Monday, August 29, 2011

Around the World for Free

I've been know to watch NCIS every once in awhile. Sometimes I watch it on DVD. Once in a great while I watch is on regular TV. When I miss it there, I watch it online.

While watching it online this summer, I discovered a fun little web original called Around the World for Free. It is on

Pavarti started her journey in Los Angeles. She is carrying a big backpack and traveling with a mysterious camera person. I have no idea who she is traveling with. I just know someone is taping her.

She is using twitter, facebook and online chats to make connections with people around the world. Most of the time people will pay for her bus or plane ticket. Or they come and pick her up. And they either invite her into their homes or find a friend or family member for her to stay with.

She had made arrangements to connect with someone in Argentina, but when she got there she discovered that he had to leave town on a business meeting and he had gotten her a very nice hotel room for the night. So far that has been her only hotel stay.

She has been on the road for about 50 days.  From LA she has traveled south. I can't begin to tell you all of the places she has been.

The whole trip just amazes me. I am very impressed with her ability to connect with so many different people.

The clips are usually 15 to 20 minutes. If you're bored and have a good internet connection, check it out. Then let me know if you think you could ever do something like this.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

one hundred and fifty

I am estimating that I have attended 150 M-P Federation meetings. That does not include the special events and committee meetings. I would guess that it would be at least double that number if I included everything.

Tonight was my last M-P Federation meeting. :(

It was a great meeting. First we divided into teams and then I sent them on an adventure around town. Their challenge was to go find 8 letters that were marked with a 4-H clover sticker. Each team was given a map of the town with the small area marked, where they could find the letters. 

I thought we had hid them pretty well, but the first team was back in about 15 minutes. 

Once they found the letters, they had to unscramble them to discover the name of the new Federation leader. I think everyone had fun. What's not fun about randomly walking around town on a school night with a group of friends?

Once we got to the business meeting part of the night I got to enjoy listening to a super roll call question. Austin proposed that tonight's question be "Tell us a memory you have of Anita."

Oh my, some of the memories were embarrassing moments for me. Others were super fun events we've shared together. Some were events that they loved and I didn't love so much. All of them made me smile. Great memories!!!

We ended the meeting with the thing that I will be most remembered for. Taking pictures!!!

I got a few hugs afterwards! A small group of them hung around and chatted while I washed dishes and chimed into the conversation every once in awhile. I was able to recruit them to go back around town and take down the clover stickers for me.

Three of them surprised me and came back to the office afterwards. We sat and chatted for about an hour. That is always a huge blessing to me to kick back and chat about life with my "kids." 

There were a couple of times I fought back the tears, but it wasn't until just now when I couldn't hold them back any longer. I'm going to miss Federation so much!


Even though I love all of my 4-Hers, there are some that I know I will always stay in touch with. Noah and his grandmother are two of them.

In 2007, we had this photo taken together during the 4-H Show.
Tonight, we took this one.
Just in case you are wondering, Noah grew and I did not :).

Good memories!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Big happenings today...

...but no photos.

I met Congressman Aaron Schock.
He held a town hall meeting at my office building this morning. They planned for 60 people and ended up with over 130. There wasn't room for me to actually go in and sit. That's how I actually got to meet him. I was standing out in the hall before it began. When he came in, he shook my hand (and a few other people's), thanked us for hosting the event and went on his way. 

In reality, it isn't really a big deal. But when he becomes President I can say I met him once.

Second big thing....
I helped Mrs. Buck with a project. She is 80 years old and one of my role models. She is super spunky and I think she is so cool. She takes computer classes, is a huge Illini fan and always wears a smile. 

She asked me if I had any stencils. Yikes! Stencils, I don't think I have used stencils in 20 years or so. 

She needed to make signs for a parade float for her church. She was going to hand draw two huge signs. Instead made them on the computer while she shared stories. Loved it!

Another thing I like about Mrs. Buck....she stands about 4'6". I wish I had a picture of her. She reminds me of my dear friend Mrs. St John.

