Tag Archives: Laura Meserole

It’s All for the Cause

Something magical happens when charity and best friends mix; I think it has to do with the sum being greater than the parts…

On Sunday, February 5, Meredith, Laura, Annie and I hosted a Super Bowl party to raise money for the Hutch School.  The four of us make up the Margaret E. Martindale Jr Guild, started in 2010.  The original Margaret E. Martindale Guild (MEMG) was created in 1986, and is made up of the friends and family of Margaret “Peggy” Martindale, better known as Laura’s mother.  Peggy died of neuroblastoma when Laura was one year old, and the Guild was created to raise funds for cancer research.  It has done so for over 25 years, raising more than $5 million in that time.

Chip (Laura's father), Laura, and Leslie (Chip's wife)

Needless to say, we were more than a little intimidated joining a crew of such achievers.

In our first year, we participated by helping the Hutch School students create an art project for the big annual MEMG Travel and Leisure auction.  It was a minor effort, and we knew it,  but it helped get our feet wet.  And, I must add, the piece of art went for $1,200 at the auction, which kind of made us beam with pride (as if we, and not the kids, created the actual art).  Fun fact: the winning bidder was none other than the Volunteer of the Year herself, who had no idea that I’d had anything to do with the piece.

This year, we decided to step up our game.  Our biggest challenge was conceptualizing an event that would be affordable for guests our age, as well as appealing to guests of an older generation.

A Super Bowl party seemed to meet both needs and sounded like more fun than work, so we booked our venue, chose food and drinks, and then began scouting for killer raffle item donations.

It was a lot of hard work, but don’t let this photo fool you — there was very little actual lifting involved, and let’s be honest, I’m always willing to lift a case of wine.

We were stunned when 80 people bought advance tickets, and ten more showed up unannounced.  It was the greatest problem we could have asked for, so we eagerly said, “The more, the merrier!”

Buckley’s on Queen Anne proved to be a fantastic location, with a private room and the freedom to decorate with our elaborate adornments: multi-colored balloons.

It also didn’t hurt that we served ribs, wings, and macaroni so good our guests went back for thirds.  I’m further convinced that having two drinks included in the prices of the ticket kept smiles on people’s faces.  It’s all for the cause!

We played Super Bowl Squares, which sold out quickly, and then hustled the crowd to buy raffle tickets for some serious prizes.  We had a snowboard, two lift tickets, $200 in massages, $50 spa credit, $100 Tully’s card, two $85 magnums of wine, a Weber grill, a putter, and several bottles of wine.

Apart from the prizes, we all agreed that the people are what made the event a success.  Everyone was so positive, so energetic, and so happy to support us.  It really felt like a community event.

After all, this event wasn’t just about fundraising, it was also about raising some fun…can you forgive me for that one?  If not, I truly don’t blame you.

Most importantly, we raised $2,500 to give to the Hutch School for extracurricular activities for the kids.  Instead of giving to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research, which felt a little like offering a glass of water to someone with a fire-hose, we decided to give our funds to the Hutch School, which felt more like building a well.

The encouragement of our mentors, the original MEMG (Leslie in particular!), really kept our spirits afloat.  They cheered us on like we were playing in the actual Super Bowl, and they didn’t stop until the last person left.  In fact, they still haven’t.

Perhaps the greatest compliment of the afternoon was that several friends expressed an interest in joining the Jr Guild in September.

I think I speak for all four of us when I say, come on in!  We’re already dreaming of next year.

*Photo credit to Steve Bimson, dedicated photographer and boyfriend of Laura.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under One WORD (Current Events)

The Lights Are Turned Way (WAY) Down Low…

I wonder if I’m the only one watching the torrential snowstorm in New York City, the one where all transportation has ceased, cars are 90% buried and snowflake-churning wind is accosting overly-bundled walkers, and thinking “I’m jealous.”

Perhaps I have this feeling because as I sat around the Christmas tree with my family and unwrapped presents two days ago, the only weather gracing the landscape out the window were raindrops. 

Raindrops in spring, yes.  Raindrops on roses, yes.  Raindrops on Christmas morning, no.

Despite having spent the last 13 years in Seattle Christmases, my first 13 were spent in mostly pristine white on the East Coast.  And once you’ve had it, it’s hard for anything else to satisfy.

I’ll admit, it’s nice being able to head home after Christmas dinner and not have to attach tire chains.  But it’s even nicer getting snowed in and not being able to go home.  In my opinion, anyway.

