Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Weather in Perkasie

I think someone forgot to tell Mother Nature that it is two months yet til Winter and way too early in the season to be snowing in Perkasie!

Monday, October 27, 2008

HumanKIND - More thoughts on the 3Day

It's not every day that you'll see a grown man playing crossing guard in the middle of a busy city street wearing a fuzzy pink helmet and tutu. In fact, some of what you see on the 3 Day Walk would be considered inappropriate, rude, or even obscene in any other setting. Not here. Because this walk is designed to raise awareness and funds to end breast cancer, folks have carte blanche to use every euphemism known. And they do. Signs, pins, and t-shirts with slogans like "Boobies Make Me Smile", "Save the TaTas", and "60 Miles for Bust" are everywhere. And it is good. And it is appropriate. And it is funny. It makes us smile through the pain of blisters and tight muscles.

Something else is everywhere - Kindness. Plain and Simple. The thousands of people walking the breast cancer 3 Day, the generous folks who give their time to Crew the breast cancer 3 Day, even the "walker stalkers" like the Boobilicious Girls,

and the everyday people who come out to cheer all have one thing in common. They have gathered out of the goodness of their hearts to support a cause they believe in. It is a symbiotic relationship with each group drawing support and energy from the others. For three days everyone I passed on the streets smiled, cheered, told me what a great job I was doing and how awesome I was. I'm not at all surprised that there are 3 Day addicts who walk in these events all over the country. Because it's not everyday that you get to hear someone being truly appreciative because you are being who you are. And honestly, where else in the world am I gonna go where someone is gonna tell me that I "look Boobilicious"? Honestly. Tell me where.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

3 Days, 60 Miles, 3157 Walkers, $8.1 Million Dollars

My 3-Day Adventure in the Philadelphia Breast Cancer Walk is over. I spent 3 Days living in a world the way it should be - filled with kindness and caring, filled with people cheering you on and cheering you up. The support from the Crew, Volunteers, and just spectators along the way re-established my faith in humanKIND. I'm not really much of a "joiner" so I didn't talk to a lot of people and I didn't learn everyone's personal connection to breast cancer. It was more than enough for me to know that each one of the 3100 people I was walking with had either suffered personally or knew someone who had and that here was a group of 3100 people who were willing to put their body and soul into making a difference so that the next generation might know a WORLD WITHOUT BREAST CANCER. It was powerful, it was affirming, it was exhausting. Click on the Link above for a short video of the media coverage.

How did I do? I survived freezing cold weather, leaky tents, bad food, a couple of extremely rude Philadelphians, sore feet, porta-potties, aching muscles and my own lack of faith in myself. If I told you that I walked the entire route (23 miles) on Day 1, roughly half the route (10 miles) on Day 2, and the entire route (16 miles) on Day 3, would you be impressed with my accomplishment or disappointed that I didn't complete the full 60?

Lessons Learned:

It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. I didn't walk the entire 60 miles, but I did walk most of it and I make no apologies for those times that I couldn't walk. I crossed the finish line absolutely elated and with a sense of personal accomplishment and respect for myself that no one can ever take away from me.

I am NOT a "happy camper". I think I knew this going in, but one night in a teeny tiny leaky nylon pup tent in 37 degree weather confirmed it beyond all doubt. And did you know that sleeping in the cold causes your muscles to cramp?

I have Hip Flexors - who knew?: In human anatomy, the hip flexors are a group of skeletal muscles that act to flex the femur onto the lumbo-pelvic complex, i.e. "pull the knee upward". I had never heard of this particular group of muscles and certainly didn't know the importance of stretching them until I got to the point (upon waking up on Day 2) of not being able to take a single step without pain and not being able to step up onto a curb without excruciating pain.

Visiting the Medical Tent is a GOOD Thing. I should have done it on Day 1. I thought I could sleep off the muscle soreness - hah! Thank you Dr. Keith for putting me back together on Day 2 so that I could continue walking!

