Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A World of Thanks and Now What?

I have a list of thank yous that will fill the entire page: But, first and foremost I need to thank my staff(friends) who worked harder then anyone should to get this crown...Really, truly they are some of the best people on earth; and I would be lost without their support. I owe the office staff a HUGE thanks for putting up with my anxiety; neurosis and my ADD for the past 7 weeks; and to think they are still working for us! Also to the dietary department, I promise we will not do this type of thing again, (or at least until we get more storage space!). The entire staff of MediLodge worked tremendously hard for this and deserve a huge round of applause for their outstanding customer service, and support. Thank you one and all!

To the residents and my elders; thank you. Your support, smiles, hugs and words mean the world to me. Your wisdom and encouragement gets me thru many a day; and gives me the focus to keep up the struggle for culture change.

To my boss, for her support, laughter and understanding with the "focus". It is incredible to work for a company that gives autonomy to go after ideas and supports us in what we do for our communities and elders. It is her direction and open mind that inspires and motivates me; thank you!

To my family, thank you for understanding and supporting me. I appreciate your time and dedication; even if it left you a little perplexed, you were there supporting the effort, thank you! A special thank you to my grandpa Pete for his generous donation, love and support!

To my dear friend Sandi; thank you for your effort, time and support; despite her own busy schedule this summer, she found time to help with every function and provide me with support and encouragement; best friends are rare; and I truly appreciate your support!

Now onto the vendors and supporters who donated so generously; following is a list of the vendors, businesses and individuals who sent us checks, donated to our fund raisers and sent well wishes!

All Star Vending, Pt. Huron, MI
Ace Hardware, Yale, MI
Mid West Juice, Grand Rapids, MI
Leonard Gerlach Builder; Capac, MI
Medical Advantage LLC Jackson, MI
Interstate Security,Inc. Shelby Township, MI
Mary Vinckier, DDS; Yale, MI
Detroit Chemical and Paper Supply; Warren, MI
Daniel King/Breeze Medical, Bloomingdale, MI
Trudy Myers, Yale, MI
Nemeth and Burwell, P.C. Detroit, MI
Sangster and Associates, Rochester, MI
Sheldon Medical Supply, Sandusky MI
Nancy Ozturk, Istanbul Turkey
Rhonda Jones, Detroit Chemical
Kerr Albert Office Supply, Port Huron, MI
Earl Smith Distributing, Pt. Huron, MI
Vinckier Foods, Yale, MI
C.Roy and Sons, Yale, MI
Yale Flower Shop, Yale, MI
The Kalina Family, Oakland County, MI
The Foerster Family, Marshall, MI
David and Carol Shroeder, Midland, MI
Kim and Chuck Rummler, Shelby, MI
Sue and Matt Bollaert, Capac, MI
Gene and Janice Rinke, Avoca, MI
Al and Doris Stuever, Lynn, MI
Nestle Food and Nutritional Supplements, Texas
St. John's Lutheran Church, Capac, MI
Karen and The Yale Manor Senior Apartment Residents, Yale, MI
Deborah Culp
Donna Kolhorst
MediLodge of Taylor Residents/Barney Foland
MediLodge of Sterling/Dean Rumsey (thanks for the golf ball auction!)
Stitch by Stitch, Yale, MI
Serious Graphics and Signs, Yale MI
Yale VFW
Dr. Grewal
Encore Rehabilitation, Southfield, MI
Frank Wronski, Washington, MI
MediLodge Group, Inc. Washington, MI
Port Huron Electric Motor, Pt. Huron, MI
Robert Goolsby, Avoca, MI
Kathy and Mike Lentz, Lynn, MI
John and Ann Tomlinson and Family, Pt. Huron, MI
Janet Finley, Algonac, Mi
Scrubs on Wheels, Indiana
All Med Medical Supply, Southfield, MI
Lebenbom and Rothman, P.C.
Leaders in Training, Walsh College, Troy, MI
LRI/Phil Wilson, Broken Arrow, OK
Holly Meadows Golf Course, Capac, MI
Allenton Collision, Capac, MI
Family First Health Care, Yale/Capac, MI
Tri-County Bank staff
Capac Bank staff
Metro Advertising, Mt. Clemens, MI
Sandusky Tribune, Sandusky, MI
Tri-City Times, Imlay City, MI
96.9, Radio First, Pt. Huron, MI
92.5 Sanilac Broadcasting, Sandusky, MI
Emmett Village News, Emmett, MI
Ray and Shannon Cournya, Peck, MI
In addition, I would like to thank the 400 plus individuals who sent in 1.00 dollar donations via pay pal. Thank you so much!

Now What?

Well, I think I need a little vacation! I am going to take a few R/R days this week and then in early September, I will be in New Orleans enjoying a lovely vacation taking cooking classes, shopping and enjoying the life on Bourbon St. I cannot wait to spend four days taking in the sights and sounds of the south, and practicing my cajun cooking!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bologna Queen!

