Saturday, November 29, 2014

#WeAreSTL-kept my mouth shut too long

Here on the Coast of Illinois, I try to keep things non-political. I find that politics really messes with the easy going island vibe I am trying to cultivate. Unfortunately, events on the Coast have taken a nationwide turn and I feel the need to throw my two cents in.
Okay, not exactly my two cents. What I agree or disagree with is really irrelevant.
However, my belief about this town is very very relevant.
What do I believe?
I believe St. Louis is a city rich in history.
Soulard Market. The oldest open air farmers market west of the Mississippi.

One of many barges which have traveled up and down the river for years, supplying our country with grain and coal through both peace and war.

Eades Bridge - the first bridge to span the Mississippi. This is a true statement. However, this is actually the MLK bridge which is just a smidge north of Eades bridge (which I THOUGHT I had a picture of, but apparently...I DO NOT.)

Home of so many authors-Tennessee Williams for one.

I believe St. Louis has some of the best venues for live music.
rooftops in july

picnic tables next to bbq joints in the middle of downtown

open air cafes in the county

eclectic 'cafes' in South City (this also falls under home of many oddities, as this is the artificial leg of piano player James Crutchfield)
buildings so old....well, it used to only have one bathroom whose door barely closed
this would be that door

I believe St. Louis has some of the weirdest....ahem, unique sites to be seen.
flamingos in the snow

yes, that's a full 10 stories

horse drawn carriage in the drive-thru

a 'puking pig'...wait for it...

there it is...

I have no words...

and of course, the world's largest underpants
I believe that St. Louis – is more of a state of mind.
that enormous stainless steel arch? it is a symbol of forward movement
It is a magical place that is the SUM of its many communities; not to be defined by all the negative images displayed over the past few months. I am not a Pollyanna when it comes to real life. Yes, there are major issues with violence here. We have unemployment and homelessness and sports teams that choke in the playoffs. But tell me a place that does not have these issues?
The basic fact is, St. Louis is so much more. 

We have debated and protested long enough. Now we need to pull together, treat one another the way we wish to be treated.Think kindly and act kindly.

We need to pull together as a community. Not draw a line.
The Line. Lines should be for mapping purposes only. They should never be drawn to divide communities or people.
There is an initiative moving through cyberspace named #WeAreSTL. The goal is to return some positive vibes to our hurting community. I was not officially invited, but I am hitching my sailboat to the movement. Because this is not a sinking ship. It's sails are just luffing a wee bit. And together we can trim them in, catch the wind and move forward. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving PS

Turkey. Sweet potatoes. Brussel Sprouts. Green beans. Cranberries-real and canned. Gravy. Corn casserole.


Hash brown casserole. Hawaiian King rolls. Shrimp Dip. Stuffing. Pie. Whip Cream. A gigantic plate of homemade candies, (six varieties).

That is a lot of food for nine people.

And in the end, there is:

Nine dinner plates.

Nine dessert plates.

Twelve glasses.

Five wine glasses.

Two roasting pans.

Three pots.

One dutch oven.

Three crocks.


serving utensils and knifes, forks and spoons.

That is a whole lot of dishes for nine people.

And I do not have a dish washer.

I prefer to clean up alone. I always have numerous offers to help but the biggest reason I don't have a dishwasher is the fact that I have a very tiny kitchen. There is no room for a dishwasher. Which means very little room for helpers.

I have clean up down to a science. And in forty-five minutes the above list was packaged, washed up and and almost completely put away.

(I let the glassware and the big pots drain overnight. I am not completely insane.)

My sister, her fiance, my nephew and our parents went home. Bart and our kids were in the front room, laughing as they watched the completely holiday inappropriate It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I took up my station at the sink and let my mind wander.

Washing dishes is almost as good for creative thinking as showering and driving.

It occurred to me, as I hefted the first enormous crock into the sudsy water, that the reason I don't mind doing the dishes is the fact that I grew up in a house of dish-doers. Which took me back to the many holidays in my Mother's and Grandmother's kitchens. The head of the respective house washed and we peons dried. Sometimes it was just my sister and me. When we were younger it was a variety of Aunts. The women chatted and we kids kept our mouths shut and gleaned tidbits of gossip about who dried her noodles in the clothes dryer, and whose mother dressed him as a girl when he was a young child.

I studied the various pots and pans:
             my Great-Grandmother's china

  Grossmutter. She liked to pinch. Hard. But I was little, I am sure she was a lovely person.

