We Didn’t Know We Were Making Memories

“No!! Peggy died. Noooo!!”

The text from my friend Sue jolted me awake. I fought to make sense of the words as I wiped sleep from my eyes.

Peggy. Gone.

How could that be? We had chatted through Facebook before I left for Africa. And now there would never be another chat again.

I met Peggy through Sue–the two of them met in college. Through the years we stayed in touch, always waiting for that proverbial “Someday” when the kids were grown and we could have more time together.

The three of us shared a love for John Denver songs. Despite being deaf, we were able to enjoy his music. One year, I made a CD of my favorite John Denver songs for Peggy and I introduced her to songs she hadn’t heard him sing before.

Last year, we got together to attend a small-town production of John Denver’s music. It was just two days after my mom died. I needed that time away to handle my sorrow. What better way to spend the day than with music and friends.

After the last song ended, we took a walk in the woods, soaking up the beauty around us. We paused on a bridge, grabbing a snapshot.

“We didn’t know we were making memories, we were just having fun.”  ~Unknown

Peggy took us to the river. As we gazed at the water, an eagle flew by. John Denver loved eagles and immediately, the song “The Eagle and the Hawk” flowed through my mind. I felt my mother’s spirit at that river. I ached for her.

And now I ache for Peggy.

Here are the words to her favorite John Denver song, The Wings That Fly Us Home:

 

“I know that love is seeing all the infinite in one.

In the brotherhood of creatures, through the Father, through the Son.

The vision of your goodness will sustain me through the cold.

Take my hand now to remember when you find yourself alone: you are never alone.

And the spirit fills the darkness of the heavens.

It fills the endless yearning of the soul.

It lives within a star too far to dream of.

It lives within each part and is the whole.”

~The Wings That Fly Us Home, John Denver (Peggy’s favorite song)

TribLocal and the Chicago Now blog since fall of 2010. It has been fun seeing my stuff in print and online.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to interview Kristi McNaron and Laura Ball from The Dave Ramsey Show about their weight loss success. This is a wonderful, inspiring story of friendship:

Co-Workers Lose 150 Pounds Together

To read the rest of my Chicago Now posts:

Barefoot in the Burbs by Karen Putz

From the TribLocal:

The Importance of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Role Models

To read the rest of my TribLocal Articles:

TribLocal by Karen Putz

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Chicago Tribune TribLocal and Chicago Now Posts

I’ve been writing for the Chicago Tribune TribLocal and the Chicago Now blog since fall of 2010. It has been fun seeing my stuff in print and online.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to interview Kristi McNaron and Laura Ball from The Dave Ramsey Show about their weight loss success. This is a wonderful, inspiring story of friendship:

Co-Workers Lose 150 Pounds Together

To read the rest of my Chicago Now posts:

Barefoot in the Burbs by Karen Putz

From the TribLocal:

The Importance of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Role Models

To read the rest of my TribLocal Articles:

TribLocal by Karen Putz

She laughed and pointed to the hearing aids perched in her ear.  "I am too, she said with a smile."   The other lady scooted over and we began talking about videophones and webcams and I showed them the Z4 from ZVRS and explained my job.  The lady with the hearing aids had to leave and I continued to chat with the other lady.

"I'm Sally Goodman," she said.  "I like to tell people that I married a good man."

I laughed. 

"Well, I'm Karen Putz," I said.  "I usually tell people that I married a putz."

She let out a big a laugh. 

We talked and found some neat connections between us.  Her husband is hard of hearing and her brother-in-law and several other relatives are deaf and hard of hearing.  Her daughter is an author of several books, and currently working on a non-fiction book.  Her great-grandfather founded the town of Battle Creek, Michigan. 

She asked me if I was born deaf and I explained the deaf gene in my family and how I went from hard of hearing to deaf after a fall while barefoot waterskiing.  She shared her story of being diagnosed with MS twenty years ago and how she worked her way out of a wheelchair and back into great health again.  We exchanged emails and a hug before parting ways.

I'm always amazed at the folks that I cross paths with in daily life-- I know these are not just chance encounters, but interactions that are rich with learning and growth. 

Every day, that circle of life just grows bigger and bigger.

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I Married a Good Man

I was sitting in the car repair shop this morning with my laptop on a table, getting ready to join a meeting using the Z4 videophone.  Two ladies sat nearby and one of them began talking to me.  I looked up and said, “Oh, sorry, I didn’t hear what you said, I’m deaf.”

