Monday, December 27, 2010

I'm Leaving On A Jet Plane

That's right friends, I am leaving you all here in this snowy tundra and heading to the land of sunshine and green pastures--Pasadena, California.

Bet though you are wondering how the Keeper Christmas was?  So I'll style.

We baked...
lots of cookies...
then we got all dressed up for Jesus' birthday and went to church...
then came home for a yummy dinner with family...
where we were warm inside,
 the snow fell outside
while we sang "dreaming of a white Christmas" ...
and Princess A's sailor boy came with his day long hiccups; 
we tried every remedy to cure them...
(Didn't really think I was going to show off his good looks and tell stories of him? Nope not yet!) 
then in the night Santa came...
he stuffed the stockings too...
we gathered with more family where things got crazy...
all that fun is why I love my family!

Now if you will excuse me I have a few things to pack in my carry-on bag...
something tells me I'm in need of my sunglasses in California.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


The reason for the season.   
I have survived the stresses and the babe in the manger is the reason.
May your day be as blessed as our family's will be.
Merry  White Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Toss the Life Preserver

Don't mind me, the auto inflatable PFD vest I'm wearing under my apron is merely a safety precaution.  I feel like I'm starting to drown...okay, sinking a little.  I have so much to do. Still.  And. I need to beat the weather to get it all done. 

I don't anticipate any fire alarms, but just in case, I have my fire extinguisher close at hand.  The whistle is clinched between my teeth in case I need to summons the emergency response team--aka sleeping till noon teenagers.

I think I will catch my breath when everyone gathers around the dining room table Christmas Eve for a feast of holiday cheer. While they will be thinking meat, I'll be thinking something stiff on the rocks.

Or. Say. This.

Santa Hat Martini
1 part Malibu Rum

3 parts cranberry juice
grenadine for extra red color
dip rim of martini glass in powdered sugar/water solution
then roll glass in coconut
add mini candy cane to glass

Monday, December 20, 2010

Straight Jacket Needed

I am beginning to
with holiday and Tournament of Roses obligation anxiety! 

That's all I have to say today.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


We all were in training, pumping the muscle--fist to mouth with loads of sugared candy treats all week all day.  It's how Santa prepares to pull his sleigh...that jolly ole' elf knows a few things about speed so we took our pointers from him.  The big race was both exciting and sad; as it was the final Truman Reindeer Relay (next year Truman returns to a middle school).  To get the teams all reved up we were sung by a chorus of 860 screaming, ear drum piercing, joyful kids with this song:

The best team of course, without a doubt, was the Vixens. We stand to correct anyone who dares to challenge the claim. Whatever it is you may hear on the streets we were not cheaters.  We played fair and by the rules our own rules, collecting only one "present" at a time. The bag of coal we received for a prize was undoubtedly a prize of jealousy.  Look at us, who wouldn't feel threatened, we exude that vixen spirit and a ton of athleticism.

Now I know all you smarty pants out there are saying hey a vixen is a female fox so how did you get stuck with a dude on a team titled for the hot and luscious reindeer type?  Well, let me teach you a little something about having a trick up the ole' sleeve...a male fox is called a dog and that Vice Principal not only dons the elf costume like no one else can but he can run that wood floor gym like an Alaskan Malamute.  Besides being a "fox" knows no gender.  Wink, wink.

And so I present to you the highlights in a photographic story line.

The whistle blew and they were off...
then I lost balance on the shotty scooter they try to pass off as a Santa sleigh...
 Dr. Todd the VP and Vixen Rachel show the rest of the reindeers
how to style while racing--
elf suit for one and Coach furry boats for another...
Vixen Barb and I take a second run on the course
 to collect just three one of Santa's gifts...
anyone have a rubber chicken on their Christmas list?
Some crazy third and fourth grade teachers, who shall remain unnamed Jane and Teri  
will need to get an eye exam over the holidays...or quit playing favorites with the lists. 
Listing me first on this ridiculous display of envy is a big old pile of reindeer poop!...
what kind of relay requires walking not running? 
The bag of coal wasn't even worth photographing.
Scribes of the list I warn...don't close your eyes or turn your backs,
you never know who might be behind you.
Santa Claus!
Checking his list.
Checking it twice.
Gonna find the two who are naughty not nice.  

Commencing with a 16 day break. Aaaaahhh!

Days till Christmas: 7
Days till we leave for the Tournament of Roses: 9
Days till I start freaking out on all I have left to do for Christmas: 0   

Friday, December 17, 2010

Another Adult In The House, So Light the Candles

Why can't Keeper sleep?
A. She is excited for the big race
B. King Ralph turned on his side of bed heater and is cooking Keeper to death
C.  The anniversary of giving birth to M has her mind stirring with memories
D. All of the above

I'm gonna go with answer "D". 

