11.29.2005

Oh yeah...

All in a row...We (several of us) worked on truffles for the past many days in preparation for the big craft sale tomorrow and Thursday at the health campus. We are ready. I still smell like chocolate. The aroma just permeates your whole being after a while. If you are a chocolate lover, as I am, it is wonderful when that happens. It reminds me of the movie Chocolat.
Milk Chocolate Hazlenut


And finally, the view from Keith's new apartment... lovely, isn't it?

Sunset from the new pad...

For Video Lou, who needs your prayers...

Yesterday was a banner day for us. It was another year declared healthy for Keith. He went on a ride through the MRI tube and when he came out the other side we spent a few hours twiddling our thumbs wandering around campus and waiting for the follow-up doctor appointment. Then we visited with the neuro-oncologist who gave him the all-clear for another twelve months.

Each year that passes, we breathe another sigh of relief. This year was no different than the last three in that respect. One might think it gets a little easier. But it doesn't. It just gets a little more distant.

I think I've written before about how with brain tumors you don't get a total all-clear after five years the way you do with other cancers. They're weird animals in that respect. They can return at any time and often do. So every year that goes by and we get that clean scan, we are extremely grateful for. It's one more year Keli has her dad around. Here she is a senior in high school when the odds looked so grim for a while that he would see her graduate. You just can't listen to those old odds-makers. What do they know, anyway?

This is one of my all-time favorite David Bailey songs because of that very message.

With permission:

Hey!

Well he said I only had a year to live
I said, "Maybe so, Maybe not.
Could be that I only have tomorrow,
And who are you to tell me what I've got?"

Chorus
I said "Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey!"
Rpt.

Well he said, "I'm a man who's wise and learned.
Everyday I get paid for my advice."
I said, "That's fine but I'll remind you
I'm stronger than your laboratory mice.
(Yes I am.")

Chorus

He said, "Yes, but I can't ignore my numbers.
I've got a chart that spells it out in black and white."
I said, "Yes, but I see the world in color.
It kinda puts it all in a different light."

Chorus

"So please be careful with the words you use.
There are those who will believe the things you say.
But you and I know both you're only guessing.
The truth is that we only have today."

Chorus

So there we were just staring at each other
While the birds are outside playing in the sky.
Well I've got no time to waste but I've got lots of time to spend
And I think it's time for me to say goodbye.

So I turned and I headed for the door.
Then I turned again with one more thing to say.
"Well thank you for all the things you do now,
But remember that you only have a day."

Chorus


Monday's miles and any others I do this week are for Video Lou who needs your prayers. I introduced you to him not long ago and things have been progressing rapidly for him. He was able to come up and visit Vida and her family for the week of Thanksgiving, but pain sent him to the hospital while he was here and they discovered fluid built up in his abdomen due to the rapid spread of cancer in that area. He made the journey back to his home in the Milwaukee area yesterday. Please send him and all of his family your prayers so that he may have great peace and comfort from the pain. Love to you, Vida, and safe travels as you head back down to spend time with him this week.

Monday's miles: 3
Total miles so far: 67.45
Still to go: 432.55


In my head: Keep on Walking also by david bailey

11.26.2005

Mileage update... I'm so far behind!

I've got to get back to updating this as soon as I've logged miles because updating after the fact is very difficult. I have to run around looking for notes and scraps of paper... It's ridiculous.

Also ridiculous? How some people get more and more gorgeous with every passing year while others of us just get older. How does that happen? Doesn't matter. Just keep it up, dear. You look mahvelous! It isn't fair, but I'm tickled for you. You glow.

Okay. So back to the subject of this post. And who the mileage has been logged for...

On the sixteenth I ran for Andre. This was Michael's friend that I told you to head on over here to read about. I hope you did. If you didn't, go now and read about him.

Andre's miles: 4
Total so far: 40.5
Still to go for goal: 459.5


On the 17th, I ran for Todd, who I wrote about in this post.

Todd's miles: 3.5
Total so far: 44
Still to go for goal: 456


On November 18th I ran for Donna. I mentioned her to you last week and told you that she was blogging her cancer journey. So great to see comments from some of you out there! Thank you! Smooches!!!

Donna's miles: 4.2
Total so far: 48.2
Still to go for goal: 451.8


On November 19th I walked and ran up in the old hometown near the coffee house. This one was for Christa, a new link on my blogroll that I could run for because I just learned that she is a survivor. All of this, the new friend and learning of her being a survivor, is thanks to Michael's interview. Thank you again, my friend. The power of the internet.

Christa's miles: 4
Total so far: 52.2
Still to go for goal: 447.8


On the 20th, I ran for Jane, my FIRST donor on the online site. She ROCKS! ;)

Jane's miles: 4
Total so far: 56.2
Still to go for goal: 443.8


On the 21st I ran for Michael because he's been so helpful and was my second donor on the online site. I've decided to dedicate mileage to all of my online donors this year. Because donors ROCK! Thanks again Michael!!!

Michael's miles: 4.25
Total so far: 60.45
Still to go for goal: 439.55


And finally, on the 22nd I ran for Keith because I figured it would probably be pretty much my last chance to do any running or walking or whatever before the tuberide (MRI) on Tuesday.

