Eight, e. schoettler, collage, 2009 series
Adjoa and I taught the More than Words art group today and the students made paste papers to use as materials for collage next session. They had fun and created some really beautiful colorful sheets of paper.
really enjoy working with this group. When they have fun - we have fun. Like life. Only four more sessions - hoping the grant carries us into next school year. Working with Adjoa is great and its been a successful experience on all sides.

I took a break and watched the old version of Night and Day, the Cole Porter story. Worth it for the musical numbers. Did he write Ain't Misbehaving. Anyway I "ain't misbehaving" I have been administrating. Its been a day filled with paper work, emailing and checking things off on lists. Its the back-up so that the stories happen.


Thinking About Swine Flu - Aren't You?

Tulips and Periwinkle, e.schoettler, altered digital photograph

Thinking About Swine Flu - aren't you?
My heart and prayers go out to the Texas parents who lost their child today. What about those kids in NYC, who went on vacation in Mexico and came home carrying a plague? And, we all know that no one is completely safe from this virus - - so we have to take precautions.

I heard myself saying that to my daughter yesterday after asking her how she was preparing the family for their trip from the West Coast to Chicago today. Trying to be calm. Not pushing. Not telling an adult woman what to do. In the back of my throat was the "Don't go." But knowing they had to go to attend her mother-in-law's Memorial Service and that they needed to take their children with them - I swallowed hard and talked about hand-washing instead.

We all have to be public health minded. Carry little bottles of hand-sanitizer and if you can put Lysol or Clorox wipes in a baggie for your pocket, tote, back-pack, briefcase or purse. This is not time to balk and try to tough it through. This is not wimpy; its smart. It protects you and everyone else you come near.

Use that wipe on door handles. I watched an old Dr. Gillespie movie last night and sure enough after a young good-looking Van Johnson scrubbed for surgery a nurse walked ahead of him and opened the door so that his pristine hands would not touch the knob. Would I have noticed this a month ago - yes - because we took these precautions for when Jim was in the hospital for his surgery.

Think about it - in a public bathroom - you scrub and scrub those hands, toss away the towel and THEN open the door with your clean hand on the handle.

If you can bear it - think about an airplane toilet --. Maybe don't - just Wipe the handles.

And the airplane seat arm-rests - and tv controls -

oh, my goodness, your cell phone. I read an article a few months ago that when tested your cell phone is pretty bug-infested. Just because we can't see them doesn't mean they are't there.

Public telephones. Big time wiping.

Go to http://www.cdc.gov/ and see what the public health gurus are recommending - and DO IT.

This is the time we all need to be sharp -

Is this a lecture? I hope not - I think of it more as a wake-up call - incase you had not thought to pick up your hand sanitizer, wipes and start washing your hands.



Still thinking about our week-end in PA

Princess Leia, our five year-old Shih Tzu. We must have known something when we named her because she has royal characteristics - she expects everything to go her way and you are not allowed to touch her - except by invitation.

I wonder if Leia is still thinking about PA too. She loves it there. The gravel of our driveway crunches under the wheels and she perks up. As soon as trhe door opens she leaps down from the van - off and running, poking her nose in to favorite spots for the wonderful smells, sometimes stretching out in the grass and rolling over and over - feeling the freedom.

This barn was a discovery. It is just down the road from our house but I rarely see it because its past us and we hardly ever go that way. Can you see how its built into the ground on one side? My curiosity is stirring. I want to find out more about that - and about the emblem painted on the barn door.


Two tulips at our backdoor in PA.


Sunday in the Country

Jim and I have not been to Pennsylvania since January - before his surgery - so with lovely week-end weather predicted we drove up yesterday. Being here is like taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly.

Karen had told me there was a loud frog in the pond near the kitchen door but last night when he started singing I was amazed at the volume - he sounded in the room with me. Birds are everywhere and they are all chattering, a regular tower of Babel on the wing.
Golden dandelions have invaded the neighbor's fields. I don't know how welcome they are to the farmers but to me they are big splashes of wonderful color. Its like living in a Spring collage.

And with all that - it is QUIET. Soothingly quiet. Quiet that is great for sleeping.

