Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lesson 255: Words with Fionnula

Hello, Readers!

Who was she?

Now we know.

The last piece was inserted into the Fionnula Flanigan jigsaw puzzle on Friday night.
The anonymous person who had Eloise looking forward to getting the mail has revealed herself.

Fionnula Flanigan was none other than Jennifer Kelly, wife, mother, Harbor Creek High School Business Teacher,  Team Adrenaline teammate, and long time friend of Eloise.  

Jen is a good natured Good Sport, 
and I couldn't have been more pleased to find out that she was Fionnula.

I have tagged Jen with the nickname Minion this summer, as she loves the Minions from the movie Despicable Me.  She is listed as Minion in my phone contacts.

Eloise is pleased as The Minion was one of my Final Five on my List of the Accused.  I fingered five individuals from a crowd of a hundred considerations.   

I gave her the pointer finger position, as that is the finger you hold up when you want to relay the message "Number One."  

To refresh your memories, the other four were:


Although she was the first accused, I can't say that I was 100% certain it was her.  It could have been any of them.  All are smart.  All are clever.  All are kind.  

I had the most regular contact with The Minion and The Doctor this summer through my workout group.  A few weeks ago, I was leaning toward Doc as the culprit because I sensed he knew something.  His eyes gave it away.  Doc is very honest, and I could tell he was hiding something.  It turns out, he was in on part of it, and did know Fionnula's identity prior to the big reveal.

I italicized the words big reveal because it was that term written into one of the letters, that made me hone in on people from my workout group.  Jen and I were participants in Dr. Steven Krauza's Challenge Erie IV, a health and wellness program intended to inspire a city.  We began an eleven week wellness program to improve our health.  A $500 cash prize was involved at the end, and a "winner" was named.    This is my friend whom I refer to as Tracy Northern.  She won!

Doc threw a party on Friday night to announce the person whose wellness quotient improved by the greatest percentage.  He often referred to this party as "The Big Reveal."  Even though T Northern won, I consider all of us winners.

Other clues that lead me to zeroing in on Minion and Doc were the references to the number 217.  It referred to the blog post Lesson 217:  I Was Here, written on my birthday.  Both were at the Dr. Seuss themed workout in mention. I had this photo posted on the blog.

Another clue that lead me to zeroing in on these two was the closing of a letter that was sent.  It read, Hoorah, Eloise.  Hoorah is a Tough Mudder chant.  Stacey from my workout group gets credit for the catch on that one.  Again, either Minion or Doc fit the bill.  Both were Tough Mudder teammates.

Jen chose the Challenge Erie IV Finale Party as her place to make the big reveal, and she did it in the perfect way.  She also used her accomplice Doc.  It was then I realized the two were in cahoots, just for a little bit, and that my gut instincts were correct.  

At the party, about 15 minutes prior to the announcement of the winner, Doc walked by and handed me a package.  "Special delivery," he said.  He also let me know that this mysterious package was not from him, he was only the messenger.

I opened the package in front of the crowd to find a card and this beautiful charm necklace.  The necklace has a camera, an E, a sparkly crystal, and a medallion that reads Capture Life.  For those of you who see me regularly, check my neck.  I never remove my jewelry, and guaranteed, I will have this one on for awhile.

The inside of the card read this:

My heart was a pitter patter knowing that Fionnula was part of Challenge Erie IV.  Soon I would know the identity.  Was I correct in naming Minion and Doc, or could it have been someone else?

Eloise tends to get, er, well, ahem.....a bit excitable at times.  I flitted about the crowd screaming, "It is you?  Is it YOU?"  Someone who shall not be named even tried to steal the stolen identity.

Fionnula left me hanging, but I soon forgot about it as Doc gathered us around a large screened TV he moved into the parking lot of his chiropractic office, where the party was held.  It was time to show the Three Words video, and announce the winner.

As the end of Challenge Erie neared a few weeks ago, Doc gave all the participants an assignment.  We were to summarize the experience using only three words.  The assignment was my favorite kind, open ended. No guidelines were given.  We could display the three words however we wanted to, and Doc would video tape us with them when we had them ready.  He morphed all the clips together on the video we were about to watch.

My three words were these:

You can see my words, along with the creative summaries from the rest of my teammates on the video at this link.

Not only will you be inspired by my teammates, but you will see how Jen cleverly revealed herself as Fionnula Flanigan.  She appears around the minute mark, and I am directly after her.  

Jen and I have spoken a little regarding some specifics of the Fionnula mystery.  Here are some things I learned from the few direct questions I've been able to ask her:
  1. If you mail a letter from the Millcreek Mall in Erie, PA, it gets routed to Pittsburgh and is postmarked from there.
  2. Jen is a business teacher and is very efficient.  She pays all her bills on line.  Therefore, the only type of stamps she usually had on hand were left over from Christmas.
  3. Business teachers know how to 2-side documents and cleverly fold envelopes.
  4. Business teachers are also neat and orderly and would make sharp, angular cuts on jigsaw puzzle pieces.
  5. Teachers are naturally talkative.  Jen is by far the most talkative person in my workout group.  The chick can talk through sprints!  Talkative people are good with words and are verbose as Cousin Bonnie put it.  Check out some of the top notch vocabulary Jen used in her rhyming couplets:  
  • divulge
  • impending
  • reveal
  • quest
  • dawdle
  • gaffe
  • repertoire
  • radiate
  • surmise
  • imposter
  • faux pas
  • sleuth
  • obstacle
  • fret
Readers, consider this your vocabulary test.  Since I'll be heading back to school this week, I'm in Test Making Mood.  A vocabulary test will appear on Friday's regular blog post using these words.  You have four days to prepare.

