Saturday, September 12, 2009

Shoe Shopping With Kids

Why is it that I only go shoe shopping - not for myself - but for the kids when I am WITH the kids.... I used to know better. I knew I could just go pick something I liked and they would be so excited and it would fit. What happened to that?
Just spent an hour and 45 minutes buying shoes for my 10-year old. She tried on at least a dozen pairs. And we walked out with the very first pair she tried on. And I am sure with H1N1, SARs and God knows what else because somehow the only place the 3-year old and 6-year old wanted to be was on the floor.
Do I sound cranky?
I am.
It was cold and rainy all day - maybe a high of 60 at best.
I have almost totally lost my voice. (No - not from yellling - I was the model of patience. From some sneaky cold.)
I have 2 more back-to-back trips in the next 2 weeks.
I have more work than I can ever finish.
My feet hurt.
But you know, as I write this, I have to say - there are more blessings in my life than I can count. So, I guess I should count shoe shopping with those 3 kids among them....
And now I am going to crack a beer if I can find one - not to drink but to put in the yummy Turkey chili I am going to make; I am going to sit on the couch between the kids and watch Handy Manny; put my feet on top of the warm laundry - and revel in these simple pleasures.
Have a happy day!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Kevin, my husband, pinged me at about 3 on Friday.
"Want to go camping this weekend?"
My initial reaction was not just no, but are you crazy? I didn't say that.
Our dryer was on the blink - so laundry up to the ceiling; I have my 2nd of 5 trips in the next six weeks on Monday; my 6-year old had a birthday party on Sunday and I had not bought a gift; my 10-year old was serving at 11:30 Mass on Sunday; I had a surprise conf call scheduled for 4:30 - and it was my babysitter's last day - with a new and unknown sitter arriving bright and early Monday. Oh, and did I mention that I am not a huge camping fan?
"Sure, if you want," I wrote back.
And so we did. By 8:30 pm, we were pulling into the camp grounds outside of Estes Park, Colorado, suburban full, kids unfed and laundry in charge at home.
If you have not been to Estes Park, it is a great little town at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park. It is ice cream shops, souvenir taffy and lots of rocks, antlers and t-shirts for sale. The food always looks better than it is but there is no denying the absolute majesty of the Rocky Mountains. We had not been in a while and it was sad to see the economy taking its toll - leaving closed shops in its wake - but at least for this weekend, the town was packed. We were happy to be away from it all in our little cabin outside of town.
And you know - it was fun. We played cards, hiked, grilled before the rain came and ate smores afterwards. We watched the lightening in the clouds and listened for sounds in the night. (I'll leave it sounding scenic rather than go into the lack of showers.)
By Sunday morning, when we loaded up to drive back through the Canyon (Big Thompson Canyon), none of us were quite ready to go (shower, yes - go, not so much).
We got home safely - the laundry had kept everything else at bay; the delivery man brought a new dryer, there were phone messages for sleep overs and end of summer plans, and United beckoned on my email for early checkin. And I am glad I can close my eyes and see the breeze sweeping through the meadows and the moon rising over the ridge.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Home Again

Just lonely for home tonight.
For Mr. Gatti's samplers with creamy Italian dressing. For that oppressive heat and then the thunderstorm that cleans the air. For the sounds of the night and the stars in the never-ending sky. For going to HEB and seeing familiar strangers - faces from your childhood - and probably an aunt or an uncle, too, whose faces and bodies have grown older and more wrinkled but who still feel like home. When I was in Austin, or San Antonio, or Houston - I always needed - not wanted but really needed - to make the trek "home" every now and then - refill my cup. That's how I feel tonight. Need the cup refilled.
Lonely for Sandra's mom and dad. And those pork sandwiches that were always packed in her lunch in middle school. And her dad's cream corn. And his fajitas. And the never ending kindness that her parents always shared.
Lonely for the cemetery in Kingsbury - where each time I walk through I recognize more and more names and neighbors and where I end up at my own parents' graves - and it is as close as coming home as I can get.
Lonely for the long, dusty country roads and the old bridges over rivers that we used to swim in. For the fields that bake in the sun and the red-brown dirt that shows through each row.
Lonely for the sanctuary of my grandmother's house. For walking barefoot across the yard after dark back to my peach-colored room and the curtains that swayed in the breeze. For the whistle and the rhythm of the trains mysteriously filling the night air.
That is what I am lonely for tonight. What do you miss?

