Wednesday, December 19, 2012

If you think I'm high maintenance...

you should meet my dog, Nadia.  human, Rachael.

Whooops.... my human just caught me writing on her blog.....  YIKES I gotta run!

  • Nadia has three sweaters, two pairs of boots, one collar, one harness, and two leashes.  
  • She is an in-your-face kind of dog.  
  • She is a anxious social.  She wants to be around people or other dogs but yet she's anxious about being left or me leaving her.  When she goes to Doggy Day Care upon arrival she'll hide behind my legs and tuck her nose between my knees so that the doggy care provider "can't" see her.  She assumes if they can't see her then she won't be left.  
  • Nadia demands full attention from all living species around her.  I made the mistake of teaching her the term "Tricks for Treats", now not a night passes that she doesn't demand to go through her typical "Tricks for Treats" routine.  If I haven't completed the routine prior to going to bed Nadia will jump up into my lap and put her nose in my face and... yep.... BARK!!  How is it I know she wants her "Tricks for Treats" routine and not to go outside.  Well it's simple, I ask her, "Do you have to go potty?"  If the answer is no she'll just look at me.  If she wants "Tricks for Treats" she'll either do a half roll or wait for me to ask, "Do you want Tricks for Treats?"  and she'll answer with an in-your-face BARK BARK and walk over to the treat cabinet to wait expectantly.  The routine includes a variety of tricks, for each trick she gets a treat; and trust me it isn't the tricks she loves so much it's her beloved peanut butter treats she gets.  The tricks consist of: sit, down, roll, roll again, sit, sit pretty, stand, walk, wait, down, come, sit, down, roll, roll again, sit pretty, stand, under, over, and it continues until the handfull of treats are gone.  It is after this routine that Nadia calms down and will sit by my feet on the lazy chair; not a minute before.
  • Expects any available hands to scratch her belly.  
  • Believes all toes were created for her to torture.
  • Demands to be fed at the same time every day.
And the list goes on... she may be high maintenance but she is my high maintenance dog.

Monday, December 3, 2012

My friend, MP

MP grew up in Chino Valley, AZ.  MP and I have been friend since childhood.  I grew up in Ishpeming, MI.  How you ask is it that two people from such far distances are childhood friends?  Well, it's simple.  MP's grandparents lived down the street from my childhood home.  It was very typical that MP would just show up.  It was often that there would be a knock on the door in the summer time and there would stand MP.  She doesn't know this yet, but I absolutely loved when my carefree, free spirited friend showed up at the door, because that meant it was time for fun!

MP and I are both from Finnish heritage.  If you know anything about Finns, you know that they like their saunas and a typical summer experience in Finland is sauna swimming (well winter too).  MP and I decided to go sauna swimming one summer afternoon.  The only problem was, where the sauna was there wasn't a lake, and where the lake was there wasn't a sauna.  Have no fear, sauna swimming was still possible with MP near, the feat was simple, the steps were clear: 1) put your swim suit on, 2) hop in the vehicle and drive around with the heater on high until you're sweating, 3) park by the lake and quickly hop out, run to the lake, and jump in!

A few tidbits about MP:
1) She is succinct in answering yes/no questions without explanation.
2) She is an amazing artist with a variety of mediums (paint, pencils, photography, words).
3) She has immense knowledge about a variety of topics.

MP, took on a huge undertaking, well at least in my mind it was huge.  In fact I plan to emulate her plan to the best of my ability.  She didn't purchase any new clothes for a year unless it was necessary.  I am going to try this in a modified fashion.  It will challenge me, as I have become someone who speaks with my style of clothing, and someone who is very interested in new styles- even if it is to only critique the style.  As I know this will be a challenge for me, I am going to start off with committing to three to six months time.  Here's trusting that I with neither gain or lose weight during this time so that I can still fit into my size 6 pants and small-medium sized shirts.  Part of this exercise is to see for myself how much fashion either plays a role or doesn't play a role in a person's view of themselves.

As for MP, I am so thankful that she was able to visit me while in Minnesota a few weeks back.  Welcome again anytime!!

Friday, November 30, 2012

My grandma, Anna

I was sitting on a chair, elbows on the table with my face resting in my hands thinking... thinking... thinking....

If you looked at the table you'd see a butter dish, a serving dish with Trenary toast, a candy dish with lemon drops in it, a bottle of honey, the newspaper folded so that only the crossword puzzle was showing, two or three tea cups, and a paper with seven dash marks across the bottom of the paper with the typical hangman's gallow above it.  Sitting to my right was my Grandma.  I was nearly hung in this game and I was thinking....

My Grandma had offered me a clue... she said, "It's obvious."  So I kept thinking.... and she kept telling me, "it's obvious.  You should get it, it's so obvious."  I wasn't getting it until.... Oh!  Oh-the word was O-B-V-I-O-U-S.   My grandma just smiled and said, "I kept telling you it was obvious."  This was her subtle humor.

