Category Archives: having fun

Hello, November

It’s a blustery fall day out, and I wish I could be doing anything but sitting in this darned office!

My motivation for work has reached an all-time low. I want to be doing so many other things, but most of all, I want to be somewhere different than this office. It’s a stagnant pool for me.

There are things to do, conference-planning stuff I could work on, for example. However, have I ever mentioned how I hate conference planning work? It’s my least favorite activity, and when I was hired, I was told we had only one a year. Now I roll from conference to conference, and each one grates on my nerves more than the last.

Last week, I had a horrible physics test. I came out with a 67, a C+ and a little below the class average. Before the test, I felt quite confident. I understood all my homework, and I could do all of the suggested problems. Struggling through the test, I felt my confidence wither away until I just wanted to stop trying.

My original goal for physics was to earn at least a B+, but now that will be quite difficult. If our last test isn’t as brutal, I might be able to swing a B.

Given my desire to get out of this life-sucking office, and my faltering physics grade, I’ve started reconsidering my school options. I could apply to the WUSTL OT program for Fall 2012 entry. I have all except one requirement nailed down, and OT doesn’t require physics or chemistry classes. It’s also a two year program, so I could be doing something different sooner.

Or I could apply to the accelerated, one-year RN program and start in Fall 2012 or Spring 2013. I could be happy doing that, right?

I want a big life change, and I want it now, damn it.

On to other things…

Homecoming

A few weekends ago, I visited my friend Jean in Columbia. Going to Columbia always feels like going home to me. It’s such a comfortable little city, and I could probably be happy moving back there.

There are fun things to do, and getting around is easy. In five minutes you can be downtown having delicious soup before watching an indie movie (the Uprise Bakery/Ragtag complex). Or in ten minutes you can be driving on country roads, poking around old cemeteries.

As a student in Columbia, I had a lot of time to drive around exploring. Gas was cheap, and I loved taking random roads to figure where they went. Back in the day, I was an expert in navigating the little towns and backroads along the Missouri river. Jean and I revisited one of my finds, Mt. Nebo cemetery outside of Huntsdale.

Driving to it, I kept asking Jean, “how did I find this place??” I regularly biked through Huntsdale while on the Katy Trail, but I don’t know how I happened upon the cemetery.

The first time Jean and I visited it (12 or 13 years ago, I suppose), a big cow was blocking the road. We didn’t encounter that obstacle on this visit, but we did spot this very neat headstone:

No name, no dates, only a photo.

During my visit to Columbia, many little roads were taken and many a good meal was enjoyed. I look forward to returning!

Old friends now older.

P.S. The above photo shows my hair at the longest it’s been in ages. I was giving the “grow it out” thing a shot, but I couldn’t handle it. The long hair made me feel tired, and I was always concerned about it. I’m now back to my regular length, and I couldn’t be happier.

A Random Mishmash of Other Things

There are good things that happened in October that I haven’t written about!

In knitting-related items, I attended a reading by the entertaining and super-smart Yarn Harlot. I had to leave the reading early for another engagement, and I regret missing out on some surely funny anecdotes.

Taking a photo of the Yarn Harlot taking a photo.

Also, I bought some Habu yarn, a most wonderful impulse purchase made while our car was being inspected! (The knitting shop is across from the car dealership. I did not buy this yarn at the dealership!)

Delicious Habu

The red is a silk-stainless steel yarn, and the grey is merino. One day, it will be a Kusha Kusha scarf.

I’ve never knitted off of cones before. Does one keep the yarn on the cone, or wind it into a ball?

The sales person who rang up the yarn warned me to not let my pets play with the stainless steel yarn because it could cut their paws. When I asked if I should wear gloves while knitting it up, she laughed. She said I would be fine. But if it can supposedly cut pet paws, why wouldn’t it cut me? I guess I will find out!

Speaking of delicious things, I made this Butternut Squash, Coconut, and Lentil Stew using one of our homegrown butternuts. While I didn’t have the recommended toor dal, substituting red lentils gives one a super tasty stew. I could eat this everyday!

YUM.

Finally, I don’t think I ever mentioned here that Porkchop bought everything from a letterpress studio outside of Minneapolis and carted it back to our garage. The garage is being slowly transformed into a studio, and I will have to post a picture of the exterior soon.

Porkchop working it.

Tomorrow, we’re having some folks over for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner. We have so much to do! With the exception of the turkey, we haven’t bought any ingredients! We haven’t even really planned the menu!

Have a great Friday, friends.

