Friday, July 29, 2011


7-29-11 excited brain
Heading off to Colorado, my first trip there, not counting flying into the Denver airport once. Besides pursuing some relaxation on my part.... I hope to see some of this at Mesa Verde National Park.

Other sites will be like this one below- a picture from Greg's trip last year. 
A bunch of Mini's in the Mountains!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

This and That in pictures

7-28-11 photo brain
Here is recent new picture we got of our 5 year old nephew. Guess he started T-ball this summer.

Beaver Avenue is getting some new curbs and this project started on Monday.

Our Church got a new fancy electronic sign. Neighbors like it since it gives the time and temperature.

I was surprised to see a note on my front door telling me that Mid-America changed, added or repaired my gas meter yesterday. I didn't even hear anything, but then I had the fan going in my office. This picture is for Greg, so he can see if he can tell what they did.

This week I've been creating many pieces of peace art, several at a time. I decided to create ahead for next week, since I'll be out of town on vacation.

Other than that, not much else new.... staying inside mostly due to continued hot and humid weather here in Iowa. I did venture out Wednesday evening to have dinner with Carolyn and Sue.

Next week, in my absence,  I'll post a blog or two  from Ann. Currently Ann is on her two week trip, which I'm sure she will write about at some point.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tumbling walls

7-27-11 surprised brain
Tuesday morning started out with a bang..... I was up early and showered, so then thought it would be a good morning to make my rounds to the hospitals to pick up my reports, since it was fairly cool out.

Boy, am I glad I picked today, because when I arrived at Iowa Lutheran, I realized things were about to change in a major way.

The old "annex" building, as it was call since I have been working there, is about to come down. This was the old nursing dorm at one time and I believe was the main original hospital. I'm writing this blog for Molly, who I worked with there in 1984 and 1985; and for Renee who said she was born there and worked in the Pathology Office in 1974 to 1975.

I stood and watch the ball swing a few times, and the old building is strong and didn't break up much each time. They don't build them this strong now! In the late 1990's I actually worked some days from this building, after it was mostly vacant.... since this is were some of the medical records were being stored. This is prior to the electronic medical records they have now. This building had a wonderful view of the Des Moines river. I bet it was sure something special in its day.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Same old thing

7-26-11 status quo brain
There is nothing  really new with me today, just a usual work day on Monday with a dapple of art in the evening. Unfortunately for you that means I don’t have much to write about today, so I will have to fall back to the never ending topic of the National Debt, (14 trillion-ish)

In Iowa we are getting TV ads from the GOP candidates already.... boy this will be a long year ahead of the 2012 elections. Pawlenty's ad stated "Obama is drowning us in debt".......guess he forgot about the 10 trillion debt we had at the end of GW's term as President. Funny how that last 4 trillion was what to took to get some people to notice.

I'm no expert, but Congress  just seems to be plain crazy, especially the freshman GOP who have sworn never to raise taxes. This illustrates the harm of black and white (rigid)  thinking, there is no room to compromise or adapt to changes.

This information comes from

This graph shows that $9.2 Trillion of the $12 Trillion supply-sider increase in national debt is considered problematic by economists. They say it is fine to increase the debt in step with national income. Republicans say the whole $12 Trillion is a problem.

The green line shows what would have happened if Reagan and the Bushes had just kept the debt growing at the same rate as the economy. That would make their parts flat. Many conservatives claim Congress increased Reagan's budgets, but this is not the case.

WWII caused the debt to shoot up, starting in 1942, and reach 30% higher relative to the country's wealth than it is today. The economic stimulus of that government spending pulled us out of the great depression and into high gear to win the war.

So how did Reagan, the great debt-slasher, go so far wrong? Partly it was his belief in supply-side "economics." This "theory" claims that when the government cuts taxes, especially taxes on corporations and the rich, it makes them so happy to keep more of their money that they work much harder, get richer, and pay even more taxes than before the tax cut. So the lower the tax rate, the more money the government collects to pay down the debt! Believe that happy talk, and you can run up quite debt.

Of course the rich loved this "theory" and fed the press many stories about the wonders of the new supply-side "economics" (cooked up by Laffer, as a graduate student). Money talks, and a lot of people listened. It's time to rethink what radical conservatives have done and are doing to our country. The Reagan-Bushes National Debt now totals $9.2 trillion. That's the lions share of our present debt.

Are you confused yet? Well on Monday there was a short and simple Letter to the Editor  in the Des Moines Register which spoke to me, submitted by a guy from Ames Iowa, Ken Schumacher:

“A simple lesson in supply-side economics”
Logic, and I am not referring to the so-called logic of supply side economic theory, suggests that jobs are created by people who buy stuff, and not by people who sell stuff.    -Ken Schumacher.