Michael's miles: 4
Total so far: 64.45
Still to go for goal: 435.55


Playing in my head: While My Guitar Gently Weeps by George Harrison

Mittens!

My new blogging buddy Trish beat me to the punch blogging this because I've had a busy weekend already, but I wanted to make sure I got some mention of it in, even if it is only for two minutes while I'm sitting on the bare floor of Keith's new apartment while I wait for him to fill out the condition report before we head out of here...

My Diva friend Beanie, who hales from Wisconsin like me and was one of the loverlies that I got to meet in Chicago some years back during the "Great Internet Diva Meet-Up and Shopping Experience", has joined in my fundraising efforts. Not only was she my very first donor online with this new campaign (smooches, dear!), but now she has (as you can read on her new blog) decided to donate the gorgeous mittens she has been working so hard at knitting, to the Relay craft fair that I'll be working this week! They'll be arriving any day at my place and I'm watching for them in earnest because she sent me the most incredible photograph last night showing me which pair she'd been knitting for me. Of course, I'm going to purchase those for myself! :)

Beanie, you are incredible. Of course, I've always known this. Thank you so much. My eyes have stopped leaking finally.

Back to my stocking work! Wish I'd brought the camera cable with me. I've taken some photos tonight...

11.23.2005

Funky Fireworks they have in New Mexico...

DSCN0158I think someday we should take a few of these to a really good print shop and have them ginormicized or something. Into big posters. The little prints don't really do them justice. I like them on the flat screen computer where they glow nicely, though. As long as they are larger. Choosing a favorite is impossible for me. I like to look at all of them on slideshow. Especially with music.

This one
is coolest at it's largest. Of course, this one is pretty hard to beat with a butterfly in the family.

Do be certain to click on the little ones to embiggen so their beauty can be enjoyed more fully.

DSCN0159Small photos don't give you enough details. Especially on this particular shot. You can't see the etherial sea horses floating through the black sky at all in a small shot...

DSCN0097I've no idea how we got this shot all squigly, but I like it that way!

DSCN0617
DSCN0613I've finished a Christmas stocking for one of the orders that I need to complete (minus the name to protect the gift-giver). Two photos provided because the first one looked a little extra two-dimensional and flat. I've done a bunch of housecleaning. I've done some grocery shopping and gotten some car maintenance done on one of the cars (to the tune of over $600!) and gotten to drive a sporty and bright red Dodge Neon in the meantime. (Couldn't tell ya if there was a Hemi in it, but it could move!) I'm accomplishing good things and getting out here for bits of time (not enough, but some). And I even got a few miles logged, even if I'm not posting them. I'll update that soon.

Tuesday we have a Relay Team Captains' Kickoff, which means I'll need to be ready to cheer about the Online fundraising site and get them using it. I've been doing some of that via emails, but this needs to be more hands on with pictures and tools and a computer so they can actually see how easy it is.


Playing in my head: by Aqualung


I found the Guilty Displeasures music discussion over at Rude Cactus's place this week fascinating and fun, by the way! Great topic, Chris!

11.21.2005

Breathe In...... Breathe Out......

mmmm truffles... Hectic couple of weeks coming up! Between Thanksgiving and housecleaning and crocheting and opening another apartment as Keith changes contracts and writing (huh? NaNo? What's that!) and the two day Hospital craft fair to benefit Relay For Life, and Truffle making, and our annual finishing the Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving (oh yeah, like that's gonna happen this year), and that little thing called the annual MRI, and the Team Captain's Kickoff, and networking with my coffee house friends, and Friday morning writing with Marge, and running, and girls' nights, and taking the cars in for maintenance which is long overdue, and...

Phew! It's a good thing I don't have a real life to blog about or anything because there is Just. No. Way. See you during my breaks for breathing...

Wheeeeeeeee!!!!

Before I go - a few pictures...
Baby Geek Girl I loved this little tot at the bakery on Friday morning. Nothing could distract her from her toy laptop or whatever it was. Even when all adults deserted her for destinations unknown. She couldn't have cared less. In fact, I don't think she even noticed!

And finally, does this tissue paper hat remind anyone else of Sally Field's Flying Nun garb? Okay, a little flashier perhaps, but it was strangely reminiscent to me. Or perhaps it was just the Jesus was a Liberal pin on her sweatshirt that put the more godly slant on what was a simple party bonnet? ;) Who knows. The kid was in rare form for the camera that night. I'm sure I'll be in trouble for posting this shot, though. Catch it while you can!


Playing in my head: The Remedy by Jason Mraz

11.20.2005

Dori...

I ran for Dori a while back when I first found her site. She was an amazingly strong person. She fought the battle with strength and dignity and courage. I have spent some time reading through her archives and viewing the photographs found there recently, as well. Put some prayers into the universe for her family, please. Dori is now able to rest easily. The rest of us will carry on the fight for her.




Playing in my head: Another Little Hole by Aqualung

11.18.2005

Shaken, not stirred...



