Friday, October 30, 2009

Project 365: Week 44

Idaho Week #2

Eight Kochs and four dogs in one household.

Allow me to introduce, from left to right: Pixie, the visiting princess belongs to brother Terry and SIL Sandy; Molly,  belongs to resident teen Cody; Bella Kenzie's new pup, is the youngest member of the household, trying to make friends with Emma, the oldest. The latter only growls. She's old and has worked very hard fetching 90% of the 180 ducks for the three avid hunters.

The totals: 180 ducks, 18 phaesants, 8 grouse

The guys got up at 5 a.m. every morning and were off to the wild. E.v.e.r.y single night, after fighting the elements, a late supper, cleaning the birds, they just HAD to wind down with a game of cribbage.

After mom and kids left for school and work, SIL and I spent hours and hours around the table in "the women's chamber", as we took to calling it after reading our book of the week.

We worked on our Bible studies, read, shared. Sandra finished many knitting projects: sweaters for the little dogs, stocking hats, a prayer shawl, etc. I read aloud Lisa See's bestseller. We highly recommend the experience, great discussions followed.
Thursday--last day to hunt, pack up, treat our hosts.

Friday--departure day
BIL and SIL left early, though somewhat concerned about the weather they might encounter. Sure enough, Interstate 80 closed at some point, and they had to re-route.
Our misfortune was different. I mentioned our car troubles and God's protection in a previous post. We got the car back from the repair shop sometime this week, but didn't test drive it. We packed up and started down the hill...

...the car died twice! We barely made it back to the house. TWICE it was towed away in ONE day and no solution. Intermittent problems are very difficult to diagnose. Fuel pump replaced, still wouldn't start.

Saturday: Still no answers. Replace the car computer? But no parts available till Monday. So we wait, relax, eat, walk, visit. The weather is gorgeous.

This is one of the hopeful goodbyes. K is a bollywood dancer ready for a Halloween party.

So it's Halloween. Has a gremlin taken over our car?
We walked by the most impressive neighborhood Halloween display again today (the one I posted Friday).
Since then we heard the story about the man responsible: a part-time employee of our store-manager nephew, older, had his knee removed, leg in a cast, waiting for infection to clear for knee replacement. Even so his house is ultra decorated. Who did it? Any clues in this photo?

You can't see it here, but there was a man on the roof speaking Spanish and a woman on the ground giving orders. (Behind every great man is a woman... speaking Spanish .)

Friday Fun?

Happy Hallooween?

We're still in Pocatello. We left 15 minutes ago and the car started acting up again, stalled twice before we were downhill. So we came back up and installed ourselves back in the Koch home to wait for the car repair shop to open again. It is 7:15 a.m. We have time to kill. Why not blog?

I had wanted to show you this fun Halloween display in this neighborhood. The difference today is that everything is covered with frost or a light coat of snow.

The original plan was to swing through Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons today and tomorrow maybe, now that we are this close, and then leisurely make our way home.

Now we wait and see. Let you know sometime what happened.
Meanwhile, have fun, enjoy the weekend, no matter where you are or what you do.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Project 365: Week 43

Sunday, before we finally got away on our long-awaited trip to Idaho, friend Lisa came over to collect natural woodsy materials for an autumn event. We gifted her with a pottery piece of her choice.

How about you? Are you entering my giveaway by commenting a few times here at Meemaw Moments? The opportunity ends when we arrive back in Indiana, in about 10 days.

The other photo I shot Sunday is my new header. Can you see our deck under those leaves?
I am so happy with my new autumn blog-look, but have so much to learn yet. I just couldn't remember how to get my title on there.

Monday we traveled through Iowa. I loved the beautiful farmland. One longer stop was at the new $55,000,000 Bass Pro store, a hunter's paradise. (Click on the link for a fascinating tour and fun captions.)

Tuesday we arrived at destination mid afternoon. The other Koch hunters had come back early to welcome us, and take a break!

For a slideshow of the cross country changing scenery go to my previous post. (While you're there leave a comment for greater chances in my drawing!)

Wednesday, I was remembering the last time I accompanied hunter-hubby on his annual expedition. Little Kenzie was only 4 years old and every morning she was up before anybody and headed straight for the computer to play a wide variety of her little games. She is still the technological whiz.

