Roxy’s Run

roxys_run_1I could bore you all with long and grueling details of my 26.2 mile run on Sunday, May 19th, as many long distance runners often do.  I could try to educate you on the discipline and training involved in accomplishing such a feat.  I’m choosing not to tell that story because that is not what was important about the day.  That day was about someone else.  It was about a nine year old little girl, and those 26.2 miles of running were about helping her and her family.

About two months ago I received a phone call from my friend Tammy.  She has a non-profit organization, Tammy’s Friends (www.tammysfriends.org), which assists families who have a loved one with cancer.  She wanted to organize a 5k race to help a local family who would be in need in the very near future.  Unfortunately we didn’t feel we could organize a race within the time she had envisioned.  Because of that call I began to think there may be something I could do to help.  I was registered to run the Cleveland Marathon, and I was in the middle of my training.  I had run two marathons for myself, and maybe it was time I turn my work into something that could benefit someone else.  I had a wonderful support system including family and friends who I knew would be willing to help out.

The next morning I returned a call to Tammy and discussed my idea with her.  She still had some other ideas she planned to carry out, but we agreed this could provide the family with immediate assistance.  With that I was on my next journey, and that was to not complete a marathon but instead to complete “Roxy’s Run.”

Roxy is a nine year old little girl who used to attend my son’s daycare until she became a big kid.  They now attend the same elementary school but in different grades.  Roxy has been diagnosed with an Ewing Tumor which is at the base of her spine and around her pelvis.  This has been causing her tremendous pain for nearly a year.  She is facing potentially 12 months of chemo and radiation treatments.  During this time her mother will be taking a leave of absence from work to care for her along with the assistance of Roxy’s two year old little sister.

Beginning in May, I started sending out emails and messages to all my contacts in my email account and social networking accounts.  I also asked my mother, a cancer survivor, to spread the word back at home.  Within minutes of my communications going out people were responding they had made a contribution online.  They would also share their own stories of how cancer had affected them or a loved one.  The stories were amazing, and I felt so blessed people were willing to share them with me.  I also had many people offer to provide other forms of assistance to the family if it was needed.  Having people offer support to a family they did not know reminded me there are so many kind, caring, and selfless people in this world.

To date friends and family have donated over $600 to help Roxy and her family.  This will easily provide the family with groceries for two months and one or two family nights with carry out pizza.  I feel my goal has been met, and the journey has been heartwarming to say the least.

I did complete the Cleveland Marathon in just over five hours.   I just missed my goal time of crossing the finish line in under five hours (5:01:49), but again, the run was not about me.  It was Roxy’s Run.

-Suzy Schroeder, Head of Library Electronic and Media

St. Martin de Porres

We did it!

Our first meeting at St. Martin’s is done, and I think it went well. We had a class of of 11 boys and girls who live in the Glenville area and we taught them about spreading germs. Of course we had the occasional hiccup because no kid wants to feel like the are in school, over the summer, but we kept them engaged and we all had fun. I wasn’t even nervous about doing my hand washing presentation. We will be going to St. Martin’s every other Thursday throughout the summer.  Our next topic will be vaccinations and communication. These kids are so amazing and open to learn, that just being in the room is a pleasure.  I can’t wait until our next session.

-Sharita Hill

Crazy Week

Usually my work week runs from Monday to Wednesday, but the last seven days have been anything but usual.  Since I’m the “new kid on the block”, my supervisor, Amanda, is making sure I get training and interaction with the team as much as possible so that I will feel comfortable working with the other ladies.  Monday night, after I put the kids to sleep, I started data entry for my relationship survey.  I must have really enjoyed it, because by the time I looked up it was 2:30am and I had entered my last question (question # 168).  The next morning I walked into work feeling very sure of myself, for having completed my first assignment, but was brought back down to reality after sitting through my first Lunch&Learn seminar.

Lunch&Learn is a program that is directed by Case faculty.  It brings all of the student interns together from each department and allows them to present the research that they are conducting over the summer.  We also have amazing catered lunches in the process.  The presentations are encouraged but are completely on a volunteer basis, so I wasn’t worried.  However we were informed that at the end of summer we MUST all present a poster about our research.  This scared me for two reasons; first because I recently participated in Ursuline’s research symposium so I know how much work it takes to make a scholarly poster.  Secondly, all of the other students in their summer program are current Case students who have been conducting their research since last year, and I just started mine last week.  I fear that I will misrepresent the greatness of my program because my actual research time is so limited.  Only time will tell how this story will end.

