Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Can't stop laughing. Must share.

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Friday, December 25, 2009

May it be so

"All children have the right

to be children:

to be safe,

to attend school,

to play,

to be treated with respect,

to be heard,

to be understood

and to be loved."

Michael Brosowski,
Founder of Blue Dragon

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I Believe

Luke 2
Christ Born of Mary
1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Glory in the Highest
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “ Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them."

Merry (Conservative) Christmas

Here then, for one night only, each home throughout the English-speaking world should be a brightly lighted island of happiness and peace.

Let the children have their night of fun and laughter. Let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play.

Let us grown-ups share to the full in their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern tasks and formidable year that lie before us.

Resolved that by our sacrifice and daring these same children shall not be robbed of their inheritance or denied their right to live in a free and decent world.

And so, in God's mercy, a happy Christmas to you all.

Winston Churchill - 1941

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Very Worthy Christmas Link

Head on over to this powerful holiday-themed post on the blog known as "If Only I Had Super Powers".

I loved it!!! And the wonderful author, who happens to be a speech/language pathologist, was half-apologetic about repeating it from the previous year's debut.


I think it should become an un-apologized-for holiday tradition!!

What do you think??

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Begin doing what you want to do now.

We are not living in eternity.

We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand---and melting like a snowflake.

~~~~ Sir Frances Bacon

Sunday, December 6, 2009

For me, this answers the "Why?" of it all

1 "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified."
Isaiah 60:1-3 (NKJ)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

State Dance 2010

Let's pretend this picture is right side up, k?

My Girl made the 2010 program. She is in the orange dress on the floor.

Nice hardware this year. Coach Morgan is in the front with the trophy. The team was awarded 3rd place in Pom, 5th place in hip hop, a Division 1 rating in jazz, the Community Service Award and a Team Academic Award. Whoot Whoot!!

Some alumni with the Horan girls. Brittany (and her mom), Alannah (and her mom), Emily and Sarah came to show their support and share in the excitement.

Alannah and her Allie. They are dancers, co-workers and dear friends. :)

Even with my severe jet lag (made severe by my dd awakening me with a 4:34 am text message: "Wanna go to State Dance with me?"---she had just finished a paper and was awake, duh! that's why she texted me then--lol), it was worth the trip.

We did not get home til 2:00 am and I did not settle into bed til 3:00 am. by then, I had been awake for 23 hours (on top of the jet lag, remember?). But, man oh man! Did the Dance Team rock it this year!

3rd place in Pom, 5th place in Hip Hop, Division 1 rating in Jazz, The Community Service Award and a Team Academic award. That's a whole lotta hardware and accolades.

This was my first year to attend the competition without having a dancer on the team and it was every bit as exciting. Why? Because we have come to care for all of these girls, as though they are our own. And their coach? We love her, too. Heck, we even love the Coach's mom!!

These girls are sweet, funny, smart, talented, caring and now, they have PROOF. I didn't really need it. They didn't, either. But, I am glad they have it. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shocking News, if you aren't my FB Friend...

Because I am in China!!!

No pics yet, no story yet, you'll just have to trust me that it is a fun and funny God thing.

Today, we will go to the Beijing International Church and later, the acrobat show.

Oh, we'll do those things, plus fight jet lag. ha

We've been up since 3:00 AM. (chuckles)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Naughty or Nice? Retailer Guide

AFA's 2009 listing of top retailers and how they recognize Christmas

Based on current advertising, below is a list of companies that avoid, ban, or use the term "Christmas" in their advertising. We will continually update the list, so check back often.

Criteria - AFA reviewed up to four areas to determine if a company was "Christmas-friendly" in their advertising: print media (newspaper inserts), broadcast media (radio/television), website and/or personal visits to the store. If a company's ad has references to items associated with Christmas (trees, wreaths, lights, etc.), it was considered as an attempt to reach "Christmas" shoppers.

If a company has items associated with Christmas, but did not use the word "Christmas," then the company is considered as censoring "Christmas."

Color Code:

Company uses the term "Christmas" on a regular basis, we consider that company Christmas-friendly.

Company refers to Christmas infrequently, or in a single advertising medium, but not in others.

Company may use "Christmas" sparingly in a single or unique product description, but as a company, does not recognize it.

A company may be removed from the "bad" list by providing documentation to AFA.

SPECIAL ALERT! AFA is calling for a "Christmas" boycott of Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic stores.

Companies FOR "Christmas"
updated 11-10-09
Bass Pro Shops
Bath & Body Works
Bed Bath & Beyond
Big Lots
Collective Brands
Dollar Tree
Family Dollar
Dollar General
Hobby Lobby
Home Depot
JC Penney
Michael's Stores
Neiman Marcus
Rite Aid
Super D Drug Stores
Toys R Us
Wal-Mart/Sam's Club

Companies marginalizing "Christmas"

updated 11-10-09

Best Buy
Hy-Vee Stores

Companies against "Christmas"
updated 11-10-09

Advance Auto Parts
Barnes & Noble
Braum's Ice Cream
CVS Pharmacy
Dick's Sporting Goods
Gap Stores
Harris Teeter Stores
H.E.B. Stores
Home Shopping Network
Limited Brands
Office Depot
Olive Garden
Outback Steakhouse
Radio Shack
Victoria's Secret

Want to report a company? Send your detailed report to Note: AFA does not list local or regional companies. Only nationally-recognized companies will be listed.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

No, NOT the beer guy

" If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, — go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”

