Love is in the Air

The Star, Edgar Degas, 1879-81

The Star, Edgar Degas, 1879-81

Saint Louis Ballet performed Love is in the Air last night at the Touhill. This dance concert featured a mix of classic and contemporary work by a range of different choreographers. Dancers swayed and plunged together in tuxedos and evening dresses to music that captured the spirit of Valentine’s Day, such as George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and music by other jazz greats. Before I got sick this week, I had the forethought to buy tickets to this performance. Anything at the Touhill is a joy and this one was no exception. The sight of a dozen young, svelte and limber dancers prancing across the stage all night was beautiful to behold. It also served to stir the ardor of many in this mostly couples’ audience. Leaning-in on my left was a woman, not my wife. Her unwarranted advances it soon became clearer, were actually a retreat from the advances of her date. It was all too subtle to make a fuss over, besides love or at least lust was in the air. It was a fine show that I did not fall asleep during, thank you very much. Dinner before the show was at Spiro’s, a Greek restaurant near UMSL. We got there early, both because of our early show time and it also being the biggest date night of the year. Fortunately, it wasn’t very crowded. The road construction on Natural Bridge probably had a lot to do with that, at least that is what the proprietor couple was complaining to us about, all the while we were trying to get out the door to go see the show.

Jimmy’s on the Park

Some of the caricatures of Saint Louis nobility at Jimmy's

Some of the caricatures of Saint Louis nobility at Jimmy’s

Anne and I celebrated Valentine’s Day, with dinner at Jimmy’s on the Park. Jimmy’s is a De Mun area restaurant that has been in business for almost twenty years. The signature aspect of its decor are the banks of caricatures that line its walls. A small subset was captured in the picture with post. The persons depicted are an amalgamation of Saint Louis area royalty and Jimmy’s regulars. Considering the prices there, maybe being a regular is synonymous with royalty. It was a fun night, the food was good and the service was excellent. I especially liked the blueberry crème brûllée. Apparently, like some restaurants have a soup of the day, Jimmy’s has a crème brûllée of the day. Yum!

Before dinner, we exchanged Valentine’s gifts. I went with the traditional flowers and chocolate, the flowers being cut orchids and the chocolate being Christopher Elbow’s designer chocolates. They look almost too good to eat. I went the traditional route, but Anne really out did herself. She made me a Love quilt. She called it a cheater quilt, because it uses a printed pattern instead of pieced bits of fabric. I think that it looks simply marvelous. It is almost done, Anne is working on it as I write. When she finishes it, I’ll share a photo of it. I almost forgot, she also got us passes to The Heights, the local municipal gym. This gift will dovetail nicely with the chocolates that I gave and get us over the hump of the remaining rump of winter. 

I could easily round out this post with a rant directed at the Missouri Department of Revenue and its byzantine motor vehicle process. I am trying to allow Dan to licence his car in California, but its Friday and you don’t really want to hear about any of that. Instead, why don’t we reach back to Tuesday’s State of the Union speech.

Anne and I watched the SOTU together, how romantic. No really, people find members of their political persuasion more attractive than others. A Stanford study showed that matched political ideologies could swing a subject’s desire. We lightened any sense of sexual tension [Anne says what sexual tension? Mark says you were in the room.] with a game, SOTU bingo. I might have won, if I had caught the fist bump banter between Obama and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL). Kirk responded to Barack’s fist bump with an exploding fist bump. Anne went on alone and won during Marco Rubio’s response. I had quit the couch by then, because it looked to me that Rubio was moving the game from bingo to some sort of drinking game. 😉

I never thought that yesterday’s post about today’s passing asteroid, DA14, would be upstaged by a Russian meteorite about the size of a semi. The video footage from the meteorite was amazing and really helped to hype the DA14 conjunction. Apparently, Russian drivers go around with a constant video feed, because of rampant fraudulently staged traffic accidents. We had an office pool going as to where the asteroid would land. The actual event was a bit of a let down. It looked like a cursor moving across the screen.




