Saturday, March 27, 2010

I'm Hungry.

Bill's Mom treated us to lunch at Bandana's last weekend. Thanks, Mom H! The food tasted as great as it looks in these photos.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Butterfly House

After a week's worth of great spring weather, it's been dreary and cold and rainy all weekend long. Doesn't look much better for tomorrow either. But, you can't let a little uncooperative weather keep you down, or indoors if the case may be. So, today, we headed out to Faust Park to the Missouri Botanical Garden Butterfly House to see the March Morpho Mania. Basically, thousands of these brilliant blue butterflies have been added to the conservatory's normal collection to create a big, blue explosion of color. It was pretty cool too. But, quite possible the best surprise of the outing was getting in free! It's been a couple of years since we last visited and in that time the Missouri Botanical Garden has assumed stewardship of the place. So, what a nice surprise it was to present my Garden membership card and get in free! Woo Hoo!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Book Review: The Easter Parade by Richard Yates

"Neither of the Grimes sisters would have a happy life, and looking back it always seemed that the trouble began with their parents divorce."

Wow. What an opening line. Love it. Love it. In The Easter Parade, Yates tells the story of the Grimes sisters, Sarah and Emily, and the different lives they build for themselves after the divorce of their parents. One sister follows a traditional path while the other is an intellectual free spirit yet neither of them are able to achieve what they had hoped for: happiness. The story is a simple one yet Yates ability to create characters that are vulnerable, flawed, real and dealing with the human condition is complex and genius. I'm giddy for Yates right now and can't wait to buy another of his books. The only question that I have is how in the world did Richard Yates not get discovered?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Urban Farming

Bill and I went to pick up our new chicks today from the Fenton Feed and Mill Store in Fenton, MO. We bought 5 Buff Orpingtons and are hoping that at least 4 of them are hens. Sorry, rooster(s), you are not welcome (or legal in the city of St. Louis!). The chicks are only a couple of weeks old so they'll be living in the kitchen under a heat lamp until its warm enough to put them out in the backyard coop -- just in time for them to start producing fresh, organic eggs.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Camp DuBois

Back in 2004, I went to watch the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Expedition reenactment launch at Camp Dubois in Hartford, IL. Camp DuBois is the site of Lewis and Clark's winter camp as well as the starting point of the famous expedition. At the time, I was with a group of history teachers and our schedule only allowed for the launch so I didn't get to visit the interpretative center. But, a couple of weekends ago, Bill, Willa, and I drove over so that Bill could check it out as a potential field trip location for his middle school students. If you get a chance to go, it's worth checking out, both as a piece of local history and as a piece of national history. The museum is bright and informative. The movie is pretty good too (not George Rogers Clark good, but still good). Maybe it was because of the sparse crowd but I was especially amazed by the friendliness and attentiveness of the museum staff. However, two things have struck me as I have visited museums lately that I must comment on. First, the movies are getting a lot better - more dramatic, more accurate, more generally appealing, especially to non-historian types. Second, the museums are getting a lot better too (for many of the same reasons plus they are more interactivity, utilize more user-friendly primary source materials and interpretations, new walking tours/pod casts, etc). But, and this observation applies to both, they are getting really, really formulaic! Is there like a Museum Exhibits for Dummies book floating in and around and between curator circles now? It seems like it. Anyway, if you get some time, check it out.