Think about it. Do you like your boss enough to work for free while s/he battled breast cancer? That, in a way, is the first heartwarming part of this tale, IMHO...

Without further ado, here's Kristine's story:

The entire first year I walked, my Aunt Pat worked for free. Her boss was fighting breast cancer and, as a very small business owner, had no health insurance. All profits from the small retail shop went to pay her living expenses while she went through her aggressive treatment.

All through that first year of walking, I sent out a monthly newsletter letting all my friends, family & supporters know how I was doing on fundraising and training. Each newsletter also contained information about Komen, their services and resources.

The following February, Aunt Pat got a paycheck. It was her first in over a year. What changed? Because of my newsletters, she had encouraged her boss to contact Komen. They picked up the tab for all, that’s right, ALL the medical expenses associated with her treatment!

When I learned that it was my walk that encouraged this woman, a total stranger, to reach out for help, it brought goosebumps to my skin. It was the funds raised by all the walkers in the 2006 Seattle Breast Cancer 3-Day that paid those bills for her, enabled her to get back on her feet, and lighten her financial worries so she could focus on her recovery.

So, it’s true – working together, we CAN make a difference.

Kristine Feddock
4x walker

From Jill: This story also made me realize that I don't know as much as I should about Komen. I always tell people I'm raising money for breast cancer research and education, but I didn't realize the organization would pick up the tab for medical expenses for someone who was uninsured. Very cool.

(Look for a post in the near future of fun facts I didn't know about Komen. Maybe it's time to do a little research...)

Thanks, Kristine, for sharing this story. You can share yours by e-mailing jillianduch@hotmail.com) If you e-mail me by this Friday, you'll be entered in a drawing for a pretty, pink necklace by Jess LC.
Yes, yes, I did request this book, which clearly was in the Young Adults section, from the Woodstock Public Library. Before you mock me too harshly, let me tell you that there were 8 people ahead of me on the request list. I'm sure not ALL of them were actually young adults.

Anyhoo, the writing ain't good. The character development ain't good. In fact, calling this fiction is kind of like calling some Law and Order episodes fiction.

I mostly read it to get juicy little details on how "reality" television is filmed. (Producers sends the "characters" text messages encouraging them to smile more, to repeat something if someone weird walked into the frame or to move something if it blocked the shot. They reshoot people coming and going if it didn't go smoothly sometimes, and occasionally the "characters" have to wait to move from one "scene" to another.)

Undoubtedly the best (and only good) character detail came on page 7. Scarlett has a coffee cup that said: Cogito, ergo sum, "her favorite saying by her favorite philosopher. It was Latin for 'I think, therefore, I am,' but she liked to tell anyone who bothered to ask that it was Swahili for 'I'm shallow, but you're ugly.'"

Hehe. That's funny, right?
Once again, here's a book that claims to be dark that I didn't think was that dark. And it was written by the older brother of the author of Sellevision (and Running with Scissors, which was better).

The title comes from an Aspergian difficulty of looking people in the eye because it's distracting, especially while talking. Robinson often stopped talking altogether when he saw something interesting when he was younger; he had to master driving and talking at the same time.

His memoir doesn't really focus on Asperger's though. His life is rife with great material - from setting fire to a mannequin in the middle of an elaborate scene so police think someone was hung and burned as part of a satanic ritual to designing stunt guitars for KISS. Yes, this kid dropped out of high school and designed guitars that shot smoke and fire and lights.

He also had the habit of giving people his own personal names, which he used consistently for them. His younger brother was Varmint. His mom was Slave. His first girlfriend and wife was Little Bear; their son Cubby. His name for his second wife is Unit Two, which I think is much less cute and endearing, but he dedicated the book to her and Cubby, so she must not have minded too much.

He once blackmailed an executive at work after he caught the executive snorting fake cocaine on video. Earlier, he shot a huge snake outside a Florida hotel room in front of small children. He was with a friend when they someone managed to set fire (accidentally) to a bathtub full of gasoline and magnesium - which firefighters only exacerbated by trying to douse it with water.

Great stories. I kind of wish I could be his friend, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have anything to contribute to the conversation. And Lord knows what he'd call me...
I love a good story. And I'd love to have some more motivational stories to tell as part of my Monday feaure here on the blog, so Chailatteplease is offering its first giveaway.

