Monday, April 27, 2009

14 Things to do in St. Louis in May

So. Much. Going. On. In. May!!! Therefore, we get a supersized To Do List this month! Many of these events spill into June or even occur throughout the summer. By no means is this list exhaustive, so you can look at STL Today's website for all the events. I obviously post about things that I am interested in and since I live in the city, most of the events are probably in the city or nearby suburbs. So many fun things to do...so little time.

Before we delve into May, I forgot to mention on the last list that this Thursday, 4/30, is Dining Out for Life to benefit AIDS research.

1. St. Louis Microfest in Forest Park (5/1-5/2): One of the beer festivals taking place in Forest Park this summer, the Microfest will feature different beers depending on the session, so you might want to look at the website to see which session appeals to you. You can bring your dog, so you know we're going to go. There will also be food and entertainment.


2. Cinco de Mayo (5/2): According to the website, this celebration on Cherokee Street is the biggest street party in honor of Cinco de Mayo in the country. There's a parade, food, music, vendors. Not to be missed for you Cinco de Mayo die-hards!

3. Spring for Strays (5/3) and Muttini Night (5/10): Two benefits for Stray Rescue are held this month. Spring for Strays is held at Harry's downtown. We went last year and had a blast. The restaurant has a spectacular patio with views of the Arch. They have a silent and live auction and a drag queen show! We're going to try to stop by with Levi. Muttini night is held at Frazer's in Benton Park. Admission is only $10 and you get free appetizers for the first hour!

4. Bark in the Park (5/16): There's enough animal love to go around, right? I swear, Levi's social calendar is jam-packed this month. Bark in the Park is a fundraiser for the Humane Society of Missouri. There is so much going on throughout the day, so I'll let you check out the website. BUT, they do have photos with the AB Clyesdales! You know I'm there. Levi is obsessed with horses, so I'm not sure if we'll let him get in the photo or not;) OMG, and I just saw that there is a Slowpoke Crawl! If it's hot out, Levi's got that one in the bag! Since we entered him in the Mascot Contest (and didn't win-pfft), we are invited to the Mascot Clubhouse, where we will receive a goody bag. I'm excited for it!

5. Illumination Gala for Siteman Cancer Center (5/16): This event held at the Ritz features cocktails, dinners, reception, and after-party. Special guest and cancer survivor Christina Applegate will attend.


6. Shakespeare Festival in Forest Park (5/20-6/14): The play featured this year is The Merry Wives of Windsor, which I know nothing about. Hey, I'm a scientist, not a literary scholar! And every year I say I'm going to go, so hopefully I will actually fulfill my promise this year. This event is FREE and is held near the Art Museum. Just don't come on Tuesday because that's their night off. There will be concessions for sale.

7. Jungle Boogie Friday Night Concert Series (5/22; 5/29): More opportunities for live music in Forest Park! This time, head to the zoo from 5-8 to hear the bands and enjoy some food and drinks. I've been to this before and it's fun to be at the zoo in the evening. I highly recommend it!

8. Rib America (5/22-5/25): Since I don't eat meat, I wouldn't normally attend something with "rib" in the title, but I just saw that I will no doubt experience a hoosier-induced flashback to middle school if I go on Saturday! Warrant AND Bret Michaels performing? Bestill my 13-year old heart! There are going to be good bands too, like Third Eye Blind and Jackyl (just kidding about that last one). Drats though, I will be out of town, so if anyone goes Sat. night, I'd love a report!

9. Garden Party Thursdays (5/28): The Missouri Botanical Garden will stay open until 9p.m. so that you can stroll the grounds and enjoy wine and microbrews. There are events for kids too. This program will continue into September.

10. The Garden Comes Alive Sesquicentennial Gala (5/30): If you've got $1000 to spare, you can purchase a ticket to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Missouri Botanical Garden. Break out your black tie attire and enjoy cocktails, dinner, a program, and music.

11. Taste of Maplewood (5/30): There are some yummy restaurants in Maplewood, so this is a great opportunity to sample a variety of fare at once. I always drive by the boutiques in Maplewood and think, "I need to go in there," but never do. Lucky for me, the boutiques will have items for sale as well!

12. Twilight Tuesdays (Tuesdays in May): I've written about this before, but just wanted to include it again this month. FREE concerts at the Missouri History Museum on Tuesday nights.

13. Fabulous Fridays (Fridays in May): Come to my neighborhood to experience the eclectic atmosphere of the Central West End. Entertainment will include performers like jugglers and fire dancers! I've seen those fire dancers in action before and what they do is pretty amazing. There will no doubt be refreshments for sale as well.

14. Live Music at the Boathouse (Fridays and Saturdays in May): You know why I love the Boathouse? Because of their delectable chips? The beautiful views? The memories (it was the site of Jason and my first date)? Because it's in Forest Park where I spend an inordinate amount of time? Yes, of course those things, but I love it because it's dog-friendly! No doubt will Jason and I bring Levi over for some evening music and beers on the patio. It gets crowded, so come early.

