Saturday, June 13, 2009


I received this card in the mail yesterday-a thank you from a young woman who just graduated from high school and is planning on going off to college in the fall. After reading her note of thanks, I wondered what she wishes for...she is so young.

I remember graduating from high school and not really knowing what I wanted to do. College was expected, but like most of the decisions I have made in my life, what's expected of me causes me to do the opposite. I'm not sure what this streak is that has driven me these many years. If someone says that I can't, or that I should, or must, I pull a 180! I bristle at 'following the crowd' and, to this day, I don't understand this quirk in my character. So I venture down these paths that nobody else is on, traveling solo, questioning my choices, so unsure, but too stubborn to turn back.

Things have usually worked out for the best. Looking back over the last thirty-some years of my life, I can think of really only one regret... I did finally go off to the age of 29; I did marry and have the ages of 36 and 41. And now graduate school at 55. By the time I finish in a few years, I will be ready to tap my IRA's! Tess and I will be writing our graduation thank you notes together. It seems a long way off, but I know in my heart, the time will be here in the blink of an eye.

There are days...when I wish.....I had done things differently. At the tender age of 18. Or when I was 27, or 36, or 43... I understand that if I had chosen the 'expected path', I wouldn't have the children I gave birth to. And I wouldn't have those memories I hold so dear. And I would have missed out on the loves and the heartbreaks that brought me to where I am today.

As my birthday approaches, I find myself thinking about my future a lot. I wonder what I will be doing after I finish graduate school. I wish for a long and healthy life to accomplish so many things, but what if I run out of time?

Somedays I wish for a clone-Me1 and Me2-to catch up on all those years between then and now, and into the future. I know I'm sounding a bit nostaglic, but I can't help it. I want it all. I've put in my time. I've catered to everyone elses' wishes. Being away these last few weeks made me realize how different my life would be if it was just me. Don't get me wrong, I missed my family, but the reality of having a family changes the things I can wish for.

The collective wisdom tells me to be careful what I wish for...and to that, I promise, I will.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Back home....

Headed home from IA Lakeside Lab late this afternoon. Pouring rain all day. The main highways were backed up with traffic moving at a snail's pace, so I ditched it and headed cross-country on the county blacktops. Much more fun. Traveled thru some Iowa towns I had never visited-Renwick, Bradgate, Laurens, and Ayrshire. Tiny hamlets, really, but clean and always a beautiful church. I love Iowa.

I stopped once, during a reprieve from the torrential rain, when I saw a sign at a roadside park about a flowing well. Since my recent hydrology project centered on artesian, or flowing, wells, I had to check it out. Nothing like Egralharve, but an old-fashioned hand pump brought forth a strong burst of cold water from the spigot.

Stopping by the roadside park brought back a nice memory from a long time ago. A friend was helping me move from Dubuque to Clear Lake when he spotted a roadside park and whipped the truck into the gravel lot. He jumped out and pronounced that he needed a pitstop. When I came out of the loo, he had gotten out my golf clubs from the back of the truck, so we hit a few balls. Some farmer, out cultivating, was probably scratching his/her head wondering where all those golf balls came from.....

Oh, the MINI turned over to 50,000. I had to take some fotos.


This is what you get when you plant your garden on May 11th, then go away for 4 weeks. ek gads! Where to start? I know there are gardeners out there who would shutter at the thought of not paying attention to the garden for that long, but I promise I will attend to it ASAP and get it under control. The kolrabi, radishes, and the basil are ready for harvest! Gad, I had plans to make scrumptious pesto, but the basil is almost 2 ft. tall. Maybe I should have just left the land fallow and found myself a cute, but diligent farmer to attend to my produce needs. It was pouring rain when I snapped this foto; the rain gauge reads "4-inches", but I promise ASAP....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Livin' Small

I have had a ah-ha moment. These last few weeks I have been living in a "motel" room here at Lakeside Lab. I was supposed to have a roommate, but the class was not full, so I got a room to myself. (:}Yeah!) It has been a minimal existence, for sure. Everything I needed, I packed in the MINI-even my foldable bike and an old canvas and wood lawn chair for sitting out on the porch and dock. Granted, my meals have been prepared for me (and gad, we're talking down home, comfort food), but there is not much that I have wanted or needed. I have my laptop, music on my iPod, a cell phone, a roll of trace, my sketch book, colored pencils, pens, a few books, and my clothes (I brought too many!).

