I can't believe summer is nearly over. In fact school began here today ... just impossible to believe. We have been blessed with the most gorgeous weather for the last two weeks or so ... only necessary to use the air conditioning on rare occasions. In the morning I love to open the doors wide and let in the cool air ... what a great way to begin the day.
Last weekend we went to Chicago to visit our one-year old granddaughter Helen. She's such a sweetie and we can begin to see her personality shine. While we were in Chicago we rode the train to downtown where we caught a cab to Navy Pier to watch the Air Show. Thousands of people were watching the show from all over downtown, but we found a cafe with an empty table on the patio overlooking Lake Michigan and the skyscrapers from the south side of the Pier, and the view was spectacular. Later we took a water taxi along the Chicago River where we enjoyed seeing the hanging gardens, attractive condos and restaurants along the riverfront. On the trip to and from Chicago I enjoyed listening to the inspirational autobiography of the coach of the 2007 Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts Tony Dungy called Quiet Strength. What a role model. Even non-sports fans would like this book. I also began reading The House at Riverton by Kate Morton and Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs.
One of the reasons this weather has been surprising is because our ten-day Iowa State Fair just ended. Traditionally we have the hottest weather during the fair but not this year. I think it rained only one day of the fair and attendance records were broken. I was able to spend a few hours a week ago walking around to some of my favorite spots: the 4-H building, the animal barns, the dollhouses in the cultural center, free food samples in the agricultural building, the hymn sing at First Church in Pioneer Village, lunch at the pork tent, and the quilts and needlework in the varied industries building.
We've been enjoying the Olympics especially watching one of our hometown girls Shawn Johnson participate in gymnastics and finally win a gold medal last night on the balance beam. We were proud of the three silver medals she's won previously but the gold was the perfect ending to the competition. Unfortunately our other hometown girl Lolo Jones, after setting records in qualifying rounds, was not able to complete the hurdles, and I feel sad for her. I'm disappointed that synchronized swimming hasn't been featured on TV at all, at least not in prime time. When two of my granddaughters were in synchro for several years, I was able to see up close and personal how hard the swimmers work and what a beautiful sport it is. They were on a team that made it to the Nationals in Syracuse NY in 2001, and one of the other competitors was a 13-year old girl from California named Brooke Abel. Her routine was so stunning, I can still remember it. Brooke is now on the 2008 USA Olympic team.
One of my friends and I stalked yarn yesterday. She is making a baby blanket for friends and we ended up buying the yarn at Michael's but it was a great opportunity to visit a couple nice LYS in the area. Today's featured store is Creative Corner in Valley Junction in West Des Moines, also known as the pink house. This is a store that has been around for at least 25 years and has survived the macrame craze, the cross-stitch craze, and through it all, has always carried lots of beautiful yarn. One of my favorite blogs is Nuttinbutknittin and K who is the author of that blog works at Creative Corner one day a week.
This week I discovered an awesome podcast called Brown-Eyed Mom. Danielle is charming and fun. She's married to a cop and mother to two sons. She's a new knitter who's greatest desire is to learn everything and in her words become an uber-knitter.
We celebrated my mom's 91st birthday August 3rd with a Sunday brunch when I gave her the Sunday Market Wrap. Hopefully I can get a picture of her and the Wrap soon to post here. Mom is in the process of moving from her home to a really cute condo across the street from her church so we'll be ending the month of August helping her with that move. Recently my sister and I spent a couple hours helping mom pack, then took her with us when we checked out a couple of shops in nearby towns called Gifts of Grace in Gladbrook and Something to Share in Conrad. We treated mom to a delicious light lunch at Gifts of Grace.
Around the cottage we are still waiting for those tomatoes. We lost several during a storm about two weeks ago, but the ones that hung are are doing fine. I have a huge plant on a table on my front porch that is absolutely spectacular. I think it's some kind of begonia and it is beautiful. The leaves have remained shiny and the plant has grown and thrived, even though most of my flowers didn't look all that pretty this summer.