We packed a month of fun into Saturday.
We were among the hundreds of people who lined Market Street for the Saint Patrick's Day Parade downtown. I've never been to a parade downtown. Cheesy fun. I realized once again that since my paternal great-grandparents were both supposedly from Ireland that I am just as Irish as Gary (25%). I guess I could get one of those Ancestry tests and find out, but if I'm not Irish royalty I don't particularly care.
We left the parade early to get to the Fox Theater primo parking lot, where we hid under our coats and changed from jeans to pants because I won tickets for the Box Seats, baby. Often have I sat in the front row at a theater and considered the box seats above my head. "They are further away from the stage than my seat, but I know they cost more. What's the draw?"
On the one hand, while the box seats were the farthest I have ever been away from the stage at any venue ..
... they were the closest I've ever been to the second floor lobby. There was a bar, a lounge, a restaurant, and velvet-curtained archways that led into the boxes. There was a waitress who came by and unquestioningly took your order of quesadillas and moscato.
By the way, if you think you've seen Cabaret because you saw the movie, you have not. You've just seen another representation of I Am a Camera. There are huge differences, not the least of which is that the movie ending is a HAPPY JOYOUS ROMP compared to the stage ending. In fact, the stage endings you can find on YouTube of the Cummings version are happier than what we got. The audience gasped and murmured because it creeps up on you. I mean, I'm not looking for a happy ending for a musical about Nazis, but ... but... I can say no more. Ask me in the comments if you want spoilers.
Then, after the Fox, Gary felt he was up for dinner AND a movie, but unfortunately he got his feet tangled in the chair at the restaurant and toppled like a tree, almost taking out all the diners at a nearby table. He's now going to pack his cane for any restaurant visits.
This is my destiny. This is why I have watched the Oscars every year.
Let me tell you, afrer that spectacular cock-up I am even better prepared in case I ever present an award. Check the front of the envelope. If it says Best Actress, and you are presenting Best Picture, don't consult with your co-presenter, just call an audible. That's why Ernst and Young and Pratt and Whitney sent representatives.You know who I want to see on the morning shows tomorrow? That accounting firm. Explain yourselves!
And the producer, and Emma Stone - I keep going through the coverage trying to see just exactly when they realize they haven't won. It's pretty clear at some point that they know and they all decide to just soldier on and thank their families anway.
It is a shame the Moonlight crowd didn't get to hear their music played a they walked to the stage.
My borther called and we both agreed that this would have made the best Oscar night party with Aunts Carleen and Nancy. We could just imagine the uproar.
Editor's Note: The first thing I sold on Etsy was the necklace made of dollhouse miniature junk food. Someone found it by searching for "Cheeto Necklace."
So I made a Cheeto necklace, and then I took him with me on the March to Support Planned Parenthood. This is his account of the events of the day.
Hello. I am a Cheeto. My Maker took me to the Support Planned Parenthood march last Saturday.
(That's a bad photo of me. It makes me look puffy.)
I was not the only accessory at the March. There was a woman with a labia hat:
... AND a woman with a labia breastplate:
"Look like a Labia!" my Maker demanded, and Labia woman made this face. As we walked away, we heard her explain to her friends that she wanted to look nervous, because "That's where all the nerve endings are."
I really wish I were a Labia Necklace, not a Cheeto Necklace, but this is how my Maker made me.
So, the march path took us from The Grove neighborhood, past the Planned Parenthood offices, then back to the Grove again. Of course, I didn't march, I'm a Cheeto, I just dangled on my cord and observed. There was a lot of chanting about our bodies and our rights and our streets (whose streets?) our streets.
However, when we neared the Planned Parenthood office everyone stopped chanting, including my Maker and her cohort, who was some man with a cane named Gary. The man, that is, I don't know what the cane was named, we didn't talk. The organizers told us we had to be completely silent as we walked past the center, because there were some people there who might want to argue with us.
I tell you, she had those people all wrong. They were SO NICE. They had signs that said "LIFE," and they took videos and photos of us. I felt like a celebrity. Really, they were so sweet. They said they would pray for us, and they asked about our mothers, and said God loved us. Really, really nice people. Even I could feel the love, and I'm a Cheeto. I would have been glad to talk to them instead of the silent treatment, unlike the Maker's Cohort, who seemed disappointed he couldn't wield his cane in self-defense.
On the way back to The Grove, a block before the MetroLink light rail tracks, the gutter got really rough. The Maker concentrated on keeping her footing, but somehow she still tripped and came down hard on the edge of the street.
I flew out of my cord and landed on the grass. I could only lie there helplessly as several people asked if she was okay. She checked to be sure her Ray Bans were okay before she answered, because accessories are people too. I was only slightly hurt.
She looked fine, except for the Ray Ban shaped scrape on her face. Still, she was a little dazed, because she started to just walk away. Luckily, a petite brunette snatched me up off the ground and ran me to my Maker with, "Is this your Cheeto?"
I will never forget the look on Her face. "Oh!" she cried out, "It is My Cheeto! I would be SO SAD if I'd lost that! Thank you!" and she hugged the petite woman. That made me feel special.
Then, of course, we were almost crushed by the MetroLink. We were about twenty people back, waiting at the train crossing. The all-clear bell rang, we all moved forward, then suddenly the twenty people before us reversed course and ran back to where we were, so we had to backpedal too. Turned out there was another train coming the other way. We got through after the next all-clear, but I don't know how they got all 7,000 people through before the next train.
When we returned to The Grove I got even more attention. A professional photographer took my picture, and several people asked if I was a real Cheeto (No, but I was sculpted after a live model) and if I was a statement (Yes, but a subtle one).
It looks now like the Maker will be making me a sibling, with a secure cord that goes through instead of wrapping around. This new one is going to have a face as well, because She says today's political environment doesn't call for subtlety.
Well, the jewelry mania has died down. I'm only puzzling out jewelry in my head a few minutes a day, so it's time I start leaving the house again. Remember last year when Gary and I spent every Saturday at a different location? Looking at eagles, going down slides, visiting deserted small towns? We need to get back to that. Of course, we were down to the dregs on the list of St. Louis fun. The dregs. The "St. Louis Economy Museum at the Federal Reserve" Dregs.
I anticipate one day a month will be devoted to some type of anti-Trump activism. There's the Tax March, and I imagine there'll be pop-up protests for each new Executive Order. I am ashamed to say we didn't join into the Refugee protest at the St. Louis Lambert "International" Airport, because frankly it's not all that International any more. I think you can fly to Canada and that's it. No one was being denied entry to Saint Louis.
