Thursday, May 31, 2012

For Something Completely Different

Now and then an interesting background catches my eye.  I seem to be drawn to the texture and colors.  Here are a couple that I have taken recently.

The first is the external wall of a building.  The blue is a rain gutter.   The stark blue color contrast and the vertical line caught my eye.

The second is the internal wall of a wine store in Kirkwood, not far from Kaldi's.  Tomorrow I will post a few photos of the wine bottles in the racks.  The owners were very kind to let me wander about the store taking photos. This darker wall had been reclaimed from behind sheetrock and plaster.  It definately added to the ambiance of the store.

Does anyone like these?  Or, am I just getting weird in my old age?  I guess those are not mutually exclusive categories, are they!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bar Louie: Getting ready to leave St. Louis

I was leaving St. Louis the next morning. And, it had been more than a bit of a stressful day. The sun was shining. It was 78 and almost no wind.

At 4:00 I drove to Bar Louie and decided to unwind and enjoy my last afternoon before the drive home.

As I sat down and ordered wine, I kept looking around the various groups of people looking for someone to photograph. I kept coming back to this woman. I couldn't figure out what it was that caught my eye.

Finally it hit me! She was totally relaxed, reading, studying (I think), and having a martini. I liked it. I may need to take up studying with martini's!

Meet Alison.

It turns out that she is a music teacher and had just finished classes for the summer.  She was waiting for her husband to join her. 

Thanks Alison and have a wonderful, relaxing summer! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Shaping the World

As I was leaving the Ren Festival in St. Louis, I noticed a potter.  This was old school.  She was turning the wheel with her feet.

I didn't catch her name.  But, it was quite amazing to get close and watch her bring form, shape, and purpose to a lump of clay.  She mentioned her hands were in terrible shape after years of doing this.

It isn't unlike what you do with kids. You mold and shape them.  The process leaves you older and often exhausted.  But, you have created....something precious.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Renaissance Fair 4

It was also good to see so many knights and damsels and....horses.

This last warrior had quite a crowd.     I hate when someone shows up to a party wearing the same thing I am wearing.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Renaissance Fair 3

It was good to know they had drug stores at the Ren Fair.

And, pharmacists.

And doctors to prescribe the medicine for scurvy.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Renaissance Fair 2

This guy had flair (and a Casio watch)

This guy walked around all day looking like that!

This guy was trolling...and he was having some luck!  The Bad Boy look seems to work!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Renaissance Fair 1

While traveling, I am beginning to check for local camera clubs.  This provides me the chance to meet new people with common interests as well as see new venues.  I had the chance to meet a few photographers and attend the local Renaissance Festival on the last trip to St. Louis.

I asked everyone for permission to take their photos.  But in this case, I didn't get their names.  You, as readers, will just need to enjoy!

I saw the sign "SHEEP TOSS" and started to chuckle and knew I had to see what this was about.  This gentleman did not appear to be having a lot of fun managing the sheep...or the kids throwing stuffed sheep for distance! 

This young lady was sitting in the window of her shop listening to a hammer dulcimer. 

And, this sign just cracked me up.  I guess I just liked the idea of the mighty war horse giving pony rides. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kaldi's is going to the dogs!

Because Kaldi's has a large outdoor area in the front, it is quite pet friendly.  I often see dogs sleeping under the tables guarding their humans while they eat and converse with one another.

Meet Charlie!

And meet He'd.  I need to explain this.  I feel terrible.  But, when I asked He'ds human what his name was, she told me and I fat fingered into my phone.  As I got ready to post this and looked at my notes, I saw, "He'd".  I KNOW that isn't right.  Fred?  Nope.   Bartholomew?   Nope.  Buddy?   I can't remember!
If the person that He'd (or Fred or whatever) guards would contact me, I will ensure his real name is corrected!

Meet He'd. 

Thank you, Charlie and He'd!


The correct name of He'd has been supplied by the person whom He'd guards dutifully day and night.  It is HEF!    NOW I remember!