~~~Samuel Adams

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Alarming on so many levels

Plastic Surgeon Weds Woman for 'Potential,' Performs 8 Surgeries on Wife

Sunday, November 01, 2009

A British plastic surgeon chose a young woman as his bride and then sculpted her into his ideal wife, according to The Sun.

Reza Vossough hated 33-year-old Cany's body, but they tied the knot anyway after he spotted her "potential," The Sun reported.

Vossough then performed eight operations to change his bride's chest, thighs, eyes and face.

Vossough spent five years pumping 1,600 grams of silicone into her body, boosting her size A chest to a fuller F cup.

He also enhanced her lips, lifted her eyelids and de-creased her forehead.

The former waitress also had nip-and-tuck ops to her behind, tummy and thighs and countless Botox injections.

Only after $29,736 of cosmetic surgery did Vossough, 48, fall in love with his wife.

And his wife is thrilled with the transformation. "When your husband is a plastic surgeon, then the scalpel is your friend," Cany told The Sun.

(Bold highlights are mine).

What the hey is wrong with this picture? I do not care one whit if a woman wishes to seek out a plastic surgeon for a procedure that she feels she wants. Really. I am glad that so many procedures are available to enhance or repair bodies.

But when your husband is not in love with you when he marries you, instead viewing you as some sort of "project", well, ummmm...I find that disturbing. And sad.

Because bodies decay. Period. Over time, the body of this man's wife, will settle, the inevitable victim of gravity. So, has this poor woman signed herself on for a lifetime of this nonsense? As her plastic surgeon husband, struggles to keep her at his ideal? With her viewing the scalpel as "your friend"? Eeeeyew.

What about her heart? Her mind? Her hopes and dreams? Her aspirations? What about the things that make her "her"?

What about it?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Knights Prevail (brrrrrrrr-I've almost stopped shivering)

Our first glimpse of CollegeBoy his left ankle all taped up?? Is he injured? Why are Moms always the last to know?

Oh, the MUD.

Well, he's dirty, but #79 is much dirtier. Is that good or bad?

Mucky, messy mud. :)

Wartburg College Sports Releases
Contact: Mark Adkins, Sports Information Director

FB - Knights win second straight, upend Luther

Oct. 31, 2009

DECORAH – Bolstered by a stout defensive effort, Wartburg won its 18th game in the last 19 of the annual gridiron series with rival Luther by a 24-9 count Saturday, Oct. 31.

