Monthly Archives: September 2013

McCrory Gardens, Brookings, South Dakota

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“Get a Shot, Give a Shot” – How Walgreens and Shot@Life Work Together for Your Health

Anyone who has ever read back through my blog posts probably realizes that Shot@Life, a program of the United Nations Foundation, is very close to my heart. I’m going to talk about Shot@Life again, but this time for your personal benefit.

Shot@Life has partnered with Walgreens in order to bring vaccinations to more people. How does this work? You are already planning to get your seasonal flu shot, right? So go get it at Walgreens through October 14th, 2013 and Walgreens will donate a vaccine for another person.

How do you benefit? Well, first off, you now have your flu shot…so you won’t get that nasty coughy-hacky lungish flu this year. Awesome! Who wants that nonsense anyway?!?

Next, you don’t have to make an appointment ahead of time, so you can get your shot when you have the time – no messing with your already busy schedule. Most insurances are accepted, and you can even receive 500 Walgreens points for each immunization you and your family receive.

And finally, you can feel great knowing that another person in the world is going to receive a vaccine that will give them…a Shot@Life!

[Editor’s note: Did you know that one child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine-preventable disease? Why does this happen? Because not every child has access to vaccines. In fact, 1 out of every 5 children in the world doesn’t receive the very vaccines that our kids in the United States can easily get. I’m not just talking about the flu shot here. I’m talking about Measles, Polio, Pneumococcal Disease, and Rotovirus – all vaccine-preventable diseases. 1.5 million lives can be saved each year if these children receive vaccines.]

Do you ever read fine print? There is some pretty cool fine print at the bottom of the page that outlines the partnership on Walgreen’s site. It reads: “Donation limited to $500,000 which is the value of 1.35 million polio vaccines and 1.35 million measles vaccines.” Look at how many millions of vaccines Walgreens is willing to donate! Talk about putting your money where your mouth is. Thank you Walgreens! And thank you Shot@Life for continuing to make sure that the least of us are receiving a shot at…another birthday! …being a best friend! …going to school! …learning how to ride a bike!

Respectfully submitted,
Emily, Doer of Stuff

Chalk Craze!

I had the opportunity to take my boys to an event called “Chalk Craze” in Brookings, SD back in July on Saturday the 28th. Hosted by Brookings Arts Council  and the Children’s Museum of South Dakota, local artists of all ages are invited to register and draw whatever they’d like on their very own 4 x 4 foot square of sidewalk right off the Downtown area along Kidoodle Way. There are really two events here – a judged art competition for the more art-inclined, and a family-friendly version for groups to create a collaborative picture.

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The boys enjoyed themselves. They liked seeing work done by kids like themselves. If I hadn’t had to work that morning, we could have entered, had we registered earlier in the month, I suppose. They also liked the fact that each artist received a brand new box of chalks to use during the competition. My guys are really attracted to colorful things, so this event was perfect for them.

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One of the great bonuses of “Chalk Craze” was this beautiful work by John Lopez. The artist used cast off “junk” to piece together this sculpture. Thing1, who is rather mechanically inclined, really enjoyed walking around the head, leaning in, and seeing what individual parts were used. Thing2 appreciated the expression on the horse’s face. Such different boys were able to look at this sculpture and come away with different impressions. Perfect!


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We really love the town of Brookings, SD. There is always something going on for families. There are tons of green spaces for the boys to run, lots of great restaurants, and a nice, friendly community. Events like this make me feel at home in South Dakota.

Emily, Doer of Stuff


I was at work, in the Engineering Department of a local municipality. My usual workday started at 8:00 a.m. and the day was business as usual as far as I can recall.

At some point, after my daily coffee-making and re-filling of the office humidifier, my boss – I don’t remember if he said something or not – was in his office watching the news on his tv, and that was where my coworkers were all located.

I went in to see what was going on and the talk was about how a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City. A small private plane? None of us imagined at that moment that the tower had been hit by a full-size passenger jet; none of us would have even considered this as a possibility I don’t think. There were views offered of a smoking tower from various angles. No footage of the plane hitting the building.

Just a normal news story as far as we were concerned – unusual and unfortunate, but not unbelievable for a morning in America…until a few minutes later when a second plane struck the second tower. Now there were concerns about how this couldn’t possibly be a coincidence. We stayed glued to the tv.