Thank you, Hef!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Sitting alone at a table behind Joe was this gentleman.  A few people stopped and chatted with him.  But, two things struck me with him.

First, he was happy.  He was smiling and seemed to have a kind word for everyone. 
Second, he had a red stud in his ear.  So, I needed a closer look!

Meet Bill.   I asked him about the red stud and he laughed and said, "When I got to be xx years old, I decided I could do what I want."  Fair enough! 

Thanks Bill!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kaldi's AGAIN!

Kaldi's is a great place to hang out and meet people.  Saturday morning was CROWDED!   I managed to grab a table outside as another party was leaving and Joe was just a step behind me.

So, we shared a table until another opened up.

Meet Joe.
He was trying to get a table to hold 3 of his friends and fortunately, a table opened up next to where we were sitting.  He was gracious enough to continue to include me in the conversation.  He is in shape.  He will soon be riding a bicycle across Missouri for fun and is always looking for a good marathon someplace.  When he learned where I was from, he smiled and said, "Grandma's!".

A small band was setting up to play in the courtyard in front of Kaldi's. And, I heard some very nice guitar licks drifting in over the conversation. 

The gentleman below is one half of the Maple Jam Band!     I had to leave before they started performing; but, the warmup was fantastic.

Meet Gus!

Thanks Joe and Gus!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cafe Pomme

After coming to St. Louis for so long, it is nice to feel as if I know my way around.  But even here, it is easy to get into a rut and not try something new.

I traveled to Cafe Pomme recently.  They offer great food and wine with a friendly and helpful staff!.  For more information, see here

Meet Max!   He had some excellent wine and food recommendations and my glass was never empty!

And, meet Abby!   She was BUSY.  She was helping the rest of the staff with both inside and outside customers. 

Thanks Max and Abby for the wonderful service and being willing to be photographed! 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Raptors: Part 2

The Eagles!

This male was just standing there taking in the sites.

This female likes her bath.  She played in the water for over 30 minutes. 

 Yes indeed..those talons mean business.  Careful Fluffy.

The blue is a her eye lid.  She closes it when she dunks her head under the water.  This was really fun to watch.  And, I was very impressed with the layering of her feathers on the wings. 

I discovered an eagles nest with eaglets about 4 miles from my home.  I may need to invest in a bigger lens!   After all, I did have some lens envy at this event.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Raptors: Part 1

I didn't feel I could ignore the the birds.  

First: the magnificent Great Horned Owl.  When I was younger and guiding canoe trips in the wilderness, I had a favorite spot on a rather desolate lake where a Great Horned Owl nested.  I loved laying on the rocks at night and listening to it.  I am still mesmerized with them.  Because of their feather structure, they are one of the most silent birds in flight.  Deadly.  But, from what I understand, dumb as a door knob. 
I wanted to name my son "Bubo Virginianus" after this owl.  Needless to say, I was overruled.   Great minds always suffer like this.  

My neck used to be able to do this.  But, that was after an unfortunate accident! 

This is a Saw-whet owl.  This little guy was VERY shy and I never got a good photo of him.

Finally, I really like the Barn Owl.  I have never seen one before.   So, I need to let him grace this blog once more.

Next post:  Eagles!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


This is my 100th post.   I know standing in the shadow of many of the great bloggers out there, including some on my sidebar, I am at the primordial ooze stage of my blog and they are eons ahead of me in the evolutionary scale. That's fine. This isn't a race.

I wanted to do something special for this post.  I thought for a long time and I struggled to come up with something that seemed "right".  Two nights ago I woke up at 3:00 AM and said, "Bob".

Let the reader be forwarned that this is not my normal post.   I usually find something upbeat, fun, or touching about the people who are gracious enough to let me photograph them.

But this post is much different. 

Meet Bob.

I met Bob sometime around 1981.  He was a counselor in rural area working for a counseling center that helped lower income people struggling with issues we all face.   I occasionally crossed paths with him.  And we became friends.

