Monday, December 6, 2010

bbbcraft - gifts, inspiration and more

Perhaps one day I'll start a crafting blog.  Or maybe I'll write a book.  A cookbook, perhaps...or a book of my photographs (once I actually learn something about photography!).  Or...  or... many ideas, very little attention span...

Until I sort out my future creative endeavors, I intend to live vicariously through blogs such as bbbcraft. Friend Anna Blessing and her sisters Amy and Sarah are the crafty creators of this breezy blog. 

If you're in the mood for some one-of-a-kind gift ideas, or are simply searching for creative inspiration, scroll through the short-and-oh-so-sweet posts featuring their whimsical and stylish craft projects, including these adorable pinecone firestarters:

Photo credit:
  (Check out Design*Sponge for a diy how-to!)

Even though those pretty pinecones easily "sparked" my creative itch, I vow to stick to DTL's intended blog platform.  For now, anyway...


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Sentimental (Anxiety-Producing ) Journey

"Gonna set my heart at ease..."

My mom is a very talented piano player.  As a little girl, I would lay on the creaky hardwood floors in our dining room in our brownstone two-flat in Chicago, usually with a sleepy dog or two by my side, and sing with her as she played.

Sentimental Journey, sung by Doris Day in the 1940's, was one of my favorite tunes that mom would play.  Here's a quick glimpse if you're not familiar:

Well, the holidays are upon us, and it's no surprise to me that I've been feeling quite nostalgic and reminiscent lately.  Instead of delving into a whirlwind of deep reflections on holidays past (you're welcome), I simply wanted to just "be here."  Yup.  Post something, even if it's not the next part of my "If you really knew me" series, or a NaBloPoMo fulfillment requirement.

So, I'm here. I'm here now.
Ta aki awor

Over the past few weeks, I've been finding it so very difficult to simply live in the moment.  So here I am, publicly reminding myself to simply "stop" and ta aki awor.  "Ta aki awor," my not-so-subtle inner-wrist tattoo, means "be here now" in Papiamento (the language spoken in Aruba).  A few years ago when my husband and I were on our honeymoon there, I felt the need to remind myself, for the rest of my life, to embrace each moment and simply be "here."  Be present.  Be focused.  Be here now.

Lately, I haven't really paid much attention to the meaning of that tattoo.  I've realized that as much as I long for the excitement that "newness" brings, I often find it so difficult to stop and take the time to process change and focus on what it means for my life and the lives of others.  That inability to simply stop and think makes me anxious, which in turn, sparks the need in me to create more change in my life in an attempt to escape said anxiety for the short term.  Such a journey, I create for myself...

Tumble leaf, now

Denver's Tumbling Leaf was created a few years ago because I knew I'd always be the type of person who was not ashamed to "turn a new leaf" and start over.  Twist, turn, tumble and fumble, actually.  Well, thanks to the not-so-mysterious magic of Facebook, I've been trying to tumble in a direction away from my "live in the moment" anxiety, so I can truly enjoy my sentimental journey.  I have recently reconnected with some great friends from the past who I have been thinking about for quite some time.  I've dug through boxes of old photos, righted some wrongs, and relived some pretty kick-ass memories.

Some pretty kick-ass memories.  To really "set my heart at ease."


Monday, November 8, 2010

If you have to cry...

go outside.

 At least that's the advice that noted fashion publicist, Kelly Cutrone, gives in her book titled, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You. Well, I've read her book.  I get her point.  But I realized that her advice doesn't necessarily translate to some aspects of childcare. 

For example...

I was smack dab in the middle of an informal job interview this evening.  The interviewer said the standard, "Tell me a little bit about yourself..."  Surprisingly, before I could even mutter a word, tears began streaming down my cheeks.

As I sat there on the comfy living room couch, crying like a school girl, I cradled the interviewer's sleeping three-month-old boy in my arms. At that moment, I thought to myself, "This has GOT to be one of the only professions in which crying in the middle of an interview is actually a GOOD thing."


This morning I learned that one of the families in my nanny share will be making alternative arrangements for childcare in the near future (for personal reasons beyond their control).  Sure, I've only been working with their toddler for a few months now, but as silly as it sounds, I have already formed a special bond with her.  I am heartbroken that I won't have much more time to watch her learn, discover and grow.  And aside from being heartbroken, I agreed to meeting a prospective replacement family just hours after learning the news of the change.  (Way to give yourself time to process and make sense of things, Chrissy...ugh.)

So tonight...when this lovely mom of the baby in my arms asked me about myself, I really wanted to rattle off my professional experience, proudly speak of my hobbies, and more or less, with all my might, impress her.

