Saturday, July 6, 2013

Anniversary in St. Louis

+Lauren Uyeshiro and I take turns planning our anniversary celebration. This year, she thought of something she was really proud of. In the weeks leading up to this past weekend, she was bursting at the seams trying to keep the secret. (It's never been her strong suit). All she revealed was that we'd be flying somewhere -- but not too far; and that we'd be spending time outside -- but "more like a park than like a jungle."

Eventually, the morning of July 4th arrived, and after stepping out of the cab at Midway, I finally got to learn our mystery destination: St. Louis.

St. Louis, people!

St. Louis occupies an odd psychic space, for me. Before we moved to the Midwest, I knew that St. Louis had the arch, and that Washington University was there, and that the University of Washington was not there. But that was about it, and the city itself never really came up in conversation. Like, ever.

As with so many things though, the story with St. Louis is different if you're in the Midwest. I would guess that a majority of my Chicago friends and colleagues have family in St. Louis. Many of them grew up there. We talk about the city, its charms, and its BBQ all the time at work. Heck, rooting for the Cardinals is even the baseball-hipster thing to do here in Cubs-dominated north Chicago.

So, having heard so much about the city for years, I was really excited that we were finally making our way down there.

During our time in St. Louis, we visited...

...the crowded, sunny, and beautiful 4th of July fair right under the arch:

[Pro tip: if your wife's politics are anything like Lauren's, do NOT thank her for "taking you to Sarah Palin's 'real America'" on your anniversary.]

...the really impressive Botanical Gardens...

[the "Climatron" was clearly constructed by the Dharma Initiative].

...the science center, where we saw a retired Blue Angels jet and where Lauren finally made good on my 8-year request to go see a laser light show at the Laserium...

...and of course, the City Museum, which was at the top of everyone's must-see list in St. Louis.

We also had fantastic meals, ice creams, coffees, or other assorted stops at Bridge Tap House, Rooster, Shaw's Coffee, Blondie's, Gelateria Tavolini, and the Schlafly Tap Room. Fancy anniversary dinner was at Charlie Gitto's on the Hill.

Assorted memories for us to hopefully chuckle about in our old age:
  • Lauren's craving for a turkey leg leading to 30 minutes of patient queueing, only to see the person immediately in front of us purchase the last 6 turkey legs at the fair.
  • Napping. Lots and lots of napping.
  • Traffic double-whammy during our Friday evening with the rental car: the fair was still underway near the arch, and a Cardinals game let out just as we were finishing dinner. In the amount of time we spent at a dead stop in front of Hooters, we could have gotten out, ordered and consumed some wings, spoken to the Hooters waitress about The Patriarchy, left a generous tip, and sauntered lazily back to our car.
  • It was hot, but in a good, nostalgic way for us Hawaii and Florida natives.
  • We each finished at least three books. This was a really nice, relaxing trip. :-)
Whew! Thanks again to +Lauren Uyeshiro for never settling for dinner-and-a-movie, and for planning a great anniversary trip while we can still travel easily.

Last but not least, here's a link to the full photo dump from our weekend (mainly of interest to +Ellen Robinson as usual, but others may enjoy).