Gunner Shooting for the Stars

We wondered what this cute little boy was going to be when he grew up. I don’t think any of us would have thought he would be an artist Extraordinaire! No one in our family was an artist even though some were writers, inventors, dancers, musicians. There were many artistically inclined people in our family.

Gunner started carrying around a pencil when he was around three years old and he doodled on paper all the time. When he got to elementary school the teachers started comment on his talent for drawing and when he graduated from high school he was on his way to becoming a really talented artist and Art became his passion.

Stanford became the University of his choice and there in not one thing that he doesn’t love about going to school there. He loves his classes, his art studio, the fraternity, the art dorm he’s in charge of this year, the art classes he is able to teach, the art shows he is able to put on, the football games, his friends, Just everything!

Gunner has different sides to his personality. He likes to look inside himself to find ideas for his art. He told me once he doesn’t run out of ideas, he has a head full of them. He’s serious about his art, he gets to know his teachers especially those who he admires because of their art philosophy. He has no fear about creating art he just goes about creating, maybe that’s why he is always happy and comfortable in his own skin, so to speak. Gunner is most joyful when he is creating and loves to tell you about his art. But seriously I have never seen Gunner in a bad mood! Maybe we should all be artist? Pablo Picasso said ” Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”. I don’t think Gunner will ever have this problem!

Gunner organized and curated a “1-night-only exhibition welcoming new and returning students to Stanford’s visual arts scene”. He will be following up this project by curating another open call exhibition next quarter. He hopes to encourages all artists to submit their works, and he hopes that the entire Stanford community will come see the show.

Matthew Kelly said, “Wherever you are and wherever you feel called to go, whatever you are doing and whatever you feel called to do next, choose something today that moves you in the direction of your dreams”. This quote sums up Gunner better than anything I could say about him because Gunner’s every decision moves him in the direction of his dream. His dream is to be an artist and to help others become an artist as well. He hasn’t even graduated and he’s accomplishing his dream as he moves forward. What a blessing to always be living your dream!

Gunner will graduate this coming May. I hope all your ambitions come true Gunner and that you never forget how to dream!

Claire attends Medical School

This blog will be a little different from the others because Claire is now a freshman at LSU Medical School in Shreveport, Louisiana and she says “I hardly has time to breathe.” So I’m going through all the pictures of Claire that I love and building my story around them. Claire is thoughtful, studious and serious. She loves knowledge and loves to study. When she graduates I want to be her 1st patient because I know she will be a perspicacious physician from day one.

Claire is also a ham! This is the side of her personality that makes me smile when I think of Claire. Her laughter is warm hearted and joyous and is one of her best attributes.

Claire is with her twin Katy and her brother Ryan. They love being home on holidays together. We’ll all be together for Thanksgiving along with their significant other, Katy with Kosta, Ryan with Lauren, and Claire with Jake!

Claire and Jake are both medical students. Jake will be graduating this May and hoping to get an internship in Louisiana close to Claire. They both want to be Primary Care Doctors. Jake wants to specialize in Sports Medicine and Claire is thinking about Dermatology.

Claire and me

I love this beautiful grand-daughter. She’s my buddy at Sunday Mass. She’s always checking my face for peach fuzz and Clogged Pores. She always wants to drive me home when she thinks I had too much wine even though I was only going 1/2 mile away. She looks after me! She and Jake will be the doctors to see because they are both dedicated to excellence. Good luck to both of you!

Anita attends Wake Forest

Anita

Anita is my last grand-daughter to attend college! Her dad and I visited her at Wake Forest University this past weekend and she is loving it. It seems her favorite building is the library. She says if she’s not in class she’s studying in the library! Anita is driven by excellence in everything she does. She is a gifted student with an independent spirit. She also has an extraordinary talent for dance and acting.

Anita says she heads for the coffee shop for the best cup of Java on campus then finds a nook to study by herself or a reading room to study with friends! The library is very close to her dorm so she can pop over anytime day or night when she feels like studying, up until 1am at night.

Wake Forest is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Winston was named for Major Joseph Winston, a Revolutionary war hero. In 1910 Winston grew to three times the size of Salem due to wagons, a railroad, and Tobacco so they consolidated the two towns. Salem was founded by the Moravians in 1766. It was the quieter of the twin cities and the Moravians named it after the Hebrew word for peace, “Salem.” Winston-Salem was a town built on tobacco and is often referred to as the “Camel City” after the world-famous cigarette brand created by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

Duke and I met Anita in her dorm in the “William Poteat House” and we met one of best friends Claire. After a brief visit Anita took us to tour the campus which is very impressive.

