Weeping over a stranger’s death…

I’m not sure what is leading me to share this with everyone, but I am weeping over the death of someone who is a stranger to me.  Warren had a friend in college named Grete (not the person who died).  My family met Grete at my dad’s mom’s funeral in 2001.  Grete rode up from college with Warren so that he didn’t have to drive back to college if he was too upset to drive – she’d drive.  We really fell in love with her.  She was just a great person.
After they graduated college, Warren & Rachel’s circle of friends went all over the nation.  Grete & her husband, Aaron, went to Chicago for Grete to attend grad school at DePaul.  During her time in Chicago, Grete blogged and I read.  I’m not sure what originally led me to Grete’s blog – I think I got there through being connected to Warren’s xanga circle.  Grete had xanga (I think) and when she moved her blog, I followed to continue reading.
Let me say here that Grete is an amazing writer.  She says things that I feel in words that I could never come up with.
One of her blogging subjects in Chicago was a very old family member who was a nun.  Her name was Sister Sponsa.  I guess that is still her name – do we lose our name in death?  I’ve never thought of that.
Anyway, I read about Sister Sponsa and enjoyed Grete’s posts about her.  Sister Sponsa was in her mid-nineties when Grete started writing about her.

I often commented on Grete’s blogs about Sister Sponsa.  See, my grandfather (dad’s dad) passed away after a mighty fight in March 2005.  He was 90.  I felt he had been taken from me way too soon.  I didn’t know how to deal with losing him.  He’d been living in Richmond with us for a couple years and had been in the assisted living home within a mile of our house for less than a year.  After he moved out of our house and into Chestnut Grove, I went to visit just about every single day.  We watched Oprah together and sometimes Dr. Phil if I got there early enough after class.
I took time to take apart all of he and grandma’s photo albums with the plan to create a separate photo album of each of his four children.  I never got that far.  At his funeral I gave each child a box with their name on it filled with photos from my grandpa.

Grete blogged today that Sister Sponsa passed away this week.  Though I didn’t know her, I sure felt like I did.  At the very least, I understood how Grete felt when visiting her.

Here is part of one of Grete’s posts (Feb 3, 2006):

Some weeks, weeks when she is falling asleep and hardly seems to notice me, I wonder why I come. There are days when we have nothing to say–I’ve already asked about the family, she knows nothing of current events, anything new is too complicated to explain, she does the same thing every day, her eyes and her throat and her stomach are still bad, and it still hurts to swallow, to drink water, to eat food, to sit up. On these days, days when I don’t even know if she will remember I was there, I wonder why I come, why I have kept coming for a year and a half now. I used to come for her, now I think I come for me.
Every week I walk in and step into the elevator and scan the medical prayer request sheet, half hoping her name isn’t on it, half hoping it is. I hope her name isn’t on the list because I’m not ready; I hope it is because she is.

And here is my response to that post (Feb 9, 2006):

The end of March marks a year since my grandfather passed away. He was so sick the last three months, there were days he didn’t know who we were & talked to people who were long gone from this earth. My father held vigil by his side through the good days and the bad that last three months.
We went because in the moments he was awake and lucid, we wanted him to know we were there and that we loved him no matter what.
We never wanted him to wake up alone.
Go, go whenever you are strong enough to go. Even if she does not acknowledge your presence, she feels it and it makes a difference.

I am weeping tonight reading through Grete’s posts on Sister Sponsa.  I’m weeping because I never met her.  I’m weeping because Grete lives in VA now and wasn’t there at the very end.  I’m weeping because I miss my grandpa.
Please pray for Grete.  Please pray for Grete’s family.  Please pray for the nuns in the home where Sister Sponsa lived after she was too old to work as a nun.  She is home with her Father above – what could be more exciting.  Grete’s words about the list in the elevator bring that home the best.

Thanks for letting me vent.  I don’t think I expected to react to losing a stranger in the way that I did.

My Mixed CD!