She laughed and pointed to the hearing aids perched in her ear.  “I am too, she said with a smile.”   The other lady scooted over and we began talking about videophones and webcams and I showed them the Z4 from ZVRS and explained my job.  The lady with the hearing aids had to leave and I continued to chat with the other lady.

“I’m Sally Goodman,” she said.  “I like to tell people that I married a good man.”

I laughed. 

“Well, I’m Karen Putz,” I said.  “I usually tell people that I married a putz.”

She let out a big a laugh. 

We talked and found some neat connections between us.  Her husband is hard of hearing and her brother-in-law and several other relatives are deaf and hard of hearing.  Her daughter is an author of several books, and currently working on a non-fiction book.  Her great-grandfather founded the town of Battle Creek, Michigan. 

She asked me if I was born deaf and I explained the deaf gene in my family and how I went from hard of hearing to deaf after a fall while barefoot waterskiing.  She shared her story of being diagnosed with MS twenty years ago and how she worked her way out of a wheelchair and back into great health again.  We exchanged emails and a hug before parting ways.

I’m always amazed at the folks that I cross paths with in daily life– I know these are not just chance encounters, but interactions that are rich with learning and growth. 

Every day, that circle of life just grows bigger and bigger.

Keith St. Onge:
“Here we are at the World Barefoot Center with Judy Myers and Karen Putz. Very unique story we have here today. Today we have Karen Putz, she is deaf. It has been over 25 years since she has barefooted and we got her back on her feet skiing along today! Some more of the unique story is that Karen was introduced back into barefooting by seeing Judy Myers 67 years old skiing. Want to tell us a little bit more about that Karen?”

Karen: "Sure! It was my 44th birthday and I was sitting at my parents' lake, just sitting there thinking that the best years were over with. It had been ten years since I touched the water barefooting. So I'm sitting there thinking, "Gosh, I wish I could barefoot again." I didn't think I could. I mean I was 44 years old and I thought if I barefoot again I might break something.

Keith St. Onge:
“Right… A lot of people think that they might break something and they are to old to barefoot, but that is not the case.”

Karen: So in October of that year, my husband sent me a link to Judy from the Today Show. At first, I didn't open it but when I was cleaning out emails that one popped up. So I clicked on the link and I'm watching Judy and she's barefooting on the water. I'm like, wait a minute! She's 66 years old and she's barefooting on the water. If she's 66, well then, what's my excuse? I'm 44-- I can get back on the water again!

So I contacted Judy and she said, "Come on down to Florida!" So that's exactly what I did two, three weeks ago. On my first try, I got back to barefooting again.

Keith St. Onge: One of the big questions is how we communicate with Karen. We can talk but she can not hear us, Karen can read lips. She reads lips perfectly! As long as Karen is making eye contact it works well.
Karen:
Keith is easy to lipread!

Keith: The unique cool thing here is that Judy Myers 67 the oldest female barefooter in the world still competing . She has been bringing a lot of people down to the ski school, people have seen her Fit to Boom video, Subway commercial, all this type of stuff and things have been really cool. It has been AWESOME!

Karen: If Judy can do it, then ANYONE can do it!

Judy Myers:
“That’s Right! That is exactly right”

More:  The Best Years of Life Are Still Ahead

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Start the Ripple and Inspire Someone Today!

For all those who think they’re “too old” or that the “best years are over with,” this one is for you:

Keith St. Onge:
“Here we are at the World Barefoot Center with Judy Myers and Karen Putz. Very unique story we have here today. Today we have Karen Putz, she is deaf. It has been over 25 years since she has barefooted and we got her back on her feet skiing along today! Some more of the unique story is that Karen was introduced back into barefooting by seeing Judy Myers 67 years old skiing. Want to tell us a little bit more about that Karen?”

Karen: “Sure! It was my 44th birthday and I was sitting at my parents’ lake, just sitting there thinking that the best years were over with. It had been ten years since I touched the water barefooting. So I’m sitting there thinking, “Gosh, I wish I could barefoot again.” I didn’t think I could. I mean I was 44 years old and I thought if I barefoot again I might break something.

Keith St. Onge:
“Right… A lot of people think that they might break something and they are to old to barefoot, but that is not the case.”

