Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hail to the Orange

Last week I made a rare, weekday trip to Champaign-Urbana for the Greek Oscars.

I was personally invited, which the sorority women I advise took to mean I was a finalist for an award. It meant a lot to me that they had nominated me, so I went.

It turns out, I won... first place for "Outstanding Advisor."

As they say, it's nice just to be nominated... (but the winning is pretty darn cool too...)

Alpha Delta Pi won and was a finalist for several other awards as well - as usual, making me very, very proud.

The ceremony itself was held in Foellinger Auditorium, which just happens to be where I had my very first college class (Classical Civilization 115 with Professor Scanlon) and where my College of Communications Commencement Ceremony was held. So my college career began and ended in that building.

And yet... here I am, 12 years later, and it continues to have a presence in my life. The University of Illinois and of course, Alpha Delta Pi, continue to have a presence in my life.

I am so very blessed.

As I walked away from Foellinger last Monday night, I had a sudden flashback to my graduation day and the overwhelming feeling of sadness I had as I walked down the sidewalk to leave. If someone had told me then that I wasn't *really* leaving - that I would be back one day in the not so distant future and that the campus, the quad, that building would all still be something I could be a part of - I'm not sure I would have believed them.

College is way more than an education and if you're very lucky, it can extend past graduation - I'm thankful for all the lessons I've learned and continue to learn at the U of I. I'm still a part of it - and more importantly - it's a part of me.

Gettin' my on-air Buzz

Jen Christensen from WHOI-TV called me this afternoon and asked if I could come do a live interview on their 6pm show to talk about some initiatives currently being undertaken by the Central Illinois Breastfeeding Task Force.


I was about to come up with some excuse why I couldn't possibly be there in three hours for this, but then she said, "I know it's last-minute but I knew you'd understand having worked in TV."

Awww... geez. She got me.

I actually had showered this morning, but it was after working in the garden and before leaving for preschool and I decided my hair was good enough as is. So I had to get cleaned up. And find something to wear. Um, my TV wardrobe is LONG gone... as I discovered this afternoon. Well, except for those suits hanging in the back of my closet that are supposed to be inspiration for losing weight. (Yeah, ok...) I finally remembered - dark, solid colors are best. I grabbed a red sweater and the trusty black pants. Good to go.

Then there was the matter of not sounding like an idiot. My involvement with the CIBTF has been minimal... I admit I just haven't jumped in with the zeal I would like to, but I've been trying to stay afloat and re-kindle my passion for breastfeeding awareness. The particular project Jen wanted me to talk about isn't one I have been intimately involved with, so I made some hurried, flustered calls to make sure I had enough background.

In the end, it was fine. We only had time for 2 questions and they were pretty easy. I knew I was talking fast, but I wanted to get a lot out there! My dad and kids (and then husband too, actually) all came along and watched from the lobby.

My 3-year old son told me I had "talked in a different voice" on TV. But apparently he and my daughter recognized it enough to kiss the TV while I was on it. (Um, cute but kind of gross!)

My dad said it was obvious that I struggled to remember my "role" as the interviewee and to keep looking at Jen, not the camera. Funny how inate that was for me... I was sitting at an anchor desk and there was a camera with a red light... signal to brain... look at that and talk!

In all, it was really, really fun. I LOVE being on live television, always have. I was nervous as heck and pretty sweaty, but it was AWESOME and several hours later, I'm still feeling a bit of the adrenaline rush. 

I think you lose this "newness" when you actually work in broadcasting... kind of like dating when the shine wears off the relationship. So yes, I definitely miss my old career... but I know it's not really like this all the time anyway.

But it was fun for tonight!

Monday, April 28, 2008

And more on music...

A while back I started to compile a list of songs that reminded me of people or events in my life. The songs that link me to those memories like a hyperlink on the internet... you know, inevitably the song comes on and your mind automatically "clicks" back to that connection.

I didn't get very far in my list at the time, but it didn't take long to realize a lot of the songs had to do with men. Or rather, boys. This is not really surprising. I'm very sentimental, a hopeless romantic, and I get attached to people pretty easily. This is not an especially good combination for a teen-aged girl and as a consequence, I ended up with more than my share of heartbreak. The trend continued even into college, when the romantic in me spent a fair amount of time expecting "the one" to show up at any time. 

But a lot of songs in my head are also attached to specific events or other memories - vacations, funny nights out, sorority stuff. It's gotten so that if I'm listening to a station that plays "older" music, it doesn't take long before the strains of some song make me smile in remembrance.

So, for the sake of some fun, I'm going to try to compile some of those songs and memories here. Excluding some names, of course... if they're actually reading this blog, they'll know who they are.

1. "Truly, Madly, Deeply" by Savage Garden
- Came out when Edgar was moving to CA and to this day, my only regret is we didn't dance to it at our wedding. It really is "our song."

