Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good Bye 2009

Because the sky will celebrating tonight as well, with its blue moon ...I leave you with this musical reminder to look up when you go outside to bang pots and pans, shoot off some left over Fourth of July fireworks, pop those streamers and blow your party horns to welcome in the new year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Peaceful Day

As 2009 is drawing to its close; good morning says Mother Nature with snow falling. I suppose it's her way of saying, or getting the last word on the year. Snow always lends hand to a sense of tranquility. Permission to be lazy--if allowed. Today's snow is no different. Although I don't think I'll see folks making snowmen or sledding--as it's not that kind of snow--it is a picture of white beauty nonetheless.

I let the dog out, dropped some Kibbles-n-Bits in her bowl, where she fueled herself before exercising her dog legs by running [her dog-self spun track] in the backyard. She is in high gear as she sails in circles on three legs with snow kicking off her paws and the cold air pushing the fur on her face back. She will not come in...no matter how many times I blow the whistle. It's pure bliss and happiness to her--snow.

I could live comfortably in my bedroom all day. It is like heaven in here...I would never have to leave (except for food). I have a heated mattress cover to keep me feeling all toasty warm. I have the Clapper to turn the light on and off. I have a flat screen TV nicely framed in the wall at the foot of my bed where I am watching Robert Redford portray Jeremiah Johnson. The winter scenes in this movie are majestic. I even have a sweet little Christmas tree in here to add charm as I watch out the window the snow falling.

The house is still. Quiet. Resting. Calm.

I feel that this nearing of the end of 2009 is at peace. To that I say warm soup and happy Wednesday wishes to all.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Start of the Me Week

There is a wonderful sensation in knowing that it is Monday and I can lay here in my bed free from obligation and required chores. No alarm has woke me, I just woke. I lay here in my warm bed watching a movie and thinking of dozing off again. I might do some laundry, I might not. I could clean out a cabinet, I could not. This week belongs to me! No company to prepare for, no entertaining on the calendar. It's like vacation from work truly has begun--finally. It feels good!

Don't get me wrong I love everything that came with Christmas...including the stress of preparation. But, there is something to be said for the deep breath I inhale and then slowly exhale when it is all over. Cleansing.

I am going to throw on sweats and an old ratty T-shirt, toss a movie in the DVD player, lay on the couch draped in my new brown Snuggie-- that makes me look like Obi one kenobi-- watching the winter weather from the window chillaxing this Monday away.

Oh December 28 how I love you!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Memories

I suggested to my girls that they all marry a Jewish boy so I can remain selfish in my Christmas observance way. I want to always attend Christmas Eve service as a family. I want to always come home after church to a feast of rib eyes, crab legs and twice baked potatoes. I want to always have them gather with their cousins and grandparents on Christmas Day free from having to appease another family's holiday traditions. I know it is probably a dream but it sounds good for now.

Can we talk about Christmas Eve service for a minute? The holidays bring out the "CEO" church goers in droves. It is those who take up prime seating leaving these regular attendees sitting in the obstructed view section of the sanctuary. Okay so the obstruction isn't a bad obstruction; it was the Christmas tree after all, so one can't complain too much. What I can complain about is single mom who can never seem to control her boys--holiday or any regular ole' Sunday. The minute the hellions entered the sanctuary they began disrobing, then perusing the isles barefoot. One drank a juice bag where he let it drool out all over the floor. Then the two little hellions began cruising around on the alter. THE ALTER! In the middle of the very sacred service. At one point the mother left with her boys only to have the boys return motherless. Next they squirreled there way on the alter again and hid behind the pulpit and then the alter, there she was on the alter herself trying to find baby hellion while big hellion circled the Christmas tree. Everyone else had there babes dressed in Christmas taffeta, patent leather Mary Janes, ties and sweater vests sitting with reverence and discipline. I was ready to stick my foot out into the isle to trip baby hellion as he passed me making monster noises while eyes rolled all around. I even thought of ripping the wallet chain that hung off some biker broad's green jeans to use as a lasso to reel in the hellion. It wasn't till, Baby Jesus sat up in his manger and said to cool it that single mother decided after receiving communion to high tail it out of church before someone ordered Herod from the dead to send an angry mob to follow her home.

Regardless of the hellions' antics I was feeling all Christmassy and Jesus filled hearing the bell choir chime their bells, the choir singing, the congregation singing together all my favorite carols and holding my flickering candle in a dim lit church while Silent Night verses were sung to a guitar softly playing between spoken excerpts of explanation. It gave way to the true meaning and spirit of the holiday.

Then in the night Santa came. He laid gifts all around the tree. Three presents for each of the girls...cause three is the amount of gifts Jesus got, so, if it was good enough for Jesus it is good enough for them. And it was. Always is!

It was the year of Christmas shoes.

There was the much needed black heels for Princess A

soft and furry Coach moccasins for M

and Ugg boots for D

Even I got Christmas shoes, new black leather boots for which there is not picture for proof. We even gave our niece Alyssa Christmas shoes--graffiti style Chucks.

At noon the aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents started rolling in and the nog cocktails were slamming. Gift distribution began again. After paper and ribbons danced in the air by teenage girls my mother-in-law's husband handed each of the "big girls" a small package and said with tears in his eyes and warmth in his heart, "this is something for all of you helping me get through mom's surgeries." My sister-in-laws and I all opened at the same time to reveal beautiful diamond earrings. Even Aunt Jan got a pair, she is mom's best sister friend, hair stylist, manicurist.... It was so unexpected. I believe we all did what anyone would do for someone they care deeply for...to support and carry along another family member in time of need with no reward required.

While we girls were all ooooing and aaaahing over diamond earrings, King Ralph was gathered with the guys in the red room all oh-yaing over his new Harley Davidson Babe calendar his cousin/motorcycle riding partner gave him. It was a picture of frat boys as they starred at each month's babe. Ah, ya, Richie the answer is no the calendar will not look good on that bare wall in the kitchen behind the island or in the living room...I'm thinking garage. By the looks of the month King Ralph has open for display he plans on spending his birthday in the garage with Miss July. Oh husband!
Of course no Christmas is ever complete without taking a first cousins picture with my nephew [and his wife's] name written on paper to remind us (and them) that the Air Force keeps them far from home--in Alaska and we miss them being with us.
Then there is always the "hot cousins" picture, because no one can refute the fact that this bunch of second cousins can turn the heads of boys.
I rolled over this morning looking at a clock that said 5am...not this morning, no I was allowing myself to sleep like Santa after a long night of spreading joy and dream about all those vision of sugar plums and such. It was a great couple of December days!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

The wisemen who have traveled the house for a month found there way this evening to the stable presenting Mary and Joseph gifts for the baby Jesus., saying to all--It's Christmas! The nativity scene is complete.

The girls just gave King Ralph and I our Christmas gift, a priceless gift, a small musical recital. It was the first time Princess A and D played the flute and the piano together. M tried her hand at singing. Music fills my heart. On this day, for that reason, even more.

I am now taking some time to gather with family, reflecting on the days when our little girls were filled to the brim with the magic a fictitious man in a red suit brought to there naive beings. That offered a sleepless night of great anticipation. When the pitter patter of small tender feet ran the hallway to the tree before alerting an exhausted set of parents, "he came, Santa came!" Waking to a glee that cannot be duplicated--but recorded for reflection. When pretty papers danced in the air tossed by tiny hands and those hands were sticky with peppermint flavor from treats stuffed in stockings. Kisses tasted the same. Mmmmm sweet memories.

They grow. They evolve. They still fill me--us. Always will.

Now, knowing they still believe in the spirit it planted in their hearts and continues to grow there gives me thrice the Christmas spirit.

May your day be a day filled with the same joyful spirit as ours.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009



I tended to a few kitchen Christmas Day needs early this morning in the quiet of the house while the thunder crackled outside and the rain poured down. I watched the 1947 film Christmas Eve starring Dolores Moran while I whipped up a few eats ahead. I needed the solemn peace of the morning house to center myself for this day. A day that has a list of last minutes runs for this and that. The things needed to pull of yet another perfect Christmas.

Yesterday was a day that resembled, or should I say I resembled, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. I had my crab on and the household knew it. It seems I was losing my way to Christmas and I needed my own personal little Cindy Lou Who to show the way back. When everyone wakes I shall start my parade of apologies. I have woken this morning to what I hope will be a day that returns my cheerful holiday spirit. By the looks of that dam Christmas countdown I added to my blog I feel the panic to complete my to do list even more...my heart palpitates even faster now! But I shall let that clock tick down while I forge ahead with the day with the love a mother should have in her heart. I will keep my serenity in check. I promise!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Clampit Christmas

Or was it a Clark Griswold Christmas.