Livin' small made me realize how much stuff I have at home. A lot is associated with being a mother, a wife, a gardener, but on my own, I am enjoying this pared down existence. This might get old if I had to live like this, but it sure makes me think about all the "stuff" I have crammed in closets, the basement, garage, and garden shed. Maybe my mission this summer will be to rid my life of stuff. Then again, it is friday tomorrow. I bet I could catch some great garbage sales on my way home!!!!

Dunnings Spring

Here we are-on the last leg of our road trip for IA Lakeside Lab hydrology class. It was a beautiful day and this photo actually turned out to be one of the better ones of the class.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chris Craft Runabout

My father used to be on the Lake Patrol of Big Spirit when I was a little girl. He was a high school math teacher during the school year, but in the summer, he drove one of these beauties around the lake. I always loved sitting on that upholstered box covering the inboard. I can still hear the voracious sound of that engine.

He bought an old school bus, converted it to an "RV", and this became his "home away from home" during the summer months. Every week he would bring one of his four children up to the lake. We lived in "The Jewel" and hung with the local kids at the boat launch near the Lake Patrol shack.

Lots has changed around here since those days. The small summer cottages that dotted the lakeshore have been supplanted by McMansions built on every square foot of land anywhere near the water. Everyone talks about the water quality of the Iowa Great Lakes, but they don't seem to make that important connection between impaired water and draining the wetlands and/or building right up to the edge of the water. Everyone wants their little piece of property on the lake, but it is always the other guy causing the problem. Enough said.

Take me out to the ballgame...

I don't know about you, but nothing spells summertime more than a cold beer, a bag of unshelled peanuts, and the crack of the bat echoing out over the field. I can hardly wait to get home from the lakes and head out to the ball park.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Maritime Museum, Arnolds Park, IA

Our prof here at Lakeside Lab took the hydrology class to this wonderful museum in Arnolds Park, IA. on one of our first field trips. It is incredible and the curator, Mary Kennedy, is the most knowledgeable and friendly person you would ever meet. I got to know Mary because of this cornerstone on the floor of the museum. I knocked on her door and inquired about the piece. The story that unfolded intrigued me, so I have decided to do my research project for the hydrology class on this bit of history related to the Badgerow Family of Sioux City, IA. and the Egralharve Mineral Springs, a hydrological wonder just down the road from Lakeside Lab.

This is a delightful story of a postmaster from Sioux City, who bought a 160-acre farm on the western shore of West Okoboji for a summer home back in 1891. When I googled the Badgerow name, I discovered that there is a building in Sioux City that still carries the name of this former farm and summer residence on West Okoboji. The Egralharve Building was built in 1910 by Gordon Badgerow. The building’s unusual name results from the combination of the names Egbert, Ralph, and Harve, sons of Mr. Badgerow.

The artesian spring, which continues to flow today, was the impetus for the Egralharve Bottling Works of 1912. The Egralharve Mineral Water ingredients included Chloride of Iodium, Bicarbonate of Calcium, Magnesia, and Protoscyde of Iron, Alumnia and Silica.

The water is clear, of pleasant taste, and free from organic matter or impurities. It will have a decided and favorable effect in diseases of the kidneys, urinary organs and dyspepsia.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

We walk into that which we cannot see...landscape design principle

Entry to the Knights Templar resort at Templar Point. Twenty-five acres on the southwest shore of Spirit Lake, Summer of 1885. Commissioned by the Grand Commandery of the Knights Templar.