How to make a Keri
Ingredients:

5 parts mercy

5 parts crazyiness

3 parts beauty
Method:
Combine in a tall glass half filled with crushed ice. Add a little caring if desired!


Playing in my head: Life Less Ordinary by Carbon Leaf

11.17.2005

Internet people...

Every day I seem to meet people through this incredible thing called the internet. And everyday I'm amazed by how completely cool everyone is. Several years ago I met a group of women that I have remained friends with all this time. We are like sisters. We managed to grow in our technical skills from posting messages to a bulletin board that we didn't know from one day to the next if it would be working or even still in existence (we finally got smart and exchanged emails, just in case!), to being savvy enough to creating websites and blogs of our own and really having a fun online presence. One of our group is even meeting with members of her country's parliament to teach them how to best utilize the world wide web! Girl Geeks RULE!

And the introductions to such incredible people just continue... A few months ago or so, this Michael person ;) started commenting every once in a while out here. And when I started reading his blog and commenting over there, I wondered if I had ever met a more positive and upbeat person anywhere. And extremely generous, too. You could read that in the stories that he had to tell. Well, we kept in contact and since he had some experiences in his own family and friend history with the whole cancer thing, he thought he would get my story out there a little more (see how generous he is?). So he asked what I thought of the idea of an interview. How could I turn that idea down? You can read it here. Thank you so much, Michael!

And Trish, a new contact volunteering with the ACS world thought it was a good idea, too! So she thought she'd get the word even further and with Michael's permission, she published it on her site as well. Thanks, Trish!

And then there's Katie... Katie the Wonder Woman of Turkey. She read the interview and realized with chagrin that I hadn't even told Michael about the truffles! How could I neglect the truffles??? :) So she told him. If you are a regular reader of mine and you have not yet gone surfing down what has become, I'll admit, an intimidating blogroll, please go visit Katie. She is most fascinating having her daily adventures in Istanbul.

I'm off. I have a class to attend. So I can be a better Online Fundraising Chair for my Relay. Because we again want to be the top Online Relay in the state of Wisconsin!!! Go us...

I added another link to my inspirations, too. Please visit Donna. She is blogging her cancer journey. She could use your support and prayers.

Playing in my head: New Slang by The Shins

Great American Smokeout

Today is a pretty significant day in the cancer fighting circles. Kudos to all of you taking part in the Great American Smokeout. It means the world to me when someone that I love wages such a huge battle as the one it takes to fight the addiction to all of the things stuffed into cigarettes. And I know that it is a battle. It is one that I understand with my head if not entirely with my body, although I get that a little, too.

I was one of the fortunate ones. The stupid social smoking that I did in college because I thought it made me look cool and mature and worldly and after my divorce because it helped me breathe, (does that make sense, it did to me at the time) didn't result in a serious addiction. But I know something of that addiction because of the overwhelming and powerful urge that still comes over me to light up at certain times of the year (always at it's coldest) and during certain activities (when I'm writing with a great cup of coffee on a cold day early in the morning and sometimes while driving late at night by myself).

I had my first cigarette when I was a grade school girl, though like others have claimed about other smoking experiences, I didn't inhale. I was uneducated in the ways of a smoker. I had found the offending cigarette, where I will never admit, and hid behind my house when home alone for five minutes crouched in a corner where none of the neighbors would be able to spy and report me later. For this was a neighborhood where parents watched out for each other's children. It was a pretty unexciting event, one that I forgot for quite some time afterward.

My next bout with the habit came when I was in Junior High. Of course back in those days kids could go buy them at the store 'for their parents' without question. We lived out in the country then. A girlfriend and I were having a sleepover and we walked into town and up on the hill to Tom Thumb where we knew we could buy a pack. It was a Friday night and we walked 'to the football game' but bypassed it and got a pack of cigarettes instead. We smoked several on the way home, turning green before we got there as we now knew about the whole inhalation thing. We probably walked back to her house instead of mine where there would be less attention paid to us when we got there. I don't remember much after the turning green part.

I smoked a few off and on in high school. My mom found a pack of them up in my hiding place at one point. There was a shouting match. There was another party in the family who got po'd at me for it and probably felt a little guilty as I was smoking the same brand as them. A copycat smoker? Yeah. I probably was. Hey, I wanted to be cool. Who was cooler than that?

I smoked again in college, where I could buy them from a vending machine, because when I sat in the common areas studying alone it made me feel less stupid about being there by myself. I had something to do with my hands and looked busy (and cool, let's face it! Can you hear the sarcasm?).

I got married and had a baby and then came the divorce when I spent some time unable to breathe. I had some friends who took me out dancing to get me to lighten up (notice that I did not say light up) and live again and I found out that if I took the really deep breath of a smoke, I could breathe again. (Are you laughing at with me?) It felt good.

Why didn't I get addicted? I guess I was blessed. Something/someone was watching out for me, I think.

I have heard people who quit over 40 years ago say that they still get the overwhelming desire to have a smoke every once in a while. That is one damn powerful addiction. Powerful yes, but not impossible. They did it. You can too.

