Monday, February 26, 2018

2018 Week 8: Significant Memories

A week of great reflection. I tried to replicate the colors, shapes, and tones from the tiny print of the original. 

And I was quite happy with the result, until now when I enlarged the artist's example and really understood these were cactus flowers.

So it is with life events when we look back and focus on them, we understand so much more. Going deeper also raises so many more ponderings.

I continue to sort through and file the many items rescued from Daddy's desk. I was intrigued by the sequence of passport photos that tell the story of different periods of Hoyt family.
December 20, 1963, we left Argentina as a family and a stamp verifies that we were admitted into New York City on DEC 21, 1963.

A stamp on page 7 clarifies why my face and Lynn's have been Xed out. Mother and Dad left us in the USA when they returned to Argentina. I was in college, Lynn in High School. 

After each homestay or year-long furlough (every five years) the family dwindled. So many stories accompany each era.

Another memory surfaced when a friend called to tell me he'd talked to our favorite teacher. February 18 she celebrated her 91st birthday, and still remembers us! 
I sent her a long letter along with a card and this photo of when Lynn was in her class.

Lynn next to Srta. Dina

Tuesday was the big deadline the robotics team has been working toward--the end of the six-week build season when they bag and tag their robot by midnight.

I wrote and submitted an article to our town paper, the SEGway News.

However, the deadlines do not end: 500 BattHawks to assemble and deliver by March 1st (battery testers marketed to other teams); a ThinSat to complete in various stages before launch date in the fall (Near Space satellite project in cooperation with Taylor University). That explains why I have so much time to work on memoirish stuff. I try very hard to use this gift of time wisely.

My neighbor-friend  invited me to share one of their Martha & Marley Spoon dinners to while away some of the lonely hours. A delightful meal and evening entertainment.

Our resident engineering student has no leisure time, only classes and homework from morning to night, usually after midnight.
I did catch her playing, however, with the robots provided by the Purdue Extension for a mentoring opportunity in the neighboring town elementary school  an hour every Thursday afternoon.

Moriah learning how to operate Dash (3-ball robot) and Dot (1-ball robot)
The biggest news of the week that triggered many other memories was the passing of Billy Graham, exactly five years after my father's death.
Among old correspondence, I came across a humorous birthday greeting my father received from his closest sibling, his brother Lowell two years his senior.
I must congratulate you on attaining to the grand old age of 30! It's quite a change from 29 to 30, isn't it? I felt that way. It's like gaining ten years all in one. By now, if you are ever going to be a world figure at all, you should be speaking to crowds as large as Billy Graham's. I guess you must know that he is getting crowds in evangelistic meetings that are the largest ever assembled in religious meetings in the U.S. But that is going at the hard way, I mean to attain world prominence. You might swipe the crown jewels of England, or do away with the president of the U.S. And the latter might not even bring a great deal of criticism! But even if you did get as important as Billy Graham seems to be, I am sure you could not mean any more to us. The years we spent together were sweet indeed. So, a happy birthday is my wish for you. . .
I was curious to learn more, so I researched. Where was Billy Graham at that time, 1951?
I am very moved by each memorial I read or watch. The global impact of this man totally dedicated to God's purpose for his life is incalculable. Yet I realize our grandchildren don't even know who he was.

Other historic heroes not to be forgotten are the White Rose martyrs. Michael made time Friday evening to go with me to the Taylor University Theater premier performance of "Why We Must Die So Young."

Family celebrations help us reminisce and value one another. Yesterday we celebrated Leah's 45th birthday, belatedly, 21 days late. Each ordered their favorite dessert from Ivanhoe's, hence the birthday candle in Leah's treat. Can you tell we're singing the Krazy Koch BD song?

A couple questions for you my readers:

--What makes a teacher memorable?
--What do you know or remember about Billy Graham?

I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

2018 Week 7: Valentine's Week

My practice watercolor rendering this week of the artist's Joan Miro-style "The Lovers."

And here are some of the expessions of love I received this week. Notice Leah's self-made envelope and Valentine.

Tuesday I visited Mother not knowing their monthly birthday party was scheduled for that afternoon.
The music was delightful. The guest musicians were Dr. Rick Lovelady and his wife Grace.
Ivan joined us and enjoyed the varied repertoire and said Rick had been his  guitar teacher, i.e. "He tried to teach me." He mentioned also that Aldo had made his first guitar. Reading old letters to Mother is where I learned that Aldo at one time had played the instrument. So many revelations in those antique epistles!

Wednesday was the Dancing Divas performance at the Senior Center. We're always a bit nervous beforehand and glad when it's over.

Thursday I was scheduled to spend the afternoon and overnight with the grandkids in Muncie. Sam and I picked up Jude at his pre-school so I'd know where to take him the next morning. 
The little guy was very excited jumping and hopping all over, and had definite plans for the two of us: race around the house and jump on the trampoline! I lagged behind in the races and even got up on the trampoline, but was happily rescued from jumping by a very timely phone call.
My activity of choice was to build a puzzle together. That worked for a while, then "I'm getting more bored by the minute." Actually he had lasted longer than I expected. Eventually, throughout the afternoon, the tiger-puzzle was finished.

Race stance and poised to jump
The other two Koch young'uns arrived in due time. Before Elijah got home from school Zion had planned for us to play Apples to Apples. I had to read and explain the words to Jude, but he did very well choosing the best match.

