Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wanna see something a little gross?

This is kind of gross...but you might like it.

Word is out that you can come to Val's house and get some good hosting.
Snacks, a nice place to sleep, a happy backyard to relax in.  Your own guest bathroom.

We have all sorts of kinds come to Andersonville for some R and R.

Lot of people....and some various types of wildlife.  We are used to raccoons, cats, birds, squirrels, turtles, toads, frogs, and even an opossum in the trash last week. 

But a cicada?

Yep, it is true.  We saw a cicada be born last night.   I was on a walk about of the yard, and found this strange bug sort of contraption popping open.  I was so grossed out--at first--but then I was intrigued.  I got the family to come out and be grossed out too.

A cicada is some loud bug that lives in the ground for years and then crawls out to be birthed and then lives a little while.  You can wiki it if you really care all that much.

Here is what I found:

He is popping out.
The "newborn" was in some sort of coma...when you poked it
he would move.  He was twice as big as the host shell,
so I am sure he is happy to be out of there.
It reminded me of Men In Black when the alien
took over the human body.

They normally are birthed on the ground in private
but this guy was on the fence by the new
Chinese gate.  Maybe it is a nice place to have a baby? :)
So, I went out this morning to see where the baby cicada
was in his new beginnings.  He was gone.
But his host shell is still there. 

Science lesson over.  Have a great day!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

"I come home with hope"

Have you ever seen Hope?

And I don't mean a girl that used to live in my neighborhood and attend our church congregation?

These, my friends, are the faces of Hope.

I know that I have traveled far and wide for my volunteer work.  China, Scandanavia, Britian and last month, Canada.  When people ask about the Rotary travel and schedule, they don't ever ask about the most important piece....

The participants.

At the International RYLA, we had 150 people come from around the world to be together for five days.  They come because they believe they will meet great folks and learn great things.   They are right.  They do and did.  One woman saved for two years to come and volunteer to serve for free as a counselor.  She paid to be there.  Most of us do.  I do.  Actually, Mr. Fun pays since he is the one with the paying gig in our family.  Over 30 countries were represented there this year.  I helped direct this experience for them.  And it is an honor.

Five days after I got home from Canada, I took off to the excotic land of Fulton Missouri, home of parts of the Berlin Wall.  :)

This is what Hope looks like here in the great state of Missouri.

This was my 12th RYLA event.  My 19th residential camp (for lack of a better word) since I was 17.  I would say I have leadership camp in my blood.

Apparently, I am not the only one.

We have a Rotarian counselor here in Missouri who serves each year.  He serves for free...no strings attached.  He takes time off from work to do it.  While there are others who do and serve as equally valiantly, there is something that Nelson said that I will always remember.  He was able to verbalize the why I go and do all this free effort.

"I come to RYLA because when I see these young people, I come home with hope." 

Well said, Nelson   Well said.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Are you nuts?

Read this recently in a chick magazine.  So obviously it is of strong scientific mind...

Scientists from the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago gave 1,000 volunteers standardized personality tests and then ask them to choose one nut out of five choices.  Here are your choices:  Almonds, peanuts, walnuts, cashews or pecans.  They say what nut you pick is directly related to your personality type.  What do nut are you?

Peanuts:  you are extroverted and charming, and you crave attention
Almonds:  You have high standards, are very motivated and tend to be a perfectionist
Pecans:  You are generous and considerate and a devoted, loyal friend
Cashews:  You are dependable and easygoing
Walnuts:  You are competitive and easily annoyed when life's inconvienences get in the way

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bob the Builder Award: A boy named Joey

Joey is a good natured young man.  Good heart.  Like his old man.

Recently he was at a church youth conference that sponsored a talent show.  Joey has been brushing up on his "beat-box" skills that he has learned off the YouTube.  He's getting good.  And people notice. 

Especially one in particular...named Landyn.

Landyn is a teen also, but his struggles are little more pronounced.  He has autism.

Landyn wanted to perform with Joey, so they did.  They had face off, and Joey in his good nature, declared Landyn the winner. 

This is so sweet....I thought you would enjoy it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bob the Builder Award: The Volunteer (and Ben and Jerry's)

God bless "the volunteer."
Coming out of two major events that are run by volunteers,
I have those kinds of folks on the brain.

Let me give you a great example of a great example.
Mr. Fun. 
Now this isn't a story about Mr. Fun and his greatness.
It is a story that when you tap into your passion,
volunteer service is a treat.

Mr. Fun has been playing hockey since he was 3 years old.
That is almost 38 years.
To say the Andersons have played a little hockey
is a mere understatement.  They have even contributed
to build a hockey rink in Logan, Utah to put their money
where their mouth is. 

Who knew that when Mr. Fun's knees started to go,
he could use his hockey and computer skills together? 
Strange!  But true.

He is the volunteer stats guy for the local
semi pro hockey team...in his spare time.
If you know Mr. Fun's schedule, you
know that spare time is not really in
abundance.  So he has to make it a priority.
And he has.

His company knows he doesn't have a lot of free time,
so they gave him an award.  I like awards...
they are my form of paychecks.  Which I figured
out I haven't really gotten consistantly for 19 years.

