Saturday, February 28, 2009

Let's Take a Stroll, Shall We?

It's Saturday and a wonderful day for a stroll down MemoRay Lane. Let me give you a little background about Ray and I'll try to be brief because we have a lot of Ray ground to cover.

How he got his name: On July 19th, Claudia put up this photo of a light bulb and asked that everyone submit a name for our new mascot. 32 names were submitted. On July 21st, National Tug-o-war Day, Claudia broke the 32 names into two teams and the tugging began. In the comment section, readers submitted their choice of Team A or Team B. The tugging started at 5 am and as each bracket had a winner the names were split again. That went on for five brackets until 8 pm and our little light was deemed Ray Wattson.


The ink behind Ray: Peggy was masterminding the birth of a mascot with Claudia behind the scenes. She had submitted some computer generated drawings to Claudia. I was over at Claudia's house one night discussing how she was going to bring her newly named mascot to life. We needed someone to draw Ray. I was reluctant to offer because I didn't know if I could deliver. I even suggested another doodle blogger to Claudia that she contacted via email. After talking and doodling and a lot of laughing about how he had to wear purple boots , I told Claudia that I would go home and sketch some Ray's for her. And the rest is history. I became the pen behind Ray.

Purple Boots: Back in May of 2008, Cassie Y. was trying to get Maureen to come to Texas. Cassie asked Maureen if she would like purple boots. Maureen replied that she would be shot in New York if she wore purple boots. It became a running joke noted in more posts and in Taste of USA. So, of course, it was only fitting that Ray wear purple boots.

Ray Games: A fun game we play with Ray is hiding "HLA" throughout the drawing. There is a number by his boot and that is how many HLA's are hiding in the picture. Some are harder to see online. And I admit, I need some practice at hiding them.

His age: Ray is ageless and given the birthday of September 7th by gathering random numbers from readers that were then put into this super calculation: 16+6x2.2+540/8.5-6x2+0+3x7.5= 970.85. Drop the zero and the .85, leaving us with 97... September 7!

Marital Status: Ray is single and a bit of a player. I'm pretty sure new reader, Margaret, has a pretty big crush on our friend Ray.

Is your CamelBak full of wine? Do you have your walking shoes on? Here are some instructions for you. Scroll down and enjoy the images of Ray. I've provided tidbits about each drawing of Ray. If you want to read the post that Ray featured that day, you can click through the links and go back. If you want to see a larger image, you should be able to click the image but some of them may not get much bigger. If not a new GalleRay is now available at Highlowaha.

Now that you have a little history, let's get started on our stroll.

Soon after Ray was named he escaped the Beeny household and set out to bake cookies with Highlowaha readers. Sugar Ray took his light bulb cookie cutter and now travels to readers homes where they bake and decorate Ray Cookies spreading the Highlowaha love. Ray has been to Euless with Cassie, to Tera and Treye's house, and is currently at Maureen's house. I hear he has an itch to get over to Arizona to see Julie. I could be wrong about that. Want to host Ray in your home? Post a comment or email highlowaha218@gmail.com to get on the list.




Ray's first drawn appearance was when he flew over to Beijing and attended the Olympics. He rubbed elbows with star Olympians and partied like a rock star. I wonder if he still talks to Michael Phelps?








Ray's no dummy. He knows school is cool. His purple boots and his bald head were all shined up and ready to hit school to impress the girls. It just goes to show, you're never too old to learn.








On September 19th, Cap'n Purple Boots played Virtual Pirate Bingo with a group of readers. Boy, was it fast paced, crazy and fun! Prizes were donated by readers and there was plenty of stealing going on. There was also a silent auction. The bidding for one of the first Ray Wattson Highlowaha t-shirts.









Birthday Ray surprised Claudia on her birthday, October 7th. You never know when Ray is going to surprise you.











Count Raycula swooped in to celebrate Halloween. One thing about Ray, he's always in the holiday spirit. From the beginning, I knew when Halloween came along Ray was going to be a vampire because I just love those teeth!










DemocRaycy loves politics. He couldn't get enough of CNN. He and Claudia would sit for hours in front of the TV talking about the candidates and the issues. I only stayed for the coffee. On November 4th, DemocRaycy was one of the first lights on, doing his duty and voting.








The idea of a blog-a-thon was started in the fall to help raise money for Helping Hand and a family in need. It was our goal to help a family have a great Christmas. Writers committed to be on the blog for 15 minute blocks of time and write a scary story. Who else was more qualified to get the story started than HemmingRay. I will let you in on a secret. This room was inspired by the Library at my beautiful office but it pains me to look too closely at it because there are so many perspective errors. The Library at my office is so much more beautiful than this drawing.







We woke on Thanksgiving morning to Rayflower, a pilgrim ready to get his turkey on. Rayflower spent Thanksgiving at the Beeny house. He set the table and helped with the decorations. I think Rayflower is one of my least favorite Ray's because I forgot to draw him. Claudia emailed me asking when she could expect the drawing and I was in scramble mode.









In December, HoliRay had a surprise visit from his cousin, Noel, after not seeing her in six years. She's one of those big shiny red lights from New York and is constantly embarrassing Ray. I think HoliRay was a little nervous having her around but I think all went well because we didn't hear any holiday horror story from him. Well, until...








Jingle All the Ray. Pretending to be Santa, Ray gets stuck in Claudia's chimney, though that doesn't look like her house at all. This is one of my favorite posts from Ray. Tears flowed on Christmas morning when I read Ray being stuck in the chimney with a roach because on Christmas Eve, I was over at the Beeny's when the infamous roach made his real life appearance. I still laugh when I read it.








HooRay rang in the New Year at Times Square with champagne, party noise makers and the nine things he was looking forward to in 2009, hair plugs being at the top of his list. Yes, Ray is something of a party animal.






Claudia gave us some time to settle into 2009 and had us thinking on what resolution or goal we would set for ourselves. Goal Fishing brought us Sting Ray to help prod (literally) us to achieve our goals. Ray must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed this morning because I think some of our readers didn't like Ray so much this day. Watch out! He'll stick you!





On Sunday, January 18th, Claudia and I were at the local pottery shop in Southlake. I was busy painting Ray on the Super Bowl for the trophy for the Super Bowl Snack Throwdown that was hosted at Strubles Suds. It turned out pretty cute for our first pottery experience. The Super Bowl Winner was AZLori for her onion dip.