We don't have TV hooked up. Only movies which we choose ourselves. No commercials and no CNN. We black-out the news. What a relief! We can wait 24 hours or more to learn what's happening in the world that we cannot do one thing about. We can pray without hearing the news - - Lord, please bless this world and all of the people in it.

One of the best things about coming up to this area of PA in the Spring are the apple orchards in bloom. We rolled down the car windows so we could smell the sweet perfume from the orchards along the roads as well as enjoy the glorious blossoms against blue skies.

All that is pure blessing.


Juggling, Day 9

Red Daisy, e. schoettler, altered digital photograph

Its going to be one of those days. Juggling - juggling - juggling. In case I have a computer shut-down I am marking the date with this picture,

Counting down on the 37 Days challenge - this is DAY 9. Patti has a good essay on pattern on 37 DAYS. I really enjoyed it and it tweaked me in a number of places. I can see my pattern. Start off strong, slip and then start again - over and over and over again.

KOKI - marking her birthday.

Catherine Diggle Brown

April 24, yesterday, was Koki's birthday. Happy Birthday, darlin'

If you have or had a favorite aunt in your life then you get it.


Orchids, Movie Review, Jim, Faith

Orchids, e.schoettler, altered digital photograph

MOVIE REVIEW: When my sister Kathy recommended The Boy in the Striped Pajamas I ordered it from Netflix without even checking it out. Kathy and I usually agree on books and movies so her word was good with me. Jim and I watched it the other night and I will never forget it. Seeing the Holocaust through the eyes of an eight year old German boy is quite a new perspective on that evil. And the ending left us stunned. The storytelling in this movie does what good storytelling should - it establishes a normal, turns it upside down, and shows you something important as a result.

I have wanted to write about the film but hestitated so when I ran across THIS review I decided to share it instead of tackling my own.


Two months ago today Jim was in George Washington Univerity Hospital - having his surgery. Time has moved slowly to get to lunch at Einsteins this week.

Thanks to everyone who sent prayers and good wishes and helped us through it. Thanks be to God.

I have been following Traveling Oma for some time because I admire her writijng and enjoy the things she writes about.
Her last two posts chronicle how her son, riding his bicylce to work, was broadsided by a hit and run driver and left sprawled on the road. Today when she shared her family's response - in love and prayer - I was deeply touched - its a real lesson in the power of faith.


Lynda's Birthday,

Honeysuckle - an old time wildflower that reminds me of my childhood. This wild and pretty vine crawled over fences and trees and filled the air with its sweet smell. But I learned early that you can't pick it and bring it into the house. It withers and turns brown.

Today I am thinking of those by-gone days as I salute my sister, Lynda on her birthday.

Happy Birthday, Lynda.

Hope you have a great day!

Here is a story for Lynda. She may remember Sister Mary Joan, the Librarian. http://ellouisestory.blogspot.com/2007_09_01_archive.html (in case the link does not work.)


Earth Day, Day 11

Celebrating Earth Day. Remembering our visit to the Pismo Beach Park Monacrch Butterfly Migration Stop. It was magical.
Day 11, 37 days challenge


Rain, Rain

Pyramid Boots, e.schoettler, altered digital photo

Its rainy and damp again this morning. I might complain about that more if I had not just read Granny Sue raving about gardening in the rain. She makes me want to get my hands in moist dirt and plant something.

Although I have often said I was going to learn bird calls I never have. I am regretting that this morning. Right this minute there is a feathered soloist singing his/her heart out outside my window. I can't see the bird but if I knew the song I would know who it is so I could picture the bird.



Striped Curtain, Burano, Italy, e. schoettler, altered digital photograph

FYI - Last nightI wrote more about the Golden Fleece Storytelling Conference here. Its early yet for today. Something will turn up.

This morning storyteller Jane Crouse sent this to the Storytell Listserve. Its great. Hope you enjoy it.


