Monday, October 29, 2007


I haven't visited this site in a long time, but I found that Fred and Stella still have their pages there!

I guess all they need now are their own Dog Blogs.

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's Meez

Here Meez iz with my pup. We went to the Grand Canyon last weekend.

Meez and pup, Jupiter

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Perfect Fall Weekend

It was another weekend with excellent weather. At least the temperature was closer to normal, around 75 degrees or so. On Saturday I spent most of the day riding my horses. Darn near perfect to me! I got to spend the evening with my husband, which ended the day on a good note, too.

I took Jimmy over to the old Starfire place to go on a road ride with B and one of the boarders there. It was great to take Jimmy to a new place to ride and explore. I chose to take Jimmy because the horses had to be in for a few days due to the rain and bad weather and I trusted that Jim would be well-behaved. I thought Zoe would be a bit too energetic. It was a great ride for Jimmy. The person we went with was a bit conservative since her horse had some lameness issues and could only trot for a bit at a time. Jimmy was unhappy with that and took any opportunity to start trotting. I love that about him. He has such good energy and willingness, and truly loves to ride down the road. I felt bad keeping him at a trot since I could tell he really wanted to move a bit more. But we made it around just fine. It was a pretty decent ride, about 6 miles. The barn owner's dog came along with us. At the end Jimmy still seemed to have a lot of energy and wanted to keep going, so I told B that I would go ahead and ride him home. I started out from the barn, got about a mile away, looked back, and saw the dog still following me. I live 4 miles from the barn and didn't want the dog to follow me the whole way, so I turned away and cantered back to the barn, the poor dog following me as fast as he could.

B was riding in the indoor when I got back, so I joined her with Jimmy. J was super! So light and floaty. He is such a great horse and I love riding him. I could tell he had a good time that day, too.

After lunch I tacked Zoe up and started riding her through the soybean field next to the house. We walked and trotted out towards the neighbor's house. I could see some people at the house, so kept going over to say hello. About halfway there, Zoe wanted to veer off to the right. When I asked her to stay straight on to the house, she thought it would be a great time to start cantering, and even more fun to buck. We started bucking across the field. Luckily she was bounding through the field in a nice, balanced way and I could easily keep my seat. I sat deeply and relaxed my legs (do you know how hard it is to keep your thighs loose and relaxed when you start to think about falling off a bucking horse??). My feet stayed underneath me and I never pulled on the reins. I kept a steady, calm voice and repeated, "whoa, Zoe" over and over again and gently steered her back towards our yard and the tree line on the north side. I was relieved to feel her slow down the closer we got to the trees. We started trotting about 10 feet from the trees, and walked into the yard. We came up to a rotted out tree stump and Zoe stopped dead, looked at that, snorted, and jumped over the small hole. I saw Sven walking near the driveway, so I yelled for him. At this point, the danger was over, so my adrenaline started kicking in and I could feel the shakinesss starting as I caught my breath.

"She bucked me across the field!" I yelled to him.

"So what?" he replied.

So what?, I asked myself? That was a big deal! Does he have any idea how close I might have been to dying or getting hurt??

"They were big bucks!" I retorted, almost defensively. "She bucked all across the field," I added as I pointed back toward the field to emphasize how big the field is.

"Well, you look okay to me."

"Yeah, I did a great job of keeping my seat. My feet stayed in the stirrups and everything."

I started to take my feet out of the stirrups, and he pointed at me urgently and wanted to know what I was doing. I just said I kept my feet in the stirrups!

"Yeah, I am getting off the horse now," I admitted. I still hadn't caught my breath and I was worried that the adrenaline shakes would affect Zoe and set her off again. I wanted to get off while I remained calm and get her on a longe line so she could burn off some of her steam.

