Sunday, September 27, 2015

2015 Week 39: Firsts

 A first for Rebecca: she climbed the spiral staircase to the loft all by herself! (Mind you, I was very close behind to catch her if needed!) And she did it her own way, placing her foot firmly on the next step and pulling herself up instead of crawling up on her knees--quite a feat for a tiny person.
The reward awaiting her at the top was the train table. Such fun!

Kayla and Rebecca visited us on Saturday and this collage was meant to be in last week's post, but I totally forgot--makes a great first photo for this week!

Sunday afternoon we went to support the Pray for Kelsie concert at the Lion's park and there was this lively attractive young lady taking donations.

We enjoyed the music, the atmosphere, the beautiful day.

The weekly teaching routine began Monday. The beautiful weather made grading papers outdoors more enjoyable.

Classes are going surprisingly well, for which I am exceedingly grateful--fifth week, eleven to go.

And I am still able to walk two mornings with whoever shows up at the Depot. We walk from there to Taylor and around the campus and back. Takes about an hour and a quarter and we get a lot of talking in too.

Back at the Depot, I noticed this interesting inscription on the brick. Who are Hombre and Majesty?

Leah called Wednesday to tell me the exciting thing that happened to do with her colorful girl paintings.

She loves her "girls" (and so does Rebecca who points to them!) Over time she has told so many people about her feeling that someday someone would be so drawn to these that they would suddenly notice and say, "I want one!" Sunday after the concert, one of the singers, a local acquaintance from way back, stopped by to visit, and that's exactly what happened!

Michael continues to be pain-free, rides his bicycle almost daily, has kept very busy preparing for next week's robotics team Open House, and many other things, as well as taking on two additional people-helping responsabilities.

Even so, he agreed to go with me on Friday to a few of my college Homecoming events. This was a first for me, I'd never been to any Homecoming. Next year will be my 50th year with the many accompanying celebrations, so I thought perhaps I'd give the experience a practice run.

Two learning institutions next to one another: McClain Hall where we had chapel and some classes when I was in college and/or seminary; and Jefferson Elementary where I went to second grade.

In the first one I found the wall of past presidents. I was especially interested in seeing Uncle Herman's plaque.

Our favorite activity of the day was the bus tour of Winona Lake, narrated by Dr. Terry White who wrote the most recent history of the town:

We enjoyed the fascinating stories. For me the ride stirred many memories.

The tour stopped at what used to be the Westminster Hotel--my first dorm room, and later where I waitressed at the smorgasboard and for many banquets during my student years. We visited the museum and listened to our guide play many old hymns popularized by Homer Rodeheaver whose music company was housed there.

Then we visited Mother, she treated us to dinner at the Grace Village cafeteria, and Mike set up her new iPad.

I can't resist adding some fun pictures of Stephan's weekend occupation--carving pumpkins. On Facebook he posted these large and strange specimens pondering what to do with each one.
Sometime later he shared the resulting creations.

One small step for Minion                                       Baby elephant                                                  Happy dance!
How creative have you been lately?
I picked sunflowers and arranged them. That's the extent of my creativity this week.

Although I suppose this blog post may be considered creative expression. I don't get much feedback anymore, comments are few, but I still feel the need to record our days and weeks by this means. Someday my descendants may be as fascinated by these notes as I am by what my ancestors have left behind.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

2015 Week 38: Pain free!

The biggest news this week is that Mike has been pain-free!
He did get around on the little segway  when we visited the Covered Bridge festival last Saturday evening, but since then has not used it. And has exercised all week more than in a very long time!
It began when he went back for the scheduled shot Monday, yet no matter how much he tried, he could not trigger the pain. No need for a shot and no problem since. We do not understand why--delayed effects of the first shot, a new pain medication; time???  Thank you, God!

Sunday afternoon we got together to celebrate a couple birthdays.
I've been wanting a new family photo. Sadly, this is the only photo we ended up with. Or, maybe that was just as well as there were two missing family members and we were wondering how to use modern tricks to graft them in.

This was our practice run. Mike was setting up the camera on the tripod. Zion insisted on sitting next to me, Grandma. Kristie is asking me to do something about the orange-drink stain around his mouth.

The celebrants enjoying their crazier than ever birthday songs: Kristie, 37; Diane 62

Jude entertained himself (most of the time) upstairs with the train set, but really wanted Grandma to join him.

By the next day, the dining room table was back to its usual size and decor. But I must confess, the loft where I work every day (and the children play when they're here) is as messy as ever.

After teaching for two hours, I head straight to Daleville, hungry and eager to enjoy the food and relaxed Monday Night fellowship. These were staring at me across the table: the model of the timber house Stephan plans to build; and the littlest guest who sat there quietly longer than I ever imagined possible for someone so young (or even an older person!).

Tuesday's walking group was the largest ever.
Remember the beam with our signature--Rita + RR? It's up now!

We've had beautiful sunny weather. It almost feels sinful to work indoors. However, one drawback is that several of the times I drive are when the sun is dangerously blinding.

Wednesday, Mike and Stephan went to an event to watch the debates--eleven candidates, three hours! I sat at home grading chapter one tests. I looked over and saw a peeping frog on the window, watching me!

