Monday, July 25, 2016

2016 Week 29: Summer heat and weddings!

A week of the usual with summer heat and political tensions on the rise, bee stings, and a wedding or two.

Monday, before the meal, I walked way  back through Stephan and Karen's property and was surprised by the extent and height of their ancient woods, seemingly much older than ours.

When possible I join an exercise group that meets three times a week from 8:30 - 9:30 a.m. at the LightRider barn.
If the weather is nice we meet on the nearby pedestrian bridge.

Corpse pose (Photo credit: Jenni Webb)
One day this week, after that last restful pose, we discovered a special gift--a lovely rose, which I have enjoyed all week.

A little visitor joined me in the Wednesday afternoon. We enjoyed a non-stop sequence of activities.

Hmmm. . . where can I put this one?

Would you believe the tower is still standing days after Rebecca's visit. The sidewalk art, however, is almost gone.

We remembered our Basque girl's birthday this week, and how we celebrated her 17th here in Upland six years ago.

We attended a wedding in Ohio on Saturday--another Basque connection. We met Courtney in 2013. She had just finished high school and joined the Circle Tour at the start of an internship to study Spanish and Euskera.

In a lovely outdoor ceremony, she married a young man from our town! And her maid of honor was her good friend from Oñati, Basque land, where she has been living the past year.

The ceremony

The reception
I felt sorry for the men in the wedding party, all wearing dark suits on such a very hot day.

Later I learned that our son Sam was swealtering in a tux at another wedding as best man.
Such is the beauty and peril of an outdoor event. Thankfully, there were no storms.

Photo credit: Kristie Koch
Mike had a couple setbacks this week:
1) the leg pain returned and shows up on his bicycle rides after ten miles but on the other leg!
2) reaction to bee stings worsened and we learned that allergies develop and escalate. He'd had no problems while working with the bee hives, until a storm blew in and rattled the guard bees.

Two accomplishments for me this week:
1) finished reading Tripping "A true story of Bible smugglers and how the East German Stasi tried to stop them." I was strongly impressed with how little we know of what is going on in the spiritual realm and how very dependent we are on God's direction for every move of our daily walk amidst the landmines of the enemy.
2) enhanced and printed the 250 pages of letters I wrote to my best friend over a period of 15 years!

Mirtha had carefully preserved all my correspondence in a neat binder. As I was trying to remember and write about my growing up years in Argentina, I asked to borrow the collection. My brother and SIL were the couriers. I had promised to return it with Ivan and Kim after their few months stay in the US. Then the housefire happened!

God must have valued those letters too! Amazingly they suffered minimal damage--some burnt edges and water marks, but still mostly readable.
I had scanned the lot before sending them back to Mirtha. But only now, after five years, did I begin to go through them seriously to glean many forgotten memories.

Are you working on any fun project?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

2016 Week 28: Count your blessings

 Enjoying the lushness of summer. . .

Looking down on "the jungle" from the deck
Some samples add to the indoor decor.

Monday, surprised by the profusion of volunteer sunflowers at Dove's Crossing, Stephan and Karen's place.

Blessed to share several rides, errands, or appointments with these loved ones on different days.

Selfie by Leah

Selfie by Leah
Wednesday we were priviledged to join dear friends for their 50th anniversary celebration in Michigan. Fred was the best man at our wedding, only a week after Karen had given birth to their second daughter.

 We so enjoyed interacting with each of their children and grandchildren, and reminiscing with old ("literally" ;-) OM friends.

OM oldies                                                                       Los tres amigos
The children planned such a fun celebration. The best activity was when they were asked to move Flat Fred and Flat Karen around on the world map and tell their life story adding other little people along the way.
I don't believe I know any other couple that has lived in as many different countries as these two!

We stayed overnight at the same lodging as our dear friends the Bankers. After breakfast and much laughter and conversation, we each headed home.

We were back in time for Mike to put in a second eight hours of work on the robot this week with the team.
Friday, they left very early for the Indiana Robotics Invitational.
Saturday, after another short night, they repeated the same routine.

1720 is up next                                                                                      Talking strategy                              The protagonist: Sir Plus
So how did it go? Not so good, too many problems. Sir Plus is getting old and feeling beat up.
However, what an awesome opportunity for PhyXTGears to interact and compete with the top FIRST teams from all over the USA and Canada! Many came long distances and had to ship their equipment. For us travel time was only an hour and a half. Well, not for me, I stayed home. There was no room in the vehicle the day I could have gone. So I was glued to the computer watching our matches live, groaning when things went wrong.

Jared has been here all week, taking a course at Anderson University. Friday evening he could relax and not do homework. It was my opportunity to beat him soundly at Hand and Foot.

Brooding over his losing streak? Planning the next move? No! Checking messages.
 Today he is cooking dinner for us. Yeah!