Once I got her on the longe line on the circle, she took off. She ran full steam around the circle for at least 10 minutes in each direction. Finally she settled down to a trot, though still showed no signs of pooping out. I got back on her, rode around the yard a bit, then went back out to the field. Zoe did great. I came back in the yard, worked on lateral movements. She was very light and responsive and cooperative. I took her back out to the field to go in all the directions and to do a final test of her calmness and ability to listen to me anywhere in the field. Again, she did a super job. In the end, I was very happy with the ride and how Zoe worked for me once she worked out the extra energy. Needless to say, I was feeling a bit tired after all the excitement.

Sven and I dropped off the painting he did of Lili and we came home and had some dinner and watched a movie ("Next" with Nicholas Cage). It was a nice evening. I managed to not fall asleep during the movie. :-)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Physical Therapy

One of the side effects from my cancer treatment is lymphedema in my right arm. Since I had lymph nodes removed from that side, my lymphatic system has slowed down and when I am active (which is almost all the time), the fluid has a tendency to build up because the system can't process it fast enough. So I've had a couple of instances of bad swelling in that arm. Luckily it all goes down if I rest for a few days, but I need physical therapy to help my body cope. I go today for my second appointment with PT. The first one was to have my arm measured for a sleeve and gauntlet (fingerless glove) that will apply compression therapy to the arm when I am active. This appointment is for having the sleeve and glove fit. Next week I start PT twice a week. I think the biggest inconvenience about the swelling is that it makes my whole arm ache. Well, I feel good about treating this before it is a huge problem.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Hero

I want to mention, and congratulate, my husband's huge accomplishment this month. I am proud to tell everyone that Sven Ran For Survival in the Chicago Marathon on October 7, 2007, and did a fantastic job. Not only did he raise $4,000 for the Young Survival Coalition, but he also outran experienced marathoners in some brutal heat. He finished a little slower than his target time (of under 4 hours), but considering the horrible conditions (heat and humidity in October!), his time was fantastic. He looked strong the whole race through. I can't give justice to the intense feeling of pride and excitement I got the first time I saw him run past me. His dad and I went to about the 3 mile mark, I found a newspaper box to stand on, and I watched for him, scanning every runner that came by, zooming in on anything pink. He was wearing a pink Fighting Illini basketball shirt because the YSC custom made shirt didn't get to our house in time (they screwed up the address, sending it to Champaign instead). I am glad he was wearing pink because it made it a lot easier to spot him.

To surprise him, I made some signs on some hot pink poster board while we waited for him. "Go Sven! You Rock! Run breast cancer into the ground!" I screamed like crazy and waved the sign for him as soon as I saw him coming. He blew me a giant kiss, and I think that made my whole day. My heart felt so full and my eyes teared up with pride and happiness. Jon and I ran to our next lookout spot that we had planned the night before: right about the midway point, just before mile 13 when they go over the Chicago River. I found another newspaper box to stand on, and thank goodness this time. Some very selfish people started crowding into the street, narrowing the lane for the runners to only 2-3 abreast. It was crazy and inconsiderate, and made it so anyone else on the ground couldn't see anything coming down the road. Sven almost didn't see me standing up on the newstand. The guy next to me yelled his name in a huge voice, and that got him to look at the last minute. He still looked strong, and he wasn't pushing it, so his dad and I felt a lot better about it. It was starting to get hot even at that point.

Right after the midway sighting, we headed for our third lookout point: Chinatown. We got on the CTA Red Line and headed out. On the way, we chatted with some other folks who were supporting runners. A woman with a toddler sat behind us and I asked who she was supporting and she explained her husband. This was his fourth time running the marathon. She advised that Chinatown could be really crazy and too crowded to get close enough to see. We almost waiting to get off after Chinatown, but when we got to the stop we saw that it wasn't too bad and some really good spots were still open. So we jumped off and parked ourselves right up front. This was one of the more entertaining places to wait. There was a dragon or two dancing, music booming, and a DJ doing some talking. This was at mile 21, I think, so by the time runners got to this point, you could start seeing some exhaustion. Still, the people we saw were still going pretty strong. Again, we were really relieved to see Sven come by. He was looking more tired, but we were so happy to see him still looking strong. My heart jumped for joy to see him running by. He blew me a kiss, and I think I smiled for the next 2 days thinking of that. :-)

