Monthly Archives: August 2015

OH… For the Love of…there’s a spider crawling on my hand…. (aka the Day I met Rosie the Tarantula)

OH… For the Love of…there’s a spider crawling on my hand…. (aka the Day I met Rosie the Tarantula)

So….today was the day I faced a fear. I asked, you answered. I pledged to hold Rosie the Tarantula if I received a certain amount of donations by a certain date. Check out this blog post if you want to see how this all came to be –

Risk-Free Sibling Rivalry

You lovely people made it happen!  Ok. Without further ado…my journey to the Butterfly Pavilion to meet Rosie! (a Chilean Rose Hair tarantula).

Slightly nervous leaving the house.

Arriving at the Butterfly Pavilion

The moment we met . If you look closely you may notice my eyes were a little teary. Just a little. I didn’t full on cry, but it was pretty darn close. I took my inhaler before we left the house. The first part of the video is blurry – but stick with it. Sorry it is such a huge file…working on that.  Listen for Dave softly laughing in the background. He was awesome moral support! I was thinking I’d have time to work up courage to see Rosie after we entered the Butterfly Pavilion. Nope. Turned a corner and there she was! I’m glad she was right there at the start though.

Done and done!

It was quite a while before I took that sticker off!

The room Rosie is in has several other tarantulas.  Here’s the big’un. Involuntary reaction. That’s honestly how big I thought Rosie would be…but she wasn’t. There were walking stick insects and scorpions, too. Dave took about a thousand pictures. And if you know him, you know I’m not joking at all.

Still a little scary.

Happy to have moved on to sea creatures.

Although, I did decline to touch the starfish and the horseshoe crab. Hey…that wasn’t part of the deal 😉

Stick insects delicately holding on to branches.

Mr. Crab? Mrs. Crab?

I think the signs said there were 1200 butterflies in the tropical rainforest area. You can apparently go to yoga classes there sometimes, too. I wish I lived close enough for that! It was beautiful – even though I am a little creeped out by flying things. As you leave this area you have to go through a mirror-filled room to make sure you don’t have any little butterflies hitching a ride out of Dodge.

In the tropical rainforest.

Look at that giant butterfly?!?!?!?!


Really? I mean….really? Come on.. birds, too?


The things I do for Team in Training.

Next stop lunch!!

Guess where we ate?

Guess who won game one?

Guess who won game two?

Enjoying our staycation day.

Yes. Yes I am sitting in a child-sized chair.

OK guys, what’s my next adventure? Help decide? How about this…if I can raise $100 additional this week (ending at 11:59pm on 9/6/15) I’ll go through the aviary at the zoo. If I raise $500 total additional by 11:59pm on 9/6/15 I’ll do that AND go have a sushi lunch after – the raw stuff, too! That’ll be a fun video, right? I’m kind of betting that no one will actually read this…lol. I’m still on the fence…but will put it out there again that if I exceed my fundraising goal of $2000 I will think about getting a tattoo…a small, discrete, cover-up-able tattoo so I can work at Disney again some day if I want to. What’cha think about that? Any other scary things you guys would like to see me conquer? I’ll do it for donations!! No shame. September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month…so it’s a good time to challenge me!

Be on the lookout for posts about my other upcoming fundraisers – Thirty-one gifts online party starting any day, Jamberry online party starting Sept. 13, and my painting party on September 19th (Sign up by September 4 please?) I’ll update my Team in Training Fundraising site with info –

Here’s the link to my fundraising page!

My Magic Fundraising Portal – Help Save Lives Here

Thanks everyone for supporting and encouraging me along the way. It means a lot!!!! PS – don’t be scared of Rosie! She’s pretty awesome and was soft and light as a feather.

Stay-tuned! The next post is probably going to be about  G-Ma Ham (aka Margaret ) learning how to drive. i think I would have enjoyed telling her about my visit to see Rosie the Tarantula… We would have chatted about it sitting side-by-side in those kiddie chairs outside of Cracker Barrel!


I kind of suck at fundraising…help me, well, unsuck at it! 

I kind of suck at fundraising…help me, well, unsuck at it! 

I’m $900 short of my goal and have an Oct 6 deadline looming in front of me. Only you [clap, point in your general  direction] can help me unsuck!

Remember, it’s my name on the fundraising page, but these are the people you’re helping.

LLS Community Read these survivors advice to people newly diagnosed with blood cancer.
Even $10 can help! Here’s where your money goes

How much can a few dollars really help anyone?

