Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Aloha

Well, we did it again! My friend and I got to grant another Make-A-Wish wish. It is such a feel good moment in life when you get to do something for someone else. Especially a well deserving child. Like the sweet adorable teen with an infectious positive personality that we selected and is a joy to be paired with! 

This is Katie and I on the evening we met 13 year old E. E suffered a form of cancer known as rhabdomyosarcoma. Happy to say she rang the bell--symbolic that treatment is over and cancer is in remission. Making her year-long courageous battle and fight to win over cancer worth a wish! 
When we met E she was excited and conflicted about what she wanted her wish to be. Did she want to be a makeup artist, meet a YouTube sensation, go to Hawaii? After Katie and I played a little game to help her select her one true wish she narrowed it down to Hawaii. But not before E schooled us in all things YouTube. You know who the "it" people are on YouTube and why they're so popular. That evening we had E write her wish on a tag and sail it into a wishful sky on a silver star balloon. I know balloon releases piss of the eco friendly people of the world...too bad this kid fought and beat some bad ass cancer!  

Fast forward. Last week we got word that E's wish was granted, and that we could reveal the wish-come-true to her.  Katie and I knew all along how we were going to reveal--a parody of one of E's own YouTube postings titled, "Lies We All Tell." You know the little white lies we tell ourselves...eat only one more chip, be productive, do homework right after school.... With the help of M and her video editing program we made a spoof of E's whole video and at the end revealed a "it's no lie" she really is going to Hawaii!!! 

Then last night we enlisted the help of D to play special messenger and deliver a strawberry daiquiri in a pineapple cup, a card with a link to our parody video and a bag filled with a grass skirt, a Hawaiian Lei, a pair of sunglasses and a sign that read "Aloha". We instructed E to make a Boomerang video for us wearing the getup. Here's D right before she made the delivery 
D got back in the car and reported that it was such a feel good moment. That E said "this is the Make-A-Wish people", with a huge smile plastered across her face. Perhaps the leis D wore and the pineapple drink cup might have tipped her off. LOL D got to feel what Katie and I feel every time we play wish granters-pure unadulterated joy! 

Here is our parody reveal https://youtu.be/UnjeW2dxnVE

Till our next wish...

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Good Times and See Ya Laters

Last Friday I racked up more than 20,000 steps cleaning my house, mowing grass, and doing the stuff that my damn job gets in the way of me doing. Gosh I LOVE my summer hall pass!! I'm back in my routine of morning chores, binge watching Grace and Frankie (two episodes per day) on Netflix, reading and sunning (at the same time) for 30 minutes--twice a day. Then I exercise...whenever I feel like squeezing it in. And squeeze it in I do! 

This past weekend King Ralph, D and I did what we do every year on my first weekend I've been set free (yes set free, because some school year's actually feel like a jail sentence...like this year, lol)--we attended Shakespeare in the Park. There is nothing we love more than a beautiful evening in the glen, near art hill in Forest Park, getting our Shakespeare on. This year: The Winter's Tale. I loved the first half...D thinks I'm nuts for liking the tragedy portion more, but I did! We spread out our blankets, noshed on Italian sandwiches, potato salad, chips and homemade chocolate chip cookies, while sipping spiked seltzer drinks. 
Once the sun set the stage lit up in a gorgeous soft hue of color. 

Saturday took us to The Wanderlust to tend to some necessary tasks. We are weeks away from wandering about this great country. Then if was off to our nephew's going away party. 

Since the Air Force base is minutes down the road from his house Princess A, D, King Ralph and I decided to stop at the base first for the air show. We waited in line for 40 minutes to see the nephew's "office." This is the beast he flys 
It's impressive! So many buttons and gadgets it makes the average person's (us) head spin. Now we have a good picture in our heads of what he is doing when he's flying. 

Next the party! 

My nephew is off on a year long deployment to Qatar. That calls for a party. This is not his first trip to the "sandbox." It is however; the first time in his military career that he has been stationed close to home where we can actually be together to say see-you-later.  As protocol has it we took a cousin picture...this time minus the customary name signs of the (two) missing cousins...we instead threw in the spouses for good measure. 
These cousins love each other. One will sorely be missed. 

It was good weekend! 