My Uncle Bill the dearest man with one of the biggest hearts (this man had more spirit than the most religious person I have ever met - you have never met a more generous person anywhere) was a smoker. He was an OTR trucker who spent long hours on the road. He smoked to fill in the gaps. He smoked a lot. And it destroyed him. We lost him a few years ago. It took him from us long before any of us were ready to let him go. Just trying to write these few sentences has made me feel a depth of grief I had no idea was still inside of me. (And yes, the people here at the coffee shop are wondering just what is wrong with me.) I can't even re-read these sentences in editing without starting to weep all over again!

Please, please! if you have one person in your life that loves you, if you cannot think of a single good reason to quit smoking for yourself, then please quit for them. There are resources available to help you.



I apologize for this being a disjointed hodgepodge of a post. I didn't mean for that to happen. My thoughts were a bit scattered. There were many things that I wanted to say today. There are many places you can get the statistics, I know. But I'm going to lay them out for you again here. Because that's the kind of person I am... ;-) Make sure you memorize them for the quiz later, or to help me remember them for the quiz later. I've got that really crappy memory. Maybe it is from those cigarettes I smoked when I was younger and more foolish.

Secondhand Smoke & Lung Cancer: Get the Facts (from the American Cancer Society)

Did you know...
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States for both men and women and is the most preventable form of cancer death in our society.
  • Eighty-seven percent of lung cancer deaths can be attributed to tobacco use.
  • Lung cancer estimates for 2005:
    o New cases - 173,770
    ~ Males: 93,110
    ~ Females: 80,660
    o Deaths - 160,440
    ~ Males: 91,930
    ~ Females: 68,510
  • Tobacco use accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths and 87 percent of lung cancer deaths.
  • In 2002, an estimated 45.8 million United States adults (22.5 percent of the population) were current smokers.

    The Facts About Secondhand Smoke
  • Secondhand smoke causes between 35,000 and 40,000 deaths from heart disease every year.
  • Three thousand otherwise healthy nonsmokers will die of lung cancer annually because of their exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Secondhand smoke has become an occupational hazard for many workers, including casino, restaurant, bar and hotel employees. Although over three fourths of white collar workers are covered by smoke-free policies, just 43 percent of the country's 6.6 million food preparation and service occupations workers benefit from this level of protection.
  • Fifteen million kids, or nearly 22 percent of all children and adolescents, were exposed to secondhand smoke in the home during 1996.
  • To protect those who choose not to smoke and to reduce the costs associated with treating tobacco-related disease, the American Cancer Society supports smoke-free air policies that restrict the places where people can light up.

  • Smoking remains the most preventable cause of death in the U.S., and the Society has resources available to help people quit. The American Cancer Society Quitline utilizes science-based resources that double a caller's chances of quitting for good, including trained tobacco cessation specialists available 24 hours a day. If you're serious about quitting or helping someone else quit, call 1.877.YES.QUIT (1.877.937.7848) and ask for help.

11.16.2005

For Andre... and stil to come...

Late last night I posted that today I'll be running for Andre. And I will. This morning as I sit here waiting to drive my own teenage daughter to school, I perused the local paper and found the following:


S* student finds out on birthday he has cancer


Todd L got bad news on his 16th birthday: His family was notified by the doctor that test results showed he had cancer.

His parents, Todd and Cheryl L, broke down. Todd L, the birthday boy, said, "I'll be fine."

Two days later, he got his driver's license. Now that was a big deal.

Last week, the matter-of-fact L said his reaction to the cancer is, "Get 'er done." In other words, treat it and move on.

A benefit is planned from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at G S's bar and restaurant in S* to raise funds to help offset medical bills that have accumulated since Todd was diagnosed with alveolar soft-part sarcoma, a rare cancer. Popular local band, The Dweebs, will perform.


You're still to come on my list of who I get to run for, Todd. And it will be soon. Happy belated birthday. Wish you'd had better news, but I can see from your attitude that you are going to do just fine with the battle ahead of you.


Playing in my head: I think it's too early for music...

11.15.2005

HP1

In an attempt to be all HP savvy before the new movie opens this weekend, I decided to run through the first three movies one more time. Tonight was HP1 (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone). I enjoyed it as much as I did the first time I watched it. I guess I like the whole magical theme and the kids, but mostly I enjoy Snape and Hagrid and Dumbledore and McGonagle. The Professors are where it's at to an old fogey like me. :)

I didn't run today. Another day off... I know, I know. But the achilles! I can't push it too hard or I'll be out for weeks!

Tomorrow? A great! run as I'll be on the treadmill for the first time this winter season. Yes, I said winter. We had snow tonight. Real snow that sits on the ground. So far there isn't much but I've heard it could actually be measureable by morning. And I have some things to finish up around here so I'm going to stay home all day aside from taking Kel to school and picking her up again. She has a thing in the evening - a writing cooperative that is getting started by another student and she has joined. I've said it all along - she's a far better writer than I am, so it makes sense she should start utilizing the talent. But do they have to meet at my coffee shop? ;) That means I have to go elsewhere for the evening. *sigh*

Tomorrow's run will be for Andre. I'm not going to repeat his story. Go visit Michael if you want to know about him. He did a fantastic job telling you the tale. After all, Andre was his friend. Who better to tell you? And while you're over there, drop in on Michael's home page because he has generously offered the space there to me for a few days. He wanted his readers to know about what's happening around here and why. Because he's like that, all sweet and generous and stuff. ;-) Thank you again, Michael!

