Thursday, August 2, 2012

Between Seattle and Chicago: BACKLOG

This entry is dedicated to everyone who looked at my race calendar and asked "How are you going to spend all this free time between Seattle and Chicago?"

Tuesday, June 26th:

I am now home from Seattle with a huge assignment to finish by the 1st of July. For the past 3 years I have been involved with Dralla Foundation, the non-profit organization first envisioned by Peter Allard in Sweden and now operating in the US as a way for Allard (US and European headquarters) to give back to the community. "Dralla" is Allard spelled backwards and is funded by a percentage of every ToeOFF sold plus donated appearance fees from Peter Allard; the monies collected are then given out as grants to other non-profit organizations each year.

The mission of the Dralla Foundation is to provide "support for better life" to enrich the lives of children and adults with disabilities, by helping them to fulfill their dreams or visions. When considering which organizations to fund, Peter asks the Review Board to keep in mind that he wants to provide an experience with potential to be "the best day of their lives" for everyone involved.

For more information, especially to those of you reading this blog who may wish to submit an application next year, please visit the official website: 

In addition to being part of the very first Dralla discussions, I soon signed on as one of 3 initial "board of trustees" to help bring Peter's dream to fruition, and then as one of 3 members of the Review Board Committee. The latter is the reason for my current workload as this year's applications have now been processed and are ready for review--37 in total!

So many worthy groups are requesting a portion of Dralla's 2012 funding! 
Upon receipt of this notebook in the first week of June I immediately began to read. June was a busy month of travel so I had to take advantage of my home hours every chance I got... my final recommendations were due in 3 weeks, yikes!
Slow but deliberate progress each day... every organization deserves the most thorough consideration.

Friday, June 29th:

After 4 long days of reviewing the remaining applications I finally made it through the entire 37. Keep in mind that each application takes about 2 hours to review, with supplemental DVD's, photos, testimonials and websites provided in addition to the official application pages. Knowing that our decisions will "make or break" the dreams of this year's applicants, the 3 of us on the review committee take this responsibility very seriously! At this point I have a really good understanding of how well each of these non-profits meet Dralla's intended mission and yet there is still much work to be done before I send in my final recommendations on Saturday... they need to be in the hands of our Grant Administrator by Monday. That being said, I need a mental break for now and will resume tomorrow with my overall rankings... I can't even fathom at this moment how I will be able to rate these from 1 to 37.

Lucky for me I have the PERFECT distraction lined up. My nephews, Jackson and Joey, have been staying with 2 of my parents in Chapel Hill this week but I've yet to see them... tonight they are coming to town to see the Grasshoppers game with Jim and me.

Mom and I enjoy our view of the "rally cap" fans, from left: Jackson, Pops, Joey and Jim. With the 'Hoppers losing in the 8th inning the guys figured it was time for some heroic efforts on behalf of the crowd.
Joey, in his version of the "rally cap" and Uncle Jim's reading glasses...quite the student of the game!

Saturday, June 30th:

The Hoppers lost last night, much to the disappointment of my nephews, but the evening was a lot of fun for all of us and luckily I was able to get to sleep by 11pm. I had an early morning wake-up today to run in a city-favorite race today, the Freedom Run 10K in downtown Greensboro. This would be the first race for me in my hometown this year and I hoped to see some of my friends on the course... but first I had to get to registration!

The parking deck for the downtown Marriott in the background, we're making our way there to register for the race.

The western-most border of downtown along Greene St. This is only about a half-mile from our house in Fisher Park. The finish line is taunting us even before we begin... this race is known for its mean, uphill finish and hot, humid conditions. 
A crowd begins to form at the registration table. Considering the heat and humidity today (temps were already in the 80s with an even higher heat index... ugh) I was surprised to see so many signing up at the last minute.

Friends!! I spotted 2 of my great friends, Rick and Katie, near the starting line... yay!

Rick ("Buck"), Katie, me and Jim ready to brave the heat and hills... we think.
I met Katie in Nicole Dailey Bergmann's fitness class and I've really missed them all: Katie, Nicole and the amazing classes!

We finished the race, not nearly my best effort but after a long week and 6 hours of sleep I was happy with the results. My time was 55:10, about the same per-mile pace as my half-marathons this year which is pretty slow for a 10K... but I'm celebrating being out here all the same!

The Finish Line!!!
After the run we made our way to the Downtown Farmer's Market for fresh goodies--a special treat when I get to be in town longer than a few days. Here are a few shots of the market, including one of my favorite vendors, Smith Farms:

Sunday, July 1st:

Along with the rest of Saturday's activities I managed to package and mail my final Dralla reviews. I still need to work on my rankings and summaries but this can be done via email on Monday. Today we have a celebration in store. Rowen Kate Austin, my step-granddaughter, is celebrating her 2nd birthday a week early at a swimming party in High Point today. Her parents, Jason and Kassie, have a really great reason for the premature celebration: a baby-sister is in store for Rowen tomorrow!! Yes, that's right, they are inducing labor tomorrow morning and then we'll be celebrating a real "birth" day. But today belongs to Rowen and she's making the best of it!