We spent our Saturday in the country, where folks burn there cedar tree brush and the dinner scraps are thrown to the critters of the woods and the lake glistens through naked trees under the winter moon and the crisp winter air. It's a place where if you string lights on your house for Christmas you have invite company over to see them because the house sits to far from the road and not many inhabit the surroundings.

Yes, it was Christmas at the father-in-law's. Avery Christmas.

We had a great time assembling with the cousins. Regardless of age those darn boy cousins are still trying to find ways to harass my young...so I stayed close to protect them. I heard murmurs of don't fall asleep tonight because we just might.... I guess all those beverages sipped while bellied up to the basement bar just gave way to peaked imagination (that never came to fruition). We played our new Scene It game, where my team dominated but lost in the end due to a tie breaker-- where no one had the talent (or guts) to throw it down with a "best impersonation" of "Jack Nicholson" required by the game. When you have a relative who is in radio, who has plaques hanging on his walls signifying his talent for voice impersonations, is on the opposing team, you just thrown in the towel. I believe we congratulated there comeback with a unison chorus of hand covered cough that barked out "bull-shit." No sore sports or sorry losers here.

We had the traditional gifting of shit-you-don't-know-what-the-hell-to-do-with. There was no fighting as in years past but I still managed to leave, yet again, with the one thing of value--a hurricane candle holder. Which I have already found a nice place to work it into my decor.

The best part of the weekend had to be when my father-in-law invited us all out to see his Christmas lights. My sister-in-law and her husband arrived on Friday night at 630pm to what they described as a pitch dark scene. Then at 730pm the house's light display goes on and by connection to timer goes off at 830pm. So when my father-in-law summoned us all to admire the beauty of his holiday handy work (and he truly did have a nice Christmas lights display on his house) I gathered the relatives from the outside "smoking area" adding "time is of the essence here" and Uncle Al smiled [what was his biggest smile of the weekend]. I grabbed my coat, opened the front door and couldn't help but to laugh. There stood my daughters, King Ralph, his niece and his father in a straight line, shoulder to shoulder, silent, starring in admiration at the lights on the house. It was a comedy scene that looked like it came right from movie Christmas Vacation. Before you knew the timer turned, the lights went off and the house was lit only by the winter moon above.

Then we all went to bed. (The guest bedrooms mattresses are a story for another day, as is the scary doll bedroom).

Now, resuming my Christmas. Bake. I must bake today!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Annual Reindeer Relay Report

Princess A is home :-)

D and M have survived finals...minus the anticipated sleepless nights of D's nerves.

I made another appearance in the annual Reindeer Relay.


King Ralph and Princess A popped into to see me at the peek of my athleticism. The volume of 865 holiday party anticipating children ready to digest mondo amounts of sugared treats was deafening to them. I am immune to it.

Some will try to dispute the final outcome but there is no doubt as to who the 2009 Reindeer Relay champions were--the "Vixens!" Sure the principal, a vixen, made it on the naughty list first and her shoes were not exactly relay worthy but we finished first. We might have cheated a bit by grabbing more than one toy at a time. We were team players through the whole relay despite the fact that I was moved from the nice to naughty list for running (a clear violation of the relay rules) to which I say, someone needs to see me run to know I was just walking in a brisk manner, not to mention what kind of a relay is it when you can't run. I mean really people have you seen reindeers who spend their Christmas Eve walking house to house? No they fly...like a bat out of hell; or in the case of Christmas, the North Pole. The fact that the first three names on that naughty list are Vixens is clearly a display of jealousy. I can't even begin to think to comment on all those ridiculous check marks that follow are names. Check marks, smeck marks!

Tis' the season to feel great about being on the winning reindeer team. This calls for a round of nog for everyone.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Seventeen

Today is M's birthday. Her golden birthday. Seventeen on the Seventeenth.

Unbelievable that my baby girl burst into this world seventeen years ago teaching me that I had the strength of a pioneer woman; as I was drug free for her delivery. It feels like yesterday that I held my chubby baby with her red hot chili pepper colored skin and a mop of dark hair in my arms. That Princess A proclaimed to her aunt that she had a baby brother, more than once. That we brought our new baby girl home and placed her under the Christmas tree,knowing no other Christmas would offer a gift so awesome.

And the rest is history...still in the making. Each day providing growing love and pride.

Happy Birthday M! XOXO

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Making His Fashion Statement in the Darndest of Places

When I got to work yesterday my brother found me as I walking out to be with a student to tell me Joy's husband had passed away. We made quick conversation about what time to head over to the funeral home. Then we went on with our day.

So after a whirlwind of after school pick and drop off of kids, I went home chocked down dinner and headed to the funeral home.

As my brother, my BWF and I entered a funeral home in the city we had never been to more or less heard of...my brother turns to me and said, "this place smells like Grammy's house." Oh-my-gosh he was right the place smelled just like my grandmother's house. Then we entered the funeral parlor looked around and my brother turns to me and says, "those are Grammy's chair." There they were the exact same pair of chairs that flank the end table in her living room. My brother then commented that he was waiting for the Chipmunks Christmas album to begin playing and he would have felt like he was standing in my grandmother's Downersgrove home.

Then we waited to greet Joy.

As we waited I commented that her husband looked good. I didn't know Joy's husband but for some reason I was expecting a man who was feeble from years in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer's. Not the case. Then my BWF whispers to me to look at his sport coat. I thought, Joy, simple woman of simple means. Then as we were nearing to leave I commented to Joy (as I don't often do this at funeral because...) that her husband looked good. It was then that she said "ya he does except for that darn coat."

Joy's husband laid there in his casket with the most hideous 1970's era heavy polyester mostly red with blends of yellow, green and navy blue large hounds tooth sport coat. "He loved that ugly thing" she said, "we all hated it". She continued telling us how every time he put it on everyone in the family begged him to take it off. Joy said she use to tell him that his ugly sport coat needed to go to the cleaners but that he always followed with that he needed to wear it on Sunday. And on went the story. One day he entered the room wearing the sport coat when his own mother insisted he take that coat off that it was hideous thing and if he didn't she would make sure he was buried in it.

There we stood in the middle of the funeral parlor all laughing realizing new life doesn't always have to be laden with sadness. My BWF said "well he got the last word" and I said "and his mom got her way."

So Arthur entered the gates of heaven looking similar to Norman Fell's character Stanley Roper from Three's Company. Without a doubt felling like he owned heaven.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Count Down

I don't know what possessed me to put that Christmas count down on my blog...it is putting me in a panic everytime I see it! I have so much to do. True I have shopped much, wrapped much but I am not finished. I haven't baked much, actually at all. I still have to put finishing touches on the decorating. There's the grocery shopping for the Christmas dinner too. Aaaaahhhhh!

While I stress about this the girls are in a panic about finals. D has visible signs of her finals stress--not sleeping being the biggest. King Ralph has plans of stocking up on NyQuil and after she appears in our doorway to proclaim "I can't sleep" he is going to pour her a "so I can rest" cocktail. "So I can rest" goes for both finals panic-er and the parents. Maybe we should just all have NyQuil cocktails together. Visualize: the fire place roaring, the tree glistening with its 1500 lights, King Ralph in a scarlet red smoking jacket sitting in the brown leather library chair and the family gathered together sipping--NyQuil. Man that's the kind of crap Charles Dickens story comes from.

I am not sure if I want the clock to stop and push forward?

Nevertheless I have to push forward to work. It's Monday.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Meaning Keeps A Coming For Me

Till Thursday afternoon it was getting hard to go into the mail room at work. The mail room was the holding place for the wrapped gifts of the family the staff adopted for the holiday season. If there is a recession, hard times being felt by this country it wasn't looking so in that mail room. If someone took the ornament that said "cookie sheet" they came back gifting with a whole baking basket. If someone picked the ornament that said "games for ten year boy" they came with a wrapped tower of games. Same went for the personal care items. There was no sense that people were "forgetting to look around us", remembering to give instead of take; in this season can happen so quickly as the media hounds with reminders of the gluttony and greed this season makes way to often.

