Much better...


I finally downloaded firefox to the new toy. Now things look (and behave) much more normally. I love this browser. If you cannot see the sidebar on this blog, you might want to consider dumping IE and downloading firefox. It is a lovely thing. Some of you may already have it on your computer and just not be using it (mom and dad) because somebody downloaded it for you. heh. Consider using it once in a while. Or at least for looking at the kid's blog.

In my head: El Tango De Roxanne as performed by Ewan McGregor, Jose Feliciano and Jacek Koman from the Moulin Rouge Soundtrack

So what IS that Halloween costume my avatar has changed into? Is she a bat girl? Or a dominatrix? I cannot be entirely sure. But those are quite the boots. heh.


home again home again jiggity jig...

We made the trek home today after a breakfast at Shake Rag Cafe again this morning where Mystical dined on blueberry and pecan french toast and I had granola. Then we plotted our route home and headed up Highway 23 toward home. This route took us past the famous House on the Rock. We ended up pulling off at an overlook for the view and from there could see the House or rather, the Infinity Room of the house, extending out over the valley. It ended up being a fun stop. Windy. Cold. A bit of a walk to reach the actual viewing spot. Marge was being a pain and didn't want her photo taken. So I pulled my usual antics and did the camera over my shoulder and behind my back bit like I do with Keli when she doesn't want her photo taken. :)

I think she was doing the same to me (as is evident in some of the photos) and when she sends them to me they'll probably go up on the flickr site.

There were cars streaming in to the House, so we didn't bother stopping ourselves. I've seen it and she decided against it. This view was enough for her. We continued up Hwy 23 and passed the next famous house along the way. We came close to stopping here, but again, crowds on Saturday deterred us. I've been to see it (loved it but was disappointed I couldn't just wander at will. This man is one of my architectural idols, after all...) and we saw so much just driving by. I joked that I hoped I didn't start having dreams with him wandering around in them again.

Further on up the road we decided to make a stop in Osseo. Yes, Bonnie... I did it again. I went to that restaraunt. Marge hasn't been there yet and she has some of that Scandahoovian blood in her. So I thought she needed to experience a little of the Norske Nook. Besides, last time I went I wasn't able to bring Kel a piece of lemon merengue and this time we were there at a time when they actually had some available!

Marge took photos of the exterior, I did not. So you'll have to settle for the web site. There are lots of photos there. Dinner was typical - really decent quality but not nearly warm enough and in need of seasoning. Bland. I would guess that is pretty typical, though. I'm not going to go any further with that thought. heh.

We filled up the car with our purchases. Okay. We filled up the car with mostly my purchases. It was truly a fun trip. We still like each other. We travel well together.

Alas, the kiddo is gone for the evening already so I return to an empty house. But I need my Dunn fix, too. So that's okay. I think a movie rental is in order. And separating my purchases for me vs. my purchases for her would be good so I remember whose is whose. And laundry before taking her back to school tomorrow. Hope all are having a great weekend. I don't think I need to eat for days. Coffee? that's another thing entirely. ;)

In my head: Every Day by Dave Matthews


and the shopping continues...

The continued purchases
I've fallen and I can't get up...

or something like that. :) But at least we are heading back to our home towns tomorrow because that will slow the tide. And yes, you do see more socks. Yesterday's were wool. For da kid. Today's are cotton. For me. Never mind. If you see anything resembling shoes in any of the photos. Disregard them. It is a figment of your imagination. Or bags. I do not buy bags anymore. I have enough bags. *ahem*

Today we headed to Galena, Illinois for a little day trip. (there is a little video on the Galena page where you can see some of the lovely buildings/architecture of the area. Gorgeous!) It was a beautiful side trip and we did plenty of shopping. I have done enough shopping now to suit me for a while. But did I finish my holiday shopping? No. This is okay, however, as I still have Chicago to look forward to. Help my bank account now. Please. ;)
yes, we have found coffee everywhere we go.
After the shopping excursion we went back to a new favorite haunt because the pub was standing room only for some unknown reason. ambiance?After dining on fish and chips for Marge and tortellini with tasteless sauce for me, we enjoyed some ambers and ambiance (okay, tonight? ambiance? not so much... I seriously thought this guy was going to sit on my shoulder to chat with the people at the table behind us as he told his joke to them. I told M if he bumped me with his a$$ once more he was going down and that was when she whipped out her camera. Because I'm so big and tough. I did end up giving him a pretty good nudge with my shoulder just before she took this photo which is why he doesn't look nearly so close as I'm complaining about.) before heading back to the final night at our hotel. The ambiance there was not so enjoyable either. It was a full house tonight and it was full of loud folks with very little regard for those around them in the thin-walled hotel.
But I played with the computer and photos while Mystical read her book. When I finish this I'll be finishing a notebook so I'll be having a fresh start with November and that other thing that starts with the new month.... (shh. Let's not say anything about it this week. But I have new pen, lots of ink, and notebooks galore along with books to inspire ideas and such for the time I spend at work on it.)

