Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Dog's Purpose

Our rescue: Charlie

I didn't write this. It was one of those emails a friend forwarded me because she knows how much I love dogs. I have 3, and I can't imagine life without one of these wonderful creatures around me. Read on....about what a vet learned from a six year-old.

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their 6 year-old boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's, family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The six-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.

Monday, August 27, 2007

In The Blink Of An Eye

I've heard it said time and again, and now, I'm telling any parent who'll listen what my mom said to me: "I know it seems like time is going slowly now, but appreciate these times , because you'll blink and your babies will be off to college."

I blinked.

My eldest left last week. My youngest got her driver's license the day before. One week, I let go of my first born, sending her across the country to school in California. The next, I let go of my baby, watching as she pulled out of the driveway for the first time without me in the car.

Nothing could have prepared me for the feelings I had...and still have right now. It's a strange mix of loss and sadness, pride and exhilaration; of worry and concern, all rolled into one.

Elise and Laura with their voice teacher, Lucy

For both of them, I am excited. I remember the sense of freedom I felt the first time I drove alone. And I remember how I felt spending those first few days "on my own" in my dorm. I am happy for both my girls and excited for all they have in front of them. Yet I feel a sense of trepidation. I worry about them. I want them to be safe. I want them to make good decisions. I want them to be happy. And for me, how I will fare through yet another transition in my life? How will I do missing one now, and knowing the next one will be gone in another year?

A little over 5 years ago we were the "perfect" family of 4: mom, dad and 2 kids. My husband fought bravely for a year after his diagnosis before succumbing to cancer. And then there were 3. At 10 and 12, my sweet, beautiful daughters had to experience a loss that forced them to grow up a little more quickly than many of their peers. But through their grief they have developed a maturity and compassion beyond their years. I am proud of the young women that have become.

The house feels a little emptier now. And Laura said to me when we came home from leaving Elise in San Francisco "and then there were two". Although I know we will all be together for the holidays and summers, somehow, I know it will never be quite the same. It wasn't for me after I left for college. But not being the same doesn't mean it's not good. Life is about changing, adapting, growing, and learning. And if we don't go through those growing pains we can't reap the benefits of what's on the other side.

Appreciate the time you have with your kids...because in the blink of an eye...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

So Small

That mountain you've been climbing is just a grain of sand.
What you've been out there searching for forever, is right there in your hands.
When you figure out that love is all that matters after all...It sure makes everything else seem
So small

(from Carrie Underwood's latest song)
Elise and Mom

Laura (right) and her best friend Stevana (left)


Every "hometown" has them. Those little things that make their town unique. In Akron, Ohio, we have our share.

We have the battle of the burgers: Swensons vs Skyway. We have parts of town that are known for something. Barberton, for example, has Lake Anna, and the best chicken joints anywhere. East Akron neighborhoods grew because so many workers from the rubber companies moved in and raised their familiies there. And speaking of the rubber city, the founders, CEO's and executives at those rubber companies build their stately homes in lovely West Akron; the most famous of those homes being Stan Hywett Hall, built by the Seiberlings.

We Akronites are proud of our surprisingly cosmopolitan downtown, with new restaurants and clubs emerging all the time. We love our very cool baseball stadium; home to the Akron Aeors; the Indians farm team. We have an amazing little outdoor ampitheatre, Lock 3 Park, right downtown...and a new art museum. I say our town is "surprisingly" cosmopolitan because many Clevelanders think they own Ohio's bragging rights to cool city stuff with the Flats, the Warehouse District, and the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. But when they see downtown Akron they find it to be an undiscovered 'gem' 30 miles south of the big city.

What never ceases to amaze me about Akron, is the strong history and pride of the high school football rivalries...especially the Catholic School rivalries. And of all of those, none top the St V-Hoban game. I can be in a restaurant, bar, at a fund raiser or community event and when the converstion turns to "where did you go to school?" I can often find a good humored St V-Hoban ribbing from graduates of either school. For too many years to recall, St V and Hoban have passed a Shelaleigh back and forth to the winning team. Unfortunately for this St V alum, Hoban has had it in their possession for the last 7, 8... or is it 9 seasons? Hmmm...maybe this will be our year to win it back!

But back to the real controversy--which is better--Swensons or Skyway?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Life, Career and Birth Order...

My Family

I'm the youngest of 7 and have the most amazing family in the world. I start out saying that because as I go through life I realize how rare that is. To have 6 siblings...to get along with all of them...to have no major dysfunction in a family of that size. Wow. I'm blessed.

I've read some of the birth order stuff. I know the youngest in the family has the rep for being spoiled, lazy and that everything is handed to them. Well it's true I got "taken care of" and was protected by my older siblings, but in a way, that's what formed me to be the opposite of the stereotype. I believe that because I was the youngest, I felt I was never taken seriously. As "the baby" I always felt I had to prove something. It caused me to be a little more driven career-wise.

I knew by my second year in college I wanted to work in radio. I always loved radio when I was young. It was my escape at night. I had a small transistor radio that was probably the size of an old cell phone; you know, the early ones that were bigger. It got AM and FM but I mostly listened to AM radio in the late 60's because that's where the best music was; the best "top 40" music. 1590 WAKR (ironically, one of the stations I work with now) carried a show at 11:10 pm, right after the news called "The Radio Mystery Theatre". It was today's version of books on tape but better...because it was literally "theatre of the mind". Thirty minute shows were acted out with different characters and sound effects. I'd get lost under the covers...seeing the show in my mind like it was on TV. It was awesome.

When I started at Kent State, I saw a sign that the campus radio station was looking for volunteers. I joined the team...and I was hooked. That small radio station ignited those memories of my late night listening, and I knew I wanted to be on the "other" side of the radio. The inside!

I'm a rather small, petite, unassuming kind of person...barely 5 foot 2. Maybe another reason (after my birth order) I thought people never took me seriously. Early in my career, radio was, and to some degree still is, a male dominated business. There was very little "political correctness". It was a challenge to find just the right mix of being a good sport...and being "one of the boys" without losing my femininity. Sometimes, it was a real balancing act. There were conventions I went to back then where I was only one of two or three women in a room of over 200 men. I worked to keep my mouth shut over the the stupid comments, the over-the-top sexist attitudes, the dirty jokes. And yet, there were times to speak up. But how to do so and not come off like a flaming feminist...THAT was the challenge! Still is sometimes.

All in all, short of a few bumps here and there, I've been fortunate to work for some amazing people who became my teachers, mentors and to whom I am forever grateful. Because I fell in love with the programming side of radio right off the bat--and there were very few women programmers, my teachers and mentors were men. And none of these men are the ones that I referred to earlier that had me biting my lip! Some of these amazing men include: KSU Professor Bob West, Programmers Nick Anthony, Dave Popovich, and Bob Bedi. Consultants E Karl and Mike McVay (who has to be one of the brightest programming/marketing minds ever.) And also, air personality Bill Randle. One of the best people-persons and managers I know is a man named Joe Restifo. And the smartest businessmen I'll ever encounter is Tom Embrescia. Tom has to be the most generous, down-to earth multi-millionaire (which seems like an oxy-moron) in the world. I am forever grateful to these men whose influence and mentorship has guided and inspired me over my 25-year career in radio. But what amazes me still, is that the older I get, the more I realize how much there still is to learn.

Thank God. Because when we stop learning...we stop growing.
My "team" at 95.5 WFHM