Just as last year I spent part of my Saturday morning loading boxes of food, household goods and satchels of wrapped gifts into the cars of those less fortunate. It never ceases to amaze how some wear the emotions of gratitude on there faces and embrace us in that brief moment of thanksgiving capturing our hearts. Well, brief in the sense of what we see but certainly not brief in their hearts. We kept hearing over and over "all this". Yep, all this!

Even before I realized D and Limelight would be singing this song for the holiday concert it was my pick for my favorite of the season. And so fitting for the day's work.


For me, another display of advent. Hope. Love. Joy. Peace.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rise at 5am, It's Time to Make "Bandwiches"

You know before I headed to work at 730am I was singing this song at 6am amidst a sea of marching band kids, loaves of breads and stacks of meats and cheeses...it played at a decibel unkind to any grown person at that freakish hour of the Saturday morning.



If you ask what I am packing in lunches next week I will respond in an Emerilesque manner--BANDWICHES!

Friday, December 11, 2009

JOY

It is the season of advent. A time for coming out of the darkness. A season of hope, love, joy and peace.

I don't often have to go looking for these meanings of the season, they seem to just drop into my lap. Thursday, like I do every day of the school week, I walked into the dish room at 11:25am to say hello to Joy, the school's baker and dishwasher. A woman who is always wearing a big smile and you can feel the warmth of her spirit radiate; giving definition to her name. On this day I found her standing there, a simple woman of simple means who is by far one of the kindest and warm hearted woman you will ever meet (who makes the best chocolate chip cookies!) appearing as though she did not feel well. Her eyes red. Her skin flushed. I commented that I didn't believe she looked well when she began to cry. You see her husband has been in a nursing home for years suffering from the affects of Alzheimer's. Joy goes to sit with her husband after long days at a job that pays her minimally. That Thursday was different for Joy, a day when the meanings of the advent season of hope and love, joy and peace would now challenge her in a way far different from how I was finding fufillment for myself in the candle's meanings. Joy got a call that her husband was going to be coming out of the darkness. It wouldn't be long before light would radiate for him in a place other than his body with his crippled memory standing still in darkness. As Joy stood there crying I embraced her and she grabbed onto me so tight as not to let go and buried her head in my shoulder. She knew this day would come, but was she ready? Is anyone really ever ready to say good-bye? To someone they have loved so long?

Not expecting to see Joy at work on Friday, this simple woman of simple means came to make sure she would have bread on her table and oil in her lamp. She explained how she and three of her kids where taking turns being by husband/dad's side. How she awaited her daughter's, number four's, arrival that evening from Florida. Then she said without a tear in eye but a heaviness in her heart that they do not expect her husband to make it till the 23rd.

There it was for me to see...the meaning of the advent season. Finding it in a dark way but knowing that the candles flame give way to light. The hope that one does not have to suffer but would know, has known, love as he comes out of darkness. That Joy finds peace in her good-byes.

This week is fittingly the week in which we all light a candle for "Joy".

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Holiday 102

Here I go! Already. On Saturday. At 7am.

Chore List
1. Wrap some presents (while the girls sleep)
2. Get pine garland and lights on top of kitchen cabinets
3. Finish decorating the basement
4. Hang wreaths on windows
5. Try to finish up shopping (probably isn't going to happen)
6. laundry
7. make chicken picata for dinner
8. start to address Christmas cards
9. ride M about finishing her Bandwich sales for the month
10. Work on figuring out who dropped a Secret Santa gift for me on the porch yesterday

I've wrapped three gifts so far this morning. How much more productive I manage to be is hard to say.

Friday, December 04, 2009

FRIDAY! Amen!!

My TGIF started with an ugh! because I had to drag my warm self into the cold 23* outside world in order to get M to school for a DECA before-school-starts-meeting. I know I have stated before but I'll state it again, I HATE DRIVING TO SCHOOL! The bus is why I pay taxes.

Then I progressed into the double ugh of TGIF. Why can't kids wear a pair of socks? My kids always seem to have two different socks on, which leaves me with the other two different socks that match the ones on the kids feet. By the time I found a matching pair I realized I could no longer wear the shoes I intended, so I was stuck wearing boots. When I wake in the morning I can sense what kind of shoes my feet feel like dragging my body around on all day--and it didn't say boots today. It was reading black Sketchers.

Let's go for triple ugh. We have lived in our house for 17 years. For 17 years one of my closest doors doesn't open. So when my mound of shoes decides to spread to the other side of abyss I have to eject the whole sea of shoes from the darkness. Which causes me to get off schedule. And get crabby. Which means I have to call King Ralph as I drive to work to tell him the next home improvement is new closest doors or I am taking an ax the exsisting ones. I think in that moment I was not kidding.

Let's go for the quad ugh. Tomorrow will be a week since I fell to the ground face first. I only told a few co-workers the story of my stupidity and managed my make-up to cover the mark of said stupidity very well. However today I had to tell my story at least 10 times as I heard "do you know you have a bruise on your cheek?" Either my make-up failed or the olive green blouse I wore under the florescent lights highlighted the yellowish tint my bruise now shows. (the only good in all this I got the grass stain out of my favorite white t-shirt). The tender touch to the cheek bone has almost subsided as well. I still can't figure out how or why I fell?

For every uhg there is an aaaaahhhh. Driving the girls to school means I got to listen to the Josh Grobin Christmas CD which plays one of my favorite songs, "Thankful", one extra time this morning; allowing me to remember how pretty D and the Limelight [choir] sounded Monday singing the song at their Christmas concert. Wearing my boots made putting on my Slipper Genie that much more sweet when I got home. Telling the story of me falling on my face got a few chuckles so some how my stupdity added humor to a crazy Friday.

So what's left...making the long list of Saturday chores.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

It's Not the Wine Speaking It's the Tree

This morning I woke to the weatherman saying words like “snow” and “dropping temperatures”. It is words like that, which cause me to have to rethink the wardrobe choices for my feet. I went from comfy flip-flops, to “real” shoes that were open toed. Then I progressed to the next level of “real” shoes that were closed toed. Then was today, today I searched the socks basket for black trouser socks so I could survive thirty minutes of recess duty. Closed toed shoes, trouser socks, and all this workingwoman fashion requirement stuff made for this relaxing evening.

I sit here this evening my feet warm in their black socks, eating a grilled chicken salad with blue cheese dressing while sipping a couple of glasses of moscato wine (left from Thanksgiving and who wants to see good wine go to waste?) and starring at the Christmas tree in the great room.

My tree, our tree all-aglow frosted in its 1500 white sparkling lights speak to me. I stare at it and it tells me stories, stories of friends, family and times of growing, and traveling. This year I placed smack in the front middle of the tree a new s’more ornament that my friend Georganne gave me and Sylvia when we met for the world’s longest, and best, breakfast date—a memento of our days as camp counselors in the Covered Wagons unit. When I look at that ornament it warms my heart that I have friends I enjoy being with. I see an ornament from Mount Rushmore and my mind starts to travel back to the month long camping trip we took across the west and the miles we tracked hiking in the mountains and the laughs we shared as a family. I spot the hand blown glass Biltmore Mansion ornament, remembering the beauty and grandeur of the home. Then there is the St.Louis Cathedral ornament I bought this summer when I took a group of teens to New Orleans for the youth gathering--great time that was! I see the U.S Capitol ornament I bought the year we met up with my Air Force pilot nephew in Washington DC. I see the Disney World and Disneyland mementos hanging from the lighted branches. I see ornaments showing hometown support of sport teams. I see ornaments that King Ralph’s aunt’s loving hands needlepointed into small lace trimmed soft pillows that read “First Christmas’ and the birth dates of the girls. I see ornaments that my aunt and uncle sent from Chicago. I see a blue glittery snowflake made of interlink craft sticks, a craft ornament M made with her friends at her ninth birthday “craft and crash” birthday slumber party. I see hand crafted memorial ornaments honoring the passing of King Ralph’s maternal great-grandmother and grandmother. I see a snowman wearing his Michigan jersey reminding my sister and her family now live miles from here. At the top of the tree is an angel made of cream-colored cornhusk that I crafted and has survived many of basement floods. Oh the stories they each tell.

Each ornament has meaning and memory. Each tells its own story. What is your tree telling you?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black Friday Curse

Every year since I started waking with the questionably insane people to shop on Black Friday I question my own insanity. Now King Ralph, who began joining me last year in the name of marital bonding (or was it watchful eye on the spending?), has begun to question his own saneness.

When the alarm went off at 4:15am King Ralph and I sprung from bed, slipped on whatever clothes we could find--mine being more of acceptable presentation than King Ralph's--and headed out the door. We arrived at Wal-Mart by 440am and immediately went to the area in which we intended to purchase the coveted item on the Black Friday advertisement. No it wasn't the fake hamster. This is the moment, the first in my many years of the day after turkey, that I questioned my sanity in the quest to save money. Being that Wal-mart remained open 24-hours the vultures were ever present inside the store way before the 5am start of the sale. Wal-Mart started handing out item tickets before 5am and of course by the time I got there they were all gone. Then King Ralph headed to the second coveted item area only to watch someone snatch up the last one. We left not mad that we didn't get what we wanted but that Wal-Mart handed out item tickets before 5am. King Ralph vowing never to shop on Black Friday.

Then shopping away we went...till 830am.

And, again on Saturday.

It was Saturday that the curse of Black Friday got me. I was home alone, King Ralph out riding his motorcycle with the guys and the daughters out shopping together. I decided to sit on the deck soaking up the Indian summer day when I walked in the house to grab the over flowing kitchen trash to take out. I was walking along our board walk with the heavy bag of trash when I lost my footing (how I still can't figure) and went down face first. I hit that ground half my head hit the board walk and half hit the grass. I laid there my face,no my whole head, aching then I rolled over. The sky looked a beautiful blue and I spotted a large squirrels nest in the naked maple tree. I laid there thinking good thing I didn't hurt myself worse because the backyard neighbor was gone and the side neighbor is a vampire so he was coming out in the day light nor could he see me through his constant closed blinds. Then I raised and got ice on my face and noticed I had a huge grass stain on my favorite white t-shirt.

Long story short I had this swollen right side of my face that has now gone down but I am left with a big bruised area on my cheek bone, a bruise on the bend of my foot and sore ribs and arms (from trying to brace my fall). M thought I needed to concoct a better story. To which I replied how much better can a forty-something woman falling on her face when she is taking trash out get? It can't.

I tell you it is the curse of Black Friday...and being aggravated with Wal-Mart.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I've Got A Turkey Day Hangover

I am totally exhausted. I’d like to go to bed for about twelve hours. That would be without the pumpkin pie/whip cream IV or an alarm clock waking me at 4:15am to shop Black Friday door busters (we’ll discuss that later). Even tough I did not gorge myself to discomfort, every meal of late is a plate filled with the Thanksgiving high caloric foods that pleasure the comfort of one’s soul [and stomach].

I am merely exhausted because—although my offspring helped much the spousal unit did not. The offspring were to funny on Wednesday evening after we finished setting the table. There we all stood (or sat, King Ralph) gazing at the beautiful stretched set table for twenty when I commented how warm my heart felt and how beautiful our family was when Princess A said “until you start freaking tomorrow” and she proceeded to imitate me in one of my mom moments when the girls disappoint. We all laughed, even me. King Ralph couldn’t really help much as he threw his back out. He tried an “emergency” visit on Wednesday to the chiropractor to insure he would be able to perform his assigned pre-host duties (scrubbing bathtub and floors) but the snap and pop was a fail. It seems funny how these accidents happen…last Christmas his foot was broken and it was the offspring and I stringing lights on the eaves and dragging the beastly tree from the basement minus male assistance --only direction from the grounded casted foot man.

Despite King Ralph’s lack of helping hands we had a fabulous meal. My brined turkey never fails us; always the juiciest bird in town. My stuffing had a perfect blend of Thanksgiving flavors and my gravy, the best, as usual. It was all served on our beautifully set table with only one 14-year-old cousin thinking his gold charger was his dinner plate. Being he is male we gave him a larger margin of etiquette error.

We had cousins stop by before and after dinner to add to the joy of the day. King Ralph's oldest sister made it just in time to eat before we cleaned the dinner up to let the desserts have there moment of glory on the table. (My poor sister-in-law held out on dinner at her in-law's to eat my cooking as her in-law's meal "sucks").

While King Ralph and his sister had intended to make a toast of Thanksgiving in honor of their mother [and what this Thanksgiving meant to us all due to her] after grace and before we hit the bountiful buffet, they could not bring themselves too. It was apparent in Mom’s husband’s eyes the minute he entered our house that he was over flowing with the emotion of blessing this Thanksgiving offered him and us. They decided the day should be all smiles with no fountains of tears. George has tendered over the years and more so over the last several months. The fact my mother-in-law’s sister colored her fresh crop of hair restoring her to her pre-surgery looking self was a deeply emotional moment for George. So my sister-in-law made a simple generic but warm toast…then we feasted.

We played games, our favorite “Catch Phrase” and at 7pm we headed to the movie (minus the old man with the bad back) to see “Old Dogs.” It was a great day. Every ounce of exhaustion was totally worth it!

Here is Uncle Dan’s slimmed down video of the day and a few snap shots of the day.

Cousins thankful to be cousin.

A son thankful for his mother.

Grand daughters thankful for a grandma.

A wife thankful for a husband and a husband thankful for a wife...and his new glasses so can see.

Sisters thankful for each other.

Family thankful to gather and to feast together.

Game time. Uncle Dan, optically challenged dude, that magnifier just won't do.

But this one will. Uncle Dan thankful for the monster of magnifiers.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Year After Year My Cornucopia Runneth Over

Without fail I find much to be thankful for year after year, large and small. This year proves no different. Here is a list of the things I am thankful for, despite the list format I am thankful in no particular order except one and two--in exactly that order.

1. God
2. Family
3. Sunshine
4. Alee Pal time
5. Maddi Pal time
6. Demi Pal time
7. the dog in all her insane aggravation
8. white chili
9. clean underwear
10. toilet paper on the holder
11. my mother-in-law
12. doctors who heal
13. fires in the backyard
14. music
15. Demi playing the piano
16. a good book
17. friends
18. fresh flowers
19. a job I continue to love
20. breakfast dates with my husband
21. hot green tea
22. breakfasts with friends that last six hours
23. wine
24. Eggo waffles
25. reality TV shows (Project Runway, America Next Top Model, Biggest Loser)
26. pumpkin pie with whipped cream
27. my cell phone
28. martinis
29. The Clapper
30. a raked yard
31. Michael Buble CD (thanks Tracey!)
32. glazed croissants
33. family vacations
34. heated mattress cover
35. clean sheets
36. black flip flops
37. kisses
38. hugs
39. Bandwiches
40. sunshine
41. sound of children laughing
42. sharpened pencils
43. teachers who teach with passion
44. polished silver
45. neighbors

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your cornucopia runneth over too.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Selfish Me

Last Tuesday we got a call to bring Princess A home from college because she had mono and bronchitis. She has had an unexpected extended Thanksgiving break.

Now I must admit that I am feeling a bit mommy selfish, as I know she wishes she was still sitting in her sorority dorm room pinned down at her desk studying and laughing with the "sisters"...I love my girly being home. There is something about this family home feeling complete and, although we are always complete despite distance or absence it just feels heart warming when we are all under the same roof.

Today I think my Princess has perked back. Sure she is still sluggish but that has something to do with getting in the habit of sleeping three-fourth of the day away in the name of healing. I saw signs of life returning yesterday in her.

So if you don't mind I am going to relish in the selfish heart I have for having extra time with my first born. Because I love, enough though she was sick, her looking at me when I walked in the room asking me to sit next to her and love her.

Don't worry I already added this to my list of thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nightmare

I was startled awake at around 245am by a Thanksgiving nightmare...that I put the wrong turkey in the oven. The flat turkey in my dream would have only fed half my guests.

I need to stop watching Food Network Thanksgiving specials. Apparently all those shows are haunting my sleep. I really do have the mother of all birds comfortably resting in a defrosting state in my refrigerator. Despite my haunting nightmare I am certain my bird is going to turn out succulent and at nearly 26 pounds will feed every guest.

Now, if I could just fall back to sleep.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bandwich 101

5:10am the alarm blared and King Ralph sprung up in bed to ask what was going on. I wearily replied "it's time to make "bandwiches". Insane I tell you. Sandwich making before the sun rises.

What turned out to be even more insane was the moms who were all coiffed for "bandwich" making. Sandwich making at the crack of dawn was not an obligation I felt I needed to present anything more than my natural side. I slithered into the jeans I wore Friday, brushed my teeth and tossed a cloth headband into my unbrushed hair. I slipped my gnarly unpedicured feet into my favorite black Old Navy flip flops--caring not a bit if lettuce and tomato grimed my feet.