Some of you guessed correctly.  My sister, Kenyan, was on Team Minion from the beginning, after we weeded out a few potential family members.

This blog reader also fingered Jen.  She just had a feeling.........


Did you consider/eliminate Jen Ewiak/Kelly? I don't know why I feel like its something she'd do? She did go to college later in life.... just my amateur thought

My mother, on the other hand, will claim that she knew it all along, too.  But if you recall, she's been very involved with this case from day 1. Grandma has named just about everyone who breathes a suspect, and will discuss her theories with anyone who has ears.

Grandma spent many a late night working on this case.  She's a visual thinker like me.

She had posters and notes all over her kitchen.

As you can see, Grandma tends to over think I like do, too.
She was off base on a few items.

But once in awhile she'd hit on something like this clue about the zip code on the return address.
It was not sent from Hidalgo, Mexico after all.  It was the number of views the Lamp Post had on my birthday.  As of this morning, there have been 62,000!  Much of the increase in blog traffic is due to this mystery.  Thanks, Fionnula!

You can see that Jen was #15 on Grandma's List.  

Now that most of the mystery is over, Grandma will lay of these things a little.

I italicized "most of the mystery" above because it's not over yet.  Jen admitted to me that she DID NOT send the mysterious Myrtle Beach postcard!  The copy catter is still at large.  I have some ideas, and I've been snagging handwriting samples when I can.  Ideas, Readers?  It has to be a traveler, and I suspect a teacher because of the purple pen.  It also has to be someone who lives nearby, as this postcard was never mailed, but rather inserted into my mailbox.  The stamp was never cancelled.  I'll be working on this continually.  Perhaps I can lure the imposter into another fun game?  Are you up for some fun Copy Catter?  You don't stand a chance against the Fionnula and Eloise dynamic duo.

One of my favorite stories about all of this goes way back to the beginning of this saga.  It was the early morning of Good Friday.  My friends and I had settled on some group runs over the holiday weekend to combat the chocolate bunnies and Easter peeps.  On this particular morning, I went to check my mailbox before heading out for a 7:00 am run.  I found this in my mailbox.

I opened it to reveal this journal and a note from an anonymous blog reader.
The journal was sent as a random act of kindness.  This story was never intended to become the fever it has become.  Just one  person passing along some kindness to another.  I have received mail from blog readers around the country before, but never a gift of this magnitude.  

I couldn't wait to show someone, and the first person who saw it was Jen.  I met her for a run that directly after the mailbox check.  She and I were the only two that showed up to run that cold morning.  I took this picture of our fists atop the Harbor Ridge subdivision, directly below the Truck Stop.

Because it was just the two of us, and she chatters incessantly, we connected on that run.  She caught me up to speed on some details of her life, some not so pleasant.  "See!" I cut in.  "We are together today for a reason.  I have to show you what I got in the mail this morning.  It's in the van. I'll show you when we get back and it is INSPIRING!  Someone sent me this awesome leather journal for no reason other than to be nice!  See, Jen, PEOPLE ARE AWESOME!  Don't ever let life get you down."

Jen, with her poker face, smiled and nodded and I never got a single vibe that the sender was her all along.

Life.  It has a way of always surprising you.  Keep open to all possibilities,everyone.  When circles collide, good things happen.

This was a picture I posted from my Easter Sunday blog post,
thanking Fionnula for the gift.

Here is my post from today.

To show my appreciation for all of the fun, on Friday night I had this expressed shipped to her house.
She received it yesterday.  Amazon is quite impressive!

Jen is not a LOST fan, but she is soon to become one.  I bought her season 1 and I am forcing her to watch it.  If beyond episode 24, she is not hooked, the Minion can go back to Gru and her Despicable life.  If she takes the bait, I have all the other seasons on both DVD and Blu-ray for loan, and so does Grandma.  We are willing to loan them to anyone willing to watch, but strict penalties will be placed upon people unwilling to return our prized possessions in a timely manner.  

If Jen, and anyone else takes the offer to watch LOST from beginning to end, Grandma, Kenyan, Ellen, Jack, Robb, and I will throw you a series finale party at the Lamp Post free of charge.  The only charge is that we get to watch The End with you.  Roast boar and mangoes will be on the menu as well as Dharma beer and the little bottles of booze they serve on airplanes.  It doesn't matter when you finish.  I'll throw this same party as many times as my Readers allow.  

 Eloise has spent the summer learning how not to be afraid.  On my quest I discovered one of the keys to be free from fear, as Fionnula noted at the bottom of this mailing.  Having friends to support you is one of the most important things can have in life.

I am brave now, Fionnula, thanks in large part to you.  Thank you for the fun.  Your LOST series is just one part of your repayment.  Eloise is going to send you out on a little quest of your own.  Details will emerge over time.  You know where to find me if you have questions.  The Lamp Post light is always on, there will be a beer in the fridge for you and a cup of coffee waiting to be made in the pot. You are welcome any time.

I am going to put this link through facebook, and open the post up for questions for the Minion.  You have have a specific question about the rhymes, puzzles, or the mystery in general that you would like answered, you can contact Jen through my facebook wall, which I keep open to the public.  If I am not your facebook friend, friend request Eloise Hawking.  I make it a practice not to send out friend requests.  I tend to post often and some people may not understand my dry wit.  Therefore I put the ball in YOUR court if you feel up for a little bit of fun mixed with a touch of sarcasm.  If you want to find me, you will.  I haven't denied a single friend request yet.

Until Next Time,


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