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.”

More of the Same in 2012

new years eve ball drop
courtesy of http://www.sessions.edu

Believe it or not, both of my children stayed up until midnight last night to ring in the new year, albeit by accident. We had planned to “celebrate” early like most parents of young children, but for some reason, everything just ran a little behind. We ate dinner later than we planned, which moved back our movie start time. Before we knew it, we had unknowingly blown right through 9:00 and 10:00 pm. My husband quickly gave the kids a bath in order to have our celebration at 11:00, but then we realized what the heck. If they can make it to midnight, more power to them. And they did.

lady gaga new years eve 2011
Lady Gaga…whatever (photo courtesy of zimbio.com)

So as we watched the ball drop and Lady Gaga start the new year looking just as idiotic as she did in the past year, the sparkling apple juice was flowing. We all wished each other a happy 2012…all of us except for Michael. These were Michael’s very first words of the new year, in order: 1. “Ew, they’re kissing.” 2. “Sis, you’re in my way.”  (accompanied by a push)  3. Sticking out his tongue and spitting at us.

Well, I thought. It looks as though 2012 is going to be pretty much the same as 2011.

On second thought, however, that really would not be such a bad thing. By most accounts, 2011 was a kind year to me. There were definitely some horrible moments throughout the year, most notably the passing of Kurt’s grandfather and our friends’ little boy Chase, as well as the horrible tornadoes that struck the area, including the homes of both my in-laws and my great-aunt and great-uncle. Thankfully, the twister’s damage resulted in fixable things, so I count that as a blessing.

But more often than not, 2011 brought positive things to my life. My kids treated me to more gems of hilarity and uber-cuteness. Grace learned to read, ride a bike, and get herself ready in the morning, while Michael figured out the potty-training thing…all four of which are very freeing things for a mom. I spent a lot of life-renewing time with a lot of different friends, including two girls’ weekends: one of which helped me get back in touch with the girl of my yesteryear, and one that helped me appreciate the woman I am and the life I have now. I also made some new and wonderful friends, and welcomed another

cardinals 2011 world series champs
Awwww Yeaaaaahhh!

adorable niece, Kate, into the world. I had five whole days to myself this summer when Kurt mercifully took the kids on vacation with his family, which meant that for five days the house was clean and quiet, I was well rested, I did not have to watch PBS Kids, and I painted my toenails for probably the first time all year. I did join the family later in the summer to visit the Chicago area and spend time with my “bestie” and her family. The Cardinals won the World Series the same night we had our annual Halloween party, so I got to wear a costume AND sing “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang at the same time: win-win.  And speaking of Halloween, FX made me giddy with their new show American Horror Story, which let me feel spooky long after the ghoulish holiday was over. Sometimes, I am really easy to please.

micky dolenz meet and greet
The Happy Couple – Me and Micky

I feel like I am forgetting something really momentus…ooohhhh yeaaahhhhh. Did I ever mention that The Monkees embarked on their 45th Anniversary Tour? A tour us fans did not think would really happen? A tour that worked as a vehicle to show me the depth and breadth of my husband’s love for me? Yes, 2011 boasted the magical weekend when Kurt and I traveled to Columbus, OH, and I rocked out to my favorite band of all time from the front row (see A Completely Biased Review). Not only that, but twenty-five years of waiting to meet my idol, Micky Dolenz, finally paid off with one geek-out moment hug and an unintentional groupie moment (see Meet and Greet). And I was not the only one to have a brush-with-greatness moment this year. Kurt also caught a glimpse of one of his favorites, celebrity chef and host of Good Eats Alton Brown, AND saw a live performance that included his favorite radio personalities and comedians, Bob & Tom, Chick McGee, and Jimmy Pardo. That’s right ya’ll, we were rubbing elbows with the A-List.

Finally, 2011 gave birth to this blog. While in itself, this is not all that amazing, what it has represented for me is. You can read my first post on the Genesis page to learn more about why I started the blog in the first place. For now, I just want to recognize the happiness I have found in creating my stories here, in remembering a passion I had forgotten and left to collect dust. And the fact that people have taken delight in reading it…well, that is just the hug from Micky on top of The Monkee concert cake.

