I saw Santa twice on Saturday. Anne and I attempted to go Christmas shopping Saturday morning. We made it out the door by ten. We drove the back way, expecting traffic snarls, but were surprised not to find any. Our first stop was REI. We looked around, but didn’t find too much. I ended up buying some bike parts, brake pads and a chain. That chain ought to weigh down the ole Christmas stocking this year. Our next stop was Whole Foods. Anne picked out some organically dyed socks. We sampled and then bought some cranberry cheese. I also got some individually packaged, pre-cooked mini-waffles. Rereading their description, they sound horrible, but they are actually quite good. They make a great light breakfast of on the go food.
Back in the car again and then off to the Galleria. The parking lot was only half full when we arrived. Anne wanted to check out Coldwater Creek. I really didn’t have a plan. We split up, planning to rendezvous in an hour. I saw my fist Santa of the day, the mall Santa performing his trade, posing with children on his lap. I photographed him and the mall’s giant Christmas tree. I walked up and down both floors of the mall. I even stopped at the Apple store to look at iPhones. I brought up this site on one and was impressed at the way it was handled. ATT’s service plan would be more than what we pay Sprint, but $200 bucks per phone seemed to steep to pay. Afterwards, I wanted to check the time and pulled out my cell. I had to power it up. All of this mall activity had only taken a total of thirty minutes. I started feeling really out-of-place there. I called Anne, “I know I said an hour, but …” She was understanding and we were back home by noon.
After a long lunch hour, albeit without much actual lunch, we began launching for our afternoon bike ride. Saturday was our first winter weather ride of the season. As such it took a little more time then normal getting dressed. First we had to find all of our winter clothes. Then we had to figure out how many layers we would need. It is a good thing that we try ran this exercise on Saturday, because on Sunday when we are going to ride the New I-64 we can’t afford to be fooling around with all this stuff. We eventually made it out the door.
We biked in the Park, of course. We rode to Steinberg Rink and first watched the Zamboni do its job. A lady had brought a real live reindeer. It was a lot smaller than I had expected. She said that everyone says that. The reindeer was from Moscow, Missouri. The phrase eight tiny reindeer comes to mind here. Skating Santa came out on the ice just before the Zamboni had finished up.
Afterward we went birding. We didn’t see any owls. My Missouri DNR calendar says that owls begin this week. Great Horned Owls make this courting call, “Hoo, hoo-oo, hoo-oo.” More impressively, Barred Owl’s courting calls go like this, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” We didn’t hear any owls either. We did see two different kinds of hawks. We’ll try to figure out which kinds. We also saw two red-headed woodpeckers. We got twelve miles.