Saturday, January 21, 2017

Benton County Courthouse

December 4th, I found myself in Vinton, Iowa with my family for the annual Tour de Lights 5K.  The course started at the fire station, and continued right past the Benton County Courthouse!  Before the run, I walked over to get a few photos.  It was a Sunday, so I wasn't able to venture inside.
I do, however, love the Beaux Arts style architecture of the exterior.  This Courthouse was built 1905-1906 of Buckeye gray sandstone, and cost $150,000.  Inside, reportedly there are three murals painted by an unknown artist.  The 1,500-lb. bell (donated by Paul Correll) and the clock were recently completely restored and re-installed.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Pho All Seasons

We stopped at Pho All Seasons in Des Moines in November after I ran the Hungry Turkey 5K, and my parents and sister had run the Hungry Turkey half marathon.  The place had a pleasant family atmosphere.  
I ordered a medium bowl of chicken pho for $6.95.  It was ok, but I missed the lime slices I could squeeze into the soup at Pho 515.  Without a little citrus, it seemed rather bland, but then that's just my tastes.  My mother ordered beef pho and thought it was delicious.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Book Review: The Art of the Deal

Around the time I read Hillary Clinton's It Takes a Village, I also purchased a copy of Trump: The Art of the Deal, by Donald J. Trump with Tony Schwartz.  This year, I finally got around to reading it--and was surprised how quickly I finished.  This book has a very easy-to-read style.
Published in 1987,  the first chapter details a week in Trump's life.  The book then goes on to tell Trump's story, with a special focus on each of his big deals.  The stories are revealing.  Love or hate him, Trump is Trump.  He's well educated, but a bit rough around the edges.  And that's exactly what his book is like.  The type of language he uses in his speeches is what you'll read in his book.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

7 Stars Family Restaurant in Hampton

In late October, we stopped at the 7 Stars Family Restaurant in Hampton, Iowa for a family dinner after setting up for the train show.  The restaurant had a pleasant environment, and the waitresses were very nice and provided excellent service.
I ordered grilled chicken, which came with a potato and a choice of soup or salad with a roll.  If I recall correctly, you could also choose from a variety of ways to have your potato fixed.  I chose mashed potatoes with gravy, and salad.  I would have preferred a slightly larger portion size, but the whole meal only cost $6.95.  Everything was very good.  Afterward, I tried their pecan pie with ice cream ($3.25).

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cedar Valley Botanical Gardens

Another place Yai and I visited in August is the Cedar Valley Botanical Gardens in Waterloo.  Admission was only $3 per person.  There were all sorts of gardens, goldfish ponds, and little waterfalls, and there was even a section for children. Everything seemed well-maintained.  
“My prayer for today is that we will feel God’s loving arms wrapped around us,
and we will know in our hearts that He will never forsake us as we trust in Him.” --Billy Graham

Friday, December 23, 2016

Winter's Gale

Winter's gale is icy and chill.
For summer's sun I do so yearn,

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Interview with Grandma Siripon Schunk (ยาย)

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, my maternal grandma, Siripon Schunk, visited this summer.  She and I had a delightful time as travelling companions visiting neat places throughout the state.  She lives in Nevada, and I hadn't seen her since she last visited when I was 16.  So, we had a bit of catching up to do.
I call her Yai (ยาย), which is the Thai version of Grandma.  My late grandfather, Raymond Garrison, was a merchant marine and construction worker.  Shortly before she left in late August, I asked Yai if she'd be willing to do a quick interview to share about her very interesting life with my readers.