I have been going on and some might say, on and on about Valentine’s Day this week. As I pointed out yesterday, I am in a happy relationship, called marriage. I realize that not everyone else is in a relationship and my writing about, some might say bragging about mine is not particularly sympathetic to those who are single. I appreciate this and I mean no harm. I don’t want to hurt anyone else’s feelings, but on the other hand, I don’t feel that I need to be mum about it either. I could so easily be cruel if I wanted to be:

For all the single people who don’t have a valentine on Valentine’s Day… Don’t feel too bad, as most folks don’t have Aids on World Aids day either.

In response to Valentine’s Day, an opposition to it has arisen and not simply among all the single people. I know, because once I was in their number and I was even then committed to the same woman who I am now. I once saw Valentine’s Day as simply another Hallmark holiday, which is unfair. A hundred years ago, fledgling Hallmark issued its first valentine card. The mass exchange of valentines predates Hallmark by almost a century.

Do you have a date for this Valentine’s Day?
Yeah, February 14th.

We only still refer to Valentine’s Day with its original prefix, saint, in conjunction with the gangland Chicago massacre that occurred on this date. Its origin dates back to the middle ages as the Catholic feast of Saint Valentine, which was co-opted from the pagan Roman fertility celebration Lupercalia. Saint Valentine was believed to have been an early Christian martyr, so priests saying Mass on his day wore red vestments symbolizing his martyr’s blood. Saint Valentine was thought to have had something vaguely to do with love. These two traits led to the modern holiday. The Church has subsequently determined that Valentine was a fictitious character and is no longer considered a saint, except of course, in association with Al Capone.

Every woman is a mystery to be solved. – Don Juan

Now that I have wrung all the romance out of this holiday that is dedicated to love, let me say that I am undeterred in my celebration of it. I guess that I am just a hopeless romantic. I used to chide Anne for crying at mushy movies, but now I am the first to well up in the theater or on the couch. I have plans for Valentine’s Day. Whether it is to be a romantic dinner at home, or a night on the town, I shall not announce. I will announce that I am taking tomorrow night off from this blog, because I do have other plans.

Lucky in Love



Have I been lucky in love? I would have to say so, and not because Anne would punch me if I said otherwise. We have been married for more than thirty-two years, plus we dated for eight years before that, for a total of forty years of romance now. We were high school sweethearts. I often joke that she was my computer date, because we met in a high school computer class. Yes, we are just that geeky too. Our first date was a high school concert that was headlined by Bob Seger, who later went on to national fame.

For college, we both went to Michigan State. Anne had a full ride there, with her Alumni Distinguished Scholarship Award. She managed to squeeze two degrees out of that award and I eventually graduated. After school, we moved back to Ann Arbor. I worked for Chrysler and Anne for the EPA. While our respective employers were certainly sparring, there was no such conflict between the two of us. Our luck in love seemed to spill over, when Anne inadvertently played matchmaker to her cousin, Anne. Both Cousin Anne and Bill are still happily married today.

I grew tired of working at Chrysler, an opportunity appeared in Saint Louis and I made the move from Michigan. Anne agreed to follow me and I cemented our relationship, by finally proposing to her. She accepted. Our destination wedding was the cabin’s beach, after one last day of Independence Day. Newlyweds now in the big city, having come from a smaller town, we felt like babes in Toyland.

After another two years, our wanderlust had grown to the point that we took a six month leave from work and bicycled around the country. Camping and also taking the train, we started in Texas, made it to New England and then turned west, eventually packing up the bikes in Seattle. We still refer to this trip as our Great Adventure.

Returning to work and Saint Louis, time began to telescope. Dan and Dave, the boys of noise, came along and we were soon enveloped in full domesticity. Looking back now, twenty years seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. One-by-one, our sons went off to college. Now they are grown men and Anne and I are alone together again.

We went to our fortieth high school reunion last fall. Retirement is no longer some distant nebulous goal. Our passion has cooled with age, we aren’t teenagers anymore, but our friendship and love continues to grow. Looking back over my life, I feel most fortunate, lucky in love, but looking forward, it looks like our best years are still ahead of us.

