Wednesday, December 27, 2006

St. Louis Lights Drive

It's the holidays, and our street looks okay. Almost every house has Christmas lights and we get our share of holiday light's visitors, but our block doesn't have a theme; we all do what we want. Some blocks get serious about Christmas lights; the neighbors must plan all year for their light displays. Some are pretty amazing.

Inside our house, the prior owners left behind some nice things and some not so nice things. One of the least favorites was the flush-mounted, "nipple light" in the dining room ceiling. It's been on our list of items to replace.

Kerri wanted a decorative chandelier, so we've been looking for months, years maybe. Mass produced chandeliers come in literally thousands of designs. And they make such a huge design statement in your home that choosing one is not an easy decision. And now, it's the day before Christmas, and like a good man does, I'm still deciding what to get Kerri.

Matt and I went out, shopping. The stores were mellow on this day before Christmas compared to the craziness on the day after Thanksgiving. Our first stop was the new Lowe's on Loughborough. We arrived the back way, through the neighborhood, off of River Des Peres, or Germania, or whatever it's called through there...

The new Lowe's is very nice. If you enter the back way, through the neighborhood, the access is easy. You avoid traffic, and you park right near the entrance. The store is sparking clean, well-stocked, with friendly, helpful employees. We walked to the lighting department, and saw a few possibilities, but we wanted to check some more. So we drove to the Home Depot on Kingshighway. They had a huge selection.

We found a couple of good possibilities, so we started checking the prices. Everything we liked involved ordering and delivery withing 5 days! That wouldn't work. So back to the car and on to the Lowe's in Kirkwood. Theirs was a much lower selection than the new City Lowe's. So back to South City we went.

We returned to the chandelier we originally liked. (There's a picture of it from Lowe's on-line store at the top of this post.) We bought it. Kerri was thrilled when she unwrapped the box on Christmas morning. But we still didn't know if it was the right choice. We wouldn't know for certain until we could see it hung in the room, and lived with it for a while.

It was installed in time for dinner last nite. To break in the new atmosphere, we made a German meal from an old family recipe out of the leftovers from Christmas dinner.

Sitting at the table, and still deciding whether we liked the new light fixture or not, something dawned on me: the design manages to capture certain aspects of St. Louis! In lighting design terms, they call it "transitional", not modern or traditional. The fixture has a wrought iron-looking infrastructure, with a glass center. Twin oval glass cores are surrounded by a light metal frame with metal branches radiating from the center.

Our neighbor's first reaction was. "Is it antique?"

"No, Lowe's" I responded.

Around us, other blocks go all out for Christmas; ours shines on Halloween. Now, with the lights dimmed on the new chandelier, we get a look that is evokes a St. Louis haunted house. We doubt our house is haunted, but St. Louis is known for having lots of them. During Halloween, our block is definitely haunted, so if we ever have a Halloween party, we'll be ready.

We sat and finished dinner, and agreed, the light would do just fine.

Friday, December 22, 2006

This is Not A Strat!


This is not a Strat...

This is not a Strat...

But it's going on the St. Louis cool list...

K-line Guitars, as shown in the picture above, are handmade in a custom shop in St. Louis County by company owner, Chris Kroelein. They are available at G-Gravity on S. Broadway in the City.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Steeplejacks Rising

If you want to see a rare sight, check out the west steeple at St. Agatha's Church in Soulard, just south of Anheuser-Busch, on the east side of Highway 55. Steeplejacks have been working on the steeple for the past few days.

At left is a picture of a steeplejack plying her trade. The actual steeple under repair is the rear one shown in the upper picture...

Our former next door neighbor's father is a retired steeplejack. He would often come over to her house and do small house repairs. Talk about your overqualified handyman!

StL VIP Access

Ted Wight has created a blog that takes you inside some of the most beautiful homes and gardens around the St. Louis area.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Webs Rising

Apparently, it's not just STL that's rising... (cool stuff in Buffalo, NY) (gay bookstore in DC) (for the democratic party) (for a submarine city) (for a theater group) (for musicians) (a strategy to end the war in Iraq) (to combat prostate cancer) (poems, short stories) (moms organizing) (for moderate and conservative black leadership and progress) (documenting your fears) (for Uganda) (dedicated to revitalizing lower Manhattan in the wake of 9-11) (for the rest of us) (online computer game) (magazine supporting the rise of women) (multi-billion dollar downtown St. Lake City revitalization program)

People Are Talking

The Mullanphy Wall Raising effort has people talking all over town. On Wednesday, Mayor Slay's blog gave the effort another boost.

Years ago, the job to save the Eugene Field house got done thanks to school kids across St. Louis donating their pennies, nickels and dimes to save a historic St. Louis building.

Today, it will take a similar community drive if we are to save a threatened St. Louis landmark from disappearing forever.

Do you share a pride in our city and its history? Do you believe in the power of community? Do you believe one person can make a difference? If you do, now is the time to take action based on your beliefs.

We don't have the luxury of time to extend deadlines or wait on others to come up with the first dollar. Every amount helps.

Let's see what we can do if we all pull together.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Mullanphy Wall Raising

Normally we wait until spring to hold a yard sale, but this year, since we are raising money to help the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group save the Mullanphy Emigrant Home, let's start the sale a few months early.

We have a solid oak, center leaf, pedestal table and chairs (very similar to the one in the picture above, just stained a few shades darker), taking up scarce space in our basement.

