Day 209. The Mentor One.

I am leaving the country for the next week, so I am unsure if I will be able to post until I return, but I have no doubt that I will be coming back having met some truly amazing people...just like when I left last time, I wanted to honor someone truly special, truly amazing who could stand on their own and make it worthwhile for anyone who might stop by the blog for the next seven days. When I realized the task ahead of me, I also realized it was a fairly easy choice: allow me to introduce Dorothy S. Patterson.

Dorothy is rather famous in the world of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the global fight for breast cancer. From as far back as I can remember, so many great ideas that exist in the world of Komen today blossomed via Dorothy. Pledge program? Dorothy. Survivor-specific transportation on Race day? Dorothy. This woman gave countless hours not only to her own affiliate (Houston) but to so many others through training, mentoring, supporting, cheering, just being there. I can still remember meeting her at my very first training and she was nothing short of tremendously inspirational.

Dorothy is a survivor of breast cancer. In addition to her tireless service to her Komen affiliate as well as other national affiliates, Dorothy is now leading the charge internationally. For the past two years, she's helped to start races in Africa, Georgia (the country not the state!), and now is working with places like Egypt! How cool is that? When I think of the fact that the beauty of Dorothy's essence transcends so many cultural, demographic, geographic boundaries I am not really surprised. This past month, Dorothy was also elected to a highly esteemed position as "Affiliate Representative" on the national board for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

It would be easy to say that Dorothy is just part of an organization and she's kinda worked her way up. But that would a short-changing of this woman of the most egregious degree. Dorothy is a constant reminder of what one person, with passion, selfless dedication, and a goal can accomplish.

You see, tomorrow, I leave to go to Zurich to help the Swiss team plan the first ever Swiss Race for the Cure. I am excited, nervous and not a little bit afraid that I won't do a good enough job. Dorothy has been serving as my inspiration as I've planned for this trip...she has served as my mentor in so many ways as I have tried to fight this terrible disease, and to now be following in her footsteps in the smallest of ways, well, I hope and pray that I will do her proud.

Dorothy - I do love you. You have given me so many gifts and made my life richer for knowing you. THANK you for what you do for me, and for women all over the world. You truly are inspiring people, delivering hope and saving lives.


Day 208. The Surgeon One.

Today Stephen had some surgery done. And, if you have been around this blog a while you know that I have a penchant for artists and doctors, so today's honoree is obvious. The surgeon who worked on Stephen today was fantastic. He started the procedure on time and ended EARLY! Stephen had some major - MAJOR - anxiety and the Doctor was extremely diligent in managing this through telling Stephen exactly what was happening every step of the way and also, when all else failed, telling Stephen to stop breathing so hard because he was going to make himself pass out. tee hee

Doctors are amazing, as I've mentioned before, for their dedication to education, treatment and care. As I worried about my husband "back there" today, I took a moment to appreciate the extra special skill and dedication required of a surgeon. A surgeon needs to not only go through relentless education and training but also have confidence to know that they can fix someone's problem by physically altering their body in some way. I find that incredible.

Stephen is much better now, both physcially and mentally, and it is attributable to our surgeon today and his excellent team. Thank you, Doctor, for your service to your patients, and to my husband in particular.


Day 207. The Perspective One.

Last night I had dinner with some very good friends. As we sat and chatted and caught up about everything I was stuck by my friend, B. B and I have been through some similiar career challenges and while I can tend to react strongly and quickly "as a matter of principle" B is someone who is much more thoughtful in her deliberations and who considers the long term effects of her decisions.

I have tremendous respect for B's ability to always consider the consequences of all her actions. She doesn't fall prey to other's opinions or ideas on what she should be doing, nor does B become a people pleaser. B is someone who I have seen maintain I high high degree of integrity and respect due to her skill at balancing "the right thing to do" with "the right way to deliver it".

When we talked about this last night, she offered such open advice on how she approaches issues so that she can be as good at this as she is. I am so thankful to have such a valuable role model in my life who is also a tremendous friend.


Day 206. The One I Remember.

