The Circle of [Cabin] Life

While I toil away here is Sweat Louis, Anne continues her vacationing on the shores of Lake Superior. By way of a sop, she sends me daily updates on her doings and bits of cabin news. Mostly her missives are just captioned photos, but last night, along with the usual treasure trove of photos, she add this text:

Tall ship, sunset and sandpiper [not shown] from yesterday, when it was calm. Today the wind was 28-30 mph and quite cool in the afternoon, so I walked back on the road behind Doelle’s and took some Pooh pictures of the plants on the gravel road that goes through the Little Traverse Conservancy. I liked the decaying birch tree with sapsucker holes gridded for your convenience and the other one (pine?) with the cut-away section from [not shown]. Next email will have a tree struck by lightning and the Little T. map, plus the beach when I returned. I hope to ride tomorrow, although the wind is still supposed to be NW, but ONLY 12 mph.

The Saint Louis paper’s front page headline today announce cool tempertures through this weekend, with highs only in the low eighties. I look forward to this brief respite from summer’s heat, but know that it will also bring cold weather to Anne at the cabin. Sorry honey, but into each life a little rain must fall. 😉

Hot and Tired

Round Island Sunset

Round Island Sunset

Today I got up at dawn and bicycled in Forest Park in the early morning, trying to beat the day’s heat. I got a good ride in. Then against my original hopes of doing more today, I ended up whiling away the rest of the day, hunkered down inside my air-conditioned cocoon. July is traditionally the hottest month of the year in Saint Louis and this July is certainly not an exception.

Stoic and Wet Cardinal Fans

Two Stoic and Very Wet Cardinal Fans

Two Stoic and Very Wet Cardinal Fans

Dave came into town yesterday morning with the intension of catching the final game of the Cardinal’s home stand. Sunday’s game was an inter-league game, against the Texas Rangers. The game’s door prize was a glorified reproduction of a ticket to game seven of the 2011 World Series, where the Cards defeated the Rangers and became World Champions for the eleventh time. Is that laying it on too thick, Jay, or is it just a statement of the facts?

We originally thought that the game was at one in the afternoon, normal Sunday starting time and only discovered our error, when we checked our tickets on the way downtown. We turned right around and chalked it up as a practice run. Poor Dave had to get up at 7 AM and drive from Purdue to make the erroneous start time. The starting time had been moved to 7 PM to accommodate TV. The game was ESPN’s game of the week. Our choice of start times would have worked a lot better, because the afternoon was fair. We made it back downtown at six, just ahead of a long line of thunderstorms. We parked in the closest garage and barely made it into Busch and under cover before the heavens opened up.

What ensued was a three-hour rain delay, technically only 2:59, but I could argue that it really was nine hours from the original start time. This morning, Saint Louis sports commentators were bemoaning the team’s lack of fan consideration. If not for the ESPN TV revenue the game would have likely been called. Both teams had Monday off and could have easily made up the game today. I wouldn’t have been able to see any such rain check game, but Dave and Anne could have and Dave could have invited a friend.

I shouldn’t really bemoan the way things worked out, because the whole intent of the enterprise was to be able to spend some time with Dave. Instead of just three-hours, we got six. This is similar to what happened last year, when we took Dave to the ballgame and experienced a nineteen inning game.

After spending seemingly interminable hours in baseball purgatory, we were finally granted access to baseball heaven and the game began promptly after ten. The Cardinal’s ace Adam Wainwright took the mound. The Rangers had won the first two games of this series, but this game started out promising enough. Wainwright looked good on the mound and Allen Craig gave us a 1-0 lead. Then with two out in the top of the seventh, things began to unwind for us. Wainwright couldn’t get that third out (he was due to be pinched hit for in the bottom) and the next two Rangers got on. That was enough for Wainwright, but it was already too late for the Cards too. Those two Ranger runners became the tieing and winning runs, eventually giving the Ranger’s the victory and sweep.

We got home and I slid safely into bed, just before two. This morning was certainly a dawn of the dead. Anne and Dave were the living better than me, still dead asleep dead, while I was dead on my feet dead at work all day. 