Karen: So in October of that year, my husband sent me a link to Judy from the Today Show. At first, I didn’t open it but when I was cleaning out emails that one popped up. So I clicked on the link and I’m watching Judy and she’s barefooting on the water. I’m like, wait a minute! She’s 66 years old and she’s barefooting on the water. If she’s 66, well then, what’s my excuse? I’m 44– I can get back on the water again!

So I contacted Judy and she said, “Come on down to Florida!” So that’s exactly what I did two, three weeks ago. On my first try, I got back to barefooting again.

Keith St. Onge: One of the big questions is how we communicate with Karen. We can talk but she can not hear us, Karen can read lips. She reads lips perfectly! As long as Karen is making eye contact it works well.
Karen:
Keith is easy to lipread!

Keith: The unique cool thing here is that Judy Myers 67 the oldest female barefooter in the world still competing . She has been bringing a lot of people down to the ski school, people have seen her Fit to Boom video, Subway commercial, all this type of stuff and things have been really cool. It has been AWESOME!

Karen: If Judy can do it, then ANYONE can do it!

Judy Myers:
“That’s Right! That is exactly right”

More:  The Best Years of Life Are Still Ahead

Jill played fast-pitch softball for many years in every position except pitcher.  She joined the Chicago Gems baseball team after responding to an ad on Craigslist.  On February 12, Jill will head to Hong Kong to play in the 2009 Phoenix Cup International Women Baseball Tournament. 

As the only deaf woman on the team, communication can be a challenge but Jill faces it with candor:

Being Deaf and playing ball can be tough sometimes. I face many challenges but I haven’t let them get me down, or stop me from playing the sport I truly love. I can do everything other ball players can do, both on the field and off, the only difference is that I do not hear. Baseball doesn’t require a lot of verbal communication on the field. With all the visual signs being used there isn’t much need for verbal communication.  This puts every teammate on the same page, with equal access and knowledge of what to do next. I strive to show the world that a Deaf female ball player can be as good as anyone.  I’d like to educate people so they understand that Deaf people aren’t what they’re stereotyped as.

As you can imagine, it isn't cheap to head to Hong Kong and Jill isn't going to let limited funds stop her.  If you have a few dollars (or more) to spare, you can help with Jill's dream to play baseball: 

Jill Bianco's Baseball Opportunity

Update:

Hi everyone! I m Jill. I just got back from Hong Kong yesterday. I had a blast.  We, North American Liberty Belles, won silver medal for the tournament. We lost to Japan in the Championship. I m also proud to share that I have received a huge honor of being selected as a Team Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the Liberty Belles!

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Jill Bianco– A Deaf Gal Who Plays Baseball

Jill Bianco is one tough gal.  A baseball going at warp speed doesn’t faze her a bit.  Jill is part of a twelve-woman baseball team, the Liberty Belles and the only deaf woman that I know who plays baseball.

Jill played fast-pitch softball for many years in every position except pitcher.  She joined the Chicago Gems baseball team after responding to an ad on Craigslist.  On February 12, Jill will head to Hong Kong to play in the 2009 Phoenix Cup International Women Baseball Tournament. 

As the only deaf woman on the team, communication can be a challenge but Jill faces it with candor:

Being Deaf and playing ball can be tough sometimes. I face many challenges but I haven’t let them get me down, or stop me from playing the sport I truly love. I can do everything other ball players can do, both on the field and off, the only difference is that I do not hear. Baseball doesn’t require a lot of verbal communication on the field. With all the visual signs being used there isn’t much need for verbal communication.  This puts every teammate on the same page, with equal access and knowledge of what to do next. I strive to show the world that a Deaf female ball player can be as good as anyone.  I’d like to educate people so they understand that Deaf people aren’t what they’re stereotyped as.

As you can imagine, it isn’t cheap to head to Hong Kong and Jill isn’t going to let limited funds stop her.  If you have a few dollars (or more) to spare, you can help with Jill’s dream to play baseball: 

Jill Bianco’s Baseball Opportunity

Update:

Hi everyone! I m Jill. I just got back from Hong Kong yesterday. I had a blast.  We, North American Liberty Belles, won silver medal for the tournament. We lost to Japan in the Championship. I m also proud to share that I have received a huge honor of being selected as a Team Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the Liberty Belles!

