Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friends Over Miles & Years




What a week it's been!! One of the greatest things about my invitations to travel is that I get to connect with friends, old & new. In Chicago I had the opportunity to have dinner with one of my dearest friends, Renee Sutherland pictured above. We were walking buddies for years & kept each other sane thru the years of parenting adolescents. We live just over an hour from each other now -- but it seems like we normally meet in other cities. It was great to get caught up. Renee had a 3 DAY presentation on Conscious Discipline. WOW. I'm impressed. The luxury of time! (Oh and that's the Hyatt chandelier.)

We then traveled from the windy city on to southern WI to spend some quality time with our friends, the "Saint" family. How great to have an excuse to connect again. You may remember our adventures together this summer. Saint is my BCO sister. She doesn't like to think of herself as a hero, so perhaps I'll call her a 'shero' instead. Pat is currently having a transfusion about once a week. Her blood counts were especially low upon our arrival, so I was allowed to escort her to her appointment at the hospital.

She had an especially chatty nurse, and so we had nearly seven hours to tell stories & get caught up. We laughed. We cried. Then we'd laugh all over again. I had my blackberry phone with me & so I could read the messages posted on her thread over @ BCO. Which brought on more tears & more laughter.

We had a marathon heart-to-heart about the "quality of life" and how her treatments for her Stage IV BC impact her life..... and just how long she can continue to journey on. We both acknowledged that this was the weakest I'd ever seen her. Sobering. She's ordinarily such a force of nature. On this occasion she had to pause between coming down the stairs and walking across the kitchen.

After the transfusion we arrived home to the smells of corned beef and cabbage simmering away. Her hubby, Greg had crafted a feast to help celebrate their daughter Molly's starring role in her high school play, "Dark Side of the Moon." So many great memories. Thanks to ZB I had the opportunity to get caught up with my dear friends.
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Trick or Treatsters.






Yes. Of course I am unbiased. I'm a professional when it comes to young children. Remember? I see them ALL the time. I say this as the trained early childhood educator that I am: these are cute children. I don't just say that because they are our grandchildren. I say it because it is true. Seriously cute, in fact. In my professional, unbiased opinion, these are cute children.
When you put cute children into costumes you're just bound to come up with some sweet memories. I've snatched these photos from Sarah's FB page -- just to bring you some smiles as we head into gray November. Enjoy. Our SIL, Scott, got to take a few minutes off from the Air Force Base, to swing by and see his wee ones in costume. The fellow trick-or-treaters thought Scott had come up with a pretty awesome 'look' for the evening's festivities.




Thursday, October 29, 2009

Region V Head Start








The windy city. Chicago. Head Start folks from across the midwest..... gathered together at the Hyatt out at O'Hare. Pretty swanky digs, for sure. I presented on behalf of Zaner-Bloser and we had a fantastically responsive crew. The award I want to give is to our one, lone male participant for his gifted & talented presentation of "jumping" that will forever leave a happy smile in my memory. Congrats. Way to share your excellance with the rest of us earth-bound mortals.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Get This Party Started




It's my annual return to Childhood League. I was posting my FB status yesterday morning before driving downtown & realized that thirty years ago I was in the process of applying & interviewing for my first "full-time" role in education. Dateline 1979. Seriously!!

At that time I was headed downtown to the 'old building' and meeting with Dave Proctor, long time director. I was not their first choice...... Dave gave me a second interview with some League representatives of that era, out of the kindness of his heart. I remember him telling me that while the other candidates had better credentials, he thought my 'general' skills, personality & flexibility might fit the situation as a better match. The rest is history. New building. New director. Lots of faces from across the 30 year history to greet me & 'welcome' me home. Priceless.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunny 95 & Center Stage




This is where the morning turns just a tad bit amazing. Due to the cool nature of the morning, I was wearing LOTS of layers of pink: I had on my AmCancerSoc pink zippy, and on top of that my Nike HOT pink winter hooded jacket. On top of that was my new SURVIVOR sash. On top of that was my many-ribboned inspirational scarf that so many folks had adorned with prayers, blessings & wishes shortly after my diagnosis & surgery a couple years back. On the top of my head sat my CURE hat -- from all of those bicycle rides this summer, and to top off the whole ensemble I was wearing my butterfly boppers..... a memento from my first Komen walk with our MI BCO sisters up in Detroit.

Well somehow in that whole sea of pink the young fellow in charge of the entire morning "noticed" me taking pictures of the welcoming balloon archway. He asked if I'd follow him & meet our official radio talk-show host M.C. for the kick-off celebration. So then off we went to meet Ms. Ireland of Sunny 95. She put my name on her clipboard & then before I knew it we were on the stage together & she was introducing me.

