Sunday, December 21, 2008

and the busy holiday season arrives..

The last few weeks have kept my day-to-day very structured. The majority of these appearances were Christmas-related, so I'm definitely "in the spirit!"

I had yet another Christmas parade, down in Millsboro! I was able to visit with Chelsea (Miss Sussex County) and her cousin Krista (Miss Sussex County's Outstanding Teen) before the parade stepped off. Donald (my driver) and I had a great time! Once we reached the end of the parade route, I had to book it up to Dover for the Miss Mid-Atlantic Pageant. Surprisingly, I got there early so I spent some time with the contestants in what was once a room, but looked like a tornado-stricken clothing store! We sure do know how to make ourselves "at home" backstage! I was joined at the podium throughout the afternoon by Tiffany and Heather (two contestants for Miss DE '09) and Mandie, MDOT. I don't know what was more fun; emceeing or hanging out backstage! Mandie and I definitely amused ourselves when others were at the podium. A round of congratulations go to Lauren Gagliardino, Heather McKinney, Jenna Brindley, and Shaila Gillis, as they were the new titleholders crowned that afternoon! We sure are collecting a great group of girls for the Miss Delaware 2009 Pageant!

Once the pageant titles had been awarded, I was off to Clayton to join Kayla, Miss Newark, at the Saint Joseph Center Christmas Event. I met a good number of the guests, sang Christmas Carols, played carols on the piano, and just enjoyed everyone's company. I also met a little girl who was my buddy for the evening. It was even snowing that night!!! which made it seem all the more festive!

The following week brought me to the State Trooper stations throughout Delaware. Together, we made visits to hospitals like A.I. DuPont, schools for the disabled, and full-care, live-in facilities. I had a great time getting to know the troopers and seeing them all dressed up in costumes, but most importantly, it was wonderful to bring some holiday cheer to the patients, students, and residents. Most were extremely excited to see us! Batman and Spiderman definitely proved to be among my biggest competition ;) but together we made a great team! One of the troopers even handcuffed me..just for fun, of course! For three days, I made visits with different troops in New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties.

That evening after the last Trooper visits lead me to the Whitten's Fine Jewelry store in Wilmington. Fortunately cars have tail lights, because I don't know that I would have made it up north without following other cars. The rain was coming down so hard that the lines on the roads were lost! Slowly, but surely, I made it. Whitten's had an event called Men's Night Out. An evening of food, snacks, wine, music, and of, greeted and entertained those in attendance. I mingled with the guest/customers and performed pieces on the piano as well. It was a beautiful event that allowed people to jump-start their Christmas shopping!

I missed a few appearances the next couple of days because I came down with a stomach virus and was not feeling well at all!! Fortunately it didn't last long and I was back on my feet in no time!

I helped award and congratulate children, K-8, for their work on fire prevention. Firt, Second, and Third prizes were given out for each grade to students from all over Delaware! For the first time in my life, I was told to stand in the back row of the group picture because I was too tall! That would only happen with young students! They have done excellent work, and I was glad to have been able to take part in their recognition.

As many of you may know, my sister, Windsor, is an elementary school music teacher and director of their Chorus. The Chorus Concert was held this past week and I was able to see them perform and watch her direct. They all did a great job! and I even snapped a few shots for the record.

This past Friday brought me to the Hope Clinic in Dover. I was with the same volunteers as usual, Dr. Mercer and Joanne. We had a steady schedule of patients throughout the day which was very good since it's not all too rare to have a few cancelations or "no-shows" in a day.

This weekend, I was with the Governor for her annual Christmas Open House. The Booker T. Washington Elementary School's Chorus sang many songs for the crowd who also saw Santa Claus and enjoyed cookies and punch. I met a good amount of people that I didn't know, including Reverend Gilmore..the man who married my parents!! That event was one of the last appearances I would have with Governor Minner, since she will be passing the job over to Jack Markell in just a few weeks. I will post pictures later when I receive them from Sue.

