The Crush Pad blog Wednesday, Aug 18 2010 

Have you checked out the blog that I write each Monday for Saint Louis Cellars? It’s at


How are you using your time away from the paid job? Friday, Oct 9 2009 

83304769 -0 I had envisioned more sharing of information on employment on this site by multitudes of people vs. me posting whatever I know–which often isn’t much. The multitude of contributors (or just sources of info) have not materialized, and I have found that when people are hit by furlough, pay cut, temporary lay off, or just plain let go by their employer, they are very self-protective about their situation, preferring to keep a low profile.

I guess because I’ve been through this before (two or three times, now), I get spooked by an economic downturn, but I know that if I keep my paddle in the water, I will get to another good spot, eventually.

I have heard from lots of people who have found new jobs. It’s actually very encouraging that so many have done so. They often ask me not to post about it, though. Rats!

I have another idea; always have another idea. This is something to which any reader can contribute, from anywhere in the world (are you listening, “world“?) and you don’t even have to give info about your paid work, or lack thereof to do it. Let us know what kinds of community service things you’re doing.

How are you giving/giving back? Lots of people do this even when they are working a 60 hr. week, but many of us have upped the amount of community service work we’re doing, if we’ve had our work week reduced or are between gigs, due to the economy.

200482268-001_muttI have been doing a lot of things. For example, I have been working with Alex, a colleague here at Lawrence Group, and Rebecca, the manager at the St. Louis Animal Care & Control Center, aka “the city pound,” on a pro bono project.

seal-border-white-shadowAlex created a logo, which they’d never had, and designed a Web site around the content that Rebecca and her staff and Alex and I suggested and developed. The new site is not up yet, and the current page is part of the St. Louis Health Department’s Web page. The Health Department is over the Animal Care & Control Center, and the ACC has been “hidden” in all the Health Department info.

The address for the new Web site will be announced soon and, meanwhile, you can get some info from the current site linked just above, or stop by or call them at

The City of St. Louis Animal Care & Control
2120 Gasconade Street, St. Louis, MO 63118
(314) 353-5838

88977946_left facing catHaving a beautifully branded and designed Web site will help get animals adopted at this out-of-the-way facility, as well as recruit volunteers and staff, when needed. There are photographers who are getting good pics of the adoptable animals now in anticipation of the new site going live.

I don’t have the photographer’s names at hand, but if you see this and have that info, please give them a shout-out, and a thank you from the animals! Also, thank Candice & Noreen for putting me onto this idea and keeping me energized with their own passionate support of animal welfare.

So, tell us: What are YOU doing … ?

Image Credits:
Getty Images

Looking for a nice little get-away? I got you covered. Tuesday, Aug 11 2009 

This was on today’s “The Daily Sauce” e-mail from St. Louis’s own Sauce Magazine.

Chaumette Vineyards and Winery_Ste Genevieve MOFull disclosure: We’re not morning people. So the idea of arriving at a winery at 8 a.m. strikes us as odd. But Chaumette Vineyards and Winery’s new weekend breakfast, which debuts Aug. 22, just might change our tune. Breakfast is involved, after all – and we are breakfast people. And the idea of sitting at the winery ‘s Grapevine Grill to nosh on chef Adam Lambay’s chocolate mascarpone French toast, local wild mushroom and egg souffle, or Chambourcin strawberry crêpe sounds like something worth getting up early for. Still, old habits die hard, so we’ll likely be there closer to noon.

Sauce pick: Breakfast at Chaumette Vineyards and Winery
Where to get it: Saturday and Sunday starting Aug. 22 – 8 a.m. to noon, 24345 State Route WW, Ste. Genevieve
Info: 573.747.1000 or

So, how is everyone doing these days? Tuesday, Aug 11 2009 

Has anyone’s work circumstances changed for the better? I haven’t heard from anyone for a while, so I don’t know if things are worse, better, or status quo. I’m still on a reduced work-week, myself. Let us hear from you.

Now HiringAs a thank-you-in-advance, I’m posting this > link < to a job fair that’s coming to St. Louis.

8-25-09 | 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sheraton St. Louis City Center — Hotel and Suites | 400 South 14th Street

So if you are still looking for work, spruce up your resume, upload it and pre-register for this event.

PS — Follow on Twitter and Facebook. Uh, you do you have your accounts set on those by now, right?

Hello, there: I’m back. Sunday, Aug 2 2009 

Daniel Boone

Daniel Boone

Did you miss me? I took some time off from writing here. I was busy getting ready for a trip with my Mother (and then taking the trip this past week.) We went by car to south-central Kentucky for a sort of homecoming.

