Foto Friday: Veteran’s Day

For this week’s Foto Friday, in honor of Veteran’s Day, I decided use old photographs to pay tribute to veterans in my family. 

My “doughboy” great-grandfather, Jim Tanksley, served in the Army during World War I, if only briefly. He registered for the draft in June 1917 and was called into military service in August 1918, three months prior to the Armistice. He served overseas, most likely in France, and a year later he was discharged from the Army. This image of him is from a postcard.

Jim in his Army uniform, circa 1918.

Jim in his Army uniform, circa 1918

Like father, like son. Jim’s son and my great uncle, James Earl Tanksley, was a World War II veteran. Uncle James is pictured here with his mother, my great grandmother, Della. The clarity is not great, but I really love this picture because of the way she is looking at her son with such love and pride.


Uncle James and Grandma Della, circa 1942



Foto Friday: Fall Colors

If you’ve followed 2 Dope Sistahs for a while, you know that I take a lot of pictures while I am out walking. This photo is from a couple of weeks ago. I was struck by the colors and just had to stop and admire them for a moment.

It looks a little crooked, but that is because it’s on a hill.

Fall colors are so beautiful, but they only last such a short time. If you haven’t had a chance, go out and enjoy the leaves changing colors before it’s too late!

Foto Friday: Big Sweep

I planned to attend a local museum Thursday and take some “new” pictures for this week’s Foto Friday, but life got in the way. Fortunately, I have a stockpile of photos from previous occasions. I took this picture when Da Hype 1 and I visited Denver in 2012.

"Big Sweep," Denver, Colorado, 2006

“Big Sweep,” Denver, Colorado, by artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen (2006)

Artists Claes Oldenburg (1929-) and Coosje van Bruggen (1942-2009) are known for their outdoor sculptures in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Their art projects are often large-scale reproductions of ordinary objects. This giant sculpture of a broom and dustpan, called “Big Sweep,” is outside the Denver Art Museum and is over 31 feet high and 25 feet wide.

Foto Friday: Flowers

I love flowers. I don’t know how to keep them alive or the proper names for most of them, but I love them. In summer there are beautiful flowers everywhere. Case and point. I found these beautiful flowers growing behind my local bike shop. I stopped to admire them and decided to photograph them as well.


I’m so glad there are people who have green thumbs.

Foto Friday: Little Free Library

Have you heard about the “Little Free Library” Project? I first saw the libraries on Pinterest and thought, What a great idea! It’s a neighborhood book exchange that started in Wisconsin in 2009. Now there are more than 15,000 around the world, including the one that I recently found in my neighborhood.

Little Free Library, Coralville, Iowa

Little Free Library, Coralville, Iowa. Sharing books, encouraging literacy. I LOVE IT!

The books are free. The idea is to share your favorite books–“take a book, return a book.” I didn’t take a book, but I brought a contribution.

My Little Free Library contribution.

My Little Free Library contribution.

Foto Friday: Special Effects

I was walking on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University when I came across this scene. Steam was billowing from a pipe on one of the campus buildings and surrounding a nearby tree.


It seemed eerie to me, like special effects you might see in a horror movie, so I added some special effects of my own.


Readers, I’d love to know what you think. 🙂

Foto Friday: Herky on Parade

I was driving past city hall the other day, and I saw this statue of Herky the Hawk, the mascot of the University of Iowa. Hmm, I thought. This is new.


"Capt Herky"

“Capt Herky”

As it turns out, this statue is one of 83 Herkys in the Iowa City area. It’s a “multi-city public art project” known as “Herky on Parade.” The statues, which were designed by local artists or students from area schools, will be auctioned off at the end of the summer with the proceeds going to the United Way. The “Herky” above honors members of the United States Air Force. (For more info about Herky on Parade, click here.)


This Herky caught my eye, but don’t worry I’m still partial to Brutus the Buckeye. 😉

Foto Friday: Presidential Inquiry



By nature, I’m a curious person. Maybe it’s the historian in me. I want to know the reasons why things are the way are. Since I moved to Iowa, I have wondered about the statues outside the Scheels sporting goods store at the local mall.

Outside the entryway are sculptures–on the left, one of George Washington holding the Preamble to the Constitution. . .

George Washington

George Washington

and, on the right, one of Thomas Jefferson holding the Bill of Rights.

Thomas Jefferson holding the Bill of Rights

Thomas Jefferson

Is it just me, or does a mall in Iowa seem like a strange place to see bronze sculptures of Washington and Jefferson? I wanted to know why they had sculptures. And also why they chose these particular sculptures. I went inside Scheels to ask and was directed to an assistant manager (the cashier didn’t know) who told me that the president of the company is a “history buff,” and he chooses presidents to sit outside each store. That was all the manager knew. Upon further investigation, I learned that Scheels also has bronze sculptures of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan outside other locations.

Statue signature showing it was produced by the Lundeen Brothers.

Statue signature showing it was produced by the Lundeen Brothers.

The bronze sculptures are the work of Mark and George Lundeen, who have a studio in Loveland, Colorado.

Foto Friday: Isis in Iowa

Last Saturday I visited the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, located in West Branch, Iowa, President Hoover’s birthplace.


In addition to the museum, the grounds also contains the the cottage where Hoover was born, a Society of Friends Meetinghouse, and the gravesite of Pres. Hoover and his wife Lou Henry. I also found something unexpected, a statue of the goddess Isis.


Bronze statue of Isis, the Egyptian goddess of life

Before being elected president in 1928, Herbert Hoover was known as a great humanitarian. In 1914, during World War I, he became the chairman of the Commission for Relief of Belgium. The “children and citizens of Belgium” gave Hoover this bronze statue of Isis, sculpted by Auguste Puttmans, in appreciation of his service. Between 1921 and 1939, the statue resided on the campus of Stanford University, Hoover’s alma mater. But in 1939 Hoover had the statue moved to West Branch.


English translation of the French inscription on the statue.


Foto Friday: Dance!

On Wednesday, March 19, 2014, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And I was fortunate enough to attend. Oh, Happy Day! Of course, there was no photography allowed, but I did get this picture of the marquee.

Paramount Theatre Marquee

Paramount Theatre Marquee

I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. When they performed Ailey’s critically acclaimed Revelations, it was as if I could see Judith Jamison herself dancing on stage. By the end of “Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham,” I felt like I’d been to church. After a standing ovation and thunderous applause, the dance company gave us an encore. It became interactive, with the audience/congregation standing and clapping our hands to the music. I clapped so hard and so long that my arms were tired. It was a wonderful night.