Sunday, January 30, 2011


Snowmageddon '82

Are my fellow Midwesterners ready for snowmageddon? Everyone my age that grew up in St. Louis probably has a vague recollection of the Blizzard of '82. Most of my memories of that storm have come from pictures like the one above and to the right (Gravois Rd and my backyard, respectively). I've heard a lot of talk about how some parts of the area are about to see a storm to rival the legendary '82 blizzard. The weather people have been talking about it for days and it seems that they have really put the fear of Ice in everyone. Just in case you haven't heard...we're due to get anywhere from .25" to 2" of ice and then an additional 3" to 12" of snow on top of that. Then as an extra special bonus, the temperature is going to drop below zero. Moving to Alabama isn't looking like such a bad idea right now (still have that room ready for me, Cheryl?).

My friend Katie came over today and we spent a wonderful day being crafty and catching up. As she was leaving we both realized that there were a few things we should probably pick up before snowmageddon and so we decided to head to the store together. IT WAS AMAZING. I worked at a grocery store for a couple of years when I was in college. I've also had to make a lot of last minute trips for groceries before major store closing holidays. I have NEVER seen anything like this. They ran out of bananas, for goodness sake. BANANAS!! And I don't mean that there were only bruised or horribly green bananas left. They ran completely out and put up a sign so that people would stop asking. Interestingly, bread and milk were both still available. Another thing that was out? Diet Coke. Who knew that Diet Coke ranks up there with bananas, bread and milk? The true test came when we went to check out. I have never EVER seen lines like this at a grocery store. They had almost every lane open and the lines were still halfway down the aisles. If I hadn't seen and someone had just told me about it, I would have thought they were exaggerating. Here's the proof...

What isn't evident in these pictures? The fact that everyone (workers and customers) was dealing with it really well. The people in line around us were smiling and very friendly, and our checker had a better attitude than most checkers in a non-snowpocalypse situation. Good for you, St. Louis!!

My biggest issue with the coming snowpocalypse is this: unless the 2" of ice knock out the power at Zip Mail Services, I will still have to go into work. I don't think getting there tomorrow morning will be a problem, but I'm a little worried about getting home tomorrow afternoon and generally about transportation on Tuesday. So I've done something that I should have figured out long ago. I've checked the bus schedule and figured out what buses I need to take and the transfers and everything. Take that, Mother Nature! Now, if Metro decides to halt bus service, I may have a problem...who has 4 wheel drive and would like to spend some quality time with me?
Good luck, everyone, and please...BE CAREFUL out there.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book #5: Alice I Have Been

I went into Book 5 thinking I was going to read an Iris Johansen mystery, but at around page 60 I realized that, dur, I've already read it. I could read it again (and quickly), but according to the rules I set for myself at the beginning of the year, it wouldn't count towards my 50. This was a little bit disheartening but after much deliberation I've decided to read Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin instead. My friend Stephanie has highly recommended this book and even started a bit of a book club on facebook with it as the gateway book. Since I'm a member, I figured I should read it! Unfortunately I have heard that it has a bit of a sad/bittersweet ending, so we'll see...

Two thumbs up to Book 4, German Settlement in Missouri by Robyn Burnett and Ken Luebbering. It was a SUPER easy read...I think I finished it in about an hour and a half. I HIGHLY recommend it to all of my Missouri friends that have German roots. It's not really intense textbook or anything, but it gives a lot of interesting facts and anecdotes that I never realized I needed to know. It also really got me thinking about my people...

On a side note: PLEASE let the weather people be wrong about this storm we're about to get...I mean, really? Freezing rain thunderstorms? Thundersnow? These are not fun things.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Word of the Day: Ballyhoo

I found a cool site called Vintage Vocabulary ( Here's the description from the site:

"Vintage Vocabulary features over 150 American words and expressions with intriguing histories. These include some that are now obsolete, but encapsulate colorful slices of America's past. Others are recent word inventions that seem like good candidates for future "vintage" status."

I love this! When I was a junior in high school we had to write this crazy mega paper that was a joint History/English assignment. We were given 5 pivotal time periods in American history and had to choose one to set our story in. Additionally, we were given certain aspects of the time period that we had to research and include in the paper. It was a pretty cool assignment and even though I did my typical procrastination, I had a great time doing the research. Naturally I chose to set my story during the Civil of the things I chose to include was some dialect of the time. Ever since then I've been fascinated by "forgotten" words and expressions. So until I get tired of it, my Friday word of the day (and the definition because it may not necessarily match the modern definition) is going to come from this or a similar website.

Today's word? Ballyhoo!

ballyhoo: boisterous publicity; commotion; noisy, extravagant talk

If you'd like to read more about the history of the word, here's a link. It's interesting, but it's a fairly long description, so I don't want to paste it in...

Happy Friday!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Book #4: German Settlement in Missouri

"Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it." ~P.J. O'Rourke

Next up is German Settlement in Missouri: New Land, Old Ways by Robyn Burnett and Ken Luebbering. This one I inherited from my mom. It looks interesting and is only 116 pgs, so it should go pretty fast. Also, I've heard of Ken Luebbering before...I'm not sure where, but I'm determined to figure it out.

Book #3 was a SUPERfast read. Wanderlust, by Chris Dyer. I expected it to be a fluff read and it certainly was. I got through the entire book in 2 days. I don't have a lot to say about this one. The story was told through emails, which turned a relatively short easy read into an even shorter read. Rather a waste of paper. In an effort to not split emails onto two pages, they left half pages entirely blank. And the story itself was pretty predictable. So I think I'll go with this: it was a pretty good lightweight story. Bleh.

I suppose that book #5 is going to have to be a deeper read after these featherweights...sigh.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday 5: Super!

Today's Friday5 courtesy of

1. There are superheroes named Superman, Superfly, and Supergirl. Based on your performance this past week in whatever you do, what would have been your Super_____ name?
-Only answer I can come up with for this one is Superawesome...or as my boss likes to call me, Awesomus Prime.

2. This week, what has been superterrific and what has been superlame?
-Superterrific? The knowledge that I will be attending the NKOTBSB concert this summer...and I saved $20 in service charges by going to the box office. Superlame? Cheryl losing her grandma and having to drive into St. Louis just after the biggest snowstorm we've had in years.

3. Which of Superman’s abilities would have been the most useful this week?
-Um, dur. 9 inches of snow...the ability to fly would have been superhandy this week.

4. What do you most expect will be super this weekend?
-Though the reason for her visit is sad, it will be super to see my besty Cheryl this weekend.

5. What are your thoughts this week about the coming Super Bowl?
-What? Is that coming up soon? Huh.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Word of the Day - Nebulous

nebulous (courtesy of

1. hazy, vague, indistinct, or confused: a nebulous recollection of the meeting; a nebulous distinction between pride and conceit.
2. cloudy or cloudlike.
3. of or resembling a nebula or nebulae; nebular.

Found this lovely tidbit while researching...

Some people say the business about the jolly fat person is a myth, that all of us chubbies are neurotic, sick, sad people. I disagree. Fat people may not be chortling all day long, but they're a hell of a lot nicer than the wizened and shriveled. Thin people turn surly, mean and hard at a young age because they never learn the value of a hot fudge sundae for easing tension. Thin people don't like gooey soft things because they themselves are neither gooey nor soft. They are crunchy and dull, like carrots. They go straight to the heart of the matter while fat people let things stay all blurry and hazy and vague, they way things actually are. Thin people want to face the truth. Fat people know there is no truth.... Thin people believe in logic. Fat people see all sides. The sides fat people see are rounded blobs, usually gray, always nebulous and truly not worth worrying about. But the thin person persists. "If you consume more calories than you burn," says one of my thin friends, "you will gain weight. It's that simple." Fat people always grin when they hear that. They know better. --Suzanne Britt

She certainly found a way to use nebulous in a...umm...sentence.

Book #3 - Wanderlust

Up next is Wanderlust by Chris Dyer. This was a $1 book fair find, so there's no personal history or attachment behind the choice. Three things drew me to this book. 1-The main character has what could have once been my dream job, writing a budget travel column. 2-It's endorsed by Marian Keyes, an Irish author that I really like. 3-On the front cover it claims to be "A Novel of Sex and Sensibility" which makes me think that maybe it's loosely based on Jane Austen's novel of similar title. I'm hoping that it will be a nice fluffy read that I can get through quickly in order to gain back the ground I lost during 3 Nights in August.

And about that...

