Monday, May 30, 2016

The Sights These Eyes Have Seen

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!  I hope you all enjoy the days off work, the beautiful weather, perhaps a sale or two, and of course, think about our country's military.  One of my favorite movies, Troy, features a scenery-chewing King Agamemnon who spouts the line, "History remembers kings, not soldiers!"  I think he was wrong.  A lot of history has to do with wars. In fact, walk into any history class and they're most likely talking about events leading up to a war, the actual events of a war, or the after-effects of a war.  Countries have been built and maintained by the backs of soldiers, and we definitely have them to thank for our own country's beginnings, and continued prosperity.

I worked most of the long weekend, but not today!  I slept in and then went for a delightful mid-day walk, stopping at Starbucks for a little caffeination.  On said walk, I saw some lovely flora and fauna that looked perfect against this brick wall.

I also saw this little guy hanging out on one of the buildings downtown.

What a cool little dragon painting!  I wonder if the dragonfly was done at the same time as the slender dragon, or if it was added on later by someone else.  Either way, the dragon creature motif makes this brick wall much more interesting.

(photos by e.hunt)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

To Regulate Imagination With Reality

I'm starting to plan out my summer, trip-wise, and since we don't have a beach or other family vacation on the books, I've decided to take a few long weekends and finally go on some trips that I've wanted to for a while now.

In June, Mom and I are going to the lake for a few days before her big trip to Europe.  We have invited several family members to join us for a day or two, so it'll be quite fun and relaxing.  The intention was for Mom to get a little sun before leaving the country, and it'll be nice to spend some time together before she's gone for a month.

In July, I'm planning a little getaway down to Bentonville, Arkansas to see the Crystal Bridges Art Museum.  I've considered this trip many times before, in conjunction with trips down to Springfield, but it's never worked out.  This time, I'm booking a hotel for one night, will drive all the way there in the morning, check out the museum and the grounds during the afternoon, possibly meet up with a friend or two that live there, and stay the night.  The next day, I will drive back to Springfield and hang out with friends there for a night.

And in August, I'm hoping to fly down to Austin, Texas to spend a few days with my old college roommate, Kaitlin.  We were talking on the phone last week and she said that she finally has every other Saturday off work, and if she took off Friday, I could come down and she would show me all around Austin.  I've heard it's a cool city, and she and I are long overdue for an in-person reunion.  It's been four years!

So, that's the plan.  Now I just have to decide which weekends to go on these little trips, make sure I can take the time off of work, and then book rooms and flights.  Yay summer!

(photos collected from agreatertown, ewebetfarm, and by r.hunt)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Slip Into a Summer Spell

A few days ago we had a little dinner party for Taylor and a couple of his friends.  It was a bit of a continuation of the graduation festivities, but also a celebration of Taylor and his friend Tom's last podcast, Third Rail, being posted online.  We got an orange pepper at the store because that's their theme color.

It was absolutely delicious, like a Sunday dinner but it was only Thursday!  I didn't eat any of those little drummies, but the other kind of chicken, zucchini, and wild rice was just perfect.  A nice little kick-off for the summer barbecue season, I think.

I just got back from running a little bit ago, and man, was it a hot one!  I made the mistake of wearing a heavy cotton, red t-shirt, rather than a thin tank-top.  Luckily I had a nice little water and walk break through the park.  I walked by the swimming pool and saw this little guy.  Looks like the pool has a new volunteer lifeguard for the summer!

(photos by e.hunt)

Friday, May 20, 2016

In the Deeps of Time and the Midst of Innumerable Stars

After dropping Taylor off at his party back in Lawrence, I heading down to Massachusetts Street.  It's kindof like the Delmar Loop here in St. Louis, lined with shops and little restaurants.  I got a frappacino at Starbucks and walked from one end to the other.  After a couple hours I picked up Taylor so we could go out to dinner for my birthday before I left to head back to Kansas City.

We decided to go for Mexican, complete with margaritas and chips and guacamole.  It wasn't as good as the night before, but it fulfilled my Mexican and margarita craving.  Afterwards I was on my way back to Kansas City.  I got a hotel room and my friend Shelby was meeting me there before picking up my other friend Alyssa and going out for the night.

They were some of my best friends in college so it was really fun to meet up with them.  We don't get to see each other as much anymore, and it was fun for it just to be the three of us.  We kept it pretty casual, going out to Westport and getting a booth at a bar.  It was really nice to just catch up and talk movies, and tell stories, just like old times.

The next morning, I drove home and was surprised with a homemade birthday margarita!  Dad made spaghetti, Mom made brownies for dessert, and there were even a few gifts.

And when we sat down to eat, we were joined by not one, but two bunnies out in the yard!

A little after dinner we whipped up some brownie, ice cream sundaes and I opened the presents.  I got a new pillow pillow, which is super comfortable, a decorative pillow, which is super cute, and new sheets, which are for my giant king-size bed upstairs so I won't know how those are until the fall but they look super soft and cozy.  All in all it was a great birthday weekend, thank you to everyone who helped me bring in year twenty-six.  Stick around, it's going to be a good one.

(photos by e.hunt, and g.hunt)

Leaf, Ink, and Color

The next morning we walked through the Plaza to Starbucks before Mom and Dad had to get on the road.  Taylor and I wrapped everything up at the hotel then headed over to the Nelson Atkins Art Museum.  This is the second year in a row that I've gone to an art museum on my birthday -- I'm thinking that's a pretty good birthday tradition in the works!

