The Dirty Breakup: The Rams and St. Louis Don’t Belong Together Anyway

“Sick to my stomach.” Four little words, written by my cousin, came across my Facebook feed. At first I thought to myself, it’s not like him to broadcast his ailments on social media. Then I realized. Ohhhhhhh. I had a feeling I knew why he felt sick. Sure enough, Google confirmed my suspicions: “The Rams are Headed Back to L.A.”

Aw, snap. I have a feeling this breakup is about to get dirty.

I want to be completely honest in letting you know that, personally, I did not have a dog in this fight. I’m not a huge fan of football, unless it involves Coach Taylor and a Netflix binge of Friday Night Lights. So, personally, I couldn’t care any more about St. Louis not having a football team than I do about the Kardashians doing, well, anything. Still, I’m sad for my city. I’m bummed for my husband, who looks forward to chilling out and watching the game on the weekends. And truth be told, I’m pretty pissed at Stan Kroenke for the slimy way he went about the whole thing. Like the rest of Rams fans, I’m taking it a little personally. I may not have strong feelings for football, but I do have strong feelings for my hometown. And he crapped all over us. Not in the “my-adorable-little-baby-just-had-a-blowout-and-I’m-covered-in-poop-but-it’s-okay-because-it-comes-with-the-parenthood-territory” kind of way. He crapped on us in the “some-totally-obnoxious-jackleg-got-all-wasted-and-thought-I-was-a-toilet-then-cussed-me-out-when-I-got-angry-about-it” kind of way. You know, the most disrespectful, nonsensical, a-hole way to get crapped on.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize the Rams just don’t belong in St. Louis anymore. Maybe this breakup is a good thing. The organization has come to stand for tenets and practices which, frankly, we would be crazy to want any part of. Because it’s not who we are or who we should want to be.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The Rams just don’t belong in St. Louis anymore. We’d be crazy to want them to stay. #RamsToLA” quote=”The Rams just don’t belong in St. Louis anymore. We’d be crazy to want them to stay.”]

I was reminded of this shortly after learning of the decision to move the Rams back to L.A., as I listened to my daughter recount her day at school:

“Mom, Mrs. R did this thing in class today where she gave everyone a dollar and said we could either use our money to buy an extra recess or the answers to tonight’s math homework. Only five people used their dollar for the homework answers. But then, Mrs. R started writing the answers on the board. Everyone could see them! Even the kids who used their money for recess! So all of us who didn’t pay for the answers started covering our eyes and looking away. You know, because it wouldn’t be fair otherwise. Then Mrs. R said, ‘You guys are too good.’ As a reward, there would be no math homework for ANYONE, because we showed integrity. The whole thing had been a test!”

Even CHILDREN know when to value integrity over the almighty dollar. Even they understand the consequences of going back on your word. I’m glad I still get to live in St. Louis with these kids instead of with Stan Kroenke.

Here’s the thing:  we deserve better than the Rams organization. The Rams and St. Louis have been like that couple where one person is so obviously undeserving of the other. Just the other day I was watching an episode of The Great Food Truck Race, and the competitors found themselves in St. Louis. When one of the food truck teams pulled up to their spot and began preparations to serve customers, a bunch of folks on the street lent a hand, helping them load supplies into their kitchen. Granted, I’m pretty sure the name of the truck was “Let There Be Bacon,” and St. Louisans are generally hard-core fans of cured meats, but a little bubble of pride burst in me as I watched it happen. Guys, we really are a great city. That’s the St. Louis I know, the one I grew up in. So there’s no way bacon-loading Good Samaritans and money-grubbing Stan Kroenke could ever make the perfect couple. Besides, it’s clear that he’s just not that into us – which is fine, as far as I’m concerned. Because Jon Hamm is totally our boyfriend.

Furthermore, all these NFL shenanigans that have been going on surrounding the Rams moving or not moving…it’s not how we do sports here.

Others can poke fun and belittle the whole “Best Fans in Baseball” thing, but we (well, most of us) are the kind of sports fans who rallied behind our biggest rival, the Cubs, after they beat us and went on to the NLCS this past season. (Heads up Bears fans. There may be some St. Louisans joining your ranks now. As a friend of mine pointed out, thanks to the Rams, we do know a thing or two about loyalty in the face of a losing record.)