I entered the school cafeteria at 5:30am to a long sign in line and blasting music. So if I wasn't awake before I passed through the doors I was shocked awake by the mere volume of Journey and Meatloaf, then I backed it up with a couple of caffeinated diet Pepsi's. I avoided any job assignment that required hair nets and rubber gloves and took to the quality control. I made certain the correct number of "bandwiches" were in each bag. M however looked like the cafeteria fashionesta in her hospital blue scrub top, hair net and rubber glove while she helped to build nearly 2300 bandwiches.

Then it was time to deliver the bad boys, I mean poor boys, I mean sub sandwiches, I mean BANDWICHES! Feed back: complete customer satisfaction.

Here I am at 6pm ready for bed on a Saturday night. I am comfortably cloaked in my PJ's not caring for dinner due to pure exhaustion. All I can think about is how much fun it will be to make "bandwiches" in December. Because if I won't be tired enough from decking the halls I will be from sandwich making in the school cafeteria.

Holiday party hosting? I'll, I mean M, cater your main course. Call me!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Learning a New Song

Tomorrow will mark the first of many Saturday mornings I will rise with M at 5am to create "bandwiches". M says she "refuses to say the word bandwiches, it's ridiculous". Ridiculous but catchy...a sub sandwich made by a band student for the fundraising purpose of getting to the Tournament of Roses Parade.

I hear they make us sing this song while we don hair nets and rubber gloves while all you sensible people are still sleeping dreaming of your lunch soon to come.

If you ordered a "bandwich" from M she may just sing you this song when she delivers your order and collects the green.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Areatha Franklin Sing For The Turkey

I’m back! Finally I feel like myself again after weeks of antibiotics, steroids and chasers of inhaled steroids. I wake in the morning without a drag in my step or a drudge in my being that I have to actually exist and breathe. Gosh I love drugs! So since I am feeling top of my game I am ready to let it out, the thing that is eating at my craw.

Thanksgiving.

I love Thanksgiving. I love setting my long table with my nice dishes, crystal and silverware. I love preparing heavy-fattening-caloric foods and topping it off with pumpkin pie piled high with real whipped cream. I love family in a tryptophan induced state gathered to play games and then all going to the movie theater at night. I bet you are now thinking what’s got her craw if she loves Thanksgiving so much.

Christmas.

I have been driving around lately doing errands, car-pooling teenagers here and there all the while I notice the turkey’s got no respect. What is with the world that they must hurry Thanksgiving along and string Christmas lights across houses eaves? I’m all for the pre-stringing; smart guys climb to the roof when the weather is in the seventies in preparation for the big light switch pull. But. But beaming your house all aglow already—NO! Then there is nuts who have the Christmas tree standing lit and decorated in the front windows of there homes. Why? What’s the hurry? I am certain these are the folks who tire of trees and lights by December 25 and can’t wait to disassemble the splendor of holiday cheer. I nearly died when I drove past a house with its 7-foot blow up Santa standing proud in the yard amongst 1000 twinkling lights.

Stop! Enough I tell you. Turkey needs some respect. He needs his, deserves his, day on the calendar. Come on people the pilgrim didn’t break corncob with the Indian to be overshadowed by Santa Claus and twinkling fiber optics. There is beauty in dry Indian corn clusters hanging on the front door. Cornucopias as center pieces spilling out harvest of plenty. There is undeniable pleasure in carving the turkey while giving thanks to the many blessing that touch our lives. Why can’t the world see this? Why do we have to rush to sell presents with all these pre-pre-black Friday sales? Why do radio stations have to spoil the excitement of Christmas music by playing it non-stop starting two weeks ago? Can’t we find the joy in turning on the radio the Friday after Thanksgiving to hear Bing Crosby sing us “White Christmas” while we wake at 5am to shop and score the hottest item of the season? What is up with the need to pressure the year to end?

In protest with the utmost respect for the turkey I will not listen to a single Christmas carol, pre-string lights on my eaves or purchase a gift. I will savor every November day that the calendar offers while I prepare my list of the things I am most grateful for this Thanksgiving, 2009.

Long live the turkey. Well, till he roasts in my oven.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It Was a Flash Gordon Morning

Since I still am not feeling like myself but have returned to work despite; I crawl back in bed every morning after I pack the girls' lunches. I sleep till the very last minute that I possibly can to still make myself look presentable to kids aged 5-11...and maybe a hand full of fellow adults.

This morning I slept through my alarm for the first time. I rolled over at 8:46am, freaked, and realized I needed to leave the house at 9:10am.

I learned today that I can brush my teeth in the shower with one hand and soap my body with the other. Luckily it was a non-wash hair day so I jazzed my frizz with a blow dryer and a round brush...then slipped a head band on. Next I slapped a little bring me back to life color on the face. Then I threw on the last clean thing hanging in the laundry room, fastened my black Mary Jane Sketchers to my feet, slapped a half sandwich together and BAM out the door by 9:09am.

I did it. Didn't care for the rush feeling but I was on time to work. In the end that is the thing that mattered most.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Mr. Hayes Has Been Calling Me "Judy Iron Lung" For A Good Reason

The doctor's orders were "if you aren't feeling better by Monday make an appointment to come into the office." So after I coughed so hard and long last night--and into the early morning-- kicking myself out of the marital bed for the couch...that I passed hacking up my lung and went deep to my liver (that's how hard and low I was pulling that cough); it was time to call the doc and use some of my accumulated sick hours.

There was nothing more difficult for me than to hold my cough back in the waiting room. I felt I should out of respect for the twenty-something guy sitting across from me. My cough grabs stares and sends folks running. I fashioned my coughs in this closed-mouth-soft-throat-encapsulated-manner. So by the time I got into my closed door closest of an examination room I let the seal in me bark and bark and bark.... I even think the doctor's assistant went for the fish in her pocket to toss at me. I'm like a zoo animal when I open my mouth.

What has made me so sick? Could it be....
1. watching Kate: Her Story
2. watching the Jon Gosselin and Hailey Glassman interview on Entertainment Tonight
3. mooching Milky Ways from third graders
4. working with kids who come to school riddled with fever and have the pig flu
5. extended marching band season
6. Joe Jackson requesting a stipend from his son's estate
7. the constant flux in the outside temperature and a month of rainy days...and nights.

Well, whatever the reason I heard the doctor say things to me today like, "this is how people die from asthma" and "it could be whopping cough but that takes a month for the tests results to come back and the CDC goes crazy over stuff like that." I just looked back at the doc with her facial expession of girlfriend you have felt bad for a month and just decided to do something about in the last four days. I was there, now, seeking medical intervention; so what good was a scolding a gal with a O2 level of 81. She scraped everything I was given Friday over the phone except the last pill in my Z-Pac and I left with enough steroid based drugs to guarantee I will turn into Lou Ferrigno by next week. Plus I have narcotics so I can sleep without the threat of King Ralph shipping me off to the zoo.

Hopefully by Wednesday I can go back to work fever free with my ear and sinus infection pain lulled, my constant head ache calmed, my lymph nodes returning to there normal size, air moving through my lungs easier and the dam seal living inside quieted.

Besides it is boring laying on this couch! With eight hundred channels to chose from I can't seem to find a darn thing to watch at 2am.

So honey hold off on buying my burial plot I think I might survive this one.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Lazy Sunday

The only things I have managed to accomplish today is: swallow lotta pills, eat a little food, drink a lot of fluids and watch the Godfather trilogy on AMC.

I am quite happy.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Fact or Fiction

I struck a deal with the kids in third grade that we could be best friends for some Milky Ways. I even promised one kid a trade-- Milky Ways for one of my orange soda pops. Several came through with the Halloween treat goodness. Gotta love'm! FACT

I finally broke down called the doctor for this lingering sickness that seems to be sucking the life from me and causing my co-worker to nickname me "Judy Iron Lung". That I am now highly medicated, sleep all day and still not exactly feeling better. FACT

That I am totally burnt out on marching band for the season and, washing and ironing performance grey suit pants for fourteen. FACT!

The lights dimmed for the Flyers "Friday Night Lights". That the boys tried like hell to continue on in the state play-offs but that it was hard to recover from that first touch down that was pulled back on the call of an illegal block in the start of the game. That is well worth my five dollars to see the nail biting game, yet so hard to watch grown boys cry in defeat after an undefeated regular season...that in time they will be able to hold their heads high and know they have much to be proud of. FACT

My mother-in-law had bugs removed from her head during one of her two brain surgeries...two large bugs that were three inches long with lots of legs and faces that smiled like Jim Carey. FICTION (It's gonna take some time for this vivid anesthetic dream to leave my mother-in-law's healing memory and accept it truly was, just a dream).

