Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Season of Proms

My sister and I were honored to cater the prom for this private school Saturday night. We figured out it was the seventh time we've served these young people punch and finger foods over the years. I taught in the elementary school, my children both attended there, and I'm presently on its school board. There are obviously some strong ties to my heart.

So many things remain the same throughout these proms. The parents who show up early and transform ordinary rooms into magical places. The students who arrive looking a little nervous at an evening they will remember for the rest of their lives. The parents who return at the stroke of prom's end to take down months of planning and preparation in minutes. And probably begin planning for next year's prom the following week.

I love coming and working behind the scenes. Watching the students practice their first steps across the threshold of their adult futures. Some of them were in my classroom while they were still losing their baby teeth and learning to write in cursive. Now they are learning to navigate a special evening in high heels, corsages and stiff tuxedos.

We have turned our prom food tables into a science of sorts. We know that the grazing is sometimes a way to fill the time or dodge an awkward moment. We think like seventeen year old boys... as far as food is concerned. We supply copious amounts of snacks they would eat watching football games including cheese, sausage and chips. For the girls, we have fruits, small sandwiches and lots of choices involving chocolate. We have discovered that any fruit juice becomes a great punch as long as it is mixed with ginger ale. We served 8 gallons of punch. We normally go through 4-5 times as many cups as there are students. Walking to the punch bowl is a continual rite of passage throughout the evening.

Some things also change. This year the dresses were long and floral or short and layered with ruffles. The doorprizes throughout the evening have grown to include laptops and dorm refrigerators. The music is mixed by a DJ who includes everything from techno to "Thriller".

Other changes? The prom caterers no longer wear stylish shoes with heels to serve food. The years, they have taken a toll on our need for comfort. Without telling the other sister, we showed up in unintentionally matching comfort. And laughed our heads off for the first time of the evening. Because prom night is always full of fun. No change there.

Comfy shoes because we wanted to do a great job, go the distance and be invited back next year. Those hosting the junior/senior prom next year were in my kindergarten class. I want to see how time has graced those little children who couldn't remember the letter "w" when learning the alphabet, smeared glue sticks on their lips like chapstick and cut their hair with rounded scissors. I know they will be as elegant and poised as this year's crop. Can there be anything more wonderful then watching children grow up well?

Maybe watching in comfortable shoes.

Thanks for the memories. I end with words from a song played last night:

"These are the moments I thank God that I'm alive.
These are the moments, I'll remember all my life.
I've got all I've waited for. And I could not ask for more."

Congratulations, Class of 2009!

A New Old Friend

Welcome to Austin, Panera! Now I don't have to wait until I'm out of town visiting friends or children in college to enjoy your goodies. Starbucks better watch its back: there's a new girlfriend gathering place in town. Bon appetite!

Monday, April 20, 2009


I know my children think I'm hopelessly lost when it comes to some new technologies. OK: I don't know how to get the music in the Ipod, but I did figure out blogging all by myself. 

Listen, in my adult years, music has morphed from albums to eight tracks to cassettes to CDs. I began life with one channel on a black and white TV; now we have HDTV with thousands of channels.  Home movies went from slides and film to VHS and then DVD.  I think my generation has seen more change in technology then all the other generations put together.

For example, when I first started teaching, we still had to hand crank copies on a ditto machine. It was before there was a state max of students in the fifth grade class I taught, so I cranked off 38 copies of every paper I needed. I went home with purple hands every day. (I asked the other teachers if they remembered ditto machines. "Yes," one said with a happy sigh,"I miss the smell of the ditto fluid. It made me happy." Hmmm. Maybe she could just sniff some of that happy juice while she uses our high speed copier that copies, collates and staples 18 copies (for the new class size) in nothing flat.)

So, I must pause today and celebrate all the progress made in teaching in my last 20 years. I was issued this little miracle from the district today:
Meet my new wireless MacBook that communicates with my wireless printer. It has a built in iSight camera (I can film my kids using the computer), iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand...and many other icons I'm sure I'll be meeting soon. Brings a tear to my eye.

I remember when, so I'm very thankful for this day. 

Now if the district will just start issuing iPhones....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Another Easter Sunday, come and gone. This year, 1 out of 4 children scattered around the country was able to come home. And the one, Young Son, was bringing a Special Guest. The sheer force of all the attention would be focused on them. After this, I'm pretty sure he'll be bribing sisters to come home and take some of the heat off of him.

The meal planning did not get off to a good start. Aunt W, matriarch of the family was given the opportunity to choose where we would eat. "LUBY'S!" was her immediate and unhesitant reply.

"NOT Luby's!" cried brother-in-law.

"NOT Luby's!" cried my husband.

"NOT Luby's!" cried Young Son.

