Monday, July 30, 2012

Barn Charm, On the Go, 30 Jul 2012

Okay, Livie and I are back from Des Moines (having gotten home, yesterday, exhausted from our 10 days away); I got a few shots of some great old barns on our way there and back.

This awesome old barn is in need of attention. It was on the north side of I-80 (and obviously captured "on the go" as we headed west). It's somewhere in that large, lonely area of Iowa farmland in between Coralville and Des Moines.

I'm joining up with "Barn Charm" this week, which is hosted by Bluff Area Daily. Please click on the "Barn Charm" button below to view the rest of this week's "Barn Charm" entries:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Brief Break

Livie and I are going to be on the road until Sunday, July 29th. She's going to be taking part in a week-long theater camp in Des Moines, IA!! She's really excited. At the end of the week, they'll put on a performance of Cinderella.

While Livie's in her theater camp (9AM - 4 PM every day), I'm going to be doing my best to catch up on backlogged school work due in August! Ugh.

So while we're gone, I probably won't have a chance to post. (Of course, I've been busy this past week . . . hence the lack of posting.)

But there's one thing I promise: pictures and stories about our adventures when we return!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Day in Iowa City and the Museum of Natural History

Yesterday, I had to go to the University of Iowa to get some pre-semester paperwork turned in. Plus, I had to pick up a graded paper from last semester, as well as return about two and a half tons of a dozen or so library books to the University's Main Library.

And, of course, I had to get "The Summer Shot, 2012," just outside the library's north entrance!

Since Livie was with me, I had to add in some fun things to do along with my quick (but boring) errands. So, after quickly turning in some paperwork at the Veterans' Center within the Registrar's Office in Jessup Hall - which took just a couple minutes, and then picking up my graded paper across the street in Gilmore Hall, we headed to lunch at the Bluebird Diner. (It was about noon, so great timing! Plus, we got there just before the lunch rush!!)

We've just ordered; waiting for lunch!

I think the Bluebird Diner is Livie's favorite diner. On days she has to come with me to Iowa City, we usually have to eat there.

This time, she had some chicken strips and a cup of delicious fresh fruit (blueberries, strawberries, honeydew melon, and pineapple). I had the BLT on wheat toast with applewood-smoked bacon and herb aioli. Delish!

Then we shared a piece of warmed cherry pie a la mode. The ice cream was so creamy, I think I liked that part best.

After we ate, and before heading to the "boring" library (which Liv thinks is a little scary up in the stacks, because it's such a huge place, it feels like you could get lost), we stopped at someplace fun.

Where did we go? The University of Iowa's Museum of Natural History, of course! I'd never been there, if you can believe that, even though I've gone past it many times.

This is located in MacBride Hall, where my anthropology class' discussion group met.

Anyway, here's an abbreviated photo tour of our adventure through the museum. I got a ton of photos, but I won't bore you with all of them.

 Outside MacBride Hall, ready to go into the museum.

Liv was absolutely fascinated with this prehistoric sea creature! We had to go back and look at this thing a couple times before we left this part of the museum. 

 She was also fascinated by this diorama replicating an area in Iowa, including Native Americans overlooking a river.

 She was also interested in seeing a common form of housing Native Americans used. In this photo, though, she was telling me how the floor was textured to make it look like the ground.

 She really liked this giant sloth; we had to look at this exhibit a few times, too. I'm not sure why she's not smiling for the photo, though.

Here's another one of her favorites: a "birds-eye view" diorama of a Native American village in Iowa. If you click on the photo, you'll be able to see the village is at an angle, like you're a bird looking down at it. Liv's pointing at a flock (a gaggle?) of geese flying over the landscape. 

Guess who's impressed with the stuffed polar bear?! 

This one was my favorite diorama: the Sonoran Desert, replicating an area where I used to live - Tucson, AZ! 

We both liked this one - the moose skeleton! Pretty amazing!

Of course, there's also a moose diorama. This is about as close to any moose we'll get in person. They're too huge to get any closer in person!

Another cool diorama that I had to include in this photo tour: the muskox/wolf one! 

I convinced Livie to take a seat in the MacBride Hall auditorium's balcony. She was a little nervous about it, I guess because it's a pretty big place.

And that's the end of the photo tour. Maybe another day, I'll share some more photos of the University of Iowa's Museum of Natural History.

But before signing off for now, Livie wanted me to share this photo of her next to the flowers at the Main Library's south entrance. She loved the bright pink of these "overflowing" flowers! 

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Summer Shot 2012

Finally, after months of waiting for the opportunity to take this photo . . . here's "The Summer Shot, 2012"!!

"The Summer Shot," outside the University of Iowa's Main Library, the North Entrance, at approximately 2:00 PM, Friday, July, 13, 2012.

We'd gotten thunderstorms through the night on Thursday (actually, early this morning), and it had been raining fairly steadily when Livie and I had left the Cedar Rapids area this morning.

But by the time we'd gotten to the Iowa City area, we'd left the rain (for the most part) to Linn County. Clouds were moving through the area, though, for most of our day on and about the University of Iowa's campus.

