Sunday, December 7, 2014

The week in photos...

It's been another interesting week.  I can't really find a common theme, so here are some random photos...

Fitbit dashboard on my phone

 I LOVE my Fitbit, an early Christmas present.  It tracks your steps, miles, calories, etc.  And most days I achieve my goal of 10,000 steps.

 Interesting how an electronic device can inspire you to get outside and walk and walk and walk...Hey, if it works, go for it!

Mike and I both survived the flu.  I was down for a day, and it hit Mike for three days.  He slept and slept, and periodically I checked to make sure he was breathing...


I had outpatient surgery on Friday, and it took me awhile to realize I was in a kid's room.  I know, what was the first clue?

Thanks Mike for this lovely photo...

And then there are a few random shots around town...

"Get a load of this"

"Just Drains" 

 I almost rear-ended the truck getting the picture of  "You just can't fix stupid". What can I say?

Angie and Adam with pillows
And of course I've been busy making a few Christmas gifts...

And I see some amazing views while walking...

Creek near my mom's house

Stay healthy and have a great week!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Sometimes life can drag you down a bit.  To say that this Fall has been stressful is a definite understatement.  My mom is battling lung cancer, Mike had a very stressful Fall quarter of teaching, and I am having surgery in December.  Lots of stuff on our minds.

And when I'm struggling, I try to remember this verse from Psalms:

"This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."

When I think about this verse, I begin to focus on the things I'm thankful for, and some of the worries get pushed to the background.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for so many things.

A loving, caring husband.
A great family that is pulling together to help with mom's health situation.
Wonderful friends who enjoy life with us.
Mike and I "chooglin" which comes from a John Fogerty song and means raucous good time.
The professionalism, skill, kindness and caring of health care providers.
Financial security and a roof over our heads.
My belief and trust in God.
The great beauty of nature.

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving with loved ones.  And don't forget the thankful part...


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Transition to winter

Beautiful sunsets

It's inevitable.  Fall leaves us and cold sets in.

We've had our first measurable snowfall, and I've already worn my heavy winter coat.

As much as I dislike the cold, there are a few things about this transition to winter that make me smile:

First snowfall
Leaf blowers?  Or terrorists?
Beautiful moon
Do we have to put the costumes away?
Make no mistake. Indy is a racing town!

And the temperature can change a lot between August and November.
105 degrees F.
27 degrees F.
Green bean man?  And I thought Halloween was over...

So instead of whining about this winter, I am going to TRY to embrace it.  Holy cow, now that's a lofty goal!

Take care, Diane

Monday, November 24, 2014

John Dillinger weekend

No, we did NOT have a shoot out, but it was an interesting "John Dillinger weekend" in Indianapolis.

With our friends at Napolese restaurant
One of the things we really enjoy about Indy is the variety of great restaurants.  So when our friends Gretchen and Craig came to town for the weekend, we introduced them to one of our favorite downtown restaurants, Napolese Artisanal Pizzeria.  It's a small, New York city style restaurant with an industrial chic feel.

And the food...very different from your normal pizza joint.  From our brussels sprout salad with apples, dried cherries and a balsamic redux, you get the general idea this is not your mom's cooking.  After savoring the brussels sprouts salad, a white beet salad and a Hamaker pizza and designer cocktails, we headed out to another of our favorite places, The Slippery Noodle Inn.  And that's where our John Dillinger weekend began.

I've mentioned the Slippery Noodle Inn in previous blogs.  We attend their Halloween contests (where Mike won first place last year in his Iron Man costume), listen to live bands and enjoy quick meals downtown when we are going to a concert or a Colts game.  But the place also has a history. It's the oldest continually operating bar in Indiana(since 1850),  and it's on National Register of Historic Places.

Drinks at the Slippery Noodle
And one of its' claims to fame is that during Prohibition, the Dillinger gang used the building in the back, originally built as a horse stable for the inn, for target practice.  Several of the slugs remain embedded in the back wall.  We enjoyed drinks in that very room, and you can still see the holes in the brick wall.  Wow!

And then on Saturday, Mike had the bright idea of going to Crown Hill Cemetery to find where John Dillinger is buried.  Crown Hill is a HUGE cemetery, and at 555 acres, it is the 5th largest cemetery in the United States.

Assuming Mike knew where Dillinger's grave was located, we agreed to this little sojourn and began to drive through the cemetery.  Or course he had never been to Dillinger's grave before and had NO IDEA where it was located.  So we drove around and around, and that's when we realized just how big 555 acres is.

And there were a few interesting signs along the way, things you just don't expect to read in a cemetery...


Tree tour?

But modern technology prevailed, and using my iPhone, we found the section and plot number.  Next we found the cemetery map and drove right to the tombstone.  Note that the tombstone is set in concrete so no one digs up this grave.

I've been in Indianapolis for two years now, and I continue to learn about our city.  Perhaps I should spend more time being a tourist...

Have a great week.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween 2014

This was the year we recycled costumes.  With such a busy summer and Fall, we decided on EASY this year.  Enter Godzilla and Japanese school girl...

My costume was pretty simple since I already owned most of the clothes.  And talk about comfortable.  And the black wig.  What do you think?  My new look?

Mike originally created a dinosaur costume many years ago.  He morphed it into Godzilla by adding some scales to the back  (gloves stuffed and sewed on).  And he added teeth so in his words  "he looked more like a fierce Godzilla and less like a green Barney".