So, Jeff and I are attending a party tonight at the Amos house (sorry if you were not invited).  It is their 8th Annual 12th Night Party.  There have been occasions when this was our little group’s annual gift exchange; however, as the group has expanded and grown it has become a fun night to get together and be social.

This year, the Amoses threw down a challenge as the “cover” for the party.  We are each to bring a personally designed mixed CD to exchange.  We’ll contribute ours as we enter and draw at random as we leave.  At first, I was not looking forward to this challenge.  I even asked if I could contribute the mixed CD that Jeff and I gave out as wedding favors nearly two years ago (about half the party already own these).  We were encouraged to have a theme (if we so desired) and I figured that my wedding would be theme enough.

Well, I decided yesterday to tackle the project and make a personal CD from me to whomever.  I now hope that my whomever is female because I’m unsure how many males will appreciate my 11 selections.

I decided to share with you what I chose to add and why:

GIRL POWER (Songs that make me feel like a girl)
1. Lady Marmalade – Christina, Pink, Lil Kim & Mya
Because somewhere within, we’re all a little bit “soul sister”
2. Get the Party Started – Pink
Even a shy girl becomes a sexy mama dancing to this behind a closed door where no one can see her shaking her thing.
3. Bitch – Meredith Brooks
Don’t we all harbor a small inner-bitch?  This is great for the gear up for some booty kicking!  I’m sorry, what did you call me?
p.s. Warren gave me this single when it came out…what is that about?  Do you think he was trying to tell me something?
4. Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
Sure, you dumped me, but how good does it feel that I’m the one better off?
5. I Want You to Want Me – Letters to Cleo (10 Things I Hate About You)
I do love you, but it’s not like I’m gonna tell YOU that!
6. Bring On The Day – Charlotte Martin (Sweet Home Alabama)
A great way to start a day when I’m on the way to take over the world!  I am seriously ready to go after hearing this!
7. Fidelity – Regina Spektor
My sis-in-law, Rachel, turned me on to this.  I just like it!
8. Mine All Mine – SheDaisy (Sweet Home Alabama)
Sure we make mistakes…but they make us stronger!
9. Every Little Thing She Does is Magic – The Police
Because we all need to know we’re “magic”.
10. If I Didn’t Know Any Better – Alison Krauss & Union Station
My friend, Danny (who is the guitarist at church), gave me a tape with a few Alison Krauss songs on it.  One was Living Prayer which he wanted me to sing with him playing (we did that for Easter 07).  Another was this song.  It was odd coming from him, but I think he liked the tones of the song.  I couldn’t help but notice that it was a song about that guy who is bad news – the one we’re not supposed to fall for or maybe an old flame – that we find ourselves totally drawn to.  I actually feel something when I listen to this song.
11. She – Elvis Costello (Notting Hill)
Granted, this song plays as we watch beautiful Julia Roberts do the red carpet thing, but don’t we all want someone to feel this way about us?  I just like to imagine that this is the song Jeff hears when he looks at me (though I think sometimes he can’t help to hear 3).  It is just nice to imagine this song was written for every woman and not one in particular.

Now I feel the need to tell you that Jeff got really excited at the idea of creating and sharing a mixed CD.  His is NINETEEN songs long and called, “Bands from the 80’s and Their Offspring”.
It is a great CD and I have been listening to it while writing this blog.

Good times…I’ll let you know what CD I end up with!

Finally an update…

Okay, so I suck at blogging…here is a MAJOR update…

My last blog was a bit of a rant about hating my life as a PK.  Shortly after posting said rant on Xanga and MySpace, Melissa Hess (having not read my blog) approached me to ask about my dad’s church anniversary – date, of years, etc.  Now, having said that Melissa (called Mo from here on out) had not read my blog, she is my best friend and a person who has heard my rants prior to me putting them in print.  Nonetheless, Mo & Jay had decided to host a gala event in honor of my dad’s 25th anniversary – a SURPRISE gala event.

