Monday, January 31, 2011

Decades of Togetherness

Today on our 41st anniversary, I searched the files from each decade, for photos of the two of us.

In the '70s
In the '80s
10 years ago

Grateful for each day we are given.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Last Full Week in January

I found a photo from some months ago hidden in the internal memory of the camera. I include it now because I like it and I miss them. Sam and family haven't been around much lately due to several bouts of sickness.

Sam and Kristie
Sunday was our most recent family fun: meal, football, Wii, raku firing, fellowship.

Karen and Stephan
Stephan came directly from northern Michigan from an ice carving competition, obviously tired. 

The daughter brought the ham and potatoes. We added pineapple. Yum!

I watched the games and read blogs.

Between games Mike was 'rakuing' in the garage surrounded by an interested audience.

Monday he took a set of newly fired bowls to Chef's and we promptly used them for the delicious potato soup. They match the tureen.

I have no photos for some of the most significant events of this week, like Wally Roth's  funeral on Tuesday. It was one of the most memorable services we have ever attended. His life contributions were outstanding and the way he endured six years of ALS so very inspirational. His three sons stood together and paid him a wonderful and emotional tribute.Wally was instrumental in starting the program that gave a computer to the ship, the one Mike installed and operated on the Doulos.

Our Nepali friend is opening a restaurant soon. On a trip to Muncie this week I discovered where it is and snuck in for a peek. Sam is working on some of their furniture.

Friday I went to visit Mother and Dad. He welcomed me with a huge smile and a labored, " appear...from?" 
He blessed me with several more huge smiles, but it is impossible to capture them photographically  in a timely fashion.

Mother has very long days, dutifully caring for Dad at meal times and till he goes down for an afternoon nap or for the night. Here she sits in his wheel chair while they ready him for bed.

As soon as we got back to the house, however, she had to check the progress of the scrabble games she has going on her iPad.

Like a couple of young folk, we stayed up past our bedtime finding words and waiting for our remote opponents to respond.

This morning I stopped by the newlyweds home before driving back.

Can you see who I visited?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Erratum and Addendum

Friday I responded to Mocha With Linda's weekly prompt where we reminisced about the available technology when we were children. As I was researching and writing, I questioned the accuracy of what I thought I remembered. I knew that my brother would correct me and fill in the gaps. That is exactly what happened. I am so grateful that I can count on his amazing, almost photogtraphic memory. Here I share parts of his excellent response.

"...the phone we had on Chiclana sat on top of the bookcase, catty-cornered across from the piano, and at the bottom of the stairs. It was a box about 7" tall X 7" wide by about 3 1/2 " deep with a cradle on top and a crank on the side. You had to crank it to cause the operator to get a ring, and then lift the receiver and wait for her to ask which number you wanted to call. It worked well locally, but was almost useless on a long distance basis. It came with the house, or we would not have had a phone in the whole time we lived in Don Bosco.
[Note: If we had to give the number to an operator, I suppose our phone did not have a dialing wheel.]

