Monday, October 31, 2011


A Fall full of the unexpected. 
Is it Autumn or Winter?
Snow and fall colors mixing in October?
October is a beautiful month.
20 years ago, our granddaughter Kayla was born on October 5th.
This year on the 27th, she became engaged to Matt Kern!
Not so surprising because they have been boyfriend/girlfriend since sixth grade--seven years!

The most exciting news is that tomorrow, November 1st, she will marry Matt Kern before a Justice of the Peace! They are planning a wedding ceremony at a later date.
Saturday, November 5th, we will have a celebration of their committed love and also say goodbye to Matt, who is leaving for Basic Training in the Army, November 8, next week!
So many changes, and we are not home!
We arrive back on Wednesday, in time for the party.

This is our Octember.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


The traditional Koch brothers hunting trip is on again this year and we were able to get away for the week.

Goodbye happy Upland temporary home...

(don't you just love the daughter's cute decorations?)
...and Indiana sunsets.
We arrived at Mike's nephew's place mid afternoon.

And ever since the men have been hunting birds of some kind every day for as many hours as possible.

Mike, however, did help butcher great nephew Cody's first deer.

I try to get out and walk and enjoy the beautiful countryside, the different vegetation, the mountains in the distance, and the blue sky.

Then, a surprise on the path! Any ideas?

Mike's artistic ceramic tiles found an appropriate home next to the photo of the three hunters.

Nephew Jeff, our host, hunter extraordinaire, would spend every waking moment out there if he could.

Meanwhile, the ladies knit. SIL Sandy is the knitting queen. She has completed several projects already.

Hostess Suzan has the day off and is learning to make wrist warmers.

The guys are having fun and so are we gals--sharing fun times, good food and life stories...

...and the obligatory cribbage every evening!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 43

This will have to be brief as I must pack for our trip to Idaho. Oh, so much to do yet!

Mother-daughter fun afternoon outing to see the last performance of "Bad Seed" at the Marion Civic Theatre. (Is she really that much taller than me?)

Rita and Leah

Cold enough to light the wood fire for Monday night dinner.

Karen lighting the wood stove
With some help from the instructor I finished a painting in one session. When I get back in a couple weeks we have a 'test' to see if we can do these flowers on our own.

Mike started playing Words With Friends this week and makes a big deal of every time he'swinning. However, I don't think he will have a 99 pointer again any time soon!

I babysat for youngest nieto (grandson) for a little while. We have a lot of fun. He likes to run into my arms, go back and do it all over again. I've never let the game go on as long as he would want it to!

As you have probably surmised, the happy Meemaw Moments above are the relaxing fun interludes amidst all the work. A busy week especially for Mike, maybe that is why I have no photo of him. He's been gone most of the time, but his job (installing the heating system) is as done as it can be without water and electricity.
The house is closed up now and can be locked. Tomorrow a crew will begin to hang drywall.

Meanwhile, I have been puzzling over a color palette. It is overwhelming, there are hundreds of hues.

Possible choices
After several rainy days, we've had a couple beautiful sunny ones.

State of the House

Monday, October 17, 2011

Week 42

I have concluded there is no normal week. Each is full of new adventures, and even routine activities hold surprises.

Stephan spent several hours carving the oak stump. 

After exercise sessions at the Gray Barn, I usually go over to the Red Barn to see what's happening there. I was finally able to snap a picture of handsome grandson Skye (on right) hanging out with his friend, and busy on his cell phone, of course.

We got a call and visit from long time friends from afar and, of course, we ate lunch at Ivanhoe's.

Karen and Fred
He was best man at our wedding 41+ years ago. They are true global nomads that have lived in several countries and continents and have finally settled in Arizona.

A couple weekly two-hour painting classes produced another completed project. I never know what I will end up with--always a fun surprise. Who will get this one?

I spotted Stephan's dragon among the many unglazed pieces in the pottery studio. He was visiting one time and played around with the clay.

Happy Little Dragon

It was a busy place that day. This is what I saw when I first peeked in. Mike is in there somewhere going crazy with so many students. Fortunately, some of the older ones know what they are doing.

Ever since my visit last week, I've been playing Words With Friends with my ninety-year-old mother and she is winning! However this one strategically placed short word gave me a 67 point advantage and I won that game.

Grandparents' Day at Elijah's school
He has the same teacher his older brother had at a former school.

Mrs. Fredrerick and Elijah

First Grade Music Program

Mike worked all day every day on the heating system of the new house. Most days parts and pieces were delivered here. He also made frequent trips to Muncie for more. A complex system, indeed!

My outstanding accomplishment of the week was to reread most of the circa 100 letters I wrote to my BFF over a period of twenty years (9 - 29). It's like reading your diaries from childhood on through adulthood, non stop. The timing and urgency of this letter scanning marathon was due to the fact that I was going to see my brother and SIL for the last time before they return to Argentina. They will hand carry the treasured letters and return them to my dear friend Mirtha.

DIL Karen and I ran the Taylor Homecoming 5K at 8 a.m., and then I drove up to Winona Lake for  a noon meal in Mother's little apartment--as a despedida (farewell) to Ivan and Kim.

