The Hook Challenge

Hook_SEUlawn

Hook teaching students how to read nature and why it’s important for sustainability, 2012.

2016 UPDATE of donation link:

 

UPDATE 6/26/2014, 10:03amCST

When the St. Edward’s folks said, We’re going to do a 48-hour Hook Challenge to see if we can get another 145 donations, well I thought that was a great goal and I was completely unsure how we were going to achieve it.  But people were up late stirring the awesome sauce.  About halfway through the challenge, it seemed unlikely that we would even get half of our goal.  But as I mentioned, awesome sauce people were mixing it and a lot of natural juice was flowing and we came out even better than expected:

  • 115 donors; 146 donations!!!!  

Yes, our anonymous $25,000 pledge will happen because the total number of donations was over 145.  My personal hope was for 145 new donors but 146 donations feels great!  Yes, I was screaming out loud to Hook as the numbers came through (in case the overcast skies in Austin were blocking his hearing in heaven!).  Yes, I was scaring the cat as I danced around the kitchen to the theme of Rocky after midnight.

I’m not going to say I wish Hook were here to celebrate with me.  He was with me last night and he’s with each of you today in gratitude.

People have asked if the #HookChallenge donor link will remain open.  My guess is probably until June 30th 2014 at which time, St. Edward’s will close its official books on the #LoveBlueGiveGold campaign.  However, the regular link to donate to the Dr. Hook Wild Basin Endowment remains live indefinitely so individuals can donate at their leisure:

On behalf of Allan and all the future students who will benefit from the funds raised for research projects at the Wild Basin, I thank you.

Rosemary Guzman Hook
Widow of Allan | Steward of the Dr. Hook Wild Basin Endowment

UPDATE from 6/25/2014, 12:14amCST

Final donor tally:  115 donors!  The donation link will remain open thru the night to get us closer to 145 donors:  bit.ly/seulbgive

Huge thank yous all around!

I’ve mentioned before how the Dr. Hook Wild Basin Endowment scholarships are open to any student in the world interested in conducting creative research at the Wild Basin in Austin.   What I may not have explained in detail is why this feature of the Hook Endowment was important to Allan and I.  We understood that to grow awareness about the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve and the Hook Scholars and the Hook Endowment itself, we would need to be open to offering these funds to more than St. Edward’s University students.

Hook and I were so grateful that St. Edward’s agreed and now here I am winding down on our second major donation push for the Hook Endowment — the first in 2013 when Allan was still alive and now tonight in 2014:

This has been a wonderful 48 hours spent torturing you with my blog and the count.  Thank you so very much!

UPDATE from 6/25/2014, 9:19 pmCST

Some serious Wow is happening over here in Austin, Texas.  We are up to 97 donors with only 48 more to go!  That is your donation.  That is your donation on crack!  I’m speechless but only because I’m exhausted.  I even forgot to make myself a cocktail when I said I would.  I’ll update again around 11ish if there’s numbers available.  We can still do it.  We can make the goal of 145 donors by midnight!

Listen to some Rocky with me – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj0jzepk0WA – while you donate or while you motivate someone to donate:  bit.ly/seulbgive

UPDATE from 6/25/2014, 7:04 pmCST

We are at 83 donors which is more than the halfway point!!!  (I’m counting Hook donors + Wild Basin donors). And it’s officially cocktail hour so I’m making a gin and tonic to celebrate!   Need 62 more donors by midnight tonight. 

Will you help us get there?

I just raised my fists up in the air Rocky-style and said, “Go Hook!”

UPDATE from 6/25/2014, 3:34 pmCST

64 donors to the Hook Wild Basin Endowment and 4 donors to the Wild Basin Preserve for a total of 68 donors — woohoo!  I write “woohoo” but what I really want to do is throw my laptop across the room because it keeps locking up so that all of my online updates on FB, LI, TW, G+ and here on this blog are taking twice as long as they should.  On the bright side, the laptop still works so thank goodness for small gifts.

How many of you will stay up with me tonight until midnight?  My pledge is now up to $680 (68 donors x $10) and of course there is still the $25k pledge if we meet the goal of 145 donors!

Time for me to get some packing in for the next couple of hours, but I’ll check back in after 5 o’clock with an update.

UPDATE from 6/25/2014, 1:24 pmCST

My contact lenses are starting to stick to my eyeballs, I’m so tired but I’m in this until 11:59 pm tonight!  In the meantime, I really need to finish packing up this house where I’m living in preparation for my move back into the Hook House.  Someday I hope the Hook House will become the Hook Scholar House.  More on that in another blog … as well as this mega move.

62 donors — yea!!!!   You all are amazing!  For the love of nature and education and Hook, let’s get 83 more donors!

UPDATE from 6/25/2014, 12:54 pmCST

59 donors and growing!  86 more donors to go.  We can do this!

