Thursday, October 29, 2009

Good grief, Charlie Brown.

Haven't had much to say -- or perhaps have had plenty to say, but no time to say it ...

Here's a few highlights from the past couple weeks:

- Finished my 2009 Breast Cancer 3-Day experience, happy, strong and only a little wet and cold. Sadly, days 1 and 2 were canceled due to the Nor'easter that whipped through the Mid-Atlantic, but the 3-Day spirit would not be dampened.

- Went to my first family wedding of my generation. Congrats to my cousin Marc & my new cousin-in-law Mallery. The bride (and the groom) and the wedding were beautiful. Happy honeymoon, kids!

- Thanksgiving planning with the fam. Think that we'll have all the O'Cousins together for the first time in five or so years. Should be good -- but perhaps a little crowded.

- Watched "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" I adore Peanuts specials, and only hope that they're still around when I have a child who might love them, too.

- Have (possibly) finally figured out Hadley's vomiting. After five days of vomit this time, I called *the best vet ever* and she was able to see us about 20 minutes later; she thinks he has pancreatitis, which apparently is common in Schnauzers.

- Am treating myself to professionally steam-cleaned carpets on Saturday (see previous reference to vomit). Happy Halloween to me!

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm just sayin'.

When even Deb is talking apple cider donuts, the Happy Valley is surely calling my name.

Counting down the days till Reunion. May 21 - 23, 2010. Where will *you* be?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

On a day like this.

It was miserable out. 40 degrees, raining and windy. It was the kind of cold that bites into your bones, and doesn't do anyone's arthritis any favors.

But you wouldn't have known it -- 3000 3-Day walkers and 350 crew members, and boatloads of cheering fans made the city of Philadelphia warm as a tropical beach.

I may have had better days, but I'm hard pressed to think of one that's more meaningful or inspiring.

This photo is of the closing ceremony -- after all of the walkers and crew have entered the ceremony site, the survivors enter, and everyone holds up a shoe in tribute.

More to say about the experience in days to come, 'cause I'm drop-dead tired right now, but suffice to say that it was a spectacular event and I think I'm hooked. See you in 2010!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What it means ...

I think having the first two days of the 3-Day canceled was almost a blessing in disguise -- first, I will not catch pneumonia before Marc's wedding (that's good news!), and second, I think it gave all of the 3-Day participants an opportunity to remember that this wasn't about us, anyway.

2009 Philadelphia walkers collectively raised over $7.7 million to fight breast cancer. That's awesome -- and the funds aren't all in yet.

Many walkers headed to the malls and other indoor facilities to walk yesterday & today; they were damn sure that the weather wasn't going to ruin their experience.

I'm thrilled that we'll still get Day 3, and even more importantly, I'm thrilled to have been a part of this amazing collective. While there was a fair amount of whining, complaining and general mean-spiritedness expressed on some of the 3-Day message boards, the overwhelming sentiment has been, "hey -- we didn't do this for us. We did it to fight breast cancer."

Thanks to Susan G. Komen Foundation, over $1 billion has been invested in treatment, prevention and research of breast cancer since 1982.

You can count on the fact that I'll be back for more in 2010 -- and can't wait to experience the Philadelphia 3-Day in its entirety.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Heartbreaking ... and not.

So -- after 10 months of training, fundraising and general hard work, Mother Nature has decided that she had other plans for the weekend.

Day 1 and Day 2 of the 3-Day have been canceled. We're still walking on Sunday -- about 15 miles -- and still having the Closing Ceremonies.

I know that the event organizers made a gut-wrenching decision -- and I know that it was absolutely to ensure the safety of the participants, and I completely respect their decision, and know they made the right one -- but man, I am so horribly upset about it.

I committed to the 3-Day for so many reasons -- chief among them to prove to myself that I could do this. Walk 60 miles. Raise $2300. Train for 3/4 of a year. Sporty Spice I'm not, and very few people in my life would've thought that this would be something that I'd even *want* to do, let alone be able to do.

But I have. I've done it.

And now I can't do the walk.

But ...

I have still raised -- just me -- over $3200 to fight breast cancer, and to help support research, education and prevention.

I have still trained for 10 months, and have walked almost 1,000 miles in training since January 2, when I decided to do this.

And ...

I still don't have breast cancer.

And I guess I have some rainwear I can return.

Get your 3-Day weather forecast here!

It's almost here. T-13 hours from the time I'm posting this. I'll arrive (thanks to an incomprehensibly fabulous Cynthia) at Willow Grove Mall at 0600ish, and be on the 3-Day route around 0745, after crying my eyes out at the opening ceremony.

So that you can feel some of the experience with me, I want to share the meteorological predictions with you. Short version? Yeah, it's gonna be miserable. says ...

But no worries. I've got Techwick base layer garments, I've got PVC ponchos, I've got fleece and I've got GorTex. And, worst case scenario, I've got Cynthia's cell phone number, and cab fare to Josh's.

Most importantly?

I don't have breast cancer. A few days of chilly, wet weather (with 2000 other people who are chilly, wet and still cheerful) is nothing compared to surgery, radiation, chemo or the psychological effects for a survivor or her family. I will sail through this -- and if the thousands of people who do this year after year have anything to say about it -- it will change my life.

'Cause after all, a lifetime is worth walking for. Even in the rain. 3-Day, here I come!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rain, rain ...

go away!

The 3-Day is this weekend, and I just know that despite all of the nonsense I'm hearing on the news about coastal storms and a Nor'easter, we're going to have a beautiful, sunny weekend for walking!

It's almost here, and despite my cold, today's round of spine injections, and the dismal weather forecast, I'm so excited, and can't wait!

At least I won't have to worry about a sunburn!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy National Coming Out Day

Being free to tell your friends, family and anyone else who matters to you who you are and how you live your life is important.