As a pre-teen, I was gangly, awkward, and self-consious in fact I was mercilessly teased about my looks.  Despite the fact I was lacking in the looks department, I wanted to be a model when I grew up, knowing full well that I would never be.  However, my grandma encouraged.  She opened her closet and asked for a modeling show.  My sisters and I would grab the stool and quickly climb to reach for her hat boxes, reach into the depts of her closets and come up with the most unusal and cute outfits.  We'd put them on and parade around the house.  The house was small, so our red carpet cat-walk was a simple circle that went from her bedroom, to the living room, to the dining, room, into the kitchen, and through the bathroom back into her bedroom.  My grandma would sit in her rocking chair in the dining room and watch as we passed by, and each time, she'd tell us how beautiful we were and what great outfits we had on.

Upstairs my grandma had a crawl space, she hid there once when we were playing hide-n-seek and scared my sister Diana.  Also upstairs, she had a poster that read "You know you're getting old when..."  the funniest saying to me was: "You know you're getting old when you go to wave and your under arm waves first."  Also, upstairs was a secret hiding place that our dad had built into the wall.  We had been told of this place for many years, but never knew where it was.  I don't recall the day we learned or even if it was our dad who showed us but... a secret was a secret.

There are so many stories one could tell about my Grandma Anna.  Her birthday is in December, she passed away while I was in graduate school 2002.  I miss her still today.  In fact, when I drink tea tonight it will be in her memory.

Monday, November 19, 2012

sugar bugs

What is it with sugar bugs and kids?

My nephew Garrett was sitting on my lap and pointing to varioius parts of my face.  This was the conversation:

Garrett: Is this your nose?
Me: Yes
Garrett: Is this your ear?
Me: Yes
Garrett: Is this your chin?
Me: Yes.
Garrett: Is this your mouth?
Me: Yes
Garrett: Is these your teeth?
Me: Yes
Garrett:  You have sugar bugs on them?
Me: I hope not.
Garrett: Yep, you do!

And then....

As a Speech Pathologist it isn't unusual to direct a student's attention to my mouth and specifically tell them to look inside to see what my tongue is doing to make the correct production of a sound.  Well... today, this is what happened in therapy...

Me: I asked a student to watch what my tongue does when I make the /sh/ sound. 
Student looking in my mouth: Oh- you have sugar bugs on your teeth. 
Me: No I don't think I do.
Student- Yes because you have a silver dot on your tooth! 

Kids they make you feel good about yourself.... I'm sure the dentist will appreciate it when I ask her to replace the silver filling with a white filling. 


Avis Mae (Jamison) Lampi is my mother.  She was born on November 4th in Milaca, MN to William and LaVon Jamison.  She was born the ninth child out of ten.  At 20 months of age LaVon, my mom's mom, passed away giving birth to their tenth child.

William remarried Marie.  Marie was a widowed mother of three.  Their combined families became a family of twelve.  And no I don't have the math wrong, my mom's brother Robert Paul died at a young age.  In the following years their family of twelve became a family of sixteen. 

My mom is a caregiver, this is evidenced not only by having taken care of her own children, but by her work as a physical thearpy assistant, and her willingness to take care of others who may be down on their luck or in difficult life situations, or simply, others she takes a liking to.

For example, my uncle had a daughter (who had been adopted due to his life circumstance)- that none of us knew about until we were older.  My mom was at work one day talking to a co-worker of hers and found out that this co-worker happened to be my dad's niece, April (this is her birth name not her adopted name).  That Christmas my mom made sure she had a little something from our family to let her know that even if we didn't know her, we'd be happy to welcome her into our family.  This is just one story of how she has taken others under her wing until they are ready to be on their own again. 

It isn't unusual for my mom to:
1) ask if there is a special dinner or meal that I'd like to have if I am going home to Michigan. 
2) bring me Trenary Toast from Michigan when she visits in Minnesota. Or-
3) during the Holidays to invite everyone and anyone who doesn't have family around to join in on our holiday happenings.

If you've ever tasted my baking--thank my mother for allowing me to mess up the kitchen at a very young age trying out my baking skills.  I got my love of Snicker bars (although I don't care much for chocolate) from my mother.

It was my mom's birthday on November 4th.  I didn't miss it.  I just didn't get around to writing until now.  Happy Birhtday, Mom!  I love you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Red is my favorite color...