-$10 helps researchers grow cells in a lab for a week, helping them better understand how well a new cancer therapy might work

-$70 helps ones patient participate in an LLS web education program featuring medical experts who provide the latest disease & treatment info

-$150 raised funds necessary lab supply supplies for 1 week

-$1,800 raised promotes LLS-funded patient and healthcare professional programs nationally

$2,000 raised funds an LLS research fellow’s studies for 2 weeks

-$5,000 raised funds 1 month of studying a patient undergoing new experimental therapy

-$25,000 raised funds 1 year of monitoring blood levels of patients in a clinical trial

There are lots of ways to participate, donate, help and  become someone’s hero.

  1. The standard monetary donation. Might I suggest $13.10? A dollar-ish for every mile I will run on raceday? I’ll make you a “I helped Heather unsuck at fundraising…and helped save a life” card if you pitch in at least that amount between now and Oct. 5.

My Fundraising Page

  1. Words of encouragement. I need lots of words of encouragement!
  2. Share my fundraising page That’s so simple. If it annoys your FB friends that you’re advocating to support life-saving cancer research and support for families and patients…baaa…who needs ’em!
  3. Come to a fundraising event. I’ve got two on tbe books and one being planned.

TNT Paints the Park on Seprember 19th. Register by September 4th so we can get everything ready for you!

Jamberry Online party- Starting September 13th. Watch for more info. PSSST….they have “runner girl” nail wraps!
Perfect for race day!
PS- Participating in Team in Training is one of the things I’m most proud to say I have done. The pic with this post is from my teammates fundraising event at Park Burger last night. I would go back every day for another burger and chocolate peanut butter milkshake!

Happy Friday everyone!

Lessons From Sick Days


There are a lot of days where I don’t feel awesome. But this week has been especially not awesome because of smoke blowing in from fires out west. I thought I was doing “ok” and that the smoke had cleared out enough for me to go run. Here I am confident pre-run:

Fueling up for a long run, even. 

I blissfully set out. The first mile (of eight planned) was tough…but I convinced myself that was just because I was tired. The second mile was tougher. I finally woke up and noticed I couldn’t see the mountains. Uh-oh. Not good. So…I walked home feeling slightly defeated. Here I am post run/walk. Not happy. 


I finished up the day be helping fundraise at the Rockies game by handing out beads for donations. I felt ok even. Then bam…the next morning I was totally out of commission. Went in to work for 2 hours and then came home. Don’t know if it is the smoke, a cold, the flu…but I was totally sidelined. 

I spent the rest of the day yesterday laying on the floor with my pillows and blankets mindlessly watching HBO-in and out of sleep and wakefulness. Max was my protector dog all day. 
I did have a moment of togetherness where I painted my nails and tried my first Jamberry sample! 

When Dave got home he fixed our dinner, bought me Popsicles, monitored my fever and made sure I stated hydrated. 

I’m up and at ‘Em and on my way to work today…day three…after having a breakfast cocktail of allergy and asthma medicines, painkillers, coffee, and vitamins-while also dousing myself in essential oils. I would not survive a zombie apocalypse and am seriously going to pack my emergency kit with Claritin and aleve and young life’s RC blend. 
Ok. Lessons learned:

  1. It’s ok to take it easy sometimes. The world will still run (…even if you can’t)
  2. It’s easier to marathon watch  Under the Dome while you’re sick than Game of Thrones. You actually miss something if you fall asleep during Game of Thrones. 
  3. Popsicles can make a delicious dinner. 
  4. Aleve works better than ibuprofen-at least for me. 
  5. One should not attempt outside activity if one cannot see the mountains….

That is all. 

My get up and go just got up and went…


I don’t like smoke from wildfires. It does crappy things to my breathing…which makes me feel anxious, which leads to insomnia, which results in me staying up until midnight coloring, which culminates in me missing my scheduled long run this morning. 

Yes, yes you heard that right. Coloring. I got this book 

  last night at Barnes and Noble. I dug these out of a closet 

And this is the result 

Work in progress  

I’m too tired and lazy to even crop the pictures!!!

Must. Tear. Myself. Away. And. Do. Something. Productive. 

This is not a post about running…it’s about FOOD! 

This is not a post about running…it’s about FOOD! 

Ok. Before we get started – here’s the fundraising update.

We’re getting down to the wire, so please donate if you are planning to! I would love to be able to concentrate on my running (and eating….) and not the fundraising 😉 Even $10 helps!

How much can a few dollars really help anyone?

