Friday, August 31, 2012

Iowa City Public Library

Here's an Instagram photo of the Iowa City Public Library, taken around 9:30 AM, Thursday August 30, 2012.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Out and About in Iowa City

Okay, I've got time for a short post this afternoon. Here are a couple Instagram shots (from last Thursday) from around the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City, IA.

Main Library, South Side Entrance

Phillips Hall, where my Spanish class is held.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Barn Charm - Another Fair Shot

I've got another "Barn Charm" entry from my trip to the Iowa State Fair in mid-August. It's a black and white Instagram (smartphone app) shot detailing part of the horse barns.We'd been there on a cloudy Friday morning (August 10), when I took this photo.

"Barn Charm" is hosted by Bluff Area Daily. Please click on the button below to view the rest of this week's entries (viewable sometime Monday evening around 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Central time). 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A New Semester

Starting today, I'm back at school, too. That means that while I'll still post, it won't be quite so regularly. Probably 2-3 times a week, at most (but we'll see how it goes).

And since it's the fall semester, I'll leave you with a fall photo from Iowa City and the University of Iowa campus. Okay, okay, so it's not autumn, yet, but it's definitely nice knowing that we will be getting some cool, fall weather sooner rather than later. (That also means we're closer to getting "The Fall Shot, 2012!!)
Iowa City, IA, autumn 2011

Monday, August 20, 2012

Barn Charm - At the Iowa State Fair

This is the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion at the fairgrounds of the Iowa State Fair. It was busy with livestock classes on this second day of the 2012 Fair. While not exactly a "barn" used to house livestock/farming equipment/grains and/or hay, it IS a location specifically for showing livestock.
Livestock/competitor entrance, 10 Aug 2012

Here's a view of the inside during a cattle class. (I shared this photo last week, too, for Rural Thursday.)
Inside the Pavilion, 10 Aug 2012

Last week, I shared a photo of a "barn" that was actually a Harley Davidson dealership in the Des Moines, IA area. I'd had some questions about whether it was an old barn that had been restored/repurposed,or if the structure was built especially for the dealership.

Well, I did a little research to make sure I was passing along correct information. It's actually a new structure! It was built especially for the dealership. The dealership - in this current "barn" location - was opened in 2004. Click here for information on the history of this dealership.

"Barn Charm" is hosted by Bluff Area Daily. Please click the button below to view the rest of this week's entries (the link-up with this week's entries will be available Monday evening):

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Monsoon Season, Tucson

Just reminiscing a bit more about Tucson . . . here are a couple photos taken during monsoon season when the clouds had moved in, promising rain.

If I remember correctly, I'd been at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum when I'd taken these photos, circa 2000 (with a visiting friend whom I knew from college) or maybe 2001 (when Andrew had come out to visit).

(These were taken with one of those disposable cameras - with film - and, of course, not "translating" very well when scanned.)

Friday, August 17, 2012

More Fair 2012 Photos

Okay, these are going to be in no particular order.

On our first morning at the 2012 Iowa State Fair, we had some good fair-going weather. It was cool - somewhere in the mid- to upper-60s. It was cloudy (but we still slathered on the sunscreen, because those rays can still do damage on a cloudy day). And there was a slight breeze.

So like I mentioned in a previous post, after we'd found out that Livie hadn't won a prize, we decided to hit the fun stuff right away to make up for it. The first thing we did after seeing the piglets was the Giant Slide!

She'd wanted to go with Daddy, first, and then she'd go one more time with me. While I was at the bottom waiting for them, I snapped a photo. In this photo, you can see them on that green stripe.

No photos of my turn going down the slide with Livie. By the time she and I had reached the top, I realized I'd stuck my little camera in my pocket. Too late to give it to Andrew to snap a photo. 

What was next on the list? Barksdale's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies! These cookies are SO GOOD (maybe even better than my grandmother's). They are warm from the oven, chewy and soft, chocolate chips all gooey and melty. You can get them in a cup or in a bucket! We opted for the cup, which had just enough for the three of us to share.

I realized too late that she didn't want her photo taken.

Mmmm, cookies!

And what goes perfectly with cookies? Milk! I always have to stop at the Dairy Barn to get a big cup of ice cold milk. I think it must be 2% because it is so creamy and good. Livie even said it was the best milk she ever tasted. Maybe it was just because we were at the Fair and were eating our favorite cookies. 

A little bit later, after finding a place to wash the melted chocolate off Livie's hands, we headed to the cattle barn. We're fans of cows, because they give us milk (and milk is used in tasty things like cheese and ice cream). And they say "Mooooo."

Livie was excited for the opportunity to pet a calf. SO CUTE. 
Normally, when we have the chance to visit the Fair a few times after the first couple days, we are usually able to milk a cow. Since we won't be able to go during this last weekend, we unfortunately didn't get a chance to do that this year. Hopefully next year.

