Ice Storm

Park Central West You have all read or seen the weather reports about the ice storm that covered Texas to the Northeast coast. It was pretty significant in Southwest Missouri, with Springfield getting 2 inches over a three day period. The region that was hit the hardest stretched for what would be an hour long drive just West of Springfield up to Lebanon MO along I-44, extending a similar distance on the North-South axis.

The strangest part of the experience is that the roads and sidewalks were hardly affected. The temperature and slow pace of the rain lent it’s self to covering the trees, bushes and ultimately the grassy areas while there was enough heat retained in the roadways that only a light salting ended up being sufficient. The amount of damage has led the Governor to bring in the National Guard to assist in the cleanup, to be done under FEMA rules only.

I lost power Friday night, around 2:30am (I was unable to sleep due to a head cold and was watching a movie) and it came back on Sunday afternoon around 1:30 pm. 36 hours wasn’t too bad and I was able to enjoy some comfort in the meantime at my friend Diane’s house a mile away. Julie had power as well although while sharing a pizza with her Saturday evening the power went out around 6:00 pm. Following one of many ‘bangs’ that were part of the soundtrack of this experience. Between transformers blowing and tree branches full of ice falling throughout the day and night, it was a bit surreal.

Julie’s still without power but has been enjoying the opportunity to bond with her girlfriend Diane who has never lost power. Haylie’s enjoying extended sleepovers at girlfriends homes that have power and her father and brothers take advantage of the gym’s shower facilities while bundling up under extra blankets at night. My ‘nephew’ Dave and his wife Greta lost power early Friday evening and finally got it back Tuesday morning so they were vagabonds, enjoying friends hospitality and spending some time at my place.

Mom & Dad didn’t have a single problem with the ice storm that swept through St. Louis. That’s a welcome relief after their week without power this past July during the thunderstorms that hit the area and the ice storm that knocked them out for a couple of days in early 2006.

All in all, we have been very lucky. The city continues to work well, there is a strong sense of community support in this region that has been one of the best aspects of my move here. Wish us luck as everyone continues their recovery.

Mother’s Day at Shaw’s Garden

Mother's Day at Shaw's Garden

Mom’s favorite excursion is a trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden’s, otherwise known as Shaw’s Garden, on the south side of St. Louis. We ventured down early Sunday morning under cloudy skies, hoping that the weather would hold and the crowds would be manageable. We did get wet but it didn’t drive us inside, we were prepared and enjoyed the quiet that descended on the gardens with the rain. Eric (pictured above with his grandparents) enjoys it as much if not more then Mom as the pictures show (click on the photo above). Afterwards I took them by my favorite coffee house, Kaldi’s, located in my old stomping grounds from grad school. Whether espresso or hot cocoa, everyone had something to dip the cookies.

SteveO turns 50

Harmony I passed the half century mark last Friday and my sisters and friends made certain it didn’t go by without some ceremony. In particular they held a party at our friend Diane Spade’s home near the MSU campus. There was a nice crowd of Glendale soccer parents who we have gotten to know well as we share the boys exploits as well as some other fine folk I’ve met in the three years I’ve been in Springfield now. I also had three very close friends from Chicago come visit for the weekend of the party which was held September 24th. Amy Skapek, Anale Shaba and Liz Bentkowski came down for three days, staying with me in my downtown loft/bachelor pad. Amy took some great pictures during her stay and I’ll be adding those later.

In the meantime, I also got a very nice print from my high schoo friend, and first love, Bonnie Estrella. I visited her in San Diego in January and while spending the day at Balboa Park (think Golden Gate, Forest Park or Central Park) we saw this print by an artist named Lucy Wang. She does watercolor on silk and this print is called “Harmony”. Bonnie included a nice letter with the print describing how cranes represent longevity and success in the Chinese culture. I think she got a kick about pointing out the longevity part in particular. She also commented on how strong a community the cranes have and said some nice things about it therefore being an appropriate symbol for my life. Very touching.

So next time you see me, don’t pat me on the back too hard, I’m getting old after all.