Karen stayed back and enjoyed the hot tub. We call her the "hot tub lady".


Eight or nine Hoyts gathered. We looked at many digitized slides, commented, laughed, shared, told stories and ate wonderful food.

Three of the five siblings with Mother
And, as always, took more pictures! Here are a couple Mother/Daughter pics.

Mother and Rita
Kim and Tina

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Indian Summer

Great weather for a picnic!
 We've enjoyed such beautiful weather all week and have taken advantage of it to get in three tandem dates.

In the middle of the week, our oldest grandchild, Kayla, turned 20 (yes, twenty)! We celebrated as a family on Sunday.

No matter how busy we are, we would not think of missing Monday Meal at Chef-son's, especially when there is peach pie!

More discoveries (or should I say uncoveries) this week among Leah's stored items: a photo of her birth mom when she was a small child. We study it at length and try to draw out likenesses, character traits, history, yet so many mysteries remain.

Leah brought me a bouquet of wildflowers. I had been admiring the fields of wispy flowers on our rides.

Speaking of flowers, I gave away my first completed floral painting this week, to my mother.

The major scheduling dilemma of the week:

Can you guess what it was or how it turned out?

I bought the tickets in August and was later summoned for jury duty. The plan was to take my mother to hear Laura Bush, who was to speak at my alma mater just down the road from my parents. I nearly gave up on the idea and had a plan B in place for Mother. However, the letter did say to call the night before and make sure jury selection was still scheduled. It was cancelled! So I was able to take Mother to the event and spend the night in her cute little apartment at Grace Village.

Security was tight, many state police, and a sold out crowd, so we arrived very early. Niece Tina, who works in marketing at Grace College, was in charge of logistics for the media team. She was rushing around, but stopped by to say Hi just after the had photos taken with Laura Bush. Since we couldn't get that close to the former first lady, my photo of Tina will have to suffice.

The next morning I had two special visits: an hour with my Dad, singing to him; and a couple hours with my friend Dori who is battling cancer.

Daddy rarely raises his head, but I could see his occasional side glance and a couple times he made a special effort to look over and reward me with a beautiful smile. Oh, to have had my camera poised and ready to capture that special moment! The 23rd Psalm and the Lord's Prayer in song were both very comforting to me and I hope they ministered to his spirit also.

No photos of the state of the house this week. Mike spends most of his time out there, still working on the heating system.
Dry wall is next after the electrician finishes his job.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Arrival of Autumn

September slips away
melting in the rain.
October frost awakens
vibrant fall colors.
It's time to replace garments
coats, gloves, scarves.
Tis the season of soups,
squashes, pumpkins,
football and soccer.

There is a time for everything, 
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Eccelsiastes 3)

And here is our week:

Saturday and Sunday Mike was gone to a ceramics workshop.
LightRider Ministries celebrated 25 years of service with a grand open house, which we both missed.
Here is Jillian's contribution, a clay replica of the double decker bus. (It was her vision that led to having a Pottery studio at the Red Barn.)

We are often at the three-barn complex. Mike involved in the pottery studio, Leah helping some days; Skye hanging out with his friends at the Red Barn most days; and I exercising with other seniors at the Gray Barn a couple times a week and a weekly painting class.

One highlight of the week was the German-English translation session with friend and former colleague Win Corduan, to better understand Leah's adoption-related documents.

Win, retired philosophy prof, born in Germany
The German language presents interesting challenges: like searching a lengthy paragraph to locate the verb, which turns out to be the very last word; taking apart looooooooooooooooooooooong words to bring out meaning; rearranging structures. These are not the only complications for our English-thinking minds, history and culture play significant roles.Win was far more helpful in this area than a dictionary or online translation program could ever have been.

Work at the house continues steadily, but now the progress is not as outwardly visible, nonetheless absolutely essential--the plumbing, A/C, heating! Mike spends every spare moment on the latter, which is proving more and more necessary as the weather has changed so drastically. He works many hours with Jimmy.

Jimmy's expertly built air duct boxes
Our Friday tandem breakfast date was fun even though it rained lightly on the way back.

Another sighting this week--a very unusual Garfield found in Argentina and drinking mate!

Garfield as gaucho and Argentine soccer fan
He was at the very bottom of one of the five boxes of books I cleaned, restored or threw away this week. After de-laminating him, he came through quite well, at least okay for this photo. He reminds me of one of my trips back to the home country and the little boy who was selling laminated prints for a peso each.
What does it mean, you ask? I think the expression means, "Hang in there, Argentina!" However, aguantar is a verb that can have many interpretations. Anybody have a better translation?

My goal for the week was to get through all the books brought out after the house fire. I almost made the deadline. It was 1:30 a.m. Sunday when I finished with all the dirty work. Now I can hope that my nails will grow back and look decent.

Saturday morning two grandsons played three soccer games and won every time. Elijah was especially pleased that he made all four goals for his team.

Malachi, Elijah and soccer mom Kristie
It was cold out there. People wore winter jackets and wrapped in blankets. I realized it was time to shop for winter wraps and replace those lost in the fire.