Wake Forest is also known as Deactown named by a 1924 graduate who referred to the football team as “Demon Deacons,” because of their “devilish” play and fighting spirit. Their mascot is a Demon Deacon and their colors are black and gold! The students can walk down a trail to “Reynola Village” to shop and have a bite to eat in one of the restaurants! According to U.S. News & World Report Wake Forest is one of the top 30 National Universities for the 25th consecutive year and is ranked #28 in National Universities.

Anita and Gerald

Duke, Anita’s dad, took us to dinner along with her cousin Gerald. We had a good time listening to stories about their life at Wake Forest. They were both going back to the library to finish studying when we brought them back to campus. Mothers and Dads don’t have to worry about these two, they have it together!

Anita

Anita is going to major in Politics and International Affairs and Minor in Sociology and Communications. I bet you will also find her taking part in the Theatre. Oh a hummingbird just hovered by the window of my office where I’m writing about this special grand-daughter of mine. I looked up the biblical meaning of hummingbirds and it related to the bird’s ability to spread joy and playfulness. Folklore also suggest that they bring joy and good luck, so this is my wish for you Anita, the hummingbird said it for me!

Dennis goes to Boarding School

Dennis goes to Christ School, a private college preparatory boarding and day school for boys in Arden, North Carolina, a suburb of Asheville. It was founded in 1900 by Father Thomas and Susan Allen Wetmore as a mission of the Episcopal church. Mrs. Wetmore’s family gave them four acres of hilltop land for the purpose of educating the rural mountain children.

Christ school has changed into a private boys school and grown to over 500 acres of academic and residential buildings, athletic fields, wooded trails, and green space. Currently it has over 290 boys in grades 8 through 12 and students come from all over the United States and across the globe.

Dennis and his mother Pam

Christ school is similar to a university with a first class facility as observed when walking around the campus and meeting the impressive young men attending the school. The goal of the school is for each student to mature into a better version of themselves in order for them to prepare for the next step in their lives. Last but not least the school offers the students the most important quality of all through religious instruction and regular participation in Chapel activities, each of the students learns the sustaining value of faith and spiritual growth throughout his life.

The school believes in developing a young man’s physical fitness and leadership skills as well as his respect for others regardless of a persons origin, culture, or beliefs. Athletics and after-school clubs are an important part of the day. The 24,000 square foot Athletic Center includes a practice facility for various sports teams, as well as a state of the art weight training facility. It is beautiful and very impressive and overlooks the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains.

Dennis and his dad Duke

Christ School is home to the the Greenies, a historic rivalry with Asheville School. “The Game” is the oldest prep school football rivalry in both North and South Carolina, dating back to 1911. The Fayssoux-Arbogast Trophy was created in 1971 for the football coaches at Christ School and Asheville Schools. Winning this trophy has come to represent the ultimate recognition between the two independent schools. Christ School won the game this weekend, October 30, 2021 by a score of 60 to 24.

Dennis is loving Christ School! He is excelling and getting praise from his teachers. He enjoyed his birthday with his parents this weekend, for the freshman parent weekend. Pam, Duke, and Dennis participated in a parent /son dinner with the other parent and students in his freshman class and he was able to spend personal time with both parents. It seems as though all is good in Dennis’s world! Dennis is my last grandson to grow up and make his way in the world. My prediction is that Dennis will be as scripture describes in Matthew 19:30, “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” I do think Dennis is chosen!

Bailey, Max & Shep move to Austin

Sadly we say goodbye to Bailey, Max, and Shepard. Max’s company said they could live in San Francisco, Atlanta, New York, or Austin because next year all employees will be going back into an office some of the time. Bailey and Max lived in San Francisco and did not want to move back there. They wanted a city that they felt was best for raising a family. They decided Austin was the best place to raise their family.

This was Shep when he found out he was going to be a big brother. In the second picture, Shep is telling his assistant gym teacher, who he loves, that he is going to be a big brother. This last picture Shep is listening to his mother telling him how important it is to share his toys with the new baby when he/she gets to be his age. Bailey and Max don’t treat Shep like a baby. They treat him as a person who will grow to be wise, loving, thoughtful, independent and responsible.

Bailey and Max love living in Austin. Their home is very near the park on Lake Austin where they take Bear, Teddy and Shep to play and launch the boat for a play day. Max is creating an office in the back yard, as so many young executives are doing who find themselves working from home. His office in the house is becoming the new baby’s nursery and the guest bedroom will becoming the au pair bedroom. She’ll arrive the first of December from the Netherlands.

