Saturday, February 28, 2015

2015 Week 9: Ice and Cold

 The week began very early for son Stephan, who after a sleepless set up an ice desk for the weather reporters of WISH TV 8 Indianapolis. Later they interviewed him-- WISH 8 TV Interview with Stephan Koch--and for two days one of them stood behind the desk for a short while during each weather report. They had fun with their new prop, but refrained from sticking their tongue to it!

As most Mondays, we went to Stephan and Karen's that evening, just as the sun was setting, and enjoyed another good meal.

A practice piece still stood out in the yard. The competition car won a second place a couple weeks ago.

Tuesday was a day of errands and visits, among them to my friend and co-in-law, just out of the hospital after a heart procedure.

Wednesdays we often eat with other seniors at the Lion's Club. It's fun to slowly get to know each one's story. For some 25 years this lady has been training dogs to serve as guides to the blind. Some have ended up in other countries, in fact one of them lives in the Basque Country now. Hmmm, I wonder if it had to learn Basque commands?

Later that afternoon I had a special visitor!

Can't you just see her becoming a ballerina like the little ones her mom teaches?

Thursday bright and early Stephan and Mike flew out of Indianapolis and arrived safely in Fairbanks, Alaska much later that day after three flights.


Friday was a day to get set up on their site, make acquaintances or meet old ones, and admire the Single Block pieces.

Day 0, Site 15

 Look who came back for a longer visit! We are having record low temperatures so the Kerns came to  stay until they get their water back.

Today, Saturday, I stopped by Leah's and was impressed with all her new arrangements and decor.

A little bit of paint gives a snazzy new look to some old boots.

And a small clump of clay in Leah's gifted hands become miniature creatures with character! A turtle to add to my collection spawned a whole family of turtles. These haven't been painted yet. Wait till you see the entire collection!

Mike is missing the first robotics competition of the season, but probably has no time to think about it as their first of six days of ice carving comes to an end.

Watch the team at work on It's snowing there. Here too.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

2015 Week 8: Endings and Beginnings

This morning it was snowing. I decided then that I would stay in all day.
The doves were hunkered down as well.

The forecast promised several more inches by evening.
However, this afternoon the sun is shining. Maybe I should go for a walk.

To and from the mailbox

Now I'm back to tell you about the week. Last Saturday the boys and I were out playing in the snow.
The little ones went home Monday, stopping to visit Mom in the hospital.


Tuesday was another one of those very long days, the End of Build Season!
Team 1720 the PhyXTGears accomplished as much as possible in the way of  repairs, improvements, and practice drives. Close to the midnight deadline they wrapped up the Recycle Rush robot and cleaned the shop. For anyone interested you can watch several fun videos of the robot in action and of the closing down and clean up.

I kept well occupied at home. Among other activities, I listened to a program on Moody Radio discussing the book: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and decided to read it. I'd seen a copy recently among my many titles for children and young readers. One summer some years back, Skye attended a day camp at Indiana Wesleyan University that focused on reading the book. I found this cute photo inside. I can't remember how his favorite book ended up here, but will now return it.

Kristie was released from hospital Tuesday evening. I'm borrowing another photo from Facebook taken Wednesday morning.

Snuggle bunny ‪#‎bestmedicine‬

There were many school two-hour delays or closings this week.
Thursday all four boys spent the day here so Mom could focus on recovery.

Friday I picked up the town newspaper and found this article about the Valentine poetry reading I'd attended the week before.

A few corrections:
From Shel Silverstein's Runny Babbit, I read "Kugs and Hisses"; and from Phil Smouse's The Ten Commandments, "The Story of Adam and Eve." Sorry, no original poems this time.

Today, Saturday, February 21st, I am remembering the two-year anniversary of Daddy's passing.

He never did get to meet Rebecca and a couple other great greats born since then.

I haven't seen our little great granddaughter for over two weeks. Thanks to Facebook, and Kayla, for this glimpse today. I think she is getting quite used to selfies.

BTW, the robotics team continues to meet three days a week to prepare for their first competition next week. During the last week they are allowed to take it out for six hours, which they are doing today.

Monday, February 16, 2015

2015 Week 7: Valentine's Day???

Where did Valentine's Day go? Not that we ever celebrate it much. But this year it was definitely overtaken by the robot and Kristie's surgery.

Mike was consumed all week with working on the robot. The two Upland guys joined him most days, but a few times he went into Muncie to get ahead on certain parts, work on problems, and prepare tasks for the team. Most days I could watch them at work via UStream and have an idea of their progress.

What's everybody looking at?                                                           Oh, the robot in action!

Monday night I went alone to Stephan's and it was only us three.

In some ways it was a lonely week. Long days alone. But all that changed suddenly when Sam asked if I could have the boys overnight Friday. It is Sunday and the younger ones are still here.

Kristie had surgery Thursday late afternoon to remove a cyst on and just as large as her kidney. She was released the next morning but has been in considerable pain ever since. Today she was back in the ER and they went in again to check for a possible perforated bowel. Thankfully that was not the case. However, they kept her in the hospital overnight.

These have been very full days.
We made origami valentines, and a koala bear,

. . . worked on a fun puzzle,

. . . had some adventures in the snow,

. . . watched the robot online in the First Practice Match,

. . . and waited for Grandpa to come home.
When he finally sat down after a long day on his feet, little Jude climbed up beside him.

So, you see why Valentine's Day was mostly forgotten. But not totally. We did start the day with a special breakfast, the boys and I.

