Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

(outside the haunted sounds of werewolves and ghosts loom around the front yard grave yard)

Post chili and Nathan's hot dogs; I sit here sipping my Halloween appletini, waiting anxiously for the next trick-r-treater to come score my soda pop and cheese popcorn...

(hold on the door bell is ringing)

(Mrs. Potato Head greets the ghouls and goblins)

I say it every year, I'll say it again, what is wrong with kids?!  I know they tell jokes, but when I open the door can't they say "trick-r-treat".  Instead they stand there staring at me wondering why the heck I am not just tossing them the goods. I'm having to invite, some even beg for the joke--what's a vampires favorite dog? A blood hound (sorry kid I can't be stumped).  Even in the world of begging kids have lost their skill, there manners.

Princess A, King Ralph and I are reminiscing about Halloweens past. M aka Lady Gaga and D, no costume party girl, are at parties.  Parties happen on a Sunday October 31, when school is off for the next two days. 

I was nine years old--back in the days when the neighborhood streets where crowded and costumes were created from whatever you could put together from the closest--when I got to a house with ghoulish music coming from behind the door of the house that was lit with black lights.  The home owner opened the door and invited us kids in to the living room that had been emptied of all its contents.  All that was in there was a casket with a man lying "dead" still inside. I remember trembling with fear.  I still am not a fan of haunted houses--why the heck would anyone purposely want to be scared...and pay big bucks for the fright?!  The woman took my hand, lead me to the casket where the living dead man slowly raised from the casket and handed me a piece of candy, never uttering a word.  CREEPY!  The memory is still haunting all these years later.  As an adult and homeowner all I can think about is the work and effort that had to go into clearing a living room for one night.  No thank you.   

King Ralph recalls dressing like a girl and being asked what he was.  He had to explain he was a boy dressed as a girl.  I am not sure if that is good or bad?

Princess A likes remembering all the wonderful hand made costumes King Ralph's aunt and I constructed together each year.  She was always so adorable.  Now she constructs her own.  She also remembers the post Halloween candy rule: three pieces a day for two weeks then all sweet treats...poof, disappeared.  It didn't matter if they picked three full size candy bars or three mini Tootsie rolls--three was the magic number.  Believe me they picked carefully and wisely. When the girls got older and "wiser" they learned the art of sneaking.  Three turned into six.     

Well it's nine o'clock, I turned the ghoulish background music off after a total of fifteen goblins this year.  I got a "cool treat" from one kid, so I know I did good with my usual choice.  Still fifteen kiddos seems mighty lame for Halloween. 

Boy-oh-boy I miss how Halloween was when I was a kid!    

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Glinda Wears Chucks

I'll be heading to the store soon to pick up a few cases of Vess orange and lemon-lime soda--my Halloween trick-r-treat give away.  I'll also be brushing up on current dumb jokes so I am not so stumped when kids start trading the tricks for my treat.  In St. Louis you just don't ring the doorbell, scream trick-r-treat, hold out the candy bag and collect the loot. Nope in St. Louis folks like to make the kids work for the treat...we want tricks!  Jokes count as a trick. Actually it may be the only trick because I haven't seen any kids preforming magic or circus feats on my front porch.  There isn't much risk of liability is a dumb joke.

While the kids in the neighborhood are at home trying to devise plans to stump ole' Keeper, I spent yesterday having a bit of Halloween fun myself.  Every year the office gets a themed makeover.  Like elves in the night we all contribute what time we have available in our after work schedules to help make the transformation happen.  Some more than others, some not none at all.  Two of our gals worked transforming to the late hours.  It is always fun the next day to see the children's faces as they gaze in amazement at our creativity as they parade through.

We've had some great themes in the past.  My favorite was 2007.  It's just fun being an adult with permission to have kid fun. This marks the end of a long rein of Halloween office fun.  The elementary school will be making a transformation of its own, to a middle school next school year--the curtain comes down.  

And. So. I present, for the final time, the office: Halloween style.

Welcome to Oz.

By the time the day was over Glinda the Good Witch of the North was glad she wore her yellow polka dot Chucks... 
before making a quick thirty minute transformation into regular mom honoring the Seniors; my girlie at Senior Night.  Regular Mom wears black boots and a nanook.

