Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ouabache State Park

Hi all, Dianne here. This will be a short update, since we are under trees and I'm pecking this out on my iPhone since our Datastorm can't get a signal. We will be here for the next week or so, hunkering down here for Labor Day weekend. What a beautiful campground, and we have it almost all to ourselves. -- At least until the weekend crowds arrive. There are miles of hiking trails and, best of all, a paved bike trail through the woods that connects with another bike trail which winds next to Wabash River all the way to Bluffton, Indiana.

This morning we hiked with the dogs for a couple of miles. This afternoon we plan to check out the bike trail. We'll post an update when we're back in the land of satellite signals-- aka no trees!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Disturbing the Peace part 2,3,4 - whatever

The first "Disturbing the Peace" post documented Jasper's displeasure with an armadillo that was hopping around under the motor home in Florida.  Since then, there have been several installments.  The latest incident took place yesterday.

  Ahhh.....  Roger here....  Sitting behind the motor home watching the Indiana corn grow.  Sooooo peaceful.... Sooooo quiet.....  Soooo tranquil........

Hey, Bandido..... shut up!  

"Bark, bark, bark, howl, howl, woof, woof, grrrrr."

Is there a threat in the corn field?  There is nothing there!  Oh.  OK.  I see what you are trying to protect us from.  "It's OK Bandido.  It's just a hot-air balloon.  It won't hurt us.  OMG.  It's bigger!

It's OK.  Mommy will pet you.  It's OK.  Don't be afraid.  "Woof (subdued), woof.

WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!  "Now two of them are attacking us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bandido actually hid under my lawn chair until the hot-air balloons were gone.  "Such an aggressive, protective, brave, brave, baby!"

Other news... I met a few of my former teachers after school Thursday.  What fun!  Andy, Eric, Jeff, and Jenny... it was great to see you.

The pet picture of the day shows Bandido, staring at the hot-air balloons, while hiding under my lawn chair.  What a good, but "chicken" guard dog!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer in Indiana - Pleasant Times with Friends

Roger here...   We are still in the GloWood (no-frills) campground in the middle of the corn fields - a quiet, no-hassle setting that has grown on us.  Amid the car appointments, eye doctor appointments, bicycle tune-ups, trips to the dog park, and regular doctor appointments (my doctor confirms that I am much healthier --- in fact very healthy --- due to our new lifestyle), our time has been filled with various events with long-time Indiana friends.  

I had lunch with my former colleagues and very good friends - Mike and Mike - at Qdoba last week after visiting my friends at the Hamilton Southeastern Schools Administrative Offices...  Lynn, Jackie, Denise, Cecilie, Terry, Cherie, Rose, Bev, Mary Anna, Nancy and Nancy.  Hope I did not leave anyone out!  (Rose's husband is now a successful author.  You can find him on your kindle.  Just type in "Sweazy" at the kindle store).  A little later in the week, I again met one of the Mikes (the man who has my former job) and my colleague, Brian (my former asst. principal who later was the first principal at Hamilton Southeastern's second junior high school) for dinner at The Bank in Historic Pendleton, IN.  It was great to catch up.  The next night Dianne and I had dinner with my former head of guidance, Lois, and her husband Val.  I am forever indebted to Lois for my new Slippery Rock (her alma mater) Sweatshirt, among lots and lots of other things.

Now for the events documented with pictures....  Thursday evening we attended a fund-raiser for the Anderson (IN) Symphony Orchestra.  The concert, featuring individuals from the symphony, took place in the gardens of our dear friends Jay (in the picture) and Nancy.  A cacophony of cicada chirps accompanied the musicians.   We did not photograph the performers, but we did take some pics of their amazing gardens.  What a pleasant evening.

(Now that's a potting shed, complete with lush thyme blanketing its front lawn -- D.)
The next day.... Off to Lake Cordry...  We dropped off the boys (Chaplin and Bandido) with Karen, our most trusted dog-sitter, and filled all the water and food bowls for Big Chuck.  Oh, and Dianne spread all of Big Chuck's toys on the floor (including the catnip mouse).  Does Big Chuck look happy?  Kinda mellow?  (The small toys are normally put away so that Bandido won't eat them, so it was like Christmas morning for Charlie the cat).

