About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Well Done!

(Our host for this week's Fun Monday, Southern Doll ,invites us to share a few of our most meaningful life accomplishments. What have we done that was worth doing? What did we learn? Who did we influence? What was the impact?)


Here's the list of five accomplishments that I always think of when I'm in a reflective navel gazing mood. These experiences have helped me understand both myself and others a lot better, in addition to bringing me great happiness and satisfaction.

From 1971-74 I was a Peace Corps Volunteer on St. Kitts, a small island in the West Indies. I was a classroom teacher at St. Joseph Infant School teaching 7-9 year olds in the capital city of Basseterre. My dog Virgil and I lived in a little grey cinder block house on the outskirts of Basseterre by the Caribbean Sea. In the mornings I walked down to the sea to buy fish for us from the fishermen when they brought in their catch at dawn. My teacher colleagues and the women of the neighborhood befriended me, teaching me to shop the open air markets and cook the local foods, and deal with tradesmen. On the week-end I joined other Peace Corps Volunteers and the locals at dances in the country where we danced all night to the insistent reggae rhythms of the steel drums. I learned what it was like to live in a totally different culture and, in that instance, be the minority for a change.


Dog Rescue--for a Fun Monday earlier this year Tiggerlane asked about our Bucket List. I went back and looked at that post to see what I'd said about getting involved with dog rescue. Well, I'm happy to report that since then I've built up a bit of good dog karma by working with several different rescue organizations to transport dogs from area shelters to rescue groups so they can be re-homed. My Toyota Scion xB, aka "bread truck", holds two large crates and a co-pilot if necessary. Since the beginning of '08 I've helped rescue three almost wild Great Pyrenees pups; two border collies; a red heeler; and a geriatric, starving, diabetic toy poodle. Since most of you Fun Monday people are either dog or cat lovers I don't even need to go into how much satisfaction--and peace of mind--I get from this work.

Hospice--two years ago when I first retired after over 35 years in the workforce I was rather numb, just wanting to retreat and get away from all demands on my time and being. That was fine for about a year, and then I decided that I could do a bit better--so I trained to be a hospice family support volunteer. I chose hospice because I knew the service that this organization performs for families as they struggle with end of life issues. I know that I too may need their help in the future with my own family. So, I'm always on call to sit with a patient while the care giver gets out of the house to do some needed errands, take a break, or do something as simple as go to church. Mostly I listen--to the patient and the caregiver and answer sometimes hard questions about the implications of being in hospice care. I have witnessed small acts of love and grace among family members such as with my current family. The elderly husband is caring for his 85 lb. wife who is listed as "failing to thrive." He never fails to kiss her tenderly when he leaves the house and returns. We should all be that lucky to have such devotion.

Back to Basics Fitness Boot Camp--after a lifetime of avoiding all forms of physical exercise, my dear friend Sally and I signed up for a physical fitness program that--no overstatement for me--was life changing. I was in my mid-50s at the time. This class was taught by young woman who was a drill sergeant in the US Army. Sergeant Rouse had seen action in Kosovo and Saudi Arabia and was currently serving in the Army Reserves while working full time and rearing two small daughters.

We met Sergeant Rouse five days a week, rain or shine, from 6-7:00 a.m. at a local park. We came dressed in the regulation uniform. At 6 a.m. sharp she gave the "fall-in" command. We got ourselves in the extended rectangular formation for 30 minutes of hard exercise--push-ups, sit-ups, side straddle hops, mountain climbers, T-bones, squats, lunges to name a few. After about 30 minutes of physical training we ran--speed, cadence, sprint drills, or intervals. Oh yes, if anyone showed up late for class, we all did extra push-ups or running. I have never been healthier, stronger or more in control of all parts of my life than during the three years in Sergeant Rouse's class. In fact, Sally and I were in such good condition that we completed an 85 mile walk across England. Not bad for us, right?

