Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Rest in Peace Davy Jones

Photo credit
I'm feeling a little bit older today ... and a little bit sadder. Today my teenage heart throb and dream lover Davy Jones died.

I was 12 years old when The Monkees TV Show debuted in 1966. I loved their quirky style. I was quickly hooked on the television show and the group. I still think their opening production number Hey, Hey We're The Monkees is one of the most memorable ever. Every girl I knew was either a Davy Jones girl or a Mickey Dolenz girl. I was instantly in love with the diminutive Davy. He was cute and sweet and dreamy.

It was at about the same time that Tiger Beat magazine was first published. I waited impatiently for every issue so I could get every new picture of Davy. I must have driven my mother crazy asking her to buy me a new Tiger Beat every time we went to the grocery store. I immediately started collecting them and thumb tacking ALL the pictures of Davy to my bedroom wall. We lived in a rent house and were not supposed to put holes in the wall, so my father forbade me from tacking them up. So, I came up with the brilliant idea of gluing them together at the corners to form a collage that would only be tacked at the corners. What I didn't realize was that every spot of glue was going all the way through and sticking each and every picture to the wall. I got in so much trouble, but it was well worth it. I spent many happy hours in my top bunk bed dreaming of Davy.

Photo credit
The first record album I ever bought was The Monkees second album More of the Monkees.

I knew all the words to songs like Daydream Believer, Last Train to Clarksville, I'm A Believer, and Pleasant Valley Sunday. Truth be told, I can still sing along with them and I still have the albums.

I was thrilled a few years later when Davy appeared on the Brady Bunch. Showing up for Marcia's school dance seemed like just the sweet kind of thing he would really do.

I was also delighted in the 1980's when my daughter discovered The Monkees thanks to MTV. She found my old albums and played them over and over again. It did my heart so much good.

I have often heard The Monkees referred to as a "made up" group who didn't have any talent. But I must disagree strongly. They may have been the first of the boy bands, put together by a promoter as America's answer to The Beatles, but they also had real talent. A lot of people don't know that Davy Jones played The Artful Dodger in both London and Broadway productions of Oliver! He was nominated for a Tony award for his Broadway performance.

Rest in peace Davy Jones. I'll always be a Daydream Believer.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Substitute Diaries

Yesterday was Storybook Character Day at the elementary school where I've been working lately. It was so much fun. The teachers and staff dressed as storybook characters. Second and third grade students who met their reading goals for last six weeks also were allowed to dress as their favorite storybook character. Pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade students lined the hallways for the parade of storybook characters.

Here are a few of the outstanding characters I saw and the books they represented. I was delighted to hear the principal remind the students that many of their favorite movies were books long before they were movies.

School principal
Resource teacher

One of the first grade teachers

I'm pretty sure this is the school nurse.

Student teacher ... please make note of the fact that she is en pointe.
The office staff
There were several Cats in Hats and Things 1, Things 2, and probably enough to make it to Things 8 or 9.
These two little girls wore my favorite costumes of the day.
These are just a few of the other costumes that the kids wore.
After the parade, all the storybook characters met in the cafeteria where they were treated to a screening of Puss In Boots.

I love seeing kids who are excited about reading. This love of reading will serve them well for the rest of their lives. I know they will be in for a lifetime of enjoyment thanks to the encouragement and enthusiasm they get at this exemplary school.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thank Heaven for Little Girls

One of my favorite songs is Maurice Chevalier's rendition of Thank Heaven for Little Girls from the movie Gigi. I think of it often when I think about Our Little Princess and Her Highness. It is especially fresh in my mind today. Our Little Princess is three years old today and she is growing up in the most delightful way.

We spent the weekend in San Antonio celebrating with her.

Saturday was a cool, misty, and at times rainy day. Her birthday party was held at the Kiddie Park on Broadway near Breckenridge Park in San Antonio. The Kiddie Park has been there since 1925. The carousel has been there since 1918. The best thing about the Kiddie Park is that it's only for little kids. There are no scary rides or roller coasters, just a few rides geared for small children. I remember going there as a child. It has not changed substantially in the past 50 years.

