I awoke refreshed just after 7 a.m.
I showered; I dressed; I walked down the stairs into the kitchen.
Mary Ann already had oatmeal ready for me and hot water boiling for my tea.
She then prepared some meaty bacon, scrambled eggs, and sliced the leftover baguette.
Talk about the warmest welcome ever!
How did I get so lucky?
After breakfast, I gave her a bear hug and thanked her for making a fuss.
My plan was to walk to the nearby library and blog.
From there... my schedule was open.
Moments later, Michael returned from his morning errands and had breakfast.
Some folks were coming to do some work on the house and haul some segments of a former wine cellar.
I headed out.
The library was less than a few blocks away. Not only did the Schlafly branch give me a two-week pass, they also gave me two hours of free internet per day and some 200 pages of free printing.
Welcome to St. Louis!
I blogged until the final five minutes.
When I exited the library, I made a left then another left and found myself in a trendy, mixed-use area.
Restaurants, bars, shops, boutiques, condos, apartments, and so on...
Then, I saw a sign for a Paul Mitchell School. I called to see if they accepted clients. They did, and I made appointment to have my hair colored and cut.
I had a few minutes to spare, so I walked to a nearby cupcake place, and devoured a red velvet cupcake with a big glass of milk. Then, I called an old, dear friend from Richmond, Virginia. We hadn't been in touch for at least a decade.
Following that memorable conversation, I considered calling Mary Ann to tell her about my salon plans; however, I thought I would be ready in a few hours.
I should have followed my instincts.
I had no idea I would end up in the salon for just over three-hours. I forgot that a blonde coloring at a salon took much more time than a box coloring.
They do it the right way: I just pray my hair doesn't fall out or turn blorange.
In addition, because students are working on your hair, instructors double check to make sure everything is going well.
Did I mention they have you sign a waiver, too?
All in all, I was satisfied with the finished result; plus, I had a chance to learn more about 21-year-old Taylor.
An Illinois resident.
A phase II stylist (meaning she's nearing graduation).
One of three sisters.
Her parents are relocating to Miami (work-related); thus, I suggested her parents visit the Everglades, the Mandarin Oriental, the Morikami Japanese Gardens, and of course, Calle Ocho.
I also learned that in order to tip student stylists you must bring cash.
I witnessed a student's graduation. She had completed her 1500 hours! I was right there when two-lines were formed to give this graduate the procedural clap-off, send-off.
I, too, joined in on the clapping.
My initial expectation of a leisurely walk ended in a few stops: the library, the cupcake place, and the salon.
When I returned to the house, Mary Ann and Michael were pulling up (in separate cars) to the driveway.
I opened the gate.
We spoke for a little while -- mainly about my salon experience -- before leaving for a meeting followed by a meal at Pat's.
Along our ride to the meeting, Mary Ann pointed out all the sites, neighborhoods, schools, churches, universities, and homes.
Story after story.
Stories from the past; stories from the present.
When we arrived to their sister city meeting, they filed into another room while I caught up on my journaling.
I also had a chance to reunite with the Bouchard family. They hosted last year's Thanksgiving meal.
Hugs were exchanged.
Following the meeting, we drove to Pat's to have delicious toasted ravioli (really fried ravioli), fried onion rings, fried gizzards and liver, and fried chicken.
I wanted to hear more stories, but I ended up talking most of the evening.
It was hard to hear in the bar due to a a rowdy group of guys who looked like they had just finished some sort of communal sporting activity; they were also there to watch the Cardinals.
Quite busy for a Tuesday night.
We left Pat's prior to 9 p.m. to make it home for the Convention speeches, specifically Bill Clinton's presentation.
I hugged the Bouchards goodbye.
Off we went back to Lindell.
We closed our night with stomachs full and political beliefs reinforced.
While watching Clinton, then Meryl Streep, then no make-up Alicia Keys, I thought about my friend Anita (see Plant City post).
She was in Philadelphia; she was, I'm sure, enjoying every moment.
Like the previous evening, I fell asleep just before 11 p.m.
Until we meet again, my friend.