Though Des Moines is relatively small compared to some American cities, this town boasts many of the things larger cities do - good theater, a thriving music scene, and fantastic art. (All this without the traffic and the high cost of living!) One of the best places to see what Des Moines has to offer when it comes to art is the Sculpture Park located downtown, right by the library (and close to the secret garden!)
Things That Rock
Some things just deserve celebration.
As I kid I always loved the book "The Secret Garden". Imagine my surprise and delight when as a grown-up I learned that Des Moines has its very own secret garden! Okay, it's not totally a secret - it's actually the test gardens for the well-known magazine Better Homes & Gardens. And it's on Google. However, not many people know about it, and it's rather hidden in the middle of the city, so I'm going to pretend it's my own little secret garden. Plus it's only open to the public on Fridays from 12-2, so that's pretty exclusive!
Here in France, we are housesitting for a British ex-pat named Bob. When Bob first purchased this property the main house was in good shape, but many of the outbuildings were not. One of the first projects he took on was a little 18th century stone cottage right next door. The place was in such bad shape it took almost two years to restore! Now I'm here to share the before pictures Bob took before starting his project, and the after pictures of how it looks today!
I started listening to podcasts a few years ago, though I never did so with any regularity. Over the last six months or so, however, I have been listening to them regularly, and I've come to have a regular cast of ones I love. I used to watch Netflix on my tablet while doing things around the house (making dinner, laundry, etc.) but now podcasts have replaced that habit. It's easier to listen instead of watch something, and I learn something with most of my podcasts, rather than mindless TV watching, so it's a win-win!
Yesterday I shared all about the famous tapestries of Aubusson, France (a small town about 30 minutes away from where we are housesitting. The museum we visited held incredible works art from the whimsical to the historical, to the very contemporary and modern. Right now, they also have one special exhibit based all around the works of JRR Tolkien.
On Friday last week, we returned to the town of Aubusson to visit our friend Suzanne, and to see some of the tapestries that have helped make the area world famous. Fun fact: Aubusson tapestries were name-dropped in the third "Crazy Rich Asians" book as something that super-rich people buy to hang up in their houses! I was so excited when I read that line and was like, "Hey! I've been there!"
One of the hardest things for me to leave behind when we hit the road (besides family and friends, of course) was our full set of the game Dominion. I know, that sounds really nerdy. But Dominion is my absolute favorite game of all time. Joel introduced me to it when we first started dating and I'm not sure he realized quite what a monster he was creating, but the damage was done.
I don't want to sound like a hipster, but I was in love with Marie Kondo way before it was cool. I first read her book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up" way back in 2015. Now, with an 8 episode series on Netflix, it seems that Kondo and her method of organizing - and people's reactions to her method of organizing - has taken the world by storm.
I mentioned way back in a post about our UK road trip that our friend Steve got us hooked on something called Eurovision. As Americans, Joel and I had never even heard of Eurovision before Steve mentioned it as one of his hobbies. Once he explained to us what it is - we were hooked!
We left the United States last July, so technically sometime in January, we hit our six-month milestone of living nomadically. We thought it would be fun if every six months or so we look back and do a round-up of everywhere we've been and some of the things we've been up to on the road.