Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Hallmark Holiday of All Hallmark Holidays

The creator of cards was a holiday genius! He, or she, decided to start making up days to throw on the calendar to make people spend money unnecessarily and ease guilty consciences. 

Let's take Valentine's Day as example one.  It's a day that men boost the flower business, because all the other 364 days of the year they've neglected to tell their wives--thanks for making sure I always have clean underwear in my drawer. 

Example two Mothers Day. It is the day when you either get to celebrate your mother-in-law, by preparing what every food needs to be contributed to honor the day and then do the dishes. Or is it a day devised just to piss mother's off, as they realize for one day everyone will be on their best behavior? While the other 364 days of the year they're allowed to drive you mad.

There's my favorite--Grandparents Day. Whatever that day is suppose to be? A filler lesson for preschool teachers around the country???

My favorite: Secretary's Day. A complete crock! It's the day when bosses send that gal who works for them to lunch or maybe plops a plant on their desk and says thanks, today...although I forget to really appreciate your efforts all the other days. Then Hallmark goes and upgrades the day with a new title: Administrative Assistants Day. Even better, Administrative Professional Day. Really?! Wouldn't it just be nice to make the paper typists of the world feel better if their bosses simply said thanks for doing your job well every so often, instead of just once a year? 

Is it really necessary to celebrate certain  career options with a single special day? I mean I don't see Hallmark creating cards for Garage Collectors Day or Grocery Bagger Day. Why do we need days on a calendar to be forced to say thanks? To appreciate the efforts of the job that draws us paychecks? 

So, since I'm feeling so cynical I'll be celebrating National Walk At Lunch Day today instead of Secretary's Day or Administrative Assistant's Day, or whatever Hallmark decideds to call this day. All I need is my Fitbit and a little sunshine! 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Shame? Not One Ounce!

Here's the deal.  I get right up out of bed, slip on my running shoes, grab my book for an early morning walk-n-read--in my nightgown. I have no shame! It's cathartic for my soul, pre-work. 

What I do expect is solitude. M, it seems, likes to be sneaky with her camera skills and share my morning routine with "98 of her closest friends" on Snapchat.
Joy. I'm one of those lucky 98 friends. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Diva For the Day

I'll never forget D coming home in 5th grade telling us she got the lead in the Christmas musical. She played Scrooge. D refused to practice at home, so we really never heard her sing. Well we heard her sing, she'd been singing since she was three years old. She was known for singing Peter, Paul and Mary's Lemon Tree through the grocery store. But to say we heard her belt out a tune...well that would have been--never! It was the day of The Scrooge performance, D walked out on stage, exchanged some dialogue and then burst out in song. King Ralph and I turned to one another in awe. Who's child was that? That child was ours! That was where it all began. 

Needless to say D's been singing ever since. 

Sunday afternoon, after a semester of endless practices, and under the guidance of two wonderful professors, D hit the stage for her Junior Recital. She sang for an hour. She sang in Italian, French, Portuguese, German and English. She drew her audience in--transcending the emotional story of each song. Her first piece chocked me up. Her last selection had me giggling. D was relaxed, poised and beautiful--both in song and appearance. 

While she can put all her hard work of the recital behind her...there is still studying and learning to be had. There is also great adventures awaiting. 

No matter where in the world her talents take her, one thing is for sure...her family will always be there right by her side. Her biggest fans! 

Bravo, baby girl!  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I Didn't Cry. I Promise.

Sometimes the day's news is better dealt with sunshine on the face and a trashy romance novel. When that doesn't work, scratch the daily regiment of exercise or a glass of red wine. It's better absorbed with a half cup of lactose free vanilla ice cream and a cup of sliced strawberries. 

When I wake it will be a new day. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

What's Your Wish?

What's your wish? I've got so many, but they're simple...some probably selfish. Some people, mostly kids have timely wishes for reason many of us can't even begin to comprehend.

I've got a coworker, she couldn't be more different than me. I'm older than she is, but we're both mothers--our main focus. She has tattoos and a small nose piercing--I am not a fan of that stuff, but there's something about her that is so endearing. She is tough, yet truly loving. She is funny and thinks I am funny too. She's that Special Ed teacher that every special kid longs to have. She sees no one's race, she sees no one's in equities...what she sees is potential and possibility. Because she loves, because she believes. Her spirit is good! 