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Ruby

Yeah, it was that kind of party. (Photo credit to Porkchop's cousin's wife.)

The Last Few Hours

…of summer freedom.

Summer school starts today, and I will be in Microbiology from 5-9:30 on Monday and Wednesday nights. I’m trying to work up enthusiasm for this, but I can’t gather any.

Tuesday of next week, I’m slated to take the GRE. Again, no enthusiasm to be had.

To make up for the buckling down that begins today, I tried to fill the weekend with summer fun. Luckily, the weather was all about cooperating and gave us lovely cool days.

Saturday was the farmers’ market with yoga and good food stuff. I made these rosemary almond crackers and nearly cried when I had them with quark. Finally, grain-free, sugar-free success! And super tasty!

Almonds, rosemary, and olive oil. Pure tastiness.

Tears, I tell you.

Cracker with quark. So good!

Even though strawberry season is over at Eckert’s, I managed to snag a quart of berries at the market. Once I was home, I blended them up with plain yogurt and popped them into popsicle molds that Porkchop picked up for me. Do you know how hard it is to find frozen treats with no sweeteners whatsoever? Sure, you can find sugar-free stuff, but I would rather go without than consume aspartame or sucralose.

Instead, I’ll stick with the homemade stuff.

A frozen bar I can trust.

With Sunday came tennis, lunch at the Mud House, and getting the hail damage on our car estimated and settled.

I’ve also been knitting away on a baby present! It’s going to be pretty darned cute, and I can’t wait to finish and post a photo.

Have a great week!

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!

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.

Being Still

I am recently returned from work and school, and while I should be studying the urinary system for Monday’s physiology test, I’m not.

I’m taking a little sit-down, no-school, no-work break.

March has been a steamroller, and I’ve been flattened. Work holds conferences and big events coming soon, classes are jam-packed with things to learn, and home life has been equally busy. While I can’t complain of good things happening, I would appreciate a few still moments of quiet reflection.

Good Things

Our friend Darcie took the train down from Milwaukee a couple of weekends ago. It was her first real visit to St. Louis, and as our neighbor observed, perhaps it was odd to take her to Bellefontaine Cemetery instead of the Arch, Forest Park, or the Botanical Gardens. Darcie rolled with it though, and she even saw the grave of a distant relative, an Ohio explorer!

Pretty, yet slightly creepy

Classy

When you're a Beer King, this is the kind of mausoleum you build.

If you’re in St. Louis and haven’t been to Bellefontaine Cemetery, what are you waiting for? You can stop by the office for a free self-guided tour booklet full of all sorts of historical tidbits. Be sure to allow plenty of time for your visit!

The week following Darcie’s visit saw the SGC International Conference come to St. Louis. Washington University did a terrific job of hosting events and shuttling people from the Chase to various parts of the city.

Before the conference, Porkchop made a print for the exchange portfolio.

The Happy Printmaker

This edition of twelve consisted of handcolored prints. I’ll have to get a picture of the final edition from Porkchop because it was amazingly ridiculous. She put in around 20 hours of handcoloring.

It is unfortunate that we do not have one. Sadness.

During SGC, Porkchop held an artists’ reception for the show she curated. Turnout was great…thanks to friends near and far who dropped by!

Last Friday night, all the SGC events were held on Cherokee Street. Seeing the galleries and shops and the street filled with people made me so happy. And so did this parade:

That’s all I have. Good night!

An Honest Day’s Work

Today started out early with Keetah helping Porkchop with grooming:

Grooming Time!

Keetah’s licking is Porkchop’s secret to magnificent hair.

After getting pretty, we went out and bought some seed-starting supplies, such as this little greenhouse shelf:

Ready to grow things!

It isn’t the fanciest or sturdiest, but we needed a way to mount our grow lights, and this fit the bill. Plus, it will be easy to take it outside when it’s time to harden off the plants.

I actually just finished planting tomato, bell pepper, basil, and marigold seeds. The heat mats and greenhouse lids fit perfectly on the new shelving unit. Excellent. This is so much better than growing plants in the bathtub!

After having leftover brisket for lunch (from last night’s dinner – yum), I made snacks for this week:

Cashew and date bar.

This is the DIY version of the Larabar cashew cookie bar, which is one of my favorites. It’s so easy and delicious! You throw a 1/2 cup of raw cashews in the food processor until you have small bits. Dump the cashews in a bowl, and throw 8 oz of dates into the food processor. Process until you have date paste, and a ball forms (this takes a few minutes, and you might have to add a bit of water). Mix the date paste with the nut bits, form into a giant bar, and then cut into individual bars as you wish. Wrap in wax paper and store in an airtight container.

