Tag Archives: Indiana

Catching up (a little)

So much has happened since my last post, and I don’t know quite what to include and what to skip over (my poor memory will take care of some of this problem). According to WordPress, my last post was in April of last year, and it seems so long ago.

Last year we were still living in Indiana, of course, on our pastoral retreat outside Corydon, a quaint historic town in the southern part of the state, about 9 miles north of the Ohio River. We had lived in that part of the world since January 2010, which is exactly when I began this little journal, intending to document our move from Littleton, Colorado, and then see what developed from there.

What developed was….we gained MANY MANY new friends, had MANY great experiences (again, I won’t attempt to list all of them here – most of them showed up here, on these pages). Kate began her new job at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, and our new location gave us much easier access to some of her family, across the river in Kentucky. We got to visit her mother, Frances Seymour, who lived first in Vine Grove, KY, then later in Elizabethtown, KY. Also, her two brothers and their families lived there – Bruce and Joyce, Alan and Janice, all nice folks, good in-laws for me 🙂 We had many nice get-togethers with family, and I learned a few things about the land south of the River.

Kate and I got to participate in some ‘historical re-enactment’ events in Corydon, notably Corydon’s Unsavory Past, where we got to dress up in ‘old timey’ clothes (pretty handy, me being married to a seamstress). IMG_4330We added to our friend list through those activities, and also, through that connection, I wound up as Santa Claus for Corydon, and Kate was Mrs. Claus (again, the seamstress thing – Kate made some wonderful costumes for us!).

IMG_7894

After that, Kate never referred to me as ‘the fellow who dresses up like Santa’ – she always pointed out, “Yes, he IS Santa!”  Whadda gal! 🙂

Kate made an important connection during our lives in Corydon – she volunteered to join the CASA program (Court Appointed Special Advocate), whereby she was assigned cases to become the voice for the children caught up in the court system (parents at odds with the law, etc). She found it to be demanding, time-consuming, and…TOTALLY rewarding. She has a BIG heart, and even though it took up a fair amount of her personal time, she never complained, she just kept smiling, kept helping, kept ‘stepping up to the plate for the children’. I still don’t understand why this great woman said ‘Yes’, back in 2009 when i proposed, but I am honored to be her clumsy, silly husband.

And, to provide some small explanation of how we came to be in Arizona, I have to say that I was the instigator of the whole thing, and Kate acquiesced to make me happy. Now, the story: in April of last year, about the time of my last post here, we were invited to visit and stay in a large RV-Retirement Village in Mesa, Arizona. My daughter Natalie Lewis, and hubby John Lewis, were staying for awhile there, in their 5th wheel, and they asked if we’d like to come experience the ‘over 55 retirement village’ lifestyle, we said, “Hey, sounds like fun!” So, Natalie arranged for us to stay in a Park Model mobile home (a new term for us, but as we learned, that describes a small mobile home, about 400 square feet, just about big enough for 2 people). We went to Mesa (Phoenix suburb), stayed about 3 days, and had a wonderful visit. Nat described the lifestyle in that particular park (2000 spaces) as ‘like being on a cruise ship’, with all the available activities (yes, they had MANY activities!). We had fruit-bearing orange and grapefruit trees nearby, giant saguaro cacti  everywhere in the park, palm trees, and there were ‘over 55’ folks walking, cycling, enjoying life.  The weather was PERFECT, April in Arizona, you know, but, nice as it was, we couldn’t picture living there in the summer heat (115 degrees is very common!).

So, back home in Indiana, I was still taken with the idea, and also I kept returning to the thought that, if there was some way to get Kate nearer to retirement, away from the nursing job in Louisville that kept her running the halls of the hospital 12-14 high-stress, exhausting hours per shift, and maybe if we could do it while not going broke, well…. maybe an affordable Park Model out west would be the way to do it. We had seen some attractive pricing on that type of housing while in Mesa, but….TOO HOT IN SUMMER.

I was entertaining myself at the computer, checking out prices on Park Models, using Craigslist, and a few ads popped up in Show Low, Arizona. Hmmm, good prices on the homes, but…..Show Low?? I started doing a little research, and found that, with the elevation, and the low humidity, it could be a LOT like Colorado, which we both loved! So, one house-hunting trip later (which I had to do alone, due to Kate’s work schedule), here we are. HomeSweetHomeKate is still working, but this time she is a traveling nurse, and gets to do mostly driving, instead of running the halls – much easier on her. It’s not ‘zero stress’, since she has the lives and health of numerous patients on her hands, and it is, oh by the way, a JOB, ya know! 🙂 But, no RUNNING 🙂

We got here in late July, at the tail-end of summer, and the weather was MARVELOUS! And, no TICKS, as we had in Indiana. We’ve seen maybe 3 mosquitoes the whole time we’ve been here, and the low summer humidity has been delightful. We happened to get here in time to enjoy the COLDEST winter they’ve had here in years, but we know from the data that the average winters will be much nicer than back East. Heavy snow is predicted for tonight and tomorrow, so time to bundle up and hope for the best 🙂

We’ve made many new friends here, as you might predict, but we do miss all our friends back in Indiana and Kentucky. I’m trying to be the watchdog of our finances (trying not to buy too many techie toys), and hoping to get some nagging bills paid off so Kate can retire before too much longer. Keep us in your thoughts, ok?

