The Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis

Going to a live show is an amazing experience. The first live theater production I ever saw was The Nutcracker at St. Louis’s Fox Theatre. I don’t remember if I was 18, 19, possibly 20 – it was definitely before I was married. I went with my fiance’s mom, his sister, and his now sister-in-law. I remember the total awe I felt as we walked in the doors and fully understood immediately why it is called the Fabulous Fox! The Chinese-inspired ornate details everywhere give a feeling of luxury that makes your evening (or day) even more special. It’s the total package!

I suppose not everyone considers attending a live show to be special. Perhaps they take such things for granted. As someone who currently can only afford to go to a show if the cheapest tickets remain available long enough for me to swoop them up, I consider it to be extremely special and make sure I soak up every minute of the experience – from getting ready to the final bow! The additional eye candy around every turn of the Fox Theatre makes that experience anything but boring!

Here are many (probably TOO many) photos from a tour I took with my girls and my in-laws when we were in St. Louis for a short visit in July. {Click first picture to view full size images.}

Oh to be a photographer for the big shows! Here are some school productions I’ve shot.

St. Louis Basilica

While on vacation in Missouri, we went inside the Cathedral Basilica St. Louis. Oh. My. WOW! These are not paintings; they are mosaics. Millions of tiny pieces of glass!

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Post-Vacation Depression

Is that a thing? I think it’s a thing. Maybe coming home a day earlier to have time to unwind and do laundry isn’t so great after all. Maybe it’s better to get back and hit the ground running so you don’t have time to wonder if it was all a dream or if it really happened. Vacation passes by so fast, and then it’s just over. Back to the same old routine day after day. So I need to talk it out a bit.

I’m from St. Louis, Missouri. Yeah, I lived in various other places (Kansas, Ohio, and Florida) but St. Louis is the place I remember the most. I’ve lived in a south suburban neighborhood of Denver, Colorado, for the past 13.5 years. I have a lot of family and a couple friends in St. Louis still. The trouble with visiting St. Louis is that there are so many people to see, but there is absolutely no way to see everyone due to work schedules and logistics. Thanks to the “great white flight“, a lot of people have moved to new suburbs farther away from the city. Whatever drove them to shinier pastures makes it harder to see them the few times per decade we are able to make the trip.

Of course, my nature is to feel guilty if I’m unable to spend equal time with everyone. On the other hand, it’s unhealthy to shoulder that responsibility because without a doubt, there will be someone feeling hurt that we didn’t spend much (if any) time with them. It’s almost as bad as taking a vacation somewhere else instead of using vacation time to always go “home” and feeling guilty about that. I don’t expect them all to use all their vacation time to come to Colorado every time, though. Guilt over that one resolved! :D

Yes, I miss friends and fam in The Lou, but they all know where we live, too. ;) There’s some nostalgia about visiting St. Louis, but I also like to show off Colorado.

It’s hard knowing how much we’re missed – to the point where they wish so much that we could move back there. That would mean losing our jobs and starting all over, though. It would also mean uprooting kids and pulling them from friendships they’ve formed. No, this is where we live now and will live for quite a while longer. St. Louis may be where I spent my formative years and started my own family, but Colorado is our home now. Family wishing so hard that we could move back there is equal to our wishing so hard that they could move out here by us.

It also doesn’t help that I’m not a great planner and really suck at proactive communication. I’m a friendly person and can carry on a short, polite conversation with just about anyone, but I’m not good at long conversations. I run out of things that seem important enough to talk about. I don’t care for gossip, and I like to keep certain things private. So long talks exhaust me and really showcase my social awkwardness. That sometimes makes me seem like I don’t care or am unappreciative, which couldn’t be further from the truth!

So why the post-vacation depression? Because of all of the above. I didn’t see everyone I wanted to see. I didn’t spend enough time with all of the people I did see. I can’t help but think about other uses for the money we spent on the trip. Finally, I feel like I didn’t express enough how happy I was to spend whatever amount of time I did with each person. I’m an imperfect and flawed human being.

The dread of returning to work and catching up on emails, meeting notes, and any changes that may have taken place doesn’t help things, either!

Here’s the plan: Plop my arse down on the couch and watch some shows I missed last week and then meet tomorrow head first to plow right back into the normal routine.

Coldwater Creek Contamination | St. Louis, Missouri

I grew up, for the most part, in north St. Louis county very near Coldwater Creek. News of radioactive waste having made its way into this creek is not new. However, every time this news surfaces, it seems to be swept under a rug and all but forgotten for several years before making headlines again. Perhaps this time, with the popularity of social networking sites and ever growing technology keeping social media alive, it won’t just be swept under a rug again.

Here’s the story about the known radioactive contamination of Coldwater Creek and the high numbers of cancers and auto-immune diseases in the area. You can read about it and watch a video of the news segment. I would have embedded the video, but that option wasn’t available. The statistics are staggering. The numbers may seem small, but these are only the known cases. My dad lived in the house at point A in the photo below far longer than I did. Was the cancer that took his life so early only linked to smoking, or could this have had any impact at all? We’ll never know, but it does make me wonder a little.

Here’s part 2 of the story aired the next night. This segment covers the West Lake Landfill.

Here’s a map of my neck of the woods growing up:

Coldwater Creek in Florissant, Missouri - North County St. Louis

Hazelwood Central is seen briefly in the news segment linked above and is also a short walking distance away from the creek.

Here’s a closer image showing the distance from the house I lived in from age 7 to 14 to part of Coldwater Creek:

Coldwater Creek in Florissant, Missouri - North County St. LouisThe Florissant Valley of Flowers Festival is held on the banks of Coldwater Creek in that open space you see to the right of point B. When I was young and living in the house at point A, I’m pretty sure we went to that festival every year. We shopped in that shopping center that backs up to it. I played outside almost daily. I know! That’s practically a foreign concept to kids in this day and age, huh?

Granted, I didn’t play in the creek and didn’t live closer to the source of the contamination. That was only about four miles away, though. It’s all very bizarre to hear about now.

I would say I’m glad we moved to Colorado when our kids were little, but the Denver area is not without its own dumping grounds. :O Humans are pretty disgusting creatures and make the worst messes of the planet than any other living creature on it. There really is no escaping it.

St. Louis, MO | Charming Vacation Rentals Across America

Dibs on the cottage accommodation (left) at this bed & breakfast!  I loves me some exposed brick!  If you’re going to go to St. Louis, you may as well stay close to everything the city has to offer.  This accommodation in the Lafayette neighborhood (trust me, it’s pretty cool) puts you close to just about anything you want to see in and around the city. See more info on their personal website.

How cool is this place? It’s like going back in time! Originally built in 1880, it was restored/remodeled 101 years later. They don’t build houses like they used to! To think that the original owners probably loaded up in their horse-drawn carriage to go to the 1904 World’s Fair right there in their home town – awesome!

Despite the image portrayed of St. Louis (or was that East St. Louis?) in National Lampoon’s Vacation, St. Louis is a great old city. I’d still recommend steering clear of East St. Louis, though. Definitely see the Arch, the St. Louis Zoo (FREE), a multitude of museums, and so much more.  Here’s a list of 25 things to do in St. Louis.

How do I know so much about St. Louis, you ask? It’s my home town! I was born there and spent most of my life (so far) there. Yep! I lived in the City of Flowers … Florissant. I recommend trying St. Louis’s own Imo’s Pizza while in town. Another St. Louis restaurant for yummy Italian food is Pasta House. Their salad is to D-I-E for! I could go on and on, but my mouth might start to water!