Jay and Nancy picked us up for the hour-plus drive to their lake home -- one of the most peaceful places I know.  (Check out the opening photo.)  We ate, delicious meals.  We played Mexican Train on the deck -- our new favorite game.  We solved the problems of the world, I wish.  

I was drinking coffee on the deck, over the water,  early on Saturday morning,  and was treated to amazing, fog-filled views of the lake.  The sequential photos are a montage of time as the fog flowed across the dam and eventually vanished into a sunny day. 

Nancy soon told us that we would be having breakfast on their pontoon boat in the middle of the lake.  Our lives have changed from speed boats to pontoon boats -- and it does seem comfortable.

Good food.  Amazingly peaceful setting in crystal clear water.

OK... Back to Glo Wood...  One of my former teachers, Kathy, has been trying to figure out a time to see us while we were in town.  She finally found a time that we were not busy and arrived on her bicycle with chicken to grill.  Soon another of my former teachers, Laurie, arrived with a delicious side dish and dessert.  What a treat!  So good to share time with two of the most talented teachers that I have had the privilege to work with.  Kathy has coached and coordinated -- this year-- two Destination Imagination teams (higher- level thinking skills) that finished runner-up in the Global Finals at the University of Tennessee.  Laurie, a science teacher, organized an award-winning outdoor, hands-on, education campground for all of our seventh graders for many, many years. 

 Notice I have a mouthful of food.  It was a big deal for me to share a meal with them.  The quiet dinner was a big deal to me.  

OK time to brag...  (Pet pictures of the day) I have taught many people to swim, including my granddaughter, Kaia, and a lot of people who are almost my age.  Well... my young, one-year-old puppy (dog), now knows how to swim.  

He was terrified when I sat him down in the shallow waters of the Guadalupe River in the Hill Country of Texas in March.  The Pierson Dog Park in Fishers, IN was the location for my latest swimming accomplishment.  Bandido wanted the tennis ball.  HE REALLY WANTED THE TENNIS BALL.  

So, I threw it in the water, a few feet at the time.

A few, few, few  feet further and then, Good Dog!

I am soooooo proud of my new son!   He is a SWIMMER!

More friends to come.... Jim and Debbie, Chris and Shawna, Chuck and
Cindy, and Audrey and Pat.  Next post. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fishers Dog Park & Taking Care of Business in Indiana

Hi all, Dianne here.   What have we missed most about Indiana (apart from our friends and family)?   Home-grown tomatoes, sweet corn, Indiana cantaloupe.   Yum!   Throw in some t-bone steaks (on sale) and wow, what a meal.  The corn and cantaloupe were purchased at the Pendleton Saturday morning farmer's market that my friend, Nancy, and I went to.  The wonderful tomato is from Nancy's garden, as well as the fresh basil.

We are settled in at Glo-Wood Campground outside Lapel, Indiana.  It's a no-frills campground surrounded by corn fields, but the location is perfect for us as far as doctors' appointments, visiting friends, and other "taking care of business" stuff.  We're getting our bikes tuned up, car maintenance/repair, doctor and eye appointments. 
We've had to be early risers on a few mornings, and I got a photo of the sunrise and mist over the corn. 

We're also getting together with friends from "home."  Last weekend we played Mexican Train with our friends Jay and Nancy and Kurt and Susie (mutual friends).  Next weekend we'll be at their  lake place for more summer fun.  
Our camping buddies Chuck and Cindy recommended a local dog park that they take Sophie to.  Pierson Dog Park is in Fishers, Indiana.  It is a membership-only dog park.  We purchased a one-month membership to use for the three weeks we are in this area.  What a well-managed dog park!  It's only a 10-minute drive from where we're staying, so we've gone over there five times already!  Today we had the place all to ourselves and Roger and Bandido played "catch and fetch."  
Bandido even learned to fetch out of the pond.
Saturday there was a large assortment of dogs in attendance and boy, did they have fun!  

There's a pond for swimming (dogs only).

Bandido plays well with others and ran and played with the best of them (including a huge great dane). 

Chaplin, as usual, did his own thing and wandered the perimeter sniffing bushes and watching the fun.  He kept up his "chick magnet" status, of course.

The highlight of Bandido's day on Saturday was when our friend, Chuck, brought Sophie over to play while we were there.  