And that'll do it. I'm exhausted just thinking about all the fun times to be had in St. Louis in May! This list was labor-intensive, so I apologize if there are a million spelling/grammatical errors.

Random Monday

I've been bad about blogging, so here's just a quick update.
  1. I tried to be environmentally conscious about the unseasonably high temperatures this past weekend and forgo turning on the AC. I finally caved on Saturday when the indoor temperature reached 84...only to find that the AC is indeed broken. We sweltered the rest of the weekend.

  2. We leave for Belize in less than six weeks!

  3. Earth Day in Forest Park yesterday was really fun and I highly recommend it for next year. I kicked myself for only bringing $5 because there was a lot for sale and after splitting a cookie with Jason for $2, I realized we didn't have enough money to buy kettle corn. It was torture-so close to the deliciousness yet so far. Levi was so hot he kept laying down as we tried to walk back to the car even though we constantly offered him water. It's going to be a loooooooong summer.

  4. I bowled on Jenn's team in support of Big Brothers/Big Sisters and our friend Ali who works for them. The highlight of the night was definitely bowling a turkey! I am a bad bowler, so that was huge for me. Talk about luck. Not only that, I bowled 150 for that round!

  5. We took the birdies to the vet on Saturday and each received a clean bill of health. Taking them in is something I dread, so I'm happy it's over. Lola weighed in at a whopping 83g, while puny Monty only weighed 77g. They usually weigh about the same, but it's good that Lola is eating up since she's started egg laying already, much to the displeasure of my eardrums.

  6. I'm afraid I might have injured my foot in the race last weekend. I ran for the first time since then this morning and it wasn't good. Please hope it gets better because I cannot be sidelined right now:(

  7. Taking a page from Mr. and Mrs. P, Jason and I are putting together a puzzle. Yup, that's what we spent our Saturday night doing and it was quite fun, thank you very much. We did a few puzzles earlier in our relationship, so we're used to being losers.

  8. I went by an art show on Saturday to visit Julie Birkemeier who volunteers with us at Stray Rescue on Thursday nights. Aside from obviously being very talented, Julie is simply a genuine, nice person. Julie is a photographer, but also does really cool things with her photographs like turn them into coasters. I purchased a set of four and they are so pretty, I almost felt badly using them! But, they are totally waterproof and very well-constructed. Check out Julie's Etsy store and her blog too. I mixed and matched my set, but here is my favorite:

Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Weekend Recap

I'm soooooooooooo happy this weekend is over! It started off with a bang on Friday night. My uncle married his longtime girlfriend (like over 30 years longtime) in a lovely ceremony and beautiful reception. Jason and I don't dress up much these days, so we had to get a picture from the night.

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Saturday was devoted to my nervousness about the half-marathon. In the evening, I had a delicious pre-race dinner. I made some whole wheat pasta with veggies and fake meat crumbles.

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I topped that off with Red Velvet and Turtle Gooey Butter Cake from Park Avenue, but purchased at Straub's. Gooey butter cake is a St. Louis thing, so if you don't know about its artery-clogging goodness, check out the link above. Jason and I split the two pieces so that we could sample each flavor.

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The tracking chip for the race was pretty cool this year. Usually, it's a whole little device that you attach to your shoe, but the chip was basically embedded into a laminated strip of paper. So cool and so technologically advanced. You can see how thin it was on my shoelace.

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This morning kicked off at 6am. True to the forecast, it was raining. Jason decided once again to ride his bike so that he could catch me at multiple places on the course. I felt pretty good at the start and pushed myself through the whole race. It rained on and off throughout the morning. If you care (ha ha), I ended up wearing the most paperthin shorts I own so that I wouldn't be dripping wet. That worked out pretty well. Here I am pre-race and still dry!

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One of the highlights of the race had to be going by the Anheuser Busch Brewery and seeing one of the Clydesdale horses that they brought outside. Its mane was all styled and I was giddy seeing it so close. Unfortunately, that was only a few miles into the race. If only they could have stationed them throughout for my personal benefit;)

This is pretty early on; you can tell because I'm still smiling. I look hideous in this picture, but it's so funny because I didn't realize Jason was there until the last second and I was so happy to see him.

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Here are just some random pictures of the course. You can see how miserable it was. Actually, it could have been a lot worse; it wasn't windy, it was relatively warm, and the rain was not a downpour. It also could have been hot, which would have been the death of me.

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Here I am on the course. Not such genuine smiles this time.

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My bursitis didn't start hurting until the end of the race. I admit that I was struggling those last two miles or so. Everything hurt and even though I wanted to run faster, my body just wouldn't cooperate. Jason found me around that time and rode part of the way with me, talking to me, which was nice. I sprinted (at least I felt like I did) at the end and am happy I did because I finished in just under 1:50:00 to beat my time from last year. My official chip time was 1:49:51, which placed me 45/800 for my age division. Not too shabby. Here are my official stats.

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I felt awful after finishing. Last year I felt pretty good, but this year, not so much. I felt nauseous and was in so much pain that I was on the verge of tears. I guess it's the supercompetitive person in me that says it was all worth it to set a new personal best. I am already sore and spent about two hours alternating between the bathroom and bed when I got home (sorry if TMI!), but I finished faster than last year, dammit!

Some of my friends came down to cheer me and another friend on and I just want to thank them! Even though we actually kept missing each other, knowing they were there gave me so much motivation. They got up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning and stood in the rain for hours to catch a few glimpses of their friends. How sweet is that? Thanks, ladies!

And Jason has been amazing throughout this whole process. He's switched around his work hours so that he could come home early to walk Levi while I trained. The best part was when I finished my runs and we met up in the park and Levi ran to me like it was first time he'd seen me in months. Now it's my turn to take over Levi duties so that Jason can get back on the bike and train for a race this summer.

Here are just a few from when I got home. I was freezing, tired, and grouchy.

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But perhaps the most painful part of the day was untangling my rat's nest in the shower with handfuls of conditioner.

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Thank goodness it's all over!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Meteorologists are sometimes wrong, right?

Let's see what my favorite local news channel has to say about the weather on Sunday for the half-marathon.
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Not so promising. Let's see if the weather channel disagrees.


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Nope. Third time's a charm?

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That's a big fat no. It looks like without some divine intervention, Sunday morning is going to be a soggy one. I tried running in the rain for one of my 12-mile training runs and it didn't go so well. I had puddles of rainwater in my underwear and called it a day after six miles. I couldn't justify getting blisters before raceday. So, my running in the rain experience is limited. At least it will be relatively warm, I suppose.

At least when my time sucks, I have something to blame it on? I've just been feeling fat and out of shape in general lately and am not too confident about doing well on Sunday. I did a short run yesterday and actually felt good, bursitis and all. But then this morning I was doing tricep dips at the gym and bumped the exact sore spot on a dumbell I left underneath me. I am so accident-prone. So, I've been hobbling around all day with pain that is worse than normal.

Then there is the issue of what to wear. Is it better to wear shorts when you're soaking and risk getting cold? Or should I wear cropped pants? I don't have much when it comes to raingear, so I'm contemplating just wearing a garbage bag over my clothes. Last year at a race in the fall, the rain was so torrential that they called it after 10 miles. Maybe that wouldn't be so bad? All of this just adds to the dread I'm experiencing about the race. I just need to not put so much pressure on myself to beat my time from last year and focus on simply running the whole thing. Oh, and to my lovely friends who are vowing to come that day, I think you would be better off staying in bed all warm, cozy, and dry, don't you think? You shouldn't risk getting sick or struck by lightning:)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Best News Ever!!!

Remember how I mentioned that my Research Assistantship is over come 8/1 because the grant that pays me is up? That means no more free health insurance, tuition remission, and stipend:( I applied for a fellowship through the graduate school and have been waiting on pins and needles to find out if I got it. WELL, I just received a personal phone call from the dean telling me they chose me to receive one of the six fellowships available to all the students that applied for it! HOORAY!

The best part about the fellowship is that the stipend is basically to get my ass out the door. I won't have any work other than finishing my dissertation. In fact, they stress the fact that they don't want you working on anything but your dissertation. I have really enjoyed my RA and gotten multiple publications out of it, but it demands 20 hours/week (and isn't at all related to my dissertation) and it will be awesome to devote all my time to finishing up. Believe me, I have A LOT to do. I was worried about finding a part-time job to supplement Jason's income. Not only do I have to spend almost all of my time in the lab until I begin writing my dissertation, but many of my experiments are time-sensitive. It would have been really hard to find a job to accomodate my schedule. So, one more year, people. The end is in sight!!!

In other school-related news, I have to redo the stats for a manuscript that was literally a day away from submission for publication. I can't tell you how depressed this makes me. I worked so hard and edited the damn thing so many times. The second author (who's basically my scientific idol) has also graciously spent an unbelievable amount of time helping me and editing the manuscript. One of the other co-authors recommended we change the stats and the stats guy in my department (yet another co-author) ended up agreeing. So, not only do I have to redo the analysis, but will need to rewrite portions of the methods, and rewrite the results, redo the figures, and possibly rewrite the discussion. Ouch. And this is for a paper that is not technically part of my dissertation. Oh well, I'll be a better person in the end, right?

And since I want to end on a happy note, that new protocol I talked about actually worked! I absolutely could not have done it without the hours and hours of time a professor who is not even on my dissertation committe spent helping me. Talk about the nicest guy ever. It's not completely perfected yet, but at least we know that it will work for my purposes. That means full steam ahead, hence the now insanely busy life. It's a good busy, though:)

Here's a picture of my two favorite guys in the world who will no doubt be helping me celebrate...but not until the weekend.

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