Sunday, November 28, 2010

2010 Week 48

Two birthday celebrations: Malachi (12), and Zion (1). The brothers are enjoying their cake, first taste of sugar for Zion.

I enjoy stopping by Sam's shop as I drive right by there after class to see what he's up to. This week I didn't teach but Mike and I drove in to drop off something. He was doing an emergency chair repair job for a friend's Thanksgiving gathering. He always has a lot going on. The warehouse is looking crowded, except for the back part where the skateboarding bowl is.

Sam's Custom Woodworking Shop

Two more deer. Chef Stephan is happy. Each one provides three months worth of meat for them. 

Thursday--Thanksgiving Day
We had a Midwest-Hoyts gathering. It was so special to have my brother and SIL back from Argentina for their daughter's wedding in a few weeks. And also to have Dad home for the day. He did very well for as weak as he is.

 The happy couple sitting at the other end of the table. December 17th is their big day.

Mike's sister Diane spends the holidays with us. She and I put up the Christmas tree. Even though it has no ornaments yet, I feel far ahead of schedule. I have never before begun decorating on Thanksgiving weekend like most people do.

Diane must have been very tired. She took an extra long nap.

I am rather exhausted myself. We had another Thanksgiving meal here today to include those who could not join us up north on Thursday. Now we have our own leftovers, always a plus.

The young folk played a game of Life after dinner--good fun and fellowship, the best part of family get-togethers.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Mondragón is an industrial city in the heart of the Basque Country. Founded in 1260 by Alphonse the 10th, also called the Wise King. Its name comes from Mont Dragón, the Mount of the Dragon, the lair of a mythical figure known in medieval times to require the yearly sacrifice of a young damsel. Now, on the same mountain, Murumendi, we find the headquarters of a benign giant--the Mondragón Cooperative Corporation, whose influence spans the globe.

We were very privileged to meet several who work there, attend a special presentation explaining the movement or "Mondragón Experience" as it is known, and even tour one of the local industrial plants--Fagor Arrasate. And our guide was the boss man, the manager of four plants--Jose Mari, one of the friends who took up the Tourmalet challenge along with our guys.

Mondragón is also the birthplace of our host and guide, Alberto. He is the only one of this group of friends that moved away from the hometown. The others jokingly won't let him forget that he abandoned them. But, of course, they stay in touch and continue to get together regularly. This is an aspect of Basque culture we so admired--the way they value and guard the bonds of friendship from childhood on. 

Today I was reading the story of Mondragón and the Cooperative Movement in the book that commemorates their fiftieth anniversary. I find it fascinating and there are so many things I'd love to share. Of course, you can go to the links I've included and read for yourself, but I am excited and hope to express some of the ideas and facts myself in the coming days. For now, a link to an article that includes a photo of what we saw them working on for a US client, the FORD company. 

I remember being very interested in the whole cooperative concept, asking questions as I heard bits and pieces when we were in Basque Country. The people we met were so fired up about the Movement, its global impact and their buzzword--solidarity.  I was reminded of how we felt about our involvement years ago in a movement that impacted our lives forever--Operation Mobilization.

To end the long day out, we dropped in on Alberto's Mom in Mondragón. She is such a lovely lady.

It was a long day. Alberto was so eager to show us everything, and there was still so much more. And like the Mondragón story, we were not able to take it ALL in. Looking back, remembering, reading, researching, I wish I could go back and spend more time. Perhaps I would be better prepared. For now I will just keep on exploring the memories. Join me on more Adventures in Europe.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

2010 Week 47

Cold weather is setting in, but I saw one group of trees on my way to work that still had bright colored leaves. Our woods is beginning to look bare and everywhere there is a thick carpet of leaves.
The hunters' persistance paid off at last toward the end of the week. They have a buck and a doe so far, and keep hoping to fill their quota.

The week got off to a great start. We were finally able to get together with our friends, Dane and Laurie. We attended a concert in Fort Wayne, one of my favorite Christian singers--Fernando Ortega. The setting had an intimate feel, which allowed him to tell stories freely. We enjoyed the dry humor and appreciated his quiet and humble manner.


Teaching was fun Tuesday, and the exam on Thursday was not bad either.
From the first week I have used a little system that helps immensely. The first day everyone came up with a gesture to associate with their name, something that represented them. I then wrote each name and characteristic on a popsicle stick. I pull them out randomly throughout the class and call on the students as we go through a variety of activities. It is an easy way to keep track of absentees as well. An extra benefit showed up this week: a single mom, taking four courses and caring for her three children and three nieces while her sister works, reminded me of the descriptor we chose for her, la valiente (the valiant or courageous one), to replace the one she had come up with, la loca. She is encouraged to hang in there and will graduate from the program in one month!