We all have oddities, it's a question of whether or not we embrace them.  Sometimes, (not always) I eat my M & M's by color.  It is with 98% certainty that on the days I eat M & M's by color, RED is saved for last.  Not because red tastes better, but because red is my favorite color.  I do not always follow the same pattern.  In fact sometimes I eat the color that has the most first and sometimes I eat the color that has the least first.  It all depends. 
Today it was...
Orange first,

yellow second,

followed by brown,

and then green,


and lastly, red.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

the boogie man

At one point in my life I worked three jobs and was enrolled in undergraduate studies full time.  I was tired a lot!  Regardless, one of the three jobs was to work midnight shifts as a personal care attendant for an elderly woman who owned a restaurant and hotel in Marquette, Michigan.  Behind the hotel was the Marquette State Prison.  My job here was easy, it was to help my patient get ready for bed, administer her medications, and then go to sleep myself (I had my own bedroom there) with a monitor on so that I could wake up and get her to the bathroom if she needed to go.  On one occasion we received a phone call to say there was an escaped prisoner on the run and if we see him to alert the authorities. From this point on, I never slept very soundly there.

One particular evening many months after the call from the prison to be on the watch out for a prisoner (who I believe had already been apprehended again) my patient asked if I would get her ready for bed.  So I proceeded to get the bathroom set for her typical routine.  As I was helping her this was our conversation:

Patient: Rachael, I don't want this nightgown.  Will you get me a different one?  And when you do be sure to watch out for the boogie man.
Me: [Patient], right!  There is no boogie man in your house.
Patient: Yes there is.  Watch out for him!
Me sarcastically:  Ok!  What night gown did you want?

Once I knew which nightgown my patient wanted I proceeded to leave the bathroom, walk through the kitchen, enter the living/dining room, and there stood a man.  I continued to walk through the living/dining room and into her bedroom, quickly turned around and went back into the living room and screamed at the top of my lungs, "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"  I turned around and went back into the bedroom, only to turn around again and walk back into the living room to scream "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"  There stood a real live man, laughing.  It turned out being the patient's son who still to this day I don't know if he'd been in the house the entire time, or if he had come in as I was getting his mom ready for bed.  He simply asked, "Why are you screaming after you walked past me?"

It was simply this, my brain must have registered that I knew the person; however I keep wondering why would you enter your mom's house unannounced and stand in the dark shadows of the living-room corner.  CREEP!  So, readers beware.... there are some real boogie men in this world.

p.s. My patient claimed she knew nothing of her son being in the house or planning on coming to the house.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I didn't learn that from your information

Last evening while my niece and nephew played in the kitchen, I was discussing my upcoming writing assignment with a friend.  The assignment is to write about the taxonomy used in classifying Presidential Stalkers,(as in those who stalk presidents).  I was particularly discussing the John Wilkes Booth's assassination of President Lincoln when it dawned on me that it might not be the greatest of subjects to discuss with my niece and nephew around and quietly mentioned to my friend, "It probably isn't the smartest to be discussing killing and death with these two around." 

Hallie with her ever so present listening ears turned around and said, "Who killed who?"  In efforts to not make it a large discussion I said, "Well a man killed someone a long long time ago.  Long before even your great-grandparents were born."  Hallie said, "Oh I know!  President Lincoln.  An actor shot him in the head!"  She paused for a second and then turned around and said, "And I didn't learn that from your information!"

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Miss Prickly Pants

In therapy today I told Student X, "It's time to clean up and go back to Teacher Deb's class."  To which he responded, "OK!  Miss Prickly Pants!"

I will itch it

While working in therapy with a student who was trying and successfully distracted me from getting him to do work:
Student asked me: Are you itchy?
Me confused: No
Student: Do you have an itch on your nose?
Me again confused: No
Student: Do you have an itch on your chin?
Me: No
Student: Do you have an itch on your neck?
Me: No
Student: Do you have an itch on your tummy?
Me: No
Student: Do you have an itch on your head?
Me now very curious about what he is getting at decided to change my answer: Yes

 The student grinned from ear to ear and said: I will itch it for you. He then reached over and completed messed up my hair! All I could do was laugh.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Greta is my sister.  She is a runner.  She is a surgical technician. It is her birthday today.

Happy Birthday Great!
Greta once gave me a silver cross necklace and told me I was her angel.  I still have the necklace and wear it regularly.  When I put this necklace on I think of Greta, and remember how lucky I am to have her as a sister.  She may feel that I saved her once, but it is her that saves me from myself at times.

Greta has had more life experiences than most people should ever have to face.  From these experiences she has become a source of strength and non-judgmental.  She treats everyone with respect and has a genuine interest in people.  If she understood the strength that she possess, she'd move mountains with words and command stars to fall into her hands.

I don't get surprised too easily; however Greta has managed this.  She ran the 2012 Minnetonka, MN half marathon with two of my other sisters.  This not being the surprise.  After the run Greta, Mia, and I went to eat at Baja Sol.  On the way back to my house Greta turned to me with the biggest grin on her face and asked me enthusiastically "Wanna see something?"  So of course I said, "yes"!  She quickly opened the glove compartment of the car, inside was a 40 caliber XD Springield subcompact, surprised I said, "Greta!  What do you have that for?"  She just chuckled.  She had passed her conceal and carry testing earlier in the year. I have yet to go target shooting with her.

