Monthly Archives: May 2011

A Sunny Day

Today is gorgeous and, for a workday, rather fantastic. I began my day with a walk through Forest Park, and spent the lunch hour walking around one of the old, idyllic neighborhoods near campus.

The sun is shining and offering a welcome relief from the godawful weather we’ve had lately.

However, the pictures below are from this past Saturday, which was the last nice day before the sky started vomiting on the Midwest. Experiencing golfball-sized hail while on the interstate was bad enough (our car sports lots of little dings now, but the windows are all intact); I can’t imagine being in Joplin.

But back to Saturday.

My original goal was to visit the Botanical Gardens, but after taking two buses there (the #11 and #8, which was surprisingly quick), I learned that City residents were not allowed in for free due to Chinese Cultural Days. While I would have enjoyed the event, it wasn’t in my plan to spend $12 to drink tea and watch people demonstrate t’ai chi. It was my plan to do only free things!

Instead, I caught another bus that was passing by (the #14), transferred to the red line train at the CWE stop, and disembarked at Forest Park to hit the history museum. (Are transportation details boring to others? I like knowing bus numbers and routes.)

While I enjoyed the museum exhibits, the best part was outside. A little petting zoo was set up!

Alpaca!

Baby camel!

I also spent some time petting the baby sheep and watching the little goats romp around.

After the museum, I caught the Forest Park trolley (actually the #90 bus) to the art museum. I didn’t feel like looking around inside since I was there not too long ago, but I spent some time surveying the Grand Basin:

From here, I gazed upon my estate. I mean, the park.

Forest Park isn’t too shabby, especially the area in front of the art museum. You have the Grand Basin (a remnant of the 1904 World’s Fair) in front of you, and the Saint Louis statue and museum (also from the World’s Fair) behind you:

Saint Louis, jump on it! (Only Porkchop will be amused by this caption.)

When I was finished picturing Forest Park as the lands surrounding my country home, I walked on to the zoo and surprised Porkchop by visiting her at work!

Porkchop rocking the airbrush.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before. When an opportunity arose to manage the new caricature operation at the zoo, Porkchop traded her UPS Store shirt for a zoo shirt. While the weather has been uncooperative this month, I’m sure business will pick up in June, and Porkchop will be drawing her hands off. She also starts teaching in June, so she will be quite the busy bee.

Besides the grocery store trip on Saturday, everything was free, which makes for an extra good day!

This weekend, we are headed to Porkchop’s parents’ place, so look for photos of creek and cave fun next week. Have a great weekend! May the weather be nice!

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Triple M Tour Complete!

For the past year or so, I’ve been wanting to do a MMM tour – Milwaukee, Madison, and Minneapolis, that is. My vision came to fruition this past weekend, although in an abbreviated fashion.

Friday afternoon, I flew to Milwaukee, picked up a rental car, and drove to my friend Darcie’s flat. Darcie puts together a lovely home, and I didn’t want to leave once I arrived.

But left we did for Stack’d, where we dined on burgers and delicious fries. After that, we strolled around the Third Ward, and eventually had dessert at Coquette Café. It was Oeufs a la Neige and a rich cream sherry for me, and pistachio and caramel tart with a bourbon for Darcie. Both desserts were delicious.

Saturday morning came too soon, but brought a delightful breakfast of scrambled eggs with goat cheese, oven-roasted potatoes, and sautéed kale. No, we weren’t at a fancy breakfast joint; we were in Darcie’s kitchen!

After checking out an estate sale at a hotel belonging to a notorious Milwaukee crime family and a vegan bake sale (these were separate events), we procured snacks for my upcoming drive to Minneapolis. Yes, Saturday afternoon I trekked across the state and into Minnesota!

It was a long but lovely drive that found me at Katie’s apartment. Yes, I am sad to report that our dear friends Katie and Beth are now Katie. And Beth.

Katie and I caught up during a late dinner at Everest, followed by dessert at Lucia’s. The juxtaposition of daal and asparagus curry with a chocolate custard was kind of odd, but all were tasty.

Sunday morning was breakfast to go from Colossal eaten at Beth’s house. Afterward, Beth and I went on a nature sampler tour of Minneapolis.

We started by touring Lake Calhoun, and then proceeded to an interpretive center near the Mississippi River. A trail from the center led us to a blue heron rookery.

Blue heron nests!

The dark spots atop the trees are nests. If you click the photo, you might be able to see a heron standing guard by some of the nests.

After the rookery, we hit Minnehaha Falls, which is a city park. Here’s a bad photo of it and me:

Lovely waterfall in the city.

At the park we had fish tacos and ice cream and talked about lots of things. When you haven’t seen someone in a year and a half, you have a lot to catch up on.

Later, we ate again at Lake Bryant Bowl, and then it was to bed so that I could get up early and haul myself back to Milwaukee.

Despite the various road construction projects, I made it to Madison early enough to have lunch with another old friend, Carmen! We dined at the Willy Street Coop, which was perfect. Delicious salad bar, and no waiting for a check. My departure time came much too early, as my flight was scheduled for 4:30.

Despite more construction, having to search for a gas station, and the slowest security line ever, I made it to my gate for boarding and had time to pick up an airport souvenir for Porkchop (who doesn’t need a Green Bay Packers can cozy?).

I look forward to another MMM tour, only I hope to stay in each place for a couple days apiece!

Also, while driving across Wisconsin, I affirmed my realization to move back to Wisconsin. Not this year, not next year, and maybe not the three years after that, but someday! What can I say? I love the lakes, the weather, the trees, and the people.

Also

My family’s visit at the beginning of the month went incredibly well, much better than predicted! I also earned As in my classes, and I’m trying to be more positive at work.

I will leave you with a picture of Keetah. While cleaning up one day, Porkchop left a trashbag on the floor and Keetah claimed it as her new home. It’s kind of sad when your cat loves a trashbag. Sad and weird.

Saddest catbed ever.

Even Mountains Get Sad Sometimes

This has been a weird three-day weekend for me. Enjoyable, but weird!

We awoke at 2:40 am Friday morning to start watching the royal wedding. When the wedding date was first announced, Porkchop knew she was taking the day off. I finally came around to the idea as well – a day off is a day off! – and we invited a neighbor over for the viewing.

Since I haven’t been sleeping well lately, I was well practiced for getting up at 3 am. However, I certainly was glad to return to bed at 8 for a few more hours. The rest of Friday was a haze of studying, yardwork, and chicken salad from the Mud House.

Like us, our chickens enjoyed a day without rain. June Wayne assumed her favorite place in the yard:

I *was* going to plant basil in this pot.

She was accompanied by a couple of buddies:

Everyone wants a turn in the pot.

Saturday was good too…more studying and some time spent in the kitchen.

And today…today has been a mixed bag.

Porkchop and I biked to Tower Grove Park for a bit, even though it was on the chilly side. To warm up, we spent some time in the hot tub at the Y. After that, it was home to rustle up some chili.

I’ve been looking forward to my parents and my brother visiting us next weekend, and I called my parents today to talk details. During the conversation, I learned that my sister would be coming too.

This sent me into a bit of depression (okay, more than a bit).

My sister changes the dynamic of everything because she always has to be the center of attention…among other things. She is also lazy, manipulative, and a general pain in the ass.

My dad asks me to be “gracious,” during the visit, which irritates me to no end because I’m always being asked to do something due to my sister’s state.

Anyway, I am trying to not get too down about having to cater to my sister’s needs while she is here.

Instead, I am focusing on my upcoming trip to Milwaukee and Minneapolis! Yay, trips!