Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fight, Fight, Fight!

Every 69 seconds a woman dies of breast cancer.

"Breast cancer will strike 1.3 million women this year and kill almost 500,000, making it the second leading killer of women worldwide.  It only takes 69 seconds to #fightbreastcancer.  What will you promise to do in the next 69 seconds to make an impact?"  - Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Visit and help make a difference.  Raise awareness, donate money, get a mammogram, participate in a race - just do whatever you can to put an end to this devastating disease. 

The memorial service for our dear friend, Dianne Horton, will be this Saturday, October 2nd, at 2pm at Oak Cliff Presbyterian Church.  She was taken from this earth too soon.  I promise to spend the rest of my days fighting breast cancer on her behalf.   


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Consider Me Miles Davis

The other night, Meezy and I were playing tennis at a local park.  The park was pretty deserted, except for one guy sitting on a bench near the courts, talking on his phone or something.  After having played for more than an hour, we had completely forgotten about that guy and assumed he had left.  It started to get pretty dark around the area, but the courts had lights, so we continued playing.  As it got later, a flashing light came on above the courts and we figured that was an alert to let us know the lights would be turning off soon.  Sure enough, the lights shut off and we were left in complete darkness.  We both just laughed and inched our way over to my tennis bag to grab my phone.  It was seriously pitch black, so we used my phone as a flashlight to try and gather the tennis balls and head home.  Meezy left the court area to try and retrieve the two balls we had hit over the fence.  I shined my phone towards his general area while he was out there, to give him some help.  He found the balls and started heading back to the courts.  He couldn't see much, but he knew which direction he needed to go.  In the meantime, I used my phone to light my path around the court area to find the rest of the balls.  I found the last one and started walking back towards my bag, with a sight visibility of only like 2 feet in front of me.  All of a sudden, a voice that wasn't Meezy's came from INSIDE the pitch black court area.  The same area I was standing in, by myself, with no visibility.  I gasped and almost peed my pants.  It took me a second of getting over my shock to realize exactly what the guy had said.  "I think if you push this button here, the lights will come back on."  Big sigh of relief.  He wasn't a murderer or a thief, just the guy in the park from earlier who realized our predicament.  I said, "Oh, that's alright.  We're heading out anyways.  Thanks!"  (and thanks for not killing us!)  It's quite alarming to think you're alone somewhere and then realize you're vulnerable and in the company of a stranger.  Meezy made his way back onto the court and we quietly discussed what had just happened, while we gathered our things.  I told him I almost freaked out, and he said he had been a few steps away when he heard the voice and immediately switched his racket into his dominant hand in case he needed to beat someone down.  Hilarious.  We had to look at the situation and laugh about it because we got paranoid for nothing, but in that split second, I was truly terrified!

"If peeing your pants is the coolest, consider me Miles Davis." - Billy Madison movie       

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Let's Get Muddy!

The 2011 Warrior Dash is months away, but you should sign up now!  The spots fill up fast and when the days are sold out, you're out of luck.  Jer and I had a blast last year (despite his injury!) and we've already reserved our places for the next Dash.  We'd love to get a big group to run it together, so let me know if you want to sign up in the same wave as us.  There's no pressure to finish fast, just to have a good time and get muddy.  I hope to see you there!

Warrior Dash 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Riley Weight Loss - Update 2

I took Riley to the vet earlier this week for his weigh-in.  The results weren't so great.  :(  He had only lost one pound.  Arrrgg!  As expensive as his diet food is, I was really hoping for at least a little more progress.  Granted we haven't been consistently taking him for walks, but just the switch in food alone was supposed to net some results.  This just shows me I've got to be more motivated in my efforts to get him active.  Here's hoping for a better update next month! 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In Case You Didn't Know

Got a couple of interesting emails over the weekend.  The first one chastised me for not thanking God when I was "cured" of my mysterious illness back in 2008.  Not sure what prompted that now, two years after the fact, but it basically said: people had been praying for me; I should have thanked God; He's waiting for my acknowledgment; it's not too late.  Hello, unnecessary and inappropriate guilt trip.  I should've just shrugged it off and deleted the email, but a little fury starting building inside me.  (Note: There were many other things written in this email including "proof" of the existence of God, insistence that I do some research, comments about my parents "raising me right," insinuations that I take my "smarts" for granted, etc.  I'm only covering the illness guilt trip part).  There were so many things I wanted to say back.  If God cured me, who gave me the illness in the first place?  Why would he be pining away, 2 years later, still waiting for me to thank him?  What about the doctors who actually gave me the medicine and treatment - are they not the ones I should be thanking?  What about my family and friends who did tangible, real actions during that time (visiting me, sending me flowers & cards, tending to my house, etc) - are they not the ones I should be thanking?  (I have, by the way).  How is this person so sure the imaginary man in the sky had any hand in it originally, and so sure now of his current view on the matter?  Just because you believe something and want it to be true, doesn't mean it necessarily is!  The problem with the people who send these types of emails is that they have little grasp on reality.  They already have their mind made up about a situation, and when you try to bring some logic or common sense into the equation, there's no room for it.  It would have been pointless to respond and ask my questions, because no serious thought would've been given to them by this person.  (In other words, you can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into.)