With utmost respect, I love you dearly Greta!  Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

her has sad eyes

I had my nieces and nephew over tonight while their parents went out to dinner to celebrate my sister's birthday.  Bjorn informed about an hour after eating dinner that " I still hungie, Auntie."  So I informed him that there were a few pizza slices left he could eat.  He promptly went and helped himself.  A few minutes later I noticed Nadia (my dog) eating the crust of a pizza.  So I asked Bjorn, "Did you give Nadia pizza?"  He said, "Yea, I gave her pizza that I not eat. I'm gonna give her more pizza that I not eating."  I told him, "No!  You can't give her anymore to eat, she's had enough."  He replied, "But Auntie, her has sad eyes" and he promptly handed her the crust that he hadn't eaten.


Lori is my sister.  Lori's birthday is October 17, which makes her a Libra.  The biggest kept secret about Lori is that she is extremely artistically talented.

When Lori was a child, in some magazine (I don't recal which one) there was a line drawing of a cartoon bear profile.  This line drawing was part of an advertisement encouraging children to partcipate in an art competition.  The competition was to draw this picture of a bear and send it in to see if they would win.  Lori drew the a bear's profile and sent it in.

It was her submission of her drawing that got her entered as a student of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts at a very young age.  The judges of the competition figured she had traced the bear.  It wasn't until they enlarged her drawing to find out that she hadn't, but was truly a superior artist.  Her homework and assignments were sent to her in the mail.  She'd complete them and send them back.

Once Lori slept walked as a child.  This is an important piece of information for this following story...

One evening, late at night I was curled up in bed.  I was in that twilight zone, peacefully and blissfully about to enter a deep sleep when I heard, "Rachael.  Rachael."  Confused I sat up and said, "Yea".  Lori respond from outside of the bedroom, "come here".  I initially told her 'no' and then started to wonder if she was sleepwalking.  So I got out of bed to find her in the laundry room holding a mop by the handle and firmly pushing it into the floor.  She said, "hold this mop."  I again, told her 'no', but was somehow convinced to hold the mop in place.  While she was walking away she turned around and said, "There is a mouse under that mop."  

Lori was always my one sister who refused to let me sit at home.  Always brimming with excitement and ready to go out and have FUN!  Lori could make the most mundane things seem like you'd be missing out if you didn't participate with her.

 Today Lori is a civil engineer who designs roads.  She also happens to be one of my best friends!

Happy Birthday Lori!  I love you.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

the pink bunny

The Journal Jar asked "Did you have a favorite blanket or toy? Tell about it."

It's Easter Sunday 1985.  I'm laying on the loveseat in the living room and two of my siblings are excitedly telling me to get up and look for my Easter basket.  The only problem was, I was sick.   I distinctly remember telling my younger siblings they can find my basket for me but they kept insisting... "It's so easy to find.  You'll find it right away."  Sadness engulfed me as I started to realize the pretty socks that I was so excited to wear with my Easter dress.. probably wouldn't be making it on my feet.  They were the socks that had little beads sewn around the edge of them, and as a second grader those things were important.  I also remember it was my dad's turn to be a visiting pastor at a church two hours away for the Easter service- and I knew, given how I felt that I wouldn't be able to go.  With hesitation and determination to be able to go, I got up to eat a boiled egg.  I took one bite of the egg and realized that my left side wasn't moving and I couldn't chew.  I couldn't move my mouth or my left arm and shortly after lost use of my left leg.  My left side was paralyzed.

A few hours later, I remember sitting in the ER after having many vials of blood drawn, listening to the Dr. tell my mom in a low voice, "She needs to be admitted."  IVs were started and I was brought to a room.  I stayed there for two weeks.  At some point during the first day my mom brought me this stuffed pink bunny.  The bunny has stayed with me for years, it was one of a few favorite toys.  The pink stuffed bunny currently resides in a Rubbermaid container in the crawl space under the stairs with plans to retire during my next move.

The paralysis resolved within a few days and I thankfully have full function of my left appendages.

people change...

... or do they?

Can people change?  It's a question I'm sure we've all asked ourselves.  Have you changed?

I have.  Most people will say they have changed significantly but don't give others the same credit.  I may be one of those people.  While the most noticeable change is in my physical appearance (no, not weight-wise, looks-wise) I may not have changed as much in other ways...

16 year difference
I have not changed in the sense that I am still strong-willed, opinionated, analytical, and at times stubborn.  I changed in the sense that over a span of sixteen years I went from being insecure and shy and holding the opinions/thoughts in, to obnoxiously speaking my thoughts, to knowing when and when not to engage a verbal filter.  

As far as if people can change or not... I believe they can with the right frame of mind and desire to do so.  Although I do not believe it is easy.

