Friday, August 29, 2008

An Angel for All

We meet many people in our lives. People from many different walks of lives: different personalities: different family situations. The people we meet have the ability to welcome us into their circle, their personal space or to hold us off at arm’s length. People who either make a positive or negative influence in the people they meet.

More than 10 years ago while working in the school district I met this woman, Helen, through a phone call to the school she was working at. Immediately she was welcoming; making me feel at ease with my questions. Knowledgeable in her answers and occasionally throwing in a “sweetie” or “honey” to her reply. I liked her.

When my son started middle school in 1996 I got to meet her in person and was amazed at the kindness and ease she was with all the people around her. I admired the confidence she had. She welcomed me as if we had been friends forever, not just the few phone calls we had exchanged.
Then my daughter started middle school in 1998 so I had more chances to visit with this nice woman. I always liked how she treated me, like I was really special, not just another parent. I was always amazed, that when I got the occasion to come into the school’s office there was always a small gathering of people around Helen’s desk. Laughing with a sound that made you want to know what was so funny. A good laugh, one that could be heard around the building.

Then in 2004 I saw there was a job opening at the middle school where my kids had gone, where this wonderful woman held court. Hesitant at first before the interview started she made me feel calm. Did I really want to work in a middle school? Am I good enough to do the Focus Room with middle schoolers? Am I tall enough? She calmed me. I rocked the interview, feeling I could do this! I want to do this. Finally saying yes to the opportunity.

I loved working in the middle school. The staff welcomed me with open arms.

The office manager with her ever-present smile answered my never-ending questions. She would occasionally do something that made you break out in laughter.
While at the school I observed that some of the more “forgotten” children would be sitting with Helen. She had taken them under her wing. They may be kids from broken homes, rough backgrounds or just ignored for a myriad of reasons.

I enjoyed the conversations she and I had during my 3 years in the building, finding out that she and I shared many of the same qualities.
I learned in June 2007 that she had cancer. I knew she would battle this with her strength of character, laughter, her faith in the Lord and strong will. I was glad that some of my workday would enable me to be in the office to help her and her co-worker during this time. But – that was not to be; I was transferred to another school in the 3rd week of school. I checked in often and had my network of friends that kept me posted on how she was doing. I hated leaving knowing she was ill, I felt I needed to be there for her and others; as Helen battled cancer and the staff battled their demon. I felt I was letting them down. Especially Helen. ( I am sorry Helen)
Even though she was getting weak she was able to make it to work a couple of hours a day.

As the summer was drawing to a close I made a visit (Aug. 11th) to the office. Yeah both the office staff was there and we all got to visit. I told her how special she was and how I missed working with her. On Friday evening I got a call from Helen’s co-worker; LeAnn asking me if I could come in on Monday the 18th and put labels on schedules before registration the next day No problem – I would love to. She told me that Helen had fallen Monday night (11th) hurt her back and ribs and hadn’t been in.

On Monday – I came in putting labels on schedules, answering the phone or anything else I could do. One of the calls I answered was Helen’s husband; he stated that Helen wasn’t going to be in, as she wasn’t feeling well. I asked if it was for the day and sadly he said “No, not ever”. I was stunned, I asked if he wanted to speak with our Vice Principal, “Yes” The Principal took the call and then told us that Helen wasn’t doing well.

I was able to visit Helen with a friend Monday afternoon. She was tired, not the woman I knew. A small part of her was trying to come out when she saw me. She grabbed my hand; I held onto it hoping to give something back. Leaned in to kiss her on her forehead. She whispered how nice it was to see me. I told her I loved her and how special she is. A few more comments we each made and then I made myself say good-bye.

On Wednesday the 20th, about 5:30, she left us. Went to join the angels she adored so much. At peace and pain free. Rest well dear lady, you will be missed, but never ever will you be forgotten. You have left a wonderful legacy of peace, acceptance, joy, love, family, friends, and your love of God.
I love you and will miss you.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Ahh - the Olympics. Hours upon hours spent in front of the TV watching either your favorite sport or getting caught up (during channel surfing) in a sport you never even considered.

I have watched many of the sports. Things I have never watched before: handball, table tennis, badminton, some Equestrian thing where all they did was walk, weightlifting, a bit of water polo and the usuals, gymnastic, swimming (Go Phelps!!) volleyball, softball/baseball and a few more.

