Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: The Year In Review

Courtesy of my friend Scott, here are the year in Review questions and answers:

  1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? I started writing this blog. And I never thought I would be a blog person.
  2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I didn't make any last year, and I don't have any this year.
  3. Did anyone close to you give birth? No.
  4. Did anyone close to you die? Yes.
  5. What countries did you visit? The United States of America. More specifically, Michigan, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
  6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? A less painful right knee.
  7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? April 4, the day I adopted Tiger. And November 17, a big milestone at work.
  8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Finally finishing the major move project at work.
  9. What was your biggest failure? There are a couple of things that I didn't handle well under stress. I still replay the conversations in my head, trying to figure out how I could have handled it better.
  10. Did you suffer illness or injury? No.
  11. What was the best thing you bought? Although I did not actually buy it myself (it was a gift from my Mom), I want to say my new coffee machine because it is my best new "thing".
  12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Trevor. He is the best boy ever.
  13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I can't answer this question.
  14. Where did most of your money go? Property Taxes.
  15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Indiana as a blue state. My Netflix subscription. Re-connecting with old friends. My new coffee machine.
  16. What song will always remind you of 2008? Marvin Gaye's Got to Give It Up.
  17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? About the same. b) thinner or fatter? About the same. c) richer or poorer? About the same.
  18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Activities with my dog.
  19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Computer games.
  20. How did you spend Christmas? At my sister's in Evansville.
  21. Did you fall in love in 2008? No.
  22. What was your favorite TV program? The Big Bang Theory? It is the only thing I can think of right now. Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock.
  23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No.
  24. What was the best book you read? Practical Praying, A Guide to Using the Rosary.
  25. What was your greatest musical discovery? The All 70's Internet radio channel.
  26. What did you want and get? Have I mentioned the new coffee machine?
  27. What did you want and not get? The elusive winning lottery ticket.
  28. What was your favorite film of this year? The only one that I can remember is Bolt. Probably because it was the last one I saw.
  29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 44, and I believe that I had a very long day at work that day.
  30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Hiring the "Lawn Mower Man" earlier in the summer? But really, I'm pretty satisfied.
  31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? Khakis are good.
  32. What kept you sane? Trevor.
  33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I don't really know exactly what "fancy" means in this question. But I really like Michelle Obama and I am excited to see her in action as first lady.
  34. What political issue stirred you the most? Property Taxes and the Economy.
  35. Who did you miss? My Dad.
  36. Who was the best new person you met? Since I started a new job, I have met quite a few new people at work this year. Best? Well you know I can never pick favorites of anything.
  37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. When in doubt, rent the mini-van.
  38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. If I had words to make a day for you, I'd sing a morning golden & true. I would make this day last for all time then fill the night deep with moonshine.

Monday, December 22, 2008

If Christmas Shopping was a Competitive Sport...

I would definitely be cut from the team.

This may be my last post for a while. Definitely not feeling like the Lucky Girl today. I actually shed a few tears. With "few" being classified as over 3, but under 15. So, don't worry that much about me.

I really left today with a good attitude. Dropped the last package for CA off at the post office and headed to lunch with a friend. Then, it was off to shop in the dreaded Greenwood area of town. Now, on a side note, I ALWAYS get lost in Greenwood. I got lost there just 2 weeks ago trying to find our office party at the Cheesecake Factory. So, I have no idea why I thought today would be better, but I'm going to share my escapades purely for the comedic value of it all. It really is funny, looking back on it.

My Mom asked me for a bedspread for Christmas, and she was pretty specific about it. She wanted one like the one she had before the last one that I bought for her. So, since that was 1986 and I had no idea what she was talking about, I headed directly to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. They had to have it, right?

The specifics Mom gave me, other than the "it was the one from the 80's" description, was she wanted it to be a blue bedspread, not a comforter. Specifically not one of those bed in a bag things with all the stuff that goes with it. She wanted an old fashioned bedspread, where she didn't have to use a bed skirt.

If there was a bedding quiz today, do you think you'd know the definitions of quilt, coverlet, comforter, and bedspread? What are the specifications on each and what makes one different than the other? What if the package says "Quilted Bedspread"? How does that work into the definitions, or more importantly the expectations of my Mom? Because she told me on the phone when I called her from B B andB today that she did not want a quilt. "Quilts are for summer." Who knew? I left and headed to JCPenney, where she said I should have gone in the first place.

Ah, the mall. There was a time when I felt comfort from being in a mall. Today, was not that day. I found the JCP entrance and a parking place and headed in. Do you know that mall stores no longer have the store department map at the entrances. Much like casinos in Las Vegas, I don't think they want you to find your way out. I went upstairs and looked for bedding, but after walking around the entire 2nd floor, I couldn't find any. I asked the 15 year old with the JCPenney employee badge where I could go to find the bedding department and she said, "Oh, that's at the Penney's Home Store. It's down by blah blah blah store." She tried to tell me the other many stores it was near to which I replied, "Pretend I'm from New York and tell me how to get to that store." (Because really your random New Yorker has spent as much time as I have in the Greenwood Park Mall.) And off I started to the JCPenney Home store.

Except for one more thing. When I was in the JCPenney looking for the bedding department, I got myself so turned around that I went out a different door than I came in. All that stuff really looks the same in those stores, you know. So, I was in the parking lot, walking up row by row, looking like that poor woman who can't remember where she parked. I remembered where I parked, my car was just not there.

After getting my daily exercise and finding my car, I headed to the JCP Home Store. I got smarter and asked the clerk where the bedspreads were. She said, we don't have them in the store and that I would have to order through the catalog. And she said, for a little more money, I could have it shipped to my home. Whatever. Hasn't she heard of free shipping?

I went to Macy's which was next door. I paid attention to what was by the door when I entered so as not to repeat the lost car experience. After circling that store and finding no bedspread, it still didn't work. I had to ask an employee how to get out of the store. I said "There were some jeans on my right when I walked in." The employee was of little help, she kept saying street names thinking again that I knew where I was. I decided to go against my instincts, and magically I found the correct door. Headed home, with no bedspread.

I decided to look online at JCP at home. I found a bedspread on back order (which means it wouldn't ship until January 24). With that date, it would be almost quilt weather before she got it. So, I called Mom to talk to her. She said, "Do you want me to give you the catalog number of the one I picked out?" Hmmm...well, yes that would be helpful. So, I order the one she wanted online (in stock) and it is being shipped to my sister's house and will be there for Christmas.

Anyway, all worked out okay today. It just took a while. Maybe Santa will bring me a map of Greenwood.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Backstage at the IRT

Early this morning, I had the very unique and very cool opportunity of touring backstage at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. The current show at the IRT is "A Christmas Carol", and I have always wanted to see that show ever since I moved back to Indianapolis. But, it is one of those things that I have just never made time for.

So, I heard on my radio station's morning show (WIBC), that they were offering to give people the behind the scenes tour, and you also got 2 tickets to see the show. I emailed in and I got on the list. It was an early morning (7:00 a.m.), but that made parking super easy and they had coffee and donuts there for us. I was the first to arrive, as I had the big jury duty assignment at 8:00, and wanted to make sure that I got there in time to see as much as possible.

A very nice lady who was on the staff of the IRT gave us a tour. I wish I could remember her name. She talked about the history of the building and what they have done to restore it and what it may have been like coming to a movie in the 1920's when the building was built. And then...we got to go on stage and play in the snow! The snow is awesome! It is made of recycled plastic and the staff of the IRT says that once you are in the snow, you carry it with you for a while. They find it in their cars, their homes, and all over. They made it snow on stage while we were up there, and I thought that was great. However, a couple of the staff members immediately ran to the side saying "I don't want to be snowed on today!". I guess once you get it in your hair, it will be there for the day.

