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Sunday 29 April 2007

Saturday in the Park, Sunday in the Arboretum

Saturday morning there was a balloon race, about fifty balloons, and they apparently went over very near our house, but we slept in and missed it.

CVH had some posters that she needed to pick up at Kinko's, and I went into the bakery next door to see what they had. CVH joined me, but they didn't have the particular bread she was looking for. I picked out some bean soup mix, and as the young lady was ringing up the sale, I noticed that she was wearing a numbered wrist band.

"What's that number?" I asked. "Did you run in the Marathon this morning?"

"No," she replied, "That's from spring break." Great. I had just asked her about her Girls Gone Wild souvenir.

Earlier, I'd discovered a secret that I wanted to show CVH. We went to Cherokee Park, and because the weather was so nice the place was packed. I showed her the path that I had found on my earlier outing, a way for the people living in Cherokee Triangle to get to the park. But this time is was crowded with people and illegally parked cars. "Something must be going on," I reasoned. Sure enough, when we got to the bottom of the hill, we discovered that there was a big arts and crafts festival going on there. Zydeco Bon was playing, and they did an pretty good job of bringing a Louisiana flavor to Louisville. I showed CVH the fine house in Cherokee Triangle. I asked her to estimate their market price, and she guessed about half what they really are. We eventually ended up at a small, but very well stocked grocery store that had a wide variety of gourmet items. It's right across from the entrance to Cave Hill Cemetery. Usually you find a monument company across the street from a cemetery entrance, but in this neighborhood, you get gourmet food. Of course, now we had to go back and get the truck so that we could load it up with food!

There was supposed to be another balloon race that evening, and the winds were going to bring them right over our house. We sat out in the back yard for half an hour before we gave up. Turns out it was too gusty at the launch site, and the race was cancelled.

Sunday we headed to the Bernheim Forest. CVH wanted to see the conifer arboretum there, and they have an amazing selection of conifers. Some are very strange looking trees, indeed. There was a fair there, too, with various nature and conservation groups setting up booths. CVH bought some basil and thyme plants (which I am now in charge of potting, watering, etc). There were some local beekeepers there too, and I asked them to tell CVH about the dance they do when they find flowers, as I don't think she believed me. We walked through the woods some more, and then visited the Jim Beam distillery. The people were nice, and gave us some bourbon fudge and a barrel plug, but it was not the big deal that our Heaven Hill tour was. I think that they're falling behind in their marketing. Some exhibits that looked like they were left over from the seventies, and a horse statue with whiskey bottles painted on its side.

Categories: News from Louisville

Tuesday 24 April 2007

Thunder! Thunder! Thunder!

Saturday was the big day in Louisville – Thunder! It’s like three Fourth of Julys rolled into one. I got up early, took my bicycle to the Bernheim Forest, and rode up and down the hills for a couple of hours, until I couldn’t get up them anymore. Then I put the bike in the truck, pulled on my hiking boots, and headed off into the forest. I climbed to the top of one knob (the technical term for a hill around here) and was enjoying the view when I got a message on my phone from my Exxon boss that there was a problem and I needed to look at it. So I hiked back out, came home, and started looking at the problem. It was a network hang up; nothing I could do about it whatsoever; but I’d still have to sit here at home until somebody fixed it so that I could confirm it was fixed. Well, by this time, CVH had come home, and I had promised her that I would take her to the big air show downtown. I was afraid that I was going to have to renege on that promise when they got the network fixed, and things were working again. By that time, though, it meant that we would have missed about half of the air show. We decided to go anyway, and boy, that was the right decision.

Because the day was so pretty, they were expecting about half a million people to show up on our side of the river, and a quarter of a million on the Indiana side. Since we got a late start, we feared that there wouldn’t be any parking within miles of the river, so we took the bus. It zipped us right downtown in no time.

After bumping into CVH’s boss (what are the chances of that!?), we got to see a tremendous variety of military aircraft. Fighter jets, cargo planes, a B-2 stealth bomber, and, most amazingly, army helicopters doing close acrobatics nearly right over our heads. Initially, the long lines at the portable toilets scared us, but then we discovered that the little horse pins that we had bought earlier in the month at Kroger gave us admission to a special area where they had extra toilets with no waiting at all. Why anyone would not spend the $3 for a pin is beyond me. Plus the pin gets you a discount on pizza.