Her son suffers from a life threatening condition. She's never allowed his condition to become his crutch. She's taught him that these are the cards he's been dealt, pull up his bootstraps and make the best life he can make for himself. I respect her for that. More so because that is how I dealt with Princess A and M's visual conditions. This is who God made you. Work it!

My coworker spends many days and nights at the hospital. She still shows up to work thanks to a great support system. It was while her son was in the hospital this past Fall that I messaged her that she should fill out a Make-A-Wish application. Her reply was "he's not terminal." I told her wishes are granted to kids who's diseases are life threatening. When a disease is life threatening there is constant struggles...can't imagine that worry on a family's heart and mind--a child like that IS worthy of a wish. I then sent my coworker the link to the application. I pestered her about filling it out, till finally she brought it to me to fax. 

Fast forward to March when one great kid with a positive attitude got his wish granted. He spent three days feeling like and proclaiming himself the "king of swag." He met his favorite sport star. I got text messages for three days that had me smiling big and tears of joy filling my eyes (while I was at my desk). She claims it was all happening because of me. I told her it was happening because her son was worthy, and a fighter with a positive attitude. He doesn't complain when he misses the first day of school, class parties, holidays...when he can no longer play contact sports...because he's in the hospital or because his disease won't allow him the luxury. 

When my coworker returned from the exciting trip someone in the office commented "wouldn't everyone like to be [him] for three days!" My coworker replied, "except there's those other four days that you don't want to be [him]." So very true, sadly. 

This morning a group of us gathered in St. Louis's Forest Park for the Make-A-Wish Walk
and walked in "king of swag's" honor. I got this sweet letter a week before thanking me for my sponsorship donation. It made me smile!!
We all wore the same shirts proclaiming our support of one great kid! 
All the while pounding the pavement in hope that every child struggling with serious health issues can have their wish granted. 

Just like this kid!

Monday, April 04, 2016

My Guy Evokes Empathy

My little brother stopped by to see me at my desk today. It's always nice when his job brings him to my building, so we can poke fun and jab harmless insults at one another. We love each other like that.  He then informed me that our grandmother's roommate in the nursing home passed away. I've been a bad granddaughter and haven't called my grandmother in weeks. Her nursing home phone doesn't afford her the ability to dial long distance calls. It's up to us to call her, which I usually do once a week. 

I just told King Ralph that Lorraine passed away...this is how it went. 

Me: I was just texting the girls that my grandma's roommate Lorraine died. 

King Ralph: (standing, focused on the Blues game, staring at the TV, never letting eyes stray from the game...speaks in a monotone voice) Aaaaaahhhhh, that's a shame. She hated that roommate anyway. 

Me: Truth. Spoken with such compassion. 

From what I hear, turns out Lorraine wasn't so bad after all. The new roommate got the boot already. Phyllis is a favorite patient at Manor Care. If Phyllis ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. 

Sunday, April 03, 2016

How To Weekend

I returned to work Monday all relaxed after a nice long break. My soul felt rested and peaceful. By Wednesday people started serious count downs to the last day of the school year. I refused to play into that game and carried on with my routine. By Friday I needed a drink! 

It just happened that King Ralph and I  were taking the March birthday couple, Princess A and her Prince Charming to dinner to celebrate. Princess A selected an establishment none of us have frequented before: The Kitchen Sink. I knew there was a cocktail there with my name on it. 

The Kitchen Sink serves fabulous Cajun and southern foods with a young urban vibe. It's a place my pal Lin could easily name "Cajun food for pretty people." We started dinner off with signature cocktails for the ladies and Craft beers for the men. King Ralph and I ordered Humble Pie, a spin on Shepard's Pie-- jalapeño cornbread, sauteed peppers, onions, shrimp, Andouille Sausage, & Tasso Ham, topped with sweet mashed potatoes with bananas topped with Étouffé Sauce & white cheddar. Prince Charming ordered The Kitchen Sink--sautéed shrimp & Andouille served over cheesy grits with a Tasso & crab gravy. I took a bite of his food and instantly knew what I'd order next time I dined here. And I WILL return! 
(Humble Pie) 

We finished off the birthday celebration with funnel cake straws served with sweet & spicy strawberry habanero jam and powdered sugar on top. My calorie intake for dinner was thanking me for eating just broccoli for lunch. 

