Monday, September 27, 2010

Bilingual Children's Picture Book

My picture book review, in order to enter the big children's book giveaway, is of a favorite ABC book. It is very unique. For one thing, it is bilingual and, of course, as a language teacher, I lean heavily toward such teaching tools. In fact, I want to use it tomorrow to practice pronunciation.

I love the brightly colored photos of the carved wooden animals created by a family in Oaxaca, Mexico.  The background story on their website is very interesting and you will also see some of the pages. you will be surprised to find out how many of the animal names are similar to English, very recognizable in Spanish. That's where exagerating the Spanish vowels will make the big difference.

Do check out ABeCedarios, and don't miss the Behind the Scenes link to the great success story of the  Jimenez' family. You will fall in love with this little book and will notice that there is another out there by the same author--Opuestos, and a third in her series  “First Concepts in Mexican Folk Art”--Colores de la vida, coming out in January, 2011. I want to have all of them and use them not only  with my grandchildren but also my adult beginning Spanish students, who after all are in kindergartners in the language!

2010 Week 39: More Festivals and Fun

We continue to have wonderful weather (warm and some HOT--94 degrees!) and, though we could use the rain, it is great for the various local festivals still going on.

Mike was away at a pottery workshop, so Sunday after church I set up a small exhibit at Payne's Art and Music Festival, just three miles from home. The sun was SO HOT and no tent! Had fun anyway, and got a sun burn.

Work at the Red Barn continued this week and Mike had a lot of catching up to do, so I went to Monday Meal on my own. The Chef could not be there (out delivering an ice sculpture), but his protege, Kayla J, prepared beef curry with potatoes and carrots, rice, chai, and her first bread!

She had so much fun and was proud of herself. "It looks just like Chef's!" she said.

Teaching is going well and keeps me quite occupied. A power nap some afternoons helps. I enjoy the recliner on the deck, hearing the wind, looking up at the trees, and meditating.

Isaiah 7:2b

"So his heart and the heart of his people were moved as the trees of the woods are moved by the wind."

Wednesday, on the way to the dentist I drove by a small church building where my father had preached for a year or more in late retirement while he was still able. That congregation is no more. The building was sold.

Thursday my order of Karen's book arrived. I will enjoy gifting them to the right people.

Friday morning early we headed to the James Dean festival in nearby Fairmount. Mike had already chosen his spot and set up the tent the day before. The sun was shining brightly, however throughout the day the wind was fierce and slowed things down considerably.

Before unpacking the pottery
Saturday two grandsons joined us. It was a gorgeous day, and thousands were out enjoying the weather, the hundreds of old cars, the food, the exhibits, and shopping.

Boys watching grandpa carve

Same model of my first driving lessons. 

Replica of the car JD was killed in
And so much more, however, the day was not yet over. I went home early to welcome the Spanish Club from the university where I used to teach. They still like to come out and have a bonfire and cookout in our picnic area. Elijah was with me and especially enjoyed the piñata.

He took home his trophy, half of the destroyed penguin or whatever it was, and said he was going to keep it forever. I doubt the candy will last that long!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Flashback Friday: Books

Even if I am late linking up, I do want to participate in this week's Friday Flashback though I may only be answering a couple of the prompts.
Did you like to read when you were a child? What were your favorite genres, books or series? Did you read books because of the author or because of the title/plot? Did you own many books? Did your school distribute the Scholastic book orders (or some other type)? Did you visit the library often? Was there a summer reading program when you were young, and did you participate? Do you have any particular memories of your school libraries? What were your favorites and least favorites among the classics (the ones high school English teachers assign!)? If you didn't like reading, do you like it more today than you did then?
 My memories are few. I remember most distinctly being drawn into the Elsie Dinsmore series as a teenager. There was some kind of a book exchange program among the missionaries that allowed me to read all if not most of the twenty eight books. My mother had a hard time dragging pulling me away.

Another series, a family favorite from generations back, was Annie Fellows Johnston's  Little Colonel Stories . They were favorites in my mother's home and remain treasures handed down, read and passed on to children and grandchildren. I own three original volumes, tattered, taped, in precarious condition.

Moody Press's Danny Orlis series by Bernard Palmer, was the Christian version of Nancy Drew or such mystery fiction. My brothers and I went through many of those, I believe, though I can only speak for myself. I own a token copy of Danny Orlis makes the team.

When I was younger I read and loved the Susie and Johnny series. The books were very small and thin. In her adventures Susie, if that was her name, always won, of course, but her weapon was to "heap coals of fire" on her enemies by doing good to them. That advice from Romans 12:20 stuck with me. That particular 1940's series, which we owned and my parents bound in a small volume, has since gone missing and is most likely impossible to replace.

