Category Archives: Jason


EDITOR’S NOTE: It is possible that this will publish late this week. I am getting my taxes done at 11 this morning and when this publishes is dependent on how long that takes. BIG BUCKS! NO WHAMMIES!*

CIRCLE! 360 degrees of fury! But is there enough fury in a CIRCLE to make it a popular theme? You will have to keep scrolling to find out!

As of 12:01 PM on Monday, January 22, this was the current list of ACTIVE streaks (ignore the numbers in parentheses):

1-Myriah Sharp – 1 (2)
2-Elainie Hernandez – 2 weeks
3-Sara Lockner – 2 weeks
4-Monica Jennings – 3 weeks
5-Suzie Brannen – 4 weeks
6-Lowell Davis – 4 weeks (2)
7-Michelle Haupt – 4 weeks
8-Alexis Stensland – 4 weeks (2)
9-Brandon Kahler – 5 weeks
10-Mary Green – 6 weeks (2)
11-Scott Degeneffe – 23 weeks (2)
12-Sabas Hernandez – 24 weeks
13-Mike Vest – 29 weeks
14-Sheri Fakhouri – 33 weeks (2)
15-Logan Kahler – 34 weeks (2)
16-Nathanial Brown – 35 weeks
17-Jesse Howard – 35 weeks (2)
18-Tamara Peterson – 38 weeks
19-Mindi Terrell – 50 weeks (2)
20-Linda Bennett – 79 weeks (2)
21-Sarah Toot – 80 weeks
22-Angie DeWaard – 84 weeks
23-Dawn Krause – 88 weeks
24-Kim Barker – 94 weeks
25-Joe Duff – 95 weeks (2)
26-Teresa Kahler – 106 weeks
27-Carla Stensland – 106 weeks (2)
28-Micky Augustin – 108 weeks
29-Andy Sharp – 109 weeks
30-Bill Wentworth – 110 weeks
31-Cathie Morton – 114 weeks
32-Elizabeth Nordeen – 115 weeks
33-Shannon Bardole-Foley – 117 weeks
34-Kio Dettman – 119 weeks (2)

Here is the list of rules for Year 11 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE:

1. The picture must be taken between 12:01 PM today and 11 AM next Monday. This isn’t a curate your photos project. This is a get your butt off the couch and take pictures challenge!
2. There is a limit of 2 submissions per person per theme. If you send me more than 2, I will use the first 2 that you submit.
3. Deadline to submit your submission is 11 AM next Monday.
4. To be considered the photographer of an image, you have to be the one that clicks the shutter. If you hand your camera over to somebody else to take a picture of you, you are NOT the photographer of that image.
5. No screen captures. This is a photography challenge. Not a “look at what I found on the internet” challenge.

There are still 2 ways to submit:
1. Email your submission to
2. Text your submission to my Google Pixel 8 Pro.
3. Sometimes, for special people, for special circumstances, we can negotiate something.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates or streaks or the rules of the challenge or how to submit. You came to see the submissions and what streaks continued and what streaks flamed out:

Adam Gordon (Boone, Iowa) – 1 week

Adam Gordon (Boone, Iowa)

Evie Gorshe (Iowa) – 1 week

Willy McAlpine (Boone, Iowa) – 1 week

Jason Stensland (Lake Waubay, South Dakota) – 1 week

Jason Stensland (Lake Waubay, South Dakota)

WPC 438 - CIRCLE -
Elainie Hernandez (Ankeny, Iowa) – 3 weeks

Sara Lockner (Johnston, Iowa) – 3 weeks

Monica Jennings (Iowa) – 4 weeks

Suzie Brannen (Clive, Iowa)- 5 weeks

Lowell Davis (Ames, Iowa) – 5 weeks

Michelle Haupt (Iowa) – 5 weeks

Alexis Stensland (Ogden, Iowa) – 5 weeks

Alexis Stensland (Ogden, Iowa)

Brandon Kahler (Ames, Iowa) – 6 weeks

Mary Green (Iowa) – 7 weeks

Mary Green (Iowa)

WPC 438 - CIRCLE -
Scott Degeneffe (Boone County, Iowa) – 24 weeks

Sabas Hernandez (Ankeny, Iowa) – 25 weeks

Mike Vest (Madrid, Iowa) – 30 weeks

Sheri Fakhouri (Iowa) – 34 weeks

Logan Kahler (Boone, Iowa) – 35 weeks

Logan Kahler (Boone, Iowa)

Nathanial Brown (Jefferson, Iowa) – 36 weeks

Jesse Howard (Ames, Iowa) – 36 weeks

Tamara Peterson (Iowa) – 39 weeks

Mindi Terrell (Iowa) – 51 weeks

Mindi Terrell (Iowa)

Linda Bennett (Kansas) – 80 weeks

Sarah Toot (New York City, New York) – 81 weeks

Angie DeWaard (Des Moines, Iowa) – 85 weeks

Angie DeWaard (Ames, Iowa)

Dawn Krause (Boone, Iowa) – 89 weeks

Dawn Krause (Boone, Iowa)

Kim Barker (Nevada, Iowa) – 95 weeks

Joe Duff (League City, Texas) – 96 weeks

Joe Duff (League City, Texas)

Teresa Kahler (Ankeny, Iowa) – 107 weeks

Teresa Kahler (Iowa State University – Ames, Iowa)

Carla Stensland (Ogden, Iowa) – 107 weeks

Carla Stensland (Ames, Iowa)

Micky Augustin (Iowa) – 109 weeks

Andy Sharp (Mason City, Iowa) – 110 weeks

Bill Wentworth (Omaha, Nebraska)- 111 weeks

WPC 438 - CIRCLE -
Cathie Morton (Norwalk, Iowa) – 115 weeks

Elizabeth Nordeen (Iowa) – 116 weeks

Shannon Bardole-Foley (Iowa) – 118 weeks

Kio Dettman (Boone, Iowa) 120 weeks

Kio Dettman (Boone, Iowa)

Christopher D. Bennett (McHose Park – Boone, Iowa) – 542 weeks

38 participants! That is a new high for this year!

There were submissions this week taken in the following places:

+ Iowa
+ Kansas
+ Nebraska
+ New York
+ South Dakota
+ Texas

Thanks to Jason’s trip to South Dakota and Sarah’s trip to New York, we can add those to this year’s list!

Here is the Year 11 list of states where submissions have been taken (submissions taken in each state):

+ Hawaii (2)
+ Iowa (195)
+ Kansas (8)
+ Michigan (2)
+ Nebraska (6)
+ New York (1)
+ Pennsylvania (5)
+ South Dakota (2)
+ Texas (9)

The big milestone this week was the first ever submission from Jason! WooHoo!