The Knights, improving to 5-3 overall and 4-2 in the Iowa Conference, kept their hosts off the scoreboard at Carlsson Stadium until midway through the fourth quarter. They were the benefactors of two interceptions from junior defensive back Andrew Creary of Knoxville and five tackles for losses of which two and a half went to junior linebacker Blake Suckow of West Union who was the leading tackler for the unit with 12.

Creary’s first interception helped head coach Rick Willis’ squad gain momentum in the first half. After breaking a 0-0 tie early in the second period on a 21-yard field goal by junior place-kicker Devin White of Decorah, the Knights were pushed to the brink by Luther’s offense on the ensuing possession. The Norse drove to the one-yard line before Creary stepped in front of an errant pass and rambled 99 yards for a touchdown.

Taking a 10-0 lead into the second half, the Orange and Black produced a pair of touchdowns. A 21-play, 87-yard drive that began early in the third period and consumed nearly 10 and a half minutes ended early in the fourth quarter when senior quarterback Nick Yordi of Solon hit junior tight end Austin Cole of Manchester on a five-yard scoring pass. The offense came back with a nine-play, 60-yard drive later in the final stanza with freshman running back Kyle Winfrey of Richton Park, Ill., going in from 12 yards out.

Yordi ended the game with 127 yards on 12-of-19 passing. His 30th straight 100-yard-plus outing also moved him past former standout Gary Walljasper into first on the career passing yardage chart. Junior wide receivers Matt Gustafson of Fairbault, Minn., and Matt Wickert of Memphis, Mo., each hauled in four catches. Winfrey was the top rusher with 66 yards on 18 carries.

Wartburg returns home for a 1 p.m. kickoff against league-leading Central College of Pella Saturday, Nov. 7.

A Great Saturday Morning Cartoon--1948

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another Proud Iowa History Moment

They make their mark in mug shot history

By Mallory Simon, CNN
October 29, 2009 10:58 p.m. EDT
Matthew Allan McNelly, left, and Joey Lee Miller, 20, still had the permanent marker on their faces when they were booked.
Matthew Allan McNelly, left, and Joey Lee Miller, 20, still had the permanent marker on their faces when they were booked.
  • Matthew McNelly and Joey Miller streaked their faces permanent black marker
  • Two men used marker as disguise as they allegedly tried to break into a home
  • Police chief: "We're very skilled investigators and the black faces gave them right away"
  • Both men were charged with attempted burglary; McNelly faces additional charge
  • Crime
  • Burglary
  • Iowa

(CNN) -- Police say guilt was written all over their faces.

Police received a call Friday night that two men with hooded sweatshirts and painted faces had tried to break into a man's home in Carroll, Iowa.

When police stopped a vehicle matching the caller's description blocks away, they were stunned by the men's disguises.

There were no ski masks or stockings pulled over their heads; instead, Matthew Allan McNelly, 23, and Joey Lee Miller, 20, streaked their faces with permanent black marker.

Carroll Police Chief Cayler told CNN the strange disguises made it easier for his officers.

"We're very skilled investigators and the black faces gave them right away," Cayler said jokingly. "I have to assume the officers were kind of laughing at the time. I've never heard of coloring your face with a permanent marker."

Cayler said police believe one of the alleged burglars targeted the home because he suspected his girlfriend had a relationship with the man who lived there.

I've seen a lot of things that make me laugh and weird things but this was probably the best combination of the two.
--Carroll Police Chief Cayler

"They probably were just not thinking straight and figured we'll go out and scare the guy or whatever," Cayler said. "[They were] being dumb and combine that with alcohol and it was the perfect storm."

Both men were charged with attempted burglary, and McNelly was charged additionally with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Lawyers for the two men could not be reached for comment.

Cayler said he's been fielding calls about the case from news media outlets from all over the country -- mostly because of their funny-looking mug shots.