Annual Wagner-Olson Float Trip

Thursday August 4th was the date of this summer’s float trip as well as Wedding Anniversary’s for Mary Pat & David and Margaret & Art. We celebrated on the Meramec River with 20 attendees including

  • Mary Pat and her sons Dave, Dan & Drew
  • Mary Kay and Monte with their son Joey
  • Jack
  • Bob and Christy with their two youngest, John & Julia
  • Julie with her two youngest, Chris & Haylie, along with Haylie’s girlfriend Emily
  • Lucy and Bob and their son Eric
  • and of course, moi
  • David was working hard at his new job, JoAnne is somewhere between the UK and DC along with Peter, and Jessica was taking advantage of her new swinging girls bachelorette pad just West of the SMSU campus. We somehow were able to stretch the five mile float into a 7 hour adventure, returning just before the 6:30pm closing time. We used the Blue Springs Resort out of Bourbon Missouri like last year and got to sit out a brief lightning show early into the adventure which gave us a good excuse to hang out on a gravel bar for an extended period. We had one or two folks feel the hair on their necks tingle but otherwise didn’t feel endangered by the conditions. Bob seemed to be on a personal fishing trip for the majority of the day but Lucy & Eric were in the middle of things as her son and Joey, the two youngest floaters, kept things lively and interesting for the rest of us. Oh, and Julie got to share her new tattoo with us!

    4th of July

    Fourth of July

    I celebrated Independence Day with my parents as well as my youngest sister Lucy and her son Eric this year. As is our tradition, after dinner we walked across the backyard to your neighbors house and then onto their front lawn across the street from the Florissant Civic Center. From there we were able to enjoy the fireworks display that went off less then 300 yards away. The Johnson’s have been our neighbors for many years now and they have a six year old daughter who enjoys it when Eric is visiting his grandparents. There are more photos available by clicking on the photo above.

    Some Local Media Attention

    Springfield Business Journal cover photo

    The Springfield Business Journal did a recent cover story on downtown housing development where several hundred new loft apartments will become available in 2005. As part of the story, which ran in the June 27th issue, they featured three individuals who have chosen to live in lofts. One young man of 22 was moving into a new space that same week, a young woman of 26 who works for a photo studio downtown has been living here for five years and then there was me. I was the token old guy of 49 (it’s true!) and I’ve been downtown since January 2004. We were each pictured on the front cover, the photo on the left was taken in my loft and was on the cover. That’s my wine cooler in the background along with a couple of batiks done by Robert Saupan on the right and my sister Julie on the left. There was another photo taken in the hallway outside the unit featuring a stained glass decorative insert that was featured on the inside finish of the article.

    Two weeks earlier the Business Editor, Eric Olson (I kid you not!), wrote a column where he discussed the “Blogging phenomenom” that is getting attention in the media. He pointed to one busines blog and noted there were not any others that he could find but he then pointed to several that had come to his attention. My soccer website, which is blog-based, was one of those sites. He found me for both articles because his graphic designer & layout editor is developing a logo for my soccer website. Another example of ‘it’s who you know’.

    Ah, Chicago

    I like this shot for a couple of reasons. It’s well done with the light conditions and it’s also a reminder of the six years I spent working in the building (1996-2002) during my final years in Chicago. This view is from the West crossing the Chicago River along Lake Street, the building is 300 W. Wacker at the bend in the river.

    Dave Bishline & Greta Grawburg wedding

    Bishline rehearsal dinner

    Mom & Dad, along with Lucy & Eric and I attended the wedding of Dave Bishline and Greta Grawburg in La Crosse, WI on June 4th. The photo above is of Eric along with Joey Caldwell, who is two months older then Eric and the son of Monte & Mary Kay Caldwell. Mary Kay is the youngest of the Wagner girls and Dave’s aunt. We spend all of our holidays with the Wagner siblings and their extended families, usually hosting Easter & Thanksgiving while Mary Kay or Mary Pat (mother of the groom) host Christmas Day dinner.

    The weather was beautiful in La Crosse, the reception was held in the Radisson located on the Mississippi river in the restored downtown area of La Crosse and a good time was had by all. We also had a chance to visit with Larry & Claudi Olson and their children Andrew & Hannah on our return trip to St. Louis. The Olson’s live in Waukon, IA which is less then 90 minutes from La Crosse. Andrew graduated from Dubuque College this May with a degree in Airport Operations while Hannah is a freshman at Mt. Mercy in Cedar Rapids.