Friday, June 29, 2012

Another GUEST BLOG from Ann

6-29-12 vacation brain- for real
I'll probably take next week off from blogging..... will be relaxing with the family, boy I sure want to try rafting like Ann! ~Judy

Summer Road-Trippin’ – Part Four

Day Eight: A short drive, 100 miles, South to Yellowstone National Park. We have 24 hours in Yellowstone, how am I going to see everything? I studied the map of Yellowstone and with the help of Steve from Bozeman, I drew up a plan to do as little backtracking as possible. Yellowstone is HUGE!

The drive along the highway to the North entrance was extremely breathtaking with hills and valleys. I was waiting to see a fly fisherman or two, but I don’t recall seeing any. Darn it! 

Along the way, we spotted a raft floating down the Yellowstone River and I said, man, I would love to do that but I’m sure it’s at least 80 bucks. 

As we drove into Gardiner (North Entrance) I walked into Yellowstone Rafting Company and I inquired about the cost. Full day for $90 and ½ day for $40. Okay, that alone sold me. Now remember, this island girl does not swim nor go into deep water, but the chance to raft down the Yellowstone is once in a lifetime. We signed up for the 11 am ride, 2 hours, rafting 8 miles. Oh my gosh is an understatement. 

Okay, our crew was slim, five of us and one was an 80 y/o grandma, and that’s how I got the front spot. Here we go, all suited up and ready to raft. We drove about 2 miles up river then walked the raft 25 feet, down a hill (okay, grandma got a break). Dang, that was a steep hill. Our guide, Corey, gave us instructions on how to sit, handle the oar, what to do if we fall off, and I had to ask “what if the raft flips”?
Here we go, and what a ride it was. The eight miles went fast and we had at least a dozen rapids. Did I get wet? You betcha!

Overall, the $40 dollars turned into $75, shoes and CD pictures, and it was well worth it. A great memory for sure and what a way to start 24 hours in Yellowstone. I highly recommend a trip down the Yellowstone.

Day 8 continues with five hours of daylight in Yellowstone. Oh My!  Gotta Run.
Chat Later, 
That Girl
Ann Marie

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday GUEST Blog

7-27-12 vacation brain
Enjoy hearing about Ann's vacation out west! ~Judy

Summer Road-Trippin’ – Part Three

Day Six: Yeah, we get to sit still for three nights. Let’s see, thus far 1700 miles in 26 plus hours. Geez, nothing like the open road, music and interesting conversation with my travel buddy. We arrived late Sunday night in Bozeman, Residence Inn. Can’t say enough about this chain hotel, the best value for your money (excellent hot breakfast and an evening light social hour) when you are on the road. On my to-do list: see the mountains, shop on main street, buy western boots and hat, go to a hot spring. Well happy to report, I did most everything. In Winnipeg, I bought myself a new pair of tennis shoes, Dankso style. Aren’t they cute?

Shopping on main street, a pair of vintage black western boots caught my eye. They buyer wanted $200. Ouch, so we walked on, saw a lot of neat stuff. I’m pondering on getting these boots, but not for $200, I offered $135. She came back with $140. I’m holding. Off we went to the Museum of the Rockies, the best kept secret in Bozeman.  

At the museum, I chatted with a guy named Garrett, he was a geologist working in the oil fields in ND and was on a month long vacation. Being a geologist the Museum of the Rockies was a must visit as it holds the most dinosaurs bones in America. Okay, great reason to visit and with a guided tour, I absolutely loved this museum. And wow, we saw Professor Jack Horner and saw folks forensic cleaning bones. Here’s a bit about Jack Horner him from the museum’s website. 

Jack Horner, the Museum's Curator of Paleontology, is known for his groundbreaking discoveries of the first dinosaur eggs in the Western Hemisphere, the first evidence of dinosaur colonial nesting, the first evidence of parental care among dinosaurs, and the first dinosaur embryos.
He is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost paleontologists, noted for his fieldwork and some of the best reconstructions of fossil dinosaurs ever assembled. Horner is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship "genius grant". He served as the technical adviser for all three of the Jurassic Park movies and is the inspiration for the movie's lead character, Dr Alan Grant. The Museum of the Rockies, as the result of Horner's continuing fieldwork, has the largest Tyrannosaurus rex collection in the world.