Maybe this is all the more irritating because our Christmas two years ago was a virtual snow heaven.  Giant white cottonballs fell from the sky all day that Christmas, so much so that our power went out.  Being the careful Northwesterners that my parents are, they had a generator for backup.  However, this generator only kept certain things running, like heat, and a few appliances.  The one appliance not included?  The oven.

It didn’t take long for us to realize that no oven meant no Christmas prime rib.  We called our neighbors who had invested in the Generator 10X 3000 (I’m inventing this name, but it may as well have been), which had enough power to light the Space Needle.  They generously decided they could spare some wattage to cook us a Christmas meal.

That meal proved so enjoyable, a delight born of a near-disaster, that we have continued the tradition with them every year since (minus the power-outage; no need to reenact exact details).

Thanks to La Nina, this year is of a decidedly different climate.  I don’t think it’s dropped below 45 degrees in weeks. 

Which is why it didn’t take long for us to say “yes” when our dear friend, Laura, and her parents invited us to their condo in Whistler for New Year’s.  Guaranteed snowflakes that fall on my nose and eyelashes!

It’s possible that no amount of snow this year could compare with our Olympic trip to Whistler last year, but who cares?  In fact, this year will be so much sweeter in different ways because we won’t be racing around to events and trying to catch medal ceremonies.  This year we can just walk through the Village, sip hot cocoa in woodsy lodges, and soak in the hottub after a day on the slopes.

In other words, enjoy walking in a winter wonderland.

6 Comments

Filed under One WORD (Current Events)

The 2010 Olympics: A First-Hand Account

What kind of a blogger would I be if I didn’t head directly to the source of the hottest thing around and give you a full report?

May I present:  The 2010 Olympics, A First-Hand Account.

And what better way to showcase the Games than by award?  Here I will rate each aspect of our experience on the gold/silver/bronze spectrum.  We traveled to Whistler, BC with Phil and Rachel Goodman (Mike’s sister and her husband).

They win the first gold medal for best traveling companions:

Bronze Medal for Obligatory Tourist Photo in Whistler Village:

Silver Medal for Encounter with Celebrity Gold Medal Athlete Bode Miller at Men’s Super G Event:

Gold Medal for Getting Actual Olympic Athlete to Hold Our Stuffed Animal (Rachel gets ALL the credit for swallowing her pride to achieve this feat):

Gold Medal for Witnessing a US Gold Medal Win (Four Man Bobsleigh) While Standing at the Finish Line:

Silver Medal for International Cell Phone Charges Due to Friends and Family Texting to Say They Saw us on TV at Bobsleigh Event: See video here (at about 3:27).

Silver Medal for Managing to Stay Upright During Blizzard (Rachel, shown here, kicking serious tail):

Now let’s talk about the nighttime activities.  Few things make one feel as wild as being at a once-in-a-lifetime event.  That is all I will say about the following photo except to add that despite appearances, very minimal drinking actually occurred this evening.  Laura (in pink) and Annie (in blue), my dear friends who were also in the Village for the Games, pulled me (in black) in for some fun.

Gold Medal for Olympic-Fever-Induced Dancing on Bar:

Bronze Medal for Most Bizarre Winter-Themed Party in Village (a bar made of ice, complete with glasses carved out of ice, and complimentary parka upon entry, as shown by Mike and Laura):

By far the most exciting event was the US/Canada men’s hockey game, the final event of the Olympics.  We joined Annie, Laura and some insane Canadian fans at Garibaldi’s to watch the game.  We fully represented in our tiny corner of the bar:

Despite a fantastic, blood-pumping rally by the US with their goal to tie the game, the Canadians won and madness ensued:

We were almost fearful to leave the bar, given that we were the official enemy.  But what we never expected, not in a million years, was that as we took to the streets to face the throngs of victorious Canucks, we were treated like celebrities — or circus freaks, depending on how you look at it.  We stood in the middle of the Village and not one minute would pass without people coming up to take their photo with us, to thank us for coming, to tell us that we were good neighbors and good sports.  We were blown away.

On second thought, it might have had something to do with the hats.

Occasionally someone would gloat obnoxiously, but we were intentional about being the first to extend a hand and say, “Congratulations on your win!”  They would always react the same tail-between-the-legs way — “Huh?  Oh, yeah man, good game!  We love you guys!”  We felt like Goodwill Ambassadors for the United States; the six of us were representing 300 million US citizens, so we were on our best behavior.

They even wanted us to pose with their Canadian dogs!  Please disregard small child with finger in nose.

I’ve never felt such effusive international camaraderie.  We didn’t want it to end.  We kept thinking, “How will we ever feel this way again?”  And then it occurred to us…

Gold Medal for Being Fully Prepared for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia:

 

4 Comments

Filed under One WORD (Current Events)