And a final quote to those who are shy or overly concerned about others:  Dr. Seuss once said, "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ok boss

In therapy this morning  I was working with a student on her overall intelligibility of sentences and rate of speech.  We had just finished picking up the swords to Pop-up-pirate.  As I went to put the game back in the cupboard she notice that a sword got left on the floor.  So she pointed to it and ran all her words together quickly, "putitinthebox".  I looked at her with a smile and said, "try that again". To which she responded with emphasis, "PUT-IT-IN-THE-BOX!  OK BOSS?"

Monday, September 24, 2012


During snack time I was serving snack to my students, specifically targeting language.  I told one student, "You have crunchy salty popcorn.". As I handed her juice, I said "and here is apple juice for you!". She looked up and said, "Thanks Dolly!!"

She's straight

Curriculum night was tonight at school.  It is an evening where students' parents come in to learn about the curriculum we are using to teach their children.  Between sessions one woman walked into the room and started talking to the teacher I work with in the afternoon, about 5 minutes into the conversation she turned to me and said, "yea, and my son thought you were the teacher!". She further explained that her son came home and told his mom he had met his teacher and she was straight.  She further questioned him what he meant and he said "Mom, she was tall and straight (as he moved his hands up and down his sides), and she had white hair."

Apparently I have no curves....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

my candid summer

As I promised myself, this past summer I spent time on hobbies.  Much to the dismay of those in my immediate vicinity; I spent a lot of time behind my camera, using them as targets.  The following are some of my favorite shots.

Window Reflections

Who doesn't like to window shop?

Combining hobbies: Spending time with great friends and taking pictures
For those of you who know me well, know that climbing as a hobby was a good choice for me.  The challenge is there on the physical and mental levels.

This man asked if I would take his picture... So, I did.

Boys find dragonflies to be cool.

Play dough pancakes

Nadia believes she is human.

One of my favorite Little Ladies.   Excuse me A, did you take my sunglasses?

Nothing beats spending time on the shores of Lake Superior!  "A Child's Treasures"

Green bugs

I just love I's expression!  She's so disgusted with something

Pure exuberance with summer time

Nadia... insisted on walking by herself on these cliffs.

Always vigilant to check the door when visitors come. 

Even the seagulls enjoy the beach.

Visited with my Great Uncle Ruben and Helen.  They also happen to be my godparents.
the colors of summer

Red, red, and more red

Yea, this will never happen with Nadia

Jersey cows are beautiful.  Peek-a-boo cow!

Back to school cupcakes.

Brycen gets his black belt in karate.

The agility, focus, and strength of a trained black belt is amazing...

and he is only 9 years of age.

I am proud of my nephew!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

goes home

It was the end of the first day of class for some of my students.

Student X grabbed his belongings from his cubby, looked and me and asked: You walk out to bus me?
Me: Of course.  X do you know which bus you are on?
Student X: Yea, the one that goes home.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

It's a DREAM

There is a lot of buzz about the divorce rates of couples with a child or children with special needs.  While many of the stated percentages of divorce are empirical or anecdotal, there seems to be little scientific data to support the claim.  Regardless, I will not dispute the fact that raising a child with special needs is difficult.  Many parents face public who simply don't understand their child's disability, additional financial stresses due to the amount of specialized care some children need, differences in beliefs of how to raise a child with special needs, and so forth.

This is what I know from my work in the field of Speech Language Pathology.
  1. Couples of children with special needs rarely if ever go on a date just as a couple.  Why?  I have been told it is difficult to find sitters who understand their child's unique needs, and if they find one it is SUPER expensive.
  2. Finding a sitter who has the knowledge base and/or willingness to learn how to "sit" for a child with special needs is difficult and at times impossible.
  3. Finding a sitter within budget is difficult and in some families cases impossible.
  4. I have been told that often times simple daily tasks such as grocery shopping, cleaning, etc... can be a challenge to complete depending on each child's specific needs.
This is my dream in a rudimentary form:

I dream of running a center that provides FREE worry free short term respite care to families with children with special needs regardless of a families income level.

  • In addition to the center, I dream of creating an "Angie's List" of therapy/educational places.  
  • Providing information to parents regarding: therapies and educational services, diagnosis known to impact learning, and so forth so that parents are able to make informed decisions regarding their child's care.
  • Developing a network of entertainment places that are willing to offer parents with special needs discounted and or free rates to activities.
  • Offer parents free information sessions from a variety of specialists.
What I would need... Financial supporters, volunteers, an actual building or space for this to happen in.  For my friends and families with children of special needs please weigh in... I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments.

19 States 2 Provinces

Journal Jar: Name all the states or provinces to which you've traveled.