Thursday we went to great-nephew Cody's football game.

Friday, the three Mrs. Kochs went shopping.

Saturday, and every day, the men go hunting and come back with birds and hunting tales, complete with actions and sound effects. The women decided to model their behavior and tell our shopping stories with the same enthusiasm and effusive gestures. The result was tear-jerking hilarity.

What do the women do? Cook, do dishes, talk, knit, read, study, talk, walk, play with the three dogs, blog, shop, talk (did I mention that already?) Today I found a walking path and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, but my camera charge lasted for only one photo.

Check out Sara's blog for more week 43 (yes, FORTY THREE) photo reviews.
And don't forget my pottery giveaway! Picture this in your home.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Journeying Westward

I promised scenic photos of our road trip, so here is a slideshow.
This view is my favorite because of the rainbow that I know is there, but can you see it?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wondering and Wandering in the Wild Wild West

We made it out to Koch relatives in Pocatello, ID, Tuesday 4 pm. That represents a minor (or major?) miracle as the engine kept stalling for a few seconds as we were driving on the highway closer to the 80 mi/hr speeds. It must have happened about 10 times over the 1600 miles. This afternoon it was towed away. We are wondering what will happen. Mike thinks they should be able to find the problem because it is no longer intermittent. Today it would NOT start at all.

The Koch men are serious hunters. They love to torture themselves tromping through the grassy marshes ALL day long. Today they came back early to clean their catch of two days and go to young nephew's football game.

The closest I will come to the adventure of hunting is probably what I saw and experienced at the new  Bass Pro store we stopped at in Iowa. You can see for yourself and get a taste of this hunter's paradise.
Oh, I helped to bag the already cleaned and cut up birds.

For those who wanted to see photos of our travels, tomorrow I will post photos of the scenery.

And if anyone out there was waiting for another in the Art Pilgrimage series, sorry, I forgot to prepare to post them before I left, and the photos are all stored on the home computer.

Out here, days are pleasantly filled with reading, studying, walking, and conversation with my SIL. She brought a book to read and a lot of kniting projects. I wanted very much to read that book too, and I love to read out loud so we decided I would read to her while she knits. A great plan and a gripping read--Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.

Two days ago was my second blogoversary. Don't forget to leave comments to be entered into the giveaway--a Klaytivity unique thrown pottery by hubby the ceramist! He  loves to design, experiment, throw, glaze, fire, learn everything to do with the craft. And I love to give them away! Can you find the one we brought for our hosts?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Project 365: Week 42

Before I dive into the main focus of my photos for the week, I would like to finish up last week's with a picture of the birthday girl wearing her SYTYCD t-shirt from the Sunday performance at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indy.

( Yes, Sara, we had a wonderful time!)

The Monstrous Project

This week I want to give honor to whom honor is due: master-builder-designer-repairer-maintainer, my wonderful husband.
Toward the end of the summer, he realized that the 600-gallon water holding tank for our radiant floor heating, was so deteriorated (after 18 years) that it could no longer be used. So he hacked it to pieces and hauled it out. But first he sat down and designed an entirely new three-tank system and had them built out of stainless steel.
They were ready Monday.

Tuesday, Chef son came and helped move them into their prepared and insulated slots in the utility room.


The pondering goes on.
It is such a complex system.

We cannot leave for Idaho until it is in working order.

It is cold! Don't worry, we have space heaters.

While Mike keeps insanely busy down in the cave, in addition to his regular commitments (robotics, Lightrider, etc.), I have kept reasonably occupied. Sorry, no photos. 

Tuesday, a webinar by adoption author and adoptee, Sherrie Eldridge (I have offered to translate &/or interpret into Spanish for her)
Twice I went to Muncie to take Mary to her hyperbaric treatment. She is out of the hospital, has lost weight.
While she was in her oxygen pressurized chamber, I walked by the river nearby on the Cardinal Greenway.
Thursday, I began an online course "Fundamentals of Life Stories Writing."
Friday we got together with those involved in Summer in the USA for a dinner and sharing.
Saturday, I went to grandson's football game. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Today, Sunday, after all three tanks are full and functioning, 149 solder joints tested, leaks repaired, hot water circulating through the hose network in the floors, we will finally leave, after cleaning up and packing, of course.