Send me a story about why you walk in the Breast Cancer 3-Day, how you survived breast cancer, how you supported your friend/family member through breast cancer. Send it to me by next Friday (Sept. 4), and you'll be entered in a drawing for a lovely pink necklace. You can e-mail it to jillianduch@hotmail.com or simply leave it in the comment section. The stories will be posted on a Monday here at Chailatteplease.

The necklace is part of JessLC's Soc Chic collection, which benefits several non-profits. The Pink Lemonade Necklace (dedicated to those who turn life's lemons into a bright future) benefits Be Bright Pink, which (according to Jess) provides education, support and a sense of community to young women at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

You can check out the necklace here. I'm giving away the silver one.
Here's a confession: I love the 3-Day, but I probably (definitely) won't be walking in it until there's a cure. Unless the cure comes in January or so.

But, I have nothing but respect for those who can raise more than $2,000 year after year, while training for endurance walking. And to do both those things while dealing with the realities of being a breast cancer survivor is truly inspiring.

This week, Terry Hoeckh of Plymouth, Mass., I raise my walking shoes to you. Here's her story:

My grandmother and I are both breast cancer survivors; she of over 35 years and I of almost 10 years.

I walked my 2nd 3-Day in Boston last month and loved every minute of it! I don't have any biological children (one of the downsides of chemo), but I have "bonus" kids and this year my "bonus" daughter, Tori, walked with me.

We had a blast and I can't wait 'til next year when we'll do it again! I decided during my first walk last year that I want to walk every year until there is no reason to walk any longer. I want to see a cure in my lifetime!
Labels: 1 comments | Links to this post | edit post
That's how easy it is to join the National Marrow Donor Program Registery.

You go online, fill out some basic medical information, and offer tons of contact info. They mail you a kit with some swabs that will provide the first step to determining if you could match someone who needs bone marrow or peripherial blood cells.

Reading through the organization's FAQ, it doesn't sound like donating bone marrow is as painful and horrible as it was described in My Sister's Keeper, but that character was a small child. And that was fiction. Here's what marrow.org had to say:

A: Adult donors may be asked to donate in one of two ways:

Bone marrow donation is a surgical procedure in which liquid marrow is withdrawn from the back of the donor's pelvic bones using special, hollow needles. General or regional anesthesia is always used for this procedure, so donors feel no needle injections and no pain during marrow donation. Most donors feel some pain in their lower back for a few days afterwards.

Peripheral blood cell (PBSC) donation involves removing a donor's blood through a sterile needle in one arm. The blood is passed through a machine that separates out the cells used in transplants. The remaining blood is returned through the other arm.

Apparently, donating marrow is an outpatient procedure in which the patient can return to work within one to seven days. On average, all symptoms associated with the surgery disappear within 21 days.

It's a little more intensive than donating blood, but I figured it pales in comparison to the hope and relief the recipient and his or her family would feel.

I learned about the registery when my roommate wrote an article about a woman I talked with a few times in the circuit clerk's office at the courthouse. Her name also is Jill, and I kind of knew she was battling some blood-related disease, but I didn't realize that it was terminal or that she had reached the point where nothing else could be done but hoping for a donor.

I suppose her finding a match at this point is a long-shot, but long-shots sometimes happen. You can get the mail-in kit to join the registery here. The cost for processing a new registration is about $100 so they ask for a donation when you request the kit, but it's not mandatory.
So, I know the people at the 3-Day say complaining causes blisters. Big ones.

But this is the first time I've really complained. And don't get me wrong, I'll get over it and go walk 10 miles today. In a little bit.

I have a blister on my left heel that developed in the slightly softer skin where a previous blister developed underneath a callous only to have the skin chip away (admittedly with a little help from me) after the blister-fluid dissipated. IE, I have a crater in my heel that now holds another blister.

And it kind of hurts.

:: sigh ::

I'm going to get some heavy duty Bandaids, slather it with Neosporin, and then cover it before I walk today. I hope that will keep it from getting worse.
Labels: 2 comments | Links to this post | edit post
(or a reader’s guide to my roommate and sevenlayerburritos.com)

10. She loves Taco Bell’s seven-layer burritos, but she realized that no one really knows how to spell burittos. Er, burritos, eh, right? So, she had some handy business cards printed up that also remind us that she’s cool AND funny, just in case we forgot.

