Category Archives: Johnathan

Selfie Project – October 2022

Looking at my SELFIE PROJECT pictures from the month of October, I’m not sure I had a very active October. Seems like I barely left my house. I’ll try to be more active in November.

Here are some of my favorite selfies from THE SELFIE PROJECT in October:

Day 274 - October 1, 2022
October 1

Day 275 - October 2, 2022
October 2

Day 277 - October 4, 2022
October 4

Day 278 - October 5, 2022
October 5

Day 279 - October 6, 2022
October 6

Day 280 - October 7, 2022
October 7

Day 281 - October 8, 2022
October 8

Day 283 - October 10, 2022
October 10

Day 284 - October 11, 2022
October 11

Day 285 - October 12, 2022
October 12

Day 287 - October 14, 2022
October 14

Day 288 - October 15, 2022
October 15

Day 289 - October 16, 2022
October 16

Day 290 - October 17, 2022
October 17

Day 292 - October 19, 2022
October 19

Day 293 - October 20, 2022
October 20

Day 294 - October 21, 2022
October 21

Day 295 - October 22, 2022
October 22

Day 296 - October 23, 2022
October 23

Day 298 - October 25, 2022
October 25

Day 300 - October 27, 2022
October 27

Day 302 - October 29, 2022
October 29

Day 303 - October 30, 2022
October 30

I didn’t take any extra selfies this much. I might do better in November. There are no promises.

Fat Mum Slim – July 2022

A quick heads up. If you were thinking of going to or entering an animal into the Pufferbilly Days Dog and Exotic Animal Show, because of the extreme heat of today it was postponed. It is now tomorrow at noon at the park on 9th and Story.


I have another month done in the Fat Mum Slim Photo a Day Challenge. This month wasn’t as difficult as last month because they were just standard themes. I think the images I took are a fair record of my experiences in July.

July 1
July 1 – Reflection

July 2
July 2 – Letters

July 3
July 3 – Human

July 4
July 4 – I’m Working On This…

July 5
July 5 – Wall

July 6
July 6 – Bright Colours

July 7
July 7 – A Fave Place

July 8
July 8 – Out of Focus

July 9
July 9 – A Boomerang

July 10
July 10 – Behind Someone

July 11
July 11 – Interior

July 12
July 12 – Exterior

July 13
July 13 – Life

July 14
July 14 – Create A Postcard

July 15
July 15 – Where I Stood

July 16
July 16 – Pattern

July 17
July 17 – Water

July 18
July 18 – Street Photography

July 19
July 19 – A Cylinder

July 20
July 20 – Hug

July 21
July 21 – A Church

July 22
July 22 – Current Interest

July 23
July 23 – Still Life

July 24
July 24 – A Metaphor

July 25
July 25 – Beauty

July 26
July 26 – Beauty

July 27
July 27 – Countryside

July 28
July 28 – An Old Car

July 29 – Black and White

July 30
July 30 – Happy Days

July 31 – Sunday Morning

I think there was some pretty good work in July. Hopefully some good work to be done in August.

Here are the August prompts:

August 1 – I Am…
August 2 – I Love This Colour…
August 3 – I Walked Here…
August 4 – I Like To…
August 5 – I Love This Time of Day…
August 6 – I Love…
August 7 – I Made This…
August 8 – I Work Here…
August 9 – I Held This…
August 10 – I Wrote This…
August 11 – I Saw…
August 12 – I Like To Drink…
August 13 – I Stood Here…
August 14 – I Do This On Sundays…
August 15 – I Once…
August 16 – I Never…
August 17 – I Went To…
August 18 – I Read This…
August 19 – I Did This Good Thing…
August 20 – I Love This View…
August 21 – I Don’t Life To…
August 22 – On Mondays I…
August 23 – I Sat Here…
August 24 – I Like To Eat…
August 25 – I Have To…
August 26 – I Wore This…
August 27 – On Weekends I…
August 28 – I Watched This…
August 29 – I Can…
August 30 – I Can’t…
August 31 – I Believe…

I guess people will get to know me better this month… unless I can help it.

If you want to follow this project on the daily, they are posted on my Fat Mum Slim Instagram account.


Otherwise, we’ll check in on this next month.

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.

Sneaky Snake Root Beer

This year for our family Thanksgiving I wanted to attempt to make root beer. I had Glenn Peterson’s recipe in hand and I also fruitlessly pursued another recipe, but I’m not really sure how different root beer recipes can get.

