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?

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


What a crazy week of multiple reunions, almost as unbelievable as this giant hibiscus with amazing blooms that last only a day!

Luna Pink Swirl Hibiscus 
The first gathering was on Sunday--a celebration of Karen's hard-earned achievement, conveniently a day before her birthday. She felt especially honored to have her very own ice sculpture after almost twenty years with a professional ice carver--a fancy sushi bar recognizing her new title M.A.E.

Stephan's role as host included providing food, serving, making everyone feel comfortable--family, friends, colleagues--even playing games with the many children in the pool. 

Monday Night Meal (usually just a few of us,four Kochs and neighbor Jasmine) became another reunion of sorts with several of the original friends from dinners Stephan used to host years ago when he was still single.

Tuesday, Aldo (Hoyt brother #3) and wife Alice, stopped for visit and lunch at Ivanhoe's on their way from Indianapolis to Winona Lake. Stephan was able to join us. 

Wednesday, Michael and I joined them for dinner with Mother, Alan (Hoyt brother #5) his fiancé Raquel as well as his son Nicolas, and Margaret (Mother's dear friend, both 98 this year!).

That very day, August 7, we realized that it was Mike's mother's birthday and she would have been 103 years-old. I truly look forward to eternity when I will get to know Carol Jane, healed and whole in body and mind.

That was also the day that the Muncie grands started back to school. I was so impressed with the special breakfast mom prepared--GF donuts with sprinkles--a sweet send-off.

Thursday, our good friends Fred and Karen Perry were passing through on their annual trek between family in Michigan and Bloomington. This time we lunched at Payne's, next to the interstate exit. We are always grateful for opportunities, brief though they may be, to reconnect and reminisce.

Michael had been preparing all week for a weekend adventure, the ODRAM (One Day Ride Across Michigan). A group of cyclists was looking for riders who could maintain a certain speed. He couldn't resist the challenge. 
Friday he drove to Bay City and was bused to Rothbury where he camped overnight ready to start the 150 mile ride at 5:30 a.m. the next morning! 

That night we shared a phone conversation while staring at the same moon and planet.

It took him 12 hours. He couldn't keep up with the group the entire time and the roads were a bit rough on his knees, but he is very grateful to be able to ride long distances again!

Meanwhile I was enjoying Rebecca's Purr-fect birthday party. She has so many grandmas, family and friends that love her. . .and who can't believe she is already five years-old and starting Kindergarten next week! 
Cat # 1: "Rebecca's turning five!"
Cat # 2: " You are kitten me!"

Update: Thursday I started therapy to regain left-arm mobility. I have to do exercises four times a day and go back twice a week.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Fifth Week

This calendar-page sticker-art represents the entire month of July--my extended vacation, unable to do many things. I could not hold a book like the girl in the picture. But come to think of it, I was able to place every sticker in place, however slowly and awkwardly.

And I could still walk and enjoy the wonderful weather and the many seasonal nuances of nature. 

I gained more freedom when the cast came off Tuesday, so we celebrated at Concannon's.

Monday the 29th was Mother's 98th birthday. I've been following her 1996 journal and read how they celebrated the day she turned 75--my current age.

Celebrated my birthday by going to Ft. Wayne. First we went to Blessings and took Daddy's baritone to get refinished. They loaned him a baritone while his is getting refinished. We then went to the Lincoln Museum for 2 hours. We could have stayed at least 3 hours there was so much to see. Dinner we ate at the Old Country Buffet. Called Rita after we came home but she hadn't arrived from Spain yet. Mike's mother said that Mike had gone to meet her and that they wouldn't be home for a couple days. Also painted an old door white to make a sign for D.V.B.S.

Some interesting notes to glean from that one paragraph. The celebration was low-key, just the two of them doing things they enjoyed, but combined with an errand. The day included some work for the church. Almost every journal entry mentions a church-related task to get the building ready, its maintenance, or to participate in the services.
I was reminded of the month I spent in Barcelona for a language teacher's course and living with David and Lisania Rhoton.
We had forgotten when it was that Michael's mother came to live with us, and were surprised that she was at that time still able to give accurate information over the phone.

I was so glad that earlier in the week Mother had family visitors, all the way from Las Vegas--Kyle and Tina were in the area to see his family.

Top: Betsy, Tina and Grandma Hoyt
Bottom: Simon, great grandma and Betsy
Wednesday Leah drove so we could visit Grandma Hoyt and celebrate her 98 years. 

My youngest brother Alan joined us for dinner with Mother and a good time together.

Leah and I stopped in the ARTcare with GRACE studio for her to see what they do there. Michael Conley, who runs the place, told us Mother had been in that day to paint even though it wasn't Friday, the assigned day for the Health Care residents. He is always amazed that she can focus and keep at a project the entire morning. Here are Mother's paintings I may have missed before.

I added my recent watercolor (an experiment of the wet on wet technique) to Mother's birthday greetings.

Zion was at camp all week. Everyday I looked through the camp photos for a glimpse of him. He seemed to be having a lot of fun. I asked him after what was his favorite. See if you can guess. You may be surprised.

Rebecca wanted to go fishing, so her Daddy obliged all the necessary gear--fishing pole, tackle box and all! She was so excited to catch one huge fish!

Michael has put in many miles on the bicycle this week. After one ride, a hundred-miler, he noticed all joint pain was gone! Truly exercise is medicine.

Karen and I attended the annual Taylor's Professional Writers Conference Friday and Saturday. That event probably merits a post of its own.

By the end of the week I grew tired of wearing the sling, and the brace hindered my handwriting so I dared to go without, cautiously, carefully.
I should also write about the lessons learned through the experiences of this very different month.