July 28, 2012 – More Storm Casualties

While out weeding in the garden, Linda found this egg.

Most likely it had blown out of a tree during the storm that struck last Wednesday when the RAGBRAI riders were here.  We’re guessing it must be a hummingbird.

July 26, 2012 – Emma’s Time in Chicago!

Linda’s not been the only one in Chicago this month!

Emma downtown on a bit of free time.

Any guesses where this is?

How about now? Of course, it’s the Bean at Millenium Park.

Emma was part of the High School Leadership Institute, sponsored by Wartburg College.  Here’s the group, with high school students and their mentors and staff.  They first did a service project in Chicago at an inner-city school where they conducted day camp activities.  Emma was struck at how much the kids just wanted to hang on her and tell her about their lives.  After a couple of days in Chicago, it was back to campus.

Wining and dining (ok, just dining) the students back on campus.

The week was worth three college credits.  However, the credit is not awarded until the student performs a community service project.  Emma proposed school-age musicians visit the Iowa Veterans Home and perform.  She thought it would be a win-win for the students to get performance experience and the residents to get some entertainment.  But even more important to Emma was that performing would not be the only component of the program, but to work in time for inter-generational conversation between the residents and students.

July 25, 2012 – Linda’s Time in Chicago

Linda spent about half the month in Chicago, finishing up three classes at Meadville-Lombard Seminary after completing reading and assignments throughout the summer.

Here’s one of the classes in front of the Art Institute of Chicago, where they went on an assignment.

Here’s Linda handing out hymnals for an exercise she designed for a class as a “get to know you” – what better way than have people pick out a hymn they would like to be sung at their funeral and tell why.

The school is right downtown on Michigan Avenue, so the lodging and eating is pretty pricey for a college student without an expense account, so she found a place through AirBNB that got her a room in a private house for the time she was there.

July 25, 2012 – RAGBRAI Hosts

Tonight we hosted RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) riders. It was our way of giving back to the world. Last year we were scrambling for a place for Claire to live in D.C. and a Unitarian minister hosted her free of charge for the summer. So, when I learned RAGBRAI was going through Marshalltown this year, I did a search for Unitarian and RAGBRAI. I found an online sermon from a minister in New Jersey, got in touch with him, offered our place, and here is team Woody Van.

Their stuff arrived early in the morning in one of the sag wagons and around 2:00 team members started rolling in.  It was the hottest day in 29 years in Central Iowa, reaching 106. Some riders did a half day, some the whole day, and one did the special “Century Loop” an extra loop that made the ride over 100 miles for the day.  The guy who did it, although being one of the oldest in the group and having ridden his bike coast to coast, said the day was the hardest cycling day he had ever completed – 100 miles, 100 degrees plus, with a 20-25 mph headwind for about 1/3 of the day – all after the two previous days of 100 degree plus riding.

Here’s part of the team – we also hosted part of Team Skunk from Ames.  Most elected to sleep in the air conditioned house, but a few started the night in tents – until the hail, heavy rain and 50-60 mph gusts arrived.  It was an early evening for the crew, some were in bed by 8:00 and everyone by 10:00.  Rev Charlie Ortman from Montclair NJ is hard to miss in his blaze orange.  Other members of the team were from New Jersey, Arizona, Iowa, Ohio, and Minnesota.  One of these guys even did the route on roller blades!  It was a great to get to chat with as many of the team members as we could.


July 22, 2012 – Take Me to the River

Martin and I needed a new adventure and to escape the heat, so this is what we found!

We went to visit a county park we had never been to before, but soon tired of the oppressive heat, so we broke off the trail and headed towards the river.

Actually it was a sandy-bottomed creek that leads to the Iowa River.

Finally made it to the river, where our wading ended.  In the last month four children under the age of 12 have drowned in the river close to Marshalltown.  We were happy to splash in the creek, but not eager to jump in the river.