Tomorrow? We travel back. And I hope to finish some mittens! woohoo!

The coffee? It is not always good. But it is always necessary. I yawned all the way to Galena today. Thank dog for Kayte.

flowers in the attic?And in closing, Vicki? Now that you are in Illinois yourself, keep an eye out for the unusual pets some of your neighbors may be keeping. There was a lovely yarn shoppe in Galena today, but check out the apartment upstairs! Yikes!

In my head: Yellow Brick Road by Elton John (thanks a ton Mystical... You will pay...)

and the fun just goes on and on...

traveling to MP
We had such a sunny and beautiful drive down yesterday.

But today? Rain and clouds. Cold and wind. It was really crappy all day. Our plans to go see the historical sights fell completely on the ground. And so we shopped and we ate. But that was fun. As you can see in the last photos, I didn't do bad with my shopping. I found funky socks and warm mittens. Terrific bags and purses for carrying new laptops and wonderful bowls of warm and sweet drinks.

da moose at Mineral SpiritsAnd tonight Marge and I went to see Greater Tuna at the Opera House in Mineral Point. The show was funny and while attendance was low, it was still a great time. We had breakfast at the Red Rooster, lunch/coffee in Dodgeville with a visit to the Lands End store (did you know Dodgeville was home to Land's End?) and dinner at the Mineral Point Brewery before the show. Heh. Then we headed back to Mineral Spirits to cap the night off with the moose once again. :)

foam mustacheWe plan to start tomorrow with our usual Friday morning writing date at a cafe in one of the historical parts of town and then we may head to Illinois for a little side trip. We'll finish the day back here in the evening, though. This is a great town. I could easily see myself spending some significant time here some day. There are less than 3000 people living here and yet there are 50 full-time artisans who call this home. We visited a pottery and saw some wonderful artwork this afternoon while shopping. I've seen some big changes since my last visit here (I think it has been five years possibly) but it is still one of the most incredibly artistic places and favorite places to visit. It has a feel and I truly love it. But there is still a thing or two missing for me that are significant. *sigh*

Anyway, here are the rest of today's photos. Hope to be back with more tomorrow. Now I need sleep.

In my head: Piano Man by Billy Joel and NOT Elton, Marge :)


Shopping has commenced...

and coffee has been found. (this has actually been a lot tougher than it sounds and yes, the bowl-o-mocha is mine...)

In my head: Living With War Neil Young

Where's Keri this week???

On a brief respite in Mineral Point, Wisconsin with Mystical Marge enjoying the beautiful scenery and wonderful little shops and historical sights. Yesterday was the long and scenic drive down with stops at an orchard for apples, an extremely old fashioned little cafe in Boscobel, Wisconsin (birthplace of The Gideon Bible and Wisconsin's Wild Turkey Hunting Capital!) where we felt we were stepping back into Days Gone By (in more ways than one... "What year do you suppose they made this pie???"

Last night we had dinner and brews at Mineral Spirits and this morning we're off to brekkie before hitting some of the local sights. Stay tuned for updates at 10!

In my head: Summer Skin by Death Cab for Cutie


Look Ma! No allergy! (scratch, scratch...)

originally uploaded by kazoofus.
Yeah. You can see CursingMama's back in the reflection of the door as she sits beside me at the Girls' Night party here in this photo... She asked me that night, "What happened with the allergy and you with these bracelets?"

Stupid, stupid Keri... I said, "I dunno! It's just gone! I guess it's a miracle or something." Well, I didn't say exactly that, but you get the picture. I had picked up a few more cancer bracelets covering a few more cancer varieties for a few more friends/inspirations this past week and I've worn them off and on without any problems.

This afternoon I put them back on again before running out to go to Keli's little cousin's party (more about that to come...) and I noticed my neck was a little red. I noticed it was a little itchy, too. Bah. NOT from my bracelets darn it. (I put them on...)

I then started thinking about the fact that I was pretty darned snuffly for the past 24-hours, too. And that neck? Yeah. Quite a bit more itchy tonight.

I still say it only happens when I'm lying on a raft in the middle of the lake and the sun is beating down on me. *ahem*


Some fixes made to the sidebar by capturing some old backups on my practice site. (Yes, I do have a play area... good thing as it turns out!)