Day Seven: up early for the Bozeman Hot Springs and a drive to see if anyone is fly fishing. The Hot Springs was nice but very commercialized. There were 7 indoor pools and 1 outdoor. The temperature ranged from 65 to 100 degrees. So what do you do when 6 person hot springs and 1 weird looking dude comes in? Well this chica got out.

Back to main street and the boots. Yep, I got them at my price. Sweet deal for me. This matches my other cowhide boots that I got last year. Yippee Skippy! 

Then we went up to the Bridger Bowl Ski resort, and lucky us found some snow. What a nice drive to the ski area and only 15 minutes from downtown Bozeman.

I spent the rest of the day shopping, found the Goodwill and Army store. At Goodwill, I chatted with Steve who gave me a lot of information on Yellowstone. Seems like everyone in Bozeman has a connection or two to Yellowstone. He said that going to the “canyon” is a must. Did not really understand it, but wow is all I can say. I did pick up a few items for my plate project and a very cute pitcher.  

Okay, getting really excited to see Yellowstone. One final sight in Bozeman, the weekly farmers market. Nice but nothing like Des Moines. I had a great visit and Bozeman is on my “come back to see me” list.
Day 8: Get ready for Yellowstone. Look for another post on Friday. Gotta Run.

Chat Later, That Girl
Ann Marie

Monday, June 25, 2012

Weekend Report: the heat is on

7-25-12 over-heating brain

It's a hot one again in both DM and KC, but in spite of that, I agreed on Sunday morning to attend a car show with Greg. I've been declining several car shows the last few months- so I thought it was time to say "yes"...... plus this particular car show is always so awesome, and it spoils me from wanting to go to any other car shows.

This is the KC Art of the Car Concours held as a fund raiser for the Art Institute. This all happens on the beautiful campus of the Art Institute not far from our old KC apartment on the Plaza- so of course I love to go visit that part of town. Here is Greg. We went at 10 am and stayed until about 12:30.... it was only 90 degrees then and I spent as much time in the shade as I could.

The people had to vote for "best in show"..... boy that was just impossible. Here are some of my favorites.

This Talbot Lago, which I had never heard of- Greg said it was a French car I think. The variety of cars was incredible.

 I liked the blue of this and the wheels. This is one I most wanted to ride in!

This color also caught my eye on this one.

Of course I can't tell you the exact make and model.... but like these for various reasons such as shape and color. They are works of art- that is for sure.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Another GUEST Blog

6-22-12 busy  brain
Ann had so much to see on her 11 day trip, she has requested more time to post all her travel stories ~Judy

Summer Road-Trippin’ – Part Two

Day Five: 600 mile Sunday drive from Minot to Bozeman. Leaving a day early was a blessing as we would get into Bozeman by 8 pm. We drove all day and what a great day for a drive. So why travel the back roads of ND? Well it does stand between us and Bozeman and after chatting with some locals outside the Peace Garden, I had to see the Oil Boom. We skipped driving on I90 and took highway 2.

 We started seeing oil derricks in Stanely and by the time we got to Willliston, not only oil derricks but mini-refineries and trucks and more trucks. Mile after mile, oil derricks and trucks  everywhere. 

We stopped off for a break at the local grocery store in Williston and overheard many people talking about where they were from and what brought them to Williston. One word, JOBS and if you are a truck driver, instant job. The influx of workers was growing faster than the town can manage, thus housing is a big issue.

 There are camps and camps of RV’s, campers, trailers everywhere. I was told that some were  living in their cars. All I could think about was “does the city have enough water/sewer/utilities to support the new arrivals”? That reminded me of a question that was posed to us in a public policy class, how do you ensure a city has the infrastructure for a rush of people?(the people in this case were the Jews). Sorry for the downer. 

I’ll leave with some random pic of ND. On to Bozeman for three days. I will tell you that I loved Bozeman and I got a little something something for myself. Gotta run.

Chat Later, That Girl
Ann Marie

Thursday, June 21, 2012

6-21-12 artzy-fartzy brain

Remember last week Ann posted about her new discovery of lawn ornaments using old dishes?
Well, I also have been experimenting with this. On an old plate I painted some Peace Art, then I sealed with some spray on polyurethane.

Here I'm testing it in my garden...... note the squirrels planted some corn here, and I'm letting it grow :)

I'm also going to make this other one from old dishes my Mom and I bought at a thrift shop. I just have to glue the back holder on this one. There is one large plate, one smaller plate, one small dish and one small ashtray.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday GUEST Blog

6-20-12 vacant brain
Ann is back from her 11 day road trip and is ready to start filling us in! ~Judy

Summer Road-Trippin’ – Part One
It started so simple, my friend asked me to ride out to Bozeman, MT with her to see an ailing friend. Mmmmm yes, if we can do some side-trippin’. She let me plan the trip and I added the vistas on my bucket list, 3500 miles in 11 days by car. 