After the air show, there was going to be a fireworks display, but we were both getting too tired, so we decided to just go home and watch it on TV. By now, it was too late to catch a bus back, so we took a cab, and got a very nice cab driver. CVH thinks the city is paying cab drivers to take classes on how to be nice and say good things about Louisville.

Well, the fireworks display was astounding. I can’t begin to describe it, other than it was unlike, and far grander and innovative, than any fireworks I had ever seen before. At one point, they made the George Rogers Clark bridge across the Ohio River look as if it were on fire and melting into the river. It must have been a stunning spectacle in person, and I was sorry we didn’t see it live, but I knew as I sat there in my chair watching it, we would not have had to strength to then last the two or three hours it would take to get out of downtown.

We later found out that there was an alternate festival in one of the city parks that was organized by people who didn't think it was appropriate for children to be exposed to so much war machinery.

Categories: News from Louisville

Sunday 22 April 2007

Georgetown Kite and Culture Festival

This day we headed to the Georgetown Kite and Culture festival. Georgetown is a suburb of Lexington. We took the old road, the one that goes through Frankfort, the capitol, and they do drive fast on these skinny roads that they have here. I think the side roads are at least three feet narrower than they are around Houston. Many of them would make excellent biking if they were just a little wider. We stopped in Frankfort and discovered that nothing goes on in downtown Frankfort on Sunday, other than services at the old churches. All the museums and things are closed. Hi ho. So we drove on to Georgetown.

The festival was fun; it wasn’t windy enough to get heavier kites up, but there were a lot of small kites flown and the kids were enjoying themselves. There were craft vendors, some Chinese kids did a dragon dance, and I had the best taco since leaving Texas. In fact, it was one of the best tacos I’ve ever had.

We stopped in another little town on the way back for a scoop of ice cream, and then pulled back onto the interstate. I merged in right in front of a large extra wide load. It took up both lanes of the interstate; no one could go around it. “Glad I’m in front of that instead of behind it,” I thought. That was doubly true when, a couple of miles later, traffic slowed down for a work zone. Turns out that they had the right lane closed off, and on a bridge, no less. As I was crossing the bridge, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw, as I expected, the wide load stopping because there was no way he could go across a one lane bridge. So that meant everybody in front of me took off, there was nobody behind me, and I had the freeway to myself almost all the way to Louisville, instead of the usual Sunday afternoon crunch back into town. What luck! I could even enjoy the scenery. It was a great day.

The next day Becky somehow managed to scrape the base of her tail on something and then worried it until it was red and inflamed. I didn’t know what it was a first, but I could tell that her butt was bothering her and rushed her to the vet in case it was something internal. Fortunately, it turned out to be something simple, and she got some pain medicine, but it still hurts her to wag her tail, go up and down the stairs, or even sit down, poor thing.

Categories: News from Louisville

Sunday 15 April 2007

Eugene Onegin and The Big Deer In The Yard

I told you that I’m raising funds for the Kentucky Humane Society’s spring event. I found out about it when I picked up a brochure at the gym. It had a really cute dog picture on the back, and I had been admiring this picture, thinking the Society had done a very good job of photography on this dog. Then this week I’m checking the Weather Channel’s web site on the internet, and there is the exact same dog picture! I told CVH about this, and she just said, “You are so naïve. That’s a professional dog.”

Friday, while I was on the phone, I looked out the window to see a large deer come bounding across Hikes Lane through the neighbor’s front yard, and into our front yard. It stood there for a second, and then ran around towards our back yard. This was no small deer; this animal was well over two hundred pounds. I can’t imagine how it got this far into town without being hit. Too big to be an escaped pet. I think the dog saw it, too, because when I let her back in the house she was whimpering and crawled underneath my desk. Biggest animal she ever saw, that’s for sure. CVH does not believe this happened.

But the day was beautiful. The forecast was for it to rain all weekend and this time it looked like they were going to be right, so I went to the park to walk around. I figured that there had to be a way to walk from the park to the Cave Hill Cemetery, and sure enough, there was. There’s a path that takes you from the park to the Cherokee Triangle neighborhood, so-called, I believe, because it’s triangle shaped, and is bounded by Cherokee road on one side and Cherokee park on another. This is a neighborhood of houses built in the teens and twenties, and they are big fine houses indeed. One seventeen room house was for sale for $650,000, and there were several houses much larger. Very nice walk.