A favorite children's classic was Caps For Sale. When I did my student teaching in Argentina, I chose that tale and fully illustrated it for the class and, of course, read it in Spanish.

When I began writing, I thought this would be a brief post. I am surprised to have stirred up so many memories. Mine was a childhood enriched by many books and stories, never distracted by television. We also had recorded dramatized Bible stories and children's programs that we listened to over and over.

I do love books. Perhaps it all started here, at my father's side.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ollerías--Basque Pottery Museum

 Two pottery exhibits over, and more to come, triggered another treasured memory from our visit to Basque Country.
As Alberto, our host , was planning the last outing, he asked if there was anything special we wanted to see. Mike asked about Basque pottery. Our tour guide did some research and found an amazing jewel of a place:
Museo de Alfarería Vasca 
Through Blanka Gómez de Segura's vision and energy, the old pottery factory built in 1711 was restored and reopened in 1993 as a museum to preserve the centuries-old craft for which the locale is named. Ollerías means 'places of pots and pans' or where pots come from/are made.

José Ortiz de Zárate, her master teacher, was born into a family of potters and took up his father's trade. Blanka told us that when, as a young mother, she came to him to learn the art, it was not considered woman's work. He did not think she was strong enough. She proved him wrong and for years they labored together.

The website (Museo de Alfarería Vasca ) has very interesting information and photos of the exhibits and historic artifacts. I found it worth extensive perusal. There are three videos in the Photo Galleries, even if you do not understand Spanish, they are visually fascinating, especially if you have read the other pages of the site.

--Un video de 1993, a travel-show feature the year the museum was inaugurated.
--Visita a Ollerias, wordless video, beautiful area scenery worth seeing and pretty music, however lyrics and text all in Euskera.
--El vídeo de Ollerias Maratoia 2010 Zegama, documents a most unusual event: a pot-throwing marathon--16 potters came together and worked ten hours non-stop to make as many small bowls (a basic piece in every culture) as possible, in a town in Guipúzcoa where 100 years ago four families maintained the traditional art. Each participant had 100 kilos of clay to work with and at the end of the day, they counted 1406 katilu! Fascinating, even though the narration is in the Basque language.

The paragraph about the history of pottery in the Basque culture dates its beginnings 4000 years before Christ! The museum exhibits 380 historic pieces that belong to the government. The majority were functional and necessary for daily living. Some were for cooking over the fire, others for carrying or storing water, for preserving fresh meat, or eggs, and of course, many for table wear. Fewer were the more ornate destined for religious or decorative purposes.

Did you know that there used to be pot-stitchers or menders that would make house calls to repair damaged pots? Two holes and a staple or clamp would do it.

Blanka pointed to a sample with many such stitchings.

This is also a live museum where you can watch potters in action. Though the enormous ancient kiln is no longer in use Blanka and her helpers turn out numerous pieces that are sold in the store.

Mike quickly discovered some hidden treasures--amazing and 'impossible' art inside some huge pots.

Blanka was impressed with Mike's insights regarding the difficulty of such an achievement. She was not hesitant to share her secrets. In fact, "If anyone can do this, I want them to come and work with me!" she said.

My photos don't do justice to the amazing experience. But, if you want to see more click on Ollerias.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

2010 Week 38: Birthdays and more...

The week began celebrating Mike's little sister Diane's birthday at her place, those who could make it. As usual  Stephan teased her a lot, but I think she enjoys the attention.

Mike didn't work at the Red Barn this week and the weather was nice, so he spent almost every morning gathering wood, cutting up fallen logs and stacking them in the shed.

We always find time to watch the Vuelta a España bicycle race, which ended today. Monday we were especially happy to see Mikel Nieve from Euskaltel win the stage, as we are somewhat partial to the Basque team.

A few days before that we had been very sad to hear of best Euskaltel rider, Igor Anton's accident.

Every Wednesday Skye has a football game. No close-ups yet, nor any victories, but #99 is playing well.

Kristie's birthday was this week. After my class Thursday we met for lunch at Panera's.

All week was spirit week, with a different dress-up theme each day in anticipation of Homecoming. This is Leah's photo of her kids on Friday, the big day.

Eastbrook Panther Fans
Mike was gone all weekend to a pottery workshop.
I was reminded of the ceramics museum we visited in Ollerias, Basque Country, and the delightful lady we met there.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Grand Old Man

That is how Jay Kesler, our recently-retired pastor, referred to my Uncle Herman.

Jay came by our pottery exhibit at the festival and commented on Mike's new hobby. I made mention of his own fine carpentry work. Jay laughed it off as "making sawdust." Then I told him I was reminded of my uncle, also a college president who always had carpentry or building projects going on the side.