Mother and I have never visited Kentucky (although we have driven across the south-western edge of it, coming back from Nashville to St. Louis. The state of Kentucky takes its name from the Iroquoian “kenta-ke”, which also used to be written as “Kaintuck”, “Caintuck”, “Kentuck”, and “Kentucke.” It means “a dark and bloody ground.” I would love to tell you how that name came to be given there, but I don’t know and still need to research that.

This homecoming was a trip to Wayne County, Kentucky, in and around the town of Monticello (pop. 5,900), and that is the place our Shelton ancestors left to come to St. Louis by covered wagon in the late 1800s. They settled in St. Louis County along the Missouri River in what is now redeveloped as the “Riverport” light industrial area, and their children settled nearby as adults in St. Charles, Maryland Heights, and Creve Coeur. This is a HUGE waste of farmland, but nobody asked me before they rezoned it and paved it over. At one time in the 1800s some of that area near Creve Coeur Lake was incorporated as “Vigus,” which no longer exists except as a reference to the name of a quarry on Creve Coeur Mill Road.

Original Carter Family

Original Carter Family

Wayne County is in the Appalachians, which is a mountain range that extends a long way throughout the eastern USA, from New York in the north to Alabama in the south. There are several ranges within the Appalachians, and Wayne County is in the foothills of the Great Smokies, as I am told by its residents. It’s rugged terrain with cascading mountain ridges, valleys and hollows, and areas of plateau that nicely accommodate family farms. I could picture Daniel Boone coming out of a wooded area almost anywhere I looked. I could hear all those Appalachian > folk songs < playing in my head from every Grand Ole Opry show I’d accidentally listened to over the years. Click on the folk songs link, above, and you can play a few of the songs by the original Carter Family, like “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” while you read the rest of this.

Mother’s birthday was yesterday; she is now officially 79 years old. She began doing family research about 20 years ago to fill in details of things we knew as anecdotes about the Sheltons and Wayne County and Monticello, Kentucky. She found a lot of things in her research over the years, but like any good researcher, she also raised more questions that needed to be answered. I am her oldest child, and I got on the family research wagon with her a few years ago, in earnest, and I thought a trip to Wayne County would be a good idea. It was.

Kentucky Log Cabin

Kentucky Log Cabin | Wayne County

The Sheltons were my Mother’s maternal ancestors. We’ve hit some walls on our research of the Sheltons, and to keep moving forward when we hit a wall with one family branch (a desire that genealogists understand completely), we also have done research on my Mother’s paternal ancestors, who are Mennonites and mostly still reside in the Gettysburg area of Pennsylvania, as well as on my Father’s side of the family (maternal & paternal), and they’re easiest to trace, because they are from Ireland and England and arrived in the US “recently,” relatively speaking, so there are good historical records documenting their arrival and path to get here.

My dad’s family also was literate, which the Sheltons were not. The inability to read, write and spell (especially spell) makes things a lot harder on your descendants when they are trying to research you. People who are illiterate depend on county clerks and census takers, etc., to decide how to spell their names on official documents (which we use to research their lives), and the lack of consistency in spelling can be confounding. That, plus the fact that you really need an index to track the many nickname conventions that were used in previous generations and that have completely disappeared (e.g., “Patsy” was apparently used for nearly every woman’s name at some point.) There is the “Soundex” system that helps with the various spellings–an ingenious thing, if there ever was one–and there actually are regional indexes in most genealogy libraries helping with the nicknames. If you don’t love a puzzle, however, don’t get involved in family research or you will either waste a good amount of time before quitting, pulling out your hair in frustration, or both!

Beaver Creek Resort Marina

Beaver Creek Resort Marina

So, if you have never been to south-central Kentucky, including Lake Cumberland, you are missing a spectacular part of the USA. It’s beautiful countryside, and the people were unfailingly open, welcoming and kind to us city folks come looking up our ancestors. We did find some good documentation, left with lots more sources of research for the questions that were raised on our trip, but most of what we learned came straight from the mouths of people who live there. If you ask a question of someone from the area about a certain place or events, they are most likely to respond, “Well, I don’t know a whole lot about that, but I’ll tell ya what I do know … .” Half an hour later, you’ve got the goods. They know a lot, but they just don’t tend to brag.

I have a link on my FaceBook page with a photo album (a selection of the best of our trip), which I can share here, and which you can visit even if you’re not a FaceBook member. Please take the time to read the captions on the photos: They tell the story behind what you’re seeing. I’ll set the stage here by pasting the information Mother had on how and why and when Francis Marion Shelton, his wife Martha Jane (Mathews) Shelton, Dollie (Mathews) Mikel (Martha Jane’s sister), Dollie’s husband J.T. (Jacob) Mikel, and all the Shelton and Mikel children got from Kaintuck to Missourah.

