Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jesus and his special powers

So we're not Catholic, but after working for a group of Benedictine Sisters for many years and sending our son to parochial school...we're starting to catch on to some of the rituals and feasts and saints and everything else that typically mystifies we Protestants.

Monday was the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, a day when Catholics celebrate Mary's "Yes" to answering God's call to be Christ's mother. The special message was brought to her by the Angel Gabriel.

And that is how we chose our son's name; felt he was our own little angel and a special message from a higher power.

And Gabe delights in knowing it.

So on the way to school today we talked about where his name came from. My first-grade son mused, "I bet when Mary gave birth to baby Jesus it was twice as hard."

Uh. OK.

That comment needed a little clarification, so I asked why he thought that.

"Because Jesus had special powers," he answered. "You know, how he taught us to be nice to others and to be helpful. He was really strong that way. So I'm thinking Mary had a tough time with him."

I smiled and thought to myself, I was in labor for 24 hours with my little angel. I could have used a little divine inspiration myself at that point.

But I was surprised by the connection he made - that someone who is strong in heart and spirit must also be strong physically, is more powerful with regards to sheer strength and sizeEven as a baby.

It's interesting how children view the world, how they interpret events and ideas. Any ideas. Religious or not. The wheels in their minds are always turning, always making connections.
In a way, I envy his innocence that only the strong in body are strong in heart.

But I look forward to watching him learn that many times it's the weaker body that encases the strongest spirit who inspires us all to great things.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You don't have to be a graduate to care

It’s hard to get people to agree on anything.

But when it comes to the education of our community’s children?

That’s when we put down the boxing gloves and actually get along.

Maryville is one of those special places where people can still achieve the American Dream. Are we perfect? Heck no. The traffic on South Main Street shows us that.

But as a parent, I’m pretty darn glad I’m raising my child here. In a place with safe 
neighborhoods with great schools, parks and community programs.

Friendly people who volunteer their time and talents. Low unemployment and a strong economic center. Elected leadership who serve with integrity and manage our tax dollars wisely.

Seriously. There’s a reason we kinda want to keep our good fortune quiet.

We don’t want anyone coming in here and screwing things up.

More than anything, I treasure the time I volunteer with organizations in our community. One of those great groups is the Maryville R-II Educational Foundation, which helps plug the gaps left behind by state and federal funding shortfalls.

The board reflects the diversity of the many types of people who have a vested interested in education: parents, alumni, community members and former and current educators.

We raise money to help teachers purchase educational materials for their classrooms, so they won’t have to use their own money. We provide scholarships and are on the threshold of embarking on a fine arts facility for the district.

Not that people don’t enjoy the cafetorium combo, but we can help make the dream a reality.

Almost daily, you read about the triumphs and accomplishments of our students. Recently the Maryville R-II School District had three - THREE - of its schools named a winner of Missouri’s Professional Learning Communities Exemplary Schools for “outstanding performance in implementation of collaborative strategies to promote student learning.”

OK. So I’m not completely sure what all those fancy words mean, but I do know this: only 11 schools statewide earned this distinction.

Three of them are in the Maryville public schools district.

So that means they must be doing something right.

And I’d like to think we each play a part in that. As a taxpayer. As a community member. As a student. As a business owner. As a parent or grandparent. As an educator.

And it means we can do more to support our students. After all, excellence isn’t achieved by resting on one’s laurels.

You go out and do it again...and again...and again.

That’s where you come in. Join us on Friday, March 30, for the annual fundraising event hosted by the Maryville R-II Educational Foundation. 

The fun comes in the form of a $1,000 prize, a great dinner and fun games like an impromptu hula hoop contest.

Or watching guys over 40 trying to do the most push-ups in 30 seconds without calling for the crash cart.

It’s laid-back fun - all for the cost of dinner and a movie. Tickets cost $25 each and can be purchased at the Maryville R-II School District office on South Munn.

And don’t forget the silent auction! The entire community has offered up a variety of items that fit any budget, beginning at just $20.

Among the items offered are packages sponsored by the school district, including premium seating for Maryville High School graduation and spring and fall performances, reserved parking for Spoofhound football games, bat boy/girl opportunities with baseball and softball and Spoofy the Spoofhound party appearances. You can check out the complete list online here.

We’ll also have a new prize this year, a $500 Country Club Plaza Shopping Spree. This raffle will involve purchase of a $15 ticket, and only 35 chances will be sold. For your small investment, you could finally get that new iPad at the Apple Store on the Plaza.

I’m only a Spoofhound by marriage, thanks to my husband, Jon Baldwin ’83. Some day my son will be a Spoofhound too.

Just goes to show, a person doesn’t have to be a graduate to care. We each have a part to play in our community, regardless of where we started in life.

