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Just got home from three rockin' days visiting the illustrious [livejournal.com profile] eyeinject in S. IL. Edwardsville to be precise.

Shawn and I tried to be good. We totally planned on waking up at seven, driving all morning, then getting there at around noon. Bwahahaha! We got up at almost nine, packed, took care of last minute things, and got on the road at noon. My upstairs neighbor Dustin was kitty-caretaker for us. It's a four hour trip to Edwardsville...just a straight shot on 55 and you're there. The trip really wasn't bad. I did some knitting on a hat for my mom and finished re-reading Goblet of Fire. Shawn was happily zoned out in driving mode. Meaning neither of us paid a bit of attention to changing signs. By the time it occured to Shawn that we might be on the wrong road, we were practically in Indiana. We figured out where we were going, and called Michelle, who laughed at us quite a bit, and got there at about 7PM instead of 4.

Basically Michelle is living in country-suburbia. We got off the exit and passed about a million strip malls and giant billboards that say JESUS, then turned into her subdivision. Her house is very nice (although she muttered to me, "I hate this house"), and how funny is it that she's on her third house now? It's honestly not a bad place to live...Michelle is just incredibly out of place there.

We were enthusiastically greeted by her and Josh's rottweiler, Lexi, who immediately determined that Shawn wanted nothing to do with her and that I'm always good for ear-scritchies. She spent a lot of time sitting by me, happily getting pet and drooling on my jeans. Michelle made a yummy stir fry and we watched the movie Old Boy.

The next day we took our time getting ready (I even managed to sit on their back deck and start reading "The Time Traveler's Wife", which is incredibly good from the first sentence.) and then Michelle drove us to St. Louis. (*sings* Meet me in St. Louis-Louis, meet me at the fair... Yeah, I'm a dork.) Shawn and I rubbed some of our bad sense of direction off on her and we took the extreme scenic route to get to the collegey part of the city. It was my first time in St. Louis and...um...it's really...well...it's kind of a shithole. Okay, not the whole city, but the parts we circled around were terribly depressing with these old, gorgeous Victorian mansions all boarded up and falling to pieces. (Probably a great place for squatters though). Almost every building we passed was boarded up, about to collapse if you blew on it and there were a few with crosses on them that practically looked like they were warding off vampires, not inviting in the Lord. I guess it's a little Chicago snobbery, but I really think that even in the poorest sections of Chicago, our old buildings are very well kept. Then again, I guess we have the advantage of everything being made out of brick...that third little pig had the right idea.

We finally looped around and got to the college, Clark&Belmont section for lunch and shopping. Shawn remembers going there with Jenni and Ray long, long ago. We ate at a Thai restaurant that...well, it kind of sucked. I had a very lackluster pad thai, and Shawn had a chicken on rice that later made his stomach hurt. Michelle, the wise vegetarian, had tofu on white rice (my stuff didn't have meat either, just very mushy and unappetizing noodles). We walked around the stores. We didn't find much in the way of clothes, though I did find some red corduroys at Rag-O-Rama to replace my old red corduroys that were falling apart. Shawn was in heaven with the kick-ass bookstore and even more kick-ass comic book store. Michelle and I amused ourselves by being bitches and making lots of snarky comments. ("I know you want to buy that hot pink tube top over there.")

We drove back to Edwardsville and later she and Josh gave us a night on the town in Edwardsville. Actually, it was a very lovely evening. They took us to a wine bar for fancy wine and ale and fancier cheese. I had a very yummy Reisling paired with goat cheese. Shawn taught us how to drink wine and eat cheese at the same time by inhaling with everything in your mouth, swallowing, then exhaling so all the flavors mingle in your mouth. Pretentious and silly-looking, but it works. We probably could have stayed there longer, but Josh really wanted to play shuffleboard, so we went across the street to the Stagger Inn. It was a pretty nice neighborhood bar and Michelle and I drank our beers while the men-folk played shuffleboard.

Shawn is still taking his antibiotics, so after four beers his kidneys shouted, "Enough already!" and suddenly he was Very Very Drunk. We went through a drive thru for some fries for us all, and he was so starved he ate his in, like, a second, ate most of Josh's, then went through half a loaf of french bread. He drank lots and lots and lots of water so this morning he was actually hangover-free.

We left at 11AM, waking Michelle up much earlier than she's used to to say goodbye. Hey, is there anything going on Halloween weekend? We need to start making some plans! We said goodbye to Lexi...hopefully next time we see her she'll be moving back to the Big City. Princess the cat too (who made one appearance and she's a very chatty cat...she cuddled up away from the big Lexi-Monster and said, "Mom" and "No" repeatedly).

I wanted some breakfast for the road but at 11 it's impossible to find (because I really want a burger at 11AM), but we went to Good Earth, a health food store Michelle pointed out to us once. It's so awesome I wish it was up here! Lots of books and herbs and vitamins like the apothecary, and an awesome selection of healthy food like Whole Foods, only much more affordable. We ordered sandwiches at the vegetarian deli (see Michelle...there is a vegetarian cafe in Edwardsville!), which we ate later on for lunch, and we got a bowl of this extremely yummy blueberry-cranberry-sliced almonds-vanilla yogurt concoction that we shared for breakfast. (Note to Michelle...they totally have that propolis throat spray I was telling you about!) We took a different road back to 55, and this one was more country and less suburbia...winding and green and very pretty. Oh Edwardsville...you have some happy spots in you with your unexpected wine bars and healthy stores...you have gained my respect, but I still want my friend back. ASAP, please.

Date: 2005-10-15 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bibliomouse.livejournal.com
As far as I can tell there are just two lil sections of St. L. that are ok... the college area and the nearby botanical gardens, and then a strip of downtown where a few clubs are. That's where the Tangerine place where Jenni used to go go dance is. Other than that, yeah, it's a bit spooky.

I still can't imagine Michelle living in a small town like that. Did you try to kidnap her?:)

Date: 2005-10-16 11:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] antiquehighheel.livejournal.com
Michelle in a small town is pretty strange. You should have seen the heads turning as the three of us walked around! She must look like a living cartoon to them.

Date: 2005-10-17 07:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eyeinject.livejournal.com
yes it is true, i am the living cartoon here named "death"... heh...and oh yes tangerine is closed... that was one of the places we wanted to visit when we first came out here, but alas it closed at right about that time... but yes just a loverly town... filled with booming business, expansive homes with great detail to them and even more welcoming neighbors... argh... im only thinking good thoughts (thank you winery for that) because i WILL find a job in Chicago and come home to where it really is home... soon to be saying goodbye to country-suburbia... but before i leave just a few more tweaks, just my way of saying thanks for hosting me...hehe

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