When I received the RX again this year, I told myself that I really needed to follow through with it.  So there I was yesterday, dressed in a gown and about to haul my boobs over a plastic plate to be squished.

"Just a minute," the technician said.  "I need to get the larger plate."  She replaced the regular-sized plastic plate with the larger plate.

I rolled my eyes and quickly, my thoughts went to Jill. 

I gotta tell her about this, I said to myself.  She would crack up at the thought of hauling out a larger plate for my anatomy.

My thoughts soon turned dark as I noticed a spot on one of the digital images that came up on the screen.

"Should I be worried?" I asked the technician.

"No, you have to wait for the doctor to review the images and they'll call you within a week."

I was driving home yesterday and thinking, "I gotta call Jill and talk to her."

That night, I received a message from Barbara, another parent who knew Jill:

Hi Karen - I know you don't read Listen-up every day but thought you would want to know that Jill Wood passed away on Friday, Dec. 26.  I knew she'd taken a turn for the worse a couple of months ago but didn't realize the extent.  I'm very, very sad.

 I sat there stunned.  And I cried.  I called Barbara for the first time and we talked.  I emailed Helen, Jill's friend and learned that Jill was doing well five days before and then took a rapid turn for the worse.  The world lost a great woman, a great mom.  I know I'm not alone in feeling this way because on the parent listserv where we met, many other parents felt the same way.   You see, Jill was an incredible mom who greeted parent after parent on the list, sharing her thoughts, her feelings and all the things she learned throughout the years of parenting a son with progressive hearing loss.  Her son sent my oldest son some Weird Al music and got him hooked on Weird Al videos as a result.  So I bought a Weird Al video for Christmas last year for my oldest son and the kids just cracked up watching it.   

Jill wrote with wit and wisdom and her personality shone through with every post she shared.  I'm not kidding.  Ask any parent on the listserv and you'll see that this gal stood out and many learned from her.

Jill was a freelance illustrator who drew book covers.  She shared some of her designs with me and I was blown away by her talent.  Last October, when she first began chemotherapy, she and I wrote back and forth.  She joked about doing reconstructive surgery and getting a set of perky boobs that would be the envy of everyone in the nursing home when she turned 90. 

Yes, that was Jill, ever the optimist with a wisecrack.  In one of her emails, she said she was off to get her "poison cocktails" and said that she was going to make her doctors insert a fancy drink umbrella on it.  "At least I'll get to catch up on some much needed sleep," she joked about the side effects.  I was about to leave for a cruise at that time, so I emailed back and said that I would have a Pina Colada in her honor, complete with an umbrella and send her a picture. 

"Here's the picture, as promised," I wrote to her when we arrived back.  I was in a swimsuit, holding a pina colada with an umbrella perched in it.   "I wouldn't send just anyone a picture of me in a swimsuit," I joked.  "Only for you, girl."

So as I wait for result from the mammogram, I'm going to celebrate Jill's life and dig out the Weird Al video for our trip up to Michigan.  Here's to you, Jill.

 

[caption id="attachment_834" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Jill and her husband Larry, in their funny slippers"][/caption]

 

Jill's Caring Bridge Journal

Donations in Jill's name can be made to:

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

MD Anderson Cancer Center for IBC Research

Update:

After two mammograms and an ultrasound, the doc sent me home saying that all is fine.

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Jill Wood, Parent Extraordinaire

Yesterday, I finally had my first mammogram.  A mammogram that I had been putting off for over a year.

“Have you had your mammogram?” Jill Wood, a parent of a hard of hearing son,  asked me during an IM conversation a year ago.  Jill had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and was about to begin chemotherapy.  

“I haven’t had one yet, but I will,” I typed back.   The doctor had given me the RX for a mammogram earlier that year, but I couldn’t find the paper.  I just put the procedure on the back burner.

When I received the RX again this year, I told myself that I really needed to follow through with it.  So there I was yesterday, dressed in a gown and about to haul my boobs over a plastic plate to be squished.

“Just a minute,” the technician said.  “I need to get the larger plate.”  She replaced the regular-sized plastic plate with the larger plate.

I rolled my eyes and quickly, my thoughts went to Jill. 

I gotta tell her about this, I said to myself.  She would crack up at the thought of hauling out a larger plate for my anatomy.

