Next Generation Ballerina

My girls all took ballet and various other dance classes throughout most of their growing up years, till high school activities eventually won out. It was exhausting at times with three kids in three different classes, performances, competitions and traveling but overall we had a lot of fun. They are all great dancers to this day and are mostly unafraid to get up in front of a crowd. ¬†ūüôā

Several of the granddaughters have had short lived flirtations with ballet class but none have really stuck with it, moving on to sports or other endeavors they enjoy more. At long last, we have Ada who has continued for about a year now…it might be the record! I have gone with Bonnie to watch her class a couple of times when I’ve been in Amarillo and they’re super cute, if relatively clueless at age 4. ¬†Last time we were in town, the class was practicing for their recital and Ada had made it pretty clear to Bonnie that she would learn the dance but she was NOT participating in the recital and was NOT getting up on stage to be “stared at by all the moms.” ¬†Bonnie was cool with it, while secretly hoping Ada would give in and perform. ¬†The last I heard, the recital was out and Ada was not going. ¬†Then Bonnie called the other night and said she was picking up dinner, then running home to get the kids for Ada’s program. ¬†I said, “WHAT? She’s doing it?” Bonnie said she had decided that she would “try” and Bonnie volunteered to sit with some of the other helper moms backstage. ¬†She said she was still not confident Ada would go through with it and she wouldn’t push her if she said no when the time came.

Later that night, Bonnie sent me these pix of a smiling Ada, along with a cute video of her dancing with her class of little birds. I told Bonnie she looked happy and asked what Ada thought. Bonnie said, “She came off stage saying ‘I love it! Can I do this again when I’m five?'” ¬†ūüôā

Unalaska Reunion in Austin

Once upon a time I lived in Alaska and worked at a small public radio and TV station. I always said it was the most fun job I’d ever had. All of our management staff were female and we liked it that way! We did a lot in the community and had a great time doing it (mostly).

Our former news director, Anne, moved to Anchorage with her wife Jeanette, and continued to cover the news with Alaska Public Radio Network. Our former TV director, Pipa, moved to the Seattle area with her husband and kids and continued to work in TV for the city of Everett WA. We have stayed in touch and have seen each other a few times over the years since we all moved on. ¬†Recently Anne quit her job and decided to ride a recumbent bike across the country…just for fun. ¬†When I heard she was doing this, I asked her if she was coming through Dallas as we could put her up for a night or a few nights and would love to see her. At the time she wasn’t sure of her route but eventually it became clear she was not coming to Dallas but the closest point to us would be Austin. She would be there Easter weekend, which actually worked out fine because my kids were all committed to in-laws or work for Easter. Anne asked Pipa if she wanted to fly in and meet us in Austin but Pipa couldn’t find a cheap enough flight. Rich happened to have some Alaska Air miles left and volunteered them to Pipa. ¬†We checked on flights to Austin and Dallas and Dallas was enough cheaper to make it worthwhile. ¬†Plus I had the ulterior motive of having company on the road trip to Austin. We got Pipa a one way ticket and she bought the other one. She flew in at noon the Friday before Easter, I picked her up at DFW, and off we went to Austin, messaging Anne along the way to find out where she was and when she’d be in the city.

I have heard people talk about Chip and Joanna Gaines and their Magnolia Market in Waco, and I know a few who are crazy about them, but I have to admit that I have never watched their show and know nothing about the phenomenon except a vague awareness that they have a huge fan base. Apparently that fan base includes my friend Pipa so I agreed we would stop in Waco since it was right on the way. ¬†We found the market pretty easily and parked a few blocks away because it was packed. ¬†Walked over and the line for the bakery was 20 minutes long. ¬†They did have food trucks in the courtyard so we both found some lunch and sat down in the sunshine at some picnic tables with other folks making their pilgrimage from all over. ¬†A husband and wife were there from Birmingham AL and two women across from us with babies in strollers were from the DFW area. ¬†When I said I didn’t really know what the hype was all about, they were incredulous and asked me where I had been. ¬†haha Anyhoooo, I can see where it is a “thing” and we did wander through the store which was interesting and had some cute stuff. ¬†Then back on the road to Austin!

Anne had stopped at a recumbent bike store to get repairs so we drove there to find her next door at the Goodwill Store trying on some pants for her trip. After hugs all around, we helped her fold up her bike and put it in the back of my car, then continued to our hotel on the south end of Austin. Anne was anxious to get a shower so we all relaxed for a bit and then went out to dinner at a great Ethiopian restaurant we found. ¬†They wanted to see the bat flight from the bridge over the river but we got there too late so we stopped for some frozen custard, then for some churros, because….why not?!

