Thursday, April 27, 2017

How To Host a Senior Sports Banquet in 10 Easy Steps

1. Spend eight months planning the banquet, down to every minute detail while sipping cocktails on the front porch or around your dining room table with a small group of women who will come to be some of your best friends.

2. In the weeks leading up to the banquet, panic a little bit when eleven out of twenty-nine senior parents still haven't turned in their information and photos for the slideshow, nor have they RSVP'd for the event, leaving you with a vague estimate of how many people to expect, which, obviously impacts your ability to order the appropriate amount of meat, to arrange for the correct number of tables and chairs, and to feel comfortable knowing that every senior will be adequately highlighted and honored. Sip more cocktails.

3. On the day of the event, spend three hours shopping for the last-minute items needed for the banquet, including the flowers that you will need for your own table. Drop all three cart-loads of groceries off at the venue and race home to arrange your flowers, gather your other decorations, and head back to the school, where you will spend the next nine hours.

4. Hours 1-4 will consist of setting up tables, draping them with linens, blowing up balloons for the stationary balloon arch, waiting for your husband to arrive with the helium tank for the floating balloon arches, supervising said husband as he blows up the balloons for the floating arches, taking care to minimize the amount of helium that he inhales so he can squawk at your fellow Booster moms in a temporary falsetto, and directing parents to their assigned tables.

5. Hour 5 will consist of a frantic scramble to get the slideshow working, because, although it worked perfectly the night before, gremlins have clearly been at work, screwing up the timing and jacking with the sound system. This will also be the hour in which you realize that your own table is not yet fully decorated; a second frantic scramble will ensue.

6. Hours 6-8 will feature the culmination of everything you have planned, plotted, stressed over, and executed; a banquet fit for the twenty-nine senior athletes for whom it was designed to honor. There will be tears, and laughter, and if you are especially blessed, a moment when you and the husband are taken completely by surprise by being honored as the Volunteers of the Year by school administration (yeah, that happened; I'm still stunned).

7. Hour 9 will focus on clean-up, which, as everyone knows, is the least favorite part of the evening, but, if you are very lucky, you will have twenty-nine well-trained senior athletes who pitch in without being asked, making quick work of dismantling everything that took five hours to set up.

8. Congregate with your fellow Booster Moms for what will probably be your final group photo.

9. Try not to cry.

10. Fail.

Congratulations! You have pulled off an epic event that will go down in the record books as the best senior sports banquet, ever. Well, at least as far as you're concerned, anyway.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Guess What I've Been Doing All Day

Go ahead, guess...

...If you guessed "shopping for, setting up, and tearing down the Senior Sports Banquet", you would be a winner.

So, how did that banquet go?

It was amazing. And, I'm going to tell you all about it tomorrow, after I have a moment to catch my breath, put up my legs, and re-hydrate (there may have been tears. Happy tears, but, tears nonetheless).

Trust me when I say, I earned the rest.

PS: My mom was with me every step of the way, so, how she is still on her feet, I will never know; she's built of sturdy stuff, that one.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Rowdie's Final Days

I promise I am almost done talking about Rowdie Dog.


I just want to be able to look back one day and to remember that, in the days leading up to his death, the big yellow dog had the chance to live.

He got to snack on extra biscuits and to eat a steak cooked just for him, on the grill under which he used to wait patiently for Hugh to "accidentally" drop a morsel during grilling.

He got to lay in the sunshine with his buddy, Roper.

He went swimming in the pond at the park, where he fetched his floating toy until he was exhausted, at which point he took a snooze with his boy.

He spent his last night cuddled on the living room floor with that boy, and, for the first time in weeks, he slept peacefully through the night.

He had people stopping by throughout the weekend to say goodbye, and he got to visit with Queen B on Facetime.

He ate tomatoes, catching them mid-air, the way he liked to do; I must have tossed him twenty.

On his last night, he got a bath and a good brushing, leaving his coat glossy, soft, and smelling of baby shampoo, which, is how I will always remember him.

