Monthly Archives: March 2013

Memory Quilt

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Happy Easter everyone! I am back home in Wisconsin visiting my mom for the week, so I decided to take some photos on the memory quilt we have at her house. After my dad passed away in 2004, my auntie Susie took a bunch of shirts from my mom and made this quilt. It now sits on the back of my mom’s sofa in the family room.

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Each section has shirts that were important to my dad and each shirt tells a story. In the top left and middle right, we have the two Senior Olympic shirts from when my dad competed. As soon as he met the age requirements, he made sure to sign up. He ran the 100, 200, and 400 meter races. I will be sharing information about this in the future.

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His love for Disney comes out in the park shirts and silly character shirts. It was always amusing seeing my dad wear these. He somehow managed to make Disney muscle shirts look cool!

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Really, you could buy him any character shirt, whether it was Disney, Looney Tunes or Peanuts, and he would wear it! Evidence is below:

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The center piece is very unique. It is his wedding shirt and part of his tie he wore for that day.

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I really don’t want to write much more, as the quilt speaks for itself. I love coming home and seeing this on the couch-the memories of the times he wore these shirts is something my mom and I will always have.

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Disney Photo-Ops…It’s Tradition!

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There is always something new at WDW no matter how many times you go. It may be a ride, event, show, merchandise, restaurant or hotel. But there are always things you have to do each trip. This may be eat at a certain restaurant, see a certain show, go to a specific park first when arriving. It may also be taking the same photo as you do every year. In the same pose. In the same spot. With the same people.

Photo-op traditions have become more significant to me as the number of Disney trips I have gone in has increased. Family trips to Disney World with my mom and dad total 6, however, my overall total is much more. I went to Walt Disney World 3 times in high school with the Franklin High School Pom Pon Squad as part of the Badgerette All-Star Talent Tour. My mom and I have gone together 3 times since my dad passed away. And my friend Maureen and I have gone twice together. And this year I am getting an annual pass, since Maureen and I are going for a crazy 16 days in August of this year…my mom, husband, and I are going for the marathon weekend in January…and my mom and I will also go next July for a week. So yes, the current visits total 14 times, but after this year I will have been to my favorite place on Earth 17 times. Insanity!

Photo ops with my parents didn’t get that crazy until in later years when I started to feel nostalgic. I started making my mom take photos of me in the same pose as older photos probably in Spring 2003. That was the year I was in Photography class in High School and we could do whatever final project we wanted. I did a family trip to Walt Disney World scrapbook, where I used black and white film and captured moments from our final family trip to WDW. I put them in an old-timely scrapbook, wrote our captions, and decorated it appropriately. It was at the end of this album that I did a few “flashback photos.Below is one example I did, where you have a photo of me in October 1991 on our first trip, on the carousel, and a second photo of me in 2003, attempting to strike the same pose.

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Cute, right!?!? So now I make a point of doing photo-ops like these on trips I go on now. I love the nostalgic feeling and it reminds me of the great times we had on initial trips as a family. Another photo-op most people who visit WDW take part in is a photo with the wooden stockades as you enter Frontierland. I have a photo from every trip in this said stockade. And it all started with this solo photo in 1991:

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Please take note of my style and height. I am 7 years old and rockin’ a lavender and white tank top and corduroy short set. My fanny pack is gigantic, so I can fit my disposable camera and autograph book comfortably. I look to be in much pain, as I can barely reach the head hole. Go forward two years later, and it was a little better:

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October 1993. Again, matching tank tops and shorts must have been a thing, or at least it was for me. I upgraded my fanny pack to a gigantic pink one. Who the hell knows why? The only extra thing in there had to be my EPCOT “passport” that got stamped in every country. I didn’t do a good job of keeping it in there, though, as I left it in the United Kingdom bathroom. It did get recovered, thou. Phew! After 1993, it seemed like a good idea to add something to these annual trip photos. My dad:

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I am still a “style icon” with more patterned shorts and a coordinated tank top. However, the fanny pack has been ditched, since it is not cool anymore (Was it ever cool?). And I now do reach the stockade openings with no effort. But the addition of my dad in 1995 was glorious. He had his triple bypass surgery in June 1995, so this was a big trip for us three. In photos other than this one, you notice how thin he is, compared to his built-bulky-strong self we were use to. He never could fit his arms through those tiny openings, but he enjoyed posing with me anyway. May 1997 was the same old news

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Um, please…why didn’t someone tell me that my middle part in my hair was bad, that my ‘short-alls’ were ugly, and that I was a soccer player so I shouldn’t be wearing those Adidas shoes?. My dad was wearing his usual WDW garb-a muscle shirt, athletic shorts, sandals, and no sunscreen. Could it get any better?….

