I'm baaaack...

Hope your holidays have been very happy. I spent my Christmas in Santa Fe and just returned last night. It wasn't nearly so warm as I'd hoped it would be. The wind was blowing almost constantly, but it wasn't a warm desert wind. The sun did shine, however... If you stayed out of the shade you could keep a decent bit of warmth.

I don't have the attachment for my camera with me to download any of the photos so I can't show you any of the fun right now, but I'll add those soon.

We spent some time hiking in Tsankawi (part of Bandelier National Monument) again and I finally got Keli out there. She loved it and found the unexcavated areas with their old (to put it mildly) broken pottery some of the most fascinating as I do.

There was only one celebrity sighting made (in my favorite jewelry store!), but I was completely oblivious until after the fact when told about it. I should have recognized his voice, but that didn't even trigger it for me. I suppose I would do well in one of these star-studded parts of the country since I am so oblivious most of the time. I wouldn't be wandering about running into things from the distractions of these sightings.

We stayed at a beautiful place with terrific service. I'm still not thrilled by valet parking (even after five days of coming and going to get used to it), but... whatever. Everything was top-notch about the place.

And all of you interested in the scarves we're now cranking out again? I've gotta tell you that we're really giving you a deal. I saw scarves exactly like some of the ones we're making that in Santa Fe you have to pay $125 to buy! Location, location, location...

Need to get a few things done now before heading to lunch with the Gray Street girls. You all have a fantastic Thursday and I'll update photos and mileage later.

Gray Street Girls

Santa Fe miles: 12
Total so far: 86.5
Still to go for goal: 413.5

Playing in my head: Strange and Beautiful (I'll Put a Spell on You) by Aqualung



Is there a twelve-step program for my addiction?

  1. I admit I am powerless over Relay, that my life has become unmanageable.

  2. I have come to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.

  3. etc.

If there was a twelve-step program, I think my daughter would request that I enter treatment. For I am not one of those people who gets excited the month or two prior to the event and then can forget about it afterward until the next one comes along.

Instead? When it occurs, I'm manic. I dance around the track with my beautiful nieces and embarrass the rest of the family (although this year I'm hoping that dance laps are an actual part of our Relay). I'm on regular hyper mode. And then, after months of careful planning, strategizing, fundraising, etc... It's over.

darkness falls

crickets chirping

Keri enters short depression as she realizes her Relay is finished for months...

My brain continues in Relay mode, even though our committee takes a few months off. I'm incapable of shutting down. I'm going through withdrawal. It's painful. It's ugly. I just can't help myself. I can't wait to gear up again. I can't stop thinking about it or talking about it. I drive people crazy. Especially Kel. It reminds her that Keith had cancer. And she doesn't like to be reminded that chances were high that she nearly lost him.

But then we gear up again and people forget that I was goofy during the time that we were supposed to be on break. They forgive me even. I'm allowed to start the normal planning. In the spring a couple of months before our own Relay, the neighboring town (in fact, the town where Kel goes to school - so the town where we live) has their Relay. I attend. I gleam ideas and just soak it all in. During the weeks leading up to our own event, there are fundraisers and other neighboring communities are holding their Relays. I try to hit them all. I cannot think of a way to have more fun, unless friends and family are there with me.

Obsessed? Addicted? Yes. I suppose I'd admit to that. But would I enter treatment for it if there were a Twelve-Step program offered? Not a chance. I think more people should have Relay Fever. There is nothing like it. And personally, no cure necessary. (Besides, Trish says I can't go for treatment even if one is offered. And I always listen to what Trish says.)

Playing in my head: Gravedigger by Dave Matthews


Stolen from Bluegrass Mama

Because she can't have all the fun!

Post the first line from your first post each month in 2005.

January: It's very hard to blog with a dog in your arms.

February: It came here from Ken, who got it from Cindra.

March: *yawn* I really didn't want to run today.

April: We've had a busy weekend around here of preparing Keith for New Mexico and listening to Keli's wonderful stories of Japan.

May: How many of you loved this show like I did when I was a kid?

June: Interesting.

July: Notes from Nebraska.

August: Here we are at the Angry Trout in Grand Marais (featured on tv this week by Jason Davis - On the Road, apparantly) before our lovely dinner the first evening...

September: Having a busy weekend.

October: In a past life (a meme)

November: Morale not as high as usual for a first day, but not bad.

December: Once again, it just goes to show that I'm a selfish, selfish girl.

Play along!


sunshine and happiness...

I'm under mandate to post something upbeat and happy.

*takes breath... straightens back... puts on happy face*

So Kel is doing some amazing things right now. I almost don't want to write about it because it is so cool that I don't want to torque her jaw by writing about it and get her bent out of shape because she doesn't like it when it sounds like I'm bragging about her. But that's my right. She has had a certain bit of talent for sketching and art since she was a pretty young tot.

For example, when other kids were drawing stick figures, she was looking at our National Geographic magazines and picking out detailed photos of chimpanzees or other animals that interested her and doing fairly wonderful likenesses by glancing back and forth a few times. When she was a pre and early teen, she was taking photos of herself as a baby or other family members and sketching these to give as gifts much to the delight of her parents and grandparents because of the accuracy.

Since high school started, she didn't have much time to concentrate on this particular talent because of her focus on academics, but this term, she has taken some time for art. She has two independent studies where she is working on a portfolio with an art teacher so she will have something put together for application to art school next month.

In the past few weeks, even I have been able to see the change in her abilities. Her techniques have improved incredibly with every drawing she has done. It is amazing to behold. I wish that I had the opportunity to snap a photo of each finished piece, but they get grabbed up by the art department each time she completes one. Here is one that I was able to photograph before it disappeared. This is an early piece from this term. There have been a few done since this one and each becomes more and more beautiful. (I thought John Steinbeck from her Authors Series for the English Department was going to step out of the portrait and speak to me.)Kel's artwork

In the meantime, I am having some fun intermixed with the work on sales stuff. I've decided to do some knitting (which always made me feel like I had two left hands or like I was all thumbs... I discovered a secret - wooden needles - they are magic!). I'm working with some beautiful yarn which is all sparkly and feathery and I can actually knit! There was one made and now sent to my aunt in Seattle from it in an off white, and now I'm making one in a beautiful deep purple (Power of Purple, baby). I started one in red with the crochet hook and I'll continue that one later, but for now, I'm going to keep on with this one until finished because I'm having so much fun.

(Scarves still available in photo include deep purple and brown tweed. Will snap latest and greatest as soon as available!)

I also am creating one in a multi-colored teal, but I dropped a couple of stitches and until I can find someone (Mom or Kathy) with some time at the same time as me to pick them back up again, I'll have to set that one aside for a bit. Picking up stitches in knitting is nothing like crochet. It's a beast! And not something I can do myself this first time. I probably could if I could actually find the little suckers, but...

As of two weeks ago, these were the mittens from Beanie that I still had left for sale:

Now? There are two pair left (yellow and the pair opposite). They are selling like hotcakes! Get 'em while you can! (Seriously, if interested in either of the two available, let me know.)

Finished stockings!And finally, I finished the family of Christmas stockings! Woohoo!!! And in time for Christmas...

I haven't gotten to spend much time with the girls for girls' nights, so there isn't any fun events there to report. But pretty niece J is dating K's boyfriend B's twin brother A... How's that for some fun news? ;) If I had a photo, I'd post it, but I'm afraid I don't.

Here's Jena, though. A little blurry, but lovely all the same...

Playing in my head: Day-o! ???


why am I so busy? and For Joel

Well, here's a couple of reasons...


  • Reduce incidence by 25 percent:

    This means 25 percent fewer people will hear the words, "you have cancer." That could mean 5.7 million fewer cancer cases than there would be if 1990 rates remained unchanged throughout 1990-2015.

  • Reduce mortality by 50 percent:

    This means 50 percent fewer people will die from cancer. There could be 4.9 million fewer cancer deaths than if 1990 mortality rates remained unchanged throughout 1990-2015.

  • Measurable Improvement in Quality of Life:

    From the time of diagnosis, this focuses on the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs of cancer survivors, as well as their overall quality of life.

It takes money to support those kinds of goals.

For Joel in celebration of some good news.

I heard from an old friend a couple of days ago... another Gray Street buddy. Her brother is on my inspiration list because two years ago he was stricken by cancer - Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma stage 4. When I heard about it, things did not look good. But Holly wrote with good news for the Christmas season...

With chemo and prayer he has scanned clear for the past year! He continues to go in for maintenance chemo about 4 times a year.

(is it ironic or fitting that I am writing to you, and all that you do for ACS, on the 13th anniversary of Mom's death?--my goodness how somethings work)

As you can see, she lost her mom to cancer also. Though I, by some bit of memory lapse, neglected to get her on the list... (to be corrected)

Today's miles: 4
Total so far: 74.5
Still to go for goal: 425.5

Playing in my head: Traditional Christmas Carols on the french horn


a "love"ly fundraising idea

My dear friend Robert passed along this information on a beautiful competition that garners funds for 10,000 cancer facilities in the United States and Britain.

The competition is dedicated to the memory of Zimand's wife Anda who died from breast cancer in 2003 aged 49.

"No one should underestimate the power of a letter that truly comes from the heart and with every letter I receive, I am moved, and remember my Anda," Zimand said.

The winners -- to be selected by a panel including Zimand and judges from the Romance Writers of America -- will be flown to New York and, on the morning of St Valentine's Day, taken on a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride in the city.

The competition is run by philanthropist Henri Zimand and you can get more information about it here.

Thanks, Robert!

Playing in my head: Imagine by John Lennon... can you believe it's been 25 years? I can't.


Baby It's Cold Outside...

I don't think it ever got above 0 today. And the windchill? Don't even talk to me about windchills. Winter has definitely returned to Wisconsin. We woke up to minus 9 this morning. It was the first minus temperature since January 24. Unbelievable.

And what was I doing today? Was I sitting inside by a cozy fire you ask?

