Sunday, May 26, 2013

I suck at blogging

I have decided that I suck as a blogger.  I don't make the time to sit and blog on a regular basis or an a schedule.  I accept that.

That being said, perhaps I am the best type of blogger there is.  You don't get too many updates or notices to read my latest find or funny comment.  I check in with you now and then to let you know what has happened since the last time I wrote. 

Here you go, this is the latest:  Below is a copy of something I hope to get in the local paper soon:

DHS Graduate to Walk 60 Miles Over Three Days

Douglas, AZ – May 27, 2013 – From a young age, I witnessed how cancer can ravage the body.  On MY tenth birthday,my godfather passed away of cancer.  Over the years, I have lost four other family members to different cancers.  Jessie Villegas,my sister and also a DHS graduate, is the only one in the family that has survived a cancer diagnosis.  Although I have participated in Relay For Life several times, I have wanted to participate in the 3-Day for a couple of years, but lacked the confidence and courage to do so.  This year I have committed to walk 60 miles in the Susan G. Komen Phoenix 3-Day along with thousands of other women and men who are walking to make a personal difference in the fight to end breast cancer.  

I have already embarked on a physical and emotional journey in preparing for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®. Like other Komen 3-Day participants, I will spend months training for the event’s physical demands and fundraising at least $2,300 to help fund innovative breast cancer research, scientific programs and community outreach programs. All of the participants’ dedication and preparation culminates by walking 60 miles over the course of three days.

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day is the boldest breast cancer event of its kind, with equally bold commitments. Participants are asked to walk farther and raise more money than any other event. The choice to participate was not easy for me.  I felt intimidated by the distance and the large fundraising goal.  I wanted to walk the 3-day last year, but had a fear of failure in both the fundraising aspect and the physical challenge of walking 60 miles.  I spent the last year working on endurance and my overall health.  When it came time to register for the 2013 walk I hesitated.  However, the more I thought about my family and what all cancer patients have to endure, I realized that this walk will be nothing in comparison.  I hope to be a means to the end of breast cancer for all women, and even men who can also become victims of this disease.

I will be holding a yard sale on June 7th and 8th to raise funds for the organization.  I have raised just over half the required amount, without which I will not be eligible to participate.  I am seeking donations of unwanted items as well as shoppers.  The sale will be held at 1500 Mission Dr.  You can contact me about donations of items at  Some of the items that I will be selling are athletic bags that were donated by Amy Dodson, a cancer survivor who has served as inspiration and a supporter of my endeavor.  Amy Dodson is a world class athlete who teaches with me.  She recently ran the Kona Iron Man and placed first in her age group.  Dodson lost a leg and a lung to cancer.  If Amy can run an Iron Man with one leg and one lung, then I can walk 60 miles over three days with two legs and two lungs.

The Susan G. Komen Phoenix 3-Day is a place in a world where differences are embraced, bonds are formed, and every moment—from the Opening Ceremony on Friday Morning, November 8,  to Closing Ceremony on Sunday afternoon, November 10—is full of meaning, emotion and celebration. Walkers cover about 20 miles a day with hundreds of dedicated volunteers and crew members supporting the walkers through the three-day journey.

Each year, more than 200,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and nearly 2,000 cases are diagnosed in men in the U.S. To help me reach my goal of a world without breast cancer, make a donation by visiting  To learn how to participate or volunteer with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, visit or call 800-996-3DAY for more information.

About the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®
The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® is a 60-mile walk for women and men who want to be a part of something bigger – ending breast cancer forever. Participants raise a minimum of $2,300 and walk an average of 20 miles a day for three consecutive days, educating tens of thousands of people about breast health and raising funds to help support breast cancer research and community outreach programs. With every step, Susan G. Komen for the Cure® has helped make significant progress in the fight against breast cancer thanks to events like the Komen 3-Day. Seventy-five percent of the net proceeds raised by the Susan G. Komen 3-Day help support Komen’s Research and Training Grant Program and large public health outreach programs for women and men facing breast cancer. The remaining 25 percent helps fund local community and Affiliate support and outreach programs. Please visit or call 800-996-3DAY for more information.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Journey of 60 Miles Begins with One Step, Cake Decorating, or a Yard Sale

I began training for my 60 mile walk today.
I began training for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day today.  It is the first of over 500 miles of prescribed walking that I will do between now and November.  As I walked the first two  miles of week one day one, and jogged the last one, I read over my training and fundraising materials.  I have to say, the thing that worries me more than walking 60 miles is raising $2,300.  Not a dollar had been raised since I registered for the walk.

