Posts Tagged STL
As most of you in the St. Louis area know, Mr. Todd Jordan (@tojosan) has been connecting people in the metro area for several years now, every Friday between Memorial Day and Labor Day by organizing a lunch called Bring A Tweep To Lunch (or affectionately hashtagged on Twitter, #BATTL). It’s hosted at a new restaurant every week. Sometimes you might have 2 people show up, other times you might have a dozen.
Today was a special day because on Monday, it is Todd’s birthday. Many people must love him as much as we do, because we had quite the turnout today at The Atomic Cowboy in ManGrove. Toward the end of the lunch, we all sang him happy birthday. So to you Mr. Jordan, we all wish you a happy birthday from the bottom of our hearts.
In recent years, we’ve almost all seen the cinematic favorites filled with the pitter patter of dancing webbed feet and ice sliding bellies. The exuberant little creatures filled with so much character have waddled their way into our lives via Hollywood. My oldest daughter has at least 5 plush penguins on her bed (and I’m guessing another handful that I don’t know about). My youngest daughter’s favorite book in the world to read before is about Pip the Penguin.
It’s no surprise then that the Penguin and Puffin Coast exhibit at the St. Louis Zoo is among the most popular. Since 2003, the barely drenched black & white birds squawk and honk at visitors 7 days a week. The environment is so real and life like that you’ll actually believe you’re on an Antarctic ice reef. Their flightless wings whisk themselves through the water only inches from your nose and you’ll likely get a splash as they frolic around.
When I heard there would be a “Penguin March” over the Mardi Gras weekend, I was elated at the thought of taking my girls. I reserved extreme enthusiasm however. How much more up close and personal could we really get with these penguins? I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I would like to personally thank the City of St. Louis and all the investors that make the St. Louis Zoo one of the best in the country. The experiences are top notch for being in my backyard. The next time you want to complain about the upcoming price change to $15 for parking, please remember that it is a very small price to pay for one of the most up close and personal experiences you’ll get with the animal kingdom.
If you’d like to support the St. Louis Zoo, you can become a member by signing up online. There are many different levels with varying costs but the benefits are incredible.
I’m not a fitness blogger. Or a runner, but I almost decided to add a new category about fitness just to have somewhere to add this post. Then it dawned on me. All those years of listening to my in-shape friends and watching countless wasted hours of informercials with Chuck Norris and that one guy from the Disney Channel that had really big man boobs and now only has little man boobs, taught me that it’s not about having an exercise regiment or a diet. It’s about changing your life. Being in shape, eating right, taking care of yourself…those are decisions that you make for the rest of your life so that you can live happily ever after. <<now I sound like the man boobs guy>> I proudly add this post to the “Versa Life” category.
There aren’t enough fingers and toes on this body to tell you how many times someone has told me that I just need to start running. Sure, I don’t hear very well, but I also don’t listen either. I could name at least 10 people right off the bat that are good friends of mine that run constantly and even enjoy the likes of marathons and other crazy runner events. Let’s face it…I’m surrounded by crazy runner people. They always talk about “the runner’s high”; they say there’s no other feeling like it in the world.
Last week, my good friend Meg Gartland pointed me to an app on the iPhone call myfitnesspal. She claimed it helped her to do all the things that traditional fitness record keeping methods couldn’t. I downloaded it, but didn’t really do anything with it. Over the weekend, I was at the mall with another good friend Amanda Quast, when I came across some really cool GPS watches by Nike and Garmin. I really wanted to get one, but not because of the fitness aspect…because of the geek factor. I mean really, how cool of a watch to have, but without the lackluster of telling people “Yeah, I’m a runner” it was merely just another geek purchase. Finally, Sunday night, I dusted off the ole Runkeeper app that I had downloaded for free months ago (you know, because it was free). I setup my new myfitnesspal account and set my alarm to wake up at 6:30am.
Monday morning 6:30am….came and went.
Tuesday morning 6:30am…came and went.
