Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ice and More

Sunday was a full day. I was so privileged to visit with friends from forty plus  years ago and hear them speak twice, sharing amazing stories of their work in Eastern Europe and beyond.

Mike was busy most of the day with The PhyXTGears as they hosted 15 other teams to attempt to play this year's game--Logomotion.

(Photo courtesy of Team 1720)
Monday I  got the results of the cardiolite stress test and found out that my heart function (81) is the best the doctor has ever seen for a person my age. The radiating chest pains and shortness of breath were definitely NOT heart related. The bruises from blood draws and the culprit rib cage injury are now almost gone.

We heard that son Stephan finally made it to Alaska.
Tuesday was the beginning of the Single Block Competition. We watched Stephan and Luba at work the next three days via web-cam at Site 29.

(Photo courtesy Ice Alaska)

 The newly named robot, Pivots, was shipped according to the strict deadline.

Earlier in the week we experienced a storm. Wednesday our trees were still sparkling with ice.

I stopped by the daughter's place and got to see her new king size bed, huge, fills the room!

There's a story behind it. Just before Christmas, Leah received a phone call telling her that she had won a bed to be delivered the Monday after. She had no idea how this came about. A day or so later I remembered that weeks earlier I had come across a giveaway online by a furniture store in Muncie and put in her information. I don't ever usually pay attention to those ads, but that one caught my eye because I knew that they desperately needed to replace their bed. That was my little Christmas miracle.
For her birthday I found the perfect king-size bedding.

Friday we woke to the most beautiful snow of the season, four to six inches fell through the night. Photos do not do justice to the splendor of our snow-covered woods.

Online we viewed Stephan and Luba's finished piece. You'd best go to the website and visit some of the other ice art creations as well.

Today, Saturday, we found out that theirs placed eighth out of twenty eight in the abstract category.

This was a BIG day for granddaughter Kayla--her audition for the Ball State University dance program. She was understandably nervous.

And now we must wait for the decision. Only 10-15% of those who apply are accepted into the program.

Starting tomorrow we will be following Stephan and his team as they carve 50,000 lbs. of ice in the multi block competition. We spend a lot of time watching online. It is addicting.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Flashback Friday: Dental Stories

I decided to jump in this week with a few memories in response to Mocha With Linda's prompt:
What are your dental memories of childhood? Who pulled your baby teeth and how was it done - with a tissue, string, or other method? Was it a traumatic experience or no big deal? Did you have to have any teeth pulled by the dentist? Did the tooth fairy visit your house? If so, how much did you get for each tooth and how long did that last? How old were you at your first dental visit? Did you go regularly? Did you have any/many cavities as a child? Was dental hygiene taught in school? Was flossing a big deal when you were growing up? Did you have braces and, if so, for how long? Did you have to wear rubber bands, head/neck gear or other additional "accessories"? Did you need braces but your parents couldn't afford them? Have you had braces as an adult? Do you have any fond/funny//traumatic memories of old relatives or friends and their false teeth?
 I must have had cavities because I have vague memories of two or three teeth pulled by a dentist in Evans City, PA, during our furlough year.
Most of my teeth-related memories have to do with the two years I wore braces. I write them now as a way of saying a huge THANK YOU to my parents for spending generously from their missionary budget to correct the surprising mess in my mouth as my permanent teeth emerged crooked, pointing out, sidweays and forward, some in front, some in back causing a split bite. If it weren't for orthodontics, I would not feel as free to open my mouth, smile and laugh as much as I do.

I must have been fourteen when the procedure began. We were living in Don Bosco. I had to travel by bus to a city 15 or 20 minutes away and walk a few blocks to the orthodontist for the bi-weekly adjustment. Back then the wrap-around metal braces were in use as well as the tiny rubber bands to hold the jaws in place.

This past year we were able to pay it forward and give the granddaughter the opportunity of a mess-free smile. She has braces that are glued to her teeth and come in the colors of her choice. She does not have to go to the orthodontist as often, more like every other month. The last time happened to be Valentine's Day and they gave her a rose!  How times have changed!

Thanks again, Mom and Dad!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Zarautz and Getaria

The first time we heard of Zarautz was when Amaia, our Basque girl, mentioned that she goes camping there during summer vacation for a few days with her circle of friends. We looked it up on the map and in the book about her country. It is a touristy town on the Northern coast of Spain, in the Basque province of Gipuzkoa.
Every day that Alberto, our host, took us out sight-seeing, we ventured a little further out. Keep in mind that our perception of distance is very different from theirs where you can drive to the furthest border in less than two hours. So, June 9th, three days after our arrival, we headed West following the coast of the Mar Cantábrico, part of the Bay of Biscay, in medieval times known as el Mar de los Vascos--Basque Sea.