I think I am going to lose sleep over that.  Fear not, a family member stepped up and made the first donation followed by my high school track coach.  I still have to raise another $2,215 to raise.  My mom has made a very generous verbal promise, an my father and sisters have pledged to donate too. 

My sister Jessie gave me a fantastic idea of offering cake decorating classes in exchange for donations.  So...I will start to get myself organized to what and where I could teach for given levels of donations.  If you have ever been interested in taking a cake decorating class, keep an eye out for my posts as I try to work out the logistics of the classes. 

Another option I am looking into is holding a yard sale.  If you have any sale worthy items you are looking to get rid of, but do not want to have to store, I'll take it off of your hands for you. 

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen Arizona 3-DayOne thing is set in stone, if you make a donation, in any amount, I will honor that donation with your name or the name of a loved one on my gear for at least one of the three days that I will be walking. As always, thank you for your support.

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

From the Bottom of My Breast

From the bottom of my breast, I want to say thank you for taking the time to read this post.  It is long, but perhaps you will understand why I am choosing to walk 60 miles in three days.
It's a scary word, Cancer.  Nobody willingly gives access for the disease to develop.  Sure we all engage in behaviors that also may not deter it, such as tanningsmoking, or even just eating.  The point is that there is no way that any of us can be guaranteed a cancer free life.

I have always been interested in helping others.  The careers that call to me are evidence of my need to contribute:  education, nursing/medicine and psychology.  I recently found a new way to help others; others that I don't even know.

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen Arizona 3-Day
Click on "DONATE" to be taken
to my fundraising page
Last year I became interested in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk.  The walk is a 3-Day 60 Mile walk.  It is a daunting task, but one that I hope to take on.  Without your help, I cannot participate.  I need to raise a minimum $2.300 in order to participate in this walk.  Even I wonder at times why I feel so passionate about this walk.  None of my family members have been affected by breast cancer.  Suddenly I remember.  To be more honest about it, it's not suddenly that I remember, the connection is sudden, but I carry the reason with me on a daily basis.

Scan this code to set up a
 donation from your phone
Death. Cancer.  As I child I was exposed to heavy painful losses early on.  The first loss was that of my grandmother, though I was much too young to know what was happening.  One of the more painful memories involved the loss of my Godfather.  I lost him even before he was really gone.  Some time before my 10th birthday, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  I didn't understand at the time, but I was kept away from him.  I was no longer allowed to see him.  I didn't know that it would be never again.  You see, my parents, his parents, and all of those around me tried to protect me from seeing him sick.  I sent cards to him with his parents and stuffed animals that I would win for him in the claw game at the bowling alley.  On my 10th birthday, his wife came for a visit.  I remember sitting in the living room and hearing her tell my mom that he had died that day.  I was in shock.  I didn't cry, I didn't say anything.  Then, I smashed my finger with the copy table and the flood gates opened.  He was gone!  I never saw him again, I never said goodbye.

In the days before cancer changed our lives.
Six years later, having only been exposed to what cancer can do once, my sister Jessie, received a devastating diagnosis.  It started with a lump on her neck.  She endured a biopsy and a bone marrow test.  Her diagnosis was Hodgkin's lymphoma.  She was strong for us.  I don't think I ever saw her cry.  Unfortunately, because of my past experience, I ran away from her.  I didn't know how to handle her being sick.  What if I lost her too?  Being home only reminded me how scared I was and so I spent a lot of time riding my bike with my cousins and getting home late so that I could sleep away my worries.  We have been told that although she never shared with us her ultimate fears about her illness, she shared them with her friends.  For us, she remained strong.  She survived and has since then been a supporter of TEAM IN TRAINING.  She may not be Amy Dodson, but that does not change the amount of inspiration she gives me.   

