Monday, July 17, 2017

2017 Week 28: Event-filled week

 Another very full week. Brace yourselves for many photos and stories . . . or not.



One Independence Day week blended into another. I like this ad on Facebook because it represents how I feel about my identity as an  ATCK, adult third culture kid.


However, it was a double celebration as July 9, Nueve de julio, is not only Argentine Independence Day, but it is also Leah's adopted birthday! So we celebrated!


Almost everyone had a go on the zip line. This was Leah's valiant effort, eyes-closed and screaming.


I will not bore you with photos of the many other zipliners--Karen, Stephan, Skye, Jimmy. . .
Kristie and kids came by briefly on their way to experience the Rubixcube finals in Fort Wayne. We watched Elijah put together a 2x2 in 6".

And in the evening we had a welcome program at the church for the 6 Basque students visiting for the month.
Whew! That was only Sunday!

We took Jon to Monday Night Dinner where we enjoyed deep-dish pizza and berry pies. Stephan gave him a tour of the ice studio and the farm.
We so enjoy the colorful changing skies on the way home.


Wednesday I left the guys to fend for themselves and traveled north to visit Mother. 

Mother and her fancy new walker
We spend every available moment together reading the weekly letters from Mother and Dad to their families back in the US. We read and laughed our way through two months worth (July-August '46).
Very rarely does anyone get glimpses of their early childhood as I am privileged to through my parents notes to their folks about the funny or naughty things I did. For example:
Rita certainly brings lots of laughs for us. Yesterday we were walking along hand in hand to the carpenter shop. She said, "Let's run, Daddy". Se we ran for quite a little ways. Then she looked up at me very sternly and demanded, "Let me walk." Of course, I said that would be all right. Then she began to laugh and said, "I did it. Rita did it." I said, "Rita did what?" She answered, "Rita told Daddy."
And in another letter:
At times Rita is a joy and other times she is a pest. When she wants something, she will stand and call for it with ever increasing volume until we get it for her. She has no patience whatsoever. . . She is as stubborn as her mother and Dad put together.
Hmmm. . . stubborness or terrible-twoness?

Thursday when I got home from the long dentist appointment, Jon had cooked one of his favorite meals for us--lots of veggies, beautifully plated.

The Hulk, a.k.a. Jon, preparing dinner--sausage, mixed vegetables, tomatoes, mashed avo with olive oil, bread
Unfortunately we don't have ready access to the wonderful fresh baguettes we so enjoyed in the Basque region, nor have I been up to making any.

Of course our Basque friends must have the Ivanhoes experience while here. We ended up going two nights in a row. The second time, with Unai (Sam and Kristie's guest) who was persuaded to try the same Jon had enjoyed the day before--Texas burger and Cookie Monster sundae! Ahhh, too much!
These young people have very healthy eating habits. They only drink water, prefer fruits and vegetables, and don't eat many sweets.

Unai spent the night with us because early the next day they traveled to Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis to a robotics competition. I went along and caught occasional glimpses of our PhyXTGears drive team.


This was a totally new experience for our Basque guests. This year's game is complicated and difficult to follow at first. Some may have been bored at times, but they always have their devices to entertain them and, of course, they love hanging out as a group and rattling off in euskera constantly.
To end the day there was a picnic at Taylor Lake. Overall a fun day.

Saturday Michael was up at the crack of dawn again for the second day of IRI (Indiana Robotics Invitational) which has become an elite event, accepting only the best of the best. What a privilege for our little team to be invited! So, even though they ranked 60 out of 68, they were thrilled to be there.

I watched the entire event online, catching occasional glimpses of our people.


The Basque kids were gone till late night, first to a water park and then a concert.
For me it was a long day alone sitting in front of the computer, toggling between screens--robotics matches, and the project I was working on. A nice long walk was in order. 
That's one way to become tall!

Sunday, after church we said goodbye to our hijo, and the Basque students as they left for a week of camp in Lawton, Michigan.


Then Michael and I took off for a long tandem ride. 


At our eating destination we met up with several friends on their way back from a weekend Wandering Wheels family ride What a beautiful fun day!


Will this next one be a quieter week?

Monday, July 10, 2017

2017 Week 27: A very full week of the Fourth

So many Fourth of July events and activities!
And so very many photos to record the varied memories!
Then there's the fact that in this household we were going in three different directions!

Michael fully caught up in future near-space satellite building, Jon and his high school charges learning about America and improving their English, and me, just trying to keep up!