The garden looks like this at the end of the season, kinda messy now and overgrown. (Compare to the beginning of summer photo in Week 25.)

The daughter will bring in some of the house plants that enjoyed the outdoors for a season. Can you believe the poinsettia lasted from last Christmas?!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning

Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning

Art can take so many different forms. Here, what looks like "just a bunch of old light bulbs 'planted' in some dirt inside an old aquarium" (SIL's description), the artist is bringing to life, for us visual learners, the story of ten young girls waiting to join in the wedding celebration when the bridal party made its way back to bridegroom's father's home for the big wedding fiesta. The custom was for these, not-officially-invited friends of either bride or groom, to join the procession and thus be allowed in before the door was closed.
In this story, the hour was late and all of them fell asleep, so no emphasis on alertness here.
However, their preparedness, or lack thereof, was soon evident when they were awakened by the joyful clamor of the approaching party. Only the five who had oil for their lamps were allowed to enter. The foolish could not even beg from the wise, to point out that salvation is an individual choice, it cannot be borrowed.
Of course, the modern little light bulbs in this art piece, do not resemble the oil lamps the young women were carrying (most likely of clay), except that both required oil to shed light. I was unable to see them at night, but can imagine that seeing half of them shining brightly while the others remained in the dark would speak eloquently of the sad plight of those who were unprepared for what was to come.
Preparedness indicates faith, belief in what is to come.

The preceding parable has a similar message: the faithful servants remained occupied at their given tasks until the master's return and were rewarded.
The unwise, unbelieving, unprepared, not only are unrewarded, they are damned forever.
That message is repeated in the following parable of the talents.Only those who used whatever they were given, were rewarded generously. Judgment awaited the neglectful, disobedient.

To better understand the Jewish wedding customs, I searched online and was fascinated by what I found when I googled 'the ten virgins'. The more reliable sources stressed that the parables were addressed to the Jewish nation. I cannot get into the debate about the Jews alive during the tribulation being referred to here, nor about how we could prepare to evangelize and reach out to them at that time so they will believe in their Messiah. I am not a Bible scholar.

What I am sure about is the grand wedding feast that awaits us, even as Gentile believers who have been 'grafted' into that family tree, 'adopted' into the family and the Bride of Christ, and that before Jesus left he promised, "I go to prepare a place for you."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday Wonderings/Wanderings

Art Pilgrimage: Station # 8

Now that I have determined to set aside Wednesdays for wandering through the Cornerstone Art Pilgrimage and then pondering the piece for a day or two, I am always excited to look in my archives and see which comes next. This one was unique in that the oil lamps were lit at night. It was difficult to photograph, you will have to use your imagination. (If only I had known then that I was going to post them, I may have done a better job.) [Note: I just found an error on the plaque, it should be Matthew 25:1-10]

I was encouraged to continue this public meditation format by comments after Station #7,
and especially delighted that 'Anonymous' responded (Anonymous only means you do not have a blogger account.) The content was sooooo right-on. I am very grateful for the balance she brought to the subject and that fruit is not of our making, we only bear what the Holy Spirit produces as we abide in the Vine! What an awesome privilege. Thanks, DIL (she signed her anonymous note, it was my daughter-in-law!)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Random Stories

Last week I came across a post card from Valencia, Spain. When I looked on the back I was surprised to see my father's handwriting, for two reasons: it is a sample, a memory of something he was good at and can no longer enjoy; and it answers several questions I had.
Mother and I were going through stacks of photos. The ones of their trip to Europe had no dates and we were having trouble remembering even the year of their travels. Now I know the exact dates and some facts about their itinerary.
The difference in Dad's condition from then until now is sobering, especially as we face the reality of our own aging. Twenty one years ago this month Mother and Dad were traveling around Europe, eating and sleeping on the train, visiting people they knew or some of our old friends from years with Operation Mobilization.

I have a small knife that always reminds me of that time.
They carried it everywhere (that was before strict airport security) and often cut up and ate apples as they traveled.
They were strong and tough, on the go like a couple of young folks.

