Friday, March 27, 2015

"The eyes of men are never satisfied."  --Proverbs 27:20
Satisfaction in life is elusive.  The more I learn, the more I want to learn. The more I travel, the more I realize how many places I have yet to explore.  I eat every day and eat again the next.  I check off to-do lists only to start new ones.
Is there any goal I can work toward, finally reach, and say, "Ah, this is it!  There is no way I can improve.  I have reached perfection, satisfaction, and the ultimate happiness"?  

Immaculate Conception Church & St. Raphael

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

From the Physicians' Clinic in Cedar Rapids perhaps the most interesting building in view is a church.  While eating lunch in the skywalk between rounds of our latest chess tournament, we speculated on its denomination.  
Our top guesses were Orthodox, Catholic, and Episcopalian.  I zoomed in on the sign with my camera, and Catholic it was.  We decided to walk over to see if the church was open.  I grasped the handle of one of the sturdy doors.  It opened, and we filed in.  Inside, the church was quiet and empty.

A Coin Auction

Friday, March 20, 2015

I'm a far cry from a numismatist, but when Papa mentioned checking out a coin auction in Marshalltown, Iowa this winter, I was fair game.  There was a wide selection of coins, and there also were a few old paper bills.  The most expensive coin we saw went for $3050.  The trays of Kennedy half dollars sold for their value in silver.
The majority of the people at the auction were older men.  But there were a few women, younger men, and children, and some husband/wife, father/son duos.  Most tried to come early enough to find a place at one of the tables.  They were armed with briefcases, calculators, and small magnifying glasses.  They also carried lists of all items to be sold, with notes written beside coins of interest to mark intended bidding prices.

Austinville Historical Society

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Austinville is one of Iowa's blink-and-you-miss-it towns.  It has a grain elevator, photography studio, church, and several houses.  Visit the historical society at 9:00 any Tuesday morning for coffee, and you'll meet friendly people, enjoy delicious cookies or cake, and learn of a rich history of baseball games, bank robberies, and practical jokes.
The town's founders, the Austin brothers, began farming in the area in 1868.  An elevator was built in 1891, and in 1892, the name of the town was changed from Evergreen to Austinville, since another town had claimed the former name.

Mission Impossible: A Natural "B"

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

 Anni from Hootin' Anni's Chronicles has given a Mission Impossible challenge at her blog: find your first initial in a natural state and then link-up with her within the next 2 weeks.  I thought finding a "B" would be a challenge, but I've watched the task force at work enough times to know that no mission is impossible. 
Sample 1: The orange sections on the edge of the outer wing form Bs when looked at two at a time.

Wake Me Up

Sunday, March 15, 2015

It's lambing season, and one of our neighbors has a flock of sheep.  Not long ago, we asked him if we could come see his lambs and their mothers.  Some were tiny--only a day old--and others were already growing into sturdy little lambs.  He has to bottle feed any that are rejected by their mothers or whose mothers do not have sufficient milk.  

A Welding Table

Friday, March 13, 2015

In one of my first blog posts, I wrote about welding for the first time.  Since then, I've made many very simple welds, tacking rebar together to reinforce the concrete pads we make for propane tanks, but I am by no means a real welder.   

My brother, Daniel, on the other hand, takes welding seriously.  Would you like to see him at work?

eShakti and a Good Fence

Thursday, March 12, 2015

There are many interesting places that can only be found by travelling the backroads of Iowa.  On my way to a painting job the other day, this fence caught my eye.  When my order from eShakti came in the mail, I decided I'd like to use the fence as a backdrop for my photos.

Imagine my surprise and delight when the owner and creator of the fence came out to say hello.  I knew her from several concerts, but had no idea where she lived.  It's a small world!  She heard about the old wheels at an auction and asked a friend to bid on some.  He purchased *all* of them, and she decided to put them to good use!  Now, on to my review... 

Happiness and Frustration

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What gives people--or particularly, the people I know--the most happiness in life?  Recently, I surveyed 100 friends, family members, acquaintances, and strangers, to find out.  Of the respondents, 47 were men and 53 were women.  I asked 44 over Facebook, 28 on FICS, 17 in person, and 11 (fellow-bloggers) via email.  
Participants were not given examples or choices before responding.  Family claimed a clear first place with 12 votes.  References to God (Jesus, God, the Savior, and the Redeemer) came in next with 11 votes.  Tied at four votes were love, children & kids, people, and salvation.  Compassion and forgiveness each received three votes.

National Czech & Slovak Museum

Sunday, March 8, 2015

During our lunch break on Sunday, we visited the National Czech & Slovak Museum.  It was very rich in history but poor in original, authentic artifacts.  The building is beautiful architecturally, and a magnificent chandelier graces the foyer.
At the information desk we paid our $10.00 admission fees, and the receptionist showed us a map of the museum.  Across from the desk was the theater where we could watch films about the history of the museum and Czech and Slovak history.

Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets 2015 - Part 2

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

We spent the night at Best Western Plus Longbranch Hotel.  Part of the hotel was under renovation, but it was quiet.  I managed to get a relatively decent night's sleep considering that I usually don't sleep as well in hotels.  
Sunday morning we made our way to the dining room where we enjoyed a continental breakfast of eggs, sausages, french toast, fruit, and cake.  It was good and filling, though not spectacular.  After breakfast we played a few games of table soccer before leaving.  The one thing that surprised me  was that the stairs and walkways were apparently not heated, though the rest of the building was warm.  Regardless, it was a nice place to stay.

Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets 2015

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

This past weekend marked the 5th year Papa and I have attended the Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets.  Always a great tournament, it was held in a conference room on the top floor of the Physician's Clinic of Iowa.  I played in the Open section, and Papa and Charity played in the Reserve (U1600).
James Hodina organizes the event, and this year, Shawn Kmetz served as chief TD.  Robert Keating, one of the top chess players in Iowa and part owner of the clinic, hosts the tournament.  Free snacks, hot coffee, and bottled water are available for all participants.