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


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?

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!

Left Bank Books & Citygarden 2009 at lunch today Thursday, Jul 2 2009 

[You can click on any image to see it in a slightly larger size.]

I stopped in at the new, downtown location for >Left Bank Books<. Mark, kind and helpful, helped me find a book called Family, by Jeff Sharlet, which was the subject of NPR’s “Fresh Air” show today. The author was talking to host Terry Gross about the book, and the subject matter just alarmed me so badly that I went straight to the book store and bought a copy.

My camera wasn’t charged (I am so seldom prepared with my camera on hand and charged when I decide to snap things), but I had my cell phone. Doesn’t take the best quality photos, and I have a habit of not holding the phone until the picture is complete, so half my images are blurred. I do try, believe me. Here are some of the outside and inside of Left Bank Books at 321 North 10th Street, and smiling Mark. These may, in fact (now that I look at them in PhotoShop) be about technically the worst pictures I’ve ever taken. I must have been hungry and shaky. I have sharpened them as much as I can, and I will try and do better next time. (Sorry, Mark!)

I had planned to stop in at Left Bank Books today, anyway, as part of a lunch time outing that included a look at the new Citygarden that just opened to the public today.

My only complaint about Citygarden (ONLY complaint) is the way it’s spelled. Sheesh: Nobody’s going to get that right. Should be two words. I know running the two words together is clever, like spelling “Center” as “Centre,” but these things just cause confusion. Stick with the tried and true in formal, written communications. If people can’t spell it, i.e., if they aren’t sure how it’s spelled, and if they don’t want to spell it wrong (and some people do care about these things still), they won’t write about it. That’s a PR problem. Stick with the true and true in formal, written communications. This includes spelling. Okay: I’m getting dizzy on this soapbox; stepping off … .

So, lunch time was warm, breezy, and Citygarden was full of people. I took pictures on both blocks of the garden and tried to show some of the features, but you really need to make the trip to see it yourself.

There is a small, beautifully designed restaurant on the edge of park along Chestnut Street, just east of 10th. The restaurant is mostly glass, and part of the dining room cantilevers a few feet above Chestnut. It reminds me of an updated version of Forest Park’s Jewel Box, and that’s not to say it’s derivative in any way. This little building stands on its own.

It’s not open just yet, but it looks pretty close to being ready as of today (July 1, 2009.) It’s called Terrace View, it will serve lunch Monday through Saturday from 11-2, hosts happy hour from 2-6, dinner from 5 till “close,” but I’m not sure what “time” that is, and the best thing, which I’ve marked with a red arrow on the photo: No Smoking Environment! The exclamation point is mine.

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!

Gamache family history traces to founding of St. Louis Saturday, Jun 20 2009 

What?!? No Jean Baptiste Gamache statue?

What?!? No Jean Baptiste Gamache statue?

Bet you didn’t know I was married to “local royalty” of a sort.

Tomorrow (Saturday, June 20, 2009) there is a big Gamache family gathering in St. Louis that will include a stop at the monumental tomb of the first St. Louis Gamache, Jean Baptiste Gamache, followed by festivities at a local restaurant.

Jean Baptiste Gamache was a contemporary of Pierre Laclede in the late 1700s and with him was one of the French founders of St. Louis. I don’t know why there isn’t a “Gamache Gas Company,” or a “Gamache’s Landing” on the St. Louis Riverfront, or a “Gamache Station Road,” or even a “Gamache Cab Company.” Where IS the love?!?

Oh, well.

Certainly I feel a sense of pride being a Gamache, with its ties to the history of this city, my hometown. There was a Waylon Jennings song in the 1960s whose words I can adapt to reflect that pride. Jennings wrote it to tell Vietnam War protesters that he didn’t take lightly their condemnation of the USA for its activities at the time. I get my feathers ruffled when I hear people malign my hometown, and my adaptation of the song might go like this, “When you’re runnin’ down my (city), hoss, you’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me … .” I’ve lived other places, but I always roll back this way again.

The story about the assemblée du famille Gamache a St. Louis a demain and their ancestral role in founding the City of St. Louis appeared today in the St. Louis > Suburban Journals <.

