Saturday, October 29, 2011

Polk County Court House

Here's a photo of the Polk County Court House, in Des Moines, IA.

This building sits at one end of Court Avenue in downtown Des Moines. Every Saturday, from May through October, the Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market is held down Court Avenue, and along various side streets (Des Moines' "Historic Court District").

Livie and I were at the Farmers' Market a couple weeks ago. After we'd spent some time enjoying the foods, sights, and sounds of the Market, we headed back to the parking garage (which is across the street from the Court House). I noticed that the sky was so blue (and that the Court House looked really cool against it) . . . well, I just had to take a photo of it, so I could remember what a beautiful day it was.

The UI "4 Seasons Theme" Photos, All at Once

I decided I'd post all of "The 4 Seasons" photos in one post, so here they are:
"The Winter Shot," 13 Jan 2011
"The Spring Shot," 18 May 2011
"The Summer Shot," 6 Sep 2011
"The Fall Shot, Part A," 6 Oct 2011
"The Fall Shot, Part B," 27 Oct 2011

Once it dawned on me to do a 4-seasons theme (the thought of which occurred to me after I'd taken "The Spring Shot"), I tried the best I could to take each photo from as close to the very same spot as possible. 

I also tried to take each photo at approximately the same time of day. The winter one was the only one out of the bunch that was taken mid-day (sometime between 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM). The rest of them were taken mid-morning (sometime around 9:00 AM, give or take about 15 minutes).

Once I got the idea to capture one location on the University of Iowa's campus during different seasons, it was a lot of fun, as well as a test in patience (!!), having to wait to complete this "project."

And you know what? I am thinking I might pick a different location on campus, so I can do another 4-seasons theme all over again!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Fall Shot, Part 2

Here's "The Fall Shot, Part 2," now that the leaves have all fallen.
If you click on the photo (to enlarge it a bit), you can kinda see the bright chalk that some students have used on the sidewalk. 

Click here to see "The Fall Shot, Part 1," to check out this view with colorful leaves. Here is "The Summer Shot." And "The Spring Shot" can be found within this post (if you scroll down a little). Finally, you can check out the post that inspired this whole " 4 Seasons Theme" with what I'm now calling "The Winter Shot," found here (scroll down a bit).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Morning Rainstorm

On Tuesday morning around sunrise, there was a rain storm to the east. Here's what it looked like:
Here's the view from the sidewalk (we're on a corner lot, so I had an unobstructed view).

And the view from the driveway.
I just had to go out and get a couple photos. Every so often, I'd see jagged lightning shooting from the clouds. And the sight was so spectacular in person, some guy even pulled into our driveway, got out of his car, and took photos.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Our Last Farmers' Market Trip of the Year

I've been laying low, so to speak, for the past couple weeks because I had a big bad, scary midterm yesterday. Now that it's over, I have a bit of time to post something at my poor, neglected Under the Desert Sky.

So . . . a couple weeks ago, we were in the Des Moines area visiting Abuelita and Nonno for a long weekend. Since we knew we wouldn't be back to Des Moines again before the end of October, we decided we'd better get in one final trip of the season to the Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market. (The season is typically the first Saturday in May through the last Saturday in October.)

Well, every time we go, we always have to get a bean and cheese pupusa (made from a dough of corn masa, cooked on a skillet with beans and cheese stuffed inside; click here to read about Salvadoran pupusas).Then they put either mild or hot sauce on it (we always get the mild, red sauce for Liv) and then they serve it with a kind of "cole slaw."
Liv's ready to dig into her pupusa!
There's a reason she's smiling! Those pupusas are SO GOOD!! There's almost always a line at the pupusa stand; they're that good!

We were lucky to find an empty table nearby, so we could sit and enjoy the pupusa.

Here's our view of downtown Des Moines, from where we were sitting.

Our stop at the pupusa stand is always the first. Then, with full tummies, we can take our time and look around.
Check out those peppers!

And we just had to get a cute little "pom pom" flower!

One final stop at Reichert's Dairy Air cheese stand for some chive chevre and chipotle chevre, and we were ready to head "home" (back to Abuelita and Nonno's house).

