Monday, May 28, 2018

2018 Week 21: More celebrations

 Seasonal beauties keep changing. This is a wonderful time of year. However, it tends to be busy.

Sunday afternoon was mostly taken up by Rebecca's dance recital, her first. She and many other cute little ones had a couple routines in a major production--"The Nightmare Before Christmas." (Click on the link and you'll see her in the middle.)

After Monday dinner at Stephan's, I walked way back to find Karin's cabin. It is quite hidden now. So is my loft writing area. The greening of the huge trees has totally engulfed our house.

This week I had my first successful result from the bread machine my friend Darlene gave me. Chef-son Stephan makes fun of me. He says, "Why use a machine when making bread is so easy!" Alas, I never acquired that skill.

The beeman is very faithfully looking after his busy bees, and we are enjoying the fruit of his/their labours. Honeycomb on toast is wonderful!

Two more birthdays this week. For her 80th, Darlene, treated a handful of friends to a nice meal at Bob Evans on Thursday.

Friday, 25 de mayo, was a patriotic holiday in Argentina that brought back memories of long ago and a funny little story.
Every school day, we raised the flag and sang this song, "Aurora." The words and melody stuck with me even if I didn't stop to reflect on the meaning. In fact, it wasn't till recently when I saw the written lyrics that I realized that "a su lunala" (a word I did not understand), was actually "azul un ala". 😀

Argentina Argentina Flag Flag National Cou

The song refers to the flag as a soaring eagle with one blue wing like the sky and another the color of the sea.
Duh! I finally understood!

Saturday, was Mike's birthday! We enjoyed a buffet lunch at an Indian restaurant (and I forgot to take a picture!) 
We also stopped nearby to see the progress on the fish pond project Moriah and family have been working on.

Then we stopped to see Sam and Kristie's house for sale. He has worked non-stop (literally) this week to finish all the renovations and did such a good job. (For a walk through video go here.) Now we pray that it sells soon!

We enjoyed visiting with the Open House hosts, Kristie and Elijah, her helper, both intent on showing off all the improvements. Meanwhile Sam was home sleeping at last. 

I think Michael's best moment came later when he finally finished routing all the circuits on the ThinSat board he's been working on forever!

Sunday afternoon the whole family, minus one, came to celebrate our birthdays. We had an outdoor picnic, on the hottest day so far this year! Leah had fun posting silly photos on Facebook. Like this one of me attempting to play Happy Birthday, and failing horribly.

We went indoors for cake and ice cream. Kayla had labored long and hard to make this beautiful cake, but then she forgot the candles, so we attempted a math equivalent of the one number we could not come up with. Again, photo credits go to Leah.

Monday, May 21, 2018

2018 Week 20: Quiet celebrations

Mothers' Day and another birthday slipped by quietly this week with sufficient sweet and loving greetings and reminders.

A couple of my favorite flowers: lily of the valley and columbine

Early in the week a friend sent me a photo of the house I lived in as a teenager in Don Bosco, Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is what it looks like today, very run down they tell me. 
The first memory that came was that the upstairs window on the right was my room, until my parents caught me talking to boys and moved me to the back bedroom.
Many, and more serious reminiscences, were elicited by the numerous comments that came when I posted the photo on Facebook and asked my friends to write their memories. They provided a whole chapter for my memoir!

Tuesday was the day set aside to visit Mother. She had written and called inviting me to the Grace Village Healthcare program in honor of mothers. The staff in charge of activities work hard to plan, prepare and put together these events. These lovely ladies, most in their 90's were so cute holding up their assigned letter as we sang a song about mothers.

After refreshments, we went to visit "Aunt" Margaret, who still lives in the independent living area. We joined her at chime choir rehearsal and enjoyed the lovely music these residents produce, even when they cannot hear very well! Margaret herself  will be 97 on the 25th of this month!

A couple of days this week, Michael put in considerable time and effort loading logs that lay all winter and delivering them to Stephan for use somewhere in the timber frame house he is working on.

Thursday art club keeps limping along. Only three of us this week, each working on our own project. We find that by setting aside this hour or two to actually paint we might accomplish something, but mostly we have fun sharing about life and experimenting with art.
I attempted to recreate a photo of Sophie from the week before by printing the sketch on watercolor paper for starters.

Moriah was focused on finals all week. Friday she packed up and left for home. Her first year of college is over!

That was also my birthday, a relaxed quiet day to reflect on God's hand upon my life and His faithfulness.

My favorite verse
In the evening we made a second attempt to try out an Egyptian restaurant that had been highly recommended. The first time was last semester when Michael picked me up after the four hour class I was teaching at Ivy Tech and wanted to surprise me. Alas, the Maadi was closed on Mondays.