The Au Pair I think will be very surprised at this little boy she’ll be in charge of because he will steal her heart. He’s so inquistive and wants to know everything about this great big world he looks at every day. As a baby, he pointed and looked at you until you gave him a name of what he was looking at. When he started to talk and pointed, some of his first words were, “what it is”.

Bailey and Max are great parents. From day one, Shepard became their primary interest and responsibility. They always make plans around his schedule of meal time and sleep time. They read stories to him at bedtime and sing “Winnie the Poo” to put him to sleep. They rigged up a way for him to wash his hands and dishes in his wooden kitchen sink and he cuts up fruit for his afternoon snack which he puts in and gets from his refrigerator. I could sit and watch Shep all day long running from one activity to another. He doesn’t walk, he runs everywhere like if he does’t he’ll miss something. He loves cars and trucks! As we drove around the Austin, he called out when he saw a white car, “Mimi car”, black trucks were, “Dad Dad’s truck”. One day he actually had me driving a white Lamborghini. Yeh Shep! He can point out a backhoe, bull dozer, dump truck, etc. The funniest thing is his favorite, an excavator, which he can’t pronounce so he call it an “Ackibar” and is so excited when he sees one.

Bailey has started a new business! Shs is already having to find staff to help with her growing business

https://www.baileyroseevents.com

Shep will be two years old on November 17th, The new baby will be born any time from now until November 6th. I can’t wait to see if it will be a girl or a boy! Shep and I think it is a “girl” I’ll let you know so keep tuning in. Life is sooooo good for those who choose to live it wisely!

Katy goes to New York

Not me, but my granddaughter, “Katy” has gone to New York. She is a talented, vivacious, beautiful shooting star! She got her “dream job” with the Morris Adjimi Architecture and Interior Design firm in New York. The firm works in commercial, hotel, luxury residential, museum, and landmarks. She is pictures here, with whom I think, is her “dream Man” Kosta. He is also in Architecture working for Piero Lissoni who has offices in Milan and New York and develops projects worldwide in the fields of architecture, product design, graphics and visual communication; whatever that means. 

Katy and Kosta are enjoying being in the same city and having jobs they love. They love riding bikes, shopping, and the wonderful restaurants; they simply love this city. Katy is living in a very unique development called Stuytown. It’s located between East Village and Gramercy running from 14th street to 23rd street. On Manhattan’s East Side it runs between 1st & Ave. C. This is the greener side of downtown and Katy says it is simply the best place to be living. **See pictures below.

“Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, sometimes shortened to Stuytown is a very unique place in the middle of New York City. The complex consists of 110 red brick apartment buildings on an 80 Acres tract of outdoor space and is a large post-World War II private residential development. In Stuyvesant Town there are a lot of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks and is patrolled by the 13th Precinct of the New York City Police Department. The complex has its own public safety force of 40 officers. They patrol the property in specialized vehicles. The community has its own newspaper, “Town & Village”, also known as “the T&V”. These are a few interesting facts about Stuytown. Oh it’s also rent controlled!

Jete’ and Tommy moved Katy and had her furniture delivered to New York. They got her settled in her apartment, spent a little time shopping where they discovered a store named “13 Crosby” in Soho.

Interesting food, beautiful flowers, and architecture are some of Katy’s favorite things. She will have the time of her life in New York and I’m sure she will also be successful in pursuing her career. Take a big bite of that “APPLE” Katy!

Christian goes to Denver

Christian interviewed for jobs and got two offers from companies in Denver. One was with a company called Spkit and the other was Zoom . It was a hard decision but she took the job at Spkit. She is loving her job and Denver! One of the very best things she loves in Denver is going to Red Rock Park and Amphitheatre.

Red Rock Park & Amphitheatre is a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service and Department of the Interior, the amphitheater is a top destination for Colorado residents and tourists from around the world. It’s an easy 15-mile drive from Denver. It’s history is rich so I just have to quote some very interesting facts.

The giant sandstone outcroppings that form the walls of Red Rocks Amphitheatre are higher than Niagara Falls and are part of the geological Fountain Formation, deposited approximately 280 million years ago.

Red Rocks didn’t get its start as a music venue until the early 1900s, when Renaissance man John Brisben Walker set up a makeshift stage among the rocks. A famous opera singer came to perform and declared it “acoustically perfect,” ” and it’s been revered by musicians ever since.

To get from your parking spot to your seat is part of the adventure. Wear comfortable shoes and expect a bit of light hiking with some amazing views along the way. You want want to miss an opportunity while in Denver to experience this marvel.