We watched the weather and were hopeful that the rain would clear in time for the party at noon. There was a slight break, but it misted off an on most of the time we were there and it rained for short periods of time.

All three grandmothers were there. I was so busy taking pictures that I didn't get a photo of myself with the birthday girl. Katy did manage to snap this picture of me.

I know you're waiting for an update on the birthday cake. As it turned out, Omi made the cake. It was a Rapunzel doll cake from the movie Tangled. It was beautiful and, since Omi actually lives in San Antonio, it was great for me that she volunteered to take care of it. She also brought some beautiful cupcakes which made serving the little ones quick and easy. The quick and easy part turned out to be a very good thing.

 The rain/mist stopped for short periods and the kids did get to ride the rides.

Then more clouds rolled in and we decided to eat the pizza, blow out the candles, and serve the cake as quickly as possible. We almost made it too ... almost. But everybody pitched in and held the umbrellas over the kids while they ate.

Then the rain started in earnest and we grabbed the presents and headed to the cars. She had to open her gifts at home, but it was like extending the party ... and it was warm and dry.

Sunday dawned with blue skies and bright sunshine. Wouldn't you know it!

Happy Birthday, Princess! You are growing up in the most delightful way. Grams and Pop-Pop love you more than you can even imagine!

On a whole different subject, I just got a message from Katy that Her Highness took her first steps today. She's 10 months old. Look out world -- here she comes! You can tell in this photo that she was just about ready to walk this weekend.

And, by the way, doesn't my hair look terrific. My next-door neighbor's granddaughter, Kandyce, cut it for the first time. She's finishing up at the Aveda Institute in Corpus Christi. I still think of her as a little girl, but I think she has a very bright future. She's really good at cutting hair.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Funny Valentines

When we were in Houston a couple of weeks ago we ran across an old style photo booth. We had the brilliant idea of squeezing in with the girls. It took the first three shots to get all four of us in frame. It was fun and funny! I love the eye contact between the two girls in the bottom photo. They are definitely my funny valentines.

Happy Valentine's Day! As we say in our family ... Happy Valenta's Day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Butterflies and Baby Girls

We made an impromptu trip to Houston this weekend for a little family time. The kids had decided to get together at Nick's house and invited us so they could go out on Saturday night and we could watch the kids. Never one to pass up time with our kids or our grands, we packed up and drove up on Friday afternoon. Nick gave us a hard time because we made it a leisurely trip. We left Corpus Christi around 4 p.m. and didn't get to his house until almost 9 o'clock. We stopped for coffee at Starbucks in Victoria and we stopped for snacks at Buc-ees in Wharton.

After we got to his house we went out for dinner. He took us to Iguana Joe's, which is a Tex-Mex restaurant, in Atascocita. I had stuffed avocado which was enormous and delicious. It's an avocado stuffed with shredded chicken, battered and fried. It was served with refried beans and rice. There was enough left over that Grandad and I had the leftovers for dinner the next night.

Saturday was rainy and cool so we had to do something indoors. We chose to go the the Cockrell Butterfly Center. This butterfly pavilion is one of my favorite places on earth. It is located at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, but admission to the butterfly center is separate. It was crowded on Saturday, but not uncomfortably so.

The entrance to the butterfly center is the Brown Hall of Entomology which has a lot of interactive exhibits designed for kids. The photo on the bottom left in the collage above is picture of pink katydids which are part of that exhibit. They look like flowers. They are behind glass and the glass was damp and foggy so it's not a very good picture. They were so beautiful. You can also watch butterflies emerging from chrysalis and flapping their wings to dry ... very interesting for the little ones.

Right inside the door is a photo op with a giant caterpillar where you can pose for a picture. The lighting in this hall makes it look like everyone has red hair. Some of us do actually have red hair, but not all of us.

