Back Home Again in Indiana

In early June, we headed for home turf, and the bike races sponsored by Eric’s team, Guitar Lab.  My dad was in town for a wedding (Congrats, Nathan & Ashley), and purposely arrived two days early, simply to have the chance to catch Pork Chop Night at the Hornville Tavern.  We met my mom’s side of the family there and had a lovely dinner.  The highlight of the evening was easily visiting with Xavier, my cousin Jon’s little boy of nearly three, who found it hilariously funny that Eric did not have a home, just a truck.  “Ha, ha, ha!  Draw a scary dog-witch!”

The next few days were a blur of race preparations, festivities and post-race recovery.  On Friday afternoon, we helped with set-up at Garvin Park for a few hours, and visited with friends and Eric’s teammates.  We awakened bright and early the next day, to help with more set-up, arriving at 6:30 a.m.  Lots of planning and coordination made that day a success!  Not even a drunken bystander cyclist deciding to ride backward on the course during the 4/5 race could deter the general merriment!

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Eric riding in the 4/5 race at the Second Annual River City Bicycle Classic.

The weather cooperated nicely, the live music was spectacular, and the kiddos enjoyed their events.  Eric’s sister, Cheri, and her family came to support Eric, and our niece, Brooke, participated in one of the kids’ bike races.  She even medaled!

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Yay, Brooke!

After a fun day of racing, we stayed to help with tear-down, which went rather quickly.  We celebrated the day over dinner with friends and fellow racers, then slept and slept.

Fortuitously, some friends of ours were on vacation, and we fit the bill as house-sitters to one cat, one dog and one hissing cockroach.  We enjoyed our location in the historic neighborhoods surrounding U of E, walking to a nearby cafe and poring over baseball cards at the Book Broker.

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Maggie, the sweetest dog ever, hung out with us all week.

Eric raced in the Get Dirty Mountain Bike Race at Angel Mounds on Sunday.

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BIg E receiving a hand-up from Little E.

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Luckily, a garden hose was available at the finish line.

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A third place medal, just like Brooke!

We also got together with some of our favorites: Caron & Mike, Dave & Deb, Tom & Kari for another couple of favorites: sushi and Iron Man 3.  Fantastic evening all around!

On to Monday: I opted to stay home and do some work while Eric participated in the Hammerfest Time Trials.  He came home with another hammer to add to our collection.

My dad’s cousin, Mary Anne, was in town Wednesday, so we met for lunch and exchanged travel stories.  She has been all over the U.S. and is now conquering the world – she is in Kenya at the moment, stopping by Paris on the way home, and is planning a  trip to Argentina soon.  Too cool!  She gave us lots of recommendations for places to go on our next leg of the journey, which includes a tour out west and, eventually, to Alaska.  It was a lovely visit.

We also got to have dinner (actually breakfast-for-dinner, our favorite!) with Eric’s sister’s family.  Kody and Cheri hosted us for a lovely evening, during which we drew with chalk, made crafts, and played with lots of dolls.  Our nieces, Brooke and Audrey, have a way of talking us into anything.  Uncle Eric is especially good for rough-housing and carrying them around, while I specialize in artsy stuff and changing doll clothes.  Perfect match!

Sometime this week, I resolved to do something I have been considering for months: get a major haircut.  This is my only picture so far, since I feel weird about taking self-portraits, and Eric isn’t one to take too many pictures.

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I’m still not used to the missing weight, but certainly have adapted to the ease of care and the coolness of it.

Friday, we arouse bright and early to spend an entire day with our nieces.  The first priority was a hearty, energy-filled breakfast at IHOP.  The placemats proved especially interesting, and Audrey enjoyed dipping her pancakes in as much syrup as I would give her.

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Brooke colors her menu.

We stopped by the house we were taking care of to let Maggie out.  Two hours of playing ensued, which took us off guard, but was well-enjoyed.  The girls played on the swingset, read books, rounded up all of our spare change to put in June’s piggybank (which took three trips up and down the stairs) and played drums.

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Audrey rocked!

From there, we headed downtown for a morning at the Children’s Museum of Evansville.  Here, we explored all of the exhibits (we all voted the water area the best).  Brooke had me paint a butterfly on her face, and Audrey explored life as a construction worker.

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Digging for “treasure.”

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Looking snazzy.

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Building a house.

We met Cheri for lunch downtown.  It was apparent that nap time was upon us, but Audrey resisted with all her might.  I admire her stubbornness.

After lunch, we headed for the zoo.  Uncle Eric pulled the girls around in a safari-themed wagon.

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Viewing the Evansville Otters.

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Climbing the spider’s web.

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Impersonating bats.

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Starting to lose some pep…

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Watching a turtle, digging a hole.

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The rhino sleeps tonight.

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Audrey stumbled onto this handsome fellow, and couldn’t leave him alone. When he squawked loudly, she told me that he was the Teacher Peacock, telling all of the other peacocks to PAY ATTENTION.

The sunshine and warmth of the day, coupled with the hills of the zoo took a toll on us all.  We opted to get a cold drink and stumbled upon, of all things, goat racing.

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Cute girls, anticipating the race.

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An up-close-and-personal shot of the winner, Pumpkin.

After the goat races, Audrey chased down that male peacock some more.  Since our ast encounter with him, a female had entered the area, and he suddenly felt like showing off, for some reason.

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One handsome guy.

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He was so close to the girls.

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Not quite as lovely when viewed from behind.

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Gorgeous!

 Eric and Brooke really wanted to see the giraffes but three of the four of us really needed naps…I’m not naming names.  We opted to leave the zoo.  Within one minute, this happened:

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Audrey conked out.

Approximately two minutes later, despite many reassurance that “I’m not even tired,”

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Brooke couldn’t resist the charms of my magical travel neck pillow.

We headed for their home, but were a little ahead of schedule.  Uncle Eric decided to stop for ice cream.  It hit the spot after a long, hot day in the sun.

Until next time, Hoosiers!

-H

Comments
2 Responses to “Back Home Again in Indiana”
  1. Mary Anne Loehr says:

    Continue on having fun:)
    And I, too, enjoyed our lunch together.
    Kenya is very interesting, especially going into the Kibera slum today!!!
    Eric, you Do need to do some International travel, it will so make you appreciate all you have, even if you have only a truck, and no house 🙂

  2. Ruth Angermeier says:

    A very interesting account of your day, very enjoyable.

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