UPDATE from 6/25/2014, 10:34 amCST

Made it to my breakfast meeting this morning but just barely.  The good news is we are up to 51 donors (Hook Endowment donors + Wild Basin donors).   I can almost hear Hook’s voice saying, “I can’t believe so many people are donating!”

We only have 94 more donors to go and our anonymous donor pledge kicks in with their $25k.  Hook’s concept of a “nature think tank” is becoming a reality.   Years from now we are going to look back and be amazed at how the support for the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve and the Hook Scholars have grown.

But, the Wild Basin isn’t Vegas.  What is learned at the basin doesn’t stay at the basin — this education will be applied everywhere, throughout the globe, and our awareness and reverence of the natural world will become the norm.  Thank you for that awesome sauce this morning … now, help us get 94 more donors!

UPDATE from 6/25/2014, 12:48 amCST

An anonymous donor pledged $25k if we meet the Hook Challenge of 145 donors by 11:59 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, 6/25.  We are currently at 42 donors as of 12:50 a.m.

Staying up late to track this stuff is a lot like cramming for an exam in college except I’m not 20 anymore and slamming caffeine lost its allure years ago.  No doubt I will fall asleep during my breakfast meeting which begins six hours from now at 6:50 am.

ORIGINAL POST from 6/24/2014, 10:47 amCST

This will be the shortest blog post you’ll ever read from me.  That is my gift to you, but today is about me asking for a gift from you.

Wait!  Please read this brief post to the end.  If you’re thinking, I already donated for chrissakes, well I’d say someone is feeling a bit dramatic today and quite frankly that’s my job. 😉

This week, St. Edward’s University kicked off a #LoveBlueGiveGold campaign to increase their alumni contributions.  They chose to include the Hook Endowment as part of this giving challenge not only for alumni donations but for any person interested in supporting the sustainability and education of the environmental gem known as the Wild Basin Preserve.  Here is what I am asking from you:

  • If you were one of the original 145 donors, would you encourage one family member or friend or acquaintance who has not donated to give $10 or more to the Dr. Hook Wild Basin Endowment?  http://ow.ly/ymVvI
  • If you have not donated yet, would you make one online contribution of $10 before midnight on Wednesday, June 25th 2014? http://ow.ly/ymVvI

Those interested in donating more than $10 are certainly welcomed to do so.  (If you’d like, read about the original giving levels established by Allan in 2013:  Hook giving levels)

You can watch the progress with me of how many people meet the Hook Challenge by 11:59 p.m. on 6/25: http://think.stedwards.edu/giving/progress.   For each new donor who commits online by the deadline, I have pledged to make a donation of $10 per donor toward the Hook Challenge.

For those not already in the know, here is a quick explanation of what the Hook Wild Basin Endowment is and what purpose it serves:

In 2013, my late husband Allan (“Hook”) and I established the Dr. Hook Endowed Wild Basin Creative Research Fund to provide scholarships to any student in the world interested in conducting creative research at the pristine, 227 acre track called the Wild Basin and which is part of the incredible Balcones Canyonland Preserve in Austin, Texas, U.S.A.  Allan and I managed to convince (asking, begging, guilting) 145 friends and family to donate to this endowment which resulted in eight Hook Scholars receiving funds in 2014 to study at the Wild Basin Creative Research Center  This center and the Wild Basin Preserve are graciously managed by St. Edward’s University, a private institution in south Austin and where Hook spent the last 25 years of his life as a biology professor before he passed away.

Please Note:  I tend to emphasize the “any student in the world” eligibility of future Hook Scholars.  I do this because it is not the norm for a higher education institution to open its scholarship coffers to students from other universities.  But as part of their overall global initiatives, St. Edward’s University encourages students from any university to apply to the Hook Endowment.  Why?  Because the greater the awareness, the greater the exposure, the greater the chances we have of keeping preserves like the Wild Basin as a learning vehicle for educating young minds about the sustainability and necessity of our natural environment.   Forward thinking.

#LoveGoldGiveBlue today and help us meet the Hook Challenge by donating or getting one person to donate by the deadline:  http://ow.ly/ymVvI

p.s.  Today’s original blog word count: 563 |  My average blog word count: 2920

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Allan William Hook: 9/3/2013

HOOKABRATION_Australianwasp

Sericophorus wasp found in the Outback. Photo courtesy of Dr. Terry Houston, Museum of Western Australia in Perth, 2013. Emailed to Allan from Dr. Houston on Sept 1st, 2013.

Allan passed away this morning at 2:10.  With us at home were his best man, Kelly Scott, and Bill Quinn.