My thoughts soon turned dark as I noticed a spot on one of the digital images that came up on the screen.

“Should I be worried?” I asked the technician.

“No, you have to wait for the doctor to review the images and they’ll call you within a week.”

I was driving home yesterday and thinking, “I gotta call Jill and talk to her.”

That night, I received a message from Barbara, another parent who knew Jill:

Hi Karen – I know you don’t read Listen-up every day but thought you would want to know that Jill Wood passed away on Friday, Dec. 26.  I knew she’d taken a turn for the worse a couple of months ago but didn’t realize the extent.  I’m very, very sad.

 I sat there stunned.  And I cried.  I called Barbara for the first time and we talked.  I emailed Helen, Jill’s friend and learned that Jill was doing well five days before and then took a rapid turn for the worse.  The world lost a great woman, a great mom.  I know I’m not alone in feeling this way because on the parent listserv where we met, many other parents felt the same way.   You see, Jill was an incredible mom who greeted parent after parent on the list, sharing her thoughts, her feelings and all the things she learned throughout the years of parenting a son with progressive hearing loss.  Her son sent my oldest son some Weird Al music and got him hooked on Weird Al videos as a result.  So I bought a Weird Al video for Christmas last year for my oldest son and the kids just cracked up watching it.   

Jill wrote with wit and wisdom and her personality shone through with every post she shared.  I’m not kidding.  Ask any parent on the listserv and you’ll see that this gal stood out and many learned from her.

Jill was a freelance illustrator who drew book covers.  She shared some of her designs with me and I was blown away by her talent.  Last October, when she first began chemotherapy, she and I wrote back and forth.  She joked about doing reconstructive surgery and getting a set of perky boobs that would be the envy of everyone in the nursing home when she turned 90. 

Yes, that was Jill, ever the optimist with a wisecrack.  In one of her emails, she said she was off to get her “poison cocktails” and said that she was going to make her doctors insert a fancy drink umbrella on it.  “At least I’ll get to catch up on some much needed sleep,” she joked about the side effects.  I was about to leave for a cruise at that time, so I emailed back and said that I would have a Pina Colada in her honor, complete with an umbrella and send her a picture. 

“Here’s the picture, as promised,” I wrote to her when we arrived back.  I was in a swimsuit, holding a pina colada with an umbrella perched in it.   “I wouldn’t send just anyone a picture of me in a swimsuit,” I joked.  “Only for you, girl.”

So as I wait for result from the mammogram, I’m going to celebrate Jill’s life and dig out the Weird Al video for our trip up to Michigan.  Here’s to you, Jill.

 

Jill and her husband Larry, in their funny slippers

 

Jill’s Caring Bridge Journal

Donations in Jill’s name can be made to:

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

MD Anderson Cancer Center for IBC Research

Update:

After two mammograms and an ultrasound, the doc sent me home saying that all is fine.

The shell really broke when I began to show a serious interest in [water]skiing.  Mike's son used to waterski competitevely and Mike used his knowledge to encourage me.  He gave me the encouragement that I wanted so much from my own parents.

He taught me a card game called "Casino" and we spent many a time together winning and losing to each other.  He was dubbed "The Champ," and whenever I would win a game, I would  [strut around and] call myself, "The Champ."  But never for long, because he would win back the title in the next game.

Mike had a great sense of humor.  I always remember summers full of laughter around him.  He would put on airs of a big-time gambler, strutting around wearing his favorite hat from Las Vegas.  The expressions he used, his movements, never failed to bring out a laugh.

There was a serious side to him.   Family bickerings always clouded his face.  He never let anyone know what he was thinking or how he really felt during those days.

This summer, Mike got sick.  I hardly saw him during the summer.  No one knew it was serious until his son-in-law told us that Mike had cancer.  I was stunned.

A few weeks after I found out, I went to see Mike in his office.  I was shocked, for he had grown thin and pale.  It was the first time that I realized he was not going to get better.  It was the last time I saw him.

Mike died last week and I lost a very special friend.  As I sat in the church at his funeral, I thought of the good times and the bad times.   I replayed his smile, his laugh, and all the scenes of summer that came to my mind.  One particular scene stands out:

I remember him standing under the maple tree and telling me that I was going to be the first girl to barefoot (waterski on my bare feet) on Christie Lake.  I laughed at him then.  Early this summer, I did it--but Mike was not around to share the glory [that first time].  When he finally came to the lake for a short visit, he sat in the boat and saw me barefoot.  I'll never forget the proud look on his face.  That was the best memory Mike could have given me.