This morning I woke up at 6am and sent my nephew a text. I told him safe travels. Next I told him we are proud of him, his service and dedication to preserving our freedoms. Then I reminded him what I told him on Saturday--use sunscreen and Goldbond powder. That no one wants a sunburnt, chaffed squadron commander. He text me back that those goods were indeed packed and gave me the Qatar weather report: 114*. Folks that's not dry heat either, it's humid as hell in Qatar.  I felt a little tear in my eye. When we finally had him close by for the last two years it's easy to get use to having him at family functions all the time. It's not going to be easy to get unuse to him not being around again. It just isn't! 



Friday, June 09, 2017

Summatime

This happened yesterday at 3:25pm 
While the kids and teachers started summer on May 26, I didn't get my summer hall pass till yesterday. You should know there was smoke coming off my heels and a giant ole' smile smeared across my face as I left the building. It was the second or maybe third hardest school year for me. I was more than happy to bid it farewell! 

Best part of summer is doing chores on my time...not dictated by the hours off work. This morning I woke and cleaned the family room, unloaded the dishwasher, mowed grass, showered, walked to Starbucks, started laundry...all by 10am.

While the towels churn in the washer this how I'm taking my morning break

Summer hall pass how I've missed you! 

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Thirty Years Strong

I fall in love with you a little bit more every day... in you i have found my soul mate...my best friend...my lover...my partner...my safe place...you are my great love story and our story is just getting started. 

May 30,1987, King Ralph and I gathered in the sculpture park at 10:30am with our 19 guests, two strangers and a dog to say our "I do's." We had a toast of champagne and peaced out in the direction of Caribbean sun and sand. It was a simple ceremony. It was exactly what we wanted...still reflecting back on the day as it being perfect for us.  

This past Tuesday we celebrated beating those 50 perfect odds with the kids at dinner and toasted with champagne again...this time to 30 great years! Bonus: the restaraunt gifted us our toast. 
We have weathered ups and downs...more ups than downs. We have rejoiced in bringing new life into the world--times three. We've stressed over buying (two) houses, numerous campers and a couple of dogs--building family memories. We delight together in our daughters's successes. In other words we are a team through thick and thin, tried and true.

One thing we did not have at our wedding 30 years ago was cake. The girls surprised us with a cake.
While King Ralph surprised me with a gorgeous pearl/diamond ring (thirty years is the pearl anniversary).

It was as perfect an evening of celebration as it was a morning of commitment 30 years earlier. 


Saturday, June 03, 2017

There's Light At The End Of The Tunnel

School ended for students on May 26. It was a glorious feeling to run my end of month report at 1:30pm and start the long weekend at 2pm. It was even more glorious knowing come that Tuesday no menace behavior would grace my work area. It's been a year! 

The long weekend was perfect! In traditional form we went camping at Johnson Shut-Ins. By hap chance and unknowingly we ended up reserving the exact same site as last year. Turns out we LOVE the site! 

We arrived at the campground around dinner and broke out a spread of hearty appetizers. Next we took Uli the camping dog for a walk.
 Then we attended a program on owls. The program was hosted by our favorite MO State Parks naturalist, Liz. Her enthusiasm for her job is evident. Since we'd all worked Friday we decided to call it a night at 10:30pm. 

Sure we had a Saturday afternoon of storms, but we also had plenty of sunshine. Rainy afternoons in the camper are no big deal. It's like Mother Nature's invitation to play board games while sipping cocktails...and that's exactly what we did! 
King Ralph, Maddi and I played Sequence and sipped cucumber martinis. When the rain kept up all night we decided on a movie--because The Wanderlust has a ridiculously large flat screen TV. 

By Sunday morning the sun was out in full force. D, Princess A and Prince Charming joined us. They arrived donuts in hand. We welcomed them with freshly perkalated coffee. The plan was to splash around in the Johnson Shut-Ins, but the river rose and the shut-ins closed.
We staked claim on an island in the day use area's calm water. The kids drank brews, we all soaked in the sun and we noshed on sammies and chips. We ended the day with a few more games of Sequence and grilling bacon burgers. Of course no camping trip is complete without a campfire and s'mores. So that's exactly what we did. 