"I've been chief here almost 25 years, been with the department 28½ years and I've seen a lot of things that make me laugh and weird things but this was probably the best combination of the two -- strangely weird and hilariously funny all at the same time."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Life on a Graph

In case you live under a rock and do not know MckMama....

Get thee post haste to her blog and read this brutally honest, Biblically-inspired post about marriage. Cuz, um, it could have been written by me, about us.

I while I agree that, perhaps, the central truth in her post is about 'forgiveness', the neon sign for me is TRANSPARENCY.

Women need more of it. We do one another no good, as friends, mentors, mothers and daughters, sisters and aunts, if we pretend, pretend, pretend we have it all together, have it all our way, have it all, at all.

What I *really* need is honest transparency, so I can relate to you and assign credibility to your words, experience and wisdom. Otherwise, what you know and say is brushed aside, because I feel you cannot possibly know what I am suffering, enduring, walking through.

So ladies, enough already, with the cover-ups and pretending!!

You know how freeing it is to remove the underwire bra, the patent pumps at the end of the day? Unburden your soul, one to another, by confessing your imperfections. You will never go back to pretending again.

I'll go first...I took this photo of myself, pre CollegeBoy football game, cuz those Cuddle Duds (designed for warmth) were seriously cracking me up. Why? Cuz what you see in the mirror there, is not the TOP of the Cuddle Duds tucked into my jeans, but the BOTTOMS which reached all the way up to my :ahem: upper undergarments. Plus, note the delightful double chin. No weight loss noted there. ha!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I will miss this little bit of sunshine

Maine Girl With 'Mermaid Syndrome' Dies at Age 10

Saturday, October 24, 2009

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — Shiloh Pepin, a girl who was born with fused legs, a rare condition often called "mermaid syndrome," and gained a wide following on the Internet and national television, has died. She was 10.

Doctors had predicted she would only survive only for days after her birth at the most, but the girl, described by her mother as "a tough little thing," died at Maine Medical Center on Friday afternoon, hospital spokesman John Lamb said. She had been hospitalized in critical condition for nearly a week.

Being born with "mermaid syndrome," also known as sirenomelia, meant that the Kennebunkport girl had only one partially working kidney, no lower colon or genital organs and legs fused from the waist down.

Some children who have survived sirenomelia have had surgery to separate their legs, but Shiloh did not because blood vessels crossing from side to side in her circulatory system would have been severed. She had received two kidney transplants, the last one in 2007.

Her story was featured recently on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and other national television programs.

Earlier this month, her mother, Leslie Pepin, said her daughter came down with a cold that quickly turned to pneumonia. Shiloh rushed to Maine Medical Center on Oct. 10 and was placed on antibiotics and a ventilator.

For a while, Leslie Pepin said, things were looking up. "She's a tough little thing," she said of her daughter earlier this week.

Shiloh was a fifth-grader at Kennebunkport Consolidated School. "She was such a shining personality in that building," said Maureen King, chairwoman of the board of the regional school district. Counselors will be available next week to talk to students.

Through the television shows, news articles, Facebook and other Web sites, Shiloh inspired many.

"I live in Iowa. I have cerebral palsy. I love your video," 12-year-old Lydia Dawley wrote to Shiloh on Facebook. "You have a great personality I wish you lived close so we could be friends and hang out. You opened my eyes because you are so brave."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Speaking of College Kids and Birthdays...

From one of my new favorite humor sites...."Oh Crap. My Parents Joined Face Book". LOL

You're welcome.

Happy 21st Birthday to CollegeBoy

Since Mark and I were in Estes Park for CB's birthday, we had to get together to celebrate a couple of weeks later. Mark and I were joined by the Birthday Boy and his girlfriend, Mindy and Mark's mom and brother.

CB chose Texas Roadhouse for his dinner and other than the constant tension he suffered worrying if I had told the waitress it was his birthday (no public singing displays allowed!), a good time was had by all.

