Tuesday, September 17, 2019

September slipping by

 Since I began driving again I haven't walked as much. I miss that. I have also really missed watercolor sessions, with friends or even on my own. On one of those long walks weeks ago I picked up a beautiful luna moth (dead, of course) and determined to follow a tutorial I had seen to paint one.
Weeks went by, the poor moth was falling apart, the outline was sitting there, even a jar of water and the brushes. Still I couldn't find or make the time. Finally this weekend it happened.

 So, what fills my time? Most people are happy to see that my arms are free, no sling or cast, and so they assume I am all better. However, I am still working on gaining back pain-free full mobility with the left arm. It takes time to go to physical therapy twice a week and do the exercises every day. This week I was especially discouraged as there seemed to be little progress. A friend offered me a massage which loosened up some of the tight muscles. I am more encouraged now.

An article came out in the local paper that explains a little what Michael has been up to every day. Cleaning, fixing up, and outfitting the old warehouse, new home of the PhyXTGears, requires a huge amount of work. The goal is to have it ready for an Open House the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
A couple of friends have given of their time to work with him.
I am very happy that this robotics team headquarters is only 10 or 12 minutes from our home. I enjoy being able to take him a lunch and observe the daily progress.

Diane's 66th birthday was Wednesday (9/11). She has come to really look forward to and even expect the annual getaway, a "tradition" begun last year when I took her to Amish Acres.
This year we went to Shipshewana--the Blue Gate Classic package--inn, restaurant, and theatre.
"I really liked that," was her most repeated phrase as she commented about each and every experience.
Notice her "knight in shining armour" She can't decide which ride she prefers.
She was enthralled by the walls and walls covered with photos of country singers and performers.

Ah, the Amish covered buggy was the best. 

So many photo opportunities
Michael took off all day Saturday to enjoy a long ride with his bicycling buddies. The beautiful weather won't last long.

Kristie had been training for a mini marathon and amazed herself:
"I ran my first #halfmarathon in 9.5 years! My time wasn’t what I had hoped for (1 hour 55 minutes and some seconds?). I hoped to do it in 1:53 or less. But I started WAY too fast and ran the first mile in under 7 minutes. I reminded myself that I need to run my race, not theirs. So I fell back, but still kept an 8 minute mile for half the race... then at 9 miles the lactic acid began to turn my legs into steel beams. I hit a hard wall at mile 10 and prayed and willed myself not to walk. I didn’t, praise God! Somehow I got 2nd overall! I was shocked... there wasn’t much competition. Except - The winner was in her 20s and was phenomenal! I am grateful God has given my body the ability to do this again at my age. In a couple days I turn 41!"

Today as I write this it is her birthday! We are so grateful for you, Kristie, and for the health that has been restored to you after many years of struggle.

The book I am working on is a neglected area in my life lately. That has to change if I ever want to be a "finisher."

Do you have an unfinished project that calls to you incessantly?

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Festivals and Moves

Labor Day weekend is the big Upland festival--yard sales all over town, music and food at the Lion's Park culminating with fireworks Sunday night, and a parade on Monday.

My best yard sale purchase was this Mancala game that sits on our big counter and leads to competitive rounds among the three housemates. Moriah, the young college student has the most wins.

The parade is a big deal in this small town. As the memories of years past surfaced on Facebook, I was reminded of the variety of ways we have taken part and enjoyed this Upland tradition. When we had horses Michael and different family members entered them. Some rode bicycles another year and Michael joined on his Segway once. There was a time when the skateboarders from Sam's shop were a favorite feature.

Rebecca's first Labor Day parade
Our youngest family member, Rebecca didn't always enjoy the experience. Last year she hid in the house and watched through the window. However, this year she and I were in the Basics Jr. [a high-energy Bible club geared especially for younger kids 4 year-2nd grade] section. She rode in the truck and I walked/jogged behind handing out leaflets and candy. Moriah and I are both volunteer helpers in Basics Jr. this year.

The family tends to congregate in front of Leah's house to watch the event. When Rebecca and I came after the parade we found that Sam and the boys had joined the fun. Matt and Kayla had their honey sale going.

A couple weeks ago I mentioned the possibility of big changes coming for the robotics team. I can now announce officially that they are moving out of Madjax and into an old building that has had many lives in its 100+ years of existence. More recently it was a used auto shop. We walked through last week assessing the needs and potential. A huge amount of work will go into getting set up to begin building a robot in the new year.
My two favorite features--door and chandelier--so very out of place in the old dusty crusty warehouse. 

