The Secret Project, currently on display through the end of March at the Glore Psychiatric Hospital Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri, features a variety of art mediums to portray secrets shared anonymously with the artist, sometimes breathtakingly so. More than fifty works of art are exhibited in a special area of the museum and my husband and I were moved by almost each and every one of them.

Jarring. Introspective. Haunting. Sad and yet empowering. A beautiful and poignant exposition of inner demons, personal fears and both the bravery and ugliness of humanity.

While my husband and I were hiking a bike trail yesterday afternoon, we passed through a marina where boats are stored during the winter months while they wait for warmer weather. We spied three decrepit old houseboats, long past their prime, at the far end of a gravel lot and just knew we had to take a closer look.
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Here’s the view of some frayed rope attached to one of the boats and a deck chair on the upper level of the boat sitting there next to it. I highly doubt anyone will be scrambling up top to enjoy the warming rays of the sun anytime soon.
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I’m trying – without success – to imagine the series of events leading to the placement of these wicker chairs shown here.
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Were the elements, harsh Iowa winter winds or a summer storm, to blame for this broken glass? An accident of some kind when the waves caught someone off-balance? Or something more sinister perhaps?
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Is there anything more pathetic than the thought of someone still making monthly payments on this old vessel: land-locked, rusted, never to experience the taste of lake water again?
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And yet, I’m sure these once buoyant vehicles – in their heyday – brought much joy and satisfaction to their owners. Families and friends enjoying an afternoon on the lake, tipping back a few, relaxing, living life to its fullest. If so, despite their present state, they will have fulfilled their purpose.

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Throughout most of February, the heartland has been enjoying mild weather and record high temperatures this past week. Here in Des Moines we enjoyed temps in the 70’s and clear, sunny skies, perfect for a walk around Gray’s Lake. Today, many are experiencing blizzard conditions, lots of snow and travel advisories in northern Iowa. No matter. We’re almost to March and now that we’ve had a taste of spring, we’re better able to hold on until she’s officially here.

Seven random images posted the 11th of each month…

However, due to an injury my husband sustained earlier this month – falling from a ladder and obliterating his left elbow and thereby cancelling our scheduled trip to Mexico this month – I failed to package this up to send out. Shrug. Better late than never!

1. Icy Shrub
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2. Crochet Project
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3. Daddy’s Rose
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4. By Hook or by Crook
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5. Neighbor’s Roof
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6. Life’s Punctuation Mark
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7. 4th of July Remnant in the Dead of Winter

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Effective March 15th, I become a Free Woman. I am retiring!! More time to pursue photography, crochet, Adventures in Cooking, Adventures in Baking, hiking, biking, writing and blogging. No pesky office job to interfere with beautiful days perfect for driving along back roads to snap photos such as this or to explore the latest art exhibits or to cultivate container herbs and spices out on the deck. Early morning walks, reading in a comfy chair sitting in the sun with a hot chai or cup of tea, lazy afternoons relaxing with a few gel pens and a coloring book, getting up close and personal with bike trails, state parks, museums and music events, plays, wineries, binging on Netflix — the opportunities are countless and oh, so far-ranging!

A friend who retired a few years ago told me the first thing she did was to catch up on her sleep. So that might just be an option as well. It’s an overused phrase but, truly, this will be a whole new chapter. I began working in my early 20’s and aside from semester breaks as a non-traditional student, the last time I truly had time just for me was, well, probably never!

The countdown in days (not months!) starts NOW….