All I could think of at that moment though, was the little girl I was leaving behind.  Her parents, who, over the past few months, have taken such good care of me.  And that special bond with the quirky, chubby, gorgeous little toddler whose future will soon be in the hands of a stranger.


Was I embarrassed about my sudden tearful outburst?  Yup.  Did I want to immediately hide under a rock?  Absolutely.  But deep down, though I wish I wouldn't have let my emotions get the best of me, I knew it would end up being okay. 

The new family loved that I was sad over the change because it showed that I was emotionally invested in the job and truly cared about the children, and happily agreed to take take over for the current family and be a part of the nanny share.

Sorry, Kelly Cutrone.  This time, when I cried, I stayed inside.


My Favorite Nephew

I have two nieces, on Mark's side.

But no nephews.

If I did have a nephew, however, he would be this kid, right here:

He's my best friend's son, who I absolutely adore.  (Technically, I adore both of them...)  He is my favorite seven-year old, and if you ever had the chance to meet him, I'm sure he'd be yours too.

Case in point:  When he was told that I would be babysitting for him this past weekend, he got so excited about hanging out with me, that he added this to his calendar so he wouldn't forget:

Talk about a confidence booster!  Thanks, buddy...

If there's anyone else out there who would like to pencil me in, please don't hesitate.

Hee hee...



Well, I didn't even make it through the weekend for NaBloPoMo.  I certainly didn't realize how difficult it would be to post on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  It was a lofty goal, but at least I tried!

I'm not going to scrap the idea all together.  I'm behind by 3 posts, so I will make them up.  I realize it is against the official NaBloPoMo rules, but the point is to be motivated to write, and I still am.  I think I'll try 30 blogs in 30 days instead.

(My bestie Jill did it successfully just last month, so I will channel her energy and commitment and try my hardest!)

Time for this leaf to tumble yet again (read my profile description and you'll totally get it) and start fresh.  Ready...



Thursday, November 4, 2010

Falling Slowly

I feel like this at the moment:

(Yep, that's me.  1984-ish)

I'm just exhausted, and it's time for bed.  Hoping for a more substantial post tomorrow.  

Until then, enjoy these lovely lyrics to Falling Slowly (one of my favorite songs), by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova:

 (photo credit:

Falling Slowly

I don't know you
But I want you
All the more for that

Words fall through me
And always fool me
And I can't react
And games that never amount
To more than they're meant
Will play themselves out

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You'll make it now

Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can't go back
Moods that take me and erase me
And I'm painted black
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It's time that you won

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You've made it now
Falling slowly sing your melody
I'll sing along

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"If You Really Knew Me" Part 3: Denver Arts Week

If you really knew me, you'd know that...

...for as much as I try to publicly make sense of the "tough stuff" in my life, I also thrive on celebrating and sharing my adventures and experiences with the creative process.

...although my creativity often stems from feelings of inadequacy, I would never think of trading the artistic side of me (if I were ever given the chance) for even a glimpse of a slightly easier journey. 

...just because maintaining a sense of balance is a daily struggle for me, it doesn't mean that I don't value the concept.

That said, the first few parts of this series were rather serious in nature.  Therapeutic?  Yes.  Balanced?  Not quite.  I believe it's time to lighten the mood a bit and pass along a link to an amazing celebration of passion and creativity, taking place right here in my own backyard.

Check out this fabulous list of events going on during Denver Arts Week (next week!).  If you don't live in Denver...well, sorry about your luck.  If you do, and are interested in checking out an event with me, let me know.  I'll see what I can do.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"If You Really Knew Me" Part 2: Note-to-Self (-Doubt)

NaBloPoMo - Day 2!  
(How's THAT for momentum?)

Speaking of momentum, I realize that a "series" of blog posts is quite possibly the most effective if less than two months pass between posts.  I get that.  What can I say?  It is what it is, my friends.  Meh.

Credit Limit

So.  Let's just say that if I had a nickel for every time I have heard, "You really need to give yourself more credit," I would probably be able to retire at the ripe old age of 32 (yikes...2 months from now).  The words "not good enough"seem to have been permanently tattooed on the back of my brain, and I believe their harsh significance, despite how often people tell me, "Chrissy, you are such a positive and creative person."

Why, thank you, random compliment-givers.  I try my best to be positive.  And I feel the need to be creative to compensate for not quite measuring up.  Case in point:  my teaching career.  I spent two years of my life as a full-time graduate student at UC Denver for elementary education.  I completed my student teaching.  I completed ALMOST all of my required coursework for my teaching license.  Almost.  Almost.  almost.

The word "almost" has become the yin to my self-doubt's yang.  The pod for its peas.  The dark night to MY bright, shiny day.

