The Orchid and the Golden Spike

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Both our kids are back in school again, giving us a newfound appreciation for time together after work and on the weekend. It seems to be going well so far. Hannah even made a little pretend “school” for all her Beanie Boos to attend, modeled after her days at Abiding Life in Bellevue.

In the meantime, Aaron has joined the Royal Rangers with his friends August and Gabriel at Spirit Life Assemblies of God Church, which gave me the chance to catch up on Jordan Peterson as he learned some things about the Bible.

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On Thursday, my dad and I went to see the first and only RiffTrax Live event of the year, where they riffed The Return of Swamp Thing, a truly terrible (sequel) film based on the DC Comics character. Our friend Richard Burney joined us for the movie and some burgers down at Culver’s beforehand, per the norm. I’ve been attending every RiffTrax Live event since they started way back in 2009, and hopefully they’ve continue having them well into the future (albeit only once a year sometimes).

In other news, Aaron lost another tooth. We’re also starting to get a crop of garden tomatoes, thanks to some regular rainfall (and watering). Vivian was able to turn them into some tasty bruschetta on Friday along with some basil (also from our garden). We also got to see a full-arch rainbow from our driveway after a passing rain.

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We had some gorgeous weather in the 70s on Saturday, giving me a little time to trim some branches and clean up the garage. Then we took the kids down to Dreamland Park in Council Bluffs for some quality time on slides, the sandbox, the carousel, and just climbing and running around. I grabbed a pizza from Little Caesars along the way, which we ate picnic style on the grass.

On the playground was a display describing the “golden spike,” which pays tribute to the completion of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. After the park, we went to see the Golden Spike monument in Council Bluffs, which has been there since 1939. It was tucked away on a quiet strip of Ninth Avenue and didn’t have much other than a few picnic benches, but it was fun to come and see in person for the first time.

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After church on Sunday, we went downtown to see the “Orchid,” an art installation that’s been on display since March as part of the Common Senses festival. It was created by Sean Ahlquist, who was there taking pictures as Hannah and Aaron spent time climbing and swinging on the sculpture. We had a few free snow cones and spent a little extra time afterward watching some strange art films inside the Millwork Commons area and looking at a few interesting things on site, such as a bunch of wall-mounted bike racks that the kids turned into a jungle gym, and a corner lot full of painted concrete barriers that the kids decided to walk along. (I also got to recreate a meme with Vivian’s help.)

It was a fun afternoon of exploration. Then we returned home to have burritos and watch the Disney movie G-Force, which was about secret agent guinea pigs. (Naturally, I brought out Harold to watch as well.)

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Having the kids in school full time has given Vivian and me some quality adult time together. On Monday, we took Grammy by Costco to do a little shopping and get some new tires put on the CR-V. We learned we needed a new set after getting a flat last month, and it seemed like a good enough excuse to have a long lunch sampling items and having some lunch together.

Then on Tuesday, I went over to Jack and Donna’s house to give their lawn a trim. In kind, Donna gave my hair a trim (with Bella on my lap) so I’d be nice and neat for my birthday weekend coming up. More on that next time.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a last-minute birthday present for me, you may want to consider a new air conditioner. Just an idea.

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