Taylor had been several times before so he knew the layout and the best sections to see.  We started off in the contemporary wing, and it did not disappoint.  I was particularly attracted to these two large paintings.  The beautiful peach-orange one is titled Elberta, by Helen Frankenthaler, 1975, and the strange portrait is called Interior With a Book, by Richard Diebenkorn, 1959.  It's not actually a portrait, although I think the chair looks like an abstract human form looking out the window.  The color and texture is exquisite in each.

We also found another art-imitating-Star-Wars piece (or the other way around).  Doesn't this statue, The Chariot, by Alberto Giacometti, 1950, look like Taun We, the polite hostess on the clone planet of Kamino from Episode II?

We continued on to the European art section, where we discovered that the Impressionism wing is under construction until next year!  There were a couple still there though, like this Monet, View of Argenteuil - Snow, 1874.  His snow scenes are so impressive: look at the blues and purples that help make up the different shades of snow!

And then there were these two lovely springtime paintings; Olive Orchard by Van Gogh, 1889, and Landscape by Paul Gauguin, 1894.  Both use the wispy, expressive brushstrokes characteristic of impressionism, but in two very different ways.

I am definitely going to have to make a trip back to Kansas City when this gallery re-opens, I mean, look at that lineup!  After another few rooms we moved on to the Asian art gallery, which was awesome.  The St. Louis Art Museum has a section of Asian art, but it is always so disappointing because it only includes Asian pottery.  This one had prints galore!

 After spending a fair amount of time looking at the scrolls, we had to move to the outside quickly, as Taylor had to be back in Lawrence for a graduation party by a certain time.  On the way, we passed this room, but decided not to go in.  The perspective was worth a picture though.

We took a quick walk around the front to get the views and walk through the little garden on the side. Taylor marched right over to the wall to get a picture of the exterior, and re-enacted a scene from The Great Escape where Steve McQueen rolls his baseball over to the fence and explains it to the guards. This was my first museum trip since being back from Europe, and it was a good one indeed.  What a great way to start off my birthday festivities!

(photos by e.hunt, and t.hunt)

As With All Knowledge, Once You Knew It, You Couldn't Imagine How It Was That You Hadn't Known It Before

Even though it is already the weekend, I'm still recovering from the momentous weekend we just had last weekend.  Not only was my birthday on Saturday, but Taylor graduated from college!!  Mom, Dad, and I drove to Kansas City/Lawrence on Friday after a quick Starbucks wake-up run.  And because I was going to be off work for a few days, I painted my nails in a bright, happy, birthday, graduating, springtime pink!

It's actually called Lush Berry, or something like that.  I ended up driving separately because it worked out that we would all be driving back at different times.  The drive was quite lovely; not too much traffic and peaceful midwest farmscapes out the windows.

The reason we drove over on Friday was because KU is such a big school that they do not have the traditional graduation ceremony with the walk, and the whole class walking across the stage for their diplomas.  Instead, each school has its own ceremony, and the School of Architecture's happened to be on Friday evening.  We dropped our bags off at the hotel in KC, condensed motor vehicles, and drove the forty minutes to Lawrence.  After arriving on campus, we went straight to the reception at the architecture building, where Taylor showed us around and we met a few of his friends.

They had this really cool lecture room, recently re-done, that had a growing wall and these awesome accordion seats.  You can see them folded up in the first picture above, and Dad and Taylor are sitting on them folded down.  They're like movie theater seats, except clean and futuristic!  After a quick tour of the building, it was time to head across campus to the auditorium building.

The ceremony followed the traditional graduation order, except unlike at my graduation, they hooded each architecture student receiving a masters degree.  It added quite a bit of time to the event.  Oh well, to each school his own.  I was in charge of Taylor's fancy camera so I didn't get any pics of him walking across on my phone, although we got a few good ones outside when we found Taylor afterwards.

It was pretty late at this point, and we had dinner reservations to make, so we left pretty soon after to head back to KC.  We got there around 9:15 and ordered drinks and a couple appetizers because we were all starving.  The restaurant was called Seasons 52, and changed their menu throughout the year to include special seasonal fare.  Everything was delicious.  We had a really nice waiter too, and after including him in a conversation about the so-called "new" Star Wars movie, we learned that he was born to be a true Star Wars fan.  His name was Lucas, and he told us his parents named him after George Lucas himself!

We thought about taking a walk around the Plaza after dinner, but when we walked outside it was freezing; the temperature must have dropped about thirty degrees!  So we went back to the hotel, had another beer or two while Taylor opened a couple graduation gifts, and then it was bedtime.  Congratulations Taylor!!

(photos by e.hunt, r.hunt, and g.hunt)

Monday, May 9, 2016

"Never Look Back, Darling. It Distracts From the Now"

- Edna Mode, The Incredibles

Happy Monday everyone!  It is a happy Monday indeed, as this is finals week and I am almost done with the semester!  I finally finished my big research paper so all I have to do this afternoon is print it out and drive out to campus to turn it in.  Ahhhh, sweet relief.  Other than that, the only thing left is a history final on Thursday, which I'm not too worried about.  He's letting us use the study guide (to which we can add notes) while taking the test.

And on Friday Mom, Dad, and I are driving to Lawrence, Kansas to celebrate Taylor's graduation from KU!  Very exciting.  The School of Architecture has their own little ceremony Friday evening where Taylor will get his diploma.  Because of this, and the fact that his graduating class has something like five thousand students, we will not be staying for the full-school walk and ceremony the following day.  Taylor doesn't mind.

Next Saturday also happens to be my birthday!  I'm thinking about staying in Kansas City that night rather than drive back here with Mom and Dad, then catch a ride with Taylor on Sunday.  My good friends Shelby and Alyssa live in the area and I thought it might be fun to go out and celebrate with them.  No plans have been made yet, so we'll see.  I hope you all have an equally busy and exciting week ahead of you as well!

(photos by e.hunt)