  1. Michigan
  2. Wisconsin
  3. Minnesota
  4. North Dakota
  5. South Dakota
  6. Wyoming
  7. Montana 
  8. Idaho
  9. Washington
  10. Oregon
  11. California
  12. Arizona
  13. Utah
  14. Colorado
  15. Illinois
  16. Indiana
  17. Florida
  18. New York
  19. Massachusetts
  1. Saskatchewan
  2.  Ontario
It appears I have a lot of traveling to do.

9 countries

Journal Jar (JJ) Name all the countries to which you've traveled.

I live in the: United States
I have stepped foot/traveled to the following countries:
  1. Canada
  2. Netherlands
  3. Iceland
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Finland
  6. Sweden
  7. Estonia
  8. Russia
  • At least 5 of these countries I have visited more than 3 times.
  • I have lived in 1 country other than the United States.

Grand total of 9 countries I have visited or lived in.
What's your total?

Friday, August 31, 2012

check your flight times

So as I promised.. The London Flight story from 2004...

The Sunday before I left, I called my friend Anna Maija and told her that I was leaving Monday afternoon.  She had told me that she had written an e-mail and that I should check it when I got off the phone with her.  I had thought to myself, "Oh she is just being motherly, I will check it in the morning". 

So...  Monday morning I wake up early and put clothes washing and drying, and went back to bed.  I got up then at 8:30 am.  I thought to myself, "This is wonderful, I am on vacation, and I don't have to worry about hurrying up, I have until 3:20 this afternoon before my flight leaves".  I then start packing a small carry-on suitcase.  I got three outfits into it.  One a dress outfit in case we went to church on Sunday, and two other general outfits.  I then pack one extra pair of jeans and some extra shirts.  After zipping up the bag, it dawned on me that I should check my e-mail.  The time is 9:00am, when I boot up my computer and sign onto the internet.  I check Anna Majia's e-mail in which she gives me which underground train to take from the airport to our place of meeting, where to buy the underground tickets and her cell phone number.  I then thought to myself, "I know I am being dumb, I know my flight leaves at 3:20 p.m. but I better check just to make sure". 

So at 9:10a.m. I sign onto Northwest Airlines, and check out my flight time.  It reads Departure from MSP 10:40 a.m.!!!!!  Immediately my heart rate increases to about 323 bpm, I start hyper-ventilating, I start sweating, and then I look down at myself.  I was in my pajamas, I had only one bag packed, the rest of the clothes I had planned on bringing were in the dryer, I didn't know what I was to do, all I knew is that I was leaving that day no matter what.  So... I grab my other suitcase and start throwing other needed garments in the bag, my hair products, etc.  I then grabbed what I call my prissy purse (because I hate carrying one around) which held my passport, credit card, debit card, and driver license, and shoved it into a carry-on bag.  I grabbed the NWA number and the general number for the airport slipped on some shoes and ran out the door. 

I shoved the car into reverse... RRAWRR and squeal out of the driveway.  I hop onto 169S and start driving 90-95 MPH.  I called NWA and the lady told me I'd have to wait until tomorrow and I thought that won't do.  So I called that general airport number (I could hardly talk I was breathing so hard and my heart felt like it was pounding a foot out of my chest) I tell the guy, ohmygoshI'mnotgoingtomakemyflightIdon'tknowwhattodo!  He tells me, "calm down honey, What time does your flight leave"?  I yell, "10:40"!  He states, "Ok, it is only 9:20 right now, how far away are you"?  I barely am able to tell him, "30 minutes" (in reality it should take me 45-50 minutes).  The guy calmly states, "Oh you'll be okay, you will make it here 30 minutes before your flight and you can check in at the automatic teller, but whatever you do don't get stopped by the police, slow down and don't put yourself in danger, I can hear you are worried".  I say, "OK" and start to calm down a bit. 

Meanwhile driving in and out of traffic as fast as my 4 cylinder puddle jumper will let me.  I reach the turn off for 494E and see that it is backed up for miles bumper to bumper.  A few explicits pop in my head and I think to myself, "Oh Rachael now is not the time to curse, just pray that you will make it to the airport safe and on time".  I got onto 494 and the congestion cleared up within 3/4 of a mile.  I then push the pedal down and flew the rest of the way to the airport, telling myself to behave, calm down, and that it isn't the end of the world if I have to pay a fine and leave the next day.  Meanwhile I looked down at what I was wearing, I had on a see through pajama top, which I sweated through, a pair of pants that don't match, and a pair of blue tennis shoes that I wear for cutting the grass.  My hair is uncombed, and I have not showered.  I couldn't believe it!! I started sweating again, I couldn't believe that I had left the house in such a state.  I then started to think oh I haven't showered I smell, and I am sweating what am I to do?  There was nothing that I could do. 

