Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Fall Photo Shoot

Fall finally arrived in our area, so last Saturday Jim and I along with another photographer friend went out to shoot some fall color. We started at Forest Park, intending to drive through looking for inspiration. What we didn't know was that there was a huge run taking place that morning. Parking and traffic were quite a mess, but we finally found a spot near our intended location at the Muny. The lake and bandstand outside our outdoor theater never disappoints in any season, but it is bathed in brilliance in the fall. This year was no exception.

The Muny at Forest Park
From there we made our way over to the zoo, which is also located within Forest Park. Despite the overcast skies and cooler temperature, the zoo was actually fairly crowded. Many of the animals were out, though we were not lucky enough to get close to the new cheetah family. In November of 2017, the female cheetah gave birth to eight cubs, a first in zoo history. The normal size of a litter is four. The cubs were kept out of the public eye until May of this year, but sightings of them are still pretty rare. Here are some of the other animals we saw though.

St. Louis Zoo
While walking back to the car, we stopped to admire the trees around Art Hill. The colors were outstanding, and there were many people taking advantage of the beauty to capture family photos. I really enjoy our photo walk outings, and the opportunity to be outside taking pictures with other people who get my obsession.

Art Hill in Forest Park

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

They Say It's Your Birthday...

Happy birthday to me!
My birthday was on Sunday, but because my husband would be prepping for his Monday colonoscopy that day, we decided to celebrate on Saturday. It was a cool but beautiful morning so we went to the Missouri Botanical Garden to see how the fall colors were doing. We are very late with color this year, so it was great to be somewhere where fall was actually showing up.
Missouri Botanical Garden
After we left the garden we drove over to Tower Grove Park. We enjoyed a nice, long walk and had the opportunity to see some more pretty colors on the trees.

Tower Grove Park
That night we tried a new restaurant in our community called The Frisco, due to its location near the Frisco railroad tracks. Because they had heaters outside, we were able to dine on the patio. It has a very nice ambience.

Since Jim did not need to begin his prep until 12:00, Sunday morning we went for a drive through Lone Elk Park. The last few times I've been there, I haven't seen so much as a squirrel. But the animals were taking advantage of the nice fall weather, and we saw quite a bit of activity in the park. We also stopped in at the nearby Wild Bird Sanctuary before heading back home.

Powder Valley
Overall, I had a fabulous birthday. But the best gift of all was in hearing that Jim got a clear (pardon the pun) report on his colonoscopy

Monday, October 29, 2018

City of Brotherly Love

Last weekend we visited Philadelphia for the American Society of Landscape Architects annual conference. Well, my husband attended the conference and I went along to play. Our hotel was located by the convention center, which was convenient for him and centrally located for me.

Friday night we went out to dinner with two other couples at the R2L Restaurant. Located on the 37th floor of the building, it offers incredible views of the city. Unfortunately it was pretty cloudy that evening, so we didn't see the amazing sunsets that others have talked about. It was still a wonderful experience though.

R2L Restaurant
Saturday one of the other spouses and I toured around the city. We had breakfast in the Reading Terminal Market, an outstanding downtown indoor farmers market (and then some) before heading to the Curtis Building (former home of Curtis Publishing, whose publications included The Ladies' Home Journal) to see The Dream Garden, a wall mural that consists of over 100,000 pieces of Tiffany  glass pieces. It is so beautiful!

The Dream Garden

From there we visited Elfreth's Alley, the oldest continuously occupied residential street in the United States. Many of the homes on the street still serve as residences today, and most of them date to the mid-1700s. One of them is a museum, so we paid the small admission fee to be able to see inside the home, which was built for two sisters who were seamstresses.

Elfreths Alley
After lunch we walked the city some more before visiting the John F. Kennedy Plaza for a close-up look at the LOVE statue and a nice view of City Hall. We took a well needed rest by the fountains before walking back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

John F Kennedy Plaza
Sunday was more touring, sometimes by myself, sometimes with another couple that I know. I saw the world's largest pipe organ and a huge brass eagle (that were both originally built for the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis), some street art, beautiful fountains, and the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

Philadelphia sights on Sunday
Sunday night was the formal dinner at the ASLA convention, and Jim's partner Ted was elevated to Fellow so it was a big night for SWT Design. As a fellow Fellow, Jim walked Ted down the aisle to receive his award. It was a touching ceremony.

Monday Jim still had sessions to attend in the morning, so I went to see the Liberty Bell and the Irish Memorial. Both of them touched me for different reasons. The bell is such a part of the American story, and it was a thrill to be able to get a close look at it. The Irish Memorial is probably one of the best sculptures I have seen, with each side representing a piece of Irish history explaining the reasons for the mass emigration out of Ireland.

Liberty Bell and Irish Memorial
We had lunch with Jim's partner and his wife, and then Jim was able to join me for a little touring before we had to head off to the airport. It was an exceptional trip in a very historic city, and I am grateful for the opportunity to experience it.