Sunday, September 18, 2011

the turtle is on the move

   When I was a kid, I loved American flags.  I remember looking out the car window and counting every American flag I spotted.  It kept me occupied during the long car rides to and from St. Louis (I lived in Illinois at that time).  I don't know what it was about the flags, but I got excited every time I saw one.  I guess you could say I was a very patriotic child.

   On Friday, I went to the Balloon Glow in Forest Park with my sister and friend, Kristin.  On the way there, Kristin and I took a detour to Art Hill to see the American flags.  Upon seeing all of the flags lined up in neat rows, the child in me was excited - there were so many flags!  The adult in me felt shocked and a little sick - there were so many flags!

Each flag represented a life lost in 9/11.  

Seeing a seas of flags can be a bit overwhelming...

Realizing that each flag represents a person's life is even more overwhelming.

Every flag pole had a name on it.  Some of the poles had ribbons tied around them.

I saw these flowers at the base of one of these flag poles.

   After we had our fill of American flags, Kristin and I headed for the balloon glow.  Parking, as is often the case at Forest Park, was a bear.  I lucked out and was able to pull behind someone without having to pull out my abysmal parallel parking skills.  Kristin and I walked to the site - Central Field - and watched as the balloonists started to inflate the hot air balloons.  

My sister, Kate, met us up there.  Boy that was a fun phone conversation...trying to locate someone in a crowd that size takes skills.  I believe the convo went something like this:

Kate: Where are you guys?
Kristin: By the animal balloon.

Kate: By the rat?

Kristin: What? No the animal balloon. Ok, we're by the Fontbonne balloon.

Kate: How close are you to the balloon?

Kristin: Right under it.

Kristin and I look around.  Kate is 10 feet from us.

Kristin and I: Kate!  

Kate turns around and spots us.

(Note- the above conversation is probably not verbatim, but it's close enough)

Back to the photos!


   In a crowd like this, there are always going to be people who walk in front of you when you're taking a picture.  It's unavoidable.  I swear I'm invisible at times...  

In this case though, I didn't mind this man in my shot...I think it adds to it.

   Since I was taking photos, Kate and Kristin decided not to bring their cameras.  I think they got a little bored as I was snapping away at each balloon.  They told me they would follow me wherever I went.  Every time I started walking through the crowds, they followed me - like bodyguards.  They even devised code names.  Since I was wearing my backpack camera bag, they decided my name would be "turtle."  Real original guys...So whenever I moved, they would say: "The turtle is on the move!" and proceed to follow me.  I quickly weaved my way through the crowd to see if they could keep up.  They were able to keep me in sight, but if someone had decided to attack me, I don't think they would've been much help.

Here is the balloon that passed my house the other day!

When the horns blew, all the balloons would light up at the same time.

   Popcorn anyone?  The Wehrenberg people were giving out coupons.  They didn't give me one.  Kate says it was because I was taking pictures.  I don't think so.  The woman looked me in the eye and then walked away.  Whatever.  Who needs to go see a $10 movie anyway?  I told Kristin she can't go to Wehrenberg - not because they didn't give me a coupon - that would be childish.  No, I told her that (jokingly, sort of) because Wehrenberg just instated a new rule - no cell phones.  They're going to kick people out of the theater if they use cell phones during the movie.  I think it's a great rule.  People messing with their phones in the theater is annoying.  The rule doesn't really affect me.  Heck, I rarely keep my cell on me and always put it on silent at the movies.  But Kristin, I swear that phone is an extension of her hand.  

I don't know why I got on this tangent.  I don't typically go to Wehrenberg anyway.  I go to the Great Escape near my house.  Let's get back on track here...

   I couldn't decide which of these photos I liked better.  I like the one on the left because I like being able too see the mom holding her son to view the flames.  I think I like the flames in the right photo better, though.

Here is a photo of Kristin and Kate.  The lady in the background makes me laugh.

   Well, that's it for the balloon glow.  We decided to leave before the fireworks because we didn't want to sit in the traffic that would be inevitable after an event like that.  Besides, earlier this year I saw fireworks over Niagara Falls - I don't think the St. Louis ones could compete with that.  Kristin was tired and didn't mind leaving.  She said that she's going to make it through 2011 without seeing fireworks (sad).

   So instead of fireworks, we got ice cream.  A fair compromise, I think.  Kristin and Kate said absolutely no photos of them eating ice cream.  (I don't think they'll be happy about the one photo of them I posted.)  Since Kristin is wearing a sling, she couldn't eat with her right hand.  Kate and I decided to eat left-handed as well to show some solidarity.  I did have to switch to my right hand at the end scrape the last bit of ice cream out...mmmm!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Get ready for balloons!!!

   On Sunday afternoon, my dad came running inside the house to tell us that there were hot air balloons flying in the neighborhood. Of course I had to run and get my camera before heading outside!  I have been hot air ballooning once - about 7 years ago.  It was an amazing experience, and if I ever get the opportunity to go again (meaning if I ever have the finances to go again) I will jump at the chance.  Until then, I'll have to settle for taking pictures of the few that pass by...

    I figure these balloonists were getting ready for the St. Louis Balloon Race this weekend.  I plan to go to the balloon glow on Friday night, so be prepared for more pictures.  The few here are just the teasers, kind of like the few balloons we saw in Fenton were a tease for the balloon race...  Get excited!!