9. She loves her family with all her heart. Almost as much as she loves Great America. (But as far as I can tell, the rest of them love Great America too, so no one’s feelings get hurt.)

8. I often discover what is going on in her life not because we live together, but through Twitter, Facebook or her blog. Strangely, when I asked her how her trip to South Dakota was, she didn’t tell me all this stuff.

7. She has about as much patience for me whining/complaining/obsessing about boys/men as I do about her obsessing about the background of her blog. But, I’ll be the first to admit, she has way more interesting boys/men in her life than I do. Like here, here, AND here.

6. I once posted on my Facebook status that I wanted to paint my toenails purple like Sarah Palin’s in a Time magazine spread. Not only did she not ask politely why I was reading her issue of Time, but she appeared that very day with purple nail polish. See, other people realize that sometimes, imitation is the sincerest form of mockery.

5. She gets the tennis ball for BlackJack when he barks because SOMEHOW it went under the couch. And then she gets revenge by fake-throwing it and laughing gleefully while he searches for it. Everywhere. Including behind the t.v. and on top of the couch.

4. Someone once told her a bush in front of our townhouse spontaneously combusted. And she believed him.

3. She knows how to fix toilets with wire hangers. And, speaking of wire hangers, I believe she can pick her own car lock with one, too. Although, that I have not seen.

2. She once messaged the relative of an (almost) complete stranger because he stopped commenting on her blog so she feared him dead. He wasn’t, but then he called her and told her she is hilarious. I mean, a hilarious writer.

1. She loves journalism with a passion. Like, a consuming passion that (almost) ignores pretty bad hours, bad lighting, relatively low pay, and piles of student loans. No matter what she says, I know she loves it. My evidence? This, this and this.

Oh, and her birthday's Sunday. So wish her a happy day :)
I can't play hard to get.

I generally am busy, so I guess sometimes I accidentally play hard to get, because I really DO have a lot to do and I'm not (completely) willing to rearrange my schedule to hang out with a cute boy. But, I'm a pretty intense scheduler, so if I have three things planned for Saturday already and someone asks me to do a fourth (or fifth) with only a few days notice, it will likely work out in the end.

And, much like I obsess about whether I'm EVER going to reach my 3-Day fundraising goal or whether I've made some random mistake in an important article for work, I obsess about boys. (Please don't ask my roommate for verification. Her answers will be embarrassing.)

So, as you can imagine, this article inspired a whole new level of obsessing. I just stumbled across it during a (very) unrelated Google search, and I have to say: I break many of the "rules" for online dating:

* Write light and breezy e-mails. (Check. Got that one down.)

* Wait 24 hours to respond. (OK. I usually do that one, too. I don't want to look like someone who has nothing to do but respond to e-mails on Match.com.)

* Don't volunteer your phone number first. (I usually don't unless we've made plans to meet up. Then it only makes sense that we have each other's numbers, and why should I wait for someone else to come to their senses?)

* If he doesn't ask you out within four Emails, Delete/Next. (Eh, I'm willing to give a guy longer. You want to e-mail long enough that you can ferret out any immediate signs of craziness, but really what's so wrong about suggesting getting coffee yourself? Why should I wait for a guy to ask me out?)

* Don't answer men's ads or email them first. - Answering a man's ad is to pursue a man; it's no different from approaching a man at a party or a bar, calling him, and asking him out. He knows you like him and the party is over. If he does end up dating you, you'll never know if he's dating you because it's easy and convenient for him or because he's really crazy about you.

Oh, that's why. Well, huh. I guess I don't know if I'm simply convenient, then. And is convenient a polite way of saying easy? Really, people? Really? I thought the party STARTED when you realize the other person likes you.

So, really, boys, do you really expect us to be patient and let/make you do all the work just because two women wrote a series of books and told us to? Does playing hard to get really work?
I loved the responses I got from my dedication post Friday. Ultimately, I'll dedicate my walk to several survivors, but in the meantime, I wanted to share their stories with you. I'll post one dedication each Monday until my walk in October. Keep the stories coming to jillianduch@hotmail.com.

Here's the first, from a veteran walker named Venice:

I've been doing different walks that raise money for Breast Cancer Research for about 9 years now. This year I will not be able to make it because I will about over 6 months pregnant, and my doctor said she probably won't clear me. My first year doing the Breast Cancer 3-Day was on September 2008 in San Francisco.