We’re loving Arizona, and we’re adjusting to our new lives, with new adventures coming our way. We love all of you! 🙂

Jim & Kate

 

Advertisements

Feasting on History – Tavern Fare, Feb 2014

Image

Our Bill of Fare

Kate and I were invited to attend another session of Feasting on History at the Corydon Capitol State Historic site.  The last one we attended was Feasting with the Presidents, where we were presented wtih delicious food that might have appeared on the table of some of our early presidents.  Last night, we had a delightful time renewing old acquaintances and making new ones as we enjoyed an evening in the atmosphere of a tavern in the Indiana territory, early 1800’s. Laura van Fossen, Nancy Snyder and their band of historians made a mighty effort to bring forth from the kitchen some marvelous dishes, piping hot and delicious. The names beside each dish on the Bill of Fare represent tavern owners of the time, and their recipes of the period.

Laura van Fossen was in fine voice, as usual, as she shared some period ballads with us, to guitar accompaniment (sorry, we didn’t get a photo of the musician by himself).

We had a historian/raconteur/good friend in attendance, Jamie Eiler (appearing in character as Billy Boone) who regaled us with tales of past doings within the walls of some of the taverns of the day. His ‘period clothing’, complete with a small pistol tucked into the top of his boot, made his stories quite believable, although he did toss in a few ‘groaner puns’.  Good ole Jamie! 🙂

Image

We learned that these taverns were not ‘places to go get drunk’, they were community dining places, meeting places, and yes, alcohol was served.  There were brawls, fights, and who knows, maybe some marital arrangements were made between a young swain and his maiden. Our early taverns were modeled after English taverns of the time, but one custom in our taverns caused some European visitors to look down their noses, namely, the practice of travelers sharing beds with complete strangers. Scandalous, wot?

Everything about the evening was just perfect – good food, good friends, a dash of history (salted with humor).  What larks! (as Dickens might say).  I’ve included some candid shots here at the bottom so you can get an idea of the venue, and of the folks who came to enjoy a night away from our frozen homes this cold February evening.

Jamie and Janice Eiler

Jamie and Janice Eiler

IMG_4316 IMG_4317 IMG_4318 IMG_4319 IMG_4320 IMG_4324 IMG_4329 IMG_4330 Laura sings Nancy - JimHistoric Table

Loving It Here in Miami (yeah, right)

We’re still in the Deep Freeze here in southern Indiana. The temperature this morning was about ONE, Fahrenheit, and now that it’s about noon the mercury has rocketed up to EIGHT degrees.thermometer The weekend is coming up in a couple of days, when it’s supposed to be around 40 degrees or so, but there is the possibility of blizzard conditions sometime during that period.
So, are you ready for SPRING, too??
The ground is still covered in several inches of snow, and that’s JUST enough to make our long driveway pretty slippery, especially the HILL part right where it joins the main road.  Kate got stuck coming in the other day, just as she tried to navigate that hill and hardly made it onto our gravel driveway.  I was in the house, waiting on her arrival from work, and the first I knew of her difficulty was when I saw her trudging through the snow on her way to the porch.  A nice 100-yard stroll.  She was exhausted from having worked all night, then being frustrated by the conditions, and having her commute vehicle stuck in the snow, knowing that she’d have to have it later in the day to return to Louisville, and Jewish Hospital for another 12-hour (usually longer) night shift.  So, I fed her, threw her into bed (gently), and later I went out with the snow shovel and extricated the work-mobile.
TriviaNightJan2014A couple of days ago we made it into town for Tuesday Night Trivia at our local brewpub, Point Blank.  There were a lot of no-shows because of the frigid conditions and dicey roads, so there were only 4 teams playing trivia.  That was a TOUGH set of questions, but we managed to slide into THIRD place 🙂
I had to drive south to Brandenburg, KY yesterday evening while Kate headed back to Louisville.  I have the honor of managing/obfuscating/impeding/confusing a creative writing group there on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month.  By the way, have you ever thought about delving into creative writing?  Come join us, you might have a good time! IMG_3461-800 Anyway, since it was a work night for Kate, I had to drive the pickup down to Brandenburg, and I was kinda dreading the return trip because of the afore-mentioned driveway problems, but I made it in fine.  I was on the downhill roll as I approached the turn, and from that direction I don’t have to worry about driving over my mailbox, so it worked fine.  If necessary, my backup plan involved leaving Big Truck at one of the neighbor’s houses and hiking on in from there.  Whew!  Safe!  🙂
graderSo, here we are a couple of days later. We got a little more snow overnight, but Kate managed to make it up the driveway without difficulty, now that it’s been shoveled a bit.  If that all turns into a sheet of ice we could be in for more difficulties.  Hmmm, wonder what a road grader costs?
For you camera nuts, I’ll pass along that I received a new lens in the mail yesterday.  As I reported recently, I volunteered to ‘shoot a wedding’, and I learned some things in that effort. 1865camera The main thing I learned was that I didn’t have the right equipment to produce satisfactory images.  The shots I got were ok, but there were some things I wanted to do that just couldn’t happen.  I couldn’t say that I will be doing any more weddings (at this point I would dread the possibility), but I do enjoy photography, so we’ll see how this goes, with a new item in my tool pouch 🙂
Anyway, I’m staying indoors today, doing a little blogging (as you see), and doing a little ‘creative writing’ to share with my Brandenburg group.  Psst, the story might involve some time travel – interested yet? 🙂

