Monday Mar 7, 2011

The Bridges of Madison County | Des Moines Photographer

By | 2017-02-09T16:33:52+00:00 March 7th, 2011|Personal Insights|0 Comments

As a new resident to Iowa, one of the things on my “must see” list was to find and photograph the Bridges of Madison County, made famous by the book of the same name by Robert James Waller, and the corresponding feature film starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep.

One cold day in February, I found out that my husband would have a day off when the kids were going to be in school.  I convinced him to go with me to search for and photograph the bridges.  We drove out to Winterset, IA and stopped at the visitor’s center for a map.  We were able to get to 4 of the six bridges before we had to return to retrieve the kids from school.  Below is a small set of the images I captured.  I know they may seem cliché, but I like them none-the-less.  My husband and I had a great day together.  We both carried a camera, both had some really great shots, tried to stay warm, had lunch – and overall fun adventure.  The Bridges of Madison CountyWe are hoping to make it out to the last two bridges before we move again.  To see more images of the images I captured, be sure to visit my Flickr Gallery.  The bridges we visited were Hogback Bridge, Cedar Bridge, Holliwell Bridge, and Imes Bridge.  The two remaining are Roseman Bridge and Cutler-Donahoe Bridge.  You can read more about the bridges here.

Tuesday Nov 9, 2010

New location, new life

By | 2017-02-09T16:33:53+00:00 November 9th, 2010|News|0 Comments

It has been several months since I last updated my blog. A few days after I had posted, my husband received a job offer outside of California. He had been out of work for almost eight months at that point, and despite my part time work, we were in desperate need for him to be employed. We didn’t have to think about it too hard, he needed to take the job.  It was also a job he could do, and do well, and enjoy.  This new job is located in West Des Moines, Iowa. He started June 1, 2010.

There were some obvious downsides to picking up and moving. My family is in California. While I have lived away from my family before, this time it is different.

Last June, just 3 months before my husband lost his job, my mother suffered a debilitating stroke. I can’t even begin to go into how horrifying the experience was, mostly because of the doctors we dealt with in the hospital. The nursing staff was wonderful, as was the therapy staff, but the doctors did not give her any hope at all. After a month in the hospital, and a couple more in a rehabilitation hospital, she was able to first live with me, and eventually return to her own home. Here it was, almost a year later, and she has made an incredible recovery. She is able to walk with a cane, feed and care for herself. She can make her own food and do her own laundry, although it takes a lot out of her. She is living in her home with my father who tries to help her when she’ll let him. She still has much difficulty talking. She has severe aphasia, and while many words do come out properly and make sense, most of what she says is gibberish. This makes it very difficult to communicate with her.

I am very thankful for my family that is still helping to care for my mother – my father, my brother and his wife, are the only reason I was able to take this step in faith and know that God will provide for her as he will also provide for us. We use Skype to keep in touch with my family, and that has been a huge blessing. It’s much easier to communicate with my mom when I can see her.

The other downsides include leaving our friends, our church, and the wonderful school my kids have been attending. We had built a life in California, and we were in for a change.

One of the biggest upsides to this move is that my husband is from Minnesota, and his family is still there. West Des Moines is only a four hour drive to the Twin Cities area where his family is.  This was another consideration in his acceptance of the position in Iowa.

Also, the public schools have a higher rating than California schools.

So many people have commented how the cost of living is so much less in Iowa, but really, it’s not. Yes, the cost of a house is less, but the upkeep and utilities are higher because of the differences in the climate. Gas is less, as is sales tax, but everything else is pretty much priced the same.

The kids and I stayed in California until school was out.  I frantically tried to prepare our home and our family for this move, and I had to completely stop work, both at Disney and my photography.  My husband flew back for the 4th of July, and we left California with him after the holiday.

We’ve been here since July, getting to know the area, getting involved in a church, existing in a temporary, 2-bedroom condo, and finding a new home.

Home

Our Iowa Home

In September, we moved into our new home in Clive, IA.  We are still working on getting settled, but have really enjoyed living here so far.  We back to a wooded greenbelt, and have seen more wildlife than we’ve ever seen in our area of California.  The dog is especially excited about the squirrels.  We love the deer that walk through our backyard,  and the variety of birds who visit our feeders.

The kids are loving their new school.  They are in school an hour longer a day, and have virtually no homework.  Quite the change from the daily homework packets we had in California.  Mom is liking this part of school too.  They’re making new friends, and getting involved.

I am working on building up my photography business here in Clive, and my husband is enjoying his work.  We’re enjoying the fall.  And we are even looking forward to winter, and the first White Christmas for our kids.  Although they have been to Minnesota during the winter, and spent time playing in the snow in our local mountains, the kids have always spent Christmas in sunny Southern California.

We still miss all of our friends and family, more than we can possibly say.  But we are looking forward living our new life here in Iowa.

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