No one in my family had any history of Breast Cancer. Until one of my older sisters was diagnosed with it.

I walk in memory of my older sister, Richelle, who was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at the age age of 26, and passed away on December 2004 a few months after her 32nd birthday. She outlived the numbers her doctor told her when it spread from her breast to her spine. Then we she went into remission for a few months only to find out that the cancer had spread to her liver. The doctors told her she only had 6 months to live, and she fought it for 2 years.

I had fast forwarded my wedding so all my sisters could be standing by me when I got married. She stood there by my side in the heat (when she wasn't feeling well), and when offered to give her a chair to sit down, all she said, "I don't want to take away the attention from Venice. It's her special day." So, she stood there smiled throughout the ceremony, and no one new she was ever in any pain. She took pictures with us and came in for the reception, but didn't stay long.

A month after my wedding, she was in the hospital. We spent most of November in the hospital. We took over the waiting room pretty much every day. Doctors told us she wouldn't make it pass Thanksgiving, and once again she proved them wrong. We had Thanksgiving with her and other families who's loved one was also had cancer. She was a fighter till the very end, when she fell into a coma.

We all told her it was okay for her to go on, and not to suffer anymore. She passed away December 3rd, 2004.

I didn't hear about the 3-Day till the year 2008, and boy did I have such a great time. So, many wonderful people that never knew you cheering you on and helping you make it through those 60 miles.

I am very sadden I won't be able to do it this year, and so I would like it if you can dedicate this walk in honor of my sister, Richelle. I don't only walk for in memory of my sister, I walked in memory of others who have lost someone to Breast Cancer, and for those who have survived. I walk so no one ever has to loose a love one to Breast Cancer! I will return next year in 2010!!! -Venice from San Francisco, CA

(Venice, I don't have your e-mail address or anything, but I plan to pick a few people to dedicate my walk to. Your sister definitely will be among them. Best wishes for you and your baby. :) -- Jillian)
So, I heard a rumor that the Camelback Glacial Kame in Glacial Park offers the best view in the Chicago area. I have always walked around, rather than up, the kame, figuring the 2-mile trail I like there has quite enough hills anyway. But, today, I figured I might as well see the site myself.

Here are some pics from the park. (Sorry, this may require extensive scrolling...)

Quoting directly from a sign near the kame: These steep hills ahead were built here over several summers' time. 14,000 years ago the ice edge of a glacier stood, melting, about where you are now. A noisy waterfall gushed off the glacier's edge each summer into the valley beyond the hills. Sand and gravel flowed with the water and piled up to create the hundred-foot-high hills that geologists call "kames."

Here, BlackJack leads me up the narrow path on the first hill.

Two pics from the top:

Also from that sign: After the kames were deposited, the ice edge melted back toward Lake Michigan and left large ice blocks in the sand and gravel here. These blocks melted to become kettle shaped ponds and later, the bog and marsh wetlands of Glacial Park today. Climb the trail up onto the kames, known locally as "camelbacks," and take in the view that Native Americans, too, must have enjoyed.

Above: Two trees touch along the path after the kames.
Below: Looking up.

Below: BlackJack's tongue flapped and flopped when we were done.

... you know, besides the obvious: raising money for breast cancer research and education.

It's just 8 weeks until I walk 60 miles (hopefully) around Washington, D.C., as part of the Breast Cancer 3-Day. I love hearing the survivor/dedication stories from other walkers, but I always feel a little weird when I don't have a story to return. No one close to me has suffered this disease, which, really, is a good thing. I don't have any kids, so I can't really say I'm walking so my daughters won't know a world with breast cancer.

But, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, so I know there are plenty of survivors and family members out there. If you're one of them, shoot me an e-mail at jillianduch@hotmail.com, and let me dedicate my walk to you.
Labels: 8 comments | Links to this post | edit post

From Jillian: Julie is a fellow Ms. America Tata, and her husband, Rich, is our lone male member (so far!) They walked together in the Chicago event this weekend. She shared her experiences with me as my first guest writer.

I am a 5 year survivor TODAY!! 5 years ago today, Aug 10, 2004, I received the call from the doctor's office with my diagnosis.

To celebrate my 5 years as a survivor, Rich and I thought what better to celebrate than to do the 3-day together and to make it even more special walk in a different city too! We have officially walked 60 miles as of yesterday. We walked in the Chicago 3-day on Aug 7-9...

