Monday, May 29, 2006

The Beginning of the Sleepy Season in Maryville

Well, it's Memorial Day weekend in Maryville. Which is to say, "There's not much going on around here." We enjoyed a weekend of sunny weather until, of course, today -- so we're celebrating the beginning of grilling season by not grilling.

Not to say all is boring in the summer in Maryville. It's definitely a different feel to a town whose social life is largely driven by what's happening at the college (or, alternatively, what's being served at Your Maryville Hy-Vee). Summer in Maryville tends to include the following attractions:
  1. Horses. At Sonic Drive-In. As one enterprising young rider put it, "Saves on the gas money."
  2. The Chatauqua. At least every other year, we get a visit from a traveling show of historical reenactors. This year, the event highlights Theodore Roosevelt, Fred Harvey, and George Washington Carver, among others.
  3. BBQ. BBQ is a constant, between Bubba's new restaurant and roadside stands like Hey Vern's and Pink Floyd's. (However, too much BBQ will lead to me being a BBW.)
  4. "Getting the Runs will give you the Blues". No kidding -- this was the official t-shirt of the Maryville Marathon/Blues Festival a few years ago. These events are hosted in the same weekend.
  5. The Art Fair. There's some pretty good local and traveling talent that shows up at this small art fair every year in early July.
  6. The County Fair. See and be seen -- what else does one do at a county fair? (Personally, I like the big slide...)
  7. Fishing and camping at Mozingo Lake. It's finally getting warm enough that tent camping doesn't require thermal survival blankets.
I haven't even mentioned the surrounding area, which features such gatherings as the Hopkins Picnic, the Pickering Horse Show, the Graham Fish Fry, and some other happenings I haven't discovered yet...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

On The Road Again (continued)

Yesterday was an experiment in mobile blogging ... I sent in yesterday's entry with my Treo, and would have added the photos from the trip, except we're still experimenting with a way to get the photos from my Treo to a laptop for uploading; you can post photos by e-mail on Blogger, unfortunately, none of my e-mail access from my Treo supports file attachments. I would have considered grabbing the photos off my SD card using Lauren's laptop; unfortunately, the hotel we were staying at had minimal Wi-Fi coverage ... only enough for her to check e-mail before wimping out, so I waited until I could sync the pics over to my laptop the next day after returning home. In any case, after a four hour drive back from Columbia, I'm adding this post with the pics before taking a loooong nap. Long drives are starting to get harder on both of us, I'm afraid.

The drive down and back left me with a few pithy conclusions about the state of interstate travel these days, none of them positive:
  1. Despite gas prices lowering from their highs of recent months, it still seems like there is gouging (or some inaccurately caliberated pumps) out there. $15.00 doesn't fill your tank anymore (and I drive a fairly fuel-efficient and well-maintained car).
  2. With troopers patrolling less and less due to increased gas prices, the days when most interstate drivers only kept to 5 or 10 miles beyond the speed limit are long gone. Average road speeds are now in the mid-80s/low 90s. With no enforcement, and long distances, people will speed because they can.
  3. Because of point #2, tailgating and rudeness is on the rise. I had several cases where someone rode my back bumper, forcing me to slide into the slow lane, or used the slow lane to pass me.
The high points from the trip:

On the way down, Lauren took me to lunch at a Missouri winery/restaurant, Les Bourgeois, near Rocheport, that she had been to before and thought highly of, for both the view from the restaurant and the food. The pictures are of the restaurant and the incredible view from it, which overlooks both the Katy Trail and the Missouri River.

The food itself, we can both attest, was as good as Lauren promised, between a split appetizer, Cuban pressed sandwich for me and a panini for her, followed by a split dessert, and I'd highly recommend eating there, if you're on your way through Missouri on I-70. Their website address is below:

After the intern visit in Jeff City, we trundled back to Columbia for the overnight stay, and after checking into the hotel (and waiting out a nice rain shower, as well as meeting one of Lauren's professional organization colleagues to transfer a portable whiteboard), a search of the phone book and some web reviews helped us sort through our dinner choices. On the way to finding the restaurant, we checked out the homes (among them, some very nice, and very old, four-squares).

For dinner, we found a (thankfully) very inexpensive Thai place called Bangkok Gardens (26 N 9th St) for dinner in the District (historical downtown) area. Lauren had the Tom Ga Kai (coconut milk and chicken soup), while I had the Laap (Larb). While the Laap was a little greasy (we agreed it should have been drained a little more), it was mildly but satisfyingly spicy ... bear in mind that Lauren has me "in training", while I have to be vary careful about my spicy food choices.

After dinner, we walked around the downtown and window-shopped, discovering a very nice wine/cheese store and restaurant (see photo); quite expensive (we were content to window-shop), but they had a nice mix of domestic, Missouri-grown, and French wines.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

On The Road Again

Just a short post for now, with more later. Lauren and I are in Columbia, MO on the way back from Jefferson City, MO, where she met with one of the interns she is supervising.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Pet Me! Pet Me! Why Aren't You Petting Me?

Why aren't you petting me? Why?
Signed, Kitty.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Almost Done

It's almost done. After two weeks of intensive packing, loading, unloading, and placement, the move is almost done. All I have left to do is bring in the suits from the car and hang those, and go dry clean some bedding post-move, and it's done. The move, that is. And I've got Internet access back, so I can begin job hunting again.

In and around that, it's been a series of home improvement and gardening projects. Thank God Lauren is better at that than I am. I'm merely content to hand tools or hold up items on the wall while she works, or rake, hoe, and water outside.

Thankfully, we've been able to fit almost everything in the house (Lauren swears that the house is doing a TARDIS imitation because the house seems to have more interior space now and seems even more roomier than before I moved in, and that's with everything I moved down) ; we've gotten the living room and office to the point that we can see the floor again, just in time for one of the kitties (who have been guest posting during the move) to do a protest dump or yak near the litter box.

The indoor and outdoor projects are done or very close; the aforementioned gardening is almost caught up, quite a few home improvements are either complete (bathroom renovations, with the exception of new tile and the possibility of heating plate beneath it), or planned waiting only for a weekend's effort (painting the exterior), or, like the furnace replacement and central air addition, four season room/outside deck, and exterior garage (so Lauren can start winemaking again), waiting only for long-term money.

Busy ... yeah, it has been. But we've been improving things as they go .

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Purrr ... I'm Opalina, or Opie the tortoise Tabby ... life is good, even if that evil Stinky isn't speeding around the living room, trying to sniff my butt or get in my face. Hah. Like I'd let her if I could move fast enough .... it's bad enough that I have to ask her for typing lessons so I can write this. At least she isn't chasing me around the house tonight ... I get all of the exercise I can stand from her running after me.

Tonight, it's finally quiet here; no more pounding on the walls, no more moving things around ... and Stinky is nowhere to be found, while I'm lying on the couch (ah, pillows!) feeling the breeze from the ceiling fan ruffle my fur. I think I'll go shed ... my owner (aka, she who provides the food), says that I "projectile shed" ... can I help it if I have a thick coat?

I've perfected this "look" which the humans call "pathetic". I call it using what I have ... right now, I'm using it on the new guy so he'll pay attention to me. That's not working, so then I reach over and combine it with a little gentle pawing ... one paw, right on the wrist while he's typing, and stretch out the paw just so, all while giving him the most yearning look possible ... now he's petting me ... purrrr.