Tuesday, September 25, 2018

2018 Week 38: Gains and Losses

Monday we experienced a loss in the family. Michael's middle-of-three stepsisters died at age 78 after living a full life while overcoming  years of physical setbacks, the last being a paralyzing stroke in the last week.

Judy and Dave Butt

Michael spent many quiet hours at Madjax (the robotics shop) assembling BattHawks, the plug-in voltmeter they designed for sale to other teams as a money-making venture for PhyXTGears. The students are required to put in so many hours on the assembly line. However, there is an order for 450 due October 2nd, the official start-up date of the robotics season. Hence no student helpers available yet. Each BattHawk takes a total of five minutes from start to finish.
I went in with him Monday and worked on my new laptop as he labored patiently furthering the process all the while entertained listening to podcasts.

Then we went together as usual to enjoy Stephan's good cooking and our weekly fellowship time.

Tuesday I drove up to Warsaw to meet Malachi--always a joy! We had lunch together and then I went on to Grace Village Healthcare for a conference regarding Mother's care. All reports were positive, everyone amazed at how well she is doing for her 97 years! She did trip and fall a few days ago, but nothing happened. They had called me, as they are supposed to. Two aids were in the room with her. They now make sure to use a support belt in all transfer situations.
When I came out of the conference, the bus was loaded up and ready to take the residents to the park. The driver invited me to join them, rather than drive my own car. Mother was delightfully surprised to see me and have me sit next to her. It was a beautiful hot and sunny day. The elderly (one of them 102 years old) sat in a circle in the shade enjoying the outdoors.

That evening I joined these ladies for dinner. Bev, their table mate, was missing so I took her place. Joene said that Bev always had funny stories to tell, so now it was my place to tell jokes. Thanks to Google I found 75 Short Jokes Anyone Can Remember. Throughout the meal I kept reading jokes. The laughter grew. Residents at other tables looked on enviously curiously. By the end we were in tears and laughing at anything anyone said. So I took a picture of the "laughing ladies." Strangely, however, they barely smiled for the photo, ha!

Mother (97), Vi (97), Joene (late 80's)

I was given two heavy bags of misshapen pears from a friend's overflow. They made great cinnamon stewed pears that I was able to contribute to the opening brunch of our ladies' Bible study group on Wednesday.

Early Thursday morning Michael drove me to Marion for my right-eye cataract surgery. He chose to watch the procedure on screen in an adjacent room. He's interested in that kind of thing. All went well. By midafternoon I felt up to walking, gently, wearing only sunglasses. I realized that I could see even enough to read without my glasses--amazing surprise. I brought back a bunch of flowers and put together a bouquet.

Moriah kindly spent time with me that evening. She sleeps and showers here, but mostly lives (eats studies, socializes) on campus.

Friday I was allowed to drive, thus able to attend my writers' group--always an enjoyable learning experience with good friends.
Michael spent the day BattHawking and when he came back took his trike for a first  long ride in its finished souped-up condition.

Saturday, we left very early for Judy's funeral in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. We had an extra hour to tour the Caddy Vista neighborhood where Michael grew up. After decades of changes, he had to guess a lot. This may have been the house they lived in--mother, step-dad, and sisters.

Next we stopped by the church where we were married.

The current pastor happened to be there and gave us a tour. However that is not the same sanctuary nor the aisle I walked down. There was a fire in '82 and many changes made since then.

We arrived for the visitation, a good time of sharing stories, memories, and tears.
(For more photos click on the link.)

Remembering Judy

We spent the night in Don and Nan's beautiful home. Had a wonderful time with their whole family that evening sharing so many stories.

Sunday morning they took us out to breakfast before our trip back to Indiana.

The miles flew by as we listened to an audio book, The Glass Castle, only interrupted by the Packers game and two stops: our first IKEA experience in Milwaukee, and the obligatory visit to Mars Cheese Castle for fresh curds, the ones that squeak.

My only art this week was doodling on the brown paper table covering at the restaurant with family after the funeral and it is dedicated to the grieving sisters who cannot imagine life without their loving mom.

Kathy, Dave, Cindy (between tears)

Monday, September 17, 2018

2018 Week 37: Birthday in Amish Country

Field of scarecrows at Amish Acres
 Sister-in-law Diane had a brithday this week. Sunday we took her out to eat and then had her favorite German chocolate cake to share with family in the afternoon.
"Oops! I forgot to buy candles. No problem, I have a number six candle and five toothpicks."

Tuesday 9/11, her actual birthday, Diane and I enjoyed the Amish Acres getaway package  which includes: an overnight stay at the Inn; a tour of the historic Amish farm and schoolhouse; a buggy ride; a wonderful family-style meal; a performance of the musical Plain and Fancy in the Round Barn Theatre; and plenty of shopping opportunities.

The birthday girl "as pretty as a peacock"
 I have some photos for the highlights of our week. Life is very full with all the routine activities but nothing to show for those. Michael installed a new CNC machine at the robotics shop. He continues to go back and forth with the many steps and setbacks of the satellite program. And he must care for the bees, keep up with house and yard maintenance. Probably his big accomplishment of the week was the completion of the upgrades to the recumbent--electric assist, and a more comfortable seat. He coulda/shoulda been more carefull while handling the fiberglass because since then his hands and eyes have been irritated.

We did get out a couple times: Wednesday evening a lovely dinner and fun new game with friends. . .

. . . and Friday, an evening of dancing with old friends.

Thursday was art club, the last paint-by-number. Obviously the package I ordered is of lesser quality paper and paints, but we enjoyed the hour together each week working on one same project.