Since there are 28 more NaBloPoMo days to go, I'll save my explanation on how I've been working toward turning my "almost" moments to "always" triumphs for future November posts.  Stay tuned...

Extra Credit

In an attempt at giving myself props, I'll give myself credit for my note-to-self in Part 1 of "If You Really Knew Me."  In true Chrissy fashion, when I sat down to write this post, I couldn't quite remember what I wanted to focus on in Part 2.  So...I referenced Part 1 and there it was, plain as day.  "Note-to-self (-doubt)".  Great work, Mrs. Richter.  You know yourself well enough to give yourself blatant reminders in an attempt to stay on track.  Numerous other parts of my life might seem completely off-track at the moment (who am I kidding...ALWAYS), but Part 2 of this series?




Monday, November 1, 2010

NaBloPoMo - Day 1!

I promise...I really haven't forgotten about my "If You Really Knew Me" series.  I have plenty of Thingportants to share this month, including the continuation of the series I began a few months ago.

Yup, I said "this month."  November, 2010.  I've decided to participate in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), which means I have committed to posting every day for an entire month.  Read about it here if you're not familiar...

Anyway - I know it's not going to be an easy feat, but I've been itching to write lately to process some recent thoughts and experiences, so committing to doing NaBloPoMo this month gave me the perfect excuse to get on it!

NaBloPoM-OH MY...  What have I gotten myself into?  Wish me luck...  (thanks for your support in advance!)

(I realize this logo is from 2009...can't find a 2010, and seriously, I don't care enough to find one.  Ha!)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

“If You Really Knew Me” Part 1 – Separation Anxiety, Much?

In my last post, the introduction to this “If You Really Knew Me” series, I encouraged readers to stay tuned for Part 1, titled, “Sweet Home…”  And, in true “Chrissy fashion,” I planned to follow up the title with this:
 Yup, that’s right.

I envisioned using a cheeky reference to the song “Sweet Home Chicago” as an intro to my reflection on the process of moving far away from my hometown.  From my family.  From my friends.  From my history.  From my life.

It would have possibly progressed a little something like this:

“I was born in Chicago.  Grew up in Chicago.  Went to undergrad in Indiana.  Started my post-grad life back in Chicago.  My parents and brothers – born in Chicago.  School – Chicago.  Life – Chicago.  One exception – my older brother – college in Indiana.  Back to Chicago.
Certainly, I’m not the only 30-something in Denver to be considered as a “transplant.”  I’m sure I’m not the first to admit that moving away from “home” to start a new life was really, really, really hard. 

I mean…REALLY.”

Well, a few days have passed since my initial “Chicago-style” brainstorm.  Since then, a more suitable idea (in my opinion, of course) for a theme for Part 1 emerged randomly after chatting to a stranger about dogs.

(Perfectionist, much?)

Stick with me.  It’ll click…

Mark and I walked to the Einstein Bagels in our neighborhood last Sunday and ate breakfast outside on the patio.  As Tucker lounged on the ground next to us, basking in the beautiful Denver weather, a man who was about our age and also had a dog with him asked us,

“Does your dog chew through his leash?” 

Thankfully, we answered,


Before we could even explain that he does chew through back doors and entire couches, he followed up with,

“Mine does.  He will chew through an entire leash and break free if we tie him up.  I mean…separation anxiety, much?”

We simply grinned and said something along the lines of,

“Sorry to hear that, man,”

and before we knew it, he was on his way.  We were both thinking to ourselves,

“If you only knew what Tucker’s separation anxiety has done to our house, pal.”

Well, that seemingly insignificant exchange got me to thinking (I know…watch out!).  The contemplative side of me saw an opportunity for reflection on my own experience with separation and anxiety, and the much-more-difficult-to-detect destruction it has unfortunately done to our home.

Separation = anxiety, and so much more

I often have conversations with my best friend about how “we all have our thing.”  Because we do.  We all have something in our lives that we wish we didn’t have to deal with that makes us who we are.  We’re human.  We’re imperfect.  We learn and grow and evolve through the process of how we handle said “things.”  I like to call them thingportants.

You could be a struggling single parent.  Or have a chronic illness.  Lost your job, perhaps.  Made a life-changing decision.  Maybe you recently lost a loved one.  The list goes on. 

From this list, many of us seem to have generated quite a collection of thingportants.  Plural.  Mucho.  Many.  More than one.  To the extent that if you can only count your thingportants on one hand, there might be something seriously wrong with you.

Well.  For me, it took a move to Denver for my thingportants to surface high enough to where I had no choice but to take notice. Separation from the comforts of “home” was enough to kick them into overdrive.  They’ve been there, deep down, but I never really could quite put my finger on exactly what they were.  I was, however, aware of "The King of My Thingportants," who had a little voice who constantly whispered to me ever since I could remember,

“You can’t,”
“You’re clearly not good enough!”    

