Sunday, March 29, 2015

2015 Week 13: Remembering . . .

This week brought back a flood of memories almost as thick as the snow that fell suddenly Monday afternoon. When it was time for the exercise hour for seniors at the Gray Barn, the accumulation was almost 2" deep.

Memories brought on by the anniversary of a death and the passing of another grandparent.
It is hard to believe that Grandpa Koch has been gone 12 years. I came across a photo with him during one of his many hospital stays. Mike was privileged to be with him a few years later when he passed away on March 23, 2003.

Great grandpa Koch with Malachi, 2000
This week, Thursday, Malachi's great grandpa Sholes passed away. The family is even now on their way to Tennessee for the funeral.

Thursday the 26th, was also Jimmy's birthday. For lack of a current photo, I came across these from the past which also stirred up memories of family life and times.

Now, some current photos from our Friday game night.

A first selfie with abuela
Sweet Kern-family pics. I couldn't decide which I liked best.

Rebecca with uncle Skye--two typical expressions: tips her head in greeting; loves to clap.

When Nanna is around she is very possessive of her Lovie, even if trying to take a picture from the spiral staircase!

Here's the scene she captured--the ongoing game of Spoons.

            Poor Cassie needs an advantage. Put the spoons next to her!

Grandpa and Skye play at least one game of chess whenever he comes over.

Saturday Mike was gone all day working with the team on Not Yet to improve its speed. (The robot got its name at competition when someone called out "Does your robot have a name?" "Not yet," was the answer they wrote down!)
Unfortunately, by the end of the six hours allowed to work on the robot, it was not put back together. So, when they go early to state competition next Thursday, they have five additional hours to finish the work. YES, they are going to state! You can watch them live Friday and Saturday, April 3-4, Warren High School in Indianapolis. Go to:

Team 1720 PhyXTGears
Meanwhile, Kayla and I went to see Grandma Judy and pick up some goodies at the family bake sale to benefit Kayla's cousin Rachel's dance trip in the summer.

Two great grandmas with baby and mama (who's hiding in the back? ;-)
Have a good week remembering Jesus' death and resurrection and all that it represents for each of us!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

2015 Week 12: Quiet Week

What happened this week? It felt like "Same old, same old," as they say, the usual weekly responsibilities and activities, but as I look back there were extras thrown in, but not many photos to show.
  • Meetings of groups or committees we belong to, plus a writing workshop for me.
  • Doctor visits: lung clinic for Michael; eye check-up for me, Rita.
  • Exercise groups and activities, the usual, plus a couple bike rides for Michael and a nice long walk together. 

It was time to replace the winter wreath for one that Stephan and Karen gave us for Christmas--a portent of spring and summer to come.

A few visitors stopped by after the senior's lunch to see our special tree.

Another day, someone came to pick out pieces of Mike's pottery to display and sell on consignment at the new coffee shop in town--The Bridge Cafe. Can you pick out the Klaytivity items?

Speaking of visitors, I loved seeing this picture on Facebook--Simon visiting his great grandmother!
(You can see how low on photos I am this week, that I have to resort to stealing!)

Here's another Facebook steal--my own lovely granddaughter and great granddaughter!

Good news yesterday for Team 1720, The PhyXTGears--they qualified for state competition and were accepted! Now they have to raise a bundle of money to go! And also improve the robot. They came up with ideas how to increase the speed and Michael has been working on the design for the changes.

This morning we enjoyed watching Sunday Morning on CBS, the coverage of Ice Alaska.
How many times can you see the whooping cranes of Koch and team?

Have a great week. I hope I do better with taking pictures.

Monday, March 16, 2015

2015 Week 11: Events-full week

 Daylight Savings Time, foggy mornings, melting snow, warmer temps. . .is spring almost here?

 Sunday, Mike and Stephan arrived back safely in Indiana, tired and very sore, still recovering.

We also had some unexpected visitors in our yard.

Monday, March 9th, was the 30th anniversary of Grandma Hirschy's homegoing. Cousin Kae wrote a beautiful tribute and several added their memories. I included them here along with this four-generation photo taken in 1973.