And I was mostly left wondering where all the time had gone.


For 8 hours the sun shone...and the Knights prevailed!

Brand new stadium, complete with skyboxes with tableclothed tables and flat screen TVs. Wo-ow.

The away jerseys are not as impressive...but College Boy is! ha

Nice scoreboard, complete with stats.

The supportive parents.

Helmet off...
Game is winding down...

I like the light in this one.

Love his turned up nose. :D

After three days of rain (or was it more?--all I know is I became crystal clear that I could NEVER live in Seattle--ugh) and two Knight football consecutive losses (first time since 1991 that has happened--double ugh), the sun made a glorious appearance and the Knights came to play (and <------*that* is the longest run-on sentence in history!). Final score was 41-14 and I was deliriously happy for several hours of autumn glory. :D

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Gentle Revolutionary

Famed UI Physician Dr. Ponseti Has Died

By Steve Gravell/The Gazette

IOWA CITY - Parents from around the world put their children in Dr. Ignacio Ponseti’s hands.

“He was very gentle, very, very bright with tremendous insight,” said Dr. Jose Morcuende. “Not just in medicine, but in life. He had tremendous humanity, and tremendous care for everybody, especially for children.”

Ponseti, 95, who developed a non-surgical method to correct the birth defect clubfoot, died suddenly Sunday afternoon at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Morcuende said Ponseti suffered a stroke last week in his office at the Ponseti International Association at UI.

Born in 1914 on the Spanish island of Minorca, Ponseti developed dexterity while working for his father, a watchmaker. He graduated from medical school in Barcelona and worked as a medic during the Spanish Civil War.

A Loyalist, Ponseti escaped to France when Gen. Francisco Franco won the war. He moved to Mexico, where he met Dr. Juan Farill, who had studied under Dr. Arthur Steindler at the UI. Farill recommended Ponseti to Steindler.

Ponseti came to the UI in 1941, finished his residency, and joined the faculty of orthopedic medicine. Steindler asked Ponseti to review clubfoot surgery results.

At the time and for decades after, it was accepted in the medical community that surgery was the only treatment for clubfoot. The condition affects one in every 1,000 births, leaving feet twisted down and inward.

Ponseti found surgery often left patients arthritic and needing further surgery. Studying the anatomy of the foot, he realized club feet develop normally in the embryo. Muscles pull the foot out of shape for reasons that aren’t fully known.

Ponseti learned to align a child’s club foot by manipulating ligaments and tendons and applying plaster casts to the full leg. The casts must be changed often as the leg develops.

“Because I’m that way,” Ponseti told The Gazette last December. “If I can get by without surgery, then I do.”

Ponseti largely perfected his method, which has a success rate of 95 to 98 percent, by the 1950s. But skepticism prevented its widespread acceptance until relatively recently, Morcuende said.

“People didn’t believe him, they didn’t believe all the principles he was explaining,” said Morcuende. “He was the only man in the whole world to say this is the way to go.”

Ponseti’s technique gained acceptance only with the spread of the Internet, and the publication of his book in 1996.

“It’s perseverance and keep working, and keep teaching people little by little,” said Morcuende, who came to the UI from his native Spain in 1991 to cofound the Ponseti International Association.

“He was my mentor,” Morcuende said of Ponseti. “Actually, he was my father here in the United states.”

As his work gained attention, more parents brought their children to Ponseti and the UI clinic that bears his name. Morcuende said tens of thousands around the world have been treated with Ponseti’s methods.

“The kids and the parents would see him and immediately trust him, just because they saw his heart,” he said.

Ponseti was forced to retire at 70 but returned to work the following year when mandatory retirement was lifted. He continued to practice through late 2008.

“I kind of enjoy the job,” he said last December. “I like children, and I can do this very well.”