A few minutes each weekend will be spent learning how to drum. Gary has a lot of drumming experience, and I have no sense of rhythm, so I've been wheedling drumming lessons out of Gary. He won't let me use the big drum set yet, so I'm confined to the congas and bongos. I can play a Samba beat very poorly at this point.
I'd rather spent time doing something instead of watching something, unless it's something about an English queen, past or present. In addition to Victoria and The Crown, we went out to watch Hidden Figures and I was overtaken by violent sobs at the end. Everyone sobs at that movie, even little girls who didn't get hustled out of Mission Control by their sexist fathers. And to think I've been indignant all these years that my NASA-contractor father blocked my access by telling me, "They don't let girls into Mission Control" (as he led my brother in) when in reality they didn't let women in anywhere. Well, unless you could do high level math. It did inspire me to replace the motor in the deader of my two Roombas ... but sadly, I did not achieve mission success.
There was also a binge day spent watching Good Girls Revolt on Netflix - another tale of women not being allowed or encouraged at work, while men took the credit. Very thankful I never had to put up with anything that blatant. Thanks women who came first!
Every once in a while I wander about the Internet looking for information about Jerry, my technical father.
What we know:
My brother Dave found him during the city editor phase. Dave and Jerry had conversations that were long on closure and light on facts. The only fact Dave could summon was that Jerry nominated himself for a Pulitzer for some reporting he did about the McAlester prison riot.
Since there was a prison riot today, it led me to idly Google my way in search of the investigative pieces Jerry did about the 1974 riot. For the first time I actually found something.
I'm not surprised I never found anything before, since I had the year wrong. He worked the riot story in 1984, ten years after the original riot. Actually, as far as I know, there never was a finished riot anniversary story, because he was arrested while investigating it. Arrested for trying to break INTO the prison.
Yes. Breaking IN. A rival newspaper published the story.
So, I can see how this seemed like a good idea at the time. You're doing a story on the tenth anniversary of the country's worst prison riot, and you want to know if overcrowding is still a problem. What is there to do but go there with an ex-guard, that guy's dad, and the dad's GUN, and count the people yourself?
Eventually the charges were dropped. I don't know if there were any repercussions from the "unprofessional conduct on Lockett's part." (I really liked that little tidbit of color. Unprofessional! That's where I get it.)
He didn't lose his job, in fact, it looks from the story above that his boss had his back. Or, perhaps "There's more to this than there seems to appear on the surface" is editor code for "Drunk."
They gave him a very polite obituary a year later, but you'll notice he wasn't an editor.
So on the second day we drove from Nashville to Asheville, and in the evening ate at what we thought was a neat little pizza place. Come to find out Mellow Mushroom is a chain that has a St. Louis location. It was good, but our efforts to eat local failed.
On Wednesday, the day we were to see Biltmore Estate, we stood in line for Biscuit Head. Gary asked, "Why aren't you getting the Biscuit Eggs Benedict? " What I should have said was, "Because egg white intolerance is the blight of my life," but I blocked from my mind Albuquerque, and Louisville, and any other time raw egg whites snuck into the Hollandaise. Those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it and leave a little souvenir of themselves on the Vanderbilt family's wooded estate near an inexplicably locked bathroom. (We were thinking we might see some bears because of the proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains. There were no bears shitting in the woods along with me. I've dropped that cliche completely.)
Even without that inauspicious start to what was supposed to be an elegant day, I still think I would have been let down by Biltmore. Well - there were some individual rooms that were nice, but the problem was there were sooooo many rooms and it was so crowded that the lovely rooms got lost.
And the only real Christmas tree was the one in the dining room: the other 58 were fake.
Then, toward the end when I heard the house was not all stone but instead a limestone facade, I turned my nose up and it didn't come down.
(Are you making the obvious psychological assumption that being reduced to animal status in the woods led to insecure overcompensation that I could only resolve by looking down my nose at the Vanderbilts? Are you? Well, Gary felt the same way and digested his biscuits like a trouper.)
I had had heard the house rivals Versailles. Versailles has nothing to worry about. Here's an example or the Master Bedroom in both. Biltmore is on the left, Versailles is on the right.
Even though that gold wallpaper at Biltmore is made of solid gold, it looks dowdy next to Versailles.
However, the nicest room at Biltmore is the library, and the library at Biltmore is better in my eyes than the library at Versailles:
Though the ceiling mural looks amateur in comparison to the Hall of Mirrors.
There was one room I did love: the baby-birthing room. Mrs. Vanderbilt would only have her babies in this one room, and I think it's because it has a window seat.
The black velvet brocade put me off, but see that ironwork in front of the window? Past that, the floor transitions into a window seat cushion. The floor of the seat area is level with the bottom of the french doors. You get to it by stepping down into that doorway nook where the two framed pictures are. That, I liked. Two thumbs up for that. I saw no window seats at Versailles.
So Saint Louisans, if you want to see a truly lovely house, I would suggest Versailles - or - better - just drive two hours and look at the Dana-Thomas House in Springfield Illinois.
Of course, that house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, so would I like it? Of course. Does a bear ...
The Raccoons have gone into torpor, which is sort of a voluntary hibernation. If there's snow or ice on the ground, not a single raccoon will come to the Wildlife Buffet Gary runs by the pear tree out back. (Latest dish: Purina ONE Turkey and Venison Formula). If it's temperate, above 40, we still get about five raccoon. Just the local ones, not the dozen or so that take the sewer to our yard.
Since I know how much Gary will miss the animals, one of his Christmas presents is a bottle of doe estrus. I imagine he can spray it on the pear tree and we'll get a slamming buck scene at the Buffet. (Of course if we do we'll take the venison off the menu).
I've really felt the loss of the raccoons, and was hoping for some deer to fill the emotional gap, so on the drive home Christmas Eve I made a point to crane my neck so I could see if there were any deer behind us in the special deer field on Pitman Hill.
There were none. That's why I sighed, "No deer ... " and turned my face to the road ahead, where there was a giant deer running directly across our path.
I saw the deer before Gary did. I gasped, instead of what Gary argued would have been a better reaction: screaming "DEER!" Still, my gasp alerted him and he was able to swerve into the opposite lane and avoid hitting it / totalling our car / ruining our impending road trip to Nashville - Asheville.
This Christmas Eve deer sighting follows the New Year's First Footing of 2007 and the Thanksgiving Deer Encounter of 2008. Deer running back and forth between deer parties on major holidays, I guess that's what explains it.