We are a town who admires and celebrates sports greats like Stan “The Man” Musial, Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce, Dan Dierdorf, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. We value how their talent and integrity go hand-in-hand, and we appreciate their continued commitment and investment in our city even after they have left.

[clickToTweet tweet=”St. Louis knows a good Stan when we see one. Happy to be the home of Musial, not #Kroenke. #Rams” quote=”St. Louis knows a good ‘Stan’ when we see one. Happy to be known as the home of Musial, not Kroenke.”]

We know what we aren’t. We aren’t Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Chicago or any of the other cities Kroenke feels has a better economic future than St. Louis. (Which, apparently, is ALL of them. Like, even Sneedville, Tennessee. The Sneedville Rams has a nice ring to it.) But most of us love what we are. It’s too bad Kroenke, a Missourian himself, didn’t share that affection, despite the fact that, all things considered, the fans kept on loving a sub-par organization with a loyalty that ended up being unrequited.

Breakups are a bitch.

But after the sting will come the healing. And one day we will come to believe what our mom was probably telling us all along: we were too good for the Rams, and we didn’t belong together anyway.

Besides, did you see how fake L.A.’s boobs are? They are the perfect arm candy to Kroenke’s rug.
st. louis rams


St. Louis, how do you plan to recycle your Rams gear? #RecycleRamsGear


Oh, and high fives to my favorite Housewives whisperer, Andy Cohen, for letting his St. Louis lunatic loose. You can check out his choice words (and fingers) for Kroenke.


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Silence and Kindness in the Wake of #Ferguson

The snow came on a Wednesday after the grand jury decision, and brought with it a bit of welcomed quiet on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. Yet the very constant and often charged chatter in my newsfeeds remained as loud as ever.

At times like these, social media seems anything but social. That place where I go for mindless entertainment, to catch up on the lives of friends, to give my thumbs up for birthdays and anniversaries, to commiserate about Taylor Swift’s 1989 album suddenly becoming the soundtrack to my daily goings-on thanks to my nine-year-old…that place has looked a lot different. And I don’t always like what I see.

St. Louis is my home, always has been. I do not live in the Ferguson area, but it is the place where my mom grew up, where I still have family and friends. Once upon a time, my husband and I were so charmed with the historic old houses and the sense of community that we considered living there. So it could have been my home. And even if it couldn’t have been, it is still a part of the city I love with a prideful fire. It is surreal to see it on this worldwide stage. Usually, the world pretty much ignores St. Louis, unless it’s the baseball post-season. Even then, it’s not like we’re the Yankees.

Every part of what is now just known as #Ferguson is a tragedy. Loss of life, loss of community, loss of businesses, loss of reputation, loss of faith. It has become something bigger than me, bigger than all of us, and represents many different struggles I often sadly feel are so far from ever being resolved. All I have to do is look at any one of my social media feeds to have that sense of hopelessness driven home. So many people seem so sure about so many things, and so sure there is no room to consider alternatives. Too many people are using blatant, disgusting, and unapologetic tongues of hate. Yet there are just as many people speaking under the guise of progress and righteousness whose underlying messages are no better. Both kinds incite anger, obstinance, and widen the divide.

And then there are those who are quiet. I wonder most about those who are quiet. Some may accuse them of being too cowardly to speak out…or not willing to stir a pot that needs to be stirred…or guilty of that horrid disease known as apathy. Make a difference, silent ones. Choose a side. 

But then I wonder, what if we were all quiet? Not forever. Just for a moment. Long enough to take it all in. Long in enough to block out what everyone else is saying, and simply listen to ourselves. Long enough to consider things another way, without the fear of being judged, or accused of being a traitor, or having to do that awful thing of publicly swallowing our pride to admit someone else might be right.

It is what my friend, who is a social justice teacher, called the spirituality of silence; the idea that truth, understanding, and enlightenment come to us only when we can really quiet ourselves. For some, we are listening for God. For others, it may be whatever inner beliefs guide our sense of righteousness. And often, in that silence, we can find there are truths on all sides. Only in recognizing that can we then successfully work toward justice.

Once words are out there, they are out there forever. We live in a society that encourages, almost demands, immediate reactions. Thomas Merton, a 20th century Trappist monk, once wrote,

“There are many declarations made only because we think other people are expecting us to make them.  The silence of God should teach us when to speak and when not to speak.  But we cannot bear the thought of that silence, lest it cost us the trust and respect of men.”