Then…an hour later?…the Pentagon was hit. There was no doubt that we were under attack (and by “we” I mean the United States of America). Not a coincidence. AND OUR SECRETARY’S SON WORKED AT THE PENTAGON.

She tried calling his office, his cell phone, his family. No one knew anything – it was too early for any coherent information to get out about individual people, and there was so much cellular activity during these moments that most calls couldn’t get through.

New York City. Washington, D.C. Can’t reach loved ones.

Our secretary was beside herself. Panic set in. I took the phone from her and said that I would dial the number until I got through.  I sat at her desk, dialed, hung up, dialed, hung up, over and over. I never even got a line out.

Then Shanksville, Pennsylvania. A plane down on the ground, in a field not 45 minutes away from where I was sitting. The Engineering Department was housed in the Public Safety building. We were on lock-down. No one in, no one out. Armed guards at every door.

Then – the phone call went through – and – “I GOT HIM!” I screamed to the other room where our secretary was watching tv. “I HAVE HIM ON THE PHONE!! HE’S OKAY!!”. She rushed in, we made the hand-off, and I left her office to give her some privacy with her son. He was across the street at a meeting in another building that morning.

Of course, no one knew at that moment that the attack was over. Eventually I had to walk away from the tv, just had to stop watching. Too much to think about and not anything that anyone could do about it.

Lunchtime – still on lockdown and no one had brought lunch with them that morning. We were all complaining that we should be sent home, especially if city officials were thinking that our building was a potential target. I was finally let out to get lunch for everyone after some bargaining with the police officer at the door. This was maybe two hours or so after the last plane came down and tension was a little less.

The city was absolutely quiet. No one said anything. Just ordered their meals and left.

The rest of the day went by slowly. Why we didn’t all just leave, I don’t know. I guess we had each other at the office and that was a good thing.

What I learned later:

My friend Kate, who worked downtown in D.C., had to walk miles out of the city – no public transportation was running – until she finally met up with her husband who had been driving around the City trying to find her. They couldn’t use cell phones to connect. Fighter planes flew overhead all day. Everyone was walking.

One of the prominent businessmen in town nearly lost his daughter that day. She was doing business in the second tower when the first tower was hit. She panicked and left because she felt extremely claustrophobic all of a sudden. She got out alive.

National Geographic’s Ann Judge and Joe Ferguson were on Flight 77, along with a group of teachers and students, bound for a NOAA research project in California.

Robert LeBlanc, Geography Professor Emeritus at the University of New Hampshire, was on Flight 175.

What do you remember?


Emily Takes People to the Doctor

As I mentioned earlier, the past month has been crazy busy. Here are two reasons why…..


In the first X-ray, Thing2 has swallowed a penny, all in the name of science, I’m sure. In the future, however, I am going to have to monitor experiments more closely.


Next photo, Thing1 is diagnosed with “Flexible Flat-footedness”. Not a big deal, really, but it causes him to trip over his own foot on occasion, which is why I had him checked out by a Pediatric Orthopedic Specialist.

Um…a penny for your thoughts?

Emily, Doer of Stuff, Rescuer of Young People

Emily Paints and Decorates

It’s been entirely too long since I posted here. I have been incredibly busy of late and have been too tired at the end of the day to write anything coherent or worthwhile.

One of the projects that have kept me busy has been the redecorating of Thing1’s bedroom. Before these pictures were taken, there were bland off-white walls and lighthouse wallpaper – not exactly a kid’s dream come true.

My oldest boy has a wild brain that already understands how electricity and circuits work. I asked him what he wanted in his room and he said he wanted circuit boards on the walls and video game posters. So, here is what I came up with, minus the posters because those didn’t go up until recently and I don’t have a photo at the moment.

Here is the wall mural, from Wallmonkeys:


Here is another Wallmonkeys mural on the bedframe headboard:


We went for an industrial look here with outdoor grade outlet covers from Homestead Do-It Best Center:


I picked this light switch cover up at Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse for $5.97.


I picked this One Way sign up at an antique store in Chamberlain, SD on one of my summer adventures along the Missouri River, only $15:


Thing1 picked out the colors. I think he did a great job! This green wall now has five video game posters on it:


So now my Mini-Super Scientist Inventor Guy has a room that will help inspire him to continue to dream big dreams and DO STUFF.

Emily, Doer of Stuff