Sunday, November 15, 2009

St. Louis (Nov 12 - 14)

We left SLC early Thursday morning and arrived in St. Louis around noon. After grabbing a rental car and lunch at Chevy's, we checked into the downtown Marriott where the conference is being held. Andy's a Hilton man, so he wasn't too excited at first, but the hotel was gorgeous. It's a whole mall type complex built on the old Union Station train station. I meant to take pictures, but forgot, so here are a couple from online. You should go there. It's amazing.

After we checked in and looked around, we did my new favorite thing - we took a long, uninterrupted nap. After dinner at Houlihan's, we registered for the conference, got our fancy name tags and programs, and then Andy ripped apart my paper just in time to make me even more afraid to present it in the morning. We went to bed and I tossed and turned most of the night.

Friday morning we had the continental breakfast at the conference, and then went to find my room. Here's me all ready for the big day.

The good and bad thing about my slot on the schedule was that I was the second time slot of the entire conference. It was good to get it over with, but bad because I had no idea what to expect, so I was only able to attend one session before my own presentation. The other three members of my panel were almost finished with their PhD's and had done several conferences. All I knew was that we weren't allowed to read our paper, just give a brief summary. The doctoral candidates all had nice little synopses typed out. I winged it. Andy who I love for his honesty said I definitely seemed unprepared, but had some good moments too. Overall, I think it went well. People were nice, we filled all the time with discussion, and people talked to me after the session about my topic. I would do a lot of things differently, but it was a great experience for my first conference. I'm glad I went, and I'm even more glad that it's over.

Then the fun began....

First we went to see the arch.
Picture from underneath the arch.

They lined us up by these tiny little doors to wait for the "shuttle." I was expecting an elevator. What we got were these tiny little spaceship looking pods with tiny seats and a low ceiling.

I'm not sure that this picture completely shows the smallness of the space. It rocked and clicked all the way to the top, and there was a tiny window where you could see the bazillions of stairs you were passing on your way to the top. It freaked me right out.

Andy at the top.

A view from the top.

Then we went to the Botanical Gardens. It was acres full of gardens from different parts of the world. It was the perfect fall day, and the grounds were some of the most beautiful I've seen. We spent hours walking through, and it was some of the most laid back time we've had together in a very long time. Andy and I talked and laughed and enjoyed nature. Life was good.

By the time we left the gardens, we were so tired that we grabbed an early dinner at Texas Roadhouse, drove to the Hilton closest to the airport, and I was in bed asleep by 7pm. Do we know how to party, or what?

Saturday morning we were up at 4:30, caught our early flight, and had our sweet boy picked up and were home by 10:00am. It was a great trip. Short but sweet.

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