Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I'll Get Ya, Commie!

I was doing some end of the year cleaning and came across this photo that I had forgotten about. It's of Chynna, the student, presenting Robs, the teacher, with a unicorn play set called "Cold War Unicorns Play Set starring Commie versus Freedom". Too funny! Here's the back story. We had been studying Communism (USSR, The Cold War, spread in SE Asia, Korean War, Vietnam War) in my 20th Century Studies class and the kids got really involved in the topic. They were especially interested in the Vietnam War because Robs was a Vietnam vet who had, over the years, captivated them with anecdotal information about the War and humored them with his anti-communist musings. So, while talking about the Cold War, I had used a photo of this toy as an attention grabber. The kids loved it and thought Robs would too. I bartered with them--you track it down, you find out ordering details & I'll buy it for the class to give to Robs. They fulfilled their end, so I fulfilled mine.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bill and Bob: Birthday Fun

May 24th is the birthday of Bill (as in my husband) and Bob (as in Dylan). Bob sent his regrets.... previous engagement or something like that. So, Bill and I started off at Revival, which now occupies the space where King Louie's used to be. I had mixed emotions about going from the start. I was HUGE King Louie fan! Loved the atmosphere, loved the food, loved the drinks, loved the patio. And, based upon the positive reviews, I was worried that I might like it just as much, or more, as King Louie's and that would betray my fond memories. But, life goes on and so we went to Revival. In general, the food was good--not memorable--but good. But, if you go, do try the spicy rubbed ribs (appetizers). They were awesome! The space was itself had changed very little--great booths and tables, awesome bar, awesome woodwork~all still there! But they painted the walls white --totally changed the feel of the place. Not bad, not good, just bright.

After dinner, we went to The Pageant to see Robert Earl Keen. I can't remember how many times we've seen him now but he never disappoints. He starts right up, plays song after song without stop and without much chit chat, and wraps things up with an encore song. No pretense, just great music. I guess that's why the place is always packed.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Graduation 2008

I don't know who's happier on graduation day, the students or the teachers. I'd put my money on the teachers, but I'm a little biased. This year, after the graduation ceremony on Friday, the MRH crew went to the Sport's Attic Bar which is down the street from the high school. It's as unimpressive as it sounds. Food wasn't too bad though. I had a pretty decent veggie quesadilla.

After the Sport's Attic, we drove down the street to a place called Double D's on Brentwood Blvd. for karaoke. This was Kelli's idea and it was a good one. I hadn't been to a karaoke place in a million years! And, while I was no where near inebriated (i.e. I would not be performing), some of my friends were (i.e. good laughs ahead). Unfortunately, I couldn't stay long enough to see them perform. I bet it was hilarious!

Kendra, Nikki, Kelli, & Melissa looking for singing material. Derek hamming for the camera in the rear.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ahoy Matey!

The Morton-Holden's invited us to the Boathouse in Forest Park on Sunday. I've written before of my love of the eats, drinks, and views at the Boathouse so it was an opportunity not to be missed. Dan, Evan, Bill and Willa boarded the 4-person paddle boat and headed out into the lake for an hour ride while Colette and I talked shop, life, and whatever in the comfort of these big, red rocking chairs.

Boathouse updates: #1 Be aware that spring and summer are their peak seasons. This means that a long wait for a table is typical. It also means that the great service that you get used to from the wait staff in the winter and fall suffers tremendously. #2 The menu has changed. Lots of familiar options but with noticeably fewer choices, higher prices, and smaller portions. On the bright side, the food is still good.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Party Envy

My friend Colette throws the best parties! She's the Midwestern Martha Stewart. The themes, the activities, the food, the fun. Everything is so well planned that each segment leads straight into the next one. Seamless! I really don't know how she does it. Here are a few scenes from her son Evan's 5th birthday party.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Beer Dinner

Thanks go out to our friends Dona and Paul who turned us on to the beer dinner. Here's the deal. About once a month, a local restaurant and a local brewer partner up to sponsor a multi-course meal in which the perfect beer is selected to compliment each predetermined course. Our first beer dinner was at the Newstead Tower Pub House. The Griesedieck Bros., O'Fallon, and Schlafly were there with some tried, true and delicious brews while AB brought a newer one called Shock Top. Shock Top is canned Bud's micro brew-poser, want-to-be-cooler younger brother. He tastes a little better, he tries to look a little better but he still just doesn't cut it. The outer package says it all.

We had such a great time at Newstead that we went to another beer dinner on Thursday night at Mangia Italiano on South Grand. It was a outrageous six course monster sponsored entirely by Schlafy. All I can say is delicious! Oh, and you should definitely go to the next one.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Compton Hill Reservoir Park

Willa calls the Compton Hill Reservoir Park "Ariel's House." Ariel as in The Little Mermaid. And, yes, she does believe that Ariel lives in the water tower. Who am I to ruin her fun? So, I drive by this park at least twice most days. It's at the corner of Grand and Russell Avenues. It is actually not that much of a park, especially if you judge a park by its the size of its green space. Rather, it's more of a system of sidewalks, concrete paths, and well-worn grass trails that run the perimeter of both the park and the reservoir. The park also has a couple of interesting architectural features, the most prominent of which is the afore mentioned water tower. There are also a couple of nice sculptural elements on the exterior of the reservoir. On a final note, if anyone out there knows what the deal is with the ponds, i.e. why one was filled in and why the other remains unfilled, please drop me a comment.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Front Yard Features

Last summer, I noticed that they were showing outdoor movies in Tower Grove Park. It sounded like a great way to meet people and show support for local STL activities so we went. I guess the Front Yard Features were successful because they're at it again this year. On Saturday, and yes, it was cold, the Henske family headed to the park for the first movie of the season, Alice in Wonderland. I've seen it a bunch of times but never outside and never on a big screen. Makes a big difference. I'm not sure about scheduled locations and films but you should check out their web site for more info if you're interested.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

How We Spent Prom

While the kids danced the night away, well....until 10:30 anyway, Bill and I entertained ourselves in other ways. One, we kid watched. If you haven't done this recently, I highly recommend it, especially for its anthropological value. Two, we walked the perimeter of the room. As a chaperone, your main duty to make sure that the kids aren't being inappropriate (having fun, in their words). Three, we made art from Eiffel Tower confetti. When a student observed that following Monday that she liked our tessellations, I nearly cried (seriously, how many of us might have used that word, especially at 17, especially correctly?).

Afterward, Bill and I went to a local neighborhood fave, VanGoghz, for a martini. I'm not a huge fan of most martinis but I stop dead in my tracks for a great coffee flavored one. Absoluti Goosed and Van Goghz make the best in St. Louis (both happen to be within walking distance of my house!). If you know any other places that serve great coffee martinis, please drop me a line.