and, BOOM, it’s already the 2nd week of march!  things seem to be roaring along, and the thing that makes me most happy is that it’s getting warmer and warmer!

it feels like the play ended about a year ago.  here’s a picture, backstage at our last show.

and this is in between acts; it was nice to wear comfy clothes all the time.   julie is wearing a beautiful necklace that randy gave me.  i brought it in one day because i figured maybe she could use it, and it matched her chic ensemble perfectly!

felicia bought everybody little penguin necklaces.  one of her lines in the play included saying “reading mr. popper’s penguins” in funny voices.  she had a hard time remembering the name of the book, and i was amazed that she’d never read it.  it was one of my favorite kids’ books, and i thought about getting her a copy so she could read it, but i felt that maybe she wouldn’t care about it.  i know i have it in paperback around here somewhere; i should read it again!  one more thing for my growing to-do list.

we took a short, one-night trip to french link, IN on Thursday.  it’s about a four and a half hour drive, and we stopped for lunch in olney, at this darling little restaurant called ophelia’s.  when we told the woman who served us that we were from springfield, she said she loved to come here and go to darcy’s pint.  hmm, really?  i told her all about the restaurant Julia’s, because i recently went the and it’s delicious plus the place is filled with all kinds of eclectic stuff, including a variety of chandeliers.  it was kind of an upscale ophelia’s, so i figured the woman (maybe the owner?) would love it.

we stayed at the west baden hotel, just a mile down the road from the french lick hotel.  both hotels were renovated, the west baden extensively, at the tune of $500-600 MILLION dollars.  wow.  The late Bill Cook, a self-made billionaire who made his money making little things like catheters, was from bloomington, IN, and wanted to give back to the community.

long ago, in the late 80s, we went to french lick to do murder mysteries.  french lick was shabby, and the once-glorious west baden hotel had huge chunks out of the domed atrium and critters living in it.  i have a vague memory of visiting it, and thinking that it’d be torn down soon.

there was recently a story about the hotels in a springfield magazine, and it looked like the hotels had been restored gloriously, so we went to see for ourselves.

here’s the west baden hotel as we drove in.

and the grand entrace arch.

the drive up to the enormous place…i’m sure it’s really beautiful in the summer.

ta da!  seeing this magnificent place was truly a wonderful experience; i just can’t tell you how amazing it was having that one fuzzy little memory of the place in ruin and  seeing how beautiful it is now.

i was fascinated with that dome, and at night it was lit up and changed color.  i took about a million photos that night, which will have to wait til later.

here’s our lovely room, filled with fine reproductions of antiques.

each dresser had an inlaid image of the hotel.

i’m sure the mirrors had to be reproductions, because they were in every room, and there were a lot of rooms.

a nice little bar area.

the lovely bathroom, with both a big glass-doored shower as well as a tub.  and, of course, a discreet separate room for the toilet, complete with a phone.  i was dying to call somebody on the phone, but i resisted the urge.  i just now realize that i never, ever pick up a land line anymore, do you?  i guess you would if you worked in an office, which you probably do.

the view from our big windows; dang, why didn’t i take a picture of the lovely windows?  it costs a lot more to have an interior view of the atrium, but even though it’s one of the most dazzling things i’ve ever seen, i still like to look outside.

off there to the left is a little lake, but i don’t think it was supposed to be a lake; the snow was melting like crazy and there seemed to be lots of flooding all around.

we went with mom and randy, because it was just mom’s birthday, and  randy was the one who first saw the article and told us about it.

around the atrium, there were little lounges filled with comfortable seating and lovely antiques, plus there were some shops and meeting rooms and stuff.

this is the stairway down to the pool.

and what a pool it was!  the weird thing was, because it’s off-season, we saw almost no other people anywhere.  i hope they’re really busy when the weather is warm; i think they are because they have a few nice golf courses.  but it was fun to almost have the place to ourselves.

the gigantic hot tub!

i had to take this picture because i loved two of the rules, #7 and #14.  i pictured carrying a huge raft down through the lobby and into the pool.  plus the “spitting and spouting of water” line made me laugh.  what if you did that thing where you cup your hand and squirt a jet of water out of it, would that also be taboo?  not that there was anybody around to enforce any of the rules.

randy took a bath in the mineral waters, and this is he hallway down to the spa area.  there was beautiful tile everywhere.

i took all these pictures (plus more of course) in the first hour we were there.  we went over to the french lick hotel to eat dinner and gamble, and many more photos will follow.  shortly?

ok then,

mrs. monday morning hughes.