Friday, August 31, 2007

View from the Smurfit-Stone Building in Chicago

Friday I had a meeting at the Smurfit-Stone Building in downtown Chicago.

The view was incredible!

We were just to the west of Millennium Park.

The shiney silver object that looks like a giant bean is called the Cloud Gate. It's a 110-ton elliptical sculpture made up of a series of polished stainless steel plates that reflect the city's skyline and the clouds above it. It has a 12 foot high arch that serves as a gate to the concave chamber beneath the sculpture.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Goodyear Blimp Over South Bend

The Goodyear Blimp is in town for this weekend's Notre Dame football game.

I remember one night, as a young child living in Lafayette, I saw flashing lights in the sky above our neighborhood. I thought for sure it was a UFO so I ran in and told my parents, as did other kids in the neighborhood.

Everyone came out into the middle of our street, looking up at these strange lights on this nearly invisible space craft, wondering who was going to be the first person abducted by the aliens. Then, the space craft took a sudden turn and we could read "Go Purdue" written in the flashing lights.

That was my first encounter with the Goodyear blimp.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Patoka Lake Summit 2007

The 2007 Patoka Lake Summit included 11 of us split up between two cabins at Patoka 4 Season's Resort in Eckerty, Indiana.

As soon as we unpacked, we headed down to the pool which was just a short walk from the cabins. Outside of our shaded and air conditioned cabins, it was about 95 degrees.

Friday all 11
of us enjoyed a day of boating, skiing, inner tubing, fishing and swimming at Patoka Lake. It's a huge lake and we practically had it to ourselves the entire day.

One evening we walked downhill through the woods behind the cabin and finally found the lake shore for some fishing and rock skipping.

The problem with walking downhill is eventually you have to walk back uphill. By the time we left, it was just dark enough to make walking through the woods too challenging so we took the direct path back to the cabins. The hill was about a 75 degree climb and very difficult for most of us. When we got back to the pool area, Tim suggested next year's summit be full of physical fitness events at a fat farm. The group next to us took offense -- they thought we were talking about them.

Bruce was the big winner at the stuffed animal grab game in the game room off of the pool deck. Over the course of the trip he won over 30 animals. The grand prize was the orange octopus.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Playing Washers on a Rainy Day

The original plan was to hang out at Jerry's pool Sunday afternoon. But, it's not so much fun to do that when it's raining.
Jerry's sister and brother-in-law were visiting from Ohio and brought their washers game. It was the first time I played and I ended up being pretty decent at it.

Later in the afternoon I drove out and visited with my best friend from high school that I hadn't seen in over 20 years. It was nice to catch up and reconnect. It's a shame we don't live closer together.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Frank's Joy Ride

Met up with some old friends that I haven't seen in a long time this weekend.

Three flew in from other states and two drove in for the Frank's Joy Ride annual concert in Lafayette.

Even though we're all grown up now, everyone still knows how to have a great time!

Why I'll Never Be A Professional Portrait Photographer

Cousin Tammy patiently holds onto her two squirming, and very adorable, children while I take a photo.

Unfortunately, I cut Tammy's face out of the shot, caught her daughter with closed eyes and couldn't interest her son long enough to snap the photo.

Liberated Goose Finds New Home

The goose that we liberated from captivity in Shipshewana is enjoying a new life in central Indiana with Aunt Joyce Ann.

Friday, August 17, 2007

What's Wrong With This Picture?

We worked up an appetite liberating the goose, so we stopped for dinner at the River Inn Restaurant in Bristol.

As we approached the restaurant, I noticed there was something odd about the river rocks that were covering the concrete foundation of the building.

Turns out they were painted on... not river rock at all. Someone with a better eye for design than me could probably tell you what's wrong with the painting that makes them looks fairly realistic, but off somehow. My guess is that it has to do with the shading.

Elkhart Couple Help Liberate Goose from Songbird Ridge

Our trip through Amish Country took us to Songbird Ridge where we planned to liberate one wooden goose from captivity.

Yes, in this photo the geese appear to be well cared for and relatively happy. But, the red chain, carelessly left out by the bed and breakfast owners, is a clue into the tragic existence these geese endure. We're told they are never allowed to leave the porch of this barn. Never allowed to swim, and their wings must be clipped because they don't fly away.