I had time to snap a few pictures with Terri Stacy and Big Joe Staysniak. (See the 3 of us pictured above). And I also got one of Joe and his legs. Joe is famous for wearing shorts in any weather, and as you can see, he was wearing them this morning at only 22 degrees.

And then, it was time to take off for my next assignment of the day, jury duty.

All about Jury Duty

About a month ago, I got my jury duty summons in the mail, which explained that my week for Jury Duty would be December 15 -19. It seems that everyone that I have told about my Jury Duty responsibilities has tried to give me some sort of excuse that could be used to get me out of the service. "Tell them you believe in the Death Penalty", "tell them you are in the NRA", "tell them you just got out of a hospital", etc.

I'm not so sure any one of those excuses would definitely keep you off of a jury. But, jury duty is never anything that I was looking to get out of anyway. About 10 years ago or so when I lived in Bloomington, I was actually selected for a jury. I learned so much from the experience about our legal process in the U.S. and really how juries "work" to make decisions. I really think that it is something that everyone should do.

So, the way it works in Marion County is that you are assigned a Juror Number and Group Number which is all printed on your summons. It is kind of cool that everything is bar-coded and all. Not exactly what I expected, but I guess this is 2008. Every night you have to call in to the Clerk's Office and listen to the recording to see if your group is required to report the next day. My group number was 6.

Everyone told me that because I had such a low number, I was sure to be one of the first groups called in. Because I had a lot going on at work, and I was scheduled to start vacation on Wednesday at noon, I was trying to work out all the nuances of how to get everything done, not mess up my vacation, and still do my civic duty all at the same time.

So, the "I'm the Lucky Girl" part of this story happens because I said early in the week, that if there was a day this week that was good for Jury Duty, it would be Wednesday. And so it was Wednesday that just happened to be the day my group was called.

I had prepared for Jury Duty as if I was going to be sequestered for a couple of days. I bought a paperback by an author I hadn't ever read. (I didn't think it would look good for me to carry in either the Sue Grafton or John Grisham books I am reading now.) I also packed a lunch consisting of a Diet Pepsi, Chicken Sandwich, Baked Cheetos and some cheese and crackers. The lunch and my book fit nicely in my purse. And off I went.

I reported to the Public Assembly room (the one you always see on TV for City Council Meetings), checked in and they showed us a video about jury service. The lady in charge said that the court would be down to get us around 9:00, but 9 came and went and we were all still waiting. I'm glad I had that book. We waited for a while, and then around 11, the lady came back and excused all of us. She said they had reached a plea agreement, and they wouldn't need a jury today. She explained that showing up counts as our jury service for the next 2 years, so if we get another summons we can serve if we want to, but we don't have to do it.

After I was released, I went upstairs to the Auditor's office and popped in on Cherrish Pryor, one of my former student staff at I.U. She is going to be a State Representative for Indiana's 94th District. It was nice to run into her and I think I'll try to make it over to see her at the state capitol building next spring.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Disney on Ice Extravaganza

I really have been doing more than uploading little heads of family and friends in the middle of the night, but you'd never be able to tell that by reading this blog. This time, I'm up in the middle of the night because my smoke detector started beeping. Nothing like changing batteries at 3:00 a.m. to wake you all the way up.

Trevor is with me this weekend and last night we went to see Disney on Ice. I had never been before, but always wanted to go. That is the greatest thing about having Trevor on the weekends, because I am able to do all the cool things that I remember doing as a kid, or didn't have a chance to do.

I must say that when I bought the tickets for the performance, I thought about which performance would be the best to go to. Somehow, I chose last night's 7 p.m. show, probably more for convenience of the time, and thinking it would be nice to see all the lights out in the evening. It is very cool to see the Monument Circle from the top of the Conseco Fieldhouse parking garage. I wish I had taken my camera.

It was a good show. A little heavy on the princesses for both of us, but nothing to the point of you thinking it was a princess show. What is up with all that princess stuff anyway? My favorite characters (other than Mickey and Minnie) were The Incredibles and Edna. Edna on ice was great! I think it's also the first time I realized that Edna really looks like Anna Wintour. I also liked the Toy Story part, because I always liked the music in that movie.

Ok. It's 4:00. Back to bed for me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Middle of the Night Amusements

So, I've posted a few too many of these JibJab things here, at least for most of my audience. No need to watch, they are for family. The dogs have been getting me up in the middle of the night to go out, and when they come upstairs, they naturally turn right to go in the office. For some reason, I have been following. The result has been some 20 or so JibJab videos for the amusement of co-workers, family, and mainly myself.

So, no need for most of you to look at them, but for some reason they play better after being posted to my blog, so they are mainly here for my amusement. A little holiday cheer for me.

JibJab for Family

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

JibJab for Family

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Too Much Time with Jib Jab

Courtesy of my friend Scott at "All I'm Saying...", I have spent too many hours uploading elves for the amusement of co-workers and friends. In the next post is "The Five Trevors" which is what I made this evening. So many ideas on what to make next.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Piggy Banks

Courtesy of the One Minute Writer....What is the first thing that you remember saving money to buy?

When I was 14 or so, I was quite the babysitter. I had a few customers and during the summer I had a regular all-day babysitting job for some neighbors. So, it was a pretty steady income. In those days, I made 50 cents per hour.

I can't remember what triggered my interest in photography. I'm sure my brother had something to do with it, but I also think there had to be more to it. All I know is that I had my eye on a Canon AE-1 camera with all the gadgets that went with it. I remember it being $400 for the whole set. I saved up and we ordered it through the Spiegel catalog (60609).

I bought that camera in about 1977, and it was the only camera that I used for about 25 years. I still have it, although I don't use it now. Now I've gone to the digital age, and it has officially gone on the shelf.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Purple Footprints from the Past

Today as I was reading the news, I came across a story about some red and green footprints painted on the sidewalks that have appeared in lower Manhattan. The red and green footprints, the story said, had been created using the same template as the purple footprints in the early 1980's. These red and green footprints are a protest to a place called "the Bowery Bar", which is a trendy restaurant that has taken the place of a gas station. (I think I remember where the gas station was, and it was the only gas station that I can remember seeing in that area.)

As many of you know, I began spending time in New York in 1985 when I worked for the Fresh Air Fund. I remember the purple footprints as a sign of comfort. I can't even imagine now how many miles I walked through the city. On a day off, we'd get up and take the subway to the World Trade Center or Canal Street stop, and start walking north. It is easy to get turned around amid the tall buildings and the purple footprints were always a sign that we really weren't all that lost. They were a sort of landmark that ran through the sometimes windy streets of Greenwich Village and SoHo.

I remember a one page story in a magazine at the time about the people who were painting the footprints. Back then I didn't totally understand, and I'm not sure that magazine knew the real story either. But, lucky for me "google" has helped me to find the truth. As it turns out, all the purple footprints led to the "Garden of Eden", a community garden developed by a man named Adam Purple.

Sometime around 1980, Adam Purple was a squatter in New York in a building on Forsyth street. Adjacent to the abandoned building where he lived, he created a beautiful garden. I remember this garden and the surrounding neighborhood. I remember coming across it and the disbelief of how a place like this garden could be in the middle of a city. There were vegetables being grown and beautiful flowers, right in the middle of the city. I found the picture posted above on a website that had a lot of pictures of the garden from that time.

I realize you may be thinking that Central Park is in the middle of New York, and it is a huge green space, so what is so different about this? As far as New York City goes, Central Park is in a whole different world. Central Park is on the other side of the economic border from the Lower Manhattan of the 1980's. These are the neighborhoods that were the setting for RENT.

As I have read more about Adam Purple's garden today (there is a lot out there if you google him), I have learned how he made the rich soil for his garden by riding his bike to Central Park to collect waste from the horses and then mixing it with ashes and dirt. He collected rain water and lived off of the food that he grew and about $2000 a year he made from collecting aluminum cans. One of the coolest things I came across today was this video on You Tube by a man that remembered Adam Purple's Garden from when he was young.

