Thursday, September 30, 2010

Peace and Love, Man

September 30, 2010

We just attended a party a couple of weeks ago for some pretty groovy people. Our beautiful friend Carrie and her sisters threw a celebration for their parents, Carol and Shel. Not for a birthday or an anniversary or anything--just to celebrate them. What a beautiful idea, right? The sisters called the family together (and a few of us who aren't in the family but just love them anyway) and threw a seventies-style party just to let them know we all think Carol and Shel are very cool people.

It was love-fest, complete with dancing, singing, temporary tattoos and facepainting, a pet rock garden, and of course food and champagne. There were even trophies awarded for best costume, best karaoke (now proudly displayed on our mantle, proclaiming Doug's singing prowess), and best pet rock design. Check out Nola's picture down below; not only was her winning 70's costume impressive, it was designed and created by Nola herself. She definitely looked the part!

You know what was so great about the party? I mean besides Carol and Shel, of course, who are fantastic. What was great was how creatively and enthusiastically Carrie and Debbie and Laurie threw themselves into the celebration. I wish I had that kind of creativity and that kind of initiative to put something like that in motion. I mean, I always think events like this are tremendously fun, but I'm just happy when someone invites me to the gathering, because I myself am not the one who has the idea or the ability to get the ball rolling on something like that.

I have to admit, though, a celebration like this makes me just a little bit melancholy as well.... I wish my own mom was still around for us to fete like this--just because, just to say thanks. It's one more reason why I'm so thankful that we get the opportunity to 'borrow' some of our friends as family sometimes. It puts us in a grander context, gives us a spot on the continuum. We are all the anchors for our own children, and some of us who have lost our own anchors too early in life seek out ways to regain moorings. I'm grateful to have found so many people who continue to help provide that sense of place.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Youngest Goalie

September 27, 2010

When Danielle first started playing soccer, I never would have imagined her as a goalie. She liked to run, and liked to be in the middle of the action. She also liked the idea of scoring a goal, although neither she nor her teammates, when they were just starting out, made that a regular occurance. As she grew older and taller, though, she gradually made her way backwards on the field. She started off as a forward and mid-fielder, then mid and defender, and in the past three years, has found herself primarily at defender and goalie. Of all of these, goalie is definitely her favorite position.

When she first expressed an interest in being the barrier between the ball and the net, I was skeptical. She's not the most aggressive, most competitive kid on the team. I figured her preference might be to melt into the background, where there were other nearby members to back her up if she didn't get where she needed to be. But the goalie? If she's not where she belongs, that puppy's flyin' through, scoring a goal for the opposing team. Did she really want all that pressure? Did she really want to be the last line of defense? Turns out, she did!

I'll admit, both of my youngest two playing human barrier on the soccer field has given me some mini-heart attacks, especially as the opposing team members often appear both amazonian and relentless in their attacks on the goal. Honestly, though, that girl has really proven herself up to the challenge. She'll dive, she'll roll; she'll throw her body down on that soccer ball with abandon to get it out of reach of the girls charging at her goal. Even this past week, in her second game of this newest season, she and another young girl collided at the net, and Danielle's face came between the ball and the other girl's foot. I thought she'd be down for the count, but although she'd taken a cleat squarely in the face, she got up, shook herself off, and got back down to the business at hand. My little drama queen, it turns out, leaves the drama at the door when she pulls on that uniform. She is confident, she is observant, and she is all business. One of the other moms on the team has nicknamed her The Rock, because she's so steadfast in her purpose, and quite effective at her job. I'm sure I'm still in for a few mini-heart attacks as the season progresses, but I am absolutely loving watching how this little girl is blossoming out on the soccer field.

Danielle and Vanessa
Raquel and Danielle
Taryn and Danielle
Coach Bob with the team.
She's got a powerful throw.
Coach Roger, giving her some pointers on the way out to the net.

Go Bears!

September 27, 2010

Seriously, nobody does a Pep Rally like a Clovis School. I can still remember how loud and spirited our rallies were when I went to school at Clovis High, and Buchanan High carries on the tradition in fine form. Here are a couple of pictures from the first rally of the year--the first rally of Bree's senior year! (My pictures are of the Junior section, since my rally duty was actually in the senior stands.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hedda Gabler--Henrik Ibsen

September 24, 2010

I've got a new book review up at Sisters Recommend. Check it out if you get a chance.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Trip to the Waterpark

September 19, 2010

Since Lisa was in town for the reunion, we decided to take the kids for a last fling at the waterpark before the end of summer. Three hours on the waterslides was enough to cool 'em off and make 'em happy!

It's Okay--I'm With the Band

September 19, 2010

Earlier this month, Doug and I attended our second high school reunion of the year. The first one was in July, and even though it was my 25th reunion and we had a great time, the one in September was an especially meaningful one. Call us band geeks if you will, but a reunion of all of our band mates from our high school days was much more a family reunion than a gathering of scores of people who happened to pass each other in the halls on the way to Geometry during a particular year. These were the people we spent hours and hours with every week and really got to know as we practiced and worked and laughed and cried and competed. Some of us spent all four years of high school in the band program, and some spent only one or two years learning all the intricate elements that went into putting on an incomparable show on the field, but all of us truly became family through a shared commitment and desire to succeed.

Leading us all was the visionary and director of our band during those years, Mel Stratton, who was on hand at the reunion to be honored by all of us who appreciate even more as adults with the benefit of time and perspective the amazing and undeniably unique experience we had under his guidance. (It is testament to his influence the sheer numbers of his students who went on to become great band teachers in their own right.) Call it being at the right place at the right time, if you will; I feel incredibly fortunate to have found my way into this group, this family, at that time in history. I would be willing to bet it would be difficult to find a member of Mel's band from those years who wouldn't be able to recount some way that our band, our family away from home, made a lasting impact on their lives.

Patty and Mel Stratton, Shirley Claybaugh Weaver and Jim Claybaugh

Trina, Shannon, and Me

Jim and Kirsten
My day uniform from my freshman year. Sadly, I do not fit in that thing anymore. I find it a little hard to believe I ever did.
Doug, trying on his old uniform. Nope, he doesn't fit anymore, either.

Kris McGraw Pauley and Me
Bill Murray and Kris
Lisa, David Rubacalba, and Me
My hubby and me--a former band couple who reunited later in life.
Jeff Lee and Me
Marty and Judy--another band couple success story.
Mel, Me, Lisa, and Patty
The Reunion Gang

Former Drum Major Brad Riley. Nice Salute, Brad!
Mel Stratton--funny, charming, and still a true leader after all these years.
Mel and John Hackney, Assistant Director Extraordinaire
Doug and Di Hoskins
Mike Donaghy and Me--I love Mike!
Annette and Todd, Maria and Mike (Another Band Couple!)
Brady and Me. Brady and my sister were inseparable in high school, so he was like my brother.
Lisa and Brady
Bill Murray and Renee Brown
Jim and Lisa
My Sis and Me
Bill, Lisa, and Me
Doug, surrounded by Rosa, Alicia, and Me. He's kind of in his happy place, even though he doesn't actually look like it right now.
Rosa and Doug
Doug, Darren, and Jim
Shannon and Trina
The Jones Twins! Kris and Kelly
Alicia (Lisa), Rosa, Me, Kris, Kelly, and Lisa