I'm sure there are some names now missing or in the wrong place on the inspirations lists. Please forgive this oversight. I'm just happy I haven't lost them all. They are all still inspiring me to keep on doing what I'm doing.

Looking forward to a little downtime before the holiday craziness. Mystical and I are going to go explore one of my very favorite places in southern Wisconsin next week for a few days and maybe pick up a little inspiration for NaNoWriMo. :)

In my head: relief


Stating the Obvious

I have serious problem with my sidebar.

And I have not backed things up in many moons. You will be seeing some changes around here in days to come.

Woe is me.

In my head: Chain of Fools by Aretha Franklin. Why not David Bowie's Changes when there are changes about? Because I have this Ch Ch Ch thing in my brain and that does not have a Bowie opener going, even though it should. Instead it totally wraps itself around Aretha's music and then I get the whole John Travolta dance sequence in Michael going and you just never know where my brain is going to wind up some nights.


Thanks for the reminder, Mark...

Sometimes I swear that if it weren't for the comments triggering the emails reminding me that I do indeed still have a blog that I'm supposed to be writing, well... I might forget entirely. At least for days at a time! So thanks for the recent reminder from the Creechman (who also has a pretty new toy it would seem) that he was reading/checking in and for cheering me on so I'd get my butt out here and say something.

I'll go one better. I'll put up a picture of my latest pretty little thing. heh.

Pretty New Toy!

A gift from a friend. We should all have such good friends, eh? So yeah. Thanks again, my good friend. May we always share laughter and the best of good things between us. And be able to verbally slay foes as we do now, and never lose sight of what's important!

So tonight I went to a committee meeting for the local Relay. Things are starting to roll for the 2007 Relay. And me? I can't wait. That old Relay Addiction is taking hold once again.

Now if you'll excuse me... my avatar and I have to go change into our party clothes... Girls' Night Out fast approaches and we have to go find some party gear.

In my head: Grey's Anatomy Music


another great idea from ACS

Got a great idea for raising funds for the American Cancer Society but not interested in participating in the Relay For Life at this time? How about creating a Team ACS event? Team ACS is a way of creating an online fundraising site of your own for the American Cancer Society using some event that is happening in your life. I'll let them explain it...

Running a marathon? Honoring a loved one lost to cancer? Hosting a bake sale? With Team ACS you can memorialize the milestones in your life by turning them into a lifesaving effort.

Here are some of the Team ACS Event Criteria if you are interested in creating your own:

  • Team ACS should not be used to raise funds for events that have a charity exclusively designated as a beneficiary unless event producers have granted permission.

  • Events affiliated with or sponsored by tobacco-related products or companies may not be part of Team ACS.

  • Participants must understand that the events are not produced by or the responsibility of the American Cancer Society and must not state or imply that the Society sponsors the event.

  • Team ACS participants understand that all proceeds (on and offline) must benefit the American Cancer Society (participants and event organizers may not take fees, commissions, or salary). Any checks must represent an outright donation and cannot include any exchange of product. Checks should be made payable to the American Cancer Society, Attn: Team ACS.

  • Team ACS participants understand that all proceeds (on and offline) must benefit the American Cancer Society (participants and event organizers may not take fees, commissions, or salary). Any checks must represent an outright donation and cannot include any exchange of product. Checks should be made payable to the American Cancer Society, Attn: Team ACS.

Just head over to the Team ACS website for more information. It looks like a great idea! (or come along to my committee meeting Thursday night and sign up for our Relay. We're going to have a great time in 2007!)

In my head: Not Nice by Chris Garneau


This is what it's all about...

While I was in the Dells over the weekend, working with my fellow peeps on learning more about the message of the American Cancer Society, what they have done in 2006 and what they are working toward, learning more about advocacy, training my fellow Relay Online Chairs in using and maintaining their online fundraising sites and getting their team captains to use them, listening to messages of hope and inspiration from survivors, etc... Sahara (you remember her) was being released from MD Anderson and going home!

How cool is that? And that is what it's really all about. Congratulations, Sahara. Wishing you a very long and happy life.

In my head: The realization once again that no matter the cause, insomnia bites.


I'm back!

Photo by Becky. :)

Hopefully Becky won't mind me posting this photo of the two of us that she sent me tonight. She took it after we'd finished our last session of training and look! I survived! And after all that building up of stress and nerves, it turned out when it came right down to it, I ended up being far less freaked out when the first session started than I thought I was going to be. I think it was partially thanks to the survivor who said to me shortly beforehand, "You know, I'm doing this stuff because I lived and I'm here to enjoy each day and have a good time doing it. Go in there and enjoy yourself and have fun with it." That got me to thinking about how ridiculous I was being for sweating the small stuff like I was.

