Thursday, May 28, 2009

My very first bloggy award!

This award is to thank people for leaving comments. "They are beautiful people who practice blogging etiquette by visiting or visiting back, and leaving nice comments. Their observations are apt and helpful. It's a pleasure to have them as commenters on my posts...."

That is how I feel about the person who passed it on to me, my dear SIL, Just a Southern Girl. I can always count on a response from her, like an ongoing conversation. I think we have grown closer since she moved as far away as another continent, due to this daily communication.

The award definitely made my day. But who can I pass it on to? We are asked to mention five faithful visitors to our blog. The only ones who speak up are mostly the same ones she listed. How do I get the other readers to come out of the woodwork, show their faces, confess to this blog-addiction, maybe even say something apt and helpful? Perhaps a Giveaway for my Blogoversary in August, but what? Or sooner, for my 100th post. Oh, that is my next one!

Anyway, dear readers, thank you and come again!

And to my few and valued commenters: I love hearing from you!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

About my man...

We rode our tandem 11 miles yesterday, had a nice breakfast and rode back. Very enjoyable start to Memorial Day!

As we sat in the restaurant waiting for our food, we reminisced. Five years ago I was going through a time of transition and riding the interview rollercoaster. That thought sparked a great many memories--things about my man I had never heard before. I borrowed a pen from the waitress. (Note to self: Never, ever, ever, ever leave home without pen or pencil!)

Here, on his milestonish birthday, are the new bits I learned about my husband:

He has had very few job interviews, yet has always had work.

Looking back, he was surprised to realize what good opportunities came up soon after graduating from high school--jobs that paid $11 an hour back then! His genius was already at work designing, inventing.

At Oster, in Racine, he was involved in calibrating electrical zero for the horizontal situation indicator used on jets. They had an aeronautic section back then.

Then at American Aeronautics, in Milwaukee, he worked on control systems. There he remembers inventing, designing a device for measuring reverberation (how long it takes for sound to die away).

At the time he thought he wanted to study engineering and work on astronautical instruments.

His Sunday School teacher challenged him to go to a Christian college and there his life path took a different direction.

Other lowlier jobs:

--delivering newspapers

--Water & Sewage plant maintenance

--Spartan (competitor to K-Mart, back in the boxes-in-the-aisles days), assistant manager.

--washing dishes in college

A look back in time confirms characteristics and habits that remain and define.

My man

--is a hard worker, has always worked

--is a genius, always designing/inventing/creating

--ever resourceful,

--always in great shape

Once, at Spartan, he didn't have a way home, so he ran the 11 miles.

He's still running to this day and/or riding his bike!

Happy 65th!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Project 365: Week 21

Birthday Week

It was a significant birthday, milestone-type, but low key.

I make the executive decisions re. family get-togethers, so I chose to include my BD celebration along with fun and fellowship at Monday Night Meal, i.e. I got to use the red Special Person plate instead of a throw-away disposable paper plate. What I do have to dispose of, send away a.g.a.i.n, is my camera. The mode switch got stuck, just when I was about to take a picture of my special plate laden with German-theme food.

This week's photos, by necessity are hazy cell phone shots, except this first one, my husband's photography. I think he titled it: "Look what just happened!" Truly amazing, from one day to the next, such a glorious unfurling!

Anyway, I decided the first thing you ought to see when you open my blog is this beauty.

In the middle school classroom, we've had a world map puzzle in process for about a month. It went through various stages and we almost gave up on it. It was most difficult to assemble, not becuase there were not enough clues, but because the country area pieces do not lock together. A great learning tool--the country facts are in alphabetical order in the blue water areas. The biggest lesson I learned was: always read the directions, or suggestions, in this case. The note on the box said, Begin with the frame and the oceans before attempting the continents. Now we know.
I have tried to broaden their horizons. They used to think Mexico was the only Spanish-speaking country, so I put up my map of Argentina and the flag. Sometimes we have discussions or arguments about the meanings of certain labels--Hispanic, Spanish, Latino, white vs. Mexican.

BTW, May 25th is a big patriotic holiday in Argentina, another reason for including this photo at this time.