Monday, June 15, 2009

You might have issues if...

If you dream in Tivo, you might want to explore some deeper issues.

If you eat Mac and Cheese out of the pan while "cleaning the kitchen" - and you like it, you might want to examine your life.

If you have 6-10 books on your nightstand - and you have only managed to read a chapter or two from each, you might want to stop and think about what it says.

If you are looking forward to Texas and Louisiana in the summer - including the heat - simply because it means you don't have to be on the phone for meetings all day, it is probably indicative of something.

If you know all of the characters on Barney - names, ages and their family situation - might want to take a closer look....

What are your issues?


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday Trivia

Okay peeps....let's try this again. It's time for Tuesday Trivia. You don't have to be a Mats '86 to play along...everyone is welcome to play! Don't be a party-pooper....the more, the merrier! For instructions on how to post a comment, click here.

What were your best/worst subjects in school and what subjects would you want to learn now?


Monday, June 1, 2009

Can it be...

Can it be - it is only June 1, and I already feel fall in the air. We haven't even gotten to summer yet, and the secret dread I harbor for fall is already here. It is not that there is anything wrong with fall. I love fall. I love the crisp evenings and the colorful leaves - at least while they are still on the trees. It is more what comes AFTER fall that I worry about - months and months that aren't, well, that aren't summer.
We have very mild winters considering - but um, considering I grew up in TEXAS, they can wear on a person.
It is about 7 p.m and the temp has dipped to an even 68 degrees. I think the high was about 73 - and I stole 3 minutes of sunshine between meetings.
The other night, we went to the big town of Greeley to watch the Colorado Foxes play the Greeley Greys (baseball - NOT major league). It was so cold, we left in the middle of the 7th with our Foxes up 8-1. (Can it be - I picked up the paper the next morning and we'd lost 9-8....)
I was in Boston last week for work, and it was 56 and rainy cold. And of course, I didn't bring a sweater or a jacket....

Summer, summer - come out and play!
What are your summer memories?
Candies? Cruisin'? Corral? Share them!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

In Our Thoughts...

Please keep David Schwartz in your thoughts and prayers. His mother, Jeannine L. Greiner Schwartz passed away on May 26, 2009. For funeral arrangements and memorial contribution information, please click here.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday Wednesday Trivia

Okay Mat's 86: in an attempt to pickup traffic on our blog, I am stealing a fun idea from a former Matador. Courtney Gregg (class of '88) hosts "Tuesday Trivia" every week on her Facebook page. The questions are random, and gives you an opportunity to share a little about yourself and/or take a trip down memory lane.

Posting a comment on this blog is easy. If you have a gmail account, use your gmail log-in to post your comment. If you do not have a gmail account, log-on to and create one. It's easy! I'm willing to bet even Randy Hrechko and Kevin Beevers can do it!!

So here's our first Tuesday Trivia question: (and yes I got this one from Courtney) (and yes - I'm aware it's Wednesday, but I'm eager to get started)!!

If a theme song were to play everytime you walk into a room, what song would play and why?

First person to answer gets a free beer at our next reunion in 2011....compliments of Mary Glenewinkel. GO.....

P.S. Has anyone checked out Twitter?


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wow! A 25K....

Wow! I am so impressed and proud of our Lavonne! A 25K! I honestly have never figured out the metrics thing, but I know that is a long way - much longer than the 3 miles or so I can eak out on the treadmill before refueling with icecream and Dr. Pepper.

Congratulations, Lavonne!

What is on your "life list" to complete?

Here's to summer!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Where has the time gone....