I agree that the middle class is the engine that drives spending that creates jobs. Too bad over the last few decades we have helped created jobs over in China and not in USA. I blame the Corporate "citizens" for that! They seem to care less about the good of our country, but love to buy  and own our politicians.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Weekend update

7-25-11  Monday brain
Greg was in DM this weekend, and I'm so grateful that he stopped by the Iowa Acupuncture Clinic as he drove into town and was a great help to me hanging up my small Peace Art Show Friday after work. We got done twice as fast because of his precise measuring.

Here is Bill my Acupuncturist whom I'm know since 1997. Bill and his acupuncture has changed my life and gives me the energy I need to lead my busy life. I'm still learning from him and trying to follow a more balance life.

Saturday morning it was raining as we got out of bed. It was so nice to hear the thunder and rain drops. Guess what we did Saturday afternoon? Yep, that's right- a car event. This time another Mini Cooper drive. It was pretty fun with a nice group of 8 Mini's. The sky was cloudy most of the day, which kept the temperatures a bit cooler, but we still enjoyed the stop for ice cream in Perry Iowa.

Sunday Greg and I ate lunch with Vivian and Clyde after church. Then I was just  around the house working on some art, and getting my Peace Blog updated and Greg hit the road mid afternoon to return to KC. Oh yes.... and  I have two people interested in buying some of my peace art which is very exciting.

However, the highlight of the weekend for me was Sunday evening, I spent time with our neighbors Chris and Paul. It was Paul's 63rd Birthday and they had a small BBQ.

The temps where cooler in the low 80's which allowed us to enjoy their backyard patio, which I loved so much being able to finally sit outside! Sorry Greg had to miss this.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sarah's Art

7-22-11 proud brain
My niece Sarah is taking make-up school classes this summer. I'm pleased to know she is pursuing her creativity, since I have always felt she has talent in the arts of some type. Her school isn't just about making people look good, it is that.... but MORE.

Maybe someday she will work on a movie set..... for now it sure looks like she is having fun!
I copied these pictures off of her Facebook page.

Did I fool you thinking Sarah was made up to look like a dog?
This is Chuncks Sarah's dog, now staying with Jan and Hunt for the summer.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer projects

7-21-11 over-doing-it brain
I so need to kick back some this summer… I hope it isn’t too late?

Opposite to winter’s lack of sunshine and my lack of energy…. This summer has been filled with abundant sun and increased energy for me, which is not always good.. since I tend to burn the candle on both ends…. Only then to crash.

I have forgotten that hot summer days are a good time to relax, read a book, drink a margarita…. Day-dream.

Instead I’ve been full of projects. One project last week was started by Greg and I in the heat of the day, yes we were crazy but at least we were in shade, but still sweating profusely. We got inspired to experiment with the front bushes of the KC house. They are overgrown and just trimming them off the top would only leave stems, so we tried the opposite….. trim the bottom and leave the top. See the difference from left to right sides.

This will probably be step one of a landscape make-over for the house front. This fall we will move some Hosta plants from the DM house, which are in great need of being split, and planting them down at the base of these bushes in KC.

Next- this week, I’ve had another big round of framing (20) to get ready for the d├ębut of my Peace Art. I’m hanging a small exhibit on Friday evening at The Iowa Acupuncture Clinic in Clive (86th and Hickman). I have the big ones done and made the mistake seeing what they would look like in my dinning room and living room… dang- I like them and now want to keep them all for myself. But no, it’s time to free up some space and that way more creativity will flow my way.

Too soon it seems, Greg and I will be on another week vacation, this time to Colorado. I’m not sure if this trip will be an opportunity to relax and day-dream, but I really need to give it a try. My August and September look to be very busy at work, although it hasn’t really slowed down at all from my busy spring.

Note to self: you really do need to take some time to recharge.

PS: I had my first corn on the cob of the season. The season was late this year due to cool spring, but also I was late in buying. A cool down is suppose to arrive today…. Only 90 degrees. It’s funny to say, but 90 will feel different. I think my body is getting somewhat use to the hot weather, although this week I have been mostly inside.

Thunder and a light shower were welcomed this morning about 7:30 to 8:00AM. The temperature went from night time low of 77 down to 70 degrees, so I opened up a few windows for an hour to get some fresh air. I hope we get some more rain, but at least the clouds are helping keep it cooler for awhile.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday GUEST blog

7-20-11 relaxing brain
Ann's filling for me today, so I will relax as I read about Ann's upcoming trip. -Judy

Vacation Road Trip

My turn for a well earned vacation and up until last week, my itinerary was not complete. Before I share where I’m going, I never take a vacation day to stay home (oh yeah I did take one last year to clean the garage for my birthday party). Other than that, vacation days are meant for me hitting the roads and or jetting somewhere.