Here is a more accurate photo of the washer.  The Maytag had a different neck on the wringer tower, you could release it by hitting the bar above the wringer, and you engaged the wringer by turning a handle on the top of the tower.  Also, the Maytag had a gearshift lever on the side of the washer tank which engaged the agitator.
As for furniture, the furniture Dad made was so strong that it is still being used at the house in Santa Rosa. One thing I remember clearly was that after much discussion, Dad and Mother bought rubber mattresses for the double decker (they were way too sturdy to be called bunk) beds that we children used when I was little. Dad had to sign a promisory note for those mattresses, and they replaced the old wool filled mattresses (lumpy) that we had been using up til then. The last I knew, the mattresses were still in use, but crumbly, as the rubber dried out and started to disintegrate. (They were about 30 years old by that time).
One non homemade purchase that was with us the whole time I remember was a set of wicker chairs (kind of like patio furniture) that served as chairs at times and at other times, served as play cages for us boys. I loved playing ticket agent (railroad) or bank teller from inside those chairs when they were turned upside down. Great imagination boosters. These chairs were probably purchased from a street vendor (huckster) that would come around with wicker furniture, brooms, feather dusters, baskets, and all sorts of other small housekeeping items."
[This reminded me of the sing-song announcement of the wicker salesman making his way down the street:
Siiiiiiiiiiiiillas, sillones, sillero! or something like that.]
"Dad learned to use a job press when he was in Seminary. He worked for a man by the name of Foy Miller, and his job was to set type. So when the Bible Institute needed something to teach the students so that they could go out and make it on their own in a tough workaday world, it was only natural that Dad would choose to teach printing. He had been using a mimeograph for all his copywork, but at that time he reverted to the printer for a better product, and because it would be much more useful. Of course, with his ability in the carpentry area, it was only natural that he would teach that, too.
Bribes...I saw them as somewhat of a grey area. If it was obvious that the agent (customs) or the officer (cop) were playing a mind game with you, I rebelled, because it was too obvious. I had no problem giving them a tip 'after the fact', and they could think what they wanted, but as far as I was concerned they were not to expect one. On about twelve occasions I was stopped for traffic 'infractions'. Two of them were truly valid stops. The others were just attempts to get something out of me. In every occasion, I used the same response "Sir, I was not aware (and it was always a true statement) that I had committed an infraction. However, if that is the case, I must pay the fine. Please go ahead and write the ticket" The only times I had to pay a fine were the two cases in which I had unwittingly disobeyed a traffic sign, which proved to me that the other cases (most of which were dated close to Christmas) were nothing more than bribeseeking. They were not about to risk getting reported for that, so they would give me a 'warning' and send me on my way.

CARS= We had no car in Buenos Aires until I was about 6 years old. Before that, in La Carlota, we had a 1939 Ford. But in B.A., because there was public transportation available, it was not as necessary. Dad would take me to the Bible study at Anselminos (Doña Rosa de Rossetti's parents) in Remedios de Escalada by train and then bus. The train was always crowded, and the bus, besides being crowded, was so dilapidated that it was a wonder it even moved. That bus line had short busses which could carry about 20 persons seated, and they would load about 50 people in those busses. Many times I would stand on a step and Dad would stand behind me to keep me from falling out.
 Then we got the 1931 model A Ford, a right hand drive car assembled in Argentina (from what I can gather) during the time when they still drove on the left side of the road. The car was purchased in 1953, and sold in 1964 or '65. We once made a trip from B.A. all the way to RíoCuarto in that car, and we stopped overnight at a hotel in Pergamino, where the 'valet' parked our car about two inches away from the one next to it, and in the morning, not only were we all infected with fleas or bedbugs, but the car had to be taken out by moving all the cars in front of it and on one side of it to get it out."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Quiet Week

I have stayed home and had more time on my hands than ever before it seems. Snow, ice, and intense cold contribute as well. So I focus on writing, learning, reflecting, communicating, keeping busy at home. This is the view from my kitchen window. How many deer do you see?

Mike is intensely occupied with teaching pottery at the Red Barn, mentoring the robotics team, and keeping things going here at home.

He has spent countless hours fixing my computer that died a couple months back. And he must feed the boiler (the wood supply is down to one third or less) and rotate and water his winter garden.

Stephan drove back from Bronson, MO, on Sunday, and Monday as usual we went to his place for food and fun with friends. He prepared a great meal of fetuccine alfredo and chicken cordon blue.

His ice carving competition did not end as successfully as the previous week. It could have been the best, but 20 minutes before judging, it crashed. Stephan was able to creatively rescue what was left enough to merit a bronze.

Tuesday I met with a group of ladies from the church at Casa Grande. Can you guess what kind of food we ate? Although I think we did more laughing than eating.

And the next evening we met our fellow-travel-adventurors, Dane and Laurie. Can you guess where by the game we beat while waiting to be served?

Two nights in a row is rather unusual. I do cook, by the way. In fact this week I tried a new recipe on the DIL's blog--Zuppa Toscano. Very good!

This week we did away with our land line. Today I gathered all the phones and parts throughout the house. Good riddance!

