Sunday, January 29, 2012

Little by little

Poco a poco ...

Every day we make progress in the settling in process. Some days more than others.

Counters, especially large ones like ours, tend to become work tables or dumping areas. Sundays are a good time for a fresh clean start.

The clay cobbler-man still sits on the counter waiting for some of his pieces to be glued back on. He is originally from our travels in Peru, a survivor of multiple breaks.
Later that evening Mike assembled my bookshelves while I worked on connecting all the cables between the computer and the power source. He thought that would be easy and that I couldn't go wrong. I wasn't so sure.

It was fun to take my neighbor-friend to Monday Meal. Mike can't go during robot build season. They meet every evening except Fridays, although that may change toward the end of the six weeks.

Glenda regaling us with stories of her birthday trip
Steady plodding all day Tuesday until evening when I left for a brief meeting. This is what I saw when I drove in after dark. The tree sculpture is lit up at night now.

Tuesday two family members stopped by to see the progress: Karen, after an interview at the high school; and Kayla after her last class.

DIL showing off her interview shoes

Granddaughter's beautiful hands (and Pinterest-inspired nails)
It snowed in the afternoon and there was a winter advisory, so Kayla stayed all night--our first overnight guest! She then got me started on Pinterest, but I haven't done much with it yet. Her nails, BTW, have words--newsprint applied.

Thursday Sam delivered our beautiful new dining room table. Two inserts allow for a 9 foot extension.

I moved the small table we had been using to the solarium. I've been told it was the first one my parents had. I need to learn more about its history.

Friday, I took a couple packets to Muncie to be delivered to my friends in Xocenpich. At the church I met a couple ladies who've traveled with the team for more than twenty years now. 

When I saw the suitcases all lined up ready for their early morning flight, I was reminded of seventeen years ago. Mike and I went to Cancún on our 25th wedding anniversary and encountered this church group and their bright orange marked luggage. Years later, I was privileged to go several times with students and meet some wonderful people.

In the evening my friend Jane and I went to a ladies' weekend at a nearby retreat center.
We awoke the next morning to a snow scene, lovely while it lasted.

The fellowship with women of all ages was rich. A weekend not soon to be forgotten. :-)
However, I missed out on grandson Elijah's 7th birthday party. :-(

And now, back home, I'm trying to catch up.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Steady Progress

I checked my camera last night and discovered that the week has gone by with only  four (4) photos to show for it, so I went around and captured a few more. I may borrow from the past or other sources as well in an attempt to adequately represent this week.

Last weekend, Stephan was competing in an ice carving event in Northern Michigan.

Great Blue Herons (sculpture and photo by Stephan Koch)
And this weekend he is judging at the Plymouth Ice Festival.

Youngest son, Sam, brought over another piece of his artistry which has already proven very useful.

Kitchen Island

The kitchen island has: a butcher block top, a huge drawer that holds most of the cooking utensils; stemware and Terma Serrano (Non-Alcholic Bitter, Herbal Beverage from Argentina's Sierras) underneath; and at the bottom, wonderful storage space that I haven't decided yet how to use.
For the most part the kitchen has been conquered, except for remembering where I put things. For now I have sticky-note labels on every door and drawer.

Monday, our host in the Basque Country sent this link: Guest column: Consider worker co-operatives. The article speaks of a Corporation we visited and claims, "Spain's famous Mondragón Cooperative has been rated by Forbes magazine as one of the 10 best places to work in Europe."

Tuesday, Mike was up very early. This is what I saw when I came upstairs.

He had set up his basic electronic equipment on a couple folding tables. However, the desk he ordered arrived earlier than expected and was all put together as of Friday.

My writing space is still very much in progress, slow but steady. Meanwhile I use my little Netbook on the kitchen counter. I do love to journal by hand and my 2012 Blurb-made journal arrived this week! So, actually I have more notes than photos.

Twice this week we have been blessed with desserts from Dream Creations, the daughter's budding business. I just had to serve the apple cheese cake on fancy dishes with tea.

We were about to partake of another of Stephan's Christmas pizzas when Mike said, "Aren't you going to take a picture?" I was glad for his reminder and especially to note his support of Project 365!

Mike is so eager to get back into his pottery studio that even after a Saturday of work with the robotics team, he went out in the night, plowed a path through the snow and raced back and forth on the four wheeler to bring in the stuff he had stored in the pole barn after the fire.

The pictured work table and shelves he built Friday after finding the large drawers we concluded had been lost.

Today we finally located the ceramic canisters I purchased for my new kitchen from fellow-ceramist at the neighboring festival.

I keep plodding steadily--unpacking boxes, finding and moving things around, adding decorative touches, reading instruction manuals, learning something new every day.
This weekend I used my new bright and neatly finished laundry room for the first time.

We save a lot by having off-peak electricity. This means that we heat water and use the dishwasher,  washer and dryer only at night or on weekends.

Here I sit by the window in wonder and write this post.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Starting Over

The big move took place this week, over a period of several days, just before the snow storm!
We slept in our home again seven months to the day after the house fire.
Preparations intensified as the day approached. Work at the house continued through the weekend, everyone finishing up their part and a lady cleaning up after them. Sunday afternoon and evening our custom-wordworker son was at it again, even after a late night so his family came out later to spend some time with him. We all found places to sit and enjoy Kristie's wonderful meal of chili and cheesy rolls.

This scene reminds me of Christmas 1990 when family members gathered in the same spot.

Monday the inspector toured the place, big furniture items were delivered, the carpenter was still working on the deck, and Mike and two helpers (son Sam and friend Larry) loaded and unloaded the U-Haul truck several times to transfer our belongings from the temporary home to the new house.
Mike had to rush off later to mentor the robotics team (the six-week build season started Saturday), and I was glad to get away from it all and go to Monday Meal. I had the pleasant company of two Taylor students who asked to go along--cousin Bethany and friend Jessica.

