Monday, April 12, 2010

Phil Mickelson - A champion on so many levels!

I play very little golf, I swing a golf club so that I can be outside with my girlfriends on a beautiful day. I don't follow the golf circuit or worry over Tiger Woods' transgressions. But yesterday's win at the Master's Cup warmed my heart.
 In June 2006, I had the good fortune of being chosen to attend the Mickelson-Exxon Mobile Teachers Academy in Fairfax Virginia. For a week we met daily at the Exxon Corporate Headquarters for an awesome science workshop. This workshop was centered around using best teaching practices. From start to finish, we were treated as professionals.  Each day as we got off the bus, both the CEO and Vice president of Exxon would greet us, each man asking how our previous evening had been, or if there was anything they could do to make our day better than the one before.  They served us wonderful meals, took us on tours, and we even had our own room accommodations! (Unlike most business people attending conferences, teachers are expected to double or triple up on the room - cost effectiveness don't you know.)  We were blown away, and almost immediately began thanking everyone that we spoke to. Time and again, they replied that the real people to thank were Mr. and Mrs. Mickelson.  Phil's mother had been a teacher for many years and he and his wife so valued the profession, they had approached Exxon to become partners with them so that they could create this program.

We met enthusiastic peers and celebrities applauding our career. One morning, Dr. Bernard Harris came to our breakfast - Dr. Harris was an astronaut for NASA and spoke on how valuable we were as teachers, and how humbled HE was to be there speaking to us. Wow!

Later, I had the honor of meeting Phil and his wife, Amy. They came to Virginia one evening to speak, Phil kept his arm tightly around his wife. He talked about how important teachers were in his life and how he valued our hard work and the long hours we put in. He expressed how making this commitment to us as teachers and the education of children, was a tribute to his mother, a former teacher. As the pair spoke, I began to feel that they were talking to me as an individual, not to a group of hundreds. Often one would finish the others sentence, and their eyes would meet and a smile appear on each face. It was clear to everyone at the dinner that they were very much on love.
 Afterward, we were given a "photo-op" with the couple. As our group of nine from Montana waited in line, we were told not to ask for autographs and that their time was limited so  to keep moving. We had our photo taken, and were quickly trying to get our heartfelt thank-you's in before getting shuffled out the door. But when the Mickelson's found out where we were from they began telling us about their visit to our fine state. Their plan had been to go to Montana, "get back to nature", ride horses, and fish.  Again, the couple looked at each other and began smiling. Amy told us that as soon as they shut the door to their cabin they realized just how much they would be "roughing it." There, on the back of the door was a sign saying, "Dry cleaning will be picked up daily." The dude ranch also had a stocked trout pond that the Mickelson children successfully fished in. The children thought the trout was the best food ever, and to this day they have rainbow trout for Christmas dinner! It's nice to know Montana holds such happy memories for this family!  - I'm told, the next year the Mickelson's remembered US and asked how we were!

Eleven months ago Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer, and shortly thereafter Phil's mother received the same diagnosis. He chose to stay by his wife's side while she was treated and only recently returned to compete.  It was reported that Amy, in her fragile state, stayed in bed most of the week and Phil wasn't sure if she would be at her usual spot waiting as he finished. As the ball went into the 18th hole, Phil looked up and there stood Amy with their three children.  With a tear trickling down his check they hugged and victory was theirs.

I am ecstatic that Mr. Michelson won yesterday. Men of this caliber are winners on and off the golf course. But what impresses me the most is he knows how important his family is to him, he will do what he can to better their children's education, and he values other's dedication and hard work.  He is a man of honor and a true prince.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My knitting secrets exposed.

When the kiddos were coming last week, I put my current knitting project away. It's a Christmas sweater for one of the darlings and at this point looks very much like a sweater. I need to finish sewing it together, then knit the neck ribbing and front button plackets. I'm always knitting, and so it isn't unusual for the grandkids to hear the needles clicking away on one project or another, but I didn't want them to think that I was working on their sweaters. So, I put the cardigan away and started Aran sweater number two. I thought I was safe...
Only the ribbing was under way for the back when they arrived, but the first thing each of them asked me was if the item was a sweater for them.  When I said no, the Tiger didn't miss a beat but went on to ask me to knit another Wallaby - "...with a hood, but the pockets NOT in one piece but separate and a zipper down the front!"

All of this infomation from a kiddo that can't get our names straight! This time I'M Grandpa and so is Grandpa! Remember - until this trip Hubby has been Gramma (Me too) but not this trip! Trying to get it straightened out, we explained that Hubby was DD's Dad and I was DD's Mom so perhaps we could be called GrandDAD and GrandMOM - Tiger tried, and I could see him mouthing the words from time to time trying so hard to keep it straight. Monday night while I rocked Tiger and the two of us were talking, he told me pointing to Hubby, "That's GrandDAD." VICTORY! I thought. Then he added, "BUT who are you????"

Current status of the second Aran sweater:
The back is done, and the front is to the armholes!

Easter egg factory open for business...

We had a wonderful visit with the ND family. 
Easter Eggs were dyed:
There were great supervisors!
Birthday gifts were made:
And received...
With plenty of time to relax!
There were only a few things missing...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Another baby gift.

I've been knitting on a baby shower gift for Callie, a fellow teacher, who is going to have her first child the end of June. Callie also works at the county fairgrounds in the summer, apparently her job is to register "all the little old ladies who knit and crochet but can't even start a computer!"  She doesn't know that I'm knitting her baby a gift or that I even knit! I just shake my head when I hear people generalize so. We knitters are really styling these days - we've come a long way baby!
I fell in love with the buttery color of this yarn. I think that this momma will probably only use the blanket while the baby is tiny. The fact that is acrylic yarn is wonderful, summers here are very warm and the blanket will probably be used for night sleeping only. (Interesting how the current rage is to dress babies like grownups and not for comfort!)

Pattern: Baby Chalice Blanket by Lykkefanten
Yarn: Bernat Satin Soft
Amount: 3 skeins
Needle size: 8 US