They were 67, only two years older than we are now.

One summer, over 40 years ago, I was in Valencia on a summer evangelistic team. Wow, God was really working in my life and those around me. The pastor of the church we were working with, Juan Llopis, was a man of prayer. He has since passed on. I heard he wrote a book titled Y todo esto es de Dios  (And All This is of God). I would like to find it.

About Spain: through my DIL's blog (a fun read), I came across a blogger studying in Pamplona. A recent post "The Grand Spanish Tour" has some pretty cool pics, of course, he is working on a Ph.D. in architecture!  One of the photos is of the interior of a famous landmark in Barcelona, and reminded me of my parents trip once again. It is an unfinished cathedral designed by the unique, one and only Gaudí, he died in 1926 before its completion and took the ideas with him. The four main spires rise high above any other building and can be seen from afar. The name is La Sagrada Familia, and here comes the funny anecdote. Dad and Mother were across the street and someone came up and asked if this was La Sagrada Familia. Their first response was to laugh, thinking the question was about them: "Are you the sacred family?"
If you check out these links and click on each of Gaudí's Major Works, you will be blown away; they are totally, way out-of-the-box and each one so different, even weird!

Now I'm beginning to miss Spain! I wonder if we will be able to travel there next year? The excuse would be for Mike to ride the Quebrantahuesos cycling event with Alberto, our Summer in the USA Basque student's father, (BTW, that name means Bone Breaker!) AND visit with the family. We wait and see if Mike can register and get in. There are far more, even hundreds, more applicants than openings. And, meanwhile, Mike stays in shape by riding or jogging nearly every day. Puts me to shame :(

Our more immediate travel plans are coming up next week, the annual fall Idaho hunting trip. The two brothers (and wives, I get to go this year!) join nephew and go after water-foul, tromping through the marsh lands wearing  hip boots and camo. (BTW, do any of you blogger friends live between here and there--central Indiana and Pocatello, ID?)

Whoever wins my giveaway, one of Klaytivity's Unique Thrown Pottery pieces, will have to wait till I get back from my trip. You will be entered in the drawing by commenting five times between Week 39 and 44. Can you tell it's my first time by the fact that I keep changing the rules? First it was, leave a comment on every Project 365 from 39-43, to coincide with my second blogaversary. Then, I realized I would be away, and also that very few responded. (Do they not want one of Mike's artistic pots? Or, do so few read my blog?)
By broadening the criteria, hopefully more will jump in. (I'm open to ideas from more experienced bloggers and giveawayers!)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Project 365: Week 41


This was our granddaughters big week--18 years old on Monday!

There is a wonderful festival in our area at this time of year that she loves to go to, so last Sunday we went to Mississinewa 1812. Click here to see all our photos.

We have enjoyed beautiful fall weather this week, the lingering flowers and changing colors, and long walks... well as several rainy days.

This is the soccer field I could see from the 7th story hospital room on one of those gray days. It is also the field where son Chef plays soccer three times a week with an odd assortment of players, young and old, including my former professor and colleague.

Speaking of soccer...Wednesdays I take turns watching the grandsons. This week it was Elijah's turn. He is really getting into the game now. That's him out in front. He keeps a running count of all the goals of his career. There was one Monday and three more on Wednesday.

Two days were spent with a friend who was hospitalized. We share many common interests. It was good to spend time with her. But she is scared. Pray for Mary.

We had a birthday dinner for Kayla last night, her favorite--fondue, all kinds of meats and vegetables.

I hung or placed her photos around the room. Today we are taking the dancer girl to see the season 5 touring SYTYCD show!

Forgot to remind you that I am  having a giveaway in honor of my very first tentative posting two years ago in October. One item from Klaytivity's Unique Thrown Pottery will go to a reader who consistently comments on my Project 365 posts through Week 44 (extended due to travel plans).
And BTW, have you been over to Sara's yet?

