30 November 2013

Thanksgiving and more...

A great trip home for a great holiday. With the extra Wednesday off before the holiday, it really made it feel like a break from work.  Great food, a little ping-pong, some poker (a new addition thanks to NTW), a birthday celebration for caboose (30!), Black Friday shopping (great deals!), a super Hawkeye win over Nebraska, and some Orscheln's shopping were all very enjoyable activities while I was home.  Skypeing with the Brig and with the India Greenleaf's were also a great technology-supported treat. 
And this morning, as a last bit of excitement, homebase woke me up a little before seven and said there had been a sighting of five short-eared owls in the county and so off we went!  We saw a trio of turkeys taking a walk on the ice of a frozen river and we saw a posse of eight deer in a field.  We went to the location reported and it wasn't too long before we spotted three owls sitting on fence posts and they let us come up very close to them.  We got some nice pictures of them.  Great to be able to add them to the life list.  Thanks for the tip homebase!

22 November 2013

Boston Symphony 11/22/63

Music is such a powerful medium. 
The image of the typed program, the story of the symphony libraraian rushing to get the scores gathered and set out, the words from the conductor and the mournful movements of Beethoven...all so haunting and incredible.
Sit back, close your eyes and sink into these 15 minutes from 50 years ago.

21 November 2013


After the video from the Teen Choice Awards that I posted previously, and a good subsequent interview from the Ellen show, now Ashton has said to Wal-Mart what many of us have always wanted to have the voice to say.
Tip of the hat to that Iowa native for sure.

20 November 2013

Kareem Shares Life Lessons

I saw this Esquire article from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shared on twitter today, "20 Things Boys Can Do to Become Men" and enjoyed it.  Could definitely start some conversation when dealing with adolescents.
There is a link at the bottom which took me to another article of his, from April, "20 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 30".  Again, lots of basic, yet valuable thoughts to consider for the self-reflection process.

19 November 2013

The Coach Who Never Punts | Middle School Secret Play

Two football stories to share today:

I saw this headline and of course thought of stoppable.  He is always a fan of going for it on 4th down.  This coach, though, firmly believes in never punting.  Oh, and even better...he onside kicks EVERY kickoff.
Check it out.

And this one has been floating around social media the last week or two.  I finally took the three minutes to watch it and I'm glad I did.  The honesty of the receiver at the very end is impressive for a middle schooler.  Good stuff.

14 November 2013

Children's Book Spotlight

This last week I picked a couple books from my own collection of picture books that I have never read.  homebase is always on the lookout for good children's literature that might be getting tossed, either from her school or the library, etc.  These were a couple of Caldecott Medal winners that I had yet to open! 

Always Room For One More by Sorche Nic Leodhas (winner 1966)
This Scottish author uses a "lilting, rhyming brogue of a time-worn Scottish folktale" to tell his story and the illustrations, depicting characters in lines and crosshatch are very unique and cool.  There are quite a few Scottish words and expressions so I think the details were probably lost on Isa, but overall story is simple, fun and quick.

Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi (winner 1948)
Lovely book and story of Juan, Julian and the departure and return of the swallows from the mission in Capistrano.  We all liked this one.  The pictures with the pair of swallows cuddled up to sleep on a branch together was great.

13 November 2013

Popular Baby Names by States

This is a fun visualization of the trends in baby girl names and their geographic groupings.  Click on the map to let it start rolling through the years. I was amazed at the consensus behind many of the names!

10 November 2013

Bring on the Christmas Cheer

I always enjoy Lily Allen's voice and the fun she brings to her music.  She has a new single, a cover of Keane's must-sing-along ballad "Somewhere Only We Know" and it is featured in the animated Christmas commercial for a UK retailer.  It also is burning up the charts in the UK.  From what I could find, it looks like it will be available in the U.S. tomorrow. I will be purchasing it. 
How cute are the Bear and the Hare!?!  Check out the video and song here.

06 November 2013

Plant a Tree...or 850

I loved this piece from the DM Register about Father Kenkel, former biology teacher at Dowling Catholic HS.  He planted 850 trees on the campus there.  It is a beautiful campus.  One thing that struck me was - look at the power of change capable by one person with one idea.  Plant trees.

Another thing that struck me was...why didn't the Register do some actual journalism and write a real article on this man and his work instead of just posting a set of photos and one tiny caption?

04 November 2013

New Furntiure, New Look (#1594)

A few changes in our front room...the parlor....sitting room...well, we haven't figured out a good name for the room yet.
On a trip home a week ago, I cozied up with a large steel trellis that needed to get down to homebase's house. Little did I know, there was a round red table that wanted to come back to Des Moines with me! I've always loved this table and homebase wanted to try her front her without it so I volunteered to give it a good home.
minovia had been on the lookout for a good couch for the room for a while and when she spotted this Ethan Allen one on craigslist yesterday, she was ready to pounce.
It totally makes it look more spacious in the room, and warmer too. And look at all that wall space! Just waiting for some cool black & white enlargements!