Terri Queck-Matzie

With Ink and Lens


Teach your children

As my friend Melinda would say: “Well, this was a week.”

It was a week indeed. Our country has taken a “throw all the passengers around in the truck bed” turn, and I pray with all my heart no one falls out.

If you know me, you probably already know our new leader isn’t the one of my choice. But Democracy goes on. Now, instead of my candidate against yours, we’re back to our non-election cycle routine of my idea against yours. That’s how this works, after all. One would hope we can keep civility to it. The past decade or so has been hard on that. But it is still the give and take and back and forth that makes this country great.

Of the many memes and links flying around the Internet this week, one theme kept appearing that intrigued me. “What do we tell our children?” Now, I am not by any means a child development specialist, and my own daughter is well past any noticeable response to my direction. (Although I will say I am quite proud of her reasoning and articulation this past week, not to mention backbone.)

Anyway – to those looking for parenting advice in these interesting times, here is my amateur input: Continue reading


Brave new world

This morning had me digging through the back of the closet for the ratty old cardigan I wear around the house. There’s a chill in the air, a sure sign of the changing seasons.

As I fired up the computer for the day, I glanced out the window and saw a yellow leaf fly by.

I’ll no doubt be getting my daughter’s Christmas list soon. She asked for mine awhile back. Bless her heart, this isn’t one-sided.

I asked for a DNA test. For some time I’ve wanted one of those Ancestor profiles.

Not that I suspect any surprises. My linage is fairly well documented as far back as just about anyone would care to go – with the possible lack of explanation for my gypsy soul.

I, like pretty much everybody in these United States, come from a family of immigrants. In my case two sets of great-grandparents made the trek from Germany. My mother’s maternal linage arrived a few generations earlier and traces back to Scotland and Ireland. My grandmother, my father’s mother, made the journey solo at age 18. Continue reading


Life in the fair lane

I’m a bit of an oddity around here. Well for many reasons, but this week it’s because I didn’t attend the Iowa State Fair. Nearly everyone I know is there, or has been there for at least a day – with smiles as bright as the sunshine in their posted photos.

The fair is in its final days for 2016, ending a fair season that started just after the 4th of July with county fairs across the state.

I’ve covered fairs for years – took pictures of every kid with their ribbon and animal for the local paper, gave live reports and interviews for the radio station, even wrote a full-length magazine feature on a year’s worth of inner workings of the county fair board.

One could say I began my journalism career at a county fair. It was 1972 and I was visiting my sister in Grand Island, Nebraska, when my brother-in-law Dale Johnson, then the new Ag Editor at the Grand Island Independent, took me along to cover the Nance County fair. I was 15 and it was a nice fair as I recall. I don’t know as I did much but carry the camera case, but it must of left its mark.

These days I’m just thankful I don’t have to go. As a spectator sport, the appeal of the fair, like mega-concerts, wanes with age as I preclude most outings with an assessment of the weather, size and temperament of the crowd, and adequate and accessible parking. Continue reading


Mid-summer night’s blues

It’s amazing how fast summer goes.

In the news business we used to joke summer was over after the 4th of July. It was barely a joke.

Sure enough, I’m just about caught up on work I put off until after the 4th of July tractor ride and the county fair is starting. It will be quickly followed by the state fair.

Then school starts. I haven’t had kids in school for more than 10 years, and that still signals the change of seasons. I can almost hear the football announcer and marching band now.

Once again summer’s gone all too fast, but then again, folks around here spent most of June praying for rain. Apparently it worked. It’s been coming an inch or more at a time about every other day for the past week or so. Just what the corn needs. They say if you listen close late at night you can hear it grow.

Yep. Heat and rain. That’s what makes us corn country. The other night we had a heat index of 91 degrees at 9:45 p.m. This week another heat wave is gearing up with mid- to high-90s. That should make something grow.

I subscribed to a local CSA this year. Twenty weeks of fresh garden produce delivered to my door. This week is week #10. Half way through the garden season and I’ve yet to yield anything of consequence beyond radishes and a few onions out of mine. Bring on the tomatoes and peppers.

The roadside sweet corn hawkers are out in full force. I found out 3 p.m. is too late in the day for the famed Iowa delicacy. We are corn fed here. And I have the elastic-waist summer pants to prove it.

I do still have sandals that haven’t left their box in the closet, but even though convention frowns on white pants and shoes after Labor Day, we’re still far from needing socks. Or even long pants for that matter.

Still the hazy, crazy, lazy days of summer are ticking by.

Good Lord, I haven’t even put in any serious deck time yet. If anyone out there has a deck – and the appropriate libations to go with it – I’m available over the next six weeks.

top five color

Putting 2015 to bed

I sit here on this eve of the eve of Christmas wrapping up loose ends as much as possible before the final countdown to the festivities begins. I’m never far from email and I have been known to slide work into celebration hours, but I try to avoid having anything pressing. I want any such interaction to be strictly voluntary.

Projects that require little contact with others are lined up for the mid-holiday week. One never knows others’ availability. It took a few years to learn not to depend on it. I guess the voluntary rule applies through the whole stretch.

It will be 2016 by the time this desk and household see anything resembling regular routine, a concept with a sketchy definition here in the best of circumstances. Continue reading