Category Archives: Carla

RWPE #11 – Motion

This week we have a first time contributor in my sister Carla.  She did break the one and only rule of RWPE (the picture has to be taken the week of the project) but I’ll let it slide since it was her birthday last week.

This week’s submissions:

Michael Vest

Carla Stensland

Dawn Krause

Becky Perkovich

Julie Johnson (In Flight)

Christopher D. Bennett

Although as a general rule I don’t like to comment on my RWPE, I will point out this time that this picture is completely motivated by the fact that Stephanie Kasper would be abnormally freaked out by it.

Julie has started a blog and I wanted to include a link to her blog so you can enjoy much more of her photography, writing and just general Julieness. For those of you that are like me and can’t get enough Julie Johnson (despite being treated for the medical condition) click on the link below:

The Joy is in the Journey

Dawn’s Weekly Poem


The tenderness you want to convey
Revealed itself in your words today
It beckons me to come out to play
But lingers for you to lead the way

Why don’t you put your plan in motion
And show me your secure devotion
Seduce my mind with romantic notion
Your signal is that magic potion

The theme for this week is:


Hopefully we continue to get lots of contributors. This is a fairly accessible subject, but of course there is no reason to be literal. There are all sorts of different kinds of signs in the world. Maybe the CEO of the William McAlpine Excuse Factory will even grace us with a contribution.

For those who had the same idea that I had, I looked it up. Tesla isn’t touring right now. Darn the luck.  I guess I’ll have to look for another subject that will be “blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind. Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign.”

Be Aggressive!

On Sunday I descended into the depths of Missouri and Kansas on Sunday to watch Alexis compete in competitive cheerleading.

I had spoken with our Associate Pastor Andrea about good barbecue joints in Kansas City and she recommended Jack Stack for ribs and Oklahoma Joe’s for sandwiches. I looked into both places and found that there was a Jack Stack in the same suburb as the competition so we checked it out.

In a word… divine!

Everything was great. The fried mushrooms, the warm carrot cake, the ribs, the burnt ends, the beans… everything. I was particularly impressed with a cheesy corn side dish. Teresa is researching the recipe and we (meaning not me) are going to try to replicate it for our Thanksgiving meal.

I should point out that the carrot cake was one of the top 3 desserts I have ever had from a restaurant. Right up there with the tiramisu from Cosi Cucina or the warm chocolate cake from the cruise.

Photographing moving targets in low light does not make for the best pictures, but please enjoy a few pictures from the day:

Statue in front of Jack Stack




Looking over the program.



Iowa All-Stars

Now we get to the point of the pictures where it is more or less: “Where’s Alexis?”

Write down your answers to “Where’s Alexis?” and mail them to A winner will be randomly selected from all correct entries.



Can you imagine what this many cheerleaders (and their moms) in one room sounds like?



Elainie photographing.

We are the champions, my friends…

The Bennett women. I know Teresa will complain about this picture, but it was the only one of the 3 pictures I took where Mom doesn’t look drugged out.

The medal.

I’m going to call this Alexis’ gangsta look.

No comment.

It was a good trip, but I was glad to get back out of the state of Missouri. Very glad.

Mother’s Day

On Mother’s Day, I hosted the first family event at the new house. I learned the following things.

1. My mom, despite literally knowing me my entire life, will takes something out of my fridge and eat it without looking at the expiration date.
2. If you ask Elainie to get mayonnaise out of the fridge, she will tell you that you don’t have mayonnaise, you only have Miracle Whip.
3. If I have popped a blister and am bleeding from my foot, I can talk Alexis into taking, not 1, but 2 pictures of my bloody foot.

Here are a couple of pictures from Mother’s Day. I will spare you the blood foot picture, unless you explicitly email me at requesting the picture.

Mother's Day - 2009

Mother's Day - 2009

Mother's Day - 2009

Mother's Day - 2009

Mother's Day - 2009

There are about 30 other Mother’s Day pictures in the Family Photo Album. Just click on the link below:

Mother’s Day

Happy Birthday

It would be best for all of us if you read this like I posted it on March 15.

Happy Birthday Carla!


Sadly, it is something like 50 years since this picture was taken and Carla still steadfastly holds to the mantra put forth by her t-shirt.