Cheering People and Music Help You Push Through the Pain. Probably the BEST thing about the 3Day was all the people who came out to cheer the walkers on - who stood on the sidelines and clapped and high-fived and told us we could do it - who handed out water, candy, homemade cookies, and hot coffee, who blared their radios to give us a beat to walk to. Just about every time that we thought we couldn't take another step, we would turn a corner and find someone cheering us on - some of these people reappeared multiple times on the route all 3 days. Special shout-outs to "High Five" and "Woo" - a couple of crazy guys wearing pink and green striped knee highs and tees to match their names who seemed to always be there and to the "Boobalicious Girls" who also reappeared in multiple places through-out the walk and told us all how boobalicious we all were. And thanks to the family in Haverford who was handing out hot cider on freezing Sunday morning. I needed that! If you ever have the opportunity to go out and cheer for a group of walkers, bikers, runners, whatever - I highly recommend it - it makes a WORLD of difference!

There is no shame in taking a sweep van. When your body can't take it another minute, taking a ride is okay. There were so many times on Day 2 that I was ready to quit. I was in tears, depressed, tired, and felt like a grey cloud was just hanging over me. I wanted to call Jay to come pick us up. But the ladies driving the sweep van were awesome. They didn't make us feel ashamed for taking a ride. The point of the 3Day Walk isn't to kill yourself, but to push yourself to your outer limits, recognizing the pain that your friends and family members who have suffered from breast cancer endured. I can honestly say I pushed myself to that limit and beyond.

It is amazing what a warm bed and flushing toilet will do for your spirits. After a particularly rough Day 2, Deanna and I checked out of camp and into a hotel. Waking up Sunday morning in a warm bed made a world of difference. Not only had we given those hip flexors a chance to relax a little, but our spirits were lightened as well. I can't say walking on Day 3 didn't hurt (it did), but it was much easier to push through without that grey cloud hanging around.

I am grateful for good shoes, body glide(yeah - no blisters!), cheering people, motrin, chiropractors, cheering people, music, cheering kids, sweep vans, awesome crew, running water, flush toilets, warm beds, hot food, hot cider, cheering people, my ability to endure, the kindness of others, the community of walkers, oh - and did I mention? - cheering people!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Time Has Come

Help me reach my goal for the Philadelphia Breast Cancer 3-Day!

Only THREE DAYS left now before the Philadelphia Breast Cancer 3Day Walk. I'm fighting a terrible sore throat, popping Vitamin C like crazy, and hoping to be over that before I actually embark on this journey, but I'll be out there walking whether I can talk or not!

I did not quite make my goal of $6000 raised, but I did raise nearly $4700 for my campaign and another $560 for Deanna's campaign, so I came darn close! I went to a meeting a couple weeks ago and was told that there are 4500 walkers registered for the Philadelphia walk. Allowing for a 25% drop-out rate of people who don't raise the $2200 required to walk, if everyone else participating raised just the minimum, we would have $7,425,000 raised - WOW! Isn't the power of numbers staggering? So join me in spreading the good vibrations that we will soon HAVE A CURE!!! And be thinking of me on Friday morning as I start walking my sixty miles. Send me a lot of good happy thoughts to sustain me!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Enabler Alert!!!

Check this out - a FREE online class at JessicaSprague.com. I've been admiring her site for awhile now and had in the back of my mind to take the "Up and Running with PhotoShop" course but wanted to wait until after the 3Day Walk (I just don't have time for anything until that is behind me) - then Jessica goes and announces this FREE class! If you read the write-up for it on her blog or website, it sounds really cool, and hey, who can argue with FREE??? Registration opens 10/20 and I'll be signing up. Care to join me?

Other than posting this quick alert, I've been off the Internet because Sarah is home for her October break. I've been enjoying spending some time with her and catching up on her life at college. She needed some "professional" clothes for presentations for her business classes, so we went out shopping today - managed to find a black blazer and pants and two button front long sleeve shirts for $70 total! (Kohls and Dress Barn). Score!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Touching on the Taboo

