Monday, January 7, 2013

A Christmas Break & New Year!

(*** Editor's Note: Google Blogs has been having issues with downloading of photos.  I hope to be able to add these photos in at a later date.  I also apologize for just not keeping up on my blogging.  Oh, and Happy Belated New Year! )

I have come home to my hometown for Christmas; in the hilly country of eastern Iowa.  I was in need of a much needed break of my traveling style of life.  It's rather hard to move from day to day.  Plus it is always interesting to “go home”.  Of course, there always are those residual memories, both good and bad that remain.  I will admit that it was good to see the family.  But with that also there’s that portion where the family can really drive you to a point of insanity and you remember why you left in the first place.  That point arrived a few days after I arrived.  Mom and I butted heads to say the least.  Family always seems to manage to push your buttons and it’s never a very pretty sight.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love my family but they really do know how to push my buttons.
Photo- The family on the couch for a Christmas photo.
It has been fun revisiting old hangouts.  I went to the old Spring House Restaurant with my mom.  The Spring House was the place where we always used to go eat when I was growing up.  It was relatively inexpensive and there was a sit down dining room area.  Growing up it was bit of a splurge for us to go there because of being a single parent home.  It’s rather amazing when you go to a place like that again and see that it really hasn’t changed all that much.  In fact, I think they still have the same original chairs and booths; just recovered.
Photo- My nephew and I building snowmen.  His snowman is taller than mine of course!

I did manage to have some new fun.  I took one evening and built snowmen with my nephew.  I know his snowman was so much better than the one I tried to build.  His mother supplied us with a couple of spray bottles that had water with food coloring.  It was a choice of yellow, red, or yellow.  In my sick sense of humor, I tended to go overboard with the yellow.  There’s just something about yellow snow.  Oh I’m terrible!  We also went and purchased some new sleds which I hope we will get to break in soon.
Photo- A snow covered empty street in Main Amana, IA.

Another afternoon, we took a drive down to the Amana Colonies where we went around looking at little shops throughout the cute little German community.  The Amana Colonies is a National Historic Landmark and one of America’s longest-lived communal societies.  I periodically have visited the main Amana as I was growing up; mostly during the May Fest which is a large festival.  There are seven different villages of which the main Amana is the largest.  You can read more about the history and the colonies at this link…

During our afternoon we tasted wine, had Rubens (mine without the kraut), and walked through all kinds of wonderful shops.  My favorite places I used to go as a kid were the Woolen Mill where they make all kinds of woolen goods and the furniture store where they have a room full of clocks.  I was a bit disappointed because usually at both places they have areas where you can watch people working.  At the Woolen Mill, there’s usually a room where the looms are going and you can watch as material is being made.  Due to the holidays though, there were not any equipment that was being operated.  This was also the case at the Furniture Shop.  They usually have an area that you can watch the wood workers which is always fun and fascinating.  But I got some fun in with watching a dancing clock face in the furniture shop and I almost bought a pair of "Mucka-Ducks" which were heavy woolen long moccasin like socks that looked very warm. 

 Yes, I'm having a bit of time adjusting to the cold weather here in Iowa.  I forgot how cold it can get here during the winter.  Those cold fronts come out of Canada and drift down into Iowa.  They deposit here and seem to want to stay.  Some of the evenings have been getting down to the negative degrees which is something that I haven't had to experience in years living in Utah.  Utah gets the snow but it doesn't get much below the lower 20's.  I'm very much hoping for a bit of a January thaw in the New Year.

For New Year's Eve, the night got down to -1 with a lovely chill factor (a common thing here in Iowa during the winter) it actually felt like anywhere from -15 to -20.  Mom and I had a snack night in front of the TV watching the New York New Year's Eve.  But I had to laugh when I saw on the local news about Prairie Du Chen, Wisconsin did a dropping of the HUGE carp fish.  Leave it to us, Midwestern folk to make things interesting and different.  So they drop a carp almost 100 ft. out of a tree.  I wonder what happens to the fish then?

I woke up with a cold on New Year's Day with a sore throat and feeling yucky.  Yep!  I started the New Year with a cold.  I stayed in bed most of the day and came out only to try to eat a bit or to use the restroom.  Happy New Year to all of you out there!  I hope your year started out better.  And thank you to those of you that have been contacting me to see how I have been doing I haven't been blogging as much as I should have been.  Something I need to work on in the New Year.

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