National Geographic did a story on Adam Purple and his garden. But, the city still Bulldozed it in January of 1986 to make way for a new building. I am lucky that I got to see it in person.
And the purple footprints? Adam Purple said that he did not paint the purple footprints. But, I'm glad someone did.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Beauty of the Cranberry Bog

A few weeks ago, much like the corn in July, I began to miss the beauty of the Cranberry Bog. Right after my graduation from I.U. in 1988, I moved to Bridgewater, Massachusetts and began working for Bridgewater State College. I loved living in Massachusetts, but the job was not really what I had hoped. But that is a whole different story.

I lived 30 minutes from Boston and 30 minutes from Cape Cod, so whenever I needed to get away from everything, I would take a drive to one of those destinations. Even now, I see they have a Cranberry Trail Guide published for the area so that you can drive your own cranberry harvest tour.

October is cranberry time in Massachusetts, and a few weeks ago I was hoping to turn a corner out in the country and drive past a bog. However, I was in Indiana, so that was not going to happen. You know those commercials of the guys standing in the cranberries? Those bogs are really out there and you can drive around and see them just like you can see corn fields in Indiana. They are beautiful! The red is so vibrant and against the leaves of fall, it is just breathtaking at times.

Now is the time of cranberry sauce, which has again tickled my memory of the beautiful bogs. I don't really like cranberries, cranberry juice, sauce, etc. I just like to look.

Life Lessons from a Centurian

Grandma Mildred died last week; She was 100 years old. Knowing someone who is 100 is a unique experience, and sometimes it is amazing to think about how the world has changed since she was born in 1908. On the day she was born, the #1 song was "As Long as the World Rolls On" by Alan Turner.

She saw both World War I and II, the Great Depression. Think about the "things" that you use everyday that didn't exist back then. While she did have her driver's license until her 100th birthday, the car wasn't even invented when she was born.

She loved her family, all of them. Those she was related to biologically, and the others she adopted along the way. I was lucky to be one of those adopted ones. My brother Keith was her paper boy when he was 10, and they have been helping each other ever since.

And she loved God. Throughout the last few weeks, she was trying to figure out what God needed her to do. Now she is with Him, wondering no more. No more pain. But she'll be keeping an eye on us. We better behave. :-)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Is there a TV station without doorbell sounds?

While hardly a topic to write about, I am wondering if there is a TV station that is free of doorbell sounds. They drive my Tigerboy crazy!

I am sick of the mops and brooms that ring doorbells in hopes that the lady of the house will give up her swiffer. I'm sick of the "reality" shows where the arch enemies sister drops by to "talk", and rings the doorbell. And now, Tim the Toolman Taylor's doorbell is ringing!

So confusing for a young dog set on protecting his house.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Best Party Ever

Today I was checking out the blog over at The One Minute Writer. The One Minute Writer gives a topic every day and encourages you to write for one minute about that topic. While I'm too wordy to keep it to the 60 allotted seconds, I thought I'd write about today's topic here, which is: Write about a memorable party or gathering that you have attended.

The most memorable party I have ever attended was my friend Amy's wedding reception. While I have never been big on the wedding reception deal (I often attend weddings, but skip the reception), Amy and Geoff's was not your average wedding reception.

First off, Amy and Geoff are way cool people. I can't really think of many people who are as down to earth and genuine as Amy. She has a sweet spirit that reaches out to so many people, and she really wants to learn about everyone. So, the collection of people at this party came from many different backgrounds.

So, what was so different? First off, the reception attendees got to sing songs with the word "love" in them to get the bride and groom to kiss. No clinking glasses for this party. The best man gave the most memorable a capella performance of "YMCA" in my lifetime. That's right...I said lifetime. We were also serenaded by the Semester-at-Sea group singing the theme from "The Love Boat" and another group sang the Barney song. I think it has been 12 years, and I still remember all this.

And then came the Elvis impersonator. I've been to two weddings with Elvis so far, and I really think that you can't have a bad wedding if Elvis is there. At Amy and Geoff's wedding Elvis was the reception entertainment. Right there in the Tudor Room.

Best. Party. Ever.

A New Kick-off to the Holiday Season

For the past several years, Trevor and I have been really making the most out of the Christmas season. This has become my favorite time of year because it has become a rule that Trevor spends every weekend with me and we get every drop of enjoyment out of the preparation and festivities around the city.

Typically, it all starts the day after Thanksgiving, when we take all the change I have collected during the year and Trevor does his own Christmas shopping. (It is amazing what a child can do with about $40 in change!) This year, however, we are considering yesterday as the kick-off to the Christmas season, because we got up early and went down to the Monument Circle and watched the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) volunteers put up the Christmas Lights.

Last year, Trevor had asked me, "How do they get the lights up there?", so I told him we could go watch them do it this year. It really is pretty interesting to see, definitely something that is way cool through the eyes of a 7-year-old boy. We watched the workers for a while, went and had some breakfast and then came back to watch some more. There were so many workers there, and they all worked with precision to get all the strands in place. We were there for about 3 hours, and we were hoping to see the "test lighting" when they switched the tree on for the real first time. But, we decided to be on our way to other things. Maybe next year we'll get our timing right so we can wait for that.

When we were leaving, we heard a radio news story about the lights and the IBEW volunteers who put them up. There are six miles of electrical wires that are put up and nearly 5000 lights. This is the 46th year and some of the volunteers have been doing this project every year for 35 years. This week, the city will bring in the other decorations and we have heard that in addition to the toy soldiers there are some new toy sailors. We'll have to take a drive around the circle next week to see everything before the big day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Note from Italy

Last Thursday, I went into Goose the Market to pick up some pork chops I had ordered. Chris Eley, the owner and chef at the Goose, has some amazing marinade for his "country style" pork chops. You may remember that I have written about them in a previous post.

I think Chris and Molly (his wife) know how much I like those pork chops, and when I pre-ordered them, Molly had said I could pick them up on Wednesday. I actually didn't get to the store until Thursday, but when I got there and asked for my order, the guy behind the counter said, "Oh, K.T. ....Chris wrote us an email from Italy and asked us to apologize to you. He won't have your chops ready until Friday. Molly had forgotten about the trip."

Now when is the last time that the butcher at the Kroger (Winn Dixie, Albertson's, Shaw's, Shop Rite) wrote you an email from Italy?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Monumental Marathon

Yesterday, I volunteered at a water stop for the the first Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. I had never been a water stop volunteer before, and it was fun.

All and all, the monumental people had it set up pretty nicely. They dropped off all the needed equipment (water, tables, cups, Gatorade, trash containers) right on the street where we set it up, and then came back to get it later.

After dipping all the cups, I was a water girl, meaning I handed cups of water to runners as they ran by. This is a more difficult job than you might think. There was a definite technique that was communicated to us (holding the cup from the top rim to leave as much surface area for the runner to grab as possible). The first few times I tried the hand off resulted in major spills. I'm sure the elite runners really didn't get any water during the race. Later, I learned the true technique. Make eye contact with the runner, let them signal to you that they are taking your cup, then the hand off goes much more smoothly.

I met some cool people at the water stop. And I even saw a runner I new from work who came in 38th in his age category. Pretty cool! And, my weatherman Paul Poteet also ran by the water stop, but I think he went to the Gatorade table.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The latest Quiz

Courtesy of my friend Scott, this is the latest quiz. He did not "Tag" me this time. I just copied from his blog because I thought it was cool.

Outside my window right now is: Darkness. It is 5:30 a.m. and I've been up to feed the dogs breakfast and they are back to sleep.

My daily rhythm is: Get up, feed dogs, drink coffee. Go to work, come home, dog park, dinner, read, TV, or internet, then sleep. I sound way more boring than I think I am.

I am thankful for: A great family, a great job, and great friends.