If you know my dad, you know that surprising that man is darn near a miracle.  He is not easy to keep secrets from.  So, they filled the entire fellowship hall of our church with a lot of people (including people who traveled in for the occasion) and Jeff and I had to get him there without him figuring out what was going on.  OH – I forgot to mention that mom was kept in the dark also.  Yep – a huge surprise party where both mom and dad were going to be surprised.
It was a lot of fun and I have to say that I enjoyed making my parents wear blindfolds as Jeff drove straight down Parham Road for more than 6 miles.  Funny, daddy kept commenting on how smoothly Jeff was taking turns – as though there were no turns!  Funny daddy – he had NO CLUE!
We got to the church and you’d think that they might have reserved a spot for the family in honor, but not so.  We ended up having to walk them around the building blindfolded.  Mom went easy with Jeff guiding; I had dad who was not as trusting and shuffled his feet the whole way.
Funniest thing – right as we approached the double doors to the Fellowship Hall my dad says, “Hmm..sounds like the church air conditioners.”  Really, dad – right now, you’re going to figure out where you are based on industrial ACs?  We got them inside where the crowd was “talking amongst themselves” in a real good restaurant buzz.  Then, we took the blindfolds off as everyone yelled SURPRISE!!!  And they were very surprised.
Paul Tucker (the first youth minister to serve under dad) was present with his family and Scot Longyear (the second youth minister to serve under dad) sent a hysterical letter that Amanda Amos read.  It included references to sipping brandy & smoking cigars in dad’s office after the Sunday service while counting the offering and a make-believe congregational meeting that would win top prize on AFHV.
It was incredible fun.  Warren & Rachel sent a video of themselves wishing love (again, very funny) and there were cards a letters from some people who could not make it.  It was an excellent night & I really enjoyed the time we got to spend with our church family from over the years (as well as our real family who could be there).

Other things in life have been busy.  Jeff and I are nearly done painting the living room & hallway in preparation for Warren & Rachel’s visit in a couple weeks and hopefully we’ll get the tree up this weekend.
We’re taking Italian in preparation for our trip to Italy in March to visit our friends, Shannon & Andy and their new little one.  Our instructor is weird – really weird – but we’ve only got a couple of weeks left and then we’re on our own to really commit the stuff to memory.  There are little stickers in Italian in our house for things we may need to know how to say in Italian. (ex Lamp = la lampada)

No baby plans at this time.  We love when we can spend time with our friend’s babies, but haven’t decided to take the plunge for ourselves.  We’ll have to see what 2008 has in store.

This coming Saturday (Dec 8) marks 7 YEARS since our first date (a day walking in Carytown, lunch at Galaxy Diner, dinner at Jeff’s apartment – shake’n’bake chicken – and watching Shakespeare in Love rented from the Video Fan).  We’ve got the Vine, then dinner with friends.  I’m not sure we’ll really get to celebrate.  We used to always go to Galaxy Diner to eat as a nod to that first date, but last year we realized that we’re getting too old to seriously eat at Galaxy.  Of course, I still get the Chili-cheese burger – that probably didn’t help.

I’ll try to be better at blogging since I really want to keep everyone up to date.
May you enjoy the impending holiday season!  My car is on Lite 98 about 90% of the time – all Christmas music, all the time!

I Always Hated Being a Preacher’s Kid… (originally posted on MySpace)

I Always Hated Being a Preacher’s Kid…

United members who may read this – read this in full before you judge.  And remember, this expresses only MY thoughts – not my dad’s and not my mom’s.

My friend Amanda sent me the following link in an email today: http://leagueofpastorswives.blogspot.com/2007/08/not-victim.html.  She said in her email that it made her think of all the “pain and neglect” I felt growing up as a PK.  Well, I have now spent more than an hour reading through various pastor’s wives blogs who all participate in this one general blogroll.  If you are married to a minister, or are a minister’s kid, read through some of these blogs – they will make you find a kinship you didn’t expect to find with strangers online.  She had no clue what can of worms she was opening.