After the grand jury decision, I felt paralyzed by those expectations. Everyone is posting about it. I should be posting about it. Maybe people think I don’t care. Does my silence speak louder than any words I might say? But I don’t know what to post.

All I did know was that I felt a lot of uncertainty. What’s more, my immediate reaction after the announcement of the grand jury decision looked different than my reaction did the next morning, which looked different from my reaction the next day. Only in my silence could I really see that, understand why that was so, and figure out what that meant for going forward.

So I remain quiet. But please don’t mistake silence for apathy. I am listening. I am deciding what I can do to make things better. I may not have taken to my blog, or to Facebook, or to Twitter, like so many others. But I can tell you what I did do. I smiled at everyone I locked eyes with that day after the grand jury decision. I was more patient behind the wheel. I said thank you a whole lot more. Regardless of how I feel about the events in #Ferguson, I know things are broken in ways that seem too big for me to fix. But for now, I can do my part by being kind, by teaching my children to be kind, and by speaking the language of peace. Those things are contagious. We all know they are.

I will continue to be heartbroken that my city has become the poster-child-of-the-moment for so much of what is wrong with our country. But in my core, I know how many smiled back at me the other day. I see the countless stories of selfless people helping the city of Ferguson rebuild. I am aware there are good citizens organizing groups and coalitions to strengthen our communities and promote peace. I know that what they show on the television is not the whole story. For now, that has to be enough for me, regardless of what I read in my Facebook feed.

People like Jessica Townes and her kindness cards have to be enough for me as well. Jessica posted this on Facebook, and it made its way to me through a friend:

“…for those of you looking for an action piece and don’t know where to start, consider any small act of kindness today. The city is hurting, and moreover, individual lives and struggles continue on. People still have to deal with sick parents, troubled children, job loss, and all of the other trials of daily life. Whether your act is directed at first responders or protestors or a random person on the street, there is little chance the recipient could not use a little extra kindness today.”fergusonkindness

However you feel about #Ferguson, maybe step away from your newsfeeds for awhile to do an act of kindness or two…and do it for someone unlikely, someone outside of your comfort zone.

After all, which of these things is more likely to inspire you to have faith in humanity: a 140 character tweet or a stranger paying for your coffee?

At some point, the snow must melt, and it will be left to all of us to create that sense of calm and peace.


 A special thanks to my friend John Powell, for teaching me about the spirituality of silence, and to Jessica Townes, for creating the kindness cards and allowing me to share them. You can visit them on their respective blogs, brokenfishblog and On This New Morning…


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Keeping Up With the Joneses: Neighboring Cities Flaunt Their Goods

It is a new year, and many people may already be thinking about the travel adventures they will have in 2014. I know a handful of people who have locked in a Disney trip, and others who are planning trips to the coasts. But what about the middle of our great country? After all, good things usually happen when people meet in the middle.

That’s why when Kendra Thornton approached me to co-write a post about fun places to visit in our respective cities, Chicago and St. Louis, I thought it sounded like a great idea. The two cities have a long history of being friendly Continue reading “Keeping Up With the Joneses: Neighboring Cities Flaunt Their Goods”

The French Toast Phenomenon: Why I Won’t Make Fun of You For Buying Milk, Bread, and Eggs Before a Snowstorm

Confession: I was one of those people at the grocery store yesterday buying milk, bread, and eggs in preparation for bad winter weather. But I’m not the idiot many Facebook statuses or this guy would have you believe:

I’m pretty sure most of the other people who were at the store with me aren’t Continue reading “The French Toast Phenomenon: Why I Won’t Make Fun of You For Buying Milk, Bread, and Eggs Before a Snowstorm”

Help Them Find Their Words. Even The Gibberish Ones.

Mlunch. Cheweez. Amana. Hosible. Uncle Donald’s. Flop Shoes. Bolo Daddy.

I have a running record of seemingly meaningless words like these on scraps of paper, tucked into baby books. Yet I knew exactly what each one meant when they would fall from the lips of my daughter or son. The ones I listed above can be translated into: lunch, Cheerios, banana, hospital, McDonald’s, flip-flops, and peanut butter, respectively. I don’t  ever want to forget the ways in which my children claimed the English language all for their own as they were learning to talk and Continue reading “Help Them Find Their Words. Even The Gibberish Ones.”

No Need to Hunt for Red October. It’s Everywhere.