Things I Am Thankful For:
Because of conflicting family obligations, the in-laws celebrated Thanksgiving on Friday instead of Thursday. That meant that for the first time in over thirty years, Gary and I celebrated our First Thanksgiving.
Here are some gloomy, dark photos of Our First Thanksgiving.
Elegant Table Settings at Our First Thanksgiving:
Gary Ready to Eat Three Plates of Food:
I Am Thankful for Friends.
I've been going to a friend's house on a monthly basis for baking lessons (and refuge from MSNBC and Gary), and she taught me how to make a pie crust without tears. You use unbleached flour and Crisco along with the butter: that seems to be the trick.
I Am Not Thankful For Family.
Well, that's if you even consider in-laws family. Gary's nephew was off his medication, and without it he equals my brother on his worst unmedicated day. So far he's had screaming altercations with his sister, his aunt, and his grandparents, and since he's dead to all of them I offered our home as a place to stay after dinner. That was a mistake. He and Gary almost came to blows and he was gone before two hours had passed.
I Am Thankful For Distractions.
I've got demented jewelry projects going on. Necklaces made from jigsaw puzzles don't just make themselves, and yet they still insist on being made. (I did make one necklace out of beads like a normal human being. It took me three tries.)
I'm going to mediatate (seriously, would you ever imagine I'd start a sentence with that), then I think we'll spend the day drinking wine, eating pie, and binge-ing on new episodes of Gilmore Girls.
I was asked why I went to the St. Louis Anti-Trump March. Here are a few reasons:
I have no idea how many of us there were. We took up at least one city block: curb to curb on Broadway. The police were nice enough to block traffic from Citigarden to Fourth and Market, then down Fourth to Washington, where for some reason there was a sit-in. I gathered from all the shouting that the police detained someone, and then they let him loose so we could cheer.
My favorite chant was "I ... reject ... the president-elect!" My least favorite was "The people, united, will never be defeated," because that's a little cruel after your side has actually been defeated and that's the precise reason you are having the march. We were given approved chants beforehand and that wasn't on the list. One that was on the list was "This is what democracy looks like," which was also a little cruel, since democracy was what got us into the situation we were marching about, but whatever. We also whipped out some "black lives matter" and some "hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go."
Finally, my favorite sign.
i just watched the documentary Weiner on Showtime.
Wow. I'd like to tell Anthony Weiner: as a politician, saying you have a blind spot about the sexting is like being a nuclear physicist and saying you have a blind spot about long division. Or being a brilliant doctor who doesn't take a client history.
Or like a president who has sex with interns? I guess so. Well, no, it would be like if Bill Clinton had sex with interns while he was being impeached.
I know it's a documentary, and there were probably many shots of Huma cuddling and nuzzling her beloved husband that didn't make the final cut.
I'd really recommend it.
Every once in a while TeddyJ throws free stuff at us, and that's why earlier this month TeddyJ sent us to the Saint Louis Symphony (classic!) to hear the Music of Michael Jackson (pop!).The symphony backed up a Michael Jackson impersonator. Vocally, he was uncanny, but physically he would have been better as a Ben Vereen impersonator.
Strangely, even though the full force of the Saint Louis Symphony was behind the singer, I never felt like I heard much from them, except for the strings. They soberly played their parts while the singer changed jackets, moonwalked, and at one point donned an afro wig. Took me right back to Branson, last year.
That was a surprise concert, though, and I didn't anticipate it happening so close to our planned concert: The Art of Time Ensemble (classic!) presents Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (pop!). But seeing them within two weeks of each other begged comparisons, and right now I'd be happy to ditch the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and trade it in for Toronto's Art of Time Ensemble.
I am in love with every one of them. There was a no-nonsense cello player who had to endure silly pop singers dancing and emoting directly in her face, trying to break her concentration, and she ignored them with only a touch of a slightly bemused smile, while the man right next to her played his instrument with a giant grin on his face the whole time. The woman playing the clarinet only smiled once that I saw, when she picked it up to quack out one humorous bar in one of the Side B songs. She put the clarinet back on the floor and giggled a little at herself.
You would think my eyes would have been locked on Steven Page, but a middle-aged violinist sitting right behind him was just killing it, all the while looking like everyone's mom and/or substitute teacher. I kept thinking if I had stuck with the violin I could have been rocking out too in my sensible shoes and a black velvet shrug.
Gary noticed the violinist too, but only because there were times the trumpeter put down his horn. I took to watching Gary every time a trumpet solo came up because his head bobbed, and his eyes shone, and his fingers danced just like he was playing along. I imagine he was probably triple-tonguing inside his mouth.
In fact, I'm afraid I kind of ignored Steven Page until one of the encores, when he just unhinged his jaw and unloaded on Oh, Darling. It combined the bridge of Break Your Heart with ... with ... I don't know, Ella Fitzgerald having an aneurysm. (His face did get dangerously purple.)
Some naughty person caught the same song on video six years ago. That link is actually a much more sedate version. For example, in the video he uses a microphone, while at the Sheldon he just essentially bellowed the doors off.
My cold hasn't let up, but it is easily quelled by medicine. I brought along some NyQuil and took a shot right before we went in to the concert. For some reason, the row right in front of me was entirely empty. I could have coughed and not infected anyone. Sadly, I held hands with Gary during All You Need is Love and now he has fallen to The Illness. He feels it was worth it, though.
Various people are up in arms because some sports figure won't stand for the national anthem.
In junior high we had to start the day with the pledge of allegiance. I was one of the kids who never said the end of the pledge, the "liberty and justice for all" part.
If only we had to say the pledge before ball games. I can picture it.
The crowd starts at full volume, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,
(volume drops) and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation
(volume drops more) under God,
(just a few people) with Liberty
(one old white guy) and justice for all."
When it opened, everyone went to the Ikea in Saint Louis Midtown. We went Sunday afternoon. I think if I'd been there in a great throng I would have broken free and run for the wall. It's like the British Tube had a baby with an abattoir and called it a furniture store.
I wanted to go, since I wanted to understand what all the pop culture references to Ikea meant. (And by the way, I know they want their name, IKEA, in all caps. Too bad, Ikea.)
Gary surprised me by parking in Family parking. The sign makes it clear what they consider a family.
I pointed at the sign and warned him that we didn't qualify, and Gary said, "F&^k that. We're a family. You and me, babe." Very un-Catholic of him.