3 Beautiful Things - about Storytelling

Time Out, e.schoettler, collage, 2009 Series

3 Beautiful Things

1. Today was my first rehearsal with 4 of the 8 other storytellers who are the cast for "Mommie Dearest," a new production for Speakeasydc. Amy Saidman is the director and she is very good at what she does. I am impressed by the other tellers and happy to be a part of it. If you are in this area mark the date - May 10 - and come to hear an exciting program with 8 tellers telling stories about "mother'' in very different styles. I can tell you from the stories I heard today - its going to be terrific.

2. The energy and excitement of working with a group of diverse performers - pushing each other further, supporting each other's work.

3. One of the storytellers asked me, "did you know your eyes light up when you start to tell your story?" No I didn't - because I never see myself telling stories - but truthfully - I am not surprised - that's how I feel when I tell a story.


Golden Fleece Storytelling Conference

Spent the day at the Golden Fleece Storytelling Conference. Rich with ideas about storytelling.

More later.

Here is the more - but not much more. Whenever I say I will come back I feel like I should close that circle. But the more I have thought about the conference the less I have to say. So, a couple of highlights:

1. How Pictures Can Promote. Provoke, and Prolong Communication This was a great workshop - just my cup of tea although I never would have guessed it from the pretentious and almost off-putting title. But the corporate language could not stifle the imagination and enthusiasm of Pernille Stockfleth, a dynamic and charming storyteller from Denmark.

My camera battery failed me so I had to copy this photo from her web-site and I am so sorry its not in color. I wish you could see her halo of red hair. Before meeting her I had made a note in my book about the woman with the Little Orphan Annie hair-do.

Pernille introduced the group to a set of picture cards, Dialoogle - which can be used as ice-breakers, or dialogue starters, or in my thinking, story-prompts. You can see the organization purpose here to have more meaningful staff discussions by warming up the group or getting past barriers. The pictures are wide-ranging, and generic. They leave lots of room for anyone to enter the picture and find a jumping off place for a story. I loved them - and was delighted when Pernille gave each participant a set.

This was the closest I came to a real storytelling experience in the time I was at the conference. And it was really quite enriching and nice.

I hate to say it but some of what I sat in on was a bit too corporate for my taste or too focused on audience participation to send me away feeling satisfied. You know how it is, people come with agendas and that's what they talk about from the floor.

2. Paul Costello, who gave the morning keynote talk was enthusiastic, winning and very enjoyable to listen to especially his Australian accent. His presentation while mostly down-to-earth and accessible did stray into deep academic waters from time to time. The topic, "Why Story Matters Now More that Ever Before" was pretty broad for a one hour talk but what I heard as the center of his thesis is that the world has changed and the old stories don't work anymore so we had better begin to develop new stories to restore trust and beliefs. I can buy that.

What made more sense to me was - when there has been a seismic shift in the world we have to recognize it to begin to re-story for the changes. That's the truth of his talk I brought home and will think about - but I am taking it to a more personal level. If you have had a seismic shift in your personal life its important to recognize it so you don't try to live by the old stories.

3. The Saturday gathering was small. That surprised me and I enjoyed it. There were a few familiar faces in the group and it was lovely to see these other storytellers. The other participants were smiling and friendly. One person told me this was her ninth Golden Fleece and there were many others who were also regulars and enjoying being with friends. As a first timer I envied their commaraderie as I watched them enteract with each other. One man, a partner for an audience exercise, told me how much he values these friends and the passion for stories they share.

By the end of the day I once more understood that storytelling can mean many things from narrative work, branding, advocacy pitching to what I do and love, oral storytelling. And -sometimes the edges blur true - but they are not the same.


3 BT - Day 16 - 2 parking lots, Storyteller, A Coloful Find

Day 16 - Two parking lots today.

Storyteller Vera Oye Yaa-Anna
Vera is a storyteller and the National Storytelling Network State Liaison for DC. as I am for MD. She and I talked on the phone a number of times and planned to meet for the past several months but schedules never meshed - until today. What a treat. Can't you see in her eyes how lively and vital she is. Fun to be with - brimming with enthusiasm and stories.
She told me that Liberia is her home country although she has lived in the US a number of years. She tells folktales, legends and other stories of her native culture. She is very definite when she talks about her goals for using storytelling to build community bridges and bring people together.
I have invited her to perform in July in Kensington and I hope that works out because I look forward to hearing her tell her stories.
Colorful Find

On the way to meet Vera at the Bethesda Starbucks I stopped in at the Montgomery County Thrift Shop and found this beauty. How could I leave it behind? Handmade, in perfect shape and the unusual color choices someone made when crocheting these squares. When I look at those squares I wonder if she used the little left over bits of wool she had in a basket to make this afghan. Whatever - I am glad it came home with me. And all for $10. Lucky find.


