Monday, June 24, 2013

You're a Grand Old Flag

In St. Charles, the stores all had their patriotic decorations out.  It reminded me to get out my Fourth of July decor after we got home.  
 I just had to bring home this 13 star flag from one of the stores.
 I got this flying Uncle Sam in a flea market a few years ago.
 A few tea stained flags and a couple more Uncle Sams - I made the one on the right out of wooden spools.
And a table square made by my great aunt.  In this spot, I can enjoy it without the kitty laying on it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Midnight Madness Scavenger Hunt

In February, we attended a scavenger hunt and had a great time.  The same master minds behind that scavenger hunt planned another for June.  This time we wised up and asked Todd to join our team.  Last time, all the clues were posted on poles at the clue location, but this time they made it more challenging.  One of the clues was in the song being played by this guy on the Galloway trail.  We almost missed them since we weren't exactly looking for people!
 The highlight, or low point depending on your perspective, was having to karaoke before getting the next clue.  See how I cleverly removed myself in order to take a picture?  I have never ever done karaoke, and hadn't really planned to.  Thankfully, Todd and David saved us by singing Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
 Eventually, we did reach a clue posted on a pole like the first hunt.  This clue asked us to take a picture with an emergency vehicle.
 The EMTs at the nearby ambulance barn were really good sports, even joining in the picture.  Sorry about the blur - we were in a hurry!
 Last time, we came in next to last.  This time, we took THIRD place!  The prize was a very useful package of toilet paper.
 The race ended at a bowling alley, which made me very happy.  I've been wanting to go bowling for a long time.  I wasn't prepared and didn't have on socks, but guess what they sell in a vending machine at the bowling alley - socks! :)
 For a while, I was winning - even beating David.  It didn't last, and I ended up losing badly, but it was a great time!
 Melissa's two brothers-in-laws did a great job of planning the scavenger hunt.  It must have been a lot of work, but I think everyone had fun.
 Check out that form!  I've got to find a way to secretly practice so that maybe I can beat David next time.  Shhhh!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fair Weather

On the second day of our St. Louis weekend, we headed to World's Fair Donuts to kick off our World's Fair themed day.  
 If you've never been there, you need to know that you're not really there for the donuts.  They're good, but it's the atmosphere that you are really there to see.  It looks like time stopped on the day the shop opened.  It's really a cute place, but not fixed up to look vintage so much as it's just never changed.
 Next we went to Forrest Park to see the World's Fair Pavilion and the World's Fair exhibit at the Missouri History Museum.
 I did not know that Dad's been talking about seeing this for a while now, but I was really glad that we got to go when I found out.  It was an interesting exhibit and we all learned a lot, but I wished there was more "big stuff" to see - like one of the cars from the Observation Wheel (ferris wheel) that held 60 people - per car!
 After our brains were full, it was time to fill our stomachs.  Hodak's had been recommended to us by friends, so we got in line behind many other people to wait for a table.  Despite the long line, we didn't have to wait long before delicious plates of food arrived in front of us.
It was very good...and very filling!  Somehow we made it all the way home without napping.  We had a great weekend in St. Louis - full of fun and good food.  

