Tag Archives: Iowa

Iowa! History!

People seem to only know about Iowa because of the Caucuses.
Iowa! Nationally politically (bafflingly?) relevant since 1972! 

But, I just learned about an even older and more prestigious accolade thanks to T.R. Schellenberg’s 1956 book: Modern Archives: Principles and Techniques (page 180):

“This paper, which was to be made a chapter of a primer for archivists that was planned at the 1912 conference, accepted the principle of respect des fonds as the basic principle of archival classification to be followed in the United States and illustrated its application to the archives of Iowa.”

You guys, the National Archives weren’t established until 1934. It was Iowa’s pioneering ways that helped establish a very important element of archival organization in the national system. (Forget the fact that the U.S. actually has weird ideas about archives compared to the rest of the world.)

Iowa! Helping America save old shit since 1912!

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Farm Fun

After a hefty day of Netflixin’ on Saturday, my watch history was looking like a sci-fi nerd’s dream (episodes of Stargate Atlantis and Firefly, plus the movies Serenity and Star Trek). So, on Sunday I decided to shake things up with a little Iowa-based American Pickers. In two episodes, my heart was aching for Iowa and the good old days on my family’s farms. I can remember chopping wood, catching bugs next to the corn crib, picking vegetables behind the barn, and–my favorite–trying to break foot-long chunks of ice off the buildings that had snow drifts large enough to climb to the roof. I remember being terrified of a rabid raccoon in a beat-down barn, stepping through bat poop in the attic of the “Mc Mansion” and climbing through hay and mounds of feed corn. These days it doesn’t quite trip my trigger, but the bug-dirt-outdoor-loving little Kristina couldn’t get enough.

Except when it came time to unload the wood when we got home. I hated that–no other 10-year-old in my school was subjected to that cruel labor.

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Iowa, You Let Me Down

Results are in. And the thing is, Iowa, you really let me down. I’ve been proud of you. I’ve been proud of us. I’ve been proud of what we’ve become, what we’ve accomplished and what we’ve shown to the rest of the nation.

But now, I don’t know what to expect. I’m scared, Iowa. I’m really scared. I’m worried you’re going to throw away all that progress that we’ve worked hard for. Please, think about it before you give the rest of the world the go-ahead to forget all about us.

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Small Town, IA

The church is covered in statues, intricate paintings and gold leaf. Half the town shows up for support. When the church service is over, one of the members stands in a corner, pulling a rope and ringing an ominous but pleasantly archaic knell as the funeral-goers jaywalk across the street to the burial. A farm man stands in the street directing traffic with a crossing guard stop sign. A tractor stops at the north end, and two trucks at the south. Almost every person swings by a gravestone to pay condolences to a family member, before heading to the Church Guild-sponsored lunch in the high school gym. Ham sandwiches, fruit punch, and 30 different  homemade salads in serving dishes labeled on the underside with ball-point pen signatures on strips of masking tape.


There’s nothing quite like a funeral in small town Iowa.

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It’s fall break, and I’m killing my back and butt bones sitting on uncomfortable chairs, researching Anna Laetitia Barbauld and John Aikin’s Evenings at Home (6 vol., 1792-96) and trying to decide what degree of sexuality in nature I should write about for my Victorian paper (rape in a field and sexy cow milking in Tess of the d’Urbervilles, anyone?). It’s not so bad, at this point I’m used to spending all my time on homework. But there are some obscure things I really miss at home.

Eating at a restaurant. Sounds silly, right? But here I am in a city where everything is new and I really want to explore the eats. Who wants to go out and check out all the unknown restaurants alone? Not this girl.

Being in the know. My friends aren’t the kind of people who insist on spilling the details of their life unprovoked. Which I admire, and I am just like them in that sense. However, it makes keeping up with everyone hard. I’m busy, I’m stressed, and I have absolutely nothing to report back home to (Today you bought a tissue box cover? Oh my that is quite exciting. Tell me more.) It gets old and I feel annoying sending “what’s up?” “how’s life?” and “I heard from personx that yhappened…” text, email, facebook messages. I know the reverse is true, who actually likes starting those conversations? Generally just people who are procrastinating something. But everyone has a life, so except my grad student peers, no one wants to procrastinate anything. It’s hard, and I feel like a godawful friend most of the time.

Hugs. Seriously the stupidest thing ever, but I miss it a lot. I miss hugging DGs when I haven’t seen them in a while. I miss hugging MTK when I’m drunk and excited about something ridiculous. I miss hugging people when I’m drunk, period. I miss hugs on bad days. And thank you hugs. Just hugs in general. They don’t mean a whole lot when you encounter them on a fairly regular basis, but when you can’t hug anyone at all, you realize how much they mean.

