Saturday, June 7, 2014

Meanwhile back at the Roeger homestead...

June is here! All the local schools are out, summer programs start in earnest this week.  I was asked this week if I had plans to get away from home this summer.  I don't really.  I'm not opposed to travel, and we had a lovely long weekend at Lake Monroe over Memorial Day.  Today we all did work in the yard.  Mike trimmed overgrown junipers, Pete planted in the shade garden, and I put in the last of the tomatoes and flowers.  I talked Pete out of the iPad for awhile and took pictures.  Maybe the visuals help explain why I don't feel compelled to have go away in the summer.

First up the strawberries are going full tilt:

And I have rhubarb plant I'm hoping will be ready for next year.

We have all manner of veggie goodness: Swiss chard, peppers, beans, watermelon, onions, tomatoes of course, kale and lettuce.

Then there is the Pete Shade garden.  Today he got a few more plants in.

Then there are the flowers:

And when you're done working in the yard, there is the swing, showing it's 11 years, but sporting an Incredible Hulk blanket and comfy as ever.  The view past the weeding and the two tubs of mulch waiting to get spread.

The view overhead to the elm tree.

The view of the person laying down on the swing.

The iced tea one must have nearby when in the swing.

It's not heaven, heck it's not even Iowa!  But there is a lot to enjoy here at the Roeger homestead.

Monday, May 12, 2014


What a weekend!  We had a rental car for the weekend and boy did it get put to use!  Friday  Mike and Pete picked me up after work.  We stopped at McMillen Park for the Botanical Garden's annual big plant sale.  Pete found more entries for his shade garden, we got some tomato and other vegetable plants and flowers for the front steps.  We stopped home to drop off the plants and load up the car with camping gear. A quick stop at Kmart to replace two air mattresses that have quit holding air and then dinner at Pizza Hut (where very conveniently we ate and sat out a heavy rain storm) and from there on to Merry Lea for their NatureFest weekend.  We got to Wolf Lake and set up our tent, took a short hike listening for frogs, joined some others around a campfire and ate s'mores.  I sat out next to the lake and listened to the bullfrog chorus and watched stars play hide and seek with the clouds.  There was a storm off to the south with lots of lightning, but not close enough to feel threatening.  Eventually I joined Mike and Pete and climbed into bed.

The next morning Mike did the Turtle Trot 5K.  Pete wasn't inclined, so I joined him at the finish line.  We were going to have to leave later in the morning to get back to Fort Wayne for Pete's soccer game, but we had thought we would do  the morning activities.  One thing led to another, and we just decided to leave earlier and pick our way back to town.  Mike drove back through Columbia City and we found their farmer's market set up around the courthouse.  Heard some good music, had a good chai and muffin, got rhubarb and asparagus. Worthwhile stop!

Then on to soccer.  Pete's team played well, though he was having an off-day himself.  Post soccer, we picked our way home, unloaded the camping gear into the garage and decided to go to Noodles and Company for lunch.  We had eaten at one on our way home from Colorado last fall and just haven't made it back since, though the one in Fort Wayne is actually pretty convenient. Good lunch!  Mike just had Friday night off, so we went home so he could get changed.  I loaded a tarp into the car and our 5 old recycling bins.  Pete and I went off with a stop at Target to get him some shorts that fit (10 year old boys, they outgrow everything!)  Target did what Target does so well, sucks money out of your wallet. I replaced cloth napkins and some dish towels, and a few other things too.  But hey, we made it all fit in our (oversized) bag from home!

Next, to the city's yardwaste site to drop off a few vines from last fall and load up our recycling bins with beautifully free mulch!  Bins loaded, we headed home to drop them off, then met up with Mike for some supper.  He headed back to work, Pete and I headed home for a short bit. I found the recipe for a bean salad Mike wanted to make for Mother's Day at his mom's. We have a print copy somewhere, but truthfully it was simpler to look it up online.  That gave me the shopping list for Kroger, so off Pete and I went to Kroger and then out to the far east side of New Haven for some stargazing.

