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..

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