Obituary for Dr. Allan W. Hook


In lieu of flowers/plants, please consider a contribution to the Dr. Allan W. Hook Endowed Wild Basin Creative Research Fund: http://bit.ly/1KR8YDv (Choose OTHER for donation then type in HOOK ENDOWMENT)

READ about the Hook Wild Basin Endowment here:  http://bit.ly/135azzz

Obituary:  Dr. Allan W. HookClick for Previous Post

The Gift of Time

There was this whole story I was concocting in my head about how to lead you to the updated news.  Perhaps if I had cried less in the last month I could muster the enthusiasm and passion I normally feel, but since I’ve had to put my big girl panties on then I’m going to ask you to put yours on, too, so I can get right to it.

The Good News

Hook and I signed off on a gift to St. Edward’s University for the Dr. Allan W. Hook Endowed Wild Basin Creative Research Fund.  After much discHDU_waspmanussion on how to provide a legacy for Allan’s lifelong work with science and education, and to highlight the gem known as the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, we created this endowment with an initial gift of $125,000 dollars.

We felt wowed by the idea, the planning of it, and now the future of the endowment.  In a separate blog post, I’ll share more details.  For now, feel wowed with us.

The Bad News

For all the good wishes we have desperately hung onto, our positive thinking wasn’t enough to blink back the cancer from wherever it came from.   Was it the surgery?  Was it the lack of good guidance?  Or, was this how it was always going to end up?

Throughout this past year, Hook and I have believed he would recover and that he’d beat every statistic on the pancreatic cancer books.  We believed we were getting on a plane in August for Australia, and we believed we’d have a year like no other.  Well, we did have a year like no other, and for all the trials of the last 12 months, I know when to be thankful for life’s simpler plans.

Hook said, “Tell them Australia is still a possibility just not in 2013.”  For me, I can’t imagine anything more unimportant, more insignificant than whether we go anywhere.  My home is where Allan is; he is my adventure.  My father, Lou, always said, “Make do with what you have,” and so we will.

Whatever reconciliation the oncologist and I had from the last post is gone, gone, gone.  As of mid-May, Allan went back on chemo but with a different treatment.  The oncologist’s analysis:

  • Without chemo treatments:  ~ two months.
  • With chemo treatments:  up to 14 months.

“You’re now in stage 4” was his opener.

If you had asked me two weeks ago about our status, I would have blurted out the answer amidst a shower of tears and nose blowing.  Today I have a little more self-control.   Yesterday, I wrote to a friend that I can pray every day and I do, and I can keep believing in miracles and I will, but I see what no one else does including the doctors and I don’t have the luxury of denial.

But even knowing what we know doesn’t mean we give up.   We’ve decided that knowing what we know is its own gift.  There may or may not be a clock.  This estimate of months is guesswork at best.  All I have to do is re-read the story about John Betak who was given the “six months, get your affairs in order” pancreatic cancer talk but who is still alive today after eight years.

Then there’s the video of David, the pancreatic cancer survivor, who was told by his doctor to cash out his 401k and live it up because he only had six months.  That was more than five years ago.   David says he’s poor now but alive.

What’s that cliche:  Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.  I never liked that saying.  Instead, I’m going to pray for a miracle, set aside time for Hook and me to write, and make plans we should have had in place anyway.

More Good News

On June 1st, Allan will officially begin his long-awaited, well-earned, 12-month sabbatical.  A “sabbatical” to some might conjure up images of goofing off or beaching it.   For a scientist like Hook and with his obligation to the university, he’ll use this year to conduct uninterrupted, focused research.   Allan easily has enough research projects to last longer than a year, but he has some specific works (what he considers his “life’s work”) he is determined to finish.

That Allan will have this year to do what he loves the most is an enormous gift from the universe.

Turning a Complaint Into a Compliment

As part of my Hook The Talent career management business, I host two different events every month.  One is an Ask The Coach forum where I invite in a local coach, usually a career coach, to do a Q&A over coffee with an intimate group of seven career changers.

Not intending to be in need of a Wellness Coach, I nonetheless scheduled one onto the events calendar thinking others might be in need.  Turns out, I was the one who benefited the most from Wellness Coach, Lauryn Sires, who comes from a science background but now specializes in coaching cancer fighters and survivors.   Her advice to the forum when dealing with a health issue for yourself or someone you love:

“When you feel yourself getting ready to complain, try complimenting someone or something instead.”  Lauryn said three things would happen:

  • You’ll catch how often you complain.
  • You’ll see the good/positive in a person/situation.
  •  You’ll start to express more gratitude for what you do have versus what you don’t.

I think the key is that the compliment has to be genuine. If you don’t really believe it, you’ll remain frustrated plus you’ll be insincere.  (My thought, not Lauryn’s.)

I struggled with this one relative to Hook’s oncologist.  I really did.  But I dug deep and came up with an authentic, deeply-felt compliment:

Let us all thank the universe for those individuals who consciously choose to become oncologists and cancer nurses and grief counselors.   These jobs see more death and dying than the average person could ever bear.  Some of these individuals are angels walking this earth, guiding us, loving us, caring for us in a way no other could or would want to.