But we were able to visit another Iowa State Fair highlight - the Butter Cow! This is the Butter Cow's 101st Anniversary; there has been a Butter Cow at the Iowa State Fair since 1911! Each year, the Butter Cow sculptor does a different breed of cow, as well as a "companion sculpture" in butter.

This year, the companion sculptures were Snow White, the Seven Dwarfs, and the Evil Queen. They are always in the Agriculture Building, in an enclosed, refrigerated case (obviously), with glass on one side (obviously) so visitors can view the amazing sculptures.

(They're not the best photos, because my little camera couldn't handle the lighting very well, and also due to the glass' reflective quality).

The Queen and the Mirror on the Wall, and Snow White were on a rotating platform, slowly turning so we could see both, one at a time (and also, probably, to wisely use the available space).
The Evil Queen and the Mirror!

Snow White in the forest! (Sorry for all the glare.)
The Seven Dwarfs! (And a glimpse of the famous one!)

There she is - the Butter Cow! (Again, sorry for the glare.)

And here's a photo I always have to take each year - the photo next to the floating globe, just outside the Agriculture Building. It's on some sort of water spout, so it floats around, rotating.

Later on in the day, just before we headed back to the house, I was able to snap a photo of the Grandstand. This is where all the Fair's big concerts are held, nightly. Also, there's a dirt track around the stage area (for horse racing or car racing, I guess. I once was able to ride my horse on the track, and even hand-galloped around it, imagining myself racing in front of cheering crowds. But that's a story for another day. ).  That structure you see in the photo is where the stadium seating is.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Rural Thursday - It's Fair Time!

Since Livie, Andrew and I were recently at the 2012 Iowa State Fair, I've got a few great photos to share with "Rural Thursday" participants!

These are various farming-related entries having been shown at the Fair this year.  The first two photos are of Iowa FFA entries (according to the signage), both showcased in the Agriculture Building.

And the last photo is in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion (Livie and I enjoyed admiring the cow in the foreground - she had a beautiful coat, as did the cow right in front of her).

Corn, single ear entries

Various grains, nicely showcased

A cattle class in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion
"Rural Thursday" is co-hosted by "A Rural Journal" and "Two Bears Farm." Please click on the button below to view the rest of this week's entries.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

2012 Iowa State Fair Photos, Round 2

I've uploaded all the photos I took with my camera. I've been going through them, trying to decide how I'm going to organize them into "storytelling" posts, and I've finally decided what Fair "story" I'll tell today.

Back in June, I posted about how Livie's been entering the Iowa State Fair's children's coloring contest the past few years. And, of course, she entered it again, this year. Click here to see the post about her 2012 entries.

She was really, REALLY excited to enter this year, because last year, she earned 2nd Place out of scores of entries in the "Anything Goes" category. She was hoping to nab that coveted blue ribbon this year for either the age group entry (5-6 year olds) or the "Anything Goes" entry.

So, what was the first thing we did when we got to the Fair on Friday the 10th? You guessed it - we had to go to the Paul R. Knapp Center where all the art entries were displayed, to see if she had a ribbon pinned next to her artwork (either entry).

We got there and . . . nothing! For either category!! She didn't win anything!

In this first photo, she's pointing to her "Anything Goes" entry, on the top row, 5th from the left. Only the top 3 win ribbons, and they're separated from the rest, hanging above the field of entries.

She was disappointed. I think I was even more disappointed, because I knew how badly she'd wanted a ribbon - the blue one.

Since we were in the Paul R. Knapp Center, I knew a way to cheer her up. There were baby pigs with their mama in a set of farrowing stalls (a "farrowing" stall is where a mother pig is put when she's ready to give birth - it's a birthing stall). The piglets we saw were just an hour old and SO CUTE! (I didn't really get a good picture because it was really crowded.)

And then we headed to the giant slide, which she'd been looking forward to sliding down. (Pictures of that later.) That helped cheer her up, too.

Anyway, here are some more items that got her excited about being at the Fair (since she hadn't won anything). Ice cream statues! There were plenty of these statues in various places throughout the fairgrounds. They were all decorated in fun, crazy ways. I had to take a photo of Liv at every single one that we saw, especially since one of her pieces of art was about ice cream. (You may remember my first batch of Fair photos - she was posing next to a different one of these - I'd taken that photo with my phone).

Eating ice cream next to the ice cream statue.
But before we'd left for the day, she was really wanting some ice cream. Hmmmm, I wonder why? So we'd gotten her some "famous" strawberry ice cream from the Bauder's Pharmacy truck. Bauder's is a pharmacy, but they also have an old-fashioned soda fountain within the pharmacy where they serve homemade ice cream, among other tasty treats. And every year at the Iowa State Fair, they have a truck, where they sell their "famous" ice cream (it's famous throughout Iowa, as I understand it). I'd gotten a chocolate shake, and it WAS pretty tasty, all thick and chocolaty.

So, with ice cream in hand, we went back to the art entry display for a final photo or two. She'd wanted a picture of herself eating ice cream, pointing at her ice cream artwork.

