For folks who don't know, I'm vacationing in the great American mid-west this week. I lived here in Indiana for about 10 years and came back to visit with friends. I truly love it here and don't even mind at all that it's rained most of the time. The columbine are almost ready to bloom, the air is fresh and the soil moist and all is right with the world.
Last weekend a friend and I took a mini road-trip over to St. Louis to see the sites and taste the tastes. We're both fans of food and like exploring regional dishes and specialties. On our first day in StL we took a trolley tour around the city to help us get a sense of where things were and to learn about other things we might want to see. For just $20 you can enjoy a 75 minute narrated tour of some of the high-points on the city. Charlie, our driver, was very knowledgeable and quite humorous. I'd highly recommend a bus or trolley tour of any city where you want to learn what's what.
We didn't go up in the arch. That didn't sound like fun and anyway, seeing the arch itself peeking at you from different areas of the city gave you a sense of where you were and was a nice hello. On day two we visited the St Louis Art Museum (free!!) in Forest Park, a beautiful park area that was used for sporting during the 1904 World's Fair. The museum features world-class collections of art from a variety of areas and periods. My favourite was the Asian arts, and one Buddha statue in particular that really spoke to me. It was so lifelike and amazing. Luckily they had postcards of it in the gift shop! After a spin around the museum, we stopped over at the zoo, also in Forest Park and also FREE! We had lunch and took a ride on the zoo train to get an overview of what they had to offer. Unfortunately, the rain moved in along with a bitter cold so we didn't stay too long.
Foodwise, St Louis is a good time. We sought out some dishes that we'd heard or read about as being St Louis specialties. First is Provel cheese. Provel is a processed cheese made of a mixture of cheddar, swiss and provolone. It's delicious and melts incredibly well. It's like a tangier white a little firmer than Velveeta-like texture cheese. I hope that description isn't insulting to the cheese. We had garlic cheese toast at Zia's, an Italian restaurant in the Italian area of town ("The Hill") that was made with Provel (we think) and was awesome. (The rest of our experience at the restaurant was a little iffy but I don't want to make a public judgment after only one visit.) St. Louis is also known for a thing called a gooey butter cake which is something like a buttery blonde brownie with a firmer crust than top, dusted with powdered sugar. We tried to get a cake from a place that was recommended called Gooey Louie but when we got there Saturday afternoon, they'd sold out! So, we located a market and were able to find all the goodies we were looking for... the Provel, the cake, and a particular brand of salami called Volpi.
On Sunday, on our way back to Indiana, we stopped off at Cahokia Mounds, the site of an enormous city that thrived in southern Illinois way back in the 1250's and beyond. It was larger than London at that time and home to a sophisticated native American culture. The interpretive center is very comprehensive and wonderful, and there's a 15 minute film that introduces you to the culture and ideas behind the mounds that were left. No one knows why the city was abandoned even before the settlers arrived.
All along the way I picked up goodies and postcards. Some of you can expect a postcard in the mail in the next few weeks! I'm in Indiana for just a few more days, relaxing and enjoying myself. Tomorrow I have an appointment with my tattoo artist that I haven't seen in over 3 years!
I was recently approached by a company who asked if I’d like to participate in their affiliate program whereby I place an ad on my blog and receive a little bit of money per click on said ad. Well, I don’t do ads. The links and banners and whatever else you find here are all put there by me, for you. None of them are paid ads, just suggestions. Even my long list of stationery sources is just an fyi. I don’t particular endorse any of them although there are a few friends sprinkled among the list. Usually I just want to share stuff that I find cool or important.
That said, I am totally open to doing product reviews. If a company wants to send me a sample of their product in return for an honest assessment posted here on my blog, I think that’s fun. I’m always willing to share my opinion. But I also need to stress the fact that I am honest. If you want to send me a sample of Product A and in trying out Product A I learn that the parent company of Product A is a Monsanto-loving monster, I’ll be sharing that fact. Conversely, if I learn that Product A and its company donates 10% of their revenue toward saving the rainforest, I’ll share that too.
There have been cases where I received a product to review and the product was so shoddy that I didn’t even want to post anything about it. I’m not out to bad-mouth anyone and I will write back to the contact and explain to them why I won’t post a review. But if your permanent hair-dye washes out after less than a week, that’s not permanent. That was a waste of my time.* And I’m willing to admit that maybe it’s something I did wrong, or maybe we got a sour bottle, or whatever the case may be. I’d rather put the failure on me than publicly cry about it. So I’m fair that way.
So anyway, if you'd like to send me something to review, you're more than welcome to contact me. I can't say that millions of people will see the review here but I'll do what I can.
*I’d like to point out that I don’t dye my hair. It’s naturally brown and mousey with streaks of silver. My test subject was my husband’s horse-like black mane.
Last Wednesday (not the past Wednesday, but Wednesday last), I fibbed. I told someone I was working when I really had the day off. I didn’t want to see this person and didn’t have the courage to just say that. So I lied. You might not think that to be so bad except I literally have a VOW not to lie. Lying is a slippery slope that leads to all kinds of other problems. I confess that I did it. I should not have done it. I won’t do it again. It would’ve been better if I hadn’t answered the call. But I was afraid of this person just showing up on my doorstep and that would’ve been really uncomfortable for me. People who know me know that I dislike unannounced visitors. Even my best friends know to call days ahead. So anyway, I answered the call to intercept a possible unannounced arrival and as such felt I had to fib my way out of a situation I didn’t want to be in. I won’t say I had to fib, because that’s not the case. But next time, really, I’m just not going to answer the call. Or the door.
I’m pondering the possibility of working at home (WAH). Management at work is opening up a pilot program to see if it would work for our department. I’ve wanted to work from home for YEARS. But I need to really consider the implications of it, and work off the checklist they gave us to make sure that my home meets the criteria. Thing is, I’d need to turn my bedroom into an office and turn the living room into a bedroom! You need to have a separate, lockable work space as your home office and the only place I can do that is in the bedroom. I don’t at all mind making that switch being that it’s just me in my little apartment. But I may need to pay to have cable installed in the bedroom, and maybe a phone jack too if there isn’t already one. I’m willing to do both of these things as long as the apartment folks say it’s ok. If they say no, there goes my hope of working from home! Fingers crossed they’ll agree!
Do you work from home? How do you like it? Is it everything I hope it is??