The weather was rough, but we made the best of it and had an awesome journey together! On day 1 the weather started out beautiful but around 11:00 the rain started and didn't stop ALL DAY, fortunately most of the day was just a gentle rain! We wore our rain ponchos to help stay somewhat dry which didn't help our feet stay dry so needless to say our feet were soaked. The wetness didn't cause blisters on my feet but Rich wasn't so lucky. He had a couple doozies!

When we got to camp on day 1 we gathered our tent and assembled it and then went back to find our bags, which were outside all day in the rain under plastic. We had everything packed in plastic, good thing! The only thing I wish I would have done was make sure to wrap everything in my bag with plastic like my pillow and blanket. Had to sleep with a damp blanket and pillow but wasn't so bad, so tired it didn't really matter!

Day 2...woke up early for a shower, the rain had stopped...but at breakfast it started up again...ugh! We started day 2 in the rain but by noon the sun came out and the heat was turned up. That night we slept with our tent open for fresh air...a little hot but we had a nice breeze! Day 3...dry but VERY hot! We walked under hazardous weather conditions, it was over 100 degrees heat index. The windy city gave us a nice breeze once in a while which felt GREAT! We walked all the way to the finish line at Soldier Field with a very emotional reception of hundreds of people cheering us on...I balled my eyes out! As I walked through that reception line all I could think about is how blessed and thankful I am to be a survivor!!

Closing ceremonies is even more of an emotional time for me....the salute to the survivors is awesome...all the walkers hold up their shoes to show their support for all us survivors! All in all the 3 day is an amazing event, the Chicago walk raised 5 million dollars! It's so awesome to be a part of such an amazing organization, one that you KNOW is making a difference in the fight against breast cancer! Here are a couple of pictures I think you'll enjoy!

By Julie Spiekhout
(future Ms. Indiana Tata for the DC walk)
Labels: 0 comments | Links to this post | edit post
So, I'm having a garage sale next weekend that (hopefully) will put a dent in the $600 I still need to raise for my Breast Cancer 3-Day goal. And, in case you know me and don't really want any of my old stuff, let me assure you that my mom, aunt and grandma have offered plenty of great items that they no longer need. Tons of household items, Christmas decorations and books.

Here are some of the best:

A cabbage patch doll from 1984 (thanks, Gram!). The doll remains in the original package with its adoption papers, although the plastic has pulled away from the end of the box. I am told these are collectors' items, so I'm asking $25 for it - which obviously will go toward breast cancer prevention and research.

A custom made pillow from Designs by Maida. This was a raffle prize from the wine tasting that the winner never picked up, so I'm recycling the donation. The folks at Designs by Maida said it's worth $120; I'll give it to you for a $30 donation.

Another raffle prize that was never claimed, this heart teddy comes from LorEnn's Hallmark in Woodstock. It's cute and cuddley and talks. I'm offering it for $20.

This is a purse my mom made from a recycled hardcover book, fabric and beads. She normally sells them for $45, but I'll give it up for a $30 donation :)

The sale will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday (Aug. 14 and 15) at 971 Quill Lane, Woodstock. See you there!
Labels: 0 comments | Links to this post | edit post
... and faintly remember someone, somewhere telling me that only the Amish knew how to make the starter for Amish Friendship Bread. I definitely heard that along time ago. If someone had told me that more recently (you know, after I lost my trusting innocence), I would have seriously doubted that even such a mundane secret could remain a secret.

And, what do you know? A quick Google search revealed this recipe:

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110°F)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup warm milk (110°F)

1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water for about 10 minutes. Stir well.
2. In a 2 quart glass or plastic container, combine 1 cup sifted flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or the flour will get lumpy when you add the milk.
3. Slowly stir in warm milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Loosely cover the mixture with a lid or plastic wrap. The mixture will get bubbly. Consider this Day 1 of the cycle, or the day you receive the starter.

And now there's a plastic bag of fermenting "starter" on my kitchen counter, which will be made into a sweet bread in 10 days. Yes, I know it sounds kind of dorky, but it tastes good.

And it's called "friendship bread" because you're supposed to pass on the starter to a few friends when you're done. Let me know if you want some. If not, I'll just make a lot of bread ;)