Elliot Visits St. Louis

Kid Adam took his oldest son, Graham, on a business trip to Washington, D.C., recently. He thought he owed middle son Elliot a trip, so they hopped on a jet for a weekend in St. Louis. Graham, is 7; Elliot is 5, and Kid 3, Finn, is 3.

Being a born and bred Florida boy, he wasn’t quite sure if he liked cold Missouri weather. (You can click on the photos to make them larger. Once clicked, you can use your arrow keys to step through them)

First stop: City Museum

I don’t have many photos from the City Museum because Elliot could go through places the fire department would have to cut me out of. Even his skinny dad contorted his body into shapes I didn’t think possible.

There’s a saying that there are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots. I was perfectly content to let Elliot be bold while I played old.

When we got to the gift shop, I told him to pick something out. He found a stack of shiny stones that WERE quite attractive. When he went to check out, the cashier said, “Four dollars.” She must have seen my face, because she quickly said that the four bucks would buy a tiny pouch that he could fill with as many stones as would fit.

He managed to cram four stones in it, and he played with it the whole time he was in town. Money well spent. His Uncle Mark (actually, I guess he’s his GREAT-uncle) kept scheming to try to entice the rocks from him for some sundry good or service, but he resisted.

Earlier visits to City Museum

The rooftop was closed for the winter when Adam and Elliot were there, but I DID manage to convince Curator Jessica to ride the Ferris wheel in 2014. (Despite hearing her mutter, “You’re standing on a banana peel on the steps to eternity, but I’ve got a lot of life left, and I don’t intend to die on a Ferris wheel in St. Louis.”)

Son Matt and crew were the first Florida Steinhoff contingent to visit the museum. Malcolm, like Elliot, explored all there was to be explored.

Licking the Arch

Elliot was afraid his tongue would stick to the stainless steel arch since it was a cold day, so I told him that he only had to stick it out for the photo.

I’ve had various results convincing first-timers that it’s customary to lick the arch. See the results.

The scale of the Arch was lost on a 5-year-old who was getting cold and tired.

He thought the tram ride to the top was kind of interesting, but it didn’t take long before he said, “I’m bored.”

Pulitzer Arts Museum

Our first stop the second day was the Pulitzer Arts Museum. He and I weren’t all that impressed by the “art” that was displayed inside.

We liked “Joe” a lot better. Here’s the official description of it. It reminds me of why I often wish I was wearing high boots in art museums.

Commissioned by Emily Rauh Pulitzer as a permanent feature of the courtyard, Richard Serra’s Joe articulates a space that reframes perceptions of scale and movement through its subtle, shifting contours. As a counterpoint to Tadao Ando’s angular forms and immutable concrete, Joe conveys an evolving sense of the organic; the walls of the sculpture’s spiral path expand and contract, conveying you to its center—a vast expanse of sky, framed by a ribbon of weathering steel. Named in homage to the late Joseph Pulitzer Jr., who commissioned the artist’s first site-specific sculpture in 1970, Richard Serra’s Joe stands as a testament to the forces of life that influence and shape us.

At the top of the stairs in the museum was a phonographic turntable with some vinyl records. Elliot, a child of the digital age, was fascinated. He suggested that we chill and listen to some music.

Before long, he and his dad were dancing.

National Memorial Family Church of God in Christ

While we were driving around looking for a place to eat, we ran across the ruins of the National Memorial Family Church of God in Christ. The remaining walls of the church had been reinforced, so it was safe to walk in.

Elliot found a small piece of stone inside, and wanted to take it with him to remember the visit. I felt a strong generational bond. I have bricks from Athens, Cape, my grandfather’s liquor store in Advance, and a “convict brick” made by Ohio prisoners and used to build a school. We weren’t sure the TSA would be happy with it in his carry-on, so I mailed it to him later.

St. Louis Science Center

Uncle Mark, who lives in St. Louis, knows all the tricks, so we saved $10 by parking for free at the McDonnell Planetarium, which is connected to the Oakland Building by a walkable Skybridge over Interstate 64/Highway 40. The skybridge is neat because it has holes where you can look down on the traffic below. It also has radar guns and speed displays. In the days when radar detectors were more common in cars, it was fun to watch drivers lock down when their warnings lit up.

