Sunday, July 31, 2011

Setbacks and More

Two setbacks have slowed us down, to do with insurance and illness.
We found out late last week that our initial adjustor is no longer with the company, and so had to start over with a new agent.
I got sick (arghh, ouch, ugh!) so I functioned in survival mode for a few days, which included doctors visits, tests, diagnosis, and delaying many plans. If you came back hoping for another Vegas episode, you may have been disappointed (or not). The mini-travelogue was interrupted and hopefully will resume (and end) this week.

Sunday afternoon the three younger grandboys came over and spent the night, always a fun and very active time. Look at what the six-year-old did.

Monday we had quite a discussion about the design for the carved oak stump. (Thank you to those who wrote with ideas.) The next day Stephan brought us a drawing of what he has been thinking, along with a beautiful narrative explanation. All I will say now is that it will be beautiful, dynamic, symbolic and simply awesome!

It is quite ugly right now. Mike got up very early this morning to go out and split logs. He came back sweat-soaked and soot-covered.

Tuesday, diagnosis--diverticulitis. Not fun.

We were invited to the farewell dinner for the Basque girls--great Basque food and I on a liquid diet. How sad is that!

(I'm borrowing this photo because the ones Mike took with his cell phone were lost.)

Wednesday I went with Kayla to her college orientation.

Later that evening we tried out the hot tub Mike had been cleaning and fixing. Great relaxation. Another something special that came with this house. Only one problem he got in the water with cell phone still attached to his waistband. So sad.

Thursday I felt well enough to resume the cleaning and restoration routine. I spent three or four hours working on Mike's pottery tools. Never knew he had so many.

Friday, July 29th, two family birthdays
We celebrated Skye's, 14 on this day. Great family fun. We all got in the hot tub!

And today Saturday, we honored Mother who turned 90 yesterday.

I had not yet seen her new apartment at Grace Village. I am so grateful for my younger brothers who helped her move and my SILs who arranged and decorated. What a fabulous job! Here is one of my favorite corners of the new place.

It is still very hot and dry here in Indiana.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vegas: First Weekend

This post combines three days of photos and narrative.
Kayla's routine continued the same from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in this UNLV building.

Friday we went to the Bass Pro store. While Mike shopped to replace his lost hunting and fishing gear, I walked around admiring the many animal and nature displays. This one of a bighorn ram fascinated me because I had just learned that each horn can weigh up to 40 lbs.!

After picking up Kayla we experienced another side of Las Vegas away from downtown and the strip. We spent two nights with Paul and my nieces. This is typical Southwestern architecture.

And here is a panoramic view from their back window. Kayla lamented the absence of grass. But, hey, no lawns to mow.

I was drawn immediately to their mate collection (the name refers to both the gourd and the beverage) and later truly enjoyed drinking the special Argentine tea.

Kayla, of course, was interested in the gaucho hat.

Saturday was 9 de julio, Día de la Independencia. I saw this poster at the restaurant where we celebrated.

Why do you think it says Argentina is the country of the six continents?

Saturday was girls' night out. We picked up Kayla and went for pedicures and manicures. Such a special treat. Look how relaxed Lizzie looks.

I love the color I chose. My toenails still look like that. Not my nails. No way!

Sunday was the last day of the ballet seminar. In the afternoon we said goodbye to our wonderful hosts and went to the student performance. 

After that it was off to stay at the Flamingo where all the other dance events were to take place.
First a tour of the grounds.

Then out to check out the surroundings, and fight the crowds.

 Here is one cityscape of the evening.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Home again!

Sunday, July 17th
The trip back was problem free and almost a direct flight, with an hour stop in Phoenix, Arizona.
Stephan and Karen were waiting for us in Indy at 3:30 pm. After everyone was dropped off at their own place, we went to ours, the old homestead that is, to see what it looked like.

I fed and played with the cat, grateful for the neighbor who came over every day in our absence, then walked back toward the 'house',...

...watched Mike water the heavy-laden tomato plants, and harvested some lettuce, basil and cilantro. Yum.