Fast forward another five years and we are once again faced with the devastating disease.  My father's father  learned he would battle cancer of the pancreas.  It was a short battle which he lost within 6 months of starting.  In this loss, it was not so much that he was gone, he had lived a full life.  The hard part was seeing my aunts, uncles, and father, who are usually so full of life, in such sadness.

We were spared the pain of cancer for a while, but about a decade later, one aunt was diagnosed with leukemia.  She fought with all of her might, but in the end she was not match for the disease.  She was ready to go and had been in a calm states just a few days before she took her last few breaths.  I was present for this transition from life to death and it was humbling, painful, a relief.  I now understood what my family had protected me from so many years ago.

Tia Irma
During the time that my mom's oldest sister battled leukemia, the most sincere person I have ever known was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.  Worst of all was that she was never a smoker.  She of all people did not deserve this.  She fought and won; only to learn it had returned again.  Ultimately, heaven gained another angel.  Once again, she was surrounded by loved ones.

And so, my sister and another aunt, whose diagnosis I don't remember because I was too young, have been the only cancer survivors in our family.

Breast cancer has not touched our family and I intend to keep it that way.  I am doing my part by committing, with your help, to walk 60 miles in three days.  I am doing this for everyone, not just my family, but for those who can't do it because the chemo has them weak.  For my friend Donna who recently underwent treatments for breast cancer and for you.  I am hoping to honor all of my financial supporters in some way while completing the walk.

No amount is to small.  Can you give $100?  $50? 10?  How about $10 for 5 months?  You choose, no amount is too small.  Thank you from the bottom of my breast.  That's where my heart is after all.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The End

     At this moment, I am living the last few hours of my a thirty-two year old!  I turn 33 tomorrow.  As I drove down the road in my brand new 1972 Super beetle, I began to remember where I thought I would be at this point in my life.
   I certainly did not think I would still feel like a teenager when I drove a vintage beetle, but I do.  I do not feel thirty-three do I?  Who can tell me what 33 feels like?  Anyone? Anyone?

What I thought I would be:  Psychologist, well-off, a mother of 4, married, carefree
What I am:  A teacher (a lot of psychology involved, trust me), because I am a teacher in Arizona, you probably don't need me to tell you about my finances, a mother of 2, super anxious

Am I allowed to do that?

     Probably 100 times a day, I ask my self did I really just do that?  Did I really just talk to another teacher and laugh like a school girl when I told her about a blog I read about that day (any time you want a good laugh, you must look up Heather Binne's blog.  There's a link to her page on the left).  Are 30 year olds supposed to watch Teen Mom?  I sometimes feel like I am breaking some old lady rule.    
     I remember my mom at thirty and she seemed so mature.  Was she?  Because now she's...well, I won't tell you that, but half of the time she is just as youthful, it's a nice way of saying immature, as I am, if not more.  Is it wrong that I usually still find farts funny?  I think I forgot to read the manual on how to be in your thirties.   

I am kinda old aren't I?

     My knees hurt, my back hurts, I think I have spider veins and varicose veins.  I hate loud music and when the TV is too loud.  Those college kids these days are so inconsiderate, and for Pete's sake, won't you all slow down, obey the speed limit and get off my tail?  Did that song just say what I think it said?  When I started driving, it cost less than a dollar a gallon for gas.  I used to fill up my bug with less than $10.  Mom jeans?  Yes Please.


     Spring Chicken or not, this bird is tired.  As you old folks know, it's not easy staying asleep, but I am tired so with this I say goodbye to thirty-two.  It was a good end to a great year.  I went to the gym, did some running and then went to Office Max and used up my Max Perks Rewards (they expire tomorrow if you have any).  

Maybe tomorrow I'll go buy some moth balls.

THE END (I never allow the use of "the end" in my class, but I had a picture I wanted to use)

*I do not take responsibility for any typos, my brain does not function well after the gym.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I Want to See my Fat Pictures (You Know Which Ones I Mean)

 There are two types of fat pictures. 

