Thursday, May 28, 2015

Shakespeare Festival St.Louis

Time has been flying here for us between trips to Carbondale and Farmington.  We have also been busy with doctor's and dental appointments, a well as physical therapy for myself.  Our motor home has also chosen this time to go ill with several items, including the refrigerator and television, malfunctioning.  This certainly is the place and time for everything to get repaired, as St.Charles is where we bought our motor home and the best place to have it repaired.  Also, we have my sister Julia's home nearby as a place to reside when our home is in the shop.   Consequently, for a variety of reasons, we will continue to stay in the St.Louis area for one more month.  The weather is getting quite warm here, but it still is home and not a bad place to be if that is necessary. 
And St.Louis has many outdoor activities to engage in if we are looking for something to do, one of which is the Shakespeare Festival annually put on in Forest Park during the end of May.  This is its fifteenth year of the free festival, hard to believe that so many years have passed since we first started attending!  This year the outdoor production is Anthony and Cleopatra.  It always helps me to read a synopsis of any production written by Shakespeare before viewing it on stage.  The Post Dispatch helps with that by printing it in the paper, as well on a wall near Shakespeare's Glen at Forest Park. 
  Another opportunity to review the story of Anthony and Cleopatra before the show is by attending an abbreviated production of it on a small stage.  Teen-aged children play the various roles, and I think they did a good job of tackling a Shakespeare play!  Pictured below is the arrogant Cleopatra with her ladies-in-waiting.
Because of the chance of a large crowd and limited seating we usually arrive at the show site a few hours before the production starts. A 90-minute Green Show is traditionally a prelude to the evening's main performance and includes featured local musicians and clowns, a family activity area,  and jugglers.
Those young jugglers are good, and they also juggled knives.  Anyway, the production finally started and it was a good show.  I knew nothing regarding the story of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, must of missed their story in world history class and never saw the movie in which Elizabeth Taylor starred.  But it is a great love story filled with romantic angst and political intrigue. The language of Shakespeare is difficult to understand but I love the magic of words in any shape or form, and he is a master of them.  It was a 2 and one-half hour production, we were tempted to leave at intermission but stayed to the end.  We just had to see if the  frustrated lovers could triumph over the machinations of Caesar and live happily ever after!   If you live in St.Louis do go and see this awesome show and hey, it is free!  It runs until June 14.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

City Museum of St.Louis

In the past John and our children, as well as other extended family members, have visited this museum at least a couple of times.  I seemed to be otherwise engaged (usually working) when they went.  Before going there Sunday we had quite a discussion as to whether it would be an appropriate place for our grandson, who now is a walking dynamo.  John said it was not a place for young children.  Melissa checked it out on- line and the information she received there told her otherwise.  It was a bit dicey getting downtown to 16th street because of a parade going on which blocked off many streets, as well as a graduation at Harris Stowe which added more traffic to the congested streets.  We almost returned home, but did find a way to circumvent the bottle necks and get to the museum.  My initial impression of the place was that there was fun to be had ahead of us.  A bus hangs off the roof of the three story building, tunnels and stairs surround it.
It used to be a shoe manufacturing building, but now has been transformed into a museum with educational exhibits as well as a fun house with activities for old and young alike.  There is an area for toddlers.
Our grandson Nathan was quite content with the colorful balls and trucks.  His grandmother found a most unusual rocking chair to play with.  She first had to let go, get her feet off the ground and let the chair take over.  I think it is guaranteed not to tip anyone over!
On a more serious note, I did find natural history exhibits pertaining to butterflies, moths, beetles and fossils.  There is also a wonderful architectural history museum featuring artifacts of  buildings now long gone.  It was in that area that I learned the story of "Grimsley's Folley".  In 1836, presiding over the St.Louis Board of Alderman, Colonel Thorton Grimsley introduced a bill which set aside 30 acres of high ground in the city that would be held publicly as a park and which would become the centerpiece of the Lafayette Square District. He is pictured below, along with some architectural artifacts.  That is exactly how randomly interesting the City Museum is, one never knows what will be around the corner!
There is also a circus arena in the museum, where young performers were being taught acrobatics.  And on display is some interesting modern art, pictured below is the world's largest underpants.  Our time there was a bit shortened because of the traffic jams we encountered getting there.  I would like to come back, to explore further the multilevel caves as well as the aquarium.  And to see the new roof attractions- that area was closed off because of construction activity.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Rockwoods Reservation