And here's her age group, showcasing Barksdale's famous chocolate chip cookie buckets! (More on Barksdale's famous cookies later.) Hers is the one with the yellow background, toward the bottom.  
So, even though she didn't win a single thing, we still had fun at the Fair.

More photos to come, soon!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

First Batch of Fair 2012 Photos!

I haven't had the chance, yet, to upload my 2012 Iowa State Fair photos from my camera, but I wanted to post something, so I figured I'd post using the photos I took with my iPhone.

I used the Instagram app for these first four photos. The rest were using the iPhone's regular camera.

(And, as always, you can click on the photos to get a bigger view of each of them.)

The Agriculture Building, side view.

Fair food: corn dogs and lemonade!

Midway: Ferris wheel.

Pioneer Livestock Pavilion, as seen from across the street.

Agriculture Building, beautiful landscaping.

Fair characters!

Butterfly tent, monarch in hand!

Ice cream statue, "Gettin' Piggy Wit It!"

Posing with piggy cutout and Livie's pig ears!

There'll be plenty more photos to come!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Unusual Barn Charm!

Here's a "barn" photo I took on-the-go back in mid-July 2012. This "barn" is actually a Harley-Davidson dealership in the Des Moines, IA area, off of I-80/I-35. It IS a barn, and I got a photo, so I'm including it in "Barn Charm"!

FYI: This is a new structure, completed in 2004, especially for this dealership. Click here for its history.

"Barn Charm" 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:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Taking a Few More Days Off - It's Fair Time!!

Today, immediately after Livie's swim lesson, we're heading back to the Des Moines area (getting lunch on the way, as it's a 2.5 hour drive).

It's Iowa State Fair time!! Woo hoo! We can't wait to spend some time at the Fair! To quote the musical/movie State Fair (Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical about none other than the Iowa State Fair), "Our state fair is a great state fair!"

For one thing, Livie entered the kids' coloring contest and we're all really, REALLY excited to see if there's a prize involved (we have to check the displayed art work in person to see if she's won anything). Please keep your fingers crossed that there's a ribbon pinned to her work!!

And we're also excited to see the world-famous Butter Cow, along with the real livestock (plenty of cows, poultry, horses, pigs, and other animals).

Plus we're excited about going on the giant slide, getting a couple corn dogs, a funnel cake (to share), maybe a deep fried candy bar (or something else equally unhealthy that one should really only eat at Fair time - or else you'd risk indigestion along with weight gain).

There are so many fun things to do at the Iowa State Fair! So I won't be posting these next few days, but I will be taking photos to post when I get back. And believe me - I'll have a ton of photos to post when we get back.

Wish Livie luck in the kids' art contest!!

 The 1945 State Fair (Rodgers & Hammerstein) Main Title music. I'll be thinking of this song as we buy our tickets and enter the gate:

And a clip from the 1945 version of State Fair :

(We get this movie - the 1945 version, and NOT the later version (!!) - every year at this time and watch it a day or two before heading to the Fair. It's one of my favorite "old" movies! Livie likes it, too.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Another Photo Trip Back Home

While I enjoy taking photos while I'm out and about here in Iowa, I figured I'd take another trip (via photo) back "home" to the Southwest.

I say "home," because my maternal grandparents spent just about their whole lives in the Southwest, namely in El Paso, TX. My mom and her brothers were raised in El Paso. I spent the first three or so years of my life in El Paso. After my parents and I moved away, I still took many, many trips back to the Southwest to visit my grandparents regularly. I've even got a number of family members who still live in the area. Plus, I was stationed in the Southwest on two different occasions during the years I spent in the Air Force (in Tucson, AZ, and Alamogordo, NM).

Even when I was stationed elsewhere, I found myself in the Southwest, either for work or more often, on vacation.

So basically, the Southwest like home to me - my first home, my original home. (Chicago - or Arlington Heights, more specifically, is my "home of record" for the military, because that's where I'd been living when I'd gone on active duty . . . but that's a whole 'nother story.)

Anyway, when Andrew and I were stationed in Massachusetts for four years, we found ourselves in Las Vegas, NV for a week-long conference for work (October 2004). After we'd wrapped up on the last day, we had a bit of time for sightseeing; we took the opportunity to go to the Hoover Dam, a nice day-trip distance from the sensory overload known as Vegas (which I really enjoy, by the way). Not only was the Hoover Dam impressive on its own merits, the scenery to and from the Hoover Dam was spectacular!

So here are a few photos I thought I'd share. The quality isn't the best - I'd used one of those single-use "disposable" cameras (with film in it); anyway, their quality declined even further after I'd uploaded the photos and had them transferred from one online storage site to another. (The negatives, sadly, were lost/ruined in my numerous moves from one part of the country to another.)

(Again, you can click on each photo for a somewhat larger view.)

The reservoir, on one side.

The river, on the other side.

Andrew's looking down that dizzying downward distance.

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