Day 17, Tell Your Story,

Day 17 - Counting down on the 37 days challenge


When I found this little guy a few days ago I was reminded of the first time I saw him - at a workshop at Pyramid Atlantic in the mid-1980s. This was a card someone in the DC area had designed for an art show. I picked up several of the cards and kept them, carefully.

Long before I began calling my self a storyteller I was telling stories and was drawn to documenting and preserving personal stories.

The first time I remember writing a story about my family and reading it to a group was in the 7th grade - in Phoebe Reynolds class at Piedmonth Junior High School. My classmates laughed at the way I told them about my father's antics and I was hooked.

After we married I filled long hours when Jim was doctoring by writing. Influenced by Erma Bombeck I wrote short, humorous essays about kids, and family life. Even published half a dozen - for money - in obscure periodicals.

In the 1970s , influenced by feminist artist Miriam Schapiro and other women artists I focused on making collages, books and albums with bits of personal story, photographs and objects. Does any one remember the slogan, "The personal is political"?

At that time many women artists turned to personal story, their daily lives, even their bodies for the content for their art. Believe it or not that was revoluntionary because up until then such personal matter was not considered important enough to be subject matter in "real ART."

Historically most women artists painted still life, domestic scenes and children - and that's what women were expected to paint. Not today, not anymore -

When I came to professional storytelling in 1995 it was natural for me to focus on personal stories - on family stories - as an extension of my visual art work where I had already begun this storytelling without realizing the connection.

Anyway you can do it - tell your story.

Today that's one of the reasons I love blogging - writing on this blog and reading blogs by others. Its another way of capturing my story - your story - our history.

And, in these days when people are not sitting on the front porch like they did when I was growing up or sadly many are not even sitting around the dinner table - its a way to feel human connection - to share our experiences.

Now, this is not what I expected this post to be about - another thing I love about blogging. As I make my collage or textile art on the " high wire" - that is without any pre-planning - I blog the same way.

I put up a photo and just start writing and see what comes out. Works for me - although I do have to go back frequently to correct typos (you may have noticed) or to add a bit more here and there as the idea fleshes out.

Serendipity and accident have always been part of my process so I like to work this way.


Easter PS- Something New, Memory Joggers, Day 18,

Easter PS - Something new

This is for you, kids.

Talking about memories. I looked all over for this photo for Easter and did not find it until today.
That's us - with Robin, Jimmy and Karen.
Easter Sunday morning 1965. We are standing outside our house on Aragona Drive, Oxon Hill, MD.
Would you believe it? I made the coats the girls are wearing - yeah, yeah, I know - you can tell.
That was my first and last venture into tailoring. I made dresses for them - for several years and to their relief finally gave that up too.

Memory Joggers

Toe to Toe, Altered digital photo, e. schoettler

My computer is set to flip through my photo files so I never know what memory jogging image will be on the monitor when I walk into the room. I like having this way for random reminders because it keeps the memories fresh.

Sometimes - like this morning- I stop to play with the photos.
Last year when storyteller Kate Dudding and I visited the Clark Museum I stopped to admire this Degas Dancer. This morning when I was reviewing photographs I took then I see there was one other woman in the room with me. Now I discover that the woman and the dancer are toe-to-toe.

I remember the Dancer, the gallery, even the rainy day, but I do not remember being conscious of this nice connection between the statue and the woman. Its a surprise from my artist-eye. My guess is that my "artist - eye" which is trained to notice relationships like this caught it and left it for me to find someday. Another reason I flip through photographs - often there is more than just the memory.