Now, before I go any farther let me tell you now that I love my father’s profession and would not go back and change very much (if any) of my childhood.  My dad went to Bible College when I was 1 year old.  That was in 1979.  While my dad fulfilled ministerial rolls at two churches while we were at Roanoke Bible College (Elizabeth City Church of Christ in Elizabeth City, NC & Roanoke Acres in Manteo, NC) neither of those prepared us for his service at Parham Hills and now United Christian Church.  For those who don’t know Parham Hills merged with a smaller congregation 5-6 years ago and became United.  My dad became the full-time minister of the Parham Hills congregation on October 3, 1982.  I loved church which was good because we practically lived there.  By the time I was seven or eight, I could light the pilot light for the heating system in the church.  I knew how to unlock the doors so that they stayed unlocked.  I knew how to set the AC/Heat and what it needed to be set to before leaving the church.  I knew where every cleaning supply was and exactly how Mrs. Bess (the custodian at that time) wanted that church to be.  By the time I reached middle school, the magic of being the PK had worn off, and I was beginning to get a rash from being rubbed the wrong way.

Why did I hate being the preacher’s kid so much?  Sometimes people at our church treated (and still do treat) my dad like a dog.  He was always the last to leave everything – because he was expected to be the one to lock up.  We’ve just now gotten him out of that habit.  He cleaned up after everyone and had his intelligence questioned on a regular basis.  People in the church didn’t (and some still don’t) respect him.  This really hurts you as the child.  I really hate it when people talk bad about my father.  He works HARD for his congregation and loves every single member – even the ones who are hard to love.  He spends countless hours sitting in hospitals and nursing homes comforting the sick and dying as well as their families.  He flies home from long awaited family vacations to sit with a family during a major and unexpected surgery.  He leaves in the middle of the night to help in crisis times.  He misses ball games and concerts because church members need him.  He is emotionally vacant at home sometimes because he is giving so much at work.  My dad is an EXCELLENT preacher and an even better minister.  Minister’s Appreciation Day or Month?  Ha!  He’s lucky to get two cards.  Yes, being a minister is my dad’s job, but I’m not sure people in a congregation understand all that that job entails.  While most of us go to work at a certain time and then come home, my dad doesn’t have set hours.  Yes, that sounds great, but it also means that your personal life isn’t really your personal life.  Work doesn’t stay at work.  On top of that, most of us have a boss – singular.  Maybe we have a couple of people supervising us.  A minister has an entire congregation always watching what they are doing.  Do you ever have a day when you feel like nothing you do pleases your boss?  Imagine having 100+ bosses to keep happy.  Think it is hard to please the members of your family?  Try to please a 100+ member family!

On the note of a personal life – Ministers and their families do not have one.  Again, I know my dad chose this profession, but seriously -everyone at church feels like they have a right to know everything about our lives and then they feel as though they have the right to give their opinion on it.  My dad’s weight – go ahead, let him know what you think.  Don’t like his hair – let him know.  Don’t like what I’m wearing – please, complain to my dad – it really makes his day.  Even now, at 29 years old, church members enjoy “tattling” on me if they know I’ve done something wrong.  See me speeding? please call me down in the church parking lot for it.  Embarrass me all you need to in order to make yourself feel big.  Oh yeah, caught the preacher’s daughter doing something bad.

This October will mark 25 years that my dad has been with the same congregation.  Do you know how rare that is???  Ministers don’t stay at churches that long.  Do you know that the only “anniversary” our church ever recognized was our 10th year (I think, I was young) and that was because it coincided with a big anniversary for the church itself?  One of the ministers in our area got a CRUISE from his congregation as an anniversary present.  Not that my dad needs or wants a cruise, but a thank you would be nice. 