While we were sitting there, Claudia was throwing around ideas and all of the sudden she says, "InauguRay!" Ray and I were tight on time but he agreed to come out of Secret Service Retirement to serve as security at President Obama's inauguration and he was hurried off on Air Force One to be there in time. He encouraged us to give some predictions of what items will cost next year. We're all so proud of Ray.








On Valentine's Day, AmoRay was floating on cloud nine due to some low wattage cutie at little Italian restaurant. He blew us some quick kisses, told us that our recipes had to be special for the upcoming Highlowaha Recipe Book (send your special recipes to: tmichalski05@jcu.edu), told us to share our Valentine's Day plans and he was off. Back to the low wattage cutie.








We're almost there. Deep breaths, happy thoughts. It was getting exciting behind the scenes at Highlowaha with Award Ceremonies, getting a new website and adding people into the fold. But it all got done. From the Red Carpet, to a hurricane siren in the middle of taping, straight onto a blooper reel. And, who better to get us to turn off all electronics, wrangle the kids and pets, and get the show started than AnniversaRay? He had the perfect seat: Row 2, Seat 18.








Oscar has nothing on Ray. Winners at the Peoples Choice Awards received an award in the shape of Ray who is holding the Spirit of 218. Here is my award hanging on my wall. Cute, huh?










This version of Ray is eager to give the Gift of 218. How about you? Nominate a family by sending an email to highlowaha@gmail.com. Give a donation at the Gift of 218 link, whether it's $2.18 or $218, all are welcome and most appreciated. Our first Gift of 218 will be unveiled soon so you'll want to keep checking in for that exciting news.








But that's not all! Ray was the first feature on the Highlowaha t-shirts that were given to contributors who submitted their High, Low and Aha on the 18th day of the month. Those readers were then put in a drawing for the coveted shirt. This tradition continues with a new twist this year. You can pick any Ray that has been posted for your shirt. Fun, right? Kristen, I know you asked Claudia to surprise you on Thursday but does any of this change your mind?


Whew! Was that a stroll or marathon? I don't know about you but I'm beat! But, I'm always looking forward to where Ray will show up next. Do you have an idea for a Ray? Drop us a line in the comment section or email us at highlowaha218@gmail.com. And, if you can't get enough of Ray or you're having a problem viewing any of these photos there's always the new GalleRay at Highlowaha. Look for the link at the top.

Thanks for hanging in there with me. I know it was long. Signing off until Monday...

Friday, February 27, 2009

T.G.I.F.F.A.F.

I'm not sure about each of you but this week has been exhausting here in HLA Land.
  • On Monday we rolled out "Gift of 218" and raised over $500 which led to us taking on our first "Gift" which is set to be delivered this weekend!
  • Tuesday we learned about the RAK box and started the new cycle of postcards rolling in to Claudia's mailbox. (look in the announcements section to learn who won the first $25 gift cards!)
  • Wednesday we "Whacked" the blog/website with the help of Von Oech and Seth Godin.
  • Thursday we had a Patchwork Fashion Show and developed a LONG list of patchworthy activities (stay tuned for April when we implement many of these ideas).
But today, ahhh today is Friday and here on highlowaha.com Fridays are synonymous with YOU taking the reigns of the blog. You see every Friday here at HLA we celebrate Free For All Friday which means that you do the work. Each Friday we ask the readers of HLA to post with creative dilemmas that the community can comment on. Sometimes we pose a dilemma in advance while other Fridays we just let the community go with the energy. In the past we have "free for all'ed" a 100 Days shirt for reader Shannon C's kindergarten aged son, what to do with a giant mirror that Cheryl had in her house, and ideas for Cassie P's 80s birthday bash for her Mom. You get the picture...this can go anywhere.

So today, I get to sit back, exhale and get ready for the weekend while you "Free For All" the work for me. Since this week is Orientation week we'll throw a few concepts out there for the "Free For Alling" to center around. We've got two tasks today:

#1: What information have we NOT presented this week that you think is important for newcomers to know? If you are a newcomer what information has confused you? (For instance yesterday Lindsay wanted to know what Taste of USA was because it was being discussed but we had never talked about WHAT it was.)

#2: Many of you have requested access to some blog posts from the previous year. While we won't be bringing all of the back to the blog we would like to bring the top 10 from 2008 and post them to the website for reference. So...what posts do you wish you still had access to? Give us your Top 10.

Announcements

  • RAK Box Postcards: Congratulations to Cassie P. whose postcard arrived in Claudia's box yesterday. Cassie and her friend Samantha Pate both win $25 Target gift cards. Don't forget that you still have two ways to win. Yesterday Claudia received 7 postcards (Cassie's was the first one out of the mailbox) she'll give a $25 gift card to the 18th postcard she receives AND pull a random card out of the RAK box on the 6th so if you haven't yet done it, send your postcard to Claudia Beeny, 4012 Harvestwood Ct., Grapevine, TX 76051.
  • Recipe Book: Thanks to Tera's generosity with her time we are pulling together the first highlowaha cookbook, but we need your help. Please send Tera all of your fabulous creative recipes for inclusion. The deadline to submit is March 18 so we have time to roll out for Mother's Day. Send them to Tera Johnson 2590 N. Moreland, Apt E22, Shaker Heights, OH, 44120 or email it to Tera at tmichalski05@jcu.edu.
  • Gift of 218: We haven't wasted any time thanks to the overwhelming response from our readers not only do we have the funds to grant a gift but we also have the perfect family nominated. We sent the information out regarding the gift recipient via the facebook group yesterday so please respond to that message today so we can be sure that our first Gift of 218 is truly spectacular.
Signing off until Tomorrow!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

HLA Patchwork Fashion Show

Today is another big day in this week of Highlowaha Orientation. Today we will introduce the newcomers to the concept of patchwork denim. For the veterans, today, I will introduce a new patch yielding initiative for our community.

First things first! So, what is patchwork denim, anyway? Well, the idea came to life in June of 2008 when I was visiting Claudia in Grapevine, Texas. We were spending our day whacking our thoughts and ended up passing by a Girl Scouts of America store. Having Claudia's obsession with the Girl Scouts in mind, we turned around and went back to the store just to look around for a while. We ended up staring at the walls of patches in the store and that is when it hit me! Why can't we, Highlowaha, have our own patch system? That is when the idea was born!


