Friday, June 21, 2013

My colleagues, my friends - Part One

This weekend, I am ending my 10-year career in undergraduate admissions at Washington and Lee University.  I've been packing up my office, creating checklists for my successor, and saying goodbye to friends and colleagues across the University.  There's nothing like saying goodbye to make you realize how much someone means to you.

This morning, my fellow Admissions staff gathered around me to give me a gift.  Now, I've received many gifts in my life, but not many, if any, as meaningful as this.  This gift is so special, so perfect, that I'm not going to try to squeeze it all into one post.  Thus, this is Part One of a series of posts that will follow, highlighting my gift and the wonderful people who gave it to me.

(If you are a new reader to my blog, important context for this gift is that I am leaving this job to pursue a creative dream of mine - I'm opening a creative space for fiber artists here in town.)

It was tough to decide where to start, but I decided to start with Scotty, our receptionist.  I'm fairly certain that this gift was her idea, and it was a brilliant one.  I'm not surprised, though.  Scotty is an incredibly compassionate and insightful person, someone who listens to you with her whole being so that you KNOW that she is not just listening, but actually hearing what you are saying.  Her attention makes you feel like the most important and interesting person in the room.  It is what makes her a phenomenal receptionist, being the first smiling, welcoming face that prospective students see when they arrive at our office, and it is what makes her such a treasured friend.  She recommends books that are perfect for me.  She brings in delicious baked goods from her healthy kitchen.  She pays attention to what is happening in the lives of all of us here in the office, and makes little accommodations, unasked but so appreciated, to make our schedules better fit our frame of mind for that day.  She is one of those people that always seems to put others first.  She has been so wonderful to work with.

So apparently, she coordinated for everyone to receive a square of canvas, blank canvas, and they were each to create a block for me.  Can you think of a better gift for a quilter?  Personal - the personality of each person really comes out in their block; practical - I'm opening a fiber arts shop, so this gift will fit right into my scheme, especially since one of the things I want to offer is opportunities for people to come together to make occasion quilts for friends and family; and above all, creative - it is what I value most about quilting, the ability to express myself creatively.

Scotty made two blocks:

Yo-yos and beads, precisely aligned, and bursting with color.  Orange is my favorite color, what I consider my power color, the color I put on when I'm worried about having the strength to make it through the day.  I love that she used orange as well as the colors that make up orange - the combination makes me feel so happy and energized.  And the precision - folks, that's just Scotty.  She organizes our schedules down to the last detail and is always on top of what is going on.  This block is such a wonderful depiction of her personality.
How fun is this second block??  I love ric rac, and buy it up every chance I get.  And the jingle bells - what a wonderful detail.  She probably didn't know this, but I plan to have a strap of sleigh bells on the front door of my shop to alert me to when people arrive.  But what I love most about this block is how different it is from the first.  Where the first is orderly and precise, this one is so free and exuberant.  The two blocks together tell such a neat story of a woman that I am so honored to call friend.  Thank you, Scotty!

Stay tuned for more about my wonderful colleagues and their beautiful blocks in the coming days.