Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I need a vacation from my vacation!

Whew, I've finally finished uploading all of our vacation pictures to a Photobucket album, emailing the links to everyone, uploading another set of the pictures to our regular host, and Blogging back in time over the whole weekend. Now I need to rest up for a few days!

Oh, I also drove to Effingham with Chris today so he could go spend a couple of weeks with his Indiana family. I went out on I-70 and came back on US 40. I've always wanted to try traveling the National Road, so I did. There are a few benefits of not working, I guess.

I miss Chris. We had such a great time over the weekend, and we really fell into a great comfortable family feeling. I was really sorry to see him go today. I can't wait for him to get back!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Camping: Day Three

We all slept much better last night, despite having our heads downhill. Or maybe because of it. I got up when the birds started singing, and dragged everyone else out of the tent with me. We had breakfast, cleaned up, and broke camp. Chris was sad to see it all come down, and sad to take our reservation card off of the marker post. He was a little out of sorts with us for a while because he realized that we were nearing the end of our trip.

We took a “W” shaped route to get home.

Our first stop was Pomona Natural Bridge. There was no facility, so I had to hike off to pee in the woods. We hiked the short trail, then ate lunch in the parking lot. Yes, I washed my hands with an antibacterial Wet One first.

Then we drove to Bald Knob Cross.

The view from up there is great! You can see all the way into Missouri from here!

We stopped in Alto Pass for some ice cream. We wanted to go to the Root Beer Saloon, but it was closed, so we wound up right next door.

Our last stop was Devil’s Backbone Park in Grand Tower. Grand Tower has a very interesting folk history. We did not feel like making the hike across the ridge, so we settled for playing in the park and looking at the Mississippi River.


Sunday, May 29, 2005

Camping: Day Two

We got up at the crack of dawn, or at least the crack of the neighbor’s 8 noisy kids. I cooked bacon, scrambled eggs, and toast on the trusty old camp stove:

We drove to the Cache River State Natural Area:

We saw a lot of wildlife:

Then we headed to Ferne Clyffe State Park for a little while.

We hiked back to this 100’ Waterfall:

We had another great day. Chris loved all of the snakes, lizards, and turtles. We also saw several deer and a Bald Eagle on the nest near the Cache River Wetlands Center.

Dennis put our heads downhill in the tent, but we fell right asleep anyway.


Saturday, May 28, 2005

Camping: Day One

We left the house right at 7:30 this morning. My little car was stuffed to the gills:

We arrived at Giant City State Park a few hours later, only to find the campground FULL. We just happened to luck into a campsite by begging at the Visitor’s Center.

We went to set up camp, only to find one of our fellow campers had hogged up two picnic tables, leaving us with none. A Park Ranger unloaded his belongings from the extra table, and she and Dennis hauled it back into our campsite. We continued to set up camp, and awhile later, the table hogger came back to the area. He stalked around the sites for a few minutes, then started cursing. He threatened physical violence, refused to listen to reason, and caused a huge scene in front of not only Chris, but the entire campground. Dennis tried to leave the area to get the Park Ranger to step into the conflict, and the guy tried to jump in front of my car. Then he got into his truck and took off down the road after Dennis. Long story short, he was also very hot headed with the Park Rangers when they confronted him, and he managed to get himself kicked out of the campground. This is the first such conflict I’ve ever experienced in a campground. Especially in the tent camping areas. What a tool!

We didn’t let it ruin our day, even though we were very tense because of it. We hiked on the Giant City Nature Trail:

Played along the shoreline of Little Grassy Lake:

Caught itsy-bitsy froglets:

Finished getting our campsite set up:

And cooked over the campfire:

Chris loved the campfire. He also loved making S’mores. He had no trouble showering himself in the shower house, and we headed to bed by 10:00.


Friday, May 27, 2005

Getting Out of Dodge

We are leaving for Southern Illinois on a camping trip tomorrow morning. I will backblog with pictures when we get back. We're staying at Giant City State Park.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Pet Surgery

Shelby had her tumor removed today. She's got quite a hole in her belly. She looks skinny now. That's saying a lot since she's always been such a fatty. She is exhausted. She's been asleep since we brought her home.

Here's to a speedy recovery!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Dennis says...

He told me that "Petroglyph-a-rific" is the silliest title he's ever heard.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


We took our weekend trip to Washington State Park down by Desoto today. We'd driven by on our way south quite a few times, but we'd never stopped before.

Like many places in this part of the country, it is pratically overrun with fence lizards. Chirs and I really like to try catching the little buggers.

He actually had this big one on his shirt for a minute, before she decided Chris was definately not a tree and bailed out fast.

There are supposed to be Eastern Collared Lizards at this park, but we didn't see any. I don't know that I've ever seen one, even though they are supposed to range into extreme Southern Illinois as well. We saw a "skink" up on top of the bluffs that wasn't a Five-lined Skink - it was a Six-Lined Racerunner. It looks absolutely identical to the ID picture in my Audubon Society Field Guide, which is saying a lot, since I always seem to find the sub-species that isn't even mentioned. They're not kidding when they say these little guys are fast!