The name of Dr. Herman Hoyt, reminded him of a treasured incident. I was eager to hear it, and now to pass it on.

When Jay was president of Youth For Christ, for many years they held their annual conventions in Winona Lake, at one time the largest Bible Conference Center. When Grace College and Seminary took over the conference grounds, they had a greater say in what speakers and groups were allowed. A couple of the participants, musicians or preachers, featured at Youth For Christ gatherings were of a Pentecostal or charismatic persuasion not aligned with Grace Brethren denominational beliefs.

Uncle Herman called Jay and asked to meet with him in Winona Lake. Their conversation was very cordial but Dr. Hoyt kindly asked Youth For Christ to find another conference location.

Many years later, after Jay had become president of Taylor University in 1985, and Uncle Herman had long since retired, once again Dr. Hoyt surprised Jay. He phoned to say there was something he needed to clear up before meeting his Maker. He referred back to that meeting in Winona Lake and his decision regarding Youth For Christ, and said, "It was wrong, I gave in to pressure, that is not integrity. Will you forgive me?"

Dr. Kesler was deeply grateful for that admission, not because it had been a sore point with him or Youth For Christ, ever. And, as college administrator, he could very well understand outside pressure. No, it was the example of this "grand old man" that he will never forget, a great lesson in keeping close accounts.

Herman Arthur Hoyt passed away at age ninety one, August 29, 2000.

Great niece, Tina Hoyt, stands next to an etching in Grace's Hall of Fame

Monday, September 13, 2010

2010 Week 37: From Festival to Festival

Last weekend was our BIG small-town festival--yard sales (200+) on Saturday; parade Monday, Labor Day (80+ entries); and hundreds of visitors from out of town. It is the one weekend  in the year when four-wheelers are allowed on the roads. So we had fun riding to and from the parade, and picked up our grandson on the way.

Sunday evening of that festive weekend, our church has a root beer float social. We love the combination of root beer and ice cream, but can remember when our children were young, that when we came back to the US they thought root beer tasted like tooth paste. Our Basque visitors said the same!

Root beer floats for all!

Weekdays were filled with our regular occupations: Mike continuing to work at the Red Barn, and me teaching. Plus grandparent joys, such as attending sports events.

Moved the kid's art, shows up better.
Digging holes for deck posts

By now you've seen the building from several angles. I took this one from an old bridge over the railroad before starting my run/walk back home. On the days I don't teach, MWF, I like to ride with Mike to the Red Barn so I'm forced motivated to jog/wog/walk/run the two and a half miles to get back home.

Malachi's first cross-country meet.
We went to Skye's football game on Wednesday, but no good photo.

For weeks now Mike has been diligently throwing, glazing, firing his unique pots, making display stands, preparing for the Cumberland Covered Bridge Festival in the neighboring town. Matthews is probably smaller than our town, but their festival draws a huge crowd.

Thursday evening we were setting up the tent. Friday we unpacked and arranged the pottery, then took turns sitting waiting for customers, and talking to people. Saturday was cold and rainy, even so we sold more that day.

Explaining new techniques to Gina
Sharing secrets of the trade with art teacher Carol
Malachi and friend
The whole weekend was like a mini-vacation. We got to spend so much time together, eat fair food, visit with family and friends who stopped by, meet new people and have wonderful conversations. We were invited to a couple of upcoming shows and several others were recommended. Veremos... (We shall see.)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

2010 Week 36

Sunday we honored Jay and Janie Kesler with a very-well attended farewell service and carry-in dinner. After retiring as Taylor University president, Jay was our teaching pastor for eight years. We are thrilled that this is not a goodbye. They built a house and settled in Upland, just down the road from us.

I interrupted their meal to get this picture, never the most flattering time to be photographed. Janie was described as the "classiest and godliest woman." I agree.

Monday evening we were eager to see how our DIL Karen was faring after her surgery last Friday. This is how we found her, minus one bunion and needing her stuffed elephant to keep her company.

Kayla J made a special bouquet to cheer her. She also shared what she had learned about roses--they cannot be out of the water 5 seconds before they start to close. That is why you trim the stem and immediately put it in water.

The guys worked extra long and hard at the Red Barn because there was to be a dedication service Tuesday.

Here you can see all three buildings: Lightrider headquarters in the middle; and the Gray Barn, ministry to senior citizens on the left.

People are arriving for the ceremony. The new addition was dedicated in honor of Amy Nose, a faithful well-loved volunteer who lost her life prematurely last March in a domestic incident.
The plan is to eventually equip the art room with five pottery wheels.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, I leave around 7:30 a.m. for the 40 minute drive to Ivy Tech. I was blessed to see a gorgeous sunrise and got this drive-by shot.