So if 2012 wants to bring on more of the same, I say that is fine by me. Here’s to a new year!

More of the Same in 2012: A Year in Review

Believe it or not, both of my children stayed up until midnight last night to ring in the new year, albeit by accident. We had planned to “celebrate” early like most parents of young children, but for some reason, everything just ran a little behind. We ate dinner later than we planned, which moved back our movie start time. Before we knew it, we had unknowingly blown right through 9:00 and 10:00 pm. My husband quickly gave the kids a bath in order to have our celebration at 11:00, but then we realized what the heck. If they can make it to midnight, more power to them. And they did.

So as we watched the ball drop, the sparkling apple juice was flowing. We all wished each other a happy 2012…all of us except for Michael. These were Michael’s very first words of the new year, in order: 1. “Ew, they’re kissing.” 2. “Sis, you’re in my way” (accompanied by a push)  3. Sticking out his tongue and spitting at us.

Well, I thought. It looks as though 2012 is going to be pretty much the same as 2011.

On second thought, however, that really would not be such a bad thing. By most accounts, 2011 was a kind year to me. There were definitely some horrible moments throughout the year, most notably the passing of Kurt’s grandfather and our friends’ little boy Chase, as well as the horrible tornadoes that struck the area, including the homes of both my in-laws and my great-aunt and great-uncle. Thankfully, the twister’s damage resulted in fixable things, so I count that as a blessing.

But more often than not, 2011 brought positive things to my life. My kids treated me to more gems of hilarity and uber-cuteness. Grace learned to read, ride a bike, and get herself ready in the morning, while Michael figured out the potty-training thing…all four of which are very freeing things for a mom. I spent a lot of life-renewing time with a lot of different friends, including two girls’ weekends: one of which helped me get back in touch with the girl of my yesteryear, and one that helped me appreciate the woman I am and the life I have now. I also made some new and wonderful friends, and welcomed another

St. Louis Cardinals 2011 World Series
Photo by Jleybov via Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

adorable niece, Kate, into the world. I had five whole days to myself this summer when Kurt mercifully took the kids on vacation with his family, which meant that for five days the house was clean and quiet, I was well rested, I did not have to watch PBS Kids, and I painted my toenails for probably the first time all year. I did join the family later in the summer to visit the Chicago area and spend time with my “bestie” and her family. The Cardinals won the World Series the same night we had our annual Halloween party, so I got to wear a costume AND sing “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang at the same time: win-win.  And speaking of Halloween, FX made me giddy with their new show American Horror Story, which let me feel spooky long after the ghoulish holiday was over. Sometimes, I am really easy to please.

micky dolenz meet and greet
The Happy Couple – Me and Micky

I feel like I am forgetting something really momentus…ooohhhh yeaaahhhhh. Did I ever mention that The Monkees embarked on their 45th Anniversary Tour? A tour us fans did not think would really happen? A tour that worked as a vehicle to show me the depth and breadth of my husband’s love for me? Yes, 2011 boasted the magical weekend when Kurt and I traveled to Columbus, OH, and I rocked out to my favorite band of all time from the front row (see A Completely Biased Review). Not only that, but twenty-five years of waiting to meet my idol, Micky Dolenz, finally paid off with one geek-out moment hug and an unintentional groupie moment (see Meet and Greet). And I was not the only one to have a brush-with-greatness moment this year. Kurt also caught a glimpse of one of his favorites, celebrity chef and host of Good Eats Alton Brown, AND saw a live performance that included his favorite radio personalities and comedians, Bob & Tom, Chick McGee, and Jimmy Pardo. That’s right ya’ll, we were rubbing elbows with the A-List.