Just last night, I celebrated Christmas with my mom's side of the family. We had family from PA, DE, and FL all together at my house and we had a wonderful time! My favorite part of any holiday is visiting with family and enjoying their company..and that's exactly what we did!! I was sorry to see everyone go at the end of the night, but we will reunite in Las Vegas for Miss America!!, which by the way, is only a few weeks away!!

I'd like to end my post with a little note about my platform. As you all know, I am very involved with dentistry and I have a little story about how dentistry affects your overall health. My dad was admitted to Kent General Hospital yesterday and it turns out that he has a blood infection that has begun collecting deep in his muscle near his hip. He's had an EKG to make sure that no infection has collected in his heart, but the results have yet to be determined. The doctors have traced it (possibly) to some fairly invasive dental work that he had done in the last month. Because the procedure was invasive (to an extent), it gave the bacteria in his mouth access to his bloodstream more easily. Of course, nothing is not certain, as he is still undergoing many tests, but it just goes to show that dentistry can in fact affect your overall health in many, many ways. I've been in and out of the hospital visiting him, and will be there all day tomorrow as well. He will not be home before Christmas, but will hopefully be getting better soon! Please keep him in your prayers! I'll keep you updated on his progress.

Have a wonderful holiday!!! and get your resolutions ready!..a new year is right around the corner!


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

parades for two different holidays all in a week's work..

On Wednesday afternoon, Debbie and I embarked on a mini roadtrip to Philadelphia..the "city of [sisterly] love." We were met at the Holiday Inn by Ashley and Sally; Miss New Jersey and her hilarious traveling companion. Well, Debbie and Sally go "way back" and are hysterical when they get together. They talked about Debbie learning how to be a traveling companion, dating older men, fitting two girls into one fur coat years ago, and other unpredictable stories! After meeting/reuniting in the hotel for about an hour, we freshened up and let the 'ol Garmin lead us to our next destination: Maggiano's. There, we were welcomed by Kendria, Miss Pennsylvania, and a few other Pennsylvanians. Minutes later, Brintha, Miss Philadelphia, and Kirsten, Miss America, arrived to join us for a large dinner! The titleholders were at one table while the traveling companions spoke at another. At our table we chatted about all sorts of things!!, what to expect at Miss America, what foods we liked, cooking and baking, and all kinds of other "table talk." I was sorry to see the dinner end, as we thoroughly enjoyed each other's company. In hindsight though, it was probably best that we got to bed as early as possible since we had an early morning ahead of us! That didn't stop Debbie, Sally, Ashley, and I from staying up late to chat in our hotel room! We did eventually get to bed though.

I woke up very early the next morning to get ready for the Philadelphia IKEA Thanksgiving Day Parade! We were on the Candyland float and had a great time!! I even heard some people say that they were from good 'ol Delaware! In addition, we met people from all over the country including Connecticut and California (what a hike!)! Kirsten did a great job performing at the telecast! Immediately after the performance, we were whisked away (more like almost thrown off the float! hehe) by the float's truck-driver, loaded into a limo, and taken back to the Holiday Inn. From there, Debbie and I loaded up the car and made our way back to Delaware.

Upon returning to Newark, I changed and drove back to Pennsylvania to Avondale for Thanksgiving Dinner at my aunt and uncle's house. We had a great time, although many family members were MIA. Some in FL, MA, name it..we had family there! I had a nice dinner, caught up with family, watched my little cousins tap dancing recital dvd, had a few/a few zillion games of pingpong and fuseball with my Uncle Lou, then proceeded to take a load off in their hot tub!! What a night!! He ended up winning both tournaments in pingpong and fuseball, but I gave him a run for his money! He also put me in his inversion traction devise..I was hanging completely perpendicular to the ground! about a headrush! I don't wait until Thanksgiving to reflect on all that I have to be thankful for, but it sure is nice to visit with family!! and to be reminded of all of our blessings.

I stayed the night at my aunt and uncle's the night of Thanksgiving. My mom and I rose early the next morning to make it to the Wilmington Christmas Parade! How did I go from a Thanksgiving parade one day, to a Christmast parade the next?!..busy, busy season I suppose! I was on the DuPont float with all of the Delaware titleholders; Vincenza, Bethany, Mandie, Lili, and Miss Hispanic DE 2008. The parade went down Market St. and we had a great time!! I was also happy to share Vincenza and Bethany's last appearance with them. They both did a wonderful job this year and gave up their titles on Sunday. I was able to attend the Miss Delaware USA/Miss Delaware Teen USA pageant on Sunday after my appearance at Dover Downs. They looked beautiful, and now we have two new titleholders representing Delaware: Kate and Kelsey!

Later Friday night, I attended the Dover Downs Chocolate Festival. My mom accompanied me and we spoke with many of the exhibitors, taste-tested all sorts of things, and purchased a few of our favorite items. We also admired the impeccable gingerbread houses and creations!! Toward the end of the evening, I performed a few pieces on the piano. The performances went very well and they were followed by a choral group. One of the members was a family friend so we stayed to watch. Because there were no seats left, I opted to sit on the floor rather than stand. Shortly after, I was joined by a four-year-old little boy named Richard who proceeded to tell me all about his favorite toys. He also came to me with a little snowman ornament and said "Here, I stole this from my mom for you." I laughed and quickly turned around to find his mom, but she laughed and told me to hang onto it. He sat with me for about 20minutes and was great company! He and I were later joined by another youngster, Andre, who worried me with that big cup of chocolate icecream right next to my white sash haha! He gave me the biggest hug when he left, and Richard told me, "Bye, Misses Dubawhere." How cute!!

I was back with my local pageant directors on Saturday afternoon and evening. They were holding their teen/young pageants for the New Castle County and Diamond State Organization. I was asked to perform, so while I was not on the piano, I helped out in the dressing room. Of course, when no help was needed, you could find me snoozing on the floor. The young girls and teens did a fabulous job! Congratulations to all of them. I also really appreciate them agreeing to take a "funny face picture" once the pageant ended. Funny faces pictures are my favorite pictures!! =D

Sunday, I woke up early to go to Church before going back to the Chocolate Festival. I met a few of the Cinderella Pageant titleholders and performed on the flute and piano after Mandie performed! It's always nice seeing her parents and grandparents, and Mandie too of course! Once I finished performing, I loaded up my things and quickly drove to the Miss Delaware USA pageant! I made it right before the event started!

To begin this new week, I went shopping for my opening number top for Miss America and then rode in the Rehoboth Christmas Parade! I was sandwiched between Cassidy, Delaware's Junior Miss, and Lili, Mrs. Delaware! I also saw Tiffany, our current Miss Brandywine, and Ashley, Miss Southern Delaware. The parade was beautiful; the Christmas lights were twinkling everywhere!!

That's all for now! I'll have another update soon!! Feel free to leave any comments!

xoxo Galen

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

..I'm not afraid to ask for directions

Another busy, busy week has passed...week 23 to be exact! The time is flying!! and Miss America is only 8 or 9 weeks away!; not that I'm counting or anything =P.

Have you ever watched the Game Show Network?..or at least heard about Squares? Well I got to participate in Delaware's Celebrity Squares! I was joined in the game by: Michael Waite, radio host from station WJBR-FM; Maxine Gaiber, Executive Director of the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts; Vicki Huber-Rudawsky, two-time Olympian in track and field; Todd Chappelle, singer and songwriter; Meg Hudson, entrepreneur co-owner of Domaine Hudson; Sister Jeanne Cashman, Executive Director Sojourners’ Place; the Hon. M. Jane Brady, Judge, DE Superior Court; and Dr. William N. Johnson, President, Wesley College. We all had a great time! They were so witty which made the whole event even more fun. I don't think any were as funny as the Dame Edna impersonator. If you've never met her, then you just wouldn't understand. I recommend attending one of her events. She is hysterical! The singer, Todd Chappelle was the center square and entertained us with a fantastic song about Delaware, "I'm from Delaware." He gave me one of his cd's and I have been listening to it constantly in the car trying to learn the lyrics..I'll get it one of these days.

