Tag Archives: Warde Hall

Tree of Hope is on the Way

My MMU trees

Trees that I'm growing in my office to transplant home--three thriving Ironwood, one dead crab apple and one crab apple with a new shoot.

Not just the promised Catalpa from my sister in Davenport—which I owe her an Iowa lily for—there is other good tree news to report.

I dug up some root sappers from crab apple trees near Warde Hall that I like, in the hopes of getting such a tree started in my own forest—formerly known as “backyard.”

As you can see, the crab apples did not fare as well as the Ironwoods that I also planted to be guarded and tended by office gnomes. But even though most of both crab apples died, one sent up a new shoot. Just about a week ago, I accidentally knocked that shoot off when closing my window, which I thought was the end of the root sappers.

Hope springs eternal. This photo is from this morning. Clearly, the crab apple tree root sapper is the Hillary Clinton campaign of the tree world—you may think it dead, but it keeps coming back. Lets hope the long-term prognosis for this little tree (which, unlike the Ironwoods that will likely go behind my fence, actually already has a designated spot in my backyard grove) is better than the campaign.

Gnomes, work your magic! Grow little tree, grow!

The crab apple

Closer look at baby crab apple. The full-sized tree has reddish leaves and is fairly large for a crab apple. three of them grown in a group near Warde Hall.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Visitor With 8 Legs

Spider in Warde Hall near the drinking fountain on the first floor. I like the hardwood floor in Warde, hope they never get in a hurry to carpet it. This is a large lady, no insult intended, over 1/2 as wide as a floor board.

A while ago, I wrote about a small spider that lived in my office at home. Sad to say, I have not seen that spider for some time, but then again, spiders are shy and she may just be better at hiding.

Anyway, today while walking to my office from a meeting in Lundy Commons, I spied this spider lady stalking the hallway by the drinking fountain. Before you say “eeek,” she was totally silent, smaller than a quarter and quietly trying to cop a drink without bothering any big bipeds. I’m sure she would, with considerable justification, fear us far more than the most paranoid of us fear her.

Anyway, when I wrote about my home office companion, some people at MMU thought I had an arachnid friend in my office, 101 Warde Hall. I probably do—spiders aren’t very rare—but I haven’t seen any.

Sure saw this one, though. Big mama!

A couple more images of her posted on Facebook to freak out family and friends.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Gnome, gnome on the range!

The first gnome

The first gnome I found. I used by cell phone to take his photo and texted it to Audrey, with a message that said "Mommy." But, she denied any relationship and pointed out that she recognized my office computer speaker. I'm sure she did. She saw it when she put the gnome there ....

A gnome-themed Romeo and Juliet move is out in theaters, and we’re likely to see it since Matt recommended it. Anyway, that movie apparently is encouraging some pranksters in the family.

I’ve been gnomed.

And not for the first time.

Most Tuesdays, Audrey and I will meet at the Hilltop Grille at Mount Mercy University for “Taco Tuesday,” when tacos are plentiful and cheap. While chatting this Tuesday, we came up with an idea for a “Mount Mercy Times” photo contest—rather than merely show pictures of details and ask students to guess where they are, have a gnome who travels from place to place (the MMU travel gnome) and take its picture. The contest can be “where is the MMU gnome now?”

Second Gnome.

Well, based on the scene of violence, this must be a dangerous gnome. Worse than a Blue Meannie ....

Little did I know that the gnomatic bent of the conversation was a pretext. Sometime between Tuesday and Thursday, four gnomes suddenly appeared in my office.

When my gardens were mysteriously gnomed last summer, strong circumstantial evidence implicated two of my children—the youngest and the oldest. This time, I don’t need Sherlock Holmes or Mary Vermillion to crack the case—only one member of my family has both a history of gnoming and a key to my office.

Guess who.

In the 1990s, when we lived in Early, Iowa, and our children attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in Storm Lake, Iowa, the kids joined the St. Mary’s band. Mysteriously, garden gnomes randomly began to show up in the band room there. I think Mr. Suits, the band teacher, strongly suspected the Sheller kids, and, to be honest, I don’t think his suspicions were misplaced—and the gnomes were purchased, suggested and sometimes even placed by the children’s mother.

The window gnome

The window gnome, looking over planters where I will try to sprout Ironwood Trees soon.

A known gnomer.

Recently, there have been gnome incidents in the Nursing Department at MMU. Now, I am not a witness and I don’t know if Audrey is the Nursing gnomer—certainly the idea of haunting others with gnomes can come from other sources. Maybe Mary Tarbox is a fan of “The Full Monty.” Anyway, even if Audrey isn’t the nursing gnomer, certainly a gnomatic incident there may have revived her latent gnomish tendencies.

Yes, I said it. I’m married to a gnomad.

And Wednesday afternoon, I began to notice some gnomes. The first I saw was atop a shelf attached to my desk. Then, I noted one lurking among “Yellow Submarine” figures I have (not toys, action figures, of course). A third gnome was soon spotted on my window sill.

That night, Audrey denied it, of course, but during the conversation, also blurted out that, in fact, there were four gnomes. Aha! J’accuse!

And Thursday, sure enough, a fourth gnome was indeed found when I went to put my lunch in my minifridge. Poor fella. Must have felt like Gnome, Alaska.

The fourth gnome

Aha! The fourth known gnome, hobnobbing with coffee...


Filed under Uncategorized

The Hypnotic Effects of Snow

Falling precipitation, if you’re doing any boring, repetitious task, can be hypnotic to watch or listen to.

Snow, while it can make a very subtle sound, is usually pretty quiet.

Here are two random videos I shot Monday. The one at the top is shot through a screen, which gives it a scruffy look, the one below is through a window only.  I was giving an exam at the time, so the natural sound is the sound of heater/blower in a classroom, and the cough in one video is courtesy of a student. I was looking around while shooting, so that, plus lack of tripod, means a lot of camera shake.

I didn’t just stare out the window and shoot random video. Most of the time during the exam, I was grading papers and watching the students. This video was shot during a brief between grading interlude, and is near the end of the exam period.

Warde Hall at Mount Mercy University is my favorite building there, due to its unique character. Two very tall pine trees grow in front of the building, and one of those trees provides the dark backdrop that lets us watch the snow.

I’m not sure what it is about things falling from the sky, but snow in particular, that provides such fascination. Are we hard wired to attend to is as part of the natural world from which we sprang? I can recall many a day in elementary school where all that I recall is: “It rained. Watched rain out the window.”

I was not a particularly good student in elementary school, by the way.

I think part of the hypnotic effect of snow is simply the random, yet repeated, motion Small objects enter our field of vision and silently float by. The supply seems endless, a quiet eternal procession. The process is often not as gentle as it sounds—a wind will make the snow silently float by as if propelled by little jet engines, and wind-whipped snow can have quite an impact on facial flesh, as any Iowan can tell you. But, it’s cool when viewed out a window with a dark, tall piney background.

Still, while it was cold Monday, the snow was not particularly intrusive. It didn’t pile up, it wasn’t whipped into drifts, it was just pretty to watch. And watch.

I think I need a fire, a new book to read and some hot chocolate. That (and having elves to grade the exams) would make the snow perfect.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized