Sunday Stills: The #Future Is Ours

Teaching a Kinder Class

Last week I hinted at the future as I looked back to 2021 and shared images of my events and life. Please join me as I look back again to the future to see where the journey might lead and how I might like to spend 2022.

But first, while researching this topic, I had to ask myself how does one take a photograph of the future? I admit to borrowing the idea for this challenge from the WordPress weekly photo challenge, April 2016, which many of you participated in back then including myself! I bet you didn’t know that you can go back and look at the thumbnails of the participants for additional inspiration (though many have stopped blogging).

Jen Hooks of WordPress, writes “One of the glorious things about photography is that it enables us to take a moment of our present, and make it available to look on in meticulous detail in the future.” This week, share an image that represents the potential of things to come.

The Future Begins

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Peter F Drucker

Shortly before he died in 2005, Peter Drucker was celebrated by BusinessWeek magazine as “the man who invented management.”

In an interesting twist, university curricula often included Drucker’s writings in management courses, including those that I had the pleasure to teach. I taught a total of 10 full years at the university level, teaching and creating curricula for parks and recreation management students.

Thinking of the future for this week, I found several older posts that support this theme.

The Future Begins with Steps to Education (2016)

Steps to Education lead to the future.

Walking from my classroom on campus a few months ago, I was intrigued by the way the stairs looked on this overcast day. These stairs lead from the east edge of the university campus to the bike trail and onto the bridge that crosses the river. Every semester, I have the pleasure of seeing the eager faces of young adults nearing the completion of their university education.

The future is theirs.

Bloganuary Challenge

Many bloggers are being inspired by January’s daily prompts. I’d hoped to hop into this WordPress event more often, but I’ve been busy shoveling snow and dealing with things on the home front. I have enjoyed many folks’ posts on the daily prompts. I attempt to answer the prompts briefly with an image and simply include these in my Sunday Stills posts. Hope you don’t mind!

I responded to two that seem to fit the theme of future.

January 1 What advice would you give your teenage self?

Take heart, your braces will come off and all that teasing you endured for sporting the braces AND having curly red hair will leave you with resilience and amazing coping skills. And, an excellent idea to take four years of Mrs. Lee’s classes in high school. See below.

January 6 Who is someone that inspires you and why?

Excerpts from a previous post: Reconnecting with My High School Teacher (2017)

Who was your favorite high school teacher? Mine was Mrs. Myrra Lee, of Helix High School in La Mesa, California, a suburb of San Diego. I discovered Mrs. Lee was celebrating her 90th birthday in San Diego in July 2016, and her family posted an open invitation on Facebook to former students.

Initially, I declined the invitation due to distance, but we ended up in San Diego during that very week to assist my ailing mother. Mrs. Lee’s family asked for thoughts to be emailed and I had written a blog post with this thought:

“Now that I am an educator, I wish she knew how much her teaching influenced my life, personally and professionally.” I never believed that I would ever get the chance to tell her face to face after 38 years.

Meeting my high school teacher 38 years later

The day of Mrs. Lee’s luncheon brought me so much joy! I was told by the family that she had suffered a mild stroke a few months before. When I entered the restaurant, I walked up to where she sat and introduced myself. She noticed my name tag and smiled. I asked if she remembered me and she replied very softly that she did. I was elated and honored to get this photo with her.

During the luncheon, we had the opportunity to share the perspectives and experiences we had with her as our teacher.

Nervously I stood and thanked her for being such an inspiration to me. I’m sure I stumbled over a few more words, eloquent and otherwise, but more specifically, these: “I ended up becoming an educator, too, Mrs. Lee, and this has been the joy of my life.”

She smiled and applauded, along with the rest of the room. I sat down with tears shining in my eyes.

As I listened to more of my high school classmates share their stories of this 1977 National Teacher of Year, I watched Mrs. Lee and still saw that razor-sharp glint in her eye, as her educator mind drank in the memories and praise. Even her recent stroke at age 90 had not stopped those gears from turning. She went into eternity just two years later and I will be forever grateful that I got to see her again and for her “take-no-prisoners” educational style and her ability to challenge everything we understood within our teenage selves in the mid-1970s.

Mrs. Lee taught us the value of an education and challenged students to reach for the stars and to not take no for an answer.

Terri Webster Schrandt, Reconnecting with My High School Teacher

A Continuing Educator

Sad as I was to end my 10-year career as a university faculty lecturer, our move to Washington State provided an unexpected and welcomed opportunity. Last week I mentioned I am employed as a substitute teacher for Nine Mile Falls School District. My first day as a sub was for a kindergarten class. I snapped this pic during an UNUSUALLY quiet moment as the kiddos got down to business (for a few minutes, and I’m talking FEW!!). A big difference from teaching university students, although crying happens in both age groups!

Teaching a Kinder Class
A rare moment when the kinders were ALL engaged!

The future indeed!

Need More “Future” Inspiration?

In no particular order, I’ve chosen images that represent past and future trips. Mexico may be a far-future return excursion, but Hawaii, San Diego in Southern CA, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona are very doable in 2022. Fingers crossed!

SUPing the waves
Wave Paddling, Hilo

A few more images that depict the “future” from my perspective.

Two years ago this was our future.

Boulder Home Compound
Our Boulder Way Compound in Eastern Washington

Photo Challenges this Week

Each week I am inspired by my fellow bloggers’ photo challenges. I find it fun to incorporate these into my Sunday Stills weekly themes.

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

Sunday Stills weekly challenge is easy to join. You have all week to share and link your post.

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Tag your post “Sunday Stills.”
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Below are this week’s links from bloggers who share photos that might represent the future.

To see more of my images and other news, consider following Terri on Social Media by clicking the icons:

Themes for the rest of January are ready to view on my Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Page. This page is updated monthly and I am open to YOUR theme ideas, too!

I hope you enjoyed my look back to the future. What does the future hold for you? Tell us in any creative way you would like! Join me next week for the monthly color challenge: white.

A future me this summer 2022!

© 2022-2025 Copyright — secondwindleisure.com — All Rights Reserved

Sunday Stills: Whistle While You #Work

Stack of papers to be graded

This holiday weekend, Labor Day (in the U.S.), is the traditional end to the summer, as school begins, and vacations are all but over.

According to the US Department of Labor, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

Imagine what our country (or any) would be without workers. This holiday was to be in honor of the Labor unions that protect workers from harsh and unrealistic conditions as a result of working in factories.

For Sunday Stills, if you haven’t quite guessed the theme, it is WORK!

We value work so much so that we spend most of our childhood preparing for our future careers.

Which of course leads me into education and my second act in life as a university lecturer. Yes, the featured image above is a huge stack of papers to be graded (from last year)! I won’t see a stack like this until later in the semester.

Some students have to “work” for their leisure! Student jumping off the platform “the dive” in one of our classes. This photo is submitted for “Action” for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week.

Student takes the "leap of faith" 40 feet in the air at the Peak Adventures Challenge Ropes Course in Sacramento.

A summer day in the life at my former career…I trained and supervised lifeguards and swim instructors, and manage to teach a learn-to-swim class every summer. It was still work, but teaching people how to enhance their leisure time and learn new skills was rewarding and satisfying! I might have whistled a note or two while at work!

Swim-Lessons

Here are some earlier posts about “work” when I retired from the day job as aquatics director (from the early days of my blog). Click the links to read more or just check out the images.

PERSPECTIVES ON…THE BOX: RETIREMENT, PART 2

Personal things from the office

Under Construction

A peek at my home office built into the master bedroom addition.

home office in master bedroom
Home office work space

 

PERSPECTIVES ON…MOUNTAIN DESKTOP Now I take my job wherever I need to. I don’t mind grading papers with a view like this of Lake Tahoe!

College Notebooks
Mountain Desktop

Share something related to work for Sunday Stills, even if you are no longer working! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Reminder that there will be no Sunday Stills post for Sept 9.

I’m attending my 40-year high school reunion in San Diego that entire weekend (Thursday through Monday), and will not be able to share posts! You can always use an older theme if you miss it too much, by visiting the Sunday Stills Page.

Here is the link-up!

We had over 80 posts in August! Please welcome and visit our new Sunday Stills participants who shared their great photos and posts in August!

City Sonnet 

I’ll Give You a Letter for That

Life Lessons

MV Obsession

Netdancer’s Musings

Quaint Revival

Sights and Insights

Travel Ways

Wide Eyed in Wonder

Have a great weekend and enjoy the Labor Day Holiday!

Camera graphic

 

Sunday Stills: #Lazy Days of Summer

Take time to relax

We are almost at the midpoint of August which means for many, summer is nearly over. Sure the weather will still be warm in the northern hemisphere, and maybe too hot on the West Coast (the wildfires aren’t helping matters), but school starts for many youth, teens and young adults in mid- and late-August!

The featured image above shows a strong leisure ethic in a college student the very first day of classes a couple of years ago.

Educators like myself are undoubtedly putting the finishing touches on course and classroom preparations, marking a clear end to the “lazy days” of summer which happens to be our theme this week for Sunday Stills. I know several students who are already back to school!

I remember as a kid growing up in San Diego, that we did not go back to school until the second week of September, well after the traditional Labor Day holiday. We did not get out for the year until mid-June, but my definition of summer always seemed like June through August to me.

Did you have time for some laziness this summer? I think I had more than my share after experiencing a crazy-busy spring. I took the whole month of June off where I didn’t do any course prep. I managed to write a few thousand words into my No Excuses Fitness book project, but I indeed felt lazy overall.

It didn’t help that we opened a Netflix account in May. Now both my hubby and I see the Millennials’ appeal of binge watching new and old movies or new-to-us Netflix series a couple of hours a night. However, that practice will need to be reigned in by early September!

Luckily my new Fitbit Charge 2 (not an ad) nags me every hour to get some steps in, so the appearance of laziness will stay in my own head!

I still have two more weeks before I step foot onto the college campus, so until that day arrives, I plan to experience a few more lazy days, now counted in just a few hours.

Here are my photo interpretations of “Lazy Days.”

I’ve been a little lazy capturing delta sunsets this summer. How perfect on a hot summer evening that the sun seems to rest a while among the wind turbines.

sunset among the windturbines 

Still obsessed transfixed with my backyard sunflowers, I captured the lazy opening of these petals on a newly-bloomed sunflower.

lazy opening of sunflower petals
Opposite of lazy? This bee on the same sunflower is heavily laden with sunflower pollen, giving “busy bee” a whole new meaning!

Busy bee is anything but lazy

All the photos in today’s post were captured by my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

How do you like to spend your lazy days?

If you are on Instagram and have some sunflower shots to share, please join me for the rest of August using hashtag #monthofsunflowers

Link here or share in the comments!

Camera graphic

My Place in the World as a (Leisure) Educator

University students blow bubbles to prove that spontaneity in leisure is rewarding.

University students blow bubbles to prove that spontaneity in leisure is rewarding.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela

I spent 35 years in the world of public parks and recreation providing clients with quality leisure experiences. The last 13 years before I retired in 2014 was spent as the aquatics director overseeing 15 public swimming pools and several sports facilities.

Back then, my Place in the World consisted of training lifeguards and staff in how to save lives, teaching kids and adults to swim and providing a cool, refreshing respite from the hot summer days found here in Central Northern California. It was also chatting with families, youth and adults about programs and activities in which they could be involved.

What is the role of a leisure educator? Simply to encourage and provide individuals with quality leisure experiences and activities to improve their skills and knowledge.

One teacher can change the world

Although I enjoyed my career in public recreation service, I knew I could contribute more to the goals of wise use of leisure time. And a little extra money wouldn’t hurt.

Following the lead of some of my colleagues, who were teaching part-time as lecturers in the parks and recreation departments at various universities, I got a master’s degree at the age of 50 and began my second career teaching students the values of leisure and sharing my 30 years of knowledge in management, communication, marketing and human resources.

What started out in 2011 as teaching one three-unit night class per semester, grew into teaching 15 units a year once I retired a few years later.

My place in the world grew to include teaching and mentoring hundreds of university students.

In the featured image at the top of the post, is my leisure education class experiencing spontaneous play by blowing bubbles on the Guy West Bridge on the Sacramento State University campus. Selfies and smiles, what’s not to love?

This past spring saw me temporarily putting aside the blog to focus my energy on creating relevant curriculum for a class new to me.

As this week marked my last class, I shared with my students that it has been an honor to be their instructor and that I am proud of what they accomplished with their assignments and quizzes. I say this on my last day of classes every semester and I am still amazed at their applause.

My reward is to see them graduate and to hear about them in the future as a recreation and leisure professional.

The last night of class, I was surprised to see a dozen students lingering around chatting among themselves. Many came up to me to thank me as well as inquire about other classes I’ll be teaching.

As we said our good-lucks and goodbyes, I recall several messages from students over the week:

“This is the only class this semester that is supporting my growth as a student!”

“Thank you for a great semester! I really think that our program will benefit from your instruction of this class from now on. You have brought a lot of valuable and relevant information to the course which will set students up for success in their future careers.”

“Thank you, professor Terri, it has been an honor learning from your courses.”

I am humbled.

Truly this is my place in the world.

I hope we can all express gratitude to those who teach our children and grandchildren, or those who teach in adult education. I worked with many dedicated and tireless volunteers who taught for free just to give back skills in photography, art, music and sports.

For those new to my blog, you may be interested in reading an older post Reconnecting with my High School Teacher.


A great teacher inspires!


Do you like these quotes? I was nominated by A Momma’s View, a long-time blogger friend, for the 3-Days, 3-Quotes Challenge. I’m cheating a bit because I have three quotes in this one post, and I won’t be able to post consecutively. Here are the rules if you would like to play along–the rules are simple:

  • Thank you to the person who nominates you
  • Post one quote per day for 3 consecutive days
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

I’m nominating anyone interested in this challenge!


It is not too late to thank a teacher today!

 

Fitness is Still Where You Find It

Finding Your Fitness

Finding Your Fitness

January is the time of year when folks think and do something about their fitness and exercise regimens.

It is very easy to give up on attempts at exercise when the weather is freezing cold or you and everyone around you are dealing with illnesses and colds. Even I have to force myself to get that gym workout in every other day, and yes, my dogs always need walking.

I am thankful I have my Fitbit to gently nag me to get my 10,000 steps in every day. Do I get them all in? Not every day, but that external motivation does push me a little but further.

With my school schedule set up differently this semester, I can take my favorite Friday morning yoga class again. Boy do I need it!

I end up parking far away on campus from my office so that I have to walk a ways. Every little bit of activity that you can sneak in every day counts for more benefits than you think.

I am sharing some older posts that may help and motivate you toward your fitness goals.

Please check out this previous post. Comments are closed here.

Original image by Scott Webb via Unsplash

via Fitness is Still Where You Find It

Ascending Steps to Greatness

the ascent to greatness

More steps to education

The weekly photo challenge asks us to show  our interpretation of upward movement with the theme Ascend.

This was my last week of teaching classes for the semester. As I graded my last online final, I recalled how, the week before, I asked students in my classes to stand and be acknowledged for their achievement of graduating this weekend. The smiles on their faces as each class applauded their pending walk to the podium simply demonstrated how much I love teaching and watching this phenomenon happen each year.

The image above was captured last spring on my way to the building in which my office is housed, and where many classrooms seat hundreds of students daily.

The morning sunrise lighting the stairs leading to the building punctuated with the lovely white blooms of the tree gave me a feeling of ascending into a higher place where we can find and reach our potential.

If we look, we easily find this theme ascension, the upward climb, taking flight and soaring among the clouds every day.

Earlier this year, I caught a photo of the Canadian snow geese ascending into the sky after feeding in the Colusa Wildlife Sanctuary.

Geese ascend

Last fall, I managed to capture the Blue Angels soaring overhead at the airshow.

Blue Angels Ascent

 

As I edited these photos depicting “ascend,” I am reminded of the poem I used to hear as a teen watching late night television (remember when network stations actually signed off each night?)

High Flight
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air… .

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

— John Gillespie Magee, Jr

I leave you with this quote for those still struggling with the upward climb.

Do not despise the bottom rungs in the ascent to greatness.
Publilius Syru

the ascent to greatness

Speaking of photos, don’t forget to check out my photography page where you can access free photos. I just added a set of holiday-themed photos for anyone to use!

In my next post I will share how I easily created the signature below using PicMonkey!

treesignatureholidays

 

Four Reasons to Attend a Blogging Conference

Four Reason to Attend a Blogging Conference

Four Reason to Attend a Blogging Conference

In September, I had the pleasure of attending not one, but two blogging conferences in my hometown of Sacramento, California.

WordCamp Sacramento 2017 focused on WordPress developers and website design, but had an entire bloggers track. This alone brought in over 200 more attendees than previous WordCamps.

The International Food Bloggers Conference, aka IFBC, spent three consecutive years here in “The Farm to Fork” Capital of Sacramento, and travels to New Orleans in 2018.

Last January, I shared some preliminary thoughts on attending blogging events in Need More Inspiration? Attend a Blogging Event. 

Before I share my four takeaways, here are some general thoughts on choosing a blogging conference.

Choosing a Conference

Having a blogging (or writing) conference come to your town is a huge gift.

2017 International Food Bloggers Conference SacramentoThrough a Sacramento Bloggers event in 2016, I discovered the IFBC conference would be offered the following year. Although I wasn’t a food blogger, past attendees assured us there was enough general information that it would be wise to attend. Although the IFBC was pricey, at over $300 for registration, the IFBC offered a deeply discounted rate to “Citizen Bloggers,” who agreed to share three blog posts before, during and after the conference.

At a price under $100, I registered well in advance, not knowing what the sessions or agenda would be.

In April, again through my association with Sacramento Bloggers, we found out that Sacramento was hosting its third annual WordCamp, this time with an entire track devoted to beginner bloggers, and how to use WordPress tools.

In case you don’t know, there is a difference between WordPress dot com (through Automattic, Inc), the free blog platform many bloggers use, and the WordPress dot org platform used on self-hosted websites. I have two sites: this one, Second Wind Leisure Perspectives, (you are reading here now) and my self-hosted website for my business Windigen Consulting.

Registration for WordCamp Sacramento was an unbelievable $40 for the entire weekend. This is attributed to the amazing and generous sponsors! When I applied for and was selected to present on the bloggers’ panel “Blogging Success and Monetization,” my registration fee was FREE! Plus, all attendees received conference t-shirts, swag and a useful printed program.

There was enough general information shared at sessions that I could apply to both this blog and my consulting website. Attending two local conferences almost back-to-back was a little tiring, but my drive to downtown was only a few minutes and parking rates for weekends were dirt cheap!

 

Without further adieu, here are my Four Reasons to Attend a Bloggers’ Conference:

Easy to meet others at a conference
Easy to meet others at a conference! Image from WordCamp.

1. Meeting other Bloggers

The main reason I attend conferences is to meet other bloggers in person, the actual folks with whom I have developed an online blogging relationship. Oftentimes, the world of a blogger can be a lonely place. It is a special treat to engage with other bloggers in person, who “get” you! And so nice to not have to type your reply for a change!

Before the conference:

  • Once you are registered for the conference, plan ahead and make some business cards for your blog, even if you just print them yourself.

At the conference:

  • Network with others. Most conference-goers are easy to spot with their name tags. Do not be shy about introducing yourself to another blogger. Exchanging those new business cards is helpful and useful.
  • At your table, say hello to those seated beside you. This may be difficult for some folks, but you can simply ask, “Are you a blogger,” or “What is your blog/website about?” Be prepared to answer this question, too.
  • In one session, the presenter asked for everyone’s cards so she could send us her slides and information. Many folks had awkward slips of paper rather than cards, which could be mistaken for trash and did not present a professional look. I was glad I had mine!

After the conference (or during):

  • Find your new blogger friends on social media and follow them.

2. Networking the Room In-Person and on Social Media

  • Use your time to walk around and explore all the conference areas. At the IFBC, there was a huge swag (gift) table where we selected one of each item to take home at the end of the first day. There were some leftover goodies the next day and we were encouraged to take them.
  • Be sure to meet and thank the conference organizers and sponsors. Most of these folks donate their time to put on these events. The sponsors and vendors also donated in-kind services and/or money to make the conference happen. One way you can also acknowledge them is by sharing their names and hashtags on Social Media.
  • Most conferences encourage social networking during the sessions. While this practice is beneficial, I find it rather distracting to the presenters. Use this at a minimum while the person is speaking, besides, how are you listening to what they are saying, while your fingers are tapping away on the screen? There is plenty of time in between sessions to share.
  • Do take photos of interesting conference items, like logos, t-shirts, session signs, displays, food, etc. Those make great sharing options for Instagram and Facebook where images are the key. Use the conference hashtag where possible while sharing. This is also a great opportunity to build your social media following, while following others. Some of these photos I used for this post!

Images of WordCamp Sacramento 2017 Conference
Attendees at WordCamp working alongside the presentation.

3. Learning New Skills

Attending a conference provides an opportunity for professional development and learn the blogging best practices from the experts. Both conference organizers sent e-mails on a regular basis with up-to-date information as the conference dates approached.

Before the conference:

  • Read the agenda and look at the sessions that interest you. Have a back-up plan if one gets cancelled (it happens).
  • Ask yourself what you hope to get out of attending the conference.

During the conference:

  • Attend sessions. Have you ever been to a conference and didn’t go to the sessions? Back in my work days, I saw this practice all the time. I never understood the point of spending money, then not actually learning something.
  • Take notes. Conference attendees take session notes a variety of ways, whether by pen and notepaper, recording with a device, or by typing on a laptop.
  • Talk with the presenters after the session, and take the opportunity to thank them and ask questions.

After the conference:

  • Watch for follow-up e-mails from the conference organizers. Many presenters offered their slide shows in a shared format that all attendees could access.
  • At WordCamp, professional photographers took lots of photos and shared them with attendees (that is how I got many of the images in this post). I’m told WordCamp images are public domain, so no need to attribute them to the photographers.

Taking notes at WordCamp Sacramento 2017
Taking notes at WordCamp Sacramento 2017

4. Putting What You Learned into Practice

This is often neglected, especially if you attend a conference out of town. Traveling home, you may be tired or needing to catch up at work, and you may be tempted to put your bag of notes and goodies away for a few days. Those nuggets of great ideas can easily be lost or forgotten.

At the conference:

  • While taking notes, give yourself 1-2 actionable items from each session that you can implement within 24-48 hours.
  • Put it on a to-do list, your day planner/calendar or sticky note or somewhere you can access it quickly. I sent myself a list in a calendar event with a nagging reminder so I wouldn’t forget.

After the conference:

  • Following up with these notes is important, or why did you bother to attend? Get as much as possible out of your conference experience.

At the IFBC, I heard two excellent speakers. One presented on “Massive Instagram Growth” and gave us actionable how-to items to implement quickly. Another speaker talked about SEO and provided excellent examples, as well as her slide deck at the end. I saw lots of folks snapping photos of these slides for later use!

Those were my top four reasons. Here are some additional nuggets for you to consider.

The Conference Speakers

  • Have patience with the presenters. Although they are sharing their expertise on a topic, he or she is unlikely a seasoned speaker. Using a microphone and managing a laptop while speaking is frightening to many folks! Speaking from experience, it can be extremely nerve-wracking to stand in front of 100+ people and present, so take that into consideration and try to jot down the best nuggets of information they have to share.
  • Many conferences provide a sharing link for all the slideshows used at the conference.
  • If you just don’t enjoy a session and there is another offered concurrently, do not be afraid or intimidated to walk out of an uninteresting or irrelevant session and move on to another one if possible. You paid for this information when you registered and you have the right to move around.

WordCamp speaker engages with his audience.
WordCamp speaker engages with his audience.

Take Time to Evaluate and Perhaps Volunteer

Be sure to evaluate the conference and offer your feedback. If you were disappointed with something, take a moment to describe the issue in detail. At the end of the survey, there might be an opportunity to sign up to volunteer or present for future conferences, if that is something in which you are interested.

If you do have to opportunity to present, you will likely get comped for the entire conference, so that is always a good incentive.

My Overall Impression of Two Blog Conference Weekends

I am glad I went. I hadn’t been to a professional conference since Bloggers at Midlife in 2016, and before that was when I presented at a work conference in 2013.

I learned several actionable items and concepts as well as met many people I could ask for assistance if needed. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend a blogging conference in person. Keep checking your WordPress admin panel for updates on WordPress events in your community.

Network with local bloggers, if possible, to see if other events are being planned.

I also have an opportunity to meet with several fellow bloggers over Veteran’s Day weekend in mid-November as we converge in Southern California. I am very much looking forward to spending some quality time with these special friends..

My signature

Speaker Interview With Terri Webster Schrandt – WordCamp Sacramento 2017

wordcamp logo and speaker photo

wordcamp logo and speaker photo

My 15 minutes of fame as a presenter comes this weekend at the WordCamp Sacramento 2017 conference! I cannot believe how fortunate I am to be able to attend not one, but two, local blogging conferences in September!

In January, I shared “Need More Inspiration? Attend a Blogging Event” encouraging bloggers to meet other bloggers in person when and where possible. I read that many bloggers discovered regional events they could attend.

WordCamp Sacramento 2017 happens over two days this weekend (Sept 16-17th). This year a blogger track was added to assist bloggers. Through Sacramento Bloggers, I connected with other bloggers and we now meet two-three times per year to share ideas and network. Founder Margaret Andrews, blogger and self-published author, and I are honored to present on the panel for the session: Blogging Success and Monetization.

I am on the panel as a “hobby blogger” and will share how blogging opened the door for successful freelance writing and self-publishing.

WordCamp Sacramento 2017 has a boatload of sponsors. Because of their generosity, registration was a mere $40 for two whole days! Unheard of! As a presenter, I even get the entire conference free!

“WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users.”

More information about WordCamps and other WordPress events is in your WordPress Admin panel. You can see what it looks like on your admin panel below. It may look a little differently depending on your geographical region.

WordPress Admin Panel Info

I have attended a few WordPress meetups in Sacramento, and many communities have these available. Yes, they are heavy on the developer end and focus on the WordPress dot org platform. If you are a hosted blogger on WordPress dot com, you don’t really need this level of WordPress. However, if you have a self-hosted website/blog and you use the WordPress platform, these can be valuable sources of information, as well as opportunities to meet other bloggers.

Had I not taken a look one random day at this box in my admin panel, I might have missed this local event and the opportunity the present with the panel. Once you find a WordPress meet-up group, stay on their mailing list for updates.

2017 International Food Bloggers Conference SacramentoAt the end of September I am attending the International Food Bloggers Conference, also held in Sacramento. I’m not a food blogger, but the event is local and my goal is to meet other bloggers and attend a couple of the general blogging sessions. These sessions include:

  • How to Make Money from Your Blog
  • Why Bloggers Need to Know SEO
  • Get Paid For Your Posts
  • Let’s Talk Massive Instagram Growth
  • Beyond the Blog – Panel
  • and How to Write a Scroll-Worthy Blog Post by my friend and local blogger, Margaret Andrews

 

There are food-related activities, too, and I’m excited about being a part of it all!

After I attend these two blogging events, I will share a post on my take-aways from the events. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, you can read a little more about me. WordCamp organizers took the information from our required profiles and shared each and every presenter in blog posts over the last few months. Mind you, this event is completely run and organized by volunteers. Special shout out to Jennifer Bourn of Bourn Creative who is one of the key organizers of this event.

Source: WordCamp Sacramento Speaker Interview With Terri Webster Schrandt – WordCamp Sacramento 2017

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Dog Days of Summer: Recognizing Canine Parvo-Virus

Recognizing canine parvo-virus in your dog

Recognizing canine parvo-virus in your dog

This post is intended to educate dog owners about the serious and sometimes fatal threat of canine parvo-virus.

Many of you have “met” my pup Brodie, a purebred Boykin Spaniel. If not, feel free to read about it in Me and My Aero: For the love of a Dog

Brodie came into our lives at 7 weeks old full of Boykin (aka “Destroykin”) Spaniel energy and vigor. At this writing, he is almost 8 months old.

Every dog owner agrees that having their pets vaccinated for a variety of canine diseases is critical to their well-being, not to mention their survival. While I won’t go into the pros and cons of vaccinations here, I will say that having owned 5 dogs myself and being raised around my mom’s collies, I feel strongly that vaccines are necessary.

But they are not infallible.

Brodie got his first round of shots at 7 weeks and continued faithfully until just past 4 months old. We followed all the rules and protocols, so no walks in the front yard or street, kept him crated at the vet’s office, and no contact with other dogs.

There is a reason that young puppies should not be exposed to other dogs (except trusted, vaccinated dogs), nor be exposed to indoor and outdoor areas including your own front yard, the street, parks, pet stores, even the veterinarian’s office.

Three words: Canine parvo-virus, Parvo for short.

The canine parvo-virus (CPV) infection is a highly contagious viral illness that affects dogs.

 

Brodie’s Story

On July 9, Brodie tested positive for parvo by the emergency care vet, one day short of his 7-month birthday.

Let me share the few hours leading up to this diagnosis.That morning after our early morning walk, he did not drink water or eat. At about 10am he vomited typical puppy stuff–bits of food, paper towel, fluff from a toy–the usual. Two hours later he vomited in the house, this time bile tinged with pink. Oh NO!! He must have swallowed something!

I went back to pick through his now-dried vomit and found jagged rubber pieces from the bottom ring of Aero’s food bowl that Brodie had chewed the night before. Figuring he may have scratched his esophagus or stomach lining, I kept an eye on him but wasn’t overly concerned as yet. He continued to not drink or eat, yet still urinated. He had a loose watery stool, which prompted me call my vet, knowing on a Sunday, they were closed. Although I jotted down the ER hospital’s referral phone number, I was still thinking I would take him to our vet first thing Monday morning. Not long after, he had a violent diarrhea (that, I have to say, scared him as it shot straight out his back end). Double Oh NO!!

I called the ER animal hospital and asked for advice. I then grabbed both dogs and drove the short distance to the animal hospital.

As I signed papers agreeing to pay for charges, the tech took Brodie’s temperature which was a little elevated, then came back and said she wanted to test for Parvo. I scoffed at this, telling her Brodie had all his vaccinations. She countered, “With his symptoms, we routinely check for parvo to rule it out.” Another $90 fee, but I reluctantly agreed.

When the diagnosis came back positive a few minutes later, my heart dropped into my stomach, fearing the worst. The veterinarian came in with the test strip showing me the results and suggested I take a photo of it with my phone. I had to sign more papers, an estimate of charges for all the care and treatment. Three days of isolation garners a minimum estimate of $3400! He also encouraged me to consult my regular vet and seek compensation from the pharmaceutical company.

I asked him how was this possible that he contracted parvo after having all of the shots. He explained that similar to human influenza, parvo has mutated into more resistant strains for which vaccines haven’t yet been developed.

After hearing more instructions as to what would happen next, I spent a few minutes with 40-pound Brodie sitting in my lap like the “toddler” he is and just rocked him back and forth. The caring techs carried Brodie to the isolation unit, and I had to dip the bottom of my sandals in a bleach solution before walking into the lobby. I paid the deposit, still somewhat numb from the shock. I picked up Aero, and as soon as I got into the car I started sobbing, thinking I might not see my puppy alive again. I called hubby who was still in Spokane and the news ruined his dinner.

Canine parvo-virus can be fatal in young puppies and aging dogs.

I went home, petted and reassured Aero (who by the way is in no threat to parvo since he has had several consistent booster shots in the last seven years), then began the tortuous cleaning and bleaching everything with which poor Brodie came into contact. Most of his fluffy toys had to be tossed in the garbage. I had to spray an outdoor bleach solution on spots in the yard, on his crate, and launder his bedding in a heavy bleach solution. I even bleached his leashes and collars.

I balled like a baby as I did this, still feeling like I would not see Brodie alive again, while feeling like I was washing away his very existence!

I tearfully posted Brodie’s plight on my FaceBook page and on the Boykin Spaniel Lovers page and received wonderful love, support and encouragement. According to several comments, the good news is that puppies Brodie’s age (at 7 months) who have been vaccinated, have a great chance of surviving with proper treatment.

Brodie spent the first of at least three nights in isolation at the animal hospital. Since parvo is so contagious, the medical staff must take extreme precautions. I had been out of sorts about this all day but I talked to the vet who gave me a good prognosis.

Brodie on IV treatment for parvoAt noon, they let me visit him, but I stayed behind the windows of the partitioned area. He was the only dog in isolation, but tech staff is always there 24/7. He has never been alone before and I feared he thought I had abandoned him. I dropped off a handkerchief with my scent on it asking the tech to put it in Brodie’s kennel. When I saw him, he recognized me,  and visibly brightened!

After visiting Brodie, I went to my vet’s office to tell them what happened. The regional office manager of Sacramento area VCA Animal Hospitals happened to be at the front desk. As I told her about Brodie, she said, “I have worked in this industry for 27 years, and I have heard of these rare cases, but have never seen one.” She proceeded to start a case file and contact the pharmaceutical company.

Tuesday morning, the vet called me with an update. She said, “Brodie is responding well to fluids and medications.” He is feeling so good, that he chewed through his IV tube” (inserted in front leg), prompting them to place the “cone of shame” around his neck. She said he may be released later that evening.

And he was! He ended up spending just two nights there. The vet gave us a list of instructions and several medications to give to Brodie.

The vet told us that vaccinations are shipped nationwide to hospitals, feed stores, vets’ offices, etc. The vaccines are supposed to be shipped in temperature-controlled packaging. She said once, in her experience, a shipment arrived late on a Friday on a hot summer day and wasn’t discovered until two days later. They sent it back unopened. If the vaccine is administered too cold or too warm, it can be rendered ineffective.

As if that is not scary enough!

Brodie's home and missed his orange pillow.
Brodie is home and missed his orange pillow.

That evening, he was very happy to be home, but seemed weak. The next day, although he didn’t eat much, and slept on and off most of the day, he looked much better. By the weekend, he seemed back to normal, eating several times a day to make up for those lost meals!

How do you avoid the threat of parvo?

“The virus is everywhere. Even if your puppy or grown dog doesn’t come in contact with a sick animal, they can contract it from the surface of dog bowls, shared water, dog park facilities, and it can be transmitted even long after an infected dog was in the facility or home. The most common mode of transmission is through contact with contaminated feces, or direct, dog-to-dog contact. Since dogs don’t commonly show signs of illness during the initial incubation phase, your dog could be playing with an infected dog and you would not be able to tell.” Janet Garmin, for Countryside Daily

For the full story, read What is Parvo in Dogs? written by fellow Boykin Spaniel owner and freelance writer Janet Garmin.

 

Signs & Symptoms of Parvo in Dogs

The major symptoms associated with the intestinal form of a canine parvovirus infection include:

  • Severe, bloody diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Severe weight loss

The intestinal form of CPV affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, and an affected animal will quickly become dehydrated and weak from lack of protein and fluid absorption. Source: PetMD: Canine Parvo-virus

Obviously these are serious symptoms!

Because I did not suspect parvo, I almost did not take Brodie to the ER vet. My instinct and quick action likely saved his life, and definitely reduced his treatment time in the hospital.

Fast forward, two weeks later. The vet’s office called to tell me the pharmaceutical company is completely reimbursing me (over $2300).

 

Brodie is blessed and so am I!

Happy, healthy Brodie two weeks later
Happy, healthy Brodie two weeks later

paw printsFeatured Image Photo by meredith hunter on Unsplash

Have you ever had to deal with a beloved pet’s illness? Please share in the comments.

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Reconnecting with My High School Teacher

Meeting my high school teacher 38 years later

Meeting my high school teacher 38 years later

Who was your favorite high school teacher?

Mine was Mrs. Myrra Lee, of Helix High School in La Mesa, California, a suburb of San Diego.

Through an odd, but emotional set of circumstances, I discovered Mrs. Lee  was celebrating her 90th birthday in San Diego in July 2016, and her family posted an open invitation on Facebook to former students. Initially I declined because we had no desire for travel plans in June or July due to my husband’s summer work demands.

I contacted her family via e-mail and gave them my regrets. They asked if we would like to contribute to an album and I submitted this post, Teacher of the Year, thinking that was that. In this post I wrote these words:

Now that I am an educator, I wish she knew how much her teaching influenced my life, personally and professionally.

I never believed that I would ever get the chance to tell her face to face after 38 years.

In late June that year, my brother called to tell me that my mother, who lives in a nursing home in San Diego, had taken a sudden turn for the worst. Her doctor recommended the family should see her ASAP in case she was to pass. Abruptly, my daughter, my husband, and I made emergency plans to travel to San Diego to be with my mom.

As I looked at the dates to fly both my daughter and husband back home for work, I saw that the birthday party for Mrs. Lee was just the following Saturday. I e-mailed the family and asked if there were still spots open for the luncheon, and remarkably, there were several spots left.

The travel plans were for us to all drive the nine-hours together, then I would stay on and attend the party, and drive back home.

As much as I looked forward to this, I also dreaded the idea of my mother possibly passing away while we were there. The emotional rollercoaster that followed was overwhelming as I began grieving the loss of my mother.

From Friday, when we got the phone call, to Sunday night when we finally visited my mom, we weren’t sure how mom would look, but she looked amazingly well. Her doctor had painted a bleak picture of her prognosis. Since it was evening, she was already in bed. She battles a series of medical conditions including dementia, so she was confused as to place and time but recognized us all. Each day we visited her, she got better and the massive infection miraculously cleared up on its own. To this day she is still doing well, much to her doctor’s amazement.

I told my mom I was going to Mrs. Lee’s 90th birthday party. My mom had been with me in 1977 when we attended the high school reception honoring Mrs. Lee’s National Teacher of the Year award. She had returned from the trip to Washington D.C to accept the award from President Jimmy Carter.

Words that are dear to my heart now a year later were when my mother said, “Oh, she’s 90? Tell her I said hello and congratulations.” As if my mom had one foot in 2016 and one foot in 1977.

The day of Mrs. Lee’s luncheon brought me so much joy! Just the mere fact that I would actually see her after 38 years was hard to imagine. I was told by the family that she had suffered a mild stroke a few months before. When I entered the restaurant, I walked up to where she sat and introduced myself. She noticed my name tag and smiled. I asked if she remembered me and she replied very softly that she did. Elated and honored, I got a photo taken with her, then went to sit down.

I sat at a table with several classmates which was an unexpected delight. The best thing about the luncheon was the opportunity for us to stand up and share our perspectives and experiences we had with her as our teacher. They also passed around the two photo albums and I was enormously pleased to see my blog post plastered across two full pages.

Nervously I stood and thanked her for being such an inspiration to me. I’m sure I stumbled over a few more words, eloquent and otherwise, but more specifically, these: “I ended up becoming an educator, too, Mrs. Lee, and this is the joy of my life.”

She smiled and applauded, along with the rest of the room. I sat down with tears shining in my eyes.

In reading through the albums, it was clear that she had not let age slow her down, but continued to make news headlines.

In 2011, Mrs. Myrra Lee was also lauded for her role as a staunch advocate against human trafficking, long after retiring from teaching. This article, “Waking People to Injustice” written by Los Angeles Times Columnist Sandy Banks, leads with this headline:

“Myrra Lee, 85, is working to show sex trade’s hidden victims.”

As I listened to more of my high school classmates share their stories of her, I watched her and still saw that razor-sharp glint in her eye, as her educator mind drank in the memories and praise. Even her recent stroke at age 90 has not stopped those gears from turning.

Sadly, I had to leave the luncheon before it concluded to travel back home. I collected the dogs and my luggage and drove the nine-hour drive home reflecting on how two remarkable women affected my life as a teenager and still feel their continued influence into my midlife years.

My mother, through her daily example, taught me the value of leisure and fitness.

My high school teacher taught me the value of education and challenged students to reach for the stars and to not take no for an answer.

Was it a beloved teacher who inspired you? How so?

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For all you bloggers out there who love stats and analytics, googling “Myrra Lee Educator” ranked my original post fifth on the home page! Your stories do make a difference!

Companionable as Solitude

Student walks on levee from classes

As writers, many of us seek Solitude  because of our need for quiet while we write. Sometimes our very temperaments demand that we find a place of solitude in which to refresh or to regroup our swirling thoughts.

Solitary students walks the levee toward the bridge

A college student appears to seek solitude on this lonely levee path. I wonder what she is thinking as she leaves the campus for the day? Notice her bright pink wellies!

 “I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.” Henry David Thoreau

On perhaps a lighter note, there is something very lonely about this lizard…look closely.

Lizard in eternal solitude

A few years ago, on top of my friend’s roof in Mexico, I found this poor lizard, or what’s left of him. Looking for a sunny spot, he got stuck in the fresh paint, prompting this haiku.

Lizard seeking warmth

The ultimate solitude

Ever in the sun

I included this photo for a similar photo challenge in this previous post: Photography 101, Ultimate Solitude.

Here is the first image with the quote. Feel free to pin it if you like it 🙂

Student walks on levee from classes

These photos are submitted for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.

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Weekend Coffee Share: In the Middle

Bright red leaf colors peak in mid-November

Bright red leaf colors peak in mid-November

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that here, in the middle of November, I am smack-dab in the middle of several different projects. How would you like your hot beverage today? I’m still all about the pumpkin spice-flavored coffee.

More improvements made to walk-in closetWhat am I in the middle of, you ask? First, the master bedroom addition is experiencing final touches in the bathroom and closet. My husband is amazing and is creating an awesome closet! Here is where we are today. Still some work to be done!

The master bath is finished!. Take a look at the re-claimed piece of wood my hubby re-purposed into a towel rack. We found a weathered two-by-six in the delta where we windsurf. My hubby used his superpowers to create this gorgeous piece! Great souvenir and looks awesome in the bathroom!Lowly 2x6 board abandoned at the delta gets re-purposed into bathroom towel rack

It will be wonderful to put everything away and start hanging my pictures. But I got to tell you, all this organization and the details, thrown in with some DIY and cleaning, has made me feel surprisingly tired. But I know that it will all be worth it!

If we were having coffee, I would have to bore you with some more photos of autumn in Sacramento. With the rain and cold night temps, the leaves are finally going dormant and flaunting their amazing colors. The leaves are still mostly on the trees as of now, but soon the ground will be covered with a colorful mosaic. A haiku in the making!