We are very blessed in every way, eagerly anticipating the adventures that lie ahead in the new week.

Monday, July 11, 2016

2016 Week 27: Celebrating Independence

This week's pickings

The celebration began with a grand picnic/carry-in at church Sunday.

Monday, the 4th, we took a friend to the Indianapolis airport and spent a day in the city enjoying the sights and sounds.

Lucas Oil across from our hotel; Ivy Tech sign, a reminder that classes start Aug. 22; fun architectural designs

A sweet bonus was that coincidentally niece Tina and her young family were spending a few days in Indy and we got to hang out with them.

Betsy getting acquainted with la tía abuela (great aunt) 
Besides walking downtown and listening to a patriotic concert by the canal, we experienced the Rhythm Discovery Center, a fascinating percussion museum. (Take a virtual tour by clicking on the link and perusing the many images.)

Mike and I went back downtown later to see the fireworks display. We were rather disappointed. Due to weather conditions the smoke hung in the air in a growing cloud.

We caught a glimpse of Victory Field's fireworks, after their 20th anniversary sold-out game.

Tuesday, more family reunion fun--Stephan, Karen, and I spent the afternoon in Warsaw with my two younger brothers and their families--Ivan and Kim recently returned from Argentina, and nephew Jon visiting from California. 

Met great niece Adalyn and learned of her fascination with shoes.

Wednesday was a quiet day at home. Michael went in to the robotics shop nearly every day. They are getting ready for another competition next week.

I got tired of spending so many long days alone, so Friday evening I begged to go along on his regular bike ride. We ended up doing 22 miles on the tandem.

Saturday, the plan was to take Leah out to celebrate her adopted birthday, but that fell through, so I cleaned house all day.

It was also Argentina's Independence Day. I was moved listening to this very special guitar rendition of the national anthem by an 18 year-old--Himno Nacional

Sunday was a full day.  The friends visiting from Uganda shared in church and I was able to get an updated photo.

In the afternoon we went to a wedding shower for a dear young friend we met in the Basque Country three years ago. She is now marrying a young man from our town!
Courtney and Nathanael
 It was very fitting that Mike and I wear jerseys from that first Circle Tour for yet another pleasant evening ride, 20 miles this time.

My coloring page for the week also has a good message for us in these troubled times when the freedoms we celebrated even this week are being threatened.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

2016 Week 26: Mid Year

This week I spent many hours at my desk in the loft writing and rewriting some of my life stories. . . and staring at the hummingbirds that zoom in and out. One of those times I was entertained by a very confused bigger bird who kept coming back and could not figure out how this feeder worked.

Bird with identity crisis
Mondays Kayla teaches a Family Dance Time for ages 1 - 2 accompanied by one adult. Rebecca gets to participate and so far quickly picks up all the moves--a natural-born little dancer!
An added bonus is that while Kayla teaches her other classes, Rebecca has some cousin time.

Photo by Kristie Koch ‪#‎cousins‬ ‪#‎playtime‬ ‪#‎juderiver‬ ‪#‎sharing‬
The Tuggys, visiting from Uganda, were at Stephan and Karen's dinner, and I forgot to take a picture. So here is one from three years ago. Before they leave I must get an updated photo as the children have grown several inches.

Nikki was in Leah's high school class and John was at Taylor U when Stephan was there.

On the drive there and back I read to Mike. We just started a new book, Tripping.
The sunset was so beautiful on the way home.

The clouds as we neared home
Daisies are profuse now, a whole field of them growing behind the tree sculpture.

Wild black raspberries are also thick. I picked a cottage-cheese container-full Tuesday while Mike was at robotics. In the process I discovered new paths he opened up and more berry-picking areas.

So many trees have fallen through the years and seasons. When I came across these branches of a dead tree, I was reminded of the sculptor who creates huge installations out of sticks--Bending Sticks. As the wife and mother of sculptors, I was fascinated when I saw this video of an artist using a very different medium.

Wednesday, grandson Malachi came to borrow camping equipment for a trip with friends to the  Audio Feed Festival.

 Elijah, in the background, wanted to go but he had his own getaway last week at Miracle Camp.

The robotics friends planned a surprise birthday party for John and asked to host it at our place.

Happy 16th, John!

At last the lilies by the mailbox opened up!

Friday, while in Hartford City, I checked out how the pieces delivered last week were displayed at the Frolicking Roots. Can you find them?

Michael had a meeting with Andy Mark Inc in Kokomo to present two robot parts the team has been working on for some time, from design to completed sample product.Andy Mark Inc sells robot components to FIRST teams and they could see the potential of marketing these next year.

Saturday was I forgot day. So I'll just skip over that lazy day.

How are you spending this 4th of July weekend?
Come back next week to hear about ours.