3 Things 9.24.16: Friday Night Lights, Wild Cat Den, Skin Cancer Check PSA

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Welcome to another 3 Things post where I share a bit about my life. This week, I’ve got a Friday Night Lights story, pictures from our recent hiking adventure at Wild Cat Den, and a PSA to share with you!

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We’ve been living in small town Iowa (population under 3000) for over ten years now. It’s so hard to believe, but it’s true. I come from a bigger city background having lived in Sacramento, Phoenix, Colorado Springs, as well as Heidelberg, Germany and Okinawa, Japan, and small town life never ceases to amaze me. I love it, but it’s so different from the way I grew up. It’s sort of the theme for today’s post. 😀 Enjoy.

3 Things 9.24.16: Friday Night Lights, Wild Cat Den, Skin Cancer Check PSA


Friday Night Lights


What you’re looking at right there is our little high school’s entire band. I didn’t count the band members, but there can’t be more than 30. If you look closely, you’ll see football players and cheerleaders in the band too. When I was in high school, you couldn’t do both. You had to choose. Here, if they don’t let you do it all, there just aren’t enough kids to do anything. That was originally one of the reasons I was really drawn to small town life – the ability to be involved in so much. Now, as a busy mom, I’m not sure I like it all that much! I guess it’s good and bad, like so much in life.

But that’s not all I wanted to say about this picture. What cracked me up the most was the announcer calling the song that they played during half time “less miserable.” He meant, of course, that they were playing a song from the popular musical Les Misérables, but when he introduced it to the crowd at half time, he said they were playing less miserable. I about fell out of my seat – it really made me giggle and wonder if this stuff happens in big cities too or if it’s really just small town life?


Wild Cat Den


On Monday, the kids didn’t have school because of a teacher in-service day so we went out to Wild Cat Den, an Iowa State park about 20 minutes away. We’ve used to go there a lot, but we had’t been recently. Wild Cat Den is a really beautiful park with a working grist mill, lots of hiking, camping, and exploring. We met up with homeschooling friends and had a great afternoon. The kids wandered around barefoot, climbed structures that made me nervous, got filthy, and were really upset when we had to leave. If you live in Iowa, put Wild Cat Den on your list of places to visit! It’s really breathtaking.

Skin Cancer Check PSA


Last on my list of three items today is a reminder to have a skin cancer screening. I had my first screening several years ago after a homeschooling acquaintance of mine died from melanoma. It was a really sad time. I didn’t know her well, but she left behind three young daughters and her death was heartbreaking. It spurred me to have my first skin cancer check, especially important for me since I have all the risk factors: reddish hair, lots of freckles, history of bad burns, and exposure to tanning beds during college. I was pretty spooked at that first appointment and wanted my dermatologist to remove a questionable spot on my leg even though she wasn’t that concerned  about it. The spot ended up being nothing, as she thought.

After that spot was removed, I didn’t got back for several years until I finally went this past week. While it’s really not that fun having a stranger examine all the spots on my naked body, it does give me a peace of mind to know that we have established a baseline and that I’ve got a dermatologist I trust if there are problems. If you’re in looking for a dermatologist in Eastern Iowa, I recommend Iowa City Dermatology. I see Dr Erica Colleran and like her a lot.

  1. I really like James Corden on the Late Late Show. Have you seen his carpool karaoke skits? They crack me up. You’ve probably seen this already, but he recently sang an updated version of “Ironic” with Alanis Morissette and I enjoyed watching it. If you haven’t seen it, here it is.

2. I found all of the links I enjoyed this week on facebook. This one is on a more serious topic: racism. It’s honestly a topic I never gave much thought until my family moved to Missouri when I started high school. Before then, I attended DoDDs (Department of Defense Dependents Schools) in Germany which were full of military brats. Maybe I was too young to notice racism and it really existed there too, but the difference between blacks and whites in my middle school years in Germany and high school in Missouri were striking to me even as a 14 year old. Anyway, I don’t know who this woman is, but she destroys racism in one minute, and I think what she has to say on the topic is spot on.

3. Clean drinking water is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I’m dismayed by the recent EWG Report that shows Chromium-6 has been found in the drinking water of over 200 million Americans. Chromium-6 is the cancer causing pollutant made famous by Erin Brockovich. We’ve had horrible problems with our drinking water and I’m sad, but not surprised, to see that Chromium-6 has been found in the drinking water in my county. Head over here to check out your county results too.

Happy Saturday, Friends! I wish you a great weekend.

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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