If you haven't been to an Ikea, it is a cement building designed to shuttle you like a slaughterhouse cow past displays of white furniture and random dreck with Swedish names. There is a dark gray path painted on the light gray cement floor, and if you follow the path as it angles and turns you will be sure to see every white bit of furniture Ikea makes. They have helpful mass transit-style signs to be sure you don't get lost:
After three departments of the Ikea Death March I'd had it with the forced shuffle, and we decided to hit the restaurant for the Swedish meatballs and call it "en dag." I looked around at the other diners and was surprised to see no one else had opted for the fabled meatballs. Everyone had chicken strips instead.
I though it was odd until I realized chicken strips are toddler food, Ikea is a store where you bring your family, and if the pop culture references are true, Ikea is the store where you fight with your loved ones. If the Family Parking sign is right you'd be looking after a toddler, a child in a baby carriage, and a husband as you all trudge single file past furniture and candy. Who wouldn't fight, just to feel alive?
Ugh. After that I felt bad for parking in their spot.
Sunday began with a nice healthy breakfast of this:
It looks like bundt cake, doesn't it? It's actually a phyllo - ricotta - herb torte. I found the recipe at one of the blogs I follow. Magpie Musing? I can't recall. You can also find the recipe at the New York Times, People at work likened it to something called spanakopita, which I have never had. It's damn impressive.
After breakfast I was determined to make it to the St. Louis verison of Edinburgh Festival Fringe. I hustled Gary out of the house at ten thirty in the morning, under duress. Such duress, such indignity, poor retired man leaving the house IN THE MORNING, my God, my God. I insisted we get there early to get a decent parking space.
Well, we got a prime space because we got there an hour and a half early. I had promised Gary a hopping street scene and the streets were deserted. It was in Grand Center, so we went back to the Contemporary Art Museum, where we were just a few weeks ago. The Cow was still enduring her agonizing breech birth, but thankfully Sunday was the last day of that. The CAM re-invents itself four times a year. It'll be closed for several weeks and then re-open with all new art.
The Fringe festival was a little like a music festival, only with theater. Unlike a music festival, there was no wandering from play to skit to monologue. You bought tickets and you didn't come late. We got tickets to see an illusionist, and since we didn't want to be late, we decided locate the venue an hour befoirehand.
A pretty young brunette saw us poking around by the Fox.
"Are you looking for the theater with the illusionist?" She was the event director for that particular show, and had she not introduced herself, I would have been taken in by the illusionist's most baffling trick. As it was, he pulled her "randomly" out of the audience. A plant! You would think knowing how a trick is done would make you not enjoy the illusion, but I find it's better. I'd rather solve a puzzle than be mystified. He did stump us for a while with a trick in which he joined three rings together, but we figured it out on the drive home.
If you'd like to see some excellent photos of the show we attended, click that link and visit the St. Louis Daily Photo blog. I visit that blog every day, and in fact that's where I'd first read about the festival, so I was thrilled to see the blogger himself taking photos. I went up to him and expressed my appreciation. Regrettably, I imagine I stepped over the line when I recognized his wife from her infrequent portraits, and then even worse, mentioned their granddaughter by name. Kind of a creepy stalker move. Ah well.
When we emerged from the show, it was to the same deserted street-scape that had led us earlier to reprise "My Time of Day" from Guys and Dolls. So we decided to head out and instead visit again next Saturday evening to see "Big Hair, Big Dreams" (the Trump Puppet Show Musical). That'll be from five till six, and then dinner, and by then the usual theater crowd will be milling around. I think that's what's been missing from my last two visits to that area.
Since I hatched this scheme to make a jigsaw puzzle necklace, I've learned a lot about jigsaws. The most astonishing is that some jigsaw puzzles cost 80 bucks. They are wooden, and some of the pieces are what they call whimsies - identifiable shapes that fit in with the other pieces.
Of course, I didn't need a fancy puzzle like that, I just needed a old wooden puzzle from eBay and if pieces were missing that was fine.
The first find I got was labeled "challenging." Good God. Every other piece was identical. I got the border done and perhaps ten percent of the rest.
I wasn't too motivated to get it done because I knew puzzle B was coming. I had first spotted it on eBay and was elated to see one piece that looked like a bear.
"Whimsy!" I gasped, and bid $16.
It came today, and I put it together. I was so excited to discover there were multiple whimsies.
How cute is that? A bird, a bear, a four-leaf clover, a running man, an arrow, a beaver, a rooster, a swastika, and a rabbit. You know. Cute stuff.
I read the box for more information, expecting "Made in Germany, copyright 1942." Instead, there was a faded handwritten message:
"To Mother - on her 29th Wedding Anniversary from Harriet, Henry and Harrison. Dec 6, 1934."
Whew. A pre-Nazi swastika. The box also said it was made in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Just a nice innocent good-luck symbol.
Steven Page is finally visiting Saint Louis!
He comes with the Art of Time ensemble, doing a "re-imagining" of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. They idle quite a while around St. Louis in October, with one show in Urbana Il, 3.25 hours away, one in St. Louis (Oct. 17) at the Sheldon, one in Columbia Mo (90 minutes away), and one in Kansas City (4 hours away).
My love of this man's voice surpasses even my hatred of the Sheldon Theater. Plus, in October it'll be cold and uncomfortable instead of hot and uncomfortable.
Allow me to embed a little taste.
Sigh, tenors. Tenors and violins. My right hand is twitching at this moment.
When we view the videos of what Gary calls the "Backyard Wildlife Buffet and Petting Zoo," one thing we watch for is animal sex. Of course, animals giving birth would be the ultimate, but impossible, so we've been keeping an eye out for the next best thing, wildlife getting it on.
In the beginning of the video below, Gary claims he saw some skunk-on-skunk action. We rewound and replayed it over and over, like you do with porn, and while I have to admit the male is impressively male, I don't know if there was any action. Any action took place in the second of dark at the start of the video.
I finally conceded there might have been sex, just so we could watch the rest of the video.
Then the lights came on, and we saw all the raccoon babies staring, horrified, at the skunks. "In front of the BABIES!" Gary said, judgementally.
"Oh, they don't know," I said. AND THEN I WATCHED THE BABIES.
Everyone in Saint Louis but me has been to the hot new donut place, Strange Donuts. Gary slept in, so I went there to get one of everything. Well. Two of everything.