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Well, in June 2000 we messed up our positions, with me on the other side. But now I am back to what I was so good at back in the day-wearing patterned shorts and a matching tank top. Blue Hawaiian floral was so hot in the millennium…and I had a navy tank top to match. My dad coordinated with me well too, going for the American look of a red muscle shirt and navy blue shorts. Little did we realize his shirt coordinated so well with my unnecessarily massive red purse. Why do I always carry gigantic bags in WDW? In the heat nonetheless? I have to work on that.

So then there was one more family trip left. Spring break 2003. Little did we know this would be the last opportunity for a Dad-Daughter stockade photo. Even at 18 years old, I had to get this done. It was a tradition!:

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This one isn’t a total fashion disaster. Actually, we look pretty put together if I do say so myself. I now have jean shorts on and a crazy top, and dad has on his go-to athletic wear. I am hiding my gigantic purse somewhere, and we don’t look like idiots. We are happy to be in the stockade together.

Ever since this last trip I still always get a stockade photo taken, either by my mom or by Maureen. It has to be done! And this year maybe I can get Dan to start taking them with me, when we go down for the marathon. There are so many other photo-ops and traditions that occur on my WDW trips now, but this one is a personal favorite.

Below are three newer stockade photos, from August 2008, Spring Break 2010 (both trips with Maureen) and from August 2010 (with my mom). My mom has the photos from May 2004 and Spring Break 2006 at home, so I will need her to scan those for me…..hint hint Mom!

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and for one last final thought…lets take this full circle….Spring Break 2010…almost 20 years after the first carousel picture…

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My 28 Year Love Affair with NIKE Shoes

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Some people are very into brand names. Whether it is for every day apparel, workout clothes, jackets, vehicles, food, or whatever, people stand by products they love and trust. Sometimes, these brand-addictions go through phases. You try new things out for while, and maybe stick with the new and improved item, or maybe you go back to the brand you have always loved. Over the years I have acquired and disposed of running gear. And while I do admit that I never use to spend much money on running gear, there is one thing I have always gone back to—Nike running shoes.

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As you can see, maybe my parents conditioned me to stick with Nike. Those lovelies were my first “walking shoes.” My mom still has them in the original box down in the basement at her house. She even has the original receipt, because she is crazy. They were bought on August 1, 1985, from the Stride Rite store at Southridge Mall. They were a whopping $15! Growing up my parents always bought me Nike shoes for athletic shoes. I can picture a bunch of my favorites in my head. Even through all the weird fashion trends of the 90s-ying yangs, smiley faces, rainbows, glitter gel, snap bracelets, bodysuits, stirrups, chokers, Tommy Hilfiger, and everything else god-awful and tacky—I stuck with Nike running shoes.

Once in high school, I did have to start getting some legitimate running shoes for track, not just whatever was on sale at Kohls or Finish Line. Rodiez’s running store in West Allis was the place to go. High school track athletes got 10% off! I know that in sophomore year I had a pair of blue and yellow Adidas spikes. But, junior and senior year, I went back to my roots. I can keep telling myself now that maybe that is what got me into running the 1600 meter run and doing my best I ever had. I even proudly displayed my Nike spikes in one of my senior photos!
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When I got into long distance road races, I knew I needed a solid shoe to train and compete in. I went back to Rodiez’s while back home one time from UW-La Crosse and they recommended the Nike Air Pegasus. I have been in love ever since. My first full marathon, the Mad City Marathon 2004, I rocked these. Second marathon, also Mad City, but in 2005, I had a new pair! That race is the one where the course was closed at 5 hours and 15 minutes due to heat index issues and humidity. You can see the shoes in the sweaty photo below, and actually my full Nike outfit.
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I admit-after that race I know I switched around at some point. I don’t know why, but my and Air Pegasus went on a break. I tried some New Balance ones, but the arch was terrible and I got horrific blisters. I had a pair of Saucony too, but it just didn’t feel right. I was meant to run in my Nike Air Pegasus.

I have now owned approximately 7 pairs of Nike Air Pegasus. This might be a little low of an estimate actually. When I went into Runner’s Soul in December 2012 to purchase some new shoes, all I had to do was say to the clerk “Nike Air Pegasus, size 7.5.” Tried them on for good measure and I was in and out in five minutes flat. It always feels good to get that fresh new pair of shoes. I especially loved how these ones looked brand new. The grey and the blue is sweet. I want to go buy some crazy neon laces to put through too and make them pop. But while new shoes look and feel great, there is something about wearing these puppies in, getting them dirty, wet and bent, that feels even better.

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So that is my love affair with Nike shoes. I still buy some Nike shirts and other apparel-my watch is the Nike+ SportWatch GPS and I am in love with that too. But I do wear other brands when it comes to outer wear gear. I have a mix of NorthFace, Lulu Lemon, New Balance, race shirts and Nike. But when it comes to my shoes, only one brand is meant for me. Nike.

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My dad was a Nike supporter too! Here he is looking so thrilled in Disney World, sitting next to the Lego man at Lego Imagination Centre in Downtown Disney. Just Do It!

Fundraising Update!

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It has been a little over two months since I started this site and got my message out there for the public to read. I have felt so great about everything so far! The support from family, friends, and people I have never met has been fantastic. I get so excited to see someone “like” my webpage or a specific post. I also love getting emails from the American Heart Association and the Heart and Stroke Foundation to say I have received donations in the memory of my dad!

So far, the US is in the lead with $610 in donations to the American Heart Association!!. Canada is close behind with $465 in donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation!!. My goal for each organization is $1000 a piece, and I am still very confident we can surpass that a few times over! I am so overjoyed to see that we have already raised $1075 for heart disease research within North America!!

If you would like information on how to support either organization and donate to my fundraiser in memory of my father, please click on the charities tab up on top of the page. Follow the correct links for your region and you can donate securely online. Every dollar is valued and appreciated.

This website was created to help me heal and remember my dad, and make it more accessible for others to share in his memory and my motivation. Keep sharing my page, reading my page, commenting in my page! I love hearing feedback and input!

-Andrea

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Andrew A. Lammers-The Teacher

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I feel it is important I have a post about my dad’s line of work. No, he did not go to a university receiving a Bachelor Degree in education. He actually went to Cardinal Stritch University for about 3.5 years for social work before leaving. But, he still became a teacher. No, he didn’t get hired without proper credentials. But, he taught at the same alternative school for 27.5 years. Where did he work? The Milwaukee County House of Corrections.

Let me explain…..

After graduating high school in 1971, my dad enlisted in the US Marines, where he served for 2 years and was also in inactive reserves for 2 years after. He was usually stationed on a boat near the Philippines. My Uncle Ed has told me that my Grandpa (a pilot in the Marines during WWII) tried to buy my dad out of joining the Marines by offering to purchase him a convertible. My dad declined. After his bout in the US Marines, he enrolled part-time at Cardinal Stritch University, a private school on the north end of Milwaukee County. His plans were to go for social work. He needed a job during this time. So, in January 1976 he was hired as a correctional officer at the Milwaukee County House of Corrections, in Franklin, Wisconsin.