Once Friday's food digested it was all about Saturday's trivia table buffet. We had a feast of Fuzzy's Taco Shop crispy shell shredded meat tacos, White Castle crave case cheese burgers, dips-n-chips and cupcakes from a Soulard Market bakery. Our food offerings apparently turned out to be brain food! You see Table 9 rocked the house, coming in numero uno. My nephew and M carried us with their brilliant knowledge of history, Prince Charming's strength was in sports, I came through with the dollar amount it cost to keep "Pretty Woman" ($3000) and collectively we put our bar knowledge of cocktails to paper with pen. Perhaps our strength came from the obnoxious amount of "10-12 minute breaks" that were had throughout the trivia game. It really began to wear us down...
some more than others. When you've got time to check updated sport scores on your phones...  It was undoubtedly the longest night of trivia we've played in all our lives! 

I won't even bother to give the details on some dude who offered to take an entire bowl of mustard to the face if $80 was collected. So many question of why came to my mind--why would anyone want to take mustard to the face, where did the mustard come from, how big is the bowl, will his eyes be open or close when the mustard hits his face???? Thank God he offered to double the money if $80 was collected. The impromptu mustard challenge at trivia was called off for the mere price of $160. 

Despite the nonsense...

I present to you, the trophy. The prize cash spilling out of the challis, well, we donated that back to the cause. 

Sunday came with a drag in my body. I consciously skipped out on church and headed over to Cliff Cave Park. It's funny how you can live for so long somewhere   and never visit locations so close. Cliff Cave Park is one of those places for me. 

M was in need of breaking in her hiking shoes, while I was in need of exercise. The park has three trails, with the Mississippi Trail being a paved 5.1 miles trail.
Right now it's beauty lacked, but the potential is there. Once the trees green up for Spring and Summer the trail walk will be pleasant. Fall walks will set you among golden and robust colors. The land is wet land, so there is an abundance of frogs singing and migrate birds floating in random pools of water. 

The trail loops along the Mississippi River, 
and past farm land--that hasn't yet been prepared for planting season. There are informational signs along the way to educate and benches to rest. We read, but never sat.

The nice thing about this trail is it was busy with walkers, joggers and bikers. It was full of young and old alike, with the common denominator to be outside and feel healthy. 

I suppose my soul was lifted over the weekend, so I can handle another week of whatever comes my way! Even the nonsense of counting down to the last day of school...I think I can bare it! 

Friday, April 01, 2016

Haters Gonna Hate

I have no shame in voicing to the world that my first concert was Barry Manilow. I was in the eighth grade. I sat first row floor at the Checkerdome; or as it later came to be known--The Arena. The Arena is long gone, blasted to dust in the 90's. I remember how fantastic Barry was then, a great entertainer.  I remember how I learned at that concert how many popular commercial jingles he wrote, and he sang a montage of them that night--bandaide brand, Alka-Seltzer....  Sitting so close I'm sure I could see Barry's sweat glisten. 

When I was junior in high school I saw Barry again. This time we sat in a box at The Arena. A group of us from high school all went. It was a good time. 

While I was eating lunch Thursday Princess A text me that her Prince Charming had two tickets to Barry's concert and did I want them? Of course I wanted them! I text King Ralph 
My friend and I laughed at his instant response, as we ate lunch. Then I said lets you and I go! She called her hubby who informed his lunch client that his wife was attending Barry's concert. The client replied in a low drag, "duuuude." LOL 

We returned to our desk to stream the greatest hits album for inspiration. 

Along with a venue of women, and the complaining guy next to my pal--"I can't believe you drug me here!"--we sang. 
And we sang more. 

All the while our husbands sent sarcastic text messages to us. 

I sensed jealousy! 

In our pre-concert excitement we forgot to check what level we parked on. There's nothing funnier than two gals roaming around in a packed parking garage looking for a car. Fear not, we located the ole' car without assistance or panic...and before the entire garage cleared out.

Friday we sang Barry songs to everyone in the office we cared and didn't care to listen. The young male counselor said stuff like, "only if Jodi promises not to sing and dance for me again." Seriously, "I Can't Smile Without You" is guidance office appropriate, if I do say so myself. 

So. Go ahead and hate if you must. J and I have no shame in proclaiming--we are #fanilows!