**Fair Weather is a young adult book by Richard Peck about the Chicago World's Fair

Monday, June 17, 2013

Meet Me in St. Louis

My Dad is not an easy person to shop for.  So when his Christmas wish list consisted of just one thing - dinner at Tucker's in St. Louis, I was happy to oblige.  We wanted to wait until the weather was nicer, then spring just got busy, so once again, Dad received his Christmas gift on Father's Day. ;)  I'm thinking of just making this a tradition.  We made a whole weekend out of our trip to Tucker's, beginning with an afternoon in St. Charles.
I love love love St. Charles, and suspected my mom would too.  We ate outside near the creek at Millstream Inn Restaurant, where we had a tasty lunch. 
 The last time (and only other time) that I've been to St. Charles was before we bought our colonial style house.  Now I'd really like to buy one of everything sold in the colonial type stores.  Maybe when we win the lottery!
 I love the brick streets and neat old buildings.  It really has a lot of character!
 My Dad and David waited patiently while Mom and I shopped, so we waited patiently while they went to get ice cream.
We checked into our hotel, then headed to Soulard for the best steak ever.  David and I were a little worried that they might not be quite as good as we remembered, but I don't think anyone was disappointed.  I forgot all about the diet as I cut into a perfectly cooked, juicy, delicious filet.  All conversation at our table ceased as everyone began to enjoy their dinner.  Wonder if Dad would object to getting Tucker's for Christmas again next year?  I sure wouldn't!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Grandma's Butter Churn

I am lucky to have met all four of my great-grandparents on my mom's side and to remember three of them.  
My great grandma didn't have an easy life, but I remember her always being cheerful.  She loved to sit on her porch swing and look through photo albums, telling you all about each picture.  When she began to go blind, she continued her positive outlook and ordered books on tape so she could listen to them when she couldn't see to read the words.  Even with failing sight, she still made the best fried chicken.  Her hands must have remembered the steps after so many years of working in the kitchen.

So when my mom and her siblings were recently cleaning out my Grandad's house after his passing, I enthusiastically said "yes!" when she asked if I would like Grandma's butter churn.  Mom says all the grandchildren remember turning that handle to make butter.  I love knowing that it was something that Grandma had and used.
 This picture of her hangs in my kitchen.  A smile on her face, even as she went about a daily chore of feeding chickens.  I feel fortunate to have known her, and I'm glad to have her butter churn to remind me of her.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Henny Penny

Sometime in early 2001, a young brown tabby cat invited herself into our lives.  She showed up at David's house a few days in a row.  One evening, David called saying "Your cat is here." When I arrived, she was enjoying a dinner of tuna and milk.  I was hooked and so was she.  I don't know where she came from, but I was certain of where she belonged.
 She was sweet and curious, but always dignified.  I think she was born an old soul.  She'd play with cat toys (or just about anything) with abandon, until she'd suddenly walk away with her head held high, as if she hadn't been acting so silly after all.

She talked and talked which is why she was named Henrietta - after the cat puppet on Mister Roger's Neighborhood.  If she wanted, she could carry on an entire conversation with you.
Henrietta was so sweet that she could even charm people who don't ordinarily like cats into letting her sit in their laps.
No cat has ever appreciated sun more, and she could often be found lying on her back with her feet in the air, enjoying a spot of sunshine that she'd claimed.
 Open windows were almost as good as a sunny spot.  She could happily birdwatch for hours.
 I'd forgotten that she was ever as skinny as in her younger years.  This is how I remember her the one I'd sometimes call Chubby Checkers.  Look at that furry tummy!  That's not all fluff. ;)
 As much as we could, we indulged Henny every chance we got.  We didn't get rid of Gracie or either of the dogs as she might have wished, but if she was laying on the dryer, we'd keep turning it on (even empty) as long as she was there.
At the very beginning of our vacation, our dear friend Patty who was looking after the cats called.  Henrietta seemed to be having some trouble breathing.  Patty took her to the vet, who determined that her chest cavity was full of fluid.  She spent the night at the emergency vet, then was picked up by my parents the next evening.  We talked about turning around and coming home, but we were quite a few hours from home and knew that Henny was getting the best care.  After a procedure to drain the fluid, Hen seemed to be doing better.  She was loved and cuddled and spoiled while at her Grammy's house and I enjoyed the daily pictures of her.  We picked her up when we arrived home and she seemed pretty good for a few days.  Soon though it was evident that she was again having trouble breathing.  A return trip to the vet and an X-ray revealed that the medication wasn't enough and that the fluid was back.  Poor Hen wasn't eating or drinking, and her doctor and I made the hard decision to let her go.