I’m just now figuring out (hence the purpose of this series), that this person -- voice, crown and all -- is (and always was)…


Here's me.  King of My Thingportants.  My own worst enemy

Note-to-self (-doubt)

If you really knew me…

…you’d know that the phrase, “and at the end of the day…” bothers the living daylights out of me.  Sure, it’s popular right now, but at the end of the day, it will fall by the wayside.  Just you wait.

…you’d also know that I consider another hot phrase of the moment, “(insert word here), much?”, i.e., “separation anxiety, much?” or “sarcastic, much?” makes me chuckle just as much as, say, “Thanks, Captain Obvious!”

…you’d know that Part 2 of this series will probably focus on self-doubt, because I sometimes like to use my quirky sub-headings as creative reminders. 

…you’d know that it’s possible that a future post in this series might include a mention or two of ADHD, because you’d know I also need lots of reminders.'d know that it's killing me right now that I didn't say "focus on ADHD" because I pretty much never pass up a chance to make up a fun pun.  I absolutely adore awesome puns.  Oh, and alliteration as well.  

Geez, Chrissy.  Quite a long post for Part 1.
“Ramble, much?”

-King of My Thingportants (and as you'll learn in Part 2, Self-Doubt), aka, DTL

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"If You Really Knew Me" - Series Introduction

I've got a lot of explaining to do.

Well, I don't HAVE to.  I'd like to.

I've been avoiding some people lately.  Loved ones have been asking perfectly legitimate questions such as, "So...what are you up to these days?" and "Have you been interviewing for a teaching position?"  or "Will you be teaching at a school this fall?"

It's not that I don't know how to respond.  Or what to say.
It's just... a really long story.

And so, this series was born.
  I decided to write this "series" of blog posts in order to fill you in.  Pull you back into the loop.  Get you up to speed. More importantly, to use my keyboard as a vehicle for my search for understanding and balance. Simple enough, right?

I ask that you please read this series with an open mind and heart.  I'm thrusting this information out into the universe because that's how I tend to cope.  My heart seems to be permanently sewn to my sleeve, and I have no qualms about sharing this information.  Rephrase:  Sharing this information NOW.  The past was a different story...

"If You Really Knew Me..."
I've recently gotten sucked into a new MtV reality show (I know...shocker...) called, "If You Really Knew Me."   Each episode features a different high school that goes through the process of what's called "Challenge Day."  Read about it's pretty amazing.  Anyway, small groups of students who don't really know each other take turns explaining the challenges they face in life by using the sentence starter, "If you really knew me..."  The Challenge Day leaders do an excellent job of creating a safe environment for the students to open up, talk about their home lives, insecurities, hardships, etc.

 Photo credit: Zach Cordner

The moral of the story?  At the end of Challenge Day, the students leave with a greater sense of community, and an awareness that they are not alone in their struggles.  Classmates from different social groups and cliques might be going through some of the same day-to-day hardships as they are.  Which inspires them to go out into the school community and "Be the change." 

Challenge Day reminds me of a retreat I attended my senior year of high school called Kairos.  (Here's a quick explanation.)  This particular retreat was religion-based, and lasted 3 days instead of one.  I walked away with many of the same insights as the students do after participating in Challenge Day.  We even had our own equivalent to "Be the change."  Ours was, "Live the fourth."  Since Kairos was three days long, we were reminded to live the fourth day, and each day after, in the same respect as we did during the retreat; without judgment, with an open mind and heart, etc."

My Kairos retreat group - Resurrection High School seniors, class of 1996

After watching my first episode of the MtV show, I got the idea to possibly refer to it in a future blog.  After reading a interview about the show, I decided to write this blog series.  Here's a snippet that inspired me: 
"What's the biggest thing you took away from this experience?"

Challenge Day Student: 
"To remember you don't know what type of home somebody comes from. It's human nature to judge somebody and it's up to you whether you hold that person accountable for the judgment that you're going to be making because more often than not they're false accusations. You don't know what kind of morning they had, you don't know what kind of night they had. You don't know how their family has raised them or how their friends treat them, you don't know anything about them except for their outer appearance. So that motivated me to get to know people better ... What it is that they're going through in their lives and just let them know that I'm there for them." 
"What gave you the power to be able to share your story?:

Challenge Day Student:
"When other people open up, it gets a lot easier for you to open up. The people who were running Challenge Day shared a lot, which was really cool because they went through things I couldn't even imagine having to go through in my life. So that struck a little bit of motivation to show that it's OK. Before we started sharing about ourselves, they did techniques to break down the walls and get everyone to loosen up and start bonding with each other. As soon as we sat down and it came time to sharing, it just took that one person to step forward and take a bit of courage to go first and the feeling just felt natural."

