Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Still Haven't Found... (photo post)

I feel like that "Walking Man" that James Taylor sings about.

I came to Iowa, hoping to find a new place to live. I did. In the second week, I found affordable housing. I also found a new "sister" in my sister-in-law. I've always had a strong bond with my 'baby' brother, so there was that.

What I didn't find was the ability to be away from my sister and baby DJ. My brother, sis-in-law and I really want the rest of my family to move here...

I learned something too. I learned that the right storm of circumstances can knock all the firmness from the ground under your feet.

When Perry died, I felt so thrown and heartbroken and lost that I couldn't get my bearings. I still can't. I've been sick (physically) and off kilter. I need the familiar and the routine of my life in Alaska right now. (And I can't believe I am saying this when I know a long winter is coming.)


I have gained a love for this beautiful place and its people. From (literally), the moment I landed at Des Moines, I have not met one unfriendly person. The first Iowan I shook hands with was the gentleman (and I do mean he's a true gentle-kind-sweet man) who picked me up to bring me into town - giving me a tour along the way and refusing to take a cold nickel for his time or trouble. Thank you, Marty Anecita Rowe! You should be one of the ambassadors for this great state.

When I attended church, the pastor, his wife and the congregation greeted me very sincerely by saying things like "Welcome home." When's the last time that's happened to many of us? Let me tell you once again, the people here don't just mumble "Have a nice day," they mean it and try to make it so. It's unbelievable.

Most of all, I was able to spend time with my brother. We were able to have our long and winding talks. We were able to reconnect for a while. He, my sis(in-law) had long drives through the countryside, sat around the fire-pit, and I even had "foil burgers" with a friend of theirs. I had the meaning of "family" re-enforced on my heart and in my head.


I'll be back. Often as I can. I will be back to see the "baby bro" who is the other part of my heart, and my sister-in-law (who warned me: "You're in trouble. I never had a sister before"). I would probably not have that goal if I hadn't been here for this little while and at this particular time in my life. (And, by the way, +Bonnie Conway - you're in trouble too. You can ask my other sisters about that!)

My baby bro & sis.
Love these guys!
My little brother might think I'm leaving for good, but he's never getting rid of me that easy. Never.

Just an everyday drive from Forest City to Klemme
When I think of Iowa, I will always think of shades of green - the same way that Alaska brings to mind the colors of blue.

Here's some of my photographed memories. You can see the beauty of the state, but you can't see the laughter and conversation and joy that the three of us Conways were blessed with. If you have family that you love, you'll know what I mean.

A "small" ice cream cone from
Viking Ice Cream in Clear Lake

I wanted to visit the beautiful cemeteries that are
everywhere here. Look at the date on the tombstone. History.

Uncommonly beautiful is so common here

In the yard. Peace and nature.

"My" dog. (Hootch is everybody's dog!)

Seen on my very first day in the state. An old mill and dam.

Hibiscus bloom given to me by my family's neighbor (Randy)
Because people are just thoughtful like that

I'll always come back to see the farms and houses and... beauty

If I can talk the rest of my family into moving here.... 

A real cowboy in the Kawana Labor Day parade

View from the family's backyard fire pit & swing
Our own private Eden

the Black-eyed Susans I saw in Clear Lake
trees everywhere, of every kind and color!
charming, simple neighborhoods

About these windmills (turbines?): I was so fascinated with the size of these things. Even driving close by them, I can't wrap my brain around how enormous they are. To give you an idea, I found this info online:

  1. How much do wind turbines weigh? In the GE 1.5-megawatt model, the nacelle alone weighs more than 56 tons, the blade assembly weighs more than 36 tons, and the tower itself weighs about 71 tons — a total weight of 164 tons. (source)
Isn't that insane?! When we were driving one night, I got to see the red flashing lights they emit in unison. It's such an ordinary thing for the people here, but I never got tired of looking at them.

Because I just can't get over it, here are some photos from online:

Just. Incredible. And I got so see whole "farms" of them.

Speaking of farms...
This is such a common sight that I always felt like we were driving through a painted landscape

Seen on one of our drives

Why am I so fascinated with soybean fields? LOL

This made me want a farm. Sort of.
Until I thought of walking in all the dirt & grass.