Notice the mugs I use to hold the sticks--a special gift from dear friends. Unfortunately I cannot drink from them because on the trip back from Argentina, when my luggage was lost and took the long way back, delayed a week, they arrived broken and had to be lovingly glued in multiple places.

Our mail is not usually exciting, but this week we received a very special package--a book from Alberto, our host in Basque Country who gave us such a wonderful tour of his homeland.
When he asked if there was anything else we wished to see, Mike asked to visit a pottery studio.

We were all very impressed with the Museo de Alfarería in Ollerías. Any visitor acquainted with The Cave by José Saramago (Portuguese Nobel Prize winner) is immediately reminded of the novel when they look inside one of the large pots on display.
Alberto's accompanying note is a beautiful, a heartfelt tribute to Mike's dedication to creativity and to sharing his passion for pottery.

"The Cave reminds us that the pace of technology cannot strip us
of reverence for the simple act of creating a thing of beauty."

Today Laurie and I spent four hours going through her countless photos from our trip to Basque Country. Such wonderful memories!
For lack of my own photos today I will include a few from our tour in June.

Our tireless host and tour guide showed us cities, towns, churches, historic places, the countryside, farms, the seaside, and oh, everywhere you look is so beautiful.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

2010 Week 46

Life goes on...

We say goodbye to new friends and stay in touch with old and new; watch our babies grow, our children and grandchildren moving on in life; we continue our labors whatever they may be; we eat, sleep, exercise, and enjoy life. Is this beginning to sound like Ecclesiastes, except that the Teacher there starts out saying all is meaningless. By the end, he concludes: Fear God and obey...

Here are the highlights of the ongoingness of life this week.

Sunday we enjoyed our friends from Spain and I interpreted again both morning and evening. Then it was time to say goodbye.

Rafa and daughter Laura 
(Are you beginning to notice the whole world is taller than me?)

Monday Meal
Baby begins to walk
Boys help assemble Monte Cristos

We celebrate Sam's 32 years completed

Tuesdays and Thursdays Spanish classes continue, for a few more weeks. Students take turns presenting something about the Hispanic culture.

Wearing my huipil, reading the story she wrote

Friday, granddaughter Kayla's first college visit!

Beneficence (Benny) extends her hand in welcome

Frog Baby blesses those who kiss its upturned nose

The tallest bell tower in Indiana
Is that a perplexed look? "Is BSU the place for me?"

Hunting season has begun. Mike was out bow hunting nearly every day. He saw a few good sized bucks, but no success yet. Son Stephan joined him when gun season opened.

Mid-morning nourishment and hunting show

Beautiful weather all week allowed for one more paseo en bici (bike ride)!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

2010 Week 45

New Spanish connection and remembering the old days.

I walked into Sunday School a couple minutes late as visitors were being introduced. Mike whispered, "They're from Spain, Barcelona." When the lesson began, he suggested I move over and offer to interpret, especially for the one gentleman who could not understand English. Rafa (short for Rafael) is in charge of maintenance at La Arcada, a camp in Northern Spain.
Thus began a week of remembering old times. Years ago, I did a lot of simultaneous interpretation. Three times this week I was privileged to refresh that skill.  This morning was the most unusual--I was invited to attend the men's breakfast. I obliged.

Of course, I ate my manly share of the good food too. I probably learned more from the topic of the morning than Rafa since it was all about sharpening tools. He told me the names and explained the various tools and machines.
We were asked to pose a few times. I was caught adjusting my face in this one.

I spent most of the day Monday going through very old slides (remember those things?) looking for any with Sammy. Today is the day we remember when our youngest was born and celebrate the man he has become.

At Monday meal we were happy to see Sam and family again now that soccer season is over.
One more photo of my gordito precioso with Aunt Karen who knit his little cap.

Spanish teaching continues two mornings a week. Often after class I stop by this old-fashioned McD's on the way, especially on days when I have other errands or appointments before finally going home.

Thursday was one of those long days. I wanted to attend a session for writers at Taylor University, featuring Jerry B Jenkins, the very prolific author of the Left Behind series among other many best sellers.

I also met Kayleen Reusser, who writes for children. Years ago we worked at Taylor Fort Wayne.

These sessions and encounters were very inspiring and reminded me that I would like to be writing more. 

A tornado struck nearby damaging trees at the local cemetery. Some fifty head stones were strewn as well.