Friday, February 25, 2011


February 25, 2011

No Odd-Friday Lanyards today.  I have to go up to Bryan High around 8:00 to set up the lanyard table/booth for the Color Guard Competition in the morning.  You can stop by the usual time (early evening) if you have the interest and skill set to help me sort the 25+ pounds of beads currently forming a bead stew in the bead room.  This beautiful, but randomized assortment, came from a generous donor from Atlanta, who had grown tired of her jewelry making hobby.  The collection is enormous (both loose beads and jewelry that needs deconstruction), and it will be enormously helpful, once we can get it organized.

I started this post with the title "Hop" but the blogger autofill turned it into "Hope" which would be a nice title, but totally inaccurate.

Today started as another perfect day in paradise.  Willie and Teddy took me on our usual walk.  I could see shadows of birds against the pre-dawn sky taking the early morning flight back north, signaling that I could, indeed, store the heavy woolens and cold weather paraphernalia.  As we neared home, Willie raced ahead.  I supposed he was looking for his cat mistress who he likes to serenade first thing in the morning.  I was wrong.

I rounded the corner into my neighbor's drive, because I thought I saw the shadow of Willie dart that direction.  I found him standing on his back legs, nosed pressed to the wire mesh, watching the neighbor girl's new, white bunnies hop willy-nilly around their hutch like Jiffy-Pop popcorn.

Dragging him home, I felt like a football player training by pulling the sledge behind me.

Once I had Willie home, I had to fetch the incorrigible Teddy.  She had assumed Willie's position, circling the bunny hutch and barking her tiny little bark.  The bunnies had stopped popping randomly around their cage, and were peering down at Teddy sticking their little tongues out in disdain.  

I wonder how long it will take for the bunny union to have to fill in 0 in the blank of their safety sign?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


February 23, 2011

So, Ezra Klein, referenced this graphic in his blog yesterday.  It was derived by a couple business school professors.  This is a shocking disparity between actuality and perception (not to mention the ideal). 

It made me start wondering how much of the world we actual get wrong when we think we have it right.

Is my estimate of how many people enjoy my class this skewed?

How about my perception of how I looked in that new pair of pants I wore yesterday?

The possibilities to be wrong are endless.

It probably slops over into what most people think about how much money goes to pediatric cancer research, either by some esteemed agency like the American Cancer Society or at the federal level.  I'm not sure what you think about this, but here is the actual in 2008.

I had to blew up the graph to extra large, just so you could see the sliver of funding at ACS that actually goes to childhood cancer research.  Does that match what you thought or your ideal?

This graph of the NCI/Pediatric Cancer Funding doesn't even make sense unless you look real hard at it.  It seems like great strides are being made, but even at it's highest level in 2008, the yellow bar ($190) is less than 4% of the total expenditure ($4800) by the National Cancer Institute.

Where is the magic mirror that let's us see this reality and then demand that the reality change so that it matches our perception or maybe even our ideal? 

Saturday, February 19, 2011


February 19, 2011

Why it took almost a month after Walter's actual milestone birthday to celebrate with the Tjoelkers at Madden's last night, I can not explain.  Mark's trip to Australia; Elaine's mandatory chauffeur role in the Tjoelker boys' fun-and action-filled schedules;  Walter's many, many late nights at work; my own quick-filling dance card.  I can say with no hesitation that we all deserved a night off and were happy to have Peter Madden and his kitchen staff cooking for us.

Nobody needs one more thing to fit into their schedule, even if ought to be fun and relaxing.


Instead of one more thing, I'll give you several:


We have two "Drives" going on right now:  

1.  underwear, socks, and toiletries for homeless children who attend Bryan school (NOTE:  unfortunately, we have way too many kids that fall into this category in the county)

2.  used books (not textbook or old encyclopedias, but stuff you enjoyed but don't need to keep) for the Hearne Public Library

Drop me a message (here, by email, by text, by facebook, by phone), and I will arrange to get your stuff from you.

Don't have stuff?

Help me man an Erin's Dream Lanyard booth at the Bryan High Color Guard Competition next Saturday.