I make it into the airport parking lot at 9:45am I run into the airport and try to use the automatic check in, it won't let me.  It reads, "you must see an agent, your flight leaves within 30 minutes".  So I run up to the agent and tell her, "I have to check in".  She looks at me and says, "you have to use the automatic check-in".  I tell her, "It won't let me".  She said, "okay where are you going and what time"?  I say barely breathing, "I'm (wheeze) going (wheeze) to (wheeze) London (wheeze), I leave at 10:40".  She starts searching, she looks up at me and says "I can't find that flight and you are not listed on our direct flight to London today".  I couldn't believe it, "I tell her, "I go to Washington DC first, then to Amsterdam, and then to London".  She looks at me and yells, "your flight doesn't leave at 10:40 it leaves at 10:22, you were supposed to be here over 2 hours ago, I don't think I can let you on".  I look at her and say, "I'm awfully sorry I got my departure time mixed up with my return arrival time".  She tells me, "I DON'T THINK I CAN LET YOU ON".  I think to myself you have to try a different approach so, I slouch my shoulders, and put these huge puppy dog eyes on, and look extremely worried and say in just an audible whisper, "well what am I to do"? 

She grumbles and calls to the NWA counter, and yells something about a passenger at check in and then turns to me and tells me, "you have to take the tram to Concourse C, and then run up 2 flights of stairs go through security turn left and run down 2 moving sidewalks go down a flight of stairs at the end of the 2nd sidewalk turn right and then there is the gate, Now drop your bags over there and RUN".  I look at her unbelievable and say, "ok".  She looks at me and yells, "RUN"!!!  So I start running pushing past people, and suddenly I realized that they were all old people.  I thought oh gee, if I knock one of these guys down they'll break their hip.  I tell myself oh well I can't worry about that.  I get off the tram and run up the flights of stairs barely able to breath, sweating again, my heart is pounding out of my chest, I get to security, and it is empty with the exception of the guards.  They look at me and say, "Honey, what is wrong"?  I say wheezing, "I'm late, I'm late"!  One of the guards looks at me and say, "Oh sweetheart you'll be ok, what time does your flight leave"?  I wheeze again and say, "10:22".  He looks alarmed and says, "Oh my, RUN"!  They barely check my carry-on and direct me to the moving sidewalks.  I start running down the first moving sidewalk only to get to the end and notice in front of me was a lady standing in the stand lane of the second moving sidewalk with her carry-on blocking the path of the walk lane.  I think, there is only one thing to do.  So...  I take a running leap over her bags yell backwards 'sorry', and continue running.  I get to the flight of stairs to go down practically jumping down, and turn right into the gate.  There standing was an attendant with her hands on her hips, tapping her foot, looking completely unimpressed with me.  I hand her my passport and ticket the entire time, thinking, "oh my, I smell horrible, good thing I grabbed this fleece because I'm sure I have sweated through this shirt, my hair is uncombed, and I can hardly breath".  I make my way onto the plane sit down in my seat there was an empty window seat in my aisle, so the guy who was sitting in the middle looked at me and said disgustedly, "I'll move over... (long pause) give you room to breath".  I couldn't believe it I really did stink, my hair wasn't combed but I was happy I made it, I tell him, "Thanks".  Just as I was  buckling my lap belt the pilot came overhead and states, "This is Captain So-and-so, we seem to be delayed by some... (pause) luggage"!  Immediately 5-6 heads turn and glare at me.  I wanted to shrink down into my chair.  Nevertheless we were backing out within 2 minutes so I didn't feel so bad.  The moral of the story is... Check your flight times, that way you won't have to fly to London in your see through pajama top smelling horrible.  I laugh at the scene now, but at the time I was so anxious I couldn't believe I left the house looking like a mess.  I had a wonderful time there, it felt so good to take a vacation. 

 I must share that the details in this story are as they happened.  I wrote this story in an email to a friend while I was in London back in 2004, I happened to have saved that particular email. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

she was wearing a burqa

The majority of my students are not old enough to initiate, or have conversations about a given topic; some however are able to.  These students are those who typically only have speech sound errors and we get to a point in therapy that we need "conversation starters".  So, with this in mind I have been creating a conversation jar.  The conversation jar idea is an adapted idea courtesy of Pinterest which is simply a jar with conversation starters written on slips of paper.  During the process of creating this jar I came across "Journal Jar" starters for adults.  Here was one journal jar suggestion: Tell about the most wonderful experience you've had.

Story Characters:
Rachael- myself
Anna- friend of Rachael and Tiina
Tiina- friend of Rachael and Anna

Background history: Rachael, Anna, and Tiina all lived in the same house at the boarding school in Ranua, Finland.  Anna and Tiina are Finnish.  I met these two friends in 1996

Story takes place in London, England.

The year was 2004, I decided that year for my birthday I would purchase a ticket for myself to London to visit my good friend Anna.  The flight from Minneapolis to London story is for another blog.