He was married.  He had two wonderful little kids.  He was recognized as a kind, caring, compassionate man.  

One day over beers, I asked him how he got into the counseling business.  He smiled and stared at me for the longest time.  Finally he said, "let me tell you my story."

Until now, I have never breathed a word of what he told me to anyone.  I think it is time.  At least, I hope it is.

Bob's father abandoned his family when Bob was less than one year old.  His mother grew to hate men.  Bob was an only child.  His mother didn't want a little boy.  She wanted a girl.  So she began to dress him in dresses.  This continued into his mid-teens.  When he came home from school, the "other" attire was ready and waiting for him.

He grew deeply ashamed.  He rebelled.  Out of high school, he joined the Marine Corp.  That's where the manly men go.   He washed out.  And, he began to spiral out of control.  He found himself wandering the streets of a rural town in the midwest wearing womens clothes.  In that era, and in that geographic area, that may have been enough to get your serious injured, or worse.

He went to college and studied psychology with an emphasis on counseling.   He learned about his past.  He began to understand what was happening and was coming to terms with it.  He met a wonderful woman and started his family.  He was successfully helping hundreds of people. 

I was not aware, but he continued to struggle with his past.  Late one Friday night, he went into his garage, sat in his car, turned it on, and went to sleep. 

I had moved nearly 300 miles away the year before.  His family had a funeral for him there.  But, the graveside service was to be in Fort Snelling.  His family would not make that trip.  It was too much for his wife and children.  So, his wife asked whether I would speak at the internment. 

That was almost exactly 25 years ago today.  It was sunny, but cool.  A few co-workers were present.  Bob's mother was present.  I said what I could but it seemed empty and devoid of any meaning.  Everyone left except me.  I stood there thinking about a life wasted and the grief 300 miles away.  And I cried.  His mother had left, never saying a word to anyone.  Never shedding a tear. 

I have no idea why Bob suddenly popped into my brain in the middle of the night.  I haven't thought of him for probably 20+ years.  After an event in St. Paul, I drove to Fort Snelling to find Bob.  I stood at his grave and realized that I could be the first person who stopped there in 20 years!

And, I cried again. 

Bob, I hope you forgive me for telling your story.  It needed to be told.  You need to be free of it.

And to my readers, I hope you were not offended.  Perhaps it is freeing for all of us in some way.

Be gentle with one another.   Be kind, patient, and tender.  Spend time listening.   That's what Bob did. 

Thanks Bob, for being a friend.  Now don't wake me up at 3:00 AM again.  I am getting old and need my sleep.  I will stop by again very soon and won't make you wait another 25 years.  I promise.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Raptor Release: Part 6

The people watching was wonderful.

Meet Catherine.  I first spotted her because she was wearing reading glasses AND sun glasses at the same time.  VERY smart, Catherine!  She was also quite charming!

Thes women below were sitting on a picnic table waiting for the actual release of the raptors.   They are all from California and are rescue bird handlers there.  They were in town for a seminar and just had to see the release. 

Meet Betty, Shirley, and Ann! 

Finally, meet everyone else.  :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Raptor Release: Part 5

This young lady was walking around with two different sets of feathers and letting little kids touch them.  She was perfect for that role.  She seemed to have a passion for teaching the little ones.

Meet Anna.  I thought, with the lighting that day and her "look", she would could have come out of the set of the Hunger Games.  She looks the part!

And, she had a great necklace, too! 

The feathers were amazing.

Thanks Anna!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Raptor Release: Part 4

I wished I had gotten a chance to visit with Katie a bit longer.  She was very busy helping with the many birds that were displayed.  She ensured people didn't get too close.  She answered questions from the growing crowd. She never lost her smile...or her composure.

So, meet Katie:

She was so kind as to even bring a snack for the eagles.

OK...I made that part up.   Really...I did!    To my knowledge, Lilly survived the day just fine!

Thanks Katie!