Found this next picture on my phone, obviously not my doing. One of my 7th graders must have picked up my cell phone.

My granddaughter took this one. I'm wearing the outfit she helped me pick out for my birthday.

And here she is with her mother. Can you tell which one is which? Aren't they cute?

Another mother and her young. Can you see the goslings? The weather has been lovely. We've enjoyed walks, jogs, bike rides. The lake nearby is gorgeous.
So, hurry over to Sara's place. She's waiting!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Project 365: Week 20

Photo Ops

I must confess I do not have a photo for every day, but I did make up for it on other days, and will have to go over the count to do justice to everything I want to share. In fact, I am going back to Saturday a week ago, to include a memory of grandson Malachi's game, especially considering the name and subtitle of my blog--A Grandma's Reflections!
So when we left the game, in the fifth or sixth inning, his team was losing, no miracle in sight. However, we had a phone message later of the 'miraculous' comeback where they were going to win by one run, but the other team's last minute 'miracle' put them ahead by one. Still, that was a triumph.

We decided to redeem the KFC 2 pc Grilled Chicken meal giveaway. Turns out we had to get a rain check.

Speaking of meals, Monday Night Meal at Stephan-son's was, once again full of fun and laughter. We took a new acquaintance, a relation--cousin's granddaughter, who is a student at the nearby university. Hopefully the hilarity was not too much to handle and she'll be back.

Part of the fun came from a Bible name discovered by Chef-son. It appears that the famous Jabez may have had an ancestor who inspired his great prayer for blessing because she had a pony, even if it was a small one. Well, read it for yourself.

FYI, family members, this is Bethany Gehman, daughter of the late James Gehman the younger. She grew up in Venezuela and will be going to Korea later this summer.
I've been enjoying the beautiful Mother's Day gift outside our den window.
Mother's Day celebrations continued when I joined my mother Friday evening at her church's annual dinner. The meal--potato bar and desserts; music--bells by mothers and daughters; inspirational talk--the Egg Lady, Emma Fretz.

She has created intricately designed pieces out of eggs of all kinds and sizes, over 9,000! The one she is holding up here is her own 50th anniversary special. Actually that is only the inside of the special egg and it folds up, accordeon-like into the shape of an egg. Each photo frame is cut egg shell. On one side are wedding photos and their children, and on the other side they are the center and their ancestors on either end. Fascinating!
She made a special valentine-egg for her husband each year, each one a different theme. Some have to do with Pooh Bear because that was what she called him. Her love name was Sheepy. So sweet!

As you look at these, try to imagine what surprise she has built inside each egg. All of them have a door that opens up to a delightful vista.
She currently has five students. This lady, from Argentina, I might add, was exhibiting her work for the first time.

And here is another special lady, my lovely niece wearing her after-wedding-ceremony dress. Not her wedding, mind you, but that of her best buddy growing up. She will be standing up as Best (wo)Man, dressed in more manly attire! Fortunately she did not have to attend the groom's bachelor party.
I know we will be hearing more about today's event, in a roundabout way, from her mother, my SIL, Kim from Just a Southern Girl.
I spent the night at Mother's and came back just in time to tidy up the house for Mike's cycling club friends' cookout. It had been raining until early afternoon, but the sun came out just in time for a lovely time outdoors.

It is time to jump over to Sara's and check out what everybody else has been up to this week!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday Wisdom

Commit your works to the LORD,
And your thoughts will be established.

Proverbs 16:3 (New King James Version)

I started writing this yesterday, but could not finish for lack of time.
No matter, this verse has been with me all week and hopefully will become a way of life.

The timing was perfect. I came across this promise the day of a big meeting with the program directors at work. My colleagues and I had been dreading this evaluation. I went in with confidence that God would indeed bring to mind what to say and how to contribute to the conversation. And so it was. Knowing that this event was in God's hands, I believed that my thoughts were ordered by Him and then spoke up confidently.

The next day this handing-over-to-God exercise led me to yell at an adult responsible for making sure the child got to school. It worked!