[caption id="attachment_764" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Karen and Mike"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_765" align="aligncenter" width="250" caption="Karen barefooting "][/caption]

                   

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Uncovering Written Memories

I was going through a pile of papers and the hand-written essay caught my eye.  It was an essay written during my freshmen year at a local community college.   I sat down to read it and was instantly transported back in time.  I received an “A” on this essay, probably not so much for how it was written (because I see many mistakes and ways it could be written differently) but more for the story it shared:

Even now, seven years later, I can still remember the first time I met Mike.  I was eleven years old when we drove up to our newly bought cottage.  As we settled down, a slightly balding man walked over and introduced himself as Mike.  That was the beginning of a special friendship that was rather slow in forming [at first].

I cannot remember much of the first four years.  I was a very shy girl then, but Mike’s friendliness won me me over.  I was like a turtle, coming out of my shell when Mike was around.

The shell really broke when I began to show a serious interest in [water]skiing.  Mike’s son used to waterski competitevely and Mike used his knowledge to encourage me.  He gave me the encouragement that I wanted so much from my own parents.

He taught me a card game called “Casino” and we spent many a time together winning and losing to each other.  He was dubbed “The Champ,” and whenever I would win a game, I would  [strut around and] call myself, “The Champ.”  But never for long, because he would win back the title in the next game.

Mike had a great sense of humor.  I always remember summers full of laughter around him.  He would put on airs of a big-time gambler, strutting around wearing his favorite hat from Las Vegas.  The expressions he used, his movements, never failed to bring out a laugh.

There was a serious side to him.   Family bickerings always clouded his face.  He never let anyone know what he was thinking or how he really felt during those days.

This summer, Mike got sick.  I hardly saw him during the summer.  No one knew it was serious until his son-in-law told us that Mike had cancer.  I was stunned.

A few weeks after I found out, I went to see Mike in his office.  I was shocked, for he had grown thin and pale.  It was the first time that I realized he was not going to get better.  It was the last time I saw him.

Mike died last week and I lost a very special friend.  As I sat in the church at his funeral, I thought of the good times and the bad times.   I replayed his smile, his laugh, and all the scenes of summer that came to my mind.  One particular scene stands out:

I remember him standing under the maple tree and telling me that I was going to be the first girl to barefoot (waterski on my bare feet) on Christie Lake.  I laughed at him then.  Early this summer, I did it–but Mike was not around to share the glory [that first time].  When he finally came to the lake for a short visit, he sat in the boat and saw me barefoot.  I’ll never forget the proud look on his face.  That was the best memory Mike could have given me.

Karen and Mike

Karen barefooting

                   

Susan was excited about being filmed for the Oprah show and talked about her day spent at the Oprah show.  I shared my Oprah moments with her-- getting to meet Oprah after a show and thanking her for providing interpreters and the Letter to the Editor that was printed in the "O" magazine.   You can view Susan on the show here: Real Life Stories of the Law of Attraction.

Later that afternoon, Susan and I ended up in the same small group reviewing commercials made using Utterli:
SOBCon 08 046

Every now and then, life also gives you a jewel that shines, and Susan was one of them.  In the short amount of time that I spent with her, I learned that she served on several non-profits, taught at a college, managed work and a family and had several projects that she was working on at once. I remember leaving our conversation thinking, "Wow, this is a gal who has accomplished so much and really embraces life!"

I'm so sad to hear this news because I was so looking forward to meeting her again at SOBCon'09 and chatting more. My heart goes out to her family.

SOBCon 08 042

Susan with Denise Wakeman from The Blog Squad.

Dr. Susan Quandt Memorial Tribute

News Story

Five Things I Learned From Susan Rae Quandt

'>

When Life Vanishes in a Flash

Once in a while, life sends a punch out of the blue. This morning was one of them:

I met Susan Quandt at the SOBCon’08 in Chicago this year.  During one of the breaks, we sat together and we discovered we had some things in common, including involvement with non-profit boards and fundraising for non-profits.   I remember Susan’s advice vividly:  “Choose your board carefully.  You can’t afford to have anyone on board who isn’t a team player.  Everyone has to give 110%”

Susan was excited about being filmed for the Oprah show and talked about her day spent at the Oprah show.  I shared my Oprah moments with her– getting to meet Oprah after a show and thanking her for providing interpreters and the Letter to the Editor that was printed in the “O” magazine.   You can view Susan on the show here: Real Life Stories of the Law of Attraction.