The thing is, a Strange Donut is a cake donut. Mom loved a good cake donut, and happily she lived close enough to Old Town donuts to get her weekly fix. I inherited her appreciation for the cake donut with the crispy crust. Deep fried cake. Who wouldn't love that? Gary. Come to find out, Gary doesn't love the cake donut. It's like I don't even know him.
Strange Donuts mix it up every day. There are a few normal donuts, but most have some little twist. At times they have a Stranger Donut. The latest was a donut crushed into a waffle shape, topped with fried chicken, to make a Chicken and Waffles donut. I missed that one, but I applaud the effort.
These were today's donuts.
These are token "normal" donuts, the donut cousin of the white rice at the Chinese restaurant. I didn't initially plan to get these, but I wanted some donuts for Gary in case he was put off by the odd ones.
I think this is what turned Gary against all twelve. Picture a glazed donut: a suspension of fat and sugar that dissolves in your mouth. This was not that. This was a cake donut with glaze on top, as the long johns above were cake donuts with icing on top. I understand his dismay. If they had sold me a French cruller and it was actually a cake donut, I would be none too pleased.
Well, here we go. Goodbye to the donuts that should have not been cake, on to the donuts that cannot be poor imitations because you've never had them before. This was unexpectedly bacony. 25% maple, 75% bacon. And it looked like real bacon.
Chocolate Whiskey Sour
Chocolate? Yes! Whiskey? No. Sour? What? Huh? That was orange glaze dribbled on it, but I couldn't taste it.
Peaches and Cream
A little too tart on the peach side, but the cream was lovely. This was one of my favorites.
Blueberry Lemon Sage
This was primarily cake donut, but in addition there were equal parts blueberry, lemon, and sage. 70% donut, 10% each of the lemon, blueberry and sage. I could have used more.
This was your classic crispy chocolate cake donut. Very nice.
Saint Louis is proud of our signature baked good, the gooey butter cake. It has a base like a chewy brownie, topped by a cloud of almost raw batter and powdered sugar. It's cake mix combined with a few sticks of butter. It's not just the taste, it's the texture. This donut asked sweet, I suppose, and buttery, but it felt like a donut.
I asked why this donut was in the "normal" side of the display case, and the cashier answered it was just a typical custard donut. I always shun the custard donuts. No more. Never again. This was wonderful. Like an eclair, but a donut. God!
This was another classic donut. They could have named this Kid's Cereal Donut. Color and sugar and not much else.
This might have been named southern sunrise instead of southern comfort. I'm not sure. I didn't notice an alcohol taste, or a sunrise taste. It tasted sweet.
When I was done tasting each one, I finished off the buttery tart peach one and the chocolate custard. (If anyone is curious, all my calories today came from donuts.) I thought about how sad it was that Gary doesn't like cake donuts - really, how did I marry him - and how my mom would have dealt with the selections at Strange Donuts. She would put on a pained expression and pitifully, patiently ask, "Don't you have any plain ...cake ... donuts?"
It was the best of theaters, it was the worst of theaters.
In the past week I've been entertained at the best theater I've ever been in (the Starlight Theater in Kansas City) and the worst theater (a movie theater some miles away from my home).
Best Theater: Starlight Theater in Kansas City
The Starlight Theater is in Kansas City, and frankly, it is better than any venue in Saint Louis. Here's a photo from their website:
That shows off the brick proscenium, which is itself impressive, but it doesn't show the Disney-like array of fountains and flowers and wine bars you snake past on the way to your seat. It's just ... cunning, that's the only word I can think of for it.
Our seats were not the very best, but they were good:
This was the first BNL concert I've ever been to where there were seats in the mosh pit area. One of the openers, Howard Jones, had to plead with people to stand up and dance. I eyed the aisles leading up to the stage (and the large aisle in front of my seat) and thought, "Well, I guess there'll be dancing in the aisles, then." But no. See that lady in the purple shirt? People who tried to boogie their way to an upgrade got a dance-withering stare.
(Given the recent events in Orlando, many thanks to that lady for providing any security at a concert or dance party.)
The BNL Concert was, as usual, hugely enjoyable. I haven't watched Game of Thrones but I can imagine the words to the theme are indeed, "Horses,Tits and Horses." For the first time, though, I didn't recognize most of the songs in the encore medley. I need to get on that. I'm sure if I listen to one pop radio station for one hour I'll be caught up.
My only regret is that I spent half an hour getting Moscato and I missed seeing the bulk of OMD's set.
Worst Theater: Regal Cinema in Winghaven
We went to see Two Nice Guys at a movie theater that is a few miles from us. Just a few miles away, but in the Twilight Zone.
For some reason Gary wanted to see this comedy with Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. He knew the critics panned it. He was aware that he'd wanted to see it last week, and that this week suddenly we could only find it in one theater.
But, then, he read this quote, and he was sold.
"Dad, there are whores here n'stuff."
"Don't say 'n'stuff.' Just say, Dad, there are whores here."
And, to be fair, I laughed out loud a number of times. I also sat there in ... what's the German word for bored and in disbelief? Unglaubengelangweilt. I was in Unglaubengelangweilt. There was a final chase scene that must have lasted twenty minutes. EVERY car blew up (with no provocation.) EVERY major character crashed through something made of glass. EVERY minor character fell from a great height. Ridiculous, but not hah-hah ridiculous.
And the venue? A movie is supposed to take you out of your environment, and it didn't, because our environment was just creepy.
A) This cinema in Winghaven is one of the Regal Cinema chain. I have never heard of this chain. It's all AMC and Weherenberg in my suburbs. During the trailers various celebs showed up in pre-show ads promoting Regal cinemas. It was like we were at an off-brand cinema.
B) I don't know about other Regal cinemas, but the row we sat in had only two seats, because the rest had been removed ... I assume because of blood splatter or vomit or something else. Or, perhaps, they're replacing them with the leather reclining heated seats and our row was the only one they'd done the demo on.
C) It was isolated in a spooky farm field. This theater sits on a new exit in highway 40, Winghaven, where they opened the MasterCard headquarters ten years ago. There's a fancy shopping center, and executive homes I once gawked at, and a place where I once spent fifty dollars for lunch. However, the theater's not on the executive side of the highway, it's on the other side, and in my city that makes all the difference. There's nothing on that side of the highway but wildlife. You can tell they situated themselves in the middle of an imaginary shopping district that never materialized.
I suppose to be completely parallel, with good venue/ good art / good staff in KC, the cinema should have bad venue / bad art / bad employees, but all the employees were great. Funny, helpful, laid back, great. I had four interactions. The ticket seller was funny, the concession guys were helpful, and the ticket taker let us wander in and out for the hour we spent killing time because Gary will be late for weddings, funerals, but THE MOVIE IS STARTING IN NINETY MINUTES WE CANNOT BE LATE.