Thursday's walking adventure ended at The Bridge Cafe to meet a dear friend who's been through a long journey back to health.

Friday date night: the new true-story movie--Captive (highly recommend it); a shared fajita dinner at La Charreada after, seated next to a dividing wall that had a long line of bicycling Mexican figures. We remembered that the manager and his brother belong to the Marion cycling club. We joined them years ago for several days of riding the hills of Tennessee.

Saturday we watched Elijah's soccer game, most of the time, between enjoying the little ones.

I think I'll save today's fun for next week's post. ¡Hasta la próxima!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

2015 Week 37: Parade, party, people!

Someone has said that my blog is more about people than anything else.
That is probably true. A higher percentage of the photos are of people.

We were so privileged to host friends from India overnight Sunday.
Monday they had a taste of small-town America--the Upland Labor Day parade.

Stefan and Neeru Eicher and their children

Mike and I participated with a group to promote the Upland Area Greenways--Mike on his little Segway-like machine, an InMotion R2, which makes him a foot taller than me!

Photo credits: Jim Slater and Kristie Koch

I dropped off the parade route at Leah's place, which is close to the end anyway, so I could enjoy all the family gathered there.

Actually Leah arrived later. She walked with the Pray for Kelsie group promoting a benefit concert to help a young victim of a motorcycle accident.

We all enjoyed the event and being together. A few more favorite photos:

The little guys fascinated by their favorite CARS' character the Mater (Kristie's photo)

The big guys luv their long hair!

We were so tired that evening that we decided to use a gift certificate for dinner at Payne's. Delicious delightful date!

Tuesday, holiday over, it was time to get back to work--lesson planning. The long weekend threw me off and I almost went to the wrong campus, turned around just in time!
When I left home everything was in readiness for the robotics team social to kick-off the season.
When I returned at 8 PM, the mentors were sitting around the table discussing and planning while the kids were all outdoors playing. They straggled in sweaty, scraped-up, bug-bitten, but happy. Those who lingered played games. One of the cards required them to add "izzle" to every phrase from then on-izzle.

Wednesday, no photos-izzle. Evenings after I teach-izzle, I am worth nothing-izzle. We watched a movie-izzle--The Man Who Captured Eichmann (1996)-izzle.  I had seen it before-izzle. I recognized quite a few of the scenes-izzle, but had forgotten most of the story-izzle. I can't believe-izzle, that I was in Argentina when this happened and was totally unaware-izzle.

Thursday morning-izzle, I walked-jogged alone-izzle, until Rebecca joined me for the stroll around Taylor-izzle. Part of our adventure was to add our name to the beam going into the new construction later that day-izzle.

We've had several birds fly into our windows lately-izzle. Friday, Mike heard a terrible crash-izzle, and got these photos of a young hawk-izzle. 

Saturday Malachi's cross country meet was in the neighboring town-izzle! I think he said he had his best time for the season so far-izzle.

Have a great week-izzle. Game over!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

2015 Week 36: Pleasures and Pains

Those two Ps seem to be the normal mix of life on earth.
Mike has experienced a lot of the latter. A very painful shot on Thursday was an attempt to target the nerve causing the episodes, but after all the xrays and efforts to isolate the culprit, it was unsuccessful. "Come again next week."

Watching the birds that hover around the various feeding stations is one of the pleasures of life in our woods.

Teaching the sounds and basics of the Spanish language has become another of my rewarding experiences. Early on I teach the vowel sounds with skits that associate each one with a scenario. Photos in the classroom of the acting students are constant reminders of the correct pronunciation when tempted to revert to the English sound. As an added (or intentional!) bonus--we have a lot of fun doing this activity. 

Monday's Cast
Tuesday's Cast

Monday Night Meal is a pleasure we both look foward to, only slightly lessened by the fact that we can't ride together. For as long as I am teaching in Muncie I will go straight to the dinner from class.
We had a wonderful surprise this week. Our Chinese friend, Nanxin, has returned after being gone since December. She is now a graduate student in actuarial science.

Wednesday we caught a glimpse of our lovely daughter when we delivered some items to her house. She told us, however, that she was not doing as well as she looked--poison ivy was taking over!
I think she later ended up in the ER.

Thursday I walked again with my tall walking partner. Rebecca did not join us, but I did stop by after to see her.

Fridays, my neighbor-friend and I meet for coffee and a delightful hour-long chat.

Until the end of the growing season and before the cold weather sets in, my next two stops Friday-stops are: Victory Acres, to pick up our weekly share; and the Farmer's Market, to stock up on whatever else is available.
I am so enjoying the sunflowers I bought there and how they fit in one of Mike's ceramic vases.

This is a big weekend in our little town. Saturday is rummage day and crowds come from all over to our "Feria americana"--this American custom of putting out all our excess items and selling them for almost nothing.
SIL Diane really looks forward to it every year, even if she doesn't buy much. This time she asked me weeks ago if I would go with her. So we hit some of the favorite places. I think it's impossible to go to all of the yard sales. We ended up at Leah's where Kayla was selling baby-girl clothes, sizes 0 to 9 months.

Another Rebecca sighting, and Zeus, her favorite doggy.
Rebecca ate some of my "walking taco" and loved it!

More Labor Day weekend festivities to come. I'll report on those next week.