The next day we went out for breakfast tacos, then drove to an outdoor market, parked the car in a garage around 10 AM and didn’t stop walking till 9 that night. ¬†We had a lot of fun wandering the streets, just accidentally found an Easter dog parade which was a hoot, looked in some funky stores, had a cupcake, walked the trail alongside the river for miles, crossed over to the other side to find a portopotty, examined a wild sculpture, had some crepes, eventually walked back to the car and moved it closer to the bat bridge while charging up my phone which had already died. ¬†I managed to keep up with these youngsters in their 30s and 40s but my hips and feet were pretty dang tired by the end of the night. ¬†The culmination of our day was watching thousands of bats fly out of the Congress St. Bridge–quite an amazing sight. We also talked with a volunteer from a bat rescue organization who had a pregnant female bat in his hand. ¬†She had been rehabbed after being injured and he let us watch her release her back into the night. Pretty cool!

On our last morning we went to Lucy’s for chicken and waffles (Pipa and me) and something vegetarian (Anne). Poor Anne ordered some chili fries which she thought meant “chilis” as in peppers so she was a little taken aback when the server brought her fries covered in chili. ¬†So she had to regroup and order grits and sweet potatoes. ¬†After brunch, we moved Anne to a different hotel to spend one more night, then dropped her and her bike at REI so she could get some additional supplies.

We really had a wonderful time, everyone got along great, and we kinda picked back up right where we left off in Alaska. It was so great to talk and laugh and reminisce about the old days while catching up on everyone’s news. ¬†I was so happy to see these gals! After leaving Anne, Pipa and I drove back to Dallas with a pit stop at Buc-ees, a Texas tradition, to use the potty and pick up some fudge and nuts. ūüôā ¬†We got back home that evening and Rich made his famous fish tacos for dinner.

Pipa’s son was very interested in Whataburger, which doesn’t exist in WA. ¬†We decided to go to Whataburger here and buy a few for her to take home to her family. Put them in the fridge overnight and sealed them in baggies the next morning. ¬†We got up at 5:30 AM and left the house at 6 to take her to Love Field for her flight home…yawn…! ¬†She had no issues getting home and went straight to work–now that’s dedication. ¬†That night she sent me a pic of her boys trying the burgers. ¬†The only bad thing was that the bacon cheeseburger only had bacon and veggies on it. ¬†NO BURGER!! How can that be?? I was so annoyed and wished we had unwrapped them the night before. Of course they were very disappointed and I am going to call the manager and have a little chat about it. I still just can’t imagine how a burger place would not put a burger on a burger. ¬†I guess Pipa and her family are just going to have to come to Texas and try again!

 

Things to Do in Dallas

I was just talking with a friend about the pros and cons of living in a big city. ¬†One of my favorite things is that we have so many events and activities to choose from, too many in fact. I love concerts, of course, and hearing authors speak, and attending local theater productions, seeing touring shows that come through town, attending informative lectures. All of that cancels out the traffic issues….most of the time!

Rais Bhuyian worked at a convenience store in Dallas at the time of 9/11.  A white supremacist entered the store and shot him in the face with a warped sense of retribution.  Two other people died but Rais survived and has gone on to strive to bring about a more peaceful world. I was fortunate to hear him speak in an event sponsored by the Dallas Holocaust Museum.  Although he lost the sight in one eye and suffered many surgeries and ongoing pain, he found a way to forgive his assailant, even to befriend him and to work (unsuccessfully) to keep him from being executed for his crimes. He was a humble and inspirational speaker. If you ever have a chance to see him, please do!  His organization, World Without Hate, can be found here.

Photos from the website

Sarah and I were thrilled to see “Hamilton” in NYC last fall and I was excited to hear that the touring company was coming to Dallas. ¬†We were lucky to get relatively reasonable tickets in the balcony so my sister and a friend came from San Antonio to join Rich and me at the show. ¬†I didn’t know how I would like this cast after seeing it the show on Broadway, but honestly they were pretty comparable. ¬†It was so amazing even the second time! A fabulous time was had by all!

Yes, I think I like big city life just fine!

Grandparents’ Day

Beck’s school hosts a special Grandparents’ Day each year. The kids don’t have school and instead perform a musical program and then show their grandparents around the grounds, introduce them to their teachers, and have a fun family day. Rich and I drove to Sarah’s and accompanied Sarah, Beck, Jack, and Miles’ mom Suanne to the event. ¬†The program was cute, we had snacks, then wandered the campus. ¬†We met Beck’s teacher, his Spanish teacher and the librarian, donated a book in Beck’s name, visited the vegetable garden and the chickens, watched Beck play a little basketball with his friends, and had a lovely time. He has really been thriving at his new school and is learning so much. He is in a classroom of only 12 kids with a fabulous teacher. The kids eat lunch outside most days unless the weather is bad, and help take care of the garden, the chickens, and the campus cat. ¬†Although I am a big proponent of public school and have a bit of a bias against private schools, I have to admit that it seems like a great place for Beck. ¬†After we had seen all we could possibly see, we went out for brunch at Snooze and called it a success!