Wednesday I received training to do informed consents.  This is crucial for conducting my research because I am conducting research on human specimens, and they must be informed of their rights, or none of my research will be valid.  Also Wednesday through Friday I was in and out of the office taking meetings with Sabira and Brynn about the upcoming St. Martin de Porres program.  This is a summer outreach program for children ages 9-12 that teach them about the importance of making healthy life choices so that they can live a safer life.  The teenage peer educators lead the program under the advisory of Brynn, and since the program if funded through the church, the students cannot talk about contraceptives or much about sex.   The topics are surrounded around germs, hand washing, and vaccinations.  Brynn has asked me to speak with the students about what soap does to bacteria on a cellular level in order to drive the importance of hand washing home.  I’m nervous and excited about this. I’ll keep you posted on how next week goes, till then I will practice my presentation so that I don’t look like an idiot in a room full of preteens.

-Sharita Hill

“Grave” Concerns in Preservation

Now that warm weather has arrived in Ohio, it is time for me to return to one of my first loves – exploring the country roads and villages of our state to see what is going on in the preservation of cultural memory.  And since we recently celebrated Memorial Day I suppose it is appropriate that some of my first road trips this spring have been to small, out of the way cemeteries.

Trail to Bear Run Cemetery

It was my parents who guided me up this “road?,” south of New Lexington in Perry County.

 

 

 

Our objective was the Bear Run Cemetery, perched precariously at the top of a hill in Bearfield Township.  (Naming patterns are usually important indicators of community heritage in preservation.  Do those naming patterns take you back to pioneer days? )

bstith_2BearRunHilltop

I was delighted to see how well preserved the cemetery was, given its remote location and the age of the graves.  Local scuttlebutt is that the area around the cemetery was strip-mined for coal and that the company must maintain the cemetery as part of its land reclamation.  That bears some research (pardon the pun!).

bstith_3DadStortsGrave

Yes, that’s Dad behind the grave we were seeking, that of my grandfather (many greats back) John Jacob Storts who at the startling young age of 14 served under General George Washington at Valley Forge during our American Revolution.  As we always do in my family and as I’m sure do many others, we brought a decoration for the grave in anticipation of Memorial Day.

Memorial Day as a national holiday can be traced back to efforts by Union veterans of our American Civil War who gathered in organizations such as the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) to press for recognition of the sacrifices made by their fallen comrades.  Formally decorating the graves of veterans developed as a tradition even as ideas were changing about where loved ones ought to be laid to rest and how that landscape ought to be treated.

The locating of cemeteries has changed.  Today’s cemeteries whether private or government (city, village, township) are highly regulated for sanitation purposes.  But in early Ohio?  In addition to burying grounds teetering precariously on hilltops as Bear Run does, graveyards popped up at the edge of farmers’ fields and surrounded small country churches.

bstith_4DrummsBottom

We made another stop in Perry County at Drumm’s Bottom, named after my mother’s great grandmother’s family.  The little Lutheran Church and Cemetery were carefully groomed in anticipation of Memorial Day.   How different from 200 years ago when horses, cows, and sheep were let loose to wander the “grave yard” and eat down the grass, their hoofprints in the soft spring earth later hardening in the summer sun to create some very unsteady footing.  Practical and pastoral perhaps, but hardly what we are used to today!

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Cemeteries have not always been the beautiful, hushed, park-like landscapes (think of Cleveland’s gorgeous Lake View Cemetery) that we know today. Several hundred years ago, Americans didn’t talk about cemeteries (what a formal name!) but rather referred to burial grounds as graveyards.  The difference in our naming conventions marks a shift in our cultural consciousness from simply burying remains after the soul has fled to creating a place where we can truly lay our loved ones “to rest” and remember that we are part of a continuum, something greater than ourselves, and that those memories and those places need  their own brand of preservation if they are to continue to teach us lessons about who we have been and who we are now.

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Interested in cemetery preservation?

The National Preservation Institute offers seminars with details available at http://www.npi.org/sem-cemet.html .

Information focused on Ohio can be found on the Ohio Historical Society webpages at http://ohsweb.ohiohistory.org/enews/053012e.shtml and the Ohio Genealogical Society pages at http://www.ogs.org/research/art_cempressociety.php

Take it easy and happy trails!

#transformationtuesday

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Photo Cred: Pinterest

Don’t you love those simple, yet stunning fringe tops that are becoming a summer wardrobe staple? I personally cannot get enough of them! So, in the spirit of Transformation Tuesday, I’m going to show you how I transformed a simple tank top into something a bit more stylish!

