Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sara, Farewell to a Special Dog

We are very sad to report the loss of Sara Schwab, a special Sit Stay Read dog. Sara was a loving, calming presence for so many children in our programs and a faithful companion to Gail and her family.

Sara and Gail were certified as a Sit Stay Read dog team in March 2005 and volunteered at our very first session at Manierre School that fall. They've been there every year since and you can see this wonderful team in action at Manierre last spring in the online local NBC news video.

Our condolences to Sara's family and many friends and admirers. You will be missed, dear one. Nine and a half years was just not enough time.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fuzzy Spiked Caterpillar

Shandy and I were lounging on the deck the other day (our favorite summer "activity") when I spied this little fuzzy critter.

Haven't seen a caterpillar with spikes before so I tried to find some info online. You won't believe the variety of caterpillars out there--some are darn scary. See for yourself at What's That Bug. I've sent them a request to see if they can identify our find and will keep you posted. Can you name that caterpillar?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ms. Garcia Visit

When Ms. Garcia (yes, from Lowell School) came to pick-up materials for a community program she's leading for us (how cool is it that our fabulous program teachers volunteer their time over the summer to help more kids learn to read!?) she brought a wonderful surprise guest--her gorgeous niece, Naima.

Not only is she beautiful though, Naima is one smart girl! She's already learning her numbers (ok, so really only one number so far--everything is "dos") and letters.

I really wanted to get a photo of Naima with Shandy and Comiskey (Ms. Garcia's chihuahua) but she's just too fast for me--this is one of the few photos where you can actually see her face--in the others she's just a blur on the move. You'll have to imagine how sweet it was to see her hugging Shandy and giving her kisses.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mystery Bird

On our walk just now, Shandy and I finally saw the bird Richard's been telling us about. It's been hanging around out back for the last week or so but we're afraid it won't be around for long because it's rather slow (in every sense of the word, sorry to say).

No one seems to know what it is but we've had suggestions of turkey, partridge, and chicken. Anyone know for sure? This is your chance to "name that bird".

Full Moon Jam

Last night's full moon jam at the lake front was the largest I've seen. Drumming and fire twirling are a great way to connect with the energy of the full moon--as lots of folks seem to know. Although there were some dogs there, I didn't think Shandy or Bandit would find it fun so they lounged at home.

It's amazing to me that the city is tolerant of this tribal gathering. There were plenty of police on bikes enjoying the spectacle. The energy of the crowd was very mellow and inclusive.

I understand our thanks for such a gift go to Liz at Spunn. Liz, you must have fabulous powers of persuasion. Many thanks for sharing your passion.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Award Winning Guest Reader

It was so exciting to learn that one of our students' favorite guest readers won a prestigious literary award recently. Read all about the award ceremony adventures of Beth Finke and her seeing eye dog, Hanni, on their blog and be sure to leave your congratulations in a comment--Beth loves to hear from fans and will even share your comments with Hanni.

And if you haven't read "Safe & Sound" yet, be sure to get a copy.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

July Poem of the Month, Pied Beauty

As a lover of dappled sunlight, I was immediately drawn to this poem and was reminded of it today when it was mentioned in my current summer read, "Middlesex".

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things,

For skies of couple-color as a brinded cow,

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls, finches’ wings’

Landscape plotted and pieced, fold, fallow and plough,

And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange,

Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

With swift, slow, sweet, sour, adazzle, dim.

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change;

Praise him.

---Gerard Manley Hopkins

As a special treat, I found a reading of this month's poem on YouTube. See what you think.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

NBC National News!!

The kids, volunteers, and dogs were all excited to have a crew from the NBC Nightly News visit the summer school program at NTA yesterday!

NBC correspondent Rehema Ellis was there to interview program participants along with NBC producer, Patrice Fletcher, esteemed cameraman, Steve, and his other brother, Steve, sound technician. These incredible professionals put everyone at ease and we can't wait to see the piece on the NBC Nightly News in mid-July. We'll keep you posted on the exact date.

Our Very Own Cupcakes!!

The fabulous Bleeding Heart Bakery has honored Sit Stay Read with our very own charity cupcake!!

The generous folks at Bleeding Heart choose a worthy cause each month and donate $1 from the sale of a specially designed cupcake.

You have to go try this carrot cake confection (how did they know that's my favorite?!) Maybe Shandy and I will see you there, but you have to hurry--it's only for the month of July.