And for those times you don’t “like” my dad: If my dad preaches a sermon you don’t like, well sit back and remember that time when you had a car accident and my dad made it to the scene before your spouse did.  If my dad is having a bad day and seems a bit snippy – think about the chance that it is possible that he’s been up all night with a member who is going through a very private and secret divorce.  Something my dad says pisses you off – think of how many children my dad sees sick or dying.  My dad does way more than sit in the church or show up and preach on Sundays.  He doesn’t get a “day off”.  My entire childhood, my dad had Fridays off.  How often did my dad actually get Friday off?  Never – very rarely if ever – seriously!

What if you need my dad and you call him on his “day off”?  What would you do if (1) he didn’t answer his phone or (2) he answered and told you he’d be by tomorrow because today is his day off.  Ministers don’t get that option.  It just isn’t how it works.  I don’t even think my dad has a designated day off now.  His day off is the one with the least calls.  That said, don’t stop calling my dad when you need him.  It is his job.  I just want people to respect the work he does.

When you were sick – did one of your parents stay home with you?  That must have been great.  Do you know how many hospital waiting rooms or nurses stations I have slept in while my dad went to visit.  Why did he do that?  Because if he didn’t visit, he wasn’t doing his job.  Who cares if his own kid is sick and throwing up in a trash can down the hall.  Once I was old enough to stay home by myself – dad would make the soup, turn on the t.v, get me what I needed and then be off to be the minister.  He’d call home and check to see if I needed anything.

All that said (big breath here).  I now have a much greater and deeper appreciation for my father and all that he does for the members of my church and for my family.  My dad is an incredible minister and I have forgiven him and the members of our church for forgetting that I was important, too.  That I needed a dad just as much as they needed a minister.  I have a better understanding why Catholic priests aren’t supposed to be married or have kids.  My dad is pulled in a hundred different directions every day.  My dad is a great preacher, he is a great confidant, he is a great counselor.  When I went through my divorce, he was my hero.  He took better care of me than anyone and I love my dad more every day because of the man he is.

So, point of this post – respect your minister.  Thank your minister.  LOVE YOUR MINISTER.  PRAY FOR YOUR MINISTER.  And don’t forget that, though he chose to enter this profession, his family often gets neglected and mistreated along the way.  Love them, too.  Minister’s kids are normal kids.  God doesn’t create them any differently – except maybe thicker skin.  They need encouragement.  You don’t know them as well as you think you do – be careful how you speak to them.  You can leave permanent damage that just gets covered up as they grow.  They are just like your kids or you when you were a kid.  I wouldn’t take my dad out of the ministry for anything in the world.  He has something to offer people that no one else can offer in the same way or with the same love.

Dad, you rock as a minister.  I love you.  I love the sacrifices you have made throughout the last 25 years.  I am a better person because of the example of Christ’s love that you have set for me.  I am strong in my faith, not because you are a preacher, but because you and mom encouraged me to question my faith & go to other churches – explore and become sure of why I believe what I believe.  Thank you for your prayers.  Thank you for your dedication.  You are the world’s best daddy, even if I didn’t appreciate that growing up.  You did your best to meet my needs while meeting the needs of so many others.  No, you are not perfect – but you are perfect for me.

Thank you, Amanda.  I loved reading through some of those blogs.  I love that minister’s wives have come so far in some respects – some refuse to be treated like dirt because they can’t talk back.  I love that my feelings as a child were common to preacher’s wives and kids.  I took comfort in reading through the blogs.  Thank you for what your email said.  It means more than you realize.

Wow! Where has the summer gone?

So, where has the summer gone?  Last time I wrote was July?  A month ago?  Sorry…I do check myspace for messages and comments more often and even have a Facebook site, too.  Forgive me, xanga friends, I think I may be overwhelmed with internet space!  Since I have the premium membership for now, I’ll continue posting until it ends.  I may posts my posts on myspace, too, and eventually just blog there.