But it wasn’t all good news. Myriah couldn’t build on last week’s submission and her streak was over before it even began!

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:



I look forward to your interpretation!

That is all I got, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will all be sharing your idea of TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES in this place in this place that was heavily influenced by a book on trains next Monday.

*There were no BIG BUCKS! But there were also NO WHAMMIES! But at least I didn’t owe any money.

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest Recap

I know I might have written that I was finally going to start sharing pictures from the Color the Wind Festival today, but instead I’m going to do a recap of the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest before it gets too long in the tooth.

First, I should announce to those of you that voted in the People’s Choice Award what photo took home the prize:

Road Trip by Savannah Martin

Road Trip received 50 votes. The next highest vote total received was 21 votes.

If you are interested in seeing this year’s photo books, click on the links below:

Readable Photo Book

Printable Photo Book

There is a lot of people I need to thank for making this years Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest a success.

The Judges:
+ Andie DeWaard
+ Janae Erickson
+ Lisa Person

The Administrative Staff:
+ Teresa Kahler
+ Carla Stensland

The Pegboard Builders:
+ Andy Sharp
+ Jason Stensland

The Graphic Designer:
+ Monica Jennings

The Photo Display Team:
+ Dawn Krause
+ Jesse Howard
+ Monica Jennings
+ Graham Jennings

The Book Designer:
+ Michelle Haupt

The Best of Show & People’s Choice Award Creator:
+ Anonymous

The Merchants that hosted the photo entries:
+ Boone Theater (Teen and Adult Places)
+ Ema’s Elegance (Adult Animals)
+ The Houndstooth Haberdashery (Adult Trains, Planes, & Automobiles)
+ Infamous Ink (Adult Black & White)
+ The Lavender Basket (Adult Plants)
+ Paradox (Youth)
+ Studio 721 (Adult People)

I didn’t take as many pictures as I have in the past of the machinations of the Photo Contest but I did take a few.

Here are some from the Judging:

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Judging went very smooth. There was some good and spirited debate from the judges and for the first time ever, had to engage in some tie-breakers. Including a tie-breaker for Best in Show.

I already have 2 of the judges picked out for next year. Still thinking on that third judge, for now. But I have a pretty good idea. Or at least a couple of candidates in mind.

Monica and I set up the photo displays on Thursday. Paradox and Studio 721 set up the displays themselves, which was a big help. Monica really put the displays together and I did the grunt work.

Here are some pictures of the displays:

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

On Saturday Jesse and I tore down all the displays. On Sunday we transported them out to McHose Park. Graham and Monica met us out there and setup the tents and the display. Jesse and I sat out there in the pouring rain all day trying to keep the pictures dry.

Here are some pictures from Art in the Park:

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2023

Watching over the photo display at Art in the Park was a pretty cool experience, even if the conditions weren’t ideal. I got to meet and speak with a few of the photographers that I hadn’t met before. And I met one person that is interested in entering next year and another that is an artist that urged their friend to enter this year. I enjoyed all of those interactions.

After Art in the Park concluded Dawn and Nathanial helped tear down the display and the tents. Logan returned all the pictures that weren’t picked up at Art in the Park for me.

All things considered, it was a successful year. I’m not sure what changes I will make for next year, but I know I will need to add some new faces to the list of volunteers. That volunteer might be you!

And You Left Me There Cryin’ Wonderin’ What I Did Wrong

Today is Jason’s birthday. Happy birthday Jason!

June 14

I hope your birthday is as amazing as you want it to be!


Time to clean up the backlog. These images are from September that never quite fit into any previous posts. Some are alternates for THE WEEKLYPHOTO CHALLENGE. Another is a photo I took of Ron for last year’s Computer Mine Holiday Card.

And You Left Me There Cryin' Wonderin' What I Did Wrong

Railroad Bridge near Jefferson

Railroad Bridge near Jefferson

And You Left Me There Cryin' Wonderin' What I Did Wrong

And You Left Me There Cryin' Wonderin' What I Did Wrong

And You Left Me There Cryin' Wonderin' What I Did Wrong

And You Left Me There Cryin' Wonderin' What I Did Wrong

And You Left Me There Cryin' Wonderin' What I Did Wrong

And You Left Me There Cryin' Wonderin' What I Did Wrong

And You Left Me There Cryin' Wonderin' What I Did Wrong

And You Left Me There Cryin' Wonderin' What I Did Wrong

And You Left Me There Cryin' Wonderin' What I Did Wrong

And You Left Me There Cryin' Wonderin' What I Did Wrong

And You Left Me There Cryin' Wonderin' What I Did Wrong

And You Left Me There Cryin' Wonderin' What I Did Wrong

Ames, Iowa

Boone Scenic & Valley Railroad

Boone Scenic & Valley Railroad

Boone Scenic & Valley Railroad

Boone Scenic & Valley Railroad

Boone Scenic & Valley Railroad

Ron - 2022

Maybe you are wondering about the George A. Wyman sign. Don’t worry, I’ll feed you baby birds. From the Wiki:

Wyman used his 1902 California machine for his crossing of the United States. The California had a 200 cc (12 cu in), 1.5 hp (1.1 kW) four-stroke engine attached to an ordinary diamond-frame bicycle. Wyman’s machine was equipped with 28 x 1.5 in. tires, wooden rims, a leading-link front suspension fork, a Garford spring saddle, a Duck Brake Company front roller brake, and a 1902-patent Atherton rear coaster brake. A leather belt-drive with a spring-loaded idler pulley directly connected the engine output shaft to the rear wheel.Using a standard steel bicycle frame, the California weighed approximately 70–80 pounds (32–36 kg) without rider, and was capable of approximately 25 mph (40 km/h) using the 30-octane gasoline of the day, with a range of 75 to 100 miles (121 to 161 km). Throttle control was not yet perfected, and engine revolutions were mainly controlled by means of a spark timing mechanism. The wick-type carburetor was crude, consisting of a metal box with internal baffles stuffed with cotton batting. With no float chamber, the rider had to open the gasoline tap periodically to admit fuel into the carburetor.

For such a long trip, Wyman carried a remarkably small amount of gear. A set of warm clothing, money, water bottle, cans for spare oil and gasoline, a Kodak Vest Pocket camera, a cyclometer, various bicycle tools and spare parts, and a long-barreled .38 Smith & Wesson revolver constituted his total luggage.

Wyman departed from Lotta’s Fountain at the corner of Market and Kearny streets in San Francisco at 2:30 P.M on May 16, 1903.[4] He had previously agreed to keep a diary of his journey for later publication in The Motorcycle magazine, a periodical of the time. The first part of his trip took him across the Sierra Nevada, through the Nevada desert into Wyoming, then on through Nebraska to Illinois.