It is Memorial Day in the United States today. This is a day set aside to remember and honor those who have given their lives in defense of the principles that we hold dear in the United States. Too often this becomes just "another day off" or a "holiday" but I do like to think that many still take at least some time to remember the purpose of this day that has been set aside.

I have not had someone immediately close to me serve in any of the armed forces, although I count quite a few excellent members of the Coast Guard, Army and Marines as my friends. I wanted to honor one of them today of all days and as I thought of the many instances I've had to be in awe of those who serve, one most poignant memory came to my mind.

On 9.11, I was living and working in DC. Directly IN the district. At the company at which I was working, one whole department was made up primarily of Marines (note: if you didn't know already you never say "retired Marine" as this story proves). I'll never forget the surreal experience of standing in the IT department, watching the Pentagon burn outside our office windows and watching the towers begin to lean and ultimately fall on a small, 3 inch black and white TV on one of our Network Admin's desks. There was a surreal silence because no cell phones were working and I don't think anyone had any words anyway. In the midst of this, one of our co-workers, a Marine, picked up the phone and dialed a number (apparently a rather secret number - this gentleman used to be part of the team that would "carry the football" for the President - the football was the briefcase that held the nuclear codes). I can't remember what he said but I remember it becoming very clear that he was talking to someone very high up, in lots of terms I would never even be allowed to understand, and, in the midst of this craziness, he was trying to go back to being on active duty...IMMEDIATELY.

Another co-worker who is a Marine came to stand beside me and explained what was happening. And again said, "once a Marine, always a Marine". I can understand and identify with the emotion that propells one to react in the face of agression or to defend that which they hold dear, but I don't know that I could ever have the strength of character to, without hesitation, potentially give my life for all of my fellow countrymen in the face of such a scary attack.

I know enough to know that that which our service men and women go through, and give up, to protect us is something that can leave me in total awe and often close to tears. I hope that each of you can take a moment to appreciate what our men and women in uniform have given to us all. Today, I salute each of them for the fact that every day, my biggest concern can be what I want to do with my day; that today the only thing I am struggling with is how to write this blog post appropriately and what to pack for an upcoming trip.

The gentlemen I worked with in DC taught me a tremendous amount about what it means to be a Marine, and to my one friend on the phone that awful day 8 years ago, I thank you for teaching me about how much you give for me...at a moments notice.

Happy Memorial Day...and THANK YOU


Day 205. The Rollin' One.

Yesterday, I went with my friend Anna and her husband Brian to pick up Anna's bike for the Tour de Pink event we are doing in October (we're riding 220 miles from Hershey PA to NYC...yes, we know we are crazy). Anyway, as a breast cancer survivor, Anna was able to get a free bike (donated by Giant bikes, thank you Giant) and we went to get it, both get fitted, and start getting serious about this whole thing.

We went to a store with a few locations in Central Ohio called "Roll". First of all - kick butt name for a bike store. Me likey. Second, they had this really cool machine that measured each of us to tell us what size bike we needed. Third, we got to work with Zach. Zach spent over an hour with us..helping us understand what we needed, what we didn't need, how to get a good bike, and fitting Anna for her bike.

Zach was super patient with us all, put up with my stupid jokes, and provided great service all while demonstrating a focus and passion for biking that was infectious. When someone takes the time to educate you and share excitement for what you are about to start doing it is amazing how much it makes you build your own enthusiasm and confidence. If I'd had the finances, I think I would have bought everything from Zach yesterday because he made me feel like I'd get the right stuff and be prepared for what was ahead.

Zach is obviously a biker in his own right and now we're trying to convince him to come do Tour de Pink with us, but even if he doesn't, we're definitely going back to Roll for all our biking needs throughout this whole experience, and we're gonna ask for Zach (he's there Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays...tell him the Puckbunnies sent ya!)


Day 204. The Soupy One.

Today has been a rough day, but, thankfully its Friday, and there is always something to look forward to on Friday - The Soup on E!. Now, there are many, MANY things that one can find wrong with the E! network, but since the beginning of this channel, there's always been one half hour that I can support. It started as "Talk Soup" and now its come back as "The Soup" hosted by Joel McHale.

