On to the Next Mission…

18 09 2009
Me and Tana at the 39.3 Finish Line

Me and Tana at the 39.3 Finish Line

So the AVON Walk for Breast Cancer is complete!  I made it 39.3 miles, and with your help, I raised $1,811.00 toward life-saving research and treatments for women and men.  Over $4.6 million was raised collectively–as the director said in the opening ceremony, in these tough economic times, that’s no small feat!

Rachel, Trina and Evan--part of our slammin' crew!

Rachel, Trina and Evan--part of our slammin' crew!

Me and Stacy G

Faithful Crew Member TG, who was VERY supportive

Fellow Walkers, Janet and Julie join me at the 39.3 finish

Fellow Walkers, Janet and Julie join me at the 39.3 finish

I was touched by the participants and their stories and dedication, community support in all shapes and sizes, and especially the crew, who watched over our every step, made sure we were properly hydrated and had snacks, and all-in-all made a tough walk a whole lot of fun!

Never one to rest on my laurels, I will be doing a shorter walk on October 3 called “Light the Night.”  Its goal is to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  For those of you who don’t know, my dear sister June died as a result of  complications from her battle with a T-Cell Lymphoma; so this is a bit more personal and tender, but just as important to me as the AVON Walk.

I am looking to raise $800.00, so if you did not get a chance to contribute to the AVON Walk, and would like to support this one, the link is below.

Thanks for reading, and all your support!

Light The Night Walk

Advertisements




Hello, yeah… it’s been a while

11 09 2009

Walking Shoes--Avon Walk Blog (9-2009)I have had quite a busy two months.  In mid-July, me, Lynn, Panda my sister Joan, and my niece Nyoki took a road trip up the California Coast.  The first leg of the trip was in memoriam.  We spread our sister June’s ashes at Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur. It was a good point of closure for all of us, especially for Joan, June’s twin.  Big Sur is still as glorious as ever, and the drive up presented the breathtaking views of cliffs and sea spray that I remembered from previous trips this way.  Even though Lynn was born and raised in California, he had never driven the Highway 1 Route, so it was a treat for him, too.  We all bonded with each other and got reacquainted, as we experienced beauty and fun at a casual pace–it was a much needed vacation for us all!

From Big Sur, we headed into Carmel to have a few days of R and R.  We played tourist in Monterey, then moved on to San Francisco, and finally, Napa, to visit my dear friends Shawna and Nasha.  Shawna played tour guide, driving us through the Redwood forest and Bodega Bay, location shoot for Alfred Hitchcock‘s The Birds.  We took the less than scenic route home, along Interstate 5, then it was back to Los Angeles and “real life.”

For me, that was writing more articles for Examiner.com, and setting up more interviews.  I also had two opportunities to speak: at a job clinic, and at our church–I didn’t realize how much of my time this would entail.  It was a blessing, but aside from my birthday and anniversary celebrations in early August, the month simply whooshed by without a break; before I knew it, September was here…

Real life also meant more intensive training!  Each week, I tacked on two miles of increase to my Griffith Park walk, and a week ago I completed 20 miles!  This, amidst record L.A. heat (107 some days) and smoke and ash from the Station fire in the San Gabriel Mountains.  I’m a crazy type of committed person–once I determine to do something, I find a way, no matter what the circumstances.  Or maybe that’s just what commitment is supposed to be, and we’ve moved far away from it in our society.  But that’s a topic for another day…

So here we are, at September 11, 2009, eight years after the horrific terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon.  Normally I am watching all the remembrances, and trying in my own way to identify with those who truly lost.  Lynn and I prayed this morning for our country, and for the families who are still dealing with grief like an open sore.  But aside from lifting today to the ultimate source, I will not turn on the television or the radio.  You see, today is also the eve of the AVON Walk, so I must prepare to head off to Long Beach, get registered, and then tomorrow, I WALK.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed funds, prayers, encouragement, and clothing!  To see people be so generous, especially in these scary and tough economic times, blesses me to no end.  Americans truly are a charitable people, and that generous spirit is exhibited and felt in so many ways.  I am glad I pursued this walk, not only to slow down and get reacquainted with the world around me, but to get reacquainted with how kind and magnanimous people can be.

I have reached the minimum goal of $1,800, but still would like to reach my desired goal of $2,500.  It’s not too late to participate in a good cause–I know it’s made a difference in my world, and to someone else who is battling with Breast Cancer.

WALKING, in Service to the Cause…

My Avon Walk Page

, as well as a time of bonding.




Happy Independence Day, and the AVON Walk Update!

