Sunday, June 26, 2016

2016 Week 25: This is the life!

P.S. to Week 24:
When I signed off a week ago I was about to go to a wedding.
I arrived 10 or 15 minutes early just as the bride was trying to sneak in unnoticed.

"Just get me to the church on time. . ."
The lovely Mary Katherine was one of Mike's most advanced pottery students some years ago when she was in high school. He would have loved to witness this beautiful event, but instead was in Ohio at a robotics competition, being celebrated with the Mentor of the Year Award!

You can read the essay his students wrote that won him this notable recognition: CORI Invitational Robotics Competition

Week 25:
Sunday Michael welcomed two little guys who were going to spend a couple days with us while dad and mom went on an anniversary getaway.
When I came back from Sunday School I found this beautiful bouquet on the table. My photo does not do it justice.

 Zion and grandpa were playing backgammon. Jude wanted me to read his favorite books immediately! We kept busy both days. I managed a few photos to help remember some of the activities, but there were many more memory-making moments (even if I forget what they were ;-).

Looking up at the seat where grandpa waits for the deer during hunting season

Monday morning: drawing, climbing, watching grandma water the plants, before breakfast
(Note: Jude wanted to have one pencil ready behind his ear.)
Grandpa made his special GF pancakes and the boys stayed in their pajamas all morning until noon, when we went to the new Chick-fil-A Express in Taylor's new student center.

Mid afternoon I took the boys to play with Rebecca in her big new yard.
Kayla is enjoying the surprise of beautiful flowers she did not have to plant.

Kayla and I took the young'uns to the Gas City park where they fed the animals and tried out every challenge on the playground.

Michael makes good use of the good weather and whatever time is available to do house maintenance. . .

Caught caulking
. . .checking the bees. . .

. . .mowing and much more. However, all that is secondary to robotics.

I try to use the gift of time wisely, becoming more and more intentional about writing our life stories.
My writer friends that I meet with every Friday are a great help, as is my neighbor-friend, Petey.

Mike discovered a patch of ripe wild black raspberries in our woods, so we had a berry-picking date this afternoon!

I need to wrap this up because the Argentina/Chile game is on--the finals of the Copa América Centenario!!! Go Messi!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

2016 Week 24: Quiet or Lazy?

Somehow the week felt unproductive. Maybe not. You decide.

Cherished flowers of the week
A big surprise Sunday morning when we arrived at church: Josu, a friend from the Basque Country had come to attend the wedding of his American brother. We got to meet his girlfriend, Laura!

We were invited to join the Basque friends, former host families, at a lunch where Josu caught us up on his life and their plans.

We had one last robotics-graduate open-house in the afternoon, and enjoyed a delightful tandem ride in the evening.

Looks like I had DMD (decision-making-disorder)! Which would you choose?

Monday night Stephan filled us in on his intense week at Advanced Timber Framing workshop--hard work and difficult math.

It was a quiet week for me, with no appointments, only the usual daily exercise opportunities and writing goals.

Michael, on the other hand, seems to maintain a very full schedule, moving forward on several fronts, and always finding time for a bike ride.

Friday was the opening of the Farmers' Market, always a fun event.

And look who I met there wearing her new sun hat and holding a new toy!

Kayla posted this photo of Rebecca with her favorite purchase from the yard sale--a little wagon to pull all her stuffed animals.

 Today, Saturday, Mike and the team are in Ohio. I am watching the competition intently online, and trying to be productive at the same time, as in writing this blog.

The invitation and the "Squaring-off" photo Mike posted on Facebook
Just now, despite my screams (and prayers), PhyXTGears lost the semi-final tiebreaker and will not go on to finals.

Some other multitasking I do: knit while we watch TV in the evening; listen to audio books or podcasts as I do mindless tasks like weeding, cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc.; and coloring during Win's music show.

And, now I must get ready to go to a wedding, and spend the rest of the evening, late night, waiting for Michael to get back from Ohio.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

2016 Week 23: Summer Joys

So, I've succumbed to the adult coloring trend! Yes, I whiled away an hour while listening to former colleague Win Corduan's gig on (Thursdays 9-10 pm).

