Ashley LodatoBy Ashley Lodato

Stella Scholz had a notable 9th birthday last week. After deciding that she wanted to give, rather than receive, and knowing that she had an upcoming trip to Seattle to see her grandmother, Stella bought four backpacks and filled them with socks, soap, shampoo and other useful items. In Seattle, as Stella’s family explored the city, Stella gave away the backpacks to people who are homeless. I suspect this will turn out to be one of Stella’s most rewarding and memorable birthdays of her life.

On my husband’s birthday a few weeks ago, my parents called from a rafting shop in Flagstaff, Arizona, wanting to buy him a useful gift for our upcoming river trip. My mom had trouble understanding the item I was trying to describe, so she suggested that I look up the store online, identify my choice, and then she would buy it from the man behind the counter in the store where she was standing. “Good idea,” I said. “What’s the name of the store?” I was distracted and impatient and my fingers were already poised above the keyboard.

Slowly and deliberately pronouncing the name of the store in a very loud voice, as if she were reading from a business card and talking on a cell phone (which indeed she was, in both cases), and as if I might not comprehend the words she was dictating, she said, “It’s called ‘Wet Dreams.’” Before my brain had time to register what my mom had just told me, my fingers were Googling “wet dreams.” Well, I got quite a few hits, but as you might suspect, this small river supply store in northern Arizona was not the first result posted. It wasn’t even on the first page. I eventually found the site by adding “river supply” to the search, but I’m wondering if that proprietor should consider investing in some website optimization.

A bunch of years ago, Taylor Woodruff started the tradition of raising money for Little Star Montessori’s scholarship fund by earning pledges for running. When Taylor graduated, Travis Grialou took over. This summer, 11-year-old Travis will be running and biking as many miles as he can between swim practices and meets, so if you see Travis out on the road give him a big two thumbs up. Thirty percent of the families at Little Star receive financial aid, so keeping the scholarship pool well-stocked is critical to the school’s ability to serve the whole community. Way to go, Travis!