Thursday we had been to the planetarium at University of St Francis for a program on the planets put together by NASA.  They also set the star machine so we could see the Fort Wayne night sky at this time of year and pointed out what constellations and other star configurations are visible.  There was also a film that showed what the telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii see. Lots!   Every Saturday evening spring through fall the Fort Wayne Astronomical Society opens up their big telescope for public stargazing.  Since we had a car this weekend, Pete and I went to see what a 16  inch telescope can find.  We saw the polar icecap on Mars; Jupiter and four of it's moons; Castor and Pollux the Gemini twin stars;  Arcturus and Spica; and our Moon.  The craters are incredible at that magnification!  It was pushing 11:00 by then, so we called it a night and headed home.

Sunday was Sunday School and the kids choir sang at Plymouth.  It was 10 years ago on Mother's Day that I first visited Plymouth. Rev. Ruth Phillips preached that day and one of her references was to a quote by one of my seminary professors.  I stayed.

After church we headed home and met Mike and he made his bean salad and we headed off to his mom's for dinner and family visiting with his sisters, a few brothers-in-law and a few assorted nieces and nephews.  Halfway to Mike's mom's we realized we had left her Mother's Day gift of tomato plants at home. We left in time for Mike to get to work. so Pete and I put the plants in the car and drove back to her house and then picked up some dog food (that I didn't know we were out of until it was time to feed the dogs).  We got Mike and went to Qdoba's for supper, took him back to work.  Since Pete hadn't been to Mass yet he and I went to St Joe's for 7:30.  I really enjoy Fr. Tim Wrozek  the pastor there.

We got home just in time for our standing date with Cosmos.  I went to pick Mike up from work when he was done at 12:30 and we came home.  It was a very busy weekend, but I think we got our $30 (plus insurance) out of our car rental!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Shopping with a well-equipped bike....

.....makes a huge difference!

Friday, Mike took my yellow Schwinn in to the bike shop for some long overdue maintenance.  (It was my promised Christmas present)    So yesterday afternoon I decided to tryout the bike, which has my nice-sized panniers on it and a pretty and somewhat-functional basket, on a trip to Kroger.    As I filled the cart in the store I was beginning to get a a bit wary of over-shopping my carrying capacity.

  I went through the self-check, put everything back into the cart and headed out to the bike.  My two saddlebags were both well filled, I had another full canvas bag bungied on the carrier and two boxes of cereal and a head of lettuce in my backpack. The basket only held the spackle and wood stain I had picked up at the hardware store next door.

The bike felt much heavier (because it was) but the balance was good and the pedaling was fine.  Here is what it looked like when I got home:

In short, I could really like going shopping with this set up!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The secret to car free living!

We've been warned that it may a long cool to cold spring, so much as I'm longing to trade out the winter coat for something lighter that day hasn't come yet.   Today I was reading a blog entry by someone who has lived car free for 10 years.  Makes my 1 1/2 years feel like such a neophyte!  There is no question that this winter has been a challenge sometimes.   We've never not been able to get somewhere we wanted to be, but being car free makes one acutely aware of how much snow we've had and how often another polar vortex has snuck down out of Canada.

This past week we went to a Komets hockey game we had tickets for.  We took Citilink up to the Coliseum, but bus service ends for the day before the game was over so we had planned to walk home.  We made it in just under half an hour.   Thursday I went to hear Brian McLaren speak at church.  We took dinner with us and ate with Mike at the newspaper cafeteria and then walked down the block to Plymouth.   Today Pete is playing chess with the chess club at the library (his first time here) and I'm typing elsewhere in the building.  Tomorrow we'll go see Youtheatre's production of Willie Wonka.  We aren't lacking for  places to go and things to do.  Besides "How do you grocery shop?", the second most asked question I get is:   "Do you ever go out to do anything?  How do you do it without a car?"     I think Zachary Shahan answered it best in his blog.  Ask any realtor and they will tell you the same thing.  It all comes down to Location, Location, Location.

Living in the Lakeside neighborhood of Fort Wayne is for us one of the main keys that makes car free living work.  We have easy access to several bus routes, to downtown, to work. to entertainment, to our chosen houses of worship, to homeschool activities, to shopping.  I wouldn't call our location perfect, but it is very workable for us.

Now if spring would just finally arrive and stay for more than a day at a time!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Run Away!!

We've been singing a lot of Spamalot songs at my house the last couple of days! We had tickets to go see it this past Sunday and it was even funnier than I remembered if from a few years ago when Mike and I saw the Broadway version in Chicago with friends. 

Also, Pete got the warped Monty Python humor! (Should I be worried?) 

