Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Finally, time for a book!

Yesterday I did something unheard of during the busy month of May.  I actually sat down on the screen  porch and read a book from start to finish!  But I get ahead of myself...

It was a crazy, busy time since I last wrote!

Enjoying a feast with Gary and Peggy at El Sol
My brother Gary and his wife Peggy came for a weekend visit.  We enjoyed our favorite Mexican restaurant, the Broad Ripple Art Fair and just hanging out on the porch.  We even put them to work setting up the new porch furniture when it was delivered.

Peggy painting the Blue Moon mural at the Art Fair

Something I never thought I'd see-Gary painting!  The things we do for a free t-shirt!

Mike and Gary assembling the new porch table

The next day Mike and I enjoyed Bump Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Rose-Hulman alumni.  For the first time ever I got to see the garage area.  It was very cool!  You could really see the cars up close and personal.
At Gasoline Alley

Cyclops car

Filling up with ethanol at the track gas station! Imagine how much that costs!

Mike and then headed to Des Moines for several days for some follow-up doctor visits.  I am happy to report that I am now 3 years cancer free!  The mammogram, blood tests and oncologist visits all went fine, and I'm now on the annual checkup plan instead of every 6 months.  It is very stressful leading up to these appointments. Funny how your mind starts to think about all the stuff that could be wrong.  I'm so glad to put this behind me for another year.

Maggie learning to text at a young age...

We enjoyed visiting with friends in Des Moines.  We had a great pizza dinner with Emily and Maggie.  And Maggie is growing up so quickly.  We last saw her in November, and I somehow she went from baby to toddler overnight.

I hooked up with my friend Ruth for lunch and a visit to the community gardens.   I loved the creativity and got some great ideas for my own gardens including wine bottles lining a bed, using slices of a tree stump for a path, an old picture frame for a label...
Ruth is a master gardener, and she helped create this themed community garden, "reduce, reuse, recycle"

And we had a great evening with Betsy, Roby and Gary later that day.  We caught up on work and families and vacations.  It was so good to re-connect with friends that I worked with for many years!

We returned home to Indy late Thursday night, and on Friday we officially began the Indy 500 weekend.  Friends Kathy and Kevin stopped by for a visit around the same time friends Gretchen and Craig and 2 cats arrived for the weekend.  Enter the margaritas and the screen porch, and the weekend was underway!

Mike, Gretchen and Craig in Broad Ripple
We enjoyed a great day on Saturday with Gretchen and Craig at Broad Ripple.  Lunch outside at Monon Food Company, some shopping and drinks at Sabbatical were a great way to spend the day.  And later we hooked up with friends Travis, Whitney and their family at their new restaurant, Punch Burger.

With Gretchen and Craig at the track

Sunday of course was the Indy 500 race.  We arrived early because of some changes in the parking situation and increased security at the track.  We enjoyed an amazing race where records were set for the highest average speed and the most number of lead car changes.   We were thrilled that our favorite driver Tony Kanaan won.

Mike standing next to the Tony Kanaan poster on Bump Day

On Monday our friends Mary and Stan stopped by for a visit.  We enjoyed a great time catching up and laughing and telling stories.  All in all, a great Memorial Day weekend!

Oh, and I got this terrible cold starting Friday, and so I felt kind of punk the whole weekend!  So on Tuesday, I decided to rest.  I went to the library, checked out a few books and proceeded to enjoy a great book on the screen porch with a glass of iced tea.  I started the book around 1pm and finished it before I went to bed.  Now, THIS is how I pictured retirement!  Not so good that it took a head cold and exhaustion to get me to sit down and read and relax.  Obviously, I need to change this equation!

Well, enough of my ramblings.  I think I've caught you up on activities of the past couple of weeks.  Whew, crazy busy time!  But a wonderful time with friends and family.  And I'm thankful for all of it including a great health report!

Take care and have a great week!

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Professor and...

Mary Ann...I know, I know, you now have that Gilligan's Island jingle in your head!

And although this has nothing to do with that TV show,  I wanted to give you a glimpse into life on campus with my own Professor.  I spent a day with Mike at Rose-Hulman this week, and I had a great time getting reacquainted with college life.

We had a great lunch together in the faculty dining room!  It's always interesting to listen to the conversations around me, and I heard lots of snippets about undergrad students, grad students and grades.

US News & World Report #1 in undergrad engineering

And then Mike went on to his teaching, and I had a chance to explore the campus and see what the students were up to.  Generally I think I blended in although I got a few stares in the library, not because I was doing anything crazy, but maybe because students were trying to figure out who I was.   A parent?  Or maybe just an old person...

Chapel on the lake

As I sat in the Union Building, student comments floated by:  "good luck, man", "get motivated", and "I'm sick, man" and "let's get this work done by Friday".  Students were in the bookstore buying last minute Rose-Hulman stuff, and the guy at the cash register was a graduating senior trying to figure out how to follow BP's relocation policy for his upcoming move to Houston.

