Sunday, August 28, 2016

2016 Week 34: Schedules and Storms

Several scheduled appointments punctuated the week: hair, car, dentist, classes, meetings, amid the steadiness of daily goals and routines.

Monday I was back for a third year in the familiar spaces of Ivy Tech, in the same classroom with ten new students and a different schedule--four hours once a week.

Michael was glad to finish the time consuming task of painting the railing and has moved on to other areas. Some require bleach treatment before the paint.

Wednesday, I was enjoying a quiet time in bed, when I suddenly remembered I had an airbag recall/replacement appointment in 20 minutes! I jumped into the clothes laying on the floor and rushed off, just in time!
I strolled over to my friend Viola's favorite restaurant for breakfast. The memories of our last time there motivated me to go visit my bedridden friend. We can no longer have conversations like before, but she enjoys it when I read Guidepost stories to her.

That evening we joined other PhyXTGears families for their fundraiser at Culver's restaurant.

I was delighted to discover some of our own family members there, enjoying one of their favorite places to eat and supporting the team!

Team 1720, the PhyXTGears, are hoping to move October 1st into their new shop in the makers' space now renamed Madjax. The new walls are progressing nicely and look sturdy enough.

However, on this very day a line of severe storms came through our area. Tornadoes touched down in several spots.  One of the families invited us over and we stayed in Muncie until 11 p.m. so as not to cross the path of the erratic clouds on our way home.  We taught them Hand and Foot while waiting.

We didn't notice much damage on the way home. When I walked through our woods the next day, not much either. One tree came down some time this week.

A city some 35 miles away suffered considerable loss. A Starbuck's was flattened among others, but no loss of life!

The next days have been calm with spots of rain. These young'uns came very close to our house. They are not yet wary and skittish.

 Hmmm, where's their mama?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Letters Back Home--1

Millennials from near and far are settling back into college life. Parents either deliver their students to the destination or closely follow their travels via text messages, phone calls, social media, photos, videos.
I found a 1940 postcard from my mother to her parents. It was postmarked Sept. 24, Covington, KY.

Kathryn and an older brother, Dan, arrived there from Evans City, PA, early afternoon, half way to their destination—Bryan College in Dayton, TN. They planned to leave very early the next morning and complete the other leg of the journey. Mother felt constrained to let her parents know that they had traveled safely so far, despite rain and slippery roads.

I checked Google maps online to verify distances and learned that to drive 300 miles now, more than seventy years later, it would take a little under five hours. Our present day travelers would most likely attempt it all in one day and not split the distance.

I wonder what car they had, what the roads were like, how fast they traveled, where they spent the night, and how long they drove the second day. But is there anyone left to ask, or who would remember what it was like back then?

Monday, August 22, 2016

2016 Week 33: A quieter week

A quieter week, not so many of my own photos, so I'm borrowing from various Facebook postings, for my weekly record of events and memories.

Sunday was Rebecca's birthday. We had celebrated with a party at her house the day before.
I liked cousin Bruce's picture of mommy-hostess Kayla and Rebecca wearing the festive dress she started out with.

The lovely dress was removed for cake-eating time. During gift-opening, Nanna Leah quickly dressed her in one of the many new outfits. The finishing touch came when Rebecca opened the gift with Mouse ears. She immediately went to check out her look in the mirror. Leah was able to capture this priceless reaction, my favorite pic!

I also enjoyed Bruce's views of our homestead.

Stephan had fun carving fruit and veggies:
"Playing with planets...and yes, that is the Death Star in the background lest we become complacent..."

My artistic outlet was this weekly coloring while watching the Olympics or listening to music.

However, my main accomplishment of the week was the syllabus and preparation for teaching Spanish 101 again, starting Monday.

Friday's routine was somewhat rearranged. Mike was invited to another of the robotics students birthday celebration. It was here in town and I stopped by for awhile.

What are they watching?

Oh, the trampoline tricksters!

The whole town was out of electricity for a couple hours. The birthday-boy did not have to go in to work and my writers' meeting was cancelled, so we all lingered.