We held our annual Halloween Party the Saturday night before Halloween.  There is nothing better than getting together with your friends over food, drink, sitting outside on a cool evening around the camp fire, and of course s'mores!  And then there are the costumes...

Chris and Garth as rich and poor

Steve and Sara: Something wrong in the neighborhood...who you gonna call?

Chuck and Melanie in Steak and Shake ad

Bryan and Jane as "paradise"

John as not a scary clown

And after handing out candy to trick or treaters on a snowy Halloween night, we headed downtown with friends Kevin and Kathy.  In costume, of course...

Kevin and Kathy as Mr. and Mrs. Beetlejuice

Enjoying the evening at the Slippery Noodle Inn

This year's winner at the Slippery Noodle Inn...the Peanuts Gang.  Awesome costumes!

And so another Halloween has come and gone.  We kinda hate to say goodbye to our favorite holiday where the adults get to be kids again.  And we have such crazy, creative friends.  What's not to love?


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fall is officially here

Fall  is officially here.  Colts Football, a trip to the orchard and beautiful trees.  What more could you ask for?

Oh yes, and there's our upcoming Halloween party too which means shopping at Goodwill Stores for costume parts and getting the Halloween decorations out of the attic.  We decided to recycle old costumes this year.  Last year Mike worked months on his Iron Man costume; this year we built a porch instead.  The party is Saturday night, so more to come next week...

I moved all the houseplants (too many) back into the house, and I cut the beautiful hydrangea blossoms in anticipation of a frost warning for tonight.  I love the crisp weather but am slightly dreading the long winter ahead!

Hydrangea blossoms drying
I've re-opened my studio after it sat idle for much of the summer while we were busy on the porch.  Somehow I have a sewing bug these days, but of course I need to combine several hobbies with sewing.  Namely painting fabric, sewing on beads and then sewing into pillows.  Here's my first attempt, which is a DIY version of a pillow I saw in a Pottery Barn catalog.

My own version of a Peace Pillow

Mike canned habanero peppers last week in anticipation of salsa making this winter.  And he's been busy with his part time professor job.  Seems that four groups of lab students increases the work load much more than the usual three groups.  He's always busy grading papers, putting together information for the students and checking in on their progress.  I have a new respect for all the work that goes into a teacher's job!
Habaneros anyone?

Here's a quick glimpse of a beautiful drive near Shades State Park last weekend.  It was a cloudy, quiet day, and we had the road to ourselves.  A stanza from the Robert Frost poem, "Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening",  came to mind...

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

We enjoyed the sweet revenge of the Indianapolis Colts beating the Cincinnati Bengals 27-0 at Lucas Oil Stadium.  Yes, we yelled until we were hoarse (finally got my voice back today).   One of the reasons this game was so enjoyable is that last December we saw the Colts play the Bengals in Cincinnati in a freezing blizzard.  Let's just say that the Colts lost, and the Bengals fans were a slight bit obnoxious about it.  So this time the Bengals fans sitting behind us at the game quieted down considerably, and they left early to boot.  Go figure!

And I only have one question:  When did I become a football fan anyway?  After a lifetime of saying "football is a brutal sport", I'm yelling "sack him" like the rest of the fans.  What is the world coming to?  Could I blame this on retirement? That's my excuse for sure.
Pre-game festivities

Before the game

Game in motion.  Photo by Mike

Hope you are having a good week.  I'll end here with a cute puppy picture.  Ginger (Kevin and Kathy's new dog)  found her new home in my shoes...
Ginger.  About the size of my shoe...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DIY: Rebuilding a screen porch, part 2

 It's done!  And we couldn't be happier that our screen porch is finished, and it looks great!  We are proud of our little porch, and as Mike says, it's one of the most satisfying home projects he has worked on.

Not sure I'm quite ready to make that statement. Let's just say I'm SO HAPPY it's over.

You can see DIY: Rebuilding a screen porch, part 1 here:

As I promised, here is part 2 of rebuilding a screen porch:

1.  Mike built inside corner pieces for the cats.  Hey, they want to look outside too!

Blue Belle enjoying it!

Cat perch

2. We painted all the exposed wood with a product called Woodlife Classic.  It is a clear coat that helps protect the wood from rain, snow, etc.

3.  We (meaning Mike) put a 10 degree angle on all the horizontal wood between the posts.  Watching the rain roll off this wood the past few days have been a good confirmation of this step.
If you look closely, you can see the angle in the middle of the wood

4.  We replaced all screens with black aluminum screen.  Mike ordered it online because we needed a huge roll (50 feet by 72 inches).  Working with this screen was challenging.  We measured every opening twice, and my job was to hold the screen while Mike stapled it into place.

Grass and cardboard made a good cutting surface

Cutting screen with heavy duty scissors

5.  Next step was the outside trim that went over the screens.  Mike carefully cut these pieces and screwed them in place.  He borrowed a mitre saw for the outside corners of the porch.  These corners turned out great!

Outside trim

Trim over the door

Mitered corner
6. Mike put a thin layer of caulking on the outside trim.  It's just one more way to repel water...

7.  The final step was building end caps for the wood around the door.  This was a finishing step to cover the place where several pieces of wood were joined.

End cap is backwards L-shaped piece

Is this beautiful, or what?

And as you might imagine, I'm already scheming on the next project.  But could we really build a new deck before the snow flies???