Third big thing....
My big burly, big talkin', man's man, shotgun instructor got teary eyed when he had to tell me goodbye after our meeting tonight. I could tell he wanted to give me a hug, but wasn't quite sure about that. So one of my Air Rifle instructors gave me a hug instead. 

I'm going to miss those guys!

Fourth big thing...
I got "invited" to attend a professional photography workshop that is being held at the photography studio in my little town. It's big happenings for our little town.

The photography studio is only three blocks from my office. 
I pop in every once in a while to check out the new photos or whatever he's fixed up/changed in his studio. 

About four years ago, a few of us from the office popped into the studio on our way up to the coffee shop. When we mentioned our final destination to Bobby (the photographer) he joked that we could bring him a strawberry banana smoothy. Well, we did. He was pleasantly surprised.

Since then, he has tried to convince me that he was going to repay the favor and bring one to me at work. Well, a couple of weeks ago, I added the pressure on to him and broke the news that he only had til the end of the month to repay the favor :).

When I stopped in the studio today, I asked if I could trade in my fruit smoothy favor. When I was at the State Fair last week, one of the photography judges mentioned to me that he would be in my little town for a photography workshop, being hosted by Bobby. :) I took advantage of this inside information and used four years of "favor interest" and asked Bobby if I trade my fruit smoothy for an invite to the workshop. I actually offered be the food server/slave for the day - if that is what it would take. But he happily invited me with no (maybe a little) work attached.

He said I could come and I didn't have to serve any food. First he joked that I had to come set up chairs and then he changed it to say I had to tell people I was his new wife. Ha!

So next week, when I should really be at the office getting tons of work done, I'm going to a photography workshop....three (or is it four) blocks from the office! That's really big!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cleaning house

It's time to move.
Since I don't know where or when I'll be moving, I decided to start packing the least important stuff. Stuff that may end up in storage for an unknown amount of time.

So I pulled the boxes out from under the beds. And then I thought, why am I moving these again?

Four totes of clothes whose only purpose is memories.

Clothes from grade school.

And from High School.
This was from my last year in 4-H. I never even wore this shirt. But I've stored it for almost 20 years.
This is the only one from college. Oh wait, I remember one from Black Hawk. I didn't take a picture of that one. It wasn't even worth that. I have no idea why it even made it into storage.
This one was designed by one of my college friends Sean Moore. He had great fashion design skills. I wonder where he's at now?

Then we jump to life after college. Good times! Awesome memories!

And then there are these special items from my time in M-P. This last one was a special shirt presented to me on stage at the 4-H Show. Back when my CFA was a 4-Her, she made this with some other 4-Hers after hearing me complain about the huge number of questions that people were asking me. And even after surviving 12 4-H shows, this shirt still rings true.

And what you see here is exactly what is left of these shirts. Photos! I took photos of them and then gave away the actual clothes. 

Four empty totes!!! The two totes on the left are all of my 4-H sewing projects and a few of the designs I created during college. I am pretty sure that no one would ever want to wear any of those. So for now they will continue to get packed and moved.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I got flowers delivered to work!!

This isn't the first time I've gotten flowers at work. Actually I've gotten them lots of times. And each time, I love it just as much.
This beautiful bundle was delivered by my friend Johnny. He is famous around our neck of the woods for his beautiful glads that he grows. He said he picked the best of the bunch for me. :)
Johnny delivers his bounty to churches and nursing homes in the area. He probably has other delivery locations, I just don't know about them. Johnny doesn't brag about it. He just does it out of the goodness of his heart.

On one of his deliveries, he heard the news that I'm moving to a new job. He thought that I had already moved, but he stopped by to make sure. I'm so glad he did. 

I have a few more weeks in M-P. Then I'm off to new adventures in Taz. While I am excited for new adventures, it makes me get teary eyed thinking about leaving all of my M-P friends. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Mazy!