Kassie, my SDIL (it gets a bit cumbersome to keep saying 'step-daughter-in-law'!) manages to coordinate a birthday party the day before she gives birth to her second daughter.

What's a 2-year-old's birthday without Dora?

Rowen, the birthday girl, in the middle.

Ice-cream sandwich cake, Rowen's favorite!

Monday, July 2nd:

Happy Birthday to our family's newest addition, Summer Anne Austin!!!

Granny Pat holding hours-old Summer Anne.
Saturday, July 7th:

A long week full of family visits, 4th of July activities, PR meetings and finalizing the Dralla details before the review committee comes to town next week. That's right, this year I am hosting the committee here which is a bit of extra work, and yet, I asked for this opportunity rather than hit the road yet again. This weekend Jim and I have planned to undertake the dreaded "serious cleaning" of our home, something we've not done often because we're both traveling all the time. We hate to give up a precious weekend for this chore but it needs to be done and we vowed to do it as a team before our 6 guests come to town next week. Before we roll up our sleeves for the day we make a trip to support a running event being put on by two of our good friends, Matt and Amy Ketterman. 

Here's a link to Matt's amazing story and charity efforts, way to go, Matt!

Amy and Matt Ketterman enjoying the fruits of their labor with race day finally here!

A great crowd on hand for the event.

I am happy to report that Matt's run was a success, they raised enough money to provide 60,000 cans of food to Second Harvest Food Bank!

Now back home, to the reality of a 48-hour ceiling-to-floor housecleaning blitz!!

July 9th-10th:

Monday and Tuesday were filled with catching up on my social media pages and also with PR interviews. On Monday Jeri Rowe of the News & Record dropped by to do a story about me and the Get Back Up journey. We spent a few hours together before he decided he wanted to come back and run with me before finalizing his article... we made plans for this to happen on Wednesday before the Dralla committee arrived in Greensboro. 

On Tuesday the N&R photographer came by to take pictures that Jeri requested for the news story. We got caught up talking about our mutual appreciation for the Arts & Crafts/Craftsman style of architecture thus our session ran long. After he left I had a phone interview with Tara from USAirways inflight magazine; Tara now lives in Phoenix but had grown up in this area so we had a lot to chat about. 

Tuesday evening was spent making homemade strawberry-rhubarb pies for the Dralla Committee. I wanted them all to have a taste of the local flavors, all the fruit was purchased from local farmers at the Farmers Market on Saturday.

Wednesday, July 11th through Saturday, July 14th:

The final phase of the review process is here! After many weeks of hard work going over every application for this year, we finally meet in person to discuss and compare our rankings. I begin the morning with an early run with reporter, Jeri Rowe, whose article about the Get Back Up story should be in Friday's paper. Next up, meet up with Marc and his wife, Denise in preparations for the meetings once Josh arrives.

The review dates changed by a day, but the meeting is finally here and we're all ready to decide how to allocate funding.

 Me, Marc and Josh on my front porch during a review session.

 The discussions were long but thoughtful and very enlightening. We took very few breaks over the course of the 3.5 day process but took time off in the evenings to make sure we didn't make snap decisions.
Marc Martinez, myself and Josh Ahlstrom are currently the Review Board. 

I feel obligated to say here that not only am I fortunate to be a part of an organization as worthy as Dralla, but I am so grateful to Marc and Josh for their tremendous dedication, insight and true concern for making wise choices in this review process. Did I also happen to mention that the Dralla hours are entirely volunteer?? Josh and Marc are two of the busiest men I know and yet they volunteer more hours each year on behalf of the Dralla mission... Thank you so much to you both!!

And a few more thank-yous while I'm at it: To Jen Buehler (program administrator) for all her hard work and guidance, and to her husband, Andrew, who drove with her 9 hours from NJ with their one-year-old daughter, Siena. Talk about a sacrifice!

Sunday, July 15th:

Dralla review was a success with more than half of this year's applicants getting funding. When we have the press release ready regarding each program and amounts awarded I will post it in my blog and on Facebook. For now, I am happy to have a reprieve from the obligations for another 10 months. Now it's time to clean up and prepare for the trip to Chicago this week... after fielding the more than 20 inquiries about the ToeOFF I received once Jeri's article hit the stands!!

Here's the link to the article: (NOTE: if this fails to load fully I will be providing a link via the Allard website once we can get the article embedded into the media page)

Whew! Was I ever glad to have all this "time off" between races. :-)  See ya in Chicago!!

No comments:

Post a Comment