El ratón de Getaria=The Watch Mouse
Can you see the mouse-like shape of the peninsula to the right?

Zarautz is known for its beaches, the largest and longest in Gipuzkoa, 2.5 kilometers.
Conditions are ideal for water sports. Zarautz hosts the world championship in surfing as well as offering classes for beginners. Interestingly, weight lifting is big there too. An international event is held annually.
These are a few facts I have come across as I researched in an effort to sort through the photos we accumulated. The memories have become somewhat jumbled with time, or perhaps they always were. We were attempting to take in so much in so little time. 
I will need help with this post as I want to share the photos and offer a guided tour such as we experienced it, but I am unable to label many of the photos with certainty. The following is what I seem to remember. Correct me if you know better.

I believe we walked from Zarautz on the promenade to Getaria, explored the town, walked past the church (seen in photo center above), stopped for lunch and later met up with Alberto's brother. (More about that in another post.)

We had a bite to eat at a pintxos bar (where you pay the same price for any of the varieties of sandwiches on the counter).

There we met some Americans sailing the length of Northern Spain.

They were partaking of the wine specialty of the region with their pintxos, the txakoli.

We came to a plaza with a statue of Getaria's most famous navigator--Juan Sebastián Elcano. He was Magellan's pilot and the first to circumnavigate the earth.

There was another monument further on.

Can you see what some pranksters did? 

Getaria is known for its fishing industry.

Mending nets is a full time occupation.

For centuries the Basques of this area were leaders in the whaling industry which took them all the way up to Iceland and even New England. Hence their emblem or shield.

In my online research, I came across a couple events, last month and yesterday, at the University of California Santa Barbara where they have one of the few Centers for Basque Studies in the nation. Currently there is an exhibit of Basque Whaling in the Seventeenth Century.

So much to see and learn! Did I mention that in Zarautz there are two museums? The Photomuseum offers a history of photography; and the Art and History museum which includes an ancient archaelogical site!

If I am ever privileged to return, perhaps I will be better prepared to appreciate much more of the beautiful País Vasco.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Friends From Afar

I saved a few photos and stories from the last two weeks to feature in a post of their own.

Amigos de Cataluña
You may remember that last fall I interpreted for Rafa, a gentleman from Spain, and that I arrived at the men's breakfast wearing a man-mask. (Oh, now you remember?)  His daughter Laura was along on that trip. ( You can see us here and here.) 

This time I was privileged to meet Yoli, the wife and mother of the family.

Once again my services as interpreter were required on two occasions:
--Monday evening at a gathering of all those interested in the camp they represent and where Rafa now works full time in maintenance. (Go to L'Arcada for more information.)

--Friday morning in a class at Indiana Wesleyan University (in a classroom where I used to teach!) It was a fun experience.

Before that we had gone to breakfast and had a great laugh at our ineptness with the waffle machine. We either did not see or did not read the directions for use, or there were none. And we most certainly missed seeing the oil spray to prep the iron before pouring in the batter. So we ended up scraping and scratching out two very stuck waffles onto one plate. I told them I felt like a foreigner in my own country. I think I was so distracted enjoying our lively conversation in Spanish that I could not focus on the waffle-making. (Excuses, excuses.) In any case it was memorable!

Freunde von Österreich
Dave and Brenda Babcock have spent over forty years working in Europe and beyond.

I met Brenda in a Christmas crusade in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the month before we were married.
The following year, Christmas and winter, she was on our team in Germany. In fact, she helped me out the weeks before our oldest was born when I could no longer get around.
They were engaged to be marrried, but Dave had been arrested and was in prison in Turkey for distributing Bibles and Christian literature. Eleven arrests, jail and prison time, five trials, and a five-year sentence were only the beginning of many life trials over the years. In the end, however, Dave and the guys with him were held six months only and then deported.
So Dave and Brenda were married in June of 1971 in Germany, and I played the organ at their wedding. I don't think I would be able to do that now.
Needless to say it was delightful to catch up with them again. I was privileged to meet with them on four different occasions during the few days they were in this area. And the last time Mike was there as well. Then we stopped by the Red Barn to show them what's going on there with the pottery.

Interestingly, Dave uses the decade concept that I have gotten into lately as a way to process and organize our life stories. As they travel around visiting their supporting churches, he shares stories from each decade of ministry. We were on the same team back in the beginning, and for awhile lived on the same street in Vienna. Our older children played together. It is good to remember and to rehearse all that God has done.

God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. (I Corinthians 1:9)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Week of the Robot

Week 6 for 2011 FIRST Robotics Build Season

My first two photos are borrowed. A favorite grandbaby pic from the DIL's FB profile, used with permission.