I'd go back to the Starlight to see a bad play, and I'd go back to the Regal Cinema to see BNL.
Mr. and Mrs. Gary S______
Are happy and proud to announce
After months of waiting and pounds of dog food
of Five Bouncing Happy Kits
at 2:34 a.m.
on the Seventh of June
There was one touch and go moment.
The kits hung out off and on till 5:15 am.
(There is no Prince song appropriate for the past week, unless he has a B-side called "U R All on 2 Many IV Antibiotics.")
In some strange synchronicity between Albuquerque and Saint Louis, my brother in New Mexico and father in law in Saint Louis both arrived at the ER with vague infections, were admitted, fire-hosed with broad spectrum IV antibiotics, and then both were released on Wednesday.
I was especially concerned, because in both cases I never heard any medical professional say, "Your white blood cells are going down. You seem to be improving." Instead, I heard "MRSA! Superbug!" coming from New Mexico and "Heart infection! Pneumonia!" blasting from the other speaker in North County, then suddenly, "Pack up, you're fine, here's some penicillin, bye!" to both in the space of a few hours on Wednesday.
Ken is having a nurse come see him every day, plus he gets oxygen. Dave goes to see the surgeon for an evaluation on Tuesday. I never want to have a week like this again.
The Mini is back in the shop. this time for the air conditioning evaporator. The internet says this is a five hour job. They've had the car for over a week.
I know all I have to do is change my mind. Or, just seem to change my mind. Gary won't play though. All he would have to do is call the Mini people to ask about the status of the car while I yell in the background, "Why do we need air conditioning? I'll just drive your car on hot days!"
Or, perhaps they're just used to west county executives bellowing that their daughters need their "Mini Coopers back now or I will sue."
We had no air conditioning in the first car we owned, a Honda CRX. And of course I know the Mini Service department wants us to buy a new car,so they're scooting us closer to the breakeven point. If we start spending five grand a year on repairs, it actally would make sense to buy a new car.
Earlier this year I read about a lavender farm way south and east of St. Louis in Eureka, MO.
St. Louisans of a certain age know Eureka as the home of: Six Flags, a KOA campsite, and every chain restaurant known to man. Six Flags is forty-five minutes away. An eternity to a child.
We planned to visit the lavender farm, but I was skeptical that a lavender farm would thrive in Eureka, since I couldn't see the crossover between roller coasters and lavender.
"Oh no," my friends said, "Eureka is all fancy now." Evidently the upper middle class ran out of space in Wildwood and west county and spilled over into the cheap land by Six Flags.
Even though we set out Saturday at ten, the lone elk park and wild bird sanctuary are on the way, so I didn't notice the lavender farm was going to close at three until it was two forty. Luckily we were only eight minutes away, so we drove across the highway and directly into a ridiculously nouveau riche subdivision called Legends. I know this, because this is the entry sign.
That photo doesn't show the scale. The lettering on that sign is bigger than our car.
The builders of the Legends houses must have had a competition to see how many windows will fit on the back elevation of a large house on a narrow lot. I can't speak to the fronts of the houses, we took the back way to the lavender farm. I'm sure they're very nice. They look quite tasteful from the photos.
About three blocks into the subdividion Gary joked, "I bet it's just the backyard of some lady's house."
Well, not quite the backyard. It was on the other side of Legends Parkway in what looked like a family farm, with a house and barn and a shed with a lavender roof. And ... the roof was all the lavender we saw. At the entrance there was a sign saying the recent weather conditions had severely affected the lavender crop. It has been rainy this spring, and of course the flood was all over CNN this past Christmas.
We drove in. We saw a rolling field of green."Perhaps it's the rare green lavender," Gary said.
We went in the lavender-roofed shed. The shed was decorated with the same contrasts the Legends exteriors had: one part lower middle class, one part upper middle class. From the road the outside of the shed looked homey, but your first step inside put you by an opulent fireplace that took up the entire side of the shed. I'd say one quarter of the available wall space was fireplace, so much so that I immediately thought, "That is not up to code."
The owner was bundling up lavender in the shed / tea room / gift shop. "Where'd you get the lavender?" I wanted to say. After some small talk about the soil and root-rot and the weather, she said they have another lavender farm in Salem, MO, further from the river with sandier soil. There is really no indication on the web site that the lavender is gone, but for a note that" there will be no u-pick harvesting this season."
So, that was a let-down. And, darn it all, we'd taken up so much time with the bird sanctuary and the elk park that it was time to go home. We didn't have time to see Route 66 state park. Remember the trip we took to the radiation-infested nature conservatory? Route 66 state park is built on the site of the Times Beach superfund site. That'll have to wait for another day.
It would seem the Weber barbecue grill people have parlayed their popularity into a series of restaurants, and the latest one is in Saint Louis.
I have great fondness for my Weber grill. It was my Dad's treasured possession. He knew all about the indirect smoking and the chimney and the water spritzer. He was a scientist of BBQ. I remember hamburgers and pork steaks made on the grill. I also remember waiting hours for the food to smoke. He was not a scientist when it came to estimating cooking time.
I inherited the grill, and it stands on my patio as a shrine to Dad. (I use it about once every two years.) So when I heard there a restaurant built around Weber grills I knew I had to go in honor of Dad.
This statue at the entrance even looks like Dad grilling pork steaks.
Right inside the entrance they have a shop where you can buy grills and grill accessories. They didn't sell the 1980s model ash catch pan to replace the dented one Dad left me, but the hostess tracked down the main office number so I could place an order.
The shop opens up to a test kitchen. They really dreamed big when they planned this place.
All the food - wait - most of the food - is cooked on industrial Weber Grills.
I scanned the menu for pork steaks, of course, but since it's a St. Louis thing and the chain started in Chicago, pork steaks didn't make the menu. I recommended that they add them, at least at the St. Louis location.
The place really shines when you eat the food you expect to get off a Weber grill. The barbecue was sublime. The French Onion soup looked spectacular and tasted ... fair. The chicken chili looked fabulous and tasted ... average. But the barbecue, especially the brisket - mwah. Slobber. The brisket was divine.