We did it~ I am the "official" bologna queen! Thank you again, our grand total for money raised is 19,550 dollars! This total, is 6,000 more than any other candidate has raised as an individual. We are all very excited. Last night, after the crowning, I immediately went to my "mums" and we have some great pictures, and I have some great memories of their comments and hugs. The "chamber" officials are ecstatic over our success. I use the terms we, because this entire process was successful due to the team work and dedication of everyone involved.

So what next? I owe my queen mums/knights a prime rib dinner with shrimp, (the staff are included in this event, and I have had "several" volunteers from the community offer to help us). Also, starting next week, we will be honoring a queen mum, or knight with a weekly royal subject recognition, and special day for someone we draw randomly to be the new royal subject. They will get a crown to wear, a sash, and a special meal with a staff member of their choice.

Today, it is back to work; we are to be in the bologna tent by 9, to set up for today's cooking, and selling. This is the busiest day of the festival, and by noon we will probably have sold over 1,000 bologna sandwiches...We have the pet parade, a 5K run, and then the big parade tonight at 6:30. I think tomorrow sleeping to at least 8 will be a good thing!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Thank You and Tonight We Find Out!

OK, so it is now 4 p.m. I am sitting here dressed in my "formal" bologna attire, (I still have not figured out why we dress formal/serious for this quirky event, but maybe someone will enlightenment me tonight); and I am nervous like a kid before their "big game play".
Pardon the analogy from sports, this comes courtesy of watching my son's nerves before big games in high school days. Perhaps it is really related to the lack of sleep for the past 6 weeks. Whatever it is, I have huge thank yous to give to my co-workers/friends and family. I don't like to ask for help; I don't like to "owe" people. I think of myself as a giver, and for the first time in my life I have "taken" from several individuals; and taken is a small word to use to describe their extreme generosity of time, talent and money.

We met/exceeded our original goal to raise more money then anyone has ever raised before. Like a kid, i cannot keep it a secret and we have shared with a few "key" people from Yale about our tremendous success. I hope that they realize that our zealousness is really just extreme satisfaction with an accomplishment that we ourselves questioned at the onset.

Irregardless; win or lose the crown; I have gained something very special in this experience. I have for the first time in my life allowed others to HELP me, and I have learned to accept their giving and generosity. This gift in itself, is better then any crown, award, recognition, that one could get in life. Learning to receive and be grateful for the gift God has given me in my friends, co-workers(some of the greatest people you could ever work with) and my family. Sitting back and accepting their support has taught me to be grateful for what is good in my life and to be thankful for the blessings that have been bestowed upon me.

May God Bless everyone who helped, donated, and sent well wishes. Thank you and I will update you tonight on the outcome!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Final Countdown....

Wednesday July 25, 2007....

Again, I am amazed! We are in our final 48 hours of fund raising and the end is in sight! Tomorrow we have our final lunch; and then the last chance auction event at the Yale Tavern at 8 p.m. Then it is time to work at the bologna festival tent Friday afternoon, (the Medilodge staff usually does two to three shifts of volunteer work during the festival). I will update the website Friday night to announce who becomes King and Queen; we are all anxiously awaiting the announcements! Irregardless of what happens; the money we have raised will be going to a great purpose and we are proud to be responsible for raising and supporting the community causes.

Friday night should be a fun filled evening, (I am looking forward to relaxing and watching the fireworks with my family!) For those of you planning on attending the events this weekend, I hope you find them as much fun as I; and that you take the time to really enjoy the setting; small town; great community spirit and the "tastes" of the festival. Bring some cash, (ATM's are limited in town!) and don't leave town without trying something bologna, fried; or sweet...(Referring to the bologna tent; the Lion's fries, and the ice cream cones at Katy's, or the Methodist church pie/ice cream social). For an updated list of events, please check out www.yalechamber.com for all details of the festival! Hope to see you all here this weekend!


Friday, July 20, 2007

ladies night...Success!

Wow! At last count we were up to 350 women at our ladies night out! Thanks to one and all for supporting this fun event. A huge thanks to the dietary staff for their incredible work effort to get the food prepared, temped and served! We met our "license" requirement with great success and I owe it all to their teamwork and effort. I think the vendors all enjoyed a successful night; and we kept the psychic busy for 6 hours! Today the buzz was how much money we raised; the psychic reading results, and the great success of the event overall.

We are now in the home stretch, and while we are tired, the enthusiasm is still persistent. I liken it to the end of summer at a resort, still happy, but ready for the end to be near! We have two more events and then the big festival next weekend. This week we recv'd emails from Michigan, China and another from my friends in the BVI..Thanks to one and all! Also, thank you to the vendors for their continued support and sending us donations for our community festival.

