jillianduch
I love pink. And breast cancer slogans. I love that people can find reasons to celebrate when faced with a horrible disease that too often leaves its victims dying slowly or riddled with fear that it will strike again.

If chemo has left you bald, why not wear a pink bandana? If your mom died of cancer, why not pin her picture to a hot pink shirt and go on a Forest Gump-style walk with thousands of other people? If you've survived your battle with breast cancer, why not strap on a fanny pack and convince other women to raise obscene amounts of money for research?

Along the way, you'll meet people who will cheer you for simply crossing the street, people who will pull out their checkbook simply because you asked, and people who will wrap band-aids around your bleeding, blistered feet while scolding you for allowing your blisters to get so horrendously out of control.

I don't have any close family or friends who have suffered from breast cancer, but I still think it's important to support those who do and to work for better treatments. The world needs more examples of victims who refuse to remain victimized and of individuals who are willing to strive for something beyond their immediate world.

So, yeah, that's why I'm walking 60 miles across Washington, D.C., in October to raise money for breast cancer research and education. Check out the 3-Day at http://www.the3day.org/
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jillianduch
25 Random Things About Jill
1. I am a rock-solid Democrat. Although once, in a moment of desperation, I applied to be a spokesperson for Republicans in the Indiana state legislature and claimed to have voted for George W. Bush. It made me nauseous. I did not take the job.

2. I was a White House intern in the fall of 2000. The Monica Lewinsky jokes got old quickly, but when Bill Clinton touched my hand, I kind of got it.

3. I have never won a trophy. A few metals, yes, several certificates, yes, but no trophy.

4. My favorite little dog, BlackJack, was an impulse purchase made with my ex-husband when I was half-drunk.

5. I wish I could say my ex-husband was an impulse made when half-drunk, but no, I thought that one through and did it anyway. (Sigh.)

6. I want to get married again, though. And sometimes the idea of being a stay-at-home mom is really appealing. Giving birth, however, scares the daylights out of me.

7. I love pasta. My specialty is macaroni and cheese, although I’ll admit it’s not popular with 9-year-olds.

8. My mom constantly questions the quality of people to whom I give my cell phone number. The fact that the former mobster was calling from an undisclosed location did little to quell her concern. (I cover courts for a newspaper. Comes with the territory.)

9. I recently got my first letter from a prison inmate. It freaked out my roommate, but I found its contents rather disappointing. Nothing exciting in it at all.

10. I really want to sell you my engagement ring. It’s not cursed, really. People, not inanimate objects, ruin marriages.

11. My first job out of college was in a little town called Hoopeston. The Baptist congregation there took up a $1,000 collection to try to pay some Wiccans to not open a “school” in town. (It didn’t work). The best things about the town were the high school mascot (The Cornjerker) and the Sweetheart Pageant (all the runners up in the state Miss America pageant competed against each other to see what they faced in the national arena).

12. I sometimes daydream about how my life would be different if I were a millionaire. I’d probably be (more?) blunt and wear jeans to work more often.

13. I recycle most of the time (unless it involves washing out slimy containers. Then I figure I’m wasting more water than the resources I’d save by recycling.)

14. I no longer believe everything is possible. Admitting that makes me sad, but it also makes me realize how truly amazing some of the people in my life are.

15. I’ve lost my wanderlust a little over the years, but I still long to travel far more than time and money will allow. (Have I mentioned lately I’m going to New Orleans next week? Very exciting.)

16. I have never broken a bone or been hospitalized.

17. I compulsively check my e-mail about every hour or so.

18. About a year ago, I replaced my Mountain Dew habit for a coffee habit.

19. I still can’t control my shopping habit

20. Years after I first read it in college, my favorite book is still “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”

21. I wish I could write the great American novel, but my first few meager attempts are not too promising.

22. I really think people who make more money and have a better education than me should have figured out how to fix the economy already. Really, what are they doing to justify their inflated egos?

23. I have little patience for people with inflated egos. A small twist of fate and all of us could find ourselves homeless and friendless. (OK, maybe for some it would take a large twist of fate. But really.)

24. I have become obsessed with the color pink since I got involved with the Breast Cancer 3-Day. My toes presently are painted pink.

25. I long to know more about my ancestors and am somewhat disappointed with the bad handwriting and spelling problems that I’ve found in historical documents. Can you imagine how many ways Duchnowski has been spelled over the years?
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jillianduch
This book makes having a baby sound horrendous.