Oh no. I left the house at 7 am and didn't return until 9 pm.

My day went something like this:

  • After a late night of laughter at historical blogposts and funnies out in Michael's archives, Kel and I managed to wake up on time this morning because I put a new battery in the alarm clock before bed last night. Yay me. (score one for the mom).

  • I took Keli to school and headed north for coffee.

  • I then went to Anonybro's to exchange truffles for truffle innards which I proceeded to take to the parents' house for dipping and decorating.

  • I then headed back to Keli's school to pick her up and we headed to Stillwater for her dentist appointment. (The dentist and hygenist were thrilled to take a box of truffles each off my hands. Some of you who are longer-term readers know of my love for our dentist. *sigh* Well I learned today that she is leaving that practice. You all know that when you find a dentist you like, it's a Big. Deal. So this was tragic news. I may be in shock a while. I have had some traumatic experiences with dentists. This was difficult to take today.)

  • We then traveled back to the old hometown where I stopped at the UPS store and delivered some more truffles.

  • From there it was back to the parents' house where we boxed truffles and hung out a while.

  • Next it was off to Keli's school again because she was due there for pep band (basketball game) and I traveled to a local craft store on a yarn excursion, then headed north for coffee and crochet while the basketball game ensued.

  • At about that time I went back to the school and a mere two minutes short of that destination received a call that she was ready for my pickup.

  • We then headed home to collapse of exhaustion (and at our computers), mini chocolate-chip cookies at hand. (thanks daughter!)

My eyes are drying out in their sockets because it is now so warm and dry in this house. TMI?

Must get my lenses pulled out.

Going to dip more truffles tomorrow! They went so well today, we are bound to rock and roll tomorrow. The system is coming together... Note to self: Tell BCTruffles that we need more red coloring after the tipping fiasco in the cardboard box last time. :) Reminded me of bloody shark, Barbie Doll and GI Joe ocean incident when Grandma Lilah was babysitting us. Green shag carpet... pink slippers... Anonybro - any recollections of this incident or are you pleading the fifth?

Playing in my head: Merry Christmas Darling by The Carpenters


prayers for a family

You came through before and now I need you to come through again... Ljubo (Video Lou) passed away today and now his family needs your prayers and warmest thoughts for their comfort. Please hold them in your heart as they go through this difficult time. It's hard for me to see his grandchildren at the coffee shop tonight with their swollen and red eyes. Poor sweethearts.

They are some of the dearest and most giving people I've met. My thoughts are with Vida, away from her husband and children at this most painful loss of her father. Sending you strength, dear one...

Today I ran for John P. He is again going through some aggressive treatment as things are rapidly spreading for him. We had tickets tonight for a Christmas Concert here in town that we have gone to for years. It wouldn't have been the same without John up there singing. I'm glad Keith wasn't able to get back to town for it due to work. I'm grateful to miss it this year. Love and comfort to John and his family members, so many of which I know from growing up here in this town, and from my work on the committee.

Cancer is being a vicious beast around here this holiday season. I find it difficult to be jolly as Christmas approaches.

Today's miles: 3
Total so far: 70.45
Still to go for goal: 429.55

Playing in my head: classical stuff playing at three hats


because some of the girls were so delighted by that other one...

I thought I'd show you what I'm going to look like in twenty years or so. According to everyone who says I look just like her now anyway, eh Mom? This one seems to show it better than some others of recent date.

Relay Fundraiser

Playing in my head: The Sign by Ace of Base


Life experiences...

Once again it just goes to show that I'm a selfish, selfish girl. I swear I only get/stay involved in things for what I get out of them, I think.

The craft sale over the past two days involved a lot of work. It also involved a lot of time sitting on my butt waiting for people to show up and hopefully buy things. So we'd earn more money for our Relay team. It also involved trying to stay awake. It involved getting up early in the morning and sitting in the cold hospital hallway because we were so close to the front entry doors and we sat right beside these floor to ceiling windows that stretched the length of the hallway. And just outside those windows? It was snowing. Practically constantly. I'm just glad my back was to them. I hate winter.


(here comes the silver lining part where I get something out of it, because I'm selfish like that...)

I met so many incredible people and heard so many incredible stories because I was there wearing my ACS shirt and my "Ask me About the Relay For Life" sticker. And I was there with my Relay For Life calendar displayed and had one of our new Join Us in the Fight Against Cancer yard signs, won earlier in the week when my team was one of the first five that had ten or more people registered online before the Team Captains' kickoff (because my team ROCKS!)

I saw people I knew but hadn't seen for a while and picked up a few hugs. I learned of a few new people with cancer :( who I will be adding to the Inspiration list and running for in the coming days. I heard stories of pain and sorrow, stories of inspiration and even stories of miracles. All of this during a two day craft fair.

Overall? It was a fantastic experience. Much more than a craft fair. Much more. I hope to share it with you in the coming days.

But first I have to catch up on some Relay Online Fundraising Committee work and put some truffles in the mail!

Here is our committee at the meeting earlier this week with awards we brought home from Relay University in early November...