Thursday, May 24, 2012

Never a dull moment

Firetrucks in the 'hood
Life is not dull!  And it's only Thursday...

The craziness started Sunday evening when Mike & I returned from a neighborhood bike ride to find flames shooting out of a huge tree in my neighbor's back yard.

After a quick 9-1-1 call, the local fire department came racing into the neighborhood.  Nothing like a few fire trucks, an ambulance, a pumper truck and the fire chief's truck to bring out all the neighbors on a lazy Sunday evening.

Keeping a distance

Tree house also on fire

All that's left of the tree house

Before the firemen finished their work, my neighbor arrived on his motorcycle.  I saw him walking with the fire chief into the backyard to survey the damage.  He phoned me later to thank me for calling the fire department.  He said he had lit a small fire earlier in the afternoon, and when he left the house, the fire was smoldering and almost out.  Sounds harmless unless you consider in the 20-30 mph winds...Mike and I later talked about all the Smokey Bear messages, and we both shook our heads ...

GOOD NEWS IS...The Ankeny Fire Department responded quickly and soon had the situation under control. No one was hurt.  My back garage and woods were not damaged!

After such an auspicious start to the week, I went into Monday dreading my 6 month mammogram.

GOOD NEWS IS...I'm pleased to say that I'm now 2 years cancer free!  YEAH!  Talk about immense relief!

As I met with the oncologist later Monday morning, he asked if I was having any side effects from the drug called arimidex(estrogen killing drug you take for 5 years after breast cancer).   In my typical fashion, I asked him a question about what the side effects were.  When he mentioned joint pain, I spoke up and described some of the hip pain I've been having.

Note to self:  Be careful of what you say to your oncologist!  Next thing I know I was scheduled for a bone scan on Wed. morning.

The bone scan procedure was painless.  They inject you with some nuclear stuff which settles into your body over a 3 hour period.  Later later they slide you into a large donut-shaped machine that takes pictures of your entire skeleton.

Second note to self:   be selective what you read online about a medical procedure.  I was a wreck between Monday and today when I learned how a bone scan can indicate the spread of cancer.     

GOOD NEWS bone scan was completely normal!  YEAH!  Talk about immense relief!  I am now breathing again!

As if a fire, a mammogram and a bone scan wasn't enough...

the painter is here this week

the new refrigerator was delivered yesterday

our house went on the market today

and we booked a trip to Ireland in the Fall!

And who ever said life was dull????


Saturday, May 19, 2012

A day with the camera

Yesterday I decided to have some fun with my camera.  Here are a few things that caught my fancy.

Light and dark

Light on green

Light on concrete

Light on wall

Light on grass

Gilbert reflected
Wendy on the edge
Iron maiden relaxing
Metal beehive?
Finally, taking a break...
Smelling the hostas
Lilies in bloom

White Hearts
Pretty in blue

I enjoyed my day with the camera.  Could be habit forming...


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Outdoors in May

Re-purposed chair

I never really noticed or enjoyed early May until I retired!  Now I am outside every waking moment...even writing this post from my front porch.

Last week we were at Mike's house, and I was busy planting flowers-one of my favorite spring activities.  I re-purposed an old patio chair that we found a couple of years ago. I removed the broken seat and found a flower pot that fit perfectly.  A few geraniums, sweet potato vines and voila!
Small rose garden

Some pink petunias also found their way onto the back deck...

If you look closely at the petunias, you will notice a small black tube on the right side. This is the great irrigation system that Mike set up for my flowers.  He tied this into the yard irrigation system, and it works great when we are away for weeks at a time!

Mike and I had a great Mother's Day weekend in Brown County, Indiana with my mom, sister Pam and brother-in-law George.  We stayed in Bean Blossom at a great little cabin where we spent most of our time relaxing on the porch, cooking great meals and playing horseshoes.  We also had a good visit with my sister Judy and brother-in-law Ron who stopped by for several hours on Saturday.  The only problem with the weekend is that it went by way too fast!

Bittersweet Cabin
George and Mom


Mom playing horseshoes...note the horseshoe in upper right corner of picture.
Mom and I enjoyed this wonderful porch swing

Mike and George

Got milk?  Not without pie...

We headed back to my house for the much awaited installation of the kitchen granite counter top and tile back splash.  It has been an interesting journey watching the process from demolition to installation... so far we like what we see!

Putting granite in place

New sink

It's coming together!

Sunny 70-degree days have been calling me this week, and I've answered the call by weeding flower beds and trimming bushes.  Neither of these is my favorite activity, but who can really complain when you can enjoy this beautiful May weather!   Spending hours outside, I marvel at the lush green trees and wonderful ever constant breeze.  Now this is retirement!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Photographing friends

Kevin & Kathy
Recently our friends Kevin and Kathy asked to photograph their family. Kathy's dad just turned 91, and  they wanted some pictures of everyone on the family farm.   Mike has taken some wedding pictures in the past, but I am pretty new to this type of photography.  Generally I take pictures of architecture which never moves or blinks during the photo session.  But you've gotta love digital photography. We figured that if we took enough photos, we were bound to get 1 or 2 good ones!

Here are a few pictures we took that stormy, blustery day in late April.  I felt like we were capturing a piece of history photographing 4 generations of this family.  And then of course we had to include the John Deere tractors, lawn tractor and the barn!   We had a blast working with Kevin and Christopher in arranging these scenes!

4 generations

Christopher and Kevin

Christopher and Crystal's family

Kevin and Mike, GQ pose

The outtake

Update on this whole house

At the end of last week, it felt like we had finally turned the corner with my house.  In a short 4 day period, we got a lot accomplished.  Let's see...Mike finished the hot tub room trim, finished the dining room trim and finished preparing the kitchen in advance of the granite work.  I shopped for flooring, had the house measured for carpet and tile  and finally placed the order carpet for the downstairs and tile for the kitchen, entry way and fireplace.

We selected a realtor, and she asked if she could show the house to 2 prospective buyers last week.  Mind you we don't have the house listed yet, have not determined the selling price, and the house is still a construction zone.  After racing like crazy people to finish some work and clean the construction zone(sawdust covered the entire downstairs family room), the house was presentable.  Ok, so we didn't get any offers, but it was a good experience (except for the cleaning of course).  The feedback about the house and property was very positive.

So the next few weeks are scheduled with contractor work.  The kitchen counter tops and tile back splash will be installed next week. Then the painters return to finish the interior painting. Next will be the carpet and tile floor installation.  Wow!  It seems like it took forever to get to this point, and it's all happening within a month period of time.

Finally, we are in the "home" stretch...