Saturday, October 31, 2015

2015 Week 44: October Fun

The leaves are falling fast. Autumn rains and wind bring cooler temps.

Sunday was still beautiful and warm. I enjoyed hanging out with these two teens, driver Malachi and his friend, and watching Elijah play soccer.  (Don't know what made my photos so blurry.)

Mondays after class I look forward to Stephan's meal and the time with friends. This week one of Stephan's college roommates was passing through and delighted us with the tale of how he met his wife.

Mike sent this amazing sunrise photo Tuesday. He is enjoying the beauty of nature, the challenge of hunting and spending time with brother and nephew.

 Only one early morning walk this week, Thursday, but well worth the effort of getting up and out.

Every spare moment Monday through Thursday was consumed with tests, homework, and calculating grades--definitely my least favorite aspect of teaching. However, interaction with students in the classroom makes me come alive and reminds me why I endure the other.

Friday and Saturday, DIL Karen and former student Trisha joined me at a writers' conference. We all came away with clearer direction and greater confidence to move forward with the projects we are working on.

Shortly after arriving back home, these very special visitors stopped by--the cutest little mouse and a beautiful black cat.

My one seasonal moment: wearing a 5k tee from five years ago; wearing a cute pumpkin-pin made by my walking-friend; and drinking coffee from a Garfield Halloween-mug from my neighbor friend.

Now it's time to turn back the clock and sleep an hour longer.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

2015 Week 43: Autumn Pleasures

The extent of our seasonal decor
Sunday afternoon we said goodbye to our delightful visitors.

Who's winning?
We've had such beautiful sunsets and sunrises, enhanced by the fall colors.

Two early morning walks again this week.

Can you tell what design my friend got this time?

Look what Mike encountered on his trip out west with his brother!

The neighbor stopped by to introduce Jack to me, the neighborhood guard dog.

Saturday both grandmas rode along with Kristie and the boys to Malachi's semi state cross country meet. I got to sit next to this little guy.

Trying on Grandma's beret

Getting ready to cheer for our favorite runner

There he goes!
Meanwhile the little guys had so much fun in the beautiful woods.

It is finished!
Y'all have a wonderful week, come what may!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

2015 Week 42: Visitors

Last rose of fall?
We are still enjoying beautiful sunny days, but increasingly cool. In fact, there is a frost advisory out for tonight.

My walking friends
So good to live in Indiana, the Crossroads of America. It seems to be a regular occurrence that friends from a long time ago are able to stop by, even if for a brief visit.

Fred and Karen Perry live in Arizona now, after life overseas in some thirteen countries, but they have family in the Midwest. When they travel between Bloomington and Michigan, it is quite convenient to swing by our place right off I69.

"Friend"ly selfie                                                                    Author Doc Farid and his two books     Posing by our famous tree

Went by Leah's Wednesday to drop off some things AND see Rebecca Rose! She stays with Nanna while Kayla teaches dance.

On the way in to Muncie to teach, I stopped by Minnetrista to see what Team 1720 was up to all day. They were showing off Not Yet, their soon-to-be-retired robot, talking to interested adults, and entertaining numerous little visitors with crafts and activities.

What? Nothing to show for two days? Well,  I must have been too busy to take pictures--Thursday preparing to teach, and Friday, writing about the ArtPrize experience.

Oh, but also Mike and I went out in the afternoon to see Woodlawn the Movie, an amazing true story of reconciliation and revival in racially divided Birmingham, Alabama, in the '70s. If we had been in the USA at the time we might have heard about it.

Today, Stefan and Neeru and their delightful children are here for an overnight visit. We enjoyed a beautiful walk in the woods.

Meanwhile, Mike and Team 1720 spent the day at their very last competition. Not Yet may now retire after a very successful career. I heard that they took second place, but am waiting for Mike to get home and confirm the rumour.

Friday, October 16, 2015


As promised, I will reflect and write about our visit to the world's largest art competition. This was our second experience and ArtPrize's seventh year.

Last year we were there on the day the 2014 winners were announced and got to see the two previous winners at the HUB: 2013 Grand Prize WinnerReflections on Grand Prize 2012.

This time we walked into the large display room at the HUB and saw last year's winner of both public and juried vote, Intersections

This time we were there on the day after the the winners were anounced. The lines to get into the venues where the winners were displayed were impossibly long. I read about them online on the way home. Northwood Awakening won the 2D category, interestingly the same artist that won the public vote in 2013.

