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Litterbug, litterbug fly away home …

September 11, 2011 | Forest City,Iowa

… take all your trash with you and leave us alone.

Otherwise? I’ll find out where you live and dump all my garbage in your front lawn.

I’ve written about this before (two years ago to the day). I really don’t get it. An entire bag of fast-food trash? Really? I’m sure you’re “this” close to home. Why can’t you just hang on to it until you get there and put it in your own trash can? “Litterbug” is actually too nice a word. I prefer “litterpig” or “litterjerkhole.” Just stop throwing trash out your window. Please?

Posted by Becky @ 6:00 am | 4 Comments  

Heritage Park field trip

August 10, 2011 | Family,Iowa,School,Summer

The kids had a field trip to Heritage Park during summer school. Every time I go there, I see something new and different.

I love this pin, especially considering that they’d be serving lutefisk at the Heritage Festival the following weekend.

Related posts

Heritage Park
Train train, comin’ ’round, ’round the bend
Howdy neighbor, happy harvest, may your forty acres soon be fields of clover

Posted by Becky @ 6:00 am | 2 Comments  

Books: Turn Left at the Trojan Horse

July 9, 2011 | Books,Brad Herzog,Iowa

I just finished reading Turn Left at the Trojan Horse: A Would-be Hero’s American Odyssey by Brad Herzog.

I noticed this on the shelf at Bookadee. I picked it up and read the back cover one day while I was straightening shelves. I felt he had a connection to Iowa, though I’m not sure why. He wasn’t on the shelf with Iowa authors. The inside flap said he lived in California. (Ah, but lots of Iowa authors don’t live in Iowa anymore, I thought.) I figured I’d look him up later and maybe I’d read this book someday. My to-read list is about a mile long, so I figured, sure. I’ll get to it in a few years.

Well, I got to it sooner than I thought. I bought it with a few other books from Bookadee. (It’s kind of a joke that I just endorse my paycheck over to the bookstore to feed my habit.) I picked it up a couple of weeks after taking my in-laws on the tour of Winnebago Industries. That’s when I looked him up and found that he writes a travel blog, as well as books.

So I started reading Turn Left. At the very end — almost on the last page, in the acknowledgments — I finally saw his connection to Iowa in black and white. He offered his gratitude to “the fine folks at Winnebago Industries” in Forest City, Iowa.

So, no. He wasn’t born here. He hasn’t lived here. I don’t even know if he’s been to Forest City.*** But there’s the connection. Go figure.

Turn Left is a story of a person in the middle of his life, looking back, looking forward and looking inward — all the while looking outward for connection and meaning. While trying to make sense of it all, he heads out on the open road and crosses the country on the way to his college reunion.

I picked the exact right time to read this book, although I’d trade my mid-life crisis for his any day. Still, I get it. I’m about his age and (I hope) somewhere in the middle of my life.

His theme was Greek mythology, heroes and fate. He went through enough characters and stories that I thought, it’s a good thing he studied so much about this … now I don’t have to. Although I admit I feel a nagging need to read Homer now. I even put The Iliad and The Odyssey on my Goodreads to-read list. Again … I’m sure I’ll get to them in a few years.

Herzog was searching for something heroic in himself, and he found heroes all along his path — a missionary-turned-county commissioner in Athena and an adventurer-turned-one-room-schoolteacher in Troy and everyone in between.

Coincidence (fate?) abounds. (My favorite is when he met in Siren, Wisconsin, a bartender named Dawn, who’d just finished reading The Iliad.) Enough to raise my skeptic’s hackles. But he says at the end of the book, “This isn’t a work of fiction. Every single event, every quotation, every location is real and true to life.”

So I’m taking his word for it. Because I want to believe. In fact, one of the strongest beliefs I have is in the power of words and books.

This book is a great one. He tells the stories of dozens of people he met on his journey and also those from his life. I loved learning about his grandparents. He describes people and places with a sharp eye, and he weaves his current stories with history.

Herzog had me laughing out loud in places, getting chills in others and reaching for a tissue in others. I’m not sure what most people think about at a tractor pull, but Herzog might be the only one to turn philosophical, thinking of ancient Greek gods and the meaning of life.

The photographs in the book are black-and-white. I found this video after reading the book, and it brings people and places to even more life with brilliant color.

***So, if he hasn’t been to Forest City yet, I hope he finds us on his trusty atlas. I see he will be in Minnesota this week. (He will be at Magers & Quinn Booksellers, 3038 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55408, on Tuesday, July 12, at 7:30 p.m.)

And we’re just two hours directly south of Minneapolis. There’s Winnebago, of course, and the 2011 WIT Grand National Rally starts Monday. And, hey, Bookadee is right in the heart of downtown Forest City on Clark Street.

Stop on by, Brad. Bring the family.

Posted by Becky @ 3:23 pm | 2 Comments  

It’s the season for lutefisk

December 17, 2010 | Holidays,Norway

I just learned that lutefisk is sold at my local grocery store. Lots of Norsky-Americans in these parts.

Posted by Becky @ 8:00 pm | 2 Comments  

Books: The Faith Club

November 7, 2010 | Books

I finished reading (and discussing last month at book club) The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew — Three Women Search for Understanding by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver and Priscilla Warner. They got together to write a children’s book about religions and accepting each other. They never did publish the children’s book. Instead, they wrote this book, which is a testament to friendship and learning.

Posted by Becky @ 5:23 pm | Comments  

Wine: Picket Fence

April 27, 2010 | Iowa,Wine

I am by no means a wine connoisseur, but I like to drink it, and I really like to try local wines. I was surprised to learn how many wineries there are in Iowa. We even have one just down the road from us. What’s better than trying the local flavor of your new home?

This isn’t a review. I’ll leave that to the experts. No, this is more of an American Bandstand Rate-a-Record opinion, “It’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it. I give it a 98, Dick.” Only, you know. With wine. And without Dick.

I recently tried Picket Fence, a semi-sweet white wine by Park Farm Winery in Bankston, Iowa. It was recommended to me by Eric in the liquor department at Hy-Vee in Mason City. It was $9.99. (He was spot on with all his recommendations.)

On the bottle: “A crisp, clean, semi-sweet white wine. Our Picket Fence pairs wonderfully with fish, seafood, chicken and pork dishes; especially when cooked with butter or cream sauces. Not too dry, yet not too sweet, this wine is on the fence!”

I really liked it. I like white wines, especially German rieslings, but some of the Iowa whites I’ve tasted are way too sweet with a “homemade” taste to them. Picket Fence, though, was just the right balance for me. I drank it with a ham dish with a cream sauce — a recipe I got from @collisionbend (Thanks, Will!) — and it was tasty.

Posted by Becky @ 6:00 am | 3 Comments  

Sign of Spring

March 27, 2010 | Iowa,Spring

I saw the first Winnebago on the road yesterday. It’s like seeing the first robin in these parts.

Posted by Becky @ 5:10 am | Comments  


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