And Ken? Thank you for that NaNo cheer yesterday. I needed it.


Playing in my head: Hogwarts Theme

11.14.2005

For Richard...

Today I'm running for Richard. Some of the more keen eyed of you noticed that I joined a new blogring a few weeks back. I had seen the ring on someone else's blog and thought that since I now have a gray hair or two, I should also become one of the esteemed few among the group and so I bopped on over and had a looksee at it. While there, I also surfed among the other groups there. Big surprise that I checked out those related to the cancer sites, eh?

There happened to be a brain tumor ring and so I had a peek at those listed in it. It wasn't a big ring and it didn't take me long to go through them. Until I came to one that was done with so much love and dignity and honor. I was mesmorized. I was up late. I was caught up reading late into the night about his diagnosis, his research, his fight, his wish to keep his memory alive for his young daughter (sound familiar?), and his courage on the journey.

I signed the guestbook and finally closed the site, many tears later. What a lovely tribute to someone who was obviously cared for very deeply by his family and taken from them long before they were ready. Not long after, I received a very thoughtful email from his sister wishing us the best on our journey and thanking me for writing in the guestbook. But this is the line that opened my heart...

I love showing his daughter that people still stop to remember or learn about what a great person Richard was and will always be.


*sigh* Our Relay For Life team is up and running. I hope you will give generously again this year. I'm going for high online donations two years in a row and I want you to help me get there. Because you rock. And I want to show them that girl geeks rock too. :)




Today's miles: 4
Total so far: 36.5
Still to go for goal: 463.5


NaNo update - 19,003 words as of yesterday. Today's totals not in yet because I'm going to write more since I won't be truffle dipping.



Playing in my head: She Has No Time by Keane (am NOT stuck in a rut)

11.13.2005

Guess what's coming?




Mmmm Truffles!









Truffles!!! They're nearly here!

Oh yeah. You know you want some. Well, I know I do. :) We were dippin' fools this weekend. Ribbons are in place on two (maybe three!) flavors. Five to go before the big craft show at the end of the month and we'll be ready for the holiday rush.

And then we'll be prepping for Valentine's Day and Easter and Mother's Day and ...

All profits to benefit the ACS and Relay For Life. How many boxes are you going to want?

11.12.2005

For Lori...

I hope I can do this justice...

So Keith and Patty had a daughter named Lori who at a very young age was diagnosed with cancer. She told her father in those early days after diagnosis that she had three wishes:

  1. That she would live to walk her own little daughter to school on the first day of kindergarten.
  2. That her daughter would not forget her.
  3. That her daughter would never have to live with the pain of watching her child die, the way Lori's father was having to watch her die.

Unfortunately, Lori passed away when her little girl was only four years old, so she didn't get to walk her to school on the first day of kindergarten.

At one point in her last summer, Lori was very weak and in a wheelchair from the chemo. But she was thinking about the wonderful State Fair that we have in Minnesota and she decided that she had to take her daughter to that State Fair. So she announced that that was exactly what she was going to do. Her parents and her siblings all gathered around and protested that she couldn't possibly take her there in that condition. She was far too weak. And the siblings said, "We will take her to the State Fair, Lori..."

But she insisted that this was something she had to do. So they got her ready and went together, pushing her in the chair, letting her little girl ride in her lap at times, enjoying all of the sights and sounds that make up the Great Minnesota Get Together.

Then Lori spotted the Tilt-A-Whirl. She remembered riding this as a child and how much she loved it. She decided she had to take her daughter on this ride. So they stood in line with her and headed up the ramp for the ride. But when they got to the front of the line, the carnie worker took one look at Lori's daughter and said, "She can't ride this. She's too small."

Well, Lori wheeled aside with him and gave him a look and said, "Listen, I'm not going to be here next year. I have to take her on this ride today."

He walked back to the line and looked at the little girl and said, "You know, I think she is just tall enough after all." So they rode that Tilt-A-Whirl together that day.

Lori died not long after that.

The next summer, Keith and Patty decided to take their granddaughter to a little local carnival that rolled into White Bear Lake one weekend. And there it was: the little Tilt-A-Whirl. One of those that comes in pieces and is bolted together in five minutes and that usually only young people ride because they don't think about the fact that it is tossed together in a few minutes and can't possibly be safe? They were just walking past it when the little girl spotted it and said, "I want to ride on that, Grandpa!"

Well, it wasn't something that he relished riding, so he wisely said, "Oh no, honey. I'm afraid you aren't old enough to ride on that yet. That's for big kids."

"You're wrong, Grandpa!" she said. "I rode that ride last summer with my Mommy!"

And that's when they knew that Lori's second wish had come true. She had left memories that her daughter would never forget.