We were all asked questions relating to Delaware. Fortunately I'm pretty knowledgable about our state and it's history, but it was good practice! The proceeds of the event benefited the Fresh Start Scholarship Foundation which provides scholarship to young people who may not otherwise have the chance to attain higher education. We even heard a few personal testimonies from a few women who had benefited from the program.

The following day, I was a judge for the Little and Juvenile Miss Georgtown pageants! The girls were adorable and did a fantastic job! It's always tough being on the judges panel. Bliss, 1st runner-up to Miss Delaware 2007 was home from Law School and was also a judge. It was great to see her!! Carly and Mrs. Soucek also joined us as judges.

I actually have an exhausting story about traveling to Georgetown for this pageant. My directions took my to the highschool rather than the middle school where the pageant was being held. In the blizzard-like snow, I ran to the nearest occupied car in the highschool parking lot. I scared the poor woman as I knocked on her window in the pitch black! She was waiting for her child to get out of sports practice. I asked her for directions and she directed me south "to the middle school." Well it was the middle school alright..the Millsboro Middle School, not the Georgetown Middle School! I called Susan and asked for directions, but it was so hard to see street signs in the snow and traffic. I drove past the actual school because the sign had not been changed from when the school switched from a high school to a middle school! Some how (I still don't know how) I made it to the pageant early! I was terrified that I would be holding up the pageant, but I wasn't. The rest of the night went smoothly. Oh and I lost my car keys before I even left for the pageant. Whew!!! I was glad to get to sleep that night!

I was also given the opportunity to perform at the pageant. Fortunately, Bliss was kind enough to help me lug my electric piano, stand, bench, and chords from my car to the stage. It's a huge help when I have an extra pair of hands and muscles helping!!

While I was there, I was also finally introduced to the new Delaware's Junior Miss, Cassidy Seabolt. She's a great girl and performed very well!! (she is a dancer). Because Bliss, myself, Cassidy, and Amy, all Junior Misses and all together!..we had to get a DJM photo!

At the conclusion of the pageant, I had to drive back home to Wyoming and all of the snow from earlier in the evening had frozen on the streets. I was detoured twice on the way home; once to avoid the icy ramp just north of Milford and another time to avoid the TWENTY CAR PILE-UP just south of Dover. I am so thankful that I was not involved in those accidents! I made it home slowly, but safely!

The next day I was back in Georgetown without snow and ice :). That night, rather than judging, I joined Amanda as an emcee for the evening. I also performed again on the piano. Chelsea Betts took home the new title of Miss Sussex County, Krista Clausen is our new Miss Sussex County's Outstanding Teen and Jenna Hitchens is our new Miss Georgetown's Outstanding Teen! Congratulations girls!!! I even bumped into my director from my Delaware's Junior Miss days!

By Monday, I was up in Wilmington with Mark, trying on fur coats in his store. We found one that was a perfect fit!! I will make good use of this coat as the Thanksgiving and Christmas parades draw near!!

My Children's Miracle Network fundraiser finally arrived on Monday too. The Georgia House allowed us to hold the buffet-style dinner at their restaurant in Laurel. I performed on the piano at various times throughout the evening, helped clear tables, serve drinks, and grab any other necessities throughout the night. My mom and sister were there to help me "waitress," and Windsor sang for some of the pieces I played. I couldn't have done it without them! I am also so incredibly thankful for all of the people who came and/or sold tickets for the fundraiser!!