This is what you need:

˙tank top (this is the tricky part because some fabric will not allow you to strip dye off)

˙bleach

˙scissors

˙gloves

And this is how I made it:

Step 1: Pour the bleach into a container (just a few inches of bleach will do) and let the bottom of the tank soak.

Step 2: (Safely discard bleach–I poured it down the drain) and transport the tank to your designated drying area and let it sit in the sun for 15 minutes.

Step 3: Depending how the tank top looks, thoroughly rinse bleach and place the tank top back in the RINSED container, or a bag to SAFELY transport into the house to dry–or let it continue to dry outside.

Step 4: After the tank top has dried completely, use scissors to remove the hem. (You can just cut the hem off as straight as possible, or cut it in a curved fashion.

Step 5: Begin making slits up from the hem to your desired length. Continue making “fringe” around the entire top, spacing slits as desired.

Step 6: (Optional) Knot each individual piece of fringe at the top or bottom.

Below is the transformation “journey” in pictures:

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Grab some bleach and scissors and let the transformation begin!

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NOTE: I created this masterpiece outside to avoid all possible mishaps with bleach!

 

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The bleaching process was gradual…

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…so this is how it the bleach did its magic on another top

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Voila!

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Remove the hem and begin cutting slits into the fabric

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And here’s the finished product!

Tune in next time for more awesome DIY’s, trend reports, Dorm make-overs, and much much MORE! xo

-Susan Hayley Fox

 

“Tomato, Tomato” Ursuline Style

The above clip from the 1937 film Shall We Dance makes a nice accompaniment to the rest of this post.  Go ahead and play it.  You can even watch it, then play it again and read the post while “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” plays in the background.

As the clip demonstrates, quite a variety exists in language.  Every year at Ursuline College’s commencement, I encounter a local example of this phenomenon when everyone sings the Ursuline College song.  You can see a copy of the lyrics below copyright and courtesy of the Ursuline College Archives (though you might need to click on the image to make them legible).

ursulinesong

In the song, “Ursuline” is rhymed with “serene.”  Since the usual pronunciation of “Ursuline” on campus tends to rhyme the last syllable with a word such as “fin” or “sin,” this is an unusual pronunciation of Ursuline.

However, “Ursuline” has quite a range of pronunciations.  Although people in Dallas and Louisville seem to pronounce “Ursuline” as we do on campus, people in New Orleans and Massachusetts seem to pronounce that last syllable of “Ursuline” so it rhymes with “fine” or “sign.”

Still, where does the “UrsuLEAN” pronunciation come from?  One explanation is that it might result from poetic license from the songwriters (Sisters M. Augustine and M. Pauline), who might have preferred the rhyme possibilities of that pronunciation.  The other explanation is that it might preserve an older pronunciation of “Ursuline.”  The Ursulines who eventually founded the College came from France (though a couple were English), and it appears that the pronunciation of “Ursuline” in French does indeed have that syllable rhyme with words such as “lean” and “seen” (this appears to be the case in Quebec as well; in a history of the Ursulines in Quebec, I found an English language poem from 1888 which rhymed “Ursuline” with “seen”).  In fact, the French seem to even pronounce the “e” at the end of the word as a separate syllable.  You can hear this yourself at the French dictionary site Larousse.

Without going into great linguistic detail, if, in 1850 when the first Ursuline sisters arrived in Cleveland, Ohio, they brought along with them the French pronunciation of “Ursuline” (assuming the French pronunciation itself hasn’t changed much), the French pronunciation likely became anglicized over the years to chop off the “e” syllable at the end and allow the previous vowel more or less to follow the path of the Great Vowel Shift in English, a sound chain shift which explains today why the vowels of English speakers, particularly in writing, vary from their Continental language counterparts (so, if you ever had trouble pronouncing French or Italian words, now you know what to blame).  At some point, two primary pronunciations, one more French and one less French, might have been competing, with the more French pronunciation, surrounded by Buckeye English, losing speakers every year.  By 1930, when the Ursuline College song was likely composed, it’s possible that the songwriters wished to preserve the traditional pronunciation of “Ursuline” by embedding it in the alma mater.

So, perhaps it was poetic license, or it reflects an older pronunciation of “Ursuline,” but the Ursuline College song includes an uncommon pronunciation of “Ursuline,” at least around here.  The Gershwin brothers, writers of “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” would likely have sympathized either way.