Being free to be honest about your life and your intentions is important.

Being free to say what you need to say despite possible fear of repercussion is important.

To anyone who needs it, today or any other day, I wish the courage to be honest with the important people in your life, whether about your sexuality or any other aspect of yourself that you've felt obligated to keep closeted.

May you feel the love and support of your family and friends, and the feeling of freedom that comes along with honesty.

Happy National Coming Out Day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Third time's a charm?

After having a couple rounds of transforaminal nerve blocks in August/September, I've still been having lots of trouble with my back -- which has not been great for my 3-Day training.

I had an MRI a couple weeks ago, and saw my pain management doc's nurse practitioner on Thursday, to get the results and hopefully a magical cure for the ridiculous back pain that's getting in the way of my life.

What she told me was that in fact I have a third herniated disc -- just above the other two that we've been treating for the past couple years.

Good news, I guess -- at least we know that it's not the first two discs that are causing all the trouble and not responding to treatment, but ugh: another disc? We're going to try another nerve block for the newly herniated disc (L3-L4) on Wednesday, and hopefully that will get me through the 3-Day, without too much trouble.

I do love the nurse practitioner -- she was super-helpful, and also told me that I was the only patient she had that was doing something as active as the 3-Day, and that my condition has the potential to produce much more serious pain than most of her patients who aren't getting out there and moving around. Good news there: I knew I was doing something great, but I didn't really know how much of an obstacle I was overcoming to do it. Cool.

After the 3-Day, I'm going to try another round of physical therapy -- in the water, this time. Hopefully, that'll help too.

But for now -- the 3-Day is in SIX DAYS!!! Please click on the widget at right to give if you haven't yet; this is a big thing I'm doing, and I definitely need all of your support.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I love my job.

Last week, I had the unpleasant task of terminating yet another employee. No matter what anyone says, I do *not* enjoy this part of my job. It's a necessary evil, and I've come to terms with it, but it's by no means a top-10 activity. Usually, though, the person being terminated a) kind of sees it coming, and b) wants to get out of the experience with a shred of dignity left.

Not so much last week. I met with the person, explained the performance problems and that I was unfortunately terminating her employment, and she went absolutely bonkers. Crying hysterically and screaming unintelligibly. Flailing her arms. Throwing herself on the floor and *grabbing my ankles.*

Please, please picture this.

It took absolutely every ounce of decency in me not to break out in hysterical laughter.

I did not, and as such, can still live with myself.

But seriously -- definitely on the list of "what not to do" if your employer tells you you're being let go.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lady Chablis

I've got the *most ridiculous story ever*, but I'll wait till Sunday to share it, 'cause I said I would.

However, in unrelated news, I had a shocking day yesterday.

My doorbell started ringing at about 7 a.m., which made the dog bark hysterically. I was certain that no one I knew could possibly be horrible enough to be waking me up the morning after the evening shift outing at 7 a.m. After trying to tell the person that was ringing my bell that they must have the wrong apartment, I went upstairs to explain that they had the wrong apartment.

I found my upstairs neighbor, who told me that my car had been broken into. Driver's side window smashed. In the spot directly in front of the door to the building, in front of windows into four people's homes. Ugh. Having not gotten home until about 1:30 that morning, it hadn't even been six whole hours since I'd been in my car.

Glass everywhere -- and my iPod (which was a gift, a long time ago, and which I'm very sad to be without), FM transmitter cable, and GPS were gone. The worst part? (Other than the broken window, the inconvenience, the fact that crime touched my very lovely condo neighborhood?)

I had actually remembered to put my GPS and iPod away. In the glove box. Which had also been jacked open & damaged. I almost never remember to do that. Ugh.

So -- called the police, who actually came out and fingerprinted my car (very CSI!), called the insurance company, called the auto-glass-repair place that we use at school. They didn't think they'd be able to get a Forester window for a couple days, and suggested that I call the dealership, so I did. Cleaned up what seemed like three windows' worth of glass, and took a bunch of junk out of my car.

One very windy drive to Newark later, I arrived at the dealership and talked to a very nice chick at the service counter, who asked if there was anything she could get me while I was waiting. Hmm. "Maybe I could see what's on the lot, while I'm here?" She was only too happy to get a salesman.

Now -- before I go any further, I want to make it clear that while I l-o-v-e, love my Subaru Forester, it's a 2001 with 155k miles, and burgeoning mechanical problems (check engine light, sunroof motor dead, occasional gear slipping, and a few other minor electrical things). So, I've been car-shopping in my head for a while, and even looked into the Cash for Clunkers thing (it wasn't a clunker).

I met Scott, who was the nicest, least sleazy car salesman I've ever met. We looked at a few things, he asked about what was most important to me (don't laugh: it's the heated seats), and what I was looking to spend. We test drove the most beautiful, brand-new Forester, though we both knew I couldn't afford it.

And then he showed me Lady Chablis.

Yeah, yeah, I'm a geek. But I'm a geek who bought a new car!

She's so pretty. 2008 champagne-colored Outback with ... seat warmers. And some other cool stuff like the Sport-Tronic transmission, and cool display panels with mpg, distance till fill-up, time since started, etc.

I told him that this might work -- if he could work out my trade and take care of the broken window, so I didn't have to deal with it. Smart girl, too -- 'cause the service counter chick came back and said it was going to cost about $1k to fix. It wasn't *just* the window -- it was the window motor and the door frame and the seals and a bunch of other stuff that was expensive.

So, I started the day with a broken window, and ended the day with a new car. Perhaps a bit of an overreaction to a broken window, but definitely better than spending $1k to fix a window on a car with 155k miles.

Definitely a day of turning lemons into lemonade. Or into Chablis, perhaps.