Ponseti’s pace was slowed when he broke his hip last January, Morcuende said. But he soon returned to his namesake clinic, consulting with doctors and meeting former patients.

Ponseti’s work continues. He trained 250 to 300 doctors at the UI. Another 1,800 practice his technique in foreign countries. His death came two days after the annual Ponseti Races kicking off the International Clubfoot Symposium. Race proceeds help fund treatment for babies with clubfoot.


I'm not feeling very well, so this is all just a bunch-o-lazy-blogging. Our little dance team friend, Jaedon, who is currently at Joffery in NYC, passed this clip along and I couldn't resist sharing.

It is a video of a little girl is named Britney Hine. She is 9 years old and is a superb dancer. No, really.
(as always, you will need to scroll to the end of the page and turn off the music player to enjoy the video)


That's My CollegeBoy!

This is from the Homecoming football game program 2009.

He is having a good season. He had his first QB sack yesterday! That was a big wha-hoo moment for this Mama! lol

Recently in My Head

You know what it's like, this part of my life? It's like our honeymoon, when Mark kept bemoaning that, although Greece was great, it wasn't Viet Nam.

I hadn't yet been to VN, but this is how he explained it...our honeymoon was ...all about 'us'. VN had all the excitement and exotic-ness of visiting a new country and culture, but the focus was outward.

I am sick of me. Way too much 'me' right now.

What a Beautiful Commercial

This Thai commercial for Pantene (don't even mind using their product name, since they did such an extraordinary job with this) takes my breath away.

I wish American advertisers would make more inspirational, beautiful commercials and less snarky, thug, disrespectful ones.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Who I Want to be When I Grow Up

I am a speech/language pathologist, serving 0-5 year old children for the 25th year. I love what I do (except the paperwork---shudders).

I love the moment that a child really 'gets it'; the moment that the light bulb comes on and the child understands that "language works". The instant that the child figures out that the give and take/back and forth, the signs, the picture exchanges, the words, *mean something* and they can "get me what I want". That moment is pure magic. That is the reason I get up in the morning. Well, that and the fact that I have two kids in college. (grin)

I remember the moment I realized what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was 9 years old and was reading a Scholastic book biography of Helen Keller's life. I was fascinated. I was intrigued. I couldn't believe the intelligence, courage and tenacity of Helen Keller. She was amazing to me. The story of a young Helen finally learning the meaning of the word "water", as it was finger-spelled into her hand, under the running water of a pump was life-changing for me.

But even more amazing than Helen Keller, was Annie Sullivan. If Helen was stubborn, Annie was more so. If Helen was determined, Annie outdid her. If Helen shone, it was because Annie Sullivan saw the brightness of the child trapped within. I was hooked. I wanted to unlock the potential of children, especially in the area of giving them language. I wanted to be Annie Sullivan.

I read on CNN's website that there is to be a statue of Helen Keller unveiled at the US Capitol's Statuary Hall. That thrills me! I also loved it when Alabama chose to place Helen on the reverse side of their state's quarter. Helen is a heroine. Helen overcame obstacles and achieved far beyond the limits of her disabilities. Helen is worthy to be honored.

But, I cannot help but wonder about Annie Sullivan. The one who worked tirelessly to unlock Helen's potential. The one who read to Helen, through finger spelling, until her own weak eyes nearly gave out. The one who never left Helen, from the time she met her as a child, until her death. Helen would want her dear teacher and friend, Annie, honored and remembered. Annie would not seek such recognition.

I am no Annie Sullivan. But, I can so understand what made her tick. The magical "w-a-t-e-r" moment is addicting and intoxicating and will be what I love to do, until I can't do it any more.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sesame Street Asks the Hard Questions that the Mainstream Media Won't

Don't be lazy. Click on the link.