It was insanely pricey. Or, possibly, I'm using 1980s prices as a benchmark. I'm glad I went once, and I would go back if I were nearby and in the mood for barbecue. Now, I'm wondering if there are other theme restaurants. George Foreman Bar and Grill? A bakery based on 1990s bread machines? A diner with little Fry Daddies you can use to fry things, kind of like the Melting Pot - oh! The Melting Pot! That's already out there.
Friday night we took a tour of "downtown" Saint Charles, a shopping/historical district by the Missouri River. It's historical because it's the last civilized point Lewis and Clark left on their journey to find the west coast.
I've never thought of it as anything much but a place you can hear music at night and buy blue wooden geese during the day. However, over the last thirty years the wooden geese have flown to make room for more art galleries and now, evidently, a ghost tour.
The first stop on the tour was the Quilogy building. When I worked at Eliott, Quilogy (its real name) was the next stop for contractors leaving our company. I went there once for some day-long contractor thing and paid no attention to the building, except that it had steps leading up to the front door.
Now that I've taken the ghost tour I know that it was the International Order of Odd Fellows hall (the initials are carved in stone over the door). I also know that initiates to the Odd Fellows were confronted with skeletons in caskets. Newspaper articles state that when IOOF chapters disband they bury their skeletons in proper cemeteries. I want to know how to get the gig as an Odd Fellows skeleton. Hit me up, Odd Fellows.
Our guide also took us to the site of the oldest cemeteries, where they've built a reproduction of the oldest, tiniest church. It's off the main drag by about a block. It's lovely. I've never left Main Street when I've been down there, unless it's to visit the park. There were some skeleton references thrown in there too.
It was a wonderful history lesson, with a little rubbish about ghosts thrown in. I'm sure if we'd asked more about ghosts than history our guide would have spun it that way. At one point I asked about a rumor I'd heard about a skull being found in Sun Valley Lake, where we lived when we first came out here. He instantly said "Wrong lake," and filled us in about the murder and beheading at the lake a mile away from Sun Valley that happened the year we moved out there.
We had a nice crowd of about seven. It did start pouring rain toward the end, but Gary was a good sport about it, probably because he was wearing a hoodie. I had some difficulty seeing where I was because of the water in my eyes.
Of course, it made me winder what else is out there that I don't know of St. Louis history. There a Blues tour that's out there, and except for Frankie and Johnny and Scot Joplin's house I cant think of what else would be on that tour. Perhaps I'll find out some weekend.
We have been naming the raccoons. There's Snow White, the delicate princess who exclusively eats with her hands, Patch, who has missing fur, Nosey who wiggles his nose when he eats, and Blackie. Yes, Blackie is black.The names aren't at all clever. Just a way for us to figure out if any of the dead raccoons we see on the side of the road are ours.
Anyway, one raccoon, Runty, has a personality bigger than all the others put together. He is Runty, Runty, The Socially Awkward Raccoon With No Sense of Personal Space.
It's embarrassing to say, but Runty is obsessed with all the other raccoon's private parts. All the raccoons will be feeding away when Runty comes along and sniffs every posterior until whatever raccoon he's nosing in the anus whirls around and charges. If he isn't sniffing your butt, he has his nose in your undercarriage.
One big bear raccoon had had it with Runty and his sniffing in this tableau. Runty is on the right.
The other thing Runty does is touch.The skunk will live with the opossum, the opossum will lie down with the raccoon, and a little child will lead them, but Runty will tap someone and set off a chain reaction of hostility.
Runty is of course our favorite.
Weldon Spring is an EPA Superfund cleanup site right outside of St. Louis. There was a uranium processing plant there in the 50s. In the 70s, Gary's high school biology class went to Weldon Spring to observe the two-headed frogs and learn about radiation.
We'd lived ten miles away for a decade before the EPA finally cleaned it up in 2000 or so. Now, it's so clean it's a tourist site. Really, there's a Tripadvisor entry for it. We went Sunday to see the containment cell and the museum.
First of all, I was expecting at least a photo of a two-headed frog. No luck. There was a reference to "frog pond," but that was it.
They contained the radiation with layers of plastic, dirt, filters, and seven stories worth of rocks.
The view from the top of the cell would be impressive, only, all you can see is every water tower in St. Charles county, plus an elementary school, and a high school. I know three people who went to that high school, and yes, they all have cancer.
We came down from the top of the cell a little horrified to see how close everything is to the radiation. That's why it was nice, at first, when the museum had a tone of "Well, this is the history, here's the problem, here's how we solved the problem, you're safe now and enjoy the view from the top of the big pile of rocks."
Only, of course, the photos in the museum are appalling. The Mallinckrodt company ran the plant, and when it closed they just packed the radioactive material in metal barrels and just let it sit out in the sun, rusting. Alarming. And frankly, not what I'd expect from Mallinckrodt, nice Irish firm that they are. They're usually dwarfed in evil by big brother Monsanto, located here in St. Louis.
I'm sure I would have enjoyed the radiation cell much more if I were a tourist, and didn't grow up in Hazelwood, yet another site tainted by Mallinckrodt.
I don't know if the side effects of nuclear waste are to blame for this sign:
About a week ago, I witnessed a traffic accident. I was stopped at a light, waiting to turn left, when a young man impulsively gunned his gray car toward me and an old man barreled over a hill and T-boned the young man.
I was not paying careful attention, but I remember seeing the young man's body sway from the impact. Somehow, even though I wasn't in the accident, I developed retrograde amnesia. I know this because I stayed to talk to the police and when questioned I could recall nothing.
"So you were stopped at the light. So it was red."
"I can't remember exactly if it was red or not. But there must have been some reason why I wasn't driving."
"So the gray car turned left on to your street."
"I recall him coming at me, but I don't remember where he came from."
So, I was useless. However, I kept my mouth shut and I think the possibility that I might contradict them kept the two men honest. At first they both claimed they had a yellow light, and the officer mentioned that was impossible.
I thought about it a while, and I realized that the young man must have turned on a left turn arrow. Not five minutes after that, I saw someone turn left even though the left turn signal was red. Not flashing red, which means you should stop, but a solid red arrow.
I think what's happening is the lights for a red arrow and the green arrow are the same light. With the usual red / yellow / green signals, color-blind people can at least see which light is illuminated: top, middle, or bottom, but not so with the turn arrows we have now.
Do other people stay when they've witnessed an accident? I always think I should, but usually that's because someone is clearly at fault and might try to weasel out of it. In this case they both were in the wrong, I think.