One of the last things she said before she died was that last wish. She hoped the cure for cancer would be found during her daughter's lifetime so she'd never suffer watching her own child die from the same because watching her parents suffer was more awful than the cancer itself. And Keith told her that he would never give up the fight and would always work at helping to fund the research that will eventually find that cure. And as I wrote in this post, he has been a tireless worker for ACS and Relay For Life.

Today was for you, Lori.



Today's miles: 5
Total so far: 32.5
Still to go for goal: 467.5

Friday's miles: 3
Total so far: 27.5
Still to go for goal: 472.5



Playing in my head: This is the Last Time by Keane

11.10.2005

Outta sight! For Keith W...

Guess what song is stuck in my head tonight?

I just heard it on Minnesota Public Radio's very awesome station - The Current... Have you been there? Go have a listen. It isn't all mouldy oldies. They have a very eclectic mix. Great stuff.

Anyway, this evening's selection included my current earworm...

David Cassidy and The Partridge Family singing - I Think I Love You

Ahh the childhood memories! Gray Street Lives!


Tonight's run is for Mr. Keith W. A class act if ever I met one. I met Keith the first time a few years back at a benefit concert for the White Bear Relay For Life. This concert was being performed by David Bailey, one of our favorite BT warriors. If you haven't heard my speak of him before, you should do a little surfing of his website and see what is so special about him. He's an incredible guy with some really powerful music about hope and survival. If you happen to see that he's going to be in your area, I highly recommend you go see him. If he isn't, then head on over to cdbaby and have a listen to the samples of his music and pick up one or two of his cd's. I recommend Coffee With the Angels, my personal favorite.

Okay, back to the topic at hand. Keith is an eight-time cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with colon cancer back in 1994 and heard about the Relay For Life back at that time. He and his wife Patty started the ball rolling in White Bear Lake then. They co-chaired it there for ten years. Keith still serves on the National Relay Advisory Team and is the Chairman of the Midwest Division Task Force of Relay.

He also had a daughter Lori, who ended up dying from cancer in 1998. Her cancer type? I don't remember. It was the other story about her that sticks in my chest and made me weep again over the weekend as he told it. It was the second time I heard that story. The first time was at that David Bailey concert a few years back. I wept then, too.

Keith and his wife have been powerful movers and shakers for the White Bear Lake Relay For Life. And when I say powerful? I do mean powerful. When he sets a challenge over there? It isn't so much a challenge as a statement of fact. It's kind of incredible how that happens.

We had to leave Relay University early on Saturday because I had to get back for the Indoor Marching Band concert. As Cari and I were crusing down the hall after meeting up once our morning breakout sessions broke up, I saw Keith standing out in the hallway. I headed over to him to thank him for the powerful talk he had given at the breakfast session. I reached out to give him a hug because after a talk like that, it's what I had to do. Even though he doesn't really know me. Well, I have to tell you that was some hug. The man can give a bear hug like no other. It envelopes you in comfort. But you know how when you're a kid and someone says, "Bear hug!" and then they squeeze the life out of you and cause you so much pain that you think you are going to simply fall over and never get back up again? Keith's bear hug? No pain.

"Where are you headed now?" He asked. Perhaps trying to get some sort of handle on who I was, because I had simply told him thank you and not introduced myself or said that I was from the Hudson Relay to give him any clue as to who I was. So then I told him that I had to head back to Hudson early. I then asked him if he had seen David Bailey lately because I knew that not only did he book him for the fundraiser, but they were somewhat friends, as well. It kind of happens that way for both David and Keith from what I can tell.

It sort of dawned on him then who I was I think. Because he and I have emailed back and forth a few times about the concert and about my Keith having had a brain tumor and about our being big fans of David's. Plus we chat after the concert each year and in Hudson when he comes over to talk with Hudson Relay either about their concert fundraiser or just about Relay in general.

Anyway, we talked a bit about getting David back for another concert because they hadn't done it in White Bear last year. I told him I thought Hudson and White Bear should join forces perhaps. He said he thought that was a good idea and that with an underwriter there would be no trouble paying for his airfare. He said we could even do two nights maybe, one in each town.

This is all far more than you needed to know. I just wanted to get it all down before I forgot anything. And remember the moments spent with a dear man. Next time, I'll write about his daughter's story. I won't do it justice. Not like he did. I'm sure I won't leave you weeping. But you'll maybe thank me for that.


Today's miles: 3.75
Total so far: 24.5
Still to go for goal: 475.5

They say it's your birthday!

Birthday Boy Ben

Happy birthday to ya...

Happy Birthday, Ben!

You sometimes get lost in the sea of girls, but you are definitely our boy!

No more football tackles using your head, please? Aunt Keri would much rather have you behind the catcher's mask. You seem very comfortable back behind home plate. As much as the Packers could use you, all us women-folk prefer you with your head screwed on safely. :)

And I did not forget your birthday. I'm just late posting. Smooches...

11.09.2005

Wednesday rants...

Wednesday's miles: 4
Total so far: 20.75
Still to go for goal: 479.25

Tuesday's miles: 4.5
Total so far: 16.75
Still to go for goal: 483.25

Words written: 9550
Minimum words left to go: 40,450
Days left: 21
Hours spent: 6.5 (I'm to the point of guessing here, but not nearly enough time spent!)