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Week Makes a Big Difference

I've been taking some photos of this year's fall colors, as seen from the University of Iowa campus. Well, a week makes a big difference. Just last week, the leaves were full of reds, greens, yellows . . . but this week? Not so much:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Grandma Magic

This morning, Livie asked me to make her some scrambled eggs and toast with jam for breakfast. She'd wanted to eat her breakfast on "The Special Table" (the breakfast-in-bed table) in my room, while she watched Curious George, instead of eating at the kitchen table. Since I'm feeling a little under the weather, I obliged, not exactly having the energy to debate the issue with a stubborn lively 5-year-old.

Anyway, a few minutes after serving her, I asked, "How's your breakfast?" because I'd noticed she was distracted by the TV and hadn't really been eating much at this point.

"It's okay. . . .Abuelita makes it a lot better."

Pretending to be shocked, I said, "What?!"

"No, no, no, Mama!! Yours is good! I like it! But Abuelita makes it better!"

"I see," I said, nodding my head. "Do you know why?"

"No, Mama. Why?"

"Because she uses 'grandma magic.'"

"Oh . . . it's because she's a grandma and has special magic?"

"Yep. When I was a little girl, Abuelita would make me breakfast and I liked it. But when I visited Oma and she'd make me breakfast, it was the best!"

"Because Oma's your grandma, and Abuelita is your mama?"

"Yep. And you know what? Oma is your great-grandma, so she has extra-special great-grandma magic. Not too many people have great-grandmas, so that's why Oma's magic is extra-special when she uses it on you."

And then Livie reminded me that Oma uses her great-grandma magic to take us out for ice cream.
Great-grandma magic at work! We've taken Oma out for caramel sundaes, July 2011.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Guess Who's Visiting Me?

I have a cold, which reminded Livie of a certain Curious George episode. Yes, "Toots and the Germettes" are in town:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

More Colors Around Campus

Here are some more fall colors as seen around the University of Iowa campus:
A view of the Philip D. Adler Journalism and Mass Communication building.

A view from the parking lot behind the EPB (English Philosophy Building).

Another view near Gilmore Hall (near where the "Winter," "Spring," and "Summer" shots were taken).

The view from the ladies' room on the second floor of EPB.

Another view from the ladies' room on the second floor of EPB. There's a good view of the river from this angle.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Fall Shot, Part 1

Here's the autumn shot at that one particular spot on the University of Iowa campus, near Gilmore Hall (with colorful leaves, obviously. The one without colorful leaves?  . . . Well, you understand I've gotta wait a bit longer to capture that one):

Click the links to see the winter (scroll down a bit), spring (again, scroll down a bit), and summer shots.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Yes, I should be studying right now. I have a TON of reading to do for my philosophy class, as well as an exam to prepare for . . . but I thought I'd share some autumn stuff that Livie likes:

Liv picked out this corn the day we'd gone pumpkin picking and pony riding with Abuelita. I put it on the front door a few days ago. I may trim some of the husks off, so the corn is more visible.

These are the pumpkins Liv picked out. She arranged them on the front step. She did a good job picking out some nice looking pumpkins!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Belated Thanks

Okay, I've gotta take a study break and do something a little more fun, so I'm going to tell you a fun little thing I took part in recently. 

A few weeks ago, I participated in a "Mail Call" hosted by Jill at Chillin' With Jill. She'd had this great idea for a mail swap, because it's so much fun getting an actual, handwritten note/card/letter in the mail, right?

Well, I had fun sending a handwritten note and a couple Iowa postcards to Ellie at Ellie's Place. She's actually over on the other side of the "pond" in Scotland, and has some great photos on her blog.

Then a few days later, I got a thank you card (actually, a "Merci" card) from Jill for participating in the mail swap. It was unexpected, and definitely a fun find when I opened the mail box the day it arrived.
Isn't it cool? Liv says the bird is "so cute!"
Liv and I especially loved the bird, and it's little green "jewel" for an eye (it might be kinda hard to see it in the photo).

And then a few days ago, I received another cool card, this time from Dianna at These Days of Mine.
Another very cool card!
I love the floral theme (she even had that rose on the back of the envelope). It was fun getting such a cool, handcrafted, handwritten note in the mail.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I'm glad Ellie got her cards in the mail (and I'm pleasantly surprised they got there so quickly!), and thanks to Jill and Dianna for the cards.
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