My Peeps

Lord Almighty I feel my temp’rature rising, Mmm
Higher and higher it’s burning through to my soul
Girl, girl, girl, girl, you’ve gone and set me on fire, Mmm
My brain is flamin’ I don’t know which way to go, yeh
Your kisses lift me higher like the sweet song of a choir
You light my morning sky with burning love, Mmm

I had way too much time on my hands on Sunday, so I made this movie. It stars a pair of heart-shaped peeps. Their heart shape embodies the universal symbol for love and what with Valentine’s Day occurring this week, now seems just the right time for making this movie. Although, I don’t know why they were purple instead of the traditional red. Maybe, they just need to be re-oxygenated?

In this movie you hear Anne and I discussing the unfolding events. Anne certainly feels some trepidation about the whole process, while I have no such qualms, because I had done my homework. I did clean the microwave afterwards. I really should have cleaned it beforehand, it would have made for a better movie, but I wasn’t 100% sure that it wouldn’t blow-up in the microwave and make a mess.

I’m just a hunka hunka burning love (Ha)
Just a hunka hunka burnin’ love (Ha) Ha
Just a hunka hunka burnin’ love (Ha)
A hunka hunka burnin’ love (Ha) Ha

From “Burning Love” by Elvis Presley

Who Wrote the Book of Love?

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, and I’m all over it this year. I have already knocked down steps one and two on the guy’s big list of things to do for V-Day. With this kind of momentum going, I ought to be able to cruise into this national holiday that is dedicated to romance, feeling proud, with my head held high. Tuesday night, there will be no last-minute stops at the grocery store for me. Lesser men may be found in the candy aisle then, but not me, not this year anyway.

Orchid Show

Step one is flowers, every girl loves flowers, and where are the best flowers in town found? Why at the botanical gardens of course. I took Anne to the Orchid Show on Saturday. The photos with this post are from there. I can hear the other hens begin to cluck, “Cheap, cheap, cheap”, but hear me out. Last year, I went the grocery store route. I haven’t always been this debonair. I bought her an orchid plant then. It looked nice when I brought it home, but over time, it deteriorated. This time around, even Anne didn’t want to go that route again. The flowers at the show were gorgeous. We both took lots of pretty pictures of them, pictures that won’t deteriorate. So, I can check off step one.

Paphiopedilum Lathamianum

Step two is a romantic dinner for two. Some prefer the hustle and bustle of Valentine’s Day night, but I find it to be too hectic then, besides Valentine’s Day falls on a week day this year. You are always better off scheduling the dinner before Valentine’s Day than after. After just seems like an afterthought. Saturday night, last night, worked out just fine. Now about the choice of the restaurant, this is an important decision, and is best not left to the last-minute. For me though this decision was easy, because I didn’t have to make it. Kubie had already made it for me. A couple of weeks ago, at the bike swap meet, she had scolded me for not taking Anne out to dinner to celebrate the 2112 miles that Anne had bicycled last year. With both Valentine’s Day and bike mileage to celebrate, the restaurant had to be good. Voila, Tony’s was the only choice! Tony’s is the best restaurant in town; it is where Team Kaldi’s friends held the inaugural mileage celebration dinner and it is where I proposed to Anne and she accepted. So, it was simple, see?

The service was impeccable; they even fetched the car, when I couldn’t locate the valet parking. The owner, Vince Bommarito, stopped by our table and chatted us up for a few minutes. The food was great too. We started with salads. I had the Tony’s salad, and Anne had the Tomato salad, with Gorgonzola, and Balsamic dressing. For entries, Anne ordered Tilefish from off the menu, and yes it is endangered. I had Tony’s signature Lobster Albanello. Finally, for dessert, Anne had a Lemon Ricotta Cheese Torte, with Strawberry Sauce, while I had the best Crème Brulee in town. Eat your heart out Danny, but at only eight bucks, it was also the best deal of the night.

Target Acquired

And what about step three you ask? Sorry guys, but I can’t give away all of my techniques. That just wouldn’t be right. Don’t worry though; come Tuesday night, there will be lots of other guys at the grocery store willing to share their great ideas with you. Thanks Sam for the steer to the Theodolite App. It will help me to acquire the target of my affections.