Here and there

It’s been a rather slow summer for us, not too much going on.  We did manage to get away for a short (SHORT) trip to Charlotte, NC to visit  Erin and Joe and newly-arrived Ananda.  As it worked out, we got there too late to help carry in boxes and furniture (dang!), but we got in a nice visit.  We like their new rental house there, very spacious, nice neighborhood.  Ananda’s room has lots of room for her, so I think she’ll settle right in.  The weather in Charlotte will be quite a bit different than Denver, but she has had some exposure to those conditions during her visits with the Aaron/Maya gang in Tulsa.  So, now we wait for Baby Laurel to make her appearance in September.  I’m sure we’ll be going for interim visits while we wait.  It’s about a 10-hour trip, which Kate usually rounds off to 6-hours, for some reason.  Maybe she’s just psyching me for the ‘short’ drive 🙂

The garden just didn’t work out this year.  It seems that if you don’t take precautions, the wildlife will indeed consume everything you wanted to gather for yourself, and they come EARLY in the plant growth cycle.  The corn and okra sprouted up, grew a few inches, then the deer arrived to crop them right down to the ground.  I don’t pretend to be a farmer, and I’m certainly not familiar with this area, but accusing the deer is not baseless – I caught a doe out in the fenced area on a couple of occasions, munching away on the delicacies.  Oh, well, at least there are the tomatoes.  Nope, not to be – the deer ate the tops right off the plants.  Must be a hungry year, maybe the dryness and heat has driven them to the garden.  I recently gave up the effort and pulled down my ‘puny’ fence and drove the riding mower across the plot.  Maybe next year will be better – if I do put in a garden I’ll also be installing an electric fence.  Not trying to harm the wildlife, just want them to dine elsewhere.

As it turned out, the garden was not the only casualty of the summer.  Our good old 2004 Ford Escape SUV suddenly entered its infirm years.  As with any used vehicle you have to do occasional repairs, but after the latest incident, I figured maybe it was time to quit throwing money at it.  Recently, the ‘check engine’ light came on, and the car was running rough, so I took it to the auto parts place to make use of their engine fault code analyzer ( a free service offered by most parts places), and determined that  there was an ignition fault.  It was likely that it was one of the dedicated spark coils on one of the 6 cylinders, but it wouldn’t tell me which cylinder, so that was going to be a guessing game, which would begin with the purchase of a $60 part for my trial-and-error attempt.  As I discovered, I could only find 3 spark plugs, the others were hidden somewhere back at the rear of the engine.  Anyway, to have the work done for me was likely going to be in the $350 range, and I just decided that, all things considered (including worn-out tires), it was time to move up to a more recent vintage vehicle.  The Escape ‘sputtered’ me down to the Chevy dealership and I soon discovered that the air conditioner had also failed, just that morning.  So, long story short, I now have a 2012 Chevrolet Silverado parked out front.

Nice truck – powerful, smooth, quiet.  So, now I’ll have to go back the Craigslist folks and list my faithful old 1987 Chevy truck to free up a parking place and put a few dollars in my pocket.  Got $800?  Sold!

On the entertainment front, we have a fun outing scheduled for this evening.  We will be attending the Murder Mystery Dinner in beautiful downtown Corydon.  This will be a costume party occasion, and all the guests will have the opportunity to try to solve the murder mystery during the evening, using secret clues. I will be in costume as Capo ‘Toto’ Tequila, crime boss, and Kate will be in attendance as Vicki Ravioli, Capo Tequila’s wife.  We’ll get a nice meal and have some fun interactions with the other attendees.  We just might get ‘bumped off’ during the evening (it happened to me last year), so we’ll see how it goes.  Pssst, got a bullet-proof vest I can borrow?

Also on the entertainment front, we have some honored guests coming to stay with us in about a week.  Alek and Aleyna will be here with us for about a week, and we’re gonna have lotsa fun  🙂  We’ve been penciling in some things to do, some places to go, all that.  We’ll do all the usual things kids enjoy – quiet museums, watching history channel documentaries….. NOT!  🙂

Maybe we can find a few things they’ll enjoy about rural Indiana, hope the weather cooperates.  They’re great kids, we want them to take away some good memories!

That’s the update – we’re just staying busy being ourselves, trying to enjoy life and hopefully meet more nice folks along the trail.