Thursday, February 27, 2014

Learning my new iPhone

Selfie. What can I say?
I will admit that we've been slow adopters of phone technology.  Two years ago we had flip phones.  Until last week we both had "smart phones" that we didn't allow to be smart, i.e. we didn't enable the Internet.  And then Mike got me an iPhone for Valentine's Day, and I suddenly jumped into the 21st century.

And I absolutely love it!  For a person who doesn't like to read manuals, I've been reading the online manual on my iPad while holding my new phone and checking out the features.  I know, go ahead and say it.  TOTAL GEEK!

Here's what I love, and where I've been struggling...

Love these new features...
1. The camera is awesome!  I'm not sure I've got the hang of it yet, but I'll get there.  Ok, it may have taken us several hours to figure out how to get pictures moved to my computer.  But after waiting forever on hold with Verizon, we found it embarrassingly easy once we did a Google search.  As Mike tells his students "Google is your friend".

2. SIRI is an interesting feature that usually has me laughing as she interprets my questions.  But I love that I can ask her about a location, and her answer includes a map.  However she can't tell us who was a lead singer in a band.  I know, get your priorities straight.

3. You can see who called your voicemail if they are in your contacts, and you don't need to enter a password to retrieve the voicemail. Saves a lot of time even though most people don't leave voicemail these days.

4. The display of texts back and forth with another person is awesome.  I love that the dialogue appears on a single screen.

5. We currently use the CalenGoo (Google calendar) app on our iPads, and after downloading it to the phone, I could easily view all of our appointments.

6. I love that I can easily check email on the phone.  It was easy to set up my email, and after a bit of fumbling I also set up Mike's email so we can check them both if we're out and about.

7.  We are very familiar with the App Store from our iPads, and so it is second nature to download apps.  Ok, Scrabble was the first thing I downloaded.  It's a bit of a challenge to play a game on such a small device, but I'll get there.

Not so sure about these features...
1. It's hard to type text messages since I'm used to the pull out keyboard on my old phone.  Once I turned off the auto correct feature it was much easier.

2. It's challenging to read news articles on such a small screen, but I think I'll get used to this over time.  I did make the text size larger which really helps.

3. I have to charge the phone more frequently than I ever did on my previous phone.  I read about this before getting the phone so I wasn't surprised.  If this is a problem, I may consider one of the cases that can power the phone.

4. There are so many features, that it may take me a long time to learn everything the phone can do.  Not a bad problem to have I guess.

Here is a photo montage of Indy taken with my new phone:

Canal in Broad Ripple


Downtown Indy at dusk

Lucas Oil Stadium

White River

Eagle Creek Reservoir

The Pyramids

Of course there's more to life than a new phone...

We enjoyed a great dinner with friends Chuck and Melanie at Napolese in downtown Indy.  Very delicious salads and unusual pizza (we tried a pizza with roast beef), not to mention strange drinks. Mike tried one called "10 bullets".   Not sure why that name, but he loved the drink which included bourbon and a type of Italian bitters that his grandpa used to drink. And  he really had "20 bullets" by the end of dinner.

Chuck and Melanie

And I've been busy with a few crafts during these last (hopefully) days of winter...

Coin pouch

And we enjoyed a brief trip to mom's so Mike could finish some plumbing work he started a couple of weeks ago. And the most famous line of the trip was from Mike:  "Doesn't everyone have a propane torch?" And maybe the answer from my brother Gary sums it up for most people: "If it involves fire, I call in the professionals".

Hope you are enjoying a great week.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Olympics and weather: is there anything else to talk about?

Snowy drive to Southern Indiana last weekend

Weather. Weather. Weather.  It's part of every conversation these days.

  • With our trusty cell phones and iPads, we helped friends navigate through an ice storm in Alabama as they made their way to warmer weather in Florida.  And of course when they finally arrived, they informed us that it's 67 degrees.  
  • We canceled events with friends because of predictions of ice and freezing rain.  
  • We headed out early when traveling to mom's to avoid another snowfall (and good thing we did since we got 5 inches of snow here last Friday).  
  • We pulled out our lightweight coats when the temps hit 45 degrees, and I finally got to walk outside (while dodging slushy and icy patches on the road).  
  • An Indiana-Iowa basketball game was cancelled when a piece of steel fell into Assembly Hall because of ice and snow on the roof. 
  • And we are now bracing for storms and flooding today as temps hit the upper 50's.  