In the kitchen: Fruits and vegetables from Farm Fresh Delivery. A little heavy on the potatoes right now. Milk, cereal (chex, both corn and rice), splenda, coffee, dog food. 2 bottles of wine.

Breakfast: coffee. sometimes cereal. sometimes the work cafeteria scrambled eggs.

I haven't found: The winning lottery ticket.

Lunch: Sometimes I pack - sandwich or soup, chips, crackers, fruit, carrots, Laughing Cow Cheese. Sometimes I buy - whatever is in the cafeteria at work (salad bar, soup, grilled cheese, or "homestyle" line of green beans, mashed potatoes, and some sort of meat).

Supper: About the same as lunch. Sometimes I buy (last night was Fazoli's) and sometimes I cook or eat what is around (Sloppy Joe's, soup, spaghetti).

I am wearing: pajamas.

I am creating: hmmm. A cover for my sofa.

Bringing beauty to my home: Flowers can do that. And so can dusting.

I am reading: T is for Trespass

I am hoping: that the warm weather will last just a little bit longer.

I am making plans for: the Christmas season. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is my favorite time of year. Trevor comes to my house every weekend and we work on our Christmas craft, we go to all the downtown Christmas activities (zoo, Children's Museum, White River Gardens, the Circle of Lights, etc.). We have a great time together.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dog Days

Yesterday, Trevor and I had a day devoted to the dogs. When we got up, we played with Sadie and Tiger at home. Around noon, we went to my work's Pet Owner's Club fall outing at the dog park and had lunch and were involved in all kinds of dog activities. We then went to my friend Naomi's house because she has 5 puppies that she is fostering and we wanted to see them and play with them. Then we went home for a while and fed Tiger and Sadie, and kind of chilled out. Then later that night, we went to see Beverly Hills Chihuahua, which was a cute kids movie. (I could have totally fallen asleep, but I didn't, so that is a good sign).

I'm sure there will be some pictures of Tiger at the park from the photographer at the event. I'll post one here, if I can get it. We all had a great day!

Welcome Sadie

Sadie the Boxer came to live with us on Tuesday. She was rescued from a shelter by the Ketuckiana Boxer Rescue. Sadie is a lovely 8 year old girl, with big brown eyes and a bit of an under bite. Well, how about a lot of an under bite.

Sadie will stay with us until she can find a home of her very own. She is really a sweetie. She's 100% potty trained (no accidents even in a new environment), gets in her crate nicely, and enjoys a stroll around the yard or around the block. She is very, very, mellow. Loves her mealtimes and in between snacks too! She has some arthritis in her leg, which has been a challenge with the stairs in our house, but she is getting the hang of it. I think she's doing pretty well now, since she's had 5 days practice.

I can never figure out who would take their 8 year old dog to a shelter. I'm hoping they had a good reason and it wasn't just because she was older. I always think that you teach your kids how to treat people by how you treat animals. Sometimes people think I go to the extreme with my dogs' health, but they are happy and they feel good. Acupuncture, Reiki, clinical trials for Heart medications; my dogs have tried it all. I always tell my Mom that she should take comfort in seeing what I do for my dogs, because I would do nothing less for her.

Sadie is the dog that I would want if I was 70. I've never been a person to like the small dogs, but I'm always scared that a big dog will overpower me when I am old. Sadie is a very mellow girl and a great companion. And, like me when I'm older, she would prefer a ranch-style home.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My New Coffee Machine

Somewhere in the deep, deep, deep, back part of my mind, I know that my love for my new coffee machine is wrong. But I do. I love it. I am the owner of a new Keurig coffee machine. My Mom got it for me for Christmas. Yes, Christmas 2008. She had a 30% off thingy, and she gave it to me early. Way early.

For those of you who don't know, the Keurig is one of those single cup coffee machines. On a recent trip to celebrate my friend Linda's birthday, I realized that there were 2 things that I needed to make me totally happy. A single cup coffee machine and memory foam. I'm still working on the memory foam.

My Keurig came with a variety pack of 10 different K-cups, a small dixie-cup size serving of coffee that fits right in the machine. My favorite so far is the Nantucket Blend from Green Mountain coffee. But even I question whether I really like the coffee so much, or is it just the name? I do love Nantucket and I had a great vacation there with my friend Sarah Bell one May. (Hi Sarah!)

So, I've had coffee every day now for a week. Every morning when I am feeding Tiger his breakfast, I get to fix myself a lovely single cup of coffee. I've also had the Hot Cocoa, which Trevor also tried this weekend and thought it was very tasty. I need to get some of the teas. I'm not big into tea, but my Mom is, so I want to be prepared when she gets here.

I know that soon this machine will probably be on the anti-green list. I know. I know. But, just let me enjoy for now.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Everyday Weirdness?

My friend Mariandy wrote about weird things that have happened to her in her life in her entry "Everyday Weirdness". Check out the picture she took while driving home.

In her entry, she asks, "what are the weird things that have happened to us?". Hmmm......what are the weird things that have happened to me? All the things that come to mind are not necessarily weird, but they are memorable.

Like when I was 21 and in New York City for the first time. It was 1985, and I ended up on the subway with a gunman at some odd hour in the middle of the night. I remember that first trip to New York so well, because it was at a time when there were a lot of riots in New York City, the Times Square area hadn't been cleaned up at all, and as a Midwestern girl, there was definitely some fear of the unknown in going to the big city (although at 21, you don't really express any of that to anyone). Remember the Guardian Angels? They rode the subway because of how dangerous they supposedly were. I remember praying every time I had to go on the subway. So, that wasn't really weird, but it was memorable.

To finish out that story, I was really over my fear within 2 weeks. I spent the summer in New York working for the Fresh Air Fund. Actually, for the next several summers, I worked there, and when I lived in Massachusetts I worked weekends there too. I got pretty comfortable maneuvering my way around New York City, but I learned which trains to be on, and which not to be on, and I don't think I was ever on a train after midnight again.

I guess I'm still going to have to think about the weirdness topic.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Legend of Sleeping Bear

Pictured above is Lake Michigan from the top of Sleeping Bear Dunes. You can also see North Manitou Island in the picture (see the lighthouse when you make it bigger). My friend and I spent the day at Sleeping Bear Dunes. The dunes are steep, and there are warnings about the climb to get back up to the top. In the park, there is a scenic drive with 12 stopping points, the photo above was taken at the top of the Sleeping Bear, one of the stopping points. See more photos of the stopping points below.

We learned a lot on the drive. But the most suprising thing I learned was about erosion, or the lack of erosion on the Michigan Lake beaches. At some beaches I've visited, there has been an erosion problem, where the beaches are washing out to sea. I know the Florida Gulf coast and the Southern California coast have had problems with beach erosion over the years. At one time when I was visiting Florida, there was a project going on to dig up sand in the ocean and bring it back to the coast. The northern Lake Michigan beaches in the Sleeping Bear area are actually growing. There was a diagram of the Michigan coastline of Sleeping Bear 40 years ago compared to what it is now, and the coast has grown. So, the Lake is really washing more sand in and placing it along the coast. This is not the case for all of Lake Michigan, as there is erosion in the southern beaches that are on Indiana's border.

So, now for the Legend of the Sleeping Bear. This is from the National Park Service brochure:

According to the legend, an enormous forest fire on the western shore of Lake Michigan (now Wisconsin) drove a mother bear and her two cubs into the lake for shelter, determined to reach the opposite shore. After many miles of swimming, the two cubs lagged behind. When the mother bear reached the shore, she waited on the top of a high bluff. The exhausted cubs drowned in the lake, but the mother bear stayed and waited in hopes that her cubs would finally appear. Impressed by the mother bear's determination and faith, the Great Spirit created two islands (North and South Manitou Island) to commemorate the cubs, and the winds buried the sleeping bear under the sands of the dunes where she waits to this day.
Here are some other pictures from the park:

If you make this one bigger, you can see a man trying to kayak in Lake Michigan. It wasn't really going well for him.