First stop Winnipeg, Canada for no special reason other than I’ve always wanted to visit after hearing it was an old European French city over the ND border. Yes, a bit out of way, that’s stop #1. Bozeman would be stop #2, Yellowstone #3, Black Hills of SD #4. Yes, I dream big! 

Day One: The drive to Winnipeg would take 11 hours, and leaving at 4 pm, we stopped in Alexandria, MN. What a find there, home of Big Ole and the Kensington Runnestone. It’s also a fishing resort town, with at least 20 lakes surrounding the City. I’ll be back to do some sightseeing and maybe some fishing. More about the controversial stone below, fact or fiction, you tell me. And while we did not see the actual stone, here’s a replica of it that traveled to the 1965 New York World’s Fair and Sweden in 2003 and a picture of Big Ole.


Ever since 1898, when Olof Ohman, a Swedish immigrant working his fields in what is now Douglas County, MN, found the 202-lb., mysteriously engraved stone tangled in the roots of an uprooted tree, controversy has raged over the artifact’s authenticity. The stone, dated 1362, soon proved how difficult the search for the truth can be—and raised eyebrows over the possibility that North European explorers predated Columbus in America. Fact or fiction, this is the inscription on the stone:

The inscription on the Runestone has been translated as follows:

"We are 8 Goths and 22 Norwegians on an exploration journey from Vinland through the West. We had camp by a lake with 2 skerries one day's journey north from this stone. We were out and fished one day. After we came home, we found 10 of our men red with blood and dead. AVM save us from evil. We have 10 of our party by the sea to look after our ships, 14 days' journey from this island. Year 1362."

 Day two and three: North to Winnipeg, arriving at the Marlboro Hotel at 2 pm. Boy was I disappointed at the hotel and the City. The first room was a major dump and the second room, well a bit better. We made the most of it, cutting our stay to two nights. We saw the major sights: The Forks, St Boniface, French Quarters  and downtown. We age at a Trinidadian shack, Chinatown and I bought a new pair of tennis shoes, what do you think? (Dansko walking shoes) 

Not being judgmental, Winnipeg, to me, is a City of the “Haves and Haves Not”. The Halves Not are the Native Canadian Indians congregate downtown and at the downtown hotels. The Halves, well you can imagine. Winnipeg will not be on my return City list.

Day Four: Off to Minot, ND via the International Peace Garden by recommendation of a mutual friend. Wow, no way you would get here unless you really wanted to see it. The bad news, the planting season was just now beginning, thus the flower clock and the gardens were not ready. Rats! On the bright side, we saw a 911 Peace Memorial and that was pretty neat. In all, I can say “been there, done that”. 

We stayed overnight in Minot, no man’s land for sure, and ate a rustic restaurant. Back on track for some USA exploring.

Day Five, all day driving to Bozeman via “Oil Country” USA. I’ll write more about the ND oil boom later. 

Gotta run;
Chat Later, That Girl
Ann Marie

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Voting for Peace

6-19-12 indecisive brain

A few weeks ago I painted the top of an inexpensive table….. the cheap  kind  with three legs you can get at Kmart or Target… and the kind one would cover with a table cloth.  I had one in the basement with a broken leg…. So I decided since it was a circle, I’d paint it for a peace table and use out on the patio on top of a terra-cotta pot. It would be a perfect height to go with my lounge chair.

Here is what it looked like after painting….. but no peace sign on it yet.

Then I got the fun idea of challenging my new Internet peace friend- Brad, who is a graphic artist who runs the FB “the Peace Art Collective”  see here:!/pages/The-Peace-Art-Collective/353618727999190
...... to take my painted circle image and create an inspiring Peace Art posting, like he does so well.

He sent me these four choices…… Gee which one do I like best?? All of them... I can be so indecisive about things!! So I need your help in voting and picking YOUR favorite one.  Just comment here, or email me if you are not able to post here.
Click picture to enlarge.





Monday, June 18, 2012

This and That Weekend

6-18-12 reporting brain

Greg was in DM this weekend and one of our priorities was checking out the Dale Valley Vineyard (DVV), which is located west of Des Moines near Stuart.... So I believe it was about 40 minutes away.