The last month has been BUSY!  July 21-29 was my week of church camp at Oak Hill Christian Service Camp (www.oakhillcamp.org).  For those of you who don’t know, my week is not your usual week of camp.  My week is called “Music & Drama” and that is just what it is (www.oakhillcamp.org/md_home).  My campers come in a day earlier than other weeks (on a Saturday) and that evening we have audtions for speaking parts and solos for the summer’s musical.  Parts are announced the next morning at breakfast and then we have our very own church service at camp.  It is great fun and we often have the families of our staff members attend (like my hubby, Jeff).  Sunday afternoon we begin rehearsals for choreography and singing.  Sunday night, our main speaking parts go to the hosting church for a blocking rehearsal.  This is good because non-major parts stay at camp and sing! sing! sing! and then play games until we return.  Monday brings a day of rehearsal – morning, afternoon, and night.  We start the day with breakfast and then head to the host church to start rehearsing on stage.  Now, my campers do get rest time after lunch for one hour and then about an hour of free time.  Some people turn this into a two hour nap and that is perfectly okay with us.  After free time we have small group devotions and then another rehearsal.  Dinner at camp and then rehearsal at the host church again.  We get back in time for canteen and campfire.

This year, we actually had a real campfire on Saturday and Sunday!  Monday we reverted back to lampfire which is just easier since no one has been on the campgrounds to actually build a proper fire.  This year, I skipped Monday campfire because rehearsals had been rough and I needed some time sans-campers.  This was nice, since I used that alone time to call home and talk to my wonderful hubby.  Tuesday brings run-throughs.  Tuesday morning we had two rough runthroughs putting the drama and music together and still teaching some choreography!  AHHH!!!  Lunch, rest time, free time and then we returned to the host church for a rare afternoon rehearsal – this isn’t always normal, but we needed it!  After dinner, we have “dress rehearsal”, but no one wears their costumes.  Dress rehearsal to us means the staff interjects as little as possible in the program.  We did three complete run throughs between 6:30 and 9:30.  That was really good for us!  The final run-through was great and we felt ready to leave on Wednesday.

Yep – you read correctly, we LEAVE on Wednesday for a TOUR!  Are you reading this?  My teens (ages 12-18) learn an entire youth musical (45-55 minutes long) between Saturday and Tuesday night and we leave on tour on Wednesday.  Our program this year was “WAITERS” and was set in a restaurant.

Tour this year began in Bumpass, VA at Bethany Christian Church.  We got there early enough to run the entire program one more time.  The show that night was great, with very few flub ups.  I was sure proud of my kids.  I had the pleasure of staying at my friend (and co-dean’s) house that night so I slept well.  Thursday we loaded up and headed for Newport News, VA.  We had a cookout at my grandmother & great-aunt’s house and played yard games like volleyball, rope-a-dope, and bocci and some people took good long naps in the long lawn chairs provided. 

Thursday night we performed at Denbigh Christian Church.  This program was too funny to give you great detail, but here is a shortened version: one of our non-mains said a line one scene too early, confusing our mains and sending us from scene two to scene three without any break or musical number.  Most campers didn’t even catch this, but the staff immediately started scrambling.  We attempted to stop the scene, but couldn’t get a good spot and didn’t want to jump up and alert the audience to the dilemma.  Instead, I help up a sign letting campers know what song they’d be singing (they were expecting to stand and sing the one they skipped).  The one we skipped to had choreography in it that campers had elected to sit out and be customers – needless to say, due to the “oops”, these campers were standing on stage and not seated at a table.  They handled it like pros following the people around them and the audience never caught on.  We got them seated after that number and went on with the show.  Mom, another dean, starts signing “Encore” to me, but I can’t figure out how we’re going to work that out.  Once the program ends, mom jumps up and hurries to a microphone.  She, like the pro she is, say, “We’re going to give you an encore this evening with a song called “For the Lord” – our skipped song, allowing us to also perform it and feature the campers with solos.  The kids jump up and take their positions for this song and perform it like they completely understood what happened – even though most did not.  It was a classic camp flub-up and they pulled it together like professionals.