Being useful. A shoulder to cry on? Someone to get a drink with so you don’t feel like an alcoholic on a Tuesday night? Someone to cover your shift at The Barn? A coffee buddy? Lunch date? Sober driver? A ride when you need one? Someone to vent to? All those things are pretty damn impossible to be at a distance, and hard to be to people you don’t really know.

Day trips. You know, easy places to go when you have time and feel like getting out of town for a bit. Yankton for Charlie’s Pizza? Le Mars for some Blue Bunny history and a bite at Bob’s Drive Inn? Ames for a night of debauchery with the boys? Sioux Falls for some fun in the sun at Wild Water West? Shopping in Omaha? I think Amarillo is the closest thing to Lubbock. Grrreat.

So tomorrow I’m going to go on my first baking adventure since moving to Texas. I really hope it makes me feel a little less Iowasick. Although tomorrow is gingersnaps, I bought some Halloween cookie cutters to encourage another baking binge.


Assortment of super scary Halloween cookie cutters.


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One Month In

I’ve been a Texan for a month now (although my license plate and driver’s license say otherwise. Suck it, system!). A month ago last night I slept on the floor of my living room. Since then, not a whole lot has happened. I’ve been in school for two weeks and I spend 80% of my time watching Netflix while doing homework. It’s not bad, but there are some things I am definitely missing from the homeland.

Family & Friends
Top of the list, no question. Sometimes it’s a bit lonely. But even worse, it’s hard to not be around when you want to be there for someone.

Food: Fong’s, China Place, & Planet Sub
Just, yeah. I missed it if I didn’t have it often enough in Des Moines. So how can I  not miss it here?

Panera, Caribou & Grounds
I could use some of my old stomping grounds for quality study space. Coffee, food, and a comfy atmosphere.

Tis’ [almost] the season. And oh do I wish I had some Buccs or Muskies to get rowdy with.

Things that only happen in the fall
Sorority recruitment, Heelan debate, Hawkeye football, and Fall Kill.

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Water, water, everywhere

I remember the floods of ’93. Barely, but I do. Then there were the floods of 2008 which are vividly implanted in my memory because I worked for the Iowa Health Care Association at the time, and we had statewide facilities and their employees to consider.

But now, a week after I moved from the homeland, floods are whipping through the state once again. It’s crazy. And coming from a family of once-upon-a-time (and still a wee bit active) farmers, it’s scary, too.

If you’ve ever been to Ames or visited ISU you’ll be shocked by what you see here–especially videos 12-19, which show the ever recognizable Hilton Colosseum and Jack Trice Stadium. I’ve embedded a couple iconic shots below.

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I’m always thrilled when a real not-exactly-ready moment occurs that I can topically blog about. And this is definitely one.

Prancing around the local KMart (in an insanely successful shopping trip) I discovered these black and gold doozies in a sea of red. I don’t understand it, and I don’t care. It made my day.

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We’re not in the 515 anymore, Toto

Being home has sucked all the drive out of me. Working on my freelance stories (I have three out right now) is impossible. Part of this is because the house is an absolute disaster and I always prefer cleaning and organizing to any kind of important work. The other problem is that I’m trying to work in my giant queen bed–a place where I would much rather be reading, sleeping, or watching the insane amount of Netflix that I’ve consumed since moving back to SUX.

I had dreams of waking up today and  teaching productivity a thing or two. I was going to plug in, earbud up, and tickle the laptop keys–in unison with the tunes on Pandora’s Frank Sinatra radio (a writer’s block favorite of mine)–as long as it’d take me to accomplish a solid chunk of work. Or, at least, make some headway on the work and manage a decent blog update.

This was, until, I realized the city is nothing like Des Moines and I can’t show up at the local library or coffee shop and have that burst of inspiration. Hell, I can’t even really show up at a local shop  at all, because they’re small and don’t have the room for an all-afternoon patron.

Instead, I’m switching between the dining room table and the sun-drenched deck, totally distracted by things like my nonexistent tan, the dead mouse in the laundry room, and the 500 Barnes & Noble boxes I’m anxiously waiting to show up at my front door.

Even at home, though, I can’t shake my alliteration-loving writing style. “With a satin nickel finish, it can be a fun and functional centerpiece or simply a stylish storage solution.” God I hope that gets published.

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Upon my return, I was not ready for…

– Having more than a roommate in my apartment. Not bad, just not ideal. It smelled like bad food and I don’t like being friendly after a long day.

– This email I received: “Nevertheless, I absolutely love the song “I Know You Got
A Man,” and it’s not even offensive!  Still, in the midst of loving the
song, I am profoundly disturbed that Ludacris has put the word “constipate”
in a song about sex. What the hell was he thinking? How did no one tell him
how wrong it is?”

-How fucking excited I am to be home. (Which includes driving a car, speeding, unpacking all my goods from H&M, having internet and watching Voltron:Defender of the Universe on Hulu.)

More to come. For now, I bask in the glory that is Des Moines, Iowa.

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