Tuesday a friend came over to pick out some pieces of pottery for a benefit silent auction.

Yarn bowl, candle holder, honey bowl, treasure box
Wednesday we joined our friends at the Senior Center for lunch. The program was a visit from Johnny Appleseed. He did not get out of character the entire time! I knew better, tho', years ago he and I commuted together to teach at the Indiana Academy in Muncie, history and Spanish respectively.

Thursday, Zion and Jude arrived in time for breakfast and stayed a couple hours while Mom had important business.

In the afternoon Mike left with the team for the second district robotics competition. I followed later that evening and spent two nights in Kokomo.

Friday was an exciting day watching Team 1720 advance to first place. Their strengths were a well-engineered robot that consistently and efficiently stacked totes six high with a recycle container and noodle (42 points), and a human player who expertly littered the opposing alliance field with noodles earning an average of 30 points per game. 

The PhyXTGears made it to quarterfinals Saturday, despite a major spill, #3 alliance. This article describes the event  Kokomo District Quarterfinals, and their photo (above right) features our robot!
We didn't make it to finals, however, were awarded the Engineering Excellence Award.

I had returned home Saturday morning but carried my computer around as I worked most of the day to watch the event live. 

In the afternoon our senior ladies tap class performed for the residents at the nursing center. It was our first. We were a bit nervous, but it went well.

My weekly blog post would not be complete without a photo of Rebecca.

Seven months today!
Stephan had a birthday Thursday. We celebrated Sunday with a fondue meal, his favorite "because it's fun-to-do." We cooked meats and vegetables in oil, and there were four other pots--two varieties of cheese and two different types of chocolate. It's quite a major event when we all get together. I was too busy to take many pictures, and the ones I did get are of very poor quality. So I leave you with just one of Stephan enjoying his celebration.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Remembering Grandma Hirschy

Four generations
Thirty years ago today my grandmother--Esther Sprunger Hirschy, left this earth. She was almost 97 years old.
Cousin Kae Hirschy Kirkwood graciously gave me permission to share her memories of Grandma.

A Lifetime Ago

I remember it was on a Saturday she died, 30 years ago today. I was 25 years old, single then, and working in the Admissions Office at Geneva College. It seems like a lifetime ago, but I still remember...

I had the privilege of spending a lot of time with Grandma throughout those 25 years, since we lived so close and went to church together. I was blessed in ways some of the other cousins were not, because they were far away in other countries or states, so it truly was a privilege to live less than a mile from Grandma. It would be an unusual day that I did not see her, at least briefly. (I’m glad to say that my son now has a similar opportunity to visit my parents almost daily, as well.)

So many things we did together! We read aloud to each other all through my life—her to me when I was a little girl, and me to her when she was an old lady. Almost every Friday night for a number of years I would spend the night with her. We read books, books, and more books! The Little Colonel Series, Anne of Green Gables and sequels, books about George Washington Carver and other famous Christians and missionaries… (Books we re-read when I was reading to her many years later!) On those Friday nights she used to make her wonderful popcorn for me and give me ice water: I ate and drank and she told me that I was going to get bloated. I probably did! She also let me sit at her desk and cut things out of the Ideals Magazine and glue them onto paper, and she let me type on her electric typewriter. I would watch her comb out her hair and braid it for the night, and take out her dentures and put them in the cup in her bathroom. Then we would crawl into her double bed and listen to Ed and Wendy King’s “Party Line” program on the radio. We loved to try and figure out “the Party Pretzel” question that was announced at 11:00 p.m. and the answer given just before midnight.

