Gunny Hill

You just have to love a town that sends these notices to townspeople:

Gunny Hill Status Thursday, December 16th, 2010

In response to the current temperature and predicted snow, Gunny Hill was barricaded this morning to allow for safe sledding. A fire barrel with ample firewood has been placed midway on the hill for your use. Even though this roadway is closed to through traffic, residents that live on Gunny Hill will still be slowly driving in this area to get to their homes. When the snow begins to melt, the roadway will be reopened and plowed. Please be very careful and enjoy one of Glendale’s oldest traditions.

The Village of Glendale

I’m not sure where the name Gunny Hill came from — it is NOT the name of the street that is barricaded — but this hill runs right down the middle of Glendale, Ohio. Sledding on Gunny Hill was a highlight of the season…not every winter did we get enough snow to slide down this hill.

Good to know that Glendale is ready for the weather! Kids, get the wax out and prepare the runners for a great ride. And take advantage of the fire built halfway up the hill to warm up before your next downhill adventure.

Ah, memories.

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Sunday in Glendale

Sunday was another glorious day in Glendale. I just love a blue, blue sky with green, green trees. Jeanne, Kolya, Jim and I attended Christ Church Glendale that morning. This is the same church where Jim and I were married (as well as my parents!) and where Jeanne and Anna were baptized. Lots of family history here.

Jeanne and Kolya in front of Christ Church Glendale

Jeanne and Kolya in front of Christ Church Glendale


I began taking pictures of some of the stained glass windows after the service and one woman approached me to tell me that the window had recently been cleaned — apparently after QUITE a while — and they had discovered another lamb with Jesus! Made me smile.
The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd


After church was a time of fellowship and we were asked to stick around and answer questions that anyone might have. Of course we enjoyed coffee and pastries, but we couldn’t stay too long. Today was the day that Kolya would officially meet lots of family and lots of old friends. We needed to get back to finish getting Mom’s place ready for a party!
Fellowship time after church

Fellowship time after church


We don’t often return to Glendale — usually we visit with Mom on Cape Cod, given the chance — so this was a very special time of reuniting with friends that we haven’t seen for several years.
Friends and family

Friends and family


Family members wanted to see pictures of Jeanne and Kolya’s wedding so the laptop was out and running.
Viewing wedding pictures

Viewing wedding pictures


And then we all simply enjoyed each other’s company. Mom’s home has lots of spots to gather for smaller conversation groups, plus the kitchen door opens straight out to a patio where we often find a crowd!

A great way to spend our last full day in Glendale…

Saturday in Glendale

An absolutely glorious day in Glendale. We missed Jamie, the birthday boy, but knew we would see him soon.

Jim, Jeanne, Kolya and I walked down to the Village Square of Glendale. We wanted to go today because the historical museum is open for a few hours today and we wanted Kolya to learn more about the history of his American family. The museum is located in the old train station which was dedicated to the memory of my dad a few years back — he loved Glendale and worked tirelessly to maintain its historical integrity.
Dad's plaque
While out and about we ran into a friend we hadn’t seen yet on this trip — Bob Trumpy — and once he knew that Kolya was involved in construction he led us through hedges to a building that had rounded brick pillars. Bob thought these were quite unique, but Kolya smiled and said they were “normalna!”
Kolya, Jeanne, Bob
Upon our return to Mom’s, Jim and Kolya got back to work sanding and repainting some of her lawn furniture so that we’d all have places to sit at the party planned for Sunday afternoon. What had seemed like a quick job soon turned into quite an ordeal. (In fact, the final pieces were painted on Monday morning before we flew on to Maryland!)
Lawn furniture
Jim and I had an appointment with the Sisters of the Transfiguration. This Episcopal convent was begun by relatives and they are thrilled to see offspring working on the field. They are certain that missionary work is in my blood. They continue to support God’s work here each year. And we KNOW that they’re praying!
Convent
That evening we went to Biz (my sister) and Steve’s (her husband) for a cookout and a wii little bit of fun. It was quite entertaining watching Mom bowl from her wheelchair, and also watching Jeanne and Kolya go at each other with boxing gloves!!
Boxers
Not only did Kolya get some fun time with relatives, but he was able to meet an American icon…the King.
Elvis
Welcome to America, Kolya!

Friday in Glendale

Okay, I’ve taken a bit of time away from the blog (and the travel diary) to work on our newsletter and a few other time-consuming projects. But I’m ready to start again…with Friday in Glendale.

Jim and I met Michelle for lunch at Bob Evans Restaurant. Michelle has been to Ukraine a couple of times and has a huge heart for the children and also the parents of children with disabilities. She herself has two autistic sons and she understands firsthand the importance of parent-support groups. She hopes to return to Ukraine at least once a year to further encourage these parents.

Michelle needed to get back to work and we needed to head home to be sure that everyone was getting ready for the big wedding that evening. The ceremony took place in a beautiful Presbyterian church in downtown Cincinnati and the reception was just a short walk away at the Cincinnati Club.