If we were having coffee I would explain that I am still in the middle, so to speak, of the semester. The last two weeks, with midterms and no papers to grade, have been nice. Upcoming this week, both classes have papers due! Thinking I had my spring semester all scheduled, …wait, I need a swig of coffee… my department chair informed me on Thursday that I would be teaching my new class this spring instead of next fall. Well… better start reading the textbook, and fast! Even though it is kind of short notice, as the new semester begins in late January, I will be excited to teach another course in the major.

To top it off, last week, select faculty members were invited to read and assess student writing for WASC Accreditation program (Western Association of Schools and Colleges). In order to graduate from California State Universities, students must test for writing proficiency as a junior, then satisfactorily pass a writing intensive course. It was a unique perspective being on the other end as a reader, since I am a writing intensive course instructor. The process was very interesting and I made some extra $$!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the middle of November has brought some fun to this blog. In addition to the Weekly Photo Challenge hosted by WordPress, I just started a new photo challenge called “Thursday Doors. My post, “Dare to Enter” was my first entry to the challenge. Nothing like a new photography challenge. Anyone can join, check it out!

On Thursday, for my Leisurely Thursday feature, I published a post called Winter Cycling Tips. Not only did it get stumbled (via StumbleUpon) with over 30 views, this post brought the most visitors to my blog in the last few weeks! It did help that I also guest-posted this story on Staycations California. If you are interested in how StumbleUpon works, please refer to the links in my post from last week, The Link To Leisure.

It was a great week, except for the unbelievable tragedy that occurred in Paris. My thoughts and prayers to the families and victims, and I sincerely wish for peace for our world.

What are you in the middle of this week! Come tell me over coffee!


Fall-weekend-coffee-shareWeekend Coffee Share is brought to you by Part-time Monster’s Weekly feature. Come have coffee with us!

Inspiration

Climb-Every-Mountain

Inspiration

Climb-Every-Mountain
Sunset over Tuolumne Meadows

The weekly photo challenge asks us “What inspires you?” What a loaded question!

Is it a beautiful sunset? Is it your family? Is it your leisure pastimes? Is it a stunning image you took with your own camera? Is it your passion? Is it the opportunity for education?

Yes to all!

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What inspires you?

A Disappointed Daughter’s Perspective for Mother’s Day

Mom-and-Me

Back in September, I wrote a post that elicited an emotional response from a variety of readers. For Mother’s Day, I would like the share this again.

Mom-and-Me
Mom and me in San Diego during Thanksgiving 2008.

For my mom; my dream reader

As I delve more into blogging each day, sharing my perspectives, I’m challenged with the notion that I am a disappointed daughter. My mother may never see this, not because she has passed on, but because she lives in a nursing home since 2010, at the young age of 75.

Mom’s health has always been poor; I remember as a kid in the early 1960s, how she had bottles of prescription meds for sleeping, for waking up, and probably “mama’s little helpers” for all I know. She was very much the hypochondriac! At age 40, she contracted lupus, which slowly took her health away.

By 2009, Mom, still living by herself (divorced my dad at age 39), started showing signs of dementia. Because she was on Medi-Cal as a result of the divorce, she was taking so many medications from different doctors that her health was failing on every level. I was disappointed by Mom’s manipulation as well as the doctors for not taking better care of her.

My mother is the daughter of educators, but she married young and lived the typical “housewife and mother” lifestyle, raising three kids (one daughter, two sons); and consequently never finished her college degree. Disappointing…she was one math class away from a B.S.

She took great care of us but she was obsessed with vacuuming and putting on her hair and make-up all day long. She did not like to cook, so my Dad would cook after coming home from working all day. By the time I was 16 and learning to drive, Mom decided she wanted to re-learn how to drive. By the time I started college at 18, she decided to work on her degree. A little friendly competition there, Mom?

My husband and I live 500 miles away from most of our families who still live in San Diego. We get to San Diego two-three times a year. Visiting Mom in the nursing home, or at a family gathering, results in her telling me how happy she is to see me, while telling me 10 times in 5 minutes how pretty my blouse is.

I feel my Mom’s poor health and distance robbed me of a good relationship with her—no fault of anyone’s, really. But…it disappoints me.

However…

Mom did teach me valuable life lessons. The innate educator in her compelled her to teach me how to read at age four, spell such words as “constitution” (I can barely type it!), and made me sound out words phonetically—all good skills! By the way, Mom had an IQ of at least 165 (but acted like the proverbial “absent-minded professor” with little common sense). In high school, Mom insisted I take Latin (!) as my language requirement, and she could still remember hers and could still conjugate verbs (“amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant”)! In college while still living at home for a bit, we would debate philosophy and religion and she would help me write my term papers!

For recreation, Mom always insisted we go somewhere every Saturday or Sunday, whether it was to church, the beach (we lived in San Diego), the zoo, Sea World, or trips to the snow in the Cuyamaca Mountains.

Tuolumne-Meadows
High country of Yosemite National Park

Every summer we camped for two weeks in Sequoia and/or Yosemite National Parks. This instilled a strong leisure ethic in me that exists to this day and has been passed down to my daughters.

Mom also bred and showed collies, which took us all over Southern California, then to the Pacific Northwest while we lived in Oregon for two years. Ever had hairy, panting, drooling dogs sit next to you in the backseat of the car on road trips? Yay. Our collies did well, many reaching championship status. With 10-12 dogs in the backyard (never came in the house, too hairy, and Mom vacuumed enough as it was), my brother and I had the pleasure of not walking the dogs daily, but riding our bikes holding the dogs’ leashes so the dogs could trot next to us! Needless to say, we were all in great shape!

When my first daughter was born, Mom drove up to Northern California every SIX weeks for a week to be with her. She was and is obsessed with babies and toddlers. As the kids grew, Mom spent hours looking for just the right birthday and Christmas gifts, which of course, needed a lengthy explanation. As a grandmother, she played with my daughters, read to them and bought them clothes. Mom taught my oldest daughter to read and play music on a recorder. My daughter went on the play clarinet. Mom was indeed a talented musician, playing the recorder, viola and French horn.Mom-Dad-and-Me

Dear Mom, if you ever read this, please know that I love you despite my own perceived disappointments. Mothers and daughters may have ambivalent relationships, but you instilled the love of leisure and the love of education in me and from these my disappointment turns to everlasting gratitude.

Love, child holding heart

Your daughter