October is the month of many things: Halloween…Breast Cancer awareness…Hispanic Heritage…National Pizza month (Wikipedia said this is a thing. I swear). But I live in a city that has been lucky enough to usually be able to claim October as Baseball Month. As in post-season baseball. Orange and black may be the official colors of Halloween, but October has traditionally been looking pretty red around these parts. Continue reading “No Need to Hunt for Red October. It’s Everywhere.”

Perry Tries to Poach More Than Eggs in the St. Louis August Heat

August in St. Louis typically feels like wearing long underwear in a sauna. It’s sweaty and sticky, and sometimes too oppressive to even breathe. Typically. But this August has been anything but typical. I would venture to call it downright lovely. Even recently, when temperatures did break into the nineties, I have found it hard to be all “holy-crap-Dante-must-have-written-Inferno-sitting-under-The-Arch.” St. Louis is a nice place to be, and I felt a little sorry for my husband when he called from his trip in Austin, Texas this past weekend to Continue reading “Perry Tries to Poach More Than Eggs in the St. Louis August Heat”

Radio Roulette

rouletteWhen I was growing up, listening to the radio in the car with my dad followed one rule: his car, his choice. But I never knew where exactly that choice was going to land as a cacophony of song snippets whirled in and out of my ears. My dad worked the car radio (and the television, for that matter) like a roulette wheel Continue reading “Radio Roulette”

Is It Newsworthy to Love the Midwest?

There was an article that caught my attention yesterday, mostly because it was shared multiple times on Facebook by not just friends, but also by local businesses, attractions, and radio stations. It was a piece that ran in The New York Times called “Loving the Midwest” by Curtis Sittenfeld. In it, Sittenfeld explains how she and her husband, who came to live in St. Louis in 2007 by way of a job, evolved from being critical transplants to residents who have grown to accept the city as home. A home they could stay in forever. A home that is indeed a really great place to raise a family.

As many of you might know, I am a born and bred St. Louisan who loves the city that has raised me. And everyone sharing the article on Facebook were also proud St. Louis residents, both natives and transplants. As I scrolled through my news feed, I caught glimpses of words like “vindication” and “finally.”  It was like this virtual communal sigh of relief. See? We haven’t been lying. St. Louis really IS a nice place to live. I mean, if  The New York Times is willing to run the article, then it must be true. New York is the ultimate authority on everything after all.

st. louis map heart
Photo from

But unlike so many others, the article didn’t inspire such a warm and fuzzy feeling in me as to make me share it on my timeline as well. Don’t get me wrong. I think Sittenfeld did a wonderful job highlighting many of the reasons St. Louis is a fantastically livable city, especially for those raising families: friendly communities, a unifying love for our sports teams, a city that is pretty easy to access from one corner to the other, and the insanely numerous attractions that are both incredible AND free, or at least affordable (which also makes St.Louis a great place to visit. There are cities my family has visited which could change their mottos to City X: Where nothing is cheap or easy. And if its easy, its really not cheap. And if its cheap, its wrong.)

revenge of the nerds
Look who’s cool now!

But as I counted how many times this article was shared in my news feed, all I could think was, Why do we need The New York Times to tell us what we already know? It’s like in every teen dramedy when the cool kid finally sees the nerd for the pretty rockin’ person he or she truly is. But isn’t the real lesson of those movies the realization that the nerd never really needed the cool kid’s approval at all?

Maybe I am bringing a little bitterness to the table. I can own that. But I would bet that just about every proud St. Louisan has heard our great city lambasted by an outsider at least once. A few months ago while in New Jersey, I was having a conversation about music, and I made the comment that St. Louis sometimes gets bypassed for various concert tours, despite the fact that we have a lot of stellar venues for live music. This man, who did not know me, responded, “Because St. Louis sucks. That’s why.” He made this incredibly informed statement having never visited, but because “that was the word on the street.” Maybe he had heard about that bogus list that put St. Louis as the third most violent city in the world. Oh, and he also provided the very solid reason that “St. Louis is in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the country.” Well, you got me there, bud. I guess we can blame it all on Lewis and Clark then. The whole time he was talking, I couldn’t help but think that my city was getting dissed by a guy from New Jersey. Hmmm…people in glass houses? You would think someone from New Jersey would be more sympathetic towards a native from another place with a bum wrap. Or maybe making fun of someplace else just helps ease the pain of  years and years of getting bullied by New York.

