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.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Visiting the Queen City

Recently I spent two weeks in Cincinnati staying with a cousin who was recovering from a total knee replacement. Normally when I visit the city of my birth, I feel like I eat my way through the town. This time was much different as I was preparing many meals in, which was much better for my Weight Watchers experience. In fact, I still lost weight on the trip, much to my delight.

Findlay Market
I did manage to get down to Findlay Market, the historic farmers' market located downtown, twice. It is like stepping back in time, and feels like I am visiting another country.

It also worked out for me to see my dad's remaining sister Gloria and two of her children. Gloria consented to take a DNA test, which I had brought along with me. It will be interesting to see how her results turn out.

During the second week of my visit Jim was on a motorcycle trip with three of his friends in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. However the rains of Hurricane Michael kept them housebound for several days, so he decided to ride to Cincinnati to spend the final weekend with me. That allowed him to see Findlay Market and the downtown riverfront development as it had been many years since he has been to the city. It was fun to have him there to explore with me and my cousin.

Cincinnati collage
My trip coincided with the Crusham family reunion as well. It was wonderful to see so many of my cousins, but especially my mom's two sisters Margie and Betty, ages 96 and 90, respectively. They are truly a treasure. Margie also took a DNA test for me, so I have now tested the two oldest living relatives on both sides of my family, which is really exciting.

Betty, me and Margie