It was the monthly Cooking Through the United States meal, this time featuring Washington.

Washingtonian pumpkin soup is delicious!
Tuesday Mike loaded up the car multiple times and I continued to clear out areas and pack.
"You wouldn't know we had a fire! Have we accumulated that much since?"
It wasn't till around 9 p.m. that I finally drove up to my home-sweet-home. A full moon shone through the trees.

Since then we have kept at the overwhelming task of settling in: assemble some of the furniture pieces; unpack and find the right place for each and every item (and then remember where you put it!); read the care and instruction manual before using an appliance (they have changed so much!). All the while I am thinking about how to arrange and decorate. Throw-pillows on the sofa was the first and easiest decision.

Sam has been in and out almost every day this week. Thursday we shared a pizza lunch together. It was the first use of the new oven. We tried one Stephan's gourmet frozen pizzas he gave us for Christmas--chicken artichoke. Wonderful! So much so that we had nearly demolished it before I thought to take a picture.

Friday Sam got stuck in our driveway so Mike got out the four-wheeler and plow and has used it a couple times since. I caught this when I looked out the window to see what was happening.

Sam installed the drawer insert for the cutlery, an extra piece that he made and gave us for Christmas.

I set up and used my new sewing machine, after reading the entire manual I'm proud to say.

I needed to mend the hem of a pillowcase before returning it to our 'other' home.
Glenda, my neighbor, and I spent most of Saturday cleaning and sprucing up the other place.

I stood at the sink where I had spent hours and hours over the 214 days of 'exile' and said goodbye to the dear neighborhood.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Welcome 2012

Elijah's self-photograph (while doing a hand stand?)
Three grandsons helped us welcome the new year.
Saturday morning we packed up all the Christmas decorations and ate lunch at Ivanhoe's.

Malachi washing down a Big Panther
The older boys went with grandpa to the New Year's Eve festivities in Muncie where the robotics team put on their third annual ball drop. Each year there is some glitch. This time the ball did not light up till it was down.  :-(
Sunday, among other things, I did (sort of) play Christmas carols (a few) with some help. Didn't quite accomplish my yearly goal--to play through all the carols.

Zion and grandma duet
It was good to be back with our Monday night friends and the meal was excellent--Sticky Chicken, rice, popovers and tart tatin.

Tart Tatin
Tuesday Kayla had to say goodbye to Matt who headed back to SC for the second half of basic training.

Leah and Skye stopped by on Wednesday to show off their new looks.

New style
New glasses

And how do you like her fingerless gloves? That's my current knitting kick.

All week I've been intent on preparing for the move: pulling stuff out of cupboards, closets, and drawers; piling, sorting, purging, packing. (NO photos of the mess!) I said goodbye to my cherished family of geese (gifts from the grandkids, damaged by the fire). It's time for a new theme in the beautiful new kitchen.

Mike has been working at the house e.v.e.r.y spare moment. Even as I speak write he is there still hanging lights and putting handles on doors and drawers. And that after a long day at FIRST robotics Kick-Off! For the next six weeks Team 1720, with a lot of help from their mentors, will be designing and building a robot to play this year's game Rebound Rumble.

Friday night, however, we took time out to meet with  a new acquaintance, the lovely harpist, Sarah, the same one pictured in this previous post. Mike is fascinated by the artistry of harp playing. We learned a lot throughout the evening and asked Sarah to strike a pose. We don't know what involuntary action produced this interesting effect, but I like it.

So here it is Saturday evening and soon we will be moving into our new home!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Extra Week or #52b

So I got my wish, the one I made when we stepped into this temporary home, "I hope we're here for Christmas." I wanted a relaxed time together with enough space and freedom for everyone to spend a night or two. I truly enjoyed every aspect of CHRISTmas--the decorating, all the preparations in anticipation, and every minute with the family. All so meaningful and beautiful, even our 'anorexic' tree, as the daughter called it (smile).

Some stayed over till Monday. 
Elijah enjoying his DS-XL before breakfast

He came back the next day with his daddy. Sam worked at the house until late that night, so Elijah came back here with me and stayed overnight. 
He kept me on task with my exercise homework, except that he wanted to teach me some not-so-boring moves.

I assured him they were not part of our (the seniors) balance routines.

On Wednesday we ran errands together and stopped to visit the Indiana Ice Studio which was on the way. It was fun to see both Stephan and Karen at work. I hadn't been there in a long time so was impressed with all that goes on there, and the many trophies and awards!

Uncle Stephan was intent on showing Elijah all that his job entails--design, ice-making, the CNC machine, the fancy saw (glitter-paint for effect), and the finished center pieces for the weekend delivery.

In fact today, both Steph & Karen and Sam & Kristie, traveled three hours north to set up 80+ center pieces for a large New Year's Eve party.
I am looking after the three grandsons while they are gone. The little one is asleep and the older two have gone with Grandpa to the annual event put on by the robotics team--the New Year's Eve ball-drop.
So I have a couple hours of quiet to look back over the week and compose this final post of 2011.

Thursday, more errands and lunch with the daughter and grandson. I got to see her Christmas gift which produced an abundant supply of sweets for the family. These will probably hold us over through the busy days ahead of moving to the new house.

Speaking of appliances, ours were delivered to the house this week. The carpet is almost down. Ballisters being installed and we're still waiting on counter tops and furniture.

Thursday evening we were invited to play a new card game with friends. It was good to get out for a fun time.

Friday our landlady-friend came by with her whole family to show the new family members the home that holds so many memories.

The original family
And now the time has come to say,