Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Random photos

Here are a few random photos from our recent trip to Des Moines.

My view from the swings at the park, as Livie pushes me.

Here's that old tree in the back yard.

Nonno's tower (one of them) as seen from the back yard.

Liv's at Jordan Creek Town Center (the nice mall) looking at the Iowa Heart Center/Mercy Hospital poster with Nonno in the Cath Lab.

Liv's in the House! This is the Iowa House of Representatives, in the Iowa State Capitol.

The sunset from the back yard . . .

An approaching storm as seen from the back yard. . .

On the way home, somewhere on I-80 heading east, about halfway between Des Moines and I-380.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

An update on Liv's Iowa State Fair Coloring Contest entry!!

So in recent posts, I talked about how Livie entered the 2010 Iowa State Fair coloring contest, 3 - 4 year old division. Check out Liv's Entering an Iowa State Fair Contest! and Reminiscing about the 2010 Iowa State Fair, Part I, for my previous discussions about her coloring contest entry.

Anyway, as stated in this post's title, I have an update.

The mail just came, and among all the envelopes was one addressed to Livie from the Iowa State Fair. Hmmm. I opened it.

And inside was her coloring entry along with a yellow Iowa State Fair "Participant" ribbon. I made a big deal about it, explaining to her that because she participated in a Fair event, she received a ribbon.

I told her that she did a good job with her artwork, and for her efforts, this ribbon is what she earned.

Here she is posing with her first ribbon and her contest entry (still in her pjs on a Saturday morning afternoon):
(She's trying to watch something on TV at the same time, which is why she's not looking at the camera.)

The ribbon and contest entry on display:
(I wrote "3 - 4 year old Coloring Contest, 2010 ISF" on the tag on the back of the ribbon).

And one more photo - she's posing in her 2010 Iowa State Fair shirt:
(It's got a cow, corn dog, tractor, chicken, ice cream and 2010 ISF sign on it).

Friday, August 27, 2010

Memory Lane Friday - A Goof at Work

This week's Memory Lane Friday topic is "A Goof at Work." Now, I usually have the Memory Lane Friday post written on Thursday evening and then schedule it to automatically post on Friday morning. But I was so scatterbrained last night after being out of town for a week and a half, I'd forgotten it was Thursday. Oops! Here it is, now!

This particular incident happened when I was still on active duty. I had just been stationed in Tucson, AZ, having been on active duty only about 8 months at this point. I'd actually been in Tucson for only a month or two.

Anyway, Staff Sergeant "F," my NCO, and I were in a career field called "Logistics Plans" and were, among other things, in charge of a large number of materials. This included a large number of pallets and nets, a part of what's known as the 463L pallet cargo system. These pallets and the accompanying nets (top and side nets) are what keep cargo secure when loaded into military cargo aircraft, such as a C-130, as seen below.
A Hercules C-130. Photo by TSgt Howard Blair, USAF.

A pallet is what the cargo sits on. It has rings on each side where the top net, side nets, and tie-downs hook onto, keeping the cargo secure. A single pallet is 88" x 108" and 2 1/4" thick. They're made of aluminum, with a fiberglass core. Empty, a single pallet (without nets or cargo) weighs nearly 300 pounds (290 pounds, if I remember correctly). 

So they're heavy, right? 

Usually, to move them around, someone trained on a forklift would use a forklift to move these pallets from one place to another. A single pallet could be used by a hand-operated jack thingy, if you needed to move one on the floor from one spot to another.

Anyway, SSgt "F" and I were responsible for a whole warehouse of equipment, and we'd inherited it with a lot of "fixer-upper" projects and organization to be accomplished. 

So one morning, we'd headed over to the warehouse to begin organizing everything, and checking equipment to see what was good to go, and what needed to be repaired or replaced. 

We'd taken a few other people from our office over to have some extra helping hands. Now, since we had a few pallets stored improperly on the floor, we needed to move them. We didn't have access to a forklift at the moment, and the pallet jack was broken (one of the items on our ever-growing "to do" list was to get it fixed).