Hook and I have tomorrow and the next day and the day after that and for now we will make do with what we have.  We will be thankful for the gift of time however much of it we receive. 

God bless you all for sticking with our story.

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His and Her Dreams

I’m a dreamer not in the John Lennon sort of way but in The Cranberries’ Dreams sort of way.  My dreams are never quite as they seem.   Sometimes in my dreams, I watch what I believe is my own life except the main female character doesn’t look like me and the main male character doesn’t look like Hook.  But, they act like us, using our mannerisms, saying what we would say.   As the non-me female lead, I feel what she’s feeling.

HDU_DreamingWhen I have these dreams, it usually means I’m worried about something or I ate too many bread products just before going to bed.   I do recall shoving baked potato chips into my mouth that I’d discovered in the pantry the night before.  Hook’s been trying to sneak snacks into the house which is fine so long as he sticks to our silent agreement to hide all snacks from me so I won’t eat them.  He’s also supposed to hide all junk food in general so I won’t nag him about eating stuff which will make his digestive system work harder than it needs to.

Too many chips meant not enough sleep and too many dreams.

Hook’s Dreams

Hook doesn’t dream often but when he does it usually includes throwing a bug net around or fishing with friends.  He’ll wake up on any given morning and say he dreamt he was on the coast and caught a red fish or that he had been in the field collecting.  He never seems to wake up frustrated even though sometimes he doesn’t catch anything or wakes up just before he’s going to catch “a big one.”  If there were other people fishing or bugging with him and he can identify them by name, I’ll always ask, “Could you see their faces?”

This question confuses Hook.  He replies that if he couldn’t see their faces, how would he know it was them?   In his dreams, the people are clear and real and the places he goes to actually exist.  While Hook’s dreams are exact and definite with a lot of action, mine are fuzzy and indistinct with a lot of feeling.   In Hook’s dreams, he’s doing things he wants to do again.  In my dreams, I’m feeling things I don’t want to feel anymore.

Dream Lessons from Freud

Do our minds continually send us back to learn a lesson that we did not learn the first time it was placed before us?  That’s my question not Freud’s.

Freud said that we are all of the characters in our dreams.  In order to understand the purpose of a dream (wish fulfillment or resolving conflict), we have to decide or figure out which character we represent or if we represent all of them.  Sometimes, we’re not even who we think we are in our own dream.  My Rosemary character in my dreams may not actually be me but represent someone else or something else that is unresolved or unfulfilled.

I’d visited Freud’s house in Vienna, Austria, back in 1995.  The house had what Americans would call, “a comfy feeling to it.”  The furniture was decorated in velvet burgundy giving the impression of intimacy and warmth.  Book shelves crowded Freud’s analysis room so that it felt cozy like all good reading rooms should.  Definitely a place you’d want to lounge around in while chatting over Vienna coffee and pastries.   I doubt Freud fed his patients anything but his bizarre analysis but I’m still going to guess what he might have concluded from our dreams:

  • I’m confused about what is next for us.  I say, “Austin to Australia in August,” because that is what Hook says but I know we’ve no way of knowing if it will be 100% certain until we’re about 30 days away from departure.   It’s that known unknown again.
  • Hook needs to go fishing.  He also needs to swing a bug net around and catch something interesting and exciting.  He did not get out of the country last year at all when normally he would have been gone for an entire summer in Trinidad. The man needs to catch some fish so he can come home excited which will in turn help his body to heal faster.

Hooks for Hook

Hook’s university started a scholarship fundraiser called Hooks for Hook.  They asked students and faculty to buy a gold hook like a jewelry hook with a clasp that pins to a lapel or a hat.   The fundraiser kicked off the Allan Hook Wild Basin Scholar which will be awarded to one student a semester who will study at Wild Basin Preserve in Austin, Texas.

The fundraiser sold out of the initial 100 Hooks for Hook, but in anticipation of your question — Can we still donate? —  why yes you may because there is no end date to donations.   If you click on the Hook Wild Basin link above, it’ll take you directly to the donation page.

St. Edward’s students and faculty were the original donors to the fundraiser with an average donation of $5 per person.  I was a little leery about using this blog to $olicit moola, but I was both touched and impressed that Hook’s department thought up the idea after his students said they wanted to do something nice for him because of what he’s been through.  When I told Hook I was going to add the donation link into this blog, he said, “You’re dreaming if you think people are going to donate.”  Then he said not to tell you the average donation was only $5 in case you wanted to donate more.   What a fundraising hog!

I can think of other dreams I’d rather be having.  I want Hook’s dreams, the kind where you’re in action, doing things you love, excited at the challenge ahead of you.

Maybe we all need Hook’s dreams.   Or, maybe we just need a couple of shots of good Vienna coffee.

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