        Grandma S's crocks
the Pampered Chef roaster from my Mom
the Big Blue Roaster from my Sister-in-law
Grandma S cooked all the time. Except when she was a nurse. I clearly reaped the benefit of my Mom's Pampered Chef addiction, these are probably the best products out there. That roaster was a wedding present. At the time, I never imagined I would use something so enormous.

        the dutch oven from my son
This was the first Christmas present my son bought be all on his own. It is so heavy. Some day I will have to hire people to lift it for me and then I will pass it on to one of his, as yet nonexistent, children.

 the wine glasses from a dear friend
Look! We haven't broken a single one...yet...And oh my, the stories they could tell...

I have been doing a disservice to the kids in my family. How can they ever pass down all those fabulous tidbits of everyday minutia if they aren't in here drying and stacking and wishing they were the ones washing?

Guess what kids.

Next year there will be towels with YOUR names on them.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gooble Gooble!

It's that time of year again...
Time to over-stuff the fridge.
Never complain that the fridge is too full!

Time to torture non-sprout people with Brussels sprouts.

When did these become the gold standard of holiday veggies?

Time to perfume the house with the delicious smell of roasted turkey.

Ah the majestic bird. You have done your brothers in semi-flightness proud.

Time to gather the fam together and say Thanks!

Turkey coma. The real cause of zombie-ism,

Happy Thanksgiving from the Coast of Illinois!

Show me a more beautiful skyline.

Come back next week for a new installment of Coast of Illinois hits the road!

And don't forget the sprouts!

*On a local note: many events in this Coastal area have been on the news. I am proud to call myself a St. Louisan. Please, do not let the actions of a few influence your opinion of our wonderful town. Ultimately, we all want the same thing - a peaceful, productive and equal place to live. That world is possible but violence is not the way to achieve this. Treat others the way you expect to be treated. You might be surprised at how much you can accomplish.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Suh Early...

It is 0230.

A. M.

I am completely dressed, make-up on, coffee half drank. Drunk? Really. It's 0230 in the morning. Does it really matter?

Here's the rub.
I am doing this voluntarily.
This has nothing to do with work. (see Beck and Call)

I rolled out of bed to the obnoxious alarm clock all for the sake of adventure.

My question is this:
Why can't an adventure start at a civilized hour.
Say 1030?

Did Louis and Clark leave for the great Northwest Unknown in the middle of the night?
And these were two of the most adventuresome people I can think of.
You know why?
Because it is TWO THIRTY A!M!

(More to come.)
(after I get a nap.)

Seriously? Meriweather and William would never have been sound asleep on their straw beds.

Monday, November 3, 2014


Welcome November!

Autumn is officially in the air. The cupboard is stocked with rejected Halloween candy and Thanksgiving is only four short weeks away!
Most importantly, my long awaited sailing school adventure is drawing near.
That's right. The Coast of Illinois is taking a road trip.
To an actual Coast!
Actually, an Island...but more on that later.

Consequently, I am in the inevitable pre-vacation tailspin.
I need to pack.
Do laundry so I can pack.
Stock the house with food for our now adult children who are on house and cat duty.
Buy cat food.
Update our will.
Be sure the kids know where all our important papers are.
Clean the house so it is clean when I get back.
Remind the adult children where the cleaning supplies are so THEY can have the house clean before I get home.
Clean anyway.

And to add to the frenzy, this vacation came with HOMEWORK!
I loved homework when I was a kid.
Now it's all I can do to read a newspaper.
The US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification book is ninety-one pages long. I have had the book since April. I just finished it today.
Thankfully, I have a little more time plus at least three different airplanes to complete my studying.

I am alternating between little kid excited jitters and full blown nausea.

I would also like to present a challenge. 
Look closely. that's a navigational chart. I can't even use a GPS.
Thanks to the wonderful world of internets, I have become acquainted with a wonderful website- Adventures of Empty Nesters, and its founder Suzanne. She has begun a campaign to #findAdventure.
The idea is just that – find adventure in your life. It doesn't have to be a graded sailing trip. It could be a new restaurant you have been thinking of trying. Or a new exercise routine. Maybe a new language or instrument.
Shake it up!
Stretch you boundaries!
Open your eyes to the new and interesting. 
There is something to be said for stepping outside that comfort zone. (For me it is simultaneous cravings for and repulsion of bologna.Don't ask. I'm sure it is a comfort thing.)
And as you do, post your pictures and comments on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag: #findAdventure

Oh, and one more thing - you can now find me on Instagram! Search for 'Coastofillinois' then follow me! At present there is only one picture up there, but hopefully, I will get all the bugs worked out soon.