ODE TO A TEACHER

 

Image If you can read this, thank a teacher.  If you have a job, thank a teacher.  If you can wait patiently in line at Starbucks, thank a teacher.

Over the next week or so, the teachers of our state will be giving the CRCT, EOC and other alphabet soup sounding tests that cause them, and our children, to lose sleep and make their hearts beat faster.  I know these things are important-I’m not here to debate testing vs. not testing as I am not in that profession-I just know this is a stressful time of year of everyone in the educational world.

What I will say that I have two children who are products of the public education system.  Both are honor students.  One is at UGA on a full academic scholarship, the other in a demanding International Baccalaureate program in his high school.  They have been lucky/blessed to have teachers who love what they do and thus, have been able to share that love with them (even if the boys weren’t as enthralled with algebra as the teachers themselves!).   My father says “Do what you love and love what you do.”  These people live by that and it shapes young lives.  I believe most teachers feel this way-it’s a calling to them, not a job.

I create memories for a living.  Teachers create futures.

To all my many clients in the teaching field, I am raising my hand (taught to me by a teacher) and, when called upon, will express loudly my forever thanks for all you have done for my children and all the others.   You will be a part of your student’s lives forever.

To a bright future–April

New Paths

mapThe winds of change are blowing through my front door, down the hall, to the second floor and out the back.  My oldest son graduates from high school in just a few days and the youngest got his driver’s license this past weekend.  Both are following that wind, right on out of the house, on to friends, colleges, adventures.  The tears well as I write this.

As I contemplate the situation of their departing figures, I wonder-how do the parents of all our brides and grooms watch their children go down the aisle, off to another life, and let go?

Each ceremony pretty much goes the same-we line the bridal party up, Mom kisses her daughter and, with head high, goes off down the aisle.  The maids go next-they are usually nervous about departing at the proper time and are waiting for the “go” signal.  Then there is Dad and the bride.  This is the time it gets dicey, it’s just them, we try to joke around to keep the air light.  That works sometimes, but not always-dads cry, daughters comfort.  I usually have to turn away.  Then it’s time-the bride gets her dress pouffed on last time and off to a new life she goes.  Dad gives her hand to the groom.

I’ve done hundreds of weddings, I get emotional at most.  To all you parents who keep those smiles on, who may have a few tears roll down your checks but don’t sob and remember what your gaining, not what your losing-you have my total respect!

How do all those parents do that and how am I going to let go graciously? Maybe it’s because we have done our main job as parents-raised our kids to be good adults.  We know, even though we may not want to let go of their hands, that they are ready for the next step.  We must move aside and let them follow their own life’s trail-who knows what treasures they may find!

It’s a Wild and Crazy World Out There!

Some of you may know, I’m on vacation-sort of. I have taken three 16 year old boys to Panama City Beach, the home of the largest “spring break” celebration in the country. Yeah!!! It is day 3 and it is raining. Not only am I stuck in a condo with the kids, I am seriously concerned about achieving the red glow I now have on the front of my legs on the back (we red heads don’t tan-we glow, like red hot charcoal). We need sunny weather.

To pass the time, I started Dave Barry’s new book, “Insane City,” about a totally over-the-top wedding taking place in Miami Beach. There are the normal collection of wedding characters-floral installation artists (don’t call them florists), wedding planners named Blaze, the “groom posse” who acts very badly, impossibility rich folks, and MOB’s from hell. You’ll learn about Bride’s Disease and its cure, wedding bloat, what a peeved monkey can do to a tux and that you should never, ever let your dad’s “medically altered” brownies be served at the Rehearsal Dinner. Oh, there are some Haitian refugees and angry strippers too.

I was giggling so hard, I was told to leave the room. Can’t wait to get to the wedding! If you are having a wedding, in a wedding, going to a wedding, or just need a laugh-get the book.

The lesson learned so far, and applicable to my situation today and any wedding, is breathe deep. Seth, the groom, keeps reminding himself as his situation goes from bad, to worse, to beyond words- that at the end of it all, he will be married to the love of his life. Breathe, it will be over soon.