It's been awhile since I've written. It has been a challenge to get a good internet connection. I'm down at my sister's house this weekend. It's my annual trek to the State Fair. I'm learning lots as I assist the photography judges.

And I'm enjoying the chance to use her internet connection.


Beginning this fall, I'll be a lot closer to my siblings. I'm moving to a new 4-H job. The county is a lot closer to the two cities where my brother and sister live. It is also a lot closer to my church and where I play volleyball.

I announced my transfer a little over a week ago. While I am excited for new opportunities and challenges, I am so sad to say goodbye to the wonderful 4-H families that I have worked with for the past 12+ years. It's been emotionally exhausting going through the farewell process and I still have three weeks to go.


I have a super story about one of my 4-Hers. Miss H lives a few blocks from me. Both of her parents are some of my volunteers and her three older siblings are all active 4-H members. We've had lots of opportunities to hang out and become friends.

Miss H is an avid animal lover. Even though they live in town, Miss H.'s family has many pets including rabbits, ducks and chickens. One of Miss H's chickens is named Mazy.

Mazy is a very special chicken.

During the 4-H Show, she was the only chicken who got to go on walks.

She is also the only chicken I know that got to have a birthday party.

All summer, Miss H has been planning Mazy's birthday party. She wrote out invitations and planned the party events. She even made thoughtful suggestions for birthday presents (most of us don't know appropriate gifts for a chicken.)
She made sure Mazy had her manicure for the party.

During the party, one of the highlights was a "swim" in the pool.

Miss H was kind enough to help Mazy open her gifts. She read her all of the cards and told her who gave her the gift. She even relaid Mazy's thanks to the giver.

This was my gift. I made Mazy a poncho and a matching headband for Miss H.

Miss H also made and decorated Mazy a birthday cake. 

I love Miss H's compassion for her animals and her creativity. I also was impressed with the other party attenders. Everyone was very thoughtful and excited for Mazy. It was a super fun afternoon. I'm already looking forward to Mazy's 3rd birthday.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Birthdays and photo lessons

Way back in February, I took a group of 4-Hers to paint pottery at an art studio in Princeton. The owner of the studio sells art pieces on consignment. One of her artist's is TooShai Studios. She also sells her art here
My dear "baby" cousin E is studying and preparing to become and Ag Teacher and FFA advisor. So when I saw this owl painting, I knew it would be a perfect birthday gift for her. So I have been saving it for months and months. It has been very hard for me to wait until her birthday to surprise her with it. I didn't quite make it until her birthday. I gave it to her a week early when she was home from college.
And I was right, she loved it!!! Her and her college roommate are decorating their new rental house with a bird theme.Who knew!?!

Is it common knowledge that the FFA world has symbols for each officer position? And that the FFA Advisor position is represented by the Owl?

If not, you can store that knowledge away for your next trivia night :).

The night of the spontaneous birthday party, my CFA (who also happens to be baby E's sister) had us over for dinner. For dessert she pulled out homemade fruit smoothies from the freezer. Originally, they were in paper cups, but she jazzed them up a bit for us.
 Doesn't it look nice? The one above is my CFA's. She was waiting patiently for it to soften up a bit so she could eat it properly.
 I on the other hand was not patient at all. I was hacking away at it with a fork and knife. I was also making a mess.
Baby E, was spinning her's around in a circle.
It was all good!

On her real birthday, we grabbed her other sister and friend and spent a relaxing morning tubing on the river.

Then went downtown for dinner.
Happy 21st Birthday baby cousin E!!!

Oh I almost forgot. The photo lesson. 
When I give my camera to 4-Hers to take photos at events these are the rules...
  • Put the strap around your neck or your wrist at all times.
  • I like close up photos with smiling faces - preferably people not animals.
  • If you can get a 4-H clover in the photos that is perfect.
This is an example of a great photo ;) my world anyway.

You will want to come back soon....the next birthday blog post is about a chicken.