We were not ready for the weekend to end so...

Monday morning M, King Ralph and I drove down the road to Elephant Rocks State Park.
We hadn't been since the kids were little. Climbing around, on, up and over the rocks is fun. 


Then it was home to unpack and prepare for work days countdown..and something else worth celebrating. 


Wednesday, May 03, 2017

I'm Looking Around All Right

King Ralph and I decided to draw up "roommate" contracts. With D returning home in a couple of weeks and M (with her disgusting bathroom keeping skills)...we decided some adult cohabitation rules need to be set in stone...sealed with ink. 

With all the rain that's dumped on STL and more heavy rains falling today...the neighborhood was in a mad rush to mow grass on Tuesday. Hmmmm I think I'm going to add grass mowing as a shared family experience as a contract line after finding this Snapchat. The last thing I need is two yard trolls sitting on the deck sipping vodka tonics watching the old lady work the new mower. 

On a side note. I just got this picture from D. The flood wall that keeps her college town dry is working. 
Under all that water is a walking/running trail that D runs several times a week. This weather. The flooding. Is just so crazy sad. I'm just glad people are safe. 

(For those wondering--I did receive a $20 Starbucks giftcard for my bathroom cleaning services.) 

Monday, May 01, 2017

Remember That Time

Rainy day. 

Rainy weekend! 

Here come the floods. 

While all this rain pours down my mind flashes my memories back to my girls's childhoods. Sending them out to play in the rain, to laugh and smile...to have the kind of fun present youth can't break away from electronics to have. Rain can be fun! Watching my girls stomp in puddles turned mini-ponds or spinning around with an umbrella over their heads, barely catching a rain drop fills my heart. That is what being a child should look like. Those are the memories I love! 

Today my Timehop offers other memories. Memories that make me smile and those that make laugh. Timehop reminded me that six years ago M became a princess.
These three royals still roll together. There is something special about holding onto friends from your youth. How ironic is it that next weekend M will be at the prom again. Just in a different compacity. The chaperone kind. 

The memory that appeared next is the one I best liked. Last year my BFF came into town for just the night. King Ralph was gone fishing. Prince Charming was out of town. So my BFF, Princess A and I went out for burgers at this great little place called "Stacked." The night was young when we finished dinner so we went for cocktails at "The Chocolate Bar."
While there we got to talking about our wedding dresses. I'd unearthed mine already so I knew mine didn't (and never will again) fit. Princess A and M tried it on and balked at the idea of ever wearing it. My BFF's parents were snowbirds in Arizona and we decided to bust into their house to find her boxed and preserved wedding dress.
It's not exactly burglar behavior when you have the entry code. There we were, three women feeling like criminals. Tiptoeing through a dark house down to the basement. Long story short...we found the dress, laughed till we cried, snapped a few pictures and laughed our way out of the house. No. Wait. We tiptoed out of the house, in the dark, in total silence...as not to rouse the neighbors.  I believe we laughed all night. And the dress...didn't fit...not even Princess A. Damn, we were some skinny bitches when we got married! 

What did that ole' Timehop remind me of--friends are good for the soul! 



Friday, April 28, 2017

My Day In Snapchat Story


Thanks to the nurse for this delicious skinny vanilla almond milk latte to get my day going.

See how M fixed my bitmoji hair up. 

The principal was out of the building and the assistant principal was suddenly summoned to put out a "fire". 

And. This. Happened.
The pressure to perform. To be heard and not seen. My nerves were shaking. My feet were sweating. It was A LOT of information to share. 


Finally I got a Friday treat in the form of a sweet baby girl with a head of hair. 
I think, I know, baby girl made me forget I had read those darn announcements. 

Happy Friday people! 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Goodnight Moon

Four years ago on a beautiful sun filled  February Saturday morning King Ralph and I drove D to SEMO for a music school audition. D had always known she'd wanted to teach. The question was just what did she want to teach. In her inner tug-of-war I merely suggested that music filled her. It is her heart. That she might be happiest teaching what she loves best. Music. Singing. 

It's hard to believe that D will be coming home from college in three weeks. While she won't graduate in May, she will have completed the first of her two majors: Vocal Performance. In the Fall she will student teach near home and complete her second major: Vocal Music Education. D will graduate in December. 