Friday, October 9, 2009



I promised to come back and comment on the art piece after research and reflection.
Yesterday I spent the day with a friend in the hospital, that was my God-appointed task, perfectly suited and prepared for me. We were both blessed.
But if I had a schedule mapped out, was preempted.
I did look up the parable in its context and felt it was a bit disconnected. The art piece is very interesting, rather stunning. I especially like the fig painted on the glass, apart from the picture of the fig tree itself. Maybe it's because I love figs. (Incidentally, cousin Rosie passed on the last few figs--real figs, not Newtons, mind you--for a snack on my train ride back from Chicago.)
Jesus spoke this parable toward the end of his ministry. The warnings are stronger, the teaching more authoritative. The example of the barren fig tree follows a series of life admonitions.
I am reminded of the Spanish expression ¡Ojo!, (literally, eye) and its accompanying warning gesture--pointing or pulling down on the corner of the eye.
Here is the list of Watch outs.
Be on your guard for:
  • hypocrisy--everything secret will be exposed publicly!
  • fear of persecution--it's only bodily harm
  • blasphemy against the Holy Spirit--unforgivable!
  • greed--can't take anything with you
  • worry--it accomplishes nothing!
Be ready for:
  • service at all times
  • suffering, distress, division--not peace
  • signs of the times--like reading the weather
All that in the previous chapter, then very strong words preceding the parable: "Repent or die!"
And, basically, the example of the fig tree is saying: "If you do not bear fruit you will be cut down!"
The man who took care of the fig tree begs for one more year.
Does the owner grant a second chance?

So, what does this say to me? And, what do I get out of the Art Pilgrimage piece?

It urges me to make the most of every day, every moment for the Master, the King.

I think the beautiful fig on the glass, separate from the tree, shows us the attractive fruit we should be bearing.

I question whether even this blog series is a good use of time and will bear fruit.
The reasoning behind committing to this: I am increasingly drawn to art forms and wanted to challenge myself in the area of interpretation both of the parables and their representations.

What do you think?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Project 365: Week 40


Sunday I set off for the big city. I spent the night in Indianapolis with my friend and consuegra (co-MIL), and early the next morning boarded the train for Chicago.

Before I get into that part of my story, let me remind you ALL now, in case you fail to read this post to the end, that I am  having a giveaway, it began last week. One item from Klaytivity's Unique Thrown Pottery will go to a reader who consistently leaves a response to Project 365 entries through Week 43 in honor of my very first tentative posting two years ago in October.

With that out of the way, and as a smooth segue into my story, let me show you how the two gift pieces I chose for the homes visited, fit so beautifully with their decor.

The little aqua carved candle holder blends perfectly with D's shabby chic furnishings.
And the blue and gray more rustic one amazingly matches cousin Rosie's pottery collection and dining room colors.


Rosie had only been home for an hour or so when I arrived, and was looking great only six days after open heart surgery. This was the first of many delightful meals or tea times. The lit candle fittingly represents the warmth of our rekindled girlhood friendship. We could have talked non-stop, except that Rosie had to rest, pace herself, and very slowly deal with her responsibilities as professor at MBI.

When she felt up to it, she e-mailed, answered the phone, or sat in bed grading papers or reading mail, always accompanied by faithful fluffy companion--Huckleberry Wadsworth.


Meanwhile, I occupied a corner on the opposite end of the apartment where I spent many happy hours reading and responding to blogs and e-mails, when I wasn't having fun discovering the store of food in freezer and fridge and preparing something interesting for our enjoyment.

Rosie was ordered to take a couple shorts walks every day. I delighted in exploring the neighborhood and hearing many stories. Lake Michigan is a few blocks away and Loyola University has a beautiful campus right by the water.

There are parks, murals, and areas with community art.

Can you read the word in the simple yellow block?


The last day together, after a longer walk we rested a bit at Starbuck's and participated in their VIA taste challenge. Both of us were right about which was the instant coffee. Have you tried it yet? I now have a coupon for a free coffee and $1 off VIA Ready Brew, redeemable for over a month.

That afternoon it was time for me to leave. By Thursday Rosie had improved 90% from Monday, said the visiting nurse. Our time together had been unexplicably wonderful. It was raining. Was Chicago sad too, or was it because they lost the bid for the 2016 Olympics? We certainly were NOT upset by the outcome and found great pleasure in rejoicing over the news.

Goodbye, Chicago! (Click for more photos.)
¡Adiós, amigos y amigas!  Sara and friends await our visit.