Monday, August 27, 2018

2018 Week 34: Summer Wrapping-up

I enjoy rescuing lonely bent or weather-beaten blooms. Some five years ago at a wedding we were given a little thank you gift--a cute bag with a few lily bulbs. Only one blossoms every year, but grows too tall in search of light and then topples over.

Dove's Crossing pool was open Sunday so we joined Stephan and Karen in the evening for a fun little swim. He even fed us quesadillas! Notice the lights all around the pool now. . .

. . .and the fun little pond.

As is our custom, we went to Stephan and Karens' again Monday for the weekly open meal--delicious food but not pool-side this time.

Tuesday I drove up to see Mother. I visit regularly, every other week, and notice changes each time. This week there was a new person at the table, Beverly Garber recently widowed. She and her husband Martin were missionaries in Africa for 40 years. Beverly could entertain us for hours with her many stories.

Joene Cover, Beverly Garber, and Kathryn Hoyt--three Grace Brethren missionaries representing nearly 100 years of service.

In the afternoon I took Mother to visit Aunt Margaret and give her the news that the Grace library archivist would like to have her many years of weekly letters from Argentina.

I sorted and organized Mother's drawers and discovered the many birthday cards she received. I had not yet seen this very special greeting from cousin Beth.

Wednesday was Rebecca's new beginning--PreSchool!

She came over later for a few hours. We had a lot of fun but  seldom was she still enough to get a photo. This was the only one. She loves to play with water.

Her little friend Sophie came to Art Club Thursday with G-Dad, as she calls him.

I was quite impressed with the five-year-old's bold-colored impressionistic piece!

Michael feels safer on the road with his "bent" than his "single" (cyclist jargon) because vehicles are not as prone to squeeze around a three wheeler. However, he needed a flag in the back to make him even more visible. Adequate enough? What do you think?

He has also been researching how to add motorized help for climbing hills, and how to make a more comfortable seat.
However, the big news of the week is that he delivered the two little stones that were causing him pain the last few weeks! Since then he's ridden his single bike with no problem.

This week, one of my compaƱeras (classmates) posted this interesting size comparison between Argentina and Europe.

My research this week yielded valuable information to fill out the story of my life in Argentina. A couple 1944 photos I hadn't seen before: missionary candidates; my dear friend Mirtha and her parents.

Other family news: Kristie and Karen both started their fall courses toward Masters degrees in their respective fields. These are intensely busy times for them.

Sam's family were able to enjoy a much desired getaway to King's Island Saturday.

After the visit from our country dancing teacher-friend a few weeks ago, we joined them a couple Fridays in Kokomo trying to bring back the moves after so many years.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

2018 Week 33: Tests, Research, Parties

Our hydrangeas are weighted down by their huge size and beaten down further by the many downpours we've had.

Monday evening was pleasant enough for another pool-side meal. The Ayers family joined in the fun in and out of the pool.

I enjoyed the fellowship but had to abstain from the food, still in the final stages of prep for a procedure the next day.

Tuesday was also, and more importantly, Rebecca's birthday! Kayla had a small party for her with little friends from day care.

Rebecca four years ago                          "Thank you, Mommy, for the party!"

Wednesday, during one of the storms, a huge limb broke off a tree next to our garage.

Thursday we had art club. I meant to take a picture this time of our group at work making art, but I forgot, again. So, here is the winning paint-by-number design of the week. According to our resident duck hunter, Mike: "The colors are the most authentic." 

Leah's mallards
It was time for a change, so Michael researched and tested a variety of recumbent bicycles all week, and finally settled on this "Tadpole" recumbent trike. He's discovering different muscles used and how much work it is to climb hills.

Saturday was Rebecca's family celebration--quite a large gathering with all the greats and grands, uncles, aunts, and cousins. That also means a lot of good food, and many wonderful gifts. She knew the routine--open the gift take time to admire it, look for the giver and thank them, put that one aside and move on to the next. I was impressed with how sincerely grateful she was.

We shared many sweet moments together. Here's one story with two puzzlers: Can you spot the little photo-bomber in one photo? He gave one of his toys to Rebecca because he knew how much she had enjoyed playing with it. Do you see it?

A fun fact: this one and only cucumber plant in the Kern garden, produced 128 good-sized cucumbers so far!

I spotted this fun little creature, one Moriah wrote an entire essay about last year. Do you know what it is and what all it is capable of?

Enough for today.  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

2018 Week 32: Pleasures and Surprises

Sunday, the 5th, was a special day in many ways. We look forward to our worship service at church every week. Unfortunately Michael was still not up to going out. He also missed Kayla and Rebecca's summer dance recital in the afternoon.
Rebecca was in three of the classes her mother taught--a first.

Teacher Kayla was also a first-time Bollywood dance student.

Nana Leah was on Rebecca-costume-change duty. It was fun to have Aunt Jennifer and Grandma Judy there too.

We had surprise visitors that evening--good friends we hadn't seen in years. We first met them when he taught line dancing.
We haven't done that in ages, and then they moved away to winter in Arizona.

Don and Shirley Hunt
Recently Shirley came across a couple of art pieces I had asked her to frame. She was learning the skill at the time. Somehow they lay forgotten in her Indiana basement, and thus survived our housefire! In the meantime we also totally forgot, and sadly cannot even remember when, where, or who gave them to us. However, we are grateful to now enjoy the beautifully-framed art in our home, which is beginning to look like an art gallery.

Sunday Karen celebrated her birthday with a pool party. She invited teacher friends to bring their families and enjoy it with her.

Fun in the pool continued Monday. We went early to Stephan's weekly dinner so we could enjoy the water. Michael took this picture to prove I finally made it into the water. The temperature was perfect!