Now it's time to carve the pumpkin, dig out the spooky mood music and place the tomb stones in the yard...

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

An Unlikely Mascot

Back in the early Fall of 2007 Princess A and her friends were working one of the band's bi-annual flea markets when they came across the find of the century: black Santa--a three-foot-tall-use-to-light-up-plastic-holiday-decoration.

After being drug across the high school campus to the music building black Santa took a place of honor in practice room one peering out the room's glass window.  A practice room that seemed already to be on the road to storage closest and less looking of a practice room.  As the kids went around talking about and showing off black Santa their fearless leader (aka the band director) told them to get rid of black Santa they couldn't have him, it was wrong. What was wrong, having him in practice room one or having him in the band building at all?  I remember having a conversation with Princess A about what is wrong with black Santa, whoever said Santa is white.  The Santa at our house is white, sure cause I am white, but the Santa say at Bill Cosby's house is most certainly black.  So what the heck was wrong with black Santa.  That's when the band kids of the Class of 2008 devised a plan that would turn ole' black Santa into a traditional part of marching band.  First they named him Juan and then they autographed him.  That was only after moving him to the back corner by the piano.  Juan the black Santa with a Hispanic driven name now spends most of the year standing patiently in that corner waiting for the end of marching season to come along when he can get some love via a Sharpie.

The tradition continues.

Last Friday at the last regular season zero hour (did you catch that regular season zero hour, uhg there are more to come renamed Tournament of Roses zero hour) the kids of the Class of 2011 put their John Hancock on good ole' Saint Nick. 

Before I know it will be Friday Night Lights time. I will be bundled up in my Nanook, freezing my tush on the metal bleachers, cheering the Flyers to a possible win while being so cold that I see visions of black Santa selling me hot chocolate as he circles the field in his sleigh.  Mother Nature spoiled us this football season and cursde the end of the season with a burst of artic cold.  

Football and cold weather.  I suppose a tradition that I was hoping to avoid!         

Thursday, October 28, 2010


While I stood in the shower this morning wondering what professional clothing options I had clean; a moment of consciousness came to is blue jeans for Haiti day.  Yippee!  I love blue jean day, even when it cost a dollar to wear'em.   

Then I let the dog out and burrrrrr I realized my blue jeans couldn't be paired with a cute pair of sandals or my toes would go numb. Closed toe shoe season is upon me. UHG!!

It is a game of good and evil in the fashion world of work today. Sigh.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Just When I Could Have Used the Octopus' Talent

While driving down Road Kill Avenue yesterday morning M and I heard some sad news on the radio; Paul the psychic octopus died. Paul lived 2.5 years, the expected life of an octopus.  Being a psychic octopus must have been stressful, cramming in all those predictions in such a short lifespan...and just when I could have used his psychic abilities.

What would I have asked ole' Paul?  If the darn school counselor will ever take care of something simple I requested so I don't have to get nasty.

Excuse me while I dress in my Halloween witch costume, light the seance candle and try to channel Paul for a prediction. Is this the way to shake an octopus from his grave?      

(Honestly, when I heard this on the radio I was more like--WHO THE HELL IS PAUL THE PSYCHIC OCTOPUS?!).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Everything M

Bet there are folks who are thinking, does Keeper have any other kids besides M.  I know, I know my posts these days seem to be focused on M, but that is only because this is her year. Princess A had her blog post year to hog type...that comes with being a high school senior.  D's is coming.

I forgot to take the time to toot President M's horn about her (and the DECA gal pals) first place finish in the mock competitions at the DECA Leadership Convention last week.  I believe the text I received with a photo of the first place medal said "another win for Madison".  Followed by her creative Facebook status that said "Respeca the DECA".  I love it when kids find their passions, find something that connects them to their school, giving them ownership and pride.  DECA is one of those things for M.   If I don't say so myself, a medal is a nice accessories to the business dress.

(aren't these girls all gorgeous?!)