Glenn’s recipe was a little vague on a couple things, but it goes like this:

Recipe for homemade root beer (X 2 for 10 gal water cooler)
4 lbs. sugar
3 ½ gallon water
1 bottle Root beer extract
1 bottle Root beer flavor
4 lbs. dry ice.

Add 4 lbs. sugar to 3 ½ gal water. Stir until sugar dissolved. Add 1 bottle root beer extract and 1 bottle root beer flavor. Stir until mixed. Add 4 lbs. of dry ice ½ to 1 hour before serving. Use gloves when working with dry ice. Dry ice will cause the container to look like a witches’ caldron. Do not stir nor put a lid on container. When “steam” from the dry ice disappears, root beer is ready to drink.
This recipe was shared with Glenn while in the Army. He started sharing it with Pack 150, Madrid at the Blue & Gold Banquets/ Crossovers and Arrow of Lights Ceremony from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.

Glenn’s widow Tamara shared the recipe with me a couple years ago.

The one thing I didn’t know is how much is 1 bottle of root beer extract and how much is one bottle of root beer flavor. I compared it to other root beer recipes and determined Glenn’s recipe calls for a 2 oz bottle of each. I changed his recipe slightly. I used 1 4 oz bottle of Shank’s root beer extract.

Johnathan and Logan assisted in the making of my first batch of what I am calling Sneaky Snake Root Beer. Here are some pictures:

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022
Logan is wearing some of my Mom’s old dish gloves.

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022
This is one of my favorite family pictures ever.

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

Thanksgiving - 2022

I decided on the name for my root beer on Saturday while cruising around Monroe County with Teresa. I was originally going to name it after Naima sorta and call it something like Gold Dog Root Beer, so I could put her mug on the bottles. However, I decided to name it after an old family memory. Maybe I was feeling nostalgic because Thanksgiving this year was obviously bittersweet at it was the first major holiday we’ve had without Mom. But I decided to base the name off the Tom T. Hall song “Sneaky Snake”.

When I was a kid and we would go down to my Dad’s darkroom, the music was mostly provided by his 8 track collection. My favorite of his 8 tracks was blue. It was Tom T. Hall’s Greatest Hits Volume II. I can’t swear that it was Volume II, but it was pretty close. My favorite song on this 8 track was “Sneaky Snake”. I still love that song, even though next to nobody outside of my family seems to appreciate its greatness.

The lyrics are:

Boys and girls take warning
If you go near the lake
Keep your eyes wide open
And look for sneaky snake
Now, maybe you won’t see him
And maybe you won’t hear
But he’ll sneak up behind you
And drink all your root beer

And then sneaky snake goes dancing
Wiggling and a-hissing
Sneaky snake goes dancing
A-giggling and a-kissing
I don’t like old sneaky snake
He laughs too much you see
When he goes wiggling through the grass
It tickles his underneath

Well sneaky snake drinks root beer
And he just makes me sick
When he is not dancing
He looks just like stick
Now he doesn’t have any arms or legs
You cannot see his ears
And while we are not looking
He’s stealing all of our beer

And then sneak snake goes dancing
Wiggling and a-hissing
Sneaky snake goes dancing
A-giggling and a-kissing
I don’t like old sneaky snake
He laughs too much you see
When he goes wiggling through the grass
It tickles his underneath

So this is what the label on the bottle should look like, or would look like if I could get it to print correctly:

I’m definitely not a graphic designer, but I do like the picture part. The picture of the snake is from about 10 years ago, when I found a snake in Shorty and Doris’ flower bed. I photoshopped it up a bit though.

I might not explain everything about this under normal circumstances, but my nearly professional labeler Elizabeth is concerned that people might think it is name after the “I’m a Snake” guy of YouTube fame. It definitely is not. So don’t even try thinking that!

I have a few bottles of Batch 001 left. I’ve earmarked a few for December Movie Night. And the rest, well they might go to Elizabeth’s progeny. They apparently are big fans of Sneaky Snake Root Beer!

I’m going to continue to experiment with the recipe. Try different brands of extract. Try Glenn’s original recipe. I want to try mixing in some vanilla at some point too. I definitely need to figure out a way to capture more carbonation. I’m not sure how to do that yet, but I have some theories. Batch 001 will be followed by Batch 002 and 003 and so on and so forth more hopefully.