My step forward
I realize that I have not gone through in the past, and am not currently going through, such devastating events as some of these high school students.  Or even as some of my friends or my family members.  I have a wonderful life filled with supportive, loving people.  Please know that I do not want to discredit this fact one bit.

I struggle sometimes, however, like we all do, and in order to work through it, I'd like to take a small step forward now and provide a quick glimpse into what I'll be writing about in this series.  Also, I'm doing this for my new mentee -- a beautiful high school sophomore who is a fantastic student.  She needs me to be there for her and to support her over the next three years to keep her on track for college.  I simply want to be honest about myself right now and take steps to REALLY being okay with who I am and how I operate.   I want to show her that I am there for her completely.  100%.  So here goes...

If you really knew me...
... you'd know that I've been struggling with a major bout of paralyzing anxiety and depression since December, 2009.
 ... you'd know that I haven't finished my school work from Fall, 2009.  Getting there -- but not quite.
... you'd know that I'm putting off teaching for a year.  I'm currently interviewing for a full-time nanny position.
... you'd know that I'm taking this year to enjoy my relationship with my wonderful husband, and to spend some much-needed quality time with him before I dive into my first year of teaching.'d know that perfectionism completely overtakes me -- to the point of not wanting to get out of bed some mornings.'d know that I procrastinate and avoid things because I feel like I am not good enough.'d know that after a recent extensive psychological and learning disability evaluation, I was officially diagnosed with:
1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
2. Learning Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, Mixed Type
3. ADHD, Combined Type.'d know that I am working with a therapist on cognitive behavior therapy, and I am starting to feel much better!'d know that my husband is the most supportive, genuine, loving and caring person I have ever met.'d know that I am going to be okay.

This tumbling leaf of mine...
Whew.  It feels good to exhale after typing all of that.  Well.  I created Denver's Tumbling Leaf for this exact reason.  If you're not familiar with my general platform, take a look at my description on the left.  Through this series (and beyond), I intend to elaborate on my journey of moving to Colorado and discovering who I am.  I'll reflect on my twists and turns, tumbles and fumbles, and share a bit more about the ups and downs that have gotten me to where I am right now.  Oh, and oops!  I forgot a few...

If you really knew me...'d know that I hope you'll join me on my journey!'d know that I truly value each and every one of you, and appreciate your support'd know that this series is not just all about me.  It's a process of getting to know myself, so I can be inspired and motivated to get to know YOU better.  I sure hope you don't mind.

Stay tuned for "If You Really Knew Me" Part 1 - Sweet Home...
With love and gratitude,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Today, I Am a Bronzed Goddess! All Hail...

I apologize if you were expecting this...

I wish.  Nope...not today.

Instead, unfortunately, the doorbell rang as I was getting dressed and applying makeup this morning.  Tucker darted at the door in one fell swoop, barking his enormous head off.  I, of course was startled, screamed like a little girl, and shot into the air.   And then...

...before I knew it, the loose powder bronzer that was nestled in my palm flew out of my hand in what seemed like the slowest of motion, bounced off the sink and ricocheted off the wall, spewing brown sparkly dust over anything and everything in its wake, including my entire arm, my hair dryer, my phone, and my shirt.  Basically everywhere except for the "porcelain god," who apparently, wanted this goddess to have the bronze all to herself.




"Ohhhhhh fuuuuuuudge!!!!!!!" I exclaimed in what seemed like slow motion as well.  I stood there, staring in the mirror at the mess.  My entire bathroom, cream-colored tile and all, went up in a huge puff of radiant ridiculousness.  Before I could even catch my breath, I realized that I still needed to see who rang the bell.  

So, I grabbed a tank top out of the dryer so I could quickly change the bedazzled one, and darted toward the front door.  It was the Qwest internet guy, who needed to be let into our yard.  I led him to the gate, pointed to the side of our house where the internety stuff was, and headed back inside.  

I glanced in the mirror once again (BAD IDEA!) and noticed that my freshly trimmed bangs were sticking straight up in the air, There's Something About Mary-style.  My hair was wet, and I didn't have a chance to take a blow dryer to it (unless I wanted sparkly dusty hair too, which, needless to say, I decided against).  

"Not too big of a deal," I thought.  Until I noticed the super long deodorant streaks that made an unexpected appearance all over shirt #2.  I had rushed to put said shirt on so quickly, that apparently I didn't pay attention to my technique.  And if you're a female, you are well aware of the technique.  Even if your product of choice claims it, "Goes on clear!"  Do. not. stray. from the technique.