So are you wondering what did M and I did today?  We made a college visit.  By way of road kill avenue.  At least that is what we renamed Highway 44.  There is a certain love that fills when being forced to add to the mutilation of a ground up deer carcass.  Uck!  About 50 carcasses later we made our way to the campus of Missouri State University.  It was perfect weather for a campus stroll.  Our best find was as soon as we stepped foot on the campus... who did who spot, who turned his bike around to chat with us...the one and only (short lived) boyfriend M had.  As he rode off I looked at M and said "I really did like him, I just never trusted him."  Then we laughed.  After the tour we made an impromptu visit to an old color guard friend.  Unplanned is the best way to see how college kids really live in those dorm rooms, eeek! What a mess!  I almost wanted to kick in my mom gene and clean that darn suite.  By the time we got in the car to head home it was decided this university has made its way to the top of the list...we have the Bear wear from the bookstore to prove it. 

Still the Senior Night info card portion of future plans will still read: undecided.

My info card will read: getting poorer!                

Monday, October 25, 2010


Sixteen years ago I stood in line at Target purchasing necessaries for a preschool Halloween party...when ouch I went into labor...a wee bit early.

After the Target checker had her moment of freak that a woman in labor with two small children in tow was in her check-out line; I made it home.  Back in the day of pre-cell phones I paged King Ralph, who then called his mom, who then made it home just in time for me to walk in the doors of the hospital to deliver a sweet five pound plus girlie who was then whisked away by ambulance to the NICU at Children's Hospital.

There you have it in a nut shell how D's life began.  She left me in a panic of difficulty from her start through her toddler years.  Calming about the time Kindergarten came calling.

Once a little tomboy who loved Hot Wheels to Barbies and mud pies to lip gloss.  Who wore the plastic wheels of her Big Wheel burning rubber on the sidewalk...hating anything that had a feminine flare. D has blossomed into a beautiful young lady with polished toe nails and bouncy natural curls molded with product.  All the things that until recently she turned her nose to.

She's smart and talented.  At times aggravating and lazy.  Through all the adjectives I grow more in love with my unplanned baby girl--our gift from above.

She is she.  Never being persuaded to be anything but herself.



We celebrate.

Keep skipping happily through life seeing what is ahead waiting for you (maybe a driver's permit).

Happy Sweet 16 Demi Anne!       

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nearing The End of an Era

For seven years King Ralph and I have sat quiet on the bleachers--sweating and freezing--watching marching band field shows at half time and at competitions. It started with Princess A tooting her flute out there on the field.  Trying to keep our eyes on Princess A in a mass of nearly 200 like looking friends, as if we were playing the shell game on the jumbo tron at the ball park, had its challenge.  Then came M. She joined the club spinning her flags, saber and rifle-- which was so much easier to keep the proud eyes on.

Last night the era of competitions came to its end.  The final competition in which I can take claim to having a kid of my own out there doing it for the team.  I was a bit ferklempted...okay a lot ferklempted.  I was never emotional when Princess A performed her final competition, maybe because I knew it wasn't "the end."  But my M, she drew out from me emotions that I must have been tucking away.  Saving for the end?  Whatever the reason my eyeballs floated in a well of water.  Especially when the rose swing flags separate.

Corny?  Parental pride?  Whatever you call it, call it from the heart.

I present to you for your viewing pleasure a third place finish, with a score of 82.45 at Greater St. Louis Marching Band Festival. The competition was incredible in the Gold Division, third place is taken with pride. The kids had a couple of phasing issues and a dynamic problem in the second tune...there was that one flag drop, but they all brought their game and rocked the house. Heck we are proud!

Thanks Princess A, thanks M for finding where you fit in at your high school, your nitch, giving us something to take up our time on the Fall weekends for the last seven years and watching you shine.

(side note: King Ralph may be issued a VIP (video in possession) for this recording.  So consider yourself watching a top secret video. hehehe)

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Week End

It feels like yesterday I woke up and it was Monday.  How did we get to Friday so fast?  However it is that we got to this point so fast-- I am glad!

The week offered me a chance to get a few things off my chest.  I am, of late, pretty good at biting my tongue.  The older I grow the less I feel like being bothered with airing feelings...sometimes it seems like a waste of energy.  Especially when it is something you know that when it ends you never have to visit again.  But when someone invites the could I refuse!  It was handled calmly and professionally.  Dare I say I felt liberated?  I felt liberated.           