In August, we introduced the idea to the community and encouraged everyone to get a piece of denim (jeans, apron, purse, etc.) and designate it as their HLA Patchwork Denim! Each community member's denim also includes our Troop Number (in true Highlowaha fashion), 218. After choosing their patchwork denim, readers began earning patches by participating in certain Highlowaha events which are deemed "patch yielding events". For example, in this past year, patches have been earned for participating in our Decathlon Olympics, pumpkin carving contest, ornament exchange, and many other events.

This brings us to the present day and our Highlowaha Patchwork Denim Fashion Show! I have received photographs of 8 Highlowaha readers and their Patchwork Denim! Let the Fashion Show begin, ladies!!!

Your pictures and fotos in a slideshow on MySpace, eBay, Facebook or your website!view all pictures of this slideshow

Thank you to each of you for submitting a photo and giving the other readers a look into how GREAT your denim can look when you begin earning patches! Your participation in this fashion show has now earned you a new patch for your denim, and it will be on its way to you soon.

Finally, it gives me great pleasure to introduce a new patchwork denim initiative today! As many of you know and others will soon begin to learn, our community is full of dedicated people who are committed to this community. There are times when members of the community truly go above and beyond to give an extra effort to our community. Examples of this would be Cheryl and her generous drawings of Ray for special occasions and Heather's hard work putting together the Awards Show for 2/18. For these members of the community who go "above and beyond" and truly exemplify excellence in our community, we will be giving them the "Bee's Knees" patch. First a little history on Bee's knees.

A bee's pollen-baskets, are located on its tibiae (midsegments of its legs - knees). The phrase "the bee's knees," became popular in the U.S. in the 1920s. "The Bee's Knees" is a term indicating excellence - the highest quality because bees carry pollen back to the hive in sacs on their legs. The allusion is to the concentrated goodness to be found around the bee's knee.

In the same way that a bee provides excellence through the pollen they carry in their knees, we believe that members of this community also provide excellence through the work they contribute to the community. Bees pollinate flowers and we here at Highlowaha like to pollinate our lives through making memories and impacting the lives of those in our community. As recognition of those who are providing excellence, we will periodically recognize a member of the community with the Bees Knees patch which is to be stitched into your patchwork denim around your knee.

A few final notes on patchwork denim before we end for the day...
  • Need patchwork denim to get started? Have no fear! We have in our possession 6 denim purses and aprons to be given away today. If today was the perfect motivation you needed to get started on your denim, then you will want to get in on this! Today in the comment section, submit a suggestion of an event for which we could give away a patch in the future! The first 6 people (who still need to start their denim) to suggest a patch idea will be sent their denim! Already have some denim started? Feel free to make a suggestion anyway!
  • Year Two Patches: Do you already have some patches that you earned during the first year of our blog? If so, let me know in the comment section today! We will be ordering "Year 2" patches (as pictured to the left) and want to order one for anyone that is going into their second year of earning patches! Just think, newcomers- this time next year you could be earning a year 2 patch!
Signing off until tomorrow...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Whack Attack

Announcement at the end.

If the focus of yesterday's orientation was all about the RAK, then today's is all about the Whack. Newcomers, welcome to our third Highlowaha tradition to be shared this week - Whack On The Side of The Head Wednesdays.

Background. There has been a belief, from the inception of Highlowaha, that if we are to be a blog powered by creativity then we must do our part to actually develop the very resource on which we rely so heavily. To assist me in this weekly commitment of personal development, I invite Roger von Oech to join us at the table. Roger (I feel like we should be on a first name basis by now) developed a deck of 50+ cards called a Creative Whack Pack. Each card outlines a creative principle and then poses a follow up question to assist you in applying the principle.

Each week we use Roger's creative principle by applying the question to a dilemma or to a Highlowaha project. Each reader is invited...encouraged to take a crack at whacking the idea of the day. It's like doing a 20-minute fitness video for you mind. Overachievers, anxious to earn extra fitness points, might also apply the weekly principle to something going on in his/her own personal life.

I dare say, it works!!! Over the course of the past year many a good idea has come out of our weekly Whack on the Side of the Head ritual, including things such as Spirit of #218; Taste of USA; the infamous Altoid table project - more on that later; Birthday Eve; and the Reaching for 5,000 campaign, to name a few. I have high hopes for this year and don't want to waste another minute before jumping right in.

I should keep today simple, since it's orientation for some of you and the very idea of whacking yourself on the side of the head is new enough. But, I can't. I will introduce von Oech's creative principle in a minute, but first some more food for thought (consider it the appetizer).

Seth Godin, another creative marketing guy who I follow, recently made this this statement as part of a daily blog post. "Too often, I hear about businesses that just might be a dream come true for their owners, but hardly for the people they seek to recruit or the customers they hope to snare. What do your prospects dream of? What would get them to wait in line?"

Godin's notion is what I would like to whack today. Katie, Heather, Cheryl, and I aspire to create a blog community you might have only dreamed about - something for which you would,"wait in line." Having said that, let's introduce von Oech's creative principle for today - the creative whack that will assist us in having break through ideas...

Combine Ideas: "The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things: of shoes - and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages - and kings. Combining unusual ideas is at the heart of creative thinking. The ancients mixed soft copper and even softer tin to create hard bronze. Gutenberg combined the wine press and the coin punch to create moveable type and the printing press. What different ideas can you combine?

The goal? Use von Oech's creative principle of combining ideas to whack Godin's challenge of creating something (in our case a blog) so "dreamy" it would get you to, "stand in line." In other words... What different ideas can Highlowaha combine to develop a blog so dreamy, you might actually, "stand in line" to have access?

Note: Does anyone else think it's funny that I pulled a card titled, "Combine Ideas" on a week that I combined two ideas to develop the whack? Weird.

Announcements:
  • E*X*T*R*A*O*R*D*I*N*A*R*Y: Your incredibly generous response (over $500.00 already) has officially been matched by your willingness to nominate families deserving of our mission - providing experiences that, without our support, might otherwise never happen. Thanks to all of you, we not only have enough money to grant two gifts, but we also have the lead on a deserving family. The principle of Six Degrees of Separation requires us to be a little covert about granting this first gift. Want to know more now? Check out Highlowaha on your Facebook.
  • Patchwork: Tonight at 5:00 EST is the last day to get Katie a photo of you in your Patchwork Denim. Don't miss out on the fun... and the chance to earn another patch!!!