When one of our brides is bit stressed, we try to remind her of this final goal as well. Things may happen (hopefully not the monkey or Russian mob), but at after it is all over, she and her groom will be husband and wife, go off to live happily ever after and have a funny story to share in the years to come! Breathe, it will all be over too soon.

A business magazine I read says that stress should be viewed as a challenge, not a threat. Write that on an index card, put it in your wedding planning book and read it daily. Weddings are supposed to be fun, and can be! We do try our best to make our part easy but I do warn you about “bad” groomsmen!

I am off to take the heathens to the movies. I have promised I won’t sit with them but am hoping they’ll let me have popcorn!

Pray for sun, my own insane city can stand only so much!

Have fun planning your wedding and, always, breathe,

April

springbreakcrowd3

We Don’t Sing-Notes From the Field

As many of you know, I have been in this industry since they invented dirt.  I have been there, done that, heard that question lots of times and am rarely taken back by stuff.

Recently I was astonished at an event and it caused me to change one of our long standing policies-I’ll share:

The DJ, not someone we knew, was 45 minutes late.  The only number we had was not answered, their company was not local.  After going to my office and searching the internet, I found another number for the agent.  The emergency person was very nice but other than read the contract to me, could offer no help.  The dj did arrive, with his 10 year old son (yes-his kid, in jeans) and did not seem too concerned that guests had arrived and he needed to speed it up. His casual attire matched his attitude.  His forgetting to introduce the groom’s mother, whose name was on the list and who was standing right there, did nothing to endure him to us or the couple who hired him.  The reception went on, our Captain remained attentive and the bride and groom are living happily ever after.

The short lesson is-we can fix a lot but we don’t sing or dance.

I always, always stress, meet your vendors!  Use local people, not some person on the other end of a computer line or 800 number-they have no vested interest in our community!  Is it really worth saving $100 bucks (if that) and risk having to send your best man to Wal-Mart to buy an I-pod system so you can dance with the love of your life?  NO!  There are no do-overs in wedding receptions-that is why we are so picky about getting your details.

So, our change-for all clients booked from here on out, dj’s must be selected from our Vendors List.  They are all local, I know them personally and have worked with them for years. We still do not take referral fees, this buys me more sleep at night.  Most importantly, I know they will provide my clients with the kind of excellent service they want and deserve.

Also, you will not need to worry about needing my staff to hum while you dance.

Our professional dj’s:  Spectrum Entertainment, Complete Music, Atlanta Bands & Dj’s, Black Tie Events

May your days be eventful,   April

choir

A HOMECOMING

pumpkin centerpieceI have been in this business for over 32 years.  I have faced countess types of clients:

-thousands of brides

-some bridezillas

-one bride I had to shake so she could get control of herself and go down the aisle

-even more MOB’s

-corporate planners and planner-want –to-be’s

-mitzvah kids galore

-US Presidents, Prime Ministers, even a King

I have just about always remained calm, in control, unafraid-until now.  This weekend, I have a party that is terrifying me—my son, who is a senior in high school, has invited his girlfriend and seven others to the house for their Homecoming Dinner.  In their speak-OMG!!!

Now these are a bunch of teenagers.  In coats and bowties (it goes with the theme of the party), dressy dresses and too tall shoes.  Why do they scare me?  Craig and I can cook, well and we do it all the time.  I have all the linens, fancy wedding china, can do some great centerpieces (baby gold pumpkins for place cards, scattered acorns, lots of candles) and have a formal dining room, complete with a couple of dogs who will sit on your feet.

I believe the fear is a fear all parents have in one way or another-not getting it right, failing your child.  Will they like the food?  Will the girls even eat?  Will they have fun?  Will they leave here without too much pet hair on their clothes?  Will our son be proud?