Really, Buzz Bissinger?? I wanted to read about 3 nights in August, about the Cardinals, and about Tony LaRussa. I guess technically I did read about all of those things. But I also read a whole lot of other stuff that I really could have done without. The first half of the book was SO wordy it was nearly impossible to get through. Bissinger spent more time than was necessary on history and other players, other teams. Once I managed to get through all of the rambling and I was just reading about the Cardinals I actually began to enjoy it. For anyone interested in reading this book, I recommend sticking to does get better (though it will never rank among my favorites).

Many people, other than the authors, contribute to the making of a book, from the first person who had the bright idea of alphabetic writing through the inventor of movable type to the lumberjacks who felled the trees that were pulped for its printing. It is not customary to acknowledge the trees themselves, though their commitment is total. ~Forsyth and Rada, Machine Learning


Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday 5 - Expiration

It's Friday 5 time!! Today's questions from are:

1. What was the most recent thing to go past its expiration date in your pantry?
Well, it technically wasn't in my pantry, but the last thing to expire was what was left in of my gallon of milk. Expired on January 11.

2. When does your excitement about the new year usually expire?
Is the new year something that usually excites people? Which people? I think my excitement about the new year expired when I was six.

3. What valued possession seems to be on the verge of expiration?
My knees?

4. When does your current driver’s license expire?
This year on my 33rd birthday. June 5, 2011.

5. What subscription, membership, permit, policy, or other dated document are you most likely to allow to expire next without renewal?
My subscription to Woman's Day. A new editor took over last year and it's just not the same. The recipes don't sound as yummy, the articles aren't as informative, there are more ads...

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Word of the Day Friday: Reprobate

I like this word. I wish that I had been more familiar with it a few years ago. I was in fact dating a reprobate at the time and would have loved to have another big word (that he didn't understand) in my arsenal!

According to -

1. a depraved, unprincipled, or wicked person: a drunken reprobate.
2. a person rejected by God and beyond hope of salvation.
3. morally depraved; unprincipled; bad.
4. rejected by God and beyond hope of salvation.
verb (used with object)
5. to disapprove, condemn, or censure.
6. (of God) to reject (a person), as for sin; exclude from the number of the elect or from salvation.

Use in a sentence? But of course...

"Yes, I know Richard Gross. He is a disgusting reprobate that I certainly wish I had never met."

Penny Pincher?

Today I've spent much time thinking about ways that I could "spend less" and a seed of an idea has planted itself. Perhaps I could do a series of 30 Day Challenges, with each challenge relating to saving money or cutting back in some way. I've come up with a few ideas, but so far don't have enough for every month in the year. January is easy. I'm devoting this month to adjusting to my "no book buying all year" commitment. Some that know me well probably know how incredibly difficult this is.

Some of my other ideas:

- 30 days of no eating out

- 30 days of cutting back driving by X amount per week (sorry, I'm just not committed enough to go completely carless for a month!)

- 30 days with water and milk being my only beverages

- 30 days of making a concentrated effort to remember to turn off/unplug things I'm not using

Any other ideas??

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book #2 -- 3 Days In August

Next up is 3 Days in August by Buzz Bissinger. It's generally a book about Tony LaRussa (who also collaborated on the book) and the St. Louis Cardinals. Specifically it is about a 3 day Cards/Cubs series that took place in August 2003. This is one of my first real challenges. I find that I have a lot of books in which I'm very interested in the subject matter, but not so much interested in the actual reading of the words. I'm afraid that this is how I have come to have more than 50 books in my possession that I haven't read. My only hope is to take these books to work. I've found that the best way to force myself to read books such as these is to do so when the book actually the more interesting choice :) I mean, really...Cardinals or work...Cardinals or work...hmm...

As for Chocolat (for those interested), I have indeed finished. It was a pretty easy read. It was a little bit less dark and "magical" as it's sequel, The Girl With No Shadow, but still had the same general feel. The writing was actually good enough (and maybe it's been long enough since I've seen it last) that I didn't really get too hung up on the differences between the book and the movie. One thing that I did want to point out...her writing style is such that she likes use different character's POV to the the story. In both books I found that I preferred one character's narrative over the other and ended up just skimming the less likeable character's story. I would recommend it...but if you haven't seen the movie, definitely read the book first! I know I'm looking forward to seeing the movie again...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday 5: Winter

Though I fear I may be something of a blog copycat, I've decided to borrow another of Stephanie's ideas and start posting a Friday 5. It's a win-win situation, really...Stephanie says she loves to read other people's surveys and it will give me more to blog about. The idea is meant to be copied, really. Every Friday there is a new "5" posted at .