Sunday afternoon, last minute, we set off for Symphony on the Prairie at Connor Prairie. Best decision ever! Amazingly beautiful and meaningful event in a gorgeous setting.


We set up our chairs in a good spot and walked around to see what there was to see.
We stopped to talk to the Sons of the American Revolution curious about the different flags. All eight from that time period, they marked rallying points for the different companies. Interestingly the red and green was from Indiana. The expert historian was explaining them at length when one of "Sons" approached and said, "You are Mike Koch, right?" It was a gentleman from our church!
Jon, Mike, and Keith Freer

We kept on walking, admiring the scenery, bought some kettle corn. Someone else called our names--the Bennetts, former PhyXTGears president and wife!

Mike, Mary and Ben Bennett                                                                          The Boxells, Kate and Avery 

We finally got back to our seats, by then the family who'd staked out the spot directly in front of us were all seated, and we recognized friends from our community and church!
Kate, one of Mike's star pottery learners from years ago at the Red Barn, now married and living in Indy, came and stood in front of him. He stared for a moment, surprised, "Kate!" What are the odds among 8,500+ attendees!


 We had the perfect spot for every aspect of the impressive event.


Monday, Jon and the Basque kids attended a Pink Droyd concert in the next town. You can see Elijah is having a lot of fun with Unai, the student they are hosting.


We preferred the tranquil setting of Stephan and Karen's farm and the quiet meal with friends. :-)
Stephan and Mike surveyed the progress in the work shelter. The chickens checked us out.

Duckhens?
The next days' rain created a lake for the . . . are they hens or ducks?

Tuesday, the Fourth, more fire works, in Marion and then Jimmy's specials here in town with Leah's clan.


Wednesday, the Basque gang went to Kokomo Beach for the day. Unai stayed here overnight because they were leaving early the next morning for Chicago.
The guys tried the zip line and Jon cooked a vegetable medley for us. Yummy!


 Early Thursday . . .
Off to see the big city

Jon: Bean there, done that

Meanwhile, Rebecca and I had fun together doing many things and none for very long.
The walk in the gentle rain may have been the longest activity.



Friday again we parted ways with our Basque "son." Jon and Unai were very eager to play soccer at the DCFC where Stephan goes.

We went to Sam and Kristie's for a delightful evening of stories and smores.

Jude helped Mom make "indoor smores."      Friends back from overseas shared fascinating experiences. 

Hang in there! The week is almost over, only one more collage.
One of the Basque families invited the group over for an evening of pizza smores, canoeing, and more!


Believe it or not, that was a mere glimpse into our week. I'll save Sundays' many pics and stories for next time!

Monday, July 3, 2017

2017 Week 26: Basque-month begins


Monday it rained a lot on our way home from another good time at son Stephan's. Already indoors and otherwise occupied, we somehow missed the beautiful rainbow, but several posted photos on Facebook.

As seen by Stephan at Dove's Crossing

I found these on the counter one day. The bee-man had been busy. 


When I go to visit Mother, I pick up an audio book at Cracker Barrell for the drive. Last week I forgot that my car CD player was no longer working. So this story entertained me throughout the week while I worked, and had to be returned Tuesday.  
Stephan said he's listened to a dozen or so by this author.
  

The next deadline to prepare for was the arrival of the group of Basque students Wednesday night, 11:09 PM. We were delayed some 20 minutes by several factors--road consturction, a fatal accident on I69 and waiting for the shuttle from extended parking to the airport. And their flight had arrived early, but we all found one another eventually and no one seemed upset, only VERY tired after a 24 hour three-flight ordeal. Needless to say there was not much conversation on the way from Indianapolis to Upland.


Our guest for the month is Jon from Durango. He is older than the others, a university student majoring in entrepreneurial innovation and leadership. His role as monitor is to be the go-to-person if any problems or questions arise. The first issue he had to deal with was a concerned parent wanting to contact her daughter.

Thursday Mike spent the whole morning preparing food for the satellite team Koch-out. They seemed to enjoy the time away from work, the abundant food, and the zip line!


Here you can see the spaces where we spend a great deal of our time. My writing area is the loft, and Mike's den is downstairs. He is currently consumed with helping Moriah design and build the Thin-Sat that the robotics team is responsible for, and working alongside the Taylor students to connect with theirs. As always, especially in engineering perhaps, "Everything takes longer than it takes." 


More friend-encounters: Carol (née Kastelein) Shaneyfelt (a former Uplander) and her husband John, now live and work at JAARS in Waxhaw, NC. They were passing through and wanted to meet up at Ivanhoes Friday for a short visit. At the agreed upon time, 4:30 PM, there was a terrible thunderstorm. Lightning struck and took out the registers. It took a while for  people to get their food and on a cash-only basis. We had a great visit nonetheless.


