Friday, August 31, 2012

A little bit of China in Scotland

Going to school in the Shaw neighborhood can certainly be a challenge at times.  There's a lot of riff raff in the neighborhood.  And I say that coming from Soulard.  Take car cloutings.  When Kay was in pre school someone broke the window of her friend Caroline's car and stole a dance bag with a size 6 leotard.  Neighborhood kids lit our playground climber on fire and routinely write horribly graphic bad words all over the inside of the slide.  At a school auction a car was stolen off one of the side streets.  Imagine that.  Walking out of a school auction with your winnings and not being able to find your car because some punk stole it (ever since then we have hired an off duty police officer for night social activities).

But there are perks too.  It's an academically strong, diverse and caring school.  The students walk frequently to Tower Grove Park and the Botanical Gardens.  The parents are fun, smart and volunteer their talents.    We always have connections to free beer through Schlafly or AB.

The Botanical Garden is also in the Shaw neighborhood.  So when the Chinese Lantern Festival ended we got this pagoda house and a bunch of other cool garden sculpture.  Thanks MOBOT!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Avalanche Liquor Store

Here's a Colorado bad mansard.  I know it is not a technical bad mansard, but close enough.  I love liquor stores with mansard roofs.  That's my husband loading or unloading a child during the 14 hour road trip to Winter Park, CO.  And that is my van nearing 100,000 miles.

I almost made the novice mistake of picking up beer at a Colorado grocery store- just 3.2%!  You have to go to a liquor store for spirits or full alcohol beer.  We're somewhat spoiled in Missouri with full alcohol privileges.  You can walk in a grocery store at 8 am on a Sunday and buy whatever you want- vodka, beer, wine, whatever.

A timely subject matter.  Today marks the 1/2 way point to Mardi Gras 2013.  I better start stocking up.  And I kind of do.  If I overbuy wine or beer or booze, I say, "well, we can  drink the extra at Mardi Gras."

Any trip to a liquor store requires the parties sing this song by an old friend Steve Ewing and his band the Urge.  Now go inside and get my pickle.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


The badmansard family took a trip to Colorado to visit friends and family.  We crammed the van full of kids, goldfish crackers, various DVD viewing devices and a couple of puke buckets and off we went.  We’ve never done a Colorado road trip before.  In fact, I’ve never set foot in Colorado.  If you’re thinking to yourself that you’ve seen pictures of me on snowy mountains, it is true.  I’ve ironically been to the Bavarian Alps but never to the Colorado Rockies.

Where we went-
5 days in Fraser (near Winter Park) to stay with my brother and his wonderful wife and their kids who are 6 and 4, just like my two younger kids.

1 day in Keystone to visit John’s niece and her son (who are my kids’ cousin and cousin once removed?) as well as another niece who was visiting from St. Louis.

2 days in Boulder to visit John’s college roommate/former colleagues who just left their respective ad agencies to launch a new shop, Grenadier.

Miles traveled on 2005 minivan- 2242.

Favorite discoveries- Freddy’s, which is like a Kansas Steak and Shake. 

What we did- everything.  Hikes, raft trip down the Colorado, horseback riding, summer fun in Winter Park and Keystone, a visit to Sulphur “fart smell” springs, zip lining, gyroscoping, Colorado’s longest Alpine Slide, playing in creeks and lakes, planetarium, beautiful scenery/mediocre food at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, yummy dinner at Tabernash Tavern, shopping, panning for jewels and enough trampoline/bungee jumping to cause bruising.

In my brother’s mountain place alone we saw 10 elk, deer, chipmunk and foxes.  The YMCA even had goats, sheep, cows and kitties.  And the stars were amazing.  We were able to watch the August 11 meteor showers from my brother’s hot tub on top of a mountain during a clear cold night.

My brother and his wife Meghan were such great hosts.  My brother should start a business called “Andy’s Grand County Family Tours.”  He knew exactly where to go, the best way to get a discount and the ideal time to avoid crowds.

Child most likely to live in the woods-  Gus.  He loved hiking and looking for sticks and rocks.  He mastered bike riding.  Before we left St. Louis he could barely hold a two-wheeler upright.  A couple of days into Colorado he’s riding confidently and taking fast turns on gravel roads. He also bought a Daniel Boone hat with the souvenir money.   

Child most likely to author “The indoor guide to Colorado”- Audrey.  Not much enthusiasm for hiking, horses or rafting, but she excels at shopping, souvenir seeking, hotel pools and watching TV.  That joke aside, she too had a great time as she reluctantly rode Peaches the horse and went down the Alpine Slide.  She will certainly remember this trip as the vacation where she got her ears pierced.   Audrey turns 10 in early September, but we waived the “gotta be 10 to pierce your ears" rule so she could get her ears pierced during a special vacation. 

Most fearless child- Mimi. She’s not afraid of heights, mountains, ski lifts, horses or fast slides.  We didn’t know that.  The pictures speak for themselves.

Best traveling companion- Kay.   Pleasant, enthusiastic and willing to try all of the activities.  At 11, she was the oldest of the kids.  She directed many of the activities and kept the 5 younger children entertained.  She also perfected a front handspring and a triple flip on the trampoline.

Bad mansards?  - of course.  To be revealed soon.

Rocky Mountain National Park.

Devil's Thumb Ranch.

Mimi, age 4.  Having a great time.  I was nervous.

Mimi and John.  Again with the thrill seeking.  

family picture at Keystone Mountain.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Providence sucks

Sorry for my almost 3 week delay in posting.  Local tragic news events of the first week of August involved a friend and her children and I couldn't focus on much of anything, let alone a bad mansard blog.

Then we went on vacation.  We stopped in Columbia for gas and I made the huge mistake of telling John to stop on Providence for gas.  We missed the gas station near 70 and I told him to keep going south on Providence for gas.  What was I thinking?  Providence just south of Broadway is just nasty.  It was a dump in the early 1990's and seems even worse now.

But here's a bad mansard.  A trend if you will- pay day loan shops in bad mansard buildings.

More mansards to come as well as some vacation pictures.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


You know, our house is really old.
Says a boastful lady at the Lafayette Pool.  Really?  Put that in the no-sh$t category.   Chances are if you're swimming at the Lafayette Pool you have an pre-1900 house.  I'd be impressed if you have an 1850's or 1860's house.  1870's or 1880's?  That's fairly standard east of Jefferson.