Despite my fury, I didn't respond.  I don't respect this person's view on a multitude of issues, but I do acknowledge this person's right to hold them.  I respect that there were other people who might've been negatively affected by my response, so I convinced myself the right thing to do was ignore.  I figured that would be the end of it.  Much to my dismay, I received a second email the next day full of Bible verses supposedly supporting the notion that homosexuality is wrong.  There was no explanatory commentary with the verses and nothing directed at me specifically like in the first email (despite it being purposely sent to me for some reason by this person).   Attack me personally?  Fine.  Attack an entire group of humans because of who they love?  Not cool.  I didn't want to hear any more of this nonsense, and I decided it was best to put an end to it before it escalated.  I can respect people's right to hold an opinion, but I don't have to subject myself to listening to it.

I'm not sure what this person's motivation was in sending me these emails.  Maybe they weren't aware of my firm stance on human rights.  Maybe they thought I was still searching for guidance in my journey through life.  Whatever their reason, I decided it was best to remove any speculation.  This person has never discussed any of these topics with me before, which made me believe they needed some background.  I sent a response email as sort of a "In case you didn't know."  The text of it follows:

"Please refrain from sending me any further emails related to religion. I do not wish to discuss this matter with you. It is clear what your position is, based on the things you've sent me. I don't think it is clear to you what my position is, so here it is to avoid any confusion: I've done my "research" and am confident and content with my path in life. I love ALL people, despite whether a certain book tells me to or not. I seek out charitable pursuits, I help my friends and family when they need it, and I work towards spreading a message of common decency and tolerance.  I do this free of dogma and with an open mind. I do not wish to place restrictions on my giving or my tolerance, based on a deity's wishes. My parents raised me to be a good person, and I think if you asked my mom, she would say she was proud of me. This ends the conversation. Please respect my request to cease further communication regarding this topic."

I kept it calm and straightforward and made sure I was respectful.  Personal emails don't come with an easy "unsubscribe" button, so I did the next best thing.  I limited it to only this topic, so this person doesn't need to feel like I requested them to be completely removed from my life.  I don't think my request was unreasonable.  It's unfortunate that I had to send it, because I'm sure it will put a ding in our future interaction/relationship, but that's not my fault.  If you start sending out your UNSOLICITED opinions and assertions, you have to expect that they might not be met with open arms.       

Friday, September 17, 2010

On The Agenda

I have to say I haven't handled the death of our family friend so well.  I can't think about her or her family without tears welling up in my eyes.  If I see a mention of her on facebook from someone in her family, it evokes a lot of emotions.  I'm not sure how it's going to go in a couple of weeks at her memorial service, but we'll see.  My sister, Jo, has been very helpful during this time, because she's a calm, logical voice of reason.  Unfortunately, and in some ways fortunately, she's had to face loss of life from breast cancer all too often over her past few years of working at Komen.  She's been able to learn how to approach it from a rational standpoint, while keeping her emotions in check.  I wish I had her strength!  She did tell me the other day that she felt helpless while watching our friend battle this disease, though, especially because of where she works.  She's a part of an organization that is leading the fight against breast cancer, funding vital research to find a cure and providing grants for essential services for breast cancer detection.  She wished her involvement with Komen meant something more could've been done for our friend.  The sad truth is that a cure still hasn't been found, and our family friend lost her battle despite everyone's best efforts.  Even though Jo felt saddened about not being able to help more, I can't help but feel proud about what she does every day.  Her work has much greater meaning than most people's (mine included).  Komen's job isn't to turn a profit or make their employees richer.  While they can't save everyone, their mission directly and indirectly does save lives.  I'm so thankful for every single person at her organization that contributes to that mission.

Since the goal of my day job isn't to save the world, I've had to find other ways to try and do my part!  I've supported as many friends as I could that have taken up the cause of fighting breast cancer.  I'm so proud of everyone that's raising money, and I'm happy to help them reach their goals!  I've also got some events on the agenda.  I'll be participating in the Dallas County Komen 5K race in October with my best friend, Jenn, whose mom beat breast cancer.  I'll be volunteering at the Komen 3day in November (and cheering on the 3 daughters of the recently deceased friend).  I'll also be participating in the Big D Climb in January with two friends who recently lost their good friend to lymphoma.  I can't say that I feel pride in knowing I'm making a difference on a daily basis, but I'm working on at least putting in the effort on the weekends.  :)  Seriously though, I don't take my good fortune and health for granted, and I just want to give a little bit of my time and money to help someone else who might need it.            

