Wednesday, August 16, 2017

2017 Vacation Day 1

I fell in love with Madison back in June when my friend and I went on a bus tour of three historic river cities.  So I suggested it be our vacation destination. Clifty Falls State Park is only 5 miles from there, perfect for camping  (Michael thinks staying in a hotel is boring), AND venturing into the town. So after a leisurely morning we set off on the tandem to explore the town. 

We stopped at Clifty Falls Inn to see what they had to offer, or what we were missing.
From there we could see the landmark smoke stacks.

We noticed the decorated pig and learned that there was a contest going on leading up to their famous festival the Ribberfest coming up August 18-19. We saw many more dressed up pigs in our wanderings.

The first stop was the Visitors' Center where we saw a video and picked up informational brochures.

Lunch at the Madison Lighthouse Restaurant on the Ohio River provided great food and a beautiful view of the ducks and passing barges.

Next we ventured on a bicycle tour around Madison stopping at historic markers.

The first was St. Michael the Archangel Church, second oldest Catholic church, also known as the Irish Church, built in 1837-1839. It is one of the many National Historic Landmarks in Madison.

We headed back to the campsite after the the interesting tour, but just had to check out the power plant just beyond the camp entrance. The size was surprisingly enormous!

We knew that a very long and challenging climb awaited us at the South Gate. We did our best but had to walk maybe one third of the way up.

What a beautiful day. Perfect weather. 14.82 mi of tandem sycronicity. A wonderful first day.

Monday, August 14, 2017

2017 Week 32: Vacation

 Just a brief summary of our week away.

Monday we packed. The worst part of vacation is the packing and unpacking!
Ah, but a lovely meal at Stephan's was our first stop--a special celebration for Karen's 42nd.

Sushi, ahi & rice cakes, carrot cake

Spent the night in Indy. Wandered around the state fair tasting various $2 Tuesday specials and ventured on the new Skyride.

Next we drove to Clifty Falls State Park and set up our base for the week.

Supper and breakfast

The first full day we rode the tandem into the nearby town of Madison.

Thursday we drove to Hanover College and cycled that bike trail.

That evening we hung out in the Clifty Inn lounge to listen to former colleague Win Corduan's music on A selfie was in order to show off our matching t-shirts, a daily vacation tradition.

Rain was in the forecast for Friday so we didn't attempt a tandem outing but rather chose a walking tour of historic Madison and ended up at a fun concert in the park.

The weather was perfect, the atmosphere very friendly and pleasant. We sat on the hillside and played a 2-person version of Spades.

Mike was perfecting the rules, and I wanted so badly to learn and beat him so back at the campsite we played till midnight by lamplight and warding off insects with an espiral. That smoke reminds me of childhood summer nights.

Saturday we disassembled our campsite just in time for the 2 p.m. deadline. Last week when we hurriedly made our vacation plans, I totally forgot that  Rebecca's 3rd birthday party was planned for that very day. Oh, no! Mike had already made all the reservations when I remembered.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

2017 Week 31: Slowing down

New  bloom on the block

As I sit down to reflect over the past week, I notice a little critter staring at me, and underneath a notebook open to "Writing Goals."

I look back over the few representative photos for this week and it feels rather soon to be posting again considering last week's Meemaw Moments came out on Tuesday. However, it's good to get back into a timely rythm.

Wednesday, my work was finished in record time. Michael was going to go for a bike ride. I begged to go along. Can you guess where we ended up?

The two afternoons Michael was at robotics, I paid Leah a short visit. Thursday we decided to go for a walk and invited Kayla. Little Rebecca warned us, "It's s'pposed to rain." We went anyway. By the time we reached the park where Skye was shooting baskets with a couple friends, the clouds look ominous and the wind was picking up.

We nearly ran all the way back to safety, just in time!  

Later Kayla posted this photo of Rebecca reading to Oreo the cat, a book I had just given her. 
(Does Oreo understand Spanish?)

Stephan posted this amazing after-storm scene looking out the front of his house.

Friday and Saturday, Karen and I attended an excellent writer's conference at Taylor University. 
It was her birthday outing.
Friend Rachael Phillips after her humor writing workshop 
I am so privileged to be in a local critique group. However, to whom much is given much is required. Will I put in the hard work to follow through with what I learned and the advice I was given for the next steps in my writing project?

