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Sunday, September 13, 2009

I write, therefore I am

"When you use words, you're able to keep your mind alive. Writing is my way of reaffirming my own existence." – Gao Xingjian, 2000 winner of Nobel Prize in Literature

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Are YOU ready for some football?

It's football season in my house. What does that mean? Thursday freshmen games, Friday night varsity games and Saturday afternoon 5th-6th tackle. 

Patrick is playing wide receiver and safety on the Bay High freshman football team. My son, who at 120 pounds has the distinction of being the lightest player on the high school roster, made three fumble recoveries last week against Westlake. 

Michael is playing center and nose guard on the 5th-6th Bay rec team. He's the shortest guy on the line, but he's the loudest one on the field. Can't wait to watch him in a live game.

After the trials of previous seasons, Ryan is the QB on the Bay High varsity team. So far the team is 1-1 after a heartbreaking loss to Westlake last Friday. But they are working hard and have a great attitude going into this season. You can watch video of his TD pass at the modern-day sports marvel that is Al & Larry Sports. Now where's my wallet....

Friday, June 05, 2009

In memoriam

Although I'm feeling quite rusty on the blogging front, I'm moved to post a mini celebration of a life that filled some, including me, with equal parts laughter and aggravation.

Terry Harper was the executive director of the Society of Professional Journalists. He died on Wednesday from a recurrent, malignant brain tumor. I'm sure he wouldn't want to be remembered for his SPJ work. First and foremost, he was husband and father to Lee Ann, Dale and Jace. His family is what filled him with joy. My prayers are with them through this difficult time.

We chatted often of our families and compared notes on what the boys were doing or not doing and how we were faring as parents. Our last conversation was difficult. I was leaving SPJ and he was just starting treatment for his brain tumor. But rather than dwell on that, I am smiling as I remember him.

That's because Terry's gift was laughter. Not only could he make others laugh, but his own robust guffaw was enough to drive anyone--literally--to tears.

He could be incredibly immature, as I learned on our trip to Korea in November 2004 and as my photos show. I will never, ever be able to hear the word plenary again, without his imitation of our Asian hosts pronouncing it, "Prenary."

But he made the trip a blast. To say Terry embraced karaoke would be an understatement. One of the first nights in Seoul, in what was a depressingly quiet hotel bar, Terry got up and bellowed, "My Way," in a manner that would make Old Blue Eyes himself smile from above.

He brought an entire ballroom of journalists, from across the world to its collective feet, cheering wildly with a spot-on rendition of Wild Cherry's, "Play That Funky Music."

Terry had a flair for the dramatic. His face could contort on a dime. Watching him attempt to sit cross-legged at a traditional Korean dinner was downright comical. He was little heavy, had on a bulky sweater and was sweating profusely while trying to get into position. I laughed heartily at the sight.

After many shots and on a long bus ride back from the southern part of the country to Seoul, our favorite Aussie journalist started telling jokes. I won't attempt to retell the tale because it definitely falls in the "you had to be there" category, but our Aussie friend's delivery of the story about a dog on a plane was hysterical and Terry was wheezing and crying and only added to the humor of the story because he was completely unglued. Makes me smile nearly five years later to remember how much he enjoyed that joke.

I don't know how much Terry suffered in the end. I haven't spoken to him in two years. My hope is that it wasn't painful. In true Terry fashion, he wrote his final words here. And while it is touching and beautifully written (something he did well despite his lack of being a journalist), he also used his gift--his humor.

His passing filled me with great sadness. But then I smile. Because somewhere in heaven, Terry Harper is telling God a joke about a kerfuffle involving a dog on a plane in his best Aussie accent. I like to think he's warming up the crowd before he takes a shot of Maker's Mark and launches into, "My Way."

(This photo of Terry performing, "My Way" is shaky because I was laughing so hard.)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Dont' shortchange the muse

"You can't fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal." — William Boroughs

Monday, April 13, 2009

The judges said...

Our KnowledgeWorks Foundation project earned a Gold Award in the 2008 Council on Foundation annual awards. You can learn more here or read my piece of the story on Cleveland Heights High School beginning here.

One of the judges gave us a perfect score.

* “The reports are well written, informative and reveal the compassion and dedication of the educators. Fantastic insights… The visuals balance the text. The handwritten quotes or stories bring the reader in to the human side of the story. Excellent initiative and strategy. The organization is connected to its audience and clearly cares about the future of each student.”

* “This material is outstanding. Beautifully written, simply designed, relevant and compelling content… Great use of spot color, big b&w photos, clean. This is impressive. If I lived in Ohio, I would support it.”

* “Great stories highlighting individual teachers. Interesting to have multiple freelance writers and their take on the story. There is a lot to read – will people read all of them? Pictures are good at reiterating & telling the story. Good response but seems like an expensive project.”

We produced five books in total and I think that last judge's comments were geared toward the expanse of work. All told, this was a fantastic project. I was glad to be a part of it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

When an old quote makes you smile anew

Yesterday's quote of the day on my Google home page made me smile, mostly because I fondly recalled being told this by a dear friend with one admonition, which I've included in parentheses.

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. (Just don't hurt anybody.)--Jack London

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Winter has arrived

Big Guy (aka my hubby) has been out shoveling three times already today. Fortunately, the strapping young lads are now awake and will be doing the remainder of the day's shoveling.

Here's a view of our corner (an added shoveling burden as all who live on a corner lot can attest) from the comfort and warmth of my living room.

Anyone want a Bud Light Lime? Summer on the patio seems ever so long ago.