Tonight I was at the Longaberger Basket Bingo for Miss Delaware's Outstanding Teen. Another Vana White night. We showcased all of the baskets, helped with the Chinese Auction prizes and drawings, collected trash at the conclusion of each BINGO game, and helped with snacks. I also chatted quite a specialty! I even got a good work out as we stacked heavy chairs once the event ended! We had a great time and the organization raised quite a bit of money!

I will be travelling to Philadelphia tomorrow with Debbie to have dinner with Miss Pennsylvania, Miss New Jersey, and Miss America. We will all be in a parade on Thursday as well!..then it will be time for some Turkey! Have a great Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The amount of sleep required by the average person is five minutes more. ~Wilson Mizener

This past week made me feel like an art teacher! I can remember being in elementary school art class and cutting out shapes, using lots of glue, and creating projects with all sorts of crafts. I was reminded of those crafty days last week. For a little while, my Character Counts prop-making tasks had been dangling over my head. Because I had a couple days that were more open than normal, I decided to get right to work. As I let my creativity unravel, I realized that I had made plans to make many more props and visuals than I had originally anticipated. A few bottles of puff paint and five poster/foam boards later, I had almost finished my props. Yesterday afternoon, I finally put the final touches on the presentation visuals. In addition to my traveling piano, these crafts took up every inch of my car!..I was riding low today on my way to make the presentations (haha!). I gave my Character Counts presentations all day today at East Millsboro Elementary School. I eventually presented to the entire second grade class and then spoke and performed on their telecast annoucements at the end of the day! I must say, all of those props were definitely worthwhile in the end! The children were more able to grasp what I was telling them since they were learning visually too.

I didn't make my Character Counts presentations today until I finished making a Right Decisions Right Now presentation at Long Neck Elementary School. The fifth grade class listened, learned, and interacted with me as I spoke about peer pressure and tobacco use. We had a great morning!..a wonderful way to start the week! =D

In the beginning of last week, I was notified that it was time to choose my Miss America swimsuit! The order was placed on Friday, so I'm am looking forward to receiving the suit in the mail fairly soon!!

This past Friday, the Miss Delaware Organization held a Longaberger basket bingo night as a fundraiser at the Magnolia Fire House. We had a pretty good turn out and gave away many, many baskets stuffed with goodies. It was nice to see some familiar faces supporting the organization, but also to meet some others! I was the "Vana White" for the evening and gave descriptions of the basket packages as I walked from table to table.

The weekend took my mom and I to Johnstown, PA! The ride was filled with songs like "YMCA" and chitchat between my mom and I..we had a great trip. She and I visited the Bridal Suite and saw Kayla, Miss West Virginia, and then we went to the Miss Cambria County pageant! The local was a great size!! Two Miss titleholders were crowned in addition to two teen titleholders! They all did a fantastic job! Because we didn't have to be in Pennsylvania on Sunday like we had originally thought, my mom and I decided to just drive back to Delaware after the pageant was over. We made it, but barely! I was so tired from driving out there, trying on gowns all day, then staying up late at the local pageant, but I grabbed a Red Bull and we hit the road!! I would never drive if I was absolutely too tired, but I was on the verge of being "too tired." To be honest, I'm not sure how I was awake enough to make the 4 1/2 hour drive back home, but we made it!!! I think I was asleep before I even hit the pillow that night!

While we were in Johnstown, my mom and I were looking for a restaurant to sit down, have some coffee, and read a book until it was time to go to the local pageant. We had such a hard time finding a place, so after driving around for a while, we decided to let our GPS assist us in our search. It told us that there was a Bob Evans nearby, so we followed it's directions. Well guess what? Bob Evans!! We finally found a Dunkin' Donuts and walked inside. A gentleman was at the door and told us that they were only open for "friends and family" since it was a brand new Dunkin' and they had not officially opened yet. Just before we gave up on our search for a place to have coffee, the man decided to just let us come in! He told that we could come in on one condition: we could not pay for our coffee! How amazing! He was so kind, and we ended staying for about an hour; reading, drinking coffee, and chatting until the pageant opened. I've never been so thankful for a Dunkin' Donuts!