When we got home, Mike taught me how to turn this thing on. Can you guess?

I tried a new recipe from a beautiful Argentine cookbook.

The leftovers of Medallones de berenjena con queso

Saturday there was another Ivanhoes' Garfield sighting, this time with four Koch-boys.

Photo credit: Kristie Koch

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

2016 Week 32: Robotics students, Rebecca's birthday, and cousins from afar

 Some weeks it's hard to choose between so many photos.

In August we make our annual trek to the State Fair, usually prompted by Diane (Mike's younger sister). This year, however, we planned it around the events that a couple of the robotics students were involved in. That was Monday all day, and then we went directly to Stephan's meal.

Jeremiah, the 2016 champion!
Jessica and Destiny
Notice the intricate braiding. It took Jessi's sister more than three hours to do mane and tail.

We were amazed at what these kids have achieved and all that they accomplish in addition to the many hours they put into building robots!

Wednesday Mike was back at the pottery studio at the Red Barn for the first session of the new school year. After that we joined the cuatro amigos for a surprise birthday meal at Moriah's house.

Moriah's 18th; piano duet with Hannah; lighting the decorated oreo ice cream cake; little brother Isaiah's piano entertainment
Not to be outdone, Moriah also has animals, very small and unusual pets: a pair of geckos, male and female; and a couple degus, twins.
Hannah, the future vet, feeding the male gecko

Speaking of living creatures . . . these young deer stared at us as we drove down our lane.

My writing focus this week was to process what I had learned at the conference last weekend, which ended up becoming my first newsletter as a writer--"The Strangest Things Happen at a Writers’ Conference . . . and what I learned." (If interested, write me a comment.)

We had two more fun events to look forward to and prepare for: our great-granddaughter's second birthday; and a special visit from my New Zealand cousins.

Mike and I worked on a gift for Rebecca. My father had made a little doll bed for Leah many years ago. Mike took the remaining parts, that have survived innumerable moves and the vicisitudes of life (just wanted to use that big word), replaced some missing pieces, rebuilt, and painted it. And I made a mattress, pillow and sheet so it would be ready to pass on to Nanna Leah's favorite granddaughter!

The headboard remained intact.

Saturday at noon, Matt and Kayla hosted the many guests in their new home: four grandparents; four greats; one great great grandmother (!); and many uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends. 

Waiting for matches to light the candle

Oops! Coudn't wait till the end of the birthday song to blow it out.
The last of many gifts

Bruce and Lois arrived just in time for the party and thus were introduced to many all at once! Family crowds are not new to them. Both come from large families (7 and 8 siblings respectively) and they themselves have eight children and 37 grandchildren. One of the main purposes of this summer travel to the US was to attend a family reunion (my uncle Lowell's clan) with more than 80 in attendance.

We went to Ivanhoe's that evening, which we do with every one of our guests, and took the obligatory photo by the Garfield statue. I insisted Bruce stand next to the ice cream because his family, when asked how much, has perpetuated the saying, "Way too much!"

Another robotics-graduate sighting--Jordan, working at Ivanhoe's and soon to start at Taylor U!

Later that evening I got out the 1997 photo album to recall one of Hoyt-family visits to Upland. All those young'uns with them on that trip are grown, married, and multiplying. Liana in the upper left corner has seven children, including baby girl twins.

The very next page in the album recorded the visit of their cousins to check out Taylor University. Hannah, lower left, is getting married next Saturday in TN. That will be Bruce and Lois' last family event before flying back to NZ next Monday.

We also enjoyed singing hymns, or listening to their beautiful booming voices. It was interesting to learn of their family's involvement (along with many others) in putting together and publishing this new hymnal for their denomination in NZ. What an enormous project!

A funny thing happened Sunday after church. They were approached by one of the choir members and invited to join, not realizing that they were only passing through.

We were privileged and blessed to have Bruce and Lois with us. Their visit was brief, but packed with sharing memories and getting caught up.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

2016 Week 31: Back to School, for some

The flowers that graced our table at the beginning of the week did not last long and there are fewer replacements in our garden.

