Sunday, June 29, 2014

Koi After Koi! More Origami


     Just a quick post on what I was up to today.DSC_4778   Folding!   Well,  Trying out the new table from IKEA and finishing up the fish I started several days ago.  Other than that, I have several more projects lined up along with Cheryl’s requests from time to time.  Hope everyone had a great weekend. DSC_4775  The weather was rather humid today, but we managed to walk the full loop around the country roads.  Enjoy the pics!



Saturday, June 28, 2014

Stormy Night In Iowa

02Qld-stormy%20stormy%20night-full%20sizeFinally some Rain!   It has been forecasted all week, but the rain has finally arrived….along with lots and lots of thunder and lightning!  2735778682_2c220aba22    


It’s all good!  I actually like thunder as I sleep and watching the lightning light up the night sky.   Cheryl and I decided to take our walk just as the storm rolled in.   It had been hot and humid most of the day, with the sun beating down on you.  For this reason, we have moved our walk time steadily back so we now head out around 6 pm.

Stormy-Night Perhaps we will head out later as the summer heat progresses, but tonight we headed out slightly later than normal.  As a result, we caught just a little or the rain as it began to sprinkle.  At least we did not get blown away or drenched! icfm1  

In other news, we attended the Iowa City Farmers Market.  Cheryl noted this it should have been called “Food Festival” instead.  A few vegetables, but mostly it was baked goods and preserves.  Great for foodies….bad for dieters. bb99842afcfef943f45ad89b4fd6ae9a   I’m not sure I like being surrounded by temptation let along that much of it! 

For now,  I’m going to enjoy the storm and listen to the thunder.    Hope everyone else is having a great weekend.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Black chinned Hummingbird and Ruby Breasted Grosbeak! In Iowa!

black_chinned_hummingbird_3_1_of_1   My first Hummingbird visitor is one I have never seen before!   How exciting!   At first I thought it was the Ruby throated hummingbird like the ones we have in Michigan.  (Actually ALL hummers  east of the Mississippi  Black-chinned_Hummingbird_Bob_Gress_080628_4849_Colorado are Ruby Throated hummingbirds)   At times, the Ruby Throated hummingbird can make its throat look black if the light hits the color right.  But this was different!

A few drab green and white ones came but today there was no mistaking that black patch under his chin.  I guess they range through Iowa at certain months, but this is not their main range.  EVEN BETTER!   It’s always cool to find a stray hanging out in your yardblack-chinned_hummingbird2

So, I will now have to keep an eye out for my new visitor and perhaps capture a few pictures of my own.  Luckily, the internet can supply these stock photos to give the name a “face”. 

In other news, ZZAdultMale9999 I finally have identified the black and white bird that we have spotted from time to time over the years on our walks!  It is a Ruby Throated Grosbeak!  We have seen it in flight many times and it always looked like a magpie.  But today I spotted that red spot on his breaks and there was no mistake.  Plus he was close enough to see with no foliage in the way to obstruct the spotting process. 

So How exciting!   Cheryl even saw a oriole today.   I know that might not be too impressive, but whenever you see birds that are not familiar to your place of origin,  it’s like seeing snow for the first time.   Almost magical!

DSC_0014 Other than that, Cheryl and I have been relaxing as we wait for the final pieces of the shop furniture to arrive.  I guess it is to be delivered on Thursday.  Hopefully when the tables are assembled and properly placed, we can make a call to the Stuff People and they can haul the old furniture away. stuff logo NEW july   And then we can get back in the “self-employment saddle” .   We started a few things the last few days, but really we are waiting for the shop to be complete before we start the major production of Items.   We shall see how things go on Thursday. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Year of the 17 Year Cicadae, SAT Finish With Beer and Dragons!

Wow!  What a long title!  I guess this is what happens when many things happen within a short amount of time without blogging.  So lets begin with the first item: 

17-year_cicada  The 17 Year Cicadae!   I heard these things this last few weeks and could not believe my ears.   Cicadas in Spring?   Then the proof presented itself with a damaged one ( still alive) on the road!   Smaller than the usual cicadae, these guys have those AWESOME orange wings with red eyes!  I know that most people would not get geeked out by seeing a cool insect, but I’m a Biologist at heart ( technically Fisheries Biologist, but you can still find Bugs cool!) magicicadaIf you happen to see one of these guys in your own yard, pause a moment and enjoy the idea that you will not see this insect again for another 17 years!  And try to let that sink in a little.   17 YEARS!    Kids are born and finish High school in 17 years! ( yes, I did it.  Graduated when I was 17.) 17 years these guys hang out in suspended animation in the ground and emerge for only one summer, then disappear for another generation.  Life is truly amazing. 