Saturday afternoon, after the rain cleared, we had our first tandem ride of the season, perfect in every way.

Our lazy rainy morning was spent engrossed watching two major events, simultaneously--a replay of the royal wedding and the Taylor University commencement live--both quite fascinating.

I later heard from a good friend, great fan of the royals, about how she delighted in the grand event, rising early enough to watch the entire ceremony and even donning a special hat for the occasion.

Did you watch and see any special hat you would wear?

Monday, May 14, 2018

2018 Week 19: Saying goodby

 We are enjoying the ever-changing beauties of the season, each wave of flowers that come and go.

The last bouquet
The lane is bordered by yellow blossoms which also sprinkle the lawn profusely. We are now enclosed in our haven barely able to distinguish neighboring houses or approaching vehicles.

Jimmy, on the other hand was enjoying the open beauty of a Florida beach over the weekend as he worked long hours on an AC installation for his step-dad. I enjoyed our conversation when I gave him a ride from the airport Monday.

Sunday afternoon was Kayla's Cornerstone students' Spring Celebration. She directed 11 group performances and all with a broken toe! We are so proud of her.
The combined Youth Ballet classes was her favorite number. She also loves directing Musical Theatre--the Wizard of Oz this time. 
Kayla is so proud of her students and grateful for the parents who help to provide costumes and props.

Our own little ballerina's recital is coming up soon. 

Center Stage Dance Studio in Upland

Monday, I peeked in on Rebecca's class at Center Stage before going to our last L.I.T.E. class of the semester. We surprised our student trainers with cards and gifts, and they surprised us with the visit of a former trainer recently returned from an internship in Uganda. We also had some shower gifts for  Jonah, a senior getting married in a few weeks.

At Stephan's that night, it was fun to see neighbor-friend-faithful attender Jasmine, wearing her first-day-on-the-new-job outfit.

Tuesday, the robotics' team resumed their meetings after a 10-day break and I finished and submitted the article about the  team's experience at the World Championship. 

Wednesday was the beginning of a season of mourning: a vibrant promising young Taylor student died. (Taylor University mourns the loss of a beloved student.) We knew her and her family.
I am reminded of a very accomplished and vivacious young woman (my cousin twice removed) who,  a few years ago, also ended her life to the utter shock of all who knew her.
To everyone reading this: PLEASE know that your life is precious; you are loved; no matter what pain you may be feeling it does not compare to the hole you'd leave behind.

We had a little visitor to cheer us Thursday. Sophie came with grandpa Ian becuase, she said, "I've never been to a painting class." 

Perhaps next time Rebecca can join us at art club too! Meanwhile, I'm borrowing this favorite Instagram.

I also spent time with my dear friend Darlene. I always enjoy hearing her stories.

 Friday was my last meeting with these lovely students. I was their client for the class project. They gave me a wonderful gift--a customized plan to work on my author platform!

Saturday was a very somber day, starting with Meghan Freer's funeral. I was feeling down most of the day. It didn't help matters when I heard that the play we'd been looking forward to attending was sold out and we had no tickets. 

Bilbo Baggins faces Smaug the dragon
Michael encouraged me to go anyway, just in case. I was able to get in and thoroughly enjoyed "The Hobbit" performed by many of our community young friends and directed by a long-ago student of mine!

BTW, he preferred to stay home and play with his toys--the many teeny parts to the mini-satellite. Actually, it is his constant all-consuming focus at the moment.

Dining room table cum Near Space Launch studio
This photo-journal blog has become a one-way conversation. I sure would love to hear from you!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

2018 Week 18: Visits and Visitors

One lonely tulip
Sunday was a full day with several meetings and we were still exhausted from our travels. However, between two appointments, I visited a while with Rebecca. I wanted to drop off Mother's sewing machine for Kayla, which was still rattling around in my car since last Monday.
Rebecca and I had fun playing with many toys, though not nearly all of them, and taking pictures of each other in our respective rocking chairs.

Every Monday evening, Stephan prepares a meal for whoever shows up. We are the most faithful guests. 

Lookin' cute together

Tuesday I drove up to Warsaw and spent three hours with my dear SIL Kim, still enduring the miserable side effects of her first chemo treatment. She looked far better than she felt and seriously questioned her travel-fitness. 

Thursday she flew to Las Vegas to join Ivan and begin to slowly settle into their # ... (?) home near daughter Tina and family.

Michael's focus shifted from robotics to the satellite project--another deadline coming up soon. Our dining room table was overtaken with multiple minuscule parts that go into the ThinSat. Wednesday afternoon Moriah helped to assemble the miniature pieces.