Signing off until tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

RAK Attack

Announcements at the end...

First, a quick note. Can I pick 'em or can I pick 'em? I would say I hope each of you is enjoying Highlowaha's new contributors as much as I am, but I know you are because we have had close to 700 visits to our site in the past six days. At this rate, we're sure to top last year's record of 5,000 views in 46 days!

Another day, another orientation event.

Today we introduce (or reintroduce, as the case may be) one of Highlowaha's favorite traditions - The Random Acts of Kindness Box (RAK Box).

Background. One week last year I was feeling "blah." It could have been the tides, alignment of planets, a bad week for Libras, dreary weather, PMS.... Who knows. I'm a firm believer, however, that one of the quickest ways to snap yourself out of a bad mood is to do something nice for someone else. I quickly declared that week Random Acts of Kindness Week and for six days we performed a daily act of kindness. One day I left gently used books for the taking at Starbucks. Another day I challenged all of you to join me in doing a random act of kindness, and on a third day I introduced to you my Random Act of Kindness Box.

Each Highlowaha reader was invited...asked... begged... implored... to send me a postcard with his or her address. Once a postcard was received it was placed in my Random Acts of Kindness Box and then, when I was feeling particularly blue... or generous, I dug into my box and randomly selected someone to be the winner of a prize. All kinds of fun items were given away, from baked goods to cookbooks, fun pads of paper, gift cards, and t-shirts to name a few. It's a new year, but this old idea is here to stay.

Part of this stunt is about me loving mail. If you send me a postcard with your address on it then I get mail and you become eligible for fun Highlowaha prizes. It's a win win. Problem. If I let returners rest on their laurels and use last year's postcard, then I get less mail and new readers think, that next year at this time they can also sit back and eat bon bons. If, however, the playing field is leveled so, each year old and new readers alike must submit a new postcard, then newcomers are assured their place at the table is just as secured as a long-time reader.

Yeah, yeah, I know... this means you having to get (or make) a postcard, slap a .27 cent stamp on it, and make a trip to the post office. I'd better sweeten the pot if I'm going to get the likes of readers such as AZLori, and other post office avoiding folks to participate. It just so happens I can. Weeks ago I did a training session and got paid in the form of a Target Gift Card. Rather than walk in the store and have the $100.00 disintegrate, before I get passed the Dollar Bins, I've decided I want to invest it in you (alright... and in a week's worth of good mail. I'm not totally selfless).

There are four $25.00 Target gift cards for the taking. Here's all you need to know about winning one. Send me a postcard to Claudia Beeny at 4012 Harvestwood Court, Grapevine, Texas 76051. On the back, include your name and address. If you're a lurker and don't want me to know your name, then just sign it "Loyal Lurker." Include the name and address of a friend and he/she will also get a shot at winning one of the $25.00 gift cards. Cards will be distributed as follows:
  • One $25.00 Target Gift Card goes to the person who sends the first postcard I receive.
  • One $25.00 Target Gift Card goes to the 18th post card I receive.
  • The remaining two $25.00 Target Gift Cards go to the reader whose name (and whose friend's name) I draw from the Random Acts of Kindness Box on Friday, March 6.
That gives you all plenty of time to get your postcard, get your stamp, and get them in the mail! One more note. Heather made her first official Highlowaha post yesterday and yielded close to $500.00 in donations. I'm trying to give money away. Don't let her show me up... please! She's competitive and she'll never let me live it down.

Announcements:
  • Gift of #218: Thanks to the generosity of our readers, we have already raised close to $500.00 toward our new service initiative. Our blog will work to provide deserving families of Spirit of #218 experiences. Projects might include sponsoring a birthday party, a family trip to an amusement park or the movies (with all the works), a family portrait, or tickets to the circus. All of you will help determine which families and which projects. We estimate $250.00 per gift which means we can already grant two! Way to go.
  • Email Subscriptions: 19 of you have already subscribed to get our daily post in your email box. You know it's true. Getting our fun post in your email box is the equivalent of getting fun snail mail in your post office box! Do it today.
  • Patchwork Denim Fashion Show: Newcomers, you'll have to wait until Thursday to find out what all the fun is about. Old timers... if you've earned a patch (or two or three), slap them on something denim, take a picture, and email it to us by Wednesday at 5:00 p.m.
  • Cook Book Recipes: Tera's looking for some Highlowaha Love in her mail box. Send her your favorite recipe to Tera Johnson, 2590 N. Moreland, Apt. E22, Shaker Heights, OH, 44120. Or email it to Tera at tmichalski@jcu.edu.
Signing off until tomorrow...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Maintenance Monday?!?...Not hardly!

For those of you who are veteran readers of highlowaha you know that often Mondays are used to clear up some “maintenance” type activities. This week however, our blog is doing anything but maintaining…no, in fact we are getting a complete overhaul. New paint job, new rims, fancy new seat covers, and a great smelling air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror. Our hope is that we have several new passengers on board as well. But not everything is changing and thus this week will serve as an orientation to our newest members while highlighting some of highlowaha’s greatest traditions and rolling out some exciting new ones. Each day will be used to introduce a concept that is integral to the highlowaha community and many days we will open a new link on our website as well.

Today we talk about the Spirit of 218. Several months ago Claudia came clean with those of us in the highlowaha community about the fact that she had been touting 2/18 as the blog’s initial post when in fact it wasn’t until 2/19. Faced with the conundrum of being Troop 218 with no real connection to the number she put the dilemma out to the community to take a good “whack”. That day the concept of the “Spirit of 218” was born. The “Spirit of 218” became our community’s code for embracing each day as the opportunity to make the most out of life, share our creativity with others and return a sense of wonder into the world. Over the course of the last year we have seen the “Spirit of 218” play out in our service to the community, our Random Acts of Kindness, and our fundraising efforts.

Today I have the honor of rolling out what will become our blog’s cornerstone fundraising and service initiative…”The Gift of 218”.

As a child growing up I was the 6th of 7 children being raised by a single mother. You might imagine that feeding, clothing and providing a home for 7 children stretched the budget rather thin. As a result many “luxuries” in life were things we didn’t get to experience. Other members of our church family and local charities helped my Mom when it came to Christmas, clothes, winter jackets, and food on the table…the basics were provided and we couldn’t ask for much more. What I’ve realized though, as I’ve grown up is that I don’t remember the new pair of shoes or the box of cereal that was delivered, nor who delivered it. What I do remember is the church music minister who gave us a set of his tickets for the Cincinnati Opera on dress rehearsal night so we didn’t have to dress up. What I do remember is the friend of the family who took me to the Bengals Cheerleading Camp. What I do remember is getting our first family portrait taken at a professional photographer thanks to the generosity of someone dropping their free portrait coupon in our mailbox.

