Friday, June 22, 2007

beyond red state blue state

if you take this short survey, i'd love to know in which category you are placed. can you guess mine?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

9 Showers Total

Check out the latest from Jim and Jesse- hiking from Mexico to Canada raising money for Dana Farber Cancer Institute (where I go) and for a leukemia foundation. They are my heroes, both for their altruism, their athleticm, and their dogged tenacity, mile after mile.

Can you add a dime per mile to their cause? A dollar? check it out at:

And here's their latest update from Wyoming:

Fundraising Overview

We have passed $10 in pledges per mile... That means we are now raising close to $300 per day for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and he Cammy Lee Leukemia foundation! We hope to add a few more dollars to that total in the final two months of our hike.


Miles hiked to date: 1500
Days since start: 61

Current location: Rawlins, Wyoming

Miles to go: 1500

Showers: 9

Hike Recap

We are halfway home! Yesterday afternoon we walked into the southern Wyoming oil town of Rawlins - 1500 miles from our start of the Mexican border and 1500 miles from Canada. We celebrated with an all you can eat pizza buffet, steaks, a double feature at the local movie theater and a night in some comfortable motel beds!

Much of the time since our last post from Lake City (southern Colorado) has been spent trapsing in and around the Colorado snow. Although we avoided snow storms like the one we experienced in the San Juans, we have used our snow shoes nearly every day between Pagosa and Steamboat Springs - a distance of about 550 miles. As beautiful as Colorado was, we were a bit relieved to finally trade in the high alpine landscapes for the arid sage brush lands of Southern Wyoming.

The new state greeted us with sunny skies and a good dose of Wyoming hospitatlity:
The first person we met on the "trail" in Wyoming -- a rancher out tracking down his cows -- pulled up and offered us two beers from the well stocked cooler in his pickup bed. We were hot and thirsty, and the first few gulps of the ice cold Bud tasted like heaven. The last sips didn't go down as easy, but they did help us get a few more miles down the trail.
The Infanger family (friends of Jim's dad) have graciously offered to drive over from Jackson Hole to meet us in South Pass City (they must not know how bad we smell!).

This afternoon, we hike out of Rawlins and into the Great Basin -- an area where the continental divide splits to create an enclosed basin. The Great Basin is known for being both arid and very warm -- daytime temperatures will hover in the 90's. So it is back to siphoning water from stock ponds and the occasional spring - much like our first miles in Southern New Mexico. But the trail is flat and wide, and we expect to cover the 120 miles to South Pass City in around four days. From there, we will head back to the cooler alpine confines of the Wind River Range (and enter our first Grizzly country!).

We hope this finds everyone well, and we look forward to detailing our Wyoming adventures in our next post (someplace in southern Montana!).

The highlights of our past four weeks:
Friends joining our hike - Rachel Tobey, Leland Fuhrig and Scooter (Jesse's dog) jumped on for a very adventurous hike (river crossing, dog throwing, bridge building, bushwhacking, log jumping and GPSing) around Steamboat Springs.
More Trail Angels - Matt, Michael and Tracy Brend met us in Grand Lake; Leland and his house-mate Ryan stepped up with accomodation and a bar-b-que in Steamboat Springs; and Lisa continued her altruistic service by driving up from Albuquerque for two nights of deluxe car camping.
Some pristine weather and the early signs of a late Spring highlighted the beauty which had eluded us for much of Colorado.
Signs of Spring, like fields of wildflowers and an abundance of newborn elk, deer and moose.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

best laid plans

Sorry for the blag. (that’s a blog lag) Life has been busy but simple, a great combo.

There is an episode of The Simpsons where Lisa sets out to scientifically determine “Who is smarter: my brother or a hamster?” She sets up an experiment where the hamster is shocked each time it tries to eat a food morsel. Likewise, Bart receives an electronic shock whenever he reaches for a cupcake. The result? The hamster learns much quicker to avoid the temptation.

I fear that I am more like Bart. There are many facile lessons that seem to take me a long time to figure out. The pattern of which I’m finally taking notice is the effect on my body of the 3-week chemo routine of this 15-month phase of treatment. Only took me 6 months to take note and take action. Heretofore, the aches, the vomiting, the constipation, the insomnia, the fatigue, blah blah blah, were each examined rather individually and never have I had the (obvious in retrospect) prescience to notice of the schedules of sickness and plan ahead. The only thing I can say in my defense is that I really don’t think I’ve experienced a very consistent reaction to the drugs until the past couple months. So, now, I am, to some extent, preparing myself (mostly psychologically) for impending pain and discomfort. For example, tomorrow is Day 1 of a cycle, so I expect to feel like shit for about a week starting on Friday or Saturday— so, let me see… june 23-30… EEK! just in time for finals! Sigh. Maybe ignorance was bliss.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


Monday is my 28th birthday, but I really don't want to do anything to celebrate. The main and honest reason is that I'm just too busy with schoolwork this month and literally need every spare hour to study. I am usually a strict adherent to a balanced lifestyle, but for this June, I am foregoing that sagacity and just buckling down. I am taking intensive Chinese (one year of Mandarin in six weeks), Media and International Conflict, and Contemporary Economic Issues. With six hours of in-class lecture per day, I barely have time to do the reading, listening, flashcarding, sleeping, and eating necessary. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though: everything is done by June 29. This means that I have July and August to relax, take a trip to Cali, and devote some overdue time to creative writing.

There is another reason why I don't feel the desire at all to commemorate June 4th this year.

A lot of people around my age are getting engaged, married, having babies even. Me, I'm not lucky enough to claim any of those upcoming events. However, I have a different milestone coming up and I would seriously like you to SAVE THE DATE. At the end of March 2008, that's ten months from now (I suppose that's when people send out wedding Save the Date cards, right?), I will finish chemotherapy. As most of you know, the phase I'm in now is much more forgiving than the previous year's, but when I don't have to take cups of pills every day, visit the hospital every week, or feel weak and fatigued all the time won't really come until it's all over. Not to mention, upon the end of chemotherapy, that will mark two years since diagnosis, a nice hefty margin to put between me and cancer, with each day forward making relapse less likely.

Anyway, I figure birthdays are pretty commonplace, weddings/births and beginning LPC (life post-chemo) are not. At this point, I'm not sure what celebration will ensue, but since so many of my friends/family are strewn across this planet, I understand that some forethought and planning might have to go into your participation. A big party in San Francisco? A spa weekend in New Mexico? A long weekend camping in the sequoias? A vacation to Costa Rica/Tibet/Guam?

As far as the exact days I'm requesting of your life, if you're interested in this, consider the second half of May 08. Things should be nicely wrapped up with school and therapy. In fact, I'm sort-of considering that next May's commencement exercises to be my graduation because I'm hoping to go to Shanghai-based China-Europe International Business School (CEIBS) for my last semester and it will mark my final presence at Fletcher. I won't be able to walk, but I hope that I symbolically "graduate" from grad school with my friends then. I guess that adds one more reason to celebrate.

Bring. It. On.