Sunday, September 29, 2013

2013 Week 39: Random Moments

Hmmmm...can't think of a unifying theme for this week, just a series of happy, proud, or reflective moments.

I'm borrowing this happy photo from son-Stephan's Sunday Facebook-status. There were several shots of his Noah's Ark pumpkin-creation. This was my favorite because of the delight of the children looking on. Can you see the peace-dove?

Sunday afternoon SIL Diane was here, I was helping her put together her scrapbook.
Leah et al stopped by. I like this fun-photo of Skye and Zeus on the ATV.

Sunday evenings we usually hang out with college students around a fire, if the weather permits.
Michael had his camera along so I asked him to take a picture. I didn't mean of me, but this is what he got.

Monday I spent several hours with a young friend in the ER.
I was so reminded of a year and a half ago when daughter Leah was in the same place and saved from a very serious condition.

Tuesday I met DIL Kristie and two younguns at JoAnn Fabrics to help pick out material to cover decorative throw pillows. While she searched the many aisles, I entertained the boys.

Michael took advantage of the wonderful weather this week to fell some dead trees and replenish his supply of wood for winter.

Thursday evening we were privileged to have an award-winning author, Colleen Coble, visit our small-town library. She even remembered me from her workshop in July!

Mike's other big accomplishment of the week was to finish building two kilns: one to burn out the wax (the 18"x 20" on the right); and the other for melting the bronze (on the left, 12"x15").

The side by side photos in the collage do not reflect the size difference, nor the complex construction. He has been diligently researching the ancient lost-wax process to attain a bronze sculpture ever since he met the artist at the Penrod festival.

Malachi has been moved up to Varsity. We are proud of his dedication and determination.
Saturday's collage reflects the fun time at Malachi's cross-country meet. Such a beautiful day, almost hot.

Aunt Karen enjoyed entertaining little Jude. She herself had already run 9 miles that morning!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

2013 Week 38: Special Events

The week started out with a special birthday celebration for SIL Diane.
Son Stephan outdid himself again with an impressive ice centerpiece and even carved out a watermelon cake when news arrived of the fall and loss of the birthday cake while en route. We sang the birthday song twice, once with the traditional birthday tune and the unlit watermelon candles and then the crazy Koch-version with the lit-up velitas stuck in a couple small loaves of banana bread. (To see more photos, go here.)

Notice the ice sculpture is  in the shape of a football. Diane is a great fan of the Colts. Most were watching the game during the party.
That night, when we were in the deepest sleep, a loud noise woke us up. Mike, the protector, stealthily made his way upstairs. We soon realized the ice sculpture (what was left of it) had crashed!

Monday I recorded Kayla demonstrating the new tap dance routine she choreographed for us, as far as we have gotten. Now I have something to follow IF I would find time to practice throughout the week.

Tuesday I got to meet Leah's new kittens.

Wednesday our Food for Thought ladies' Bible study started up again with a brunch here at our house, an introduction to the new series for the year, and I shared about the Circle Tour's experiences in the Basque Country.
Later that day I completed another blog post about the last leg of our trip: Gernika and Beyond.

Thursday, while running errands, I was pleasantly surprised to learn the T-shirt quilt dropped off to be quilted was ready to be picked up and I was in the neighborhood. Now I am learning and enjoying the last step of the process, the binding. Two more sides of hand-sewing to go, i.e. two more episodes of a series we are watching--Desaparecida.

Friday two young ladies we befriended (one a former student) invited us for chili supper.

And Saturday's very special event was the wedding of another former student to our pastor's son, truly a grand occasion.

I failed to mention that Tuesday Michael cycled 95 miles with two others. He's been fighting a bad cold since, probably not related.
Fall is here and we are feeling the cooler temperatures and looking forward to the beautiful colors.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Circle Tour 13: Gernika and Beyond

 The last day of cycling! We hugged our gracious hostess goodbye.
Sadly the picture I took of her sitting at her desk was so blurry I cannot use it. I'm borrowing this farewell group photo and don't know who to credit. María Isabel is standing next to me.