His passing was peaceful; we said good bye on a grassy patch under a flowering crab apple tree on the property adjacent to the vet clinic. I know in my heart that he was greeted by his old friend Jake as soon as he crossed that Rainbow Bridge, and, I know in my heart that we will see him again. After all, everyone knows that all good dogs go to heaven, and, Rowdie was a very good dog.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Just Because It's Right, Doesn't Mean It's Easy

Rocking Rowdie Von Gottlieb

November 2006-April 2017

Run with the angels, Rowdie Dog, until we meet again.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

And I Didn't Even Learn It on Pinterest

When I was young, my sisters and I spent a lot of time at my grandmother's house, where we were treated to such delicacies as homemade potato donuts, sopapillas, popcorn popped on the stovetop, and, the best macaroni and cheese in the free world.

When we weren't eating her out of house and home, raiding the pea patch in her garden, or playing Chinese Checkers with her, we were learning fine arts at her knee, including: embroidery, sewing, and, the age-old art of decoupage.

That decoupage tutelage came in super handy when I decided to make something for the seniors on the Cub's baseball team, recently.

I created artwork for giant baseball cards in Publisher and printed them on 13 x 19 photo paper on my Canon printer.

Meanwhile, I took large canvases that I found in the art aisle at the Hellmouth (three to a pack, and less than $8 per pack) and painted them with black acrylic paint.

After they dried, I spread a thin layer of Mod Podge on the canvas and adhered each photo to the center of the canvas, making sure to smooth out any bubbles, and making sure that the edges of the photo were securely glued.

Next, I spread a thicker layer of Mod Podge across the top of the photo and completely to the edges of the canvas, making sure to smooth out any bubbles that rose to the top of the glue.

Then, it was a waiting game until the Mod Podge was dry enough to add a second layer, which I did, following the same process as before.

Once that layer was dry, I used a stiff brush to distress small areas of each canvas, creating the look of a vintage baseball card.

I think they turned out pretty well, and, the boys seemed to enjoy them, so I consider this a crafting success.

 And, like I said, I didn't even need Pinterest; this craft was totally Grandma Molly Approved.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

In Less Depressing News

The boys made a clean sweep of yesterday's double-header. They won the first game 16-1, shutting down the game in the fifth inning, and they won the second game 11-1, also ten-run-ruling them in the sixth inning.

Kenz pitched the first game and he was nearly perfect. In addition, he hit our first grand slam of the season. It was awesome.

The Man-Cub pitched a nearly perfect second game, with the outfield backing him up with some impressive defense. This is the way the boys should always play.

In a perfect world, you know.

Between games, I presented the seniors with the boards that I made for them a while back (more on how to make them in another post). Several moms cried, which, was not my intention, but, also not totally unexpected. We will miss watching these boys play once the season ends next month.

In the meantime, we will hope for more games like yesterday's; winning totally takes the sting out of letting go.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Favorites: The Rowdie Dog Edition

Rowdie is resting somewhat comfortably at my feet as I type this. Both Queen B and the Man-Cub have been consulted on the decisions that need to be made and we are in agreement that we will not do anything to delay his journey over the Rainbow Bridge; he's letting us know that the time is near, and we respect that. I think we have this one last weekend with him.

Because I want to remember all of the wonderful things about Rowdie, today's Friday Favorites will be all about him.

1. Tomatoes. Lord, does this pup love him some tomatoes. We first became aware of this odd addiction when Rowdie was just a tiny thing-he would steal the ripe tomatoes from the plants that I had in containers on the porch. I learned fairly quickly that the only way to salvage tomatoes for the rest of us was to plant them behind the fence in the garden. I will miss tossing 'maters over the fence and watching him catch them in midair. As an aside, his appetite is fading, but he still won't pass up a handful of grape tomatoes.

2. Meal time. Twice a day, at breakfast and dinner, Rowdie races to his dish, wherever he has dragged it in the yard, returning with it clenched in his jaw and dropping it into the raised receptacle in his kennel, eager for us to fill it with kibble, which he inhales like it's his last meal (obviously, this isn't really happening anymore, but, I'll never forget his enthusiasm).

3. Sledding down Cerro Summit on New Year's Day; you never saw a more ridiculous spectacle.

4. Riding the tube, wearing his life jacket because, safety first, doncha know.

5. Rowdie and the Man-Cub's nighttime ritual, cuddling on the floor before bedtime.

6. Puppy dog eyes. Need I say more?

What a blessing this boy has been in our lives. How lucky we are to have had these ten years with him, and, how big a hole he will leave in our family when he goes.