This week a local school district has invited Nicole Rubel to be an author-in-residence. The students were well prepared and the visits in the schools are going well. Tonight, however, we had a great dinner at Zinderick's Czech Restaurant -- a restaurant operated by Al Zinderick (who also operates Al's Red Frog -- an establishment next to the restuarant). Fresh homemade applesauce began the evening with medallions of tender pork loin and potato dumplings with sweet and sour cabbage. The meal's end came with a delicious fruit and nut pastry.
Nicole Rubel is a very talented author and illustrator. It was a delight to hear about her work and current projects.
We spent some time scouring antique shops on 16th Avenue - -the home of the Czech district in town. We were able to find some great jewelry. I found a faux garnet brooch and another brooch with amber stones. Jeni Reeves - -another wonderfully talented author and illustrator generously gifted me with a Ruby glass and enameled bud vase. It will be a great accessory when I am using my ruby and gold trimmed rose china. We had looked forward to visiting other sights in the Czech district but sadly though the National Czech and Slovac Museum which is part of the district here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa closed at 4:00 p.m. So too did the quaint gift shop -- the Czech Cottage which stands on the corner of a street intersecting with 16th Avenue. I don't quite understand how we (residents of the metro area) are supposed to promote the tourism of the area when nothing stays open past the early afternoon. Aren't most people actually working until 4 or 5 p.m. When do you suppose they have time to visit "the attractions" with their out-of-town guests? In this case Nicole Rubel was busy in schools all day and would have enjoyed seeing some of the "sights" in the locality.
Well so much for trying to promote the Czech district but the meal at Zinderick's comes highly recommended and so does a visit to Al's Red Frog.
And the conversation with Nicole, Jeni, and our librarian friend Jean Schwegler made for a wonderful evening.
Oh, and while at Zinderick's I spotted a Schmid musical box of Mr. Jeremy Fisher. I managed to bargain with Mr. Zinderick for the musical box and was able to take the item home where it will be placed in my Beatrix Potter guest room. Such fun.
But best of all is the original art Nicole brought for my art gallery. The illustration is from one of my very very favorite books, A Cowboy Named Ernestine. Strong female character, cowboy, rural scenes, and a very great picture book read.