This week's Friday 5 is: Winter

1. Where have you been that could best be described as a winter wonderland?

A. After a fresh snowfall, the first night always feels winter wonderland-y to me. I absolutely love the complete peace that a blanket of snow brings.

2. In what way might you describe this as the winter of your discontent?

A. Instead of the negative implication this phrase has, I'm going to look at it in it's original context, "Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this sun of York" from the opening of Shakespeare's Richard III. After many years in a ridiculous emotionally and verbally abusive relationship I broke free and have spent the last couple of years getting my wits back about me. I've noticed recently that I've been laughing more and crying less. I've travelled more and reconnected with old friends. I have at least reached the spring after my winter of discontent, even if I haven't quite made it to summer yet.

3. What was the last wintergreen-flavored thing you tasted?

A. I have a package of wintergreen flavored mints in my purse right now. They are not very tasty and I'm glad that they're almost gone!

4. Is there anyone in your life who could be nicknamed Old Man Winter?

A. Anyone that knows me well probably already has an idea what my answer to this question is. If ever an Old Man Winter there was, Richard Dierker is the one because... It's ironic, really. He's always hated winter. Loathed it, in fact. However, he is a crotchety, grumpy man and would nicely fit into the role of Old Man Winter.

5. Now that the holidays have passed, is there anything good about the winter that remains?

A. Snow!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Word of the Day Friday -- Balderdash

Every Friday I'm going to choose a word...maybe a new word, maybe an old word, maybe even something from the urban dictionary...and use it as often as I can that day.

This week's word is balderdash


senseless, stupid, or exaggerated talk or writing; nonsense.

It is rather a fun word...try it!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Book #1: Chocolat by Joanne Harris

"A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it." ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958
I thought a lot about which book I would read first. I wanted it to be something really profound, a strong start. But then what if the book I chose was kind of a bore? Then I would struggle to finish the very first book of my project, which would probably be quite disheartening. Definitely not a strong start. So I've decided to start with Chocolat by Joanne Harris. I've already seen the movie and I've read the sequel (The Girl With No Shadow), and now it's time to read the original book that the movie is based on. The sequel was a lot darker than I had expected it to be, so I'm looking forward to finding out how similar the original is to the movie.

On a similar, the first day of my challenge, I had my first test. Borders sent me an email coupon for 50% off of one item. Normally this would see me in the car heading to the bookstore. Well. That is what happened, but it was not my main goal. I had something I needed to return to Old Navy, so I thought, hey, why not stop in at Borders? I am proud to say that I resisted temptation and walked out the door bookless. This gives me hope!

New year, new plan

For the first time ever in my life I've decided to make a new year's resolution. Or rather I would like to think of it more as a commitment than a resolution. Last year a friend decided to do a 50 book challenge. Simple idea, 50 books in a single year. Every time I read one of her updates, it made me think. 50 books? No problem, I can do that. I will do that. I didn't want to start the project in the middle of the year, so I decided to wait until the beginning of 2011. As the end of 2010 approached, I was thinking a lot about the challenge and I realized something. I have A LOT of books in my house that I haven't read. They came from a variety of sources...some were gifts, some book fair finds, some books I inherited from my mom. I thought, why not take the challenge one step further? So here it is. I am going to read at least 50 of my own books this year.

Here are the rules I've set for myself:

1. NO books will be purchased by me for me.

2. Borrowed books, library books and gifts are allowed.

3. Re-reads will not count toward the 50 book goal.

The one possible exception to the purchase rule may be the YMCA book fair. If the challenge is going well, I may decide that book fair purchases are allowed...especially if the challenge is going so well that I think I'll want to do it again next year.

As for the I have inspired Stephanie to take up the 50 book challenge, she has inspired me to blog. It may end up being mostly about my reading adventure...or maybe I'll actually be motivated to keep up with it, share my thoughts and such. It's a nice theory, but not something I've ever really been good at in practice. It's been a LONG time since I've done much writing...

Happy New Year!!