This winery is owned by a couple who Greg knew the guy- Ed, through Greg's job at the Federal Building. They had seen my interview on TV and contacted Greg.

So message to Peace Sisters- and any other girlfriends reading this:
Girls Weekend on July 14th will be moved to the DVV...... $10 admission will get us into the (basically) MUSIC Festival they call "Winestock: Peace Love and Wine"...... I think we should dress hippy "60's"......  We can take in a picnic, but no extra beverages. If the weather is decent, I will set up a small booth to show off/ sell  my Peace Art.

This winery is located in a very pretty rural setting with the grapes growing up on the hillside and a great view of a lush valley. An old school house was moved to the location and serves as their shop and this is surrounded by decks and tents. Let's hope it is not 90+ degrees with wind.... like it was last weekend and is suppose to be today!  If so, we'll change our plans.

We got some much needed rain over the weekend, coming mostly Friday evening. This allowed me the perfect opportunity to do some weeding of the front garden Saturday morning.... but only for about 80 minutes. I've come to know that the days of all-day gardening are up. My body just can't take it.... so the rest of the backyard will just have to wait. My lilies usually are blooming in July, and they are now soon passing. There won't be much left to bloom this summer/fall. It has really been a weird season.

Sunday afternoon after Greg left, I worked on framing these 4 Peace Art which I sold to a gal who is a therapist/councilor and setting up her own  new office in Johnston. She saw my art at the Acupuncture clinic months ago, and took my business card..... and now the timing was right for her to buy some for her new adventure..... SO HAPPY to report that peace is slowly spreading in Iowa!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday GUEST Blog from Ann

6-13-12  exploding brain
Oh yes, yet another "project" for Ann and I! Creativity is alive in Iowa. Who knows what Ann will bring back from her trip out West! ~ Judy

Re-purposing, What a Concept
Man, do I have a lot to write, but that will have to wait for a couple of weeks. You see, today I’m midway on an 11-day road trip out West. The things I’m seeing, the people I’ve met, and the things I’m doing. I’ll keep you in suspense for a few weeks. In the meantime, here’s something I ran across. Hope you like it.

My co-worker brought a piece of yard art into work last month and I immediately fell in love with the art work. Glass dishes glued together to make a flower for the garden. After seeing hers, I met-up with the artist and bought four of them. Here are some pics.

Two of the pics were “Americana” themed and I knew right away who to give one to, Marine Dude John and his bride, Jean. I think they love it, sweet.

Judy and I are on a kick, commissioning a few pieces for the artist to glue together. So as I’m garage hunting (even in Bozeman), my eyes are peeled for colorful dishes and glass votives. Gotta run, off to Yellowstone from Sky Country, Bozeman, MT.

Chat Later, That Girl
Ann Marie

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Weekend Report

6-12-12 summer brain
I'm up early this morning listening to the birds sing. First the robins, then the cardinals, then the wren.... so I have a few extra minutes to finish my blog about the weekend.

Friday afternoon I took an hour early off work so I could ride with my KC neighbors up to the opening reception in St Joseph at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art.  This was my first time in the old river town of St Joe. I believe I had a great aunt and uncle on my Dad's side of the family who lived in St Joe.

My KC neighbors, Wil and Susan are quite the dynamo couple- don't let their size fool you.... they are so full of energy and life. You can't get a picture of Susan without her laughing or talking. Wil and Susan are artists and spend half their time in a home in Belize. (they own two Mini Coopers too!)  I enjoy hanging out with them and learning more about the "real" art world out there.

Here they are with their friend Jane who had the opening to her art exhibit. Bold colors and large sized paintings!

Greg then met up with us for dinner at Weston Mo, a small  historic town on our way back to KC.  A very fun evening for me.

Saturday we had a lazy- relaxed morning, then we went down to the Plaza area of KC. First we watched Molly play in a tennis tournament for awhile. It was pretty hot out, so we found some shade. Then we went over to the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum to see a display about the World Fairs, which was interesting. Gee, I just realized this was an "art weekend" rather than a "car show" weekend..... however Saturday night we did go out to the T-bones baseball game with the Mini Cooper KC Club and Sunday Greg did attend a car event without me. 

My new sunglasses... with bifocals..... way too much money for these! But know I can read my iPhone without changing glasses. 

Molly is dressed in white. They lost, but didn't feel too bad about it for their first doubles tournament. Molly is really getting into tennis and plays 3 to 5 times per week!