So when Claudia came to me with the concept for a cornerstone service initiative for highlowaha this is where my thoughts went. After toying with the idea of giving something tangible to families (a dinner table was one concept discussed) I threw out the idea of giving families the gift of an experience, a memory. Giving them the “Gift of 218”.

So beginning today the highlowaha community commits to raising funds to give nominated families the gift of an experience…any experience. Whether it is sending a child to camp, buying a zoo membership, affording the opportunity to take music lessons or any other experience you can craft, highlowaha is on board to help make it happen. In a few days we’ll begin taking nominations for families to whom you’d like to give the “Gift of 218” but beginning today we are asking you to help us start down the path towards raising the funds necessary to create these experiences.

Today I ask that each of you commit to our newest initiative and make a donation to the “Gift of 218”. Visit the “Gift of 218” page today and make a donation by check, cash or paypal in any form of 218 ($21.80, $2.18, $218, 2+1+8=$11, 2 x 1x 8= $16…you get the picture) and you’ll earn a patch for your patchwork denim but more importantly you’ll have helped to give the gift of an experience to a family and I promise you…that will be unforgettable.


Announcements

  • Email Subscription: Don’t forget that you can now email subscribe to the blog. Check out the new feature on the sidebar of the blog to the right. There is a spot that says: Subscribe via email. Enter your email address. Feedburner will then send you an email to confirm you want to receive the emails. Click the link in your email and you will begin receiving Highlowaha updates in your email box every day! Our goal is to have a total of 25 community members subscribed by Sunday evening. Go subscribe now! You're guaranteed to never miss a new post again!
  • Patchwork Fashion Show: For those of you with a piece of patchwork denim already in your possession and adorned with some great patchwork, we will have a Highlowaha Patchwork Fashion Show on Thursday, February 26. To participate in this event, take a photo of your patchwork denim and email it to highlowaha218@gmail.com by 5 pm on Wednesday, February 25. For those of you with patches in your possession but not yet adorned to a piece of denim... there is no time like the present! All those participating in this event will earn a "2nd year" patch marking your participation in the second year of this great community!
  • Cookbook Recipes: Don’t forget that Tera has agreed to organize the first Highlowaha Cookbook. Whether it is your Olympic or Super Bowl entry, your People’s Choice Awards Party appetizer or just your favorite recipe, dig out all those winning recipes and pass them along to Tera - either by snail mail or by email. In an effort to roll it out in time for Mother’s Day the deadline to submit is March 18th.
  • Krysten's Sweet 16: Many of you may remember that Maureen used our input from a "Free for all Friday" many months ago as she planned her daughter's sweet 16 party. Below are the pictures from the big night!

Signing off until Tomorrow...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's a Celebrashon!

Oo-wee podnah's, today's pos' 'bout gettin' ready fo' Fat Choosday and da Mardi Gras celebrashon, y'all!

Mardi Gras has been 'round fo'ever, brought over t' da U.S. by da French. Way back when da Romans embraced Christianity dey decided dey bettah go 'head and embrace some dem ol' pagan ritu'ls ratha' dan abolish dem. Da people wear masks t' hide dare identity. Dat way no one know who you be when you bein' a cooyon (dat mean fool, y'all). I t'ink da mos' of us will agree dat da mos' famous celebrashon in our co'ner da worl' is in N'awluns, y'all and Bourbon Street! But Mardi Gras done celebrated all 'round da world. Could be at yo house, too!

Da Mardi Gras season actually starts da twelth night after Christmas- Dat be January 6th, y'all. Dis da day dat da King Cake is tradition'lly served so mark yo calenda' fo' next year. But we won't let dat be stoppin' us, no. We'll bake dat cake no how. A lil' toy bebe is hidden in dat dare cake. Who ever now find dat dare bebe in dare cake is declared da King fo' da day and dey get t' make da next King Cake. Da King Cake is made in da shape of an oval , like a crown and out of da coffee-cake dough, decorated wit' gold, green and purple shugah icin'. Oo-wee, dat sound good, y'all. Y'all know I don' like t' cook but I found dis heah recipe dat look easy. No, no. It' not traditional but dat's ahright. If I can do it, you sho'ly can!

King Cake
1 can of cinnamon rolls, wit' icin'
Shugah sprinkles in yellow, gold and green
Lookie heah at how dese rolls undo. Y'all see dat. Get da generic kin' cuz day squirrly like dese. Shape dem rolls into an oval, twisting dem all togethe', and place it on a cookie sheet. Cook as directed on da package.


When dey done cooking, slip dat lil' toy bebe inside da cake. Cover da tops wit' da white icing. Sprinkle da different colors of sugars on da top, alternating as you go 'round da oval. And dat be all, y'all! Ea-sy!






Now, da Mardi Gras season end on Fat Choosday. Dat be da day you Laissez les bon temps rouler! (You pronounce dat like dis heah: le-say le bon tonh rou-lay!) Dat mean, Let da good times roll! Cuz on Wednesday da Lent Season be on and you good Catholics be givin' up somet'ing dat you love while in reflectin' da up comin' Easter. So, let's get goin' y'all.










Firs', we have t' break out da beads. Beads, beads and mo'e beads. One of da prizes of Mardi Gras. Let's keep our tops on ladies. You don' have to show your ta-ta's t' obtain da much wanted green, gold and purple beads. And don' let no drunken cooyon try tell you ut'erwise. Coins, trinkets and beads have been t'rown from da parade floats since da tradition started. Da "barin' all" tradition is not so much a tradition as much as it's da loss of inhibition after some ladies consume a lot of dos her'canes and encouraged by before mentioned drunken cooyons. Dos mask come in handy tho, should you decide t' 'xpose yo'self.

Yes, da her'canes sho'ly help wit dat. Dat be a fruity punch drink dat make yo' insides feel good. oo-wee. It was made most famous by dat famous restaurant, Pat O'Brien's. Hurry on up and make yo'self one! Maybe you could just leave out da rum fo' da chilren.


