Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wander Indiana

During the 1980's, the Indiana license plate included the slogan "Wander Indiana".  So by way of Illinois, that's what we've been up to...

Kevin and Kathy

We first spent a couple of days in Illinois visiting friends Kevin and Kathy.  Mike helped Kevin move a recently purchased antique record  player, and we spent hours watching their kids and grandkids splash about in pool.

Me and Mike (aka Gilligan...don't know about that hat)

Up, up and away

Eugene Covered Bridge
The next day we returned to Indy on the back roads.  First we stopped at the Eugene Covered Bridge, built in 1873 over the North Vermilion River.  It is on the National Historic Register and was closed to traffic in 1974.  It's a great example of the many covered bridges in Central Indiana.

View from the Covered Bridge Restaurant

Next to the bridge was this cute little restaurant called the Covered Bridge Restaurant.  In addition to good home cooked meals of chicken and noodles and fried ham steak, we selected Raspberry Pie out of about 20 varieties, and we were not disappointed!  We had a great view of the flower garden while we dined.

We drove through Ladoga, a small town with some beautiful "painted lady" Victorian Homes.  We definitely need another trip here to wander around the town and take pictures of these beautiful homes. And we drove around the edge of Shades State Park on a beautiful hilly, tree-lined road.   We will need to head back there for some hiking.

 And on some of the country roads, we found a few interesting things that caused us to turn the car around for pictures.

Guitar carved in tree stump

Metal giraffe next to a farm shed.  Still curious about this...

We also had the opportunity to wander through our storage unit, attic and basement to find items for our first ever garage sale.  We joined in the neighborhood garage sale on Saturday on one of the hottest most humid days of the year.  Ours was probably a bit unique in that we had a wide range of items for sale from furniture to speakers(set up and running courtesy of Mike...would you expect anything less?) to a Corvette car cover to an electric blankets to a train set.

We were fortunate to get rid of some stuff and make some money.  And after the sale we drove the remaining items straight to the local Goodwill Store!  

And I'm contemplating writing a book on the psychology of people shopping garage sales.  We had some interesting experiences including meeting new neighbors, getting invited to a party by some people who just moved to town to me getting a bit angry at some hard ball price negotiations!   I mean SERIOUSLY?  Someone expected me to drop my price from $10 to $2 on the Corvette Car Cover just because there was a dead mouse inside.  No way!  That just made me mad!  I wouldn't sell anything to that person, which is why the item was later donated to Goodwill.  Ok, possibly I should include a chapter on my own crazy behavior in that book!  And maybe garage sales should not be my next career...

Hope you are having a great week!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Free-flowing summer

Texas Primroses blooming on the deck

Earlier this week I told a friend that I'm trying to get the hang of
NOT doing chores every day
NOT creating a to do list
and NOT feeling like a bum if I just choose to read a book.

I can't say that I'm really good at this, but I am improving.  I am trying for that free-flowing summer...

Biking on the Monon Trail

One morning this week at breakfast I proposed biking on the Monon Trail.  So we biked 15 miles riding from Broad Ripple to Carmel and back to Broad Ripple.

Lunch at Matt the Miller's

We enjoyed a great lunch outdoors at Matt the Miller's, a neat little restaurant in Carmel.

Alice enjoying the porch

Monday night we enjoyed a great evening with my niece Diane, her husband Andrew and their cute daughter Alice. All of us reveled in a beautiful evening on the porch, especially Alice who loves the outdoors!

Drum machine which Mike repaired

And last night Mike, Chuck and Mel enjoyed a fun band night at our house.  The recent flea market find drum machine was a hit (no pun intended).

Rabbits beware!

And so you don't think I'm a total slug, I erected a little "rabbit prevention" fence for my  squash plants.

Newly found lawn art

Ok, I kind of hate to admit the following...

Learning from Mikie about the "finds" on trash day, I came across this lovely concrete statue on my  neighborhood walk this morning.  Unable to carry it because it weighs about 20 pounds, I hid it behind a fire hydrant so the trash guys wouldn't pick it up.  Later I carted it home in my car.
Embarrassing?  Slightly.  
Exciting at finding a great lawn statue for free? YES!

And there was still time this week to finish one book, start another and take a walk with a friend!

So maybe I am getting the hang of this retirement stuff after all.  It's been a great week and not a lot of chores.  Can't beat it!

Hope you have a great weekend.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The great outdoors

Beautiful wheat field

Finally summer is here, and these hot days invite me outside.  And since Mike is finished teaching, it's truly a summer vacation for both of us.  Last summer we were remodeling my house to get it ready to sell which was like a construction job.  So really this is the first summer vacation I've had for a very long time...well, since about 7th grade when I had my first summer job de-tasselling corn.

