Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumnal Notes…

Just a record  for my for my feeble brain on how I arranged the fall decorations in 2012












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Friday, September 21, 2012

Walton Wonderland!

My son’s class had a private tour/class at Crystal Bridges, America’s foremost museum of American Art, in Bentonville, AR today.  The museum’s architecture and landscaped grounds are world class: “stunning” in a word.  The museum opened last November as a gift to the American people from Wal-mart heiress and philanthropist, Alice Walton.  It truly is amazing to have this internationally recognized “gallery” so close to home.  File:Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art--2012-04-12.jpg

More impressive than the physical beauty of the architecture, grounds and works of art, is the top notch staff that has been hired.  Each person we encountered were professional, helpful and happy you were there.  Our docent was “Miss Beth”, a newly graduated student of history from the U of A, who still could not believe how lucky she was to have this fantastic job right out of college.  She was so personal with the students, calling them by name, engaging them in meaningful conversation about 4 selected pieces of art chosen for the tour of “Conflict in America".  I didn’t get a chance to write down all of the pieces that they studied, but the theme focused on what Americans were going through and thinking about during certain key times of history…the Spanish-American Conflict, the great depression and the Civil War. We had the entire museum to ourselves before opening time, and the kids were asked to sit on the floor, grab the clipboard and pencils and focus on the first work they evaluated, “Plowing it Under,” by Thomas Hart Benton.  It’s not a story about slavery, but a story of share cropping, “plowing under” the crop because of the low demand for expensive food in the great depression era.  It made us all really think…what a waste!



Funny thing about their “classroom” experience…they sat in front of “Plowing it Under,” and never paid attention to the one directly over their heads…the iconic “Rosie the Riveter,” by Norman Rockwell!

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This was pre-walk…miles of trails!


The view from the top of the trails at the overlook…



a good rest was needed by all for the trip back down the trail to the museum…but what a trip that was…


because we bumped right into Ms. Crystal Bridges herself, Alice Walton! I recognized her chatting to a lady on a bench and thanked her for this tremendous gift to our country and how wonderful to have it in our “backyard!”  Would she mind if we introduced her to the children…”that would be fine”…would you consider a picture with them?  “Of course I want my picture with them!” she replied.  She was engaging and charming with the kids and she wanted to know what were their favorite pieces of art in the museum.  They asked her the same and she said she was kind of fond of “Kindred Spirits” by Asher B. Durand for which she paid more than $35 million dollars from the New York Public Library in 2005.  


Our gang and the richest woman in America!


She asked the children if they noticed the large statue of Pinocchio and told them that she purchased it from a friend who is president of a big bank in New York City.  He displayed it where all of his employees would see him daily to remind them not to steal or tell lies at work or else their noses would grow!


Michael and Alice Walton…


and more buddies enjoying time with her!


Hmmm…she’s quite the dude magnet!!


It was a wonderful day with great kids, their principal, teachers and parents who have spent the past 7 years going on field trips together! A+ for the experience!

Check out the video below!


A few minutes of our visit with Alice…

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mom Stalkers

Cotillion season has arrived and parents were given strict instructions…no entering the building until you are told you may come in.  Yes, ma’am! So imagine a line of moms (and a few dads) taking turns to peek into the only available window to see how are little men and women were doing with all these manners, learning to dance and then snapping a few pictures for grins?  They all looked so nice and most had big smiles! 

 20110021The first time you see then all dressed up, it’s breathtaking…and depressing!  How did 12 years go by so quickly? 20110022Thankfully, they were all happy to pose in their jacket and suits with their friends…just don’t ask for a picture of a boy and girl together!

20110013And as luck would have it, my kid is the one with his tongue sticking out!20110024

Some were too cool for school, but…


all of them were ready to bust a move and get out of their monkey suits!

River Valley Life Teen Prime Rib Dinner 2012

Every August, our LifeTeen group hosts a prime rib dinner fundraiser for the kid’s activities.  This year was by far the most successful of them all!  We have such a fantastic CORE group of adults and high school juniors and seniors…and the kids involved in our LifeTeen program are something to smile about.  They just keep on giving!20110003

Table decorations were simple and inexpensive…petunia planters wrapped with fabric sitting on a burlap base, gathered horses apples for a punch of color, crinkle confetti and votives.

20110002I filled large urns with fountain grass, coneflowers, verbena, coleus and Spanish moss.2011000720110006Big thanks to these wonderful workers for coming out early on a Saturday morning!

201100092011001020110011Look at all of these wonderful mini cakes!2011001420110015It takes a lot of man power to pull off the annual Prime Rib Dinner…here are the servers!20110018And , no…they don’t get prime rib…pizza before they get to work!2011001920110020

Many thanks to all who helped and come to enjoy the night!