Did you know that volunteer work is worth
$20.25 an hour?  Like it.
However, his company isn't the only one who
gave him an award.

Say what you want...
if you got a citation from THE PRESIDENT of the USA,
you would think you were cooooool.

 He was so humble about the whole thing as he
laid it on the kitchen table.  

How cool is that?

So, I signed up my RYLA program.
We are now an official representative for the President's
Point of Light Foundation Service Organization
and I can give these awards out to anyone
(rotarians and non-rotarians)
 who does more than 
100 hours of volunteer work a year. 
Interested?  Send me your hours...

I just gave out 5 at my closing RYLA ceremonies.
One of my volunteers was so surprised, honored
and humbled that she was speechless and shaking.
It was A-W-E-S-O-M-E to see!

Strangely, on the last night of RYLA we
give Ben and Jerry's ice cream to all the
counselors.  This year, we shared 17
containers together.  Yum.
We have done it for years.

Apparently I am not the only one who likes to
give treats to volunteers.  Ben and Jerry's must
have heard about our RYLA tradition
because look what I found:

Volunteer and Get Free Ice Cream — Scoop it Forward!

Volunteering pays off in many ways. This is the first time I’ve heard of it paying off in ice cream. If you sign up for Ben & Jerry’s Scoop it Forward program, you’ll receive a coupon for free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, plus coupons for five friends.

The free coupons are good for Berry Voluntary or Brownie Chew Gooder flavors at participating Target locations. There’s a limit of one coupon per person while coupons last. Technically, you have until December 31, 2010, to register for the coupon, but I doubt they’ll last that long.

The true goal is to find your passion, and irregardless if you get a presidential award or Ben and Jerry's, know what you do makes a difference.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer of Object-ivity

I like to shoot photographs of objects.
They don't move, usually.
They don't complain about me taking too long.
Nice and still.  Love it.
Here are some favs from the last couple months.

Doesn't this make you want to meet Dennis?  :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Wanna take a field trip? How about touching the Berlin Wall...via Fulton

Fulton, Missouri?  Where the heck is that?

13 miles southeast of Columbia, MO which is is about smack in the middle of the state.
Home of the Missouri RYLA Rotary Academy.
Home of the one of the top collegiate horsemanship programs in the world.
A place you really can't get a good hot sit-down breakfast.

And home to 8 sections of THE Berlin Wall.


Fulton is a sleepy little town of 14,000 but the home of not just one, but two universities.  Nope, it doesn't make sense to me either.  However, it is working for them.

In 1946, one of those universities decided to give Sir Winston Churchhill himself an honorary degree.  And since he had helped end the world war and had a little spare time on his hands, he decided to come to Missouri to accept it in person. 

While there, he gave a speech, which is considered THE historical event.  Ever hear of the "Iron Curtain"?  That is a phrase that Winston coined himself and used it for the first recorded time while in Fulton, probably when he was looking around for a great place to have a sit down breakfast like I was last week (Winston:  Drats, there is no where to eat breakfast in this town.  I feel like I have hit an "iron curtain."  Hey, that is good. I should use it in my speech tomorrow....)  It probably went something like that....:)

The "Iron Curtain" he was referring to was none other than the Berlin Wall.

In 1969, the university decided to create a historical museum and libary in honor of Winston.  I guess they were worried his spirit would be lonely in mid-west America, so they brought over the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, a 12th century church from the middle of London, redesigned by Sir Christopher Wren in 1677.  Yep, a 400 year old church from England is sitting in Fulton right now.

taken by the Girl

There is also a small English garden next to the church.

This is Patty, the presentor from the United Nations
I met in March who came to observe RYLA. 

Back to the wall.
After the Berlin Wall was conquered, 8 slabs of it were
brought to Fulton.  There was a big party.
Big wigs like Reagan and Gorbachev came.

Someone asked me if these were bullet holes or cement pits.
Honestly, I don't know.

It has been touched by so many people that the concrete, even
on the edge pieces are worn smooth.
There is something instinctive that makes you
want to rip it apart with just your bare hands.

The slabs are numbered, because that is the Germans for you.
All about organization and order.
I was once asked by someone if I had German ancestry.
"Why yes," I said.  They then went on to say that
organization and order is a
strong character trait of the German people.
I don't know if I would be all about order if I were
out to destroy and control entire races of folks...
Sounds tiring.  And very rude.
The wall slabs have small spaces in between them.
Can you imagine if all  you had was this crack
to look out for 50 years?

To conclude with today's history lesson:
What two things do these folks have in common?

1)  Other world leaders who have followed in Churchill's footsteps
and journeyed here to speak at the Museum:
 Presidents Reagan, Ford, and Bush;
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher;
Polish President Lech Walesa; and
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev who, fittingly,
gave a speech announcing the end of the Cold War
and marking the fall
of what Churchill had named, "The Iron Curtain."

2) A bunch of folks who couldn't get a
good hot breakfast during their stay. 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy 4th of July

I'mmmmmmmmmmm baaaaaaaaaack!

Have a safe 4th.  Don't shoot your eye out...no really, I saw a guy on the news that did.

Now that June is over, I will be back to my ramblings and smamblings.  :)  Missed ya!