Saturday I will wake to canvass for Prop L.  I am doing it because it is the right thing to do: for the students and for our jobs.  Then I will bun hair for nearly the last time in marching band history as M performs the field show in her final competition.  I think I will have tears in my eyes.  I WILL have tears in my eyes.  For some reason this year I am a band field show crier. 

I look forward to the end of zero hour being a part of this family.  How could anyone not want to celebrate the elimination of packing school lunch at 5am?  The only thing greater than an hour more sleep in the morning would be winning the lottery.  And, one has to purchase a ticket to win the lottery, so extra sleep is a grand scale win for me.

Monday...don't come looking for us till after 6am.  This house is sleeping in!


Best thing I heard on the playground this week: a second grade boy playing soccer (as he cupped his hands over his zone) "protect the jewels guys."

Worst thing I heard at work this week: there is still lice. UGH! 

Best TV this week: Project Runway Finale Part 1.  I have fallen in love with Mondo.  I didn't think I would, but I did!  I did not fall in love with Gretchen.  I didn't think I would, and I didn't! 
Worst TV: Sister Wives.  I am still trying to figure out why Princess A feels compelled to TIVO a show about a man who is so full of himself that he thinks he should have four wives?  Or that I entertained the idea of even watching the bizarre show for ten minutes.  Twisted TV!  


Saturday, October 16, 2010

You Just Stay In Bed

Hey you all, don't bother getting up when the alarm goes off.  You just keep on sleeping.  I wouldn't dare want to ask any of you to wake with M and I--really 430am is absurd in itself...for marching band no less.

Family in case you are wondering why your laundery isn't folded in your drawers and there isn't a four course meal on the table tonight, it's because I am dragging my weary bones to the bed after a long day of competition.

Don't make finals I'll see you bed at 6pm.  Make finals I'll see you bed at midnight.

I'm toren.

Making finals would be nice.

I suppose a nap on a school bus is a possible thing.  It may turn out to be the method to survival...if the kids make BOA finals. 

Only time will tell.  

Friday, October 15, 2010

What Does Your Refrigerator Say About You

Ever stand and stare at your refrigerator and wonder what it says about you?  I stood looking at mine often this week, occasionally picking up a heavy magnet clip that fell to the ground loaded with important kid information and refrigerator says a lot.  It says where have we been and where are we going.  It says you did a good job and we are proud of you. It says adventures.  It says I love Jesus.  It says friends.  It says helping someone to learn. Let's bake. Let's watch hockey tonight. Most of all it says I love my family.  We love each other! 

What does your refrigerator say?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Call Me Dr. Dolittle

Me: Uli your home! Where were you?

Uli: I was tired of running laps in the yard all day.  It's no fun when you can't invite the kids from the neighborhood over to race.

Me: You mean the other dogs? 

Uli: Whatever.

Me: So where'd you go?

Uli: Well when King Ralph, as you call him, left the front door open I decided I would sneek out to take a run and live on the wild side.  I came across a nice yard where I made a couple of new friends, pugs named Zues and Braxton.  They invited me to spend the night on the back porch with them.  I couldn't refuse.

Me: Did you have fun?

Uli: Sure we played nice together.  But you know they're boys and they started to not respect my female boundaries.  I suppose my freshly styled hair and my Halloween scarf really turned them on...I can't talk about it anymore it is to disturbing to relive.

Me: Uli, all male species like to get a little frisky with the ladies from time to time.  But why didn't you phone home?  We were worried sick.

Uli: I wanted too, but my tags fell off and I couldn't remember our phone number.  My new friends mom made a great breakfast and took me for a long walk on the leash.  She was really nice.  Sorry to worry you all.

Me: Your tags were there last week! Oh well you are home safe and sound.  I am also glad your new friends were fine hosts. I think D is going to make them an apple pie as a thank you for keeping you safe when you decided to run wild.  NO more leaving the house without permission!  You hear?!!

Uli: Ya.  Really there is no place like home.

Me: So true!   

