniversary, six years already!

Thursday (sometimes referred to as TBT--Throwback Thursday), I had fun restoring, scanning, posting some of Stephan and Karen's old photos that forever grace their fridge.


I took the lower left photo when we first met Karen. They remember how long they had to maintain the pose till I managed to get the shot I wanted. 
In the lower right they were playing members of the 80's show, the A-Team, for a skit at church.


Friday, our sleep-deprived resident student was off to class early. I just had to get a photo of the presentation-worthy attire which had required some consultation with friends.


I spent the morning arranging all Mike's pottery at the Gray Barn for the 7th Annual Upland Holiday Arts and Crafts Festival the next day.

Klaytivity--Mike Koch's Unique Thrown Pottery, filled the entire counter. Hard to believe so many pieces remain after selling and giving away  again that many over the years. Everything was 60% off--priced to sell!

Here are a few of his unique pieces. Which two do you think sold?


I had volunteered to be there Saturday, 9:00 - 4:00, so Michael went off to work at MadJax. 
He said I could keep the money. Not bad for a day's wages. The best part, though, is talking to people.
I had one special little visitor, but failed to get a picture until she was walking away.


Any big happenings or surprises in your week?

Sunday, October 29, 2017

2017 Week 43: Cold is here!

I got the plants in and found a place for them just in time for the weather change.
Will they survive/thrive indoors? We'll see.


Last Sunday was still nice out. We got together for a belated birthday celebration. The kids played outdoors and almost everyone went down the zipline, including little Rebecca!!!


Krazy Koch birthday song moment
I pulled out Kayla's photos closest to Rebecca's age. 


Which one reminds you most of Rebecca?

Do you agree with Rebecca?



Three of us met Tuesday to do watercolor even though our teachers were gone for Fall break. I don't think we were as productive without Jason and Kari.


Wednesday we had fun with our friends at the Senior Activities Center. Which one is the real bee keeper?

In the evening I took Rebecca to the Fall Festival at our church. She didn't want to leave!

A little unicorn before we went, a tiger-corn when we came back.
I had a nice visit with Mother on Thursday. Again we were so entertained reading old letters, that I failed to take any pictures. I was almost home when this deer stared me down giving me plenty of time for a snapshot.


Michael continued to work hard at clearing our yard--chopping wood, removing logs.


Friday he was able to take a load to Stephan's--two logs that totaled a ton.


Two exciting PhyXTGears related items this week:

--The battery tester was enthusiastically approved by the robot parts distribution business and should be available for sale as of December 1st!  It is a small tool the team designed and worked on this past year.
Battery Tester (2"x2")
--The Muncie Journal published an excellent article about the team's involvement in the satellite program--"Muncie-Delaware FIRST Robotics Team To Launch Their Own Satellite Into Space."


The reporter visited several times and wrote an in-depth and accurate article, a great piece of journalism.

Monday, October 23, 2017

2017 Week 42: Goodbyes

 Last Sunday, the 17th of October, was a day of love and tears. There were two family gatherings and two goodbyes.


There was an early breakfast at Grace Village. My four brothers were together with Mother, probably for the last time. Lynn (69), in the later stages of liver disease and other complications, got his desire to see Mother one more time. His children were driving the parents from Pennsylvania to Nevada, at least a four-day journey. 

Mother and Lynn in front; Ivan, Alan, and Aldo in back
Aldo and Alice flew in the day before from Denver for Sharon's memorial in the afternoon.  
I don't know who to credit for these photos, but am so grateful for a glimpse into that rare and precious reunion.

Philip, Kathy, Mary, Lynn, Mother in front. Aldo, Alice, Kim, Ivan and Alan in back
We drove up in the afternoon. Kayla and Rebecca  rode with us. 

A short siesta while we wait for Mother to get back from church.
The rest of Leah's family arrived soon after. It was so comforting to have most of our family there. 
Sharon was a favorite aunt. 
Stephan arrived straight from Michigan where he'd been carving pumpkins. Sam's family came in time for the service at 4:00. But this was the only family grouping I managed to capture.

Jimmy, Leah, Skye, Kayla, Rebecca
It was a long day for Rebecca, but she was so good. 

Top right: "Come play with me, abuela."
Bottom right: "I'm bored." (Photo credit Leah)
Abuelo trying his hand at a fancy do. Rebecca and Pearl being so patient.
I love this memory of Mother, Alan, and Pablo. 
Alan was alone. Sharon's boys and siblings somehow shied away from the front row reserved for closest family. Mother made her way to the front and joined her youngest son. He was the one who spent the most years at home as an "only child."
Pablo Coria plays beautifully, like his father before him--all dear friends from Argentina. Michael said that in his mind he was hearing the words of the hymns as from Sharon's perpective.


Waiting to hear from Sharon while listening to beautiful piano music.
We gathered to say goodbye to Sharon, but it was she who spoke to us. When the end was near, Sharon asked to speak with the pastor in private and told him what she wanted to say to those she knew would be at her memorial. He recorded the conversation and then included her words verbatim in his talk. Sharon loved animals. She spoke directly to her dear friends from the dog park who would never have stepped foot in a church. She told them how much she loved them and longed to see them in eternity. She wanted to go ahead and help prepare a place for them in heaven. 

During the meal after, we got to meet and talk to many. I love seeing these cousins together.

Jimmy, Skye, Malachi.

Lovely mother-daughter and handsome photo-bomber, Elijah 

The Western-bound travelers posted photos each day of their progress. They made it safely Tuesday!


Now for the rest of our week.
Monday mornings are a bit rough for me: get up early; 40 minute drive; on my feet teaching for four hours. After that I am hungry and tired. It is a treat when friend Julia (Moriah's mom) meets me for lunch right after. Not long ago she had an accident. As she put it, she prayed for God to redeem the situation. Here she is showing off her new wheels.


After a refreshing nap, I went to watch Rebecca in her dance class. It was Halloween costume dress-up day.


In our third watercolor class: we learned about the color wheel; how the colors interact with each other; we practiced layering "washes"; and we made cards.


 ALL week Michael was working on cutting wood. He chopped, moved and stacked. The weather was beautiful, perfect.


 He felled a couple more dead trees, one was huge.


Stephan came  and hauled away as many logs as the trailer could bear. He has two or three more loads to pick up. These are destined to become part of the timber-frame home he is working toward.


Friday after a long week, we went for perhaps our last tandem date of the season. The mild weather cannot last much longer.