Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dear Family,
Maytag Repairman –“The dryer isn’t turning and I need to get the laundry done.” cried Mom. Dad to the rescue! Thanks to Heavenly Father, Dad was able to disassemble the Maytag gas dryer, diagnose the problem - a worn out and broken belt; arrive at the appliance store just before it closed; purchase a new belt that luckily they had in stock and installed it –all within a couple of hours. Mom was a happy customer.  Success!

Happy Independence Day
Happy Independence Day-Mom and Dad joined the ward for a pancake breakfast and later were joined by Grandma Sparks, the Hui’s and the Lakner’s to celebrate the 236th birthday of the USA with a grilled steak dinner. It was great to catch up on what is going with Hui’s, to get to know Lakner’s better, and to share what the Corless Clan has been up to. Mom & Dad hope everyone had a good time celebrating Independence Day, and take the opportunity to contemplate how much it means to live in a nation whose law values the freedom to choose for oneself what to believe in and how live.

Safely Returned – Mom & Dad are grateful to have the Kulka Krew and Ryan & Maureen and their crew safely return from their visit with the Clark Family in Tennessee. Like here, it was very hot and humid there, which was great for all the water sports they were “deeply” involved in. Everyone enjoyed seeing the photos and videos of the fun and frolics of being in the water with a big family full of cousins and siblings. Maureen thoroughly enjoyed visiting her brothers and sisters, parents, nephews, nieces, and in-laws . . . . It was great to go, great to be there and great to be back home.  At least, we are very happy to have them all back.

Beating the heat – Dad has been biking early in the morning to avoid the 90o+ heat and humidity of the last several days, and using the elliptical machine on the rainy days to burn off the accumulated fat from all the celebrating and associated overeating.  Mom & Dad were cool as they watched “Spiderman” in the comfortable, air conditioned AMC 30.

Summertime Backyard
In the Pink- Inspite of the exhausting hot weather, the constant watering has all the flowers around the house looking good. The flowers, which are pink, have really brightened Mom’s days.  Thankfully, the rain has turned our mud hole back to a pond for the frogs, turtles and ducks to enjoy.  They received their renewed habitat and for us it is a much improved view.

Love y’all, Mom & Dad

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dear Family,
Artified – Mom & Dad found an open day and went to see the special “Five Spanish Masterpieces” exhibit from the all time top five Spanish artists: Goya, Velasquez, El Greco, Picasso, and Dali. Mom & Dad both like Goya the best. They also saw a less inspiring black & white photo exhibit from Patti Smith, a hippy with a Polaroid 250 camera.

Figure 1  Mom with an Ancient Masterpiece
Cool Movies – To beat the 90+ heat this week, Mom & Dad watched most of the World War II “Band of Brothers” series on DVD with Ryan. At AMC 30, they watched “Hunger Games” a futuristic government- run-amok movi,e and “Brave” a cute, animated, I-want-to-be-me, movie - All in air conditioned comfort, for which we are all very grateful.

Work & Work out-Early, in the cool of the morning, Dad has been getting his exercise by biking from home to and along the shady Clinton River Trail and back. Saturday morning, he and Vanessa biked on the trail together for a daddy daughter time. He also has finished the painful “Backteria and Kneemonia” front walkway portion of the paver stone leveling project.

Eagle Scout –Having successfully completed his 6/12/12 Eagle Board of Review, Nathan joins the Corless Clan Eagle Nest with Papa, Daniel, Ryan, David, Michael, and Tyler. Congratulations Nathan! We are all proud of your accomplishment. Go Nathan!

Fun Friday-Mom & Dad drove Ryan to the Bishop Airport in Flint, to catch a flight to Atlanta – first leg of a journey to get to Knoxville, and join his family that have been with the Clark’s (Maureen’s family) for the last week. Mom & Dad took Ryan’s car and went a little further North to Birch Run, to do a little shopping at the Corningware store and to have lunch at Victor & Merek’s. Dad enjoyed driving Ryan’s 2.0L Intercooler Turbo/6 speed manual Buick Regal.

Baseball Champs- Joshua Kulka was on fire Saturday with his defensive play and hitting a double, a triple and a home run in his team’s victory to win the Little League World Series. Go Joshua!!

Kulka Klan Kamp Over-Samantha enjoyed her Girl’s camp this year and got one night in her own bed before the whole Kulka Krew camped out at Papa & Nona’s for the weekend. Saturday night was a Jet’s Pizza Party to celebrate Independence Day and Josh’s Baseball Championship.

Love y’all, Mom & Dad

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dear Family,
Beautify – Dad has been pruning and cleaning up around the yard in the mornings. Mom & Dad purchased, placed and planted the annual array of pink flowers around the house to beautify their small part of the earth. New planters that straddle the deck railing actually look quite nice, and have more room for the flowers to grow. Mom is so happy to see the flowers!

