Hotel blogging from St. Louis. Spent some time visiting an ailing relative last night and today, now preparing to fly back to Portland. I've got a good dial-up connection here at the hotel (in fact it seems to work at least as well as my DSL at home ... really makes you wonder) so I'll try to put up a few short posts tonight.

I've never lived in the Midwest but I've always wanted to take some time to visit America's heartland. This wasn't such a visit, being mostly confined to the hospital and the adjoining hotel, but it does whet my appetite. We're expecting a thunderstorm this evening - something that's pretty rare in the parts of the West Coast where I've lived. All day today it was beautiful; this evening, I looked up at a clear sky, then glanced toward the dark eastern horizon and saw a big bank of clouds lit by occasioinal flashes. The gentle breeze suddenly felt a little more ominous, and I realized that the "TORNADO SHELTER" signs in the airport weren't there for decoration.