4 07 2009

I had a marvelous opportunity to “pitch” my memoir proposal and career vision to several entertainment industry executives.  The CAAN (Columbia Alumni Association Network) Los Angeles arm of Columbia College Chicago was gracious enough to host and coordinate this over at CBS Radford.  Sarah Schoeder, Director of West Coast Alumni at Columbia College Chicago and P.A. Cadichon, President of the L.A. chapter, did a bang up job of putting it all together!  It was a tremendous boost to my flagging creative ego, and a great chance to connect with transplanted Chicago-alumni.

Executives and alumni responded well to my pitch, and my book proposal was received into a few hands who could get it to the right places–so keep your fingers crossed!  However, the real highlight of the evening had nothing to do with having an arena in which to spotlight my talent, but two encounters with incredible people who reminded me what a blessing it is to born an American, and how I, and most native-born citizens, too often take this privilege for granted.

Jenny is a beautiful Vietnamese actress/writer, and a fellow Columbia alum.  If you saw her name on paper, you would automatically assume she was of Polish descent, as her last name has that consonant pronunciation thing going on.  While we waited to be called to our five-minute pitch sessions, she told me her story.  She was adopted from Vietnam when she was a young girl, and her parents brought her to America and a better life.  She lamented that she would be out of the country during the fourth of July holiday, and said it would feel strange.  “Every 4th of July I have celebrated here–it’s a privilege to be in this country, and I’m so blessed that I was adopted.”

I encountered another person in the form of one of the catering crew.  He was of Hispanic descent, and I regret that I did not find out his name.  In another of those “waiting to present” times, we started a conversation where he talked about his long hours and days of catering, and how he got started in it.  He loved it, and it was how he acquired his green card, and then his citizenship.  He beamed with pride as he talked about how his son had enlisted in the Marines and would be going on his first tour of duty.  “There is no place like this country.  My son wants to give back, and I encouraged him.  We owe our lives to this place.”

How I wish both of these people could be juxtaposed next to our nation’s President while he is apologizing for all that is wrong with America and how it needs to be fixed.  These naturalized citizens expressed nothing short of pride and joy to be a part of this country, and blessed by all the opportunities given them because of it.  I was humbled and encouraged, because people are ridiculously deluded that one leader or another in office, or certain policies in place are what make America great.  But it is the PEOPLE, like Jenny, and our caterer and his son, who make this country great–and having come from other lands to here, they understand and appreciate the privilege of being called American, where I constantly have to be reminded!

On this July 4th, let us remember that our freedoms are a gift paid for with the sacrifice and dedication of our Founding Fathers, and fighting men from the 1775 to modern day.  Happy Independence Day, God Bless our Troops, and God Bless America!

The AVON Walk training continues, unabated, and I’ve pretty much been in a groove of four days walking, and one day of cross-training with Yoga.   I have increased my distance to 12 miles, continuing my walk from Griffith Park, and heading south on Los Feliz Boulevard.  So far I am up to Vermont, which is approximately 12 miles.  So I’m getting there–twenty miles, here I come!

Another AVON walker recently contacted me, and we decided to do a training walk together.  Tana hails from the great state of Illinois, so she knows what it means to grow up Midwest!  She works around Burbank/Toluca Lake, so we explored a short trail by Johnny Carson Park in Burbank that slopes along the L.A. River.   It wasn’t much distance, but worked well for an initial meet.  She’s cool peeps, and we made plans to walk again, and maybe make it a weekly thing.  She has a full-time office job, so I flipped my Wednesday training to the evening in order to accommodate her schedule.

Tana is early in her fundraising, so she’s hosting an event at Howl at the Moon in Universal City on July 25.  Come on out for drinks and to support a fellow AVON walker with a donation!

Speaking of fundraising, I am now at 53%, having now raised $1,315.  A generous gift from Richard and Jolene of Northridge helped to really boost my numbers.  Richard and Jolene are new members of my church, and they lost their beloved wife and mother, Elaine to cancer earlier this year.  Richard wrote, “please accept this donation in memory of my wife who passed away on 4-18-09 after a 15 month battle with cancer.  ‘Elaine’ will always be in my heart.”

I was humbled and honored, and will hold Elaine in my heart, along with Rebecca and Liz, as I walk in Service to the Cause.

My Avon Walk Page





Support… More than Just Hosiery!

15 06 2009

I cannot believe that I have 89 more days to go before the Avon Walk! Since I started this journey in March, I have moved from a mere 3 miles of walking, to over 10 miles.  But more importantly, I have raised $1,190 toward my goal of $2,500.   That’s 48%!  This money goes far in providing much needed access to care, funding educational programs, and accelerating research into new treatments and potential cures. As the date draws near, I am more and more honored to be a part of this worthy endeavor, and grateful to everyone who has contributed so far.