Also. Sadly. My family photo album is little more than under construction. I don’t have more picture of Carla for you to view.

Happy Birthday Monica!


Saturday the 14th

I have one loyal subscriber that incessantly complains whenever I post too many posts without pictures. He often sends me an email that in essence “boos” me.

I usually tell him that he is a big boy now and that he needs to use his words. But I’m quite certain that even he will be happy that this entry does not include any imagery, except whatever your imagination puts into your mind.

This story transpired on Saturday, March 14, 2009. The day after FNSC was victimized by the hype surrounding Black Market Pizza.

I am not saying that Black Market Pizza is to blame for my Saturday, but there was a series of low grade slasher movies that were popular in my youth that centered around Friday the 13th. Invariably, the person that survived the brutal onslaught of Jason Voorhees would wake up on Saturday the 14th thinking that the worst was behind them. They had survived the night. Then Jason or his mom or Tommy Jarvis would jump out of the lake and the nightmare would continue.

I woke up on Saturday the 14th feeling like the horror of Black Market Pizza was behind me. I had big plans for the day. Big plans! I didn’t know that something was still stalking me. Waiting to pounce and ruin my weekend.

Jason was picking me up at 7:30 in the morning so we could head to Best Buy to buy a dishwasher. Afterward, I was going over to my Aunt Lori’s to do my taxes. Then I was meeting Baier at King Buffet for lunch to celebrate the anniversary of his birth. Then I was heading to Rieman Music to see the remodeling work Derrick had done on the store. Then I was hoping to get the dishwasher installed. Then spend the afternoon watching the Cyclone women advance to the Big 12 title game. Then I was going to rest and relax for a bit. Then I was going to go to Shenanigans (yes, regrettably, I was planning on going to a Boone bar) for the birthday party of a friend from high school. The bonus of this party was that Willy was going to be there and he was allegedly going to be in full Dance Machine mode. I have never seen Willy dance, but I have garnered sworn testimony from his friend Kristy over the phone that he does indeed dance. But in the back of my mind, I still believe that he only talks about dancing. I was going to make a brief appearance at this party and then meet Shannon at DG’s to see Otter play. I’m not at liberty to say, but Otter just might be one of the bands that is playing Ames on the Half Shell this summer. I repeat, it was going to be a full day.

It started out well. Jason picked me up and we headed over to Best Buy. I had talked to Scottie D. on Thursday night, when he did expert work running cable to my office and living room, about coming over on Saturday to buy a dishwasher.

I had done some dishwasher research and new that I wanted both a stainless steel outside and a stainless steel inside. The outside is to match the rest of my appliances. The inside is because allegedly polymer tubs wear out rather quickly.

I swear that Scott said to meet him at Best Buy at 8.

At 8:05, we arrived in the Best Buy parking lot. We were greeted by a sign telling us that Best Buy didn’t open until 9. Since we had an hour to kill, I suggested we get some breakfast. I had heard great things about a little breakfast joint in Campustown called Angie’s Kitchen.

We killed an hour there with their food that can be best described as perfectly adequate.

We returned to Best Buy where Scott and I went over all of their dishwashers in stock. As it turned out, they had one dishwasher in stock, but it happened to be the dishwasher that I wanted.

Today was my lucky day.

We loaded the dishwasher up into the back of Carla’s van and headed to Lowe’s to pick up a few plumbing supplies.

When we got back to Boone we unloaded the dishwasher and Jason went to work on installing it. I went over to Lori’s to do my taxes.

It turns out I will be getting a healthy return back. Enough to pay off my electrician, buy a new fridge and perhaps even buy a new camera. One of the great tragedies of 2008 is the fact that I did not buy a new camera all year. I know, brings a tear to the eye.

Today was my lucky day.

I returned home to pick up some stuff I might have needed for the trip to Ames. Jason had already finished installing the dishwasher.

I met Baier at King Buffet. Inexplicably, King Buffet is his favorite restaurant. The food was perfectly adequate and we had a splendid conversation about many of the days hot topic issues.

At the conclusion of our meal I bid Baier a fond aideu and then headed downtown to Rieman Music. Derrick and his minions have done an impressive job of remodeling the store. He has made coves for individual types of products. Plus he painted the place and took down the old town and country border that used to spoil the place. It is very nice, but don’t take my word for it. Head on down and check it out. Buy a trombone or two.