Anyway, check out "The Winter Shot, 2012," and "The Spring Shot, 2012," for a comparison. And if you're up for it, check out the whole series from last year: "The Four Seasons Series, 2011."

The "The Fall Shot, 2012" (and therefore, "The Four Seasons Series, 2012" - all the 2012 seasonal shots in one post) coming sometime this autumn!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Let's Do Barn Charm Again!

I'm back with another "Barn Charm" entry!!

This was taken while we were on the road, heading to my parents' place for the Independence Day holiday. We were on I-80 westbound in Iowa, somewhere just after the exit for the Amana Colonies, and just west of the "Little Amana" stores. It was around mid-morning on June 20, 2012.

I love this stereotypical Iowa (and Midwest?) barn and farm. And I love the country road (heading up a hill) that you can just barely see on the photo's right. 

"Barn Charm" is hosted by Bluff Area Daily. Please click on the button below to view the rest of this week's fantastic "Barn Charm" entries:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Light Study

While Livie and I were at my parents', I had an idea. There's this gnarled, old, dead tree on their property, just outside the perimeter of the back yard fencing. It's been standing there for quite a long while. I was actually outside for a short time (a very, very short time, considering how hot and humid it was) on Wednesday, just admiring the scenery - the woods, the hillside, the stream at the very bottom of their property.

Anyway, I was looking at this old tree, and decided to take a photo of it in the harsh noontime sun, just because I had my iPhone with me and . . . well . . . I just could.

Well, later on in the afternoon, I was in the den downstairs (where it was MUCH cooler and more comfortable than anywhere upstairs), and realized it was about that "magic" time of day when the light starts looking a bit more golden, and shadows stretch about as far as they can go.

I suddenly decided I'd take another photo of that tree, just to see how different the photos would be at such different times of day.

Looks a lot softer, doesn't it?! This one was around 5:30 PM.

Anyway, that made me start thinking of my "Four Seasons" series on the University of Iowa campus.

(Here's the "Four Seasons 2011" series. And the Winter 2012 and Spring 2012 shots, with the remaining "Four Seasons 2012" shots obviously coming later this year.)

And that made me think I should take a couple more photos of that gnarled tree - a kind of "time of day" series.

So at dusk - or about 10 minutes before dusk (so I'd still have enough light for my smartphone's camera) - I went out and got the dusk shot.

This photo was taken around 8:45 PM. 

I'm not sure if it was due to the clouds, the diminishing light, or is it just me, or what, but it didn't seem to have such a drastic difference from that of the late afternoon shot compared to the noon shot. But there IS a bit of difference. Right?

Well, since I took the first photo at noon on Wednesday, I had to wait until Thursday to take the morning shot.

So this one was taken around 9:30 on Thursday morning.

Again, just a slight difference.

Okay, so not exactly what I was expecting when I first had the idea, but a fun experiment nevertheless.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Central Iowa Summer Scenery

Common central Iowa scenery, taken Thursday July 6, 2012, during our drive back to eastern Iowa (during rest stops, to be specific):
Soybean field, near Mitchellville, IA.

Cornfield near Colfax, IA.
Both photos were taken with the Instagram application on my iPhone, early in the afternoon (between 12:30 PM and 2:30 PM).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July (2012)

Just wanted to say "Happy 4th of July" to everyone!

In honor of Independence Day, I'm posting this flyer (I guess it's similar to old-time broadsides) that Livie helped make at Living History Farms over Memorial Day 2012. She and the lady portraying a late-19th Century printer made this on an old-fashioned printing press. (It got a little smudged before we got home, simply because it took a bit of time for the ink to dry on that hot, super humid day.)

I, too, would like to add a "Thanks!" to you fellow veterans out there for your service!

Oh, and just one more thing. I'm pretty sure I posted this video a while ago (maybe a couple years ago when I first started blogging), but I just wanted to post it again. There's just something about watching an airshow or aircraft in formation on the 4th of July. (At least *I* think so).

It's a 35-second video of the F117 (Stealth) 25-Ship Flyover at Holloman Air Force Base, NM, on the aircraft's 25th anniversary:

This was in October 2006, when Andrew and I were still active duty in the Air Force. Livie was just about 8 months old when this happened, and she got to see it in person! A lot of people from the base and the community had gathered to watch this special formation. And it was an awesome sight in person! I can only imagine the degree of difficulty in maintaining this formation with TWENTY FIVE aircraft!

Again, Happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July 1st - Happy Birthday to Sir Rafa

My grandfather was born on July 1st. He would've been 98 this year. Just wanted to say, "Happy Birthday, Sir Rafa." He always liked to say that while his birthday was before our nation's birthday, it didn't mean that HE was older than the country! Haha, that's his brand of humor.

December 14, 2002 - my grandfather (and mom) at the reception after Andrew and I had our church wedding.

Sir Rafa and his great-granddaughter, Livie, June 16, 2006.

Frank Sinatra's "I'll Be Seeing You":
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