As the dirt trails and wagon tracks of the day were often impassable, Wyman rode the railroad tracks for over half of his journey. During the first part of his trip, he frequently slept in railroad company housing or at rooming houses located in division settlements (small municipalities founded by the railroad). His motorbike suffered several breakdowns along the way, requiring him to make improvised repairs until he could get to a larger town to obtain new parts. As he neared Aurora, Illinois, his engine’s crankshaft snapped, and after pedaling his way to Chicago, Wyman was forced to wait there five days for a new crank to arrive by railway express.

After leaving Illinois, Wyman traversed the states of Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania before entering New York state. Outside of Albany his engine lost all power, and he was required to pedal his heavy motorbike the remaining 150 miles (240 km) to New York City using a cycle path reserved for licensed cyclists.

On July 6, 1903, Wyman arrived in New York City, completing his transcontinental crossing and becoming the first person to cross the North American continent aboard a motor vehicle. His journey took a total of 51 days to cover some 3,800 miles (6,100 km). Afterwards, Wyman’s motorbike was placed on display at the New York Motorcycle Club while Wyman recovered from his grueling journey. While in New York, Wyman was present for the inauguration of the very first nationwide motorcycle organization, the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM)[14] at the Kings County Wheelmens’ Club in Brooklyn; it was reported at the time that his hands were still in bandages from the trip. Wyman later returned to San Francisco by train. His California motorbike was put on display in San Francisco at Golden Gate Park for a special exhibition commemorating the trip.

This is actually something Jesse and I have talked about doing as well. Not on a motorcycle, but driving across the country. We’ve never done anything about it, but maybe will someday.

Here is more information on the route he took:


It is hard to read, but the towns we care about in the Cyclone State are:

Council Bluffs
Tama Reservation
Cedar Rapids

He stayed the night in Ogden. I hope he ate at Zeno’s when he was in Marshalltown!*

*That is a joke, don’t email me telling me that Zeno’s didn’t exist back then, because I will only reply back that Zeno’s has always will always exist.

The Windy City: Day 1B

I need to start out by thanking everyone that wished me a happy birthday. I believe this is a comprehensive list of everybody that wished me a happy birthday.

+ Kim and also thank you for buying me birthday Buffalo Chicken tots and the card.
+ Ron, Clevenger, Jordan, and Aaron. Although I may have bought those birthday wishes with donuts.
+ Elizabeth and also thanks for buying me candy bars I know you don’t like but the real thanks goes for looking for my favorite candy bars the Whatchamacallit and the Take 5! You are the real hero! Also, glad you are digging SHRINKING! Such a great show!
+ Steph. My birthday buddy, I hope FAST X was everything you wanted to be and I’m trying not to lose just a smidge of respect that you went to it.
+ Jesse – Sorry I was so aggressive in accusing you of eating all the mystery cheese.
+ Nader – Thanks for the frog statue!
+ Shannon- half credit for including a picture of a gross cat with your birthday wishes.
+ Michelle – good job taking a three day weekend to celebrate my birth.
+ Jay – doesn’t look like you got any rhubarb. It isn’t going to pick itself.
+ Kelly – thanks for the kind words. Not necessary, but thanks.
+ Angie – hope the postcard arrives soon.
+ Monica – thanks for sending me the picture of me in my Hulkster phase.
+ Suzie – thanks for knowing the proper animal to include in a happy birthday wish!
+ Jason – glad you are feeling better!
+ Bill – thanks for replying “no problem” when I said “thanks”. Don’t know why, but that amused me.
+ Sara Lockner – thanks for almost using enough exclamation marks in your birthday wishes!
+ Shawn – I’m sorry your wife used up all the world’s supply of punctuation in her birthday wishes and there wasn’t any punctuation left for yours.
+ Faust – thanks for pretending that banking sounds fun.
+ Teresa – thanks but I have my doubts you know who Dwight Schrute is.
+ Anders – I don’t know if it was a great one, but I’m sure May Movie Night will be.
+ Sarah Toot – Thanks for thinking I have the slightest clue what emoticons mean. Don’t feel pressure to do better next year.
+ Alexis – thanks for letting me think today was my day.
+ Baier and Dre – We didn’t have much interaction, but thanks for thinking of me.
+ Micky – thanks for multiple birthday wishes. It isn’t a contest, but if it was I think Elizabeth won. At least I think that is what she yelled at me as I walked out the door. But your message was the closest I came to having cake today. So that is something.
+ Lori – thanks, no need to apologize for transferring me my favorite kind of call, even if I really shouldn’t have been first in queue. Hope things went well today.
+ Mark – thanks. I suppose I should learn when your birthday is. Also stop using your desk for storage. Nah!
+ Lowell – thanks for the gift card. I like to think you would get me one even if the company didn’t require it.
+ Carla – thanks for getting your birthday wishes in right before the buzzer.
+ Nathanial – thanks for the final birthday wishes of my day.

I think that is the list. I think that is everybody that wished me a happy birthday! Thanks everyone!

If you are wondering what I did for my birthday, it was nothing super spectacular. It was mostly an average day.

I woke up about 5:54 AM. A little late for me. I was up late last night watching the NBA Playoffs. Then trying to watch the season finale of THE CURSE OF OAK ISLAND. Dang it! This wasn’t the season they actually found treasure. And I was so sure! I also ate fried food the night before. I’m trying to eat healthier, so it is fairly rare I eat fried food these days, he said hoping that there were people that believed him. Point is I slept in. It was my birthday. Cut me some slack!

I’m not sure what I did when I first got out of bed. I think I moved to the couch and watched the news for a little bit. Then I went outside and watered the flowers. I also took apart the trunk in the Camry. I had a slight gas spill in the trunk the night before and it was creating a pretty strong smell in the rest of the car. Then I took a shower. Brushed my teeth. Got dressed. But on cologne option #2. Said goodbye to Naima. Got in the Camry. Headed out.

There is an old birthday tradition at the Computer Mine where on your birthday you bring in food for the other employees. On a good day, there are about 10 employees in the building. (On a great day there is less.) On this day, half those people were gone for various reasons. On my way to work I stopped at the Dutch Oven Bakery and picked up a dozen donuts for my co-workers.

This is a small detail of what transpired on my birthday, but perhaps one of my favorite things that happened.

I left the donuts in the breakroom and then sent an email out to the people I knew would be in the building. Here is the backstory.

