Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Trip to St.Louis, Missouri

Our daughter had a wedding shower given for her this past week-end in St.Louis, which should explain why there has been no posts forth-coming on this blog site for awhile.  And we want to apologize to our many friends in St.Louis for not getting in touch with them while we were there.  It was too short of a time to do any visiting.  The shower was this past Saturday, and all went well.  Each guest was assigned a time of the day for which their gift would be relevant.  Melissa consequently received many creative gifts, the majority of which either kept her in the kitchen baking, or out picnicking and spending special moments with Spencer.  It made for a lot of laughter and fun.  Spencer's Aunt Sue gave the shower and it was wonderful meeting her, his mother Cheryl and other members of his family.  The happy bride-to-be is pictured below.
After the shower my sisters, nieces and I attended the Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. The festival includes a special look at the Chinese garden and  the vast plant diversity of China, as well as Chinese culture and history.   It is a wonderful garden even without any special festivals going on, but this was certainly a magical evening.  We  arrived before the sun went down,  to see all of the Chinese art before the lanterns were lit.  Lotus flowers graced many of the ponds in the garden.
 In China, 2012 is the year of the dragon.  The dragon is one of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac, which is used to designate years in the Chinese calender.  Dragon years are the most popular to have babies.  Many of the lantern sets in the garden depict this mythical creature.  Pictured below is the tail of the Porcelain Dragon.  The installation consists of more than 40,000 individual pieces bowls, plates and cups tied together using ancient techniques.  Granted, it does seems weird to show only the tail, but I wanted to show how it looked in the garden setting with all the brilliance of sunlight. 
It was beautiful after dark to see all the installations lit up.  The Porcelain Dragon turns his head at intervals and spews smoke from his mouth.  Equally awesome are his glowing eyes.  Next to him, in the picture below,  is a lotus flower.  For the Chinese the lotus flower symbolizes ultimate purity and perfection as it arises untainted and beautiful from the mud.
There is so much more to the Lantern Festival than the few items which I mentioned here.  I especially enjoyed the Moonlight Pathway of moons and stars, Zodiac Lanterns, as well as the Panda Paradise set among the bamboo plants of the gardens.  All total there is about 25 colorful installations, certainly a must see if you live anywhere near St.Louis.  It will be continuing until August 19.  We returned to Michigan on Monday after dropping Melissa off at the airport.  We used our little Honda for the trip, leaving our rig and cat behind.  My brother Wayne and wife Mary Jo took care of KC so it was not necessary for him spend time in a kennel.  Currently he is sitting all curled up in my lap as I am writing this post.

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