Monday, May 19, 2014

Urban Adventure Quest provides perfect entertainment for the playful traveler

Anyone who knows me, knows these things about me:

- I love to play games
- I love to travel
- I love a good deal
- I love technology

What's more, I passed these traits on to my son, Scotty. He's my favorite travel buddy because he's always up for whatever game I come up with. However, these days it's a little tougher for me to come up with games that will keep him entertained. Scotty, a 19-year-old engineering student, recently competed in the College Puzzle Challenge at Purdue and his suggestion of entertainment during our upcoming cruise was that we could work on puzzles from past years.  After trying one such puzzle, I quickly nixed that idea.

However, I did want to figure out something that we would both enjoy when we stopped in Catalina Island and I wasn't crazy about any of the overpriced excursions the ship offered.  (These definitely did not fall into the "good deal" category.)

When I googled "Things to do in Catalina," little did I expect I'd stumble upon the perfect activity for us: An Urban Adventure Quest Walking Tour of Catalina Island! The self-guided tour, part scavenger hunt, part game, was very reasonably priced and provided just the activity that was ideal for the two of us. The quest would guide us through the island with challenges and puzzles that were Goldilocks-perfect.. not too easy and not too hard. (OK, compared to Scotty's college-puzzles, they were super-easy, but not so easy that we got a perfect score. They could be a little tricky but were just right for our small mother-son team.  After all, who wants to think TOO hard while on vacation?)

The walking tour provided history and information about classic sites of the island as well as some hidden gems off the beaten path. Camera in hand, I snapped plenty of photos of the picturesque island and will savor the memories of the fun afternoon.

I highly recommend this fun way to see a new place. Urban Adventure Quest offers adventures for many major cities across the nation.  Their Facebook page is:

Monday, March 03, 2014

Thank You to Those Who Donate

I have done quite a bit of fund-raising in the past 15 years.  I've done a lot of running events  for Leukemia & Lymphoma and Cancer. I always felt awkward about asking my friends and family for money, but I knew that the causes were good, so I sent the emails and letters.  And, over the years, I've tried to help others who were fund-raising with donations and by helping to spread the word of their causes.

The downside of this is that by now my friends and family have seen so many emails from me asking to donate to causes that many of them are undoubtedly wishing to be off my email list!  And, though, I may have even promised them in the past that I wouldn't do any more fund-raising, here I am again, asking for money.

This time is different, though.  This is the first time I'm fund-raising for ALS, and it's very personal for me. The experience I had with helping my friend, Craig, who had ALS, was life-changing for me.

Even though I'd been worried that asking for money, yet again, would annoy my friends and family, I was once again, moved by the generosity from those who donated.  Many friends donate again and again. I almost felt like keeping those who have donated in the past off of my distribution list because I don't want them to feel like I'm taking advantage of their generosity. But instead of complaining, they give me encouragement and more donations! 

After only 2 weeks, I've already raised over $3000 of my $12000 goal! 

There are those who I barely know who have contributed... There are a couple of people (who I won't name to protect their privacy) who have given amazingly generous donations. These people truly are selfless. They ask for nothing in return, but just give because of the cause.  Maybe they knew Craig or have known someone who suffered from ALS and, like me, want to do something to help find a cure for this awful disease.

And then there are people who donate for me.  My family and good friends fall into this category.  I'm especially proud of my children, who don't have much money, yet still donated generously. They know how I loved Craig and they want to show their support. I feel so moved and grateful for those who realize that raising this money helps me keep Craig's spirit alive...  

Whenever I've done fund-raising, but this time especially, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for the goodness of those who donate.  A thank you  doesn't seem to nearly say enough. I wish I could bestow all the goodness and generosity back ten-fold to those who give, but I guess I will have to leave that job up to God.

So... for all those wonderful people who have donated to this very worthy cause...  Thank you. You make such a difference in this world. I will always be grateful for your generosity.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Live Life to its Fullest

“I intend to leave this life with nothing but love, acceptance, forgiveness and compassion in my heart. I am so ready to live life to its fullest. I only wish I would have thought to do it sooner.” ~Craig Dunham 1960-2010

These were the words from my good friend, Craig Dunhum, in his email when delivering the news that he'd been diagnosed with ALS (more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease).  This video was made a few weeks before he died. I helped him communicate his love to his friends and family. He wasn't able to talk on the phone and I was happy I came up with a solution. Can you imagine not being able to move or talk? 

My goal is to honor Craig's memory by becoming the top fundraiser for the Walk to Defeat ALS. Last year the top fund-raiser raised over $12,000, so that will be a challenge, but I like a good challenge!

Craig always lived life to the fullest, even when he could no longer move or speak. It's only fitting that his initials match that of the saying, Carpe Diem. I know if he were still alive he would be jumping wheelies in his wheelchair, probably creating some new Olympic sport to help me raise money. I wish I could think of some cool, nifty trick that I could do myself that would help me make this message go viral, but all I can think of right now is just to ask for your help.  One thing I might do is send an eBook to everyone with inspirational stories about Craig and how he lived life fully, in spite of this disease.  Do you have an inspirational story? Let me know!

Please help me keep Craig's spirit alive by:

1) Spreading the word! Please pass this link on and spread to your social networks!

2) Join team Carpe Diem and if you live in the Denver area, come walk with me on Sept. 13.

3) Donate! (Anything helps.)

4) Let me know stories of people in your life who you've been inspired by (by comment or email)

5) Make every minute count...  Carpe Diem!

Friday, January 31, 2014

January, 2014 Highlights

It's been an excellent month! One of my resolutions is to post a monthly slideshow of some of my favorite photos and memories from the month, so here's January's!
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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ski to Defeat ALS, February 23

It's a new year which means a new volunteer project for me! This year I'm serving on a committee supporting a cause that's near and dear to my heart: ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). My good friend, Craig Dunham, died from ALS in 2010 and I wrote several blog posts about how inspiring he was to me. He lived life to the fullest, even when he couldn't move or speak.

So, my first task in this new volunteer role is to help spread the word about an awesome event that's coming up at Eldora on Sunday, February 23.  This is a great way to support a good cause and have fun at the same time!

Ski to Defeat ALS, at Eldora Mountain, includes a lift ticket, breakfast, lunch, and the chance to win some great prizes! Some of the highlights:

  • Early Bird Registration: Register before February 1st Register before February 1st and receive $15 off the $50 registration fee!
  • Season Pass Holders’ Discount: Do you already have a season pass that covers Eldora Mountain? If so, enter Discount Code: SEASON and received $25 off the $50 registration fee!
  • Costume Contest: The most creative Individual Costume and the most creative Team Costume will be honored at the End of Day Celebration!
  • Fundraising Contest: The Individual and the Team that raises the most money by the day of the event will receive an award and prize at the End of Day Celebration!
  • Ski to Defeat ALS Sweatshirt: Each participant that raises $200 will receive an official Ski to Defeat ALS hoodie sweatshirt
Please help me spread the word about Ski to Defeat ALS. Let’s get the word out about this awesome event, by sharing on all your social networks and telling your friends!

For More Information ~ Call (303) 832-2322 Email

Sunday, December 29, 2013

I'm Grateful for People Who Send Christmas Cards

One of my ongoing resolutions has been to practice gratitude, so I thought it might be fun to have a weekly blog post about something I'm grateful for. (And hope it lasts for more than a week!)

So... today I am grateful for people who still send traditional Christmas cards through the good old fashioned mail. 

I've become very lazy, myself, about using the mail and use the convenience of Facebook, email, Smileboxes, JibJabs etc. to send my news and photos.  There's so many cool options to animate and include photos and music, all for free! (BTW, my 2013 recap can be found here!)

But I give a lot of credit to those friends and relatives who still take the time, trouble, and expense to buy, print, label, stamp, write, and mail, the traditional way. 

I've started a new tradition where I now send New Years cards back to those people I get the Christmas Cards from.  It's handy, because I can get their addresses from the return addresses of their cards and I can comment on their recent photos or news. 

So, for all you people who still send traditional cards: Yay! I am grateful for you!! Thank you!
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Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 Slideshow

It's been a good year! I kept my resolution to run at least one race in costume each month (I actually did 4 extra!).  So... as I review my 2013 photos,it turns out I have an abundance of running pictures!  I also traveled quite a bit, both for work and for pleasure.  Matt got married over the summer, so we welcomed beautiful Stella Min to our family. I'm lucky to have Meg and Chris and my two grandchildren, Diego and Reneya, living close by, which gives me a lot of babysitting opportunities! Matt started a PhD Psychology program at Florida State in August and Scotty is in his second year at Purdue and also interning at GE. I'm still single, but have lots of fun with friends and dates, so I'm never lonely. I feel very blessed!
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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Help me Help GiveForward Help Christian Hannah for #GivingTuesday

One of my resolutions for 2013 was that I was going to help spread the word of those who were doing good in the world helping others.  A "Help Me Help X Help Y" kind of thing.  The power of social media is so strong and I love to see it used for good by spreading the word of kind and generous things happening in the world.

#GivingTuesday is a movement which is all about giving back. GiveForward is a fundraising site dedicated to helping raise money for medical expenses for those in need.

Today, #GivingTuesday, is the perfect time to celebrate the tradition of giving back! And how great that it follows Thanksgiving, when we celebrate all we have been given.

For #GivingTuesday, GiveForward is working towards helping Christian Hannah get a wheelchair van.

This is Christian Hannah, the boy we’re helping:

  • He’s 14 now, born with cerebral palsy, lives in a wheelchair
  • Raising money for a wheelchair van to help him do more things

I know that all year we are asked to donate to various causes and it's impossible to help everyone. But you can help, both by donating and by spreading the word by using social media and the #GivingTuesday hashtag.  If you're a blogger, then write your own blog post or simply share the links on Facebook, Twitter or wherever you hang out in cyberspace. 

I am SO grateful for my health and the health of my kids and now little grandbabies.  I can't imagine the financial and emotional hardships a family must go through when a child has cerebral palsy. And it's such an easy thing for the rest of us to send a little bit of money and support to someone else who needs help.  

I hope you'll join me in making a donation, spreading the word, and doing a small part in making this world a better place for all of us.

Sunday, March 24, 2013