About 2 weeks, Elizabeth brought in a dozen donuts from a bakery in Nevada. (For the record, and I might get rode out of Boone on a rail for saying this, these donuts buried the ones from Dutch Oven.) She cut all the donuts in half. Now I feel like I shouldn’t have to explain why, but I will. She cut them in half so that people could try multiple donuts and multiple people could try the same donut.

Back to my birthday. Based on my current work schedule, Ron gets to the building about 30 minutes before I do. Elizabeth gets to the office about 15-30 minutes after me. She is in Special Forces so she can come and go as she pleases. I guess that is really more backstory, for what I’m promising you isn’t much payoff.

So back to that email. I explained in the email that there were donuts in the breakroom for my birthday. I didn’t cut them in half (cause I’m lazy – I didn’t write that, but it was in the subtext) but maybe when Elizabeth got here she would cut the donuts in half. I added that this wasn’t sexist on my part, just she is very passionate about the donut cutting thing.

Here is the “payoff”. I’m telling you that the ink wasn’t dry on that email before Ron was standing next to my cubicle. He wished me a happy birthday and then said that he was going to go get a donut quick before Elizabeth got here and cut them in half.

I said it wasn’t much of a payoff, but I thought it was hilarious.

I think it was somewhere in here I went to take a Snap of the donuts to keep my Streaks going with Logan (501), Brandon (257), Nathanial (89), Fran (37), and Alexis (23).

Somewhere after this, Elizabeth did come in. She did not cut all the donuts in half, but she did cut the donuts she tried in half. Take that Ron! She also brought me candy! So the day was off to a great start.

After that I put in a good solid 8 hours for The Man. I was a problem solving machine. Well to be honest, in the morning I mostly did a lot of rando stuff. I think the highlight of my morning (besides the other stuff I’ve highlighted) was being on hold with a customer for about 30 minutes as they repeatedly rebooted their computer before announcing, I’ll have to call you back.

Then came my lunchbreak. I did point out that I am trying to eat healthier. That means (amongst other things) that I only drink pop once a week. I’m pretty much completely off fast food. I rarely eat fried foods. This means that one of my favorite haunts, B-Bop’s has been off the table. But I figured it was my birthday, I could treat myself to B-Bop’s.

I drove halfway across Ames and got the #2 with Cheese with a Large Pepsi.

Sidebar: A great birthday present would have been the B-Bops across the street from the Computer Mine opening back up so I don’t have to drive completely across tarnation to get B-Bops goodness. They have been remodeling for months now! How long does it take to remodel a restaurant that doesn’t have a dining room?!?!?

It was just as good as I remembered. Although, I could feel the salad place next door judging me a little bit. But I literally ate there the day before. Asian Crunch Salad, no protein. So I think we’re square. Stop looking at me lettuce!

After I got back to the work I was a machine. Updating Server Managers. Modifying hosts files. Attaching SQL databases. All a beauty of motion, while sitting in a desk chair staring at 3 monitors. Barely taking a break to try to solve the mystery of what happened to the missing (I failed).

I called it a day, leaving many a satisfied customer in my wake. (Which means next time I work I won’t be able to solve anybody’s problems.) I drove home. I like to take a route home (sometimes called Old 30) where I drive by a bunch of railroad cars just parked along the highway to see if there is any interesting graffiti to photograph. There wasn’t anything transcendent like a painting of a dog or a clown or characters from The Simpsons, but there was one I found photo worthy. I pulled over and snapped a photo. I’m collecting these images and when I hit about 20 or so I will share them. This is what passes for an art scene in Boone.

Got home. Said hello to Naima. Then mowed my back yard. Which needed to be done before it became a 3 man job… again. I was supposed to have a meeting with my friend Kelli. She is opening a wine bar and wants to use my photography on her walls. I was supposed to look at the space and kind of figure out what we wanted to put there, but that meeting got postponed cause, from what I’m gathering, one of her kids did something dumb. Like go to Grand Junction.

The cancellation opened up a hole in my schedule and I was able to take Naima to Dickcissel for a walk and some wading for her. It was also a good time for me to take the theme reveal image for next week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme.

There was a decent rain coming down on us when we completed the loop. Which meant Naima was soaked all over. I consider this to be a positive though, because the smell of wet dog masked the smell of gas. Not much of a trade up, but small victories.

I decided to go to Dairy Queen for ice cream on our way home since I’m eating healthier. Unfortunately, the line in the DQ drive-thru was crazy long, so instead I drove across town to Big Kahuna’s. This is a considerable upgrade in the quality of the ice cream for me, but it meant Naima didn’t get a pup cup. Sorry, Naima. Don’t feel too bad for her. She did get a full pork chop for supper. Me? I had a cherry amaretto ice cream waffle cone for supper. The supper of champions!

I came home and started watching the Lakers-Nuggets game to finish off my night. While sitting there I got a snap from Nathanial asking for my opinion on his options for the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. He is the second person to ask for my opinion. Meanwhile, humble narrator, hasn’t even given any consideration to what he will enter. Usually at this point I at least know at least 2 of the pictures I will enter. This year I have absolutely no clue. I mean that could be a weekend project, but I don’t know I’ll have much time this weekend either. I guess we’ll see what happens.

After the Nuggets won, I watched a little bit of “90s Nation” on MTV Classic and called it a night. Nodding off into a golden slumber listening to the “Morbid” podcast on H.H. Holmes. Part 4. All in all, a pretty good birthday.


We begin where we left off last Friday. Lowell, Tony, and I were walking around Chicago waiting for Kim to get done getting good union employees fired for smoking a joint while putting up our booth. Kim has no chill. We were going to checkout a place called Zombie Taco as a potential place for supper. Kim had told us that we were to pick the place for supper. Tacos are always a good choice. That is free advice that I’m giving you, that I wish I had listened to on Day 3 of this trip. Unfortunately when we found Zombie Taco it seemed to be only a walk-up window and on top of that, it seemed to be closed.

But back to the walkabout.

Chicago, Illinois
A play on “This American Life”. My favorite radio show. But I’m not sure what it means.

Chicago, Illinois
I think this place was abandoned.

Chicago, Illinois
Never let anybody tell you, wearing Skechers is not cool. I wear them. Snoop wears them. Tony wears them. Elizabeth’s Grandma used to wear them.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
My greatest regret from the trip to Chicago is not taking a river cruise.

Chicago, Illinois
I wonder if this was the boat that the Dave Matthews Band dumped their poop on. As awful as that must have been, still better than listening to their music.

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago has a fair collection of interesting bridges.

Chicago, Illinois
More street art.

Chicago, Illinois
Down to the River Walk.

Chicago, Illinois
Another interesting bridge.