That night CVH came home and yelled out “What is that smell? Did the dog mess in the house or did the cat get sick?”, and I told her that I was only cooking dinner. I know that I am not as good a cook as she is in the first place, and this certainly didn’t do anything to boost my self-esteem.

We went to the library Saturday. I had been looking for a particular book that I’d read reviews of, but they didn’t have it at our neighborhood branch, so we went downtown. It rained all day, so it was a good day for indoor stuff. I got my book and some others on newsletter design, as I help CVH in designing the newsletter that she publishes for work. Afterwards we had lunch at a café in the Cherokee Triangle area, then went to the gym and worked out; have I told you that this gym has a movie theater? It’s really a small movie theater, but instead of seats, there are treadmills, stationary bicycles, and the like. You exercise while watching the movie. As you might imagine, they have to keep the volume turned up somewhat loud, but it’s not much louder than in regular movie theaters these days. Finally, we went to Whole Foods, a very nice but very expensive grocery store that was donating 5% of all sales that day to the Bernheim forest. Since we’re Bernheim forest members and supporters, we went a bought a bunch of tasty stuff.

Sunday CVH had to work, but I was able to get away and see a New York Metropolitan Opera performance. The Met is trying a new thing this year where they broadcast some of their matinee performances to movie theaters around the country. The performances are broadcast digitally, not recorded on film, so the theater has to be especially equipped to do this. It was a bit of a drive to get to the theater, at least by Louisville standards, but it was a pretty good show. I’d guess there were about fifty of us there to see Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. Mostly white-hairs, but a several middle aged guys like me, and a few young couples (one appeared to be high school age; maybe they have a paper due). It’s the story of Onegin (a young Russian Don Juan-type character) who spurns the attention of a teenage girl and later, in a petulant mood, flirts with his best friend’s fiancé. His best friend is so shocked that he challenges Eugene to a duel, and Onegin kills him. Onegin goes overseas for several years, and comes back to find that the young girl he spurned is now a beautiful princess and married to an old war hero. He tells her that he loves her and has to have her, and she says that she still loves him, but now she’s married, so go jump in a lake. It’s actually a better story than I might make it sound. The girl was sung by the beautiful Renee Fleming, Eugene was played quite convincingly by the very handsome Dmitri Hvorostovsky (I can never remember how to pronounce his last name, but he’s so good-looking that CVH just calls him “The Hunk”), and the best friend was sung by Ramon Vargas, the famous Mexican opera singer. Ramon is an excellent singer, but he sure doesn’t look Russian. Although it wasn’t as enjoyable as being there in person, it was lot more convenient and less expensive.

Categories: News from Louisville

Sunday 01 April 2007

Buzzard's Roost

Today we got up and went to church for Palm Sunday. CVH was disappointed, though, that only the children were given palms to wave. I laughed when I saw in the program that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt. You know you’re in Kentucky, I thought, until I checked the scripture in Matthew and Mark, and sure enough, they both mention a colt. Donkey works better with the whole story, though, I guess that’s why you usually hear it that way.

After church, we came back home and saw that, again contrary to the forecast, it was going to be a nice day. We got out the map and decided to see if we could find the neighborhood CVH lived in when you were here in Louisville. We found the streets, all right, but there was no neighborhood there anymore. All the houses were gone, as it is now the buffer area around the new airport. CVH was saddened. I suggested that we go over to Indiana, and drive one of their scenic drives along the Ohio River (a bit of an extravagance with gas nearly $3 a gallon). We went to Corydon, the first capital of Indiana, and had lunch. After checking out the original state house, we headed off.
It was a beautiful, but fantastically twisty and curvy road. We couldn’t imagine why they laid it out so screwy. We eventually ended up at Buzzard’s Roost overlook, a dead end at the river on top of bluffs hundreds of feet over the river.

It was truly a stunning view. We came back home, realizing that the weekend was over, and we still had to do laundry, mow the yard, etc, but it was worth it to enjoy such a lovely day.

Categories: News from Louisville