Hours slept last night: zero

Time made up for that lack of sleep so far? about 45 glorious minutes.

Went to visit the anonymous bro in the hospital today. He's doing great! I could not believe how they had him out walking around and doing stairs. After removing a chunk of his shin bone so that they could lower it a little so the knee wouldn't rub bone on bone anymore. Yeowch. I was glad I got to seem him today at least. Yesterday Keith and I went over and walked in to his room and found it to be empty. There wasn't even a bed there! They had wheeled him out in his bed and down to ultrasound because there was some concern since he was having pain. I have to wonder who wouldn't be having pain after a surgery like that, but he was having it from simple movement of his toes while lying in bed.

Well, gotta run B home after he came to visit with Kel after school and work with her on photos for a project she's working on. I had hoped to get a disk full of photos out with us so we could get some printing done while we were out but I don't think that is going to happen. You know, ever since we got the digital camera several years ago, actual hard copy prints of our photos have become such a thing of the past and that is convenient because you don't have them cluttering up boxes in the closet, but we also don't have these nice photo albums to look through, either. And when the computer crashes and we haven't made backup copies anywhere...

Soon I hope to write about a new little bit of excitement that I'm hoping to participate in next fall. I know that's a long way out there, but I am writing up my application now. Also, college applications are in the works for Keli. And there is NaNo underway. But I don't want to talk about that. I'm behind. And others are way far ahead.

And Relay 2006 is progressing full steam ahead! More to come about that because I'm ready to kick into high gear on fundraising efforts. A little bird left a message on my phone this afternoon with a fabulous idea for a first fundraiser to put on my blog. I suppose I'll have to share the proceeds with others in my little family (or perhaps even give it all up to one or more of them even!) ;) but this was such a great idea that the little bird deserves big kudos and I hope that some real interest is garnered out there when I kick it off. I hope I hope. Because I'm pumped about this whole thing. Passionate even. And you guys have rocked and really come through for me in the past and I really hope you will again. Cancer sucks and needs continued research funding even if the legislators don't always agree.

Okay. Enough for now. I have things I must do. Thanks for following my rant.

Playing in my head: Collide by Howie Day

11.07.2005

Sharing a laugh

Well, as I said earlier, Keli had her final marching band event ever over the past weekend. The band had its big fund raiser when it performed its State Championship field show in the gymnasium of the high school (always a fun time to watch - miniaturized and casual) and an auction, both silent and live, of various items donated by families and business in town.

DSC03458

This is also the event where seniors are given gifts of humorous significance only to fellow students and sometimes the directors, sometimes homemade. Seniors also traditionally wear goofy socks rather than their marching shoes. They don't wear the hat part of the uniform so parents can easily find them on the floor and get photos. And after all of that, each section comes out and performs a special salute they've made up that has significance for them. Plus there is a dinner thrown into the mix and the tv's in the commons have a video recording of the State performance, so people who didn't make it down there can see how it looked. All in all, it lasts several hours and is an evening filled with laughter and fun, with a few tears and melancholy on the side. Here is one of my favorite from a new group of photos I got of Keli and Kelsey from that evening... Mellos Rule! ;)



The final event of the evening with the latest director being one well studied in marshal arts, has become a tradition. When he came on board, he told the kids that for every first place award they received in caption awards or titles, he would break a brick at the end of the year ceremony. Well, with the improvements they have made throughout the years, this has become quite the challenge! This year, our kids earned 17 first place awards!

He had a little help breaking those bricks that night
since he couldn't do them all himself.

DSC03954There was a student who helped...

DSC04010
And then - there was a fellow director. Who helped in his own way... :)

And finally, Mr. C himself finished off the rest of the bricks... Didn't quite make it with his bare hands - Well there were ten of them left! He got through seven with his hands and then kicked lightly through the last three... Everybody loved it, though.

Yo! Bro!



My big brother is in the hospital today, under the knife as it were, having his knee sliced and diced...

I wish you the speediest recovery ever my anonymous big bro... And send you much love and the best possible pain killers. Smooches! I wonder what you'd like me to bring you when I visit?

11.06.2005

I have got to get more disciplined.


Weekends are my downfall. Words added to the NaNo - 0
Miles added to the total for the run - 0

Especially weekends with fun in the mix.


But there has to be fun in life, right?

RIGHT? Who's with me here?



I was privileged to be invited to attend this year's Relay University for the State of Wisconsin this past weekend. I think my invitation was twofold, really. One reason came from my having been the Online Fundraising Chair for the Hudson Relay and we were presented with a terrific surprise (well, to me anyway... Was I not paying attention, or was somebody out there keeping me in the dark intentionally, I don't know. It could be either. I'm a little befuddled at times, really...) of being the top in online donations for the state... Actually we weren't the VERY top. There was a college team that had us whipped with that, but they took top youth team. :) The second reason I was invited was simply that I was the captain of a platinum award winning fundraising team (meaning we earned over $10,000 in donations last year).


