Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lunch date with Dr. Malone...princiPAL!

When I was a kid, my English teacher taught me that the difference in spelling principle and principal, was that your school principal was really your princi-PAL. 
This is a photo taken last spring of my two very lucky sons and Dr. Malone... one brave princi-pal. 
Dr. Malone is a brave and adventurous man who agreed to a lunch date with a primary student as an online auction item for the school's fundraiser. Jamie and Henry are the lucky little dudes who got to hang out with their favorite high school principal.
The boys were thrilled to learn that included in their lunch date, was a tour of the high school... here they are in the Spanish room.
They also learned that the upper school is full of cool teenagers who were happy for the distraction brought on by young visitors. Both boys were excited to pose with a class of mostly seniors... spring semester senior year is definitely the best time for a fun visit.  
And then they had a double celebrity sighting of senior soccer stars who were kind enough to pose for a photo.
It should be noted that I was not invited to this fun lunch date with Dr. Malone, so all of these photos were taken with Jamie's camera by the princi-pal himself.
So very kind of him to act as host and personal photographer on the tour.
They enjoyed their time in the science wing working out some cool experiments with Mr. Gorey and Mrs Carey.
And on to a delicious pizza lunch in Dr. Malone's office.
Here are the boys offering up a lemonade toast to their fantastic principal host... who very thoughtfully captured the moment on film.
Dr. Malone has graciously agreed to lunch date host students again this year... the auction closes tomorrow (2/28) so bid today to give your little guys a great high school experience with their future principal. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mean Stacey, Pretend Enemy.

When Anna was a little girl of 4 and 5 years, she had a pretend friend named Simba, based not so loosely on the brave and adorable cub in the Lion King, her favorite childhood movie. 
We have many photos of little Anna grinning with her right arm suspended in the air as she gripped the invisible shoulders of her beloved Simba. She really loved her pretend invisible pal and he was a great friend...always there for her when ever she needed him and always supportive of her four year old ideas of what makes for a good time.
So I thought it was cute and not outside of normal kid behavior when Miss Rose developed a pretend friend of her own named Stacey. 
The thing is though...that Stacey isn't a nice friend at fact she is Rosie's enemy. 
That's right, Rosie has a pretend enemy named Stacey who absolutely WILL NOT LEAVE HER ALONE!
I know this to be true because Stacey calls her on her Barbie phone quite often and Rosie is forced to yell... "Stacey, stop bothering me! LEAVE ME ALONE!!!
Poor Rosie. 
She has told Stacy many times over that she is busy... very very busy. But Stacey keeps calling her and harassing her with all sorts of questions that Rosie has no time for. 
Whenever Rosie comes in from playing outside especially muddy and grimy it's always Stacy to blame. Sometimes she will even say stuff like "you're a baby" while she is throwing Rosie into the mud. 
It's unbelievable. 
Stacey is total jerk.
And while this imaginary mean girl, has become a daughter's nemesis, I was never sure what she was all about. Just who is this Stacey girl and why is she picking on my innocent Rosie?
 A few weeks ago I had one of my questions answered when Rosie and I actually ran into Stacey while out for a walk. 
Rosie stopped dead in her tracks..."I think I see Stacey."
Stacey who? I asked, forgetting for a moment that evil Stacey was a part of our lives and thinking maybe she saw a pal.
"Mean Stacey..." said Rosie.
Turns out it was Mean Stacey... boldly staring us down with her evil doe eyes.
I never occurred to me that  Stacey was a deer,
 (probably Rosie didn't either until we saw her in person)
But there she was, glaring right at Rosie, probably plotting to call her a baby and push her in the mud.
I wasn't sure what to do.
(except take an iPhone picture)
But Rosie did, 
"Go away Stacey, and leave me ALONE!!!"
And Stacey then got all polite, averted her gaze and quietly meandered away from us.
Let this be a lesson to evil deer everywhere...
don't mess with my girl.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Perfectly Imperfect Young Presbyterians