Christian lives near Washington park in one of Denver’s most popular neighborhoods. Washington park is known for its giant grassy field. The park has a 2.6 mile, bike free outer loop perfect for joggers. Biking is also permitted within the park. She spends lots of time here with Rippa her British Lab! In this picture she and Nina are enjoying time in the park catching up.

Christian is caring, good natured, fun, smart, and beautiful! She’s a people person and makes friends where ever she goes because of her magnetism. Christian and Paulina her friend who works with her at Spkit are at a work conferencce. Spkit is a company that sells softwear to businesses and their mascot is an Octopus. The octopus is extremely intelligent, with a large brain and is capable of high-order cognitive behaviors, including problem-solving, maybe that’s why it’s Spkit’s mascot.

She enjoyed spending an afternoon on the Cherry Creek Trail, an 11.2-mile path that runs from downtown Denver’s Confluence Park to Cherry Creek Reservoir south of Denver. The smooth, concrete trail will take you by multiple parks and attractions. She loved going to the Rocky’s baseball game. The Rocky’s play at Coors Field which is a 76 acre ballpark at 20th and Blake Streets in Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood. It’s a special to place to experience the national pastime and offers a spectacular view of the Rocky Mountains as a bonus.

Carlyle, Ganster, and pal Alvin

Christian’s first love was her horses. Since she was nine years old she has been on a horse. These are two of her horses she rode in competitions, Gangster and Carlyle. Alvin is their buddy and hangs with them at the farm. Now these horses live the life of all good competitors when you put them out to pasture!

She is an Esquestrain and loves to compete in horse shows with her horse “True Valor.” She has the perfect job which gives her the flexibility to work from different locations so she can attend horse jumping events, also known as “stadium jumping”. The last show she competed in was HITS Chicago at Lamplight Equestrian Center.

It will be very interesting to follow Christians journey for the next few years. Where will she live? What will her career be? Where ever she goes and whatever she chooses to do, it will be interesting, exciting, important, and very worthwhile.

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Celebrating the Engagement

Parker and Whitney’s engagement party in Oxford, Mississippi was on a beautiful starry night in the town where it all began. Parker and Whitney met their senior year at Ole Miss. Their love bloomed and Parker proposed with a beautiful family engagement ring given from a favorite aunt who had a long and happy marriage. This should be a good omen for this special couple.

“The engagement party” was held in the private home of a good friend that Whitney worked for in her boutique, “Elliot Lane,” while she attended college at Ole Miss. Parker and Whitney were thrilled that their friends and family came from far and wide to celebrate with them. They came coming California, Denver, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and Louisiana. An extra bonus the evening of the engagement party was that it was Whitney’s grandfather birthday! It was a beautiful evening, rich in sentiment! (pictures above)

“The couples party,” the next day, was a Hawaiian theme and great fun! The party went on and on with great stories and lots of quality time with family and friends. It was given by Empress Buras and Penny Benzeman, who are long time family friends.

This weekend celebrating, “Parker and Whitney,” will be remembered as special and fun as all things are in Parker’s life; as he loves to celebrate the precious things in life. Whitney is more calm and composed and celebrates in a cool, calm and collected way! They perfectly complement each other. We all wish Parker and Whitney the best. A happy marriage and a long & loving life together as husband and wife!

Road Trip

I love road trips! I love to get in my Prius, plug in a destination and hit the road. I am now eighty three years old and will be having my second knee replaced on June 3rd so I thought it was necessary to make a visit to all my friends on the way to my granddaughters’ graduation in Savannah, GA on May 28th. That meant stops in Atlanta and Chicamauga, Georgia, Knoxville, Tennessee and on the way home Montgomery, Alabama.

I packed my car and headed out on May 24th. My first stop was Atlanta, Georgia to see my best friend Starr and her husband Don. I also was able to see Starr’s sister Toni and her husband John, and another good friend Mary Ann aka “Dart.”

Starr and I met in college at LSU and have been best friend for sixty years! Starr’s parents were from Louisiana. Her mother also went to LSU and was the “Darling” of LSU one year. Starr’s father went to Tulane and played on the only team that played in the Rose Bowl. When they married they moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee where Starr, Toni and their brother Billie grew up. Toni was three years old when Starr and I were freshman at LSU and brother Billie was a sophmore in high school.

I lived in Atlanta for a couple of years with Starr and Don after Katrina destroyed New Orleans and met so many great friends. Mary Ann was one of them. Starr and Mary Ann and four other friends formed a vacation biking group and every year they took a bike trip in different parts of America and Europe! This group of people in Atlanta are go-getters. They fed the homeless, raised money for organizations, distributed food to school children, attended bible study, go to church every Sunday, entertained and celebrated life. They never stopped doing and giving.