Back and front of Blue Dutch Auto
Hopefully, the move will draw in students from a broader area. To advertise the newly named East Central Indiana Robotics, the guys took advantage of the Matthews Covered Bridge festival, September 6-8, and set up a display with a few robots on Main St. in front of the building. They talked for hours with passersby and handed out brochures.

We had planned to go to Winona Lake Friday afternoon, visit with Mother and attend a Josh Garrels concert at Grace. Instead, I drove up to see Mother alone and met with a representative from a company that offers hospice services. My brother Alan and I listened to a lot of information and signed many papers. Later that evening a nurse came, checked her vitals, read all the charts and consulted with the agency's doctor who determined that Mother does not qualify for their services at this time .
"So, Mother, you are too well. You'll likely live to be 100!" She just smiled.

At the concert I met up with Sam and Kristie, the boys, and Lexi (Malachi's fiancé). Josh's music is a family favorite. We have known the Garrels for many years and watched their family grow. When the crowd was begging for an encore, I went outside the tent to talk to Michelle. Just then he ended with a song he wrote for his wife, and I took her picture as he was singing about how beautiful she is.

We are so blessed to know wonderful people from all over the world. This week we were privileged to visit with Andi and Sheba Eicher from India. They brought their daughter Asha here, a fifth generation Eicher to attend Taylor University. Of course, there was the obligatory Ivanhoe's stop.

Another exciting week that took longer to process than I had hoped. I am reminded that my body is still healing from the accident in June and that slows me down. 
I suspect none of you accomplished everything you wish you had in one week. True?

Thursday, September 5, 2019

August goes out with a bang!

August sticker art 
Michael scheduled one more two-day summer getaway, this time to Nashville, TN. It was a special time and I felt truly cherished.

When we arrived, we set out to explore the various areas of the Opryland Hotel including the two-acre tropical forest.
View of the Cascade courtyard--day and night.
There is no way to do justice to the beauty and variety of this paradise. These are but a few samples.

The Creator's designs and handiwork are amazing!

The calming sound of cascading water surrounded us.

The second day we took in two iconic parks in the city: the Centennial and the Bicentennial.
In the first park we visited the full-scale replica of the Parthenon built for the 1897 Centennial Expositions to represent Nashville's reputation as the "Athens of the South." There is an enormous statue of Athena as well as a museum and art collections.

The Bicentennial Capitol Mall park is in the vicinity of the State Capitol and has a fascinating Pathway of History--granite blocks engraved with the outstanding facets about the state until the celebration of 200 years, June 1, 1996. I think I read the entire nearly mile long wall out loud to Michael!

 The park includes much of interest--a World War II Memorial, a 95-Bell Carillon and more.
Views of the floating granite globe to represent my two countries - USA and Argentina
Our friends, the Helyers, who live in the area now, recommended these sites and more, and then invited us to meet with them. We had a wonderful visit. Regrettably, I forgot to take a picture.

On road trips, I  read aloud to Michael. This time the chosen book was Robert Seelye's autobiography. We were so very inspired and excited about his story and as we shared with our friends (Larry and Joyce Helyer also from California) we found out that they knew him and many of the people and places he mentioned!

Shortly after we arrived home on Thursday, I drove to Winona Lake to join Mother for the annual Health Care Summer Picnic. First time at the wheel since the fall in June!
It was a lovely sunny day. Family and friends gathered with their loved ones. The brightly decorated tables in the courtyard overflowed with food and cheer. A harpist played lovely tunes.

Sadly though, Mother just wasn't feeling well. I soon took her in and she lay down. A chest Xray the next day showed a higher level of congestive heart failure.

A year ago she was the Artist of the Month. We've noticed a gradual but steady decline since then.

Friday, the 30th, Leah and Jimmy celebrated 20 years together.

We took Stephan and Karen to an Indians game in Indianapolis. We each won an item commemorating 30 years since the 1989 championship. Karen likes her bobblehead. I don't know what to do with the poster. However, I learned a lot about baseball so I can watch games more intelligently.

The evening ended with fun fireworks despite the team loss.

Saturday Michael rode again with the group of friends from Muncie. They encountered a few perils on the 62-mile ride.

Photo credits: Erin Baumgartner

The Upland invasion was underway, crowds of outsiders going around to the many yard sales. So begin the Labor Day weekend festivities.
I picked up Diane and we visited Kayla's great display. Their honey sold well.

As you can tell by the tardiness of my posts, I am having a hard time keeping up with life's happenings. Will I ever catch up?

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Week 34: Summer Winding Down

Our hydrangea bushes were cut way down in the spring and now are enormous and heavy laden with beautiful blooms. I took some to Mother. She loves flowers, but these especially remind her of her home growing up in Evans City, PA where they had a huge bush that became the favorite backdrop for family photos.

A few items received this week evoke special memories.