The last two, appropriately fallish
I thought the left over paints and designs would keep the boys busy when they came Saturday, however they preferred blank paper. What do you make of their art samples?

In an attempt to wear them down keep them busy, we planned a series of activities. First we set off to explore the woods.

First stop--the slack line

Last stop--the hunters' seat
We each carried a bag in case we found treasures. I found rocks to paint. Some special finds were only to admire and not carry back. How many interesting things can you see?

We went to see Incredibles 2 at Taylor University where we met up with Kayla and Rebecca.  Afterwards, of course, we had to go to Ivanhoes for ice cream. The clown sundae is the young'uns favorite.

All three boys were here (sorry, Elijah, no photos) so Sam and Kristie could have a special birthday date. Today, Monday the 17th, is her big 40 birthday! "Blessings, dear one, in this new season of life."

Thursday, September 20, I am scheduled for right eye cataract surgery. Not sure what recovery will be like nor when I'll be back to blogging.  The second surgery is planned for October 2.

¡Hasta pronto!

Monday, September 10, 2018

20-18 Week 36: More Fun

These beauties line the path leading to the Gray Barn. We look down on it from the Green Barn where we have tap class every week. How much longer will we enjoy them?

Our class will begin meeting on Momdays now. However this last week was Labor Day and the end of the annual Upland festival. The holiday weekend temperatures were the highest they'd been since 1963. 

I signed up for the 5K as usual despite the fact that I'd not run since last year's Labor Day race. What did I get myself into? I spotted my competition right away  and tried to stay close, but she was ahead of me most of the race. I noticed she also had to pace herself, run-walk-run-walk-walk . . . I managed to catch up once, have a little chat with her, but could never stay ahead. Her daughter coaches her, and they run together at least twice a month. She is four years older than me and so deserved to win first place in our age category. She encouraged and inspired me to keep at it regularly, at least once a month. And we hope to see one another again next year!

After the race I joined Michael and the Greenway promoters in the parade. He was entertaining the crowd as he rode his new trike.
We stopped when we came to family by Leah's house. Notice Rebecca cowering in the back, "I'm scared."

Tuesday was still stifling hot. Poor Elijah was exhausted after the soccer game. Kristie and I on the sidelines in the sun were also soaking at the end.

The big surprise of the week was when I opened Facebook and saw Mother featured as the September Artist-of-the-Month. I shared the lovely photo and since then 150 have reacted or responded in some way.

Family members were invited to a summer picnic in the Healthcare courtyard Thursday evening. I surprised Mother and showed her the messages and names of her many FB fans. During the visit I made sure to get photos of all the displays featuring her accomplishments. ARTcare is such a wonderful program!


Another surprise awaited me when we got back to Mother's room. There was a perfect little table where she can do her coloring. For two weeks I had searched for a desk that would serve that purpose and able to accomodate her wheelchair, but no luck. So the question I had was, "Where did this come from? Who gave it to you?" We concluded Margaret had asked one of her sons to find a solution for her dear friend Kathryn.

All week long Michael has been tinkering with his new recumbent--making a more comfortable seat and adding an electric assist.

We've attended graduations of robotics alumni over the years, and now a wedding Friday evening--Jessica Bennett to Bryce Masters.

Saturday we had a Grandma outing with Kayla, Rebecca, Zion, and Jude. Kayla shared her family passes to Minnetrista and the Muncie Children's Museum. To start out we met for lunch at Culver's.

The young'uns hardly stopped all day. The longest they stood still was when they wrote messages to put in a bottle part of the Minnetrista Message in a Bottle Collection exhibit.

Among the many fun moments, two favorites were: listening to Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary  while driving and at bedtime, and watching a movie, The Neverending Story. Oh, and climbing the circular staircase in all kinds of different ways, making up rules for various levels of challenge.

What were the fun highlights of your week?

Monday, September 3, 2018

2018 Week 35: More Summer Fun

Monday, yet another lovely meal poolside and a refreshing dip in the water.

Stephan and Karen gathering dishes and food. Nova, the cat, looking on.
Can you tell what has been added for poolside enjoyment?

A 1980 memory surfaced this week--a shared week in Uruguay with the Stachuras, minus our men who were in the US visiting Taylor University to consider their offer of help with computers for the ship. From the photo it looks like it was cold in Uruguay, so here in the US it had to be warm weather. And the ship Doulos must have been in dry dock and that is why we had to move off.
We have good memories of our time in the little house with the Stachuras.

Three family members participated in our little art club Thursday. Can you guess who and whose?

Michael spends a lot of time in his den doing all kinds of research, working with two computer screens and a TV monitor, but he does not miss the animated beauty happening right outside his window. He knows how many hummingbirds zoom about competing over the elixir he provides daily. However, I couldn't capture the activity with my amateur photography. 

ThinSats were launched almost daily. The Friday balloon launch at last included the mini satellite put together by Team 1720.  

This weekend we took in some of the Upland Labor Day festivities:
Saturday evening, the BBQ rib meal and Cumberland Gap music. 

Sunday afternoon we joined a special event--a 25 mile celebratory ride of Wandering Wheels' 50th anniversary. We rode our tandem to and from home to the starting point at the Lions' Club so we ended up riding over 30 miles on a very hot day. 

Leah, Kayla and Rebecca joined the fun at the Lions Park so we got to see Becca ride her new bike and later watched them painting rocks.

I am grateful also for the work goals accomplished--cleaning, laundry, writing, and more.