Friday, August 8, 2008

It's Here! Olympic Opening XXIX

E X T R A!  E X T R A!
According to my sister in-law, and our friend, Cassie - there was a siting of RAY at the Lifetime Fitness Center, in Grapevine, Texas this morning.  Therefore... it is conceivable we will have a new reader or two visiting us today.  Welcome Lifetime Fitness members!  Kudos to you for making it to the gym each morning.  Now here's a dose of health and wellness for your soul.

A small tidbit about me... I love pomp and circumstance.  On election night, I'm glued to CNN.  I want to know about election results of every district in every state.  I have to know about every hanging or pregnant chad, and what each of the candidates is doing.  I don't want to miss a thing.  Inauguration day, same thing - though sometimes begrudgingly depending upon who we are swearing into office.  

Then, you can imagine how I jolted out of bed this morning with excitement in my stomach.  Tonight is the beginning of the Olympics.  I have been preparing for today for a long time - thinking through how all my various ideas can be pieced together for a memorable couple of weeks.  Gathering tonight for the Opening Olympic Ceremonies is one of the things I have planned.  I hope you won't miss it.

Whether it be family, friends, or neighbors... grab a group of people, order your Chinese food (and cookies) and join us for...
Highlowaha's First
Virtual Dinner Party
August 8, 2008
8:00 p.m.
Prizes will be given away
*Important Announcement at 9:00 CST*

Nothing is too much effort for this group of readers who continue giving so much.  So when thinking about what would really make this Olympic experience special, I thought... "How about our very own highlowaha Olympic correspondent...embedded right there in Beijing, China?"  So that's what I did.  I arranged for our very own highlowaha correspondent to report from China on her Olympic experience.

O.K., so the plan didn't exactly go down like that, but I think you'll find the true story even more inspiring.  It is a GREAT example of how when you are living your Personal Legend... "all the universe will conspire in helping you to achieve it."  Such has been the case with my plans for "doing the Olympics" - highlowaha style.

Quick Background... One day, as does occasionally happen, I found myself wondering if my time spent on highlowaha mattered.  You know... kind of a "what-is-the-purpose-of-life-moment" or a "if-a- tree-falls-in-a-forest-and-nobody-was-around-to-hear-it, did-it-make-a-sound-moment."  That VERY SAME DAY, I received an email from a friend I haven't heard from in years.  Her name is Alden.  The first line of her email was, "Oh man - am I enjoying your blog."  The email went on to tell what she was doing and then asked a small favor.  She was looking for creative ideas to commemorate her upcoming trip to... are you ready?...........  CHINA!!!

Let me repeat that.  I am sitting in my quiet home dreaming up ideas about how to bring the Olympics to my highlowaha readers and Alden emails me, OUT OF THE BLUE, asking for ideas about commemorating her trip to CHINA.  Yes...  all the universe will conspire when you are living your personal legend.  I immediately hit "reply" and said, "Alden call me.  We need to talk ASAP."  That was the beginning of a series of phone calls trying to coordinate some kind of partnership between highlowaha and Alden's trip to China.

The other serendipitous part of this is that Alden is an artist and today is Freebie Friday.  What a perfect way to introduce you to our very own Beijing Olympic correspondent AND celebrate Freebie Friday, all at the same time.  My normal caveat...  I will not do Alden justice.  She is an amazing woman with a contagious spirit.  A truly contagious and radiant spirit.

Alden and I met while I was in graduate school at the University of Georgia.  I was advising a talented group of student leaders and Alden happened to have been one of them.  My favorite memory of Alden was her calling me to arrange at meeting (at Starbucks).  Her request was a little unconventional, because at the time Alden served as a general member of this leadership team and most of my time was spent advising the executive members.  Therein lies the beauty of Alden.  Unlike so many students who take on too much but do to little, Alden was brimming with ideas about how the leadership group could be improved.  And, she personally wanted to help make it happen.  Needless to say, Alden was snatched up quickly and invited to serve on the executive board for the next year.  That, I might add, was the year the organization won "Student Organization of the Year."  Coincidence?  No such thing. 

Now Alden lives and works in San Francisco.  She works for a company called Lucas Arts and specifically helps with the company's Gaming Division (which, I think, is to say she helps techies create new and exciting computer games).  That is by day.  By night, Alden is a singer.  She has an incredible voice and - I think - even tried out for American Idol one year.  She's been on tour around the country and has some upcoming shows in San Francisco and her home state of North Carolina.  Hear Alden's music by visiting her web site at

Alden the friend.  Alden the professional.  Alden the artist.  Now... Alden the tourist of China and Olympic spectator.  Why this Olympics?  Why all the way to China?  Among the many other things that make Alden eclectic and interesting, is the fact that Alden minored in Chinese in college.  While most students were coasting by with Spanish 101 or French for the really diligent, Alden elected to MINOR in Chinese (not just take the requisite two classes).  Her adventurous spirit mandated a semester abroad, in China, during her junior year.  Going back for the Olympics is a coming home of sorts.  Only this time Alden won't have the burden of classes six days a week.  This time, she and her best childhood friend (who, by the way, just took the Bar Exam), will visit the country not saddled with academic responsibilities.  
Amy and Alden - Our Olympic Correspondents

That leaves Alden PLENTY-O-TIME to share her experience with us.  Here's how it will work.  I will receive an email from Alden each day, informing me that her a entry has been posted on her blog.  I will include her blog address each day and notify you (via the comments) when the blog has been updated.  I am not 100% certain, but I think we can look for her blogs to be formatted as her highs, lows, and ahas for each day they are gone.  Love it.  Be sure to check in on her site.  Maybe, just maybe, we'll have some Alden and Amy trivia contests.

What else?  Oooh.  Today's prize.  Yes, in spite of the fact that Alden is in the process of wrapping things up at work and packing for a 12-day trip to China, she has agreed to mail me a CD to be given away to one of our very own lucky readers.  To be the lucky recipient, all you have to do is answer this question correctly...

In addition to her Chinese classes, her Business in China class, and her Chinese Cinema class, what athletic class did Alden take while doing her semester abroad?  First person to get this right wins the CD.  I might add... there is a HILARIOUS story to be told about her experience in this class.  Hopefully once the guess is made, Alden will share the story with us.

NOT signing off until tomorrow.  I will meet you back here tonight for the Opening Ceremonies of the XXIX Olympiad.  Remember, important announcement at 9:00 and prizes to be given away. 

See you tonight...

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