Did I mention that I got to meet Johnathan Kayne?? He was at the Bridal Suite and we talked for a little while! He's such a great guy with incredible gowns..and shoes!! He also came to the pageant so I sat with Ronnie's mom and Kayne. What a weekend!!

I also received a few pictures from the Apple Scrapple event that I went to a few weeks ago!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity" R.Paush

The last two weeks have been incredibly eventful! In the short time since I've written, we have moved from October festivities to the beginning of November! It's hard to believe that almost five months have past since I was crowned Miss Delaware!

I began the last week of October by making presentations for the Right Decisions Right Now program. I was greeted by two fifth grade classes at East Millsboro Elementary School. We talked about how it's important to always make the best decisions for yourself, no matter what your friends decide to do. It relates mainly to tobacco use and peer pressure. The children are actually very eager to participate in the things I ask them to do, so it continues to be encouraging for me.

The following day came much sooner than I would have liked. I was up before the sun and was in Middletown by 7am to participate in the opening ceremonies of the new Walmart! I didn't realize that this was such a big event, but apparently every new Walmart has a huge Grand Opening celebration! I stopped back home to change, rest up, and pick up my presentation props. I retraced my steps from the day before and arrived at East Millsboro Elementary to present Right Decisions Right Now for all of the classes at an afterschool event that was held for Red Ribbon Day. I also performed for them and then drove to meet Donald, my driver. I sat in my car for about an hour and read, then joined Donald to continue on farther south to Selbyville for their Halloween parade. I was pleasantly surprised to be surrounded by girl scouts and baton twirlers in the line-up! It was a chilly night, but the weather was great!

Thursday brought me to Philadelphia where I visited the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. I read my agenda wrong and arrived much earlier than I should have, so rather than sitting in a waiting room and reading, I decided to bundle up and take a walk around the Univ. of Penn. campus. They have a superb dental school so I figured I might as well check it out! I grabbed a bite to eat downtown and walked all around..trying to envision whether or not I could go to dental school in a city; afterall, I am from a very small town. The visit with the children was great! I painted nails for the girls to take part in their "Spa Day." They were so excited to get their nails, hair, and make-up done, like a "dress-up" party! Carly joined me for this visit! It was great to see her!, especially since I was unable to see her crowning. I left promptly at the conclusion of the Spa Day so that I could make it to my next appearance a little early. I travelled back into Delaware to join the DuPont employees for the United Way Auction at the DuPont Country Club. It was a "meet and greet" type of event for me, but once the auction started, you may as well have called me Vana White! I showcased each item, walking them through the tables of guests. There were items from GPSs to NFL tickets, poker tables, and champagne. The guests were wonderful and the facility was beautiful! It was a very long day, but well worth it!!

Halloween finally came! After all of the parades and festivities leading up to this Holiday, it finally arrived! I spent Halloween night with Governor Minner at her haunted mansion event. We handed out candy to those who came for a good scare! We could hear the screaming of those walking through the haunted mansion all night long!

Last week began with my first vote in a presidential election! I battled the unrelenting rain, but fortunately was in and out of the voting station in about 20-30mintues. This was a record time compared to some of the "horror stories" I had heard of other voting locations; extremely long lines backed up to the parking lots! As we all know, our very own Senator Biden is now the Vice President-Elect..putting Delaware on the map!!

Return Day came with rain clouds for miles! I joined many elected officials for the luncheon prior to the Return Day events/parade. It wasn't long before I had to gather my belongings and head out to "the circle" to perform. Of course it wasn't quite that easy. With the Secret Service's tight security, it was hard enough to get myself through security, let alone my flute, music stand, bag full of pageant-appearance necessities, and my umbrella! Everything was soaking wet that day; people toughed it out though and it was blast back to the past for the historic Return Day tradition. After I performed flute for the audience, I hustled back to the corvette for the parade, but it was delayed for quite some time. At least I wasn't late!! Fortunately for the sake of my flute performance, Mandie was willing to hold my music stand and music. Otherwise, we would have lost it to the wind! I definitely slept well that night!
We almost blew away!

As my NewsMaker interviews revealed, I was at the Dover Downs' Wine and Music Festival on Friday and Saturday. I had a blast! I met tons of people and had countless pictures taken at the CN8 free picture booth. The food was tasty, the music was entertaining, and the people were so personable! I am never disappointed with events at Dover Downs; each one seems to top the last!

This morning I was back into New Castle County. I presented to four medical-profession classes at the Harris School. We talked about goals and opportunity, but not forgetting to mention that preparation and networking are key as well. My mere presence was a perfect example, since one of their teachers met me at The Home Show a few weeks ago. I didn't think I would get a dental appearance out of attending The Home Show, but it goes to show that opportunities can come your way at the most unexpected times, so it's so important to be the best person you can be at all times.

I have also been selling tickets for my Georgia House Fundraiser scheduled for November 24 at the Georgia House restaurant in Laurel. The proceeds will benefit Children's Miracle Network. If you are interested in attending, please leave a comment on here and I will direct you to the ticket sales.

I'll be back soon! How are we already half way through November? Time flies when you're having fun..

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

..I sure am glad I drive a Honda!

The past couple weeks have been packed with all sorts of events, presentations, and parades!!

I was invited to do two interviews for CN8 a couple weeks ago. I drove up to the Comcast studio, and unfortunately just missed one of their reporters, Linda Kurtz, Miss Delaware 2004. Hopefully I'll get to do another segment with her! I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with the reporter as well as the other guests that morning: Liane Sorenson and Matt Denn. I had the chance to talk with them in the Green Room while we waiting to go into the studio. Because I am Miss Delaware during an election year, I bump into politicians all the time, so I've gotten pretty familiar with some of them!

The segments will air on CN8 beginning on Wednesday, October 9 (TOMORROW!!) and will run through November 11.

The Home Show was a two-day event that I attended recently. There were hundreds of exhibits that occupied every inch of space in the Chase Center. I spoke with exhibitors from a special-needs bakery, chiropractor practices, hardscaping companies, interior design companies, and everything in between. The second day of the show, I had to leave fairly early in order to make it to the Miss New Castle County/Miss Diamond State 2009 pageant! In my red, white, and blue cocktail dresses and gowns, I was the emcee for the evening, had the opportunity to ask the on-stage questions (the contestants did great!!!), perform two pieces on the piano, and help with the crowning. It wasn't too long ago that I was crowned Miss Diamond State 2008, so it was nice to be able to pass down the title. I truly had a wonderful year with Dineen and Tom, my two local directors, as I prepared for Miss Delaware.

After that weekend, the season of parades began!! The "season" lasts until Christmas! Poor Donald (my driver) went from worrying that his 1965 convertible corvette would overheat in the summer parades, to shivering down the street for these fall parades; one extreme to the next! It was nice to be back in Milford for their Halloween Parade. It doesn't seem all to long ago that I was a middle-schooler marching for the first time in that very same parade, but to be completely honest, it was eight years ago!! I must say though, I definitely enjoyed my updated Milford Parade wardrobe as opposed to what I had to wear in band those eight years ago. You see, trying to layer warm clothes underneath a CMS Band t-shirt was not that easy and not that warm!

Although I was a little sleepy from the four Right Decisions Right Now presentations I had made earlier that day, the chill in the air at the parade definitely kept me alert and awake!, not to mention the thrill and excitement of the crowd that night!!!

On Friday, I was back in the Hope Clinic volunteering as a dental assistant/gopher. I now know how to develop x-rays using an actual developer! Now that the times are changing, developers are not being used as often in dental offices. Because of this, the only way I knew how to take x-rayz was digitally. It's always nice to learn how things used to be done though; it makes you appreciate the conveniences that technology brings.