  thCA30EFLW Moving on, the next topic,  SAT Bubbling Marathon finish!   It only took us about 5 hours to finish all DSC_4732of the remaining essays.  And like a quick summer rain, we were finished and a pleasant memory.  The SAT table leader position was fun.  I had a pretty good group of people who made my life fairly easy.  No fights broke out, no chairs thrown, and only a few office supplies were missing.  To finally celebrate in the privacy of our own home, Cheryl and I revisited some old favorites in the beer category.  Both Beers are wonderful and without my Honey Brown, I have been forced to enjoy the “good stuff” for the time being.  These beers are the ones you sip, no guzzle.   You enjoy them with various foods to help release the flavors.  ( which are MANY!)   Honey Brown on the other hand, is the beer you enjoy by itself on a hot summer day. DSC_4734 Very Drinkable with a clean finish.   Not as complex as the Abby Ale ( my favorite of these types) but satisfying. 

And Last:  Some Origami Dragons.   I finished these guys several weeks ago, but had no energy or time to take their pictures and list them.   However, They are now prominent features in the shop.   I still have much origami to fold up in the coming days.  Hopefully I will be able to get to some of the things on the agenda, as we will soon be tearing the shop apart again to make it more “ User Friendly”. 

As with the Road work here in Iowa,  There may be ties when the shop will be called upon to be used while it is in its partial update.   In any case, I’m hoping it will be updated soon and I will be able to fold like the wind.  We shall see.

So, Enjoy the pics of the dragons and keep an eye out for the these black and red cicadas that show themselves once every generation.  I’m sure you will enjoy them and their song.   Their song, by the way, is much shorter than the normal cicadae.  They sound like a normal cicadae start, but suddenly stop after a warm up.  try and listen for them by some tree on a warm summer day.  If the ratchet sound is held for longer than 5 seconds, it probably is the green one we are all familiar with.  Best of luck to ya and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

College Board Big Finish!

thCA30EFLW Almost done!   Just a few bubbles left and Cheryl and I will say “Farewell” to the SAT field test scoring. 

It was good!  Fun people, fun job,  and good money.  2987eb877f045ddccbad586f699f3057 Reading all of those papers can get exhausting though; And I’m quite happy it is coming to a close.   Tonight we celebrated with Cheryl's table as it was their last day on the job.  As for Cheryl and I, we table leaders just have about one more day of clean up before we can let go and celebrate on our own. 

So,  I’m still a little tired at the moment and will make this a short post.  I have much to do in the coming weeks so perhaps I will be able to post more frequently. SAT-logo I look forward to a day I can sleep in and not have to evaluate any essays.   Or read ANYTHING!  Well,  technically I do read a little everyday, but  that is usually without my brain on overdrive.  Hope everyone is having a great week so far and enjoy!

Oh!  And if you are a kid reading this thinking it could give you a tip on the test.  My advice to you would be:  Write!   Write a blog, write practice essays, write stories, just write!  collegeboard_sat_blue_book The more you put words down on paper, the better you will become at it.   College is not that difficult to get into.  You can flip though one of the many SAT prep books out there and get ideas, but mostly you need to PRACTICE WRITING!   Even if you are a novice, you will become better.  And essays can be fun once you get the hang of things.  Find the FUN in writing and the SAT and, eventually college, will be at your command!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wayne’s Birthday!

DSC_4705 Today was DSC_4719Wayne’s Birthday.  Remember Wayne?   The Piñata guy….  His Birthday follows Cheryl's and Cheryl could not let his kindness go unreciprocated.  So….( Drum roll please.)  ….Time for a Hawaiian THEME BIRTHDAY! 



 DSC_4721Sort of.  Well,  Much happened to DSC_4711keep it rather small.   I guess most of Cheryl’s table could not settle on one particular theme.   So Cheryl brought the tropical fish and flower neck things.  ( I know they have a name, just to lazy to ask of look them up)


DSC_4723 The food was brought by a few people.   And some forgot the stuff at home.   In the end, we only had about 45 minutes to enjoy it anyway.  All in all I think it went pretty well.  I think he is 77 today.   Not bad for 77 right?   That’s scoring for ya!   Keeps you young!DSC_4725


Other than that,  we posed for a few group photos and toasted to Wayne’s good health and many more birthdays to come.  Wouldn’t it have been great if we had REAL champagne?  

DSC_4731 Then Wayne opened presents….Not really sure what he received. 



I was busy talking to Phil most of the time.    Oh!   See  Phil?   He is on the far right of the group picture.   I warned him he was not going to get out of this one.   At least there were no goofy grass skirts or coconut bras to have to wear for this group photo.   I felt silly enough with the sombrero.   The Flower Necktie thing was enough dress up for me this time. 

