About Me

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Tennessee, United States
Retired teacher living in East Tennessee, adjusting to life in the land of round door knobs. Photographer for our local animal shelter and foster of many dogs and kitties. Don't ask me how many dogs I have, but my son got me one of those "I'm the crazy dog lady" sweatshirts.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008


I'm always amazed at what you can do on the Internet. It's hard to keep up with all the changes. It's so fluid, like watching liquid mercury flowing and blending and changing shape. I feel like I am way behind the kids on this, but doing my best to stay semi-current. I have received periodic invitations to join this or that networking website the past couple of years . . . kind of glad I passed on MySpace. I'm not sure I'm up to that.

But, a couple of months ago a former colleague and friend we respect sent us an e-mail which said "You have to get on Facebook." I took this as a royal command, while he probably only meant that it was a prerequisite to viewing his page. I have no regrets. It's been a fun ride so far and I have barely dipped one foot in the water. I have some lovely plants, have played more Scrabble (in the form of Scrabulous) in the past week than in the past year, and a few things have supposedly been thrown at me, although I haven't felt any ill effects. I have found it to be a remarkable tool for keeping in contact with people, and for reconnecting with people once thought lost forever. There's a friendliness and lack of pretension there, or at least I haven't seen anything otherwise. Who knew I had 75 friends?

The most recent practical use of the website has been to establish a group page where people can go to keep up with the medical progress of a colleague who was diagnosed with a brain tumor the last full week of school. He's now in the States and will have surgery at the Sloan Kettering Clinic in New York City next week. The group page has only been up 5 days and there are already 93 members at this writing. I expect that number will top 100 easily and soon.

It's not a cure for cancer, but it is a remedy for what often ails us, feeling helpless, like there is nothing we can do, and not knowing what is happening to someone we care about. Being able to visit the page and leave good wishes, share a fond memory, upload a photo and read the wishes left by others has brought a lot of people together as a community and created a little corner of personal empowerment on the Internet.

You can visit Coach Reilly's Locker Room, but you have to join Facebook to see it. You can take that however you like.

Monday, June 16, 2008

On Caring

As promised, here are some wisdom nuggets from Jacob Lamoureux's commencement address on the topic of CARING.
Perhaps the most important power that lies within human beings is the ability to care, because what we care about controls what we do.
We don't even have to be good at something at first. We just have to care about getting good.
Caring is not just a fleeting desire; it is a lifestyle.
Indifference to what we become and what we do is a bad form of selfishness. We rob ourselves of our potential and others of the contributions we would have made to society if we had cared. We will not be significant if we only live to have fun. I challenge you to think of one great person in history who was lazy, passive, or undedicated.
Truly caring about something provides the motivation to beat laziness and indifference, so that we become skilled at what we are passionate about.
At the end of our lives, we are guilty of every problem that we were capable of solving, but did not solve.
There is no neutral profession. In fact, the job hardly matters at all. In any career, being a nice person is the best thing we can do, because we take our character with us to all aspects of life.
It's exciting and fulfilling to transform whatever talents and passions we have into a way to help people. It is my humble opinion that this is the purpose of life, and the purpose of life deserves every bit of care we can muster up from our souls!
Care is an action word! When we care about something, there is always something to show for it, whether it is the clean house we fixed up for Mom whom we care for or the bags under our eyes caused by studying for a class we care about.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Raining on the Inside

Those little white streaks in the photo are streams of water coming down out of the wall/ceiling.
The workmen tore out the tiles on the balcony outside this week, which they then covered with some plastic, but this was not attached to the house, and, much to our surprise, water started flowing and dripping all along this wall during a heavy rain storm. It was coming in where the rolladen covers extend into the room.

We put out trash cans and buckets, pots and towels to catch the water. We can only hope at this point that it did no permanent damage and also that we won't have another big rain storm like that before the workmen finish the job, but I think we'll have a word with the architect on Monday and let him know what happened.

The water left deep muddy ruts in the yard. It made quite a mess. I hope it dries out tomorrow!

Graduation 08 and the Lamoureux Effect

Another crop of seniors have walked the stage in their carefully selected new shoes (Megan W. gets my vote for cutest shoes . . . I think there were polka dots and a ribbon.) and thanked their family, God and friends, with an occasional mention of their teachers and coaches. There were lots of musical selections, because this was a small class . . . only 24 made it. A couple didn't have the credits. Three were banned for the vandalism they did to the school three weeks ago.

The highlight of the evening was the Valedictorian's address by Jacob Lamoureux. I'm told he wants to be a writer some day, and he has the gift. As one teacher said, "I wanted to take notes!" Me, too. He quoted others, mainly Thoreau, but much of his speech was peppered with his own nuggets of wisdom, wittily expressed and shared with his inimitable and energetic style.

The topic was caring and how having that one quality leads to greatness in all endeavors, whether athletic, academic or personal. Caring makes all the difference in the world. One of Jacob's images was of all humanity on one great ship, which we can either sink through infighting and selfishness or keep afloat through selfless caring for the greater community of which we are all a part.

If I can get my hands on Jacob's speech, I'll share some of his Lamoureuxisms with you. They bear repeating. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Terrace Done, Balcony Next

After the pile of rubble came the big hole in the ground. The walls were waterproofed (black paint) and then the hole was filled in and tamped down, fortunately just before a big storm, or we might have had a muddy pit. Timing is everything!

The terrace is in place, but now there is the equipment the next set of workmen are using the tear off and rebuild the parts of the balcony that are water-damaged. They hauled off a big load yesterday

End result, it's a process, and it is proceeding. We hope it will be finished before we fly to the States. Then the fun part begins . . . paying for it! Stay tuned!