We also saw a small snake in a pool along the Big River that we're fairly certain was a Midland Watersnake, based on internet research. It had alternating ruddy and mustard colors, and it was very vivid because it was so small (under a foot.) Dennis had the camera at the time, and I assume he didn't take a picture because he's a weenie who is afraid of snakes. It looked an awful lot like this one, even though we don't have our own picture of it.

Awww, aren't we just so gross! *love*

Of course, the big draw of Washington State Park is the Mississippian petroglyphs. This is a "family," I think. At least that is what we are calling it. There are three figures holding hands, a "Dennis" on the left, a little Chris with a pointy head in the middle, and a "Mommy" on the right.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A suspected sniper is on the loose!

The news copy tells this better than I think I can.

Jefferson Co. Police Search For Suspected Sniper Shooting At Drivers And Police
created: 5/15/2005 10:42:34 PM
(KSDK) -- A suspected sniper is on the loose and authorities in Jefferson County have a warning for residents.

The shootings happened on Highway 30 near Betty Hill Road in Byrnes Mill. Two different drivers thought they were shot at around 12:45 a.m.

Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer said at a news conference, "One of them saw what she believed to be a muzzle fire and observed sparks flying off the road."

Investigators believe the shooter or shooters were perched on a heavily wooded bluff overlooking Highway 30. Sheriff Boyer said, "He's not afraid of police and that gives me great concern."

Officers who responded were shot at during a two-hour period. Officers estimate as many as 25 shots were fired.

Sheriff Boyer said, "Any time a person is engaged in sniping a citizen on a roadway, waits for the responding officer and engages that officer and waited for assisting officers and engaged those officers, I think is a dangerous individual."

Highway 30 in that area was shut down for five hours while officers searched by ground and air. Sheriff Boyer says investigators are still looking for the bullets and shell casings from the firearm, "They were guessing it was some type of medium to heavy weapon; anywhere from a 9mm up to a heavy hunting rifle is what could have been used."

Nobody was hurt. No vehicles were struck. That's why investigators speculate the shooter intentionally missed. Byrnes Mill Police Chief Ed Locke said, "When that third volley came toward police officers, I actually heard the concrete fragments hit the hood of my car."

Sheriff Boyer is asking residents to be cautious and to report anything suspicious, "If you see somebody climbing the bluffs at 2:00 a.m., that's not normal, contact us."

A task force will be formed to work on solving this case. It will consist of a number of different police agencies and possibly the FBI.

In the meantime, investigators are asking the two drivers who were shot at to call the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office so investigators can get more information.

This is scary! They shut down the Highway, the police were "pinned down" under the bluff for a few hours, local residents were scared to death, the local school cancelled outdoor activities - several law enforcement agencies even assembled a "Sniper Response Team."

The resolution:

Police: Jefferson County Sniper Was A Group Of Drunk Teens Shooting At Tree
created: 5/18/2005 5:33:20 PM
KSDk-There is no Jefferson County Sniper. That's the word late Wednesday afternoon from investigators.

The incident happend late Saturday night. Motorists on Highway 30 near Byrnes Mill reported shots being fired from a bluff over the highway. Police responded, and more shots were fired. No one was hit. Police believed there might have been a sniper.

Wednesday, investigators announced 19-year-old Donald Christie had been charged in the shootings. Police say he was at a party with several other teens, that they were drinking, and that they were firing shots at a tree that was on a bluff above the highway.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Sick Baby

Dennis's ratty is sick. She's got some kind of bronchitis, and she has a breast tumor. She's got some antibiotics for her lungs, and she is going to have surgery on Tuesday. I am splitting the antibiotic with Belle, because she's got the same wheezing as Shelby.

The office visit today with medicine was $21. The surgery is supposed to be $40. Yes, it is a lot to spend on a $3.00 pet, but it isn't as high as we had feared.

Monday, May 16, 2005

No Stab! Grocery Shopping.

We are going to shop at the Sappington Farmers' Market for the next little while. We managed to get out at our usual price level, found everything we needed (including kale), saw some extra cool things, and Dennis even talked to a *gasp* friendly employee!

They did not have BBQ pork prepackaged (bad for you anyway), but I am going to go get some tomorrow at Johnny's Market, so it is OK.

Hooray, I feel better.

(I like Johnny's because they have the cool flip-top carts and it smells like my Grandma. I had a very strong memory of shopping at the Litchfield IGA with my Grandma Linda when I was little. I also think their bakery is going to kick ass if we get there while the department is still open. Baked goods!!!)

I Couldn't Have Said it Better Myself

Last night we could not accomplish our grocery shopping at our usual Shop N Save. Nothing was in stock at 9:00 on a Sunday night. This has been a pattern at this store recently, but last night was definately the worst. I threw a fit and left a cart full of groceries in the back of the store after a stockboy told us that the Grape Nuts we were looking for were, "on sale all week, you can come back another day and get them" when we asked if he could help us find some. Today I am researching independent grocers and green grocers. I love this website fuckcorporategroceries.net.