Senior Prom 1998
     There are those you love.  Usually, these were taken before the availability of digital cameras.  They are real pictures.  Not the type you take of yourself with a phone.  This picture is taken by someone who loves you or cares about you and wants to remember the moment you are in.  Had digital cameras been in existence at the time, you would have commandeered the camera and you would have deleted the moment forever from history.  Alas, there was a time when you had to take your film to the store to be developed.  This only happened after at least a week of waiting, and only if you did not have any film left on the roll.  When the film was finally developed, opening that yellow and white envelope was almost as suspenseful as opening a letter from a college after having submitted an application.  If your friend was kind enough, or if you were the lucky owner of the camera, you possess the power to review and approve any pictures that included you prior to circulation.  Have you ever wondered how many photos of you are floating around that you have never even seen?

Summer of 1998: It became my profile
picture, although it was picture of a
large group, not just my legs.
     Sometimes, you weren't too happy with a picture of yourself, but either for the sake of your friend, or maybe just the memory, you decided to keep it.  After all, you did pay for the film to be developed and for the picture to be printed.  One day, many, many, years later, as you clean out your five-year old's closet, you find it. When you do, you begin to ask is this really me?  Did I really pull off a black strapless dress with feather trim?  Suddenly, that picture that you had wished didn't exist becomes one of your most treasured moments in life.  Immediately begins the internal dialogue I used to think I was so fat.  Look at how thin I used to be.  It's as if a better picture of you never existed you begin to question all of the preconceived notions you had about your body.  You want to frame it and make it your facebook profile picture (sometimes you do).   
December 2009
     Then there are the other kinds of fat pictures.  The ones that have no right or reason to exist.  They came after the digital age and film.  They should never have been approved by anyone, let alone someone "on your side".  Obviously, nobody consulted you before deciding that it should be a part of some kind of permanent record of how fat you are.  Face it, when you see a fat picture of yourself, you don't think about the fun you were having, you are simply thinking about how fat you look.  They were not taken by your camera from a flattering angle, and they were not approved by you.  Sometimes the others in the picture look great and you must sacrifice your own vanity for the beauty of others. 

If your friends and family are kind, they understand that this is a fat picture, and although it may go up amongst the billions of pictures on facebook, twitter, and instagram, you are not tagged.  If you are lucky, the picture will fly under the radar.  Worse yet are picture in which you are fat AND are sitting with a plate of half eaten food.  Worse yet, sitting with a plate of what used to be dessert. 

     I want to see my fat pictures.  Don't get me wrong, I don't necessarily want the world to see all of my fat pictures.  I'm starting to think that these fat pictures are somewhat of a treasure.  I realize that every time I have the chance, I erase any pictures of myself that are less than my standards, or those of others.  The reality is, that life is not flattering, not when you have to wake up early and work over 40 hours a week.  Not when you have sick children, or a house to clean.

     I searched and searched for a fat picture so that I may compare itI to my present.  Not only that, but I want to remind myself how far I have come.  When I gain a pound one day instead of loosing 3 ounces.  When a size 14 doesn't fit yet.  When I want a bite of cake, and most of all when I want to quit.  I want to remember where I started. 
Some of the progress photos I have taken.  Oldest
to newest.

     I started nearly 2 years ago.  I started over 35 pounds ago.  I started 10% body fat ago.  I started a size 22.  I started depressed.  I started unhealthy.  I started at a resting heart rate of near 80.  I started 360 miles and a pair of running shoes ago. 

     My present is today.  My present is a toddler smaller and with 10% less body fat.  My present is a size 16 (nearly 14).  My present is happy and healthy.  My heart is a restful < 60 BPM at rest.  My present is 60 miles into my new shoes and too many hours ago to count.

     I don't know where I'll end.  I have a goal.  I am determined to meet that goal, still who says I won't become determined to surpass it?
     And so, I want my fat pictures back.  All the ones I have erased, burned, shredded, flushed, scribbled on, or threw away.  I have the fattest of the fat at school, but I hid it so well, that I'm not sure where it is.  Inevitably, it will make it's way to this page some day. 

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