Graduation North Texas Style

A week ago Friday, Rachelle performed for family, friends and faculty at her senior voice recital:

Rachelle Moss, Senior Voice Recital
Rachelle Moss, Senior Voice Recital (click photo for rest of album)

Saturday, the actual commencement ceremony held in the UNT Colliseum:

Rachelle Before Commencement (click photo for rest of album)

Saturday evening, her graduation party, hosted by her friend and former landlord, who also stayed up all night Friday to barbecue ribs and brisket:

Rachelle About to Cut Her Cake
Rachelle After Commencement (click photo for rest of album)

Good food. Good fun. Good times. Great memories.

Mid-December Texas Travelogue

The Before photo of the Broken Beast

Ten days and over a thousand miles ago (1,313 miles or thereabouts, but who’s counting?),  Terry and I survived a weekend of single digit temperatures and 35 mph north wind gusts without a working furnace. We kept our home a toasty 70 degrees with two oil heaters and two inexpensive fan space heaters, even in the aforementioned frigid weather conditions.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010:   Mark Moody, life-long friend of Terry from the Wichita area, and his assistant, Kenneth, arrived with our shiny new 96% efficient furnace and four ton air conditioning unit.   In record time (and I mean record), Mark and Kenneth installed both units and by the time I arrived home from work on Wednesday evening, I had a warm toasty house.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010:

After Installation

Texas Visitor's Center near Gainesville
Texas Visitor's Center near Gainesville

Thursday, 16 December 2010:  Only about twelve hours after thanking Mark and sending him home to Wichita, Terry, my dad and I hit the road south to Texas for a weekend of celebration, exhibition, reception and graduation for my son, Derek Moss. We took our time, had fantastic weather and arrived in Plano as the sun was setting.

Friday, 17 December 2010:  Derek’s exhibition demonstration was scheduled for 4:00 pm at the Guildhall (SMU @ Plano campus) so we (Dad and I) retrieved Rachelle from Denton via SH 380.  That took a couple of hours, and a stop for lunch at Braums.

Derek Moss as part of the Synesthetic Dream Game Team of Cohort 13
Derek Moss as part of the Synesthetic Dream Game Team of Cohort 13

Once back in Plano, we left Rachelle at the Residence Inn and headed over to the Guildhall for the presentation and later the reception, which included a talk by the EA’s Chief Creative Director, Richard Hilleman.

Derek Moss receiving his stole for his Certificate of Art Creation
Derek Moss receiving his stole for his Certificate of Art Creation

Of even more importance to the photographers in the audience, the graduates donned their academic regalia and received their stoles and master’s hoods.

Saturday, 18 December 2010:  Friday, we left the Residence in after a quick continental breakfast to brave the Dallas traffic to the main SMU campus.  On a normal day, Google maps estimated an hour drive.  Since it was early Saturday morning, it took us just a bit over a half hour, giving us some time to cruise around campus and take in the beauty of the grounds at Southern Methodist University.   We scored close parking, thanks to Terry’s handicap hanging tag and great seats (also in the handicap accessible area) of Moody Coliseum.

Derek Moss waiting to walk across the dais at the SMU December Graduation Ceremony
Derek Moss waiting to walk across the dais at the SMU December Graduation Ceremony

A couple of hours later, at 10:00 a.m., the graduates processed in and the fun began. The Guildhall graduates were the last set of Doctoral or Masters candidates to walk before the ‘regular’ Bachelors degree students.

Derek Moss, SMU Guildhall Graduate, Certificate of Art Creation
Derek Moss, SMU Guildhall Graduate, Certificate of Art Creation

After the ceremony concluded, it took us a few minutes to find Derek again out in front of Moody Coliseum, but we eventually got together for some family photos.  Derek turned in his gown and led us to the home of one of his team members for a after-graduation party.  Stunning home (built by the owner/father), savory pulled pork (prepared by Derek’s friend), wonderful vodka punch and great fun.

Sunday, 19 December 2010:  For some unknown reason, Terry and I were up, wide awake, by 4:30 a.m.  We packed as quietly as we could and started stowing away items in the car.  By 6:00 a.m. we were done and waiting for Rachelle, asleep on the hideaway.  Rather than wait another hour for the continental breakfast provided by Residence Inn, we left early and descended upon an IHOP just north of there on Preston Road.  If you haven’t tried their Harvest Grain ‘n Nut pancakes (with a side of turkey bacon heave), you don’t know what you’re missing.  We dropped Rachelle off in Denton and said a quick ‘hi’ and ‘goodbye’ to Nic as he was heading off to work (the only Sunday he is required to work all year for his employer).  The rest of the trip north, with a hefty tailwind to aid our gas mileage, was uneventful.  We arrived back in Lansing before 4:30 pm.

Just a few hours later, while Terry was talking to a friend down in his band room, he started experiencing chest pain.  We called an ‘ask-a-nurse’ service and tried to wait it out, hoping the pain would resolve itself, but after a couple more hours, he was still in pain (but not experiencing any of the other ‘usual’ symptoms associated with heart attacks or strokes – no numbness, tingling, tunnel vision, radiating pain, etc.).  So, at 10:15 pm, we arrived at a quiet St. John’s Hospital emergency room, where we stayed for a battery of tests until 3:30 a.m.  Heart issues were quickly ruled out, as well as stroke, but it took some time to rule out a blood clot in the lungs.  Eventually, Terry was released to return home with some pain medication to help deal with the chest pain, which continued but was unexplained (yet apparently not life threatening).

Monday, 20 December 2010:  We slept late (see previous paragraph), but not too late as we had several errands to run, including retrieving the Rotts from the boarding kennel.  Squeaky clean excited Rottweilers in the back of your car and in your home for the first fifteen minutes; makes it difficult to take snapshots, but I persisted:

Squeaky Clean Rotties
Roxy and Apollo all clean for Christmas

Tuesday, 21 December 2010:  Knowing I had to work a whopping two days this week, I went to bed early.  Terry woke me up around 2:30 or 3:00 a.m. to let me know Derek and Royna were arriving in thirty minutes.  Shocker!  I blearily got up and prepared the spare bedroom and slunk back to bed to finish my interrupted sleep.  After work, I made a couple of loaves of Rosemary Sourdough to take to work on Wednesday as last-minute gifts for a long-time co-worker and my boss.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010:  I survived a slow day at work, anticipating Rachelle arrival from Texas, via the Kelloffs, later that evening.  She arrived safely before 10:00 p.m.

Thursday, 23 December 2010:  Rachelle and I, the early risers in the family, rearranged the great room to accommodate the Christmas tree.

Santa's Helper Constructing Christmas Tree
Santa's Helper

Thanks to Santa’s helper (Rachelle), who transported the tree and trimmings from the basement storage room up two flights of stairs to the great room, we have a beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the northwest corner of our great room.

And here I sit, on the morning of Christmas Eve, reflecting back on a year of surprises, filled with joy, hope, grace and love.

May your Christmas be Merry and Bright!


Merry Christmas from the Mosses
Merry Christmas from the Mosses