This episode brought to you by the letter 'O'. heh heh

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Things I Think About

Julie Ann Benning

Julie Ann Benning

19 YOA
Waverly, IA (Bremer County)
Jurisdiction: Butler County
November 28, 1975

Julie Ann Benning (also referred to as Julia Benning), 19, disappeared from Waverly, IA the day after Thanksgiving on November 28, 1975. A missing person search that sometimes extended to other states produced no clues to her whereabouts until a Butler County road maintenance worker found her nude and decomposed body in a roadside ditch along a quiet country road about a mile northeast of Shell Rock on March 18, 1976.

Benning had been strangled. An autopsy report established her death was due to "homicidal violence, caused by injury to the throat area."

Benning was last seen the afternoon of Nov. 28, 1975. Initial reports stated Benning was walking on Bremer Avenue on her way to work as a cocktail waitress at the Sir Lounge in Waverly's downtown business district, but on December 17 just before noon, Waverly Police Chief Clarence Wickham announced that further developments established Benning had been in a shoe repair shop at 5:05 p.m. to get a pair of shoes she had left there.

Julie Benning with boulder-size rockA 1975 graduate of Plainfield High School, Benning lived on a farm near Clarksville but had been staying with her aunt and grandmother, Malita Benning and Mrs. Emil (Frieda) Benning, in northwest Waverly while employed at the Waverly lounge.

While a senior at Plainfield High School, Benning had sharply criticized the taking of human life and life imprisonment. In a May 8, 1975 school newspaper editorial, Benning wrote: "Murder is a horrible crime to commit and, of course the offender must be punished, but does that mean he should rot in prison until he dies? I don't think so . . . nor do I think any person has the right to say someone should never be let out of prison, or give them the death penalty." She urged her readers to "Put yourself in their shoes -- the convicts are still humans, too. I hope people will be willing to help them and lend support in convicts' efforts to rehabilitate themselves."

Six months later, the outspoken teen was dead.

On Saturday, March 29, 1976 at about 8 p.m., Butler County Attorney Gene Shepard received an anonymous letter postmarked March 27 from Oelwein. Authorities didn't say how or where the note was found, but said officers wanted to look further into the information contained in the note.

Lisa Peak
Lisa Peak

FBI criminologists were later consulted to determine if the same person murdered both Benning and Lisa Peak, a 20-year-old Wartburg College journalism student whose body was found almost five months later about six miles from where Benning's body was discovered. Peak, too, had been strangled and had a broken neck.

Investigators cited a number of similarities in the Benning and Peak slayings.

Valerie Klossowsky
Valerie Klossowsky

Both Benning and Peak were attractive and described as "outgoing" or "popular." Both disappeared in broad daylight -- Miss Benning on Friday, Nov. 28, and Miss Peak on Monday, Sept. 6. Miss Benning was last seen in a shoe store, and Peak was reportedly going to pick up a pair of shoes. When found, both were nude. Peak had been sexually molested. Benning's body was badly decomposed when found, but authorities never said whether they were able to determine if she had also been molested.

Like Lisa Peak, Miss Benning was also interested in journalism. She enjoyed writing stories -- including mysteries -- and particularly loved Nancy Drew mysteries.

Questions also remained as to whether the Benning and Peak murders were related to another area homicide four years earlier. On June 15, 1971, the partially clad body of 14-year-old Valerie Lynn Klossowsky of Waverly was found on a creek bank under a bridge on a country road three miles west of Denver, IA. The Waverly-Shell Rock Junior High School student also had been strangled.

Miss Benning's survivors included her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lowell Benning of rural Clarksville; four sisters, Lori, Kelly, Carol, and Linda, all at home; and a grandmother, Mrs. Emil Benning of Waverly.

Sources and References:

The Plainfield News, Wednesday, December 17, 1975
The Waterloo Courier, Sunday, March 21, 1976
The Cedar Rapids Gazette, Friday, March 26, 1976
The Oelwein Daily Register, Tuesday, March 30, 1976
The Waterloo Courier, Tuesday, April 13, 1976
The Des Moines Register, Friday, September 10, 1976
The Waterloo Courier, Sunday, September 12, 1976

Another Checkmark on the Life List of Things to Do

Here is a slideshow of my fun!!!