Summit Musings Blog--in May I'll have my first year blog anniversary. Although it's very much a work in progress, I'm very proud of how far it's come, with the excellent tech support of my personal Geek Squad. I love the creative writing process, but have a long running aversion to technology--last hold out at work to get a Blackberry or cell phone for example--but the Geek Squad has helped with all that. Now I'm so interested in the virtual friendships I've made with people all over the U.S. and beyond--like all you Fun Monday participants and others. What a great challenge and diversion to keep building this blog.

Now head on over to Southern Doll and give other Fun Monday participants a "pat on the back" comment for a job well done. I'm headed there now.

20 comments:

Heather said...

Wow Faye,

You have done some amazing things. It is so uplifting reading everyone's entries! Your work in hospice really touched me. what a gift you give these familes. Thank you!

Patience-please said...

Good Lord!!! That's all I can say. Good Lord!!!
Give yourself a raise! You deserve it.

all the best-
Patience

Sayre said...

The dog rescue we know about - if one has read you for any length of time - and I could see myself doing something like that in the future... But working with hospice can take real courage. I am always amazed at the generosity of people who do that.

Happy almost-blogaversary!!! I'd have to say that blogging has changed my life too - I know just what you mean!

Faye said...

Patience I laughed out loud at your comment! Notice that I only do something significant every decade! In fact, 2010 is fast on my heels. . .

Kaytabug said...

WOW. Those are all amazing items!!
I just about bawled like a bay about the elderly hubby kissing his wife every time he leaves. That is so sweet and it reminded me of my Grandpa, he did the same for his wife.

Beckie said...

Faye, Fantastic List! Absolutely amazing - all of them. I always fantasized about the Peace Corp. and hospice, oh my, that is courageous. Kudos to you.

IamwhoIam said...

You do indeed have some wonderful things on your list - and what is most wonderful is that you are and have enjoyed them all.

Alison said...

wow Faye...I am very proud of you, you have done some amazing things. I love how everything you choose to do helps others...you are a wonderful human being...

Hootin' Anni said...

Amazing!!!!! Absolutely amazing. But wait....you say 85 miles? Oh lordy, I ache just reading that accomplishment.

My Fun Monday is posted, I sure hope you can drop by and give it a read. Have a super-duper day.

ellen b. said...

Wow Faye what wonderful service you have given your fellow man/woman!! Good for you for such selfless accomplishments. I also like how brave you were to do the fitness thing :)
Well done...

Jo Beaufoix said...

Wow, you've done so much interesting and wonderful stuff. Mr b's dad passed away in a hospice and the support in there was amazing and so needed. And it's my blogaversary in May too. That year has gone by so fast. Cheers to us. :D

Lil Mouse said...

makes my life seem so boring..

ChrisB said...

This is an impressive list of achievements. It must be so sad but rewarding to be a hospice support worker. I don't think I could do this as I would get too emotional so I do admire you.

the planet of janet said...

awesome!

Lane said...

Those are fine, noble and remarkable achievements and I'm very proud to have 'met' you.
Thank goodness you found blogger:-)

kitten said...

Wow! Double WOW! You can say you have lived a fulfilling and satisfying life.

Lil Mouse said...

hi faye, i started training dogs when i was 12, took #1 to state and got 7th place a few years after starting training. against all the 'chicago' dogs who were kenneled and trained by professionals. i trained a second dog that did well enough and he went to live with my brother for a while and the third one was Trek. I was showing Trek and #1 at the same time eventually #1 went off leash and got 7th again (I think) including a 5 minute down-stay with handler out of sight. that was NERVE RACKING! anyway, Trek I trained when i was a jr/sr in high school.everything from potty training to off leash commands. it was awesome. my parents have 2 labs now and deeply regret not having me around to train them. i have tried to teach them the basics, but they dont seem to have time enough to work with them, they behave well enough but nothing like my "butt on the ground as soon as i stop walking" dogs.

Randy and Kim said...

I'm humbled. You've given yourself over and over again and how great is that. And pre-happy blogaversary!

Aoj & The Lurchers said...

I do get as much satisfaction as you do from dog rescue.....it's a wonderful feeling isn't it?

KAREN said...

Those are definitely accomplishments to be proud of :o)

Dog rescue I've done, but hospice support? That takes a very special kind of person, and I don't think I could do it.