Sunday, November 29, 2009

November 29th, 2009

Roger Dickerson

Happy Birthday, Dad.

I love you.

I love you enough to post this unflattering video of me.


November 28th, 2009

Good Luck Charms from Valerie McQueen on Vimeo.

Valerie McQueen

Another video by Valerie McQueen

Friday, November 27, 2009

November 27th, 2009


"I'm here to volunteer."
"Well, praise the Lord, honey. I'm Thelma."
And then started a flurry of activity as
Thanksgiving dinner for the guests of
was prepared.

"Katie typed up some instructions/directions
for us to find everything. Do you have
a copy of that?"
"Child, I've been doing this for 14 years.
We just find the stuff wherever it is.
You can round up 140 dinner plates if you will."

Thelma took charge of me and 15 or so
other volunteers who were spending
their day serving dinner to families who
were unable to be home because
they had loved ones staying at local hospitals.

In Thelma's presence, we were
all rookies in our roles as
human helpers.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

November 26th, 2009


I love Alyssa Doane.
She's smart, funny, and brave.
She also has cystic fibrosis.

She HATES long hospital stays.
But she knew last week that she was not feeling well.
She was admitted with 32% lung function.
She also HATES having to do her PFTs--(Pulmonary Function Test).
It makes her nervous.
So nervous.
So-nervous-I-can't walk-down-the-hall kind of nervous.

But Alyssa conquered some wicked fear and blew 43% a day later!
In case you don't know,
that's pretty much putting CF in its place--
telling it to take a hike.

Alyssa has a Make-A-Wish trip to Disney coming up!
And a family who wants her home from the hospital.

Happy Thanksgiving, Alyssa and all of the
folks on 7 today. Nurses, patients, moms and dads.
I'm thankful for everyone who continues
the fight against CF. Alyssa is on the
front lines today.

Love. Love. Love.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

November 25th, 2009


No matter how many times I just send a text
instead of calling.
No matter how many times I am cryptic
and vague.
No matter how many times I say,
"At work. Will call you later."
No matter how many times I say
"I meant to call last night, but I
fell asleep."

No matter.

Shelley always checks on me and says,
"Love you. Talk to you soon."

I am her step-daughter. She doesn't even
really HAVE to afford me all of that
gracious love.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

November 24th, 2009

Virginia (Ginny)

I knew the moment I saw her that I would have to summon
the courage to walk up to her and say, "I'm Amy,
and I am documenting one thing, every day that
makes me happy--and that red jacket of yours has made
me smile from ear to ear. Can I take your picture?"

She was as gracious and vibrant as you might expect
a woman wearing this coat to be. Her husband said affectionately,
"I told her when she got it that it was too shiny."
Virginia herself admitted, "I can't wear it when I
substitute teach because they told me that it
looks like that Jackson guy's--you know, Michael."

I told her to shine on. And that I loved it.
She told me where she got it--and even took it off
to show me the label.

Virginia and her husband are traveling to North Carolina
to spend Thanksgiving with family. If they provide
at least a little of the cheer they created for
me this morning, their hosts will be very lucky
indeed. Happy Thanksgiving, Ginny.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

November 21, 2009

Wendy and Emmy

Mill Street Grill in Staunton, VA,
was a very random coice to have a beer
before riding the highway home to Richmond.
But the kindness of Wendy and Emmy was anything
but haphazard.

The sincere hospitality of these two hilarious women
extended well beyond the borders of the jobs and friendship
they so obviously enjoy.
Emmy ("like the awards," she said)
and Wendy ("like the hamburger," she said)
helped two strangers feel as if they'd made it home
without getting in the car.

Friday, November 20, 2009

November 20th, 2009

Nathan McCracken

Note left on kitchen table, November 1997:
Please sign this OOPS! I Forgot My Homework slip.
I have to take it back to school.
I think Mrs. Davidson is not telling the truth on that P.S. that says
"This makes the 83rd time this month"

Text message received November 20, 2009:
I got a 94% and an "Excellent Paper, Nate" on
the Rousseau/Montessori paper that I wrote on while we
were on vacation in New Orleans.

Sometimes things really do figure themselves out.
Keep the faith.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

November 19th, 2009


I have THE coolest friends.
Here is Katie Demaio as she is giving me a tour of Hospital Hospitality House where she is the Director of Volunteers.
HHH's work is made possible by thousands of hours put in by dedicated volunteers (and a very small staff). It's Katie job to make sure all of those volunteers are trained, scheduled, and happy. In other words, Katie is a very important cog in this wheel:

HHH provides lodging and non-medical services to families and individuals in medical crisis. Guests are referred from physicians, staff and social workers from area hospitals.
Since we opened our doors in 1984, we have served over 100,000 guests from across Virginia, the United States and beyond.
Our mission is to provide lodging and non-medical services that promote the healing process in a caring, emotionally supportive, home-like environment. Referred families are served with dignity, integrity and without regard to financial resources.

I'll be spending Thanksgiving serving turkey
and stuffing and cranberry cheesecake
(oh god, please let there be cranberry cheesecake)
to all of the guests at HHH.