This was definitely a wedding that I didn’t want to miss. I have known the bride since she was born. And though our families don’t see each other nearly often enough, when we DO get together we just pick up where we left off.

I’m not quite sure how to describe the wedding and reception other than to say that it was truly a celebration of love. It was so obvious that everyone there loved this young couple, and therefore everyone cared for each other. We all had our stories of our connection to the bride and/or groom. Seats at the reception were assigned and it was apparent that much thought had gone into the groupings. I felt like I had known our new acquaintances forever!

I was so pleased to see that Mom decided to wear her red sequins and chiffon dress — she looked like a million bucks and the bride and her family loved that she came. (She had threatened to not attend because she didn’t want to be a bother to anyone. Give me a break…)
Mom and Chris
Kolya and Jeanne had only been in the country for 48 hours at this point. I was impressed at their stamina — no time for jetlag. Kolya looked so sharp in his traditional Ukrainian shirt.
Alex, Kolya, Jeanne, Martha
I’ve been trying to think back and I think that this might be the first American wedding that I’ve attended since we moved here in 2001. Thanks for including us in your big day. It was more than a delight to be in attendance.

Wednesday in Glendale

An absolutely beautiful day in Glendale, a village with lots of green, green, green. Jim and I took a stroll down to the village square and back following the winding roads past homes containing so much history. Family history at that. We walked past the home where I had my first formal tea — I was aghast at the spectacle when the hostess actually dipped her fingers into the small bowl of lemon soup. Hey, we didn’t use finger bowls at home! How was I to know? I just kept remembering Mom telling me to simply follow the hostess…

We borrowed the car later in the morning to visit the new offices and warehouse for Caring Partners, International. Wow! That ministry has been so blessed…and has been such a blessing to so many. To date, UMO has worked with two medical teams that they have sent this way.

We didn’t have time to dilly-dally because today would be the day that Jeanne and Kolya would be arriving in America from Ukraine. Kolya’s first flights (from Kyiv to Germany, then to Cincinnati). We were so looking forward to seeing America through Kolya’s eyes. We knew that they would be exhausted from the trip and so we planned a simple lasagne dinner at Mom’s. One of those dishes that can hold if we didn’t make it back at a specific time.

We were a little surprised to see them come strolling down the hallway with only their carry-on bags…we were sure that they would have had to have their bags clear customs. We were picturing them dragging or pushing all of their earthly belongings in the 4 suitcases, 2 roller-boards and a couple of backpacks. Turns out that after clearing customs the bags are put back in the system and appear on the belt of a regular baggage claim site. Closer to the exit. Pretty smart, actually.

So, anyway, we shoved their belongs into Mom’s mini-van and surprised them with water and their favorite chips…salt & vinegar for Jeanne, sour cream and onion for Kolya. Neither of them seemed too hungry and I totally forgot that Kolya would have preferred sparkling water. Good grief. We were amazed at how relaxed…almost rested…they seemed.

And then we got the story.

Actually it’s a long story, so I’ll just give the “twitter: 140 character or less” version. These stinkers flew first class from Germany!! They have no idea why they were bumped up (Kolya asked Jeanne whether her parents might have done that for them. She assured him NO WAY!), but they sat in row 4. With footrests. And good food. And drinks whenever. No wonder they weren’t hungry OR thirsty!

We were glad to deliver them to Mom’s and sit down for dinner. The five of us around the table in Glendale. Who would have ever dreamt this up?

Needless to say, after emailing family in Ukraine to say that they had arrived safely, they disappeared into their room for a more-normal night’s sleep. The next day was going to be very full!!

Tuesday in Glendale

We woke up before Mom…a miracle, for sure. I guess the fact that she stayed up waiting for us to arrive last night actually had her sleep until a somewhat normal hour of the morning! As soon as we heard her television turn on, we fixed her a big mug of coffee and talked about what was happening in her life and what was happening in ours.

This day was my brother’s birthday. This is the first birthday without him. We planned to be in Glendale with Mom specifically on this date. Partially to be a distraction. Partially to be an ear to listen.

Mom has a fabulous gal who comes in each morning to check on her, make sure she has food for lunch and dinner, and basically runs errands and keeps Mom company. We were really impressed with Shelly…she never sat down!

My sister Biz called and suggested that we all go get our nails done! Talk about a distraction. And a luxury. There’s a beauty academy of some sort near Mom’s house and Biz called to make appointments. The price is particularly cheap because these are students and they actually need customers to give them real experience. Biz and I even had our hair cut. Brave, I must say.

Mom told her manicurist all kinds of stories that made me glad that I was pretty close to her. Biz was on the other side of the room so stories centering on her (not able to defend herself!) were entertaining everyone within listening range. The stories were true and I had to laugh at the looks of the other beauticians as Mom told the tales while Biz sat under a dryer! (Promised not to post the pic of Biz under the dryer!)