I left Rieman Music and headed for my couch. I didn’t want to miss a moment of the Cyclone women playing the Baylor Bears.

As I sat on my couch I started to feel sick. Although the women were not playing well and would ultimately lose, this was not the type of sickness I feel when I watch the Greg McDermott men play. With the obvious exception of when they played UNI. I felt pretty darn good that night.

After the game concluded, I felt worse. Eventually I got to feeling so bad that I didn’t even want to move from the couch. I sat there watching whatever was on the History Channel.

I had the sensation that I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. I checked the time and I sadly realized that I wasn’t going to be leaving this couch on this night. I texted Shannon to let her know that I was shafting out. She texted me back to relay hopes that I feel better at some point in the future.

I put the phone down and laid my head back down on the pillows. At 9:37, I got a text message. Admittedly, I did not know it was 9:37. I thought it was well after 10. I struggled to get up and read my text message.

My expectations were that the text was from Willy saying that he was “setting the dance floor on fire” and wondering if I was making an appearance. The other possibility was that the message was from Shannon letting me know how much fun I was missing.

But the message was from neither. It was from Monica Henning:

Jeff proposed to me tonight on our trip. I said YES. (Then she included an emoticon, but even when I am quoting somebody I can’t bring myself to use an emoticon. But use your imagination. It was a happy emoticon. It probably involved a colon.)

That was a pretty cool development, but I was in so much pain I couldn’t even think straight. I decided to send the congratulations on the morrow. I frequently use the phrase “on the morrow” when I am sick.

I laid my head back down and continued to inbibe what the History Channel was dishing out. What seemed like hours passed. Then something magical happened.

I had spent my free time on Saturday organizing 3 tubs. 1 tub for audio visual cables. 1 tub for computer cables. 1 tub for phone stuff.

The magic happened 4 times into the phone stuff tub. I instantly felt, not so bad. I picked up my cell phone to check the time: 1:45. Too late to drive to Ames or go to Shenanigans. I laid my head back down on the pillow. I was asleep almost instantly. I didn’t wake up for 12 hours.

I talked to Jason the next day. He had also been sick. We both agreed that we wouldn’t be going back to Angie’s Kitchen. I decided that next time I needed to get breakfast in Ames, I would stick with The Grove Cafe.

But I don’t want the tale of Monica’s engagement to be just a footnote to a tale of vomiting on a caller id box. It is pretty exciting that Monica is tying the knot. I heard a poem once and although I definitely didn’t write it, it is what I hope Jeff feels in 50 years.

Anniversary: One Fine Day
by Walter McDonald

Who would sit through a plot as preposterous as ours,
married after years apart? Chance meetings may work
early in stories, but at operas, darling, in Texas?
A bachelor pilot, I fled Laredo for the weekend,
stopping at the opera from boredom, music I least expected.
Of all the zoos and honky-tonks south of Dallas,
who would believe I would find you there on the stairs,

Madame Butterfly about to start? When you moved
four years before, I lost all hope of dying happy,
dogfighting my way through pilot training, reckless,
in terror only when I saw the man beside you.
I had pictured him rich and splendid in my mind
a thousand times, thinking you married with babies
somewhere in Tahiti, Spain, the south of France.

When I saw the lucky devil I hated—only your date,
but I didn’t know—he stopped gloating, watching you wave,
turned old and bitter like the crone in Shangri La.
Destiny happens only in plays and cheap movies—
but here, here on my desk is your photo, decades later,
and I hear sounds from another room of our house,
and when I rise amazed and follow, you are there.

Primary Painting Day

Although Carla and Alexis did a wonderful job of taking pictures, one of the downsides of not having taken any pictures myself is that I didn’t get pictures of everybody that helped.

So thanks to my incredible painting crew on Primary Painting Day:

Jason Stensland
Carla Stensland
Alexis Stensland
Jason Baier
Jeff Daniel
Amy Yin
Jen Gorshe
Derrick Gorshe
Sara Junck
Teresa Kahler
Monica Henning
Nader Parsaei
Jay Janson
Jesse Howard
Shannon Bardole
Becky Perkovich
James Strachota

I’m sure I’m forgetting somebody. They all did a wonderful job and if it wasn’t for the stupid moisture, I’m sure we would have been completely done on that day. With everything except the kitchen cabinets.