Jon was gone all day with the group on a day trip to Indianapolis.

Saturday was a bit more laid back, until the afternoon rush to get to a wedding on time. And when we got there, we realized I had the time wrong and we were half an hour late! (That is the fourth time this year that I've messed up time schedules. What's wrong with me?!)  There was standing room only, so we joined the other late-comers in the foyer. We were in time to hear the vows and watch the jubilant newlyweds recess. 


And, finally, I leave you with one of my favorite promises.



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

2017 Week 25: Travels



Many comings and goings this week. Elijah spent all week having a blast at Miracle Camp. I was amused by how appropriate the t-shirt message is for this action shot.

Miracle Camp photo credit

Monday and Friday groups of Cornerstone summer campers made their way across the street to MadJax for a robotics demo. The students ran the show; Mike observed on the sideline.


Tuesday I went to see Mother and had another delightful visit. We read three more letters from the past; visited "Aunt Margaret" and had dinner with the ladies at her table. There is a new resident, a cheery little 82 year-old, already a great great great grandmother--María originally from Texas, speaks Spanish and lives across the hall from Mother!



Wednesday Michael and the Taylor U and PhyXTGears Thin Sat teams left early for a day trip to Morehead State University to visit the Earth and Space Sciences deprtment, the ones who will be testing the components (thin satellites, designed and made by TU and robotics students) to be launched for space exploration.

Morehead focuses solely on space engineering, so they have state of the art equipment such as this radio telescope.

Moriah is the robotics student graduate who is working full-time at Taylor on this project this summer, and will be attending TU in the fall and living with us.


While Mike was gone, friend Debbie helped me clean house in readiness for Saturday's Team 1720 social, "Koch-Out."
Rebecca helped  as well! Nanna was really sick so while Mommy went to work at Cornerstone summer camp, the busy little one sprayed and wiped deck furniture with me, each with a spray bottle.
Looks like she overworked and quickly lost appetite.


Thursday very early, it was my turn to travel. My neighbor, Petey, had invited me to join her on a bus tour of three Historic Indiana River Towns with Ambassadair--Aurora, Lawrenceburg, and Madison--two full days of very well-planned activities.

The first stop was an art studio, home of 32 local artist in Aurora, where we painted bird houses. Mine is in the center. Can you guess which one?

Next we went to the Great Crescent Brewery for a wonderful lunch and a beer bread baking demo.

Owner's wife gives bread demo; Owner tells history of the place; delicious samples, variations of the beer bread.

Then, happily well-fed, we were on our way to Greystone Farm for a very interesting presentation by a master beekeeper with the Southeastern Indiana Beekeepers Association,and honey tasting.

Master beekeeper presentation; back of display pannel; marked queen bee and her adoring subjects

Back to the historic jail and Council Chambers for a tour and to hear from Dr. Jacob Ebersole, back from the dead to tell us about his life in Aurora during the Civil War.

Historian, Ray, as Dr. Ebersole; me languishing in an old jail cell; restored early 1900's fire engine.

Aurora is called the City of Spires. I tried to capture a few of them as we rode by.


Dinner was at the Hillforest Victorian House Museum.


Dessert was in the formal dining room of the Veraestau Estate. At this location we were allowed to touch things and take pictures. Of course, I took way too many. For blog story-telling purposes I will only include one--my friend donning a hat, at my insistence, in the 1810 area of the estate.


Friday, after a good night's sleep in the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Lawrenceberg, we headed out on a rainy day to visit Stream Cliff Herb Farm. We were only the second event in the big old barn where we heard about the family history of the place and their many events and offerings. We then blended our own potpourri.



Lunch in the tea room was delightful. I explored the gardens, chapel, shops, and gathering places and, once again, I have way too many photos. I chose one for the heading of this blog post.

The tour bus drove us to Madison and around the historic downtown including a talk by the local tourist guide. Then we had two hours to tour the fascinating city. Many chose to stay on the bus. Petey and I ventured out in the pouring rain. A favorite stop was the Galena Garlic Company where we sampled nearly all the balsamic vinagres.


Enough about my trip, well worth the money. Thank you, Petey for inviting me!

Saturday was the big day we'd long been preparing for, the team social. Good fun, food and fellowship, great way to get to know one another better--students, mentors and families.


If you made it this far--THANK YOU for reading!!!