$10 helps researchers grow cells in a lab for a week, helping them better understand how well a new cancer therapy might work

$70 helps ones patient participate in an LLS web education program featuring medical experts who provide the latest disease & treatment info.

$150 raised funds necessary lab supply supplies for 1 week

$1,800 raised promotes LLS-funded patient and healthcare professional programs nationally

$2,000 raised funds an LLS research fellow’s studies for 2 weeks

$5,000 raised funds 1 month of studying a patient undergoing new experimental therapy

$25,000 raised funds 1 year of monitoring blood levels of patients in a clinical trial
If you’re local and you want to contribute – check out this event Chocolate 4 Melina

My fundraising page is here Margaret and Me

I made Margaret’s Paradise Rolls today (recipe and further commentary to follow). It was fun – and fairly easy, although a tad bit messy. Here’s the process:

  1. Drag your sorry behind out of bed.

  2) Open your eyes long enough to make coffee to enjoy in your favorite mug. Coffee press from Ikea, local honey from Vitamin Cottage and my favorite mug from the Abraham Lincoln museum back home.
3) Get distracted by adorable doggie following you around the house. Tuck him into bed and give him scritchy-scratches. Wash hands.

4) Curse the fact that you didn’t do the dishes last night before you went to bed. Do dishes.

5) Gather all of the yummy ingredients – including the not so hard to find but terribly expensive gluten free Graham Crackers – erm “graham style crackers” I mean. Luckily I reread the recipe at the store. I almost bought 1lb of pecans instead of 1 cup! I did miss that I was supposed to get 1lb of graham crackers though. So, yea, we’ll be halving this recipe…

6) Realize that all of my mixing bowls are either in the fridge holding leftovers OR currently in the running dishwasher. Improvise with trifle dish.

7) Put on some chopping music. Strangely enough…this was the album that came on as I started. Yes, yes I do have high hopes for this recipe!!
  8) Realize I have no freaking idea how to chop marshmallows into fine pieces. Knife or scissors? I tried both and ended up going with the knife.

9) Have your husband admire your work and tell you what a great job you are doing. Swat his hand away as he tries to devour all of your marshmallows!
9) Oh man….chopping is not going so well. There has to be a better way to chop marshmallows!

10) Skeptically taste gluten free graham style crackers. (Not bad, they’re not bad….very sugary though.)
  11) Have husband skeptically taste gluten free graham style crackers. He approved. Swat husbands hand to keep him from eating all of the gluten free graham style crackers.

12) Ingredients assemble! (Silently wonder how this will all go together to be able to form a nut roll.)

13) Good grief – stir for 5 minutes?? This is an upper arm workout. Solve mystery of how this will all come together to form a nut roll.

  14) Roll
 15) Success! Paradise rolls!! They’re sitting in the fridge waiting for a few hours to solidify. Then..nom nom nom. I can say that I licked the spoon and the bowl and they. are. delicious…but oh my goodness – sugar overload!!!!

16) Add final goofy picture of finished product – even though it is hard to photograph well. BUT HEY – is that a TARDIS? (Distract people from bad picture of nut roll (and the fact that I have a tiny bit of said nut roll stuck to my teeth) by pointing out the TARDIS.

 17) Write blog post

Here’s the recipe – provided by Aunt Penny (thank you!):

Date Nut Roll (Paradise Roll)

1 cup chopped pecans

1 lb chopped dates

1 lb marshmallows (cut fine)

1/2 cup cream

1 lb graham crackers (rolled into fine crumbs)

1/2 cup milk

Mix dates, pecans, marshmallows with all but one cup cracker crumbs. Add cream and milk. Mix 5 minutes. Shape into loaf and roll in 1 cup cracker crumbs. Put in refrigerator to harden. Serve with whipped cream.

– As I was working through this recipe I realized I had a ton of questions. I got a little sad and emotional, too, because I won’t get a chance to ask Margaret about the recipe! I spent so much time with my Grandma Lois and my Grandma Blanche in their kitchens. We talked about food, life, their past, their families, etc. This I had to do kind of on my own.  Oddly enough, it was also fulfilling. I talked to Margaret  as I was chopping and mixing and asked her questions in my mind  (how in the heck do you chop marshmallows into fine pieces? Which kid got the duty of stirring this sticky concoction for 5 minutes, etc.)- I bet she heard them! I had fun singing in the kitchen and dancing around making this sweet treat.

(Sorry this was so long…I blame the sugar. I couldn’t stop typing….)