Sunday, July 26, 2015

2015 Week 30: Visitor and Conference

We had a special visitor from the Basque Country stay with us a couple days.

Monday we drove around to each of our family members' homes. They've all moved since Irati was here last.

First we stopped to see Leah. 

Next, Kayla. . .

But the little munchkin stole the show.

Then we went to Stephan and Karen's "farm" and as cute and soft as the bunnies were, Irati was not very interested.

Nor did she care about the chickens. Not even Foghorn the rooster could get her attention. Nova the cat showed a lot more interest in the hens.

Later we got to observe Kayla in action as a dance instructor in three classes of different ages and styles. We especially wanted to see Zion in the tap class.

"It's summer" (from movie Frozen)
Finally, we ended up at Sam and Kristie's house, had dinner with them, including entertainment!

El mago Elijah
We missed Sam. He was working in Michigan all week.

Tuesday's plans were changed somewhat, so instead of a longer trip, we went to a county fair and introduced Irati to that aspect of American culture.

"Irati, is that what you think of the fair or of being photographed?"
Of course, we had to try fair food. I had never seen spiral potatoes like these.

On the way back we stopped to see Sam's shop and skateboard area.

Irati examining the bowl
One more stop to show our friend the pottery studio where Mike works with kids.

Remember the clay figure I thought he was going to recycle? Looks like the poor guy's been rescued and given a second chance.

Wednesday a large envelope arrived in the mail with old family photographs. This one of my grandfather and two uncles was enclosed by mistake. I had never seen it. The younger boy, my uncle Dan, still lives and is quite active and involved for his 97 years.

The next three days, I attended the annual Midwest Writers Workshop in Muncie for the fourth time. I had been hesitant to register, but Michael said, "Why wouldn't you go?" So, trusting that I was meant to be there, I rose early, drove the half hour there and back each day and sat through many sessions.

Thursday, by mid afternoon break I had to go out and sit in the car until my feet had thawed out.
No more sandals, only socks and enclosed shoes the next two days, and sweaters.
They say they have no control over the air conditioning in the building. (Or is it that they want to sell more MWW sweatshirts?)

The entire conference was very beneficial--excellent and practical sessions, great new friends in "my tribe" (who write in the same genre), and fun times!

Only a few of the wonderful writers I met
I came home greatly encouraged and motivated to continue telling stories through my writing.

Meanwhile, Michael had a root canal, an appointment with his doctor and more x-rays. They're still trying to figure out what is causing the painful episodes.

Looks like Stephan has kept busy. I'm glad he posts these photos on Facebook and doesn't mind if I share them with my readers.

What surprises await us all in Week 31? Come back next week.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

2015 Week 29:

Near daily rainstorms keep the outdoor plants and birds happy.
Flood warnings are frequent.
However, the hot weather is here and it feels like summer has finally arrived.

Caught drinking

This indoor plant was not happy having outgrown its special pot--the last remaining piece from my parents' tea set from when I was a very small child. It has served many purposes, bears scars and stains, has lost its bonnet, but holds many memories.

Tuesday, July 14, I realized that in six weeks I'd be teaching again at Ivy Tech--Spanish 101.

And Kayla posted the following:

Rebecca is 11 months today!

Wednesday, after tap class, I stopped by the pottery studio at the Red Barn. Mike goes in only once a week now. He manages to have fun projects going while supervising the kids. I checked out a couple of his practice pieces--one had grown hair since last I saw her, and the other, old and battered was about to be recycled.

While writing a graduation card to Savannah, I thought it would be fun to see photos from the previous time we had seen her at a family reunion. I discovered these cute second-cousin pics  with Skye, who will be a senior this year.

Thursday evening several families who have hosted Basque students came together to welcome two girls visiting this summer--Irati returning for the fourth time brought her younger cousin to have the "Upland experience."

Marta and Irati

This was my favorite group picture. I loved how the "American Moms" pointed to and claimed their Basque "daughters."
Our hosts, Dane and Laurie (far right) left two days later to visit dear friends and familiar places in the Basque Country, on their own this time.

Mike could not be with us. This week, he put in very long days (oft painful) working on the robot and preparing for the prestigious off-season competition--the Indiana Robotics Invitational, July 17-18.
"Not Yet" and the small team performed valiantly against the giants. They were privileged to be there, learned a lot, raised their average score, and rolled in Saturday night tired and happy even though ranked 58 out of 70 in the end.

Meanwhile, I was home with three grandboys and a house full of fun and fighting. I had acquired a train table and Thomas the Train sets at a garage sale.

Sunday before packing up, we played "who can build the tallest tower." Zion assumed the winner's pose. Jude's favorite piece was the magnet crane. He had a difficult time sharing.

Three popular weekend reads. Can you guess which one was the favorite?

Monday, July 13, 2015

2015 Week 28: Remembering & Celebrating

Lots of remembering and lots of celebrating this week.
Expect many photo collages.
Also lots of rain this season--flooding, lost crops, damage.
Strange weather patterns. It is pouring as I write.

So how did we celebrate the 4th--Independence Day?
We joined Leah's family in her back yard.

And watched the guys create fire-art and the kids (or young at heart) at play.