Chicago, Illinois
It was around here I met a lady that was walking a golden retriever. Such a good dog. Also, more street art.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
I’m guessing this is to protect you from Dave Matthews dumping his poop on your head. Now if they could devise a way to protect you from his awful music.

Chicago, Illinois
I assume Dave Matthews put that there.

Chicago, Illinois
I’d tell you what I think of Salesforce, but enough work talk.

Chicago, Illinois
There is also a Dick’s Last Resort on the San Antonio River Walk. This parking garage is an excellent example of why I would never want to live in a city.

Chicago, Illinois
But it is pretty to look at.

Chicago, Illinois
My #1 goal of the Chicago Trip was to see The Bean. Crossed it off the list Day 1.

Chicago, Illinois
After telling us to pick the restaurant, Kim picked the restaurant. Which fortunately, was 1 block from The Bean.

Chicago, Illinois
The WPC theme this week was FRIENDS. Nathanial told me I could take a picture of my reflection and I could be my own FRIEND(S). I have FRIENDS Nathanial. Still a cool shot.

Chicago, Illinois
The sculptor (Anish Kapoor) of The Bean at first hated that people called it that. It’s official name is Cloud Gate.

Chicago, Illinois
It is made out of 168 stainless steel plates welded together.

Chicago, Illinois
It’s highly polished exterior has no visible seams.

Chicago, Illinois
It measures 33 x 66 x 42 feet.

Chicago, Illinois
The design was inspired by liquid mercury.

Chicago, Illinois

I still have one more collection of images to share from Day 1 of the trip to Chicago.


This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is HAPPY!


HAPPY! What a great theme for Year 10 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

But what in the Dave Rauker is a HAPPY photo? Simply put, it is a picture of somebody that is HAPPY or a picture of something that makes you HAPPY. HAPPY is, well it is a feeling of pleasure or contentment. In case you aren’t sure you know what it means to be HAPPY.

HAPPY has been a theme one other time. Here are a few of the submissions from that time to provide you with some inspiration:

Suzie Brannen – Week 71

Kim Barker – Week 71

Stephanie Kim – Week 71

Angie DeWaard – Week 71

Christopher D. Bennett – Week 71

In fact, that was pretty much every submission I received for HAPPY. I bet there will be more submissions this time.

Happy photo harvesting!

I Got My Swim Trunks and My Flippie Floppies

Full intellectual honest, I hate flippie floppies and don’t own a pair. The worst “shoes” ever designed by, I don’t know, the devil! I could write for hours about how they are terrible. They are so terrible, I don’t even like to see other people wearing them.

However, that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the second half of the photo collection of me on a boat. Everybody look at me, cause I’m on a boat!

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

If you’re on the shore, then you’re sure not me, oh!

The next time we visit a county to look at auxiliary images from THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT, we will visit Allamakee County.

On a Boat Like Leo

Happy Friday the 13th to those who celebrate! I celebrate by going to Jimmy’s for their free sandwich Friday the 13th special. I’ll see you there.

This is a good time to share more pictures from my camping trip with Carla and Jason. I actually had to cut the camping trip shorter than I wanted because I had to drive from Spirit Lake to Johnston for a little kid’s birthday party. So I didn’t get to stay through until Sunday. Hopefully I get a chance to go camping with Carla and Jason again this year and won’t have to leave early.

We still had a pretty cool day with the time I was there. We visited the site of the Spirit Lake “Massacre” and then we tooled around I think 3 of the Great Lakes of Iowa. On a boat!

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Okoboji Camping Trip

Still more pictures from this trip to share!


This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is REFLECTION:


REFLECTION! What a great theme to kick of Year 10 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

But what in tarnation is a REFLECTION picture. It is simply enough a picture where a major compositional element of the picture is a REFLECTION. Mirrors obviously make great REFLECTIONs. But there are other things that REFLECT(ION) as well. For example water. I nicely waxed floor. Eyes. The list just goes on and on. Also, don’t forget that there is more than one definition of REFLECTION.

Happy photo harvesting!

Marble Beach

Today is Lowell’s birthday… so… happy birthday Lowell!

Day 138 - May 18, 2022

Ironic that this picture was taken on my birthday? Either way, I hope your birthday has adequate amounts of happiness!


I count this trip a bit as auxiliary images for THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT. In fact I went camping with Carla and Jason at the Marble Beach State Recreation Area. While I was there I harvested one town sign. It was a town sign that I had harvested before, but I wanted to get a picture of it at night. So I revisited the town sign of Terril, Iowa.

Terril, Iowa
Terril, Iowa – The only town sign in Iowa that is neon.

Marble Beach State Recreation Area

Marble Beach State Recreation Area

Marble Beach State Recreation Area

Marble Beach State Recreation Area

Marble Beach State Recreation Area

Marble Beach State Recreation Area

Marble Beach State Recreation Area

Marble Beach State Recreation Area

Dickinson County - Terril

Emmet County - Estherville

Emmet County - Estherville

Emmet County - Estherville

Emmet County - Estherville

Emmet County - Estherville

Emmet County - Estherville

Emmet County - Estherville

Emmet County - Estherville

Emmet County - Estherville

Emmet County - Estherville

Emmet County - Estherville

The swinging bridge is located in Estherville. Made a special trip just to walk across it. It is hard to put into words how incredibly dark it was on that bridge on that night. The pictures make it look much brighter than it actually was. In fact, crossing a swinging bridge, suspended over a swift Des Moines River, in pitch black conditions was a bit of a rush.

I still have more pictures from this camping trip to share.

Goodbye 2022.

Happy New Year to those of you sheeple that follow the Gregorian Calendar. I for one, moved to Unix time years ago. So if I have a birthday party this year (Sara wants me to have one, but I doubt it happens) the invites will list the time of the event in Unix Time, like an adult. But I don’t want to tell you what calendar to use.

I think you should look at the options. By the Gregorian Calendar, when this post publishes, it is the year 2022. But there are other calendars.

Here is a list of other calendars and what year it is if you use those calendars:

Hebrew – 5783
Islamic – 1444
Chinese – 4659
Coptic – 1739
Japanese – Reiwa 4
British Regnal – 1 Cha. 3
Buddhist – 2566
Nanakshahi – 554
Hindu – 5123
Juche – 111
Byzantine – 7531
Roman – 2775
Holocene – 12022
Unix Time (like an adult): 1672531199 (roughly)

As you can tell, Unix Time is clearly superior.

Even though I don’t celebrate New Years, I do like to give holiday Power Rankings.