Finally, 2011 gave birth to this blog. While in itself, this is not all that amazing, what it has represented for me is. You can read my first post on the Genesis page to learn more about why I started the blog in the first place. For now, I just want to recognize the happiness I have found in creating my stories here, in remembering a passion I had forgotten and left to collect dust. And the fact that people have taken delight in reading it…well, that is just the hug from Micky on top of The Monkee concert cake.

So if 2012 wants to bring on more of the same, I say that is fine by me. Here’s to a new year!

Lock Your Doors: There is Danger in The Lou

Huh. I just heard on the radio this morning that St. Louis, Missouri is the third most dangerous city in the world. You heard me correctly…the WORLD. The home of the World Series Champion Cardinals is nestled between Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. We also safely beat out Mogadishu, Somalia (#5); Grozny, Chechnya, Russia (#8); and Muzaffarabad, Kashmir, Pakistan (#10). That’s right. My city is more dangerous than one embroiled in the Afghan war.

Wow. So I guess the fact that I have safely survived thirty-four years without so much as mace in my purse means I have way more street cred than I ever would have imagined.

Or this could simply be a case of irresponsible journalism. Surprising, I know.

st. louis arch
Does this skyline look dangerous to you?

I was curious to see this report that one of our local radio stations broadcasted as I drove my daughter to school this morning. I apparently did not realize how lucky I was to have made the trip without encountering a car bomb or a car-jacking. So I typed in the keywords, expecting to see a rash of trustworthy news sources citing some legitimate study done by a governmental statistics agency, or something along those lines. Instead, I got one result at the top of the list from a website called Urban Titan, whose tag line is “All Things That are Weird, Bizarre, Strange and Unusual.” And the article about the ten most dangerous cities in the world was written by “Nataly.” Just Nataly. Apparently she is such a renowned expert that she does not need a last name.

That is just for starters. The “article” was riddled with typos. And when I was finished reading the “article,” I could click on one of the numerous ads on either side to educate myself on the ten most controversial cartoon characters, the five most bizarre deaths during sexual intercourse, and how drunk girls like to “experiment.” This is hard-hitting journalism, folks.

Not only that, but as part of the explanation of why St. Louis, Missouri is on the list, the author claims that 65% of our crime occurs in East St. Louis. Hold it. East St. Louis? You mean that city that shares our name but is a completely different city? The one with its own mayor, and…oh yeah, its own STATE? As in East St. Louis, ILLINOIS? Granted, I will admit that East St. Louis is considered to be within the family of “the St. Louis area.” We certainly claim its successes for our own, such as Ike and Tina Turner and Miles Davis. But when taking statistics for something like the most dangerous cities, it can only seem fair to include the stats strictly within the city limits, and East St. Louis does not fall within those limits. If they are going to be lax about parameters, at least throw in the stats from suburbs like Manchester and Frontenac to give our median a fair picure of the area. Even still, I would question if East St. Louis as its own entity would be able to keep up with some of the world’s most violent places.

But I think what bothers me the most is that some of our own St. Louisans brought this story into the limelight by discussing it on their radio show without really checking the validity of the story. The original article on Urban Titan was posted in January of this year, which means it went virtually unnoticed in our media for almost a year. Why? Because had it been a legitimate study, it would have made news. But it’s not. And now our own fellow citizens are perpetuating an idea that St. Louis is really worse than it is…which really is not that bad at all. I am not denying the fact that we have crime, and more crime than we should. But it seems that polls like this one and the recent Men’s Health poll on the saddest cities in America (in which we came in sixth) do nothing but create overall unrealistic images of cities which can be a danger to tourism and commerce. And for what?

I guess the only thing we in St. Louis can do is hold on to the fact that we know we live in a great city with a rich history. The Gateway to the West. The home of the Arch, interesting architecture, fabulous museums, copious and tantalizing restaurants, cozy neighborhoods to raise families, Forest Park, ground-breaking music, the eleven-time World Series Champions, and some damn fine beer, among many, many other things. Oh, and the best tasting city water in America (see: http://www.stlwater.com/bestwater.php).

As far as I’m concerned, the rest is just fuzzy math. Then again, most math is fuzzy to me.