One of the other things that we saw, but unfortunately I didn't get a picture of, was the ghost forests. As more and more sand is deposited along the coast, there becomes a battle between the soils, and sometimes, the sand wins, creating a ghost forest. The trees are like grey ghosts.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Back Home Again....

There is no place like home. And that is what Tiger says too.

My Michigan week is over, as is any substantial vacation for the rest of the year. I am glad to have tomorrow to re-acclimate and at least start thinking about work and what I have to do. And also, it will be quality time spent with Tiger Boy.

In my last entry, I had battled insomnia while on vacation. And, well, it was also an issue last night. So, I have committed to get in bed tonight by 9:00 p.m. I can't figure it out. I'm hoping it was just an "out of my own bed and in a different place" issue, and all will be solved tonight. I am tired, so at least I should get off to a good start.

So, for tonight, I'm just going to give you a picture that was promised and shuffle off to sleep. Here is the beautiful sunset from the balcony of the hotel in Traverse City.

Good Night.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Say Yes to MICHIGAN!

I am on vacation, but compliments of the Cherry Tree Condo Hotel wireless Internet access and insomnia, I thought I would go ahead and post some of the things I have been up to the last few days. I will post some great pictures later, I just don't have the access to do that part up here.

On Friday, I left for a much needed vacation. I was getting a little grumpy at work, and I needed to get away before I said out loud what was in my head. So, Mom and I headed north after a long day at work on Friday, and spent the night at my brother Bob's house. While I definitely was tired, getting 2 1/2 hours knocked off the drive to Michigan was a definite plus.

Saturday, we got up super early to visit with my niece Tracey, a student at Trine University (formerly Tri-State University). The school has been renamed and there is a big story about it somewhere on the internet if you are interested. Just Google it. I've asked a lot of people about the name change, some older alumni, some current students, and my niece. Some are okay with it and others hate it. I think it is weird. A little like buying the naming rights to a stadium. But whatever. We had breakfast with Tracey, got the early morning campus tour, met the roommate, and then we headed on north.

My Aunt Ruth lives in Houghton Lake, about 2 hours north of Lansing. My Mom and I have been coming up here to see Aunt Ruth for a few years, usually for a week sometime in the fall. We usually shop at outlet malls, maybe see a movie, go out to eat, read, play cards, and talk. Very nice time. This time, however would be a little different. That is, as far as activities. I'm still counting on a very nice time.

This trip, I decided to see a little more of Michigan than just Houghton Lake and the West Branch outlet mall. I have been a few places before, but mainly just looking out the car windows as they go by. This time, I wanted to stop and put my feet in the water. My friend Cindy, also in need of vacation, flew to the Cherry Capitol Airport in Traverse City Michigan on Sunday to meet me for my Michigan adventure. And, just so we are clear, I invited my Mom and Aunt Ruth to come too. They declined.

Today, was a great day. We headed out mid-morning for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake shore. Wow! Our National Parks are a treasure. The Sleeping Bear Dunes area probably doesn't get the publicity or recognition of the big National Parks, but it was amazing. Please check back for pictures later in the week. We drove on a scenic route that had 12 stopping points of interest. We learned a lot about the lake shore, what is happening as far as changes in the lake shore and how it has evolved through the years, animals native to the area, and things in bloom. We also were able to walk along the beach of Lake Michigan and stick our feet in the water. It was very cold!

I was also able to get my National Parks Passport stamped and buy the Sleeping Bear sticker for my Passport. About 15 years ago, I bought a National Parks Passport in Washington, D.C. I had collected stamps in it for about 7 years, but it was lost in the move. I haven't seen it since I moved to Indianapolis. So, last year when I was in the Smokey Mountains National Park with Trevor, I decided to start over. I bought both of us a new Passport and decided it was something we could start working on together. I think it is a cool thing to collect, and what great memories at the places we will go.

Tonight we ate in and I went swimming in the pool. I'm hoping that in a little bit I will be sleeping like a tired bear. Tomorrow will be another adventure.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Death of the Local Newspaper

Tonight I received a phone call from Indianapolis Newspapers, Inc., better known as The Indianapolis Star. They've actually been calling for a few weeks, but I have avoided them. When I saw the name on caller ID, I just wouldn't answer. Until tonight.

I just answered by saying "Hello, I don't want the newspaper." The lady was very nice, and she said "Really? Not even the Sunday paper. I can give you the special for 77 cents a week." Which did make me think for a split second, but my mouth had already started answering "No." So the very nice lady said "Can I ask why?"

To which I explained, that I just don't like the newspaper in my house. You see, it can overtake you, or maybe it is just me. The Sunday paper is too big. There is too much. I can't read it all. So, I end up getting the paper and bringing it in. I drop it on the floor right beside the front door (still in the orange plastic bag) and I think, I'll get to it. I never do. So, it lays there. And lays there. And pretty soon I have a mountain of orange plastic bags by my front door.

The lady said, "Most people just throw them away every week, or they recycle." To which I went into a little speech about how I was better at recycling, because I didn't even get it in the first place. She agreed with me.

The thing is, I don't want the local newspaper to die. Much like my friend Esmerelda, who loves reading books with pages instead of a reading device, I like the feel and smell of newsprint. One of my favorite things to do on vacation is to go out to breakfast at a local diner and read the local paper. Front to back. (My mother reads the paper back to front, and I just don't get it.) I'm looking forward to reading the Traverse City Record-Eagle next week.

I hope that I am not contributing to the death of the newspaper by not subscribing to the Indianapolis Star. Maybe I should make a point of buying the paper once a week. But I would buy it on Friday, not Sunday. Friday is a much smaller paper. I may actually be able to read it and not get overwhelmed by the amount of newsprint in my house.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dinner at Granny's

My Mom has been cooking Sunday dinner lately and inviting whomever is in town for the day. A couple of weeks ago my niece Tonya, her husband Chris, and her daughter (my great niece!) Marissa came for Sunday dinner. I took this picture on the front porch.

I know a bunch of my friends from Bloomington remember Tonya and ask about her often, because she spent many weekends with me (and often her spring break) while she was in high school. And so here she is, with her little girl (who is 3 now!). Tonya works at Wishard Hospital in the Human Resources department.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Evidence...I AM the Luckiest Girl in the World

Little did I know as I was baking brownies at 4:30 a.m. today, that new evidence would unfold that I am indeed the luckiest girl in the world. (The brownies were very good, by the way.)

Today, was the big day at work, the annual picnic. Now, for those of you who had heard about the annual event that I attended in June for work, I need to explain. I have a new job that started August 1. Just in time to attend the annual afternoon outing for the new job. But also at the right time to not miss the annual outing for the old job in June. (Lucky Me!)

Today's outing was at the Garfield Park Pagoda. It was my first time there, but very cool. A nice area with tables, etc. Lots of activities planned by the event committee for the 300 or so people in attendance. Volleyball, bingo, guitar hero, a raffle, etc. The event was catered by Jugs' Catering, which has great food!! Barbeque, fried chicken, salad, potatoes, brown county biscuits and apple butter. Then there were the great desserts that everyone had baked up, including the brownies.

There was also a "donate to United Way" portion, where everyone had been given an opportunity to donate money to make particular people in management participate in a pie eating contest. They had to fish worms out of the pies. I couldn't see all that well, but I'm hoping they were gummy worms instead of earth worms.

So, on to the 4:30 a.m. brownies. You see, if you brought a home-baked dessert, you got 2 extra raffle tickets, and 1 other ticket that was in a drawing for dessert providers only. I didn't really do it for the extra tickets, but it was a nice perk anyway. I just haven't baked in a while, and I haven't baked at all for these new people. So, early morning brownies are always the best.

