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Best Friends Forever August 14, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Personal.
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Cathy - Have a great yea039

Someone needed to talk me off the ledge, and Cathy’s card arrived just in time.  A card for me?  Was it my birthday?  I actually had to think about this. Since I’ve been in my masters program and knee-deep in data, I’m not even sure what day of the week it is.  Wait a minute – my birthday is in April.  Now curious, I tore open the envelope.

Cathy’s a fabulous photographer, who’s usually stalking butterflies and other six-legged creatures with her camera.  While I visited her in Kansas City in July, she took pictures at the one-room school house at the Deanna Rose Children’s Farm, which she used for the card above.  You can find Cathy’s cards at It’s a Beautiful World.  I ordered several and they were top quality and arrived quickly.  But here’s what I didn’t know.  You can personalize the cards at no extra cost and and even change the message and the font, which is what Cathy did to the card above.

So here’s the personalized message that kept me from jumping off the ledge. I’m sure Cathy won’t mind me sharing it, and I won’t mind if you steal it, though I’m crossing out the stuff that might not apply to you.  For the record, I actually cried when I read it.

Dearest Jan,
I’ve really enjoyed our friendship through the years.
You’re so much fun and have a delightful, brilliant and hilarious
take on the world.  I’ve loved all of your tales of school and of your other adventures.
I definitely wish that I’d had a teacher like you!
It’s been great blogging along side you in cyberspace.
Your visit here was fabulous!
Hopefully, I’ll see more of you.
I’m so grateful I have you as my best friend forever!
Love, Cathy

FYI:  I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that you are also delightful, brilliant and hilarious.  If your name is not Cathy, you might want to change that too.  First day of school, this will be sitting on my desk. Thanks Cathy!

You can find more of Cathy’s photos on Catherinesherman, which is on my blogroll.

London Calling May 9, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Life, Travel.
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Screen shot of Lesley showing me her date book so I would pick a date.

I’m off to England, I’m off to see the queen!  No, not THAT old girl – my friend Lesley, a sassy redhead, who could teach the royals a thing or two about having a good time.

“You know this is all quite mad?” Lesley said as we chatted via SKYPE. But it wasn’t so much of a question as a statement of fact.

But some days, I think the whole world’s gone mad. Fortunately, I subscribe to the “Life is short, eat dessert first” school of thought. So, when I found out I got accepted to graduate school (See Masters of the Universe), I knew I needed to reward myself before I got bogged down with classes two nights a week for the next year. And since the classes start only four days after the last day of school in June, it had to be soon – before the end of school.

Lesley and I met via the internet less than two years ago. When she invited my husband and me to come to England to celebrate New Year’s Eve with her family in 2007, all of our friends thought we’d both gone quite mad. (See Thinking of England) But, we’re two crazy redheads, and yes, everything they say about redheads is true! I once read an interview with a man who’d lived to be 105. He said his secret to a long life was he stayed away from “wine, whiskey, and red-headed women.” Poor old sot!

After Lesley and her family spent two fabulous weeks with us last summer, we both worried it would be too long until we met again. So, I couldn’t believe it when she’d offered to pay half my airfare just to get me over there. I found a cheap enough flight, so I’m going on my own dime. I was able to sandwich (as in The Earl of…) the trip in between Testing and Open House, so I’ll only miss five days of school. The MANDATORY MEETING for grad school is May 15th. On May 16th, I’m outta here til May 25th.

We’re taking the train to London for a day to see the art at the Tate Modern and the National Gallery. The rest of the time, I’ll be blissfully enjoying English village life in Framlingham where we plan to sit out front of The Dancing Goat cafe each morning, have breakfast, and watch the world go by.

I’m still deciding whether to take my laptop along so I can blog from the UK. I’ve been known to get “the DTs” (Digital Tremors) when deprived access to the internet for too long. I’m SO not PC –  as in I don’t do PCs, so I might have to pack my Mac. Okay, I’m taking it. You should know that we redheads are prone to impulsive behavior, but we DO know how to have a good time.

Can’t help but add Mad World from one of my all-time favorite movies, Donnie Darko.