Okay, so unless you are living under a rock, you can't have missed what's happening in our world right now. I've tried hard to avoid it - trying to keep the negativity out of my life - but it is everywhere I turn - on t.v., newspapers, on my yahoo page when I log onto the Internet. It's being discussed at work, at Curves, in my family room. Yes, it's true - our economy is in the toilet. And there is no clearer indicator for me than today's mail - I received my Vanguard statement and had to face the ugly reality of how much money my rollover 401K account has lost since 12/31/07. UGH! Trying to convince myself that the stock market is cyclical and the best thing I can do is "let it ride" is really difficult when the pundits are screaming that our economy is in the worst shape it has ever been since The Great Depression.
So what am I doing about it? Burying my head in the sand? Living in denial? NOPE! I am working harder at being informed about political issues and understanding what each candidate stands for than I have in any previous election year. As intelligent as I know I am, I have to admit that a lot of this goes over my head. I had to look up what the term "earmark" meant as it applies to federal spending. But I'm taking the time to become educated, to understand. And the more I learn, the more amazed I am at how truly "small" our world is. Everything is interconnected. The idea that economic woes here in the United States can affect the markets in Canada, Europe, and Asia is kind of mind-blowing. Sarah is taking a course this semester called "Global Business Perspectives" - I can just imagine the discourse that the daily headlines are sparking in that classroom.

Politically (here comes the taboo part) I'm not affiliated with either party and I can't say that I truly lean left or right. Perhaps odd given that I was raised in a largely democratic leaning household, but my Mom also taught me to think for myself. I look at each issue separately, not along "party" lines. There are some things that I believe government should stay out of entirely - like a woman's right to choose, in consultation with her own doctor, what happens with her own body. There are some things I think the government needs to get more involved in and serious about - like incentives for developing alternative CLEAN sources of energy, like protecting our planet, like making education affordable. But when it comes to the $700B bailout just passed by our government, I'm torn. Seems our country has gotten itself into a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" place. The government felt compelled to do SOMETHING to stop the bleeding, but we all know a band aid won't cure hemorrhaging. I have very little sympathy for homeowners who knowingly took out huge mortgages that they couldn't really afford just because some bank was willing to approve the loan. I have even less sympathy for the Wall Street banking institutions that saw fit to approve loans to people with horrendous credit history and no income to support the level of loans being taken out. I've spent way too much time living within my means and limiting what I do and what I have to feel sorry for those who want it all now and damn the consequences.

Why should the American taxpayers bail out those who choose to live beyond their means? Why should the American taxpayers foot the bill for greed and corruption on Wall Street? On the other hand, if we don't do something to get credit flowing again, will Sarah be able to get a college loan next year? Will my retirement savings that I have spent years and years building up dwindle to nothing? These are the kinds of questions I'm pondering as I look at our candidates that are up for election in November. Regardless of what your political leaning is, I urge you to become educated, to think carefully about your choices, and most of all - to VOTE. And if you haven't seen it yet, watch this video. Okay, off my soapbox. :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Only 11 More Days!

Help me reach my goal for the Philadelphia Breast Cancer 3-Day!
With only eleven days to go before I walk in the 3Day, I'm starting to come to grips with the idea that my $6000 goal may be slightly beyond my reach. It was lofty and idealistic, but I had high hopes. I'm actually thrilled that all my friends, family, and people I don't even know have stepped up to help me raise just over $4500 and it is such a worthy cause! So.... if anyone has any last-minute ideas for raising some quick funds, I'm listening.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What? Me Blogging?

Yes, me blogging. I've been wanting to start a blog for awhile, but every time I look at the blank screen in front of me, I feel stymied. All those creative people out there with all their beautiful, fresh, funky, and creative blogs - quite simply intimidate me! Okay, I know it can't be that hard, so I'm starting today with the real basics - no cute header, no links all over creation - just the bare bones that I can figure out how to do on my own! So if you read this, be nice. I'm trying.

What pushed me over the edge? Stacy Julian, my personal fave among scrapbooking celebs, posted a blog blitz yesterday. The idea - make this super cute teeny tiny album (literally 3" square) to carry around with you, documenting your life as it is RIGHT NOW. So I did it. I actually took photos, printed them out, made an itty bitty album, and filled it - all in one day! And I'm so freakin' proud of myself, both for overcoming my technology phobias and for actually doing it, that I'm dying to SHARE!!!

Stacy's idea is that you carry this little album around with you and glance through it every time you come across it. It can remind you of all the things you are grateful for, all the blessings in your every day life. And a year from now, you are to create a scrapbook page about your experience of having this little book with you. Stacy's blog is: http://stacysbigpicture.typepad.com/ - go check it out!