Joel's a pretty interesting guy - he was born in Italy (who knew?) and has a family and home in Washington state. He now makes his living as a comedian and his primary role has been as the host of this "soup" show. If you haven't seen it, here's the jist. This show scours the airwaves for the rediculousness that airs as part of the unbelievable focus that our society has put on celebrity. Like many of you, I am consistently shocked at how much value "celebrity" and "being famous" has today. I was raised to believe in hard work and accomplishment, not "luck" and a "big break". In my opinion, "The Soup" is in the joke. They show you that the emperor has no clothes. They revel in the absolute crazy that is pop culture. The jokes are timely, quick witted, and often quite telling.

Don't get me wrong, I am NOT saying that this show is going to change the world, or spark provacative conversation, but, what I am saying, is that for at least 30 minutes a week, Joel and his band of merry men and women make me laugh. And, they make me feel like I am not going crazy when I just start shaking my head at what some people are doing these days. This show is funny - and perhaps it can inspire someone besides me to realize what we should be focusing on instead of who's wearing what where.

Again, its not highbrow (and some content is potentially lewd or inappropriate) but I continue to believe that it takes a smart smart person to be funny. Joel has to come up with stuff every week, and its usually good. Tonight, I look forward to the fact that I know I'm gonna have something to laugh about, and I have Joel McHale to thank.

p.s. I will admit, its fun to have people like this because it gives me a new adjective to play with for my post title :)


Day 203. The Golfing One.

This is a bit of a bandwagon post. Many of you may have already heard that Phil Mickelson's wife, Amy, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Immediately following this announcement yesterday, Phil announced that he is suspending his golfing career indefinitely while he is at his wife's side.

I debated whether or not to write this post. You see, if there is one sport I could care less about, its golf. Further, I think that it is easy for the world, while admiring Phil's choice, to say that its "easier" for him due to his celebrity and or financial success to date. I do not know anything about this family's life, but what I do know is that the pictures they show of Amy tell me that she is FAR too young to be having to face this disease. I also know that, intentional or not, her health will now be an issue of public interest which may come to be too much to bear for the family.

Phil's choice reminds me of two other "celebrities" who were able to make similar choices. Both Chris Spielman (Buckeye!) and Bret Farve (not a buckeye and current flip-flopper on retirement) have also either taken time (Farve) or retired (Spiels) as a result of their wife's breast cancer diagnosis. Regardless of fame or fortune, I honor the choice of all these men, and today, Phil most of all, for so many reasons.

Many of us may say that "family" is most important, but I fear we often don't live our lives that way. We work because we "have to pay the bills" we have a whole list of to-dos. Many of us can't withstand the financial impact of focusing solely on a loved one while sick. Many of us also can't fathom the public invasion that occurs when you put your family and your family's health on the public record. The Mickelsons have faced all these issues and have chosen to share their choice. For me, this choice boils down to nothing more than love and family.

I am deeply saddened by the all too common occurance it is becoming to hear of "another person" diagnosed with breast cancer and my heart goes out to Amy and her entire family. I pray that this difficult time will be bouyed by the support of each other and that they can find respite in each other's love. And, most of all, Phil, I honor you for your choice.


Day 202. The Mentor One.

I will have to keep this blog a bit vague as far as details go to protect the not so innocent, but I would like to acknowledge my friend Julie. Julie is one of the first people I met when I returned to Columbus and I have now had a friendship with her since back then in 2002.

Julie and I went through all those phases of storming, norming, performing and have had our relationship run the gamut of totally professional to totally social. Throughout our time knowing each other, Julie has always been a good friend. She's accepted my weaknesses, called me on my shortcomings, taught me a whole heck of a lot, and always been ever supportive.

Julie has really helped me open my perspective on the world, certain aspects there in, and on how to deal with people. Her calm approach has always impressed me to the point that I sometimes would start to wonder if she just wasn't aloof all the time, but she is the epitome of "still waters running deep".