And here's is a silly little poem I wrote  about my BTS (back to school) experience.

Students are the
Centerpiece, my focus.
Helping them
Open up mind and heart to new ways
Oh, the joys of
Learning and laughing together!

I am truly enjoying those hours in the classroom, especially now that the paperwork hassle is over (contract in order and signed) and we've figured out how to use all the technology available in the classroom.
I have a great group of students, a well-equipped and situated classroom, and I am able to practice the techniques learned over the years to enhance student acquisition of a second language.

The weather has been wonderful all week. The flowers continue to bloom, although I have noticed some leaves are beginning to fall.

How many times do hostas bloom in one summer?

This is the weekend of the Upland Labor Day festival. Today, more than 200 were on the map for yard sales and the town was teeming with bargain-shoppers. Elijah was here overnight, so he and I had fun going to a few of the rummage sales, mostly for his entertainment. He went everywhere on his bike, including numerous times up and down our driveway.

Then Mom and Zion came to take him back home.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Eating Experiences in Euskadi

Now that I've settled into the teaching routine, it's time to get back to sharing about our time in Basque Country.
Today it will be about the food, a highlight of our experience. As a starter I've gathered all my photos to do with eating.
The very first meal the day of our arrival, was already featured here in this post, prepared for us in the apartment where we were to stay. I tried to replicate the first entree last week and posted a photo on Project 365. Many commented that it looked good and wanted the recipe. As I look at it again, I realize that I forgot to include olives.
The second course was the tenderest beef you have e.v.e.r tasted. Alberto said it was from the cheek of the cow and he had simmered it for some three hours. Perhaps he will be kind enough to give me more details, if he doesn't mind sharing his culinary secrets. Mike still talks about the best meal--cow cheek!
The next day the dinner was at Gonzalo and Elena's place, as previously mentioned in this post--a salad followed by tortilla de patatas, basically a potato omelet, always accompanied by fresh bread and wine.
I've made this before, but never as perfect as Gonzalo's.

 Remember in these households, the men are the chief cooks and the women serve and clean-up.

Tortilla de patatas is a very common sandwich and picnic item. This along with cheese and water was our lunch the day of the big cycling event, that is, for those of us who were waiting and watching for the riders.

We did, in fact, have a little tail-gate picnic. The other Elena in the circle of friends had brought the food.

We were so cold standing outside in the damp air that we went into the café and had a warm drink.

Elena e Iñaki
On sight-seeing days, by two o'clock we'd be looking for a café for a bite to eat. We could choose from a variety of sandwiches spread out on the counter--pintxos, all for the same price. A pintxo and a coke and we were ready to go.

This type of lunch is eaten standing up at the bar. If you take a seat at one of the tables, it means you will order from the menú del día, a fixed price and you choose first and second courses and dessert from a selection of four or five items in each category.

The day we visited the Summer in the USA office, we shared a restaurant meal of this kind with our hosts and the couple that oversees the program, the Shadowens.

Looks like we're having dessert at this point. Mike and I chose creme brullee.

Two other home-cooked meals that I have photos for: 1) pasta with a choice of sauce; 2) first course mussels and sauce, followed by steak. Ohhhhhhhh, soooooooo delicious all!

The steak was cut up into bite-size pieces, and usually there were two meat platters: one rare, and another medium cooked. The pan has roasted peppers, often served with the meat.

I was asked recently which was my favorite food. That would be hard to answer. Everything was so very flavorfull and tastefully presented. However, there is so much more to a meal than eating, it is an event among friends.The food is only the centerpiece of a time enjoyed together. All that sharing during and after dinner is called sobremesa. 

If I had to choose a favorite dinner event, it would be the one with all the friends, the kuadrilla. I'm not sure about the spelling and the concept of a group of friends that meets regularly and stays together for a lifetime is not familiar to us either. They warmly welcomed us into their midst. We felt so honored.


The meal was held at the Klink gastronomic society, the one their men belong to. Whenever they host group meals or events they use these locals. It used to be only men were allowed. Not too long ago the women began to be included, however they may not go into the kitchen areas. I sensed that was OK with them.

 Joseba did not do the strenuous bike ride that day, so he was in charge of the meal.

We were served lettuce and tomato salads. I can't remember everything. I know there was steak. And for dessert walnuts, cheese and dulce de membrillo, which reminded me of Argentina!

But the best part was experiencing the friendship. Can you believe that even after riding eight or nine hours, climbing three mountains, these guys were awake and having such a good time, that they stayed till three in the morning!
Here are more photos of the couples.

Jose Mari e Idoia
Koro y Joseba
Imanol y Edurne
Gonzalo y Elena
Edurne y Alberto

We miss you all!