We miss her a lot, but I know she lived a good kitty life.  I won't pretend to know what happens to an animal's spirit when they die, but I do know that Henny will live on in our hearts and memories.  Unfortunately for any future cats we may have, Henrietta will be the yardstick by which any other cat will be measured.  I can't imagine another one living up to her high standards.  She was quite a girl and we'll miss her.  Love you, Henrietta!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Good Food, Good Vacation

Our vacation was winding down, but we still had a couple of stops to make.  Santa Fe is one of our favorite towns, so I was very happy that we were able to spend a night and part of a day there.  I was not a big fan of the southwest, but David has been for a long time.  Many moons ago, he took me to Santa Fe and I'm now sure that he was using it to hook me on the southwest. ;)  It worked.  Much like the ocean, if I don't get a desert fix every few years, something feels off.  So we had dinner at a place that we've been returning to since that first trip together to Santa Fe, then the next morning spent some time walking around downtown.
 I love the architecture, quirky art, and the weather...oh that lovely sun!
 Sadly, we had to leave Santa Fe and head on toward home.  As we approached Amarillo, I began looking at Trip Advisor for a place to eat.  The Coyote Bluff Cafe had almost a perfect score and sounded like something we would like.
 Not only were we not disappointed, but we were really impressed!  I have a feeling that we may have to make a stop every time we pass through Amarillo.
 I'd looked at the menu online and decided that I'd stick to my healthy eating plan and order a salad with grilled chicken.  See it above? ;)  Once we opened the door, saw the decor and smelled the burgers, I realized that I'd be missing out if I didn't have a burger.  David and I both thought they were excellent, and they had some of the best fries I think I've ever had.
It's hard to see in this picture, but as you walk in the front door there is an old clawfoot bathtub full of ice and beer.  To say this place has personality is an understatement.  If you're ever passing through Amarillo, it's worth a stop!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ouray, Colorado

After leaving Ironton, our next stop was Ouray, CO.  It's a larger town than Silverton, but just as charming.  We checked into our hotel, then changed into swimming suits to go check out the hot springs pools.  No pictures of that, but it was one of my favorite things on our vacation.  It was so nice and relaxing...up until we had to get out in the cool mountain air.  Brrr!

The next morning we did some souvenir shopping and checked out the town.

Before moving on, we went to Box Canyon to see the falls.
From the visitor center, it's a short walk back into the canyon.  You could really feel the temperature difference as you walked down the stairs to get closer to the base of the falls. 
 The host at the visitor center said that the falls were at about 75% of their peak and that it's both spring-fed as well as snow melt.
 Leaving the falls on another trail we saw a beautiful view of Ouray below.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Old West

Once getting back on the San Juan Skyway, we stopped at Molas Pass.  Molas Pass has an elevation of 10,910 feet and has incredible 360 degree views.  
Our next stop was Silverton, where we had lunch at the Pickle Barrel.  It was delicious!  We walked up and down the main street in Silverton, checking out a few shops and just enjoying the mountain air.  
Now it's a picturesque little town built in a little valley, but evidently it has a much more interesting history.  One block off main street, there are lots of former saloons and bordellos.  The average snowfall is about 155 inches, which is about 154 inches more than I need to see during winter (sorry Keetha!) but it was beautiful in May.
I had read about some of the abandoned mining towns in one of the tourist magazines, so when we saw the sign for Ironton, we stopped to check it out.  
According to a sign along side the road, within a few weeks, construction began on over three hundred buildings.  Just a few are left.  According to the tourist magazine (which I can't find therefore can't site), the last residents left in the 1960's. 
 The buildings were interesting, with their layers of wallpaper and linoleum.  I really expected to see a ghost or two in these pictures and will have to admit that I'm a little disappointed that there isn't one.
 If any place were haunted, this one would certainly make sense!  We poked around there for a while before getting back on the road to Ouray, CO.