Here are my champagne power rankings:

10. All champagne is trash.
9. All champagne is trash.
8. All champagne is trash.
7. All champagne is trash.
6. All champagne is trash.
5. All champagne is trash.
4. All champagne is trash.
3. All champagne is trash.
2. All champagne is trash.
1. Champere

So Happy New Years to those who celebrate it. I will have been asleep a couple hours when the bell tolls for 2022. I’m old, lame, and don’t get invited to adult parties.


Time to reveal the December image for the 2023 Photography 139 Gregorian Calendar:

2023 Calendar - December

The December image is a picture of the old mill in Independence, Iowa. I took it while harvesting the town signs of Buchanan County for THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT. In retrospect, it isn’t a great image for the brutal colds and snows of December. But it was the last selected image and December was the last month that didn’t have an image. These things tend to sort themselves out.

DATE: May 28, 2022 – 9:41 AM
LENS: Tamron 17-28 f/2.8
ISO: 100

I have no calendar images to share tomorrow. Or again until December. If the Photography 139 Calendar exists again in 2024.


This year when I handed a calendar to somebody I asked them to pick a favorite image. Then I photographed them with their favorite image. I also asked people that I didn’t hand deliver a calendar to to pick a favorite image and then send me a picture of them with that image. Like 3 people did that. So good for them? Not that such treachery might factor in who gets a calendar next year…

I forgot to do this for the attendees of the Westhaven Christmas, so this won’t be held against them. Maybe Nate. I did ask him and he said “No problem” and then never sent me a picture.

Any way here is a collection of, but not comprehensive collection of pictures of people with their favorite pictures from the calendar:


Bethany and Nora


Also Colleen

Also, also Colleen


Baier (Jason)

More Baiers (Olivia)

More Baiers (Ben)

More Baiers (Carrie and J.J.)

More Baiers (Will)


























It is possible more pictures might trickle in, if people I mailed calendars to haven’t received them yet. I think every picture got picked except for January. Poor January. Might try this again next year. We’ll see if the people like it.


This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is BODY PART:



BODY PART! What a great final theme for Year 9 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

But what is a BODY PART image? Simply put, it is a picture where a major compositional element of the image is a BODY PART. Doesn’t have to be your BODY PART. Could be somebody else’s. It could belong to an animal. There are so many BODY PART(s) to choose from! Heads. Shoulders. Knees. Toes. Just to name a few.

Happy photo harvesting!

Selfie Project – November 2022

I don’t know that November was a particularly active month for me. It is getting to the hardest part of the year to do this project. The sun isn’t up when I go to work. It is barely up when I get off work. That being said, I think I took a few decent picture in November for THE SELFIE PROJECT:

Day 305 - November 1, 2022
November 1

Day 307 - November 3, 2022
November 3

Day 308 - November 4, 2022
November 4

Day 309 - November 5, 2022
November 5

Day 310 - November 6, 2022
November 6

Day 312 - November 8, 2022
November 8

Day 313 - November 9, 2022
November 9

Day 314 - November 10, 2022
November 10

Day 315 - November 11, 2022
November 11

Day 316 - November 12, 2022
November 12

Day 317 - November 13, 2022
November 13

Day 319 - November 15, 2022
November 15

Day 321 - November 17, 2022
November 17

Day 323 - November 19, 2022
November 19

Day 324 - November 20, 2022
November 20

Day 325 - November 21, 2022
November 21

Day 326 - November 22, 2022
November 22

Day 327 - November 23, 2022
November 23

Day 328 - November 24, 2022
November 24

Day 329 - November 25, 2022
November 25

Day 331 - November 27, 2022
November 27

Day 332 - November 28, 2022
November 28

Day 333 - November 29, 2022
November 29

I don’t know that I’ll be that active in December either. But I’ll try.


This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is ANIMAL:


ANIMAL! What a great theme for Year 9 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

But what is an ANIMAL picture? Simply put it is a picture of an ANIMAL. It can be a wild ANIMAL or it can be a pet or it can be a stuffed ANIMAL or it can be a statue of an ANIMAL. It can be a dog or a bird or a squirrel or a fish or a lizard or a dog or a deer or a possum or a dog or a hamster or a rat or a dog or a bear or an alligator or a dog.

Happy photo harvesting!

Fat Mum Slim – June 2022

On Thursday I completed another month of the Fat Mum Slim Photo A Day Challenge. For June, there was only one prompt. Grateful. Everyday, post a picture of something that makes you grateful. What I decided to do was every day take a picture with somebody that I am grateful to have in my life. 30 days in June. 30 different people. Only one person a day. It wasn’t going to be easy, but it wasn’t necessarily difficult. Most days, I just let people come into my life. I never made a trip way out of my way to take a picture. I think the farthest I went out of my way was to Madrid for the last day. Most people agreed to come to me. The farthest away a picture was taken was in Lansing, Iowa. But I didn’t go to Lansing, Iowa to take the picture. I went to Lansing to take a picture of their town sign. The second farthest away a picture taken was Spirit Lake, Iowa. But I didn’t go to Spirit Lake to take the picture. I went to Spirit Lake to go camping. The funny thing about those subjects is they were my sisters, who both live pretty darn close to me. The farthest away anybody lives from me that was included was Easton, Kansas. But that person definitely didn’t drive to Boone to have their picture taken with me.

The breakdown of people that I got pictured, if I were to categorize these people by how I first met them, it would break down like this:

+ Friend from Work: 11 – 7 current and 4 from the past.
+ Blood Relative – 7 people.
+ Church Friend – 5 people.
+ School Friend – 4 people.
+ In-Law – 1 person.
+ Teresa’s Friend – 1 person.
+ Olivia’s Friend – 1 person.

Here are my gratitude pictues:

June 1
June 1 – Grateful – I’m grateful for my “Workspace Buddy” Joe. Not only because he is a great co-worker, but a great guy. He 100% believes the earth is flat, that there is no such thing as space, the moon landing was faked, and all celebrities are clones. While I don’t buy any of his views, I do have more respect for them than somebody that believes that supply side economics work. I’m grateful to know such an outside of the box thinker.

June 2
June 2 – Gratitude – This is Derrick. I’ve known him since we were slinging burgers together at the Evil Clown Empire back in college. I’m grateful to have him in my life, not just because we have season tickets together for Iowa State Cyclones football, but also because I wish I had 5% of his musical talent. He is a true guitar god in that he can both play a face melting solo and he can tell you everything about and repair any guitar. Just listening to him talk about guitars is a privilege.

June 3
June 3 – Gratitude – This is Willy. I’ve known him since I started getting invited to Saturday Morning Basketball in 9th Grade. Willy used to dominate the game before the “Big Dog” started to prowl the court. Willy is a world traveler as his Costa Rico hat and Portugal shirt attest and I do live vicariously through him. But the reason I’m most grateful to have him in my life is shortly after his teenage sister passed away suddenly, we started getting supper together on Friday nights. Other members of Friday Night Supper Club came and went, but Willy and I got supper together almost every Friday for a decade, right up until the pandemic. It was and maybe in the future, the perfect end to a work week.