I also made these spiced fruit and nut balls:

Balls. Fruit and nut balls.

I can’t wait to break into these during work tomorrow.

For dinner tonight, I made two options: a tofu chili loosely based on this recipe and yellow tofu curry. Since we don’t have time to cook dinner during the week, we have to cook up a storm on the weekend. I’m exhausted from all the cooking and the clean up this weekend.

(And as I wrote storm, the storm siren started. Now I’m writing from the basement!)

Other Stuff

Twice in the previous week, we’ve had a chicken escape to our neighbor’s backyard via a hole under their fence. It’s always unsettling to realize a chicken is missing. Fortunately, they continue to produce eggs:

Pretty eggs.

Last weekend, Porkchop helped hang the Wisconsin printmakers show she organized! There are about 35 prints, and I wish we didn’t have to send them back to the artists next month!

This is by one of my favorite artists:

Why can't I have this?

And here’s Porkchop among the prints:

Prints. Lots of prints.

If you’re local, come to the artists’ reception! It is March 17, 6-8:00 pm, at the St. Louis Community College – Forest Park gallery (located right outside the library).

Good night!

To Infinity and Beyond

Happy 10 years and 1 week to Porkchop and me!

Porkchop is my best friend, my biggest supporter, and the greatest person in the universe. Each day, I consider myself lucky to be her partner and enjoy this life with her.

Last week, on the 10-year-day proper, we took a day off from our respective works and did fun things. For example, lunching on blue plate specials of fried halibut, hush puppies, and red beans and rice from Farmhaus; having our minds blown by the beautiful yarn at the Loopy Ewe; and watching a movie (Secretariat, which I found surprisingly enjoyable). Fun continued through the weekend with the farmers’ market, a 24-mile bike ride to the Chain of Rocks Bridge, the Blues home opener, and a game of tennis on a perfect Sunday morning.

Way back in September, we took a trip to Albuquerque that was part-work, part-fun, and part-anniversary trip. The fun anniversary leg was to Ojo Caliente, a spa in the middle of nowhere in northern New Mexico. It is seriously isolated and spectacular.

Look at that vivid blue sky…the sky here is never so blue.

Ojo Caliente registration and gift shop. Also gateway to the hot springs.

We couldn’t take pictures of the hot springs because something about guest privacy and blah blah blah, but they were lovely. My favorites were the arsenic pool and the iron pool. The iron pool because it was built right into the cliff side, and the arsenic pool because the water was 109 degrees and made me feel like warm butter.

We had two nights at the springs and spent them soaking under a star-filled sky.

Wonderful.

When we go back (and there will be another trip at some point, I hope), I want to spend a full day at the spa so that I can enjoy the mud pool longer. We took a day trip into Taos for lunch and sightseeing, and had only 20 minutes for the mud pool, which isn’t nearly long enough.

On our way to Taos, we crossed over the Rio Grande on the fifth-highest bridge in the US:

Rio Grande. In person, this looks even deeper.

Amanda and me. Not against the railing. That would be too close to the edge.

At Ojo Caliente, we stayed in the “historic hotel” part of the resort:

Outside the restaurant and historic hotel. Built around 1916.

The hotel rooms are the cheapest because they don’t have showers, which isn’t a problem because you can use the bathhouse showers. However, when we go back, I want to stay in one of the cliffside suites with a private outdoor pool and a kiva.

Anyway, I totally recommend a trip out to Ojo Caliente. Soak up the minerals and enjoy the stars.

What Else I’m Doing

Over the summer, I started thinking a lot about the rest of my life. Big thinking.

Somewhere, I ran across this quote by Annie Dillard:

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.

And I started thinking, there is no way in hell I want to spend the rest of my life working at a computer.

So, then I started thinking about how I’ve always been interested in physical therapy, but scared to pick up the prerequisites and scared to commit to an intense 3-year program. The fear came from things like: What about the student debt I’ll pick up? How will we pay our mortgage and bills if I’m not working?

Just for fun, I looked at the prereq lists of a few PT programs and found that I needed to pick up only 5 classes. And then I looked some more and found that I could take most of the classes for free through my university’s evening program!

So, here I am taking Anatomy & Physiology and studying my ass off. SO MUCH INFORMATION! I’m in A&P on Mondays from 4:45 – 9:30 pm (lab and lecture), and then on Thursdays from 4:45 – 6:45 pm (lab). Sometimes I go to the Wednesday lab to finish things and study more. On Monday nights, my head is usually so full of stuff, I can’t get to sleep until 1 am.