Today when Jude went down for a nap, so did I. (I wonder why?)

Elijah went in with Grandpa this afternoon and it's been fun watching him get involved with the robot as well.  He's the one in the plaid shirt and wearing safety glasses.

What will the morrow bring? We do not know. But we do know Who holds tomorrow.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

2015 Week 6: Travels and Memories

Two family deaths this week, both nonagenarians and both family historians. I feel like we are on our own now to reconstruct the past from what they left behind. More later.

Several times this week we gazed out our windows at life in our wintry woods. How many deer can you spot?

Most Monday evenings on our way to Stephan's meal we enjoy beautiful lingering sunsets.

I should clarify that this week it was a Karen et al meal. Stephan was driving back from Ottawa, Canada, where he got a First Place award in the one-man competition for "Joie de Vivre."

He made it back safely in the night, 3 a.m.Tuesday, after passing many a winter travel misfortune.

Fresh snow beautified our surroundings while making driving more hazardous.

Wednesday, February 4th, was Leah's birthday. I stopped by with lunch and gifts. She immediately tried on the new t-shirt. Which gift was she most excited about: book; window markers; heart dishes; meaningful T? Or, which ones elicited the loudest exclamations?

The same day we heard that Aunt Gerry passed away and realized that was exactly eleven years after her sister, Mike's mother. We visited her two years ago in March and took her out for her favorite meal: a bowl of chili and a cup of chocolate ice cream. Then we walked across the road for her favorite shopping experience--Goodwill.

Thursday was taken up preparing to travel to the funeral in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
Mike spent the day working on the robot, making a long list of tasks to be accomplished in his absence. After the students arrived for their work-evening, he explained everything, made sure they understood what to do, and headed for home. I was waiting with everything packed and ready to leave.
We arrived at cousin Rosie's in Chicago around 10 p.m., had a wonderful visit, slept a few hours, and continued our journey the next morning.
We arrived a half hour into the visitation hour, not intentionally, but were able to talk to everyone there. At age 95 there were not too many left to mourn her passing.

Geraldine Hensel, 1919-2015
She had been a widow for nearly 40 years. Wilbur died in 1976. They had no children so Gerry greatly appreciated her nephews Terry and Mike.

After the short burial ceremony, two tasks remained: clean out her room and have a celebratory meal at Tucker's--her favorites chili and chocolate ice cream.

Brothers Terry and Mike, and Sandy
Two important visits remained: to sister Carol in Winneconne, and old friends the McMullins in Omro.

Step sister Carol and Mike were best buddies growing up. As a boy, Mike spent summers at his Dad's and the two of them, closest in age. had many adventures together.

 We are so grateful for the brief opportunity to visit Carol in spite of having just been through a second round of chemo for the cancer she's been fighting the last few months.

As we drove through Omro we spotted the little church we attended the year we lived there.

 The people there were very good to us when Sam was born and we left to join the ship Doulos shortly after.

Our dear friends, Randy and Marlene McMullin and their boys became like second family to us. They have been gone now over five years. But we had a sweet visit with two of the sons in the old homestead and also a couple of their kids and little grandchild.

 We could not linger, however, as Mike needed to get back for the Saturday robotics work day as the deadline for completion is only days away and he is the only mechanical mentor.

We received news today of Uncle Bob's peaceful passing Saturday after two days in the hospital.
He was my father's sister's husband, a well-known theologian. I last saw him in June of 2013 and wrote about it here. The Old Man and His Big Book is a wonderful article that tells his story.

Of course, the post would not be complete without a Rebecca-sighting. I did not get to see her so again I am borrowing from Facebook, and thrilled that the photo includes Daddy-Matt.

A techie like Daddy?
In the days and weeks ahead I have many photos and things to sort through and process.
Perhaps my blogging commitment will make it easier for Rebecca to look back and make sense of her family background.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

2015 Week 5: Birthday and Anniversary

These two small wooden figures, added to my turtle collection, were  my favorite Christmas gift, especially the note that came with them.

Yesterday, January 31st, we celebrated 45 years on this journey of life together. Our annual photo ended up a mix of two selfies to capture the best expressions. (I should have taken off my glasses like Mike did.)

You can't really appreciate the new Christmas sweater I'm wearing in the photo. 
Earlier in the week I enjoyed the one I knit for Michael and gave him at the time of our wedding 45 years ago! Can you see the hole and frayed cuffs?

Earliest and most recent knitting projects
Going back to last Sunday: Grandma Debby dropped off the two young boys to spend the night here. 

Monday breakfast
Jude really enjoyed Grandpa's homemade kefir. 
Zion and I finished up his firetruck puzzle.

Tuesday. January 27th, was Elijah's 10th birthday which he has been celebrating all week!

At age 4 ½
He is now 4 ½ inches taller than his dad at age 10, and can't wait to catch up with (and surpass) grandma's height!

Wednesday after tap class I got to see two favorite girls.

Thursday I photographed these two ladies. With a newly knit headband "Youth" looks more feminine.

Friday Game Night we had a full house in honor of Elijah's birthday. I had many old photos spread out on the coffee table.

Mike and Skye played a quiet game of chess while the crowd guessed Headbandz.

Kayla has trouble guessing ice cream

Elijah stayed overnight so we could continue our annual Garfield statue search on Saturday.

After I took him home, I joined Michael at The PhyXTGears workshop, before heading out to celebrate our anniversary with dinner and a movie.

Nine robots in their hallway museum