Recently, some pretty significant, scary changes have happened in her life - and yet she deals with them as she does with anything, with steadfast calm and dedication.

Julie - love ya, girl!


Day 201. The Skating One.

I'm sure there will be a few posts that relate to this past weekend, but what happened was we helped put on the inaugural "Hockey Beats Down Breast Cancer" on Saturday night. We threw the whole event, complete with pre and post party as well as silent auction, raffles, in just over 1 month so for it to be successful took a lot of hard working people.

One main highlight of the event is that two teams played the hockey game wearing commemorative jerseys. One team wore pink jerseys and the other wore white. You could "sponsor" a jersey and chose the numer and the name that went on the back. Stephen and I sponsored a jersey for my mom, this being her tenth year as a survivor. Kiki wore my mom's jersey. When I first met her I immediately told her how excited I was for her to wear mom's name and told her mom's story. Kiki put her jersey on right away...

When Kiki skated out, she did even one better! She used the pink stick tape to put a Pink Ribbon on her helmet and it was awesome to see her out there skating so hard "for mom". At the end of the game, there was a "jersey handoff" where the skater took the jersey right off their back and handed it to there sponsor. Kiki skated right up to us (points for remembering what I looked like amid all the chaos that night) and handed mom her jersey and posed for pictures.

Skating in the event and taking part was a cool enough thing, but Kiki really made the night feel like a tribute for my mom - she was so happy to get her jersey at the end of the night and for that, I thank Kiki from the bottom of my heart.


Day 200. The Makeup One.

Ok, first, let's pause for just one second #200? Seriously? Wow.

I am a big fan of Grey's Anatomy on ABC. Through all its ups and downs, I've watched every episode since the beginning. Last night was the season finale and there was a pretty big shocker - at least to me - at the end. It turned out that one of Seattle Grace's own was now an ER patient who had suffered extensive injuries but that person was unidentifiable due to the massive damage the character has suffered.

I'm usually one of those people who figures out the plot way ahead of the reveal - much to Stephen's dismay - so to be fooled was pretty cool and impressive. And, thus, I think its rather important to acknowledge who I think is still doing the makeup for Grey's Anatomy: Tom Burman and and Bari Dreiband-Burman.

The Burmans have been quoted as saying: " 'You can shoot our work really tight because of the detail and care that we put into it,' said Dreiband-Burman. The Burmans, who are Emmy-award-winning makeup artists, have been working on Grey's Anatomy as well as Nip/Tuck for some time; they also designed the drill effect in the ferry-accident episodes."

Its easy to forget how many aspects can go into telling a story visually and while the impact of the reveal was amazing last night, could it have been possible without the skill of the makeup team? (Well that and the fact that many may cover their eyes at such extensive gore...of course, I'm NOT talking about me! :))

To recreate medical injuries must be rather demanding when you have a slew of medical consultants hovering, judging your work at all times. And, particularly with the season at end, and fans left to reflect on the impact of the stories, I am thankful for artists like the Burmans who must work tirelessly to create essential elements of some of my favorite stories.


Day 199. The International One.

Many of you know that I am honored to have been asked to help with the first Swiss Race for the Cure this fall. Every time I think about it, I really just kinda glaze over because I can't believe that I, of all the people who work on Races, was asked to be one of the International Race Ambassadors. Things are really starting to get rolling with my Race and with Races in Rome, Brussels, Georgia (the country not the US State!) and elsewhere and its exciting to see women become informed and empowered about their breast health.

In the middle of this storm of activity is one person who's been my main point of contact, Jennifer. As she and I were sending flurries of emails back and forth today, and as I thought about the questions I have, I suddenly realized how amazing she is. I have enough concerns about working effectively with my Swiss partners - there is etiquette, dress, business acumen, culture that I don't know let alone bring a Race together from nowhere - Jen has these issues to work through times 10! Everyday she works with partners in countries all over the world as well as ambassadors and all the Komen departments (legal!) to get Races together. I am awe of her ability to navigate all these worlds, keep things in line and keep things moving so effectively.