Every shade of green there is

This is a historic house in Clear Lake, but there's so much pretty home architecture here

If I could get the rest of my family to move here (and I will be working on that), I could spend the rest of my life here. Clean air, good people, lots of nature and old-fashioned values...

Here's what I wonder? Do the people (other than my family) who live here realize how lucky they are?


P.S.: Because my brother, Darrell, is awesome... He took us to breakfast right after I composed this post yesterday. Guess what we saw coming up the highway across from where we were parked?

 Yep. One of the "arms" of a windmill/turbine was being transported.

The driver has a truck following him so that when they make turns, the "follow" driver can use a control to turn the back wheels of the transport truck. Otherwise, no way would the transport vehicle be able to make turns. It was pretty cool to watch. I hope this video that my bro took via his phone will work for you viewers.

Hats off to the guys who drive (and assist) these vehicles!

**REVIEW** InstaNatural Organic Rosehip Oil

This is another goodie I am trying thanks to Tomoson.

First off, let me say that I am extremely sensitive to smells. This product is one that you will either like or dislike the smell off. It has a very distinct odor that I am finding hard to describe. It's a sweet, sort of woodsy herbal scent that I'm not crazy about. The odor dissipates quickly, but it is there at the outset.

The second thing I have to tell you is that I wasn't really previously aware of rosehip oil or its uses. I did a little digging around and what I am learning is that it's taking a place right up there with other trendy skincare oils.

Since I'm not crazy about the smell, and since I have a daytime moisturizer, I've been using the rosehip oil to bed. I use it very, very sparingly on my face, but I like to douse my lips in it. I have not yet tried it on my hair, but I'll let you know how that goes when I do. Oh - I am loving the way it makes my fingernails and cuticles feel, which I discovered completely by accident.

 After a few nights' use, I haven't had any problems with skin sensitivity or any redness. I have decided that I'm going to start using it on my elbows as well.

Now, for some additional points I like about this brand:

The product can be ordered via Amazon or direct from InstaNatural's site.

I have tried other InstaNatural products (one of which I'll be reviewing shortly) and I can attest to their excellent customer service.

As I stated before, I had to get used to the initial out-of-the-bottle smell, but I can see that some folks might find the odor to be pleasant.

Once I get into a place of my own and get back to a more normal routine, I will be trying the oil in every way directed: stretch marks, any burns, and on my hair. Then I will do an updated review.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

**REVIEW** Comodo Internet Security

This is what I've been using on my PC for a while. I'm thinking of finding another program though because, while I hate change, I'm getting frustrated with this one...

All I want is a security program that will clean my PC of threats, warn me of potential threats, and help me maintain, monitor and keep some control of installed/downloaded stuff. Oh - and said program must be user-friendly without my having to run to the Help section every time I want to use it. Am I asking too much? Am I dreaming? Maybe.

Here is why I'm dreading trying to replace Comodo, but feel I must.


  • Nice surface interface (as far as how things are labeled for the user)
  • What works, works very well and quickly
  • Has a ton of features available
  • It updates easily
  • I can't figure out a lot of the features so I don't use them
  • What works, works well, but only if you can figure out how to make them work
  • The "Help" features sucks for a novice
  • While the surface interface looks great, the best stuff is in the nuts & bolts. Which I can't ever easily get to.
Basically, this would be the perfect Internet Security program if it were more user-friendly.

For some reason, Comodo insists on "Sandboxing" my of my regular and long-used programs - even though I've designated it as Trusted. When it does isolate this program, I have to try to remember how to clear it. It's not a simple process (and the process shown in Help is not the one that works).

Comodo is probably a great security program for someone with better skills than my own.  I know how to use my computer and the internet; I don't want to have to take a class in how to use the program that's supposed to help keep my PC safe. I'm just too tired of having to figure out how to solve issues in Comodo.

That said, I think that some people will love Comodo. Just not me. I don't have time or patience to solve a puzzle every time I run security on my computer.

I'm now on the hunt for an inexpensive (or free) program to replace Comodo. Even though I am dreading the chore...