My manicurist was a very pleasant young lady who had been married for just a couple of years. She married a Jordanian who lives in Cincinnati and was talking about the joys and challenges of a cross-cultural marriage. (I hoped to get Jeanne in to see her before we left Glendale, but we just didn’t have time. They would have much in common.)

Jim picked Mom and me up and took us home while Biz took her own car and did some shopping for a party she was planning for Jeanne and Kolya on Sunday.

Jim then spent some time on the phone confirming plans that we had previously made to meet up with different folks while we were in the area. We had lots to do in a short amount of time — including meeting Jeanne’s and Kolya’s plane from Ukraine the next day!

An early night seemed reasonable…

From Sarasota to Glendale, Ohio

Monday, Monday. A gloriously beautiful day. Florida was beginning to turn green following the first rains in weeks. The rain was actually good news for our hosts because their livelihood is cutting grass.

We repacked our suitcases and tossed them in the back of the truck and we all went to see the equipment. I don’t think that Abe stood still for more than 30 seconds at a time! He wanted us to see everything and he also wanted to drive his own car there. (If you look closely in the center of the picture you’ll see him in his grey car just in front of the tractor.)

I was amazed at the size of the equipment used to commercially cut grass. And the variety of mowers. I guess I had just never thought too much about it. It’s good to know that the cabins are air-conditioned…and even have a seat for training new drivers. Abe likes that seat and will spend hours riding with his dad!

We were sorry to leave Florida. But we still had places to go. On the docket for this evening was FAMILY! We were flying from Tampa to Dayton, Ohio where a family friend picked us up and then delivered us to my mother’s house. (He lives just a few minutes from her home.) It was so great to see Alec and catch up with his family news. And we were so thankful that he would drive an hour just to meet our plane.

It was late by the time we arrived in Glendale (just north of Cincinnati), and I was shocked to find Mom waiting for us in the kitchen. She typically goes to bed early and gets up way before the sun. We presented her with gifts from Jamie and Dasha (long story on why she didn’t receive those packages earlier), and then we went upstairs to our room for the next week.

A quick look downstairs before hitting the sack.

Lots of memories in that house, both happy and sad. The last time we had been here was last year for my brother’s funeral…

That time of year — Day 22-25

It’s not like I didn’t have anything to post. It was just a matter of finding the time to upload the pictures and actually write a post. Soooo, here are some other signs of the times here leading up to Christmas.

Some of my all-time favorite Christmas books. With a new addition from last year: Olive, the other reindeer. You’ve got to read it!

We have two small trees that are decorated with ornaments collected over the years — some are truly priceless.

Christmas Eve traditionally has a reading of the Night Before Christmas. My grandfather read to us. When he died my dad took over the honors. Unfortunately for him, we didn’t provide grandchildren for a number of years. But Mom and Dad always had a houseful on Christmas Eve, so Dad read to neighborhood children. When Dad died, my brother took over though he was not always in town to read. The book records that several different men read it over those years, though brother Doug was the official reader. Doug died in May, so the next in line is our son Jamie. But he’s here in Kyiv with us. Hello, SKYPE! Jamie read the book on skype to the family and friends in Glendale, Ohio. We did make one change — he read BEFORE they all had dinner because it was already 1:30 a.m. here! (He then read it complete with video to his sister Anna in Nepal.)

For some strange reason, everyone slept in on Christmas morning. This is a first! Jim made a pot of coffee and I got started on the cinnamon chip scones. Mimosas. Egg nog. What a morning!

Dogs of Glendale

Just another reason why I love my little home town — the village of Glendale — just north of Cincinnati. It’s a bit like Stars Hollow, I suppose…

The Dog Depot to host Deck the Dogs 2008

Glendale, Ohio, December 9, 2008—The Dog Depot of Glendale, Ohio will host Deck the Dogs
2008, a night of holiday merriment for Glendale’s four legged friends (and their escorts). The
event will take place on Friday, December 19th, at The Glendalia Inn (4 Glendale
Village Square) next to Agricola’s gift shop.

Shops in the Glendale Village Square will be open with gifts for the pooches, and Santa and
his elves will be available for pet photos. There will also be a fashion show with dogs
modeling handmade collars by Around Hound.

Though pets are the honored guests, there is something for everyone at Deck the Dogs 2008!
Lit chimneys in the beautiful village square along with wine tasting at Piazza Discepoli will
warm all pet lovers from the inside out.

All who love their four legged friends are encouraged to dress them with holiday bling. There
will be prizes for the best decked dogs.

The event will take place rain or snow!

You know, there’s even a song called “We are the dogs that lie in the streets of Glendale.”

That time of year — Day 06

Continuing with the pictures of what makes “that time of year” so special in our flat…

I received Mary and Joseph nearly 15 years ago as a very special Christmas surprise. I had fallen in love with this duo in a small store in the village of Glendale, Ohio. I loved the simplicity. The fact that it was painted on all sides. The faces.

But I absolutely adored those adorable toes!

(Click on the picture for an enlarged version!)