This is the busiest week of the year for Mentor Mike.
(Photo credit: Logomotion Week 6 on FB)
The Phyxtgears' robot, must be shipped off to headquarters Tuesday the 22nd when the six-week build season is up. So the late nights have begun. No all-nighters so far. Tomorrow afternoon is the scrimmage. The area teams are invited to the Ball gym for a trial run of the Logomotion game to test their robot, practice driving it and do the necessary tweaking.

Pottery classes at the Red Barn continue three afternoons a week.

In his spare time, mornings usually, Mike spent most of his time in the garage building a slab roller for the pottery room at the Red Barn. He is very pleased with how it works.

So, what have I done this week of my "robottery" widowhood?
--Monday I drove the granddaughter and Wednesday the daughter to their appointments. They have been without a car since the accident.
Daughter gave me this sweet Valentine bag.

--Had a cardiolite stress test on Thursday early and came home wearing proof of having been hooked up.

--I went out to eat three times:
Thursday evening I met my dear friend and former colleague at a Mexican restaurant in town.

Appropriately, I wore my new necklace that came from Mexico last week. I really like it.

--Friday evening the high school art club had a Fazzoli's dinner fundraiser. I ate there with two of the grands.

--This evening, Saturday, friends from our days in Europe were in the area and we had a meal together in the home of other missionary team members who live in town. Sadly, my camera battery died. :(  

Oh, but this morning I joined a couple students from last semester in the Walk A Mile In My Shoes, a Rescue Mission outreach.

And I've been working steadily on various projects at home. In the future I may have something to show for the time invested.

Our snow is almost gone. The moon is out big and bright.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What an honor!

And what a surprise!
Cotehele from The Old Kitchen, a new friend, awarded me the

The rules are for me to share seven things you didn't know about me, and pass the award on to another favorite recently discovered blogger.
I like Cotehele's one caveat: "Leave a comment with something I don't know about you and/or ask me a question. I'll try to answer as best I can." Her answers are very informative and fascinating. (Find them in her blog The Old Kitchen, here.)
Mine will be brief, but you may ask questions if you really want to know more.

1. I have crossed the Equator more times than I can remember; lived in three continents; traveled, been to 16% of the world.
2. I speak two languages fluently and have been an interpreter; speaker; teacher; team leader. Ironically I have a very soft hard-to-hear voice.
3. I laugh a lot, loudly, and am accused of even laughing at my own jokes.
4. My sneeze is distinct and scary.
5.Cooking is not one of my passions. I am very resourceful with leftovers and make use of whatever is available, and not only in the area of food.
6. I have a need to process and communicate through writing. I can't bear to be without paper and something to write with.
7. I do not want to leave my MESS for others to clean up, i.e. # 1 on my bucket list is to go through my life accumulations, especially archives of family history, process, condense, write and pass on the important things to future generations.

I am going to pick only three of my several new bloggy friends to pass on the award, in no particular order:

Dana at Bug's Eye View
Robin at Be Still and Know
Linda at Mocha with Linda

It is fun to get to know other bloggers! I hope you can play along, IF you are inclined to do so.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Super Week

Yes, Super Bowl Sunday, and super Festival of Missions at Indiana Wesleyan University among other celebrations and super size events this week. Let the photos speak for themselves.

Even the youngest got into the game. He never said who he was cheering for, however.
No matter, he lost interest quickly.

Most in our family were happy for the Packers, after all Mike is from Wisconsin.

Two belated family birthdays were thrown into the celebration.

And in the middle of all that our friend George Verwer arrived to stay with us for the week while speaking at Indiana Wesleyan University.

GV's various favorite spots at our place:

Office in the solarium
Building a fire
Praying through piles of papers, letters and lists with the cat's company. 

The semi igloo built Sunday still stands and we see deer occasionally.

 We had bitter cold temperatures, -10 F Thursday before the sun came up.

In the afternoon I drove to pick up a special package from my friends in Mexico, delivered by the team that just returned from Yucatan. 

The sweet letters and tokens of affection were very special, and I wore the T-shirt the next two days.

The kids at the Red Barn were glazing their pieces this week.

I spent one evening with the grandsons so their Mom and Dad could go to the new Indian restaurant, Sitara.  Malachi was working on a project for school. 

Washington crosses the Delaware

Friday we took George to meet a friend and later be ready to catch a flight the next day.
We were very privileged to have these days together and to be able to attend all the chapel meetings and be touched by his inspiring messages. 

Then the week ended with a visit to the ER and a night at Ball Memorial Hospital for chest pains. But all is well.