Wednesday morning 6:30am…WE’RE OFF AND RUNNING!! Here’s the deal…it sucked. I ran half a mile and I about puked on 2nd Street. As I walked, attempting to capture the last remaining breaths my body had, I half expected some sort of dancing purple elephant to come out from behind the light pole, or some cute little chubby angels playing harps to fly over my head. Where was this “runner’s high”? Did Meg and Jenn and the other Meg and Jodi and Cort and Angela all lie to me? Was this a scam!??
Turns out, you don’t get the high until about mile 4. Dang it!
A funny thing happened though on Wednesday night. I had the urge to go running again. I don’t like running though. I never have. It’s tedious and boring. There’s nothing remotely fun about it. I’d rather watch golf for 4 hours on TV…and I hate watching golf on TV. So I ran on Thursday morning…all of about .70 mile. Then guess what happened…I almost puked again on 2nd Street. And then, ooh ooh…guess what happened…I had the urge to run Thursday night! So I did pushups instead. And then this morning, Friday, I went and ran. FOR A WHOLE MILE!! Can you believe it!!?? What the heck happened to me? It’s like I swallowed a Tony Little video and now I can’t stop!!
Here’s the thing…I hope I don’t stop. I need this kind of daily exercise in my life. I’m not looking to become a fitness blogger. I’m not looking to get ripped and look like Hercules. I do however want to be around long enough for my kids to get married one day and for me to play with my grandkids the way my Dad plays with his. I’m not getting younger and I don’t have the fountain of youth. As big of a game as I might talk, I don’t want to grow old alone. There’s no joy in that. Grumpy old men might be cute on TV but when they tuck themselves in at night, they’re still alone and grumpy old men. I’m not going to allow myself to die a grumpy old fat man.
Now get off my lawn!!
In the past 5 months, I’ve grown to love my beard. It’s become a part of me (literally). But…the masses have spoken…and they said it was time for a shave. I’ll let you in on a little secret though…I was gonna shave even if you told me to keep it. Look at this way. The playoffs are in 7 months so I’ll grow another one.
I meet alot of people in my day-to-day activities; at work, at the store, online social media networks, through friends. Some of them I’ve become really good friends with, some of them I learn something from them and I move on, and others just come and go. I enjoy those that I learn from though.
On Tuesday night, I did something I’ve never done before. I willingly (yes without coercion) signed up and paid for a class about food and wine pairing at Provisions Market over on Olive. I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath. One of the very interesting people I’ve met in my travels, @STLWineGirl (aka Angela Ortmann), announced that she was holding this class a few weeks ago. I knew she had a similar class a few months ago, but frankly wasn’t up to the challenge yet. For whatever reason though, I decided to take the plunge into “having class” (although I still think there’s no hope for this boy).
If you don’t know me…I mean really know me, then let me explain to you what my diet consists of. Meat, potato, meat, mac & cheese, eggs, meat, sausage, mac & cheese….you get the picture right? Seriously, I have no variety in my culinary choices. I’m picky, I’ve always been picky. I don’t eat for fun or hobby or whatever. It’s more about function for me I guess. I eat because I know I have to, so I figure I might as well just eat what I like. Before you go judging me, I already know it’s not healthy. I’m ok with that, for now.
Enough about me, let’s talk about Angela and her amazing experience she gave me. There were 30 of us and we sat on 3 sides of a large square made with tables lined with fancy wine glasses and stemware. Fortunately, she preemptively placed me next to a few gals I knew from Twitter, @bekahclark and @MilliGFunk. As she began the night, Angela explained that we would be going through 5 dishes, each with a different wine, from 5 different regions of the world. This of course gave me the heebee jeebees because when it comes to international food…I just don’t do it. Angela assured me that I could do this though and her warm smile & glowing eyes convinced me.
Below is the menu we went through, where it’s from and my thoughts on the dish, the wine, the combination, etc.
