Monday, August 24, 2009

Good food, great friends!

The nice thing about the Elkhart Campground is that sooner or later, many of our friends pass through during the summer. . . either for repairs, rallies, or just a way point. That was the case this week for Jack and Susan. They are here getting some tweaking and service on their Newmar MountainAire motorhome. We had missed an opportunity earlier in the summer to connect with them, but this time we were determined not to let that happen again.

We met at lunch time at Olive Garden and enjoyed a wonderful meal and lots of conversation. It was great to talk with them and to hear about Clancy, their new Boston Terrier puppy. We didn't leave the restaurant until 2, but the staff was great and since the place wasn't too full, they allowed us to sit and visit after our meal.

We have been watching Nick and Terry Russell drooling over their new motorhome. They have been looking for a long time and found a 2002 Winnebago Ultimate Advantage and made the deal last week. It is a very nice unit and looks virtually unused on the inside. I'm sure they will be happy with it. Now (my) Terry has been drooling over some of the tools they intend to sell. I better check the storage bays or he will be casting out more of my stuff. He keeps telling me when I buy something new that I have to toss something. I do, but then when he buys something, he tosses something OF MINE too. Over the years, I have little stuff left. Hah.

Today is a work day over at the apartments. The windows guys will be here at 9 a.m. to start replacing windows in the last duplex that needs them. They will be done about 3 p.m. We also have two sliding patio doors to replace, but another contractor is doing that work later.

Terry brought the service truck back last night so that I could sleep in today and he could go over early. So Neal and I are hanging out at the moment. I think he wants his breakfast, though, so I better get moving.

Till next time. . .


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Great visit with son Brandon and Megan

Thursday Brandon and girlfriend Megan flew to Indiana and we met them down at my Mom and Dad's place, next to my sister and family. We got to visit for a bit and then we all drove up to Warsaw and had dinner at Ruby Tuesday's. It's a favorite of everybody's, so that was easy. I got a picture of Mom and Dad with Brandon and Megan, so that was special.

The kids came back up to Goshen and we all spent the night at the "storage condo." Friday we took them to eat at Heinnie's. Megan was amused by the name, so she had to take some pictures. Hah! They left after lunch to head to Purdue where Brandon wanted to show her the campus and where he spent 4 1/2 years of his life. They are now making their way to Anderson where they will attend his ten-year high school reunion. What fun! Sunday they fly back to Florida.

It was great to see them, even if it was a short visit. We always enjoy the time spent with our children and grand one!

It's a dismal day here in north-central Indiana, so we will have to find something to do today. Hah!

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Weather watchers!

We have a tornado watch for tonight, but it doesn't look too bad out there, just a little overcast. We have really been missed this year in terms of severe weather here in northern Indiana. The weather has been cooler than I can ever remember. I think it was one of the coolest Julys on record. Hmmmm, wonder what "Al" thinks is causing that. And it has been quite dry as well. That is until Monday. We got a deluge in the morning. I mean campers were off loading their kayaks in anticipation of needing them to get to WalMart! I don't know what the total inches of rain amounted to, but I think it was over four! Warsaw got 6.2 by noon I think. In the words of Stan Wood, Indy's former weather guru, "It was a gully washer!" At one time, rain was forcast for every day this week, but so far, nothing else has happened. But we could have some rain tonight, so we are taking stuff in so it won't get wet.

The purple martins are flying by the dozens over our heads at night. I can only hope they are eating mosquitos. There haven't been many to "bug" us this year, but after the rain Monday, we have noticed a few. We also are seeing more sandhill cranes in the fields north of CR4 just east of the park. For the last two years, we have seen two and the other night we saw about six, so that was great.

Tomorrow is a big day. Son Brandon and his girlfriend Megan are flying to Indianapolis and driving up to Warsaw to see my parents and sister and family. We will drive down and meet them there and we will all go out to eat at Ruby Tuesday's. Then the kids will drive up to Goshen and spend the night with us. They are coming for Brandon's tenth year high school reunion. Wow. Time flies, doesn't it? Friday they are going to Purdue as Brandon wants to show Megan the campus and then Saturday they go to the Anderson Horse Park and Casino for the reunion. They fly back to Florida on Sunday. Should be a fun weekend for all!

Next week we are having new windows installed in the last duplex that needs them. Also we are replacing two sliding glass doors which should result in a warmer winter for our tenants. We have wonderful tenants and we want to keep them happy so they don't move!

Till next time. . .


Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Down Under

Last evening was a real treat. We drove to Syracuse to have dinner with my best high school friend and her husband. We try to connect a couple times during the summer when we are in northern Indiana. They moved out of Goshen several years ago and put a house on 46 acres on SR 13. The house is way back in down a lane with trees and forest on all sides. When they first moved here, you could see the home site from the highway, but no more. When you get back in there, it is like another world, nothing but forestation can be seen. Over the years they have made a beautiful place and have resinstated natural grasses and vegetation native to the area. Jim has a path mowed around the perimeter of most of the area and he took us on a tour around the acreage. Years ago, he and Luanne planted thousands of trees. . . pines, oak, ash, etc., and they are all very tall now. There are many deer and last spring while mushroom hunting, Luanne came upon a baby fawn curled up and sleeping in the tall grass close to the trail. She did not disturb him but was able to snap his picture. Such a little beauty.