2. "Think" by Information Society - a boyfriend in high school wrote out the words to this song and gave it to me as a gift. I, of course, considered this the most romantic gesture ever. (geesh)

3. "Escape" by Rupert Holmes (The "Pina Colada Song") - throwing back shots of tequila after snorkeling while on spring break in Cancun with my sorority sisters

4. "Something to Talk About" by Bonnie Raitt - my best friend in college suggested this as a funny song for us since our friendship created a lot of speculation. Oh... did I mention he was a male? LOL! Our friendship ended badly and I'm still pretty ticked at him about it all these years later. Coincidentally, this song is played like EVERY single Friday afternoon on the local lite rock station, so I hear it while I'm cleaning. And I love me some angry vacuuming... very therapeutic!

5. "Young" by Kenny Chesney - same best friend from college, happier memories. 

6. "Need You Tonight" by INXS - a college boyfriend serenaded me with this song very early in our relationship. To this day, one of my best memories. (And I'm not just saying that because I think he reads the blog!)

7. "Nobody Knows it But Me" by the Tony Rich Project - was popular on the radio at the time of a break-up in college, couldn't get this song out of my mind for a week. Every time I hear it, it brings back that dumped, alone feeling.

8. "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge - what sorority girl DOESN'T have this in her memories? LOL! "We are family... I've got all my sisters with me..."

9. "December 1963 (What a Night") by The Four Seasons - "You know we're glad to see you back again, once you're here you'll never be the same, what a house we're A-Dee-Pi." Enough said.

10. "All I Want for Christmas is You" by Mariah Carey - every time I hear this song, I am a college girl on Christmas break waitressing at Yesterday's all over again. It's useless to resist.

11. "Cowboy Take Me Away" by the Dixie Chicks - heard this when I was out with a friend after I knew for certain my grandmother was dying. The lyrics, "fly this girl as high as you can into the wild blue... set me free oh I pray... closer to heaven above and closer to you..." hit me hard. My grandmother did die a few months later.

12. "How Forever Feels" by Kenny Chesney - driving into work with the top down in Monterey, CA... specifically, coming down the hill from the Presidio into downtown Monterey.

13. "Wide Open Spaces" by the Dixie Chicks - leaving my family and moving to California

14. "Angel" by Sarah MacLachlan - staring at the back of my best friend's head and the butterfly banner on the wall at the funeral of my goddaughter Natalee, who had died unexpectedly at birth four days earlier. Two years later, I still tear up every time this song comes on the radio.

15. "I Hope you Dance" by Lee Ann Womack - the birth of my first child. I heard this song a lot after he was born, and even framed the lyrics for the nursery.

So that's 15. And yes, there was a lot of googling involved to be sure I didn't mess up song names or artists. Because as noted in the previous post, my musical prowess is seriously lacking. Somewhere I think I should start keeping a more comprehensive list, I know this is just the tip of the iceberg...

The Power of Music

My 7-year old son is really into music lately, in all kinds of ways.

He is learning to play the violin through Suzuki, and it's been amazing to watch as his critical thinking and math skills have skyrocketed along with his playing ability. The more songs he learns to play, the more timed math tests he passes. I can't count the number of "lightbulb" moments I've witnessed during violin practices... from understanding how to read music to how to transpose it to a different set of strings.

It's truly amazing.

At the same time, he's in love with his iPod. (Yes, he has an iPod. It's just a shuffle and he got it for Easter. I spoil my kids - so what?) As his mother, I see it as my job to help him be cooler - musically speaking anyway - than I ever was. Together, we've loaded his iPod with some great music. Of course there's the soundtrack from High School Musical 2, some Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana, etc... But I've also introduced him to U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a host of other good music I can't think of right now. All clean songs, of course. 

Tonight he asked me to play "Gavotte" on my flute for him. It's the last song in his Suzuki book and he thinks it's pretty cool that I know how to play it. Never mind it was the song I played for solo/ensemble contest in the 7th grade and he's going to be playing it on the violin sometime in the second grade... it's nice to be admired for a bit! 

But his musical skills (and his math skills) are going to pass me up in about... oh... another week or so.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I guess I've been on a blogging hiatus.

My husband says this is what happens when life gets in the way.

It's not that I haven't had a lot to blog about, I've just been too busy for it. We traveled to San Diego for a weekend, I've been busy planning stuff for the Marigold Festival and writing a few stories for the paper, not to mention the endless shuttling and shuffling of schedules between Edgar's soccer, Ethan's soccer, Ethan's violin, and Elisabeth's dance classes. And then there's Ethan's school, Elisabeth's school, and keeping a 3-year old happy. And of course, my very rewarding and lately very challenging work as an advisor to 170 college women.

But other than that, I'm not up to much! :)

One day, I'll try to catch up on the things I've been wanting to say but haven't had the time for!