Cousin Rosie found an interesting handkerchief that belonged to our grandfather, Norman Hirschy, and enclosed it in a charmingly quaint card.

Ruth Brooking, Leah's first teacher on board the ship, sent a few sweet photos from those adventurous days.
Top: with Amy, Leah, and Derek in Puerto Montt, Chile, December 1980
Bottom: Amy and Leah after a visit to Amsterdam, November 1979
The two girls were best friends the entire time we were on the Doulos. It was very difficult for Leah when we left and she had to say goodbye to Amy.

Speaking of OM Ships, Monday the 19th was Logos Hope's last day in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

Tuesday while Ivan (Hoyt sibling #4) from Las Vegas was still in the area, we had yet another dinner with Mother. Malachi was able to join us after the first day of his junior year at Grace College. We enjoyed hearing about his courses, goals and aspirations.

We invited Aunt Margaret also. She brought me a photo she came across recently from those early years in Argentina. Most of the people and friends pictured have since passed away, including Daddy, in the center.

Bible Institute graduation ceremony, Río Cuarto, November 1952.
In my writing, I have not yet covered that year, nor even 1950 when Aldo was born. August 21 was his 69th birthday. 

And the very next day would have been Mother and Dad's 77th anniversary, and our Hirschy grandparents 106th.

Thursday evening I spent a fun evening with the youngest grandboys. Among other things Jude and I put together a dinosaur, I listened to him practice the piano, we watched some favorite shows, and played Mancala. The boys reminded me of the rules and must have given me excellent hints because I kept winning. Zion was determined to beat me and finally came close by one move.

 The Blakely girls continue their weekly landscaping help. Much more is being accomplished than I could ever had done even with the use of two strong arms.

I saw the orthopedic doctor, probably for the last time. Therapy sessions and exercises continue. the hope is to regain full range of motion and avoid surgery at all costs.

Michael keeps up with his many activities: bee keeping tasks, harvesting and processing honey;  mowing; fixing everything that breaks down, that never ends; long bicycle rides; and the many responsibilities that accompany his leadership role in the robotics team. Stay tuned for big changes to be announced soon.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

More summer fun . . .

 Michael continues to ride his bicycle often and I walk more, enjoy seasonal blooms, go to therapy twice a week and do the homework exercises.

I've been researching and dealing with house plants. Some should have been repotted long ago. Some very hard-working girls help me  on a weekly basis to tackle weeding and landscaping goals.

Top: Schefflera Arboricola (Umbrella Plant); Narrow Leaf Croton
Bottom: Maranta Leconeura (Red Prayer Plant); Podophyllum (Arrowhead Plant)

Almost daily, Michael relocates these masked visitors who like to dump over flower pots and leave unwanted gifts on the deck.

I wish I could say that my writing is progressing steadily as well. However, the process has slowed down considerably, but hopefully not to a halt. Memories to be included in the retelling of my early childhood, keep popping up, like this photo, circa 1950.

Memorable family moments are a constant. Rebecca started Kindergarten Tuesday and is happy to have her best buddy in the same class.

The next day was her birthday. This little one has become a lovely dancer and is already off to school!

Wednesday, we got up and decided to go to the State Fair, probably encouraged by Free till Three Farmer's Day! And it proved to be a delightful day away.

A few of the things we like to do: 
--check out the cheese sculpture, try a Wisconsin cheese special, and stop at the Dairy Barn for a milkshake before the day is over.

Sorry for the beheaded superhero :-(
--gawk at the winning animals on exhibit, like the largest sow and her dozen pink piglets, as well as the hugest male, 1060 lbs.

--look for friend Marty Price's entries in the ceramics section;

--we often end up in the Pioneer Village, and sit down for a rest to enjoy American folk music.

Several new experiences this year:

--a presentation about the life and contributions of George Rogers Clark by the DNR;

--a Taste of Indiana, a variety of foods (practically a meal's-worth) and interesting facts;

--a great circus as the grand finale.

The talented performers
Another grandson was off to school--Malachi. Sam helped move him back to Grace College on Thursday.

Friday, Hoyt sibling #4 was in the area all the way from Las Vegas. We had the obligatory visit to Ivanhoe's for strawberry shortcakes and a cowabanga. 
A game of Hand and Foot closed the evening--fun for us, but tortuously unlucky for Ivan.

Sharing and catching up conversation continued the next morning at breakfast. And we look forward to more when he returns next week!
These last couple of weeks have brought wonderful brotherly fellowship.

Saturday we ended the week by attending the fun and hilarious performance of Fellowship, especially proud of Kayla's contribution as the "beloved choreographer."

Summer is winding down. How much more fun awaits us?