So, of course, I changed again.

I then decided that it would benefit me greatly to wait until after I ate a sandwich and took a few deep breaths before tackling the bathroom clean up endeavor.  And man, I must have been REALLY thirsty after the ordeal, because I completely missed my mouth.  And spilled my iced tea.  All down shirt #3.

What now?  I thought.  

Well, for starters, I will laugh.  Giggle, chuckle, whatever it takes.  I'll just take it for what it's worth.  

And then later, I'll blog about it, so others can share in my laughter, and also the realization that sometimes, the price of trying to look pretty is sooooooo not worth it.

Unless you look like the girl in the Estee Lauder ad.  Then, I'm sure, the price is TOTALLY worth it!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Good Man is Hard to Find...

Calling all Denver-area GUYS!  (and GIRLS too, of course, to help spread the word...)

I recently became a mentor for a wonderful high school girl through an organization called   
Byrne Urban Scholars.  I wrote about it a while back...check it here.

Well, there are still some high school males in need of wonderful male mentors.   Speaking from experience, it's not an enormous time commitment -- The organization asks mentors to make weekly phone contact with mentess and twice-monthly get-togethers, which are often facilitated by the Byrne Urban Scholars staff  (of course, hang out more if you'd like!).

Below is a message from the organization.  It would be very much appreciated if you could help me to spread the word about the demand for male mentors.  Perhaps e-mail this post to friends?  Post it on your Facebook wall?  Mention it to coworkers?  I'd be so grateful...

Thank you, in advance, if you are able to help this amazing organization to spread the word!
July 20, 2010 
  Hello Byrne Urban Scholars community! We appreciate your help in spreading the word about our need for male mentors. We have had a good response from the email sent last week, but we still have some male students we are looking to match with a mentor. Do you know the right match for one of our students? Maybe it's your neighbor, co-worker, spouse, fellow church member, teammate, brother, father-in-law...

Here are details about a couple of our students waiting for a match. Please pass on this email and contact me at or 303-355-1700 with contact information for any potential male mentor so that I can follow up with that person. 

La Academia (9th Avenue and Galapago St.) - This student will be in 10th grade. He lives near 38th and High with his mom, dad and older brother. He enjoys baseball, football, basketball, playing outdoors, bowling, and museums. He hopes his mentor will be willing to help with homework and help him organize school work. He wants to be an architect or engineer.
KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy (Alameda and Tejon) - This student will be in 7th grade. He lives near Sheridan and Exposition with his mom and dad. He is the oldest of 3 boys, with another sibling on the way. He is reserved and shy around adults, and he prefers a mentor that it very warm and engaging. This student does well in school, but lacks confidence. He enjoys sports (especially basketball and baseball), games, computers, movies. He wants a mentor to help with homework and help with problems at school.
This just gives a snapshot of a couple of the students we are looking to match. If you would like to know more information, we are happy to provide more in a one-on-one conversation. We also have other students not described here who need a mentor.

Mentors commit to one year of mentoring, although the majority of our mentors stay with the same student throughout the student's time in high school. Mentors and students maintain weekly phone contact and see each other at least two times per month, based on their schedules and interests. Each mentor and mentee match is assigned a case manager for additional support. Susan will provide more details about mentoring with Byrne Urban Scholars upon contact with potential mentors.
Join us at Guys' Night Out on Wednesday, July 28th, 5:30 to 8 pm at Tavern Uptown (538 East 17th Avenue - 17th Avenue and Pearl St.) to learn more about mentoring with Byrne Urban Scholars and more about the students who still need a mentor. Click on the link below for more information and to RSVP.

Guys' Night Out Evite
We appreciate your help in getting all of our students matched. With your support, we will graduate one student at a time!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Most Beautiful Disaster

Well,  Since I've been tirelessly working away on school work so I can finally be finished and apply for my teaching license, my blog has taken somewhat of a back seat for now. 

In the meantime, I thought I'd share this fabulous blog with you.  Disaster on Heels keeps me smiling daily with her fabulous wit! Give her a try. Guaranteed, you'll ROTFL. Or, whatever the heck that means...


Here's how she describes herself...

About this Disaster

My move to Chicago was a gamble. Turns out, I bet on the wrong horse.  I moved in with my boyfriend and exactly 5 months later, on July 15 2009,  I moved out.

I packed an overstuffed yellow suitcase in a fit of projectile tears.  I made sure to get all the essentials.  I wheeled them down the street to my friend’s refuge, teetering in 5” red heels.

