Monday, June 21, 2010

Abounding in Mounds

Happy Father's Day! Robert cooked us wonderful omlettes as we enjoyed a Sunday Brunch with the Snyders. Rick, Anita and Bob then took off to see the Cardinals/A's game, the last of this home stand.
Jeff and I took off to find a sacrament meeting and ended up at a 1:30pm meeting in a Singles Ward - O'Fallon First Ward building just a mile from the Snyder home. We got there half and hour early, and had a long visit with Bishop Bons whose brother just left BYU to teach for Jeff's friend, Gordon Gee, now president of Ohio State. He was a jolly guy.
Then we headed out along the country roads to find Cahokia State Park. En route, we encounted the biggest catsup bottle in the world at Collinsville; quite a landmark. We wound through charming green countryside. Occasionally there is a peaceful pond with lovely homes nestled around the shoreline; tranquil and beautiful.
Cahokia State Park commemorates a huge archeological site where over a period of some 300 years, over 20,000 American Indians lived between 400 & 700AD. The site was found when they began excavating the a former drive-in movie theater and discovered a bunch of archeological remains. It is the largest site north of Mexico. The Indians thrived here because they were near water with the Mississippi close by and they could grow corn and have food year-round. It is a huge area with conical-shaped burial mounds and also raised flat-topped mounds that had government buildings atop them. Jeff was all excited to see this and imagine all sorts of Book of Mormon tie-ins. We enjoyed the 17 minute movie in the cool, dark theatre twice - we slept through it the first time.
There is a huge bird nesting area in the parking lot and it has been taken over by Red Winged Blackbirds. They were all over the place. As we walked to and from the museum, one particular lack-bird came to challenge us and scare us away. He must have been trying to protect his nest. I got out iBird and played him back some Red Winged Blackbird calls. He just hovered over me squawking.
Back at Nita and Bob's a lovely Father's Day dinner was underway. We had marinated flank steak, Robert's signature Caesar salad, and yummy roasted potatoes. We ate and visited until about 10:30pm. It was one of those ultra-delightful South African extended eating forays.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Wicked Witch is in St. Louis!

Anita and I were foxy ladies all dressed up and off to the persian-design Fox Theatre in downtown St. Louis right by Saint Louis University where former Ute coach, Rick Majerus, coaches. It is quite a breathtaking theatre, it reminded me of the Epcot Center's Morocco. My favorite was the spectacular ceiling design on a blue background. Our seats were on the front row of the loge; we had a perfect unobstructed view of the stage. And what a view! This is a wonderful show and I was so excited to know how the story fit the music that I know by heart. I must say that I hated the book and blissfully, the show barely followed the book and it is MUCH better. I was delighted with how it tied in all the tasty tidbits of L. Frank Baum's story - the genesis of the flying monkeys, the tinman, and the scarecrow. It ended up a lovely, tender story of true love and friendship. I was emotionally touched as the play ended. I spent most of the evening hoping it wouldn't end because I could have watched it another two hours! The emerald city scene was the most spectacular I've seen on a stage since the Ascot Races scene when I went to "My Fair Lady" in Lost Angeles with Uncle Will when I was 12. Well, Wicked was MAGIC and I have been changed for good!
Robert graciously let me have his ticket (he's seen it twice before) and the guys all went to watch the Cardinals beat the A's at Busch stadium (in $150 super seats).
Anita sent her kids her first- ever text message. That's a big deal! Now we need to get her an iphone so she can keep it up!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Meet Me in St, Louie!

Anita and Bob are hosting Jeff, Rick and me in St. Louis for Father's Day. They are leaving next week to visit Rob & Deb in Seattle then onto Hawaii.
Friday was Anita's last day at work, so we hung out then went down to cute little Lebanon, Illinois for lunch at Dr. Jazz's soda fountain. There were charming little shops along the main street for shopping. Rick and I found Halloween things there! Really cute ones! We HAD to buy them. Jeff refused to take the 12 scoop ice cream sundae challenge at lunch - if you can eat it all in 30 minutes, it's free. Instead he had a pineapple/coconut sundae. Rick and I got our old-time favorite chocolate ice cream sodas.
About 5pm we loaded into the car and headed for Busch Stadium to watch the Cardinals play against the Oakland A's. The new stadium takes full advantage of it's view of the famous expansion arch. The arch looks surreal to me; like someone put it into the skyline with computer graphics. One neat thing about the field, the groundskeepers have mown a reflection of the arch into the outfield. Very cool.
We got ballpark bratwurst for diner and found Jeff some sauerkraut to go with it. The last time I went to a major league baseball game was in 1976; when I was expecting Nicole. The game was much more fun that I remembered; there was lots of action and scoring beginning with a 2-run homer by the Cardinals in the first inning. The guys are going back tonight for game 2 of this match-up. Anita and I are headed to the Fox Theatre to see "Wicked"! I've wanted to see this play for years! I'm excited.