18 Days left in the 37 Days Challenge.
Report - I learned at the outset that my exercising would have to be bit-by-bit as part of my regular routine. I would have to notice what I was doing and claim it as exercise and extend it where I could. But, how to measure if anything is changing? Well, yesterday was a measurable test. Adjoa Burrowes and I resumed our class at the Silver Spring International Middle School. We have had a break because of testing and Spring Break.

To reach the art room I have to walk a long city block corridor that I swear is on an up-grade. Every time I have made that trek since September I have reached the art room winded. I wondered if there would be a change when I walked it yesterday. There was! Storyteller Mary Garrett left a comment suggesting a breathing technique which I did use. when I walked into the Art Room I was not breathing hard or winded. In my mind - that's a measurable outcome and tells me I need to continue and - add more exercise. Hmmm, thinking about it.

Patti Digh talks about the value of using this challenge to see your patterns. I got it! I got it!


Storytelling, Book Review,

Grey skies and rain and it doesn't look like there is any clearing in store. T

his is the kind of weather that inspires me to wrap up on the couch with a cup of hot tea and veg the day away.

But can't do that today.Storytelling is calling.
Taping my TV show this morning and teaching this afternoon.

Storytelling is saving me from wasting a day.

So - I will muster the sunshine I have stored inside my head and press on.

By the way - 37 Days countdown - 19 more days in the challenge.


A Bag of Moonshine
Folktales selected and retold by Alan Garner

The other night I pulled a Bag of Moonshine off a bookshelf thinking I would thumb through it before adding it to the discard bag. Several years ago I bought it on a library sale table and I have never used it because the illustrations turn me off.
Tonight I was making a decision about this book..

To my surprise it’s turned out to be a hidden gem. The book contains twenty-two old folktales with a strong British voice that are new to me. Happily it yields three good Jack tales which will adapt to fit me and my style of storytelling. And, The Salmon Cariad., the fantastical story of a young man who catches a feisty salmon. The fish woos and weds him – once it morphs into a beautiful young girl.

A Bag of Moonshine was published in 1988 in London. I have not changed my mind about the drawings. They are grotesque and not to my taste at all. Some of the words are so local I have to guess at their meanings which is challenging.

But, if you see it on a sale table take a look. If you are a storyteller you too could find a story in this collection that suits you.
Yes, I am keeping the book.


2 Roses, 20 Days Left,

A two rose salute to all those taking part in the 37 Days Challenge to themselves

20 days left in the 37 Days Challenge.

I said I would put exercise into my life and I have. Not exactly as I originally planned - with a walk-a-day. Early on I realized I would have to find exercise in my usual routine and claim it. Walk further in a parking lot, climb steps when I could, and breathe deeply. Make those steps count for something for me. Believe it or not these bits make a difference. I know myself for the slug I am and I can feel that its helping. The real test comes tomorrow when a class I am teaching at a local Middle School reconvenes. The Art Room is at the back of the building. It takes a city block long walk down a very long corridor to reach it. Since September every time I have walked this walk since I have reached the classroom winded. Lets see what tomorrow brings.


Happy Easter, Purple Iris X 3, Storytelling

Purple Iris x 3 - variations on a theme
altered digital photos, e. schoettler

This week-end I have been working on new stories for programs coming up in May. One is about Mama. I have been thinking about it a lot the past few weeks - you know the way you let a song or idea play in the background as you mull it over. This week-end I re-crafted the opening and closing in a way that is a bit different for me and that I think strengthens the story.
It has set me to thinking about this question. How do you refine your craft? It happens with me in different ways and often not when I am expecting it.
Last week when Jim was in the hospital I read Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book aloud to him. I have already read the book and as I read out loud I savored the words and the flow of the opening chapter differently because I knew the story. I saw the structure of the opening and the way in which he grabbed you into the story with surprise and a bit of shock almost from the first words. That recognition settled into my awareness and I continued to think about it long after Jim had taken over the book and was relishing it on his own.
A few days later we watched our latest Netflix selection, Stephanie Daley. The movie is a sensitive, very emotional story about a teenager's accidental pregnancy. The story is moving and compelling and emotionally draining. But its the opening images on the film that are shocking and vivid for me - the camera focuses on the young girl's ski boots as she walks across a slope - each footstep red and bloody against the white snow.
These two instances of powerful openings rolled around in my thinking - brushing up against one another, polishing each other until they connected with me. Voila. I got it. And used it to polish Mama's story.
And, if I dare, I will open the story by singing a bit of an old song. That will be a shock - for me.


