Herein lies an amalgamated synopsis of our busy June & July 2010.

In early June Tim and I, all dressed to the nines:

went to a wedding in Muscatine, and then stopped in downtown Davenport on our way home.  Of course we hit up our favorite tasting lounge first.  On our way there, we saw this amazing sky over downtown Davenport:

The beautiful sky lasted long enough for us to get a beer and then walk to the Skybridge.  By the time we hit the sky bridge, the sky was taking on a more ominous quality:

We hung out on the bridge until we felt the wind hit it.  The bridge started to sway underneath us, so we got the heck out of there.  We exited the bridge into a full-on rain storm.  We ended up having to sprint from the Radisson to our car, parked by Great River. Running in heeled sandals is not fun a’tall.

Since we were all dressed up, Tim tried to get some good pictures of us.  I have a disorder wherein I cannot keep my eyes open while getting my picture taken.  So we have a vast collection of pictures that look like this:

When I consciously try to keep my eyes open, I look as if I’m crazy.  Click on the picture below – it will enlarge, and you’ll be able to see what I mean:

Poor Tim.

Now, I’m fast forwarding a few weeks.  When Nate and Rachel were back, we drove up to Monticello, intending to canoe.  We got rained out both Saturday and Sunday.  So on Sunday we went to the Grant Wood Art Festival instead.

Attending The Grant Wood Art Festival is somewhat of a tradition in our family.  We used to always go on Sunday after meeting.  Actually, at one point the festival was on both Saturday and Sunday.  That was so long ago that I was in the face painting stage/kid tent stage.  I think I made a paper plate doll head with yarn hair and everything.  Back in those days, the festival was super awesome.  The first awesome thing about it was that, as an elementary student at Strawberry Hill, we had the chance to draw a picture that would be used on the buttons used to gain entry to the festival.  That was always super exciting.  I don’t think my drawing ever got chosen, but that was just due to the poor taste of the judges, I am sure.

The second thing that made the Festival awesome was that you could take a bus tour around Stone City, which is this super neat little town northeast of Anamosa, Iowa where Grant Wood started an art colony.  Several years ago, the bus would take you ALL over town, even to the burned out Green mansion.  You could get out of the bus and walk around the ruins of the limestone mansion.  It was such a cool thing to see.  One never sees stone ruins in the Midwest.  Eventually, however, they stopped letting you get out of the bus – you would just drive by the ruins, craning your neck to see as much as you could.  Then they stopped taking you past the ruins all together.  I think the ruins have actually been torn down now, which is so sad.  It was  just a portend of things to come, however.  After decades of having the festival in Stone City, the festival had to get moved to downtown Anamosa because the new owners of the 3 story barn that was the heart of the festival no longer wanted the festival on the grounds.

A Grant Wood Art Festival not in Stone City is just wrong.  The organizers did their best to make the event engaging and interesting, but attending a “festival” in a community center cannot measure up to one held in the magic of Stone City.

Plus, it was raining.  Buckets.

Hopefully some day the new owners of the barn will have a change of heart, and the festival can move back to its homeland. In the meantime, we’ll have to comfort ourselves with this:

It is easy to see why Grant Wood chose Eastern Iowa to found a colony.  It’s super serene and beautiful.  This photo was taken in my parents’ front yard.  Every time I visit their house in Monticello, I feel as if I’m in the Shire.  I’m re-reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy right now, and I’m afraid that what was true for the Shire in the book is also true of Iowa – there is no safe place from the long arm of Sauron anymore, not even in our beautiful heartland.  But, I digress.

Here is another picture of serenity to get your thoughts off the somewhat imminent (probably) destruction of our peaceful lives by greedy, evil leaders (aka Sauron).

We finally did get our canoe trip in.  Benny came back the last week of the month, and I took Friday off, and we hit the Maquoketa river.  It was a perfect day, and we had an awesome time.  I’m glad we got the trip in when we did, because with the dam breaking at Delhi, who knows when the river will be safe for canoers again.

My garden is producing fruit.  I’m pretty amazed that it is, because most of the plants look like something growing in the Dead Marshes.  I don’t know if they are getting too much sun, not enough sun, too much water, not enough water, not enough soil, or what.  They are mystifying me.  But, we’ve gotten some good peppers and small tomatoes from them, so I count the bucket garden a success.

Lastly, but not leastly, I’ve started a new blanket. This one is for the Benny Boo.  He wanted it long enough so that he can tuck the blanket under his feet.  Consequently it is NINE FEET long.  It is going to take buckets of hours to get it done, but it will be a thing of beauty and function in the end.  I know Benny will use the heck out of it.  The blanket is going to be a mix of Peruvian Print and Heather Grey.  I haven’t done any rows with Heather Grey yet; I’m too enamored with the Peruvian to switch colors.  I love variegated yarns – they are a joy to crochet with.  They keep it interesting, too, because you never know which two colors will meet up.

That is a random bunch of stuff, but there’s been a lot to write about lately.  I need to start posting more often and more succintly.  Some day…

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