DSC_4728Oh!  And to further embarrass Wayne.   Cheryl said I should post this pic of him as he opened his bubble wrap.  DSC_4730Remember he took that picture of Shawn during “National Donut Day” .   So I guess it is fitting revenge for Shawn.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Cheryl’s Birthday Pics

100_4333 I hate displaying pictures of myself that have not thoroughly been vetted. 100_4331 Usually I like to take about 20 pics of myself and choose the best one.  This is because getting 6-8 people to stand still or keep all of their eyes open at the same time is virtually impossible.   However,  sometimes you have to rely on the graciousness of others and you have to take  what they can give you.  

Oh!  And I  believe tat it is worth mentioning that Phil is no where to be seen in these pictures.   Well done Phil!   I guess his volunteering to take the picture of the group was a wise choice.  Also, he seemed to be the only one who knew how to use the camera.  Perhaps he will send some pictures of the party he took on his phone later.  We shall see.100_4330.


So in recap.   We started the day with Dunkin Donuts and Shawn first learned that it was national donut day.   I guess he likes donuts quite a bit.  I don’t really know as Phil ( not shown in any picture) and myself are at a different table.

  I’m so jealous of Phil…..there will be no record of him wearing a goofy smile and sombrero with his eyes closed!   Lucky BUM!

Anyway,   after the donuts, we had lunch in the pool room and wore suitable gear to get in the festive mood.  ( See:Sombrero) We ate cake, sandwiches, and drank pop while listening to mariachi music.  100_4329


Then it was piñata time   Wayne, who has a degree in Mexican History, made one true to form.   Cheryl had the first swing.  She hit it, but lacked the full damaging power of a MAN!   Luckily there should be no record of my trying to hit the darn thing.   I actually totally missed it the first time.  But ultimately finished it off with a decisive blow.  Of all the toys and candy,  my loot was fun sized snickers bar, two #2 pencil erasers and one drafting pencil sharpener. 100_4334

So there you have it.  I purposely left out the picture of myself smiling because I did not want to scare anyone who may accidentally come to this blog  for fun.  Seriously,   it is a little scary!    So other than Shawn and Wayne.  There is Barb, Iryna and Ben.   Iryna is from the Ukraine and Ben is from Kalona.   And to clarify that a bit more….The Ukraine is in Russia and Kalona is in Iowa…And Barb…well,  She has been so many places it is difficult to say just where is is “from”.   I guess Iowa City would be most accurate. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Great Ethan Allen Feeling sick.

sick_in_bed_cropped_304412_3 Yesterday was an ok day.  We left for Ikea and accomplished our mission of investigation and purchases.  All was good, until we got home.  I’m not sure what I picked up, but I have felt TERRIBLE all day today and last night.  Instead of a head cold, this is more of a stomach flu.  Runny bottom, throwing up, Dizzy and joint aches!  I get to feeling fine, and BOOM!   I’m sweating and dizzy again!  My goal is to take it easy today so I will be functional for tomorrow.   I can’t even drink or eat anything without it making me sick!  Cheryl has been great putting the Ikea Assembly off a couple of days.  She has also bought me some ginger ale and salteene crackers   They help a little!   Other than that, wish me luck for tomorrow. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Happy Birthday Cheryl!

d-day In addition to being D day!   It is Cheryl's Birthday! national-donut-day   Surprisingly, it was quite a big deal.   Not only was it National doughnut day at Dunkin Donuts, where we bought several dozen for co-workers in celebration;  but the entire group of Scorers through an entire Siesta theme party!    No wait!  Fiesta!  Right!


fiesta We all wore hats and DSC_4698swung at a piñata.  Some fellow crafters gave us some of their wares while others brought sandwiches and cakes while playing mariachi music.   In all, it was probably the most excitement Cheryl has had since we came to Iowa.  Some of the folks took pictures and I’m told they will email them later, so I can post them then.DSC_4693      

In the mean time,  after work Cheryl DSC_4699and I went to the Design Ranch and finally purchased the puppy she has had her eye on for almost a year now ( maybe longer!)  We also purchases a mobile with cranes and a cat food dish. ( still in box)   I may have to take better pictures later as it is currently quite late and I’m very tired after a long day of scoring.   Not to mention that tomorrow will be a big day as well.   Cheryl has plans for us to hit Chicago and visit the Ikea store as DSC_4701well as buy me more of my Honey Brown Beer!   How can I refuse that?  DSC_4700

The last 12 pack lasted almost 4 months!   Needless to say,  I savor it.  It may not be as robust as the Abby Ale,  but I like it just the same. 

label-dundee-honeybrown As for Ikea,  We will be heading out early and hopefully get there before they run out of food like last time.  I want my ribs and Cheryl wants her chicken fingers.   There are also a few things we have to investigate and purchase before heading home.  In all,  every Ikea visit is a long day, so I had better be ready.  We’ll see ya then!


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