For the last two years, I’ve been going to Toronto for North America’s largest West Indian (as in Caribbean) parade. It’s called Cariabana and my Canadian family are well immersed in this festival/parade. I took my Dad and he thoroughly enjoyed the drive and our time in Toronto over the last two years.

Sad to say, while I will be excited for my drive, I will do my share of crying and missing my Dad. He would of loved this trip, even if he had to sit most of the time. He was such a good sport.

First, I’m driving to the East Coast to see my Dad’s brother in Hartford. So why not visit my favorite city on my way, that would be NYC. I’ll be staying three days in Times Square and will be doing a lot of nutty things. Then I’ll drive up to Hartford to see Uncle Mickey. My goal will be to get my Dad’s life story as he did not like to talk about his days in Trinidad. Did I say I’m from the island of Trinidad and Tobago?

Then I’ll be headed to Toronto unless I have some free time to go to Boston. Probably not, but I’ll see. Once I get to Toronto, I’ll be there for 5 days then home before you know it. It will take me 20 hours to drive to NYC, 2 hours to Hartford , 8 hours to Toronto and then 13 hours back to Des Moines. I know Judy is just dizzy reading this. Yes, I’ll be driving alone. Rats and double rats.

First, I’ve got to get my work done so I can get out of town. Enjoy the rest o your summer everyone.

Chat Later,

That Girl, Ann Maire

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More pictures

7-19-11 visual brain
Sorry to bore you with more family pictures, but wanted to post these today so that they will be part of my blog book.

Here Jean Ann and I are down in Central Park where her husband Doug was competing in a BBQ Cook-off contest.
We all "pigged out" during this party in the park the Sunday night before the 4th. Much ice cream was being eaten by all!

Jean Ann hosted a luncheon for us on Sunday before the 4th. Here we got to enjoy her new back yard landscaping.... great place to hang out!


Mom talked Christopher into "testing" the sparkles before sunset, these were 2 years old, but still worked.

I'm proud of Greg- that he was able to have a relaxing time in Charles City..... hung out reading on the back porch with the cat, or napped while I was out running around town.

Bunny ate dinner with us a few times. I'm loving this picture with CJ.

Sarah's traditional Flag Cake was perfect this year!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vacation pictures

7-18-11 fried brain
Terrible heat wave in the Midwest this weekend, with no end in sight! Heat Index in KC on Sunday was 104, Heat Index in DM was 110! Even northern Iowa was 107 heat index..... Iowa is known for it's humidity during the summer, (good for growing corn).....but this is ridiculous!

I'm  SO thankful that the weather was not THIS hot over the week I spent in my hometown over the 4th of July. We certainly lucked out there.

I'll share a few more pictures from my vacation:

The 4th of July Parade- Dad did ride on the Honor Flight Float again this year. He got a bit worn out that day, but enjoyed waving to everyone. Dad is the first on the left, in his red hat.

Flying birthday cake was a favorite parade entry this year. Also the Iowa Sullivan Brothers depicted on a cement truck.

Goodbye breakfast with The Culbertsons: "the other Judy", Steve, Vanni and me.

My Mom's garden out back. Jan and Christopher did some gardening for Mom, transferred some hostas, but I didn't get a picture of that..... I was sitting on the back porch, busy making the 4th of July decorations.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vacation Report part 3 (Jefferson School)

7-15-11 childish brain?
My friend Steve, who I grew up with during my school years K-12, has been teaching in Alaska for at least 30 years. Steve and I reconnected back in 1994 during one of our high school reunions and since then he visits our hometown over the July 4th holiday and we hang out together a lot. Of course Greg and Vanni (Steve's wife) are welcomed to join us, but I know often they can grow tired of hearing the same old stories of the neighborhood we grew up in.

One topic of great interest, this year, was the razing of our neighborhood elementary school, Jefferson School, which Steve and I attended K-6 grades. In fact we were the first class of kindergartners in this new school back in the fall of 1961. The demolition of Jefferson is also a hot topic on my Mother's mind these days and she has been attending all the school board meetings to keep track of what might happen to the 6-7 acres of land which is not far from our house.

Steve, Vanni, Greg and I walked over to the old school yard one evening over vacation, with the purpose of now getting a good look at "The Big Rock". This rock holds special memories to many of us who attended Jefferson School. It was like the center of our small universe back in the day. We loved playing on this rock.
 (it was hot that day, so I had my umbrella for shade)

Steve is so passionate about THE BIG ROCK, that he has been in contact with the school board and Jean Ann's husband Doug, who is in excavation, and there currently are plans to have the rock moved (if possible) to a city park by the museum. We are all patiently waiting to see IF the rock is not TOO BIG to be moved.

(Unlike when we were kids, the rock is now covered more with dirt)

Another solution we talked about was starting a fund drive to collect money to purchase the land outright, then donate the land to the city park association to create a new city park. The rock could remain in place for future generations to enjoy.