We did take photographs of the horses and goats on the property to document the obvious favoritism that is played upon them by the owners. They are free to graze in their large, shaded pastures... smelling the wonderful fragrance of the cottage gardens throughout the property.

Freedom at last! We feel bad that we were only able to liberate one of the geese. But, we can see that he really enjoys his new home on the St. Joseph River in Bristol, Indiana.

Trip Through Amish Country

After work tonight, I picked up Bruce and we traveled through Amish Country to pick up a wooden goose for my Aunt Joyce Ann. Many interesting sights along the way...

Horse-drawn Amish buggy making us drive really, really slow.

Amish horses enjoying their day off.

Amish lady bike rider -- wonder if she's wishing she had a car. Or, wishing that we didn't so she wouldn't have to breath our exhaust.

Amish biker gang -- note the gang colors on their do-rags.

One of many beautiful Amish flower gardens we drove by.

Amish kids playing outdoors because their PlayStations don't work (no electricity) and they don't have MySpace pages (no internet connection). They all appear to be fit and trim.

Blue Gate Restaurant on the town square in Shipshewana. I think this was the only business in town that was actually open for business at 6pm this evening.

Shipshewana Auction Barn. Not much going on here now, but on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, this place is packed with people and animals.

Crowded parking lot in front of Yoder Department Store in downtown Shipshewana.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Zinnia Festival

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

Tuesday morning as I was getting ready to leave for work, I heard a cracking noise in the back yard.

This tree branch broke off and fell to the ground in slow motion.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I'm Not Ready for Fall!

Not only are the leaves on the trees in our backyard starting to change colors, but tonight we saw a flock of geese flying south and pumpkins that are ready for carving.

Sunrise -- Sunset

The first couple of miles of my drive to work is usually spent trying to shield my eyes from the sun. This morning it was a bit hazy and the sunrise was pretty fantastic.

This evening, we had dinner with Judy & Lynn and Rick & Renee up at Pete's @ Simonton Lake. Monday night they serve all-you-can-eat frog legs.

After dinner, we stopped at Rick & Renee's place to visit their devil dog, Rupert. I took about 20 photos of him and this is the only one that wasn't a blur of brown fuzz.

As I was chasing the little terror around the yard, I noticed that this evening's sunset was just about as incredible as this morning's sunrise.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday Lunch with Grandma @ Bent Oak Golf Club

The Bent Oak Golf Club is open to the public for lunch and dinner. And, it's one of Grandma's favorite lunch spots.

The original plan was to cook corned beef and cabbage, using the last head from our garden, but neither Bruce nor I was anxious to cook so we opted for lunch out instead.

After lunch, we all watched the NASCAR race on TV (mostly napping). Then, it was time for an easy dinner of hamburgers on the George Foreman with tomatoes and cukes from the garden.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saturday in the Garden

We started the day with the intention of going to the Corn & Sausage Roast at the American Legion and then on to the Hog Roast at Tim & Joanie's place. So, we baked five dozen cookies to take as our carry in dish.

But, after installing the new range hood and working a bit in the garden in the 90-degree heat, we decided just to hang out in our air conditioned house and surf the web all day (while eating cookies).

Here's a photo of the obedient plants -- being quite obedient. When these plants came up in the early spring, I couldn't remember if they were weeds or flowers. Luckily, I decided to let them grow. This photo will help me remember not to pull them up as weeds next year.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Beutter Park in Mishawaka

Beutter Park is on the former Ball Band/Uniroyal site, just west of the Main Street bridge along the river. The main focus of the seven-acre park is the St. Joseph river. Beutter Park includes a river race with elliptical shaped overlook weirs and fiber-optic underwater lighting, two connecting bridges across the race to the park, the Mishawaka Riverwalk, the "Shards" sculpture, and an 800 foot perennial garden. The park is named in honor of Robert C. Beutter, who served our city for 20 years as Mayor - from 1984-2003.

Music @ Beutter Park in Mishawaka

Tonight was the last WVPE "Meet Me" event of the season.

We enjoyed music by the Elwood Splinters Blues Band at Beutter Park in Mishawaka with friends Tim and Lula.

We even had an opportunity to chat it up with Mishawaka Mayor Jeff Rea.

Not sure what was more enjoyable... friends, music, beautiful park or rooting for the baby ducks as they swam for their lives to keep from getting sucked down the waterfall.