June 4
June 4 – Gratitude – This is Brandon. I’m grateful for all my nieces and nephews, biological and otherwise. Brandon is my oldest nephew and grows the best beard of any of them. He also has great taste in pop culture as he shares my love for all things Godzilla.

June 5
June – Gratitude – I know there are well more than 30 people from my life that I am grateful for, but I also just don’t know if that I will see 30 different people on 30 different days. Especially when I mostly work from home. Some days I don’t really know that I will see anybody that I haven’t already photographed, but then something happens totally unexpected. My sister Teresa had tickets to see Hamilton with her best friend Sheri, but then she got sick and couldn’t go, so I ended up going to see Hamilton with Sheri. While I feel bad for Teresa, I am grateful to have Sheri in my life as she is one of those friends that is more like family to everybody in my family. And yes Hamilton was great! It is Hamilton.

June 6
June 6 – Grateful – This is my Aunt Linda. She is practically the last one left from my Dad’s generation. I’m grateful to have her in my life as she is a connection to my Grandma and Grandpa Bennett that I never got to know, my Uncle David that I never got to know and my Dad who I lost when I was nine. I don’t see her much because she lives in Easton, Kansas but she was in town today to take care of her Boone house.

June 7
June 7 – Grateful – This is Nader. I met him when in another life, I transferred to the Campustown outpost of the Evil Clown Empire. I’m grateful to have Nader in my life because despite having spent 5 years in an Iranian prison without a trial for saying Allah wouldn’t want you to kill people, in front of the wrong people, he still managed to find happiness in Henry Fonda winning an Oscar for On Golden Pond. I share his love of movies, but not how infatuation with the Oscars.

June 8
June 8 – Gratitude – This is Kim. At work I’m somewhere between the low man on the totem pole to not being on the totem pole at all. However, a big wig like Kim takes care of the little people by scheduling Popcorn Day around my schedule!

June 9
June 9 – Gratitude – This is Ron. I’ve worked with him for over 16 years now. Ron has a Purple Heart because he was injured in the terrorist attack on Khobar Towers. However, the truth about his heart is that is gigantic in his love for dogs. He has several dogs and he and his late wife were very active with the animal rescue league in his hometown and he is active in trying to get puppies away from puppy mills, often going to Missouri in this pursuit. I’m grateful for Ron, not just because he is a fountain of knowledge but because he loves dogs even more than me!

June 10
June 10 – Gratitude – This is Carla. She is my elder sister. The middle child of 3. I could just say I’m grateful cause she is my sister, but I realize not everybody has a sister where they are also friends. I am fortunate to have that with both my sisters. If you doubt that, I’m writing this while smashed into the bottom bunk of her camper reminding myself, that I’m not claustrophobic. I’m not claustrophobic. I’m not claustrophobic.

June 11
June 11 – Grateful – This is Sara. Today was her daughter Maven’s birthday party. Before this picture we tried to remember when we first met. Sadly, we can’t figure it out, but it was definitely no later than 1997, but probably before that. Sara has a hard fast rule that when taking a picture of her there has to be at least 3 takes. She is one of the best educated people I know. She has a Bachelor’s from Iowa State. A nursing degree from Mercy, and a Nurse Practitioner degree from Iowa with an emphasis in mental health. While I respect all that learning, but really I’m grateful for her because she is just incredibly fun to be around.

June 12
June 12 – Grateful – This is Pastor Dave. Today was his last day at our church. He is moving on to become a chaplain. I know that Dave must be a devastatingly handsome man because when I’m in my short beard mode I often get mistaken for him. I wish he was sticking around but I’m grateful to him for the job he did taking over in our church shortly before the pandemic began. It could not have been easy!

June 13
June 13 – Grateful – This is Jay. I’ve known Jay since 7th Grade. He is one of the most talented and creative artists that I know. I’m grateful to have some of the art he has created, including this hand staff he made when like 5 years ago I decided I wanted to make MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE themed birthday party invitations.

June 14
June 14 – Grateful – This is my brother-in-law Jason. He’s married to my sister Carla. He’s a great guy and very selfless. But probably why I’m most grateful to have him in my life is because he is handy. I am decidedly not “handy” and anytime I need help with a home project or a car repair, he volunteers his time and expertise.

June 15
June 15 – Grateful – This is Scottie D. I’ve known him since we worked together at the Boone Outpost of the Evil Clown Empire. We (with a few other rotating members) the competitive barbecue team Baby Got Rack. Not gonna lie, Scott is pretty much all the culinary talent and I mostly help pack and unpack and photodocument and follow orders. We’ve won more than a few competitions, but haven’t competed since before the pandemic. The hiatus might be coming to an end next month, but even if it doesn’t, I’m grateful to have Scott in my life because of all the delicious food he makes.

June 16
June 16 – Gratitude – This is my nephew Logan. Of all my nieces and nephews, he is the one that is continuing the family legacy of photography. He is even pursuing it professionally doing portrait and wedding photography. I’m grateful to have family that share my passion.

June 17
June 17 – Grateful – This is Kio. He is the person I know that is most dedicated to philanthropy and volunteering. But the reason I’m most grateful to have Kio in my life is that he was instrumental in hooking me up with running the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. A gig I coveted for years.

June  18
June 18 – Gratitude – This is my niece Alexis. It is rather embarrassing how long it has been since today that we’ve seen each other. She is the baby of the family. Well of her generation. She lived with me for a bit and that is the one and only time she heard me “swear”. It was apparently significant enough to her that she immediately took to social media to post about it.

June 19
June 19 – Grateful – This is Andrea. She was the Associate Pastor at my church about 10 years ago until she got moved to Fort Dodge to have her own church. Last year they moved her to West Des Moines. I went down to her worship service today and her sermon was so affirming and so everything I needed to hear. She is probably the Pastor that has had the most influence on my faith journey… in many ways… but including the simple act of asking me to help chaperone a Youth Group Mission Trip to Kansas City a long time ago.

June 20
June 20 – Grateful – This is Jesse. We’ve been best friends since meeting in Mrs. Ford’s 2nd Grade Class. Probably could write a ton on him, but enough to say he has been with me on most adventures and tragedies in my life since then. Which is a lot of years when you’re old and washed up like us.