It was a special treat for me as a child when Grandma needed to go over into “the big part” of the house—I loved to see all of those missionary trinkets from foreign lands, and the books that belonged mostly to the deRosset family on the old shelves there. I remember Grandma ironing her sheets in the big kitchen on that side of the house. I loved the neat wooden rocker there, and the walk-through coat closet in the living room. It always smelled like ferns in that room, because of the lovely potted fern that grew so well in the window facing the driveway. I loved to go upstairs to the room that had been my dad’s when he was a boy, and to think about him building his crystal set radio and using it in that room. I thought the claw-foot tub in the upstairs bathroom was so cool! I loved the basement, too, where Grandpa Hirschy’s grinding wheel was still attached to the work bench.
Other things….Grandma let me play dress-up in some of her dresses. We played Chinese Checkers; picked strawberries, sweet peas, and nasturtiums; walked to church together, and to the P.O. and to “the A-P Store” (she never called it the A & P like everyone else did, it was always “the A-P Store”). She taught me how to take sermon notes. She let me pray (on my knees) with her and the other senior citizen ladies (also on their knees) at Wednesday night prayer meeting. She would come to our house on Thursday evenings to watch “The Waltons” with us—I guess she didn’t have a TV at that time. Grandma was a favorite with my dog, Nicki, even though Grandma had a fondness for her own big old cat, Mittens.

We took Grandma on trips to Berne and other places with us—it always made the trips more fun and interesting. We played games in the car, finding things that started with each letter of the alphabet. She knew everyone in Berne, and could show us all around the points of interest.

Her Sunday dinners were so special. I would usually walk home from church with her to help get things on the table before the others arrived. Her apartment always smelled absolutely delicious when we opened that door… She taught me how to make dressing for lettuce salad, and how to wash dishes—the drinking glasses first, pots last.

When I was much older, I used to sometimes stay with Grandma at night because she was not well. I remember vividly sleeping on the couch in her apartment living room and being blasted awake at 6:00 a.m. when Grandma tuned in to “McGee” on the Christian radio station! And hearing her “do her laps around the bed” above me.

I could go on and on with the memories. Suffice it to say that Grandma was very important and special to me, and the loss of her was probably the hardest thing I had experienced up to that point in my life. I have now lived without her in my life longer than I lived with her, and yet I believe her influence impacts me every day, even though I may not realize it.

We’ll never meet again this side of Heaven, as the song says, but I am so glad to know that I will meet her on that beautiful shore….
March 9, 2015

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
~George Matheson

In loving memory of Esther “Grandma” Hirschy
July 7, 1888 – March 9, 1985

Thank you for sharing, Kae! That was beautiful!
You're right, you were very privileged to live close to Grandma. And we are all so blessed by your memories.
We had only been back from the ship less than two years when she passed away. I wonder if our children have memories of her and going to her funeral? By then her offspring and spouses, the whole family, numbered 100, I believe. Her legacy lives on.
Attached--a four-generation photo with Grandma Hirschy from 1973 that came to my attention this week. I am also entering the comments of many who joined the email exchange begun by cousin Kae.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

2015 Week 10: Snow and Ice

Sunday I was due to travel and discovered in the morning that it had snowed more than we expected in the night. I didn't know how I would even get out of our driveway. Ah, but Matt and Kayla were staying here waiting for their pipes to thaw and have water again. So grandson-in-law, Matt, came to my rescue!

I had to say goodbye to my preciosa for a week.

Main roads were okay. I drove carefully and came across very few country roads so arrived in a timely fashion at my destination, Miracle Camp, for an intensive week-long course.

They warned us up front that we'd feel overwhelmed with so much to process in such a short time.

After hours of sitting and soaking in information, a few of us braved the cold for invigorating walks.

Our guide
On the last day the roads were clear,

. . . and the snow had a shiny icy crust that made it look like meringue.

Meanwhile, in Fairbanks, Alaska, work progressed steadily on many amazing ice sculptures in the Multi Block Competition of the 2015 World Ice Art Championships. My computer was ever present to follow live webcam updates of  Site # 15 and show off to anyone around me, during breaks or meals, of course.

Stephan, Mike, Luba, and Mo

For six days the team worked long hours and overcame a variety of challenging weather conditions, including a dangerously sunny day.

Pictured at the top from left to right: Melanie and Timothy, lower down: Sama, Jude, London, Doo-doo, and Jessica.

All these photos are from the Ice Alaska website.
Even better to follow the action were Mike's videos posted on Facebook:

Day 1, Day 3, Day 5, and Last Day:

So that was our week. I'm home again. Mike and Stephan will be flying through the night.