Saturday, May 30, 2009

First Dip of the Season




Becky and Al here, back in Des Moines for the summer. Hunter tested the condo pool this morning--nothing beats a day in May!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Working Our Way Back Home




Becky and Allen here, working our way from our Florida winter home to our summer home in Des Moines. On the way, Becky picked up some magazine work--styling a kitchen in Pensacola, FL on May 21 for photographers from Atlanta. After the PostModern Pensacola kitchen was finished, we moved on to Mobile, AL where we met the same photographers and styled/shot a kitchen that remained true to the architectural style of the house, a Georgian/Southern Plantation affair. At 3 p.m., we left Mobile and arrived at Meridian, MS where we're spending the night at a Jameson Inn(photographed here). Be back in Des Moines early on Sunday, May 24th.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Adam!

Happy 36 years, Adam. 36 years ago your mom and dad were 30 years old...we're all getting older and not even noticing it. Hope you have a wonderful night with Kim at Hessen Haus to celebrate. We're in Mobile and just ate dinner at Macaroni Grill, thinking of you. After a day of work tomorrow, we'll get home as soon as possible. We want to deliver our birthday presents. Maybe we'll pour a little Scandinavian coffee that we picked up at the Tampa IKEA store that just opened.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hunter the Closer!



Last night The Flash played the Nitro. Hunter pitched the last inning and closed the game for a win 12-8.

Afterward, he was awarded the game ball for throwing 5 strike outs in one inning. 5 outs? isn't that 3 outs?

After the game we went to a graduation for a girl we know that is going to college on a catching scholarship. She understood!

Great Job Hunter!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Floridians soon to be Iowans again


Spring in Iowa means Blossoms.....




















.....all kinds of blossoms.









See you soon!!

Farewell Tour

We always visit our favorite Venice spots one last time before driving north to Iowa. So we stepped out our front door for the annual look-see. One of our favorite spots is our backyard where Becky's jungle of plants provides privacy and paradise ambience.
It seemed that "the season" is well over and the snowbirds have flown north. We checked out Becky's "reading room" at Sharky's--the gallery at the top that overlooks the ocean has colorful canopies this year.When the place is vacated, it's perfect for reading under the palm trees.
Allen took his last walk through Heritage Park, passing by the ancient banyans.

Venice beach still had beach fans but TJ Carney's al fresco seating was abandoned.
eThe jetty had fewer tourists and Sea Pleasures' dock posts guarded the doors.c
bScamotz, our favorite pizza place, looked closed. 
aWe ended up at Pop's for shrimp appetizers where a white egret entertained us on the rooftop.

Friday, May 8, 2009

IKEA opens in Tampa...






...and we headed over to check it out. It's our fifth IKEA location so we're now making comparisons. This IKEA has a more colorful look than we've seen before and a lot of Latino is spoken over the intercom. The store map comes in a Latino version. We don't see the blonde Scandinavians of the Minneapolis IKEA or the luxuries of resting spots offered at Chicago's IKEA. Tampa's customer seating is all about eating. Seattle's IKEA (one of the oldest in the USA) has a waterfront location and a rag-tag look. Sweden's first IKEA ever looks like an old warehouse but has a wonderful presentation of Swedish fabrics...no dining there...plenty of that across the street at IKEA headquarters.

We arrived at Tampa's IKEA in time for $1.99 breakfasts and stayed long enough to lunch on salads around 2 p.m. The store felt a bit like DisneyWorld--a talking toucan (the voice came from behind a pile of quilts where a funny guy operated the puppet and conversed with customers), Pippi Longstocking (bouncing around on chairs), and a guy doing magic card tricks--all probably hired for opening week. The parking lot was chaos with a flag-waver directing traffic every 100 feet.

We spent only $127.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Earth Day Trash Bash
(just a little late)

I know Earth Day was a couple weeks ago, but I just haven't found a good picture to share until now.

On April 22, Adam participated in the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Earth Day Trash Bash along with over 200 Wells Fargo employees (along with employees from several other Des Moines businesses). See Adam circled; trust me that's me :).

Many interesting things were found; I personally rolled one tire up a hill and filled a garbage bag. Others near me found what seemed to be the remainders of a homeless camp. I guess a rusted out delivery truck was even discovered. After all the work there was a party downtown to recognize everyone's effort.



Here is a map showing where the Wells Fargo gang worked, MacRae Park.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

First Weekend in May


This weekend was the Spring Classic Baseball Tournament. Between Blake and Hunter we attended 7 baseball games. The weather was perfect so we really enjoyed each one.

Photo of Hunter pitching. Blake played third. We didn't get good photos. He really burned it up.

Beside baseball, we also had a higher belt test for Karate. Hunter tested and did very well. Below is a little clip of him.

video
To end the weekend the boys went over to Valley for open Chess night. Blake claims he can beat anyone in 8 moves. Here are his chess buddies and his teacher Ben. They have their Tournament Awards night on Thursday. Blake is hoping to be 1st Grade Champ. We will see.










Mother's Day - the plans are gardening.

Royal Poinciana



Becky here, from Venice, FL where the jacaranda trees, like giant lilacs, are in full purple bloom. We don't have any jacarandas but we do have two Royal Poincianas in our front yard. We've never seen our early-summer blooming poincias show their colors before because we fly north by the end of May. While we're here in winter, these "flamboyants" are partially or wholly deciduous and have long brown pods that hang like razor strops. This year, our royals decided to grace us with their crowning glories. The huge scarlet blooms are the size of large bowls with diameters of about 18 inches.