Friday we left for Winston-Salem, NC to perform at Pinedale Christian Church.  The music minister at Pinedale is Jeff Marks, who was the creator of Music & Drama 22 years ago so this was a GREAT treat to perform for him.  I was a camper under his deanship when I was 12,13,14, & 15 and now I’m directing the show.  How cool!  This program was excellent and Jeff let us use some stage mics that made my severely outnumbered tenors sound magnificent!  Go boys!!!  Saturday brought a play day at Lake Gaston.  We invade some friends of my family’s house and take over their little portion of Lake Gaston.  They have family and friends who also live on the lake who bring their boats and our kids get to tube and ski-bob.  It is really fun.  We eat lunch there and it is always so good!!!  Saturday night, we performed for our lake hosts at their church, Pleasant Hill in Gasburg, VA.  Minus one camper who got sick from the sun, it was an excellent show!  That evening we headed back up the road to Chester, VA where we spent the night with families from the Chester Christian Church.  Bobbi, Christie, Missy and I had a house with no host so we got to make ourselves at home and really relax.  Christie even fell asleep on the couch next to me during conversation.  Our hostess showed up the next morning in time for coffee and to give us a ride back to the church.  This was our best Sunday a.m. performance ever!  The kids had energy and the audience really got into the show, often talking back to the kids with “amens” and “you said it”s.  *More info about personal fun at Chester below*  After lunch at Virginia Center Commons (where hubby Jeff joined me and got to see my new haircut – which we’d all kept a secret from him), we headed back to Mechanicsville Church of Christ for our final show for 2007! 

A quick run-through with just blocking reminders – no music or lines – and it was time to chill and get ready.  This show was absolutely the best in Music & Drama history – hands down – no questions!  Doug Gross from MCC provided us with stage lighting that we’d never had and it really completed the look of the show.  The kids were on and they gave their all.  Seriously – this one will go down in history as the show to beat!

*Extra note about Chester – I got to see two friends that I never get to see!  Scott Preston, who was a M&D camper with me, visited us that morning during rehearsal before he went to work.  It was great to see him & hopefully we’ll keep in better touch with each other.  AND I got to see my friend, Jeff Ward.  Now, let me tell you – if there had been a “dream man” back in the day – he was it.  He called me teeny bopper and changed my world when it came to music preferences.  I was all NKOTB and he was Ride.  He played bass and I loved to sit on the edge of the stage and watch.  Talk about ga-ga, girls.  I guess we know where my taste for bass playing Jeff’s came from (my own hubby Jeff plays bass).  Though he was actually friends with my friend Amanda, he let me believe that he and I were best buds.  He let me tag along on all his camp adventures – like hiding in the woods during Capture the Flag senior high weeks and making Elephant Titus come to life (his brother and friend actually kidnapped Amanda & me during a serenade one night).  In the last year, Jeff Ward and I became “friends” on myspace and we actually message back and forth like real friends do.  Once my work schedule settles down, he and I are going to grab lunch and at some time I’m taking hubby Jeff to see Jeff Ward play.  It was a lot of fun to introduce him to my girls from camp and now I’m scheming to set him up with a dear friend (though I’m not telling who yet!).  What would I have done had he ever shown any real interest in me?  Sometimes I wonder…  The currenly listening band is the latest musical influence he’s had on me.  Their song “Ashes” is his myspace song.

Now I’m back at work and missing my campers (will, most of them).  It was so much fun, but I’m glad it is only one week a year.  It is so high stress that I’m not sure I could do it more often!!!  It is good to be back to life with hubby – I really miss him while I’m gone and apparently he and our furry children miss me too.

Thanks for reading…I’ll try to get back to posting more regularly.

Summer is bliss…

Summer has been busy, but the beach rocks!

So, summer started with classes – I’m not even couting that month as “summer” since I was so busy I felt like I didn’t know my husband.  Then, classes ended and I was in charge of a week-long Urban Teachers Institute at JSRCC.  This was a huge project.

We brought in 19 teachers from Richmond Public Schools for an in-depth week of training and professional development specifically designed for teachers in Urban Education.  We even flew in an expert to facilitate the week.  I was so busy – it was hard to stay awake anytime I was at home. 