The last send off for the cyclists:

María Isabel  highly recommended adding a few kilometers to our route so we could see the most beautiful sights yet. It was a beautiful day, so we did just that and went on to famous Elantxobe.

This spectacular vertical disposition of the old downtown makes Elantxobe one of the most peculiar ports of the Basque Coast. Narrow hilly streets and stepped/tiered corners surround a scanty port area. The urban center maintains the character of the ancient Basque ports. Among the buildings of major import the Neoclassic style of the 19th century is predominant, such as the Town Hall, restored in 1981, or the large house on Kale Nagusia 38. Other enduring samples are the fishermen's dwellings with glazed wooden galleries in vivid colors.

In addition to the port area and the magnificent views of the Atlantic coast, we were fascinated by the historic church downtown.

I enjoy reading all the plaques and inscriptions that tell the story of this ancient structure, like when the bell tower was added, where each piece came from and when it was added.

The photo on the left was a team favorite, captured by Allison.

I was really looking forward to our next stopping place, the famous Gernika--the focal point of Basque history. We had been there three years earlier. Our host, Alberto, gave us a wonderful and very informative tour. In fact I wrote four blog posts to cover that experience: Gernika-LumoGernikako ArbolaPlaza de los FuerosPaseo por Gernika.
On that occasion, however, we were unable to go into the Assembly Hall as it was temporarily closed to the public. This time we were privileged to tour the historic building. Unfortunately I have so few decent photos of the many sights. Suzi, one of our team members who was very committed to documenting the experience photographically, has a wonderful collection for that day, June 14, that you will really enjoy.                              
I think I was caught up reading everything I could. So I would have been looking down at the table display of the large stained glass ceiling overhead.

The vans had trouble finding a parking spot in the city, so could not linger and go to other important sites.
The cyclists, however, did not have that problem and were able to view the mosaic replica of Picasso's Guernica, which depicts the horrors of the bombing of the city on market day on April 26, 1937.

We had planned to find something to eat in the city but that was not possible due to the parking problem. So we kept going until we found a suitable place where we had a lovely time.

The circle was completed that afternoon when the cyclists arrived at the Holiday Inn in Derio, near the Bilbao airport.

Charlie's van had trouble finding the place.

Sara's friends, Ana's family, rode around in circles as well trying to locate the hotel's strange access arrangement. It was a happy reunion, nevertheless.

Ana, Hemmick's Basque daughter, and her parents
We left the bulk of our luggage in a couple rooms and headed back to San Sebastián for two more nights.

This post took longer to put together, because life has been so full and also because there was a lot to process, I had fewer notes (and my memory is fading perhaps?).

Saturday, September 14, 2013

2013 Week 37: Back to school-year routines

Still enjoying the beautiful days and variety of produce and flowers of the season while easing into the activities of a new school year like helping with junior church and joining the college students for Sunday School and evening fellowship.

I got back into a couple exercise events this week--tap and zumba.

Our lovely tap teacher posing for the photo
 Michael worked (played?) in his studio again, first time since we got back from Europe! 
He learned much from talking to one of the artists at the Penrod Arts Fair last weekend and was eager to get started sculpting with a new medium--wax.

Also on Monday, Mother invited me to the first ladies fellowship of the fall--a soup and dessert meal and Bible study.
I stayed overnight at her place. Finally got to bed at 1:30 a.m. after updating the Hoyt-family album. There were more old photographs to insert for each of the ten siblings. I don't remember where, when or how they came to me, but I find them very interesting.

Before leaving the area Tuesday morning I went by the cemetery to see the recently placed gravemarker.

Sadly birds fly into our windows, fall and die, an average of two a day.

Pobre pajarito

Wednesday, however, we remembered the many fellow humans who died on 9/11 and pray for those who in our day face oppression, torture, death, or war.
Daughter Leah joined a rally on the I69/SR26 overpass nearby. (I am borrowing this photo from FB and don't know who to credit.)

Remembering 9/11 Victims/Bikers Against War in Syria (Leah on far right)

The family tree, that tells our life story and speaks of God's faithfulness, has a different look with the summer vines. It was time to take another picture.