The final spot for looking out was closer to mile 25, the final mile. That's when we started seeing more people walking, some sitting, and a few wheelchairs. A lot of hurting people. Sven came running by and you could see sheer determination pushing him every step further. I can't imagine what your body must be feeling like during the last mile of a marathon, but his dad and I decided we might just mark off "Running a marathon" from our list of things to do in life. It didn't look fun. We were sweating and dehydrated just from watching these runners, so when you looked at the runners, you could only imagine. I wanted to run with Sven the rest of the way in, to give him my energy, to show him how proud I was of him, and to keep his body moving forward. After he passed me by, I couldn't help yelling at Jon that I was going to run to catch up with him. I started sprinting down the sidewalk after him (he was finally going a pace I could keep up with). When I caught up with him, I starting yelling and cheering and jogging with him. He smiled through the pain, but in the end wasn't too happy that I was making him run harder. (whoops) I could only hope that I helped to keep his determination going, and that he knew how proud I was of him.

After that short burst, we didn't see him again until we finally got to the family/friend meeting points that were set up closer to the start/finish area. By this time I could tell I hadn't eaten any lunch and hadn't drank enough water. I was getting grumpy and my feet hurt after running in my sandals. It was really hot. Sven was really exhausted when we finally met up. He wanted water, and I couldn't find any bottled water anywhere for him. None of the vendors we passed had any water left. That was pretty sad. He drank the gatorade we brought for him, but we only had 2 small bottles. We made our slow trip back to the el, back to our car in Forest Park, and drove on home. He got to rest a little bit (me, too) before we departed again for a very yummy dinner hosted by the Young Survival Coalition at the China Grill restaurant in the Hard Rock Hotel. China Grill ended up donating the dinner to YSC. How awesome. It was a great day and a lovely dinner.

China Grill is a great restaurant. Check out their menu, and if you ever get a chance to go, I'd recommend any of these appetizers and entrees we had:
curried chicken satay
lobster pancakes (or was it shanghai lobster?)
thai shrimp cakes
pan seared spicy tuna
grilled garlic shrimp
sake marinated "drunken" chicken
a beef dish (I didn't eat this, so I don't remember what it was)
wild mushroom profusion pasta
one other meat dish

Sven's Race Results:

Stephen Johnson | Bib # 23151 | Champaign, IL - USA | Age 31 | M
START 5K 10K 15K 20K HALF 25K 30K 35K 40K FINISH
0:08:17 0:28:21 0:56:26 1:24:06 1:52:50 1:59:16 2:23:34 2:58:30 3:32:41 4:11:27 4:25:02
TIME Chip Time: 4:25:02 Clock: 4:33:19 Pace: 10:06

Placement Overall: 7224 Gender: 5039 Division: 801

Sven, you are my hero!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Breast Cancer Awareness Links

Some of the things I found when I surfed around today. I was eating pink M&Ms while I was doing it.

ThinkPink at benefits Young Survival Coalition -- 30% of purchase goes to YSC.

A Chicago-based organization for young women at high risk for breast and ovarian cancers (BRCA 1 positive, for example), The look and feel of this organization really appeals to me.

Lifetime TVs End Breast Cancer For Life Blogs. I have always found this site to be entertaining and educational. From this blog: Be A Research Volunteer, YSC. This talks about the need for young women (pre-menopausal) to take part in research and directs you to the Young Survival Coalition research advocacy page.

Hmmm, I wonder if I should stock up on some Think Pink protein bars?

From Lifetime Games, you can create your Bra character. My bra ID is 43483, so search for me. (also try 43498) (UPDATE: 5/2010, You are supposed to be able to search for these, but it is a few years later, and it appears to not work anymore: )

I'm bummed that some of these things only are supported by Windows, but if you have a Windows machine, you could do something fun like send a scrapbook or mammogram reminder.