Ok - badminton - why did I keep coming back to that? Tiny racket and a birdie? Who would have thought?

I am sure we all have weird things that we are watching but won't openly admit to. I am proud that as of this writing USA has 72 medals and leads the pack. GO USA!

So - I started writing this because as the Olympics were starting; my wonderful Creative Memories consultant challenged us to do as many pages and journaling as we could from the 8th of August to the 24th. She even had "camps" for us to attend when we could last week.

I was able to complete over 100 pages at camp and worked on a ton of journaling. I still have this week to complete even more pages and journaling.
I really need to catch up on my journaling. A task I always put off.

But I look at it this way - I am working on pages for both kids albums - am current up to mid 2007, I have completed over 13 albums since 1999 and have taken a TON of pictures. So this week my goal is to complete more pages and finish journaling in more of the albums. Wish me luck.

I decided to leave here tonight showing you a few of my August photos.

Here are water drops on leaves. I took this at the U of O Library when I was with N a few weeks ago.

Here are two types of flowers. Also taken at the U of O Library. I love the colors on the flowers.

A young lady makes Ablskaver (sp?) at the Scandinavian Festival in Junction City.

And finally - a sunset, taken in Millersburg when son lives. I love the rays of light streaming from the clouds.

Night All

Monday, August 11, 2008

Photos and Slideshows

This summer I have gone to two weddings. One of a co-worker and one of N's childhood friend. Both were special and I of course took my cameras. Trying to get as much practice in as I can. Hoping against all that I improve with each shot I take.

For N's friend's wedding I took a little over 200 pictures, both film and digital. Yes - I am still using the film camera! Sometimes I think get better shots with the film camera. Plus it does have the 75 to 300mm lens that I absolutely love. The wediing was at a beautiful vineyard in Salem. The view was stunning, weather was clear, sunny and real warm.
I didn't get alot of the shots I wish I could have but I was happy with the ones I did get. I have several favorites, like the one I took of N when she wasn't looking (and I made it black & white).

There is one of the bride leaning against the doorway wall watching the slide show of her and her husband. I just like that one alot; made that into black & white also. I think it just added to its beauty.

She was such a beautiful, beautiful bride. the gown was just stunning. A princess to be sure. I loved the dress. I hope that one day when N does get married she will choose one just as stunning.

The other wedding I went to was the one for a co-worker. It was held at the church near the house. It was a a beautiful day. The colors/theme was red, black and white. The invites and the other pieces at the reception all had to do with the newspaper.

The bride looked great in her white dress and hat. The lady standing up for the bride had this cute black hat with a pretty red feather. The groom looked handsome in his suit. I was able to take pics - again for practice. They didn't have the usual cake, they have a Krispy Kreme cake, Yummmm.

So - now the weddings are over and I have decided to make slideshows for each of the newlyweds using the photos I shot. I have PhotoStory. Simple and easy to use. Just select the photos you want to use, rearrange them as you want, adjust the speed and lenght of time you want them to be shown, add transitions and music as you wish. I think the turned out well. I just hope they both like them.

Well - I'm off. Time to check email.

Night all.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Well - here it is the first weekend of August.

The weekend was long and fun.

DD came home Thurs evening for the night. I was really glad to see her. She had a bad few days and needed to spend time with her friends/roomies. So off to Portland they went Saturday.

This weekend in town was the Willamette River Festival! The main theme was the KCBS BBQ competition. There were 25 barbecue rs. Such yummy food. This year there were also Pirates around. Below is a shot of one the pirates. Behind him is a monster truck. That thing was tall!!

I was able to take lots of pics. I enjoyed taking ones at the rib eating and the kids pie eating contests. Some of the shots turned out really good. The looks made while people are racing to eat is amazing. How people eat over a pound of food in 6 or 7 minutes is beyond me. I never did make it down to the river at the right time to take pics of the jet ski runners, oh well.

A good thing also happened Sunday, both hubby and I were able to take part in the judging of the barbecue. I have always wanted to do it and finally was able to. I can't believe how intense this was. I would someday like to become one of the official judges. To do that you have to take a class and do an oath.
Well - time for bed. More later this week.