It's the least I can do to show my appreciation for my friendship with Katie.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November 17th, 2009

This Girl

I was lucky enough to be walking around Belle Isle in the sunshine.
If you live near Richmond and the James River,
you know that it doesn't get much better than Belle Isle in the fall.
It was so pretty that I swore I could hear music.
Sweet acoustic guitar music.
And then girl singing music.

I looked up and there she was.

And this made me very happy indeed.
Click on the picture to make her bigger.

Monday, November 16, 2009

November 16th, 2009

Patti. Patti. Patti Digh

The LAST thing I want to do is to keep a blog about things that make me happy because they are all ABOUT ME, ME, ME.

In other words, this page is not meant to be merely a list of people who
might have complemented my haircut
or told me that they liked my jacket
or shoes. (But don't think for one minute that I don't
appreciate comments such as this--especially
since I don't have great hair or lots of
awesome jackets and shoes.)

What I really hope to do is
show my appreciation and gratitude for
kindness big and small--whether it has anything to do with me directly or not.

But, you have to pardon me today. Please.

I am so, so, so giddy proud to be featured a "guest writer" here:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

November 14th, 2009

Dr. and Mrs. Joel Schmidt

Here are Dr. Joel Schmidt and his wife, Daphne at the
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's 16th Annual
Starry Night Gala that
took place tonight at the Jefferson Hotel.

When Dr. Schmidt is not wearing a tuxedo
and beaded necklaces,
he is treating CF patients at the VCU
CF Care Center.

Dr. Schmidt's and Daphne's intelligence, compassion,
and wit make them CF Heroes.
I'm not the only one who knows this is true.

Friday, November 13, 2009

November 13th, 2009

Susan Keitges Kelly

In this very photograph Susan KK is saying, through her
clenched teeth,
"Amy! I don't have time for your games!"'

Susan is the mastermind behind the Richmond Animal League's amazing fundraising events. And, she is my very dear friend.

Thank you, Susan, for making this world a better place for everyone--including our four-legged friends.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

November 12th, 2009

Sarah Branigan

Once upon a time, Sarah and a group of her friends took some photos of
themselves jumping around a campfire.They could not help but notice,"It made us all laugh and it was something we wanted to keep doing
in different places and document..."

It was the start of something wonderful.

I first heard about JumpBecause on NPR last spring.
Imagine my delight when I realized these inspiring people
live right here in my neighborhood (Richmond, VA).

Sarah and her friends are world famous for making people happy.

You can learn about them here

The concept is simple:
It's hard to be unhappy
while your feet are off the ground.

The effect has been profound:
People from all over the world have
sent photos and stories of their own jumps.

You can jump for a cause
(as Sarah and her friends did for cystic fibrosis research),
or you can jump just because.

Jump because. I love this. I'd love to see YOU submit a jump and a story.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

November 10th, 2009


Good thing this is not a photography blog.

My picture didn't turn out, but I still wanted to
feature David as my One Person today.
David gave us a tour of the city of New Orleans and
compassionately told the story of Katrina and its aftermath.
There are 300,000 people in this city and each person
has 100 stories to tell.
I could have stayed with David all day today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November 9th, 2009

This Guy

I really hoped that documenting these things
that make me happy would also inspire me to
write about WHY they made me feel
that way.
But, so far, these things speak
for themselves.
And nothing I could say would add to them.
I Love This Self Portrait.
I love it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

November 8th, 2009


A friend for more than twenty years knows
all about you
and loves you anyway.

That this girl exists makes me happy.
AND we are in New Orleans.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

November 7th, 2009


This man dropped me off at a beautiful hotel this morning

Pacquito Rocks!

Friday, November 6, 2009

November 6th, 2009

Kristin Andreassen

Crayola Doesn't Make a Color For Your Eyes

No explanation necessary.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

November 5th, 2009


Gina took my order, asked for my name,
and then yelled out "AMY!" after she made me the best cheeseburger

(Dawn, it's okay, I ordered the mini)

November 4th, 2009


I love Judy.
Teacher of second-graders, tell it like it is Judy.
Judy HATES the gift exchange at First Wednesdays. You have to MAKE your gift and she is never enthusiastic about the prospect of coming up with, on her own, some unique handmade somethingorother to give to a stranger. It puts a damper on First Wednesdays for her (and by that I mean that she sometimes stays home rather than make a gift).

But this month the food theme was soup and we were exchanging bowls instead of handmade gifts. Judy was so happy.

And Judy opened bowl after beautiful bowl. But our "exchange" can be heartbreaking because the person who gets to pick a present after you do has the option of stealing yours. We stole bowls from Judy all night.

I moved closer to her to steal this "First Wednesdays" soup bowl. Here she is smiling through the pain and disappointment of the evening.

I hope she comes back in December.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November 3, 2009

Someone who had no reason to be kind to me
was kind to me today. Once again.

But I don't have a photo.

And, I got carded at Whole Foods while purchasing a fancy beer.
But the cashier would not let me take her picture.


Monday, November 2, 2009

November 2, 2009

Mr. Moon

Look up.

This makes up for it getting dark at 5:30 tonight.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November 1, 2009


Not just another pretty face (even though it is a REALLY pretty face).

Cara is already working on her 2010 GREAT STRIDES team (and video) to raise funds to make CF stand for Cure Found!

Cara makes me happy on this cold and rainy day.