I had a great co-facilitator working the room with me (heck - just look at the smile on her face. Who could be worried with someone like that by your side?), and a really great tech support person who knew the tech side of things like the back of his hand (right, Keith?) and another IT guy (hi Bill!) who was there just to make sure we had everything we needed and all of the equipment working and music playing during the downtimes and it was a breeze.

Just look at this great room they had set up for us! Beautiful, eh? We may have been in the outer limits of the conference center, far from the rest of our conference-goers, separated from them by Mary Kay Conventioneers and Dance Competitioners and feeling like we were practically in another world, but we still managed to get through three sessions rather pain-free.

the training room!

And will you look at that??? The Relay For Life of Hudson 2007 website is already online! Those wonderful cancer fighters are going to be able to raise funds for cancer research year round with that great tool! :) And just look! My page has already begun to collect its first donations! I'm already well on my way to my first fundraising goal! Woohoo! Feel free to contribute to fighting the cancer beast. Because breast cancer awareness is a wonderful thing in the month of October, but as my lovely daughter said tonight at the grocery store as we passed the display case full of pink cakes and cookies, "Cancer strikes the entire body. Why is there only one month for the big awareness push and only for one body part?"

In my head: Say It Isn't So from The Outfield


Another Perspective on Thinking Pink

Before I leave for the Leadership Summit tomorrow morning (thanks for your supportive and kind words, Cursing Mama! You're right. I'm going to be fine. I have some wonderful sounding helpers in my corner, Becky and Keith... I'm looking forward to meeting both of them when I arrive at the Dells tomorrow.) I thought I would leave you with another perspective on the whole deluge of pink product placement at this time of the year...

(Nobody argues that awareness is a wonderful thing. Especially me.)

Awareness Outweighing Education in the Battle Against Breast Cancer
Written by Beth Lunow, Pewaukee, Wisconsin.

Every October, it seems, we begin to see a lot of information pop up regarding breast cancer. For one month out of the year, companies, for-profit and not-for profit, large and small, align themselves with organizations that raise money for breast cancer research by creating a portion of their products in pink and donate the proceeds.

While it is good to see efforts that increase breast cancer awareness, we can’t afford to let the education of the disease get lost among the cause-marketing flurry. Breast cancer does not take a vacation the other 11 months of the year.

So before making pink an October fashion statement, the facts need to be shared. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women, and this year alone, more than 212,00 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Nearly 41,000 of them will die from the disease. So where can people get educated?

The American Cancer Society is seen by millions of people as their primary source of information about breast cancer.

Should breast cancer become a part of your life or the life of a loved one, you can turn to the American Cancer Society. They offer many programs and services that not only educate, but empathize as well.

The Society is also working to reduce breast cancer in other capacities.

The American Cancer Society plays a leading role in cancer research and advocacy.

Since 1972, the American Cancer Society has funded more than $290 million in breast cancer research grants. They also take active roles in helping pass laws and put public policies in place that secure investments in research and prevention, give greater access to care, and improve quality of life for breast cancer patients. In fact, the American Cancer Society is responsible for instituting strong quality standards for clinics to provide mammographies and ensure patients receive timely and accurate information.

However, there are still a number of people that are not getting the education and care that is needed to deal with breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to reducing disparities in breast cancer diagnoses and deaths among minority and medically underserved populations by educating those communities about the disease and improving access to critical cancer screening and treatment.

A positive trend is taking place. Earlier this year, the United States celebrated news of the first decline in the actual number of cancer deaths since 1930. However, the decline in breast cancer mortality has not been experienced equally among all sectors of the population. Racial and ethnic minorities and medically underserved populations have higher rates of breast cancer mortality, are less likely to be diagnosed early or receive optimal treatment, and have lower survival rates. Factors contributing to this gap include poverty, little or no health insurance, lack of access to health information and services, language barriers, and low literacy rates.

The American Cancer Society continues to play a key role in achieving success fighting breast cancer. But, the fight is not over and it won’t be easy.

Numerous studies have shown that early detection saves lives and increases treatment options. The five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 98 percent among individuals whose cancer has not spread beyond the breast at time of diagnosis.

Through your generous donations and our programs and services, research funding and advocacy efforts, the American Cancer Society will continue to battle breast cancer every month of every year until it is a thing of the past.

Yo! Guess what time it is?

National Novel Writing Month! Starting November 1

Oh yeah. I'm crazy enough... Are you?