Now heah is the hard recipe:

Hurricane Recipe
1 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
4 ounces dark rum
4 ounces passion fruit syrup
Crushed ice
Orange and/or lime slice
1 Maraschino Cherry

In a cocktail shaker, add lemon juice, rum, passion fruit syrup, and crushed ice; shake vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes and den strain into a tall glass or hurricane glass. Garnish wit an orange and/or lime slices and a maraschino cherry.

But if you want t' make it easy, head on ove' to World Market and purchase da Pat O'Brien mix. Dat be what I did! Add water t' da mix and shake. Add da rum to dat. Oo-wee, if dat don' make you take yo' top off ladies, no'ting will!

So, what you waitin' fo'? Go make groceries, turn on yo' zydeco music, put on da Jambalaya fo' dinne' , sip on dos Her'canes and say it wit' me,

Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Announcements:
And the winner of the February 18th Shirt is.... Kristen Giger!!! Kristen pick your favorite Ray to be featured on your shirt. If you need a reminder of your choices, email me and I will help you.

Patchwork Denim: Kudos to Peggy and Cassie for submitting their photos of Patchwork Denim. What about the rest of you? Tera, Maureen, Melanie, you know who you are! Don't forget to send them into highlowaha218@gmail.com by Wednesday, February 25th by 5:00pm. This is patch yielding event!

Subscribe: Don't forget to subscribe to the blog and get all the updates straight to your email box every morning. Input your email address to the right. An email will then be sent to you. If you don't see it, check your junk mail or spam mail. Once you get the email, click on the verification link and you're done.

Dis be da Cruise Director speaking. Signing off 'til Monday, y'all!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Free For All Friday: Community Meet & Greet

Welcome to the first Free For All Friday of our second year here on Highlowaha!  We will spend today's Free for All getting to know each other as veteran readers, loyal lurkers and newcomers alike.  To those newcomers, first let me introduce the premise behind Free for All Friday.  This is a day each week where we benefit from the collective creativity and wisdom of our community.  Generally, a question is posed to the group and we spend the day sharing a free for all of answers.  Today's take on this tradition will be modeled after a current trend on Facebook.  Some of you may be aware of the trend on this social networking site to publish a 'note' and include 25 random facts, goals or habits about yourself.  Today, we will take a Highlowaha spin on the idea, and Free for All about ourselves by each sharing 18 random facts, goals, or habits.  

This will give us an opportunity to learn new details about each other which we may not already know, and will also provide a great opportunity for new readers to introduce themselves for the first time.   For a bean counter like me, this gives perfect insight into the random and sometimes most important facts about you as a member of the Highlowaha community.  So, without any further ado, here are my 18 random facts:

  • My favorite sweet cereal is Captain Crunch (I feel the need to share this after Claudia's sweet cereal analogy yesterday). 
  • I am one of three children.  I occupy the middle child spot sandwiched between an older and younger brother.
  • I was born in a hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Yes, that means I am from Ohio.
  • I have proof on my birth certificate to validate #3.
  • I once suffered a knee injury because my older brother triple dog dared me to ride my bike on the ice after a snow storm.  Who backs down from that?!  Not I!
  • I have a life goal to go sky diving- I have plans to make that happen in April of this year.
  • I am sarcastic to the core.  It is one of life's small consistencies that you can always count on from me.
  • I would wear flip flops year round if I could.  I have been known to wear them on a January day simply because my feet cannot stand being locked away in closed shoes any longer.
  • I have travel fever.  Ever since studying abroad in the fall of 2007, I cannot stand to be in one place for too long.
  • Turning on my music and spending a day cleaning my apartment are what keep me at ease these days.
  • I love peanut butter.  The combination of peanut butter and chocolate together are my idea of heaven on Earth.
  • Trying one new thing every day is what keeps life interesting.  Variety is the spice of life, after all.
  • The thought of having and raising children terrifies me.
  • The main attraction of my apartment is my shelf of packaging supplies, paint, Sharpie markers, ribbon, stickers, and all things glue.  I would have it no other way.
  • I love the work that I am doing as a Hall Director.  Even in the moments when I get a wake up phone call at 3 am because there is an issue in the building, I still love helping students learn, change, and grow.
  • I am a total night owl.  I could stay up all night long with no problem, but getting up can be pretty hard for me.  I get that from my dad.  When we would take family vacations in the summers, we would always drive at night so we could sleep.  The funny part is I would never sleep- I'd just stay awake talking to my dad and being in charge of the radio.
  • I am currently growing out my hair to donate to Locks of Love.
  • I want to learn a second language- Spanish, I think.
Now it's your turn!  What 18 random facts, habits or goals are you going to share with us today?  Hopefully you've learned a few new things about me and I hope to do the same with each of you!  

A few announcements:
  • Email Subscription: As our Cruise Director, Cheryl, mentioned in the comment section of yesterday's post, there is now a feature on the blog to subscribe to highlowaha.com via your email address.  Check out the new feature on the sidebar of the blog to the right.  There is a spot that says: Subscribe via email.  Enter your email address.  Feedburner will then send you an email to confirm you want to receive the emails.  Click the link in your email and you will begin receiving Highlowaha updates in your email box every day!  As of this morning, we have 11 people subscribed to receive updates in their email box.  Our goal is to have a total of 25 community members subscribed by Sunday evening.  Go subscribe now!  You're guaranteed to never miss a new post again!
  • Patchwork Fashion Show: Announcing our first patch yielding event of the new year!  For those newcomers, first a brief introduction to patchwork.  In July of 2008, Highlowaha began our own patchwork system via some inspiration from the Girl Scouts of America.  Members of our community have designated a piece of denim (apron, purse, jeans, jacket) to be their piece of patchwork denim.  Some events in this community are deemed patch yielding and participation in these events will earn you a patch for your patchwork denim.  Such events thus far have been the tree lighting ceremony and gift exchange, pumpkin carving, SuperBowl, and many others.  For those of you with a piece of patchwork denim already in your possession and adorned with some great patchwork, we will have a Highlowaha Patchwork Fashion Show on Thursday, February 26.  To participate in this event, take a photo of your patchwork denim and email it to highlowaha218@gmail.com by 5 pm on Wednesday, February 25.  For those of you with patches in your possession but not yet adorned to a piece of denim... there is no time like the present!  All those participating in this event will earn a "2nd year" patch marking your participation in the second year of this great community!
Signing off until tomorrow...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Have a Seat

Today is a long post.  Prepare.