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During his years at Cardinal Stritch, he realized he didn’t want to stick with social work. Going to school really wasn’t his thing. After his military benefits ran out, he left the university and stayed with working at the HOC. He held various positions while there-correctional officer from the rank of sergeant to lieutenant, recreation specialist and program facilitator. When he started as a correctional officer, he even worked on the farm for a bit when they still had livestock that they slaughtered. But, his favorite position had to be when he was Recreation’s Officer. Basically, he was the Physical Education teacher for the inmates. And he loved it. He had “Rec. Porters”-an inmate or two who earned the privilege of extra gym time because of behavior. Dad would have them do cleaning jobs around the gym and weight room, and they got to work out with my dad for extra time than regularly allowed. My dad had a special bond with the inmates. Keep in mind, this was a correctional facility where most inmates my dad dealt with on a daily basis were in for shorter periods of time, either for drug issues, theft, petty crimes, etc. He was not working out with people suspected of murders. He taught them proper weight training and that they should not use the weights as a tool for “bulking up” so they could then go out and commit more crimes.

In about 1994, there was a major issue about allowing inmates in these type of facilities to use free-weights. My dad was in support of keeping the free-weights and not moving to just machines. It caused quite the stir in the news and the papers. 20/20 did a segment at the House of Corrections with John Stossel, and my dad was interviewed. I remember us watching the segment at home. There he was, in his red HOC rec. officer polo! That was his 15 minutes of fame, even if it was only an 8 second clip that got included. Online you can still find a few websites with some articles relating to this issue that include quotes from my dad. The quotes are ever-so-thoughtful, in only a way my dad could convey. But he stood by his beliefs. If there was a properly certified employee who was passionate about weight-training and athletics, who would supervise the inmates with an iron-fist and put the smack-down on misbehavior or mistreatment of the weight room, there was no reason why inmates should not be allowed time in a weight room. The exercise was a healthy outlet for them.

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Sadly, they dissolved the rec. officer position. My dad still held a place in the weight room at the HOC. When my dad got promoted to a lieutenant, the inmates drew and signed two pictures to congratulate him. He had a bond with them. It was a common occurrence for us to run into former inmates while at county and state fairs, as they were working as carnies. They would always, always yell things like “Sergeant Lammers! Hey! How are you! Look! I have a job! I haven’t been in trouble since being let out!”. My dad would remember every single guy. He would take the time to talk about them and how they got their life together. Some of the stranger places my dad ran into inmates was at the zoo and even at a wedding. Please note, that this wedding was not for someone in our immediate family!

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My dad’s final position at the HOC was Program Facilitator. He arranged programs for the inmates and coordinated volunteer programs. He also organized the pastors who travelled from Indiana to come in and work with the inmates. I never heard it, but apparently on a late-night radio feed at around midnight on Sundays, these pastors did blessings for my dad and the inmates at the HOC. My dad use to make my mom get it tuned in so he could hear it.

Including my dad’s years in the military, my dad had 29.5 years of service with Milwaukee County when he retired in August 2003 at the age of 51. There was a small gathering at Jim Dandy’s in Franklin where they had a retirement party. He was one of the longest serving employees at the HOC at that time. The retirement came 10 months earlier than originally planned, all due to county-wide budget cuts. It turned out to be the right decision, as my dad passed away 8 months later.

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No, my dad did not teach at an elementary, middle or high school. He did not even teach at a “traditional-alternative school”. But he taught. He worked hands-on with those inmates who had run into tough times. He could have treated them like the criminals everyone thought they were. But he made connections with them and got them prepared for life after being released. People may feel uncomfortable with this idea of a teacher, but I know my dad made a lasting impact in hundreds of men’s lives. I am forever proud of him.

First Race Complete! A Recap of Sorts!…

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On Saturday, March 2nd, I competed in my first race of 2013, the Hypothermic Half. It was sponsored by the “Running Room” and held down in Indian Battle Park by Fort Whoop-Up in Lethbridge. I was a little nervous to see how this race would go, since I had been sick since around February 20th. The last long run I had done when training was 9 miles and that was in Friday, February 15th, the day before I went to Los Angeles. I had mentioned in the last few posts here that I attempted running when sick, and that didn’t end well. So, to say I was anxious is an understatement.