Francis Marion & Martha Jane Shelton

Francis Marion & Martha Jane Shelton

Remembrance of trip from Monticello, Kentucky, to St. Louis, Missouri, by covered wagons
Approx. 1894/96

As told by Mytle Shelton (Small) to Doris Jean, her granddaughter, in St. Louis, Mo.

“My father, Francis Marion Shelton, fought in the war*, as well as his brother in law (J.T. /Jacob Mikel.) A section (of land) was given for service. “They” sold their farms and came to Missouri for the black soil. They had two covered wagons, horses, cows and a plow. It took six weeks to get to St. Louis area.

They followed the river. They would stop for two or three days visiting farms along the way. It was a long trip along the Mississippi. They didn’t know where they were and saw a farm; there were rifles sticking out of the windows. The people at the house hollered, “You can’t stay here!” Then they asked, “Are you a family?” and because the men leading the wagons said they were families traveling, they were welcomed there. (Francis) Marion Shelton said, “We must be in Missouri—It’s unfriendly.”

Jacob Mikel was the rifleman and shot all the game. When they came into the St. Louis area, not having drunk yellow river water in Monticello, which is fed by 13 mountain springs, the girls all were looked at and noticed for having pale, clear skin. Yellow river water in the St. Louis area yellows the skin, apparently.

Francis Marion Shelton, Suzie, Ky.
Martha Jane Mathew Shelton (wife), Wayne Co., Ky.
Children:  Lena, Myrtle, Mattie, Ethel, Mildred, William

J.T. (Jacob) Mikel, Wayne Co., Ky.
Dollie Mathew Mikel (wife), Wayne Co., Ky.
Children: Fillmore, Sherman, Ethel, Jodie (possibly two youngest children, James & Esther , were born in Missouri)

*possibly the Spanish-American War, but not yet documented

Editor’s note: If you live in or have visited northwest St. Louis County, specifically Maryland Heights, you may have seen a block-long street that runs off Fee Fee named “Mikel Avenue.” It has been there a long time and is named by/for the Mikels who came to Missouri from Wayne County, Kentucky.

> Link < to photo album of my trip with Mother to Wayne Co.

Come one, come all Saturday, July 18: Support a NEW Mediterranean restaurant, enjoy gracious hospitality and delicious food! Tuesday, Jul 14 2009 

Omar, himself

Omar, himself

Omar’s Italian/Mediterranean Restaurant plans its opening THIS SATURDAY, July 18, 2009.

It’s at 10111 Saint Charles Rock Rd., St Ann, MO 63074-1810 – (314) 429-6881. You will see the sign beckoning you from streetside, St. Charles Rock Road & Wright Avenue. Here’s a link to Google map >MAP<.

Come and enjoy the healthy, amazing menu that includes Chicago-style pizza from a brick oven, hummus, falafel, kabobs, and shawerma (something I don’t think you can get anywhere else I’ve been in the area.) Omar uses fresh herbs from his herb garden along side the restaurant.

The build-out has been built “from scratch,” with thoughtful touches and something St. Ann has not had for quite some time: a restaurant with tableclothes (covered with glass.)

img118St. Ann (and Omar & John & Omar’s family) really need your support for this restaurant. Please come out to support it, and enjoy a cozy dining room, a friendly welcome, delicious and healthy food from an extensive and affordable menu, and linger over a nice espresso or other coffee drink after dinner.

Open invitation to all St. Louis “Design Addicts” Thursday, Jul 9 2009 

—and any who are near St. Louis, or planning to be in St. Louis on the evening of Monday, July 13, 2009.

Niche, Broadway entrance

Niche, Broadway entrance

Niche | Interior Design Services & Home Furnishings is hosting an event on Monday, 7/13/09, 5-8 pm, with a product presentation at 6:15 pm.

Come for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and to see the latest > Holly Hunt < furniture design & Pierre Frey textile collections.

Meet and mingle with other St. Louis design addicts and see these great product lines, plus the chic > Niche < showroom.

Niche | located at Broadway & Olive, St. Louis, Mo.

niche_logoPlease let store manager David Blakely know if you plan to come, so he can get a head-count for food and beverage, at 314 – 621 – 8131 or

Hope to see you there!

New Sculpture Park Downtown Gets It Right. Tuesday, Jun 30 2009 

That’s the headline for the story by David Bonetti, visual arts critic for the >St. Louis Post-Dispatch< on Sunday (6/28/09.) I’ve linked it here for you.

"This is Bruce and Sarah Walking"

"This is Bruce and Sarah Walking"

One of the works of art in the garden that is featured in the story is captioned by Bonetti with,

This Is Bruce and Sarah Walking” (2007) by Julian Opie (2007). This standing LED machine shows the constantly moving image of two stylish young people taking a stroll. Placed at 10th Street at one of the garden’s main entrances, it provides a subtle subliminal hint: Come on in and enjoy yourself.