We then drove on into the town of Syracuse and ate at The Down Under. This is a restaurant which is located UNDER the town center. At the main intersection in town, one corner is vacant and looks like a walkway access for the shops that sit behind it. There is a gazebo on the corner and you enter there and trek down the spiral steps to the underground "cavern." It's a little "plainer" than I had anticipated, but the food was excellent and we enjoyed our meal. We all got something different--fish, shrimp, Philly cheesesteak, and I got flat-iron steak. It was all very good and I am glad we made this choice for dinner.

Afterwards, we went back to Jim and Luanne's and played cards until we needed to get back. Neal was home alone and we try not to leave him for too long. It was a great evening and we will have to do it again!

Till next time. . .


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Good times, Great Friends!

Tonight we met friends Bill and Diane and Nick and Terry at Heinnies for dinner. What fun we had. Heinnies was great as usual. I had a steak salad and it was very good. Terry had the tenderloin and enjoyed his as well. It was great fun just being with a group. . . seems like forever since we have seen or visited with anyone. We have known Nick and Terry (Gypsy Journal publishers) for several years and we met Bill and Diane at the first Gypsy Journal rally. We enjoyed sharing stories with each other while Nick gave the waitress a hard time. She was quick, however, and started firing right back at him. It was great fun and she did a nice job waiting on us. . . not an easy feat.

We have been working (as we usually do in the summer) on our rentals. We are having new windows put in one duplex and we have two sliding glass doors to replace. The doors are losing their weatherstripping and getting sloppy, letting in lots of cold air in the winter. They are obsolete of course and it is cheaper to replace them than to try and repair them, since parts are not available. I also have been busy cleaning out the "storage condo" and have the remnants of our past life stacked at the end of a downstairs bedroom. Some of the boxes are the kids' and someday they will have to come get it. But for now, we have the storage. I hope next year to start back through the closets upstairs and clean out more and more "stuff" and get what is stacked in the room put away in closets or elsewhere. Every year we take another truck load of stuff to Good Will and we did that today. I think we took 15 or so boxes. The bedroom is now cleared out enough and it is actually usable as a bedroom once again. That was my goal for the summer. We also bought an industrial paper shredder. We have 30 or so years of financial records from Terry's parents that need shredding. Since they were in the house building business we have lots of contracts, etc., to dispose of. That is a slow process, even with a good shredder.

Next week Brandon and his girlfriend will be here. They are coming to attend Brandon's 10-year high school reunion. Wow! Hard to believe my "baby" has been out of high school for that long. Time flies. It will be good to see them.

Till next time. . .


Saturday, August 08, 2009

Project time!

We have been busy working at the apartments since we left Shipshewana last Wednesday. Terry has been doing some maintenance that popped up and I have been working on cleaning out the last vestiges of our former life which have been stored in the basement at the storage condo. Every year we whittle away at it and I about have it completed. A few years ago I had cleaned out all the closets, etc., and now it is time to start going back through all of that once again. But once I have this room cleared out and usable again I will probably leave the other for another year. No need to spend every waking hour on it. We have been meeting with contractors as we have some more work we want to get done on the apartments. With the winters they have been having here (what's that about global WARMING?), we wanted to replace some windows that were leaky and a couple sliding glass doors that were leaking so badly they couldn't be fixed. The fuel bills last winter were high for our tenants and since we want them all to stay, we are doing what we can to help make their apartments more energy efficient. We have great renters and they like us as well. We will try to get this work done within the next two weeks.

The weather has been very unusual for northern Indiana. I believe they said last month was the coldest July and only 2 days at 90* or above. Today was cool and then later the wind started blowing and it got up in the 90*'s. Now the wind is still blowing but it is cooler, down to 81*.

We are in the Elkhart Campground now and WOW! What a difference a year makes. Last year there were a lot of people through here, but it appears they fill up about every night this year. And that is a lot of campers. There are numerous camping clubs here. We have an end site (Bob takes care of us) and a lot of people stop by to chat while we are outside. Bill Adams ( was parked just across the road from us last night. We asked if he had time to come and tweak our Datastosrm system and he came over this morning. He made some changes in the way it was set up and it is really running fine now. Anyone who needs any help with that should hook up with Bill sometime at a rally or elsewhere. He makes his living doing this now and he is extremely knowledgeable and very nice to deal with.