I am always sincerely honored to be a part of my clients’ celebrations and I am even more honored that our son would want to bring his friends to our home on their big night.  Most teenagers seem to use any excuse to get out of the house, away from adults.  For him and his group to want to be here is amazing.

So, it’s off to find my formal apron with the ruffles, brush up on my bowtie tying skills and iron the linen tablecloth. Most importantly, when I start to freak out, I must remind myself  that this time, this party, is being  paid for with a son’s love-which has already been received, many times over and that that won’t change even if I do spill the sweet tea.

Guess it’s not so scary after all—

Dinner-It’s More Than Food

So Craig is away and I’m in charge of dinner.  My children don’t remember that I used to cook all the time, before we had two kids back-to-back, before I returned to work full time.  Besides, my husband is a chef, he does know his way around a kitchen!  Regardless, when he is gone, everyone is always nervous that the family will starve—I roll my eyes a lot at the boy’s comments and produce fabulous meals that I will never get proper credit for.

 

SHOW UP

We eat dinner together, every night, in the dining room, with cloth napkins and usually candles, sometimes fresh flowers.  Music that compliments the meal comes through the speakers.  Attendance is not optional, even if you are a teenager.  This is just the way it is when your parents are “in the business.” 

 

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT

Our children have been learning to chop without cutting off your fingers, sauté, grill and toss a salad since they were tall enough to see the counter top.  They can touch a steak and tell if it is rare, medium rare or medium (nothing else is allowed-it is thought to ruin good meat!).  They will always be able to feed themselves and impress their girlfriends.

 

Tonight I yelled down the stairs that it was time to help with dinner.  They both trouped up, one set the table, the other got plates down and carved up the pork tenderloin.  Veggies and rice were added to the plates, sauce ladled out.  Music was turned on.  All this was done as routine.  We sat and enjoyed our meal (yes, I really CAN cook), discussed the day, debated the merits of droid vs. i-phone and continued the tradition of shared hospitality.

 

Do you stop and smell what’s cooking?

Steamy Weather, Clear Liquor & Words of Love

Hot Enough For Ya?

A group of us usually get together on summer nights, bring our dogs and our favorite libations and watch the sunset over the lake.  These past few weeks, the air has been so thick you had to breathe it through a colander and the dogs preferred the a/c at home-so much for “man’s best friend”!

 

Thirsty People

The heat does funny things to your brain and it made me start to think about what drink would be best in such circumstances.  Fruity rum drinks are fine when you’re young or they’re being brought to you by someone young while  sitting on a tropical beach.

 

Something clear and crisp was called for.

 

A quick Google search brought forth all kinds of ideas, many that involved vodka and umbrellas.  These are not pre-dinner cocktails-too sweet, too frou-frou.  Then my eyes ran across a classic-gin and tonic.  It’s clear, refreshing, it doesn’t ruin your palate.  Perfect!  Slice the limes, fill the tall glass with ice. . .you get the rest.

 

Love and Gin

While I was searching through the Google cocktail suggestions, my eyes fell on a listing with a link to the lyrics of a song.  Apparently a bride had this read at her wedding and, since I am in to all things “wedding”, I had to check it out.  While unusual for most ceremony readings, I like it-love certainly does all of this and more to a person! What do you think?

 

“Love is Like a Bottle of Gin” by the Magnetic Fields

It makes you blind, it does you in
It makes you think you’re pretty tough
It makes you prone to crime and sin
It makes you say things off the cuff
It’s very small and made of glass
and grossly over-advertised
It turns a genius to an ass
and makes a fool think he is wise
It could make you regret your birth
or turn cartwheels in your best suit
It costs a lot more than it’s worth
and yet there is no substitute
They keep it on a higher shelf
the older and more pure it grows
It has no color in itself
but it can make you see rainbows
You can find it on the Bowery
or you can find it at Elaine’s
It makes your words more flowery
It makes the sun shine, makes it rain
You just get out what they put in
and they never put in enough
Love is like a bottle of gin
but a bottle of gin is not like love

 

Cheers!!—