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Still Running

It's been a week and I'm still planning on running a half marathon in December, so that's a good sign!  LOL.  I haven't burned out YET.  I ran 15 miles over the past week, and that's pretty encouraging.  I've enlisted my sister, Jo, to run some of the nights with me, to keep me motivated and to make it more fun!  I'm surprised I was able to stick with my schedule, considering I had my wisdom teeth out last Thursday, but it's amazing what pain pills will convince you that you're capable of!  (Really only 2 of the 5 days I spent recovering from the surgery required running, and I made sure to do it when the pain was manageable, thanks to the pills).  Last night Jo and I decided to complete our assignment around a trail near her house.  It goes through some pretty wooded areas, and near water in parts, so we saw lots of thriving foliage and ducks and bugs out and about thanks to the recent rains.  As we walked along the path on our trek back home, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye on the right side of the trail.  My mind told me it was a stick, so I kept talking and walking.  All of a sudden, it started slithering across, right in front of my feet, so I screamed and started basically high-stepping up and down.  My left arm flew out and grabbed Jo, who had no idea what was going on.  We did some fancy footwork to avoid the snake, and watched it slither into the woods.  I grabbed my Iphone out of my armband and tried to snap a picture of it before it disappeared.  Unfortunately I was only able to manage this:

You can't tell from this picture, but it was a pretty dang big snake.  If you look really closely, you can see where the left side of it extends almost all the way to the front left corner of the frame.  The other end of it, on the right side, kept extending behind the tree that blocks it from view.  Jo and I laughed hysterically about it the rest of the way home, and then she replayed my sweet dance moves for her husband when we saw him later.  When I showed the pic to my other sister, Jill, she informed me that it was a (poisonous) copperhead snake.  Holy crap.  I'm glad I didn't know that at the time, because it probably would've been a lot less funny!!  All I can say is no more trail-running by Jo's house after the sun goes down!  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Rough Weekend

Early Saturday morning I received the news that our family friend, Dianne Horton, passed away.  Recently she had stopped chemo because the lesions in her brain were not responding to the treatment (after being diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer last year and undergoing numerous rounds of radiation).  We knew this meant she wouldn't have much time left with us, but it didn't make her passing any easier.  I weep for the people she left behind - her husband, her three beautiful daughters, her two grandchildren, and countless other friends and family members.  Dianne and her husband Hank had been friends with my parents for 30+ years.  Their three girls and my sisters and I grew up together.  One of their daughters, Sarah, was born on the same day as my sister, Joanna.  We went to church together, went to camp together, took vacations together, celebrated holidays and birthdays together, and over the past year walked in the Komen events together.  To think that these girls no longer have their mom with them breaks my heart.  I'm not even going to go into the 'why' questions because there are just too many of them and there are just no good answers.  When her obituary and memorial service details become available, I will post them here.  The daughters, Sarah, Rachel, and Rebecca, will be participating in the Komen 3day in memory of their mother.  Please consider making a donation to their team so we can fight this disease and hopefully prevent other kids from losing their mom too soon.  Their team page can be found here.       

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Working Towards That Sticker

I've got a new challenge for myself.  I want to earn this sticker:

To do this, I am going to participate in the Dallas White Rock Half Marathon in December.  I have no illusions of being able to finish in a reputable time - I am merely trying to finish!  There are about 13 weeks until the race, so I found a 12-week half marathon training plan online.  It's on Hal Higdon's website here.  I'm glad I've got an extra week to work with, so I can miss a day here or there and still get all my necessary training in.  I also started the plan one day off the schedule (I skipped Monday's stretch & strengthen and went straight to Tuesday's assignment) because I wanted the first rest day to coincide with the day I get my wisdom teeth taken out (tomorrow, ack!).  So even though it's technically Wednesday, I've done the training for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  I've already seen improvement in my running in 3 short days, so that's encouraging.  The schedule looks daunting, and it will take a lot of dedication, but I'm excited.  Jer is doing the first week's training with me on a trial basis while he determines if his ankle can handle this adventure.  I hope it can, because it would be great to have him running beside me in December.  Wish me luck!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Great Oma Reads to Livi

My Oma is in her nineties, and my niece Olivia recently turned two.  I'm so glad that Oma has been able to see Olivia grow up these past two years, and likewise that Olivia has been able to spend time with her great Oma.  There's no telling how many years Oma still has with us, and the thought of her not being around for my future children makes me sad sometimes.  However, my sister showed me something this weekend that I think is a really neat way to make sure Oma is a part of our lives for many more years to come.
Joanna bought a children's book at Hallmark that lets you record someone reading each page.  It automatically plays what you've recorded once each page turns, and then you can lock it so that the audio can't be recorded over accidentally.  I think it's a perfect idea for family members that are out of town, or for family members that might not be around much longer.  When I first went through the book that Oma recorded, I had to hold back tears.  I love it.  Her Dutch accent is strong, but here it is: