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After 9 years of author visits, 5,000 children now have copies of The Travel Adventures of Lilly P. Badilly: Costa Rica!

WE ARE SOLD OUT!!!!!! And I am officially retired from author visits.

Thanks for all your support!

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Last week I visited two after school programs in North Broward County run by the Soref JCC After Care Programs. I was overwhelmed by how welcomed I felt, by the dedication of the staff and the behavior of the students. Good leadership = good students! These were large crowds – about 80 students in each presentation, yet you could hear a pin drop in those cafeterias where I presented my program.

In addition to the attentiveness, I was treated to some of the best questions I’ve been asked. “Where did you get the information to write your book?” “How did you sew your costume?” “How can I learn to draw with watercolor pencils?”

 

Dancing to “Granny Wears a Wig.”

Big group photo!

A surprising number of students knew that it’s the wings of the hummingbird that make that buzzing sound.

The biggest ooos and ahhhs come when I show the children my watercolor pencils.

And then I show them how water magically turns these pencils into paints.

A Big crowd!

Some new Lilly Badilly fans!

I’d like to thank Sharon Schwartz from Soref JCC for inviting me to present and to the friendly, caring Site Directors, Ms. Angel, Ms. Nancy and all the assistants who help me carry books, maps and other stuff! Thank you also to the wonderful, curious students who made this such a special day! Remember to KEEP READING and WRITING! I hope to see you all again some time.

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Celebrating a Milestone

This weekend I’m celebrating a milestone. Two years ago I began running on the steps in front of my local courthouse. In these two years I’ve run up and down about 2,000,000 steps – between 3,400 and 5,600 steps per day, depending on how I feel and what the weather is like. On my 53rd birthday in October I challenged myself to run 10,000 steps. I did it in one hour and 38 minutes!

 

Why I Love Running Steps

Running steps more than anything is meditative.  I walk about a half mile from my house to the courthouse, through my alley and down a semi-busy street. I watch the sun rise every morning, listen to the birds chirping, often flying overhead. I pass by morning glories opening and alley cats that scamper as I approach. I arrive at the courthouse while no one else is there, except for the security guards. I count the number of laps I do up and down, which I like to call “innings.” I don’t really focus on counting, it just happens naturally and keeps my mind light and free.

I live in Miami, so it’s hot here – really, really hot and humid. That adds to the challenge of keeping up my energy. But it also allows for a really good sweat, providing that feeling that I’ve sweat out the toxins and have accomplished something worthwhile.  It may sound crazy, but the hard work is worth the euphoric feeling you get when you’re finished. I leave with happy, positive thoughts. Running the steps is free. No club membership! Plus it doesn’t take much time – about 45-minutes of time from start to finish.

I run barefoot because shoes cause injury to my feet and knees. Here I am running the Rocky Steps in Philly.

 

 What Motivates Me to Run

When I was a child I was always the last one chosen for sports teams whether at school or at play. I wasn’t an athlete; in fact I couldn’t hit a volleyball over a net, hit a baseball or golf well. But as I got older I realized that not being athletically inclined didn’t mean I had to be unfit. My father passed away when he was 40 from a heart attack and my mother had two forms of cancer suffering for 9 years before passing away at age 70.  I can’t change my genetics, but I realized I could get and stay fit, eat right and do what I can to stay healthy. Thinking about my parents’ health challenges motivates me every day. I live by my motto, “Shut your pie hole and move your ass!”

It’s Not Discipline

In the beginning, running steps was really challenging. I was already doing aerobics for years at home, but running up and down steps is really a strenuous workout. It took a lot of self-talking to get up and out of the house early every morning. But then after a few months, gradually I began to look forward to going. Now I can best describe running as a habit. It’s sort of like getting up and brushing your teeth. You just do it. I do have sluggish days when I just don’t feel like running, but I go anyway. My husband calls those “bonus days,” because although your time may be slower or your step numbers may be lower, you went out there and did something on a day when you just didn’t feel like doing it.

A white layer cake I made to celebrate.

What Running Has Taught Me

It’s wrong to label yourself in any negative way. “I’m not athletic,” “I’m too old,” “I’m uncoordinated” or “I don’t think I can or should do this or that.” Running has taught me that I can have as much energy as a 25-year-old, and that if I can stick to something athletic and challenging, then I can transfer that success to other areas of my life. The only boundaries are the ones we put on ourselves.

 

 

 

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If you’re like me, you find that the countdown to Christmas is much more exciting than the actual holiday. I thought a lot about why. It’s the decorating, planning, shopping, baking and wrapping that create the excitement. When the actual holiday comes, I enjoy it, but that anticipation is gone and I allow the thought of it all being over to somewhat depress me. Plus our daughter goes back to college. This year, I am going to work on controlling my thoughts better, living more in the moment and not worrying about what will be when it’s over.

No matter how I try to control my thoughts, there will always be January 1st, when I cannot wait to get the decorations down and put away and the house cleaned of pine needles.

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I was invited to attend my 4th Liberty park Elementary Literacy Night event last week on my birthday! Yahoo! How I adore that school! Who wouldn’t? It is a beautiful place with the most spectacular library, friendly teachers and staff and the BEST elementary music program in South Florida. I can’t say enough about how lucky the students are who attend Liberty Park Elementary. They are loved and educated in a way that every child in the world deserves to be.

 

How welcoming is that?!?! Ms. Oliva made that sign for me!

I send a giant thank you to the most friendly Principal, Joseph Schneider, who actually observed part of my presentation, something few principals do! Also I want to thank music teacher, Judy Christodulides, who goes out of her way to make sure my presentation goes smoothly and does her absolute best to promote my book. Her music room is bar far the best I’ve ever seen in any elementary school – public or private. And she teaches music with such enthusiasm, that it is really extraordinary. And last but not least, I thank reading teacher and Literacy Night coordinator, Michaelina Oliva, for inviting me to the school year after year and making me feel like a celebrity!

Check out this gorgeous display of books in the library

Mrs. Christodulides poster in the music room encouraging kids to try harder

Two really smart brothers who knew a lot of the answers to my rain forest questions

Some Lilly Badilly groupies and helpers!

Music teacher Judy Christodulides, a big Lilly Badilly fan

Lilly and Michaelina Oliva

Birthday celebration when I got home from the author visit. Yes I ate almost the whole cake!

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While conducting research for an article about colleges in Broward County, I was overwhelmed by how many choices there are for schools in my community. Times have certainly changed since I graduated from Florida State University in 1983. Back then there was a small community college in Broward County and a few nondescript vocational programs promoted with tacky TV ads.  College trends have changed drastically in many ways to meet the ever-changing needs of the business world and job market. Here’s what I noticed about local college trends:

  1. More people are seeking to get a degree while working full time.
  2. Many students in local colleges are older, having worked for quite a few years after high school.
  3. Colleges have adapted better to schedules, providing online courses, night classes and flexible class hours to accommodate working people.
  4. Colleges are offering more focused majors that apply directly to the work force, like Network Systems and are shying away from general degrees like Philosophy.
  5. There’s a great demand for workers with technical degrees.
  6. More workers are seeking graduate degrees than ever before as more jobs are requiring them.
  7. Colleges are putting more effort into their job placement programs to attract more students.
  8. Community colleges are adding four-year bachelor’s degrees to their academic programs.
  9. Adults currently working prefer to attend colleges with smaller classroom size (number of students).
  10. The cost of obtaining a higher education has gone way, way up.

As parents who currently pay tuition for our daughter, who attends one of the nation’s top-rated universities, we are all too familiar with the ultra high cost of a quality college education.  But after researching schools for my article, I’ve learned that it’s not just the top schools in the nation that are costly. Most colleges – big or small, prestigious or not – are now ultra costly.  So it’s important to weigh the pros and cons when choosing a local college education. Ask yourself:

  1. Is the tuition affordable?
  2. How am I going to pay for it?
  3. Do I want a long term loan I will not be able to pay off for many years to come?
  4. Is the college/university’s reputation worth the tuition?
  5. If I were to move to another city or state, would the college be respected (or even known) by potential employers there?
  6. Is it best to attend an in-state school to keep costs down?
  7. Am I choosing a major that has a good long-term outlook as far as job placement?
  8. Will going back to school now really boost my pay at work or future promotion potential?
  9. Do I really have time to work, take care of family, attend classes and study?
  10. What are my long-term career goals?

There’s a lot to think about when deciding whether or not to go back to school. But the good news is that there are more choices than ever before, and you don’t have to love or give up your job to get a decent education in many places in the US.

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For years my family has been enjoying free concerts at the Hollywood, FL Bandshell on Johnson Street and A1A. The people watching is just as entertaining as the music.

I was thrilled to write an article about the Hollywood Theater for About.com. After you read it, I’m sure you’ll want to check out the concert tonight. It’s a great way to spend an evening.

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A reposting of a Smart Poodle Comic Classic . . .

© 2011 by Debbie Glade, Smart Poodle Publishing. All rights reserved.

Click here for last week’s comic.

 

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  1. Standard poodles can play hide-and-go-seek quite well.
  2. It is impossible to get control of paperwork, so why try?
  3. Getting wet in the rain and then going into a building with blasting A/C is not a good feeling.
  4. My ability to park straight in a parking spot is greatly lacking.
  5. Weird people (and I mean really, really odd) in public places make life more interesting.
  6. I have great respect for old ladies who miss their lips when putting on lipstick, because they either don’t know they have it on wrong or they simply don’t care.
  7. If I could multiply myself by 5 I still could not get all the things done each day that need to be done.
  8. If you are promised service as a customer, do not believe you are going to get it.
  9. Mail carriers are dedicated people who should be more appreciated.
  10. There is nothing better than laughing hysterically at something stupid you said yourself.

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Copyright © 2011 by Debbie Glade. All Rights Reserved.

Clcik here for last week’s comic.

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