I opened the bag to see what I had to wear to work the following day.  Inside I found:
  • 4 pairs of high heels
  • 3 bangle bracelets
  • 12 pairs of earrings
  • 5 drawer liners
  • 2 cosmetic bags
  • 7 t-shirts
  • 1 bra
  • 15 pairs of underwear
  • 2 packs of frozen spinach
  • 1 bag of frozen shrimp
  • 1 chilled bottle of Grey Goose Vodka
  • A striking absence of pants
For the next week at work I told people I was exploring my artistic side, all whilst hyperventilating in a cubicle.

This is my story.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Declaration of The Profit...Midnight Tonight!

If you've read this post, you know that my friend Jason who co-wrote a script for a television pilot called False Profit
Well, voting for the contest ends at midnight tonight.  The winner of the three finalists will be announced, and $5,000 will be awarded.  It looks like False Profit is currently in second place.  Let's do all we can to bump it to first!

If you have a chance to read his script, or just plain feel like doing me a favor, please log in and VOTE.  If you already have done so, THANK YOU.  Please don't vote again.  They're only allowing one per person.

To get to the actual script, click here.  Then click on False Profit on the right, and then "download it."

Jason and Michael, you're already winners in my book.
Good luck, False Profit!  


Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Top Ten Eds, Eddies and Edwards of All Time

I need a laugh.  And I know my family does right now, too.  This one's for you, Eddie  ;-) 

#10 - Ed Grimley

Wikipedia describes him as,"A hyperactive, neurotic nerd with a large frontal cowlick who is obsessed with banal pop culture, especially Wheel of Fortune and its host, Pat Sajak. He also loves to play the triangle, which for him consists of playing a recorded musical piece, striking the triangle once, and then wildly dancing to the recording."   How awesome is Ed Grimley?

#9 - Edward Scissorhands

Surely, self-explanatory.  His name is Edward, and he has scissors for hands.  Genius.

#8 - Ed McMahon

He never did show up at my door with a huge check from Publisher's Clearinghouse, but he's still pretty awesome in my book.

#7 - Eddie Van Halen

Oh yes... 
"I get up, and nothing gets me down.
I like to jump. and then go round and round
And I know, just how it feels.
You've got to roll with the punches to get to what's real..."

#6 - Eddie Vedder

The words to Yellow Ledbetter don't need to make sense...his hotness makes up for his mumbles!

#5 - Eddie Cibrian

Sans Leann Rimes, please.  WOW!  He's gorgeous.

#4 - 80's Eddie Murphy

Notice how I said "80's" Eddie Murphy.  I can do without 2000's Eddie Murphy. 

#3 - Edward Cullen

Well DUH!

#2 - Mr. Ed

Does he really need an explanation?  Coolest.  Horse.  Ever.

#1 - My Cousin Ed
LOVE YOU, ED!  Feel better soon...


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dear Eddie...

It's me, your cousin Chrissy.  I'd ask you how you're doing, but that would just be a silly question.  I can picture you now saying, "DUH, Chrissy."  Since you were always the first to tell the story to anyone who would listen about how I got ketchup on the back of my jacket while I was wearing it, I guess I'd just expect a smart ass (yet funny!) remark from you.  It's just how you roll.

Anyway, I've been thinking lately about how you and I are kind of alike.  I never really made the connection when we were kids, but I have noticed it more and more over the years.  Maybe it's our similar attention spans (or lack thereof), or our less-than-traditional route to figuring ourselves out.  And our entire family knows about our inability to communicate in a timely manner!  Boy, they just don't understand us, Ed...

Well, I could use this chance to tell you how proud I am of you for your service in the army.  Or to tell you that I'm praying for you and Karen, and hoping for a speedy recovery.  Even to talk about how it stinks that sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring a family closer.  But, I won't.  Not yet.  I tied a couple of yellow ribbons around our tree in Denver for you and Karen, and I'm letting those ribbons speak for themselves.

Instead, I want to share some family photos so we can all remember what it's like when we can all be together.  It's rare nowadays, since we've gotten older, started families, and have gone our separate ways.  It doesn't mean that we can't have a good laugh right now at some of these pics, because although we may have annoyed each other at times, we sure did have some fun!

I thought I'd begin with our Colorado trip.  I'm not sure if this was taken before or after Caryn fell out of the raft.  Ever since I pulled this photo out of a box, I've been singing, "FAR AWAY!!!!! (far away)  FAR AWAY!!!!  (far away)  Oh, the ranch with the horsies, is far, far away.  FAR AWAY!!!"  Thanks, Uncle Jerry.  You managed to get a song stuck in our heads for almost 20 years.

I love this one.  Here you are, standing with your hands on your belt, just like grandpa.  You were always good for a laugh...

And let's not forget dancing.  We definitely danced a lot.  Here's me and you, doing something weird.  Who knows...  Caryn looks like she's having a BALL!