Not a Local?

Try this, by mail:

Nikki the Red, who many of you know as the young woman who does the blogathon every year to raise money for pediatric cancer research sent me an email asking for something that I have a lot of (and so do you).  She writes:

"I'm in need of the bottom of your junk drawers. I'm looking for any kind of mini items, rusty old things, tiny toys that have been sitting around forever, broken jewelry or single earrings, whatever you have. If you'd be willing to ship it to me, I'll gladly pay your postage."

Apparently, she has an art project in mind.  Email her at to work out the details.

What?  You don't live locally and you have no junk to mail to a poor, but creative college student?  Choose a project in your own home town and do something.

If you live in or near Boston or Buffalo, get with the program and donate something to Cure Me I'm Irish:

Or choose something close to your location and your heart.  Do it, and then leave me a note telling me about it.

Is all this happening too quickly for your already packed schedule?  That's okay, you can start planning your spring cleaning around the Erin Buenger Memorial Scholarship garage sale, coming on May 7.  Set aside your great garage sale items.  I'll arrange pick up and storage.

It doesn't matter.  You're busy, but not too busy to help.  

Let's Do It!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


February 13, 2011

If your dentist has his fingers in your mouth, that last thing you want him to mutter is, "Classic!"  When that happened to me on Friday morning the first thing I thought was "I hope he's not thinking of buying a classic/vintage auto based on the fees he sees looking in my mouth."  The second thing I thought was "Wake up, Vickie.  You must be having one of those dreams where your teeth fall out of your mouth.  Don't they signify that you are afraid of losing control?  Maybe I'm dreaming and my teeth really aren't falling out of my mouth.  But that can't be right.  Vickie would NEVER be anxious about losing control!"

So, it wasn't that bad.  I have, apparently, reached the age where my teeth may start breaking (from years of chewing? Will a liquid diet save the rest of them at this point?  Could I survive on hops-based or grape-based liquids?).  Sig Kendall, my hero dentist (who I called at home on Thursday night after I discovered half a tooth missing.  NOTE:  back before I was the mother of a pediatric cancer patient, I would never have called a doctor or dentist at home, especially in a case like this where there was no blood and no pain.) suggested I stop by his office at 7:45 on Friday so he could have a look and give me a temporary fix.  I countered with 7:30, so I could make a scheduled meeting.  He agreed.  By 7:50 on Friday morning, I was headed out of Sig's door on my way to my first meeting of the day and secure until next Thursday when I go back.

I turned back towards him as I departed and said, "That was quick.  You can grab a cup of coffee before you first real patient."  

But he had no patients coming in.  He had opened the office himself, turned on all the equipment, and organized his tray without any staff assistance.  Last Friday was his day off.  He was headed up towards Stephenville to deal with his place there.  All the pipes and the pump had frozen earlier in the week.  But he thought it was important to take time to come in and fix my tooth before he started the 200 miles he had to cover before he started plumbing.

This is the dentist who made a house call Erin's last week of life because one of her canine teeth was bothering her.  Have you ever heard of a dentist that makes House Calls?

This was the dentist who would sit in the floor to do Davis's and Erin's dental exams when they first started dental care at age two, because they were both a bit afraid of the chair.

Now you know why I have a dentist for a hero.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


February 6, 2011

If you are keeping track, this Friday is an Odd Friday and that means Party!  I am pretty sure that we are expecting more cold weather midweek (that's Texas cold, not Minnesota cold), but if you wear gloves, sit on your hands, or keep them tucked in your armpits on Wednesday and Thursday, then they will probably be okay to hold wire and pick up tiny beads by Friday afternoon.  I will look for you after school or after work, and I promise we will have excellent snacks!

If you can only be here in spirit, we will miss you, but not hold it against you.  One option for non-attenders is to stop by the new Semi-catalogue page at Erin's Dream Lanyards and let me know what you think.  I still have several more lanyard lines to write up and post, but this is a start.  We are about to get a lot of exposure through four pretty large sales opportunities in the next six weeks, and I am trying to get ready--both on inventory and support.