We watched the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail a week or so ago to kind of catch Pete up to speed on all things Monty Python.  We also read up a bit on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table  (a very round table).

The funny thing was how multiple parts of life tie back together.  Last fall Pete took a math class that used the Sir Cumference books  (which are loosely based on the Arthurian legends)  As we were coming home from the play he started talking about that and made the connection himself.  One of the gifts of homeschooling - all sorts of things are learning experiences!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Do you want a puppy?

That's what I was asked as I settled into a seat on the bus this morning.   "Hmm, what?"  "Do you want a puppy?" the gentleman sitting across the aisle asked me.  That's when I noticed he had a large Rubbermaid grey tote box on the seats next to him. With holes cut into the side.  With two big brown eyes staring out the end hole.  As we rode, I heard his story.  A friend's wife had passed away and someone had decided the friend needed a dog for company.  The friend quickly realized he couldn't deal with a puppy and tried to find it a home.  The gentleman on the bus and his wife agreed to take the dog.  They had had it for 3 months and come to the realization that their work schedules didn't jive with having a dog at home.  So he was on his way to SPCA to drop off the dog.  "It's hard" he said.  "You have it just long enough to get real attached to it, but you know it ain't fair to the dog, the way we ain't home for it.  Her name's Sissy.  She's a real good dog."

He knew he was doing the right thing.  I knew he was doing the right thing.  But I knew he wasn't happy about it.  And I could feel his sadness.

Today's tale from the bus.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A month since the last post,but really nothing is much different....

It has been polar vortex, followed by snow storm, mix and repeat since early January.  The collection of memes going through facebook lately pretty much says it all:

Last Friday we were the coldest place in the country according to a local weatherman.

And then this one pretty well sums up the average temperatures around here.

This one came from our neighbors to the west, but really, it could just as well say Indiana.

While the weather has dominated much of what has gone one this month, it hasn't all been cold and snow.  There was this warm moment at work a couple of weeks ago:
A library moment...

Had an older sister (about 8 or 9) and a younger sister (about 5 or 6) at Tuesdays With Stories this afternoon. Younger sister tells me "I can't read."

We read the story "The magic backpack" by Julia Jarman. Younger sister sees the word "eggs" and recognizes it. As we read the story together she is more willing to sound out words and recognizes words we've already used. She's very into the story and eagerly turning pages to find out what will happen next. Older sister is hanging over shoulder to watch this, but not actively joining in. We finish the book and older sister wants to play a game with younger sister, so they do.

Thirty minutes later, I'm shelving in the same area. Younger sister tells older sister that now they have to read a book because they've played a game. Older sister somewhat reluctantly agrees. They start in on a book, older sister reading all the way through. Younger sister says "Stop! I know that word!" Older sister begins to read with finger pointing to the words she's reading and stopping when younger sister recognizes a word and lets her read. By end of story younger sister is reading almost the whole page. Older sister turns to younger sister and says "I didn't know you could read so good." Younger sister says "I didn' t know I could read so good either."

Two READERS will leave the library today!

Perhaps we have finally seen the coldest and snowiest part of winter pass us by. The long range forecasts do look a bit warmer and less snowy.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Oh the weather outside is frightful.....

and for the first day or so the inside was so delightful, but a week in, we are so ready to get out!

Winter this year has been cold from early on, with slight breaks where the temperatures get up into the 30s for a a couple of days.  That was New Year's week.  Boarshead festival wrapped up on December 30th.  It was pretty chilly.  We celebrated New Year's at home with board games, a video, popcorn and sparkling grape juice.  Mike made his black-eyed pea special on New Year's Day, so we should be set for good luck in the New Year, right?

I worked Friday and Saturday and was scheduled to fill in at the downtown branch on Sunday for someone who was out sick, and then back to my own branch for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  I figured it would be a long week.  It was a long week, just not in the way I had anticipated.  The weather forecasters had been saying that it would be bitter cold on Monday and Tuesday and that we would have a really big snow storm over the weekend.  I shopped on Friday and Saturday so I knew we were covered in the food department.  Saturday was actually quite warm (in the 40s) and it was nice to get outside at lunch time.  Mike and Pete trekked down to the farmer's market and got a nice selection of lettuces and greens. But no apples, they were all done for the year.

The snowpacalypse was supposed to start Saturday night.  Nothing happened.