Where has the time gone? I see it passing everyday in the faces of my children - somehow they have grown from babies to little people with opinions and voices and wills of their own. I see it in my own face, when I see a photo of myself and recognize my mother or sister. I see it in some of the things I say, things I thought I would never say - when I hear my parents' words coming out of my voice.
Tonight my husband said, "You realize, when Amanda (our oldest) goes to college, Lauren (our youngest) will be Amanda's age now." He said it with a mixture of despair and wonder - as in, will we ever be free of soccer games and birthday parties.
And my immediate reply was, "Thank God." As tired as we get of the running and sleepless nights, I believe that all too soon, we will ask, "Where has the time gone?" and that the only answer we will hear is the memories of these days and a longing for this time.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Matador Marathoners

Congratulations to Randy Hrechko and Ralph Serralta who completed the Boston Marathon (26.2 miles) on Monday, April 20th. They crossed the finish line in 3:30.

For those not familiar with the Boston Marathon, participants must qualify to run in what is considered the world's oldest annual marathon, by meeting a designated time standard that corresponds with their age group. This year the marathon had close to 23,000 runners who qualified and participated.
Randy and his wife Lee currently live in Columbia, South Carolina; while Ralph and his wife Gail and family live in Arlington, Texas.

Congratulations guys! I think it's awesome that the two of you have kept in touch over the years and are able to use the marathon as a way to reunite.

One hour till the start

"The Aftermath" (as Ralph called it)

The Post-Rehydration Party

Saturday, March 14, 2009

In Our Thoughts...

Please keep Laura Naumann Heller in your thoughts and prayers. Her mother Peggy, passed away on Friday. The obituary may be read at

The last email address I have for Laura is


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Stages in Our Lives

The loss of Julie’s mom has caused a restirring of emotions these last few days. It’s been a reminder that although we’re adults, there are still several stages in life remaining for us to experience.

The stages that make-up the Class of ‘86 are rather diverse. Some of us are traveling the world, some becoming empty-nesters; others are experiencing the joys of teenage drama, others are just getting started with their child-rearing, while others, believe it or not, are experiencing the joy of grandchildren.

And then there are those who have a dual role as a parent…not only to their children, but their parents as well. Yes - WE'VE become our parent’s parents. Our daily vocabulary includes words such as hospital, nursing home, doctor appointments and hospice.

There’s no doubt that Julie and I are not the only ones in our class to experience the loss of a parent(s) within the last 23 years. When you sit down and think about things realistically; several of us will experience this fact of life within the next 10 years. Some of us, on the other hand, have been down this road earlier than expected, and must sit back helplessly as we watch our classmates take this painful, emotional journey with their parents.

I was blessed to play a role in mom’s final stage. I was advised by a very wise man to treat her illness as a “long goodbye”; and that I did. I thanked her for working two, sometimes three jobs; I thanked her for making us work during our teenage years; but I also asked forgiveness for things I said/did that undoubtedly caused her heartache over the years. As she slept, I studied her hands and face….the fine lines, the wrinkles, the calluses. When I hugged her, I inhaled her scent and prayed I'd never forget it. As a daughter I still have a few regrets, but I feel in my heart, mom and I were at peace when she drew her last breath.

It would take some time to realize that I wasn't the same person I was the day before mom died. I comfort my mind with the thought that although mom left a bit of herself with me here on earth; she also took a part of my heart with her on her new journey.

I had another friend tell me that once both parents are gone, you actually go through a phase where you feel orphaned. It would take months after mom’s death to understand what she meant. It would take a personal crisis to realize my “life-line” was no longer available….no parent to call, no arms to hold me, no advice, no sounding board. I had in a sense, become “mom”. And that’s when I realized that a new stage for me was beginning.

As a parent, you pray that your children out-live you. You pray that as a parent, God will bless you enough days on earth to watch your children grow and experience all life has to offer. And sometimes, for reasons we never understand, God has His own plans, and takes loved ones home before they’ve had the chance to spread their wings….without the opportunity for us to say goodbye.

We tell our kids we love them everyday. My hope is that you do the same with your parents. I hope it doesn’t take a terminal illness to bring this to fruition. I hope you treasure everyday God has blessed you in still having them in your lives. I hope you take the time to memorize every fine line and wrinkle on their face and hands....listen to them tell their childhood stories...inhale their scent when you hug them. I promise there will be a day when you want to close your eyes and retrace those lines, their stories, and their scent in your memory….and in your heart.

- Lavonne

Thursday, February 26, 2009

In our Thoughts....

Please keep Julie Pomerantz and her family in your thoughts and prayers during this time. Julie's mom, Hana Pomerantz passed away on Wednesday, February 25th.