We are still hanging out in the St.Louis area, however that does not preclude us finding something to write about.  Rockwoods is located in western St.Louis County.  About 20 years ago we visited it rather frequently with our children.  For all of us a large yawning cavern with two massive rooms was the main attraction.  John and I decided it would be great to see the park again.

At the entrance to the Visitor's Center of the park two beautiful blooming trees greeted us.  One was a tulip tree and the other a yellowwood tree, the blossoms of which are pictured above.  In the center we learned about the history of the park, the land has certainly gone through many interesting changes over a period of 200 years.  Evidence of that past can be found in the park, and includes such relics as old crumbling lime quarries, railroad berms and building foundations.  Cobb,Wright and Case were mining companies that purchased the land in 1868 for $100.00 an acre.  Later Glencoe Lime Company built a railroad spur on the land.  That usual policy for mining companies was to blast and destroy the quarries but Glencoe went into bankrupcy in 1933 and left an unstable cavern behind.  John and I took the trail leading to the cavern, expecting to see it as we remebered it from about twenty years ago.  We came close to the end of the trail and still had not seen that cavern.  What we did come upon was a small opening in a stone wall, entrance to which was fenced off.  The trail to it was over grown with weeds.
Later we learned at the center that the cavern had collapsing walls and needed to be closed.  Now only bats find refuge there.  We still had a wonderful walk as the park has deep ravines, tall rocky cliffs and a shallow creek running through it.  We heard a variety of birds quite nosily filling the air with their songs.  We also saw a woodpecker busily flitting from tree to tree looking for food.  The area has been designated by Audubon Missouri as an Important Bird Area.  Wildflowers are in abundance, we saw one particular type of butterfly frequently who seemed to be enjoying them.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Road Trips East and North

The last two weeks have passed quickly and we have been busy traveling around in our little Fit.  The first trip I took without John but with my sister Julia to Nashville Indiana.  It was to be a girls week-end of scrapbooking and shopping.  Also joining us was my daughter Melissa, as well as my niece Laura and sister-in-law Mary Jo.  Only male with us was my grandson Nathan.
 Nashville is an historic artist's colony tucked away in the blue hills of Brown County.  Pictured above are some of the art objects which can be found there.  It also has many small picturesque wooden buildings, some of which are historic, as the structure pictured below.  That building use to be a church, a sign on it identifies the store as once being Antioch Christian Church, which exsisted from 1870-1938.  It is now a general store and bakery.  I hung around that store for sometime with Nathan trying to get him asleep.  The music of old Gospel songs coming from this building helped put him to sleep.

We stayed at an old country farmhouse about 10 miles out of town. It was just us and cows for miles around.  Nathan was quite fascinated with the cows, and they with him.
John and I traveled to Plover Wisconsin last week for the baptism of the children of two of our nieces, Rebecca and Rachel.  Melissa and Nathan also joined us for the trip.  I do believe I have become very knowledgeable on how to entertain a one year-old during a long road trip!  Pictured below is the baptism picture of Noah, one of the babies who were baptized at Good Shepherd Lutheran chuch last Sunday.  His parents, Rebecca and Cyril, are to the right of him and his sponsers, Adam and Kjerstin are on the left.  The pastor holding him is his grandpa, Bishop Marcus Lohrmann.  My brother Marcus had the pleasure of baptizing two of his grandchildren that day, Emilyn and Noah.
Emilyn is pictured below with her family (parents Ben and Rachel and sister Eliza), as well as her sponsers, Adam and Kjerstin.  Adam and Kjerstin have a son who is one years old, so it was a fun week-end with a lot of young children.  As we are learning with Nathan, they keep us young!