Lenten Lament

Discovering that I can have too many shoes just like I can wear too many hats.


Time for reflection

The quandry

How to choose?

Will I ask the right questions

Or just keep justifying things as they are?

So that I won't have to feel the stabs of change.

Waxing deep.

Its so risky

Jumping in

Don't forget - I don't know how to swim.

Just wait

It will pass

I will get through this rough patch of introspection

And settle back into my comfort zone.

Or, maybe not.

That's hope.


Good Friday

I am taking time off from the computer today to observe Good Friday.


Catching up, Storytelling and Blogging, Day 13

L is for Live, collage, e. schoettler, 2009 Series
Catching up: Lists, lists, lists - storytelling, administrative, emails, bills, pick-up, and on and on. Stepping out of life and off the lists means they are longer and more demanding when you get to them.
Blogging and Storytelling:
I don't know about you but I am always on the look out for books that can help me with things I am passionate about. So when Robin told me about this book - " I think you will like it" - I checked it out and I did.
Book review:
No One Cares What You Had for Lunch
- 100 Ideas for Your Blog
Author: Margaret Mason
This is a handy paper back book to have on your book shelf, especially if you are a blogger or a storyteller looking for prompts that will lead you to a new story.

Margaret Mason lists 100 ideas to inspire you with off-beat blog topics. She jogs your memory with short essays and questions. Some are straight forward like Give Us Something - gifts you remember or Think Back – a list of historical events to jog your memory of what you were doing when

Other ideas are unexpected: like Watch Your Language which asks for out of date phrases and sayings or Do What You Love which suggests you write about your passions.

All her topic suggestions and the short essays accompanying them are fun to read and I found them good prompts to quick start storytelling ideas.

The book jacket blurb tells you that Margaret Mason is a writer and entrepreneur living in San Francisco. Her two blogs, Mighty Girl and Mighty Goods draw more than 50, 000 visitors per week. She’s got to know something.

Storytellers know that story prompts work. They set you to thinking and often lead to new stories.
I also loved that the book is published by Peachpit Press.


Day 12

Today on 37 Days Patti Digh talks about how life plans and personal choices can be driven by circumstances that over-take your plans and intentions.
Oh, boy is that the story of my life - and Patti makes me feel better that I am not alone in being diverted from my paths.

How about this poor guy hanging on a pole in a flea market in Nice, France? There are days when I feel that way myself - just swinging in the breeze.

Jim is home. The sun was shining all day. Masses of yellow daffodils bordered Hwy 270 on the drive to Ft. Dietrick where I was telling stories today.

Jim rode up with me because we were both curious to see this highly secure federal facility. The presence of any military is very subtle but visitors and cars are carefully checked in through a fenced and guarded entrance and then visitors have to have an escort to enter into buildings. When you sign in and receive your visitor's pass you have to turn over cameras, your cell phone if it has camera capability and your driver's license. Those measures would probably have seemed extreme ten years ago but not today - living here in the DC area security is often very high. The thing that bothers me is that we have become so numbed to it - as though it was always this way. I think its important to keep reminding ourselves that the changes on public freedoms and our sense of security which changed after 9/11 are here to stay and keep in mind what's been lost - worldwide.


Day 11


Waking up in my own bed is great except that Jim is not beside me. He is still at GW. I had to come home last night because I have to tape my TV show this morning at 9 am. After that, I am expecting to bring him home - so they say. I hope so! My alarm did not go off - or I did not hear it so I am really grateful the aide was waking Jim at 6 am to take his Vital Signs - because he called me to make sure I was UP. Appreciate the team work.

Speaking of team work. TAR HEELS won last night! Michigan could not get in to stop them. Those guys in blue and white were hot. They came to WIN and they did. I missed watching it with Jim - yelling out into the room alone is like the tree falling in the woods - no one to hear it. At one point I called Jim - I knew he was watching in Room 423 - also alone - and we could cheer together.