We had a mini-interview where she asked me about the scarf and so I told that happy, upbeat, all-smiles story. Once she handed me the microphone I realized I was poised for a unique opportunity to tell more than the story behind my scarf. So after I concluded that chapter, I continued and told the assembled several thousand walkers of the name of our little team: "Away We Go for Heidi Ho" and a very abbreviated story of our fellow sister Heidi who lost her life barefly six months after her BC diagnosis at the young age of 43, leaving her two very young children without their mommy. Of course I got choked up -- as did the crowd. So then I took a very deep breath and said that I wanted to hear a great big 'clapping' for Heidi. Just as soon as the clapping started, I enthusiastically said, "Away We Go for Heidi Ho!!" to big cheers, lots of clapping and my exit from the center stage.

[Despite all of the pink, all of the cheery happiness, and all of the corporate sponsors, we do indeed continue to lose our sisters. It is heart wrenching to continue to lose some of our best & brightest. I was allowed to have a few moments on the stage and to focus on that fact. We need progress and we need a cure.]

Then our DJ/MC led us in a moment of silence, which of course always takes my breath away. We were then led in the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, and then the final count-down for everyone to get underway, going under the balloon archway starting point and reflecting on all that's happened since we walked together last time.

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AmCancerSoc: Strides




Strides Against Breast Cancer. What a beautiful morning. The rains stopped some time during the night. It was a crisp 34 degrees when we woke up -- with literal frost-on-the-pumpkin, sitting on our front step. Happily by the time we picked up my team-mate, Heather, and made our way downtown it had already warmed up to 41 degrees!!! The best news is that the sun then popped out & we had a gorgous blue sky to help keep us warm.

We made our way to COSI, got officially signed in, picked up my 'SURVIVOR' sash -- a la Miss America over the shoulder, and met up with the other half of our team, Joyce & her daughter Krysta. The early childhood foursome!! Allen did all the driving & then took over as our official team photographer. (Hence he's not in any of the pictures.) We each had monies to turn in and that brought our team total of fund-raising to a grand total of $770!! I'm really amazed that we were able to get this total $$ accomplished in the two weeks since launching our little team. An enormous thank you to each & all who contributed to our efforts.
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mature Lion Prowl




It's the afternoon and the children are older. We can sing some of my 'big kid' songs. Lion Prowl is perfect for this time of year: dressing up, costumes, anticipation, theatrics, make-believe...... and of course the lesson of delayed gratification: all rolled into one great big reading adventure. They've invited me back for a springtime visit. Whooohoooo!!!
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Olde Home Days




It's been a couple of years since I've made a "visit" to All Saints Preschool in Worthington. Once on my seasonal rotation, it was good to be back there with dear friends: teachers & administrators alike. I stopped thru the village's 'new' CVS -- (which had once been the site of Jubilee Groceries & Noelle's part-time job all thru high school,) to print off some pictures of her wedding. So it was a little like show & tell, and a little bit like a reunion and a whole lot of huggin' going on. The children are the same everywhere I go: eager & bright eyed and ready to jump!! I love when I catch a picture of hair that's jumping. The morning classes were each filled to the brim with 3 year olds. There was some effort on my part, to 'win them over' but once we got rolling everyone had a great time.

P.S. A purple headband. A purple striped zippy. A purple lace tutu. Purple leggin's AND purple polka dot tennies!! That makes her purple-licious!! I'm taking her on the road with me. She's ready for the tour!

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Friday, October 23, 2009

All In a Day's Work




With the approach of the season-of-costumes & make-believe at hand, one of my dear friends pointed out that I get to "dress up" all year round..... an accurate observation. I thought you might get a kick out of 'seeing' my several transformations in one 30 minute class session. Yes. You might ask yourself who gets to have the most fun: me or the children? The jury's still out on that one. Stay tuned for future evidence in this ongoing discussion. In the mean time, let's have some more fun!!
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Battery Failure, Murphy: one




Each day I have to talk to myself as I get into the driver's seat of my car. Trunk of surprises: check. Guitar: check. Cell phone: check. Camera: check. Now I've learned the hard way that I must work diligently to remember to make certain that both my phone and camera have been juiced up for the day's adventure..... AND that my memory card has some space on it. My camera batteries fizzled upon reaching the later portion of my morning @ Children's. I did have a battery charger along, so I got some pictures at the end of the morning, just nothing in the middle. So these smiles will have to represent the whole building.
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