At any rate, I had a great time and got motivationally pumped up to kick things off all over again this year to make it another great Relay for 2006! And I'm ready to go work at ACS anytime they want me. I took my oldest friend. (okay, okay - I'll clarify... by oldest I mean friend I've had the longest. I'm actually older. There! Happy now? ;) ). Zoofy, we roomed together but I didn't need a mirror. We had lots of laughs and I think I have her convinced to join the committee! wheeeee!

I'm still compiling my notes, but I may do a little posting about R.U. on my team site later. In the meantime... there are always the pictures of things like the indoor luminaria ceremony!

I was only able to attend one of the breakout sessions - Online Fundraising (of course - what else?) because I had to get back early for Keli's final marching event ever. *sniffle* But that was another wonderful part of the weekend - great fun, great people and great music. (and great money spent)...

More photos coming to flickr... be watching!


Keli babe

Playing in my head: Music from State again Imagine that!?

11.04.2005

For ACS...

Quick update before bed on a late night. Many of the photos contained on this post are really fuzzy. Evening was coming on and I didn't use any flash, so the lighting was quite bad. Apologies. I still liked them too much to just trash them.

The past couple of runs I dedicate to the helpful staff who keeps the ACS running smoothly for cancer patients and their families. I'm thinking about them especially as I'm closing in on the end of this hectic week and I'll hopefully have some photos next week to explain why.

DadI'm sore from getting started with the serious running again and I'm even more sore, I think, from getting some work done around here in preparation for winter. Big thanks to my papa for the huge help he's been (as always) in that respect. I guess it was definitely time to get to some of that trimming of the foundation plantings, eh? Poor dad looks like he's being swallowed up by plants in this one. Dad...

I'm uploading some photos tonight (finally the Flickr uploadr is working for me again after pulling them one at darn file at a time for Dorothy's website last weekend. :-/)

I don't have a number for you on my NaNo for the past couple of days of writing. But know that I am still going strong and have topped the 6000 word point, so I'm still on track. The next couple of days being what they are, I may fall off a bit, but I plan to hit it hard again next week. No fear. Keli and her G-Pa

I'm exhausted and heading to bed as soon as I can get a couple of photos in here. Hope you all have a great weekend if I don't get another post online before next week. I do hope to update with a few photos here and there, though. There is one last big event for Keli on Saturday regarding her marching days, so by Sunday there should be some available for that. G'night...Keli (A kind of typical pose these days when I whip out the camera... I either get her back or a frustrated face with her mouth open saying "MOM! Stop!" or "Stop taking pictures of me!" or a hand up in front of her face or the side of her as she is whipping around trying to escape... *sigh*)


Thursday's miles: 4
Total so far: 12.25
Still to go for goal: 487.75

Wednesday's miles: 4
Total so far: 8.25
Still to go for goal: 491.75


Keli and Brandon

Keli and Brandon

Our House

Playing in my head: Another Little Hole by Aqualung

11.02.2005

What do they put in that stuff???

The tea at the Chinese place we ate tonight tasted so good. But I swear they put speed in the stuff. I am so not close to sleeping. I was lying in the dark for 90 minutes waiting for sleep. It ain't (yeah, I know what I just said) happening.

So what do YOU do to get to sleep on a night like this???

11.01.2005

For Video Lou (aka Ljubo)

I'm kicking off the latest 500 Mile Journey to Nowhere by dedicating my first miles to Ljubo, who is now going through chemo for colon cancer which has metastasized to his liver. Lou is the father of a new friend of mine, Vida. She and her husband, Dan, are the owners of a brand new coffee house in my old home town called Three Hats Coffee. I am going to quote from their menu...

Imagine yourself in a cafe in Europe where friends and neighbors are gathered together amidst the fresh aroma of espresso brewing and freshly baked pastries.

Three Hats Coffee gets its name from an old-world cafe in the heart of Belgrade's (the capital of Serbia) Artistic District, where the cobblestone streets take you away from the hassle and bustle of the city, where friends and family gather to sip an espresso with freshly-made pastries!


Vida is heading down to southeast Wisconsin with her children to visit her father soon. She told me yesterday how hers was the dad who attended every dance performance she had when she was a child (sound familiar papa?) and every sporting event, videotaping every one of them. That's how he earned the nickname Video Lou. He's a very young and vibrant 73 and her description of him and how he interacts with her kids reminded me so much of my own dad! I wish him the very best with his treatments and his fight of this cancer which has claimed too many lives of too many wonderful people and I pray he'll be around to fulfill his plans to buy his grandson Alex his first car and to watch them graduate from high school and to watch them marry and have children of their own.




Today's Miles: 4.25
Total on this Journey: 4.25
Still to Go: 495.75


Playing in my head: Daydream Believer (I just had to read yesterday's post and comments before I posted this...)

It begins...

Words written: 2283
Minimum words still to go: 47,717
Days left: 29
Hours spent: 2.5


2283 / 50000 words



Morale not as high as usual for the first day, but not bad. Spent the writing time at my favorite new coffee house. So far I'm only working on one story. Sometimes the first day has me starting three or four different things and the one that clicks is the one that I end up going with and counting.