 "You mean we get to dance with GRANDMA?  Get out of town!" 

"No, Chris!  Like this!  Turn your hand over this way...dummy!"

Check you out -- more dancing with your dad and Mikey in Montana.  "Ohhhhh I don't want her you can have her she's too fat for me!"

And who can forget our Super Bowl Shuffle performance?  Caryn, nice job keeping Mike in line...

"We are the Bears, shufflin' crew...shufflin' on down, doing it for you!  We're so bad, you know we're good, blowing your mind like you knew we would!"  Ha ha...turn, Mike!  Turn!  Is that WWF on the television?

Of course, there's the standard cousins photo in front of the Christmas tree.  You and Mike are too cute here.  You too, Jennifer.  Jay, did Eddie punch you just before this shot?  You look ticked!

We're older here, but I probably did punch Mike.  And he probably deserved it  :-)

Sure, you can be a little cranky sometimes.  Just put Jesus in the manger, will ya, Ed?

But you always make up for it.  That's better!

See...  Cranky...

Better!  And there's Caryn, the Bozo Buckets coach.  She should know...she played the REAL Bozo Buckets on television!  Yep, I'm still jealous...

And, well, perhaps when you're feeling better you might kill me for posting this pic, but this is payback for all of the "ketchup/jacket" stories.  Nice turtleneck, Ed!

Finally, in all seriousness, here's our latest picture of all of us this past Christmas.  I even added Aunt Barb, Shawn and Barb, he he.  We all miss you.  We're all proud of you.  And we all can't wait until your next, "Well...DUH!"

With all my heart,
Your cousin Chrissy

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

False Profit -- Ironically, A Friend's Impending Livelihood

I'm so proud to say that my friend Jason co-wrote a television pilot script.  A TELEVISION pilot! 
It's called False Profit.  It was chosen by StoryBoard TV (the community for long-form fictional television) as one of three finalists for a live script reading in New York.  And NOW... it's competing in the final round, and winning writers receive $5,000!

Well, the fate of False Profit is in our hands...

I'm typically not one to beg people to vote for "beautiful baby" or "cutest puppy" contests.  This contest, however, means the world to my friend.  It's his "baby," in a sense.  I can tell you to just hop online and vote for his script out of the kindness of your heart.  But that's not how I roll.

Instead, I'm giving you a chance to read an actual television pilot and decide for yourself!  How cool is that, right?  If you like it, definitely share it with friends.  Oh yeah..and VOTE, and ask them to vote as well...You have until JULY 15th to cast your vote.

Here's how:

  1. Click on
  2. Register with your email address(es) and password
  3. Click on the validation link in the email from StoryboardTV
  4. Click on "I would watch this" under False Profit.
You can click on "False Profit," and then "Download it" and you'll have the entire PDF of the script to read.

Please only vote ONCE.  The organization recently deleted ALL of the votes because people voted more than once.  They actually started the final round voting completely over from scratch, which hopefully does not have an effect on the results...  
Again, the deadline is July 15th.  Many, many, many thanks in advance for your consideration!
 (Jason...and his extremely large sandwich...thanks you, too!)


Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Fumblings, Vol. 6 - Tardy Birthday Tumblings, The Sarah Sturm Edition

Well, I took the week off from blogging.  I was feeling under the weather, dealing with a destructive dog, and working on some school work.  And honestly -- sometimes I just need a break.

Back to business:

It was someone's birthday yesterday, and I thought about her all day.  I didn't call her, however, because I never really have been good at timely communication.  I'm working on it...  (always...)  Well, she's my best friend from college, and I've known her officially now for about 15 years.  And yes, that makes me old, but it makes HER even older, since she's older than me  ;-)

Here she is with cute-as-a-button son, Cameron

She's my best friend Sarah.  She's sarcastic, brilliant, loving, strikingly gorgeous, and believe it or not, a little shy at times.  She was president of our class at St. Joe.  A born leader.  Star track and cross coutry runner.  Responsible, thrifty, savvy and most certainly, sweet.

And because she has such a wonderful sense of humor (hint, hint!), I'm sure she's not going to mind these college pics of us  (they are some of my most favorite memories, and I look like a shmuck in them too, so I'm calling it even):

 Christmas dance, freshman year at Saint Joe.  That's Sarah in the pretty blue dress.  Man, we were young!

In my dorm room in Halas Hall.  Yes, we were stuffing our bras.  She always loved when I embarrassed her...  Right Sar?

Oh, and here's me with her oldest, Spencer.  Such a sneaky little thing!  

I'm guessing we were rocking out to Shania Twain here.  Because we were 
THAT cool.

Well, I could go on, but I think I made my point.  She's my friend.  And she rocks.



Much love,

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