I received another photo taken at the writers' conference Karen and I had just attended. Interestingly, the roaming photographer captured the moment that was the highlight of the event for me--a one-on-one with a couple who own Bold Vision Publishing. Their encouragement and clear direction have inspired me to get up earlier most mornings and focus on the book I am writing abut my growing up years in Argentina. 

Speaking of Argentina, there was some encouraging news this week:
ABCNews Opponents of bill to legalize elective abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy in Argentina celebrate on the streets of Buenos Aires after Senate rejects proposed legislation.

Thursday was set aside to visit Mother. As I walked into the Health Center, I paused to look at the art posted on the bulletin board. What a surprise to notice her name on this stunning watercolor. The Grace Village residents are so privileged to have a well equipped Art Care Studio and the gifted teacher who brings out the best in each of his students no matter what limitations  they have.

Mother hasn't recovered her voice. Alan purchased this sofisticated multi-featured apparatus that allows her to punch in the words and it speaks for her. The first sentence she wrote said:
"I'm so thankful I didn't lose my voice when you were kids."

When I left in the afternoon, she was eagerly reading the first five chapters of my book.

There was a prestigious conference going on in Winona Lake that brings together the seven branches of Brethren groups descended from Alexander Mack (1708). I stopped by to check it out, especially interested in anything that would help me research the Grace Brethren missionary efforts in Argentina. I did not linger in the conference sessions as they were not relevant. However, I met volunteers working the reception area who led me to the person who deals with digital archives and showed me how to access abundant resources online. I also perused a bound volume of denominational magazines from the year 1946, a fascinating experience. I recognized so many names and places and look forward to reading informative stories and details from the era I am writing about.

Michael is trying to grow a few herbs and things in a new arrangement in trays attached to the deck rail.

The Muncie Koch kids, and teacher Karen, all started back to school this week.

Jude (K), Zion (3rd), Elijah (8th)
Any unexpected pleasures and surprises in your week?

Monday, August 6, 2018

2018 Week 31: Beginnings and Endings

 The hydrangeas, cut back to almost nothing last fall, are blooming profusely! They speak to me of God's abundant faithfulness!

Michael's steadfast dedication to the Dove's Crossing (Stephan and Karen's place) pool project, made it possible to have Skye's 21st-birthday family-celebration there. Father, son, and DIL worked very hard in hot weather. Party-day, however, was cloudy and cool. Water temperature had not yet reached optimal level, but that did not dampen the enjoyment.

The photos: masterminds of the project, father and son continue to ponder pool issues; Basque boys chat constantly in euskera; water games; back rubs; Elijah relaxing on self-designed intertwined-pool-noodle bed.

Krazy-Koch birthday-song and cake, of course.

Additional entertainment: Sam modeling the Argentine gaucho outfit discovered last week in the bin my brother Ivan passed on to me. But what are all the items in the lower right corner?

The drive home, over an hour, felt extra long to the Basque boys as we had to drop Diane off in Marion. They're not used to regularly driving longer distances in their country.
We stopped at Steak 'n' Shake for supper, and the obligatory humongous shake.

Mmmmmm. . . 

 Monday, their last day in America, the euskaldunes (Basques) wanted to relax and pack until the farewell picnic at Taylor Lake  that evening with all the families.

After-dinner entertainment: the much anticipated, planned and talked-about Xabi-leg-waxing ceremony!
At Sam and Kristie's ice-cream social last Friday, Xabi was winning and fancied himself the unbeatable ping-pong champion. He made a bet: "Anyone who can beat me can wax my legs!" Jon did! ("Pride goes before destruction a waxing" Proverbs 16:18?) Poor Xabi! He said it was more painful than he expected, and the girls took great delight in being thorough--not one hair left!

The Koch-clan and their two euskaldunak
 Tuesday was airport day, the final goodbyes for 2018.

Goodbye-gang at the church; other students from same hometown; a final crazy selfie with illoba (grandson) Jon

Wednesday, arrival day in Bilbao airport! Mila, Jon's mother, is so good about keeping me informed and sending lots of photos.

The Upland group wearing their American going-home uniform; Jon's family 

One of these days, I walked over next door to visit Moriah at her workplace. In a few sort weeks she will move back in.

Showing off the mini solar panels she tested

I forgot to take pictures after that, so I resort to borrowing from other sources to fill in the story of our week.
Zion was at Miracle Camp all week, so one of my favorite daily activities was to spot him in the many online camp photos. Hard to pick a fovorite.

Experience Muncie  posted a great photo and article about son Sam last week, worth reading and sharing, says proud mother.

Thursday, Michael had his heart and mind set on a long bicycle ride, like 50 miles. The good news: the weather was good and he did it! The bad news: he hasn't felt well since and is still trying to diagnose and understand what happened.

I always look forward to Thursdays because our town paper, The SEGway, comes out. I like to read the local news, work the Sudoku, and, when I've submitted an article, see if and how it was published.

Jude spent the night. The dinner, already planned and prepared, was not kid-appropriate--egg-plant lasagna, carrot and raisin salad, and liver sticks! Fortunately we had some leftover chicken and veggies ;-) However, for breakfast he requested waffles. and enjoyed them although, "the square kind makes my brain feel different," he said. 

I still keep up with the Watercolor Lessons calendar, tho'  sometimes I play catch-up painting two at once. This latest one reminded me of Stephan and Karen's dogs Gryffin and Gracie.

Karen and I attended the third annual TU Professional Writing conference this weekend. We went in tired, overwhelmed, wondering what we'd come for and left encouraged, inspired and with clearer direction for our writing projects.