Last winter I started a project. It was a rag quilt for the bed. A rag quilt is sewn with the seams on the outside on the one side. There are various versions, but they are very simple. The biggest job is clipping the edges so it will ravel. They are very pretty when they are done and very durable. I have the quilt half done, having decided to make two sections, get them all washed and ravelled, then put them together. Otherwise it is too big for any washing machine I have handy. So the bottom half was done except for the clipping. I clipped and clipped. I tried to do at least two rows a night, but my hand would get sore and then I would have to wait a week before going back to it. I tried the spring loaded snippers, but they were too small to be effective. Last week while I was clipping, my shears broke, so I was off to Jo-Ann's to get another pair. I decided to get good ones this time, perhaps they would work easier. Then I saw THEM! Fiskars "rag quilt snippers!" Wow! Custom made for snipping thick seams. Large enough to do some serious snipping. So I bought them. . . three short sessions later I WAS DONE! Love those snippers. Here is the finished product. . . keep in mind, it is only half finished. The top half will be custom shaped to fit the motorhome bed. With two nightstands, it will be easier if I make the quilt narrower there and then I am going to make it longer to fold it back OVER the pillows instead of the customary tuck. It is a patriotic theme and the white panel you see has the Pledge of Allegiance on it. I even made corners at the foot of the quilt to fit the bed. In a motorhome, you just have no place for a lot of extra fabric to be hanging off the end. Now I just have the top to do.

Oh, if you feel compelled to tackle such a project. . . I cut out all the blocks with a rotary cutter which is must faster than scissors. And then get the proper snippers and it will go easier on your hands. BUT, my sister found a quilt shop in Warsaw, Indiana. For ONE DOLLAR a yard, they die cut the fabric for you and the die also cuts the fringe! WOW! So when we were staying at the fairgrounds down there two weeks ago, I bought fabric for a "camping quilt" for Ronan and had it all cut! We'll see how it goes. I found flannel fabrics that were novelty with camping pictures on them. The girls at the store thought it was going to be really cute. I'm going to give it to him for Christmas.

Tomorrow is a lazy day as we will watch the race. Will my favorite win? I have so many favorites now, one is bound to win. Hah!

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Busy Playing. . .

Sorry for the delay in posting. When you are living with and entertaining a two-year old, there isn't much time to do anything else. But we certainly enjoyed Ronan and his parents, and I miss them already.

On Thursday, the 23rd, we loaded Ronan in his car seat in the passenger seat of the motorhome. We were hopeful that he would enjoy the ride to Illinois from up high and we weren't disappointed. He rode the entire way. We fueled once and I did a quick diaper change then, and he didn't start getting antsy until we only had about 30 miles to go. He really liked riding in Grandma's motorhome. Jocelyn followed behind us in her car with Whiskey the poodle. We arrived in Mahomet, Illinois, and camped at the Tin Cup RV Park. The host had been very cordial on the phone, but I was less than pleased with the arrangements. They have tent sites for which they charge and I assumed that was where they would put the kids, but instead they said they were to camp on the hill on our far side. What? Well, we made the best of it, but we placed them out our front door and that worked perfectly. It was the best place for them as Ronan had decided he didn't want to sleep in the tent. He camped with them last year, but it is different as a 2-year old. So Jocelyn and Ronan slept on the couch in the motorhome. The second night we were there it stormed with lots of thundering and lightening. I woke up once and leaned forward to check on Neal and saw Whiskey laying at the foot of our bed. Hah. The dog loves me.

Tom joined us all on Saturday night, having finished his 10-day jump start on his graduate work. I imagine they were a little cramped on the sofa bed, but they didn't complain. Before they turned in for the night, they took Whiskey and Ronan to a dog park and let Whiskey run. Whiskey has been on a very strict regimen as he recovers from heartworm treatment. But he has done wonderfully and Saturday was the night they could let him run. He was a little unsure of what he could do, but he will get used to it. He has had a rough way to go as a rescue, but he has found a wonderful forever home with the kids. And he adores Ronan. He loved Neal as well and was very comfortable with us. He had started out being very skittish; but while they were at our house, I worked with him a lot and we get along well. While they were packing up the tent to leave on Sunday morning, Ronan decided he wanted to drive. He was excited about leaving and Whiskey was ready to go. They are home now in Virginia.

We left on Monday and went to central Indiana for a doctor's appointment. While there we visited with our friends Jim and Joy. I taught with them both and we all retired the same year. Joy is fighting cancer again, having survived breast and bladder cancer. She is having a lot of chemo therapy and it will be rough going for her (and Jim) this summer. Please say a prayer for her.

We are now in Shipshewana where we are camping right next to the flea market. I love this place. We spent Monday at some shops in town and today we did the flea market. By being camped this close, we could go for a few hours, then come home and rest, then go back out. We don't buy a lot, but it is good exercise and more interesting than walking around the block. That is Phaeton Place in the middle of the one picture.

We are parked right next to a BT Cruiser, a 23 foot class B motorhome, or probably more like a B+. We are interested in looking at one to buy, not necessarily a BT Cruiser, but a B+. If you see one in your travels, leave me a comment and let me know where.

Tomorrow we are headed to Elkhart Campground to meet up with some friends. We enjoy staying there because sooner or later. . . everyone comes through there!

Till next time. . .