More later -

It's later and here's More.
Jim's HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looking and feeling better.

When I taped my show this morning Melissa, my director told me the station was expanding my time from one time slot a week to THREE. It's a repeat, yes but at a variety of time, 6:15 pm, 7:45 and 9 PM something. Cool.

I will talk more about the show and the new virtual set system later. Now I have to work ono stories for tomorrow. Telling at Fort Detrick, MD.


Day 10

( In case you missed it - I just added a TIP on yesterday's post yesterday that may be of interest .)

Three Beautiful Things

1. Spring in Washington, DC is beautiful. White and pink flowering trees are in full bloom - this glory is short-lived. A sharp breeze sends petals drifting - sometimes it looks like snow flakes floating down.

2. Day 10 - yes I am walking - to the garage, the cafeteria, etc etc.

3. Jim update - he cannot go home today afterall. He is making good progress but they have not conclusively identified the guilty bacteria which hs caused it all and they will not send him home until they are sure which antibiotic will be the best.

More about the GW Hospital Senior Advantage Program: We were very surprised when a representative arrived at Jim's room carrying a lovely plant
and a smiling welcome to the program - along with a guest meal ticket and a stamp for an hour of free parking. Lovely

-and I wish you could have seen Jim's face later when he ordered his supper and they told him about the VIP menu - salmon for supper.
And this delicious supper was served on a silver tray using china dishes. Wow!

These small moments of feeling a bit special have healing power.

Definitely a Senior Advantage,


Jim's Update, Day 9, Storytelling,

1. JIM UPDATE - Jim is still in George Washington University Hospital. Fever is down. Getting better. Progress.

Yesterday we moved to a private room that has windows so this morning healing sunshine is picking up our spirits. There is a chance we could go home tomorrow. I am crossing my fingers.

TIP - When a private room became available the charge nurse told us that in order to be moved to it we had to pay $55 a night extra. Weighing everything - quiet, a private bathroom in the room and sunshine - that seemed reasonable to us so I went to admissions to PAY. I had my check book out. The admissions officer said, "you we have a program available that could say you a bit of money - SENIOR ADVANTAGE." She explained that for a one-time fee of $15 Jim and I would be given a private room (if Available) on any admission and other benefits such as 10% off in the shop and 20% off in the cafeteria. ANd some pharmacies cooperate for a discount on prescription drugs. I am sure other hospitals across the country have similar programs. Its worth checking this out.

2. DAY 9 - 37 Days Challenge - exercising along the corridors. Now that we have this room I no longer have a two block walk to the bathroom so I look for other routes to the elevator.


Jim's night nurse last night was a man from the Philippines. He came in on a conversation Jim and I were having about the "its good" story. And soon we were asking him about his experience with folktales when he was a youngster growing up in the Pbillipines. He told us that his grandmother told stories to the children every night after they said the family rosary. " How wonderful". Then he told us that the kids today are not interested in the old folk tales. "I try to tell the stories to my nieces and nephews and they are not interested." I was sad to hear that the younger generation in his family is losing that close touch with their traditions.


Day 8

Day 8. Surprise opportunities for exercise. Yesterday Jim spiked a high fever and several other symptoms so that his internist told me to take him to the GW Emergency Room.

Not surprisingly he was admitted after six hours of poking and punching and testing. So here we are.

Now -

lots of running up and down the stairs at home to get ready for the trip to GW.

Walking the corridors of the emergency room to

find a bathroom, locate Diet Cokes, and just stretching my legs.

Once on the fourth floor, because Jim is in a two bed room, I found that I have to walk one long city block straight ahead and then around the corner to get to the ladies room.

That should more that take care of my exercise allotment.

Can you tell I am trying to put my best face on this? I HATE being back here - and it looks like we will be here until Tuesday.

You know the story, "That's good" ? In short - for everything that happens in the story the Chamberlain says "that's good" and looks for a positive outcome. I had better start doing that

So I will stretch my legs around the hospital halls looking for stories.