I wake up and have phrases like non-keratinized stratified squamous epithelium bouncing around.

I have two quizzes every Monday. And the big test weeks are hard. We have a lab take-home exam, a lab practical exam, and a lecture exam. It’s nuts.

It’s a lot of work and overwhelming at times, but I’m really loving it. It goes back to my roots in physical anthropology, which is what I studied as an undergrad (I picked up feminist studies during my senior year). Currently we’re studying the skeleton and bone histology, and I feel so fortunate that I learned a lot of it as an undergrad. Still, it’s hard. We have to know so much more in lab than I did in my anthro classes.

For real, I am following through on this PT thing. GRE over winter break. A&P II in the spring, along with Abnormal Psych at the community college. Medical terminology over the summer. Physics I and II next year. Before summer 2011, 100 volunteer/observation hours in PT clinics.

It’s my goal to apply to programs over the summer and be admitted somewhere for Fall 2012. We’ll figure out the student loan and mortgage stuff when the time comes.

It’s time to start doing something that I really want to do!

Fun Times Up North

Last weekend we headed up to Madison to visit old pals.

Our friend Kathy, currently a resident of Peru, was in the country and having a solo show in Rockford, Illinois. We wouldn’t miss Kathy and the opening for anything! Our friend Sabrina also flew in from Dallas for the show, so it was quite a reunion.

This is my favorite print from Kathy’s show:

Favorite!

Everything was beautiful, of course. You can view (and buy!) more work on Kathy’s website.

That night, someone might or might not have been killed in our hotel. Seriously. Some weird shit went down at the Radisson after a wedding reception held there.

Even with all of the commotion, we woke up bright and early to head out for Madison and the farmers’ market. I was super excited, but then I realized I’m kind of over the downtown market. It’s fun every once in a while, but the crowd is a killer.

Carried along with the crowd at the farmers' market.

After the market, we met up with friend and former co-worker Darcie for lunch at Lao Laan Xang. It is a shame I don’t have a picture to document the lunch! It was delicious, and I was happy to catch up with Darcie. I was also happy to receive a jar of brandied cherries. Yum! I can’t wait to crack open the jar.

Saturday afternoon was spent hanging out at Patrick’s apartment (sans Patrick, however) and walking around on State Street. I commented to Porkchop that the crowd on State Street was not the Madison crowd I remember. Then I realized that it was Labor Day, the first weekend of university, and Taste of Madison. Perhaps Madison has not truly been overtaken by douchy people.

The evening was spent at Tracy and Mark’s house. Tracy runs a letterpress shop at the UW, and Mark is a physicist. They are everything I aspire to be when I’m in my 50s: confident, intelligent, witty, kind, and owners of an amazing mid-century modern house.

For an appetizer, Sabrina made us pancetta nests which we topped with goat cheese and pear slices. Delicious!

Sabrina during a contemplative moment.

The main courses included sliders, potato-pesto-green-bean salad, and deviled eggs. Dessert was a fig tart with caramelized sugar. Yum!

Kathy O is low on wine.

Sunday was another super pleasant day, which started with brunch at Graze with Carmen. While Porkchop drove, Carmen and I rode her little racing bikes. For the past 20 years or so, I’ve ridden bikes on which I sit up higher and straighter than one does on racing bikes. SO, it was really wild to ride a racing bike from the early 1980s!!

In addition to maintaining a different posture, I had to adjust my balance. I nearly fell off many times! ALSO, the bikes were made special for shorter women, and the front tire is quite a bit smaller than the back tire.

I seriously thought I was going to eat the pavement during the ride! I kept yelling to Carmen: THIS IS SO DIFFERENT. OH MY GOSH! THIS IS SO DIFFERENT! AAAAAAAAIIIIIIIEEEEEE!!!!

On the way back from the restaurant, I totally cut off some SUVs and did other bad bike etiquette stuff because I felt so out of control on the bike.

All in all, it was really fun – the highlight of the trip, really.

These bikes look cute, but they're scary as heck to ride.

Visiting with Carmen, who we hadn’t seen in over two years, was also really great. But those bikes…

The rest of the trip was filled with art business and having Monday brunch with one of Porkchop’s former hockey teammates.

Next Trip

We leave tomorrow morning for Albuquerque. Yay, New Mexico! I’m looking forward to more tasty food and fun times!

Have a great weekend!

Pounds with Patrick

This weekend has been one of indulgence and excess, as Porkchop’s friend Patrick rolled into town Thursday evening. Ever the gracious guest, he bore sweet Wisconsin gifts of New Glarus Spotted Cow, an outstanding assortment of Gail Ambrosius truffles, three sensational cheeses from Fromagination, scones from Lazy Jane’s, and squash and cucumbers from his garden.

We primed the visit with dinner at Pappy’s Smokehouse. Porkchop and I stuck with pulled pork sandwiches, but Patrick’s order of ribs convinced me to go that route next time. The ribs don’t need any sauce at all; they are spiced and smoked to perfection and have that mythical “falling off the bone” tenderness. Yum.

Ribs at Pappy's!

The rest of the evening was spent at the Cardinals-Dodgers game with faculty and staff from my center. It was hot as heck, but we caught some nice breezes as the Cardinals clinched a victory.

Friday morning started with me emailing in a notice that I was taking the day off. Why I didn’t do that earlier, I have no idea! After doing some work for our neighborhood art fair coming up, we packed the rest of the day with FUN FUN FUN.

The first stop was lunch at Stellina Pasta Cafe. This stop was an inspired impromptu decision. Stellina is awesomely delicious no matter what you order. Porkchop and I stuck with favorites again: whole wheat tagliatelle for her, and herb cheese agnolotti (or little pillows of heaven as I call them) for me. Patrick couldn’t decide between the lasagna (zucchini and goat cheese) or the South Side Smoke sandwich, so he went with both. The lasagna was perfect as ever, and the sandwich lived up to the “smoke” in its name (maybe a tad too smoky – our only complaint).

After lunch, we stopped by Suzi and Dale’s, and then headed to Schlafly Bottleworks for the free brewery tour. The tour culminated with a tasting of three beers: Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, and American IPA. The American IPA is deliciously citrusy and is quite high in alcohol content. After the three good-sized tastings and a pint of Summer Lager, I was quite gone. That’s more beer than I’ve had in the past few months combined!

Beer tasting at Schlafly's.

Porkchop and Patrick enjoy more beer at Schlafly's.

When we returned home, I had to have a second cup of tea in order to clear my head. Whew.

Patrick’s former girlfriend happens to be wrapping up a summer art job here in St. Louis, so she stopped by for a visit. After that, it was off to a friend’s birthday party which featured The Princess Bride projected on their backyard garage. Fun!

We left the movie early for a late dinner and more drinks at the Royale. After finishing up around 11:00 (usually my bedtime on Friday nights), we capped the night with a visit to the City Museum. The name doesn’t really explain what it is. As our server at the Royale stated, in most places, the City Museum would be illegal. While it has some museum aspects to it (like salvaged architectural elements, circus posters, and some insect displays), it’s primarily a giant playground built in an old shoe factory. There are tunnels (many of which only small children can fit through, which makes going with kids extra fun), a 10-story slide, an aquarium, an indoor skateless skate park, a circus school, model railroads, a huge art activity area, old pipe organs, a play area outside featuring two abandoned planes suspended high above the ground and connected by wire tunnels (scary!!), giant ball pits, a Ferris Wheel on the roof, and a school bus half suspended off the roof (which I’ll never set foot in).

Patrick in a pit in the skateless skate park.

We only stayed at the City Museum for about an hour and a half, but it was enough time for me to regret having the fish taco at the Royale, to strain my left quad, to scrape my left elbow, to get a nice little bruise on my right knee, to be terrified while climbing on things outside, and to laugh myself silly at Porkchop’s hesitance to go down a particular near-vertical slide.

After sleeping in a little bit on Saturday, we hit the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market. We loaded up on peaches, tomatoes, pasta, ground beef, and grilled cheese and then came back home where we rested for a while.

And then it was time for more food! La Vallesana was on the list for lunch, and it delivered big time. The food was terrific as always, and the watermelon agua fresca was the perfect drink for the hot weather. Afterwards we stopped at Foam for a beer (it’s hard to resist Patrick’s peer pressure). And then we hung out at home a bit more, burned some David Sedaris CDs for Patrick’s drive to Milwaukee, and then we had to say goodbye. Sadness!

Patrick had to leave Saturday evening in order to help with a family picnic on Sunday. I was sad to see him go, but I don’t know if I could have pounded any more beers with him.

Patrick is a young 25-year-old male, and I am a not-as-young 32-year-old female. It is hard to keep up with the beer and food consumption. I am now having to detox my body. Of course, I don’t think the bacon-cheese-tomato sandwich I had for lunch was on the detox menu.

I look forward to September, when we shall see Patrick in Madison! Yay!