As hard as it is for King Ralph and I to grasp our baby has been away for four years, it is harder for D. She can't totally comprehend how fast the past four years went by. She fully embraced college. She was involved in campus organizations. She made friends, lots of friends. She became more accepting than she already was of different cultures and life choices. A trait that will serve her well in the classroom. She was devoted to and achieved academic excellence. She grew into a more radiant intelligent lady. 

This past Sunday D invited her family and friends to a most beautiful and angelic senior recital. For one hour and twenty minutes D sang to an audience of family, friends, sorority sisters and her college professors. She sang in French, Czech, Russian, German...and that was all before the intermission. While King Ralph has claimed his favorite piece to be E l'uccelino by Puccini, mine was Goodnight Moon by Eric Whitacre.
Yes, the children's book Goodnight Moon. It was a symbolic nod to the end of her college campus days. It was beautiful in story and voice. A touch of serene beauty was added with her music school friend accompanying the song with the cello. It was peaceful and soul filling. It made many of us cry. The good feel-it-in-your-heart cry.

How do you top that? 

You don't. 

Simply say. 

Thank you. 
          (Vocal and Piano Professors) 

And. 

Goodnight Moon. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

I Think They Secretly Like When I Can't Talk

I keep saying how ready I am for summer break, and I am, but really I just want it to be Mother's Day weekend. We haven't take "The Wanderlust" out of storage since we returned from Spring Break. Sigh. We have a Mother's Day trip planned which makes me happy. Camping is what I ask for each year. "The Wanderlust" just knows how to relax me. How to make me let my hair down so to speak and kick it back. It also brings us together as a family on that weekend. I love family time. 

Last Wednesday morning I woke without a voice. Well, I had a voice, but barely. When I did talk (whisper) heads turned. As the day went on the strain of using what little vocal power I had was giving me a dull headache. I tried clearing my throat with small forced coughs...ha, just made my throat red and raw feeling. I refrained from using the intercom and stuck with the phone. Even that was a strain. But you know I'm the kind of employee that believes I have a duty to perform, that people depend on me. I either have to be in the hospital or my head over the toilet bowl to justify staying home. By the time I got home I flopped on my bed exhausted and napped for two hours. 

D called to give me unsolicited, but welcomed, vocal cord care instructions. Then suggested my lack of voice could be stress induced. Hmmmm between work and her...quite possibly could be stressed induced. However, I'm thinking pollen. 

D is in the final days of college campus life. The four great years she has experienced and the hard to leave woe is tugging at her heart strings. Adulting on the cusp of life for her is scary. I've pretty much gotten the brunt of her moods and stress. I don't always nod and smile and offer some June Cleaver-esque advice. I pretty much go with a light dose of Joan Crawford. Keeping it real folks! It's good there's that little thing called unconditional love or we'd be grasping each other around the necks. With each passing day D checks something off her stress list. By 4pm on Sunday the stress pot's boil settled to a low simmer. Hopefully today a sense of relief and accomplishment was felt deep in her soul. (Story to follow in the coming days.)

I am now on day five of no voice. My good friend says when my voice is rested and I can manage to talk that I sound like Mickey Mouse. Like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Mickey. She insisted I say "hot dog" to her kids to prove she is indeed correct in characterizing me. Her kids laughed agreeing with their mother. Whatever! I just want my voice back!! And my college child to hop off the stress bus! 

I guess we all could us a little "Wanderlust" in our lives. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mother of the Year

There is no denying M's devotion to her career. She loves teaching! Her long hours in and out of the classroom preparing lessons is evident. She leaves early in the morning, comes home late and devotes Sunday to the coming weeks preparations. 

While she loves teaching and stressing the importance of cleanliness in her kitchen classroom her bathroom is another story! I harp and hound her endlessly that the bathroom isn't "her" space. That it is in fact community use space. Not to mention I own the bathroom...just on loan to her for the better part of 24 years. Today I had enough! With M gone house sitting I rolled up my sleeves and went work--scrubbing toothbrush in hand. As I delved into the cleaning of the shower I was convinced M has a side job creating hair pieces for Hans Wiemann. The never ending hair ball....