Just yesterday I wrote about some of the technology when I was growing up--the crank phone!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Flashback Friday: When Old Was New

Mocha with Linda has done it again, she's come up with another great prompt! How does she do this on a weekly basis? Those of us who are trying to research and remember our childhood days are very grateful.
What new inventions or technology came out when you were growing up that you remember being amazed at? Were your parents "early adopters"--did they get the "latest and greatest" pretty quickly or did they stick with the "tried and true"? What are some things that you remember being a big deal when your family got them? (These may be items like stereos or kitchen equipment or bigger things such as carpet.) Were your folks prone to updating their furniture periodically or did they keep their old furniture forever? How was the way they were raised impact the way you were raised? And how did your upbringing influence the way you are today?
 I began by googling the inventions of the fifties. Though I was born in the forties, my memory and awareness probably go back to the 50s. I thought. However, as I looked at the images, I realized that the things our family had in Argentina were a decade or two behind the times.

For example, phones.
In 1950, "Telephone Answering Machine created by Bell Laboratories and Western Electric." No way. Not for us, not even a phone. The waiting list was long. When we finally got one we were among the privileged few in the neighborhood. We did not use the phone often, it was more for emergencies. I remember three things: it hung on the wall, you had to crank it, dial and yell! It was on the left wall as soon as you walked in the house at the bottom of the stairs. This is the closest image I could find.

"TV color broadcasting began in 1953." Are you kidding? We never had a television throughout all of my growing up years.

For the longest time we had a Maytag wringer washer.

When my parents tried to import a washer and dryer, it was held in customs forever. The agents were waiting/hinting/expecting a bribe. My father's conscience would not allow him to go that route, so we never recovered those appliances.
Many expatriates now consider bribing a cultural necessity. What do you think?

Do any of you have one of these egg beaters in your kitchen?

I don't any more. But this old photo proves my mother had one back then when I was very small.

Among the 'oldies' I found a photo of my father in the print shop they ran when serving in the Bible Institute in later years after I had left for college. I wondered how the equipment they used back then would compare to today's.

 My father was always a handyman. He could build or fix most anything. So, no matter what the age or condition of his tools, I know he would have been resourceful enough to make them work.

He built much of our furniture, so no, they were not prone to updating their home decor often.
Both of my parents were raised to be thrifty and hard working. Mother was a preacher's kid in a family of six brothers and sisters. Dad had nine siblings. The family was very poor, yet remarkably all, or most of them, went on to higher education.

My missionary upbringing has definitely influenced the way I live: I don't waste anything and can make do and be creatively a fault.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Oldest remains found in Hondarribia

In fact, oldest remains of fruit trees...

The article linked above came to my attention today, Monday, first day of the week, coinciding with my desire to get back to our Adventures in Europe series, and write as often as possible.
"Finish what you start" is an oft repeated piece of advice from experienced and successful writers. So, I am grateful for the gentle nudge and the memories evoked.

First of all, I looked up two of the fruits mentioned that I had never heard of: sloes and medlar. Do you know what they are? I found these pictures on the internet.


The opening paragraph mentions the historic old quarter of the city, and that's where my reminiscing took off.
Researchers have found that the seed samples gathered over the years at medieval archaeological sites in the historic old quarter of Hondarribia are the remains of the oldest fruit trees in Southern Europe.
Our first full day in Hondarribia, which I began to describe here, Laurie and I wandered up to the historic old quarter surrounded by an ancient massive wall. We wound up and around the back entrance to the grand Parador Hondarribia.

 Then came around the other side to the entrance of the medieval-fortress-turned-modern hotel.

As we climbed we looked out over the water and could see the shores of France.

If you choose to lodge there, and have the means, Parador El Emperador offers views of the surrounding area from the highest point in the city. And you will be staying in the castle where Napoleon and other notable historic figures stayed.

I have no idea where the archaeobiologists found the seeds of ancient origins. However, here is one big old tree we saw in a small plaza of the old historic quarter.

We were so fascinated by every aspect and detail, that we totally lost track of time. We were brought short by a phone call, and rushed across the bridge over the ancient moat to meet our hostess.

"Esas mujeres americanas."  (Those American women.) (*smile*)