What could we do? Get people on each side of the pallet to carry it over to where it needed to be stored. 

Well . . . since I was new, I didn't have work gloves yet, nor did I have steel-toe boots . . . and the guy that could hook me up with this stuff was unavailable for a week or two.

But I wanted and needed to help . . . I'm sure you're getting the idea that the "goof at work" is coming up soon, right? So what did I do? 

I borrowed a pair of work gloves - a pair of men's sized gloves, that were obviously too big for me, with extra material hanging off each finger. 

And then I jumped in there to help the guys move the pallet by hand. 

If I remember correctly, I think we had a couple pallets to move, as I mentioned before. Now that I really think about it, maybe two of 'em? 

We moved one no problem. Then we moved the other. 

And that's when the "goof at work" occurred. 

Oh, boy. When we moved the other and set it down, we counted "1, 2, 3" and set it down. When we did that, and I pulled my hands out from under the pallet, the 290 pound pallet, a bit of extra material off my right hand's pointer finger got caught. The tip of my finger, therefore, momentarily got caught under the pallet.


Did that hurt like a you-know-what!! 

It felt like hitting your funny-bone really hard. Must've been the nerves in the tip of my finger, but it made me dizzy. I broke out instantly in a clammy sweat (even though the humidity in the desert Southwest must've only been around 7%).

The guys asked "Hey, are you okay?" 

"Yeah, I'm okay." 

But the pain was THROBBING like mad, and I could feel it throbbing all the way up my arm. (I can feel "phantom pain" in my finger and up my arm, just recalling this incident!)

I'd taken the glove off, and my finger was already as big as a fat slug. Blech. 

I went and sat down in a corner of the warehouse. I'm not sure how long I sat there, but it felt like forever, but it must've been only a few minutes. 

Finally, I got up and helped with other stuff, as best I could with my right hand (the dominant one, of course) not working very well. 

When we headed back to the office, I stopped in the women's room to run some cold water on it. It was, by this point, gross looking, but I didn't think it was broken.

Of course, as soon as I sat down at my desk, I had somebody come in with paperwork for me to sign . . . oh joy! Now that was fun, with this big ol' swollen finger on my writing hand!

I did end up going to the clinic, at the urging of someone in my office. Definitely not broken . . . it just needed time to heal; the pain would go away when the swelling went down. 

Ouch! Definitely not a goof I'll forget! Oh, and by the way, I waited 'til I got my appropriately sized safety gear before helping out in the warehouse again!

Please click on the button below to read this week's other Memory Lane Friday posts!!
Check back next week when the Memory Lane Friday topic is "A Collection."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Favorite New Mexico scenery

Taken from my backyard in July, when a t-storm was approaching.

White Sands National Monument

Another stormy afternoon, as seen from my back yard.

Winter (and sunset) in New Mexico

Again, winter (and sunset) in New Mexico

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Liv goes to the Capitol!

When we were in Des Moines for a week and a half, Liv got the chance to go to the Iowa State Capitol Building. See, we'd passed this golden-domed building a number of times, each time pointing it out, ooohing and aaahhhing over its regal beauty.

So now that she and I were in the Des Moines area for an extended stretch of time, and since we had a nice, rain-free day, I decided that she and I could go there and I'd give her a private tour of Iowa's Capitol Building.

She was excited at first, but when we got there, she got upset, thinking we'd just drive past on our way to a kids' play area. Once I got her unstrapped from her car seat, out of the car, and looking at a water fountain in the shape of a buffalo head, well . . . now she was ready for the tour! And boy, did I take a ton of photos!

The following photos are the ones I took of her own private tour at the Iowa State Capitol Building. (I didn't think she'd have the patience for an official tour given by someone from the Capitol, so I did my best at giving her one myself - though I did eavesdrop on one occasion when we passed an official tour group . . . just to make sure I'd gotten my facts straight.)

Here's the buffalo fountain that got Liv excited about a Capitol building tour!

