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It’s a Birthday and More, 2017

I had a stress cold.

Runny and sore nose, almost sore throat. Bad business when you a) need to fly in an airplane, b) meet with various classes of students, and c) deliver a one-hour talk to students, faculty, and administration, including the colleague who invited you and the president of her college, to name two of the dignitaries.

No pressure.

This was my reality last week as I was on tap to fly to Cottey College in Missouri on Monday, the 6th, present throughout the day on the 7th, and fly back on the 8th. These days were a precursor to the current weekend, during which I am celebrating the actual day of my birth.

I put it like that because I have been celebrating in some form or fashion all month and will continue to do so. But I digress.

Cottey College!

What a great place. It is about two hours outside Kansas City and reminded me of home.

Not home now but New Jersey home.

I grew up in the ‘garden’ part of the Garden State so farms, woods, chilly weather, quiet outdoors, streets with no sidewalks.

The side porch of the Leadership Center

View of the double garage and one of the campus buildings from the drive of the Leadership Center

A bit of the sports field and a couple other academic buildings

See the window, top left and the ones below the smoke stack? I stayed there.

I need this porch in my life. This is a view from the side and toward the front entrance to the Leadership Center



Yes, that’s what I’m talking about. I stayed in the guest suite on the top floor of the Leadership Center. The building itself was built in the 1930s — it was a mansion then. I felt right at home in all that hardwood … my old house in Jersey was built in 1921 and was covered in it just like my digs inside this beautiful brick edifice, so there it is.

In my room was some of the history of the house, including a lovely quilt made by one of the ladies of the PEO sisterhood. Miss Minnie made it for her sister; I had to photo these because I love the expression ‘Chapter Eternal’ to refer to when her sister crossed the Rainbow Bridge.


The quilt in question. Nice, right?

A bit about the quilt itself


Some history about the house

About my home away from for those couple of days

I enjoyed meeting the students and managed to get through my talk without incident; no need to use the Apollo Theatre giant hook to yank me off-stage, no expletive accidents, no freezing (of me or the technology), and I think my presentation made sense.

At least I hope so.

I flew there and back without incident (ask me sometime about the flight attendant, her dog, and her conversation with the two pilots who were seated across the aisle … be sure we’re out for drinks when you do) and was honored to get the star treatment (thanks, sister-friend Carol!) while on campus.

I came home to a great big pile of work; despite the best laid plans, it is typically impossible to do as much work while away. I did some, but there were papers and things that I needed to grade on my primary computer (I carried the back-up machine), in my regular workspace. I spent Thursday through Saturday, getting caught up.

And I did.

I received a message that I will start another training class tomorrow and will teach a class for my new university come the end of February.

Starting Friday night and all the way through this morning, I have been spoiled.

If I tell you more, I’ll probably have to have you kidnapped, so fuhgedaboudit. Suffice it to say I have enjoyed my birthday 2017.

But wait! There’s more!

Did I mention that am celebrating all month?

If you follow me on social media, you’ll see my (usually) daily posts about each day’s enjoyment. They are mostly about being thankful.

Because I am.



  1. Lyn February 12, 2017 10:28 pm

    Why doesn’t anyone ask me to fly to another state to lecture staff and students? Oh…that’s right…I’m not a teacher ~rolls eyes at self~ Well, you certainly had an interesting few days. I agree, that quilt is beautiful! I’m glad you celebrate all month. I do almost the same. I usually get taken out for a meal (even if it’s only morning or afternoon tea) by my family and my friend of 40 years. Gosh…when I say 40 years, it sounds like forever 😀 I pray the year ahead will be fantastically blessed.

    • AR Neal February 13, 2017 7:06 pm

      I know, right? When we think about how long we’ve known some people … I am hoping to live for many more years. I want to be ‘that’ neighbor, the old lady whose age is a mystery. Actually, I want to be the woman who lives on the land, is hardy, and who has the most interesting house in the region 🙂

  2. Leigh W. Smith February 13, 2017 6:26 am

    Happy belated birthday, Andree’! Hope the stress cold is better; looks like you had a lot of fun traveling. Busy-ness is a good thing (most of the time). Neat quilt and history facts, too.

    • AR Neal February 13, 2017 7:09 pm

      Thanks, Leigh! I am cold-less and the travel went well 🙂

      • Leigh W. Smith February 14, 2017 7:52 am

        Yay, that’s good to hear. All of us awesome people have February birthdays! 🙂

        • AR Neal February 14, 2017 9:57 am

          Yes — huzzah, February!

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