Enjoying a hot day in the lake

And although the pressure of finals time was palpable, a few students were blowing off steam.
And that kite just wouldn't fly...

The professor

And at the end of a hot Spring day on campus, I was pretty proud of my Professor and his work "shaping young minds".  Of course at the same time that worries me just a bit!

Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Normal week?

New labels I made for my purses 

Since I don’t have a retirement routine yet, I’m not sure what is a normal week.  It’s certainly not like the M-F, 8am-6pm routine!  Now it’s more like here are the things I generally do between 7am and 11pm, and there’s usually not a schedule.   And what’s not to love about that?

But the strong work ethic still prevails.  Where can you dispose of this anyway?  Some days I would like to be a slug, but I just can’t!    I still judge my day by what I got accomplished which generally means something with the house. 

So as retirement ‘schedules’ go, I guess  the last week was a normal one…

Work in the kitchen continues.  The island is being anchored to the new floor, and Mike is running a conduit for an electrical outlet(which is something we've wanted for a long time).

Island in need of a permanent home

I try not to gasp when I see this hole in the new floor!

And now I'm ready to move onto the next room, the screen porch.  The porch needs some structural work as it's been supported by metal beams for a couple of years.  We plan to tackle this job during the summer along with building a new deck.

But in the meantime we want to enjoy some nicer evenings on the porch and decided to find some new outdoor furniture.  After measuring the porch space, measuring furniture, visiting almost every store in Indy we finally purchased a lovely table and chairs.

Cardboard prototype of new patio furniture...what can I say?
And if you are married to an engineer, you get the fact that everything must be prototyped.  So here is a cardboard mock up of the new table and chairs, which by the way totally confused our cat, Wendy, when she stepped onto the cardboard and then promptly fell to the floor.

The new furniture will be delivered later this week!

Starting to get the hang of wire wrap earrings

And then there's usually some time for crafts including some recent jewelry work...

Indianapolis Motor Speedway 5-11-2013

Finally living in Indy this year, we are able to take advantage of Indy 500 activities during the month of May.  So on a cold and blustery Saturday, we decided to pack up and head to the track for Opening Day of Indy car practice.  Although a bit chilly, with some food, drink and a few other hardy fans, we got to see some great practice laps including a 220 mph lap!

Practice run

Enjoying the day despite clouds and cool weather!

And then there's one definite advantage of retirement, having time to hang with friends.  When I was working, and Mike and I were traveling back and forth between Des Moines and Indy, it was challenging to have quality time with friends.  Now we are making time for friends, AND enjoying some great restaurants in Indy.

Over the past week, we had a great fondue meal at The Melting Pot with friends Kevin and Kathy.  Everything was good (far better than making fondue in your own home), but the chocolate fondue was AMAZING!

And while the guys had their monthly Boys Night Out meal, Melanie and I tried a new restaurant, the Sabbatical in Broad Ripple.  We sat outside on a lovely, warm evening and enjoyed a wonderful tapas style meal.   And much to my surprise, I found they served Templeton Rye, the "legendary" whiskey made in Iowa that we often searched for and could never find when I lived there.  Seems a bit ironic to finally taste it at a restaurant in Indy, but it was worth the wait!  Great stuff!

Pink blossoms in backyard

And as you might expect, my camera is like a magnet to the beauty of Spring time...

Pine by the driveway

Little creek in the neighborhood

Check out the bees enjoying these beauties!
And what camera could resist these clouds?
And now that I think about it, I didn't really WORK that much over the past week, so let me retract my earlier statement about my strong work ethic.  Maybe it IS FADING AWAY...

Take care and have a wonderful week!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Of flowers and floors

So, it was a week of flowers and floors...transformations, in a way.

If you've been reading my blog in recent months, you know I've been a bit whiny about this long, grey, cold winter.  But Spring did not disappoint with its' amazing display of flowers and trees during my first year back in Indiana since college days.  
Dogwood trees next to our driveway
View from the deck

Kitchen window view... and 'dogwood snow flakes' on the hot tub

And I fondly remember many beautiful Iowa Spring days.  Earlier this week my friend Ruth from Des Moines sent me some pictures of her amazing garden in bloom:
Spring flowers in Ruth's garden 

And then on May 1st my friends in Des Moines got 5 inches of snow!  And Ruth sent me another picture of these same flowers covered in snow...I mean that's just not right!  It was almost 80 degrees and sunny here, and I decided to quit constantly complaining about weather!  

Same Spring flowers covered with snow! 

And then came the new kitchen floor.  About a month ago we decided to replace the contractor grade linoleum installed when the house was built.
Linoleum floor

On Friday the new floor was finally installed...

Adhesive kept the cats and us at bay


Our new floor!

We are thrilled to be making improvements WE get to enjoy, especially after spending so much time and money getting my Des Moines house ready to sell.  And this time we didn't have a realtor telling us to paint the walls 'boring beige' and that we needed tile floors in the kitchen.   Hence the man-made tile floors and brightly-painted green walls!  Now we just need friends and family to help us break in the new room!

I hope you are enjoying the beauty of Spring!