Merci a votre attention et au revoir, mes amis!


Donna J Gamache
St. Louis, Missouri

[Go, Cardinals!]

Cardinals mascot, Fredbird

Cardinals mascot, Fredbird

See if you can help, or pass this along. Quickly. Friday, Jun 19 2009 

From: Christi Johaningmeyer


To all:

Ben, a baby boy (15 months old) at my church is in desperate need of AB Blood Negative-platelets. At the moment, there is no supply in the St. Louis area.   If you could please send out to all of your friends/family to see if any of them are AB Negative blood type and willing to give platelets for this child, to please call me at 314.961.9500. I would truly appreciate your help, as well as, prayers for him and his family.

Thanks sooooo much-cj.

Christi Johaningmeyer

Circus Flora 2009 St. Louis performances run through June 21 Wednesday, Jun 17 2009 

Circus Flora Big-Top

Circus Flora Big-Top

>Circus Flora< is a St. Louis theatrical treasure. It is nothing like the Ringling Brothers or the Shriners circuses, or any of the other madness-and-mayhem, three-ring, stadium types that you may have seen in the past.

Circus Flora ensemble

Circus Flora ensemble

Nino the clown, with a young fan

Nino the clown, with a young fan

Circus Flora is a one-ring circus, based on the European traditions of ensemble performance, where each of the acts tells a part of a story that moves a larger story along to its conclusion. The charming big-top seats about 500 (I’m guessing.)  A live band plays to accompany the performances. Each year a new tale is told, new music and costumes are created. The thrill of the circus is not lost in the art; the high-wire acts will take your breath away, and the clowns will make you laugh, and sometimes wipe a tear.

Circus Flora is in town every year for a few weeks, and it runs this year (2009) through June 21, in Grand Center (under an air-conditioned big top tent on the parking lot adjacent to Powell Symphony Hall.)  After the run here, it leaves to tour the world.

Yo-Yo, the Narrator

Yo-Yo, the Narrator

If you have not been to Circus Flora, I really am tempted to say, “Shame on you!” In St. Louis, so many people whine about the wonderful things other cities have, yet so  many don’t support things like Circus Flora, which is honored the world over, and based in St. Louis. So, support it, or it will find a home someday that appreciates it with ticket sales. I’ve been attending with nieces and nephews in tow since 1986.

I went last Saturday, and there were far too many empty seats under the tent. It doesn’t make sense to me. The circus has regular matinee and evening performances, shorter performances for smaller children/older adults who may not want to be out till 9:30 or 10 at night; peanut free performances. They bend over backwards to accommodate and delight. The performers, including equestrian riders, Wallenda family high-wire artists, aerial acrobats, clowns, jugglers, all walk out with the patrons at the conclusion and pose for pictures, sign autographs, and thank everyone for coming.

St. Louis Arches

St. Louis Arches

Another interesting tie to St. Louis is the St. Louis Arches acrobat, juggling and tumbling troupe performing with Circus Flora each year. It’s a group of local performers from about age 5 to 20. They are based at the City Museum, and you can see them practicing at the museum (and/or attend their summer camp there.) The St. Louis Arches and Circus Harmony circus school at City Museum live by the saying, “Peace through pyramids! Harmony through handsprings!”

Kids may want to take a light wrap.

Kids may want to take a light wrap.

Circus Lover’s Tip: Even if you go on a typical hot and humid St. Louis June evening, if you get chilly easily (or if your children do) be sure and take a sweater or light wrap for under the tent. It’s wonderful that’s it’s air-conditioned, however, sitting in the dark of the theater, in the air conditioning, you might at some point want a sweater.

You can buy tickets online at the link at the top of this post. After you see the show, post your comments here: The kids we took Saturday night can’t stop talking about it, and they want to start their own circus!

Legendary Wallenda Family

Legendary Wallenda Family

Photos of Circus Flora ensemble, Yo-Yo the narrator, Nino the clown, St. Louis Arches and Wallendas from Circus Flora Web site
Photo of Nino and young fan from New York Times interview, taken by Ting Le Wang, via the Web
Children in cardigans from via the Web

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.


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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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