An hour and half later the bathroom is bright and sparkly. It looks good. Smells good. No hair ball in sight. But I left a love note on the mirror as my parting gift. Because that's what a good "roommate" who cleans your bathroom should do.

Next time you bump into M be sure to say, "M you have the best (roommate) mom in the world!" 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

I. Am. Blessed.

I'm totally ready for summer! Summer break to be exact!! I haven't been this stressed at work in four years.  I rely heavily on my weekends to bring me peace and joy. And the weekends lately haven't failed me! 

Last Friday night the annual trivia team rose to the thorn. We finally after 7 years of teaming at this same trivia achieved 1st place. What we know is not to be over shadowed by what we learned...that Pringles potato chips, no matter the flavor, are gross! 

Since Spring Break I've been busy with Make-A-Wish. I had known for a while that I needed to find something to add to my life that could offset the negativity that my job encompasses. There's something about a child's frailty to put perspective to life. So ya, this year my job is stress laced, but....  Helping to see a child's one wish come true, well that is the perspective of life I need! It does something for the heart...my heart. Fills my heart with joy and puts a smile on my face. And yes, even a happy tear in my eye. 

Last weekend my wish granter friend and I hosted a send-off party for a little guy who's wish was to go to Disney World. He was so excited with just the travel basket we created for him. If a basket of gold fish crackers, trail mix, Frittos, Reese's peanut butter cups, travel bingo and a personalzed T-shirt over joyed our wish kid, we can only imagine what he must be feeling this week as his wish plays out. 

This past Friday I had the day off work. I cleaned house and shopped for D's recital dress (omg college is near its end). On Saturday M and I started our morning with a coffee date and the 5k Wish Walk for Make-A-Wish, as members of team Noah's Crew.
M filled in for my original partner, King Ralph. We teased M that her big shirt was for big wishes.
Then after we got our exercise on and over with I mowed the lawn, prepared foods for a belated birthday BBQ for Princess A and her Prince Charming. We dyed eggs--because you're never to old to dye eggs.

On Easter morning we all gathered in the dining room at 8am for breakfast, where I broke out my Royal Albert bone china tea/coffee cup-plate sets. 
We feasted on quiche and ham and fruit and coffee cake. Like the best, most simple coffee cake ever!  

CINNAMON BUN CAKE 

1 pkg yellow butter cake mix 
4 eggs
6 Tbs softened butter
1 cup sour cream 

Mix ingredients all together. 

In separate bowl mix 
1 cup brown sugar 
2 Tbs cinnamon 

Preheat oven to 350* 
Sprinkle some cinnamon mixture on the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. Layer cake batter and cinnamon mixture (make 2 layers), ending with cinnamon mixture. Bake 25-30 minutes. Let cool, then ice 

In bowl combine 
2 cups powder sugar 
1/4 cup milk 
1 teaspoon vanilla 

Then the six of us went to church and filled a pew. 
There's something about Jesus that helps me ready myself for rough weeks.

Sooooo...Monday, ready or not here I come! 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Survival Means Always Counting Down the Days

I left work on Friday, March 17, not thinking of four leaf clovers, corn beef or green beer. Nope. I left thinking of grabbing a blueberry lager from the frig, while King Ralph captained the truck and towed The Wanderlust. The slightly shortened day I had was by far the most stressful I'd had in some time. That doesn't even count my nine co-workers intertwined in that day's situation. 

By mile marker 90 I was finally relaxed and could start thinking spring break. A break I needed more than I realized. More so because I received an email from my boss warning of me of what was waiting for me on my desk upon my return. That's when I started to count my blessings and thank God for the children he gave me!  

I spent the week sun soaking, reading, sipping cocktails--on and off the beach, riding my bike, watching Redbox movies at night....after walking the dog under the moonlight. I grilled dinners with King Ralph, played games and laughed with him. It was good. Really good! 

Here I am a week post Spring break and all I can I do is think about summer break. You'd think I would rather reflect back on the getaway. Truth is this school year has exhausted me--mind, body and soul. So really, in the matter of survival, counting down to June 8 is the healthy thing to do! 

But if I must reflect...

Dear Beach: 
Thanks for cleansing my soul. You are the perfect escape. See you again next March. <3