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Uli Phone Home

It all started when King Ralph walked out the front door, leaving it ajar, to look at the minor damage that M's co-worker/band mate's mom caused to her car.  King Ralph had M's car yesterday, I switched car's with him after work so M could have her car to drive to evening band practice.  As I stopped so she could cross the lane to hop in the car, co-worker's mom waited for her to cross and then proceeded to back into the car.  Never met co-worker's mom...but I have now. 

Like I said it all started when King Ralph walked outside at 8pm to survey the damage.

9pm D went looking for her beloved pooch only to find she was no where to be found.  Just like Toto she loves to run.  Given the opportunityty to run wild and free she'll take it!  We all hopped in cars to canvass the area.  M & D calling out Uli's name came upon two boys playing basketball in their driveway who alerted them a woman was walking with our doggy on a leash looking for the owner and said she told them she would send the little black dog to a shelter.  Uli has tags, a tag with her phone number stamped on a heart.  Why not call us?  We rushed home called the local police who directed us to the animal control division-- no luck. 

So we said our prayers last night that Uli finds her way back to us today. 

In the words of ET--ULI PHONE HOME!     

Monday, October 11, 2010

Festive Weekend

Update:  Big toe toenail was not recovered nor found on the sole of that Kindergartner with the heavy foot.  Guess I just have to accept I have a janky looking toe nail.  And. I recovered from that Thursday unexplained night of insomnia.  Cure.  A medium sized caramel frappe from Wired Coffee at 345pm.  There was no way I was going to make it all Friday night without a caffeine boast.  

The was all about Homecoming! The proverbial spirit week had M all in form while D, full of Flyer spirit left the house each day looking like her regular self. M on the other hand was all into.  She did the "Twin Day" with her look alike Marketing teacher, dressed for "Circus Day" as a hippo (are there hippos at a circus?), wore her PJ's on jammie day....

There was Thursday's parade; a senior girl in a convertible and leading the "March of Champions".  Where my sophomore was bouncing around remains a mystery.  All that led to a bon fire.  A fire so big and so hot I am shocked my head is not a skeleton cause I swear my skin was melting off from the intense heat it gave off.

Friday's pre-game band dinner with their eighth grade band guests (selling the product),  football game, halftime show (with the show flags that finally arrived)
  before M made a white spandex mad dash to the other side of the field for a promenade/presentation of a court.

Then we slumbered.  Sleeping is a beautiful thing!
Only to wake to a crazed day of beauty shop and curling irons. Nail polishes and eye shadows. Sequence and satin. And Friends. Lots of friends.



Then King Ralph and I crashed the dance; as invited guests. To see this...Homecoming Court.

It is a great day when the kids on the court aren't just the athletes or "popular" kids.  This is a representation of nice kids.  Kids that are liked for who the are: lots of band kids, theater kids, student council kids, smart kids....

M wasn't queen, not even a princess, but she had a great attitude going into this and when it was over she had the same great attitude...just happy her peers liked her enough to put her up there on that stage.   I might be partial but I sure think she had the prettiest dress up there on that stage.

Now it's back to regular weekly scheduled activites.  

Friday, October 08, 2010


This blog is being temporarily interrupted due to:
1. My big toe toenail that resides on the bottom of a Kindergartener's shoe
2. The need to stare at Uli's new doggy do (b/c she wanted to look great for homecoming too)
3.. A severe case of insomnia last night, and I mean severe...last clock read was 3:43am
4. Homecoming weekend--last night's parade/bon fire, tonight's pregame dinner for the band/football game, Saturday's dance
5. Chili Day @work...need time to locate the Beano, or it could get ugly in the school today

Check up on me Sunday and see if I am kicking around again.

Until then...Happy Fall weekend friends!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Wednesday's Oxymoron

I just flipped on the morning news. In one breath they inform me it's National Walk to School Day--promoting physical health.  In the next breath they give me the school bus stop weather report.

Come on now Channel 5!  Do I walk or ride the bus?


I figure if I leave the house at 8am I should be to work on time.