He got to check out dinosaurs and see how he’d fit in one of their footprints.

He got to feel wild winds, build a an arch out of foam blocks, and learn all about electricity.

One of the coolest things was a board where you placed elements to show the flow of electricity from the power plant to the substations to transformers to neighborhoods of houses.

He was playing with the blocks when a boy of 8 or 10 walked up and patiently explained the whole concept to him. They played for quite a while, learning how eliminating one house wouldn’t make the rest go dark, but losing a substation or a transformer could.

After the old boy wandered off, Elliot stuck around trying different sets of blocks. A little girl about his age showed up, and Elliot took on the role of tutor, passing on what the older boy had told him. Girls, apparently aren’t much interested in electricity, so she didn’t hang around long.

Finally, it was time to rehydrate  and head back to Uncle Mark’s house for another treat.

Lime-S Electric Scooter

It seemed like bright lime-green electric scooters were buzzing around all over town. Mark explained how they were rented, and Adam located an unused one about two blocks away.

You can learn how the concept works by going to the Lime website.

He scored it by putting some money in a smartphone app, then he and Elliot went cruising up and down Flora Place. Mark loaned him a helmet and tried to charge his nephew four rocks for it, but the transaction didn’t happen.

I only have the one shot showing him rating the ride two-thumbs-up because I concentrated on video.

Next up will be night shots of the Missouri Botanical Gardens Glow Garden.

Castor River Shut-Ins

Wife Lila and Grandson Malcolm came up for a visit. When Malcolm was here last year, we went to Johnson’s Shut-Ins and Elephant Rocks. He liked them well enough he told us he wanted to do the same when he came back in 2018.

“I LOVE this place,” he commented. It’s good to see him infected with the Midwest. There may be hope for him.

Anyway, just as we were getting ready to pull out of the driveway, I saw Neighbor Bill across the street and told him where we were going. He asked, “Have you ever been to Castor River Shut-Ins.

I allowed as how I hadn’t, but since it was about half the distance to our original destination, we decided to check it out. (You can click on the photos to make them larger, by the way.)

Their new favorite place

My visitors said they liked it better than Johnson’s Shut-Ins. It has all the rock climbing of Elephant Rocks, with the water fun. I agree that all the pink granite is pretty, but Johnson’s has more cool water flumes to shoot down.

Traded bold for old

My bold days have been traded for old days, so I was conservative about where I stepped and climbed. Wife Lila was a bit more aggressive because she wanted to keep an eye on Malcolm so she could write the “Dear Matt and Sarah, Guess what we did to your kid” letter.

A gasp and a splash

It wasn’t long before Malcolm was playing mountain goat and heading up a near vertical wall.

I heard Lila gasp, followed by a splash. Showing that she really is a photographer at heart, she complained that there was a branch in the way that kept her from getting a good shot when he slipped and bounced on his backside into the river.

He sat in the cool water for a few minutes regrouping before frolicking some more. About the only thing injured was his pride.

Beautiful scenery

The place is pretty, offers plenty of room to spread out, and wasn’t overrun by people, even though it was a hot day.

Google says that the Castor River Shut-Ins are 45.7 miles (1 hour, 9 minutes) from Cape via MO-72. Johnson’s Shut-Ins are 88.6 miles (1 hour, 53 minutes), also on MO-72.

Earlier visits to Johnson’s Shut-Ins and Elephant Rocks

Road Warriorette Shari and Curator Jessica also made it to the parks in 2017, but they didn’t do anything outrageous enough to publish.

 

 

 

Raised on Raisin Bread

We Steinhoff boys were raised on cinnamon sugar peanut butter toast made with raisin bread bought at the “used bread store.” Mother would go to the Bunny Bread outlet and buy loaves of the stuff, and turn out a dozen or so slices every morning.

Sounds as much as taste

What I remember more than the taste of the gooey stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth concoction was the sounds of its making.

It would start out with the squeak of the springs in the oven door being pulled down. Then there was a clatter and crashing when Mother removed all the heavy pots and pans stored in the oven. That would be followed by a tinny sliding sound when she took out the warped and bent cookie sheet.