Up the steps to the Capitol . . .

She's posing at the "Lincoln and Tad" statue.

Here it is. Almost looks like a postcard, doesn't it?

Here's the view of downtown Des Moines when we turned around at the top of the steps.

Here's the sundial on the terrace.

Here's a bit of trivia: the dome is gilded with 23-karat gold!

Here's the view of the inside of the dome!

She's checking out the end of the hallway.

Liv was impressed with the gilded ceilings.

Grateful to the Iowa patriots . . .

These are dolls representing Iowa's First Ladies in exact replicas of their Inaugural gowns. This is a permanent display at the Capitol.
Billie Ray, wife of former Gov Robert Ray, commissioned the making of these dolls as a Bicentennial project in 1976.

Liv is telling me she wants one.
She was disappointed to find out she couldn't "win one of those dolls as a prize." 

This is a bell from the USS Iowa.
She's waiting to hear it go "Ding!"

Here's a replica of the USS Iowa.
Liv asked if this is where I used to work when I "worked for the Colonel, like Daddy used to." I had to give her a brief explanation of the differences between the Navy and the Air Force.

Here's the Iowa Supreme Court.

Liv wanted this chandelier taken from the Iowa Supreme Court and put in her room.

I liked all the woodwork decorating the Justices' bench.

Liv wondered why they had a lamp like this at the stairs.
I told her it was a decorative touch next to the stairs. 

Heading up the steps . . .

Here's the entrance to the Iowa State Law Library.
I've spent many, many hours doing legal research here when I was a paralegal.

Isn't this a beautiful library? I didn't mind sitting in here, working.

Liv decided to do some reading.

Here's what she was reading: Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure Annotated.
"Fun" stuff, eh?

Now here is something really cool.
Liv wanted to climb the spiral staircases (there's one at each end). But I had to tell her the sign said the stairs are only for librarians. She was a little disappointed . . . until she decided she would work at the library one day so she could climb the cool staircase. 

 I have always thought these looked cool and very appropriate for a law library.

 This is the library's ceiling.

So there's the tour!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fair Photos Part II

Here are a lotta photos from the Iowa State Fair!

The first few photos are when we went on Saturday afternoon with Andrew. 

When we went with Daddy, we stopped at the Varied Industries Building (nice and air conditioned!); this is where we got to take a photo with Clifford the Big Red Dog!!

Liv and I also showed Daddy the other nicely air conditioned building - the new arena where they held horse shows. We're standing in the part where the competitors warm up. In the background, you can barely see the show ring.

Here's Daddy at the big, marble globe. It's floating on water. It's outside the Agriculture Building, where the Butter Cow is located.

Here's a different entrance to the Agriculture Building.

Outside this entrance is a great big, ol' piece of produce!!
This pumpkin won 1st Place! It was 1300+ pounds!! Liv touched it, even though I told her the sign said "DO NOT TOUCH." 

We're off to search for a 2010 Iowa State Fair t-shirt for Livie.
They're selling 'em right behind Andrew. 

Here's another view of the main grandstand area.

On our way back to our car, Liv wanted to stop and get a photo of her face in the cut-out photo-op display.

A few days later, Liv and I went back with Abuelita.
They're enjoying some lemonade. 

Abuelita just HAD to get a funnel cake. Here is Livie taking her first taste of this fried delectable Fair treat.
She liked the first few bites, but then lost interest in it. 

Here's Livie as she milks a cow. She had a bit of help from a cow handler, and actually got some milk in the bucket.
Abuelita is right behind her; you can kind of see her hand on Liv's left elbow.

Here's one more cut-out photo-op that Liv posed with - almost looks real, doesn't it?! 

Coming soon: more photos from the 1.5 week trip Liv and I took to the Des Moines area. Liv and I took a field trip to the Iowa State Capitol Building. Those photos will be posted later this week, as well as some photos from Liv's swimming lessons.

In the meantime, check out Part I of the Fair photos, if you haven't already. 
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