(Of course, none of them would say this to Aunt W's face. Best not to mess with her. She has always gotten her way since she was born the youngest of five sisters over eight decades ago. Oh, no: the males in the family would leave breaking the "Sorry, Aunt W:No Luby's this Easter" news to the females in the family. Chickens.)

Luby's, if you do not know, is a local chain of cafeterias that passed its prime years ago. Yea, even decades ago.

(A place where I formerly ordered what I thought was a healthy dish called "Baked Haddock Almondine". All those times I took it for the team (and my heart) when what I really wanted was the fried chicken. And then I found out the fish was baked in mayonnaise and had 929 calories and 51 grams of fat. That is not a typo or exaggeration. You are dead to me, Luby's.)

Time for Plan B: Everyone come to my house and I'll make a turkey dinner. Because Young Son's Special Guest is his New Girlfriend and it is getting Serious. He has never brought a girlfriend home before and now it is near the end of his senior year in college. He's trusting us to behave. We are all anxious to meet her in the comfort of a home, and not pushing trays in a line. With a chorus of "Help yew?" from the servers behind the cafeteria counters.

So, preparation for the meal began on Wednesday: HEB has a sale on turkeys! What luck. Except my store only had one turkey. One. Frozen so solid I think it may have been a Christmas turkey. (Not to worry, any family member who may be reading this. I'm sure it was an incredibly fresh Christmas turkey. In December.) The meat market manager even gave me a discount for my trouble and lack of choice. (And probably snickered all the way back to his deep freeze. High fives all around for unloading that Christmas turkey for Easter.)

Thought I'd have to defrost it with a blowtorch, but it finally came out of the ice age and cooked quite nicely. To be served to seven people at the Easter table. Including Young Son's Girlfriend.

My sister and I tried to behave, but we really wanted to get to know her. We tried to keep a lid on the enthusiasm. (Have I mentioned we are affectionately referred to as "screeching monkeys" by the rest of the family when we are together?) But we LOVED this girl. She was cute. She was funny. She was smart. (And have I mentioned we LOVED this girl?)

Young Son? Sweating bullets. Quieter than I have ever seen him. Probably worried my sister and I would break out in a chorus of cute stories from his past. But, to our credit, we did not.

We'll save that for next visit.

Because we are pretty sure we are going to be seeing a LOT of her.

Fingers crossed.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Happiest of Days

M and N were married at a lovely outdoor ceremony at Horseshoe Bay this weekend. Newly wed, they head down the aisle to their happy new future.
Sharing these happy occasions with special friends is always a bonus blessing.

Here are the mother and father of the bride glowing with happiness. Congratulations to you, S and B, for raising such a precious daughter who grew up to be the most beautiful of brides.

A wonderful buffet dinner, followed by a delicious cake. A cover band that played 60s and 70s tunes that kept everyone on the dance floor all evening. N and M know how to throw a great party.

I'm pretty sure the newlyweds were not the only ones having a magical evening.

Congratulations, to the new Mr. and Mrs. B. May you have many, many years of happy memories.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Happy "Bee-Day"!

We can take no credit for having birthdays. They just come around. Regularly. And the celebrations can be such a blessing. Above? Handmade cards given to me by my 19 six-year-old best friends who comprise O'Brien's First Grade Bumblebees. I think all this sweetness will be hanging on my refrigerator for a long time.
And a gift to myself: a half-day off to have lunch with Young Son who is a senior at Texas State University about 45 minutes from home. No Shave November turned into No Shave December-April (and counting), but isn't that the cutest face you've ever seen? I mean, most ruggedly handsome and manly.He's going to Costa Rica for study abroad this summer, and kidded that his new passport makes him look like a terrorist. Such a joy to this mom's heart to hear his future plans that are so full of hope and promise. Ahh. Isn't it great to see your children growing up well? (And time with the Family Dog made this a double blessing. Jenny the dog was raising a ruckus with doggie trash bark/talk when I drove up. Until she realized it was me and altered her noise level significantly. Always good to see you, girl!)
And a complete surprise showed up at my door Saturday morning early, in the form of my former teaching colleagues/present coffee friends. Quiche, caffeine and great conversation all around. Thanks special friends for the joy you bring into my life on a regular basis. To quote from the musical, "Wicked", "So much of me is made of what I learned from you: you'll be with me like a handprint on my heart." And Yee-Haw, we really do have cowboys in Texas, ya'll! Time with my favorite sister and brother-in-law at the famous Salt Lick barbeque. I'm thanking God for SpawGlass, Mark!
And my husband, who is the greatest gift giver in the world, got us tickets to see "Grease" in Georgetown at the Palace. A good time was had by all.
And a Sunday afternoon brunch at our favorite restaurant.
You know, I'm already so blessed by my family and friends that none of this was necessary to prove their love. I know and feel that on a daily basis. But what a wonderful weekend!
Turning That Age was not bad.
Not bad at all.