40th – Jim has successfully passed into the next decade of his earthy existence. Only Papa and Nona are older than Jim. (That’s ok, Jim you don’t look that old).  He has enjoyed teaching Seminary this year and is happy for the summer break. Saturday evening was the party with the family – all sorts of favorite eats; Jim game with 40 prepared questions; and a game of Scattergories that Jim won. Congratulations (Parabens). You are awesome, Jim. 

Jim's 40th Birthday
Kulka Kids Kamp Over – Thursday night, the Kulka kids came over to stay the night with Papa and Nona. We watched “Madagascar3” at AMC 30 with Samantha, Joshua and Olivia. Later Papa picked up Tyler from football training and prepared ice packs for his sore and swollen ankle. Papa made a campfire to roast marshmallows for s’mores. Josh and Olivia enjoyed the fire with Papa and they saw fireflies blinking on and off in the back yard.  In the morning, Papa made a waffle with strawberries breakfast to tickle their taste buds and supply energy for the day’s activities.
Father's Day Celebrators
Zoo Buddies at Arctic Ring of Life

Father’s Day – After church, a Lasagna dinner and party was held at Papa and Nona’s to honor the Fathers. Thanks for the calls and gifts

Zoo-ers- Papa’s day at the zoo was attended by Samantha, Joshua, Preston, Olivia, Jacob and Sophia. Thanks to Sam for making the lunches. They all had a great time together walking around, getting an “Edzoocation” (Heavenly Fathers creatures are indeed wondrous) and riding on the new carousel and a Happy Feet Wild Ride on a very warm day. What a joy!  Nona didn’t get to go because the TV was not working and after hours of dealing with someone from “ATT India” on the phone the day before, they decided to send a repair man, sometime between 8-12, Friday morning.  She felt OK staying home since Tyler’s ankle was not ready for the trip to the zoo and she got to spend some precious time one-on-one with him.  After the repair man left they went for a late lunch at Uno’s.  Nona sure loves Tyler!

More Zoo Photos at:
Zoo Buddies with the bronze Tiger
Zoo Buddies
Love y’all, Mom & Dad

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dear Family,
Depesticated – Michael, the son and
salesman, arranged for, Dan, the Terminex
technician, to apply anti-bug juice and
mouse traps at all the strategic locations to
assure that our home is and will be pest free.

Uncold-Everyone is glad that Mom is
feeling much better from the cold symptoms
she had been suffering through the week.
And the weather certainly warmed up from
the cool 70’s into the 90’s this week.

Home Sweet Home Repairs-Grandma
Nilace, with Dad’s help, replaced the old
leaking dishwasher with a brand new one.
Meanwhile one of her tree branches decided
to split from the trunk and lean onto the roof
of her house. Dad, armed with a pruner, was
joined by her landscaper with a chain saw
and together they made short work of
removing it from the roof and reducing it to
a pile of small branches. In addition, Dad
installed her bird feeder pole in the backyard
and hung a mirror in the second bedroom.
Dad, during the cool of the morning, pruned
some bushes in the back and fertilized the
flowers around the house in an effort to put
a small dent in the never ending to do list.
Next week we hope to plant flowers to add
color and spruce up the home a little more.

Anxiously Engaged-This week’s evenings
were packed with opportunities to serve:
Tuesday-Temple; Wednesday- two Eagle
Board of Reviews; Thursday-High Priest
Group Leadership and a Priesthood
Leadership Meeting; and Friday-ARP
meeting. Six of eight boys in our troop
working on Eagle Scout are now Eagle
Scouts with the remaining two boys
scheduled for their boards of review this
week. Congratulations!

Fitness- After being away from home so
long both Mom and Dad are trying to
recover a healthier life style of eating less
and exercising more. Dad dusted off his bike
and pedaled on the Clinton River Trail a few
times. Saturday morning, Dad picked up
Vanessa & bike and they rode the Trail
together. Good News! -Dad got a clean bill
of health from his Ear Nose and Throat
Doctor, so he is starting to taper off the acid
reduction medicine. If all goes well he will
be completely off the medication in 6 weeks.
Happy Birthday to You !

Reconnecting-Dad took Sam to her soccer
game at Delia Park. Nona took her to lunch
and then met Papa to see “Men in Black 3”.
Taking Sam home was a great opportunity
to visit Jim & Vanessa and Ryan & Maureen
and their tribes. It was good to hear from,
Michael, Lara, Rachel and Grandpa Ross as
well this week. Everyone is doing as well as
expected. Preston’s 10th birthday party
afforded an opportunity for another family
gathering on Sunday evening. Grandma
Sparks wasn’t feeling well so she didn’t go.
Preston choose cold cereal as his Birthday
dinner. Happy Birthday again to Preston!
Clan at Preston's 10th Birthday Party
Love y’all, Mom & Dad

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Corless Clan Connection - Sterling Heights, Michigan - 25 March 2012

