Friday, April 23, 2010

Jump Rope for Heart

Thanks so much to all of you who donated to Houston's Jump Rope for Heart campaign. He was one of the top six donation earners at his school. We just got home from watching the top six slime and pie their PE coaches on the morning announcements. Funny stuff!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's Garden Time Again

So remember the last couple of years how we'd have this great big garden growing and then it would get eaten by a fungus just as soon as the fruit was about to set? Well we've learned that this area has a really bad fungus problem ever since the '04 hurricanes. It also is apparently not killed by any known fungicide ... which is okay with me b/c I don't want to put that stuff in my garden anyway. We have to solarize (cook it under plastic) the garden plot for a good three months during the hottest months of the summer to get rid of the fungus. So it's a container garden for us this year. We got to work clearing out the old tree nursery. We bought a trailer full of mushroom compost, another of chopped pine bark, some humus and organic plant food and mixed our own hopefully super-duper vegetable growing potting mix. The nursery was quite a challenge to get cleaned up but we did it. We got everything planted and so far the sprouts are coming along nicely.

The Before Picture ... Yikes!

RIP Captain Kwame Waikenda - My Brother, My Friend

Often times in life I find that there is a balance ... one that I don't always like. It seems like happy things are often balanced by sad. Last week was one of those weeks. A knitting group friend of mine is pregnant with twins and with the help of her husband we planned a surprise baby shower. She was gifted with lots of great hand knits that I know she will treasure forever. I planned the event, made the desserts and knit two shirts for her twins. I love doing things like this so it was looking to be a fun week of last minute preparations. Babies are always happy occasions, especially in a situation like this where the parents are so deserving yet struggled to become pregnant.

So here comes the bad to balance out the good... A friend and fraternity brother of ours from college passed away a couple of weeks ago. We all just found out about it a few days before the baby shower. I'm still in shock. Kwame Waikenda was one of the nicest, happiest, most intelligent and driven people i've ever met. He's someone I wanted my kids to meet. You couldn't not be happy in his presence. We are all shocked and saddened by the news. I've coordinated an effort through our fraternity brothers to buy a memorial brick at UF in his memory and to raise money to donate in his memory to the Wounded Warrior Project. We also wrote an article to be published in The Gear, the national magazine of Theta Tau.

So once again the happy and the sad come together. I'm going to attempt to paste the article below. We'll see how it comes out. I've also scanned a couple of pictures from college that i'll add.

Captain Kwame Waikenda

August 14, 1976 – March 30, 2010

Zeta Gamma #124

Always Our Brother, Always Our Friend

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of our brother’s passing. Kwame was an amazing person full of kindness and joy. His integrity, motivation and positive disposition were an inspiration to those who knew him. He had an infectious smile and an incredible spirit. He will forever be remembered and deeply missed by those of us who were lucky enough to call him our brother and friend.

Originally from Kenya, he graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Computer Engineering and entered the US Marine Corps. He went on to earn his wings and was promoted to the rank of Captain in 2006. Kwame had just returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq and was gearing up for a tour of Afghanistan when his life was tragically cut short. He was one of our finest brothers and countrymen and his service to our country will never be forgotten.

You can read more about Kwame at the memorial website created by his family:

In H&T,

Celena M. Crews ZG #61

Brett A. Crews ZG #89

Theta Tau brothers, Fall 2000 Graduation
Left to right: Marcos, John, Angela, Paul, Me, Kwame, Jamie

This was taken during a Theta Tau campout at "the farm" where we now live. Brett and I are on the far left and Kwame is on the far right, smiling as usual.

This is a little graphic I made to set as my facebook profile during the days of his memorials in NC since we couldn't be there.