What will happen next?
Life with God is truly an adventure.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Project 365: Week 19

Happy Mother's Day to Sara, our Project 365 hostess, and all of you bloggy friends!
I can't wait to go over and see what you've done this week. However, I may have to delay gratification till after I've thought about lesson plans for tomorrow. The weekend was busy and today we went up North to visit my mother. Here are some of the cards I created for special mothers in our family.

Things that made me smile this week...

...or laugh! Monday night meals at Chef's turn into hilarious fun times.

Our South African friend, Chris, and son Steph (nicknamed Chef since college) are constantly teasing and joking. Fiancée, Rachael, is about to lose it! Chris flew back to SA for a few weeks to sort out visa issues. 'The beautiful one', as we call her will join him right after graduation to meet his family. Then back here together for the wedding in August! I'm sure they will appear in my blog again and again.

The growing patches of lily of the valley make me happy. The starter plants were given to me years ago for my birthday. It is my birth month flower and a favorite!

These granddogs usually show their exhuberance by jumping on me. This time they were confined. Their curiosity made me smile.

I invited my daughter to join the fiesta with the middle schoolers and lead a piñata decorating session. Everyone enjoyed the process and the creative results.

The younger grandboys spent a night. Among the many happy activities and photos, I chose the pottery-related moments. Elijah is brushing glaze on his little pot.

And Malachi is having his first try at the potter's wheel with brother and Grandpa looking on (and Grandma from above).

Happy moments and many more to come. This week the decision to retire became very clear and my heart welcomed the prospect! Thank you to all those that prayed that I would know with certainty.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Left in the inkwell...

Se quedaron en el tintero...

Believe it or not, I DO remember the little inkwells, or at least the holes in the antique pupitres (student desks) that used to be for ink. By the time I was in 3rd and 4rh grade, however, we were not using the original plumas (feather pens), we had graduated to the dipping kind and soon after to the fountain pen.

Anyway back to the expression...

Yes, so many words left time...but the thoughts still rumble I decided to enlist your help.

My reason for blogging is to hone writing skills with very regular practice. The once a week photo summary is simply not enough. Let me know which of the following titles or topics you might make time to read. Hopefully, with your encouragement, I will find time to write about them. Here is the list in no particular order.
  1. Day of the Armenian Genocide, April 24
  2. Still reeling...not really (about the day hubby walked out on the job!)
  3. Reflecting on Retirement
  4. Cinco de Mayo: What it is, what it is not, and the fiesta
  5. AP Here I Come!
  6. The Basques are Coming!
  7. BICS, CALP, and SEX
  8. 25 Random Things (a me-me)
  9. Other:..............................

I eagerly await your responses. If this works, I may have to think of a way to reward my readers. Hmmmm....

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Week 18: Project 365

End of an Era, New Beginnings
The train I mentioned earlier seems to be permanently parked on the bridge symbolizing the end of an era. It has been that for us too, as Mike ended his employment, a new beginning for him.
He is thoroughly enjoying his new freedom to do what he enjoys, not necessarily to slow down.
I have struggled more over the decision.
Last Sunday I led Junior Worship and this was the theme verse:

I know God will guide me because
"Ebenezer=thus far the Lord has helped us."
I can trust Him and His ways.
"...only let the Lord establish His Word."
I want to be sure of His guidance re. when to quit my job.
This week we had ISTEP testing.
On the fourth day, after the last test, I was able to get away for lunch with former students and colleagues, a delightful time to catch up with one another and reminisce about old times.
This is one of my best students, now a university instructor!

The last bouquet...

New life springing up everywhere...
Every day I discover a new variety.
The hostas and other perennials have come back stronger than ever.

Today is a first for the "Gone to Pot" era.
Last Sunday we borrowed niece's kiln. By 'we' I mean I went along with Mike to pick it up.
He repaired it, set it up in the garage, filled and fired it up!

Hopefully it will be successful.
This self-taught potter learned that sawdust-firing only works as a second step.
Unfortunately he had already lost more than half of his pieces as seen in these photos.

What has everyone over at Sara's place been learning?
Check out their photos for the week.