Saturday proved to be a nasty day outside, but that didn't stop the enthusiasm of the Special Olympics Fall Festival on the inside!, of the Bob Carpenter Center that is. It was a huge event, consisting of Boce Ball and Volleyball competitions all morning and afternoon! The athletes were so excited to put their skills to the test and show all of their fans what they had been practicing! In addition to the competition, there were all sorts of activity tables for arts and crafts, karyoke, stick-on tatoos, photobooths, and various games. There was something for everyone!!

Special Olympics is a wonderful organization and has many different related groups including the National Down Syndrome Society! I have been involved for some time now, although I have never been to an actual S.O. athletic event. I have, however, taken the Polar Bear Plunge THREE times!! Brrr!!! It's such a great event and it is more and more successful each year! In addition, I have walked the Buddywalk event! As a matter of fact, my cousin, Breck, is the face on the Buddy Walk poster if you've ever seen in posted in Rehoboth. I also spoke with some parents of Special Olympics athletes at The Home Show last weekend. The athletes were the bakers and employees of the dog treats/bakery exhibit!

The sun was shining, a perfect fall temperature, a nice breeze in the air, a bunch of children in costumes, classic cars, marching bands, and decorated floats...I'd say a recipe for the perfect parade! Sunday was the day of the Newark Halloween Parade! It went right down Main Street, through the University of Delaware campus. It was nice to be "back at school," if you will. Although I didn't dress up in a costume, I was decked out from head to toe in Halloween colors! We couldn't have asked for a better day, or a better crowd at that!

That evening, I drove home to spend my brother's birthday with the family. He turned the BIG 1-9 on October 25. It's not too often, with two working parents, a music teacher/choir director for a sister, a brother who is in college, and myself being Miss Delaware, that my whole family gets to sit down at the dinner table together to talk, laugh, tell stories, play with silly party favors, and eat! I definitely would not have missed it!..even though I had to be back up north in Wilmington the very next morning. It's that kind of "quality time" that reminds me of how truly blessed I am. Who says we have to wait until Thanksgiving to be "thankful?"

I was, in fact, back in Wilmington the next morning to make a dental presentation to a dental class at Howard High School of Technology. I spoke to 10th and 11th graders who were interested in various jobs in the field of dentistry. Of course, I was super excited to talk to them and hopefully encourage them with my own testimonies and stories. I basically gleam with enthusiasm at the thought of anything related to dentistry, so this was the perfect job for a Monday! The class seemed very tuned in to what I was telling them. I was even invited to accompany them on their trips to the Temple Univ. Dental School, as well as the Dental School at New York University! Although I'm not sure if I'll be able to attend those, it was so nice of them to offer. They had some excellent questions, some of which stuck in my head. 1) "Do you have to pinch yourself sometimes to remind yourself that you really are Miss Delaware and it's not a dream?" 2) "No offense, but do you have a social life?" 3) "If you become Miss America, will you come back to talk to our class?" 4) "You stressed the importance of networking to be successful; how do you do that?" These were excellent questions! and I was more than eager to answer them! I promised the students that I would post the picture of them if they watched the reality here it is! Don't forget, Countdown to the Crown will air on TLC on Fridays in January!!

This afternoon, I made two more Right Decisions Right Now appearances in Millsboro. The fifth graders were so curious and eager to participate! Although the drive down was a little stressful (it was raining cats and dogs; the wind was blowing excessively, and my directions were slightly incorrect), I made it to the school and had two very successful presentations. There is nothing more rewarding than bringing a little joy and education to children!

Random note: I think I used exclamation marks (!) more than I used periods (.) when I write in this blog. haha

I'll be back soon to update you on more of my travels. I hope everyone has a great week!!! It's almost November!..can you believe it!? Be back soon!

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