Perhaps I got a credit in the car Karma category. The next weekend a purple car completely cut me off on a four lane street. That's by my definition of cut off, which is swerving into my lane without signaling and causing me to apply my brakes. I have to clarify, because some people define "cut off" as "changing into my lane, even five car lengths in front of me." At any rate, it was a tiny bit rude, but I applied my brakes and it was fine.
It was NOT fine with the teenage boys behind me. They didn't honk, but about a block later they passed me, got a lane away from the purple car, paced it, and flipped off the purple car with extreme prejudice. And they didn't let up. That bird flew for ten seconds. Then they took a left, but they gave the bird an extra flourish as they turned.
I was amused at how indignant they were, given that they were one degree of separation from the actual cut off. Cut off once removed, as it were. Cut off adjacent. Still, like me witnessing the accident, they needed to weigh in.
Finally, in traffic-related news, this morning I was behind a car with a plate that read UCKGO. The owner waited till it got grimy and wrote an F on one side of the plate and a D on the other.
This weekend's adventure was to Big Joel's Safari Petting Zoo and Animal Park, thirty minutes west on Highway 70..
You know we love animal parks, but the drive-through parks discourage you from touching the elk, the bison, etc. Petting zoos let you pet the animals, but that's about all the interacting you can do. Not this place. Short of tongue kissing the animals, this place had it all.
Feeding: We each got a big cup of food. There were four feeding options:
We both fed the chickens and deer by hand. Gary ignored the signs that said "Zeedonks may bite!" and "Camels may bite!" choosing instead to have the camels envelop his hands with their giant lips.
You could spoon-feed many animals, like the miniature horse above. I preferred to use the giant spoon tied to the pen, because given the enthusiasm with which some animals chewed on the spoon I feared my hand would get the same treatment.
If you peek at the bottom left corner or the photo above, you can spot a PVC tube running between the human enclosure and the water buffalo / yak / moose enclosure. Gary immediately poured one half of his cup down the food slide to the trough below.
There was a special parakeet feeding area, with the requisite parakeet food sugared to the popsicle stick, and the parakeets were not shy. After a minute or so, the parakeets moved off the popsicle stick and latched on to my hand.
Petting: Just as it was with the feeding, there were only a few animals you couldn't access: the peacocks or the kangaroos, for example. I rolled up my sleeves and petted the goats. If you've petted goats before you know why I protected my sleeves. I kept my hands away from the Zeedonk ("Zeedonks may bite!"), but of course Gary had to pet it.
I gave the alpacas all the love I could, because since that one Branson alpaca spit on Gary they are my faves. Gary avoided them, which wasn't hard because they were penned into a roomy stable.
(Not shown: Gary.)
He had less luck avoiding their cousins the llamas. When I heard a teenage girl scream, "Eew! It just SPIT on me!" I assumed the llama was no longer armed. I walked right up to them, but Gary didn't take the chance. The llama sensed Gary's fear and started moving along the fence toward us. Gary followed the fence away from the llama. The llama moved faster. Gary jogged along the fence looking steadily over his shoulder at the llama. The llama broke into a trot. Gary broke loose and ran. He ran away like a little girl.
Riding: As soon as I saw Big Joel himself (a distinctive bearded man) leading the camel ride I was there, ticket in hand. I asked if my ride was a camel or a dromedary, because I never can remember which is which, and Big Joel said "He's a hybrid. That's why no one else wanted him." The camel certainly didn't seem to have a dramatic hump, which made him a comfy ride.
After Big Joel said that, I started looking for flaws in all the beasts, as if this was Big Joel's Home for Misfit Animals. The horns on one horned creature didn't curl symmetrically. One peacock was albino. The moose was a runt the size of a Great Dane. It made the whole exhibit have a charm you don't see at the St. Louis Zoo, and I liked it. It was charming, and fun, and well worth a drive to Wright City. If you feel the need for some animal saliva I highly recommend it.
Gary upgraded the memory card and batteries for his birthday wildlife camera, so now it takes a ten second video every minute of the day. Or, it feels that way when you review the videos.
We've employed a speed-viewing method, which sounds like "bird ... bird... squirrel... squirrel ... squirrel ... OH GOD WHAT IS THAT?"
[If your video is not enabled: Video of scalped squirrel. Picture Ray Liotta in Hannibal. Or, Google Ray Liotta brain. Less blood, though.]
Gary has dubbed this Zombie Squirrel. I say he's a zombie victim. Whatever you call him, he is the first to eat every day.
Speaking of wounds, Gary did find out why so many of our skunks sport bloody neck wounds: the males bite the females on the neck to induce ovulation. This explains why the females look bloody and ratty ...
,,, while the males swan about in glorious coats, hickey-giving bastards that they are.
I think that skunk was just giving the camera a warning. Even with all the hot hickey sex, both genders of skunks are irritable.
[This skunk below just had a feeder full of seed dumped at his feet by a treed raccoon. He is not sharing. Double-click for all the action.]
If the video of skunk and raccoons eating at the same trough surprises you, observe this view of skunk, raccoon, and black-eared opossum sharing a meal.
Gary seems to feel the brutality of nature the most. He really gets upset when the squirrels are injured. Ray Liotta Zombie squirrel makes him scream, but he is encouraged because we see his brains every day and they seem to be healing up. The squirrel that really gets him is Oedipus Squirrel.
"But hon," I implore, as Gary hides in the corner clutching his head, "If you keep watching you'll see he still has one good eye." Oedipus Squirrel gets up early and eats right after Ray Liotta.
It looks like we have two distinctive disabled squirrels, four raccoons, two opossums, one male and three female skunks, and given the amount of ovulation going on there will be loads of skunk babies.
It has been a long, long Birthday month here at King Gary's castle. Most years Gary invokes Birthday Month playfully. This year Birthday Month has become an entitlement, evidently, given the way he cuts me off with a gesture and "Birthday MONTH!" Outraged tone and all. The inalienable right to Life, Liberty, and A Birthday Month.
His big birthday gift was the upgraded Wildlife Camera. Our old camera pooped out after five years of service, just in time for the new model that takes nighttime video.
We've always enjoyed the night photos of the racoons, deer, opossums, and skunks, but the video reveals the full story, which is that ... these animals are not friends. Sure, they look like buds when you see a photo of them sharing some peanuts, but the video reveals the body language. The peanut buddies are on the verge of throwing down.
So, there's been a few days of seeing skunks with bloody head wounds, and raccoons antagonizing each other (Presenting your butt to anothor raccoon seems to start lots of fights, so, just note that in your raccoon preparedness manual,) That's why it was nice to spot this exchange of nuzzles.