Thanks to Mara Dabrishus, Sr. Virginia DeVinne, Gerri Jenkins, Sr. Ann Kelly, Sr. Janet Moore, Giuleta Stoianov, and Rebecca Wrenn for their help with this post.

Traveling Belize Style

My husband and I left Miami, taking the morning flight directly to Belize City.

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From there we needed to get to San Ignacio (locally referred to as Cayo), our base for traveling to the Caracol Mayan ruins.  Although we are clearly tourists, I like to travel through Belize like most Belizeans – via the bus.  The school buses, owned by private and collective groups, shuttle people all over the country off their main 4 highways.  So we took a 2.5 hour bus from Belize City to San Ignacio.  I love travelling this way, as you get to have conversations with Belizeans (as well as other tourists) and can become more familiar with local culture and customs.

 

Bus ride in Belize

Bus travel in Belize

It isn’t the most glamorous or even the fastest way to travel in the country, but it is what I prefer.  In fact when I am in Belize (I think this is my 15th trip!) I can’t help but take on the Belizean perspective.  I find that they are very easy going and live life at a peaceful pace.  Things aren’t hectic and frenetic here.

Belize can be very budget friendly or unfriendly, depending on how luxe you want to your experience (i.e. hotels can go for $8 to over $500/night).  I once traveled across the country for a week for under $400, including all food, lodging, travel, guided tours, and gifts for loved ones.  While we are not traveling on this low of a budget now, we are still traveling modestly and are not staying in resorts.

For our stay in San Ignacio, we settled on the Casa Blanca Guesthouse, situated in a slightly more quiet end of the city.  Although the rooms are modest, they are clean, and the hotel has lovely common areas.

Common areas in our hotel

Common areas in our hotel

I am actually writing this from the breezy veranda while listening to reggae from the restaurant a few streets away and drinking a Belikan.  Not a bad first day in Belize!

View from our hotel in San Ignacio

View from our hotel in San Ignacio

Up next… touring Caracol!

#UCStyleFiles On Location!

Fashion is constantly evolving with every shift in society’s taste, often directed by the current aesthetics of art and music. As quoted by student, Stephanie Pratt (a Visual Communications Design Major with a minor in Studio Arts):
”[Art and music] are interconnected. You can’t have fashion without basic design concepts which are found in art, architecture, and the natural world.”

The influence of fine arts on fashion design could not be more evident than as observed during the recent fashion field study trip to University Circle lead by Dr. Korosec, Chair of Ursuline College’s Fashion Department. Students visited the Western Reserve Historical Society’s “Dior & More” exhibit, the Cleveland Art Museum, and the “Rolling Stones–50 Years of Satisfaction” exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in search of these connections to the fashion industry.

sfox_3The “Armor Exhibit” at the Cleveland Art Museum demonstrates the use of artistic design principles and elements which continue to be echoed in modern apparel design. While armor served a function as a means to protect a knight in battle, it was also fashioned to be aesthetically pleasing. Design principles such as unity, balance, and proportion make a suit of armor beautiful as well as making a garment successful. The repetition of pointed, angular shapes found throughout the metal plating seem to “answer” each other and maintain proportionality and harmony of the silhouette. This cohesion is pleasing to the eye on all levels. In terms of the functionality of the armor, it is also similar to the art of designing a garment on a 3-Dimensional form, which must accommodate the shape of the body and allow for ease in movement. Each carefully crafted piece of armor must be fitted to the knight’s body allowing him to move, but protecting his body as much as possible.

The junction of each piece of the suit is done so in a decorative manner with bolts, rivets, and leather buckles. Likewise, the decorative darts and pleating utilized by fashion designers also add beauty to the garment.

Moving on to the Rolling Stone’s exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the influence of music and costume design on the fashion industry is just as evident. The use of color, texture, line, shape, etc. is taken into careful consideration when designing for a musician. Designers consider the effects of the stage lighting and special effects when creating a garment to give the musician the desired look or statement they are aiming for. Rock and Roll music was thought to lead to the “degradation of society” and decline of conservative values which I suppose is true. One particular example in the stones exhibit was a costume worn by Mick Jagger, a cape constructed out of an American flag which at one time in history would have been considered a crime—it was considered defacing a flag to wear it when nowadays flag-themed plates, merchandise, and clothing are popular around the holidays signifying a change in society’s values and beliefs. Other costumes in the exhibit varied from simple to ostentatious, and were just as differentiated as the genres of music they represent.

Finally, the culmination of art, music, and fashion came alive during our visit to the “Dior & More” exhibit at the Historical Society museum as the changes in society’s values as well as the lifestyles of Cleveland’s elite were reflected throughout the display.

A quote featured in the display seemed particularly relevant “Clothes after all speak not just to who we are, but who we would like to be”–Robin Givhan. We all like to surround ourselves in what satisfies our idea of beauty, and in a sense fashion has always been thought of as wearable art. Just as students feel empowered playing “dress-up” in

Ursuline’s Historical Fashion Study Collection, so too does a rock star become all he or she ever dreamed of being simply by wearing his or her wearable statement of art. Thus, the “right” outfit helped attribute to the fame, fortune, and success of our greatest musicians, rock stars, high class women, as it can also change YOUR own destiny.

This wearable piece of art is crafted from carefully arranged vinyl record pieces worn by singer Rihanna.

This wearable piece of art is crafted from carefully arranged vinyl record pieces worn by singer Rihanna.

Paquin, Paris Haute Couture 1929.

Paquin, Paris Haute Couture 1929.

Hot of the Press! UC Fashion Students Susan Fox and Kayla Wayts pose for Rolling Stone Magazine with Dr. Connie Korosec--Just kidding! (It's a Souvenir Photo!)

Hot off the Press! UC Fashion Students Susan Fox and Kayla Wayts pose for Rolling Stone Magazine with Dr. Connie Korosec–Just kidding! (It’s a Souvenir Photo!)

Skype the Boss.

I know it seems unconventional to have a boss/mentor who lives and works in Chicago, especially when you work and live in Cleveland, but Amanda makes it work.  She is always available and happy to Skype or text. Today we had our first of many weekly video conference meetings.  Brynne, Sabira, and myself were updated about the activities and expectations of the upcoming week. At this time, the group is most concerned with recruiting more youth liaisons, and so Brynne is preparing to go speak with students at Glenville high school before the school year ends.

At this time I’m only working on creating the entrance questionnaire for the youth liaisons, or at least I would be if my account login was working properly.  But the most important news of the meeting came from knowing that the Peer Education division that i intern for, made the front page of the Plain Dealer on may 28th.

http://www.cleveland.com/frontpage/index.ssf/2013/05/the_plain_dealers_front_page_f_1376.html

I feel so proud to know that I’m apart of a division that is helping to make my city a healthier place to live in.

-Sharita Hill

Tending to family and footsies

My second day in Miami, I had a few errands to run, like buying flip flops (seriously, I forgot these????), some cat supplies, and some food for my upcoming Belize adventure.

Snacks that aren't easily available (or crazy expensive) on tiny tropical island.

Snacks and essentials that aren’t easily available (or crazy expensive) on tiny tropical island.

Hmmm, I never really explained the whole cat traveling thing.  Well, I am not the only ecologist in the family that is traveling the whole summer.  My husband is too.  My kitty (named Gaia) is staying with me rather than my husband, as he has more legs on his trips than me.  While I am in Belize, however, Gaia has stay in Miami with my parents.

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Gaia, my rescue Bengal kitty

I digress…. the rest of my second day in Miami I hung out with my family (with the exception of one, they all live in South Florida).  We got group manicures and pedicures.  I guess that a family that grooms together stays together!  We dined further north in Broward County at a place called Big Bear Brewing Company.  The food was great (ribs and a beer-cheese soup).  But in my humble opinion, their beer didn’t hold a candle to our great Cleveland breweries (shout out to Great Lakes Brewing).  CLE +1.

My third and final day in Miami was spent largely helping out my family.  Ever looking forward to the cuisine of my hometown, though, I had to first brunch at my favorite hole-in-the wall Cuban bakery.  I had a lovely sugar rush from a café con leche and sugar encrusted pastelitos con carne (with meat) and con guayaba (with guava and cheese).

My cafe con leche and pastelitos.

My cafe con leche and pastelitos.

Then I headed home to try and fix my father’s ailing 9 year old computer.  No such luck.  Needless to say, I spent the rest of the afternoon setting up a brand new computer for him.  From there I helped out my brother’s girlfriend with her dental school applications.  See the professor hat is usually not far off, even on vacation.

About 10pm I started packing for Belize.  Since I am traveling through the country like most Belizeans – via bus – I had to adjust my luggage.  Here is a travel tip: rolling luggage does not travel well on the streets and buses of Belize (and other Central American countries).  So I packed up my trusty backpack and prepared for the next leg of my adventure.

First trip in Belize - touring Mayan Ruins

First trip in Belize – touring Mayan Ruins