I know I'm biased, but Iowa really is an anomaly nowadays.
Amidst the fields of soybeans and corn... sprout major business headquarters like Pella windows, Maytag and Amana appliances (and of course our beloved Pancheros)
Next to old pickup trucks down at the only cafe in a town of 500... park Royal Prevost double sided coaches bearing the names of the newest Presidential hopefuls eagerly trying to sway one of the most influential and coveted voters.
Along the roadside of the the longest, largest and oldest bicycle touring ride in the world... beckon signs proclaiming pie after pie after homemade pie...
or in this case... free cake!
And although goofy looking school buses abound, albeit for one week of the year... the students in the state are attending some of the best schools in the nation, not to mention holding doors for people, initiating conversation with adults and saying please and thank you... regularly.
To many people, Iowa, is one of those backwards states. The last ones to know the latest fashion, to hear the newest hits, to still make things for dinner from "scratch". Talk about a blessing...
Imagine if there were no US Weekly, People, and well I guess there is no more "News of the World" (although I wasn't keen on that one anyway :)
Every year, backstage at Fashion Week I would ask designers what their 'inspiration' was. Their answer was inevitably a time since passed. So they're recycling? right? Isn't that what we all do??
Now, the new thing is mixing and matching the generations styles, adding your own spin and calling it "chic". So what you're saying is, whatever I want to wear is cool - as long as the powers that be approve?
I'm pretty sure I saw somewhere that denim on denim, formerly made fun of and nicknamed the Canadian Tuxedo, is now REVERED! Who decided that? And why do we all listen? Why is it that just because one group gives their blessing... all the sheep quickly do a 180?
One of the most important people of our lifetime, in our history is an inventor named Dean Kamen. You've probably heard of him... because of me. I'm slightly obsessed. He invented the first diabetic insulin pump, the mobile dialysis machine, the ibot wheelchair, the Segway, and now a water purification system that can be powered by dung.
He's been wearing denim on denim for decades. If you ask him, "it's functional". Well good news Dean, you're now a fashion icon as well as one of the most revered and influential peeople in the world. Like he cares. He flies his own jet, and helicopter, forgets to eat because he's too busy inventing, and almost never spends the night in his beautiful home because the worlds problems beckon him to offer what he can.
He's my hero...
I don't care that Kim Kardashian is getting married, or that she wants 5 kids, and I'm sure she doesn't care about me or my dreams either, or else she'd call more often.
I don't lose sleep wondering if Rachel Zoe approves my outfit made of swim caps... she has no idea the looks of confusion, wonder and sheer delight I see on the faces of the people who look at me like I'm an absolute lunatic...
People ask me where I'm from... I like to make sure it's clear that although the home where I receive (the most) mail is in California, make no bones about it... I'm from that random state in the middle where the seasons come and go in equal proportion.
Where we pride ourselves in showing up to the prom in a John Deere 9630 tractor that costs twice as much as your Maserati, in a dress we sewed ourselves. That's "couture" right Ms. Zoe? :)
It's also that place where a thank you card is accompanied by a homemade loaf of banana bread because not only did our parents instill manners and values they also taught us how to use those appliances in the house, not just how they match the shabby chic decor. (and because despite what everyone says about eating raw dough... licking the beaters, the bowls, and the spatula... is fine)
Iowa is the reason I am who I am... California is the reason I appreciate it.
Going home was a good reminder of how buying nothing new for a year, isn't really so much about sacrifice, as it is about reassessing.
Oh did I tell you about the solar powered stereo I got to play with all during RAGBRAI?? I'm too sleepy right now... but I promise tomorrow.