As for activities, I participated in Bingo. I hadn't really thought I would participate, but when I found out they were giving out gas cards for Speedway gas station, I was a little more enticed. I did mess up the bingo game a little. I know, you are thinking how can you mess up bingo? Well, you know I get excited about things, a little anyway. So a couple of times I may have yelled Bingo too early. But I won when it counted, on the final game of the day. The coverall. So, tomorrow I will get $20 of gas with my shiny new gas card.

For the raffle, everyone received 8 tickets which each person could then place however they wanted to in a container for eight different prizes. If there was a particular prize that you wanted, you could put all 8 in one container, or you could try to win all 8 by putting one in each. Of the eight prizes, there were 5 that I was interested in. They were: Dinner for 8 catered by Jugs Catering, tickets to see the Lion King, tickets to see the Pacers, $250 gift card to the Great Wolf Lodge, and Colts tickets. The others were good prizes, an Outback Steakhouse gift card, Simon Mall gift cards, and a gift card to another restaurant that I'd never heard of before. I just figure, if I wanted to go to Outback, I would go. And since I don't really eat steak, I haven't been there in about 3 years. Although they have a great onion soup.

So, since I had 10 tickets (because of the dessert maker bonus), I put 2 each in the five that I was interested in. Now, here is my little secret. I had a wonderful boss one time that was a super-genius. She was a chemist that helped discover a cancer drug. She holds 2 patents. One time I watched her put her name in a drawing, and instead of folding the paper nicely, she wadded it up in a ball, and then gently pulled it apart a little. When I asked her about it, she said that this technique creates more surface area on your little drawing slip, and therefore it has a better chance of being selected. Hmmm. Made a little sense too me. Especially since she won on the drawing where I saw her do it.

So, with my 10 tickets where I put 2 in each drawing, I put in one that was folded nicely and one that had been wadded up. And I can't wait to go to the Great Wolfe Lodge!! Woo Hoo!!! I even had a few people offer to buy it for $200.

Now, if this evidence to my luckiness is not enough, I need to add one more thing. You know the event in June? I won at that one too. My car will be detailed next week, courtesy of the gift certificate that I won there.

I am the lucky girl. Told ya.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Mysterious White Van

Tonight I checked my email to find a message from the Neighborhood Watch Block Captain about a mysterious white van in my neighborhood. Here's how it went:

"...It happened to come through after dinner and park at the corner of New Jersey and Fall Creek Pkwy. We got out the camera and took a picture. When he saw me do that, he drove away, so I got the back side of the van, including the license plate. I attached the pictures for you (small files, but if you want/need full scale high res,they are 2-3 meg). K___ followed the van on his bike, and saw it deliver something on Alabama (he said a recycling box, or something like it, but it wasn't a DPW van, nor marked commercially). Could be nothing, and probably not worth too much concern unless something happens over the next few days."

It seems my delivery of fruits and vegetables has caught the attention of neighbors.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Slow Food

As many of you know I have been eating mainly organic fruits and vegetables for about a year now. I do think they taste better, fresher, last longer, etc. But, probably the biggest reason I have stuck with it is because of the delivery service. I love every other Thursday when I get my green bin delivered to my doorstep from Farm Fresh Delivery. During the last year, I have eaten some things that I have never or would have never eaten had I not been using this service (i.e., fresh spinach, pink lady apples, rainbow carrots). If those things had not been in the bin, I wouldn't even have tried them or tried to cook them in the case of the spinach. But, they are things that I now regularly order.

The way it all works is that the Farm Fresh people have a "standard bin" that they have all picked out for you, but you are given 4 days to log onto their Internet site and exchange anything in the standard bin for something that you like better. I started out trying to at least try something new each time. I've sort of stuck to that, but as the late summer harvest is upon us, my love of green beans, corn on the cob, and fresh tomatoes has taken over. I also can eat up a head of lettuce pretty quickly.

And the fruit and vegetable delivery is just the start. I am so lucky that I live within walking distance of Goose the Market. I affectionately call Mollie and Chris Eley's market "the corner store", but it is way more than just a store. The sandwich shop, coffee place, meat market is where I have been getting meat on a regular basis, and buying bread from the Breadsmith. For you foodies out there, the Goose has earned top sandwich in the U.S. from Bon Appetit magazine. While you guys know me, and the sandwiches are a bit fancy for my plain jane taste buds, I still think it is pretty cool.

Anyway, tonight I had the absolute best pork chop for dinner that was marinated by Chris, and then cooked up on my George Foreman. (I'm hoping he's not offended at my George Foreman cooking, but that is how I do it these days.) Anyway, the pork chop was totally scrumptious and it seems, whenever I get something from there and take the time to cook it with some vegetables, it reminds me of a simpler time. When we sat down for dinner, at a table, and enjoyed a meal and conversation. And while I ate my pork chop and side items alone tonight, next time I will be sure to invite someone so that they can taste the great taste of Slow Food.

Labor Day Weekend - Baseball, Sky Concert, and Granny's House

Where has this year gone? I can't believe it is already September and it feels like Christmas will be here before I know it. How will I ever get everything done?

This Saturday, Trevor, Johnny, Scott and I went to the Indians baseball game which was followed by the SkyConcert fireworks show. It was a cotton candy-nacho-chicken strip-french fry-peanutty-lemonade-fun-filled time. Oh My!!! After an Indians loss (which may be blamed on the early don of the rally cap by Trevor and me), we headed out to the outfield to watch the fireworks. Can I tell you how cool the outfield grass is at Victory Field? It was funny that all these people brought blankets. What were they trying to avoid? Bugs? There are no bugs in that grass. It is so uniformly amazing. I always wonder what they do to get it so nice and neat.

The SkyConcert was a bit of a disappointment. I think that the launch location for the fireworks must have changed this year. Last year, the outfield was perfect for firework viewing. This year, the actual fireworks were blocked by part of the stadium. We ended up leaving the outfield and going to a different area to watch. Much better. But next year, I think we'll try an alternate location.

Sunday we went to Granny's for even more food. But good, farm fresh food. Corn on the cob, green beans, meatloaf. And later on, when we came home, we tried to make homemade ice cream. I improvised with what I thought would work. And well, it didn't. But I can't see how they could make the ice cream in a ziploc bag this morning on the Today show, when Trevor and I couldn't accomplish it with a Salad Spinner last night. It really seems like it should have worked. Oh well. We will try again. But maybe we'll put a ziploc bag in the Salad Spinner.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tagged! - Six Random Things (posted August 30, 2008)

I got TAGGED by Scott at All I'm Saying, which is okay, sort of. I am honored, but worried about fulfilling all of the associated responsibilities. You see...there are rules.

Here are the rules:

  1. Link to the person who tagged you.
  2. Post these six rules on your blog.
  3. Write 6 random things about yourself.
  4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them. (this is the hard part. do I know 6 people I can link to? We'll see how this turns out)
  5. Let each person you have tagged know by leaving a comment on their blog. (hmm)
  6. Let the tagger know when your entry is posted.
I started this entry over a week ago, and it has just never gotten finished. There are probably numerous reasons for the non-completion (work, being out of town, just plain being tired). But at this point, if I don't finish this entry, I will never get to write about the other stuff that I want to write about, or post any of the pictures that I plan to take this weekend. So...I better get it done.

So, without further are my random things:

  1. My life has a soundtrack. You know in the movies how when people are doing anything, there is always some sort of music playing for the soundtrack. I have something in my head that creates the soundtrack for my life, so there is always some type of music playing. You'd think I could play an instrument or something. Lately my soundtrack has been a song that is very cool, but I have no idea what it is. It has a very 70's vibe. Lately I've been listening to all 70's music at work. Oops, that may have been too much information.

  2. I am number 5 of 5 kids. I always thought that if I owned a company it would be called "#5" or something like that. Coco Chanel may have a problem with that, but I'm not thinking it will happen anyway.

  3. I like all sports and I am very competitive, but in my ideal world, all the big games would end in a tie. I'd really like a world where everyone could actually win.