Metro East Bike Ride

Storm Damage on a Edwardsville Bike Path

Storm Damage on a Edwardsville Bike Path

Anne’s iPhone powered ducks began a-quacking at six this morning. Since we signed up for this summer’s Lake Michigan shoreline bicycle tour, Anne has been on a tear to get in shape for this weeklong ride. She doubled her annual mileage in the month of May and her goal for June is to more than double it again. To this end we had the bikes loaded on the car and were pulling out of the driveway at seven. Our destination was Edwardsville, IL and Trailnet’s Route 66 ride. It wasn’t until we were down the block that we realized that this ride wasn’t scheduled until next weekend. We momentarily thought of turning around and going back to bed, but we pressed on regardless and decided to ride the Madison County trails instead.

We started cycling from the Collinsville trailhead, where the Metro East Parks and Recreation headquarters is located. This organization runs the Cadillac of bike trails, hundreds of miles of them. Their newest facet is a bicycle repair stand that comes complete with a suite of bike tools, all cabled to the stand. We headed north, towards Edwardsville. As we approached Edwardsville, the amount of debris on the bike trail increased. In Edwardsville proper downed trees blocked the bike path. We got by the first one, by carrying our bikes. Pictured is Anne standing in front of the second downed tree. The only way around this block would have been to crawl through a muddy and wet drainage ditch. We turned around instead. We encountered several more downed trees before we completed our loop back to the car.

On Friday night Edwardsville was hit hard by twisters. We were spared, but others were not. In addition to downed trees, there were many unplanted corn fields, flooded under rain water from Friday’s storm. After our ride, we had a light lunch at the neighboring Culver’s. We were home by noon and spent the afternoon lying on the couches.

Dawn Patrol

Fisheye View of the Grand Basin from Atop Art Hill

Fisheye View of the Grand Basin from Atop Art Hill

Memorial Day weekend is here, at least mine is finally here. Other people (You know who you are.) had skipped out of work days earlier. I knew that today’s workforce would be lighter than normal, when I pulled into my parking space at work. The lot was unusually empty, but not as empty as it was when I left work. Many of those that did make it into work showed up late and left early. I had the fortitude to make it through the work day, because I rode in the park this morning. I woke up at five this morning, to a cacophony of predawn birds, chirping through our open bedroom window. I could have just snug the comforter tighter and rolled over and gone back to sleep, but instead I got up and journeyed down to our now quite dry basement (Yea for the sump pump!) and rode out into the dawn’s early light. It was a cool (45° F), crisp, calm, clear morning. I rode east, squinting into the rising sun.

I followed my regular course until I reached the far end of the park, then I began to ramble around somewhat aimlessly about the park. I ended up touring a selection of venues for this weekend’s entertainment: The Science Center is opening a new exhibit on ancient Egypt this weekend. The African Arts Festival is at the Worlds Fair Pavilion this weekend. Finally, this year’s Shakespeare Festival premieres Twelfth Night tonight. These were just the possibilities within the park’s environs. Researching this post by way of checking the paper, I found a number of other possibilities: There is the Greek Festival for vittles. I’m sure that the garden has something going on too. Trailnet has their Great Pizza Ride on Monday. There is a blues festival downtown. We won’t need to drive hundreds of miles this holiday, I’m sure Anne and I will find lots of fun things to do about town.

Like Sands through the Hourglass …

... Then Your Luck Runs Out

… Then Your Luck Runs Out

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives, then your luck runs out. The news cycle since yesterday afternoon has been dominated by the Oklahoma tornado. Like Joplin two years earlier, a monster storm has flattened another plains community. Many people have been killed, many more have been injured and even more people have survived this storm with only the clothes on their backs, losing all of their worldly possessions. Possessions can be replaced that’s what insurance is for. Most of the injured will recover. For those who were tragically lost, we are left to mourn them. What else can we do? I don’t know whether these large storms are becoming more destructive and frequent or whether the media has just become more adept at capitalizing on them. I do know that our own storm damage in the last few years has increased remarkably.

We’ve lived in this house for almost thirty years and only in the last consecutive two years have we had to make any storm damage claims. Maybe, we’ve been lucky and now our luck has run out. Last night the same storm front that devastated the Sooner state rolled through Saint Louis. There were no tornadoes here, but there were lashing winds and plenty of lightning. We lost a tree branch off the last of our Silver maples. It dropped neatly between the Prius and the young Red maple that replaced our storm lost fir-tree. It came to rest only a couple of feet from our front living room windows. Anne had been sitting on the couch beneath these windows at the time. We were lucky. The next morning, I made quick work of the downed branch, cutting it up into a small pile. Today was refuse trash day, so I couldn’t put the branches out for pickup. After work, I didn’t put them in the trash cans for yard waste pickup, because tonight we are expecting another round of storms. Tomorrow will do just fine.