Thursday, November 19, 2009

Expedition in St. Louis

This past Monday I drove several hours south to visit my dearly departed friend, FFM (a.k.a Flipflopping Mama).

She lives in a beautiful old house with lots of character and very high ceilings. (No that's not her house. It's just a good illustration of the landscape.)
Since I had my usual order of priorities in place, I remembered to take a picture of the chocolate on my pillow, but completely forgot to get a picture of her lovely home.
After a restful night's sleep, we leisurely drove to St. Charles, a historic town on the banks of the Missouri river, and a stopping off point for the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
The buildings fascinated me, with their antique colors and beautiful brickwork.
It was rainy most of the time we were there, but it wasn't bad because F.F.M remembered to pack two umbrellas. The old streets were so pretty in the rain. (Only a blogger thinks to take pictures of streets in the rain.)
I resisted the urge to do a "Singing in the Rain" impersonation for several reasons; I am not as flexible as Gene Kelly, and I was afraid F.F.M. would leave me stranded in St. Charles.

We had a lovely time going into the quaint shops and exclaiming over the quaint items and equally quaint prices ("Oh yes, I believe that wallet is definitely worth the $300"). We were heartily amused by the number of "No Strollers, No Children Touching Anything" signs. I must admit it felt rather liberating to not have to threaten, "Keep your hands in your pockets and if you break anything I'll kill you!" every few minutes.
Our friend Nikki got sick last minute and wasn't able to join our Expedition, so her arch-nemesis the squirrel decided to come in her place. (Nikki has a phobia of squirrels. And spiders. And turkeys. And bats. And flying.)
When we found a yarn shop called Knit and Caboodle, I knew I was in heaven.
They had lots of pretty yarn to fondle and caress, but their selection of sock yarns was especially nice.
I had lots of fun trying to decide how much money to blow on socks.
Squirrel Nutkin joined us shortly before the yarn store, and helped me decide what colors I liked best.

When we left the yarn store to soggily slosh our way back to the car, I noticed this little soap opera going on in someone's front yard.
I am easily amused, apparently.

From St. Charles we drove to the Chesterfield Mall, where F.F.M. taught me the art of Mall Shopping. I think in my next post I'll have more pictures of some of the stuff I bought, because this post is already getting rather picture heavy.
I had to snap a picture of the playland.

See those kids playing?
None of them are mine. (Smug grin).

After we finished Malling, we went to Macaroni Grill to get a bite to eat.
We had a fabulous Italian waiter, and equally fabulous food. (Please tell Handyman that I want to eat here again. Soon.)
F.F.M and I changed into our Hot Mama boots, and then we drove downtown to see The Pioneer Woman.
Naturally, we couldn't see P.W. in frumpy shoes! Gasp, Horror!

The book signing venue had been changed from the bookstore to a beautiful old church (I think it was called Christ Church of St. Louis, but I'm not sure.)
The architecture was magnificent.
We were shocked at the number of people there to see Pioneer Woman. I don't think it's an exaggerated estimation to say there were at least 800 highly charged estrogen enriched bodies in that one room.

Needless to say, we had to wait a looooooong time to see P.W. Thankfully, I came prepared for a wait.
(Squirrel Nutkin is showing off my socks.)

F.F.M. evilly snapped a photo of me praying (*cough cough* napping). We were in church, after all!
F.F.M. took courage and managed to ask P.W. a question about blogging times and when she does it.
Two great women in such close approximation - the world is not ready for this yet.

While we waited in line to have P.W. sign our copies of her amazing cookbook (go get it, it's amazing), her husband Marlboro Man also let us snap pictures with him and autographed our books.

He was very, very charming, and nicely did what I told him and held my knitting for the photo. I just love his expression, don't you?
Woo-hoo, now I have TWO celebrities Kinneared! (See here for Celebrity #1, and here for an explanation of Kinnearing.)

F.F.M. was even more bold and had Marlboro Man sign a picture of his, um, chaps. (You have to read Pioneer Woman's blog to understand this one. Or maybe not. Marlboro Man is really hot.)

The Pioneer Woman was equally charming and gracious, and seemed to appreciate the handknit gifts we brought her. (I knit a scarf, and F.F.M. knit a matching pair of fingerless mitts.)(That's F.F.M's charming but evil sister on the right. She and her sister breathe in a similarly sadistic fashion, and tried to get me to believe that cars need blinker fluid as well as oil. Thankfully I discovered that they have a nervous twitch when they're lying, which saved me much more humiliation.)

When we finally got back to F.F.M.'s house that night, it was in the wee hours of the morning, but what fun we had! Definitely worth the bloodshot eyes and manic expressions of the next day. That's what coffee's for, after all!


Nikki said...

OMG, YOU WENT TO MACARONI GRILL?!?!?!?!?!???! PLEASEEEEEE tell me that is NOT penne rustica?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?! Thanks for including me, even so I couldn't come :(

Ellen said...

Nice pics. Marlboro man looks different all cleaned up. Glad you made it home safely.

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TuttleTime said...

I wish I could have joined you guys, but it would have been impossible. I love the idea of having random celebs holding your knitting projects. :) cool. I also love the little squirrel in the photos. I am going to need to incorporate a random something and put it in pictures. Make it like a Where's Waldo? LOL...I'm tired, so I'm rambling.

Glad you made it home safely. :)