But, who's gonna pick me up at is only walk TO school day, not walk home from school day?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

So What If My Shoes Hurt My Feet

Yesterday I rummaged through my closest for the proper shoes, shoes to match my black pants and white blouse.  I went with black boots because one, it was cold out and two, the heel height was perfect for my always-to-long-pants.  The curse of being five foot four and one-fourth inches tall.

When I walked in the office it felt like a furnace.  Uhg. You want to complain but you don't realizing the right to complain about the hotness in a building is hardly worthy for the day.  The outside temperature was perfect for my long sleeve blouse.  It felt liberating.  As the day rolled on my feet were fighting the notion of being trapped.  My ten toes wanted to twinkle like Fred Flinstone as he foot peddled his car--free and breathing.  Instead my pinkie toe on my right foot was crying I want to go wee-wee-wee all the way home.  When my day was finished the BWFs and I loaded in the truck and drove to the funeral home.  The reason for the black pants, white blouse and black boots.  When the three of us entered through the doors the pain of rubbing leather on my little toe seemed to vanish; vanish with the notion that my temporary pain was nothing compared to the pain of my co-worker's forever broken heart.  Her family's broken hearts.  Laying to rest a son, a grandson , a brother....

As a staff we constructed a beautiful wreath of small hands in colorful papers.  Each of us in the building wrote words from our hearts of condolence to our friend and co-worker.  I started my message with the words of Psalm 34:18  The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I have now sadly watched three friends bury their children.  In no way the natural evolution of life.  It, at no time, has been an easy witness.  As parents we are not to bury our children.  Each of my friend's children left this earth to early, all taken by different cause.  Each mother and father however with the same cry.  Although the cry is different in sound to the ear, the pain of cry is all the same.  Heartwrenching!  A pain I can hardly fathom.

Once I was alone in the truck the boots were unzipped tossed to the side, the pain of the pinch by shoes not welcomed on my feet eased.  The guilt sets in.  The comprehension that my pain had an easy, quick fix can do that.

So next time you put on a pair of shoes that cramp and feel like a confinement...look at your children.  Then thank God that you can stretch your arms out and pull them in close to love them, to kiss them, to hug them, to talk with them, even yell at them.  Realizing never to take their presence in your life for granted.           

Monday, October 04, 2010

Yep, It's Fall

It's Fall.  I know this because the thermometer read 44* when I woke at 430am.  I don't think I am ready for layers of clothes and shoes that hide my toes.  No, please, don't let it be!

Although we had a change in calendar this weekend that caused an elimination of something really fun I thought we'd doing Friday was okay to just sit back and chillax. 

It was a three day weekend for us so the house was bustling with girls galore on Thursday.  The color guard came over to tye-dye their section shirts, eat pizza and ice creams, roast marshmallows and enjoy a backyard fire.  When the color guard cleared house D and her possy took over the fire.  Girls, girls, girls.

Friday was M getting her senior pictures taken. While D and King Ralph went apple picking.  Princess A worked before scurrying off to SEMO for String Day...I think the saying was "we love live birth."  String Day, the day the sorority girls take a "daughter."  Even though Princess A is no longer at SEMO she still loves the AXO sisters. Evident as her dear friend arrived at our house and they hugged, smiled and loaded in the car.  They made me smile.         

Saturday we shopped for D's homecoming dress and took M's to the tailor for a nick and tuck. Then M celebrated friends' 18th birthdays at the apple orchard, D baby-sat and King Ralph and I sat in the leather recliners with nothing to say to each other...we just soaked the calm and silence of a teenagerless house for the evening while starring at the TV.  I liked it.  A weekend of no band. No football games. No competitions.  

Sunday I cooked a meal of comfort foods for a Fall day.  King Ralph and D made the dessert--apple pie, crust from scratch, filling from the apples they picked.  Once we filled our bellies with beef roast, carrots, corn, smashed potatoes smothered in gravy...warm apple pie ala' mode was a perfect Fall finale. 

This week, homecoming week, brings a calendar of obligations that stretch the entire week.  The clock hands will tap M awake early and bring her home late.  The one week I think I may say I HATE marching band. 

Well I suppose I should go dig through the mound of shoes at the bottom of my closest to find closed toe shoes.  UHG!