Friday, April 18, 2014

Senior Board Madness

Senior Boards are that special day in every Thunderridge Senior's life that they have dreaded from the moment they walked through the doors as freshmen. 

Every other school in the district has abandoned this special form of torture except TR.

The "sell" is that it's good for them to be forced into selecting an interest they've never explored and then beat any goodwill and interest out of them in a massive, semester-long focus on it, with the threat that, if they don't pass it, they don't graduate.

These kids have been told this for four years. It's on par with being called before the McCarthy hearings. Or maybe the Spanish Inquisition, with slightly less bloodshed. But only slightly. 

They must, in their fall semester, select an area of study, write a letter of interest, a plan, find a mentor, and undertake to learn said skill/interest/etc under their mentor's tutlelage, documenting their work in a portfolio as well as producing an argumentative research paper related to the topic. They use most of their Senior English class time all year long to work on tasks. 

A few photos from her portfolio centered around making Bob's birthday cake: 













The required "product" she presented today was a three-tiered themed cake. This past week has been absolute hell thanks to that damn cake.

The cake itself isn't real. It's Styrofoam, which is the industry standard. Most everything you see in the display window is just the decorations. 

But, from this point forward, I will never, ever order a cake covered in fondant again. 

Putting anyone through that torture is just evil. 

Fondant comes in a large package, a ball of which you pull off and roll out into a thin, but not too thin, layer to "float" over the cake, after which, if you've ever watched Cake Boss, you simply float and press and voila! Beautiful icing. 

Uh, no. 

We watched tutorials again and again. She rolled and rolled, floated, pressed, and had to start again. Roll too thickly and it doesn't float or cover completely. Roll too thinly, and it breaks. Once it breaks, you pull it off, ball it up, and start all over again. But you can only start over again so many times before it starts to lose its texture and dry and flake. 

And you are doing for this for three tiers. 

She started with square Styrofoam dummies, but gave that up. The corners were a nightmare. 

The rounds weren't much better. 

But, finally, after hours and night of wailing and gnashing of teeth, and pulled muscles, and numb hands, or a sore back, she brought it together. She hand=drew and cut the Art Deco patterns from black fondant to press on. She piped buttercream in florets. 

She got her chef's jacket with the name of her baking business "Short Cakes". 

She whipped up another batch of amazing Devil's Food cake for cupcakes and iced those with fresh vanilla flavored buttercream to take to the judges. 

And she practiced her speech, again and again, with and without notes, pacing, working on eye contact, getting the timing just right so she would definitely fall between teh 6 and 10 minute pass/fail frame.

It was exhausting just to watch. 



And when it was all over and all there was to do was wait for the email saying she passed or the dreaded phone call telling her she failed and would have to try again, this is what she thought of the idea of ever becoming a baker and cake decorator. 




All that's left now, as she's headed out to be with her friends, all of whom shared in the same torture today and the inevitable relief of having survived, are two lone cupcakes. She took the rest and the whole batch of buttercream to the party. 


She had just left and was filling up the car when she texted me the email in her inbox. My reply actually moves, since we tend to communicate in gifs via text. But you get the idea.


Introvert Proverbs

From the list of 44, these 8 really resonated









Thursday, April 17, 2014

RIP Gabriel Garcia Marquez


Rest in Peace, my beloved author. 

I had just finished re-reading Love in the Time of Cholera this weekend. I was in love all over again.

"It’s enough for me to be sure that you and I exist at this moment." ~100 Years of Solitude

And I know that you still do. 
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

4/15/14 Lunar Eclipse shots






damn you graininess and cheap lens.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Prom 2014

Ready for Prom.

Sam spent her own money on a dress at a resale shop, knowing the bulk of the cost of any dress for her off the rack will always go to the tailor. 




 why are we always the first to arrive? Waiting on everyone else to show. 





These two. Except for being on each end of the stature scale, they are two peas.

the cool vertical rock paved area gets a salute

The full group of ten girls, all stag, all happy!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Life in Shirts





It's a bit like my own personal archaeological discovery. Dad found a small pile of shirts this month in their basement that I wore four decades ago. It's interesting what survives and what disappears. This little pink shirt is the oldest of the bunch. 


After that, when I actually had input on my wardrobe, the surviving evidence gets decidedly more boyish and blue.

I searched all my archives and cannot find a single picture of me wearing one of these Port Aransas Shirts.

I could only come up with one that didn't survive the endless purges:


All of the shirts pre-date junior high, except for the last. 

Four were Baylor shirts, the oldest probably worn when I was 2, through the green one with its football mesh along the sides when I was 10. 

  
Two of them had my name on the back!


This was about 1975

A brief departure from green and gold:

  

The 1976 Indian skirt made it, along with a New Mexico tee that has no photo match.


Back to green and gold for Girl Scouts



And Easthaven


(not either of the above. This was the actual numbered gym shirt we had to return.)

And more gold, at least for the first two of the three Tidalwave years, when we switched to a more applicable blue:


Trip shirts from around 1981 and 1982
The Chama Train shirt I remember selecting, in the store at the depot, before we took the train ride up to Colorado and back to New Mexico




And guess what else I found? This brown Grand Tetons one was a sharer -- Mom's wearing it on the same trip on a different day. Now if only we still had that awesome moose shirt I'm in. 

I was most thrilled to discover the infamous Busy Beavers Canada shirt in the pile.


The last and youngest of the group, only thirty years young, was my Thompson Lions shirt, which was the Friday staple. But no pictures of me wearing it.

Other than the moose shirt above, there a couple of others I wish had been in there


the beloved puppy shirt

one of many Snoopy shirts long gone

the horse shirt I broke my arm in

or the National Oil Well shirt I wore to pieces.