And I'm not being critical of how Heather B. Armstrong approached pregnancy, birth, and child care, but OH. MY. GOD. A dog is quite enough for me, thank you very much. Should I ever weaken and consider pregnancy myself, someone should remind me that I kill about 40 percent of the fish that come into my home and about 80, okay 95, percent of the houseplants.

But about the book, which in case you didn't know, came after her wildly popularly blog, http://www.dooce.com/:

Armstrong is funny, and she's successfully leaped from writing good, humorous blog entries to writing a much longer, but still funny and compelling, book. She carries over an appreciation for writing in all caps and throwing in multiple period when she needs extra emphasis (like just I did in the second paragraph). Her metaphors are hilarious. For example, when her baby is sedated for an MRI, she writes:


"My baby was drunk. Not just drunk but D.R.U.N.K. She was as drunk as a 16-year-old on prom night who has had a Long Island Iced Tea on an empty stomach and is total denial about how drunk she is."

She also tries to speak openly about post-partum depression. I say try because - while I admire her for tackling a topic that some might think has a stigma - I would have liked to know more. She went off anti-depressants to get pregnant, but it wasn't clear to me when she started taking them again. Was her post-partum depression exacerbated by her pre-pregnancy depression? What she expecting to feel that depressed and just expected to deal with it, or did it hit her out of left field? And how much did she think was attributable to lack of sleep and the stress of major life changes?

Maybe I'm just nosey, but more details would have helped me (one of the childless 20-somethings who is not yet considering crossing over to the OTHER side - parenthood) understand more of was post-partum depression was about. I already agreed that it was a horrible condition that obviously needed to be treated, even if treatment required a short stay in a mental ward.

Overall, though, I would say the book is great light reading. Good enough that I wouldn't hesitate to read her earlier work, Things I Learned about My Dad (in Therapy). She compiled the collection of essays from several other bloggers, including Alice Bradley (Finslippy) Doug French (Laid Off Dad), Maggie Mason (Mighty Girl), Matthew Baldwin (Defective Yeti), Sarah Brown (Que Sera Sera).

If you've read either books, let me know what you thought.
jillianduch
... until training for the Breast Cancer 3-Day begins. I have a 24-week training schedule that I've vowed to follow no matter how much it consumes my weekends. Because the last time I "trained," I didn't really follow the schedule and ended up trudging toward the air conditioned coach bus long before the end of the route each day of the 3-Day.

(In my defense, it was in the 80s and 90s and VERY humid. And a blister popped open and bled all over my sock on the last day, which inspired me to walk a few more miles in my shower shoes. Apparently, you're not supposed to put moleskin on top of existing blisters, just hot spots that could develop into a blister)

So, I have three days left of the freedom to blow off workouts. Only three days.
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The fact that's I'm starting this blog is twinged with hypocrisy. I initially resisted joining MySpace (which I rarely log into) and Facebook (which I visit multiple times a day) partially because I didn't understand why grown-ups needed to join online networks seemingly designed to extend high-school social jockeying onto the Interweb. Really, don't we have enough things to worry about without pretending to be friends with hundred of people we haven't talked with in months? And who wants to be the person who only has 25 Facebook friends?

Now that I'm addicted to Facebook and begrudingly have joined Twitter and LinkedIn, I'll take the Fifth with those questions.

But I do think starting a blog can involve 1) an inflated notion of how much other people are interested in the mundane details of your life, and 2) distracting others from "quality" or "higher forms" of reading. Why spew personal rambling across digital space when people really should be reading The New York Times, Newsweek, classic literature and a few non-fiction tomes on foreign lands? And really, why spend all this time building a "virtual world" for yourself when there's a real world full of live people, dogs, walking trails, libraries and charities events just outside your door?

So yeah, I guess what I'm saying is that if you decide to never read my blog again, I won't hold it against you.
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jillianduch
I should have seen it coming. I was mid-conversation with my boyfriend, still in pajamas, a few Saturdays ago and reached into his fridge for a Diet Coke. The 24-pack hadn't been opened, so I ripped the side flap. And a flood of soda cans fell to the floor.

I just cracked up. I didn't try to stop the avalanche. I just laughed. And he just watched me.

And it struck me how rare it is for me just to enjoy my own silliness, to laugh in the face of my own imperfections without feeling embarrassment or self-consciousness. I should laugh like that more often.