June 21
June 21 – Grateful – This is Johnathan. He is the last of my biological nieces or nephews that will be featured this month. I have one more. My niece Elainie, but she is off in California currently with her Navy husband. So… Johnathan. He is the often quiet, keep to yourself nephew and I can relate to that. He is a phenomenal cook and is way better at cleaning than I am. He also lived with me briefly and his portion of the house was always in order. Like all my nieces and nephews, I need to effort to see him more, especially because his work schedule is so tough.

June 22
June 22 – Grateful – This is Micky. I’ve worked with him for over 16 years now. And while I’m grateful to him for all the help he gives me at work, I’m really grateful for our friendship outside of work. He is a great outdoorsman, but in ways that are opposite to how I enjoy it. Meaning, he likes to hunt and fish. Frankly, I do enjoy fishing a bit, I don’t think I could ever murderize other animals, I just don’t have it in me. Yet I have went turkey hunting with him. But my favorite part of our friendship is the great outdoorsman is terrified of snakes and I love sending him videos of snakes.

June 23
June 23 – Grateful – This is Michelle – I’ve worked with Michelle for a bit now. But like all my work friends it is our friendship outside of work that I’m truly grateful for.She is from Fort Dodge, so she does have the affliction of not knowing that Taco Tico is disgusting. But despite that she has went with me on more than one occasion to try a new tenderloin. She plays banker for the football betting pool I run and she currently has the 8th longest consecutive submission streak for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE I run. She is proof not all Walmart Hawkeyes are bad people (she went to Drake).

June 24
June 24 – Grateful – This is Jen. I’ve known Jen since we worked together at the Boone Outpost of the Evil Clown Empire. Now she works for NASA. I don’t really care where my friends work, as long as they are happy, but I use it as an example of what a long, strange, often tragic and often joyful, trip we’ve been on. I’m wearing a banana hat because she hates bananas, but one thing we definitely agree on is that today was an incredibly sad day in this country’s history. But she will persist. I will be an ally.

June 25
June 25 – Grateful – This is my eldest sister Teresa. Like I mentioned with my other sister Carla, I am lucky to also be friends with my two siblings. She is super crafty and she’s probably made like half the shirts I wear, including the one in this picture with her Cricut. She also crochets and paints and many other things I’m probably forgetting.

June 26
June 26 – Grateful – This is Phil. He is another former Pastor from my church. He has also had a huge influence on my faith journey. He was a key part of my becoming way more active in my church and he did this by visiting my at a point in my life when I was deep in grief and not giving me any of the platitudes that you are given at that time. He was just present and it made such a huge difference. Over lunch he also shared a story when he knew I saw him as a person and not just a Pastor and I won’t share it, but I will remember it and it will help shape my interactions in the future.

June 27
June – 27 – Grateful – This is Anders. I’ve known him since meeting him in Jr. High band. He is a major driving force in the monthly movie night I host in my theater room. I’m grateful to have somebody in my life who has similarly eclectic taste in cinema as I do. In fact, the book I’m holding is a 700 page book he wrote on the making of our favorite bad movie, ROBOT MONSTER.

June  28
June 28 – This is Andy. I’d guess I’ve really known Andy about 10 years now. I don’t know he made a great first impression, but that is one of the cool parts of this friendship. We have chaperoned youth group mission trips to Martin, South Dakota, Saint Paul, Houston, Milwaukee, Rapid City, and I think Kansas City. Would be more, except for the pandemic. The shirt he is wearing is for a local charity he supports (there are too many to list) that gives support to families that have lost a baby. (Neonatal, perinatal, and infant loss) I’d explain why this is necessary, but it makes me sad. Andy’s big heart is why I’m grateful he is in my life.

June 29
June 29 – Grateful – This is Elizabeth. This might be a hard one to write because I was only partially convinced that she would agree to do this and I wasn’t expecting her to come to me this morning with her hair all straightened and say, “I don’t like having my picture taken, but I do like you. So let’s take this picture.” Which was an absolute highlight of my day. And she will read that and give me grief about it. Then she said, “You’ll probably write something snarky about how I don’t like having my picture taken”. Which I probably would have and pointed out about how as a photographer it really gnaws at you, the pictures you don’t get to take. I might have even written something about the misogynist in me vs. the feminist in me, but none of that will cover why she is important to me. So I will get to that. She is probably the person that most calls me on my BS, which somebody like me needs. She at least attempts to tell me when she thinks I’m wrong as she is the unnamed other opinion on my TOWN SIGN PROJECT posts on my regular Instagram account. While we have differing opinions on the important things (pizza and she doesn’t LOVE peanut butter and chocolate together, right?)… I’ve somehow come to value her opinion. That probably even surprises her.

June 30
June 30 – Grateful – This is Mike. Made it. 30 days. 30 different people. That is a lot of grateful and a lot of grateful still left on the table. But Mike… I’ve known him since I started working at the Computer Mine 16 plus years ago. He is the number one influence on my photography website being as advanced technologically as it is. And because we both have interests in photography (both interests inherited from fathers we both lost way too early) it was originally mostly his idea to create THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE on my website. A challenge that has very slowly grown from a couple people a week to consistently over 30 submissions a week. And his technological savvy is just a small part of why I conclude the grateful month with Mike.

I definitely didn’t write nearly enough about some people. Sometimes it was a time crunch. Sometimes, it just seemed obvious and obvious is sometimes hard to put into words.

Obviously there are more than 30 people in my life that I am grateful to have in my life. I won’t even give you examples of people that I am thankful for, because I’m sure I would leave people out. Then they would have been left out of the 30 days and then out of the list of but I’m also grateful for you list and then would be like a double slap. Just know that if you think I’m grateful to have you in my life, I probably am and you weren’t included in this set of 30 because you live too far away or I don’t see you on a regular basis. Or at least didn’t see you in June.

Here are the FatMumSlim Prompts for July:

July 1 – Reflections
July 2 – Letters
July 3 – Human
July 4 – I’m Working on This…
July 5 – Wall
July 6 – Bright Colours
July 7 – A Fave Place
July 8 – Out of Focus
July 9 – A Boomerang
July 10 – Behind Someone
July 11 – Interior
July 12 – Exterior
July 13 – Life
July 14 – Create A PostCard
July 15 – Where I Stood
July 16 – Pattern
July 17 – Water
July 18 – Street Photography
July 19 – A Cylinder
July 20 – Hug
July 21 – A Church
July 22 – Current Interest
July 23 – Still Life
July 24 – A Metaphor
July 25 – Beauty
July 26 – Portrait Mode
July 27 – Countryside
July 28 – An Old Car
July 29 – Black and White
July 30 – Happy Days
July 31 – Sunday Morning

Some good prompts in there. It will fill weird getting back to a different prompt everyday, but I’m sure I can handle it.