My mom also cooked up a wonderful lunch and supper. I think a good time was had by most.

Some pictures from that day in no particular order:

The Master Bedroom

The Office

Roger taking the tile out to make room for a shower.

Shannon painting the entry way.

Jen working in the kitchen. Notice the swanky green color that kitchen cabinets used to be before the horrible antiquing.

Jesse doing some work on the first official piece of furniture to make it to the house, the Hoosier. Shannon’s dad restored it to working order.

Jesse, possibly high on something, working in the kitchen.

Jesse doing some primer work in the kitchen.

Sara and Alexis toiling in the kitchen. I do not know what I am doing.

Alexis and I painting the living room wall. It might be the accent wall, but I’m not sure if it is still considered an accent wall if you paint two walls that color.

Carla painting in the master bedroom. To the left of her is the family heirloom, our Grandpa Bennett’s painting stool.

Painting the living room. Jesse, Alexis, Me and James.

The guest bedroom.

Jason painting the living room.

Jason and Carla came over on Sunday to do some more painting.

Jen came over and did quite a bit more work in the kitchen as well. I just don’t have any pictures of that.

Friday Night Paint Prep Club – Part B

More pictures from paint prep night.

I got those green chairs from my Aunt Linda to with a sweet white table she was throwing away. Those chairs are surprisingly popular. That is also Shannon showing off her taping skills.

Carla painting the bathroom.

Life Lesson: When working on a ceiling fan, don’t ask for the fan to be turned on when your heads are still in the blades.

Eric dumping out a bucket.

Eric taping it up.

Willy, Jay, Me, Becky, Shannon and Alexis.

Alexis and Teresa washing walls.

Becky and Teresa in the basement.

Teresa and Becky priming the cupboard doors.

Becky on curtain duty.

A stack of cupboard doors.

Another health amount of work had been accomplished. The house was ready for painting day.

Day 2 – Things Start to Look Different

Day 2 at the house involved a ton of work on the cabinets. Carla put a coat of paint on the bathroom walls. The carpet removal team started their work.

I don’t remember the actual name of this color, so we will call it green.

I respect Carla and her painting ability, but I will always think that she is a coward because she didn’t use the family heirloom (she used that fancy yellow stool) to do her painting, but I will get into the family heirloom in more detail at a later date.

Jesse and Roger ripping out the hideous green carpet that was in the office. The wood floor underneath this carpet was a little rough, but nothing too bad.

Jesse working on carpet removal.

Jason, Jesse and Roger starting the carpet removal in the living room/dining room.

I spent a good chunk of this Thursday night in the basement sanding kitchen cabinet doors so that they could be primed and then painted. Maybe some of you don’t know about sanding, but when you get into the “zone” you can’t stop. You can’t be disturbed.

On about cabinet door #25, I hit the sweet sanding zone. It was at this time that Alexis came down to the basement and told me that I was needed upstairs.

I politely explained that I was in the zone and I was to be left alone.

She went back upstairs. I returned to the sweet bliss of the zone.

3 or 4 minutes went by and she returned.

“They really need you upstairs. Robowood says he needs you.”

“I don’t know anything about Robowood. Tell them I am in the zone.”

Alexis left and I returned to the sweet bliss of the sanding zone.

5 minutes later Alexis returned.

“They say they really need you upstairs.”

“Did you explain the zone to them?”

“I told them, they say it is an emergency!”

“Of course, they don’t know anything about the zone, tell them I will be up in a moment.”

I finished the rest of the doors and went upstairs to find the first real major hiccup of the new homestead.

Those who know me at all or at least pretend to know me know this one thing, I am a big fan of wood floors. One of the big selling points of this house for me was the wood floors that had been tragically hidden by ugly carpet.

My carpet removal team (consisting of Jason, Robowood and Uncle Roger) had ripped into their job with a great amount of zeal. Perhaps too much zeal.

They had ripped up and cut the carpet in the dining room without looking at the wood underneath. This turned out to be a problem because the wood floor underneath the dining/living room turns out to not be finished.

Turns out I have a summer project I wasn’t counting on.

The carpet removal team turned into the carpet taping back together team.

Putting the carpet back together under the watchful eye of Mom.

It was a pretty good day’s work.