Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Days Journalism Workshops & Mouse Ears

Ahhhhh the lazy days of summer and the hotter than the inner circle of hell Texas temperatures tempted me to just re-post my technorati article updating everyone on my training for the 3-day for the Cure

But no siree, Missy, we'll have none of that. I don't want anyone pulling my Texas card. Hails bails, no self-respecting Texan would admit to succumbing to the blazing temps or pawning off laziness on those triple digits. I was born in San Antonio, home of the Alamo. It's going to take a bit more than the sweltering Lone Star sun to stop this blogging.

OK, OK, OK… but it is summer and my DIs (Darling Inspirations) are all nestled in their air conditioned homes or out tanning by the pool or doing whatever it is DIs do when they're not driving me nuts or making me crazy or providing fodder for this blog.

I will be seeing 20 or so of them this summer when I spend that quality time at our annual summer workshop.  You know the one where I get to spend five fun-filled days and four worrisome nights with teenagers. Yeah, that's the one. 

Already the phone calls have been coming in with questions about this and that. Here's my favorite one so far. It's from a new staffer. (You can tell because new staffers always call me "Mrs. Richtsmeier" instead of Richie.)

Yearbook staffer… "Mrs. Richtsmeier, I was wondering if I had to attend the summer workshop."

Me… "Well, yes, why?"

Yearbook staffer… "Well, a friend of mine invited me to go to Disney World and it's during the same time as the workshop, and I was wondering if there was any way I could go."

Me… "Really? Disney World? Hmmmmmm. I don't know. Disney World or the journalism workshop. Disney World or the journalism workshop. Disney World or the journalism workshop. I don't know why you wouldn't want to go to the workshop instead of Disney World. The workshop is so-o-o-o much more fun…"

Yearbook staffer sounding a tad bit puzzled… "Oh…"

Me… "Are you kidding me? Go to Disney World…"
But blast it all, I forgot to tell her to pick me up some mouse ears.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ain't Life A Beach

(Article first published as Week 7: Training on the Beach, Incidents and Oil Spills on Technorati.)

After school got out, I headed for the beach. Thankfully, we go to South Padre Island. We gave extra thanks because the Texas Gulf Coast (at least for now) remains unscathed by the BP oil spill wreaking havoc along the coastline from Louisiana to Florida.

So while the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in Alabama have closed public beaches because of the gooey, slimy mess, those of us fortunate to vacation along the Texas coast still can enjoy sun, surf and sand as well as some tasty shrimp.

My week at the beach, however, in no way stopped my training for the Susan G. Komen 3-day for the Cure 60 mile walk

In fact, I stepped it up a bit and  walked about 30 miles while at the beach. My family made sure I stayed on track offering to walk with me. Sometimes we walked along the beach. Sometimes we walked along Gulf Boulevard. All of it was walked in the hot Texas sun. Walking on the sand provided some extra workout benefits. We even walked a bit across the border venturing into Nuevo Progreso, Mexico, to do a little shopping. 

Although we've been there numerous times before, we did check with the tourist Welcome Center at South Padre Island before we decided to go because of all the drug violence reported in border towns. The very nice Welcome Center people told us that although there had been some "incidents," we would be fine as long as we as we remained aware of our surroundings.

They never did define "incidents." 

While walking across the bridge and while shopping in Mexico, we couldn't help but notice that we were one of the few Americans shopping there. Now I know why.

The very next day another shopping mecca destination for tourist, Matamoras, was in the news for a running gun battle that began at a police station and left seven police officers dead before it ended when the Mexican military finally took control of the situation.

I wonder if those nice Welcome Center people would have referred to that as an "incident."

And all that makes as much sense as referring to the BP oil spill as an "incident." 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Graduation, Churches & the Summer Sun

(Writer's note: Well school is out and summer is here, and I need a break. So-o-o-o I will be sharing posts made on technorati here from time to time. I still plan to post weekly. So make sure you come by. The following article was first published as "Graduation Venues Heating Up Controversy" on technorati.)

We all survived graduation in the sweltering near 100 degree heat at our football stadium. Until about three years ago, we used to hold it at Potter's House until it became too expensive.

But even if we could have passed around the ol' collection plate and rustled up enough donations to head back over to the very nice, air conditioned Potter's House, apparently the ACLU and a federal judge would have tried to stop that.
Something about separation of church and state. Oh, did I forget to mention Potter's House is one of those megachurches? 

A school district in Connecticut  had a big brouhaha showdown over wanting to hold graduation in a megachurch there. After a U.S. District judged issued a preliminary injunction saying it was unconstitutional for the Enfield School District to hold its commencement ceremonies at The First Cathedral, the school board voted not to appeal the ruling.

Like so many other high schools across the country, megachurches offer great air conditioned spaces that can accommodate everyone from Uncle Bob to Cousin Jake and even the neighbors down the street. Not only can they accommodate huge crowds, they even have enough parking spaces for them, and, as an added bonus, they even have state of the art video feeds to view your graduate up close and personal. What's not to like about that?

The superintendent of Windsor Schools told Fox News that the board voted not to appeal the injunction because "the board felt that if it remained with the Cathedral and faced the ACLU, the cost to the taxpayers would be significant and the board could not justify that cost."

With temperatures expected to soar into the triple digits here, administrators at Southlake Carroll Senior High School opted to move their graduation ceremonies to the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium with its cool 78 degree indoor temperature. Still, all that fuss in Connecticut got me wondering if moving the Southlake Carroll graduation bothered the sensibilities of parents or kiddos who are Philadelphia Eagles fans, or maybe that little move violated some sort of NFL thingy. 

When my daughter graduated a number of years ago at Potter's House, I don't recall even remotely thinking her high school was endorsing any religion. We were too busy doing the dance of joy to pay much attention to the venue.
I wonder if that judge would have changed her mind if she had had to sit on the 50 yard line in near 100 degree heat, in her black robe.

Just wondering.