Susan and Jimmy Fontenot

My next stop was to have lunch with my cousin Susan and her husband Jimmy in Chicamauga. Chicamauga is on the southern outskirts of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, the nation’s oldest and largest military park. It is home to the Gordon-Lee MansionLee and Gordon’s Mills and the Veterans of All Wars Museum and is known as the “Gettysburg of the South.”

It’s always a treat to visit Susan and Jimmy because you are sure to have a delicious meal. Susan is known for her culinary skills and fresh food from her garden. We always have a good time rediscovering pictures and stories from relatives in our past.

Andy, Patti, Louis, Me and two of Louis’s daughters

Traveling on to Knoxville I visited my friends Andy and Patti. I hadn’t seen Andy’s son Louis since he was a baby. Patti and I gave Andy a baby shower for Louis, her only child, way back when. Now Louis is an attorney in Washington DC, married with four beautiful little girls. He and his wife split their time between Knoxville and Washington. Louis’s wife runs her family’s realestate company in Washington. Patti has watched Louis grow up since she lives in Asheville and see’s Andy often.

I now had my longest day on the road from Knoxville to Savannah. I strapped in and put the peddle to the metal and drove 6 hours actually following the speed limit and really enjoyed the scenery and drive! I arrived in Knoxville in time for “Happy Hour” and a good night’s sleep.

Katy and Christian graduated in a splendor of color on a very sunny and hot summer day but nothing was going to stop two days of celebration. Christian graduated from the college of Equestrian studies and Katy graduated from the college of Architecture. I can’t wait to see where these two beauties end up!

Patsy and me in New Orleans

Oh dear, I forgot to take a picture when I was visiting Patsy in Montgomery, on my way home. That is not unusual though because Patsy and I have a hard time taking a breath when talking, much less to think about stopping to take a picture. Also who would take the picture, oh yes it could have been a selfie. Well anyway we looked pretty good back when.

It is now time to jump back in my Prius for the drive back home and pack my bag again to go to the hospital for my robotic knee surgery. Oh dear, my 18 month old great grandson Shephard said, “Mimi’s car” when he saw this one. Well I do wish I could say a drove a Lamborghini home but I am very happy to have had a sweet ride home in my Prius for only $99 worth of gas!

What a fabulous road trip and I would encourage anyone who drives in there 80’s to keep enjoying the open road!

A Special Visit

My best friend Starr, sitting with me in the front seat, Suzanne, her daughter in Law, and her three son’s Nate, Andrew, and Matt came for a two day visit with us in Poplarville, Mississippi. Poplarville has a population of 2,894 as of the 2010 census. It is known as the blueberry Capital of Mississippi and hosts an annual Blueberry Jubilee every year. Poplarville is one hour and 12 minutes from New Orleans, LA and 49 minutes from Hattiesburg, MS. Other than that it is just a wonderful place to live. It’s small, quiet, friendly with rolling hills, Creeks, and farm land. God sprinkled his love in Poplarville! I

Starr, Suzanna, Nate, Andrew, and Mat, were on their way back to Atlanta after taking the boys to learn about their family in Plaquemine, Louisiana. Plaquemine was settled by 1775 and it is located at the juncture of Bayou Plaquemine and the Mississippi River. It is named for the Native word Plakemine, which means persimmon. It lies within the Baton Rouge metropolitan area. Starr’s family like a great many families in the area raised Sugar Cane. As the years went by they diversified into other industries as well.

Starr, Suzanne, Renee, and I enjoyed coffee and cocktails on the porch and visits on the lawn while the boys got fishing tips from Craig.

The boys wanted to work with Craig and Kyle while they removed fallen trees from a recent storm. Even Matt said I can do it too! Kyle gave Nate a driving lesson and he was very good at driving. There is always so much to be done on a farm. The boys said they would come back next summer and be helpers.

Nate and Andrew went fishing while Suzanna took Matt canoeing! Later that night Craig took the boys frogging and then dumped the frogs on the floor in the living room. Starr, Suzanne, and I went running!

Reneé and Nate

Reneé took the boys blueberry picking but it was at the end of the season so they get very many.

At night the boys played games and cut up left over vegetables from the garden for the ducks. We had a glass of wine, a good dinner, and lots of conversations. Everyone slept well because life on the farm can wear you out if you let it, or not!

Starr and I

I hate to say goodbye. Let’s just say “we passed a good time and I’ll see you soon!”

Always bring those boys!