Finding out that a transformer blew on the SEMO campus--that her sorority sisters sit in darkness in Building F-- makes Princess A happy that she chose to come home this week for home cooked meals and going to movies with her sister to see "Paranormal Activity". FACT

There is nothing more glorious than sunshine and an 82* November Saturday with a repeat on Sunday. FACT!

That I can't wait to start raking, blowing and bagging leaves. FICTION

I watched the movie "The Holiday" for about the millionth time like it was the first because I am a sucker for a great love story. FACT

Am FREAKING because the desk top kitchen computer crashed--it holds my Thanksgiving dinner recipes and Christmas card list with address. FACT

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Hair Of The Candy Bar

While most children are waking this morning to a sugar coma hang over, their parents tossing them fun size candy bars to take the edge off or bring them back to life; I stayed home last night only to answer my door to ten, TEN, goblins. So if you're thirsty I have thirty-eight cans of Vess soda pop left for the taking.

I woke this morning to realize that 730am on the clock was really 630am. Bonus! I also realized King Ralph and I were home alone still. It was like it was before we had children--quiet...but lonely. Then we started reminiscing about how the girls use to stand in the doorway of our room to alert us they were awake and we would coax them into our bed, all three piled between us, with cartoons on the TV while we snuck a few more winks of sleep. This morning we lay in bed watching the Today show before heading to Ihop for breakfast wondering where the time has gone. How it is that our three little girls have grown so fast, grown into young women?

We picked D from her friends house where she informed us that trick-r-treating, as a high school freshman was much harder than years prior. That the weight of the candy snag bag was less this year...she handed me a candy count list along with the "do not touch" items...I only want the Milky Ways.
M&M-6
Skittles-2
Nerds-2
Laffy Taffy4
Sour Patch-1
Baby Ruth-5
Mike&Ike-1
Dum Dums-1
Reesesticks-1
Reeses's-12
Starburst-7
Hershey's-2
100 Grand-2
Rice Krispies-1
Pretzels-3
Jolly Rancher-1
Twizzlers-2

I see a huge issue here--NO MILKY WAYS ON THIS LIST. Like really! What am I too snag from her sweet bag? This just proves she might be past the age to trick-r-treat. When you return without Mom's favorite it becomes a waste of time?

Orange or lemon-lime soda pop anyone?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

There is a pattern our life seems to be following on Halloween: King Ralph and I home alone. We are staying home to hand out our Vess soda pops to all the visiting ghouls and goblins with their adorable senseless jokes they will share for the trade. Last year we turned all the lights out and went to dinner. However this year my seal bark of a cough is not to desirable outside the perimeter of my walls so we're ordering a pizza in.

First we made sure a pumpkin was carved. D and King Ralph did a fine job turning our pumpkin into Jack Skellington. Don't you think?

The girls looked all adorable in their homemade Halloween cuteness as a Grecian Goddess and a Country Bumpkin.

If you don't mind I need to part way I hear the doorbell chiming. Trick-r-Treat!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hallows Eve

It's not like getting the day off work meant sleeping in or lounging around for me. No it meant scrubbing bathrooms, renewing license plates, cooking dinner for the Color Guard girls and a football game.

Football game. Well I cheated. Being that the night air is moist and cool, that I just got my voice back (a voice that tends to still fade at time) I decided skipping the game was in my health's best interest. I curled up on the couch under a blanket with my laptop resting on my knees while I listened to the game on Prep Cast. We won. Again. An undefeated team...which is a first in the school's history. District Champions.

I tell you hearing the football team win was just as exciting as being in the stands and watching, seeing them win. I just wasn't frozen. The only minus to listening to the game from home is you can't hear the band. I guess there is always next week.

Marching Band continues.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fun@Work

This morning I woke to fashion myself in my Halloween costume as today was party day at school, work. I also woke to find I had been silenced. My voice gone. "It's a trick" I whispered. King Ralph said "it's a treat". I then debated whether to use the only sign language I knew suitable for such a comment (my middle finger) or to stick out my tongue at him. I went with the head shake and a grimace.

When my tights don't seem to agree with me I come up with new ways to use last winters tights--a wig cap. There I was in the bathroom stretching the crotch of a pair of black tights over my head and affixing my wig. Perfect! Steamed my dress and wrapped my sash on...Princess Leia was ready to strut her stuff. Except the line M had me practice all night was but a mere whisper help me Obi Wan Kenobi you are my only hope. And, I sure could have used Obi-Wan Kenobi's help, he was certainly, possibly, the only hope I had.

Next it was off to the car dealer to get my car inspected and oil changed. You should have seen the guys in the service department as Princess Leia exited from her Tantive IV ship disguised as a Toyota Matrix. The service guys started to whip out there cell phones cameras to snap photos; like they had never seen a broad in costume before. They giggled at how difficult it was for me to convey my purpose for being there. I left them with my ship and promised I would send my young padawan learner to pick it up later. Being that he delivered said ship to school to me makes him up for a promotion to a Jedi Master.

Next--to work.

When I entered the office it looked as cute in the morning as it did when I left it last night at 730pm. So I present to you "The Office~2009". Truman Cine' and it's staff.

Come on in Have a snack
See what's playing
Buy a ticket
The big screen
Starring in the movies
Front Row: Carla in Grease, Terri your Wehrenberg employee Middle Row: Patti in The Bee Movie, Kari in Ratatouille, Sherri in Miss Congeniality, Cyndi in The Addams Family, Vicki in The Cat in the Hat Back Row: Keith in Happy Feet, Jodi in Star Wars Episode IV, Lori in The Cat in the Hat


Cyndi and I found our mini Me's Two Princess Leia's

&

Two Wednesday's complete with their favorite toy--a doll with no head.

The day was wet but fun! So much fun they are giving us the day off tomorrow. May October 31, be as much fun as October 29 proved to be!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday

Tuesday.

This constant rain has got to stop or I will be forced to open a cocktail bar that serves Prozac cocktails...and I won't charge cause we'll need a synthetic lifter. Really it is enough grey and gloom!

If last week's crazy sock day didn't leave me constantly repositioning my toe sock so my little toe didn't look like it was flapping in the air; today's brown tights left me--ANNOYED. The darn tights had a waist band that spend more time hanging on my hips and less time around my waist. I had a crotch that was closer to my knees than positioned in the area it was named for. So after nearly three hours of tugging and pulling up my tights I walked into the Kindergarten restroom ripped off my tights and eighty-sixed those bitches. Then I smiled. My co-workers laughed at me.

My little brother sketched my poster art that I need as part of our office Halloween decorations. Tonight I am perfecting my coloring skills. I read not long ago coloring makes you happy. So rain keep coming I have plenty of black crayon to work.

D got her H1N1 vaccine today. It was an insane sight when I picked M up from work at 430pm on the high school campus. Somehow someone up above loves King Ralph because when he finally managed to get on the campus parking lot to pick D up from school it was so close to the clinics start time (all the nutty parents who wanted their kids vaccinated and picked them up early from elementary school to form that crazy car line which blocked the entrances to the high school so the buses couldn't get on campus to get the kids) that he tossed her the form and sent her in for an inoculation for her to return five minutes later vaccinated. If those 1499 other vaccine seekers only knew D's ease they would have probably egged my car when I picked up M.

While D is vaccinated I am not, so I continue to ward off the beast that is trying to get me with my bottle of mucus relief , a tall glass of OJ and a bottle of Listerine.

I got an email from SubDiva that I won the Michael Buble CD constest. I am soon saying tootles to the "Jizz In My Pants" song in exchange for some joyful jazz. Thanks Diva!

Tuesday. Turned out to be a pretty good day after all.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Curtain Comes Down


On Saturday I scooped the lung I was (and still am) hacking up and dragged myself to the high school to dress and bun hair of the color guard girls in preparation for the band's final competition of the season--Greater St. Louis Marching Band Festival.

While the kids have been "Running Out of Time" all season...I am glad the clock flags have struck midnight, I need a break from the constant go-go-go of weekend obligation. Don't get me wrong I love all the fun band season brings to our lives; it's just waking at 530am and driving to school at 610am is something the end of band season gladly vanishes from my schedule. I welcome its absence with open arms!


