For Christmas one of my brothers sent me this:
a Krakowska, from Piekutowski’s. It’s a ham based sausage, and Pope John Paul II said it is the best Krakowska outside of Krakow. This sausage maker is located in the old neighborhood in North St. Louis, and I have been eating this for as long as I can remember. When I lived in the neighborhood it was a working-class area with mostly Poles and Germans. The older generation were good friends with my grandparents, and when my brother went in to buy this, the old guy was there helping out.
Another food I associate with St. Louis and love is White Castle hamburgers, also an acquired taste. They are tiny square hamburgers, steamed with onions and served on tiny square buns. There is a White Castle right near the St. Louis airport and it is always my first stop when I fly in. Sometimes it is my last stop as well, I get frozen ones to take home.
When I was a young teenager going to Steak ‘n Shake late at night was the thing to do. It was a real diner, with hamburgers freshly cooked on grill and served on thick white plates with a side order of fries (chips). Now it is a chain, and this one is located here. They are going for a retro vibe, everyone still wears a white dress shirt with a black bow tie and a paper hat. But it is not nearly as special, there was that intoxicating freedom of being out and about late at night when I was young. And I can’t replicate that.
But they still make a pretty decent hamburger, and me and Miss P enjoyed this one today.
Christmas presents can be an emotional minefield. As a kid there is that one thing that you really, really want, like the bb gun in “A Christmas Story” or a pony. Very often that is the thing that you are not going to get. In my family we tended to get a toy or two and utilitarian necessities, like underwear and socks.
Miss Revlon was the doll to get in 1960, before that upstart Barbie took over the doll market. After Christmas in school, some kids would brag about how much loot they pulled in, so we would always lie, or at least exaggerate. Halloween is a much more egalitarian holiday.
My brother and I went to one of the big downtown department stores (when such things existed) and had our picture taken with Santa. We gave the picture to my white gran for Christmas, and she cut it down to this size.
As an adult, present buying has it’s own difficulties. First: as adults we have the ability to go out and buy whatever it is we want, except maybe that new BMW. We don’t actually need anything, so you have to be more ingenious in figuring out what people might actually like. Secondly: there are those persons that you are obliged to give a gift to, but don’t really know, so you fall back on the sweet stuff, cookies, homemade candy or even fruitcake. The recipient either eats this and lives to regret it, or re-gifts it onward. Miss P likes to give out sacks of homemade dog biscuits, and so far no one has ever complained. Okay, she doesn’t really want to give them out, she would much prefer to eat every single one herself. But a girl (dog) has to watch her weight.
So Merry Christmas to All and God Bless Us Everyone.
The county courthouse is always a symbol of civic pride and importance, and our local courthouse is no exception. Finished in 1903, it was made to last through the ages. And it has, but the courthouse functions moved across the street years ago, now it is a local history museum.
The courtrooms were beautiful, a great place to be tried.
The winged figure isn’t an angel or winged Justice, she is there to represent Gold, Silver had to settle for the back wall.
It still has the manually operated elevator. The courthouse was the scene of a made for TV movie some years ago because of it’s vintage charm. My friend the elevator repairman was hired to stand around for a week or so just to make sure the elevator went at the exact speed the movie makers needed. (It was a great payday).
At first glance the inside of the building looks like marble, but it’s just a very fancy paint job.
Inside there are remnants of the olden days, like this buggy.
Or this room from a writer’s house, which was torn down years ago.
Then there is this rather frightened looking beaver, forever trapped in a display with a beaver hat. I think he might be my favorite exhibit.
It was a lovely week, with unseasonably warm weather, so me and Miss P went over to Manitou Springs to the arcade. It features coin operated rides and games, from the 1930’s up to the very latest. We strolled around the outside and she kept a sharp eye peeled for any lost food.
It’s a great place to visit and drop a bunch of quarters. They have a bit of something for everyone, from a old west stagecoach to the space shuttle.
Here’s the Penny Pincher.
If you hear hoofbeats in the night, think zebra.
There’s vintage Skeeball lanes inside.
There’s even a friendly dragon.
Many places have bi-lingual signs, but this is the first one I’ve every seen that recognizes ‘dog’ as a language. 😉
Miss P just had her 12th birthday. Of course I have no idea when she was actually born, but she came into our life on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, so that is the official holiday. She is not doing well and my veterinarian suggested that I count my blessings and make a list of all the things that make her a great dog.
She was awarded the title “Miss Monkey Paws” of 2004, 2005, 2006 etc. because she likes to use her paws for everything!
She has a great nose for mischief and can smell a bit of dropped food (like this desiccated pizza) at 50 feet and if she finds it, it’s hers! (Unfortunately, she can also detect dead birds, rabbit poo and other revolting things).
She has always been a ‘wiggle butt’, when she is happy she doesn’t just wag her tail, she gets everything moving.
She loves the water and is part-mermaid. She has a wading pool in summer, and will try and bite the stream of water from a hose. Although she tries, she has never been able to stop the evil hose monster, no matter how hard she bites it.
Squeaky toys are also evil, and need to be destroyed as quickly as possible. Her latest birthday present lasted 4 minutes.
She has beautiful naturally curly hair, especially right after her bath.
And people often comment on her beautiful face.
That’s because they don’t see this face, when she has been using her monkey paws to get into trouble. 😉 She is my perfect partner in crime, and I love her.
Today after Miss P got her acupuncture we went walking on the trail by the creek. It was a beautiful day after the recent snow and cold, perfect for a stroll.
Here’s a view of Pulpit Rock, with the new free standing (not attached to a hospital) emergency room that’s being built in front of it.
The trail is a wide paved path, with this inadvertent art created by nature and lazy builders. There are miles of trails, and one can go all the way to downtown from my house.
It’s prettier when the trees are green and leafy.
But I probably would not have been able to spot this fellow. (Okay Miss P spotted him first).
Or his doe. They were just hanging out by the water, then they got up and trotted down the path with the rest of the joggers.