  • Concrete statue last summer: how it should be.
  • And next week the forecast is for another polar vortex.

Concrete statue today: covered with snow. 

But the Olympics are a bright spot. We look forward to watching the events at night even though we usually know the outcomes from the news apps on our iPads.  Even our cat, Blue Belle,  seemed to be fascinated by the downhill ski event.  Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of her batting at the screen.

Blue Belle watching the Olympics

Texas primroses on the deck last summer

And I dream of warm days ahead.  We plan to build a raised garden this Spring and try our hand at growing vegetables.  And I wistfully remember all the flowers from last summer.  I remind myself each day that passes is another step closer to Spring.  Not an easy thing when I prefer whining about the weather...

Have a great week!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Where's the pink icing?
 Happy Valentine's Day!

Ah yes, one day closer to Spring.  Today it was 40 degrees, and it felt like summer time with puddles of water on the road instead of snow and ice.  And though the forecast is for more snow tomorrow, I am dreaming of 50 degree days next week.  Maybe it's finally the big thaw...

Go Pacer's!

Last weekend we went to the Indiana Pacers-Portland Trailblazer's game, and it was the first time I ever saw Mike excited about basketball.  Nothing like the Pacer's getting a 3 pointer to tie the game and go into overtime.  From then on the crowd went wild cheering the Pacer's to victory.

Enjoying the game at the Varsity Club with other Rose-Hulman alums

Niece Diane and great-niece Violet

On Sunday we met our great-niece Violet.  She is a cutie and was enjoying a lazy day of sleeping and eating, which I guess is what most infants do.

Alice telling me the facts while Diane looks on

It was fun playing with her sister Alice who was dancing and singing and generally bouncing off the walls.  Nothing like a small child to give you permission to dance and act crazy.  Gotta love it!

I've been enjoying long leisurely days of reading.  If you haven't been to your local library lately, check out their eBooks.  Finding a book online and downloading it onto the Kindle app on my iPad is so easy.  After years of not having time for books, I've read three books since the first of the year...

And then there's my hodge-podge of crafts this winter.  I pulled out an unfinished embroidery project from the mid-90's, and I'm re-learning cross stitch while watching the Winter Olympics.  Given my pace, I'll probably finish these quilt squares when I'm 75.

 I've had an urge to oil paint lately so I pulled out the paints and canvas and went to town.  Now, I've never had a painting class, but I love how you can blend paint colors and even paint over mistakes.  I saw a picture of this stylized tulip in a catalog, and I decided to try it.  Ok, it may look like a 3rd grader painted it,  but the painting makes me happy.

And yes, it took me 4 days to get the blue paint out from under my fingernails...

And I decided to make another clutch purse with some of the designer fabric my friend Melanie gave me.  The handle is scavenged from a Goodwill purse.  The only thing I paid for was the zipper.  Can't beat it!


You know, once I decided not to fight this awful winter, I'm enjoying it more.   It's now my excuse to spend more time on hobbies...

I hope you enjoy a great Valentine's Day with your loved ones!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

All things snow

Our new tradition of Dunkin' Donuts after a snowstorm.

7 inches of snow = Jeep + donuts + a drive through Eagle Creek Park.  

We're retired. Why not?

We headed to Eagle Creek Park to enjoy the snow.  Normally we enjoy this park on bikes.

We forged a new path through the park before the snowplow.
Good tires are a must...
As are trusty boots...
Where is the picnic food?

Again...where is the picnic food?

Where are the kids?

Seriously?  Register Now Summer Day Camps.

No speeding today.

And after a wonderful morning playing in the snow, a beautiful Hibiscus bloom reminds me Spring is right around the corner...

I hope you are enjoying this day wherever you are!