So I say good bye skip-its
and tick tocks with your difficult black spray paint. Tootle-a-loo grey suit and white flag with your red check mark Screeeeech!

There is no good-bye to band just yet we have a football game Friday night...THE football GAME of the season. The game that decides if the undefeated Lindbergh Flyers will be the District Champions. The game that determines if the clock flags keep spinning and the tick tocks keep on tocking during half time. Which means me and the wash machine will need to start churning those grey suit pants clean and pressed.

Maybe a great football game will help the kids forget they got fourth place at GSL. It was no doubt one of the band's best performances of what proved to be a rather difficult marching season.

Better make sure the blankets are still in the car and the gloves are in the pocket of my Nanook.

See you in the stands!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Birthday Wishes

Fifteen years ago today I went to the doctor, took Princess A and M to Taco Bell for lunch, dropped Princess A off at pre-school, picked her up, went to Target to purchase classroom Halloween party needs and went into labor in the check out lane a little early. Prior the days we owned cell phones I paged King Ralph who was at work. He called his mother who rushed over to be greeted by a panting pregnant woman in great pain. Forty-five minutes from the time I made the call to King Ralph D reared her tiny blackened strained little being into this world.

Her start was tough. Her toddler years tougher. She has however grown into a beautiful, smart, talented, amazing young lady. To that I say...

Happy 15th Birthday my baby girl! Now, get better. Postponing birthday fun is never what a mother and father want to have to do. Celebrating you is as much fun for us as it is for you.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Blogging Bedside

In the last several days I have had plans to tell you about the perils of crazy sock day and how King Ralph threw away my dish soap bottle (because he didn't like it) which pissed me off like no other--instead I am totally to tired to say much more than...D is pretty sick.


I pulled out the big gun last night after she coughed for two straight hours not allowing anyone in the house to slumber--codeine cough syrup. She slumbered, yeah. I was awake till 2am, boo.

Here's hoping she can snap out of it fast because tomorrow is her day.

(I'm feeling like the bug got a nibble of me. Just a nibble.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Beast Is Trying to Get Us

When I got home from work yesterday D felt so bad she asked me to cancel her piano lesson. Which I did.

This morning D requested to stay home. So I think I should take the advice of my co-worker's email. I am taking all and any suggested measures needed to stop the bug in its tracks.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What My Tummy Rumbled For

I had for dinner what I love.

Sushi.

What I am packing in my lunch box tomorrow is what I love.

Sushi.

With a sprinkle of soy sauce.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Coming Soon: Trick or Treat

I have a container of Candy Corn on my desk,yum-yum, quite symbolic of the season and holiday that is upon us. Wait, is Halloween a holiday?

Whatever Halloween is considered I love it! I love big bags of mini and bite size candies. I love the kids testing there Halloween jokes out on me during lunch--what kind of pie does a ghost like to eat? Boo-berry pie. I love eating foods synonymous with October--chili, sloppy joes, carmel apples. Scary spooky movies, haunted houses...no not that, not at all. I love searching for the perfect costume.

Did I just say costume? That I did. Which I purchased tonight (the most expensive costume I ever tossed the green down for). Halloween costumes no longer surprise me...Snow White bit that poison apple, got kissed by her prince and woke up a hooker. Cinderella too. The corpse bride looks like she turned enough tricks that she died of complication from gonorrhea. Even Dorothy seems to have skipped off the yellow brick road and onto the red light district. Hookerween at its best, every year, without fail. Even my costume came in the alternate slut-o-ween version. Which if I had chosen it would have sent me to the principal's office; maybe not so much for the lack of costume but more so for how I looked in it. I thankfully chose the full coverage-child-friendly version.

Every year we theme the office at work and all dress accordingly. I am rather excited about my costume choice this year and that our theme is my suggestion. I think the school kids are going to love it when they pass through on the annual tour .

I'm leaving my costume a total surprise. Only my girls, King Ralph and my co-workers know (so that we don't duplicate costumes) what I plan to be. The unveiling will be next Thursday...no school on Friday October 30, means Halloween fun comes to school a day earlier.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Try If You Must to Take the Esprit de Corps but You Can't Take The Moxie

There is always plenty of blame to go around anytime things don't go exactly as one had hoped, as one dreams to expect. There is also one thing no one should ever stand for and that is damaging the esteem of children in an effort to make one's self feel better for one's short comings, inabilities to produce and reach that one's level of personal expectation.

Friday was suppose to be a great day. In many ways it was. Princess A is home for Fall break. It was a half-day of school/work. I lunched out with my Princess A while M clocked a few hours in at work cranking out copies and D hung with her besties. Until...we headed to the high school for the football game--to see our Flyers remain undefeated--and that is when everything went emotionally wrong, that the days happenings were revealed with a big spill. A spill that needed a lot of mops to clean up with.

It seems a certain someone decided to reem on the girls for changes that were made just hours before. Changes that only fourteen of a group of hundred and eighty-four have to endure in an effort to boost scores. Comments made in the morning only in the face of two absent coaches. So, not only were there fourteen tender hearted hard working girls (who practice more than the other band members) riddled with hurt, you had two irritated coaches thinking "how dare someone" and a slue of pissed off parents who learned to bite tongue and rally the girls to rise up and prove wrong.

When the night was called early for band, in prep for the next day competition, at half time M was in tears and she had company. There is nothing that aches me as a parent more than when my girls hurt --physically or emotionally, when the hard work and dedication is squashed at the expense of elevating the ego of what I consider cowardly bully behavior. M cried till 11pm. No matter what Princess A or I said to make M see, understand or accept our words of reasoning the tears flowed. Know what I did? I punched in the code on the safe and yanked out that dam cell phone while King Ralph went for the phone charger and an emergency emotion booster. It took a wee bit of the edge off, a very wee bit. Then he sat on the edge of M's bed and rubbed her back till she slumbered.

Band was suppose to be the good ending to a hard week.

Then we woke at 5am, I bunned M's hair while she glossed up with blue eye shadow and apricot lip stick. To the Dome for BOA competition we went.

(There seriously needs to be rules implemented about how many early band calls you should have in one season. Two. Is one too many!)

To boost moral and spirit one of the Guard coaches wrote a nice story about geese as encouragement which inspires the essence of team spirit while the other spoke directly from the heart his words of can-do-go-get'm-spirit...then they did the best they could--considering.

No the kids didn't make BOA finals again this year. That's okay. Every year you can't be like Broken Arrow. Or even Oakville (as they recently have proved). Some years you just get to be the Flyers...that really truly is okay.

We look to the future, which is this coming Saturday..."we" includes the kids who perform and the parents who support. The support is for the ones who can, the ones who can't but do and the ones who try there damdest.

While M and a posy of band kids' goal this week is to rise above and to the occasion of GSL, I have a different agenda: to sleep, stop blowing my ever dripping nose, and to see sunshine in blue skies and feel warm air this weekend. Sitting on a fleece blanket placed upon an ice cold metal bleacher wrapped in my Nanook, clapping with gloved hands while sipping hot chocolate is never a goal for me this early in the Fall!

Tears are never to be a part of the occasion unless as a show of happiness and pride. Smiles ahead M, smiles ahead.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No One Said It Would Be A Picnic

Parenting has its peeks and valleys. This week I think the girls have taken us to the canyon.

Parenting is good cop, bad cop. Bad cop likes to confiscate all distraction devices. Real cop agreed it was all the option we had-- considering.

So friends text if you may, no one will respond. Facebook if you desire, no one will see what your "face" has to offer. Email too. No reply to receive. The world could blow and they will never know-- TV has gone black. Music? Naaaaaa, silence is all we hear. And the turning of text book pages.

Like I said the girls took us to the canyon. Since most canyons are formed by a process of long-time erosion...they have been eroding for a while and the river known as mom and dad had no choice but to flood.

Can't say I like this, it's just part of the job. The hardest non-paying job ever!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Thing That Wakes Me

This past weekend I had the time off from my usual Fall routine of football and band to indulge in some cooking and cleaning. There is nothing I love more than:

1. the one free weekend of the marching band season

2. getting down on my hands and knees to scrub all my hard wood floors

3. welcoming in the cool, no cold, weather by whipping up some comfort foods

Now I am not sure if I was whipping up those comfort foods to fill our bellies or to comfort the pain of our beloved Cardinals sucking at baseball by giving away our chance at another try at"on the road to the World Series". I believe the answer is--both. Somehow my white chili and Shepard's Pie did the trick to fill bellies and ease our Cardinal pain.