They extended the holiday another day because they enjoy fireworks so much.
But we stayed home Sunday evening to watch an exciting soccer game. Can't help but feel sorry for Japan though. They put up a good fight.

Monday was a catch-up day. One accomplishment--a third album of  Benson Sculpture Park  photos.

Tuesday morning walk--only two of us again. Fun conversation and sights along the way. (My walking partner is far more photogenic than me.)

Wednesday, I posted the fourth and final album of the Benson Sculpture Park and  the following on Facebook:

I was just reminded that Grandma Hirschy would have been 127 today, July 7th.When she died at 96 she had 43 great grandchildren. She sent them birthday cards with $1 bill as long as she could. When she could do it no longer, she had someone do it for her. She also wrote and kept track in her diary, and toward the end told someone what to write.
Thursdayon Leah's adopted birthday, I posted another memorable photo .

Here's what she said on Facebook:
Feb. 4th was the day I was born.The day an unwanted pregnancy became an unwanted baby abandoned never once being touched by a mother's hands or looked on by a mother's eyes BUT TODAY that child was officially wanted. A mother hugged and kissed this baby. A father and Mother and a brother WANTED this baby !! Today is my favorite day,the day I became part of a family. A day I was wanted, loved. 
Today is my ADOPTED birthday heart emoticon

In the afternoon, three grands came to visit. I noticed right away that Elijah has finally surpassed me. This is now the last of many measuring sessions. He achieved his goal. In no time we will all be looking up to him. 
The little ones have a ways to go, but can already run faster than Grandma.

We saw different kinds of mushrooms on our walk. Don't know much about them. Any edible?

Before the day was over and after both of us had said goodbye to the young uns' we each were babysitting, we snuck off for a special Mother-Daughter dinner at Payne's. Leah needed to eat well, stock up before the midnight fast began.

Friday, Leah's dreaded oral surgery--one almost penetrating the sinus cavity, and three wisdom teeth. I posted these on Facebook and she had many praying for her. The procedure itself was the quickest and easiest in her long dental journey--over before she knew it! However, the recovery is not as smooth. 

So, where was Michael all day--8:00 AM-midnight? At the PhyXTGears shop. Not Yet, the robot, is living up to its name, not quite ready for the big competition coming up next weekend.

Fortunately Mike could sit most of that time and avoid some of the pain that plagues him.

Saturday he was gone again, where he's been most of the week. I'm sure you guessed it.

I kept busy with Saturday chores (including getting ready for a Sunday family get-together!) until it was time to check out Chef Steph's catering at a special welcome for friends who live and work in SE Asia. (BTW, the food was delicious.)

Sunday we celebrated Leah's Adopted Birthday.

At times you'd think the party was for Rebecca.

Leah had planned a Father-Daughter lantern-launching celebration for earlier in the week. Due to rainy weather it was postponed, but Sunday evening was good.

One of them did not go very far. We lost sight of the other one.

(Did anyone read this far?)

Monday, July 6, 2015

2015 Week 27: Part B

Most of this week I have been processing the photos and experiences of our trip to Colorado. 
I have finally come to the homeward-bound part. As wonderful as vacations are, it is always good to get home. 
I was happy to see the new flowers by the mail box and have enjoyed bouquets from the abundant wildflowers.

Looking back--Monday morning we were on the road again.

I read most of the way. This time a very different kind of book. Mike's cousin has been a regular contributor for Hunting and Fishing Collectibles magazine since 2000. His most recent column "Back Shelf" appeared on the last page. Ron's fourth book--Behind the Back Shelf-- is a collection of his bimonthly articles published between 2006 and 2012 with the added bonus of background stories for each. 
We enjoyed his humor immensely. I learned more about Mike's family background and gained insight into the world of water-fowling. Ron claims he is "foremost a duck hunter and everything else is just something to pass the time between seasons."

We were highly entertained all the way from Cozad, NE, to Normal, IL, where we spent the night with a dear couple who were with us on two Circle Tours of the Basque Country, both of them cyclists. Life has changed considerably for them with the arrival of their first baby eight weeks ago.

 Tate and Chelsea were very gracious to host us even in those chaotic first weeks with a newborn.

Meeting Ainsley Claire
Tuesday we arrived home around noon, in time to get organized enough for the next activities on our calendar--Mike was off to the regular Tuesday robotics meeting, and I to the Fort Wayne airport to welcome a young Basque friend and her cousin, visiting area families for the month.

Irati y Marta
Wednesday we enjoyed hanging out with one of our young pastors and his delightful family.
(Great motivation for me to clean house all day ;-).

Thursday morning I joined the walking group that meets at the depot twice a week. Only two of us this time.

The local garden club does such a wonderful job of caring for the flowers there.

Later I was the lucky babysitter! It was a first time for this great grandma--abuela.
Rebecca is so active now that this was the only moment I managed a get a photo, surprisingly, as even bottle time is busy with feet and arms flailing about.

Friday was Jared's last class. He was back earlier than other days and we managed to fit in one more game of King's Corner and an Ivanhoes' dessert.

Saturday we saw him off  at Cracker Barrel where he caught the shuttle to the Indianapolis airport on his way to Arizona to see his parent's new home for the first time.

So, I am finally caught up with a rough summary of the week.
And I've also posted photos on Facebook: Part II of my walk through the Benson Sculpture Garden.