Such excitement at the gate when they arrived!

The wrestling match picked up right where it left off at Turkey Run.  This time, however, we weren't constantly having to untangle their dog ties.  Lots of running and chasing. 
 After about an hour of fun, they finally wore down and found a shady spot to rest.

Not much else to write about.  We are here until the 29th.  We'll update again if/when we have something worth blogging about!

The pet photo of the day is a two-part photo.  Living with two dogs and a cat requires some adjustment.  (Let's just say Martha Stewart doesn't live here).  We normally keep a slipcover on the couch.  Since it's been so hot and humid here, lately we've substituted a bed sheet over the couch, that can be switched out and then all washed on laundry day.  

Note the bulge under the sheet covering the front of the couch.  Can you guess why Bandido is so interested??  

Just another case of Charlie the cat tormenting Bandido.  Charlie could just as easily be under the couch, where Bandido couldn't reach him.  He finds it a lot more fun to be in front of the couch but under the sheet -- all the better for dog tormenting!  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Turkey Run State Park - The Annual Trip 2011

Roger here...  Back for our annual visit to Turkey Run State Park.  This may be our last Turkey Run trip for a while.  We are hoping to travel to Oregon and Washington State next summer, so we would not be in Indiana for the Turkey Run fun.  If that happens, I will fly to Indianapolis to do the Human Resources presentations that I still do every year for my former employer.

Before I talk about Turkey Run, I need to relate a somewhat harrowing experience that we had while driving through Montgomery and Parke Counties in Indiana.  

My mistake, (and it was my mistake), was to thoroughly trust "Waldo" our new RV-GPS.  I did not look at the maps because we had been to Turkey Run many times before, and because I trusted Waldo.  I know, I know, always look at the maps ahead of time.  I should have.  I have in the past, and I will in the future.

Waldo had no trouble guiding us through Lafayette and taking us to Crawfordsville, IN.  Just south of town, he told us to stay on the current road (we were on state road 32) for 22 miles.  We arrived at a "Y" in the road -- 32 to the right and 47 to the left.  We should have veered onto 47, but even though I felt it was wrong, I trusted Waldo.  Within two miles, I knew it was a mistake, but I figured that "Waldo" would take us back to SR 47.  He did, but in an amazing way.  We traveled on no less than 12 different narrow, bumpy, county roads -- one of which was washboard gravel -- before we reconnected with 47 (probably took us an extra 45 minutes).  OK, WALDO!  You are still better than Sacajawea, but never again will I completely trust you.  

We finally arrived at Turkey Run State Park and awaited the arrival of our camping friends, including some new ones.  Chuck and Cindy arrived after a couple of hours.  Pat, Audrey and Jessica (their daughter), then Bill (Cindy's brother) and Rick arrived the next day.   

The Turkey Run itinerary has changed very little over the years: kayaking, napping, cards, eating, hiking, corn hole, and dog wrestling.  You can check out information about Turkey Run State Park by clicking on "Indiana State Parks" in the left margin and then scrolling down to locate the posts regarding Turkey Run.  (You might have to go down a few pages -- D.)   Here's this year's update:


NEWS HEADLINE.... Neither Chuck Nor Cindy Lost Their Glasses This Year.  Three years ago Chuck lost his glasses while tipping his kayak. Two years ago, he repeated the performance. Last year Cindy lost her new prescription sunglasses and a favorite hat in a similar, albeit more dangerous, spill.  This year, neither one of them lost their glasses.  When asked about the reason for their good fortune, they responded: "We did not wear them."

The ten-mile kayaking trip down Sugar Creek was (as usual) so much fun.  Here is a shot of Dianne psyching up for the trip.

The first part of the trip reminded me of "bumper cars" at an amusement park, substituting kayaks and canoes for cars.  With two bus-loads of people entering the creek at the same time, it was a little hectic.  But, that soon ended as we spread out on the water.

The water was warm and a little low.  The sky was overcast, which turned out to be a good thing.  The lack of direct sunlight kept all of us a little cooler than normal, but we did need to paddle more due to the slower current.  (We had to "portage" a lot more than usual, too.  My arms and shoulders were killing me before we made it to the takeout point. -- D.)   Mid-way we stopped on a sand bar for lunch and margaritas.    A nice lady who was there fishing with her family took our group picture and received a complimentary margarita for her trouble.