I got two calls on Sunday morning telling me that the library would be closed on both Sunday and Monday. I was hoping for the Monday closure, but I was really surprised by Sunday's. ACPL doesn't close unless there is a red-level travel ban.  Turns out we were about to have one.  Sunday morning when I left to go to church, the snow was coming down in pretty flakes and it was in the 30s. I had to take my jacket off halfway to church because I had dressed to warmly.

That afternoon Mike had to go into work two hours early so they could get the paper out early.  Pete and I shoveled our walk and our elderly neighbor's.  The snow was coming down pretty heavy by then, at least  6 inches on the ground and still coming.  As the afternoon wore on and we walked dogs and played in the snow, the temperature was dropping some, but it was still quite comfortable.  I did things like take the composting out, and the recycling and trash.  I brought in some food from the garage freezer to put in the house so I'd have that food readily available. I made sure the computer and cellphone were charged up in case we lost power.  We were as ready as we were going to be. Mike rode home with a coworker and got dropped off on the main corner a couple of blocks from home.

Monday morning the temperature was well down into the double digit negative numbers and the windchill was recorded at -43 that day.  We stayed in.

Tuesday the library was closed again. Three days in a row? That may be unprecedented!  But no complaints, it was still down in the double digit negative numbers. We stayed in.

Wednesday the temperature broke 0 and might have made it all the way up to 19. It felt like a heat wave.  I bundled up in lots of layers and headed out to work.  The buses were running a bit behind schedule, but only by about 10 minutes.

 I came home and we decided to head out to Meijers for some groceries.  It should be a one bus trip.  Because I knew the buses were running late, we didn't head out for the corner at the usual time.  We got there and still only had to wait a little bit. The bus was really late, but so far so good.  When we got downtown, the driver was told to not continue the usual route out west (where we were going) but to turn around and run the route back east again.  Those of us who were going west were put on a different bus.  Citilink was trying to keep somewhat close to it's scheduled times.  Because our bus had been running so late, they had sent all the other buses out and used a smaller bus, usually used for taking handicapped passengers door to door, to pick us up and run the route.  It also turned out there was a major accident on Jefferson that backed up traffic on the route 2 (our bus).  So a bunch of us climbed onto the smaller bus and we were off.  We started off with more passengers than seats.  The bus has lots of room left for wheelchair passengers, so it is light on seats.  I started off standing, but decided I felt safer sitting on the floor.  We didn't follow the usual route, but detoured around the accident site.  We got dropped off at Meijers and picked up some produce and a couple of other staples.   So far so good.  It was just nice to be out of the house and among other people.

We headed back out the usual bus stop and saw about a half dozen others waiting for the bus.  They had been waiting awhile. One woman called Citilink on her phone and found out that the bus was coming, but had gotten stuck in heavy traffic.  There is a flexlink bus that meets the route 2 bus at Meijers.  That driver showed up and invited us all to get on his bus.  He drove us down the road a mile or so to meet up with the 2 when it finally got there.  The route 2 driver detoured around the accident and we ended up back downtown by a circuitous route.  By then the bus was so late that the dispatchers just held them at the station so they could all leave on time for the 6:15 runs and the 5:15 runs just never happened.  It's on days like that that working for the bus line is just a no win proposition.  You have the buses running, but with bad weather and not all roads well plowed your usual schedules just aren't going to happen.  Toss in an accident or two and you have riders standing out in the cold and snow wondering when their bus will ever come.  (One woman had been waiting outside an hour, she was rubbing her feet trying to get some feeling back in them.).  Adventures in bus riding!

Thursday, the temperature never got very high, but Pete and I did  go out and shovel the snow that had fallen that day and walked the dogs. But other than that we stayed in.

By last night we were sick of the food we had in the house. (Why did I only get one box of pasta at Meijers she kept asking herself?)  So Pete and I had oatmeal for supper.

Today Pete had his homeschool program at the library and we decided we were getting out!  So here I sit at the library while Pete is learning about Australia. (Summer there!)  But today is very gray and foggy here in Indiana.  Why?  Because the temperature has broken 32 and the snow  is all starting to melt.  Tomorrow we may have rain!

Last night I started re-reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's book the Long Winter.  I guess I shouldn't feel too sorry for us after reading about a bad winters worth of South Dakota blizzards.  But I won't be sad to see this cabin-fever week come to an end either!