I love the freedom of choosing how to spend each day outside.  It might be riding our bikes at Eagle Creek Park or walking around the neighborhood.

Minstrel on the porch

And we've been enjoying our screen porch since we updated the furniture and added a rug.  We eat most evening meals there, and I've been enjoying reading in the afternoon sun!  And one evening we broke out the guitars for our own jam session.  Not sure how the neighbors felt about that, but we had a blast!

And I've been going a bit crazy in the yard.  I've trimmed bushes, dug up volunteer trees, planted flowers and vegetables and spread mulch.  And although there is still a lot of landscaping work to be done, I'm pretty pleased with the results...

Petunias and pansies on the deck...note the irrigation system Mike built!  Awesome!

Adding color to some bare spaces

Mike transplanted these bushes... create a space for a new flower bed that I finished yesterday

2 squash plants and many flower pots in my new brick lined garden
And then there is my experience with planting vegetables.  At first I wanted a garden, but we don't really have a spot.

So, I decided on container gardening, and I picked up some bell peppers, tomatoes and squash plants.

I wish you could have seen the look on Mike's face when I told him about the squash.  Right away he asked me where I was going to plant them, and  when I answered "in a container", he immediately laughed and asked about vines filling up the deck.

And then one thing leads to another and another and another...  I ended up creating a small garden next to the air conditioner for the 2 squash plants.  Next I added bricks so we wouldn't run over the squash with the lawn mower. Then because the garden was pretty bare, I decided to add some flowers for color.   And while watching rabbits scurry around the back yard, I wondered if they liked squash.  And after some researching online and finding that rabbits "LOVE" squash, Mike is planning to install a small fence around this garden.  And oh yes, he added irrigation to this area! This squash is going to be FANTASTIC!  I just know it!

And we enjoyed a wonderful Italian Fest at a local Catholic Church.  We met up with some friends on a beautiful Friday night and enjoyed some lively conversation, several bottles of wine and the best fried ravioli ever!

And then Saturday night Mike and I attended a great concert at the Klipsch Music Center.  Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers put on an amazing show.  It was a beautiful evening in the great outdoors with several thousand of our closest friends singing along to great Tom Petty songs.  We loved it!

So it's another week with an open schedule and lots of choices of how to spend my time.  I think a good book and the great outdoors are calling my name...

Have a great week.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Enjoying the Indy metro area

Mayberry Cafe
Last weekend we finally had a chance to stop at the Mayberry Cafe in Danville, Indiana.   We've talked about it for a couple of years as we passed through town and chuckled at the police car parked out front.  

 If you watched the Andy Griffith Show when you were growing up, you would enjoy this quaint little restaurant on the town square.  From the pictures of contestants in the "Opie look-a-like contest" to the TVs playing back to back episodes of the show, you feel like you stepped back in time.

The food was nothing fancy, what you might call Midwestern "plain food"  that is just simple and good!  After enjoying meatloaf and pizza, we decided our waistlines didn't need dessert though we regretted that decision when we saw the strawberry shortcake and chocolate turtle cake delivered to the table next to us.  And yes, we got a small citation for not ordering dessert...

If you enjoy small town America, you should check out this town!  After lunch we wandered around the town square checking out an art gallery, an antique store and other small shops.  Great way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon.  And as a side note, the last time we were at this courthouse was 5 years ago when we got our marriage license...

County courthouse

We spent the next day at a huge neighborhood flea market at Woodruff Place in Indianapolis.

Woodruff Place is a beautiful older neighborhood with wonderful boulevards and amazing older homes.  It was founded in 1872 as a 77 acre residence park, and it was originally an incorporated town and later annexed by the city of Indianapolis.    Woodruff Place is included on the National Register of Historic Places.

While Mike shopped the flea market, I wandered around the neighborhood with my camera and found a few things you just don't see in today's neighborhoods...

Huge flower pot on the boulevard

Lion guarding Woodruff Place

Mikie and Garfield at the flea market. What can I say?
Wrought iron gazebo

Our 5th anniversary!

We also had a great evening at St. Elmo's Steakhouse in downtown Indy celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary.  It was my first experience dining at this famous steakhouse, and it was awesome!  Continuously operating since 1902, you felt like you stepped into the horse and buggy days with the great photos of an older city lining the walls.

Of course we had to try their famous shrimp cocktail. For many years I heard tales of their cocktail sauce from my colleagues who ate at St. Elmo's during our company's merger with Indy Life.   I loved it!   The flavor was incredible if you just ignored the fact that your eyes were watering from the punch of the horseradish!  And of course the steaks excellent and so tender they could melt in your mouth.  And then there was the wine...All in all a great dining experience for this special occasion.  

I hope you are having a great weekend and enjoying the sights and sounds of your own city!