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From VIP entrances in Versace to service entrances in my apron

  • Julie Anne Rhodes

When My World Turns Upside Down

Life is, well it’s just life right now and not terribly exciting. I’m finishing up a business plan, doing a very late spring clean (the piles everywhere were threatening to eat me alive), amongst other boring menial tasks that need tackling. Naturally, my impulse is to run away, so I’m feeling nostalgic about the lake house. While I’m trapped in reality, I thought I’d share my favorite escape with you again…

Julie Anne Rhodes

When my world turns upside down

For the past 17 years there has been one place I’ve known I can escape to. A place where life seems so much less complex. A place filled with happy memories of gathering with family and friends, sailing, fishing, tubing, water skiing (or at least attempts at it), watching fireworks over the water, picnics, biking, walking, rummaging through antique shops, and going to lots of movies on rainy days. I’ve come here to get my head on straight when life has turned my world upside down, and left ready to tackle the world.

Clear Lake, Iowa

The view from the house

I’m looking out over my favorite view from my parents’ lake house as I write this…possibly for the last time. Tatjana is busy working on films in London these days, the twins are wanting to spend longer at camp in the summer, and Mom and Dad are tired of the upkeep, so they put the house on the market.

Tatjana with friends Ashley, Lacey, and Nicole

Tatjana with friends Ashley, Lacey, and Nicole

I’m sad. It signals the end of an era. Watching my daughter’s delight over running freely through the neighborhood with her friends (in contrast to her life in London) every summer. Young girls I watched grow into young women. She learned to ride a bike, sail, fish, and had her birthday parties here year after year.

Surf Ballroom

The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa

Lake Lanes

Bowling at Lake Lanes

There were concerts at the Surf Ballroom where Buddy Holly played his last concert, the antique car shows, and the Hobo convention in nearby Britt. Picking strawberries at Furlieghs Farm, and the Northern Iowa state fair. Bowling at Lake Lanes, and cinnamon rolls at PM Park where my parents and all their friends would gather on weekends after riding bikes around the lake.

The old opera house – now the cinema, and Corner Drug

The old opera house – now the cinema, and Corner Drug

Main Street

Main Street

Old Victorian homes

Old Victorian homes

I’ll miss the old Victorian homes, and charm of Main Street… when we first came here you could go to drive-in movies, eat at drive-in restaurants, and have a root beer float at the Corner Drug store. A place where a slice of my own childhood still existed. A time life seemed so simple. A place that will live forever in my heart and fond memories.

They say “all good things must come to an end”. I will find a new place to recharge my batteries when they run low, but I will never forget my favorite corner of Iowa…or the smell of fresh baked cinnamon rolls at PM Park.

Cinnamon Rolls PM Park Style

Servings: 12


For dough:

1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup water 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 3/4 teaspoon salt 3 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

For filling:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup raisins, optional

for icing:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon butter, softened

1 tablespoon cream cheese

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 tablespoon milk


For dough:

1). Heat 1/2 cup milk, water, and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until warm. Pour into the pan of your bread machine and add remaining ingredients in the order suggested by the machine’s manufacturer. Select dough cycle. Press start.

For filling:

2). When cycle is finished, remove the dough and punch down. Roll into a large rectangle on a floured surface, and smear with softened butter. Mix cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough. If desired, sprinkle raisins evenly over the top.

3). Roll dough into a log, starting with the long side. Cut into 12 equal slices. Place slices on a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Cover with a damp towel and place in a warm part of the kitchen to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

4). Bake rolls in preheated oven for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and cool 5-10 minutes before icing.

For icing:

5). Mix powdered sugar, softened butter, and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla and milk, and mix until thick but spreadable. Once rolls have cooled slightly, spread evenly over the top, and serve rolls while still warm and gooey.

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