Answer "C" is probably really up there! Totally up there!!  This isn't any birthday, it's M's 18th birthday.  The year where she is granted privileges by law that will allow any of us to holler out hey M pick up a few lottery tickets on the way home tonight.  Or, hey M pick up so and so a pack of smokes on the way over tonight.  Even better, hey M pick up the latest issue of Playboy--so and so likes it, really, for the articles.  Oh course we all know the chance of M being allowed to picking anything up other than a lottery ticket for someone is slim to NONE!    

More importantly turning 18 means M has the right to vote...even join the military (to bad she keeps turning down all those military recruiter calls).   

Some how though, even being 18 and having had the privilege to watch her grow into a beautiful confident young lady...I still see the lovable little brown haired brown eyed girl who when asked "where are your glasses?" would shrug her tiny shoulders and reply "I nun no"  (the joys of having spectacles at 18 months). 


Thursday, December 16, 2010

In Training

They gave us the day off school today, they say it is because of the thin layer of ice that is covering the roads.  However, I think, it's because they wanted me to get in some last minute hard core training before tomorrow's big race. 

So excuse me for not blogging more but I have aerobic exercise to get happening.

See you sometime may be late since I am sure there will be a celebration to honor the winners.  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another 15 Seconds of Fame

In case you are wondering what is going on around our castle...we met the sailor last night, he came for dinner.  Oops did I say that?  I did.  I guess in time I will divulge more. Not just yet.  But, here's what I really came to say is happening around the castle...or when M leaves the castle for the day.

To my pal who can give me the exact mark on the timer where you can see M spinning her flag--I'll buy a coffee or hot cocoa at Starbuck's.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Joy Of Giving Is Expecting Nothing Back In Return.

I was an elf this morning.  In the briefness of my elfhood I was privileged to witness a few Christmas miracles.  The occasions of anonymity I saw humans who were humbled and awe struck with gratitude.  As difficult as it is to see people who never before have been in a state of needed help; it is spirit filling at this season of Christmas that lessons of sharing and caring present.  Cars filled to the brim, some needing to make several trips to transport all the collected goods.  It warms the soul.  Fills the heart.    


There is always that one.  The mom who not long ago told their child that Christmas would not grace the home this year.  When presented with a bag of wrapped gifts, a second bag heaped with the treats for a perfect Christmas stocking, an envelope with gift cards, along with a few other neccessaries....   That one receiver who is thankful to tears.  Whose gratitude hardly needs words because it is seen in the eyes and is the one who cannot stop saying "thank you".      

It's that one that makes the job--worth it!
So when I made a quick run to Walgreens, the wind whipping and the air with its frigid bite...I scrapped every last bit of loose change from the bottom of my purse dropping it in the red kettle.  I usually grab whatever change I can, no digging, just a fast grab.  Tonight though I decided with my heart filled with the day's memory that I couldn't just make it a fast grab.  Sometimes...

The joy of giving is expecting nothing back in return.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

There Is A Miracle on 34th Street

It happens every year.  Every year I dread it.  The dreaded question.  It isn't so much the question I dread it is the fact that others can't ssshhhh, keep there mouths closed.  I sort of understand when it happens with fifth graders...but second breaks my heart.

Here's my true story

Mrs. Avery is waved over to the lunch table

Second Grader #1: Ask her, go head and ask her.

Me: Ask me what?

Second Grader #2: Mrs Avery, is Santa real?

Me: Yes, most definitely, he is real!

Second Grader #3: Do you believe?

Me: Of course I believe.  Every year I wake up and under my tree are lots of presents.

Second Grader #1: See I told.  Tommy (name changed to protect identity) was wrong.  He told us Santa isn't real.

Second Grader #2: See guys out of 179 people 1 does not believe.

Me: No boys more like 1 in a 1,000,000,000 do not believe.  But I BELIEVE!

Then Mrs. Avery corners the lad who is breaking spirits and stomping on the magic of Christmas

Me: Tommy. Whatever your feelings are about Christmas you need to keep them to yourself.  Do you understand what I am saying? We aren't going to talk Christmas feelings at lunch.

Tommmy looks up in a sheepish style.

Me: Okay Tommy?

Tommy: Yes.

The little turd knew exactly what I was talking about. 

Of course it happened again, the next day, at fifth grade lunch.  This time I was sitting at the table across from the kid who was in the mood be a spirit killer.  I gave him a kick under the table to hush him.  Even though he tried again to profess his knowledge that Santa does not exist, another lad swore he had proof on video of the jolly ole' elf in his red "costume" --to which I proclaimed it to be a "uniform"-- he was prepared to present as proof.

So to all these nay sayers I say too is a true story:

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


Christmas Countdown: 16 Days

Till my suitcase has to be placed
on a truck bound for Pasadena: 14 Days 

Take Off to the Tournament of Roses: 18 Days

(I may be nearly naked for 4 days,
but we'll talk about that on the 22nd)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Who decorates your house? 

Okay, that is a silly question for me, because when I'm talking about decorating inside our abode an all-women affair.  At Keeper's Castle King Ralph just sits and trys to direct from his La-Z-Boy thrown.  In our 24 years he still hasn't learned no one cares what he thinks when it comes to holiday decorating... all we care is that he drags the beastly tree from the basement to the upstairs.  