I can’t wait to see it finished and open on Wednesday. Gateway Garden is 2.9 acres (2 city blocks) bordered by Market & Chestnut at 10th Street.

If the weather is nice, I may take my lunch over and enjoy the new site. I can wander over to the new Left Bank Books location at 321 North 10th on my way back to the office. St. Louis downtown has a lot of places to stop in and investigate!

Fun evening at Urban Eats street party and first anniversary celebration Urb Thursday, Jun 18 2009 

Caya Aufiero and John Chen have a great thing going on in Downtown Dutchtown. Their Urban Eats Cafe and Bakery is the kind of place everyone wishes they had in their neighborhood. It’s a few blocks off South Grand at 3301 Meramec at the northwest corner of Meramec and Virginia.

They had a nice crowd this evening, including the alderman, the Downtown Dutchtown board members, and lots and lots of neighborhood residents. Some said they are there every day, and I can see how that would be a great way to spend an afternoon or evening, either outside enjoying the street activity at the umbrella tables or inside enjoying the artful, fun decor.

A few, very brief speeches were made by Caya and John and the alderman, thanks were proffered for support and encouragement and patronage, and the evening was a success.The weather cooperated, too, and the party was in full swing when I got there, with a blues combo (a really, really good blues combo) playing on the corner, kids making chalk drawings on the sidewalk, and neighbors chatting and laughing and having a great time.

I made my way inside and ordered a turkey wrap from the menu. OMG! It was so good! I haven’t seen a wrap done quite the way Urban Eats does them—they pop them into the panini grill for a minute, and the wrap is slightly crisped. Holds together nicely, and the little “crunch” is a winner. Really enjoyed it, and washed it down with the house special drink called a “boozie.” It’s a blender drink made with ice, fresh fruit, milk or soy milk, and your choice of either vodka or rum. I choose the rum, strawberry, chocolate, and soy milk. OMG! It was so good!

While I was eating, local historian Nini Harris joined me, and I chatted with her and her sister a another couple. Just when I thought I was thoroughly satisfied, someone brought a piece of the richest, best carrot cake with butter cream frosting that I have ever eaten. Put enough butter cream on something, and as I eat it, I may temporarily become  incoherent. (OMG! It was good!!!!!)

I left a little before 8:00 pm to have time to post photos from the party. Hope you enjoy them.

Check out Urban Eats this weekend!

PS — They also do event catering.

Editor’s Note: I was traveling light this evening, so I took these photos with my cell phone. They’re not the best photos I’ve ever taken, but I hope they give a sense of the event.

Are you hip to Bloomsday? Tuesday, Jun 16 2009 

From today’s “The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor,”

James Joyce | Dublin

James Joyce | Dublin

Today is Bloomsday. It is the day on which James Joyce’s (books by this author) Ulysses takes place, in 1904. It’s named after the main character, Leopold Bloom, and Joyce chose this day for the action of the novel to commemorate the first date he had with his future wife, Nora Barnacle, an uneducated chambermaid from Galway whom he met for a stroll around Dublin. A few days earlier, Nora had stood him up for their scheduled date.

Today, Joyceans all over the world celebrate with staged readings of Ulysses. Dublin has a long tradition of hosting celebrities, politicians, and international diplomats to do these dramatized readings. In fact, in Dublin, Bloomsday is not just celebrated for a day — it’s a weeklong extravaganza. There are Ulysses walking tours, where a person can retrace the steps of the fictional Leopold Bloom, as well as literary-themed pub crawls, musical acts, and museum exhibits. There’s also an annual Messenger Biker Rally, where people dressed in Joyce-era clothing ride old bicycles along the route that Leopold Bloom would have walked, and there are large-scale Irish breakfasts and afternoon teas devoted to Ulysses devotees.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®

Editor’s Note: You can listen to a podcast of today’s “Writer’s Almanac,” which includes an excerpt of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from >Ulysses < here and a description of the activites in Dublin surrounding this day.

Also, the Saint Louis Beacon has a couple good videos of performances from this same passage and another. St. Louis, with its large community of Irish descendants and literary and theater groups, has readings and performances around town today to celebrate this, too.

This book was originally banned from the US and deemed “obscene,” when it was firt published in Paris in 1922. That’s a tidbit for those who may have slept through their English lit classes. Here’s a >link< to the whole, sordid story on that.


The Poetry Foundation
National broadcasts of The Writer’s Almanac are supported by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine for over 90 years.

The Writer’s Almanac is produced by Prairie Home Productions and presented by American Public Media.

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