Some non-natives may not outright criticize St. Louis as Mr. Jersey did, but on more than one occasion I have experience attitudes of superiority from transplants from the coasts. Like Sittenfeld described of her and her husband’s attitudes on first arriving in the city after living in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, coastal transplants seems to find a lack of sophistication in our city because we might not have the raging nightlife or fast-paced energy or as many hybrid cars or…whatever. And that subtle, veiled feeling of being a tad superior for having lived elsewhere before comes across in comments like, “It’s funny how hardly anyone uses your mass transit system,” or “People sure have an interesting way of saying forty-four around here,” or “Why does everyone care what high school you went to?” or “With a crust that thin, can you really call it pizza?” We sense it. And it makes us feel bad about our own city, while in our own city, even though we shouldn’t feel that way. We listen too much to people who don’t know St. Louis like we do, and that is what leads so many of us to become the “self-hating Midwesterners” that Sittenfeld mentions. We are right to love our city the way it is, and we really don’t need anyone else’s approval for doing so.

It is nice that Sittenfeld wrote the piece out of love for the Midwest. And it makes me happy that she and her family have found their place here; though it doesn’t surprise me at all that they did. St. Louis really is an easy city to love. Which is why my Facebook friends and all those local businesses, attractions, and radio stations shouldn’t have been surprised that praises for our home made it to The New York Times, so surprised that they felt the need to make sure everyone knew the cool kid had noticed us. After all, if the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a piece about what a great city New York is, I doubt anyone in New York would even notice. Because they know they are fabulous. And we should know we are as well.

St. Louis Arch heart
Photo from:

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Please Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Mr. Rogers' NeighborhoodWe have some good neighbors, and we have some bad neighbors. Unfortunately, we said goodbye to some of our good neighbors yesterday as they headed out to make a new home in the Pittsburg area. My kids just lost two playmates, and Kurt and I just lost another couple who we enjoyed, trusted, and could borrow stuff from.

Their house is still on the market (and is quite lovely), so I figured this is my chance to advertise for some new neighbors we would approve of. The last family to move onto our street has been a bit of a disappointment, so we would like to avoid a repeat of that situation. Here are my requirements:

1. Friendly, but not overly friendly. I don’t need to know all your business, and you don’t need to know all of mine. But if we’re both outside, I’d like to have some good casual conversation.

2. Children around my kids’ ages would be a bonus (not a requirement), but only if they aren’t rude and won’t teach my kids any more bad behaviors than they already have. Oh, and only if they come and ask to play at NORMAL playing times, like NOT at dinner time, at the very moment I just got my kids to start cleaning their rooms, or at eight o’clock at night…because we already have neighborhood kids who come at those times. If the children aren’t around my kids’ ages, we would also appreciate a trustworthy, responsible teen who would rather babysit on weekends than get drunk at parties.

3. You must cut your grass and make sure trash ends up in your trash cans, not scattered around your yard. It would also be helpful if you knew the difference between a weed that you should pull and a nice plant that you should let grow so that you don’t let your weeds flourish and all your plants wither to nothing.

4. When it snows, shovel your driveway so that your car doesn’t get stuck trying to back out, and your spinning wheels don’t result in a huge cavernous rut in the grass that is shortly accompanied by tire tracks when you finally decide it’s just easier to drive through the front lawn rather than pull out a shovel and remove some snow.

5. Buy girl scout cookies from my daughter. Our neighbors who just moved were always one of her top customers, so start saving up. She’ll be knocking on your door come February.

6. Always have vegetable oil, milk, and eggs on hand. Because I can sometimes be impulsive in my baking and will often start a recipe before checking to see if I have everything I need. And it’s kind of a pain to run up to the store when I know I can likely find what I need right across the street.

7. Know when “quiet times” are. For example, we would be very happy if you did not pull into your driveway with your music blasting or set off fireworks at two o’clock in the morning, have what can only be described as “car door-slamming parties” in the middle of the night, or decide to finally cut your grass at six o’clock on a Sunday morning.

I think that probably about covers it, and I don’t think any of those are too much to ask. So spread the word (and the requirements, please). I promise we will be very good neighbors in return: we are always happy to lend neighborly help, we organize the block party so you don’t have to, we have been known to invite people over for dinner if we’ve made way too much chili, we won’t let our kids trample your grass or our dog poop in your yard, and if you make the cut you’ll get some pretty delicious and “creatively” decorated cookies at Christmas time.

But I swear, if you don’t keep your grass cut, I WILL complain about you in a blog post.