This week I scanned  a group of old photos found among my parents things. One bunch related to my brother Lynn and his family. Among them many cute photos like this one.

First day of school
I gathered the photos in an album on Facebook and soon learned that Lynn's health had sadly deteriorated. The very next day he was in the ER. The diagnosis is grim--final stages of a liver disease.

We are cast upon God's unfailing love.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

2017 Week 30: Farewells and Birthdays

One of my favorite promises--a great reminder to carry with us through uncertain times.

We always look forward to Monday evening meal surprises at Stephan & Karen's--the guests, the conversation, the food, and often the dessert.


Michael continues to ride regularly, aiming for longer distances, but has been hit again this week
with leg pain part way into each ride.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are satellite and robotics 10-hour+ work days.  When the Ustream is working, I can sometimes catch glimpses of action.

In this screenshot Mike and Moriah are rewinding the wire that sprung loose from the ThinSat.

Sometimes I can reach him during those long hours. Like when I sent a picture of the squirrel attempting a bird-feeder break-in.

Squirrel antics

Everyday responsabilities and hosting duties kept me entertained at home. The Basque students had their big Cedar Point outing on Wednesday. They left early and returned late, so Unai, Sam & Kristie's boy, stayed here overnight before and after. Looks like they felt very much at home.

Thursday, I took Jon to another of our local eateries that serves great healthy food made from "farm to table" ingredients--The Bridge Cafe.

Friday was the big despedida. We bad farewel to our six visiting estudiantes vascos after a wonderful month with them.

The Upland-based Basque students; Jon, the monitor, our guest; Jon is very popular with all the little children. 

Saturday we celebrated Mother, still radiant at 96!

Photo credit Kimbery Hoyt

We met at a nice restaurant with my two youngest brothers and their lovelies. I was so grateful that Michael was able to go with me.

The waiter, who kindly took our picture, asked if we wanted to do a silly or crazy pose. We really weren't inclined to do that and instead suggested an old time pic where no one smiles. Mother, however, didn't get the message.

We realized later that this pose is closer to the current realities of family life. Two, actually three members, are struggling with serious health conditions. Add to that the struggles of starting a new business and keeping the old one going. Then there are family issues.
Yet we can trust, be thankful, and smile, the last chapter has not been written yet. (Read the promise at the top again.)

The same day was Skye's birthday, but we celebrated on Sunday with a campfire cookout.

This tender-hearted young man has had a couple rough years, but hung in there and is moving forward working full time now in the heating and cooling business. We are proud of him.

Trying to decipher the birthday code. Ah! Happy 9+3+8=20 birthday!

Monday, July 24, 2017

2017 Week 29: A quieter week

The Basque students were at camp all week. It rained off and on between hot spells. Robotics and work on the satellite has slowed down to two days. However, thinking about the project and the design issues is ongoing. Sort of like my writing projects, always there, slowly percolating. 

This week we discovered a nest in the wreath. Don't know how long it'd been there. We first saw two small eggs and yesterday there were four. Sometimes the mama bird is there, brooding.

I walked for only the second time this season with the little group that meets Wedensdays at 8:a.m.--beautiful weather, interesting sights.

Thursday I was very eager to find out whether the article I submitted had been published. It was!

Every day this week I checked the Miracle Camp website for glimpses of our Basque kids. This first-day photo of the three guys cracked me up!

So did the photo Krisite posted earlier in the week of the young'uns with their array of fluffy friends firmly planted in their shoes! Notice that the honored one got to wear a tie! What amazing imaginations!
Saturday afternoon after the campers returned, I drove Unai back to his "home" for the month, at Sam and Kristie's. The little guys were still playing with their "shoed" friends.

Photo credit: Kristie Koch

Here's another favorite photo of the last week--Rebecca wearing an original Life skateboard's design shirt and showing off one of Sam's skateboards.

Photo credit: Leah Koch-Sower

Sunday we had a Kochout for the Basque students. First some played around with the zipline and the segway. And later we stuffed ourselves with wonderful food.

The students leave next Friday, the 28th. The month is almost up. May it end well!