Its funny, I still haven't even met Jen face to face, but I hope to someday, and tell her just how well she's doing her job. As much as I do have my silly little concerns, Jen has provided so much information that I know I am prepared for the job at hand. I am impressed with her confidence and trust in me. Breast Cancer isn't confined by age, ethnicity, or geography and Jen is instrumental in breaking down another of those barriers by spreading the word around the world.


Day 198. The New Mommy One.

Well as they say, you may have made plans but God has other ideas...I've wanted to write about this person for a bit, but thought I would do it the day she had her first child...of course the child came early and we found out a few days after soooo....

My friend Debbie is one of the most dear people in my life. Debbie and I met through volunteer work and I immediately gravitated to her charm and personality. Debbie is always pure of intention and perfect in her delivery. She inspires me with her focus on filling her life with friends and family and 'the stuff that matters'.

There are so many stories I could tell that cement Debbie in my heart, but again, the reason I wanted to time this entry was because Debbie had always wanted children. She had to wait - perhaps longer than she wanted ;) - to find just the right partner for this journey but she did, and after a long road, last week, she gave birth to a very perfect, very beautiful baby boy.

I know that Debbie will make the most amazing mother. She is completely connected to what it means to be a good person and to live a meaningful life. I have no doubt that she will instill such a foundation in her little man. It is people like Debbie that reassure me in the goodness in people and in the future. I am exceedingly happy for her dreams becoming reality...now, we just need to get her moved back home closer to us all and life will be perfect! :)


Day 197. The Duck One. Continued....

I mean, seriously, COME ON -- how cute is this?!!?


Week 36. Reflections.

Its Mother's Day! We all have a lot to thank our moms for since without moms, well, none of us would be here!

So! To all my friends who are moms, are about to become moms or who have the role of a mom in someones life: You work harder than any other profession and I am in awe of what you do every single day. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!


Day 197. The Duck One.

Whoever invented, created, and sold this toy to our friends Anna and Brian need to be acknowledged. Seriously.

I will only tell you that this is giving little Nittany COUNTLESS hours of entertainment and its downright hysterical to watch...if only I had some video.

Day 196. The Teaching One.

For a few reasons, some personal and some professional, I've had to start learning a bit more German than the basic "hello, how are you?" and "thank you" that I knew. In my typical geek style I started looking for non-conventional ways to start learning the language. Stephen sweetly bought me a language class from Berlitz for Christmas but I also wanted to learn the conversational style of the language not just "book German" (having had a few embarassing examples from my first trip to Spain with my high school Spanish).

So I stumbled upon a "Learn German" podcast. Ironically, this podcast is put on by another Stephan - Stephan Wiesner. The classes he does are excellent, the podcasts are short - each comes with an accompanying handout, and you learn how to handle some pretty standard experiences you are going to face when you are abroad (going through customs, talking ot a cab driver, ordering food at a cafe). It also was a perfect fit since his reference was German and Swiss German which are an exact match for my upcoming travels. Stephan also took time to teach some culture and reference some of his own personal experiences.

Sadly, but understandably, Stephan has had to end his podcast. But I still now thank him for the quality that he DID put out there. I am sure its helped quite a few people - myself included. And I know I will be much more comfortable when I'm abroad having been able to study these podcasts.


Day 195. The Star One.

On Monday, Dom DeLuise, the great great actor, passed away. When the news broadcasts started to cover this, one segment showed fans placing flowers and other rememberances at Dom's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And this got me curious...how did this iconic Hollywood symbol get started?

So I did some investigating. Back in 1953, the city was looking to give itself a facelift. The hired the artist, Oliver Weismuller to lead this effort. Within a few months he had his concept and by 1958 the first 8 stars had been dedicated and 2,000+ more were waiting to bear the name of the next "famous" person. I realized, that, yes, the "walk of Fame" is a work of art - and I would wager not many think of it that way. This piece was, and is, meant to symbolize a tribute to those who made Hollywood carry the aura of the "Land of Dreams".