The obituary can be read in today's Seguin Gazette-Enterprise.

The last email address we have for Julie is


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thanks for the nudge, Lavonne. I was actually thinking on my way home from this month's school PTO meeting, how much I enjoy reading your blog and your postings and feeling just a smidge guilty that I have not posted on this site in so long. Trying to get our principal to blog....And I was thinking how much I don't enjoy PTO meetings...and wondering if the tooth fairy would remember to make a delivery to my 5-year old in celebration of his first lost tooth....

Recently, I realized how complacent I have become. Somehow, somewhere, I slipped into the ease of routine and a bubble of familiarity. It is not a bad thing, but it is something that I did not fully realize until I was faced with change. And not work change - that is old hat. But there is nothing like personal change to open your eyes.
It made me think of all of the big change milestones I have marked - that feeling of wanting certainty in times of uncertainty. I think graduating from SHS was the first of those for me - where I really felt uncertain. Not moving from Texas to AZ when I was a toddler, not moving to Texas from AZ in 4th grade, not transitioning between schools - nope - suddenly being adrift as a graduate with that big future stretching out forever in front of me...
Certainly the loss of my mother overshadowed that and was the most profound change. Graduating from UT. And then losing Daddy. Getting married. Moving from TX to CO. Having kids - still baffles me why they let me actually bring the kids home with me....
While you could never say that all of these changes were "good" - I do truly believe that change provides us with an opportunity to consider things we never would have, to do things to pop that complacency bubble....
Maybe I'll never get the PTO to put their auction on line. Maybe I'll never get the principal to create a blog so the school will have a better sense of community. Maybe some changes are too hard. But for me, I now know that I need change - whether you make the change or not, just having the chance can open your eyes.... Now I just need to see if the tooth fairy has a dollar in her purse - that's one change that deserves celebration!
What are the changes that have marked your life? What lessons have you learned about yourself or others? Kinda interesting to think about....

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Little More Humor

Hey Mary.....are you trapped in snow? HELLLLOOOOO! We'd love to hear from you!

I received this tidbit of humor from a Huntsville friend and thought you might enjoy reading "how far we've come" since the 80's.

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing they walked twenty-five miles to school every morning UP hill... barefoot... in the snow....BOTH ways...yadda, yadda, yadda. And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids...about how hard I had it, and how easy they've got it! But now that I'm over the ripe old age of 40, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today....they've got it so easy! I mean, compared to our childhood, they live in a Utopia! And I hate to say it, but you kids today don't know how good you've got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up the card catalogue!!
There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter....with a pen! Then you had to put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there!
There were no MP3' s or Napsters! If you wanted to "steal" music, you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and then the DJ usually talked over the beginning and messed it all up!
We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it! And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, yo mama, your boss, a collections just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!
We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600...with games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your guy was a little square. You actually had to use your imagination!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!
You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on tv! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your rear and walk over to the tv to change the channel. And there was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday morning. Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little punks.
We didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something, we had to use the stove ... imagine that!
That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled. You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980's and 70's!


Monday, January 5, 2009

Online Reunion

About a year ago, a fellow parishoner introduced me to Facebook. I didn't think much about it. I setup a page with limited personal information and in the months to follow, I'd receive that occasional email from Facebook indicating a friend was wanting to add me as their friend to their page.

Well people, let me tell you....I never gave Facebook serious attention until Christmas break. At the beginning of December, I might have had five (5) friends listed on my page. Then during the break, I get an email from Facebook saying Jill Bowerman wants to add me as her friend. Not only did I say "yes", but I actually spent some time on Facebook and was excited to see (and find) so many familiar faces from SHS. In this two week period, my "friend count" has climbed from 5 to 76. I've touched base with folks I haven't seen in over 20 years...even my first teacher crush - Mr. Menking (I know Monica Brawner will get excited on that one).

So take a few minutes and see who you can reunite with. From my experience, you can pull up names without a Facebook account; however keep in mind the info you find will be limited, and there's always the possibility that a person's page is set so that you can only view it if you have an account.

I'm excited about this online tool. It's a great way to stay connected with those we hold close in our hearts and memories.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 2009.