Thursday night, I had the opportunity to set up a Drake booth at the YPC Nonprofit Forum, which featured a ‘buffet’ of 40 organizations in need of members/volunteers.
That's me in the blue tights. Photo via the YPC facebook gallery
There’s such a great energy when you get all sorts of passionate, committed people in one place to talk about their organizations. I was stuck in the corner most of the night, but loved how many familiar and new faces came through — all in search of some way to give back to the community. With my work-school-work-school bubble, it had been awhile since I’d been at a networking type event and I’m so glad we participated.
I invited Anne Murr, the coordinator of the Drake Adult Literacy Center to come along and recruit volunteers for the center, which improves the quality of adults’ lives by helping them learn to read, write and comprehend. It’s a great organization that provides one on one tutoring and, because the center is housed at Drake, there’s no shame for people seeking services. They can work toward those basic literacy skills and just say they’re taking a class at Drake without the stigma of a remedial program. It’s a one hour a week commitment for a year, and something I definitely will be interested in once my grad program is over! Anne was so animated and engaging each time a potential volunteer would come by. It was fun to watch her tell the story of the center to all of the attendees. We got lots of names and e-mail addresses from people who seemed interested, too! (Of course, I had to do my part and walk around the booths handing out info on the Drake MPA nonprofit management track.)
Another organization that caught my eye is the brand-new Greater Des Moines Habitat Young Professionals group, which is part of the local Habitat for Humanity. I did a Habitat build in college and Joe volunteered for a day a few months ago, and I think it would be something really fun for us to do together. They’re even having a bicycle “Tour de Habitat” coming up. From their newsletter:
Tour de Habitat
Save the date for HYP’s first event, a family friendly bike tour! The Greater Des Moines Tour de Habitat 2011 will provide a route that gives riders a unique perspective into the Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity.
The tour will pass through some of the neighborhoods that GDM Habitat impacts most. Habitat projects over the past 25 years will be featured in the Drake, Mondamin Presidential, River Bend and King Irving neighborhoods.
Cost*: $20 for HYP members, $25 for non-members
*includes water and a post-ride reception along with prizes!
If you are interested in join us for this fun-filled day, please contact Jon Harcey. Stay tuned for more information.
It feels like it’s been such a long time since I’ve sought out new music, but when I stopped by Ephemera the other day, Arin had Laura Marling streaming and I must say she is totally delightful:
“Two knocks and the password is Gatsby!”
We squeezed through the basement entry and were whisked through a labyrinth of narrow, dark passageways in the old Weeks mansion ‘south of Grand’ before stumbling upstairs and into the roaring ’20s, prohibition-themed gala. The annual event took a new twist this year, with a clever temperance society/Templeton Rye theme.
It was a chilly night for a party , but I didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity to play dress-up for an event that benefits an organization close to my heart. When I first moved to Des Moines, I happened upon the Salisbury House on a bike ride and used to spend quiet afternoons hanging out in the yard and even did some volunteering at different events (which meant I was able to entertain the men in line for the restroom with nerdy factual information about the house.) Plus, our next-door neighbor is the museum curator and a fellow Mizzou alumna co-chaired the event, so we just had to get tickets and go! (Four years ago, I attended as a Gatsby Girl, selling cigars and whatnot, so it felt great to come full circle at a truly enjoyable evening.)
Photo of a group of guys getting some of “The Good Stuff” via a Metromix gallery of the event. I had a little cocktail, too! My first taste of Templeton.
As for the style: I pre-wore my bridesmaid dress that I got at Banana Republic last fall for Christa’s November wedding, which felt kind of weird, but ended up being a fun, flapper-modern choice. Earlier in the day I got a totally ’20s bob, with bangs! It was quite a big change, and post-gala I feel like I look more Dora the Explorer than glamour girl, but I’ll just have to become BFF with my flatiron and actually style it like a grownup would. (I have to say that I love all of the stylists at salon W and am a total ‘chair-hopper.’ Mollie transformed me this time.)
We asked some guy I
enthralled bored with information about the house snap a photo of us, but we really need to remember to take decent pictures when we get all dolled up. Joe totally surprised me with his last-minute purchase of a linen pinstripe suit, navy vest and bow tie and hat, scored at a Dillard’s closing sale for 80 percent off. Dapper, if I do say so!
My, my, this blog is becoming a little bike trip log, now isn’t it?!
Aside from getting to eat more of my buffalo chicken strata than expected, another plus of missing the tailgate on Saturday was the fact that we were able to conserve energy for a night ride across the High Trestle Trail. Joe and Andy rode from Des Moines (they got a bit lost, but the one-way was about 40 miles) and Ellen, Miss Caroline and I drove up to Madrid, where there’s a good checkpoint. (And a bar called the Flat Tire Lounge, which I did not experience this time around.)
One thing I’ve noticed about my more frequent rides is that they tickle my sense of smell in a way that makes the seasons more vivid. You forget in a windows-rolled-up kind of world what autumn smells like. The darkness also sharpens the other senses, with only your bike lights and the moon to guide you. It was pretty crowded on the trail on Saturday and although the point of the full moon ride is obviously to experience the moon, next time I’ll definitely go before dusk so I can see the valley underneath the bridge.
Aren’t these lights trippy? It’s like riding into a time warp. I half expected to launch into hyperspeed and end up in the year 2087 or something.
There are so many cool shots of the bridge on Flickr: here and here and here (what a cute bike bump!).
We missed our 5:30 a.m. Iowa State tailgate caravan this morning due to a 2 a.m. Emergency Room departure (four stitches and four hours later, Joe will be just fine). But seeing as how I’d imagined and then prepared a buffalo chicken strata, I had to feed it to someone! So I brought big slices to my dear friends Arin and Karen, whose shop turned out to be surprisingly busy for such a fanatical football Saturday.
Egg stratas were always the go-to brunch crowd pleaser dish in our family, and I’ve fully embraced them as my signature contribution for morning potlucks and the like. (Awesome because you make them the night before and then bake them while you finish getting ready before guests arrive.)
When I got the invite for tailgating fun, I decided to tinker with the traditional breakfast sausage strata and whipped up a buffalo chicken version that was worthy of a sassy touchdown dance, if I do say so myself.
To make a strata, you start by cutting up a loaf or two (I used 1.5) of French bread and line the bottom of a baking dish with the slices. Then I mixed together a dozen eggs, some whole milk and cream and a good dose of grated pepperjack and colby cheeses (about 6-8 ounces) with some salt and pepper and chopped up chunks of celery. For the buffalo chicken, I made a couple of chicken breasts and then pulled them apart into small pieces that I tossed with Frank’s sauce. I baked it for a little more than a half hour at 450 and it was good to go. Hotwings meet kegs and eggs. How could that go wrong?
Rave reviews from my friends at Ephemera, then I caught the final five minutes (and three overtimes!) of the Iowa v. Iowa State game.
The end of summer tastes like Iowa pork chops.
It smells like a campfire.
It feels like dew that rains all over your toes.
Its golden hour looks like this:
Cash farm is a green haven for the long Labor Day weekend with Joe’s mom’s big family. Everyone sets up tents and the kitchen overflows with food and there’s music, whiskey, late nights, early morning Mass in town on Sunday and “graveyard” games (which aren’t played in the graveyard).
I used the quiet time to read My Ántonia (which is breathtaking; any lover of the Little House books will feel right at home in this prairie story) and recharge after a busy summer. Things won’t slow down much this fall, I’m afraid, but it’s sweet to have a marker between the seasons like this.