Happy Birthday Ingvild

One of my six granddaughters, Ingvild Rishovd, turned thirteen on August 24, 2011. She was born and raised in Norway and has recently taken a real interest in writing in English.Mind you, she has been diagnosed with ADHD, but when Ingvild sets her mind to do something, watch out world.

To help Ingvild celebrate her birthday, plans were made to spend one-on-one time with her mom—our adopted Norwegian daughter, Bente Skalstad—in Venice, Italy. What follows is Ingvild’s story— in her words— of her summer holiday:


This summer I didn’t do much, although I did get my first dog, Vikki. That forced me to at stay home to train and socialize her. Vikki is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She joined our family a few weeks before Summer Holiday. Because of her super cuteness, neighbors would pop up for a quick visit almost every day. One of my neighbors, Lena, was one of those many visitors. Not just because of Vikki, but to watch Ugly Betty with me. I have all the seasons on DVD and we ended up watching two episodes every day.

My mom and I went to Venice two weeks later. We prepared ourselves by watching The Tourist. My mom fell asleep halfway through the movie and the only reason I didn’t join her was because I wanted to see Johnny Depp run on the roof top in his pajamas.

We rented three movies from iTunes for mom’s iPad on our plane trip to Venice. The plane was delayed, so we sat there for a couple of hours, which wasn’t good for me. My playlist had only five songs in it. But we did finally board the plane and Venice was just around the corner. We finished watching the first movie just before we landed, but it was in the middle of the night. The streets were empty and Venice seemed like a quiet place. That is, until we woke up.

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Schools Improve When Parents Care

I wanted to share this short story that Rob Kirkbride, a Grand Rapids walker and blogger, wrote about my daughter, Kimberly Kelly Waalkes. Yes, it makes me very proud of how Kim prioritizes her time, but it also makes a very good case for where to start if we really want to improve our public schools. – Dick


Day 145 – 8.06 miles (965.17 total)

I am constantly amazed by the number of people who give of themselves, who volunteer and help the community with little or no fanfare. I walked with one of those people today.

I first met Kim Waalkes at City High School, where my son, Liam and her daughter, Erika are entering sophomore year in high school. She seemed to be everywhere — PTSA meetings, helping at school functions like the annual City High auction and other school events and meetings.

Simply put, she is one of those parents that you want volunteering at your kid’s school. This year, Kim will be president of the City High PTSA (a position held by Wayne Glatz for the two years prior, another parent who has given so much time and energy to the school).

Kim and I walked two hours today and talked about our families and upcoming school events and issues. It was a really fun walk and the two hours passed quickly. We walked the length of Riverside Park and made it past Fifth Third Ballpark before we turned around for the return trip.

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