Sunday, October 30, 2016

Book Review: It Takes a Village

A few months ago, I checked out It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us, by Hillary Clinton from a local library.  I decided to read the book because I figured my best bet on persuading myself to vote for Donald Trump would be to become thoroughly appalled by Clinton's way of thinking.
It takes me a long time to finish a book when I'm reading it just because I dislike the author.  And It Takes a Village was anything but a captivating thriller.  The only thing making me excited to flip each page was the prospect of being that much nearer the end.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

2016 Survey and Giveaway Results

Thank you to the 30 readers who answered my survey this year, and the 11 who joined the giveaway!  Enrique Bracamonte, a long-time reader from Peru, was randomly selected as Winner #1.  He will receive the five cards featuring Charity's artwork.  Winner #2 is Linda.  She blogs at Linda's Peaceful Place and regularly shares inspirational quotes and videos.  Linda will receive the twelve cards featuring Grandma Carson's art.

Question 1: How did you find my blog?
Eight of you found my blog by browsing the blogosphere.  Six cannot remember l̶i̶f̶e̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶m̶e̶ how they found my blog.  Five found Liberty or Death because I commented on their blogs, four from my favorite chess server (FICS), and four because we've met.  The other results are from one person who found my blog through busuu.com (a language-learning site), the mother of a friend of mine, and someone who visited from Martha's blog.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Iowa Open Chess Tournament 2016 - Part 2

Going to sleep early Sunday morning I was so exhausted it would have been impossible for our room at the Marriott to feel uncomfortable.  I enjoyed a pleasant repose, and the hotel curtains blocked the light of dawn out so well I could have slept in for hours.  But...I had an unfinished mission!
Charity, Daniel, and I stopped at McDonald's for breakfast, and then we pulled into a convenience store where I purchased pastries and *cheap* granola bars.  All day Saturday I had been eating granola bars from the hotel's concessions (above).  And believe me, they are as expensive as they are delicious!  

Monday, October 24, 2016

Iowa Open Chess Tournament 2016

The Iowa Open is the most popular chess tournament in the state, with more than 200 participants.  And it is one I never like to miss--and haven't missed for four years.  Like last year, it was held in the Conference Center at the Marriott Hotel in Coralville, Iowa.
August 27th, Charity, Daniel, and I ate breakfast and then left home at about 7:30; we arrived in Coralville with time to spare.  The rest of the family had left earlier than we to go to a 10K and half marathon at Beeds Lake in Hampton.  

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Franklin County Courthouse

In late July, Yai and I visited the Franklin County Courthouse in Hampton, Iowa before meeting with my friend and fellow-blogger Nela at Plaza Veracruz.  Franklin County was formed in 1851, organized in 1855, and named for Benjamin Franklin.  The city of Hampton was originally called Benjamin, but was renamed since there was, apparently, another city named Benjamin in the state at the time.
The Hampton courthouse features Romanesque Revival architecture, and is one of the most beautiful courthouses I've visited so far.  Completed in 1891, it cost $60,000 to construct.  

Monday, October 17, 2016

2016 Survey & Giveaway

Another year has gone by, and it's time for the 2016 Liberty or Death Survey and Giveaway!  I always appreciate your feedback, and I'm grateful for the time you've taken throughout the year to visit, read, and/or leave comments.
I'd love to learn more about you and what you like.  My five-question survey is below.  Your answers will be anonymous.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Grandma's Chili

My all-time favorite of Grandma Colleen Carson's recipes is her chili.  I've eaten it on chilly winter evenings at Grandpa and Grandma's ever since I was a little girl.  So...I asked Grandma if she'd share her recipe with me and my readers.  (Seems if I want to remember a recipe, it's best to post it here, so I can Google it later!)  She kindly agreed.
Chili Soup

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Answers: Life & Death

With this final post I'll have my bases covered from the cradle to the grave.  Many thanks to all who participated in making this series happen.  Next week I'll be g̶e̶t̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶r̶e̶v̶e̶n̶g̶e̶  hosting my annual survey!  I hope you'll join in.
Debbie says: I have always wondered how old you are? 
BJ says:  I would be very interested in knowing your age.
I'm 22.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Answers: Music, Chess, Pets, & More

We are nearing the end of my series of answers in response to questions posed by readers.  In this post I will answer all the questions about hobbies, pets, and random topics, before going on to my final post Wednesday.
Martha asks: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? 
Ashley asks: What are your hobbies?
Playing chess, running, blogging, photographing, visiting neat places, hiking, singing and playing instruments, watching Studio C and old tv series, volunteering as an admin on FICS, occasionally doing genealogical research, visiting cemeteries, and creating websites.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Parkersburg Historical Home

One of the places I had the most fun visiting with Yai this August is the historical home in Parkersburg, Iowa, built in 1895.  The home is open Memorial Day through Labor Day on Sundays 1:00-3:00 p.m. and once a year serves as a haunted house for the Rotary Club.  Admission for a guided tour is only about $3 per person, if I recall correctly.
 Upon entering, we were greeted by a couple very nice ladies, Kate Durbin and Chelsea.  Kate, who gave us our tour, was full of interesting information.  Her love for history was obvious, and her ebullient personality was contagious.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Vice-Presidential Candidate: Mike Pence

Monday, September 19th, we went to the Music Man Square in Mason City, Iowa to attend a Mike Pence rally.  Governor Mike Pence of Indiana is Donald Trump's running-mate.  We wanted a good seat, so we arrived just a few minutes after the doors opened at 1:00 pm.
The Secret Service was on duty, so we had to go through a metal detector and have our purses searched.  Inside, we ran into Chris Hupke, an awesome guy who works on the Trump campaign (and to whom I will always be thankful for rescuing our Trump photos from the Secret Service at another rally, so we could have them autographed).