So, in order to free up some walking around room, and help out the ONSLRG, we are offering to sell the set to the highest bidder (minimum bid $50) and donate all proceeds to the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group. Local delivery is available. If interested, please email me at Deadline to submit bids is next Friday, December 22 at 5:00 PM.

Town Talk Triple Play

You never know what to expect when you read the Journal's Town Talk feature, and this week's selections certainly do not disappoint.

St. Louis is known as the "Neighborhood City", and our first selection provides insight into the strong sense of community and neighborhood pride exhibited by so many St. Louis area residents:

"Ready the boiling oil"

all the crime in the City of St. Louis. Is there any way to keep all those horrible, sick people out of South County? I know years ago they built that River Des Peres moat to keep all the bad city people out of South County, but the city people built bridges and they are able to get in the County. Is there any way that we can call President Bush and have him build a fence like they are doing in Mexico? We keep them out using the moat and then we've got the river on the eastern side that keeps the Illinois people out. There's got to be some we way can protect South County.

One of the more entertaining aspects of Town Talk is the way the themes of some calls carry over from week to week, giving voice to a form of community dialogue. Our next selection is in response to our inaugural Town Talk of the Week, "Senior Glut"

"Respect your elders, or else"

I'M CALLING ABOUT the guy that disagrees with the senior citizens voting and holding up the line shopping. I'll tell that punk one thing. I'm 79 years old. I drive a Corvette. I'm dating younger women. In fact, I might even be dating his wife and I take Viagra four times a week and nobody gives me any crap. If I ever see him out in public, I'm going to punch him right in the head.

St. Louis is known as a spiritual, town, steeped in religious traditions. St. Louis also has a significant elderly population. The caller for our third selection does a nice job combining current events, a belief in a higher power, and the concerns of senior citizens.

"End of days?"

have this many power outages, or is the day of our lord approaching? I am 94 years old and don't remember all these electrical problems. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, I am very selfish; I want to see again. My pastor says I will when I get to heaven.

There was a time when I wondered about the usefulness of the Journal's Town Talk service. Now I think I am starting to understand its true value. To help deal with the pressures of every day life, some people just need an outlet to get things off their chests, and the Journal provides it with Town Talk!

Monday, December 11, 2006

San Francisco Visits St. Louis

If you've never been to Northern California, the weather in STL today is just like a winter day in San Francisco: temperature about 50 degrees, light rain and a light breeze. Nothing too exciting. Just all-day gray and cool. That's about it.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

STL Rising: Call To Build

Have you ever heard of those classified ads that go something like this, "I need just 1,000,000 people to send me $1 apiece"? The thinking is that if we all got together to accomplish a common goal, the strength in numbers can be fantastic.

We have a situation in St. Louis that needs people to come together in support of a common cause-the preservation of the Mullanphy Emigrant Home in the Old North St. Louis neighborhood.

Here's a picture of the building in its heyday:

And here's a picture of the building today:

The Old North St. Louis Restoration Group has taken on the task of saving this historic St. Louis building for today and future generations. They need the support of the community to make this happen. Cost estimates to rebuild the storm damaged wall exceed $100,000. It's the crucial first step in rehabbing this landmark.

We need 100,000 people to donate just $1 apiece to get this done. If you can afford more, please dig deep. Now is the the time to pull together. Contact the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group to offer your support. Any amount will help, but time is of the essence. Please consider making a donation before the end of the year.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Cool STL List

Since we're in the middle of cold snap, why not go with it...and have some fun thinking of all the cool things about St. Louis. St. Louis makes it on a lot of lists, but I bet if the list makers ranked places by how many cool spots they have, STL would rate pretty high. We all have different ideas about what's cool, so add your ideas to the list. When it's done, we'll permanent link it as a resource directory for anyone looking for the cool side of the STL.

St. Louis Cool List

Four seasons
Decorated neighborhoods
A-B Brewery
Grant's Farm
The Arch
Cahokia Mounds
Delmar Loop
Soulard Market
Crown Candy
STL Cardinals
Kid Hockey
The Grove
S. Grand
Historic Cemeteries
The Mississippi River
Our Lady of the Snows
Forest Park
Tower Grove Park
Carondelet Park
Fountain Park
Glencoe Steam Trains
Ted Drewes
Old Cathedral
New Cathedral
Doctor to Patient Ratio
Hospital Bed to Patient Ration
Free Art Museum
Free History Museum
Free Zoo
Muni Theater
Hibernian's Dogtown Parade
Krewe Barkus Parade
City Museum
Free Concerts at the Arch
Eads Bridge
Jefferson Barracks
Civil War History
Old Court House
Revolutionary War History
SLU High
Wash U
Sisters of St. Jospeph Reliquary
Lemp Brewery
Steel Guitar Hall of Fame
Gravity Strings
Killer Vintage
Eddie's Guitars
Confluence of the Missouri/Mississippi
Great Rivers Greenway
Heine Meine Field
Missouri Botanical Garden
Laumeier Sculpture Park
St. Charles Historic Main Street
Steinberg Ice Rink
Old Town Florissant, Webster, Ferguson, Kirkwood, Clayton, Ladue, Bel Nor, Normandy
Brick Streets
CWE Street Lights
Brick neighborhoods
Forested neighborhoods
Yard Sales
Neighborhood Bars
Emerging Macklind Avenue
Scholar Shop
Our Little Haven

Would you add anything?