In the midst of Friday's errands we stopped for lunch at a favorite eatery nearby--Payne's, and later dropped by Leah's new place to note all the changes and artistic touches.

Water while waiting for food; art in the WC (water closet) at Leah's
Today, Saturday, I am spending the day cleaning and preparing for Diane's 60th birthday celebration tomorrow. There is a fresh bouquet of flowers from Victory Acres on the table. An audio book plays while a work. But now I am taking a break to finish the weekly Project 365 post. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

2013 Week 36: Festivals and Between

I'll start with Monday, the grand finale of our town's Labor Day festivities. The day begins with a Fun Run and a 5K, then there's the grand parade that brings in many out-of-town visitors. Quite a big deal for a small town.
I like to support the return of the 5K (the second annual after 20+ year absence), and I did okay (a little under 40') for not having run a race in a year! And, sure, I won my age category by default, but I was mighty sore most of the week.
Mike is on the committee to bring the greenway through our town and eventually join up with the trailheads in Gaston and Jonesboro. Some of us family members supported the effort by walking/riding/handing out candy and brochures following the banner.

The rest of the day was rather quiet. We even saw a very good movie: The Butler.

Michael worked on building a cover for the generator and finished it Tuesday. I spent most of two or three days writing and completed another day of our Circle Tour of the Basque Country: on to Lekeitio.
I was especially pleased this week to clear my desk of numerous piles. How long will that last? Hmmmm...

I am borrowing the photo Sam posted on Facebook as a reminder of how grateful we are that Kristie and the boys are okay after their accident on Thursday. The car didn't fare so well, but they are good at finding deals and are busy searching for the best replacement.

Friday we took Diane to the Matthews Covered Bridge festival. We were not there as vendors like other years. I had a good visit with the friend who comes up from Kentucky every year. She had no competition, no other potters there this time.

Saturday we went to a very prestigious art festival in Indianapolis, The Penrod Arts Fair, "one of the nation's largest single-day arts fairs", also touted as "Indiana's Nicest Day." Daughter Leah came along and we had a very enjoyable time, though rather blown away by the unending variety and creativity of the 350 artist vendors. (Or was it the prices that blew us away?)

On our way out through the Museum of Art we walked by Robert Indiana's sculptures entitled "Numbers."

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Circle Tour 13: on to Lekeitio

The day we left San Sebastián dawned cold and wet, so I donned my rainy-day uniform: layers + scarf + my world jacket.

 We were looking forward to seeing some of the special places we had visited on our previous trip on the Northern Cantabrian coast and hoping to meet friends with whom we had corresponded. However, it was not to be.
This is what we saw for mile after mile (or should I say kilometer after kilometer.)

And this is what we missed, documented three years earlier in these posts: Zarautz and Getaria; Basque Farm Country. The weather was gray and unpredictable back then too. For further entertainment you can watch our friend Dane try his hand at Pelota vasca, (Basque hand ball).

In due time we arrived in Lekeitio, a quaint fishing village.

It was somewhat complicated to park the vans and carry our luggage up to the 17th century hotel where our team took over the entire building--Hotel Palacio Oxangoiti (on the right). You can read about it in this article in the New York Times.

Directly across from the hotel was the town hall, el ayuntamiento.

And across the plaza an imposing fifteenth century cathedral.

It was rather late by the time we sorted out who would stay in what rooms, each one unique in this modernized remodeled house built in 1674. The girls were excited to share a suite and probably had too much fun that night and not enough sleep. ;-)

By the time we set out to find something to eat the row of restaurants on the waterfront had just closed their Menú del día. It was, after all, 4 p.m. We did, however, find one that would serve us.

The Wait-la espera
Ensalada rusa, my first course
When I settled in our room I found the one proper double bed so far in our experience on the Spanish side of the Basque Country.

I stepped out on the small balcony and was surprised to look down just in time to see the cyclists ride in!
 Video of cyclists arrival in Leikeitio

María Isabel, our delightful hotel manager, had arranged for a dinner to be served at a nearby restaurant.

A wonderful meal and evening with our friends ended our twelfth day in beautiful Basque Country.