Well, time will tell.... there is still a lot of clean up work on the school grounds site and we will see who else might be interested in building on this land- IF anyone! So far there are no serious bids on the land.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


7-14-11 catching up brain
Although I still have much more to share from my 4th of July vacation last week, I'm struggling at work to catch back up, so am happy to post a blog from Ann describing what she did over her holiday weekend. Note: one topic Ann and I both are conservative on and have in common.... we aren't big alcohol drinkers. I believe we'd rather consume our calories with dessert! - Judy

Wine A Bit …… You’ll Feel Better
Who doesn’t like to wine a bit? Answer = me!

Some people like beer, some hard liquor and a lot like wine. I’m an odd duck in that I don’t like beer or wine, for no good reason. Over the years this was a non-issue for me but in the last ten years, my circle of friends have flourished and when we gather, beer and wine seems to be the beverage of choice. Since beer is not my bag, I’ve dabbled in wine sipping, even hosting a wine tasting at my house. I must be a slow learner, because I only know is I like sweet wines, more white than red.

So here I live in the middle of corn and pork country , I find out that Iowa is also wine country. Apparently the fertile soil in Iowa is perfect for growing grapes and for a fine wine, you must have fine grapes. My research point to one of the first wineries in Iowa is in the Amana Colonies. The German immigrants not only brought their religion, way of life, they brought their talent for wine making. The Amana’s are known for their many good and odd wines (dandelion). Fast forward, today Iowa is the home of 74 plus wineries. Yep, 74 plus and several wineries right here in central Iowa. And on a given Saturday at the local farmer’s market, you can find at least 10 wineries sampling their fruits of their labor, not to mention at the local grocery/liquor stores. So I wine a bit, passing up the wine and scratch my head, what am I not getting/seeing here? Here’s a quick guide showing the 5 S’s of wine tasting: see, swirl, sniff, savor and swallow.

  Reminder to double click on the picture to enlarged it.

On July 2nd, I decided to not wine a bit and go visit a winery in St. Charles, Iowa, Madison County Winery, featuring a local singer Chad Elliot and Bonita Crowe.  The event was the grand opening of their micro brewery, Twisted Vine Brewery. The winery was beautiful, on the side of a hill, rows and rows of grape vines with tiny green grapes. I was impressed to say the least. The setting was beautiful, the patio was inviting and it reminded me of the vineyards I saw road tripping through Italy. And the wine, I had to ask “I like something sweet and fruity”. Believe it or not, it was called Lollipop.

Second winery, this past weekend I went to another music event at another vineyard in St. Charles, Iowa. Yes, two vineyards in a small town within 6 miles of each other. Two Saints Winery was hosting their Sunday live music event featuring Bonnie Finken and The Collective (one of my favorite local bands). This vineyard was just as beautiful with a great indoor area for receptions and such. I again asked for a sweet wine and then learned on Sunday’s they have a special drink, Two Saints Mojitos. This drink was sweet, fruity with a kick. And the music by Bonnie Finken was fantastic.

I’ll not worry about why I don’t understand white vs red, dry vs sweet, what pairs or is it pares … with what. I’ll just dabble in the sweet n’ fruity stuff while listening to great music with good people.

Chat Later
That Girl, Ann Marie

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vacation Report part 2

7-13-11 reminiscing brain

The other “new” adventure I had during my vacation week in my hometown was a trip over to Decorah Iowa to see the famous eagle’s nest. I have been watching the Decorah Eagle Cam on the Internet since the end of March and have grown fond of this eagle family as the three eggs were hatched, and the young eagles now are flying out of the nest. My friends Steve and Vanni also have been viewers of the eagle cam, so they, along with Greg and I, made the trip.

Decorah is only one hour east of Charles City and was a fun drive over seeing the beautiful Iowa country side along the way. Decorah is in the part of Iowa totally different from the flat farmland where I grew up. Decorah is rather hilly with limestone bluffs. I knew the eagle’s nest was located close to a fish hatchery, but I didn’t have any idea that it basically was just across the street.

For those of you who have watched the eagle cam, you will recognize the white barn in the back center of this picture, which is sometimes seen when the camera is focused out towards the branch  the eagle like to hang out on. We were happy to see all three babies, which are not babies anymore….. and we also saw one parent. In the foreground is the fish hatchery, which was interesting to learn about and we saw some really beautiful trout of various size.

Another pleasant surprise was the wonderful restaurant (Hart's Tea and Tarts) we lucked out finding on main street Decorah… this was a delightful tea room with delicious food! If you are in Decorah look for it on the south side of the street towards the east end of Main Street, I believe. Eating there was worth our trip alone and the eagles were the icing on the cake! A trip to Decorah might have to become an annual summer activity.

Here are a few other views around the fish hatchery; the bluffs to the east and the small park there.

NOTE: Ann's guest blog tomorrow....