  4. I got my first car when I was 24. And I don't understand why college students think they need cars at school.

  5. Cirque du Soleil amazes me and I am on a quest to see all of them. Watch this video and you can see why.

  6. I'm okay with breaking the rules sometimes, but it takes thought for me to do so. I have to come to that after a while of reasoning and justification. So, that brings me to the "I'm breaking the rules" part of this TAGGED game.

I'm going to break rules #4 and #5 for the TAGGED blog rules. This whole tagging was really probably meant to be good fun and all for all the TAGGED bloggers. However, the pressure of linking to 6 other bloggers has really gotten the best of my blogging. I don't even know 6 people who blog. So, just like the recipe chain letters, where people say, come on, share a recipe, surely you have a recipe...I break the chain. I figure, why would anyone want one of my Campbell's soup recipes anyway? And, it is doubtful that I would use any of the recipes I get.

Just let this be fair warning to anyone who may tag me in the future. I will break your tagging chain. I may not even do the assignment.

So, to my friend Scott. Sorry to let you down and not fulfill all the rules. I have done the best I could by completing the writing assignment, and I am glad that you made me think about this a little bit. Maybe that is a random thing about me anyway. I never respond or forward or do anything with the chain letters I receive (even from family members!). And this, while consistent, may also be a random thing about me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Oil Can ROCKS

On Saturday evening, we had tickets to the Grand Opening of Lucas Oil Stadium. Which, was kind of cool, but not as cool as I expected it to be. The lines to see the locker rooms were way too long by the time we made it down on the field, so we did not get to see either The Colts or the Visitors locker room.

The event was pretty easy to do as far as parking and walking and dropping off goes. I dropped my Mom and everyone else at the front entrance and I drove to a Lilly parking garage and then walked back to the stadium. When we came out, it was easy to reverse and I was able to get the car and then go pick them up without much trouble. No traffic lines or anything.
Lots of people at the stadium were Colts fans, others were there to "see what my taxes are buying", etc., but everyone seemed to enjoy the opportunity for a walk-through of the stadium for "free". I say "free" because they did charge others for parking and this was the prime opportunity for selling all that Colts merchandise and concessions. I hope I get an opportunity to attend a game sometime.

There is much discussion around Indianapolis about what to call Lucas Oil Stadium, like a nickname. My Mom has suggested "the Oil Can", but I don't think it will really catch on. Some TV reporters have been calling it "the Luke", but Forrest Lucas of Lucas Oil doesn't like that at all because one of his competitors is Luke Oil. Mr. Lucas isn't really getting his $123 million dollars worth if they call it that.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Back in the Swing of Things

So...I don't know what it was, but I have been so tired lately. There are a few things that I have attributed it to, but mainly I think it was the excessive heat of the southern vacation, and the 4:00 a.m. olympic watching.

I really didn't think I would watch the Olympics this year. I'm much more a fan of the winter games, and I really was so turned off by all the pre-Olympic coverage from NBC. I thought I might just skip it all. But then it happened, you start watching the Michael Phelps phenomenon, the gymnastics, synchronized diving (who had ever heard of that before?) and I am still looking for table tennis.

In any case, this was a big weekend, so I had to snap back to normal. Trevor was with me and we went to the Trader's Point Hunt Charity Horse Show. This is our second year to do it, and for $10, the two of us had a great day.

The Trader's Point people know how to do a horse show. It is held at Wild Air Farms in Zionsville, and the grounds of this private estate have several show rings and a beautiful Grand Prix Field. We always try to go early so that we can see the young riders, but we didn't see them again this year. I read my program later that said unless they have at least 6 entrys in a class, they will not have the competition. Maybe there weren't enough of the little kids ( 5, 6, and 7 year-olds) who entered.

It was kids day, so there were plenty of things to do. They had the air jumpy things, pony rides, face painting, clowns, etc. We did a few of those things, and then headed off to the terrier races. Have you ever seen the terrier races on TV? I've seen them on Animal Planet. But basically, they have terriers (or in the case of Trader's Point any small dog) chase a toy on a string down a fairly long grassy course. At the end of the course they have bales of straw set up so that they form a dog-size hole for the dogs to go through. The first one through the hole is the winner. We watched the races, and then went to the Grand Prix field to watch the jumpers.
I really like this show and we had a great morning. And, I like to think this is another of some very different experiences we have during the year.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The First Day of School

Today was the first day of school in Indianapolis, and most of the surrounding areas. So all the kids I know went back to school today. My nephew Trevor started the 2nd grade.

Every year at this time, I remember the feelings I had when I was in elementary school, and I always remind my Mom about them. I never slept before the first day of school. I was so nervous! I always thought that the next grade was going to be too hard for me and that I wouldn't get good grades. It was never as hard or scary as I dreamed up, and I always passed to the next grade.

So, you see, even at a very young age I was a little off. I remember going to my first non-animated movie and wondering if I would be smart enough to follow the story. I remember going in the movie theater and thinking that I really needed to pay attention so that I wouldn't get lost. Maybe it was because the movies and filmstrips at school were so boring. Needless to say, I was able to make it through.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Linksys May have beaten me

How many hours is required to set up a wireless router? Go ahead. Take a guess. If the number you said is less than 10, you are wrong. And I still can't figure it out.

It is funny. I had wireless all winter, then something happened in April or May or maybe even before that, and my router went out. So, I have done this successfully in the past. The first time, I remember it taking a while. I had to call the 1-800 number on the linksys literature. And I remember that what I was told on the phone was different than what was written in the "Easy Set-Up Guide". But you know I can't find that phone number now. Surely the online instructions have been updated. Surely.

I hope not. If they have been updated, something is seriously wrong, and I just need to go buy new stuff. Right now though, I will give up again. As for tonight's 2 hour session, it is over. The wires are hooked back in and I am back in my wired up business. We'll try again another day.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Editor's Note: Date Issue with the Blog

Most of you know my stand on post-dating, pre-dating, or just incorrectly dating something, so I will leave that out. BUT...for some reason, even though I clicked "Publish" today on Monday, August 4, the vacation re-cap has actually published under Sunday, August 3.

I put the headings in on Sunday evening, but didn't actually finish them and click "publish" until today. I thought they would take on today's date, but they stayed in their original order. So, to read the vacation re-cap, you have to go to Sunday's date.


Things I learned on vacation...

  1. When in doubt, rent the mini-van - For a while, we had considered driving my car on this vacation. The week rental fee for the mini-van was totally worth it. Space is good.

  2. Check climate data before planning travel - In the winter go south; in the summer go north. This can't always be done, but think about it.

  3. Take a day off work before and after your trip if at all possible - I can't tell you how glad I am that I don't have to work tomorrow.

  4. Wear sunscreen and a hat. Period.

  5. A good breakfast does make the day start off right. And it can get you through a pretty active day.

The vacation re-cap will be posted tomorrow. For now, off to sleep for me.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Big House, A Pink Palace, and some Marching Ducks (Saturday, August 2)

I was responsible for the Saturday itinerary in Memphis. I have always wanted to go to Memphis to visit Graceland, the Civil Rights Museum, and see the Peabody Ducks. I really just hadn't planned on the Excessive Heat Warning that would also occur on the same day.

We started out with a good breakfast. I though a full tummy would get everyone in a good mood. Some caffeine, some pancakes, chocolate milk. That is what we need, energy to get us through this day. And off it was to Elvis' house. My older sister had told me that Graceland is a magical place for little boys, because they would all choose to live in a house like Elvis had. A soda fountain, 3 TVs in one room, a game room, the Jungle Room, and a swimming pool. What more could you want? How about 2 private planes and so many cool cars. And two buildings full of trophies. My nephew didn't really know about Elvis before Saturday, but in the gift shop as he and his Dad were picking out some Elvis wind chimes he said, "Dad, we gotta get this one, it has his picture on it!" By the way, did you know they have a whole separate "Elvis at Home" store? How many Elvis sink strainers do you think they sell everyday?