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Race start was 9:00 am, with the ‘sleepy-head’ race scheduled for 10:00 am. When I had gone to pick up my race packet up on Thursday, I became aware the route was pretty simple-run twice around the park, down past the police firing range and the country club, loop back, and do it again. However, when we were running, it became clear that this was slightly incorrect. You had to do the same loop three times, only you went around the park once instead of twice.
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I had my Nike SportWatch on during the race, and after the first of three loops, it became clear that this was not going to add up to 13.1 miles. It was going to be under. This is the first time I have been in a race where the distance wasn’t as advertised. I don’t know if I were to go back to the Running Room website if there would be any note about this, but I guess I could have guessed it would be like this, given the low-key atmosphere of the start and finish line. It was not chip-timed, and there would be any 1-2-3 finishers age groupings. It was just for finisher’s medals. Since I am by no means an elite athlete, this didn’t bother me too much, but I do like having that more competitive feeling, and to have results to see at the end is always good. But, I decided I had to make the most of it.

My pace started off ridiculous-I did my first mile in 8:02 and my second in about 8:07. It started to slow down a few seconds each mile, getting towards my comfort zone pace of 8:45 minutes a mile. This was good in a way to make this rookie mistake of going out a bit fast, since it was my first race. It also showed me I was capable of it! The pack started to distance themselves after around mile 3. In our 9:00 am starting group, there was about 30 people. For the whole race, I was running in the #4 or #5 spot. This proved difficult since there was such a gap ahead of everyone else, and the few ahead of me were that much faster—I was pretty much pacing myself and running alone this whole race.

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My legs started getting that heavy feeling around mile 7 and 8. If there had been people for me to “chase” and keep me moving it would have been great. It actually worked out timing-wise that the 10:00 am group, with around 20 runners, started just as I was heading in to start lap 3 of 3. This brought my pace back down to where it should have been, as I had slowed to a 9:20 for one of the miles. Having people to go after and keep up with strongly helped on the last lap.

In the end, the distance my watch mapped was 11 miles, 2.1 miles shorter than an actual half marathon. I finished with a time of 1:36:43. Had this been a true half marathon, I am confident I would have been under two hours, which was my goal given my sickness, and probably be more close to 1:55, which I would have been ecstatic about.

Race results are usually the one thing you can’t delete, or that you always find online. Since this wasn’t chip timed, I don’t know if there are any results being kept. I didn’t see anyone writing my bib number down as I crossed, but who knows. I know, though, that I started off this season strong. It was a great confidence builder! It felt really neat to finish #5 in this small group in our time slot. I actually finished #2 for the women in our group. This shows how small the race was, ha! But I felt strong and proud at the end.

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I will be taking a solid week off of running to recover. I am still hacking up junk from my throat and chest, and I am heading to a mathematics conference on Wednesday in Philadelphia. So the week off will be perfect. My next race will be in April, the 10-Mile Road Race, sponsored by Runners Soul. I need to register for it today while I am thinking about it!

Also, thank you to everyone who has donated to my charities I am racing for, either American Heart Association or Heart & Stroke Foundation (Canada). A few friends donated the past couple days leading into the race! I have currently raised $585 for American Heart Association and $465 for Heart & Stroke Foundation! My goal is $1000 to each charity by the time I run my culminating race, the Goofy Challenge, in January 2014. I feel confident we can make this happen well before the race, and then keep raising money and awareness leading up to the event. Thank you to everyone who has shown support for my cause of running in memory of my father, Andrew A. Lammers. He would be so impressed with the donations people have made so far, and so proud to see all the races I have registered for. Thank to anyone who has donated money, read this web page, shared this web page, or just reflected on the memory of my dad. To infinity & beyond!

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First Race of the Year-Tomorrow!

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My first half marathon of 2013 is happening tomorrow! It is the “Hypothermic Half.” It is a local one right here in Lethbridge, hosted by the Running Room. Being that I have been sick the last week, I am just hoping to be able to feel strong throughout the race and look forward to receiving my finishers medal at the end!

I will be doing a full race recap tomorrow afternoon, but if anyone is in town and wants to come down and watch, here is the info! It begins at 9:00 down at Fort Whoop-Up. The course seems fairly mindless, as we loop twice around Indian Battle Park, head down to the police firing range and back, only to do that same sequence one more time. The benefit is the easy viewing from the trails down in the river bottom, and the fairly level elevation. Dan will be there taking photos, but he will be lonely, so other spectators are welcome!