- Black Bean and Corn Cake with Shrimp Tomato-Garlic Vinaigrette with NV Gruet Rosé Sparkling (New Mexico): When this arrived, I saw what appeared to be good, but hesitated because I couldn’t see what was really inside the cake thingy. The wine was, ok. Everyone kept saying something about a BBQ tastes but I didn’t get it. After my initial bite, I really had to concentrate on not knowing what all the ingredients were. I ate the entire thing though. It wasn’t fantastic, but it satisfied me. The wine didn’t taste any better before or after for me.
- Chickpea and Vegetable Samosa with 2007 Chateau Indage Chenin Blanc (India): More so than the first one, this gave me the heebee jeebees. It was so tasty looking in this perfectly sealed triangular pastry…like a yummy hot pocket filled with cheese and meats. Only this wasn’t cheese and meat…it was nasty green vomit from a badger. The wine was good. I definitely enjoyed it. And it’s a good thing too, because I had to swig it to wash out the one bit of this devious delectable that tainted my palette.
- Rustic Brazilian Beef Pastry with 2006 Miolo Pinot Noir (Brazil): This tasty tantalizing treat rejuvenated my taste buds because it tasted just like beef stew! This might have been the only meal that I thought the wine was actually worse after eating though.
- Frikkadel Meatballs w/ Quinoa with 2005 Golden Kaan Pinotage: Ahhh and we’ve arrive to my favorite. This was a classic meatball with some kind of sauce stuff. Angela tricked me though…it had mushrooms in it. Despite those fungus hugging shrooms though, I devoured this dish. The wine was a pleasant treat and added some kick afterwards. By far my favorite pairing of the night.
- Canadian Brown Sugar Pie with 2004 Konzelmann Late Harvest Gewürztraminer (Canada): I’ve never been a huge dessert guy. This was like a tiny little pie shell with a thick filling. I didn’t even doubt this one, but then WHAMMO! The filling was so gooey and the pastry so thick that my upper and bottom teeth were sticking together. To be honest, I don’t even remember how the wine tasted. I only had 2 bites of this one.
My overall thoughts are that this was a very eye opening experience. This was completely outside of my comfort zone, but because Angela was so patient and kind, and a few of my friends were there, I took this well. Angela will be having another class soon and I whole heartedly plan on attending it. You should too. Check out STLWineGirl at www.stlwinegirl.com to stay caught up on all of her happenings.
On a weekly basis I’m looking for things to do with my kids on the weekend. Sometimes, things seem to drop in my calendar and other times, I find the most obscure random events going on. However, this weekend was kind of a no-brainer because now that we’re in full autumn swing, the fruit orchards are harvesting. Apple picking is not only a fun thing to do on a Sunday afternoon…but it’s even more fun when you can do it with your family and friends.
On Sunday, October 4th, 2009, I will be taking my girls to Eckert’s Farm in Belleville, IL for some good ole country fun. Everyone is invited to join us as this will be a peak time for picking Golden Delicious and Red Delicious apples. Eckert’s charges $1.59/lb for their apples but it’s worth every penny!
We’ll meet at 2:00pm at the country store. The weather is slated to be beautiful so I hope to see all my friends there.
Be sure to follow Eckert’s on Twitter and let them know you’re coming and supporting our local economy. If you decide to retweet this event, be sure to use the hashtag #STLAppleTweetup.
Eckert’s Farm is located at:
951 S. Green Mount Road
Belleville, IL 62220
My friend @mdhugo and I decided to take our cameras to Firebird in St. Louis this past Friday night in order to work on our low-light photography. Of course we were also there to be entertained, but mostly just to be geeks. @donhead also joined us but was without camera. I tried and tried, using my Nikon D40 with 55-200mm f/3.8 lens to get good shots, but it just wasn’t happening. Out of 176 images taken, only a few actually came out with any kind of clarity. I’m going to try and find a reasonably inexpensive 50mm f/1.8 lens (I think that will make a huge difference).
You can check out the other 6 photos that I thought were semi-worthy enough by looking at my Flickr page.
*UPDATE: Check out @mdhugo’s post with his pictures.