Welcome Newcomers!  Hopefully there are a handful of you joining this remarkable community for day ONE of year TWO.  Highlowaha is a gathering of people from around the world, willing to share their energy and creativity for the good of community.  You're in for a fun ride.

Returners, you've noticed some changes.  Most obvious are the bright and shinning faces joining me at the table on the front page of our NEW WEBSITE.  If one creative and committed person could host so much good in a single year, then just imagine what the five of us will do!

Cheryl, Heather, Katie, (and you) will join me at the table this year, in delivering the new ideas, engaging activities, and thoughtful projects presented to you each morning (except Sunday).  In case you think I cooked up this idea last week, not a chance.  This idea has been in the works since September.  I bent the ear of many a friend and confidante, as I evaluated the pros and cons.  Ultimately I concluded, that when it comes to creativity and community, there cannot be too much of a good thing.

That's what I present to you today... A LOT of a good thing.  

Weekly planning meetings began in December, so we could begin thinking through, not only a seamless transition, but one that I think will knock your socks off.  So committed are we to spreading Highlowaha's Spirit of #218, that weekly phone calls often occurred under all sorts of imperfect circumstances.  To say they are like postmen, faithfully delivering in spite of rain, snow, sleet, or shine seems, particularly appropriate when in the company of this Snail-Mail-lovin' group.

Before I get down to the business of formally introducing our new and improved Highlowaha Team, a few more points to kick off the new year.
  • Now we're a website and a blog!  This is great news for all of you who have lost hours searching old posts for a particular announcement or pieces of information.  Over time, we will use the website to better organize all the happenings of our active community.
  • Don't want to bother with all the "other" stuff?  Get right down to business by clicking on the button labeled, "Blog."
  • Don't get ahead of yourself by exploring all the tabs... yet.  Most of the links will not be activated until we touch on the subject during Orientation Week, next week.  Newcomers, you won't want to miss this week, as it is everything you need/want to know to in order to jump right in.
  • You will notice the archive of posts from 2/18/08 - 2/18/09 is gone.  That's the beauty of surrounding yourself with so much collective creativity.  Who needs last year's old ideas when we can generate a whole new year's worth.  In love with a particular post?  Have no fear... we are looking into creating a Best of 2008 Highlowaha book.  
Now, introductions (even for those who think you already know us)...  

We represent a range of perspectives which, I am certain, will make daily posts more fun and interesting to read (though you will never know which of us will be posting on a given day).  The variety means Anon and other readers who can't relate to me, because they think my antics are over the top, will find a friend in one of the other three carefully selected women.  Our differences were never more clear than the the week we ended up talking about my Annual Sweet Cereal Day.  

I thought it could be fun to introduce each of the new Highlowaha Team members with a short introduction and then a snippet from our Sweet Cereal conversation.  It will give great insight into what you can expect from us throughout the year.

Me (Claudia): I am a 43 year old mother of three boys (Ricky, 16; Matthew, 4; and Jack, 1).  My husband (Richard), my boys, and I moved to Grapevine, Texas about a year ago.  Originally I am from New York (but have lived in a variety of places over the past 20+ years).  After a two-year hiatus, I have returned to my former career working in higher education, at the University of North Texas.  I must have been an event planner in a former life, because I see everything through the lenses of a party.  Me on sweet cereal...  
"No.  You can't just willy nilly let your kids eat sweet cereal every day.  In my house it an annual tradition.  We eat it one day a year - January 13, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I make a really big deal out of it.  I use special bowls, special spoons, and we talk for days in advance about what kind of cereal we're going to eat.  If I was really good, I get balloons and have a banner in the kitchen too!"
Cheryl: Cheryl is a 38 year old, single mother with two boys (Drew, 8 and J.B., 7), who works.  She is a scanner-artist, which is to say she dabbles in a lot of creative ventures, but claims never to finish any of them.  Cheryl grew up in Texas, did a short stint in Utah, and returned to Texas a couple of years ago, where one fateful night we met at a neighborhood Bunco.   Cheryl is the swift hand behind the creation of our beloved blog friend, Ray Wattson.  Unlike me, Cheryl doesn't bog herself down with a bunch of needless rules.  Instead, she embraces the stress free spirit of "live and let live."  Her response to my description of Annual Sweet Cereal Day...
"What, you don't let your kids eat sweet cereal for dinner?  Gosh in my house it's a staple."

Heather: Heather is a 28 year old working mother of one little girl, Lily (20 months).  Heather and her husband, Bal, recently moved to Grapevine Texas, so Heather could accept a position as Director of Judicial Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington.  Heather and I met while working at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.  As an added bonus, Heather's husband works with my husband (what do you think they talk about over lunch?).  Heather grew up as one of seven children, in a single parent household.  I say that to help explain why "Frugal" could very well be Heather's middle name.  Here's her thought on sweet cereal...  
"In my house, when you eat sweet cereal is determined by when it is on sale in the grocery store.  Period."

CSPgrad: Katie is a 22 year old graduate student at James Madison University, in Virigina.  She recently graduated from Bellarmine University, where Katie, Heather, and I all originally met.   I keep trying to convince Katie she should change the spelling of her name to "Catie."  That way whenever she had to participate in fun Student Affairs icebreakers (yes, she is also headed for a career in Student Affairs), she could introduce herelf as "Conscientious Catie."  Among some of Katie's "favorites" are: being conscientious, music, driving, Reeses cups, and thinking (so, thinking, while driving in a car listening to music and eating Reeses might very well be Katie's nirvana). She loves to reflect and, in fact, has been faithfully emailing me her weekly "high," "low," and "aha," since freshmen year - 5 years ago.  Here's her take on sweet cereal...
"Actually, you each kind of have a point.  I can see the value in all three of your approaches.  Really it just depends on the situation." 
You:  You are the fifth valued team member seated at our table.  We fully expect that, each day, you will use the comment section to share your ideas and perspectives. How about starting today by telling us your take on eating sweet cereal.  

In closing...  
This change to Highlowaha represents my desire to test the theory that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  By intentionally sharing the helm, instead of protecting my place at the helm, I expect our community to grow in big and inspiring ways.  We will meet far more people, embark on far more interesting adventures, swap more creative ideas than could ever be implemented in a year, and create ripples of kindness that will multiply exponentially.

If you believe it's possible, then meet us here again tomorrow.

Signing off until tomorrow, when guess who kicks off Free For All Friday...