We did encounter a few spots that required a degree of paddling skill.   Here is a traffic jam (canoe pile-up) at one of them.  While most of us enjoyed watching people attempting to negotiate  the narrow opening, Audrey made friends with Audrey (the dog).  


A full day on the water turned into a late-afternoon Siesta Time.  Most of us took naps.  However, few of us slept as well as Chuck.  Take note that he still has his glasses.


After a refreshing nap -- or in Chuck's case, a deep sleep -- eight of us gathered under the shade of the "circus tent" to play Spades (this year's card game of choice) before dinner.  The two fans at the end of the table made the heat of the late afternoon bearable.  


No pictures here, but eat well we did.  Over the course of the stay we had Italian Beef Sandwiches, Burgers, Brats, Pork Loin, and a variety of different hors d'oeuvres, salads, and sides.  Anything we did not eat for dinner, went into the eggs the next morning for breakfast.  Oh, and how can I forget...  For the last dinner, Chuck grilled more chicken than we could even put a dent in.  Chuck and Cindy certainly bought out all the chicken in Fishers, IN.  I heard that chicken gizzards were the only parts of a chicken that one could buy in Indianapolis groceries until Perdue made another delivery.  It is diet time again for Dianne and me.


ANOTHER NEWS FLASH...  Sophie Escapes -- Found reading the historical placards in the Lieber Cabin.  

Last year Sophie and Jasper had a great time frolicking in Sugar Creek along one of the hiking trails.  It was so much fun that we wanted to repeat the fun.  Chuck, Pat, Bill, Rick, Dianne and I set off on the 3-mile trek.  It was bittersweet seeing Bandido splashing in the water.  We still miss Jasper, terribly.  However, it was also great fun to see such happy dogs until.... "Where did Sophie go?  Where did Chuck go?"  Sophie had bolted and run back to the trail.  Chuck followed him, but despite his best efforts to call her back, she had disappeared around a corner.  We all gathered at a point where three trailheads met.  We talked to a family on trail "A" who had not seen Sophie.  Pat took trail "B" with Chaplin in tow -- back to the campground.  Chuck started climbing the many rock steps on trail "C", the only other place Sophie could be since we were in a canyon.  The rest of us waited at the trailheads.  Chuck found Sophie at the top of the canyon in the Lieber Cabin, a historical building once owned by the founder of Indiana's State Park System.  Sophie, evidently, wanted to check out the displays :-).  

We then had to figure out how this supervision blunder was to be reported to Cindy (who would be EXTREMELY upset) if she thought that Sophie was lost in the woods.   We all agreed that Chuck should be the one to tell her (if he decided to do so), then we realized that Pat would get back to the camp site before us and report the great escape.  We gathered in a football huddle (not really, but it makes a good mental picture) to decide what to do.  We did not want Cindy to worry, so Dianne sent Cindy a text message telling her not to worry -- "Sophie is safe."  Cindy responded, "Why should I be worried?"  Hmm?  We then took trail "A" (not the trail Pat took) back to the campground.  

As it turns out, we arrived before Pat, because every kid on the trail who passed Pat wanted to pet Chaplin.  (Because we arrived before Pat, Cindy was puzzled by Dianne's message.)  Oh what a tangled web we weave...

Halfway through the visit, Bill, Rick, and Jessica left to return to civilization.  However, they were replaced by new friends... Linda, Linda, Kathy and Kris.  Linda, a friend of Chuck and Cindy,  just bought a large pop-up camper and was eager to join our group.


Game time!  Our adjacent campsites shared a large grassy area in the back -- perfect spot for cornhole and ladder jack.

Here is a shot of both games going on at the same time.  From left to right... Bill, Cindy, Rick, and Linda.

Chuck seems to be practicing Tai Chi!  What form!

What concentration!  Sorry, Chuck... You can pick on me in your blog.

Dog Wrestling

The dog wrestling between Sophie and Bandido was an ongoing, never-ending, constant, eternal 
 event.  Even when they were separated, they were sizing each other up for the next onslaught.

Such good buddies!

The pet picture of the day shows a brief respite from the wrestling match, helped along by a couple of big rawhide bones.