 

 

This Kid

Jack has been collecting rocks lately. ¬†He fills his pockets on the playground at preschool and finds them along the sidewalk any time he’s outside. ¬†I brought him home from school one day and he took forever to take them out of his pockets and lay them on the table.

Jack: Look at all my rocks!

Me: Wow, that’s a lot of rocks! ¬†How many do you have?

Jack: About a thousand.

56368777_10213638612296040_9163067693836795904_n

April

Happy birthday to our son in law David! He’s smart and funny, a great husband, father, teacher, photographer, and all around good person. We always enjoy our interesting conversations about many topics and hearing his thoughts on various issues. Best of all, he’s a lot of fun! ¬†Love this guy!

Hung out with the kids some….Beck was still trying to get over his tonsillectomy and had a loose tooth as well!

More T-ball…this time against a team of girls from Kindergarten…older women! After we were home that night, Rich commented that he was surprised the girls had to wear skirts as part of their uniform. I thought he was crazy and that they were wearing shorts. I have never heard of girls wearing skirts for T-ball or softball. ¬†Am I out of the loop? ¬†I even texted Sarah and Miles to confirm my opinion and Sarah said no, some were wearing skirts and some shorts, but mostly skirts… well, technically skorts! I stand corrected! ¬†ūüôā

T-Ball, Tonsils, Teen driver

Jack started T-ball with Miles as one of his coaches. ¬†Four year olds are clueless and cute as can be! ¬†They all bat and they all run the bases. ¬†At least it is only 3 innings or an hour. ūüôā

Beck had to get his tonsils and adenoids removed. I got up at 5 AM and went to Sarah’s to sit with her during the procedure while Miles stayed home and got Elle off to school. All went well but we didn’t realize how long they were going to want Beck to stay for observation so at some point Miles came to see Beck and handed Jack off to me so he could go on to work. Jack spent the rest of the day with us and Beck went home in the afternoon, still feeling pretty good. ¬†The first few days were fine but then he started having a lot of pain and waking up at night so he missed a full week and a few days of school while recuperating. ¬†Thankfully he is past all of that by now.

Meanwhile Aidan finished his classroom portion of Driver’s Ed and passed his written test. ¬†Watch out world, we have a 16 year old driver on the road (with his parents for awhile longer)! ¬†Susan said he’s actually very cautious and drives like “a little old man.” I said, “GOOD!”

56300102_10213617760454757_3440967320397152256_n

 

Kid Stuff

Jack loves to stay with us and especially loves to spend the night. ¬†We had him one Friday night and took him to a neighborhood porch party with us. The next day he went with me to my favorite thrift store nearby and had a blast looking at the toys. We left with a haul and I said “I think I have found my thrift store soulmate!”

He wanted to try on some of Grandpa’s old glasses so they could “look the same.” ¬†He loves his “Glampa,” still can’t say his “Rs” but “Glampa” sounds really cute and we kinda crack up because Rich is one of the least “glamorous” guys around. ¬†Another day he helped me plant some succulents, we took a walk around the neighborhood, and visited some chickens he likes. After seeing photos of our activities, Miles commented to Sarah, “Jack has a whole other life we know nothing about!” ¬†They always tease us that Jack could be our son instead of theirs, which, of course, warms our hearts. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Not that we really want to start over raising a 4 year old, but he’s definitely fun part-time!

Beck did a great job as “Lucky” and “Scottie” in the kids’ musical “101 Dalmatians.” ¬†We sure had fun watching him in his element as he is super into singing and acting these days. ¬†The photos are not good due to the lighting in the theater while the production was going on, but it was a really cute show. I especially liked how the other dogs were costumed: boxers were dressed like fighters with boxing gloves, Scotties had on kilts, Chihuahuas had sombreros, and poodles wore 50s style poodle skirts. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Next, Beck is playing a hyena in the kids’ production of “Lion King.” ¬†We can’t wait to see him!

Meanwhile, Elle continues to be a force on the soccer field. ¬†She is so talented and has become a leader in many ways on the team. We are proud of her work ethic and tough demeanor while still being a sweet and kind kid. ¬†This game was against their primary rival and was a hard fought loss. ¬†It’s really fun to watch her play and to remember her as a 3 year old kicking the ball around the house!