Have a Seat

Today is a long post. Prepare.

Welcome Newcomers! Hopefully there are a handful of you joining this remarkable community for day ONE of year TWO. Highlowaha is a gathering of people from around the world, willing to share their energy and creativity for the good of community. You're in for a fun ride.

Returners, you've noticed some changes. Most obvious are the bright and shinning faces joining me at the table on the front page of our NEW WEBSITE. If one creative and committed person could host so much good in a single year, then just imagine what the five of us will do!

Cheryl, Heather, Katie, (and you) will join me at the table this year, in delivering the new ideas, engaging activities, and thoughtful projects presented to you each morning (except Sunday). In case you think I cooked up this idea last week, not a chance. This idea has been in the works since September. I bent the ear of many a friend and confidante, as I evaluated the pros and cons. Ultimately I concluded, that when it comes to creativity and community, there cannot be too much of a good thing.

That's what I present to you today... A LOT of a good thing.

Weekly planning meetings began in December, so we could begin thinking through, not only a seamless transition, but one I think will knock your socks off. So committed are we to spreading Highlowaha's Spirit of #218, that weekly phone calls often occurred under all sorts of imperfect circumstances. To say they are like postmen, faithfully delivering in spite of rain, snow, sleet, or shine seems, particularly appropriate when in the company of this Snail-Mail-lovin' group.

Before I get down to the business of formally introducing our new and improved Highlowaha Team, a few more points to kick off the new year.
  • Now we're a website and a blog! This is great news for all of you who have lost hours searching old posts for a particular announcement or pieces of information. Over time, we will use the website to better organize all the happenings of our active community.
  • Don't want to bother with all the "other" stuff? Get right down to business by clicking on the button labeled, "Blog."
  • Don't get ahead of yourself by exploring all the tabs... yet. Most of the links will not be activated until we touch on the subject during Orientation Week, next week. Newcomers, you won't want to miss this week, as it is everything you need/want to know to in order to jump right in.
  • You will notice the archive of posts from 2/18/08 - 2/18/09 is gone. That's the beauty of surrounding yourself with so much collective creativity. Who needs last year's old ideas when we can generate a whole new year's worth. In love with a particular post? Have no fear... we are looking into creating a Best of 2008 Highlowaha book. 
Now, introductions (even for those who think you already know us)...

We represent a range of perspectives which, I am certain, will make daily posts more fun and interesting to read (though you will never know which of us will be posting on a given day). The variety means Anon and other readers who can't relate to me, because they think my antics are over the top, will find a friend in one of the other three carefully selected women. Our differences were never more clear than the the week we ended up talking about my Annual Sweet Cereal Day.

I thought it could be fun to introduce each of the new Highlowaha Team members with a short introduction and then a snippet from our Sweet Cereal conversation. It will give great insight into what you can expect from us throughout the year.

Me (Claudia): I am a 43 year old mother of three boys (Ricky, 16; Matthew, 4; and Jack, 1). My husband (Richard), my boys, and I moved to Grapevine, Texas about a year ago. Originally I am from New York (but have lived in a variety of places over the past 20+ years). After a two-year hiatus, I have returned to my former career working in higher education, at the University of North Texas. I must have been an event planner in a former life, because I see everything through the lenses of a party. Me on sweet cereal...
"No. You can't just willy nilly let your kids eat sweet cereal every day. In my house it an annual tradition. We eat it one day a year - January 13, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I make a really big deal out of it. I use special bowls, special spoons, and we talk for days in advance about what kind of cereal we're going to eat. If I was really good, I get balloons and have a banner in the kitchen too!"
Cheryl: Cheryl is a 39 year old, single mother with two boys (Drew, 8 and J.B., 7), who works. She is a scanner-artist, which is to say she dabbles in a lot of creative ventures, but claims never to finish any of them. Cheryl grew up in Texas, did a short stint in Utah, and returned to Texas a couple of years ago, where one fateful night we met at a neighborhood Bunco. Cheryl is the swift hand behind the creation of our beloved blog friend, Ray Wattson. Unlike me, Cheryl doesn't bog herself down with a bunch of needless rules. Instead, she embraces the stress free spirit of "live and let live." Her response to my description of Annual Sweet Cereal Day...
"What, you don't let your kids eat sweet cereal for dinner? Gosh in my house it's a staple."
Heather: Heather is a 29 year old working mother of one little girl, Lily (20 months). Heather and her husband, Bal, recently moved to Grapevine Texas, so Heather could accept a position as Director of Student Conduct at the University of Texas at Arlington. Heather and I met while working at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. As an added bonus, Heather's husband works with my husband (what do you think they talk about over lunch?). Heather grew up as one of seven children, in a single parent household. I say that to help explain why "Frugal" could very well be Heather's middle name. Here's her thought on sweet cereal...  
"In my house, when you eat sweet cereal is determined by when it is on sale in the grocery store. Period."
CSPgrad: Katie is a 22 year old graduate student at James Madison University, in Virigina. She recently graduated from Bellarmine University, where Katie, Heather, and I all originally met. I keep trying to convince Katie she should change the spelling of her name to "Catie." That way whenever she had to participate in fun Student Affairs icebreakers (yes, she is also headed for a career in Student Affairs), she could introduce herelf as "Conscientious Catie." Among some of Katie's "favorites" are: being conscientious, music, driving, Reeses cups, and thinking (so, thinking, while driving in a car listening to music and eating Reeses might very well be Katie's nirvana). She loves to reflect and, in fact, has been faithfully emailing me her weekly "high," "low," and "aha," since freshmen year - 5 years ago. Here's her take on sweet cereal...
"Actually, you each kind of have a point. I can see the value in all three of your approaches. Really it just depends on the situation."
You: You are the fifth valued team member seated at our table. We fully expect that, each day, you will use the comment section to share your ideas and perspectives. How about starting today by telling us your take on eating sweet cereal.

In closing... 
This change to Highlowaha represents my desire to test the theory that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. By intentionally sharing the helm, instead of protecting my place at the helm, I expect our community to grow in big and inspiring ways. We will meet far more people, embark on far more interesting adventures, swap more creative ideas than could ever be implemented in a year, and create ripples of kindness that will multiply exponentially.

If you believe it's possible, then meet us here again tomorrow.

Signing off until tomorrow, when guess who kicks off Free For All Friday...

P.S.  Thanks for playing along last night.