It is 6:30 on Friday night, and yours truly is considering "sleep" as the next thing on my to do list.

Update after the bbq!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Mmm...Pie! Reflections On A Sense of Community!

Another great success! We had a great turn out to buy homemade pie on Saturday. Despite the rain; we sold out by noon! As I sit here typing, I am enjoying a small piece of homemade raspberry pie with my coffee. A great breakfast for sure! A huge thanks to Cindy S. and Betty F. for taking their idea and setting up this fund raiser. Also thanks to my pie ladies, my church ladies from St. John's; MaryAnn; Linda A.; Pat; Jo K. and the ladies from the manor for contributing. Also a very big thanks to Matt and Lindsey for allowing us to set up outside of their store, serious signs and graphics. Lindsey and family also made a donation of baked goods and they were a big hit as well!

If you have never experienced a bake sale; you do not know what you are missing! This is a small town tradition that brings back memories of my childhood. I can recall going to the bank with my mom to take baked goods in for the monthly Catholic ladies bake sale. The rule was that if we were "good" we were able to take a cookie from the table. I remember that bribe working well for my sisters and I; because we knew that mom would take home a dozen of the "church lady cookies" and we would have a great snack that night. I think the other memory of this event is the sense of community it brought to me as a child, that has stuck with me as an adult.

When growing up in a small town; you think everyone is a friend, and you know pretty much everyone, or they know you and your parents. This still holds true. Now that I am an adult; I find myself having conversations about people/places using descriptions with old family names as reference points. Funny stuff for someone who has never lived in a small community; but the norm for those of us who live here.

It is funny to me that as subdivision and urban living has evolved they are now being designed to give a sense of "community". For those of us who live in a true "community" we perhaps take for granted the atmosphere which we are accustomed too.

Either way; this entire "project" I have undertaken, has really brought to me a renewed sense of community and the importance of maintaining this lifestyle for then next generation!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Kids Night!

WOW! Thanks to everyone who attended, volunteered or worked at our first ever kids night. This event was an incredible success. We had over 165 children, and at least 100 adults in attendance. The question I have heard already, "are we doing it again next year"? The answer is that we will consider it! I think the best part of the night for me was watching our elders take part and help with the event. We had several helpers either with the games, or building bears or greeting people who came in.
One of my queen mum's instructed me to go get her antique teddy bear from her bed to share with the kids she was talking too. Great stuff all the way around.

This type of event reminds us of what is right about what we are doing. It was 100% community and person centered focused. Despite the exhaustion, (I think my dietary staff who volunteered had the biggest work out!); we all felt a sense of accomplishment and success at the end of the night as we accepted our thank you's and congratulations on a great event. Thanks Again!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Busy Factor!

The next two weeks....Wow! If we thought we were busy for the last two weeks, check out our calendar of events for the next two weeks...I think it is going to require large doses of very strong coffee, and a little ibuprofen to get thru! It is all for a great cause, and we are still having fun; which in itself is amazing. This past week was a "slow" week of activity, it was a "catch your breath" break for everyone who is helping with the events and our cause.

A few updates, the "bus tour" was incredibly fun for everyone who attended. I have been told by all women who were on the bus that it was one of the "best" times they have ever had. I think it is female bonding, a group of people with diverse backgrounds and ideas with a little alcohol that made it the best time for everyone. The women who were on the bus did an amazing job of "making money" from the patrons of the local pubs. A big thank you to the pub owners, and patrons for supporting our cause! There has been talk about repeating this trip in the early spring for another charity cause...Hmmm, maybe I will be ready to tackle a new project for fund raising by then. Actually, I think it would be a great fund raiser for our local domestic violence/women's shelter. I will definetly keep this project alive for a later date!

The other fund raising event that was this past week was my annual garage sale. It never ceases to amaze me at how much stuff I accumulate yearly. I think my ability to accumulate is equal to my need for creativity....I need to dwell on this. Anyway, my "stuff" became others "stuff" and I made some money for the cause! The irony is that my house does not look any emptier...

This week....starts today! Tomorrow, we have a burrito lunch at the facility, dine in/carry out/delivery available. Then on Wednesday, lunch in Capac, (my hometown) at my church for the local businesses and my church friends. On Thursday it is kid's night at MediLodge and we are anticipating 200 children/with parents in attendance. This will be an outside event if the weather cooperates. On Saturday we have the country music/line dancing event in Yale with dinner and adult beverages for 40.00 per couple.

Our focus has been on keeping the events affordable, centered on all age groups, and really they are about involving the elders as much as possible. We have three main events scheduled at our home, the kids night, ladies night and our community bbq. I know that the elders are excited about "people" coming in to them. This is a huge thing for us. We are welcoming you into our home where we live. They have been busy getting their "guest services" together. I hope that everyone who has never experienced an elder care community will come away with a new understanding, and a change in their thinking about what we are all about.