Sunday evening after heaping helpings of Shepard's Pie and buttermilk biscuits, King Ralph and I headed to the grocery store to fill the cart with liquid goodness. There was bottles of blue Gatorade. White grape juice. Chicken broth. Milk of Magnesia. Miralax. With all this delicious liquid there is only one thing a man can do...ask his family not to eat around him on Monday as he prepares to starve himself in preparation for his first colonoscopy.

So here I am at 330am slumbering away only to be awakening by the sounds of a beast trying to escape the inners of my husband. A man who can do nothing more than crap blue Gatorade. I am by no means a light sleeper, but being woke by the movement of your partner's intestines is simply crazy! How long can one crap blue Gatorade? More than 12 hours it seems.

While I will drag myself to work, slap on a fake smile under my two dark sleep deprived bags; good ole' King Ralph will have a photo shoot via the hind end with a celebration nap in our warm comfy bed.

I'm feeling a little jealous. Of the nap part. And nothing else!

******
King Ralph has a beautiful colon and a pretty appendix. I think we will blow the pictures to 8x10's and frame them for display on the fireplace mantel.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Dear Dominic

Warning: The following post is Rated PG-13 when you play the video

Dear Dominic-
Today on the way home from work I decided to preview the CD you made for M. What a delight it was to know that you want to share and enhance my daughter's musical repertoire--because the great musical artist of the 70's and 80's I have enhanced her musical pallet with just aren't enough.

Oh dear Dominic, dear marching band friend, I wish you could have seen my face as song number one played filling the space inside my little blue Toyota. Was it my dropped jaw? My one squint eye? Was it the grimace that my mouth formed? Maybe it was the horrified laugh that over came me...actually it was every one of those looks that breezed across my face.

And, my grandmother thought Madonna's Like a Virgin was harsh.

I'm not sure who should be thanking you Dominic, me or M? To think I have about twenty more songs to go before I become a card carrying member of your "hip" music loving generation...God help, no save, me.

If ever there was a time for Puff the Magic Dragon, it might be now-- for me!

Musically (Aghast) Enriched,
Momma Avery

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Student of the Month

If word gets out that included in the Student of the Month prize bag is a coupon for a free school lunch; I think the entire school body of students would start to strive for this high achievement.

In D's case she was bestowed the honor without having to be tempted. I suggested since her posy of friends are all bringers that they have a bought school lunch tasting with her coupon. The girls can sit around nibbling on mushy peas and a soy burger.

When Student of the Month was announced D's class was too noisy for her to hear. It wasn't until her next hour that she learned of her honor...people congratulating her for a reason she had to ask what she did.

It's nice that her sisters, who never have earned such a LHS honor, were all excited for their freshman sister. Even the one far away at school that calls to yell about her clothes she spots in pictures.

Good job baby!

FYI D: the honor does not exclude you from chores or cleaning your room. So hop on it, now!

Is There Really Such Thing As A Sick Day

I come to you from the couch while I use some of that accumulated sick time that shows on my pay check every other week.

I drug through work yesterday trying to convince myself I just had a marching band trip hang over but that was not the case at all. Last night after dinner I tried to visit my mother-in-law when King Ralph suggested about 30 minutes into our visit I go home, he would walk home when visitors hours ended. I took him up on the offer and within 20 minutes I was in bed and fast asleep, from 730pm till 6am.

While I slept soundly last night King Ralph said M and D had one of those sister bonding moments...moments that seem to happen more often now that they are both in high school together. As they sat on the ground with a lap top, creeping around on Facebook laughing together, he snapped a picture with his camera phone and sent it to Princess A. Next thing you know he said M's phone ringing, no mention of the picture, while one far away sister broke bonding time to chew them for invading her wardrobe options left at home. The left behind fashion of a college sister is under that "do not wear, do not touch" microscope and a picture is worth a thousand words. They really should stop taking photos, this happens all the time. I'm just glad I was asleep for this one.

This morning, dragging still, I had to take D to the doctor for an 830am appointment. She has had a funky rash under her arms for nearly three weeks that started creeping down the trunk of body. I diagnosed the rash myself because I think at times I got my M.D. when I got my m-o-m title. With out running off to spend the bank account funds on doctor office co-pays I bought a cart full of over-the-counter creams and ointments helping to increase Walgreens weekly profits. Sunday night when I was about to pull my witch doctor potion book from the shelf to brew up a magic cure King Ralph suggested I call the pediatrician. Once I managed to maneuver my way through rush hour traffic and question my sanity for making this early morning appointment (which I made so I could also get to work on time, till I took a sick day) I was crowned smart as a doctor...my diagnosis was dead on. D also left with three needle pricks--flu shot, Guardasil number 2 shot and a meningitis shot (because the doctor made a note that she wanted her to get that when they did the second Guardasil shot). Poor kid got more than she bargained for. We left with two prescriptions for antibiotics which I am sure are going to be top tier on the prescription co-pay scale. It's just a feeling as I haven't picked up the meds but, it is how my luck goes.

I needed this sick day as I lay on the couch listening to an alien trying to escape from my intestine while I work on my suppressed track skills. The fifty yard dash may be my calling. How long I get to lay here is timed by the calender--piano lessons, guard practice....

In other words there is really no such thing as a sick day--for a mom.

I'll drag the screaming alien along for the car ride.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Union Renegade Weekend Review

I had a great weekend. I know you all are thinking how does one have a great weekend trapped on a coach bus for a seven hour rides and hanging out with one hundred eighty four teens...but it was! Even though I am exhausted beyond description. I offer you the Union Renegade Review Flyers style.


When we left for Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Mecca of marching band, some of us felt as though we were jumping into the deep end of the pool without any floaties. Some left scratching our heads as to why our director entered us this competition. It didn't take much more than a good nights sleep in the Embassy Suites, a hot made to order breakfast, a good dose of caffeine, some snazzy band uniforms and some hair fashioned with bun magic to change attitude. The guard was ready to show off the new clock flags to all of Oklahoma, while as a whole band the kids showed what they had to offer.





I (along with lots of our parents) officially have high school football stadium envy. Union High School's stadium is sick! The whole school actually was sick. I think my kid's school is a fine establishment of education with nice classroom buildings and a grassy football field with suitable metal bleachers. However after sitting at the Union Tuttle Stadium from 11am-1030pm I am officially in awe of a town’s devotion to football and band, the amounts of money and donations that can drop into a high school facility. Score boards with video screens, memberships to the "Turf Club” with its catered pre-game meals, a two story all glass press box and a marching band with a near overflowing budget. Sick I tell you, all sick.

I will return in a few weeks to the Flyers Stadium to cheer on our undefeated football team, gaze over the grassy field as it fights off Fall with massive doses of water via the sprinklers. I will dance in the bleachers-- that come without a printed ticket or a seat number--to pre-game music blasted from our press box built of plywood and warmed by space heaters. I will listen to the pep music of the marching band that...that left Tulsa with a renewed spirit that they can compete and place high when in the company of the kings and queens of marching band world's greatness.

Yes friends we placed third in our division in prelims--which placed us fifth overall. Then we filled the bellies of our band with a hot dinner, warmed up the instruments for finals and took to the field under the moon and those massive stadium lights. Then the kids did it again.

One cool thing about this competition is that they offer a judge's review with your directors. For five minutes they can ask the judges anything and the judges will say things to the directors. One thing they said was our band has such a presence in our opening picture that they know something great is about to happen.When the bands all retreat out for finals awards we figured the kids would place fifth or sixth...accepting that would be fine being in the company they had been given. So, when they named the sixth place winner and then the fifth place winner and neither were our kids we braced for fourth. No fourth for us and I turned to my band mom friends and said "holy shitake mushrooms we made third?" Yep, third place for the Missouri band. The color guard got to perform there award routine when the drum majors were called to accept our pretty etched glass trophy…tis' a good day on Saturday in Tulsa to be a Flyer from Saint Louis--the only band brave enough in the United States not from Oklahoma to enter the competition.I love that when they dismiss the bands after awards (just like at BOA) the bands blend to congratulate and compliment one another. I love Robyn who helps me make bun magic, laughs at all my jokes and loves my text messages from the bus. I love, my, color guard girl.
And, I love ALL the color guard girls (even the ones who are not in this picture...where are you?).