Writing camp

Well, tomorrow I leave for 10 days in Vermont, where I’ll be attending lectures, readings and writing workshops pretty much from 8 am – 9 pm every day. All books, all writing, all words, all the time. About a month ago, I was in town at a meeting, and I described this low-residency master’s degree program (I do this 10-day gig twice a year; this time next year I’ll be giving a lecture & a reading and will get my degree.) Someone at the meeting – I won’t name names! – looked pretty horrified to hear that I think this is just about the best way anyone could ever spend 10 days ūüôā

But will I really be leaving Pottstown behind? Impossible! I’ll be checking email and even posting here from time to time. The truly awesome news, though, is that Rosemary Keane, who took us on a whirlwind tour of some parks in Amity, Douglass, New Hanover and Boyertown last summer, will be filling in as a guest blogger. I know you’re in really good hands; she has some excellent posts lined up. The first story, which will be posted first thing tomorrow morning, is about a group of Pottstown chicks who really know how to roll! Thank you, Rosemary, and welcome back!

Free housing counseling workshops offered

Genesis Housing Corporation will hold FREE workshops on Tuesday evenings, January 18th, January 25th and February 1st, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, at the PDIDA Offices, 139 East High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464. National Penn Bank is sponsoring these workshops and is offering gift cards to anyone who pre-registers and attends all three workshops.

The workshops are designed to help to:

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Understand Credit — Information on credit scores, improving your scores, re-establishing credit, dealing with debt.¬†¬†Workshop participants can obtain a free credit report with scores¬†(Tuesday, January 18, 2011).

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Money Management ‚Äď Information on preparing realistic budgets that are more than just monthly bills, prioritizing spending in tough times and understanding how current spending impacts future financial options (Tuesday, January 25, 2011).

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Home Buying Basics — Information the home buying process — finding a realtor, home inspections, Agreements of Sale, mortgages and first-time homebuyer grant programs (Tuesday, February 1, 2011).

Nikki Holcroft, an award winning and certified housing counselor, will teach the workshops. Ms. Holcroft has more than twenty-five years experience working as a housing counselor, mortgage banker and community lender. Ms. Holcroft has worked with Genesis Housing Corporation since 2001 and teaches monthly classes on credit, money management and the home buying process. Ms. Holcroft also provides individual housing counseling sessions to help clients achieve their financial goals.  Ms. Holcroft has worked with families to restructure their mortgages, avoid foreclosures and reduce their debts.

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling Genesis Housing Corporation at 610-275-4357 or online at www.genesishousing.org. Registration forms can also be obtained at National Penn Bank, High and Franklin Streets, Pottstown, PA or by calling National Penn Bank at 610-327-0400.

(To download a flyer regarding the workshops, click here: Housing Counseling flyer.)

Cheers for 2011!

I took the plunge this morning, along with about 120 other more daring Polar Bears at Pottstown’s 4th Annual Polar Bear Plunge sponsored by the Parks & Rec Department and organized by Bill & Sue Krause. Hundreds watched from the banks of the Schuylkill in Riverfront Park. Here’s a link to The Mercury’s early coverage.

I only went about thigh-deep. My feet went numb within about 10 seconds. Yes, I wore a wetsuit. With the practically balmy air temp Рin the 40s Рthe suit was more useful as a barrier against the Schuylkill River slop that got stirred up and squished between my toes. The smell coming out of the river rivaled that of a failing septic field.  Yes, it was a uniquely charming outdoor experience.

In a surprise appearance by my younger sister and her sons, I was accompanied in the river by my brave 13-year-old nephew, Patrick, who went in a lot deeper. Thanks, you guys!! The bonfire steamed everyone dry, people continued with the tree toss, hot dogs & sauerkraut and hot chocolate warmed people up, and there were some lucky winners of a community card game. This was one more community event that drew hundreds from all around the region – an awesome start to 2011!

(If I ever figure out how to upload the video shot by my other nephew, I’ll let you know :-))

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