Friday, August 31, 2012

Today, Aug. 31 is the last day to vote for round 2 of The Greatest Speaker

Today is the last day to vote for round 2 of the Next Greatest Speaker - Writer Contest. Only 25 will make it to the next round Even if you voted in the first round you can vote again for round 2. 

If you have already voted I want to let you know that I appreciate your support in allowing me to share with you my personal stories and thoughts about Alzheimer's experiences in my family. I have been touched by how many of you have shared your stories with me.  Thank you.   

Jean (If you would like to share your written story with me I can be contacted on this blog or at

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The News No One Wants to Hear: ______ is dead.

This story is a true event. The names have been changed to protect my friends privacy.

 If you want to see the video that I was referring to for the contest you can find it at this link or my You Tube Channel jeanferratier1. Please hold this family in your thoughts and prayers and for all those who suffer. Also at this very moment life is changing drastically for those in the wake of Hurricane Isaac.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

My Inner Child Had a Playful Evening at a Hot Air Balloon Festival

Play! What a wonderful word! Sure, I participate in a variety of fun activities but I would not describe them as playful.

Yesterday afternoon some of my dance friends piled into the van with the anticipation of children and headed to the Lincoln Illinois Hot Air Balloon Festival. We had a few gripes about the long line of traffic and how far away we had to park but then we saw beautiful kites floating in the air. Suddenly it wasn't such a long walk after all.

Ah, the excitement of the crowds. Children running and playing and asking to go on carnival rides. The adult children, hooked on a an invisible fishing line were reeled in toward the tantalizing smells of the food. The waft of grilled onions was more than I could resist and I knew they would lay atop a hot dog.

I never heard of ribbon potatoes, but I was delighted when Alvin, who stood in line for almost 20 minutes brought them to the picnic table to share. As we ate we enjoyed the gentle breeze, but we, along with thousands of others were a wee bit anxious when the announcement came that the winds might be too strong for the hot air balloons to be inflated.

About 1/2 hour later the announcement came that the balloons would be inflated for a short time and they would attempt to have the balloon glow. We made our way to the staging area and watched one balloon after another being inflated. They would be laying on a side and bam, with an explosion of fire, it would pop up while the ground crew had to use valiant force to keep the basket on the ground because of the wind. 

The balloon glow and flicker was beautiful even if didn't
last very long. There is something about watching these beautiful balloons that stir my imagination. I have always loved watching them float across the sky. 

We were all in agreement that the outing had been a success and how much fun we had. This kind event does not happen often so felt we had shared something very special together.

We piled back into the van to come back to Springfield. We were driving and all of a sudden the van seemed to have a mind of its own and turned into the Dairy Queen parking lot. A chocolate dipped ice cream cone was the perfect ending to a playful day.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Still Love Looking At School Supplies (Thoughts from a Retired Teacher)

When I was a little girl, I think I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I loved going to office supply stores and seeing rows and rows of pencils, pens, paperclips, note cards, lick on stars and notepads. My best friend, Nancy had a fantastic roll top desk with lots of sections and drawers. We spent many hours playing school and taking turns being either the teacher or the student. Nancy got to be the teacher more than me; but it was her desk after all.

I became a teacher and I still loved looking a school supplies. They weren’t as easy to find because I was looking for exactly what I needed (and things that caught my eye that I didn’t really need and bought anyway.)

After teaching about six years a few stores opened up especially for teachers. Walking into those stores was like seeing wrapped presents under a Christmas Tree. When my children were young they were not happy to go with Mom to teacher stores. They knew it would take forever as I walked up and down each aisle. 

Today, I went to a teacher store called ergAdoo with my son, who has now been a teacher over ten years. I had spent countless hours and dollars in that store. I am retired now but I laughed at the irony of waiting for him to shop. I still walked up and down the aisles and could not help being mentally transported back into the classroom and when I saw the the easel sized Scholastic Interactive Wipe Off Poem Book I knew that Once Upon A Time, a teacher named Jean, would have bought it.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Moved blog to this address:

I am happy to announce that I have finally activated a website. I also moved my blog to this address

I thank you for your support and I hope you will follow me at this new address. It is much easier to leave comments and the website, even while undergoing construction, is active and invites participation.