Upon arriving in London, I took the tube station from Heathrow to Green Park to wait until Anna completed her shift working at a hotel.  In the early evening we arrived back at her place and discussed the plans for my stay there.  I was told that in a few days time there would be two girls from Finland who needed a place to stay for the night and that they would be coming to stay at Anna's apartment as well.  Well, Anna's apartment was shared with another girl Viivi, and was quite small.  I wondered in my head that why would these two girls go completely out of their way to spend the night at Anna's apartment which is so far from the train station and airport only to have to get up in the morning to go back.  Why not stay at a youth hostel or hotel??  I was feeling a little frustrated and jealous that my time with Anna had to be shared with people I didn't even know.   I asked Anna many questions.  Do you know these girls?  Do they have the same faith?  Will there really be enough room in the apartment for 5 people?  Why are they coming to London just for a night? and the list went on.  I encouraged her to tell them to stay at a youth hostel for the evening, but much to my dismay that wasn't going to happen.  I was told that these girls shared the same faith that we did, and that she didn't know them personally but that Anna knew them through others.  The other thing I simply couldn't understand is why I needed to go with to meet them at the station?  Why couldn't I stay back to sleep?

The night these Finnish girls were coming to spend the night at Anna and Viivi's apartment I found out that they were coming in quite late.  And to add to my further frustration of having to share time, many of the tube, bus, and trains wouldn't be running by the time they got from the airport to when they arrived a the train station.  I was having a glorious snit fit in my head about having to go so late to the train station, however somewhat curious about who these girls were, my defenses were caving in.

We arrived at the train station and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited....Finally Anna turned around waved and said "Oh I think that is them."  I turned to look in disbelief.  One of the women had a burqa on!  I thought since when do Christian women wear burqas?  But Anna, got up and started to walk towards these women.  As I hesitantly walked with her the woman wearing the burqa's stance looked oddly familiar.  At this time all flag are raised in my head.  As I continued to approach her the burqa continued to fall away from her face.  I couldn't believe it!  It was my other good friend Tiina.  I just started to cry the happiest tears I have ever had in my life.  I looked at Anna in disbelief and asked if she had planned this all for me?  And the answer was yes. 

We walked back to Anna's apartment through the city towards the country side.  The one distinct thought I had was, I am the most fortunate person to have at least two good friends who would plan a surprise so fantastic for me. 

This story has been and continues to be one of the most wonderful and amazing things that a friend has done for me.  From here Anna helped me plan a surprise for Tiina's wedding in 2006.  I have yet to plan a surprise for Anna.  What will it be??

Circa 2004 Rachael, Anna, Tiina

Circa 2004 Tiina, Rachael, Anikka, Anna

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


A prophetic/predictive dream (also known as a precognitive or psychic dream) are  dreams that seemingly foretell the future.  One rational theory to explain this phenomenon is that your dreaming mind is able to piece together bits of information and observation that you may normally overlook or that you do not seriously consider. In other words, your unconscious mind knows what is coming before you consciously piece together the same information.

It has also been said that most people experience prophetic or predictive dreams at one point in their life however they are about common things (what they will have for dinner the next night, or that someone will call them they haven't heard from in a while, etc.) therefore making most people unaware of the fact they have indeed experienced dreams of this nature. 

For some these dreams are significant and at times scary...

Leah.  Leah is my sister.  She is 21 months older than I.  She was a year ahead of me in class.  She didn't live at home during her senior year, she drove from her apartment to school everyday.  

The story is this...

Sitting in the bus with another sister the CB radio went off announcing an accident at the intersection of the high-school road and the highway.  I clearly remember panic sitting in as I told the sister sitting next to me that it was likely our sister Leah in the accident.  As we entered the school, rumors were flying around about who was in the car.  I felt in my gut and knew without a doubt that is was Leah.  As I went to my first hour class which was gym class I told a girl that I was pretty sure it was my sister in the accident because I had had a dream about her the night before.  During my second hour class I told a mutual friend of Leah and myself,that I was sure it was Leah because I had dreamed the night before that she had been in an accident and died.  I was reprimanded and told I shouldn't say such things.  I arrived at my third hour class getting more and more anxious because no one seemed willing to share information about the accident.  Within 15 minutes I was called to the office and given the news that I knew all along.  It had been my sister Leah in the car accident.    She had been in a head-on collision with a Semi truck.  Once told this news, of course I started to cry and yelled at the counselor that "I KNOW THAT!"  She asked how I knew and I told her I dreamed about it the night before.  The counselor looked at me like I was a cyclops.  Later at the hospital when my emotions were somewhat uncontrollable I was told one of the most important things, "Listen.  This is God's way of preparing you for what is to come."   

I won't go into the gruesome details of all the injuries she sustained, bottom line is: she lived.  And this was the first of many dreams such as this one in my life.  Maybe someday I'll blog about others.

It is Leah's birthday in two days.  Happy Birthday Leah!  You are loved.

Leah and her Mother-in-Law