Later that evening, after the younger boy's bedtime, Elijah and I watched a documentary I'd brought, I'll Push You, which proved very interesting on several levels. Mike and I have been to several of the places on the Camino and knew the story. The big takeaway is how we need each other, the blessing of interdependence.

So where was Michael this entire week? Crazily striving to get the robot ready, hopefully for the practice scrimmage taking place Sunday afternoon (even as I type), and definitely by Bag and Tag deadline Tuesday the 20th at midnight.

Friday morning we pulled-off the carefully orchestrated wake-up/breakfast/catch the bus routine for each child without too much trouble, though it was difficult for Zion to focus on eating when little brother was using his (Zion's) toy pup as a puppet the whole time.

I should mention that Michael joined me at the Muncie-Koch's place for the night. Saved him some travel time. So he was there to enjoy the breakfast antics as well.
Sam and Kristie got a couple well-deserved days away from the hecticity of life. (Or, was it made more hectic so they could get away?)

I just had to include this Facebook sighting of Rebecca with her newly acquired angel wings.

I don't expect things to slow down much, so we'll just keep going with the flow, grateful for the needed strength and guidance each day.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

2018 Week 6: Snow, ice, and delays

Snow much of the week, and today, Sunday, almost paralyzing ice.

Last Sunday was Leah's BIG 45th birthday. We had decided to celebrate today, but had to delay once again due to icy conditions. For the first time I can remember we did not make it to church, our lane was glazed over.

"We will get together yet, Leah." (I love this Mother-Daughter photo I came across this week.) 

I had so few photos of my own this week, so I'm borrowing favorites from Facebook.

Rebecca having fun at Nana's
I have a favorite life-verb--to plod (to work or act perseveringly). This 1000-piece puzzle could represent that concept. We kept coming back to it in spurts, at odd moments, or placing a piece here and there as we walked by. And now it is finally complete. I also finished listening to three books--Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, and a couple Madeleine L'Engle novels.

However, other projects are still in progress.  Michael's all-consuming focus is the robot. In fact, he went in to the shop every day this week and spent hours there, if not all day and into the night. The end of the six-week build season is fast approaching. Next Sunday other teams will join them for a practice scrimmage.

Stephan had way too much fun carving amazing pieces for yet another festival, the Culver Winterfest.
Thursday, he and his helper set up many logo ice sculptures for local businesses.

What do you think? A fair ice-replica of Norman Rockwell?
I had to chuckle when I saw this one. We joked Monday night about "Karen's roses", a bouquet on the table, only the leftovers, the best were for freezing in an ice sculpture.

The ice ping pong table was in use the entire time!

Toward the end of the festival there was a speed carving competition. (Click on the link to watch the excitement.)

Who do you think won, the giraffe or the butterfly?

Meanwhile on the homefront we kept plodding on with necessary chores. Saturday, Michael was gone from 9 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., so Moriah fed the birds. Mike and the birds say, "Thank you! chirp, chirp."

Have a great week plodding on purposefully!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

2018 Week 5: Memories

I suppose you could say the last two weeks have been majorly taken up with sorting through memories: my Mother's things she no longer needs; the old letters we read together; the Facebook posts from my recently-discovered high school classmates; old photos; and even a friend's oil painting that hangs in our living room remind me of old times growing up in Argentina.

Stephan's travels with stopovers in various European airports, reminded Leah of her favorite Brittish candy, so he obliged.

Tuesday, my brother and I finished moving the last items out of Mother's apartment and turned over the keys.
She is quite content as a resident in the Health Care area of Grace Village and involved in the various activities they offer. Saddly she does not see her friend Margaret much anymore.

"Aunt" Margaret; the two friends in April of 1997; Mother
While Mother was busy in Craft Hour, I dropped in on Margaret for a short visit. she had an envelope of old photos waiting for me. She knows how much I treasure all those old memories.

These are from 1950, the year when the Marshalls lived next door to us in this big old house.

Side view of house, I was 5 or 6 years-old
"Uncle" Jim takes turns giving my brother, Lynn and me, rides on his bicycle

Among the photos, was this old one of Mike and me. Wednesday was our 48th anniversary, and I did not get the customary yearly anniversary photo, so this one will have to do.

It was a special day, indeed. Our son Sam wrote a wonderful tribute on Facebook. True or not, it garnered over 200 responses, lovely congratulatory comments. Some from old friends that we hadn't heard from in forever.

 And our resident student made us a really cool card.

Yet another photo of my high school surfaced this week on Facebook.

Two views of Escuela Normal Mixta de Quilmes Almirante Guillermo Brown

Thursday we resumed our little art class. The teacher invited us to his apartment for a surprise project, different from watercolor. Can you pick out mine, Leah's, and guess which of the others won a token first-place prize?

My parents owned two other Juan Colle oil paintings. Ours, pictured above is titled "Arroyo Toledo."
I don't know about the other two, but all three were inspired by the area where our church camp was held at this time of year.
I shipped the one on the left to my brother Aldo in Denver, and brother Alan in Warsaw is taking the other.

Stephan has been extremely busy making ice art. This weekend he designed and carved 20 logo sculptures for a festival in Auburn.

In this interview he explains the process--Auburn Main Street

Not to be left out, here is son Sam's artistic expression for the week--the skateboard he designed, crafted, and shipped.

What about Michael? He spent most of his time on a variety of activities related to the robotics team. It is, after all, build season and the deadline is only 15 days away!

How do you express your God-given creativity?