My latest gifts come from my friends, Kim in Japan, and Ginger, AB6YL of Woolsey Canyon.  Kim and I were high school buds at the MIGHTY, MIGHTY Lane Tech in Chicago (go Lane, go!).  She’s a military wife and mom stationed with her husband Steve, in the Land of the Rising Sun.  We keep up with each other via Facebook, so her contribution was such a nice surprise!  She left a sweet note on my Avon page:

Jennifer, I really appreciate you doing this walk. It means a lot to me and so many others! God Bless 🙂

Steve’s protection of our freedoms so that I can do these walks means a lot to me and so many others, as well–so I’m not worthy!  Thank you, Steve and Kim!

Ginger is a dear lady and fellow YL (that would be a female Ham to you neophytes!), who has been so supportive in my attempts to learn the craft of Amateur Radio, and is now supporting me in this Walk–Ginger, you rock–33!

For the rest of you, it’s not too late–I can receive donations up to, and including the dates of the Walk.  Just click this link to My Avon Walk page in order to donate online.  If you would prefer to contribute through snail mail, email me your address and I will forward a donation form and a stamped envelope for you to send it on its way!

I fully understand not everyone is able to contribute money, and some would prefer to do something more personal and tangible.  Well, here are some suggestions–like the title says, support is for more than hosiery!

1.  For those who believe, Pray for me.   That I have the strength to continue and build on my training, that I don’t suffer any injury that would prevent me from completing the full 39.3 miles, and that the contributions would continue to pour in so that I can reach, and even exceed, my goal.

2. Practical Accessories needed!  In attempting 39.3 miles, my leftover workout clothes just won’t do.  Not because I’m fashion conscious (HAH!) but because I need clothes that are of a wicking material (i.e., pulls perspiration away from my body and feet in order to avoid blisters and chafing), and that represent the event.  I have never been a girly-girl, so pink and purple are lacking in the wardrobe; and as everyone knows, PINK is the recognized color for anything Breast-Cancer related.

So if you’d like, contribute a pair of socks that meet that “wicking” requirement (no cotton, as it causes blisters). Or contribute a pink or purple shirt or bottoms (also of the wicking material)–all would be heartily accepted and put to good use!  And feel free to throw in some pink or purple bandanas or caps too–I need something to block the sun and catch the sweat! 😀   For the record, my shoe size is 8, I do XL in tops, and XXL for bottoms.

3. Come Out to Long Beach on September 13!  So far, it’s Lynn and my niece greeting me at the finish, so if you reside in the Los Angeles area, come down to the Queen Mary Events Park and join with them to herald my return!

Queen Mary Events Park, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, CA 90802.

I will have more updates and information as we get closer to September 12, so whether you contribute, support, or just think good thoughts, keep in touch via the blog! I always enjoy hearing from people and making new friends.

Not only am I having a great time on this journey, but I’m rediscovering the beauty that is L.A., and why I love living here.  My life, and the world’s events are not all peaches and cream; but pouring myself into something other than what’s in front of my face is making all the difference in my attitude, outlook and perspective.

Keeping it real, in Service to the Cause!





This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship…

5 06 2009

On Wednesday, I did the Griffith Park Equestrian Trail for the second week in a row; and I think I have found the permanent spot for my distance training!  This time I decided to cross Los Feliz Boulevard, and walked all the way to the 5 Freeway Riverside Drive off ramp, officially extending the distance to 5 miles one way.  So I completed 10 miles–Whoo Hoo!  I’ll get my body used to doing this for a few more weeks, then begin to increase that distance.  We’re moving into Summer, and September seems like a long way away.  But it also seemed like yesterday that I was starting to train and raise money, and look where I am today!  The walk will be here sooner than I think, so I have to be diligent to prepare my body for 26.2 miles in one day; otherwise, it will be too much of a jolt to my system. So, the sooner I can increase and build stamina, the easier it will be on me… at least, that is my hope :D.

Wednesday was a steely-cool day, which is unusual for June in Los Angeles.  Normally you have some burnoff by the afternoon, but the gloom kept its vigilant watch for the good part of the three hours I was out.  Then the sky opened up, and started to drip, drip, drip, and was finally into full-on drizzle by my return trip to the parking lot–Sweet!  I love rain–such a refreshing change from the usual.

And now, to something completely different–Not!  Just a fundraising update!  Thanks to generous gifts from Bradley and Robin Langston-Jones, Edgar and Irene Brown, Jeff and Dayna Nicholson, and The Oya family, I have officially reached $1,135 toward the Avon Walk!  At 47%, with only 100 days to go, I still need to raise $1,365 to reach my goal of $2,500.