Selfie Project – June 2021

On Wednesday night I completed another successful month of THE SELFIE PROJECT. I don’t know that is was a particularly exciting month, but I think there are some good pictures in the collection.

Here are some of my favorites from June:

Day 152 - June 1, 2021
June 1, 2021

Day 153 - June 2, 2021
June 2, 2021

Day 154 - June 3, 2021
June 3, 2021

Day 155 - June 4, 2021
June 4, 2021

Day 156 - June 5, 2021
June 5, 2021

Day 160 -  June 9, 2021
June 9, 2021

Day 161 - June 10, 2021
June 10, 2021

Day 162 - June 11, 2021
June 11, 2021

Day 163 - June 12, 2021
June 12, 2021

Day 165 - June 14, 2021
June 14, 2021

Day 166 - June 15, 2021
June 15, 2021

Day 168 - June 17, 2021
June 17, 2021

Day 169 - June 18, 2021
June 18, 2021

Day 170 - June 19, 2021
June 19, 2021

Day 171 - June 20, 2021
June 20, 2021

Day 172 - June 21, 2021
June 21, 2021

Day 173 - June 22, 2021
June 22, 2021

Day 175 - June 24, 2021
June 24, 2021

Day 177 - June 26, 2021
June 26, 2021

Day 178 - June 27, 2021
June 27, 2021

Day 179 - June 28, 2021
June 28, 2021

Day 180 - June 29, 2021
June 29, 2021

Day 181 - June 30
June 30, 2021

I hope there are some great pictures taken for this project in July.


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


ADVENTURE! What a great theme for Year 8 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE.

But what is an ADVENTURE image? An ADVENTURE image is simply any image that was taken while on an ADVENTURE or preparing for an ADVENTURE or going on an ADVENTURE. The theme reveal picture could qualify for all 3. The twist to this picture is that YOU have to figure out what you consider to be an ADVENTURE.


Happy photo harvesting!

The Stenslands 2020 Gamma

Here is the final collection of pictures from the Stenslands 2020 family photo shoot:

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

Stenslands- 2020

These were the last pictures from 2020 that I had yet to share. I might start taking Sundays back off from “An Artist’s Notebook”, but I will need to take a look at where I stand with the backlog before making any kind of rash decisions.


There is a wide collection of images in the folder 2010-09-06. Some are of Jen and Derrick when she was pregnant with Evie. The others are from a Labor Day cookout I hosted at my house for the family. Also, some pictures of a toad I found in my backyard.

Labor Day Toad

Labor Day Toad

Labor Day - 2010

Labor Day - 2010

Labor Day - 2010

Labor Day - 2010

Labor Day - 2010

Labor Day - 2010

Labor Day - 2010

Labor Day - 2010

Labor Day - 2010

5 of 6 Alternate

5 of 6 Alternate

5 of 6 Alternate

5 of 6 Alternate

5 of 6 Alternate

5 of 6 Alternate

5 of 6 Alternate

5 of 6 Alternate

5 of 6 Alternate

Test Run

Test Run

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:

Clu’s Holiday


Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve a turtle.

Mom’s Obituary

I want to share some of the words people have share about Mom, starting with her obituary.

Carla wrote the obituary and Teresa and I went over it.

Obituary for Charlotte Ann Bennett
Charlotte Ann Bennett
September 26, 1942 – March 24, 2021

Charlotte Ann Bennett, 78, lifelong resident of Boone, passed away peacefully at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines of heart failure. Even though a failing heart took her from this world, her loving heart left a beacon of light in all the lives she touched.

Charlotte was the daughter of Lyle Ronald and Doris Irene (Majors) Paris. She was born in Boone on September 26, 1942 and attended Boone High School, graduating with the class of 1960. Charlotte married the love of her life, Gerald D. Bennett on September 4, 1964, in Des Moines, Iowa. Charlotte retired from working at Iowa State University Dining in 2010, after working there for 28 years.

Charlotte loved spending time in her kitchen making delicious meals and baking wonderful treats for her loved ones then delivering them with short visits to check up on everyone. Her kids would say that they couldn’t go anywhere that she didn’t stop to visit with someone. She also loved spending time with her children and grandchildren, attending all the activities they were in.

Charlotte was an active member of the First United Methodist Church including helping in the kitchen for funeral luncheons and large meal activities. She was a volunteer for the Boone County Hospital Auxiliary. Charlotte loved watching Iowa State University athletics, especially the girls’ basketball team of which she held season tickets for many years.

Charlotte was known as a “walking miracle” after beating cancer twice. Her family is grateful to have had nine years of borrowed time with her.

She is preceded in death by her husband of 20 years, Gerald D. Bennett, her parents Lyle and Doris Paris, daughter-in-law Olivia Bennett and grandson Samuel Bennett, sister-in-law Charlene Paris, brother-in-law Dean Walter, and nephew Alan Johnson.

Survivors include children: Teresa Kahler; Carla (Jason) Stensland, and Christopher D. Bennett; Grandchildren: Brandon (KJ Johnson) Kahler; Johnathan Stensland; Elainie (Sabas) Hernandez; Logan (Amanda Nichols) Kahler, and Alexis (Kupono) Baugher; Great Grandchildren: Kanoa Baugher; Dahlia Kahler; Anela Baugher, and Greyson Stolfus. She is also survived by her siblings Lyle “Butch” Paris; Delores (Richard) VanDePol; Sheryl (Terry) Johnson; Dianna “Annie” Walter; Gary Paris, and Lori (Roger) Sebring, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and other family members.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, at the Boone First United Methodist Church with Pastor David Swinton officiating. Burial will take place at Linwood Park Cemetery following the funeral service.

Friends may pay their respects at Schroeder-Stark-Welin Funeral Home after 1:00 p.m. on Monday, March 29, 2021, with the family present to greet friends from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Those attending the funeral service or visitation will be required to wear a face mask and practice social distancing.

Memorials are suggested to the family to use at their discretion.

It is so hard to sum up the life of anybody in a couple hundred words. Let alone somebody who lived so fully and loved so deeply. So there are so many things that are left out. One of Mom’s siblings contacted us and asked us why we didn’t point out that she went on to attend the junior college in Boone. It was a big deal because she was the first member of the family to pursue an education after high school. Everybody was so proud of her.

It definitely wasn’t a conscious omission, but I hope sharing some of the other words would help as well.

Alexis wrote the following:

I got the privilege to tell my grandma everything I needed to tell her before she passed. It was extremely hard at first, but then it was like talking to her how I always do.
I really can’t express how grateful I am for my grandma. She has been not only my rock, but our family rock. She has been my biggest motivator and cheerleader. She has loved me unconditionally and always made sure I knew it.
She always told you what she thought, even if you didn’t want to hear it. I have always admired how assertive she is.
She is the strongest person I know. She is all go, go, go. She never sits still, always has to check on all of her people (and dogs). She has BEAT cancer two times. Got part of her stomach cut out! She has told me numerous times that I am the one that saved her when she had cancer the second time.
I can’t describe how much I wish that this was the same.
I gave her a dolphin pillow pet when she had cancer the second time. She has had it on her bed since (9 years). I brought the dolphin for her yesterday, to have as she passed. I made sure to get that dolphin back, to keep forever.
She has done so much for me that I will forever be grateful.
I would give anything to have her make me pancakes one more time, go to an ISU women’s basketball game with her, see her hold my babies one more time (even though Noa doesn’t sit still either), go to Perkins and get 6 muffins, just one more time.
There is so much that I wish she could experience with me, but I know she will always be with me.
I have so many cherished memories with and of my grandma.
I love my grandmother. Anyone who knows me personally knows how much she meant to me. She spoiled me so much and I could never thank her enough.
I am going to live my life saying “what would grandma say”.
I hope to be 1/100th of a mother and grandmother.

Elainie wrote the following:

Philippians 4:4-13💜
Today I opened up my Bible, the first time in a very long time. A couple years, at least. I received this Bible from my Confirmation to the First United Methodist Church in Boone, IA. My Grandma B. was my mentor. At first I was assigned to someone else but I quickly lost interest and I stopped showing up to our appointments. My Grandma B stepped up and became my mentor when the other mentor quit. She is the one I learned a lot of my spiritual beliefs from. We hardly saw eye to eye, spiritually. I argued and gave her so much grief about what was written on the pages in the Bible. She was finally able to get me to come around when she explained to me that it wasn’t believing every word how it was written.. It was how I interpreted it and used it in my life. She was the one who told me when I was angry, frustrated, sad, or any other emotion or state of being that I should talk to God by prayer. When I didn’t get an immediate answer, to look for signs to point me in the direction I needed to go. And when I couldn’t find the signs, to flip through the Bible until a verse caught my attention. Only being about 12 years old, it was simple enough for me to follow and I still follow to this day. In fact, I try listening to the sermon no matter what church I attend and interpret it to my life. I look up scriptures on Google from time to time. I even listen to Gospel music because it helps bring comfort. I got confirmed to my church because of my Grandma B not giving up on me. I received this Bible from the church as a confirmation present. Grandma was so proud. I believe that these verses were how she tried to live her life. 💗

4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

She also wrote this:

This morning started out rough and got better over time. A memory of Grandma B popped up and I came out of the guest bedroom crying and went to hug my mom. Then we all went over the Grandma B’s house and met up with my Aunt Teresa and Uncle Christopher and went through hundreds of photos. Grandma B was big on photos. There are at least twenty photo albums. Photos of the past from her childhood all the way to the present year. Grandma B loved to collect photos and cards from everyone she received them from, I was amazed to see how many she kept from over the years. There were a lot of photos from all of us growing up over the years that brought fond memories and some that brought tears.
One thing no one will ever doubt is the love she had for her family. How she decorated her house, how many photos she took and kept all those years, how she spoke to anyone willing to listen about us. She loved each and everyone of us whole heartedly. She wasn’t just my grandma I’ve realized over the years. Anyone I brought around and introduced to her as my friend instantly she became a grandma to as well. My Grandma took in everyone and loved each one of them unconditionally because she decided if they were important to me, they were important to her, too. Grandma was always involved in our lives. I can’t think of a softball game, soccer game or any sporting event of mine she didn’t attend. She even took photos of a home run hit I had and wrote down the exact date and kept the newspaper article it was published in. I couldn’t even tell you any of that information, but Grandma knew. I can’t think of a time where she didn’t attend a dance recital or choir concert. Grandma was there for all the high school dances. I can’t think of any time where something important in my life was happening and Grandma wasn’t there. Grandma was extremely humble and proud of each one of her children and grandchildren. She could talk to anyone about anything and she would return the favor of lending an ear to listen or a shoulder to lean on if you needed it. Grandma always seemed to pop by when you needed her to and you could always go to her house for anything, at any time and she’d had food made in a heartbeat. She loved her evening popcorn and to watch reruns of her favorite older shows on the tv. She believed in her superstition of keeping busy and not watching the ISU game and that they’d turn around and win if they were losing and she kept busy. She always knew the advice to tell you. Not the good words to tell you, the you needed to hear it whether you agreed or not with her advice. And she was right 99.99% of the time. She would hum along while doing tasks, sometimes it was a song stuck in her head and other times it was the tune she made up herself. She loved going to the bakery and McDonalds to meet up with her friends, especially on Friday mornings. She loved to take care of people and she would help out in any way that she could. Grandma was the best cook and baker and made the best food and goodies. She always made enough for leftovers and brought the leftovers to our house. Grandma poured her heart and soul into the food she made and she understood how food could bring everyone together and bring healing. Grandma believed in the power of family and togetherness. Grandma believed in the power of prayer. When all else failed, grandma would pray with you and the strength of her prayer was enough to make the room quiet and the “energy” felt. Grandma had the best hugs and believed in the power of touch. Grandma was the biggest supporter and was always in my corner. She was so proud when I joined the Navy and she came out to see me multiple times while I served. I loved giving her a tour on a US Navy ship, the Naval hospital I worked at and getting to travel to DC to see what she wanted to see. In Texas, she came to my graduations from military training and got to see the Riverwalk. When people came up to us because we were wearing ISU attire and ask if we were from Iowa, she’d proudly state how the best people came from Iowa and how great ISU was. Grandma always sent me ISU attire and always made sure I had the lastest game shirt. Even from so far away, grandma knew what to say when we talked on the phone. Grandma also made it a point to see me each time I came home to visit and spend a few hours with me, no matter what was going on. Grandma loved to take the grandkids out for dinner each birthday. When Grandma worked at ISU, she’d bring us pizza sized cookies from her work. Grandma made sure every holiday was celebrated together and that we each got a holiday card and presents. Even while in the Navy and living in California, Grandma sent me holiday cards. Grandma would also send just thinking of you cards too randomly throughout the year. Each card had paragraphs written inside and sometimes on the back when she ran out of room inside. And when she ran out of room on the back, she wrote notes on paper. Grandma was one of the first people to see my wedding dress and how her eyes lit up when I walked out and told me that my husband was a lucky guy to get to marry me twice. Grandma loved Sabas as much as she loved me, which meant the world to me. Grandma wasn’t hard on me for getting eloped because grandma also got eloped herself to my grandpa, so she knew what it was like and how it felt. Grandma was so proud when I told her I got accepted into ISU.
Grandma was a fighter. My Grandma battled cancer, twice and WON. She almost died three times during her battles, the doctors said she wasn’t going to make it and she beat the medical odds, baffled doctors and was said to be a walking miracle. She was gifted nine more years with us. Grandma believed in community and how important it was to give back. Grandma was a volunteer at the hospital, volunteered for the church, visited people while they were sick or recovering in the hospital or their homes, she baked for bake sales, she believed in the power of togetherness. Stronger together and strength in numbers. She could never let someone feel like they were alone and if they did, she was there to let them know that they weren’t. Grandma had wisdom from years of helping to raise her six younger siblings, raising her own three children (especially on her own after my grandpa died) and helping to raise her five grandchildren. Grandma was the rock of the family. Grandma had the patience to help or to listen but had no patience to just do nothing. Grandma was always on the go. There was always something to do, somewhere to be and someone to visit. Grandma couldn’t go anywhere in town without someone stopping to talk with her and if I was with her, telling me how amazing of a person my grandma was. I told my grandma once that she was a walking, talking encyclopedia of Boone because she seemed to know everything. And if she didn’t, she knew someone who did.
Grandma was one of a kind. Grandma had a heart of gold. Grandma will forever live on in my heart and I will always think of Grandma throughout everything I do in life. I am and will always be proud to be known as Charlotte’s granddaughter. ❤️
I’ll probably end up posting more memories as time goes on. I know that my family appreciates the memories being shared and it is truly amazing to see how many lives my Grandma impacted. 💗

Johnathan wrote this:

Last night, we lost our greatest treasure in our family, your prayers are appreciated but please by all means share stories with us that you have with our grandmother, I don’t think any of grandkids will mind I’m more than willing to listen to any and all stories, she was always doing something with someone or stopping by to see how everyone was doing, she was a great teacher if you wanted to learn how to cook and a great person to talk to and she’d always give the best advice, she will always be the best cook most people have ever tasted (if you have gotten to eat her cooking, you’re lucky.) But she was known as a fighter having beaten cancer twice, like who else do you know has done that, I can’t think of anyone.
But none the less she will be watching over us all and guiding us in her usual way, thank you Grandma B. You’ll be missed more than you know. But I’m glad to know that you’ll be happy with Grandpa Gerald and everyone else.

Kupono wrote this:

Sadly, we had to say goodbye to an extraordinary woman yesterday. I’ve only had the pleasure of knowing her for 3 years but she still had such an impact on my life. Alexis told me how much she means to her so I knew when I got to meet her, it was important to Alexis. What really impacted me was that from the day I met her, she treated me as though I was already married to Alexis. Almost like she knew what was going to happen before we even knew. From there I spent holidays at her home where she welcomed me with open arms, multiple days where we simply came over for pancakes (I’ve tried to make them as good and I can assure you it’s impossible,) as well as even taking me to some ISU basketball games which I honestly didn’t think I’d like but really ended up enjoying a lot. Alexis and I were also able to give you great grandchildren and knowing you got to meet them and spend some time with them means the world to us. While it was a short time, you still had such an impact on my life that I will never forget. Speaking for myself, as well as anyone else who’s had the pleasure of having you in their lives, we will all miss you. Love you grandma B 💜

I’ll share my thoughts at a later date.



The grand majority of pictures from the album are from my Mom’s Retirement Party. The other one if from Dickcissel.

I haven’t looked at the pictures from the Retirement Party in years and while it is sad that a few of the people in the pictures aren’t with us any longer, it still gives me a sense of joy to look through them again.


Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

Mom's Retirement Party

My Mom will turn 80 next year. I hope we are able to have as large of a party for her then as we did when she retired.

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:



Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve flowers.