Let Joy Be Unconfined!

I love this phrase, even though I also realize it is from Lord Byron’s poem On The Eve of Waterloo.


(And the grandfather of Andy’s great grandfather who had the steamboat I will mention later fought at Waterloo as an adjutant in the King’s German Legion. Just a bit of trivia for you.)

But I digress…..We all had a reason yesterday to let joy be unconfined. It was a triumph, a success after four years of work.

My dear son Andy who is so fascinated by the working of steam engines, and bought his first boiler four years ago, and his second three years ago and has been building from scratch a steam launch, had his first trial in the waters of Wingfoot Lake, yesterday. It was a success. There is a bit of work to do with the timing belt to get the possibility of better speed, but IT  WAS A SUCCESS!


Don’t worry, he and his second in command, Istvan, both wore life jackets as the boat moved away from the dock. The only others present were Dan Harrison, the machinist from Copley who worked on some of the end of the drive train (I think I am getting this right) and Andy’s brother-in-law Ingmar who took lots of  photographs and a video. Istvan also took photos.

Wingfoot Lake, by the way, is now a State Park, but began as part of the Goodyeat Corporation’s base of air operations and later as a recreation area for its employees.  ( https://www.facebook.com/notes/ohio-state-parks/wingfoot-lake-from-research-to-recreation/10150222477125184/)  Think of the Goodyear Logo if you want to understand the name of the lake…..    You can see the hangar in the background and they actually saw a blimp while doing this trial….Andy also said some people stopped their cars by the road and were watching them……

(By the way, though at the moment the Nyitra reminds one a bit of Huck Finn’s raft, it does have sides which will be  put on when the painting is finished….)



Andy has worked so hard on this project, with lots of help from Istvan, for so long but was still worried about all the things that might have gone wrong despite all his mental and physical work on the project, that he kept the location a secret from all but a few people.


The inspiration for using steam this way and the name of the boat comes from a few pre-WWI photos of Andy’s great grandfather’s steam boat which carried sugar beets from his estate near Gyor to the sugar factory in Acs.


We are all so happy with this successful maiden voyage! If you want to see a video of the beginning of the launch, here is a link:







It is always fun to listen to the imaginative play of children! Especially, perhaps, children who are readers. All my grandchildren are readers except Stephen who can’t really read yet, but loves to peruse Lego catalogues at length!

Most Friday nights Emily and my granddaughters come over for dinner and card games or other play. Last Friday was no exception. And after dinner while Emily and I were playing my mother in law’s favorite game of Chicaneuse, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Bank ),  Sofia worked on a floor map of the United States and Clara sat backwards on the recliner and put a finger puppet on each finger to put on a play for us.


Almost more fun than the play was her introduction of the characters. There was a good cow and a good bear, a bad rat and a “tricky frog”. We were also bemused but charmed by “a barking anxious dog”. and a “troubled duck”. Inquiries as to why the duck was troubled were not really answered as just then the recliner slowly fell to the floor and we had to rescue the untroubled Clara. The play went on. The puzzle was worked out even though Ohio disappeared for a time.

The troubled duck also vanished a few times into the cracks of the recliner. But she was always retrieved unharmed.

I love these Friday evenings!


The day before yesterday was a completely satisfying day as far as the weather was concerned. We had low humidity and the mildest temperatures with blue skies and lots of sunshine. It was ever happier by being the day of the family celebration of Sofia’s ninth birthday. She had her family celebration on the Thursday before, at breakfast according to German customs. Sunday’s celebration included lots of family and some special friends.


The above is the morning celebration and below is Sunday’s party.


You are only seeing the Black Forest Torte above. but Ingmar baked six cakes for Sofia! Not the same six that Clara had for her birthday, though each had the Black Forest torte and each had two Swiss Rolls, one with raspberry cream filling and the other with blueberry….A few hours after the cakes we had dinner for those still there. A very happy time for all!

P.S.  Remember the delay at the beginning of Alice’s family’s trip to Europe when her children were sleeping on their suitcases in the Newark Airport at 2:00a.m.? And they lost a whole day of their time in Budapest because of the delay? Well, British  Airways has refunded them 75% of their airfare which really is an unexpected blessing!

Sweet September

Today was a rather perfect day. Not muggy and temperatures in the mid-70s. A great day for a birthday party for Sofia who is now nine years old. Very hard to believe. But it is true. She was born a few weeks before her grandfather left this life, and was driven four hours from Pennsylvania so she could rest in his arms while he was still living. Just a tiny baby and now such a joyful happy third-grader.