If you have not contributed, please take that step–some people have given me as little as $5.00, which is the price of a combo meal at McDonald’s or a latte at Starbucks–so you’ll save yourself unneeded calories, and contribute to a great cause at the same time!  Where else would it cost so little to do so much?

And don’t forget about the BC Fight Club in San Diego–we’re all in this together.

Here are the links, you know what to do!

My Avon Walk Page

BC Fight Club 3-Day Walk Page





Griffith Park Revisited, and new Fundraising Goal!

29 05 2009

Now that I am moving into my distance miles, I have been scoping out hiking routes where I can go full out for 20 miles (which is the training goal), or that I can go full out for 10, and then double it.  I was trying to combine the Tujunga Wash route (6.25 miles) with city streets, but it just wasn’t jibing.   The street lights, and disruptions of having to cross streets just wasn’t conducive to getting into a distance zone.

Panda needed a bath, beautification, and trim, so I dropped him off at the groomers in Burbank and decided to check out Griffith Park again.  But this time, I parked near the entrance to the L.A. Zoo and Autry Museum, and decided to follow the Equestrian Path that goes along the 5 Freeway.  It turned out to be a stellar choice, and is now my designated distance route!

The Equestrian path stretches from the city of Glendale in the San Fernando Valley, to the city of Los Feliz in Hollywood.  From the parking lot just off of Zoo Drive (start) to Los Feliz Boulevard (end, and the city entrance to Griffith Park), it is 4.4 miles–which means I clocked 8.8 miles today!

The route reflects the paradox of Los Angeles life: Serene beauty juxtaposed by Stressed frenzy.  The I-5 Freeway is a major commuter and truck route that stretches from the San Fernando Valley, into Downtown L.A., and on into Orange County.  So to my left, I had cars and trucks zooming by at 80+ miles per hour, and to my right, I had green hills and cypress trees–what a contradiction, but that’s L.A.!

In terms of fundraising, it’s going like gangbusters!  Thanks to generous gifts from my Aunt Lucia in St. George, Utah and my friend, Dr. Carol Matthews in Hemet, I have now raised $1,025 toward my goal!  I made the commitment that if I reached 50% of that $1,800 within a certain time frame, that I would increase it.  So the new goal is now $2,500!  With 107 more days to go before the walk, this is more than doable, and gives those who have not contributed yet (or who want to contribute more) the opportunity to do so.  As always, any amount is welcome and appreciated–and here’s the link to My Avon Walk Page for your convenience!

Lisa Camilleri and Estellaleigh Franenberg will be walking as part of the BC Fight Club for the San Diego Avon Event on November 20-22, 2009, and they really need help with fundraising.  Whether you want to split the difference between my walk and theirs, or if you’re a San Diegan and want to support your own, here is the link http://www.the3day.org/goto/BC_FightClub to donate to their cause.

We are all sisters in this fight, so when you support one or two, you support all!





Meanderings, Ramblings, and the Avon Walk Update!

14 05 2009

Photo_031609_001Photo_031609_005Spring has truly sprung in Los Angeles, and the weather is quite beautiful.

With the overcast mornings and moderate temps, it’s a nice restful lull before the Dog Days of Summer.  Now that the major Ham events are done for us, I have been fully focusing on building my training regimen.  I am up to 6.25 miles consistently for the distance miles, and some days, I even do 8! On the other days, I vary between 3.5 and 5 miles, depending on whether I do Fryman, Tujunga Wash or some other walking path.

I did Fryman Canyon today, going from end-to-end twice, to make my 6.25 miles.  Seems like everybody and their momma was out, and Thursday early morning is usually the light day!  I attributed it to the change of Marathon schedule here in the city from March to May, which I think was a dumb idea–we’ll see how well it plays out in terms of participation and how many people collapse from heatstroke!  I am very thankful the Avon Walk is in September, and in Long Beach–so that bodes for much cooler weather.

Speaking of Breast Cancer, I received a beautiful note from Rebecca!  She is done with radiation, which was the last recommended stage of active treatment in order to eradicate the cancer.  She is feeling stronger, and is thankful she now has more energy to do things.  Please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers for complete healing, and restored health–for now, and for many years to come!

As for the fundraising, I am at 48%!  Several generous donations poured in at once from Nyoki in Bellevue, Jim in Northridge, Sharon in Reseda, and Dale in Northridge, offering their support and thanks.  Dale’s sister died from Breast Cancer, so it is a cause close to her heart–I add her to my list of people who will be in my thoughts as I walk!

It’s never too early (or late) to contribute, so here’s the link–let’s do what we can, to Save the Ta-Tas!

My Avon Walk Page