Last weekend we attended several graduation open houses. One home was in a park-like setting. A friend and I walked the grounds admiring the beauty of the landscape. We were curious about this lovely plant. What is it?

 Monday morning this sleeping beauty was dropped off  while mom went to her first summer dance classes.

After her long nap, Rebecca made up for lost time and made sure I got plenty of exercise.

We had a nice group at Monday dinner, great food, and lots of fun sharing stories.
On the way home, this time of year, we enjoy gorgeous sunsets.

 Messi Elijah spent three days with us to attend the Fun in the Sun program at our church.
One evening he played ping pong with Grandpa and Tuesday, when Mike was at robotics, he and I played Hand and Foot and ate thin mints!

Michael lives a very full life. He is still working on the design for the new space the PhyXTGears team hopes to move to late summer. There are always the regular chores: mowing; feeding the birds; checking on the bees; trying to catch the coons that visit and vandalize almost every night. (Notice the $1 contraption to coon-proof the bird feeders.)

Even so, he is never too busy to enjoy a bicycle ride. The longest so far was almost 40 miles.

This was an intense week for Matt and Kayla both working and settling into their new home.

We went over Friday evening to celebrate Matt's birthday and by then they had made unbelievable progress.

We remembered that exactly five years ago was the day of our house-fire which totally preempted Matt's birthday celebration.

Today, Saturday, was the Upland Strawberry Festival. I volunteered for a couple hours in the strawberry shortcake line, responsible for serving the unsweetened/natural/no sugar/healthy berries. Try as I may, using every possible sales pitch, most customers preferred the sweetened ones.

Look who showed up for a strawberry dessert! But, alas, they too, chose the sweetened variety. (sigh)

We had a beautiful sunny day for this popular community event, enjoyed meeting and talking to many friends and acquaintances, and listened to great music.

Monday, June 6, 2016

2016 Week 22: Memorable events!

Sunday was the 100th running of the Indy 500, a sold-out event, with a memorable finish, televised live! Mike and Stephan followed it with interest. Karen and I off and on.

That evening Matt and Kayla moved in here temporarily. They had worked so hard to vacate and clean the rental they had been in for several months. After Rebecca was asleep for the night, Kayla went back to finish cleaning.

Memorial Day, Matt was up and off to work at 3:30 a.m.! As a millwright he often has to work holidays to repair machinery when not in use.
I picked up Diane and we stopped by the cemetary. She had forgotten about her grave marker already set up next to her mother's. I was surprised to realize that Mother Doese has been gone 12 years already and in August she would have been 100!

 Later, most others came over for a cookout and family fun.

This week I enjoyed many sweet abuela moments. Yes, we're trying to have Rebecca call me grandma in Spanish. There have been times when we thought she said abuela.

Yoga with Mama

We watched the birds, and the antics of other creatures attempting to eat the bird seed. At night we could hear the ruckus of coons and sometimes see them attacking the feeders. Then we'd send Lily, Kayla's dog, out to chase them. However, when she saw a deer for the first time, she just stared.

A couple of evenings, after a more normal work schedule for Matt, we enjoyed playing Hand & Foot.
I had my worst luck ever when I got caught with FOUR red 3's (-500 each) amid the stack that already counted against me.

When they first came, Matt and Kayla, did not know how long they'd have to wait to be able to close on the house. What had seemed like a setback, even a probable roadblock, worked toward their advantage in the end. Friday was closing day!

Then the work began! They painted the walls in two days and moved in today, Sunday! Tomorrow they both go back to work.

Michael has been intensely focused on designing the new home for the robotics team--8,000 square feet in the GearBox. The sooner they determine the layout, the sooner the space will be built and ready for them to move in.
But, of course, that was not his only occupation. He finished making a house for bees to move into as they multiply.

We have also attended many open houses for graduates from our church community or the robotics team.