In just a few months Mary will be graduating from high school and moving on, but before she goes she has some business to take care of. As a high school senior in her youth group at church, Mary was one of the five graduating seniors asked to host the services on Sunday...Youth Sunday.
The theme of the service was "Perfectly Imperfect" and each of the teens gave a speech on what they felt it meant to be perfectly imperfect.
They humbly and beautifully spoke about what it meant to be a part of a community that accepted you for the person that you were... flawed, but still perfect in spite of your mistakes. They spoke in appreciation towards the youth leaders and the many kind people involved with the church who gave them a safe place to grow up. Each of the teens, in their own way, told how being a part of such a supportive church body gave them the courage to become their own true and authentic selves. There were many reminiscent moments of the awkward hardships of middle school and how much fun youth group was without the social pressures of school and grades.
There was a also a lot of gratitude.
The teens thanked their families; their parents and even their siblings for "putting up with them for the past 17 and a half years."
They thanked the youth leaders and recognized that Knox Church was a place of friends and family. They noted were very fortunate to have this unconditional support and also that many young people did not.
The spoke of the closeness and importance of dear friendships...Mary spoke of a best friend, Anna G. who she met in Sunday school ten years ago. Anna is now a freshman at Ohio State...Mary misses her a great deal, but they are still very close and always will be.
Knox brought them together and will always be something that they share.  
Mary helped lead the children's time before the youngers went off to their classes. She seemed very Sunday school teacher-ish to me with her lesson plan and microphone.
Mary made a point of thanking her very own "Knox Moms"...the remarkable gang of women who lead the youth groups above and beyond with love and support. 
I have learned that it takes many moms... more than a mom-village for sure, to raise a kid and I am forever grateful for all of the kindness and love heaped upon my girl by these dear Knox Moms. 
Ginny and Jan are pictured here with my girl, but Mary has noted that there are many more..."well, some are more  like sisters or aunts than moms, but they are all really amazing." 
(This ever growing list includes... Jan, Ginny, Jana, Jill, Heidi, Carol and Mary Lou.)
Here are the fantastic five after they led the service.
Did you notice that Mary is the only girl in this gang of handsome fellows?
 (she doesn't mind one bit)
Go forth and do good you perfectly imperfect young Presbyterians...each of you is a bright treasure, making the world a better place. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Jamie is a stylish and social dude who happens to love Valentine's day more than most ten year old guys.
He knows, without a doubt, that all women, from his 4th grade buddies to his grown up teachers appreciate roses and he loves to give them. This morning I got to see him in action.
As he was getting ready for school, Jamie realized that he was far too encumbered by his giant bucket of flowers to possibly carry his binder and backpack to class, so his dear old mama (me!) acted as his Sherpa carried his school stuff and got to watch his flower delivery routine.
This is how it goes.... 
Jamie sees a gal, puts down his bucket, takes out a single rose and presents it to the lucky lady with a grin.
(he would make a really great made for tv kind of bachelor)
If it's a kid she does a little happy jump and says "thanks Jamie!" (fun and adorable) but if its a teacher... it's a different sort of love story. 
The teacher ladies swoon... they absolutely swoon and I witnessed it for myself.
I watched these these honorable and dear teachers clutch both hands to breast then melt a bit about the shoulders as Jamie reaches into his rose bucket.
They often gasped a little bit. 
And after a moment of collecting themselves from full faint, the rose is accepted and my boy is gratefully hugged about the shoulders and told over and over how sweet and handsome and completely wonderful he is.  
Not a bad way to celebrate Valentine's day.
And Jamie wisely just stayed put,
 and smiled,
 (maybe a smidgey bit embarrassed but still loving it),
and soaked in the fun of  bringing some floral happiness to the ladies in his life of this national day of love.    
Jamie has an enormous amount of love for all of his teachers but he will always have a special place in his heart for Mrs. Duggan, who taught him to read and love books. 
(she may have swooned a bit more than most)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hogs and Kisses from The Big Pig Little Free Library