2. Alan

Our room-mate was asleep when we came into this room at 2 am this morning. But since he waked up this morning he has been quite a presence. We first heard from Alan as he carried on extensive colorful conversations with himself on the other side of the curtain that divides the room. The only conversations like his I have heard have been when I walked by someone who has decided to live on their own on the street.

Once he got up and began moving around we were bathed in " moon shine". Alan had not tied his gown in the back and every time he turned or leaned over he "mooned" the world with his ample


very Reubenesque ass. I was reminded of one of the elder male models who would pose in the nude for painting classes at American University.

As the day wore on we came to appreciate Alan as a very well-educated guy who still takes classes at GW, is very curious about the world and has interesting opinions on everything. He's friendly and out going - kidding with everyone and calling all women "beautiful young ladies."

And he does talk - endlessly.

Late in the day we moved on to a private room where it is quiet and there is no unexpected moon-light.

I doubt we will ever forget Alan.


Day 7,

Day 7

Mother Nature steps in to help me out. It is raining and it is dark and thundering outside. That takes the pressure off so far as my even considering a walk outside as part of my challenge today.

Now I did not say I won't exercise as I have promised myself - its that I will continue to figure it out as part of my normal activities.

Today I am reminding myself not to sit over-long at the computer.
I did buy the timer. The cheaper one made in China. Big mistake. Once I wrestled it out of all the plastic packaging - it doesn't work. So I have a chance to walk across Hardwarre City's parking lot again.


Storytelling Tip, Day 6,

Burton Valley Back Packs, altered digital photo, e. schoettler
Use your photos to prompt memories and find stories.
I took this photo the day I went to Burton Valley Elem. School in Lafayette, CA to tell stories to a fifth grade class. Colorful backpacks hanging on the wall outside the classroom spoke of all the different personalities of the students as well as of how times have changed.
There was nothing like these bags when I started the first grade at the the Elizabeth School in Charlotte, NC. All the kids carried rather dull plaid fabric book bags with brown leather straps. During the school day my book bag was tucked neatly onto the metal shelf under my seat.
2. Day Six
First: follow up from yesterday. Jim was impressed when I parked at the far corner of the Hardware City Parking lot. "You are going to walk?" " I am." and I did.
Today the exercise plan is pretty clear. Verizon is scheduled to arrive this morning. Jim and I will have to move furniture and all the stuff that could be blocking their access. Get it - stooping and walking.
PS: It is now twelve hours later and I am sitting in my living room - zip zip zipping - surfing on our new FIOS lines. It is faster - not doubt. But bottom line all I really care about is that it stay ON.
The phone lines sound clearer.
And we now have access to more TV stations than I can possibly count or remember - and all my usual stations have NEW numbers.

3. Good-Bye Guiding Light - CNN announced today that they are cancelling the soap opera - or should I say - Day Time Drama - Guiding Light.
The program started as a 15 minute radio program in 1935 and went on TV in 1952. Its the saga of the Bauer Family and others. Yes, I do. Still. I don't watch everyday but I keep up with what's happening. I have to. The program connects me to many difference people and times that have nothing to do with the characters in that soap world - people in my world.
Often I would touch base with Mama and she would bring me up-to-date on what was happening in Springfield.
My favorite storyline of the 90s was the Fairytale when a poor girl (Cassie) married the rich and handsome Prince Richard and they tried to live happily ever after. Who could resist?


Day 5,

Five, collage, e. schoettler, 2009 Series

1. Day 5 - Today house cleaning is the top of my list so I will have more than enough exercise. Up and down the steps, lifting stuff off the floor, lifting to put stuff back where it belongs. You see what I mean.

For example, I walked into the kitchen this morning with my stomach sucked in, head up and shoulders back. I could feel the muscle pulls all the way to my feet. Another insight - its about thinking of HOW we are doing something.

When I tried to tell my daughter about my new approach to exercise and that I thought it was going to work for me. She countered with, "you could walk the dog." She is right, I could - even though I never do. Isn't this about observing yourself and turning your usual activities toward you goal?

I am also buying a timer this morning - Like Cynthia I will park at the back of the lot at Hardware City and when I come home I will put it on the book shelf across the room so that I have to get up to stop the noise and re-set it.