Dear family,
Chicago - Wednesday, was filled with another successful round trip to the Brazilian Consulate, which yielded all eigh visas required for the Corless/Kulka Clan pilgrimage to the other side of equator, in the Brazilian deep south.  On the other hand, Mom’s continuing saga to reacquire her Brazilian citizenship was littered with a few more frustrating complications, which left Mom disheartened.
The Henry Ford - Thursday, Mom & Dad and Ryan & Maureen hosted a 14 person tour to the Henry Ford Museum and Rouge Factory for Jon (Maureen’s brother) & Jen Clark with their four children, who are visiting from Tennessee. It has been a great joy for all of us to have them here. 
Corless and Clark clans at The Henry Ford
Corless' at Henry Ford Museum
Jacob’s 8th - Saturday afternoon, the Corless, Clark and Kulka clans and guests arrived at the church for the baptism, but the font had not been filled. However, we instituted a fast fill process i.e. we all pitched in with a water brigade from the restrooms and kitchen, and saved the day. Even though the water was cold, the program, including a beautiful song by little Sophia, was a complete success, and Jacob was baptized and confirmed by his father. Counting aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, there were 19 relatives in attendance at Jacob’s special day of covenants, ordinances and celebrations.  Go Jacob!
Clark, Corless and Kulka Clans at Jacob's Baptism

Spring has sprung - The weather has been so warm and sunny for so long that the trees already have budded and flowered. It is beautiful to see! Dad has taken advantage of the nice weather and went biking on the Clinton River Trail twice this week.
Love y’all,
Mom & Dad 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Corless Clan Connection - Sterling Heights, Michigan - 18 March 2012

Dear family,
Passports and Visas - Monday was passport day in downtown Detroit for the “Kulka Krew”. Tyler was taken back with all the high security level, including an airport style X-ray and metal detector. However, all the people were friendly and very helpful and the process went smoothly. We also drove there to take the kids back to school when they had done “their part”, while Jim and Vanessa were still finishing the application requirements. Mom received her renewed passport on Tuesday and Jim picked up their passports on Wednesday. By no small miracle all the Visa application documents were ready on Thursday evening.
Visa Applications - Friday morning, Mom & Dad got up at three in the morning, left at 4 am, drove for 5 hours and arrived at the Brazilian Consulate in Chicago in time to apply for the eight tourist visas. The lady that accepted and processed the applications was, amazingly, from Mom’s home town and knew Mom’s father. She credited Dr. Gatti, for saving her mother’s life. Mom was overcome by emotion, specially when the the lady told her she looked like her father. No one can tell us this is not an example of Vo Gatti’ and Vo Ita’s heavenly inspired desire to firmly connect their children and children’s children together. “Divine signatures” everywhere.
Brazilian Citizenship  - Mom told the lady at the consulate how she hated to have to apply for a visa because she had given up her  Brazilian citizenship in 1988 to become a US citizen. The lady indicated she could now reacquire her citizenship by submitting a few documents.  By so doing she could register all of her children as Brazilian citizens and subsequently all of her grandchildren can be registered as Brazilian citizens too. This was sweet music to Mom’s ears, so Wednesday when they return to Chicago to pickup the visas she plans to submit her application to reacquire her citizenship.  She still only half believes it, though, since as she puts it “ I’ve walked this way before...”
Fixit Frolics - Dad and Ryan were at it again Saturday morning. Ryan had plastered and painted the basement wall where the wall crack had been repaired and he and Dad replaced the paneling thus completing the job and returning the wall to mint condition. They also repaired a kitchen cabinet shelf that had fallen down and Dad cleaned out a slow drain in the basement bathroom. Dad found that Grandma’s MKZ had a dead battery, but the Jeep and a set of battery cables was able to get it running in short order.
Ward Conference - Mom & Dad  spoke for 5 minutes plus showed two videos in their respective meetings during ward conference. It was a big hassle getting the DVDs to work in the players at church, but with persistence and the Lord’s help (they took the kitchen TV), it all worked out and the presentations went well.  They are grateful!

Love y’all,
Mom & Dad 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dear family,
Brazil or Bust - Jim & Vanessa are doing everything they can to take their family to Rio Grande to meet all the Brazilian side of the family for a couple of weeks, while Mom & Dad will be there for 7 weeks. It is amazing, and a wonderful thing for Mom to see such love between each side of the family, and the effort to span the huge geographical gap between them. VoIta and Vo Gatti surely are smiling and doing whatever they can from the other side of the veil, to make this family connection. Needless to say the excitement is at fever pitch on both sides of the equator. 

Service - Doing what the capabilities allow  this week, included Temple worker on Tuesday, Scout Board of Review on Wednesday, ARP and Support group meeting leading on Friday, and Ward building cleaning, on Saturday. It is a joy to do the Lord’s work whenever and however it can be done.
Sinus Painus Dripicus - Buy stock in Kleenex.  Dad got over a sinus congestion and runny nose and Mom suffered with it through the week and is getting over it and Dad is now, suffering through a second bout of the same thing. Of course, the blustery Michigan March weather bouncing between the 20’s and 60’s is not helping. However, it give little time for Mom & Dad to watch 
“Courageous” a powerful video about fatherhood. 
Love y’all,
Mom & Dad