Ok Cincinnati pals,  here is something that you need to know....
There is quite the little party happenin' on the corner of Burch and Observatory. 
The Big Pig Little Free Library is in full celebration mode...
 hogs + kisses!
My Southern pal Jane, who lives not too far from New Orleans, sent a box of goods to our Big Pig so that she could welcome Mardi Gras in complete party style.
Jane is very supportive of our concrete yard "art" and did a great job of guessing her hat size. 
Then the girls got to work in decorating our stylish cement hog.
Let it be known that the beads were given to Ms. Big Pig as a gift....they were absolutely not "earned" by our sweet gal through bosom flashing behavior.
No joggers, dog walkers or unsuspecting library patrons were alarmed in the beading of this pig.
She is absolutely not that kind of a swine.
Our dear pig is also celebrating Valentine's day with gusto and is sharing her very own box full of sweet treats with our friends and neighbors.
So if you are in the neighborhood, please stop by, 
take a book, leave a book, 
share the Valentine love and let the good times roll!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Neusole magic.

My big bro making something beautiful in Neusole's hotshop... happiest place on earth for him.

My brother John (Schiff) is an artist in the best sense of the word. He values and appreciates beautiful things and is also happy to help the universe by helping other artists add to it's beauty.
And he does so mostly through glass.
John was first introduced to glass art at The Ohio State University way back in the 80's and has never looked back. He started up a truly unique nonprofit called Neusole Glassworks in 2002 which has become a glass mecca for artists who love glass as much as he does. 
Nuesole's mission is to provide a supportive and inspiring environment to raise awareness and appreciation for glass arts. They do so by offering art exhibitions, events and educational programs for everyone... from internationally renowned glass artists to girl scout troops.
If it's glassy... it's Neusole and it's growing.

 If you are the type of artist who loves to draw or paint, you are likely to have those materials with you to do your art anytime you feel like it. Not so much if you work in glass. Glass blowing furnaces and their tools are very few and far between. All glass artist face a lot of challenges in working with glass, which is why the visiting artist program at Neusole was described as a "gift from the Gods" by Dana Martine; glass beader and visiting artist recipient. Neusole happily provides artists from outside of the Cincinnati area an opportunity to create as much art as they are able to during their stay in town. They are offered a stipend for meals, transportation and an apartment to cover the basics as well as the use of all the tools they might need to make something fabulous. At the end of their visit, the artists are given an exhibition... a chance to show off and sell their good works at Atmosphere @ Neusole, or  Neusole North, their new retail shop in Glendale.
And everyone benefits from an arrangement like that. 

Neusole Glassworks North 
5 Village Square
Cincinnati OH 45246

 One of the most unique/awesome things about Neusole is their very own Mobile Hotshop, designed and created from a truck that used to be a plain old 28' U-Haul. This allows them to create glass art anywhere they would like, street fairs and events, parties in the parks, and even smack dab in the middle of a golf course. So if you need someone to to crank out a couple of glass slippers on site, give them a call to make those arrangements and they will set it right up.
 Alert... gorgeous glass bird being born in mobile hotshop.
Make and take your own rose...February 8th and 11th at Neusole Glassworks.
Call (513) 751-3292 to rsvp
Because they believe that everyone regardless of glass experience, can make something beautiful,
 Neusole is offering two workshops where you can make a rose of your own. Don't worry, there will be plenty of hands on help to guide you through the rosey process, and you will leave with something like this made especially for your sweetheart.

The process of working with glass is like processing magic.
I am proud of my brother for recognizing that the world could use a little more magic and for coming up with such a successful plan for making that happen. 
The environment and facilities at Neusole are truly unique and a given blessing to artists and to the rest of the universe.
Please check them out at...