We were just at the Sappington Farmers' Market last week, and now we are going to go out exploring some more of our local resources. I'm tired of getting the Wal-Mart treatment from the grocery store.

Missouri Loves Company

Would it be too strange for a Missouri resident to wear this?

"High Five, Illinois!"

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Sunday Sunday Sunday!

We spent most of the day at Gateway watching the Mustangs at the World Ford Challenge. It was a fun event as always. The biggest story of the day was the temperature. It was COLD! We were wearing jackets and long pants, and we weren't even racing. I wore capris, and I spent most of the day wishing for those 8 extra inches of fabric. I also managed to sunburn my ankles. Ouch!

Unbelievably, this was our first trip to the track this year. Chris seems to enjoy it more this year, finally. He didn't complain about being bored once, and actually asked to go back to the grandstand to watch racing. Dennis loves poking his head around all of the cool turbo cars. The Mustang guys really have their heads on straight with the technology. They've got them on inlet restrictions this year, so lots of crews have switched over from the huge thumper turbos to twin setups. This makes the engine bays look very wicked. It is kinda hard to decide which is cooler, one giant turbo in the center of the grille, or two on the sides with all of the associated snaking pipes.

We saw an 8 second truck that launched as hard as anything I've ever seen, a very cool front engine dragster, an 11 second cargo van, and a 7 second pass in Wild Street, where the cars must make a 30 mile cruise before making their three qualifying passes. Remind me to stay far away from that silver Mustang!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Farmers' Market

We went up to the Soulard Farmers' Market this morning.

Chris was highly entertained trying to imitate these artsy-fartsy bike racks :)

We bought a fresh pineapple for $1.50. They want almost $6.00 for them in the grocery stores. It is very sweet. Chris doesn't like it because it doesn't taste like the pineapple he's used to. Glad I didn't spring for the $6.00 ones he always begged for.

Friday, May 13, 2005

School Picnic

I went out to Chris's 3rd Grade AR Picnic today.

He didn't seem too interested in me being there. He played with his friends, and didn't want a whole lot to do with me. Frankly, I got a little bored. None of the other parents ate anything, so I was also starving. I went home early. I didn't see the next two hours of picnic picking up any for me. He said he wasn't upset, and I went out of my way to assure him that he was supposed to play with his friends. He said it was fine, but he is being a little obstinate this evening. Letting go / holding on is tricky!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Three Years

It is time to start reading old emails again. Today is the one year anniversary of the first post of the whole affair; the three year anniversary since Dennis and I started talking to each other.

We don't keep track of the real first time we met, which was sometime in the fall of 2001. I only had a passing thought of the meeting that prompted the emails to begin - which was May 4th, 2002. We date things by the first message Dennis sent me. I'm making an official post today because this is where the record keeping starts. We don't have a date for when our relationship actually started. It is split between today and August 7, 2002, when we moved in together.

To tell the truth, I didn't put two and two together when I got that first message from Dennis. I didn't know exactly who was asking, I didn't realize he was even a local. I just figured he was someone who had either seen a picture of my car with license plate, or he had tried to contact me via AIM and seen my screen name there. It wasn't the first random private message I'd received on Neons.org, but it did wind up being the only one that lead to the love of my life.

Amazing how random life can be, isn't it?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

And that stands for pool!

I took Chris and Dennis up to Litchfield to see my Mom, and to watch my sister in her High School's production of The Music Man. They tore down the auditorium where we used to put on plays, so they have to have them at the community college's tiny one now. It isn't anywhere near as good this way. They're also using mics now. Blah. What ever happened to enunciation and projection?

I saw lots of people I did not wish to speak with. I haven't been back to any High School functions since I graduated. I didn't see any of the people I really hated, but I didn't see anyone worth nodding at either. I am extremely depressed to know that some babies I remember holding and was responsible enough to babysit are juniors and seniors in High School now. Eeeek! I am pretty sure I do not want to go to my 10 year reunion, if they even have one. It was a little bit stressful hoping nobody recognized me.

We stopped and got Mom some fuscia Ivy Geraniums from Rural King. They're really pretty! We also picked up a rhodedendron for Cathy that we're taking down there in a little while.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Is it Spring?

The National Weather Service issued Frost Advisories again late in the day yesterday, so my flowers spent three nights in the apartment. FINALLY everything is back outside and it is supposed to be warm all week. Surely this is Spring at last.

This is where they belong :)

As soon as I find the zip-ties I know I just bought, I'm putting up the hummingbird feeder too.

Monday, May 02, 2005

It is not supposed to be this cold

We had frost advisories again last night. I've had my flowers out since right around the 15th of April. I've had to bring them in three times. It is supposed to be cold again tonight, so I'm just leaving them in.

It is nice having the apartment filled with flowers :)

...but wait, there's more! There are the two baskets that hang over the porch rail.

This pink petunia was begging to have it's picture taken.

I'll have to upload some new pictures when they finally get to go back outside.