Only three of us here for art club Thursday. We had fun chatting, laughing, and each working on a different project: Georgia expiremented with coffee; Leah painted rocks; and I caught up on one of my calendar watercolor lessons.

Rebecca often works on some art activity at Nana's house.

Our Operation Mobilization friends from years ago, Mike and Jori Stachura, stopped for a wonderful visit Friday. Oh, so many stories shared!

And, of course, the obligatory Ivanhoe's lunch with our mutual OM friends, Bob and Linda Craton.

We were invited to a dinner and concert by Chilean singer, Paula Monsalve.  She lives in a nearby town but has traveled far and wide. I visited in her home years ago.

We  had Moriah take a picture of us on this rare occasion when we were dressed up and color-coordinated.

Today, Saturday, Michael is working  on the satellite project at Madjax with the programers and  posted an intersting and informative interview with PhyXTGears drive team, recorded after the World Championship last week--Behind the Bumpers 1720 PhyXTGears Detroit 2018 Championship.

Perhaps it answers the question we were pondering at the end of last week's post.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

2018 Week 17: Busy bees and bots

No Sunday afternoon rest for Michael;busy cutting out honey comb and cleaning the trays for new bees arriving the next day.

Monday we went our separate ways: Michael to Ohio to pick up a shipment of bees, and I to Winona Lake to visit with Ivan and Kim before their move to Las Vegas.

Ivan and Kim with landlady
 Always good to visit with Mother, tho' brief this time.

We spent Tuesday preparing for the big trip--PhyXTGears Headed To World Championship.

Mike and the drive team left very early.

Moriah dropped me off at Cracker Barrel before her 9:00 a.m. class. The rest of the team came up from Muncie to pick me up on their way. I posted this photo on Facebook while I waited,"Off to FIRST robotics WORLD championship in Detroit." A dear friend commented, "Where are you going to be? We live here you know?!?!?  Her snarky remark led to a wonderful three hour visit, the most concentrated conversation we've ever had.

Donna Banker
Donna bravely battled downtown traffic in an unfamiliar area to pick me up at the church where we were staying and we went to a mall. Fairlane Town Center, where the team met  later for dinner. 

Cass UMC
Our Wandering Wheels friends showed us last year how they'd been running their trips for many years saving money by staying in churches and managing breakfast and lunch meals to save time.
In this old historic building, there were two large rooms downstairs that served as dorms. 
In the main activity room/dining room, I blocked off a corner for our sleeping area with some rolling divider units. We were comfortable on our thick air mattress.

 Thursday through Saturday the routine was to send the drive team off first. Then after showers, breakfast, packed lunches, and clean-up, the rest of us found our way over to the Cobo Center where all the excitement was.
The more than 400 teams were divided into six divisions. The playing fields were all lined up. (Can you see the six screens?) TESLA was our subdivision.

Off to the matches
Enough misfortunes and mistakes ranked the team in the lower third most of the time.There are so many variables. Alliances of three are formed randomly of varying strengthed robots. Anything can happen. For example: one team in our first alliance did not show, so the game was played two against three. The big lesson throughout is that life is not fair, adjust and move on.

A huge highlight was when our alliance defeated the #1 team, their first loss!

When the sun was shining, the team enjoyed lunch outdoors by the river. . .

. . . looking across at Windsor, Canada.

 Evening entertainment:

Thursday, a Welcome Party  with live bands and many games in Ford Field.

Friday, a Broadway show, "The Illusionists" in the old, very ornate Fox Theatre.

Saturday morning early was alliance selection for the playoffs. Those of us still back at the church, paused the breakfast cleanup to watch eagerly hoping for our team to be picked by one of the top eight seeded alliances. At that level of competition a fourth team is added as backup. 

We were invited by the #3 alliance as an alternate! The captain of Team MARS had PhyXTGears on their list! It was a strong alliance. John, our Team 1720 coach, was in on strategy meetings and was the extra eyes at the alliance station during the matches. All worked well together and made it the finals, won the first match, lost the second, the tiebreaker was a close call!!!

Tesla Sub-divison Finalists in Detroit!

As soon as it was clear Pixel's time was over at this event, Mike and the driver team began packing up the pit. By the time he got in line it was already miles-long and it grew behind him unendingly. He waited more than three hours to finally reach the loading dock. (Probably the biggest complaint about this new venue.) 

As soon as the trailor was packed to the max (pit contents, Pixel, crate and all), we were on our way home, exhausted and pondering whether it had been worth it all. What do you think?