Archive for April, 2011

Adult Literacy Volunteer

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Over twenty years ago, I remember teaching a young man to read as we sat in a church building on a blustery autumn evening.
Every Monday we would meet for about 45 minutes to learn the alphabet, then combinations of letters, simple words, then phrases. Homework would be reading a local newspaper, geared to eighth grade mentality as they are.

Each week we would slowly and carefully go through the letters and words and sounds in a quiet and completely uninterrupted atmosphere. There was at all times someone else in the building for safety but that person was neither seen nor heard during our lesson time.

Some nights the weather would simply be too bad to travel and the young man would give me a call and ask if we should meet.
We would decide on another time, as soon as possible because Steve was anxious to read and get a seasonal job for Christmastime.

Week after week, Steve practiced and came in knowing whatever he needed to know to progress to the next stage. I was very pleased and he was proud of his progress as well. After eight weeks, Steve was ready to move on, it was time to take that test for the job and he told me he would call and let me know how he did. I told him I was sure he’d do just fine and that I’d like to hear if he got the job.

Several days past and my phone rang. I had half expected not to hear from Steve, but he was a man of his word, he did get the job and when he called he expressed such gratefulness that it brought much joy to my own heart. You see, Steve got a job riding shotgun in the truck of a large delivery company around Christmastime and all he had to do to get the job was match the name on the doorbell to the name on the package. But, Steve was actually able to sound out and say aloud the names he saw and even pronounce many of them as well as any long time reader might do. Because he had reached that level, the next step was to become a regular driver for the entire four seasons of the year, not just around the holidays.

I was very happy because not only had I helped a person learn to read, but I had helped him to support himself. When we teach people to read we not only help them make a living, we also help with -

* educational advancement
* employment
* job retention
* job advancement
* reading to their children
* helping their children in school

So, if you have some time, or know someone who needs help reading, it only takes a few minutes to learn how to help, and it only takes an hour or two per week for 8-12 sessions to get someone started off pretty well so they can practice and learn on their own. Look around your community, the library, or online to see if your community has a literacy volunteer program or if not, maybe you can start one up yourself! It’s well worth the effort.

Be sure to thank your teachers and all the other people who have helped you on your way. (click on the cards for a larger view)

Don’t forget the school bus driver!

Or maybe there is someone else you meant to thank for their support -

Please visit my greeting card site at and search ‘thank you’ the left hand box. Thank you!

Having Fun Yet? I Am

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

All my life I wanted to be an artist. Well, let’s correct that. All my life, I was an artist in heart and soul and occasionally that manifested into a minor work of art.

It is tough coming up with any great work of art. Even the old Masters often redid a piece over and over again til it was just right…or right enough to pass for a great work of art.

What’s so hard about great art, fine art? You have to be in a good frame of mind to create something good. You have to be in a beautiful frame of mind to create something beautiful…which was the aim of my youthful inclinations and into adulthood. Of course we could get into a huge discussion about what beauty is, but for me at that time in the past, it was what might approach the level of a clear colorful or a field full of day lilies or lavender.

Then, if you are in the good frame of mind, you need your oils or watercolors to be the right temperatures, the brushes to be the right ones in the right condition and you need to be left alone with your music or silence or view or memories for just the right amount of time.

The artist, you or me, need to keep all this going for an hour or a week before the paint dries or get it going again after one layer dries. You need to stop painting before you add too much. You need to keep painting before you leave it too undone.
Then, you need to be able to allow that one thing, some fleeting bubble of a thought to enter in when the muse appears, or reject it altogether because it takes you off into a direction you cannot go. It’s tough putting it all together and getting something beautiful that can be called art or fine art.

Never mind the difficulty in narrowing the subject down to one, choosing the exact right color palette, getting the right sized canvass, having the proper easel, disposing of your waste properly, wearing a mask, or using all non toxic materials. So, in between having all those things together, I make greeting card and some fun.

But, creating cards is just fun. I use whatever medium is ready, whatever I am one with that moment, I use my love of jokes and words and twists and puns, I put them altogether.

The last two years (come May) I will have spent hundreds of hours creating all sorts of cards. People say I have a funky mind in that I allow all sorts of styles. I put most of my attempts up for sale because I have found that just because I don’t like it, doesn’t mean there isn’t some one who will like it enough to buy it.

I sell my 5300 plus cards amongst almost a million other cards at the site, and I only make a pittance on each card, but it’s lots of fun and it gives me a chance to put my best art and jokes and creativity in the hands of people all over the world. Knowing I make people smile feels good and I hope that people will not forget to send cards by snail mail because that’s something they can put their hands on ten years from now and remember you.

Healthy Tips for Staying Well

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

I am not a doctor, but I do have incentive and time to pay attention on staying as healthy as possible. Some of this stuff I never knew until I was well into adulthood…so…how to stay well, at least some good things to do for yourself…

Eat a balanced diet, rest, keep a good attitude, wash hands often.

Clean out your nostrils every day as nostril cleaning is necessary because a wet nostril is great place to breed the germs you just inhaled.

Don’t overload your body’s immune system with toxic substances…and stay away from sick people!

If you feel ill, drink extra liquids, gently squeeze the little glands that can be found under your ear and in back of your jawline if they feel swollen to help move immune system fluids through your body. Also, keep moving as much as possible to help work the infection out of your body.

If you have to be in the room with an ill person, run a fan to mix up the air and reduce the germs that are likely to enter your body. Open windows whenever possible to bring in fresh air. The home heating and cooling systems might not exchange air very often.

Brush and floss your teeth at least once or twice a day. The plague that gets on your teeth also finds its way into your heart arteries and veins. Not good.

Hope this helps you in the future. If I have helped you, you can thank me by buying my get well greeting cards or any other of the 4500 cards I now have in my online shop…This link will take you there.

Selling Our Northfield Home

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Here is a slide show of our home. It has lots of great features and the location couldn’t be better for families with children. Recently painted outside and 6 year old roof, great fenced in yard, low maintenance landscaping, very close to walking path, park, shopping and schools and highway. No sump pump or flooding issues. It is a very good deal. We have lots of info on the house and garden we will share with the new owner.

Thanks for looking! Please see Edina Realty, The Reiland Group if interested in this $139,900 home located at 1200 Heritage Drive.

April is National Poetry Month

Friday, April 1st, 2011

nuff said