Reconstruction is still on hold. Also the big oak tree is still standing. A tree expert said it will not survive the damage, so we've hired someone to take it down and split the wood. The top part ought to be enough fire wood for a long winter or two. He is to leave an 8 foot stump for Stephan to carve. Someone suggested Smoky the Bear...NOT! Any better ideas?

Monday, July 18th
Busy post-vacation, settling-back-in-type day broken up by two happy encuentros: 
1) Ivanhoes, where we joined Dane and Laurie to treat Libe, our new young friend from the Basque Country.
2) Monday Night Meal. It was great to get together with friends and family again. It was sushi night.

Look at that Cookies and Cream sundae!

We are so enjoying sharing this time with her and talking about our friends back in País Vasco.

Oh, and we also picked up a rental car for me. Now we have a month to replace my vehicle.

Tuesday, July 19th
Not one day goes by without some expression of care and love. On this day an artist neighbor came with beautiful hand-built ceramic gifts she made for each of us. We are humbled by so much kindness, and very grateful for the new closeness we feel with many.

We're having some trouble adjusting to the three hour time difference of the last two weeks. We tend to go to bed very late and have a hard time getting up early.

Wednesday, July 20th
We had arranged to have Libe and her American family over for dinner along with Dane and Laurie.

Following the Basque custom we set two plates, salad first...

...then, after removing those plates, the main course.

Remembering that the last two years we celebrated Amaia's birthday, we had planned to have a cake in her honor.
I thought of making a cupcake birthday cake. Only one problem, I realized at a late hour that we had not yet replaced the lost muffin pans. I had to call a neighbor. I baked three types of cupcakes and the girls arranged and decorated the 'birthday cake' with an A and B for Amaia's initials. We didn't have little candles, but found a big one for the middle.

Then we did the unthinkable, we phoned, woke the family up, and sang Zorionak zuri (the Happy Birthday in euskera) to Amaia. We first had the idea around 6 pm our time, when we realized it was already her birthday in Spain. Libe had assured us she would not be in bed yet at midnight, but we didn't get around to calling till much later. Big mistake. ¡Pobre Amaia y familia!

However, we very much enjoyed the evening, and the cake, at her expense.

We watched all the photos Laurie took when we traveled to Spain a year ago, a few hundred. Libe was fascinated to see familiar places and people, even class mates and friends, and her parents as well. I fear the other guests were somewhat bored. The four of us who made the trip truly enjoyed reliving those days.

Thursday, July 21st
I have gone back over our days in Las Vegas and posted more photos and stories this week and hope to continue next week. The memories double the pleasure. There is another motive as well--to get into a writing routine. Once I've met my goal for the day, I seem to be more efficient with all the other things that need to be done.
By evening the dining room table was covered with deodorized books from the ozone closet and sorted into piles. They have since found a place or destination, and other books are going through the process.

Friday, July 22nd
Mike was gone two days with the robotics team at the annual summer competition in Indianapolis, the IRI.

Saturday, July 23rd
The mulch delivered in the driveway will have to wait till next week to fill in where the weedkiller worked almost too well. However, the hot dry spell has left all the lawns looking very sad.

We thought it was hot in Las Vegas, but it has been not much better here, dangerously hot in fact.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vegas: Day Three

Mike and I started the day bright and early by going to the pool. (We were still at the Ramada where the pool was quiet, abundant breakfast is included, there is a fridge in the room, and free WiFi.)

The routine every day was to drop Kayla off at the UNLV  and come back later for her lunch break. Sometimes we went in to check the schedule and try to connect with teachers or parents. On this particular day, I talked to a mother from Georgia who knew of our OM headquarters and some of the people we know! As they say, "It's a small world."

After lunch with Kayla, we took off for the mountains to explore Red Rock Canyon. (The short video on this site beats all of my photos.)

We practiced using the panning feature on my new camera.

We hiked a trail that was reasonable in length and was supposed to be the coolest--the Ice Box Canyon.

He must be wondering what's taking me so long. I was probably checking out the varied vegetation...

...or the amazing cloud patterns.

Can you see an eye peeking out from behind the clouds?

This evening we headed for Circus Circus, ate well at The Garden Grill,...

...circled the midway,...

... and finally made it to one circus act--a very young girl hula hoop expert.

Another good day.