Wartburg vs. Loras

Lemme just tell you, we arrived at halftime of the Wartburg vs. Loras game and were surprised by how far away from the field the visitor spectators were placed. Not at all welcoming. Boooo....

Oh well. Wartburg totally kicked bootwah again, winning with a 28-9 final score!!! The defense (aided by my CollegeBoy) only allowed Loras 155 yards total. Whoot Whoot


Here are the photos....
CollegeBoy is #91.

Because I get asked.... a lot!

© 2005 Super Duper® Publications
Super Duper® Handy Handouts!™ Number 98

by Katharine F. Bedsole, M.S., CCC-SLP
Articulation: When Should I Worry If My Child is Behind?

Developing speech and language skills is a difficult task. It is natural for young children to
make mistakes in the process of learning to speak. Most children eventually drop errors in their
speech and develop normal speech patterns. Some children continue to make errors beyond
the age when other children have mastered those sounds.

It may be time to show concern if you observe one or more of the following:

1. Family members or friends have a hard time understanding your child.
2. A child demonstrates frustration because you don’t understand his/her speech.
3. Your child shows no signs of frustration when trying to communicate, but you do not
understand his/her speech.

This is the time to seek a professional’s opinion. Direct questions about your child’s speech development to a local speech-language pathologist (SLP). To find an SLP in your area, visit

A certified SLP administers a standardized test comparing your child’s skills to other children his/her age. These test results, in addition to other information, determine whether your child requires speech therapy.

The chart below gives general guidelines of sound mastery. The guidelines allow for the different developmental speech milestones that children experience.

90% of Children Have Mastered These Sounds... By Age

p, d, m, w, h, n 2 years old
t, b, k, g 3 years old
f, v, y 4 to 5 years old
s, z, j, l, r, sh, ch, th, blends 5 to 7 years old

Mawhinney, Linda and McTeague, Mary Scott. (2004) Early Language
Development. Greenville: Super Duper Publications.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Boss on a Monday Night in Iowa

Before there was a movie called "The Bucket List", there was a 40 year old woman who felt that life was getting away from her, that time was passing faster and faster and that it was time to get serious about living with no regrets. So, she made a list; a Life List of Things to Do. That woman was me (soooo obvious).

I revisited my list from time to time, but with two high school kids, there was not much time for crossing things off the list. I transferred the list from a handwritten journal, to my blog, to my FaceBook and just sort of kept it in all the back of my mind.

Until one week ago. One week ago, I received an email from a mom friend. She was feeling ill and felt that she would be unable to use her tickets to the Bruce Springsteen concert. I was stunned, but first of all, I told her I wanted to pray that *she* would become well enough to attend herself. She agreed to this, but was dubious.

Monday, mid afternoon, I received a text from this Momfriend, stating that she was at the hospital and that she still wanted me to have the tickets. I agreed and quickly needed to make some plans. Had to find someone to go with. Had to make a plan.

Found another Momfriend, Jean and off we went. We arrived with minutes to spare and then found our seats. Then we waited an hour. ::ahem: After that, the Boss came out and we were treated to 3 hours of nonstop Bruuuuuce. The man, who is on a recent cover of AARP (my daughter and hairstylist do not even know The Boss---how sad) moves like a 30 year old. Amazing.

I really, really wanted to hear "Born to Runnnnnn" (of course) and "Thunder Road" and if I heard those, the rest would be gravy. Wish granted. I was in heaven. Except for the huge round bruise I have on my upper, outter right thigh, from where I would ker-slam my leg, as I danced in the dark. Did I already used the word 'heaven'? hahahaha

Such a generous gift. Such an amazing night. I was blessed, indeed. Now, onto the next item on the "Life List of Things to Do". Oddly enough, it was to come less than one week later. :)