White Flamingo Flower

White Flamingo Flower

We are settling into our post-hosting ways again. So far, we have found only one thing that Jay and Carl left behind. It wasn’t left in their bedroom. It wasn’t even in the house. It was the weather that they left us, a real Seattle all-day rainstorm. It never rained very hard, but it did rain all day. Afterwards the sump pump started running. Today’s weather is much better, both warm and sunny. We have a dinner party tonight. Our next door neighbors, the architects are hosting it. It will be outside, so props to them for picking today as the date, instead of yesterday. 

More long term, Anne has signed up for another long-term substitute gig. She will be teaching in the first grade. She’ll start sometime in mid-November, depending on when the regular teacher’s baby comes. Her gig will run until mid-January. I was initially pissed that she signed up for this assignment, but then I hit upon the idea of doing some solo traveling and leaving her home alone. So far, I’ve booked myself a trip to Washington, DC. On our trip last month to Shenandoah, we flew in-and-out of Washington and I missed not having anytime to see the town itself. This trip should rectify that. 

Three Amigos

Three Amigos

Yesterday, we visited the art museum and toured the new Rembrandt show. I think that its official tittle is more like Dutch painters in the age of Rembrandt, but the type font of his name was way outsized for the number of his works in the exhibit. There were only three. Afterwards, the rain rolled in and we headed over to Blueberry Hill for lunch. We got the Scrabble booth, but the food came too soon, to finish the game. Next up to the Hill we went and visited Hall of Fame Place. This one city block served as the childhood home for baseball greats, Yogi Berra, Joe Garagiola and Jack Buck.

Today, we first had breakfast at the Southwest Diner. Rated the best diner in Missouri, it has a southwestern motif going, plus it is situated on Southwest Avenue. Then we were off to the botanical gardens. The gardeners have been busy, too busy if you ask me, turning beds for winter. They are even already putting up their Christmas lights. We haven’t even had first frost yet. Haven’t they heard about global warning. Afterwards, lunch was Vietnamese at Lemon Grass on South Grand. Baseball tonight! The new Mary Poppins movie was on last night. Do I really need to get up at four in the morning tomorrow?

Prickly

Silk Floss Tree Trunk

You would not want to try to shimmy down this tree trunk. In is in the Climatron, at the Botanical Gardens, where we enjoyed a perfect Sunday afternoon. It was super bright out, with not a cloud in the sky. This weather brought out the photographers in droves. There were crowds of them. There were wedding photogs, maternity and baby ones too. Then there were people like Anne and I, people taking pictures of the garden as other than a backdrop. The gardeners have been busy in the few weeks since we were last at the gardens. All of the water lilies are gone, along with their floating Chihuly globes. Quite a few of the beds have already been turned. One would think that they’ve been prepping for the next season of Game of Thrones, as in, winter is coming. That was hard to believe on a day like this one.

We ate lunch at the garden, vegetarian naturally. We split sandwich halves, of the kale grilled cheese and the mushroom Ruben variety, chased with humongous side salads made from garden greens. Ahead of us at the order counter were a family of four, mom, dad, brother and sis. Brother and sis were going at in a very loud manner, while mom and dad tried to ignore them. I turned to Anne and said, “And on your day off.” She later said that she was this close to going into full teacher mode. She had been planning to use her latest call and response chant. “I’m a waterfall. When I say waterfall you say shush. WATERFALL!” “SHUSH!”, “Waterfall.” “Shush.”, “waterfall.” “shush.”

Best of Missouri

Best of Missouri

The Best of Missouri, the botanical garden’s annual fall show is one part art fair and one part farmers market. This show is one of the few times that we have to pay to enter the gardens. We’re members and we just re-upped this month, so it was with some disappointment that I noticed that they were offering free tickets to new or renewing members. Figuring that it doesn’t hurt to ask, I explained that we had just rejoined and asked it that qualified us for free entry. It did. My mother would have been so proud of me.

Anne and I biked to the gardens, in the end threading our way through a truly monstrous traffic jam. Our destination was competing with two other nearby events, an art fair in the Shaw neighborhood and another festival in the Grove. In the end, bicycle parking was no problem. This festival has expanded since last I visited it. Four huge tents now stood instead of the previous two, doubling the number of vendors. Its name is misleading, since easily half of the vendors were from out-of-state. Taking deep breaths, we waded into the throng.

We tried to forage enough free food, to make lunch, but between long lines and miniscule serving sizes that was not to be. We did discover lots of interesting stuff though. One of my favorites was Bright Beam Goods, from Austin (Keeping it Weird). They were selling a series of coasters with so-called mistaken lyrics laser etched into them. A couple of the best were, “Hold me closet Tony Danza.” And “Hit me with your pet shark.” We ended up buying a somewhat similar product from another vendor (i.e. funny sayings on a common household product), as a gift. I was enticed to buy a jar of Chai Spiced Carmel Sauce by the slickest fast talking salesman that we met.

Wading through the crowd, Anne overheard two couples talking about the Soo. One couple had just visited it and was telling the other all about their vacation there. Ms. Butt-in-Ski had to interject. The couple that had visited plans to go back, so we were all over them with helpful suggestions. By this time the other couple had moved on and I was able to anticipate this other Mark’s most Saint Louis stereotypical question, with “We both went to Pioneer High School.” Which is always a conversation stopper. In Saint Louis what high school you went to is shorthand for what is your social-economic, racial and religious class. It turns out that Mark went to U City High and he graduated the same year as Joanie. He didn’t remember her. It was a big school. But as soon as he got home, he planned on looking her up in his year book. He was the school photographer.

We saw all four tents, but rain was moving in, both on the radar and in the darkening sky. We beat feet, pedaling hard. We got to within half-a-mile of home, when the first few rain drops were felt. Redoubling our effort, we sprinted home and wheeled the bikes into the basement, as the dam broke.

Fly, United!

Fly, United!

Saturday night, we attended a party. It was for Don. Because so much of his life also spanned mine, I was in the unique position of knowing almost everyone there. It was great fun, I only wish that he could have made it too. Today, Anne and I enjoyed a halal lunch on South Grand, in prelude to visiting the gardens. We got our steps in and quite a few nice photos too.

While reviewing current TSA screening rules for carry on, in preparation for an upcoming flight, Anne discovered the following guidelines: foam swords – no, light sabers – yes (May the force be with you!), books – yes (May require additional screening…?), live fish – yes (Carry on only), tactical pens (?) – no (Apparently, the pen is mightier than a light saber.), artificial skeleton – yes (Check with your airline, additional seating may be required.), body armor – yes, bowling balls – yes, baseball bats – no (Sorry, Carl.), bread maker – yes, hiking poles – no, cymbals – yes, emergency position-indicating radio beacons – check with your airline, hookahs – yes and shock collars – yes. Knitting needles, crochet hooks and scissors less than 4” are allowed. Anne and her ladies’ sewing circle and terrorist society will be so pleased. Wait a minute, I don’t have room in my roller bag for a bread maker…