Its funny, when I began my investigation I thought "oh it will surely be hard to find out who is 'responsible' for this" and while that answer was easy, and while every citation for Mr. Weismuller recognizes him as a "famous artist" there is little I could find about the man himself. And so, while I do not know if he is alive or dead today, I would still like to recognize him. He created a truly innovative piece of art that is intimately accessible to the masses. Further, his work continues to provide opportunity to celebrate others. Sometimes it is at the dedication of a new star (fyi, Robert Downey Jr. gets his this year, woo hoo!) and sometimes it is just at providing fans a way to remember those we have lost, such as Mr. DeLuise.

Mr. Weismuller, you've created what has become one of the truly great American landmarks, in my opinion. And thank you for giving us another way to recognize and remember others.


Day 194. The Green One.

A big event is coming up in Columbus - its the annual Columbus Race for the Cure. For the first time in three years, I'm not in charge of the whole darn thing and its been crazy to watch it all happen from a completely different perspective. What I think is most valuable about change is the innovation that comes with it, and this past weekend, on Sunday, as I picked up some of my Race t-shirts (that I didn't have to pack?!?! rather jarring...;) ) I heard some of the coolest innovation that's coming with this year's Race...

Background: Many years ago, when I was in high school, I had a group of friends who were, and are, tremendously dear to me. We used to get together every Thursday to watch Cheers (<--- clearly dating myself there) on NBC. We'd always go to my friend Mike's house for our "Cheers' Parties". Mike's siblings were always cool, but also cool enough to leave us "oh so hip" high schoolers alone. Now its good to think coolness can travel in families, but when I saw Mike's sister, Reagan, on Sunday she proved it.

If you've ever been to any kind of large event you know what kind of logistics it takes. the Columbus Race for the Cure last year was over 40,000 people so you can only imagine the tonnage (yes, TONnage) of refuse we generated and the large number of volunteers collecting all that requires. Well, Reagan has solved that problem and more. Reagan has instituted "Green loves Pink": a new effort in partnership with one of the local refuse companies that will not only assist and expedite the collection of all the paper, bottles, bags, cups, trash that 40,000+ people bring but will also take the time to do the appropriate sorting and get all recycleables to their appropriate destination as a favor to our planet.

I have always loved the Race for what it gives to the community not only as an event but also to each individual participating. This year is special to so many for so many deeply personal reasons...its fantastic to see that now we are not only accountable to the community for providing support to those affected by breast cancer, but that we are also accountable for our impact on the environment. This is tremendous tremendous step and its all with credit to Reagan. Thank you Reagan - my only regret is that this didn't start last year and now I haven't had the opportunity to see you put this in place directly - you are truly TRULY making a difference!


Day 193. The Travelling One.

I've had the opportunity lately to work with a young Ohio State student named Mollie. Mollie is pursuing a business degree and is in her final year, getting ready to graduate in June. This young woman has got a good head on her shoulders, has some definite goals for her professional life, and could easily get some good opportunities offered to her the minute she graduates.

INSTEAD - Mollie and her friend have decided to take some time first to feed their wanderlust. The two have bought one way tickets to Europe and are saving up their money and plan to travel as long as their funds will allow. I think this is so cool. The vibe I get from Mollie isn't to go party her way through Europe, and as she talks about it more, I think that these two just have plans to take advantage of one of the very last times in their life when they will be without commitments and to experience all that is out there in the world.

When I graduated from college I did what everyone was "supposed" to do: I took a few months off at home, and then moved away, started my new job and became an "adult". While those choices have brought a lot of good into my life, I feel like I can also look back now and, in comparison, see the wealth of opportunity that awaits Mollie by choosing a 'different" path. I think she and her friend will have an amazing time and will build memories and experiences to last a lifetime. I applaud their decision to do something like this and the beautiful way in which the are approaching this experience. For someone who has built a foundation that will sustain her no matter when she decides to start "working", Mollie is taking time to first really enjoy life, and that's amazing.

p.s. Mollie also ran in the Flying Pig half marathon this past weekend and for that she rocks too!