(starting November 1st. No time like the present to sign up...)

In my head: a little bit of panic ever heard of it?


Did someone say October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

Scientists say they've spotted a new breast cancer susceptibility gene that might someday help women ascertain their risk for the disease.

Women with mutations in the gene, called BRIP1, have twice the normal risk of breast cancer, British researchers report in the November issue of Nature Genetics.

"Others have proposed that it might be associated with breast cancer, but we are the first to actually show it," said Dr. Nazneen Rahman, a professor of cancer genetics at the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton, England.

Still, BRIP1 probably plays only a minor role in breast cancer risk generally, the researchers added, since the mutation itself is uncommon. The increase in risk associated with this gene is small in relation to the risk associated with mutations in other breast cancer genes, such as the better-known BRCA1 and BRCA2.

While mutations in BRIP1 increased a woman's risk for breast malignancy twofold, other gene mutations raise it much more. According to background information in the new study, mutations in BRCA1, 2, and another gene, TP53, increase the carrier's risk of breast cancer by 10- to 20-fold by age 60. Women with BRCA mutations have up to an 80 percent chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetimes, estimates the

American Cancer Society. Mutations in other genes -- such as CHEK2, ATM and the newly identified BRIP1 gene -- are associated with a more modest risk increase.

In their study, Rahman's team screened more than 1,200 breast cancer patients who also had a family history of either breast or ovarian cancer for mutations in the BRIP1 gene. None of the women had mutations in either BRCA1 or 2.

Rahman's team found that nine of the women had mutations in the BRIP1 gene. In a control group of healthy women without breast cancer, just two of the nearly 2,100 women tested had the mutation.

The likelihood that a woman with mutations in BRIP1 would also have mutations in the other breast cancer-related genes is unlikely, Rahman said, "as all of these [mutations] are relatively rare."

Less than 1 percent of American women have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, according to the American Cancer Society. BRCA1 and 2 genes normally function as tumor-suppressing genes, so mutations in either can make them incapable of preventing breast malignancies.

The new study adds valuable information for researchers, although it doesn't mean women should get tested for the new mutation, said Andrew Godwin, director of the Clinical Molecular Genetics Laboratory and the Biosample Repository at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia.

Previous research, he said, found that this gene "did not appear to have mutations that lead to an increased risk of breast cancer." But the previous study was much smaller, he said, and, in the case of the Rahman research, "because they screened so many people, they found a different type of mutation in this BRIP1" compared to the previous research.

While the frequency of this newly identified mutation in the population is low, the new research helps breast cancer researchers determine just how many of these genetic mutations are involved in the disease, Godwin said.

"Susceptibility genes" that have been identified so far account for up to 25 percent of familial breast cancer risk, Rahman said. So, there's still a long way to go to completely solve the puzzle.

The take-home point for women: "In breast cancer families without BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene mutations, there are likely to be several different genes, each with small (for example twofold) effects which will be acting together with each other and other non-genetic factors," Rahman said.

She agreed with Godwin that women shouldn't automatically be screened for this the BRIP1 mutation. Much more research is needed before that routinely happens, Rahman said.

More information

To learn more about breast cancer susceptibility genes, visit the American Cancer Society.

In my head: Say Hello, Wave Goodbye David Gray


Back from this week's

funeral event. Okay, they aren't really weekly but quite honestly? They are starting to feel that way. 2006 is going to go down as the year of the funeral for me, I think.

Bonnie and I did a little truffle shuffling while we were out also. And I'm beat. It was a long night last night. So I'm feeling a little nappy at the moment.

But tonight? Tonight I'll have to be a little tappy. And for sure I'll be awake by then. Who can help it with a sidekick like this one?

In my head: Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison in memory of Sue. :(


I do believe

That the York Peppermint Patties taken for tonight's Relay Brainstorming meeting were a hit or at least enjoyed by one or two people.

Even the mint center are a pale pink. Yummy.

Just a friendly reminder that it is October and October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. :)

(did you know you can get pink M&M's this month, too? Leave it to Hershey's.)

In my head: Geek in the Pink from Jason Mraz

How many of you knew...

That October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

If you didn't know, how come? The pink is slapping me in the face everywhere I go. :) And I'm not complaining. That's not a bad thing at all.

Click here and head over to help provide free mamograms for women who need them and don't have the insurance to get them. And then remind those women you love to do their monthly breast exams and get their annual checkups.


If you happen to live in my area, we have a 6 pm brainstorming meeting on growing our Relay at the usual location. Call me if you want directions. I'd love to see you there.

In my head: Theme music from Grey's Anatomy