The butterfly center is a three-story glass pavilion built around a central waterfall. If you go, dress in layers. It's very warm and humid inside which made me happy since I'm always cold. But everyone didn't agree with me.

It was a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon. As you can see, Our Little Princess was able to get a very close look at the butterflies. Even Grandad got in on the fun when a butterfly hitched a ride on his cap. You have to look closely at the button on top of the cap. Once he landed there, he stayed the entire time. We had to shoo him away before we could leave the exhibit.

Next stop was Katz's Deli and Bar on Westheimer, one of our favorite places to eat in Houston and only a short distance from the museum district. Katz's is a New York style deli with delicious food and beverages. Several of us enjoyed their Holy Mary which is a large Bloody Mary made with Absolut Peppar Vodka. Delicious!

After our late lunch, we headed back to Nick's house where Katy, Travis, and Nick headed out for a night at the movies and Grams and Grandad settled in for an evening with the grands.

It's hard to believe how much the girls have grown since we last saw them New Year's Day. Her Highness has three teeth now and she smiles all the time. Our Little Princess is getting taller and taller. They both enjoyed playing with Uncle Nick's dogs, Baily and Ralphie. Her Highness and Baily are very good friends. We had to watch them constantly or they were licking and kissing each other all the time. It's a good thing Baily is such a little mama dog. She is completely tolerant of the baby pulling her ears or leaning on her or whatever. She would even stand still and let Her Highness grab hold of her fur and pull herself to a standing position.

The main point of the weekend was for Katy and Travis to get some rest. Unfortunately, Her Highness didn't sleep well away from home. Katy was up until three o'clock with her both nights. Next time, Grams and Grandad will go to their house to stay with the girls so they can go away for a weekend and get some sleep.

I'm enjoying a day off today. I've put a pork butt in the crock pot, using the Pioneer Woman's recipe for Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork. I'll let you know how it is later. I've also cleaned my oven, by which I mean that I turned on the self-cleaning feature and ignored it all morning ... so much better than the old way with the stinky foam. I'll be spending the remainder of the day sewing for my Etsy shop. After today, I'm working the rest of the week.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What I Know Now That I Didn't Know Then

Grams and Grandad love being empty nesters. But, getting to this point in life wasn't easy. We always knew that our kids would go to college and I was determined that they should have the experience of going away to college. I've told you before that I didn't want to know exactly what my children were doing while they were away at college. But again, getting to that point was probably the hardest thing I've ever done.

When we took Katy to San Antonio as a freshman, she had decided to go into the roommate lottery. She wanted to meet new people and have new experiences. At that time UTSA only had one dormitory, so instead, she was going to live in an on-campus apartment. Each apartment had four bedrooms and two bathrooms with a tiny living area and kitchen.

When we arrived on campus for "move in day" we checked in at the office, picked up the keys, and went to the apartment to start moving in. There were young people everywhere and upper class-men and student athletes who were helping new students move in. We opened the apartment door to find a stack of empty liquor bottles, empty beer cans, and a young man passed out asleep on the sofa. Clearly, there had been a party there the night before. It seems Katy had been assigned to an apartment where three of the rooms were already occupied by much older students. At least one of them was a senior, maybe even a 5th or 6th year senior. One of them was an art major whose artworks featured demons. The other had not arrived yet.

As you might expect, I was not a happy mama. I wanted to go and have her re-assigned to another apartment. She insisted that it would be okay. A small argument ensued and she finally said emphatically, "No, Mom. I can handle this!"

So we moved her in, unpacked her, took her out for dinner, and left her standing in the parking lot waving at us. Getting in that car and driving away was, without a doubt, absolutely the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I was crying when we left San Antonio, and I was still crying two hours later when we got home. But, she was right, she did handle it. She handled it beautifully. And at the end of the semester, she moved to an off campus apartment with only one roommate whom she had met at work.

Sometimes its hard to decide whether to hold on or to let go.