The honey harvest, however, promises to continue and grow.

Monday night after the meal, Karen showed us the poster she's working on for school.

  A couple of corrections to my last blog post: Karen does not start teaching till next Tuesday, and our Muncie grandsons's first day was this Wednesday.

Proud dad sending off his older boys to Delta.

For one year Elijah can ride with big brother Malachi. Zion is the only bus rider for now.

Only one at Royerton Elementary

Thank you, Kristie, for these great photos to add to my 2016 photo-journal.

Thursday evenings I usually set aside an hour to listen and color. My friend and former colleague, Win Corduan's show is online ( from 9:00 - 10:00 PM. Enjoyable wind-down activity while Mike is gone many hours at the robotics'shop. 
This week the Corduan brothers were on!

Michael keeps plugging away at the tedious job of painting the outside of the house and deck.
This is what he was doing when I left Friday afternoon.

All week I have been preparing for a writers' conference, among other obligations, of course--a friend's husband's memorial, an annual checkup, etc.

This first of its kind professional writing conference at Taylor U, was very successful. I came away inspired, encouraged, with clearer direction and more tools.
Interestingly, one of the best presenters was a student in my Spanish class years ago--a fun role reversal!
And I made a new friend, a woman who married an Argentine and lived there for 27 years!
Sharing and networking is one of the great benefits of attending these conferences.

Unlike most attendees, I only live a mile away from where the conference was held. I was home in plenty of time for us to enjoy a lovely evening and picnic at the annual Muncie Civic Theatre event at Minnetrista.

The finale--a celebratory balloon launch

Monday, August 1, 2016

2016 Week 30: Summer winding down

There are summer days when I've felt I wasn't getting anywhere. However, this week I am encouraged. I gained direction and am moving forward with projects. Sorry, the photos will not reflect any of this nor am I ready to reveal specifics.

Not goin' anywhere, just lookin' pretty.

I only made it to one class this week, but had great fun snapping this pic as we were lined up face down.

 As we arrived at Dove's Crossing, I commented on these very yellow flowers.

Tuesday evening we ate away from home again--a tandem date to Payne's.

"Such huge servings!"

Michael got over the bee-sting inflamation. His doctor, also a bee keeper, supplied him with meds to counteract any further allergic reaction. And Mike is more careful when he tends to his "babies."

The outside of the house needed to be repainted so Michael tackled that ongoing project. To avoid the heat he rises early many mornings and puts in an hour or so before breakfast.

Rebecca was our entertainment during tap class, sometimes dancing, going around in circles, running, hardly ever still. However, she quickly learned how to interrupt our dance by turning off the music. So we made her a little house, and managed to get through a tap routine uninterrupted.

July 29th was Skye's 19th birthday and my mother's 95th. We managed to put together two family celebrations. 
Friday was Skye's party. He loved Malachi's gift and card. 

Hats--Skye's signature look
And he looks pleased with the soft collage blanket too.

Saturday, Mike and I joined my two brothers and a few other family and friends to celebrate Mother.

Sunday afternoon we enjoyed watching Miss Kayla, a favorite dance teacher at Cornerstone Center for the Arts, and her cute and funny little dancers perform at their end-of-summer recital. It is always fun to watch her in action and see how much her students love her. Unfortunately all my photos are blurry.

The building that the robotics team will be moving into this fall is right across the street so we went in to see how the renovating process is coming. I got to see the pieces of equipment (dust collectors pracitacally donated) that Mike and John (student) picked up and hauled there a couple weeks ago. I was amazed at how the two of them found ways to load, handle, and unload such huge pieces.

And also grateful for their protection. The first one they transported on a very windy afternoon and, while crossing a bridge, the trailer began to sway. One foot got caught on the railing and bent--a near serious accident.

This week's coloring page has a wonderful reminder for us all.

Hard to believe that our young folk and teachers (DIL Karen among them) will be going back to school this next week!