You can peruse all the 1500 entries  on the website. I just did and counted some 60 I remembered. I'm sure there were others, non-memorable ones.

I found the charcoal drawing that had Mike mesmerized it was so incredibly detailed, more like a photograph.

"Portrait of Kayla" by Brian Duey
I was fascinated by the meaningful message of the layered heart and the many words pointing to the process and possibility of finding true freedom from bondage.

"Breaking Free" by Jake Smit

My own photos are very random. I like this one because some of our friends are in it.

"Twins" stoneware by Naoto Nakata (dogs made up of multiple stacked dogs)

"Dark Eagle" digital art by Jennie Bethel
This one drew my attention because of the artist's statement.

I thought Son Stephan would like to see this next one.

"Lady of the Woods" a wood carving by Billy Meinke

Once again the artists' statement drew me in and the words throughout. (Guess I'm a word lover.)
The Shoemaker family created this 3-D piece to represent the family they became when they took in five siblings from Africa and a Russian exchange student.

"Grafted In" by The Shoecrew
Obviously, not everyone who enters expect to win. Many do so to share a message or simply because they enjoy creating.

"Blue Giraffe" by Jim Neal
This large free-standing 3-D piece was right across from one of the  murals that appear each year somewhere in the city. Last year we watched the lone artist at work in his lift-bucket putting the final touches to his enormous painting. This one, however, was created entirely with tape.

"The Grand Rapid Tape Drawing" by The Tape Art Crew

Sharing the day with friends definitely enhanced the experience. It would be great fun to make this an annual event, though I would try to plan our route more carefully and  NOT go on the last weekend. I've read since that the best time to go is on the first day to avoid the crowds and find parking. However, we would miss out on the many transformations of projects that are ongoing throughout the 21 days.

The last exhibit before we said goodbye to the delightful girls and their parents, was an interactive musical event, another one of those artistic forms subject to constant change.

Monday, October 12, 2015

2015 Week 41: Birthdays, Art, and Friends

Another full week: two birthdays in one week; the usual weekly commitments (teaching, robotics, writing); and a fun fall trip to Michigan.

Sunday we gathered to celebrate Kayla's 24th. The crazy-version birthday song never fails to entertain.

I always hope for a family photo-op, but once again there were missing members. However, we did manage a Kern-family pic.

Monday,  on Kayla's actual birthday, we went to Bodies in Motion, her favorite dance supply shop, and had lunch at The Bridge Cafe, now her favorite restaurant.

 I dug out photos of Kayla in her first year and couldn't believe how much Rebecca resembles her.

Morning walks were chilly. One of the ladies gave us each fingerless gloves. She also showed us the jewelry she'd been making with her sister. We stocked up on Christmas gifts. And, of course, I couldn't resist the cute little turtle pins.
We noticed flowers strewn on the path and wondered who'd been tearing up the planters at the depot. Hmmmm...caught in the act--the friendly white rabbit that lives by the bridge.

Evenings, as I drive home from teaching, I see the most beautiful sunsets, and need to remind myself to focus on driving.

Thursday, the 8th, was Jude's birthday and party, but I was teaching and Mike had a robotics meeting. I am grateful for the pictures shared on Facebook. (Thanks Debby!)

Friday, we were excited to go to Elijah's last elementary-school Gradnparents' Day event.
He had several roles to play with the Royerton Rockers and the fifth grade music program--he sang, played the xylophon and the guitar.

Zion's program was earlier. We were unable to go, but got to see him in action in his classroom.

We happened to peek in after he'd had an unintended incident and was sad about it. I love this little guy so much.

Then we were off to ArtPrize!
We stayed overnight with a young family of friends that live 20 minutes away from Grand Rapids.
She is the daughter of our OM friends, the Babcocks--like "family" really.

Saturday we were joined by the Bankers, another OM family from way back. We lived and worked together in Germany, Austria and Eastern Europe.

Our tour of many ArtPrize venues began at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

The entire experience merits another post, sometime this week.

That night we traveled toward Detroit to spend the night with Dennis and Donna Banker, delighted for the opportunity to see their "new" home. We'd been wanting to visit since they moved to Michigan in 2009. We loved each welcoming detail and every moment spent with our dear friends.

Sunday after breakfast we took off for home with grateful hearts for friends, fun, fellowship and gorgeaous fall weather.

Come back for more about ArtPrize sometime this week.