I think if I left the decorating and tree up to King Ralph we might end up with something that looks like this.

In case you have a bubba of a hubby who wants to
spend his free time constructing this beauty--
 I offer you these instructions.   

Now you want to know who decorates the outside of the castle? 

That's not a silly question.
Our slaves.
I mean the children.
We're aiming to raise independant women.
Clean the gutters while you're up there.
And they did!

That's Princess A in the babooshka acting like King Ralph-- directing from the background. 
 But don't you worry M doesn't take any of that older sister bossy crap. 

D just stays grounded and feeds the strands up to the roof.  

Now like I've said before-- whoever doesn't believe in child labor hasn't had kids.  


Christmas Countdown: 17 Days
Take off  to the Tournament of Roses : 19 Days

Monday, December 06, 2010

Mondo Meat Pie

My little brother and I made plans to do a bit of Christmas shopping together.  He needs my help when shopping for his three stylish nieces.  We decided tonight was a good night to order that BIG pizza he has been dying to order.  When he picked up the BIG pizza, the pizza guy wanted to know what he was driving.  The BIG pizza would not fit in a Smart car, or even a Ford Focus...this bad boy needed the bed of a truck.  It also comes out the back door, it won't fit through the front door.
D put her hand in the picture so you can get a feel for the thirty inches of brick oven pizza-deliciousness.  This bad boy did not come sliced.  It was a work out slicing the half sausage half everything pizza.  It induces song.

When the moon hits you eye like a big pizza pie
That's amore
When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine
That's amore
Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
And you'll sing "Vita bella"
Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tay
Like a gay tarantella

No one was a gay tarantella.  No happy dancers instead...

BEWARE--a pizza this size causes gas. 
Not in women but in forty year old brothers.First brother dropped his bomb in my beautiful new truck, in which the windows needed to be rolled down to let the 20* frigid air purge the cabin. Then while I was digging for my keys on a mall bench I was left in a cloud of toxic fumes as a giggly brother left me suffocating as old men where dropping to the floor right in front of me.  So beware when ordering a fifty pound pizza.  Why is it men have no problem cutting the cheese in public?  Not to mention think it is funny? 

Once I got my oxygen levels restored we headed to Target: the momdom of shopping mecas,where I purchased these holiday delights for myself.
It is a puppet show on my feet.  I perform Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Jolly Old St. Nicholas.  You know who doesn't like my Kris Kringle feet? The dog!  Uli went on the attack.  Then Santa scolded Uli and reminded her who brings her giant meaty treat on December 25--she backed off.

Okay my Santa feet are scurrying to the medicine cabinet for a couple of Tums to calm the effects of the BIG pizza pie and call it a night.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Great Wiener Trade

As I approached the doors of the ticket area of the theater I saw one of M's besties hard at work collecting the canned goods.  She waved to me through the window.  I waved back.  Then I flung open the door and dropped my box flat on the table, "TWENTY FIVE CANS OF WIENERS" I exclaimed. M's bestie laughed at me.  She knows I am crazy.  "Anyone else bring in wieners?" I asked.  "No" she replied.  "Well my wieners will go good with someones corn" and the bestie just laughs at me again.  You know the word wieners makes for laughter. Wieners.  See you're laughing aren't you?  Wieners. I think I just might like saying that darn word.

Friends, there is nothing like Vienna Sausages from Aldi's at .37 a can.  Mmmmmm processed meat rolls in life preserving liquid. Yum-yum, not. GROSS!  But like King Ralph said, the wieners will go best with a can of pork-n-beans. Beans-n-wienies, a meal full of protein...a protein packed food bank jackpot.  Turns out that by the time our movie ended and I checked with the bestie to see if any other canned wieners had been donated--we were the only wiener donors for the day. Great minds sometimes think alone.

Now what did those twenty five cans of wieners get us?  Four tickets to see this great movie:

127 Hours is worth the see!  A movie that really gets you thinking.  Thinking about what you may not realize you are capable of when in a situation.  It also made me to turn to M as we exited the theater to say that all the stuff we double up on or think is ridiculous that King Ralph insists we pack in our backpacks when we hike...well that stuff doesn't seem all that silly after watching this movie.  Although we aren't out hiking alone, we have certainly hiked in remote areas where passing a fellow hiker is far and few between.  

Princess A had the pleasure of hearing Aron Ralston speak at Southeast Missouri State last year when she was attending the university.  She said of all the lectures she attended, Aron Ralston's was the best.  His story was gripping even from behind the podium.  To bad she had a Saturday afternoon exam and didn't get to enjoy the Cans Food Festival with us.  

So I encourage you to smuggle your Diet Coke and peanut M&M's in your purse--just like me--and hop on over to your local theater.  (We'll talk about the popcorn heist another day.)          

Friday, December 03, 2010

Tomorrow I am attending the...

Tonight, however, I am going on a
dinner date with King Ralph.