Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A first time for everything

Mimi went to a birthday party for our neighbor's daughter (also a classmate). the party was held in the CWE at our neighbor's cousin's house.

The theme was great. Kind of a pony theme, but a thinking woman's pony theme. Handmade cake, pony rides, darling unicorn headbands, etc.

The first first was Mimi (far right) sitting in a miniature donkey cart. The second first was finding a bad mansard in the Central West End! And it's a fanciful bad mansard with scrollwork (or maybe bamboo?) in the window..

Yeah for miniature donkey carts and bad mansards sitting on the same block as grand mansions.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mardi Gras party

Mardi Gras 2012 is over. Well, it really hasn't even started since it isn't until Tuesday. But my night-before-the-parade-party is over and O.M.G. It was totally awesome. I loved it. I do regret feeling a little bit like a bride in that I know everyone if having a great time but I really don't get to talk to guests as much as I'd like.

total number of guests: 167

best investment: two bartenders/helpers. They cost $325 but totally worth it.

culinary hit: my red beans and rice is tasty. People love it. I take no credit. It's the wonderful andouille from G&W that makes it so good. I took my regular recipe and multiplied by 15 to make enough to fill a giant pot. My National rice cooker churned out enough rice to go with the red beans.

best Mardi Gras dress: MINE! An awesome retro DVF I picked up on the clearance rack at Neiman's. It screams Mardi Gras. (that's me in the green and black dress with my friends Amy and Janet)

how many beers: 275. We had about 40 left over. About 1/2 bottles, 1/2 cans. Almost all AB and Schlafly products.

Favorite beer: hands down- the vintage Busch can.

wine: I bought one of those giant boxes and that was pretty much gone, as well as about 5 additional bottles.

strangest thing people drank: coffee flavored Patron? Someone drank the whole bottle.

bourbon or vodka? Bourbon won. About 3 large bottles consumed. Rye too. Old fashioned's were popular.

Jagermeister, really? Yes really. About 1.75 liters of it. I read in Food and Wine or some other high brow magazine that the best way to liven up a party was to freeze Jagermeister and offer shots. Suddenly a bunch of 40 year olds remember when they were 21 and the party is a lot more fun.

time people left: about midnight

glad I purchased: 2 giant Rubbermaid recycling trash cans. Empties went in there and could be taken out to the dumpsters in the morning.

most surprising guest: a friend from law school who came with a school dad. I was really happy to see him. He was always such a gentleman, making sure us girls stayed safe at those crazy Mardi Gras parties in the mid 1990's.

guest break down: high school: 15%, family 5%, college 15%, work 25%, school parents 30%, neighborhood 10%.

best success: People went in the parlor! They had little choice with that many people in here.

nicest hostess gift: a St. Louis cheese plate from the Initial Design in WG. I had coveted its cousins the dish towel and Christmas ornament at Sign of the Arrow. Love it!

best thing about having a giant party: the house is as clean as its ever been. The laundry is in drawers. Everything is clean. The toys are put away. There are flowers and the house smells good.

3 stupidest things I saw the day of the Grand Parade: guy in drunken stupor walking down the SB Highway 55 on ramp in the dark about to merge into traffic on foot. Guys picking bricks out of my sidewalk and throwing them. Crazy meth head guy hitting a hipster in the head with a beer bottle.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

One of the kids took this picture of the chandelier in the parlor. Not sure which kid. They frequently take the camera to take pictures of each other, the TV and random animals. The kid in the bonnet is my niece; the kid in green is Mimi.

I like how this picture turned out. The chandelier not original house itself but it is an original fixture from the 1880's. The ceiling medallion is original to the house.

The chandelier is the best part of the parlor. Okay- I like the fireplace too. I HATE the rest of the room. The chairs are too big. I hate the couch. I hate the fact I picked out red furniture (I bought the furniture in 2002 the day after we moved in. It was a hasty move. Dumb. I should have left the parlor empty until I really knew what I wanted).

Back the complaining- the rug is cheap looking. I like that the coffee table and end tables come from my grandmother's house, but they really don't work in the room or with the furniture. I want to re-do the whole thing. I keep seeing pool blue, maybe even with the red. Or make the entire thing white. I see a much smaller couch (like a love seat) with two smaller chairs all pulled to the middle of the room for actual conversation.

I scheduled this post for February 15 at which time I will be up to my elbows in making red beans and rice and a bazillion other things for the 175 people we expect to come here for our annual Mardi Gras party. It sounds like a lot of people (it is a lot of people!) but it's not too bad and feels more like an open house with people stopping by all evening. And when those 175 people come over, will they hang out in my parlor? NO! It's the most unwelcoming room ever. I guess I'll move the booze to the parlor and people will have no choice but to go in there. That's a sad parlor when the only way you can get guests to go in there is the lure them with booze.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Urban Utopia

Audrey designed her perfect city as part of a school assignment. This is what she came up with. I love it because:
  • There is not just one but TWO Targets!

  • She made separate water slides for boys and girls; the boys also have their own mall.
  • There is a Twix Lane as well as a Make-up Boulevard.
  • Audrey shows her humanitarian side by including both a church and a hospital.
  • She has given her townspeople the gift of not just a Justice store but a Justice factory! (this girl loves clothes from Justice which are the among the most scuzzy, cheaply made crap ever.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Finding Jesus in a bad mansard

Another gem on South Broadway. Is it a church? A health clinic? A store? I don't know. Well, according to the sign Jesus is there. And the other signage tells us the place is open. Balloons too! I propose a rename: the Jesus Family Outreach Balloon Bad Mansard store.

More about seeing/finding Jesus. I usually go to St. Margaret of Scotland. I try to go to Sts. Peter and Paul in Soulard once a month. It is the structurally largest of the many Catholic churches in my neighborhood- giant, Gothic, buff/black, 8th street, built by Germans, spire you can see from highway 55/44 merge.

Sts. Peter and Paul has a much smaller group of regulars than SMOS. My reasoning for skipping SMOS in favor of Sts.PP is that SMOS is pretty crowded and Peter/Paul is not. Peter and Paul really, really needs people to fill the pews. I am happy to go to Peter/Paul when I can. Fr. Foreman gives great homilies, Young Catholic Musicians operates out of Sts.PP and there is 365 day a year service to the homeless.

Anyway, Bishop Rice (who is excellent, by the way) was visiting Peter/Paul back in the fall. In his homily he encouraged that we find Jesus in the everyday chaos of life. I swear he was looking right at me when he said it, which wouldn't have been that hard considering the layout of Peter/Paul (like a mini amphitheatre in a huge Gothic church). So every since then that's been my spiritual goal. Finding Jesus in the chaos. There certainly is enough busy chaos at the badmansard house with 4 kids, stressful jobs, a full calendar and a new puppy. And some sad chaos with extended family that I won't try to explain. Anyway, everyday I am trying to see Jesus in it all.

Back to the mansard. This mansard is chaotic. I see Jesus. Enough said.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


How many materials can you count on the facade of this pathetic little mansard on Loughborough between 55 and Broadway? I count: wood brackets, brick, roofing material/awning, clay tile, plexiglass, plywood, permastone, and the backdrop for the sign. Oh yeah- don't forget the dude on the phone leaning on the mail box. That is tres South Side.