She’d butter up as many slices of bread as the sheet would hold, then sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on them, and stick them in the oven. Just as the sugar was beginning to bubble and, hopefully, before the toast would start to burn, she’d snatch it out of the stove and put a dollop of Peter Pan crunchy peanut butter on it. (I always liked a thin coating of the butter on mine. I didn’t like big globs of the stuff.)

Peach milk shakes

When peaches were in season, she throw some fresh peaches in the blender, along with ice cream and a little milk. Because I was scrawny in grade and high school, she might pitch a couple raw eggs in my shake. Little did we know the delayed effect of that. It took about 35 years for them to add more than the desired bulk.

I don’t do peach milk shakes in the morning, but I DO like a smoothie in the evening. Since I had some fresh strawberries and blueberries for my smoothie, I thought I’d try them on my morning toast. They added an interesting taste change, and looked pretty darned colorful. (The picture was taken with my Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge smart phone. I’m always amazed at the quality it produces. Click on the photo to make it larger.)

For what it’s worth, I’ve found the raisin bread sold at Sam’s Clubs is some of the best around: it’s very dense and has a gazillion raisins. Wife Lila said she likes it with some cream cheese spread on top.

(That’s Son Matt and Grandson Malcolm. Malcolm is sneaking up on his teen years now, but he’s still not crazy about being stuffed into funny shirts.)

 

Boys ‘n’ Toys

dashcam-atlanta-traffic-12-22-2016I figured I’d better get this posted before another Christmas rolls around. (It was supposed to go up before 2016 went to sleep, but the software didn’t want to upload the pix). I normally take two to 2-1/2 days to make it from Cape to West Palm Beach, a distance of 1,110 miles, no matter which route I take. I had the traffic day from hell going through Chattanooga and Nashville. I spent almost all day making less than 200 miles. Even Atlanta, caught at rush hour in the dashcam photo above, only took an hour to clear.

That put me at Son Matt’s house just in time to chow down on Christmas Eve with Sarah, Malcolm and Wife Lila. I was too tired and too busy eating to take pictures of the festivities there.

Christmas at Kid II

Christmas at Adam Steinhoff's 12-25-2016Christmas Day found us out at Son Adam and Carly’s watching Grandsons Graham, Elliot and Finn playing with Santa’s leavings. Wife Lila had made each of the boys a unique Christmas ornament out of palm fronds from the yard, and she wanted to get a shot of the three of them holding them.

Since she had that angle covered, I shot what it was like to herd mischievous cats.

Boys can make blasters

Christmas at Adam Steinhoff's 12-25-2016This goes to prove that boys can make blasters out of anything, not exactly the Christmas spirit image Gran had in mind.

True confession time

Christmas at Adam Steinhoff's 12-25-2016I make a tiny percentage when you shop on Amazon after pressing the Big Red Button at the top of the page. I try to shop locally, but I find myself hitting the Red Button on a regular basis. Since I rely on reviews to make purchasing decisions, I feel it only fair to review stuff I’ve bought.

Have you ever read a review where somebody confesses that they received the item for free or at a discount? Well, I must have written enough reviews that vendors are starting to send me discount and free offers to review their stuff. One of the items was a set of Maggift 30 Pcs Magnetic building blocks.

That sounded like a great stocking stuffer, particularly for free. The older boys were too into their battery-powered toys to be excited by this, and Finn was initially more interested in destroying things his mother made with the blocks than making things himself.

Hey, these things go together

Christmas at Adam Steinhoff's 12-25-2016It didn’t take him long to discover the magnets made it easy to stack the pieces together by shape. The box says ages 3+ but Finn, who is half that, found them fascinating. They look too big to be a choking hazard, and the magnets are affixed well enough that I don’t think they would break off.

A quiet moment

Christmas at Adam Steinhoff's 12-25-2016Any toy that will keep an active toddler occupied and quiet is a good toy. I’ll end up filing a 4 out of 5 star rating for it. A four because the product arrived on time and was as described. Something has to really knock my socks off to get five stars, something I point out to vendors before I agree to review it.

Y’all have a happy and prosperous 2017.