I got this wonderful picture of Ian from one of his other mothers!  It’s such a comfort to know that he’s well loved and cared for even though he is far away.

iced coffee

And here is Carol, the other mother! She’s second from the left, and her husband, John, is on the far right.  They left their home in Britain and went to Poland to have an open home.   I’m so thankful for them!!!!!

Setting off-1

Multiple streams, rivers and country clubs

In June, I went with my sister to a dinner at the Peoria country club, which has a fantastic view of the Illinois river.  I was going to have “rivers” be my theme for 2009, but really, I’ve seen more caves than rivers this year.  Still, this one is a beauty.  I love it as much as I love the Mississippi River.

Have you ever thought about what makes a river?  The rain falls, what doesn’t soak into the ground may make its way into a little creek or stream and those get collected into rivers.  In the past few years, I’ve run into the term “multiple streams of income”, meaning instead of having one job, people have several ways of making money.  The theory is, it makes you much less vulnerable to changes and upheavals, it makes your river of economic sustenance stronger.

It seems I can’t help but get pulled into the raging healthcare debate these days.   As a social scientist, it’s just fascinating to try to figure out what is happening and where all the emotion is coming from.  I don’t have the answer, but I did realize today that “multiple streams” could be a good idea to consider in the healthcare debate too.  Maybe we’ve gotten too dependent on the one stream of “employer provided health insurance”.   I was reading about some fiercely independent citizens in Montana that didn’t want the government messing up healthcare, and yet, one of those same people was at a clinic for those unable to afford insurance, a clinic already supported by the government.

Whether we like it or not, no matter how independent we feel or want to be, we are part of a community.  We can’t just think about ourselves and we need to realize that one day we might find ourselves less independent than we want to be.  We need  multiple options for multiple situations in order to keep the whole society strong, just the way a river has multiple sources of water.   No man is an island any more.  The pioneer days of rugged individualism are just gone.

And now, you see why I don’t write about politics very often!  Please forgive, and enjoy some river pics!





The last two pics are of the veranda at the country club, including a single photographer’s “self portrait”!

End of summer days


We’re coming up on the last days of summer soon.  Looks like it will hot here through the weekend and then cool off again with highs in the low 80’s or 70’s, temps dipping down into the 50’s at night.   Above is some grass seed I saw in the garden next to the Ames Public Library.  All over town it seems like the gardens are putting on their end of summer show, the tomatoes are ripening as their vines begin to fade away, the last crop of baby bunnies is growing up, perhaps the migrating birds are making plans for their annual trips to Florida and beyond, the Monarch butterflies are charging up with sweet nectar on their way to Mexico, and the night chorus of tree frogs and insects seems to be at a frantic peak.  I’m thinking it’s time to make some basil pesto, put up a little sweet corn for a winter pot luck, go to the Berry Patch and pick some blackberries and see how the Honey Crisp apples are coming along, make time for a concert at the Ames Band Shell Park, work in another trip to the Nevada pool, and start planning my fall wardrobe! How will you spend the end of summer days?


Not sure if I’ll be in trouble for posting these pics or not, but I just love Steven’s sisters and I think they are terrific! So here goes….The first pic is the celebrating sister in Colorado with her hubby and son. The second photo is Steven’s twin sisters, followed by their husbands at the coffee shop where we had breakfast together. The last is my own dear amazing sister, who I hope to visit in Illinois very soon!

Sisters, they make life so much better!





The Party

The reason for going to Colorado was to party! It was a combination party: Steven’s sister’s and brother-in-law’s fiftieth birthdays and their 25th wedding anniversary and their son’s graduation from college. I won’t post a lot of great people pictures here as I’m not sure how they all feel about showing up on a blog, but it was a GREAT day and I wanted to share some of the brilliance with you!

party tents There were party tents in the back yard, helium balloons, tons of delicious food, peach cobbler that was to die for, cookies, cake, simple and beautiful table decorations and table games, which I thought was brilliant! Sandy cut flowered metallic paper and added wide wine colored ribbon to make gorgeous table runners. She added silk flowers in jars filled with white and purple sand, small jars of chex mix and a variety of games including barrel of monkeys, pick up sticks, word games, play dough and lots more to keep her guests having fun the whole time they were there!

table decorationsparty games

off to the church

Here’s the three special people headed off to the church for renewal of wedding vows. Notice Sandy’s car and how much she likes purple!

me and balloonsthe party is over

Steven and I helped a little with the decorations and the clean up. I was so glad to be included in this family celebration!


You heard it here first: This little girl is going to grow up to be the first female US President!  She’s my great niece, I am CRAZY about her!


henry dsc01717 biofuels

The distinguished gentleman: a combination Billy Graham/Henry Kissinger type advisor

The press secretary/speech writer is kept busy by a constant flow of innovative policy initiatives

Preparing for a speech on the potential for biofuels with grandpa “Kissinger”