First, we had a big kick off event on Sunday, June 24.  This bad boy was bigger and more stressful than my own wedding & reception, but when all was said and done, everyone told my boss what a great job she’d done.  Oh well…  She told me what a great job I’d done, so that should be enough.

Then, it was five days of more catering (with changes made daily), workshops, and trying to keep about 30 people consistently happy – that alone is the toughest part.  Then, while Friday, June 29 was supposed to be totally at VCU (read: easy day for me), we received notification on Thursday that the governor’s wife, Anne Holton, would be available to bring greetings to our group on Friday morning so – can you guess? – the first hour of the day would need to be on the JSRCC campus – no way we were going to let that publicity go elsewhere!  So, it was frantic planning on Thursday to get everything straight for Friday morning.  There were protocols to follow and furniture to reset – and then the construction crew CUT THE LINE!  No computers, no power, no moving furniture, no way to plan!  That meant we couldn’t do anything to get ready until Friday morning – AHHH!!!!!

So, Friday was crazy.  I got my Starbucks and raced to work to prepare for the First Lady’s arrival.  We had to totally reset and redecorate the room we’d used for most of the week.  Banners had to be hung, flags needed to be placed, flowers set, and sound equipment had to be restructured.  I got it all done and then I did get to stand out front with the Vice Presidents of the college to greet her, not like I got introduced or anything.  It was nice to be included.  After that wrapped up, I started trying to get everything we’d relocated to the Parham Road campus back together so that I could take it all back down.  I still had to stop at VCU for the final lunch with the group.  Of course, the VCU catering company did not receive the message that we needed an additional tunafish sandwich for one of our participants (that is all he ate all week long).  So, instead of eating, I was trying to track down a number for VCU catering (one does not exist in information), but no one at VCU was helping me.  Eventually, the poor guy ate veggies and some mashed potatoes.  I felt bad, but I just couldn’t get in touch with anyone who could help fix the problem.  Why didn’t we just use the caterer I’d been working with all week?  Because our “partners” at VCU preferred to use their own people.  So why didn’t one of our partners solve the problems?  Because that is my job.  Lesson learned – get more than one number for the unknown catering company.

After a week of hell at work, Jeff and I left Sunday for the BEACH!  We stayed with Mom & Dad at The Sandy Spot – their “new” beach trailer.  It was a nice relaxing time and I got an odd sunburn on my shoulders that still hurts!  It was nice to lay on the beach, eat out with mom & dad, and we all went to the Wright Memorial, too.  It was so cool.

Jeff and I will be heading back down there on our own soon.  I’m so looking forward to more quiet & sunshine!!!

Hope your summer is going well!!

Yes, I’m Still Alive

Still Kicking…

Yep, I’m here.  I’ve just been horrible at blogging lately.  Why? Because I have been B-U-S-Y.

Let’s see.  The last time I wrote it was May 8th.  Wow – it has been nearly a month.  Summer classes started May 21 and I am take two Monday – Thursday back to back.  Both are really fun, though, so it isn’t nearly as painful as it could be.  Physics has a lab just about every day.  My lab partner Renee is really cool and we have a lot of fun working together.  Today, we created battery cells with metals and water.  We could not for the life of us keep our metals straight!  We are usually one of the first groups to be done and out the door, but not today!  We finished along with everyone else.  Stinker!  My second class is a 300-level Geometry course.  I’m taking this because I took a 500-level Geometry course and nearly died!  I could never figure out which way was up in that class.  This class is a lot of hands-on activities and “group sharing”.  It makes it way easier.  And I did use Geometers Sketchpad in 554 (though I wasn’t good at it) so I have a bit of advantage in that.  I’m also a math major, so I’m usually okay to work independently.

Work is crazy, but that is another post.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll get to that.


P.S.  Jeff & I passed the ONE YEAR mark on May 20!  Life is great!!!