From Graceland, we made a quick stop at the Pink Palace. We went to the Planetarium show, which provided a nice break in a comfortable chair, in a dark room. Those who wanted to could close their eyes and rest, others had a show about stars and planets that was somewhat entertaining, but could have been better. Back to the car....

And on to Peabody Place. Have you heard of the Peabody Ducks? They are pretty famous and they march into and out of the lobby fountain of the Peabody Hotel every day. There is a video of the march here. I had always wanted to see this duck parade, I just didn't know how many other people would be there to enjoy it with me. This is quite an event. My nephew got to sit right along the red carpet for the march out of the lobby on Saturday evening. He said the ducks flapped their wings and got him wet. Pretty cool.

Dinner at Pizza Hut, then back to the hotel. One more day in the car, and vacation is (sort of) over.

You really can't get there from here (Friday, August 1)

Friday was the second car day. We drove from Branson to Little Rock to visit the Clinton Presidential Library and then on to Mississippi.

I used to live in Massachusetts and one of the T-stops I would often pass was the one for the JFK Library. I never got off to visit it. I regret that now, but at that time I didn't know what a Presidential Library was all about. My first Presidential Library to visit was the Jimmy Carter Center in Atlanta. It really is a beautiful place. This is where I figured out how cool the Presidential Libraries were and what they had inside. I've visited the FDR historic sites in New York, but wasn't able to go to the museum. I'll have to get back to that one.

At some point quite a few years ago I decided that it would be cool to visit all of the Presidential Libraries. My grandfather had a goal to visit all of the state capitals. There is a lot of old movie film in a box at my Mom's house of my grandma walking up the steps of many, many, many state capitals. I didn't think I would ever really do that, but I figured I could do the libraries. Then, last year I found out that my brother had the same ambition. He had visited the Gerald Ford Library in Michigan last year.

So, between Branson and our next destination (Tunica, Mississippi), was the Clinton Presidential Library. We both can cross that one off of our list now. There is many a joke to be made about the Clinton Library. And my Mom was right there to make them. It actually does look like a double-wide trailer, sort of, so well...couldn't the architect have seen that one coming? I enjoyed the visit. Inside the building is beautiful. I would like to go back sometime when I have a little more time. There are also a lot of other things to see in Little Rock, like the Central High School Historic Site. I will go back, someday. But maybe not in August. It was 99 degrees today.

On to Mississippi, and getting hotter.

Too Much Sun (Thursday, July 31)

So, on Thursday, I spent a little too much time in the sun. I hadn't drank enough on Wednesday, which also didn't help. I was suprised when I looked up the high temperature that day and it had only been 91 degrees. I would have sworn that it was closer to 100.

Anyway, I don't remember much. I swam. Only in the outdoor pool. I forgot my sun visor. I was out too long. Biofreeze does sooth a sunburn. I should have gone in. We also went to Celebration City, a very nice, small amusement park with rides and shows.

Train Ride, Shopping, and The Presley's (Wednesday, July 30)

Before we headed to Branson, I had asked many, many people for suggestions on what show to see while I was there. I do enjoy a show. Unfortunately, lots of people seemed to be out of town for the week (the Japanese violin guy, Yakov, even #1 hits of the 60's was not playing at a time when we could go). So, the maintenance man working on our dishwasher (another story, but not a trip highlight) said, "Well, why did you come to Branson? You come to Branson to see a Branson show. And if you are going to see a Branson show you have 2 choices, either The Presley's or the Baldknobbers. Those are the people who made Branson what it is today."

And so, he went on to tell about The Presley's. The Presley family has been playing to audiences in Branson for a very, very long time. They used to play in the caves around Branson, where a stage had been set up that was used for church services and for shows by the Presley family. Soon, so many people were coming to the shows that the family built a theater on Highway 76 in Branson. You got popcorn, a coke, and a comfortable seat in air-conditioning for $1.25.

So, we took the maintenance man's advice and bought our tickets to see The Presley's, and all of us had a great time. There were Presley's aged 3 - 84 on stage, playing every kind of musical instrument possible. It was a great show, but it also made me wonder how a family business like that works. I'm sure there are many more family members than those that I saw on stage, but it just makes you think of what a different life they lead.

So, for all of you bound for Branson...go see The Presley's.

Mini-Golf, Swimming, Go-Karts and more (Tuesday, July 29)

Today was a good, relaxing day, mainly spent at the resort. They had a mini-golf course and even Granny played with us. I am not the mini-golf pro, but I was very lucky and won that round. Then we went swimming for a couple of hours. We swam both in the indoor and outdoor pool, which was a key in my not getting too sunburned (more about that in a later post). The indoor pool was cold, but I can't believe how refreshing it felt to be in that cool, cool water when it was so absolutely hot outside.

Later on in the day I had some work to get done, so I slipped away to Starbucks with my laptop. I had to get some things in by the 31st, and it all got done while they were go-karting. My Mom had a great time watching my nephew drive those go-karts. On Wednesday, she said to see him drive those go-karts was worth the whole trip. There were many more of those moments to come.

West to Branson (Monday, July 28)

I actually can't remember what time we finally got to my brother's house to leave. I know we were late, but when I got home, I was glad I had taken the extra hour to clean the kitchen floor and wash up all the dishes. It is good to come home to a clean, non-smelly kitchen.

This day was primarily spent in the mini-van. It was a beautiful Jimmie Johnson blue color and I wish I had taken a picture. My nephew picked it out. Somewhere close to St. Louis we stopped at a Rest Area and ate a beautiful lunch packed up by my sister-in-law. I really need to buy some applesauce. I like it a lot.

We played car bingo, read a few chapters of "Mr. Popper's Penguins", and talked about how much fun we were going to have. This was a long day in the car, but I didn't notice it too much. Was it the excitement? Or just that it was new? It wasn't too long before we stopped at Lambert's Cafe, the home of throwed rolls. Yep, throwed rolls. There is a guy that comes up and down the aisles throwing hot rolls to anyone who asks for one. He throws them all the way across the room. Pretty cool. And our table only dropped one! Check out their menu. Definitely not on the heart healthy list of approved restaurants, but it is an experience. And hey...we were on vacation.

After dinner and about an hour more of travel, we were settled in our condo and ready to crash. The next day would be full of activity!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

This Blog is on Vacation

This blog is officially on vacation. I'll catch you all up in a week or so.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Day at the Track

What a day we had yesterday! I was so tired last night, I couldn't do much of anything. A day in the sun at the track can really take it out of you.

I picked up my nephew yesterday morning, we packed our lunch of Peanut Butter sandwiches and some chips and headed for the track. When we got to the track, we actually got the best parking spot ever, right in the 3rd Turn, next to the family viewing mounds. We could actually see the track sitting in the car, but the viewing mounds are really a cool place to watch the action.

We got to the track around 11:30 and practice was to start at 2:00. The plan was to take the tram up to the main area, walk around the Pagoda Plaza for awhile, eat our lunch, and wait for the action to begin!

What a perfect day! The sun was out, but there was a great breeze. We really needed a hat, so we got matching ones from the booth sponsored by St. John's Church of Christ. So many nice people are at the track. They are all there to have a good time and just enjoy cheering for their driver.

My nephew was excited to see the garages from the viewing platform (which is actually the walkway to some public restrooms) and ready for the track action!
We picked up some sodas and headed to the main grandstand to get a good seat in the shade, eat our lunch, and watch the racing begin!

The focus for my nephew is Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet (pictured above). He has had Jimmie as his favorite driver since he was 3 years old. Yes, 3! Jimmie ended up having the fastest practice laps of the day at over 180 mph. And now, 90 minutes into qualification, Jimmie is on the pole!

I was actually pretty lucky to get a few pictures with cars in them. The cars are so fast that most of my pictures ended up looking like this: