Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Little Fish, Big Fish, Swimming in the Water

Sunday I found it exceedingly difficult to snap a good fish foto. Were the fishes shy? Or just being koi?

The rest of Shaw's Garden was perfect for a weekend stroll. Overcast and chilly, like mid-November should be, but the blazing fall colors were still mostly in tact. The chance of rain kept some of the crowd away, leaving many pathways deserted. Makes you feel like you own the place. The Missouri Botanical Garden became my vast estate, left to me by my good friend Henry Shaw. Mine to paint, mine to roam, mine to photograph, mine to drink in until I burst with sensory overload. Someday I would like to spend a whole week at The Garden. Go there every day and take time to experience it fully. Sit on the soft carpet of needles underneath the white pines by the fountain and slowly drift off. Or write down every plant along the dry river bed planting, deciding which to try at home. Or wade through the tall prairie grass that's as high as an elephant's eye. Or sit and read in the Linnean House soaking in that hyper-oxygenated air that all those camillias give off. Or maybe just plunk down my quarter for a handful of fish chow and feed those shy fish.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Autumn Pool is Cool

This bench, strewn with the color of autumn, was irresistible on a warm Saturday at Laurmier Sculpture Park. Secluded, sun-dappled and smack in the middle of my favorite piece in the park: Mary Miss's Pool Complex - Orchard Valley. It's easy to spend an entire afternoon at the Pool, daydreaming about the fancy folks who went to the pool when it opened back in the early 30's. The Hedenkamp family owned an estate there and in 1934 converted an old pond into the "delightful pool" as reported by the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. The pool was huge. Is huge. Freeform shape, shallow and deep, shaded by trees, a fabulous crumbling relic of time past. Mary Miss saw all this and more in the dry concrete basin with rock walls and pillars. Her installation sprawls gracefully over the entire area with trellises, walkways, benches, platforms and decks. It makes the imagination run wild. And the ghosts are happy. I'm happy.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Falling Leaves

Finally the leaves are turning. Pretty odd for the best fall color to arrive in St. Louis the first week of November, but I guess we'll have to get used to it. Earlier this week my friends and I were waxing nostalgic over autumns past. I remember riding in a homecoming parade in high school, early October, full sun of the afternoon, freezing in a black leather jacket. At the football game that night we bundled up in blankets and could see our breath. These past few years I've been in shorts and a tank top picking a tomatoes and basil the first week of October. This year the basil, the most tender of herbs, lasted outside until November 5th. Unheard of here. As much as the shorter days depress me, a short warm day is just disconcerting. I don't know how folks who live South and West do it. How can you feel like baking cookies or Christmas shopping when it's 70 degrees outside. Guess it's just what you grow up with.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ghost Boat

What's up with all the abandoned riverboats?

Just north of Alton, IL on the mighty Mississippi, sits this aging queen of the river. There's a couple of old tugs and what looks to be a cabin cruiser that's seen better days moored silently beside her. Some equipment and a fence, a car or two, obviously some kind of shipyard. Or salvage operation. I spied the queen and her court back in September, but did not have time to stop. I knew I'd come back. Are they fixing her? Storing her? Tearing her down? There seems to be no difference since we first met. There's doors galore, as if to separate cabins, a back deck, twin smokestacks and an enclosed upper observation deck just behind the wheel house. Was she a decommissioned over-nighter? Did she turn to day-cruising? Did she become a gambler's delight? Or is she just pleading for mercy from the spirits, now her only inhabitants? I wish I knew her secrets, but she won't give them up. She knows I'd tell.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Busy Busy Worky Worky

Multi-tasking sucks. If I had my way, I'd dump the concept right in the toilet.

There's several books out over the last few years, and studies dating back even further, about how multi-tasking isn't all it's cracked up to be, makes tasks take longer, burns people out and just isn't efficient or healthy. Yet on we multitask!

Basically, I can't get a damn thing done at work. Every time I open a spread sheet that someone wants done yesterday, I can only get a cell or two entered before the phone rings. Well which do you want done? The incoming availabilty, pricing and order calls? The incoming technical assistance calls? The incoming email orders? The incoming faxed orders? The requests for research and credit? The price quotes? The back-order research project? Or the stupid spreadsheet? Yes, they want them all done and they want them all done simultaneously. Heaven forbid that we get off the incoming phone lines long enough to finish the previous caller's request, let alone so the project that an outside sales rep wanted finished last week. Bitter? You bet. Looking for a different job with less multi-tasking? Always. Waiting to hear my job is outsourced to India and I'm free of at least this particular flavor of idiocy? Priceless.

Monday, October 22, 2007

It's Only a Weed

Imagine my surprise as I drove along the Illinois River and docked near Kampsville, north of Hardin, was the sadly deteriorating river boat, The Goldenrod Showboat. Its bright colors fading, its hull rusting and rotting, I so wanted to climb aboard and scout it out, but there were people and police up and down the highway on this busy and beautiful autumn weekend. The Goldenrod was a big deal back in the '70's on the St. Louis riverfront, ads on the radio and TV, the whole bit. Supposedly haunted, too. Then it moved to St. Charles, ended up tanking on the Missouri River bottom during low water, and it was all pretty much downhill from there. It's still designated as a National Historic Landmark. Like so many other sad, old structures, it's depressing to see such rich history disappearing before our eyes. You can read much more about the Goldenrod Showboat here:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fire In The Sky

Moody sky. Poised to pour. But it only spit and the rainbow was fleeting. The scary clouds remained.

All day was blustery, equal to my mood. Dark clouds came over, then spots of sun, then calm, then dark again, repeat. I know, there are meds for that. Sometimes medication is not the answer. Sometimes it's just the weather.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Gourds Gone Wild

It's autumn. Gourds are everywhere. I don't buy gourds; they always seem overpriced for a non-food, yet food-like, decorative item. These were shiny and pretty even in the rain. Rain is good, we have not had enough lately, but for cripe's sake, it's my freakin' vacation! Every day, rain. It's like God is trying to tell me to clean my house. Which I did for a while, but I am easily bored and distracted. I found my copy of the Wilco documentary "I am trying to break your heart" while I was cleaning the living room. Hmmmm. Hadn't seen that in a long time. Nothing got done for over two hours, but it sure beats alphabetizing away all the out of place CD's. Now there are more out of place CD's coz I had to pull out AM and Being There, which I'd not revisited in a long time. And how about an Uncle Tupelo for good measure. Yeah, U.T. while the rain beats down on the porch and the room smells like a wet screen door. Maybe rain on vacation is okay, as long as you resist the urge to clean house..... or buy gourds.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I can't do that

Water lilies are amazing. Ethereal. They glow. And I can't grow them. That's the magic; if it's something I can't do, make, grow, or conceive, then I am in awe. It's like going out to a restaurant. Why would I order something that I make at home? Classical pianists, can't get enough of 'em. The wheel was never my friend in school, so hand thrown pottery makes me stop and stare. Court reporters, how do they DO that? Some things you can learn how to do. Most things, really. But some things you have to have a knack for. Even if you learn how to play piano, no amount of practice will make you into Emanual Ax if there's not that something else there. Some people are indoor plant people, some are outdoor plant people, some are cactus people, and some are pond people. If it's outside in the ground, I'm good. Everything else, I inadvertently kill. What a shame it would be to put a water lily in my care. That's why God made the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Great Grape Escape

Autumn is a great time for wine. Okay, for me anytime is wine time, or whine time for that matter. Mostly I whine about not having more time for enjoying wine. But with a week of vacation coming up soon I plan on taking full advantage of the situation. Clean the house, sip a lttle wine, pull up the tomato plants, sip a lttle wine, play guitar, sip a little wine, bubble bath, sip a lot of wine..... nap. Ahhhh. Better than that, (how anything could be better than wine and napping, I don't know) I just bought a new camera and I'm itchin' to put it through some paces. It's waterproof, so who knows what could happen? So many toys, so little time. Shoot, that was a whine. Sorry. No whine, just wine. And naps.