This is the 15th anniversary of 9/11 and everyone who lived through all of that is remembering that heartbreaking day. A scout in Nathan’s troop earned his Eagle Scout Rank   ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_Scout_(Boy_Scouts_of_America ) and had gotten a new flag pole for Bath Church. The old one had rusted and one day fallen over. The new one was dedicated today and the dedication was partially a memorial service for 9/11.

I am thinking how united this country seemed at that time and how divided we seem now and hoping that this will change in the time ahead.

There is not a lot to report. Andy continues to work on his steamboat Nyitra and is getting ready for two weeks in Europe in early October. He flies into Munich (with a plane change in Istanbul!) and will be nearly a week in Germany and then stay with his Aunt Isa in Budapest, the one who just celebrated her 90th birthday.

Perhaps the funniest story since school began is the one about Stephen showing Alice his first kindergarten paper. He had to draw things that were the same in the same color. He proudly showed his Mom his work and then frowned as he pointed to a star at the top of the paper. “I didn’t draw that. I don’t know who did it.” So Alice had to explain what a star on top of ones paper means.


And so far, it isn’t showing my newest post, though they say it is published. If you search for “weddings” it should come up for you. So sorry.

Emily said this was the first year she was able to say goodbye to her girls on the first day of school without crying……

Sofia august 2016 first day of 2nd and third grade

They are beginning second and third grades and both are very happy about the teachers they will have.

Sofia august 2016 with ingmar and clara first day of school 2nd and 3rd grade

Here they are with their Dad at the end of the drive, waiting for the bus.

Meanwhile, Alice and her family have left their all too short visit to Budapest. First they had the fun of a night train to Munich, that’s 424.8 miles.

Alice august 2016 mike and nathan night train to munich pic

alice august 2016 boys night train to munich

alice august 2016 night train nathan can read anywhere

And then they spent some time with cousins Christof and Sabrina and their twins in Heidenheim.

alice august 2016 heidenheim cookout

A cookout!

alice august 2016 heidenheim nathan enjoying christofs grillingalice august 2016 heidenheim stevie has fun

alice august 2016 heidenheim mike and christoph

Sabrina has a good sense of humor, doesn’t she!

And then after the short stay in Heidenheim, on to Ravensburg (actually mostly Hinzestobl, a small settlement above Ravensburg) with Alice’s Aunt Christa and Uncle Joshi. They are wonderful hosts and especially good at playing games with their guests. Ursula and Christian’s wedding will be first at the registry and then at a church in Ravensburg. And then Alice and her family will come home on Saturday. How we have missed them. But how happy we all are that they had this wonderful opportunity to travel and spend special time with family.

alice august 2016 ravensburg sign on joshi's door

alice august 2016 ravensburg board games

alice august 2016 ravensburg legos at joshis

alice august 2016 ravensburg inside the toy museum

Joshi took them to visit the toy factory in Ravensburg. What fun!



Alice and her family are still in Budapest, as well as her cousin Christoph from Heidenheim and his family – his wife Sabrina and their darling two year old twins, Johannes and Francesca. The 90th birthday party for my sister-in-law Isa has taken place and there is a lot of sightseeing going on, and time spent in playgrounds. We are really missing Alice here in Ohio. Sometime soon they will all be going to Germany for her cousin Ursula’s wedding which will have events taking place over a few days and on the 27th Alice and her crew will fly back to the states. I hope the return journey goes smoothly and the 8 hours drive back from New Jersey is not too tiring!

Here are some of my favorite photos from the many I’ve seen of the trip.

alice august 2016 Isa at her birthday party with Al

The photo above is my very favorite. I think it was a very happy party for everyone!

Here is a link to a post from the past which has a photo of Isa in the 1920s with her younger brother:  https://thickethouse.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/nostalgia-forgive-the-short-sermon/

alice august 2016 sabrina photo of herself and christoph johannes and franceska

Christoph, Sabrina and family on a hill in Buda.

alice august 2016 gellert inside

One day Alice’s family spent swimming at the famous Hotel Gellert pools.

Alice august 2016 two boys at the gellertalice august 2016 sabrinas photo of halas bastya

A view of the lovely Halaszbastya (forgive my lack of accents) on Castle Hill which you may read more about here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisherman%27s_Bastion

Alice august 2016 stevie standing where the archers stood

Stephen was very excited to be where he believed the archers stood.

alice august 2016 sabrinas photo of christof and kids at the trains

They found a museum of the history of trains in Hungary which the kids especially enjoyed.

Alice august 2016 the cake from Isa's birthday!

Oh, I haven’t shown you Isa’s wonderful birthday cake, have I. Here it is. Too bad I can’t share a piece with you!

alice august 2016 sabrinas photo of the whole group possibly on szent janos hegy or somewhere

Let me end with a picture of the whole crew on a bench near Isa’s apartment….I’m so delighted that they got to have this time together!