Later that afternoon, Susan and I ended up in the same small group reviewing commercials made using Utterli:
SOBCon 08 046

Every now and then, life also gives you a jewel that shines, and Susan was one of them.  In the short amount of time that I spent with her, I learned that she served on several non-profits, taught at a college, managed work and a family and had several projects that she was working on at once. I remember leaving our conversation thinking, “Wow, this is a gal who has accomplished so much and really embraces life!”

I’m so sad to hear this news because I was so looking forward to meeting her again at SOBCon’09 and chatting more. My heart goes out to her family.

SOBCon 08 042

Susan with Denise Wakeman from The Blog Squad.

Dr. Susan Quandt Memorial Tribute

News Story

Five Things I Learned From Susan Rae Quandt

[caption id="attachment_697" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Jennifer, Karen and Abbie"][/caption]

Then a short time later, I recognized another blogger who came up to the booth, LaRonda from The Ear of My Heart.

[caption id="attachment_699" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Karen and LaRonda"]Karen and LaRonda[/caption]

It was wonderful to meet all three of them and get to spend a little time together.  Jennifer, Abbie and I went out to dinner but I couldn't find LaRonda to join us and I didn't have her pager addy.  (Note to self, next time, gather that contact info before any conferences!).  I would love to sit down and have lunch with LaRonda someday-- I guess a trip out west is in order!

Tina Childress joined us at dinner and we went to a Japanese restaurant and filled up on sushi.  Two other guys joined us, (I've forgotten their names already!) and I was the only one there without a cochlear implant.  Not a problem, as I relied on good 'ole lipreading and Tina jumped in to interpret whenever I got lost in the train of the conversation.

[caption id="attachment_700" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Abbie and Tina"]Abbie and Tina[/caption]

Jennifer cracked me up when she turned to me and said, "You know, I've just got to tell you this.  You're so much prettier than in your pictures on the blog!"

That does it, I've gotta learn how to use those airbrushing tools in Photoshop.

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Meeting Bloggers at the ALDACon

At the CSDVRS booth at the ALDACon, I noticed two gals moving toward me and I instantly knew who they were.  I recognized Abbie from her blog, Chronicles of a Bionic Woman and Jennifer from Surround Sound. I’m pretty sure one of us squealed as we gathered in a hug.

Jennifer, Karen and Abbie

Then a short time later, I recognized another blogger who came up to the booth, LaRonda from The Ear of My Heart.

Karen and LaRonda

Karen and LaRonda

It was wonderful to meet all three of them and get to spend a little time together.  Jennifer, Abbie and I went out to dinner but I couldn’t find LaRonda to join us and I didn’t have her pager addy.  (Note to self, next time, gather that contact info before any conferences!).  I would love to sit down and have lunch with LaRonda someday– I guess a trip out west is in order!

Tina Childress joined us at dinner and we went to a Japanese restaurant and filled up on sushi.  Two other guys joined us, (I’ve forgotten their names already!) and I was the only one there without a cochlear implant.  Not a problem, as I relied on good ‘ole lipreading and Tina jumped in to interpret whenever I got lost in the train of the conversation.

Abbie and Tina

Abbie and Tina

Jennifer cracked me up when she turned to me and said, “You know, I’ve just got to tell you this.  You’re so much prettier than in your pictures on the blog!”

That does it, I’ve gotta learn how to use those airbrushing tools in Photoshop.

West Suburban Association of the Deaf and a long-time Republican, has announced that he will be voting for Barak Obama on Tuesday. *

 

 

 

*This public service announcement has been an outright lie, but it sure was fun to watch him walk around the Halloween party with that announcement taped to his back.

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Staunch Republican is Now Voting for Obama

News flash:

Dennis O’Brien, past-president of West Suburban Association of the Deaf and a long-time Republican, has announced that he will be voting for Barak Obama on Tuesday. *

 

 

 

*This public service announcement has been an outright lie, but it sure was fun to watch him walk around the Halloween party with that announcement taped to his back.