Help us reward our students and our schools for doing their best. They put forth their best effort each and every day.

The least we can do is give them a couple hours of our time - and a few dollars - in return.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pranked by the leprechaun

Some silly leprechaun visited last night and left a momento in our son's bathroom.

Proof of what Mom can do with a green dry erase marker and some toilet bowl cleaner.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Slurpees fix everything

Two words: Popcorn ceilings.

“It’s time to make a change,” I announced to my husband one day.

He raised an eyebrow and chuckled, “You threatening to leave me again?” 

I shrugged, “Not today. Who would kill the spiders for you?” I pointed over my head and said, “However, these ceilings? They’re history.”

His eyes traveled upward to the lumpy landscape above our heads and surprised me by saying, “I agree. Let’s get after it.”

That’s the American, can-do spirit I love! It built this great country of ours. Carved out the West. Created the automobile and led to the wonders of satellite television. And Slurpees.

Man, I love this country.


That maniacal laughter you heard?

That was me and my husband when learning how much it would cost to have such “acoustical ceilings” removed, then retextured and painted.

And you thought the national debt was bad.

Side bar: And calling them “acoustical” rather than popcorn doesn’t make ‘em look any prettier.

“Seriously? Are you kidding me?” I whined. “I just want smooth ceilings, not the Sistine Chapel recreated in my living room.”

So we decided to take care of the problem ourselves. We would knock them down and paint them.

How hard could that be?....

It was the last coherent thought we enjoyed for six months.


2,795. That was the magic number.

The 2,795 square feet of popcorn-covered ceiling nastiness that stood before us.
It was our Mt. Everest.

It was...our...uh...some other type of monumental task people face that I can’t think of right now.

(What can I say? We stopped achieving greatness after the Slurpee. We Americans - while being crafty - are also a lazy bunch. At least that’s what the French say.)

In any case, we had a whole lotta work in front of us. Manual labor kinda work. The kind that builds character and calluses. Hard days and long nights. And...and...uh...darnit.

I’m already tired just thinking about it.

I’m gonna take a nap.

....Darn French.


“What’s wrong with the dog?” my husband asked, carefully eyeing the whining lump of golden fur sprawled on the hardwood floor in the hallway.

I looked over from my spot in the kitchen where I was laying down plastic sheeting to protect the floor and answered, “She’s a big, old fat chicken.” I gestured toward the plastic. “She hates the plastic. Refuses to walk on it.” I snorted. “You’d think it was lava or something. At first I thought it was kinda cute. But that was BEFORE I had to carry her over to the door so she could go outside.”

I paused, carefully turned around and asked, “Could you take a look at my back? I think I blew out a kidney.”


It looked like Mt. Vesuvius blew up in our living room.

Oh. This is not good.

Really. Not. Good.

As the cloud of silt slowly drifted downward to settle into a blanket of fine dust all around - and over - me, I looked down at the instrument of betrayal.

$*&@ shop vac.

Where did I go wrong? I had simply changed the filter.

You know, being the responsible shop vac owner that I am. Looking out for its well being. Taking care of it.

And this is how it repays me? Upchucking crud all over me?

Geesh. If I wanted that kinda payback, I’d have another baby.


Determined to discover the cause of the problem so I could get back to sanding the recently scraped, popcorn-less ceiling, I threw down the hose and ripped off the top of the vacuum.

A cloud of dust exploded in my face, causing my eyes to well up and taking with it my very last nerve.

I screamed, “SON-OF-A- -----”

The door from the garage opened and cut off my oath in the nick of time.

And there stood my husband and our 6-year-old son, eyes wide and mouths gaping open in the shape of a large O as they took in the scene of destruction before them.

I smiled sheepishly then collapsed into a heap on the floor.

My husband smiled and said, “Have a little trouble replacing the filter?” He carefully picked his way toward me through the cloud of grittiness and gently put a hand on my shoulder.

“It’s OK honey,” he crooned. “We’ll go buy you a Slurpee.”

I smiled. I love that man.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It's cool to be geek

The Big Bang Theory courtesy of CBS

My husband thinks I'm nuts.

Well, that's not really news…but this time he thinks so because I LOVE the Flip Fold that Sheldon uses on "The Big Bang Theory."

It. Is. Awesome.

Call me crazy.

I really don't care. I'm getting one for my birthday.

He should be happy I do the laundry in the first place. I could wig out like some people did when this pants label came to light recently:

Courtesy of ABC News

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's March

The reason we teach our kids to write.

It's March.

And coming in like a lamb.

A sweet little lamb named Gabe, that is.

He left this surprise note for me on my laptop this morning. Then told me to keep it there, so every time I open up my computer I'll see it and smile.

Oh, I'm a lucky girl.