Light the Night TONIGHT!

It’s happening, people.

My hair is purple (okay light lavender now after a couple washes).

I’m gathering up glow sticks.

The weather is clearing up.

It’s time to…

LIGHT THE NIGHT

This is my last shout out for you to join us or to help us fundraise. Cmon, it’ll be fun!!!

DO IT!

Okay, peer pressure over with. Here are those details again if you need them. Also, I plan on being down there by 5:30. Hope to see you soon!

Here is the fundraising page
(and also where you can join the team)

And here are the details for the event:

When: October 5, 2017

Where: Veteran’s Park, Downtown Milwaukee WI

Team Name: #KissCancerGoodbye

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Light the Night…and Kiss Cancer Goodbye!

Hey everyone –

Jamie here. But you knew that. I mean, my name is on the website. Anyway, it’s that time of year again. It’s…

LIGHT THE NIGHT!!!!

WOOOOO!!!! woo.

What’s so awesome about Light the Night? Let me break it down for you.

  1. It’s a yearly event where a ton of people walk in honor of their loved ones, friends and family who have been impacted by blood cancers like Leukemia and Lymphoma. We walk in honor of those who have survived, and in memory of those we’ve lost.
  2. Last year, I was in the middle of my own battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma while my friends and family walked in my honor. Because I was neutropenic, I wasn’t able to attend. But this year I’m SUPER pumped to go and join in on such a special event.
  3. Every year, my friend Andrea goes out of her way to organize a great group event and encourages everyone (even dogs!) to come out and walk with our team.
  4. This year, the team is aptly named, “#KissCancerGoodbye” and I can’t wait to link arms with some other cancer survivors and know what it really means to do just that!

So, with all of that said, I encourage you all to come walk with our team, or consider giving a small donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Here is the fundraising page
(and also where you can join the team)

And here are the details for the event:

When: October 5, 2017

Where: Veteran’s Park, Downtown Milwaukee WI

Team Name: #KissCancerGoodbye

 

Hope to see you there!

p.s. I’ll be writing some other posts very soon. I promise!

Super random updates

Every time I come here to write about a particular topic, I run into the fact that I haven’t blogged here in a while and that I can’t just talk about one topic when you have no context around that topic so then I end up writing posts that are really just life and “what I’m doing now” kinds of updates which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but just letting you know that that’s why I’m always writing “update” posts as of late.

(And yes that was the most ridiculous run-on sentence ever.)

So anyway – here is another round of updates. One of these days I’ll get around to actually writing in depth on a topic.

Jackson’s birthday – he’s 5!

Little man has been waiting FOREVER (his emphasis) to turn 5 and it has finally arrived. Well, to be clear, the day he turned 5 was full of fevers and puking causing us to cancel his birthday party in the Milwaukee area. But alas, he got better and the next weekend when we were heading back from Duluth after the half marathon (see next topic below), we stopped in the Hudson/New Richmond area and had a proper birthday party for him complete with cousins, outdoor games, presents and cake. This year’s theme was PJ Masks. Finally, a party without Ninja Turtles! 😉

Half marathon = SUCCESS

In mid-June my friends and I ran a half marathon along Lake Superior and through the streets of downtown Duluth in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. We were able to do this by being a part of Team in Training. The weekend, overall, was a success. Lots of family time and friendship love before, during and after the half marathon. We stayed in a great AirBNB on a beautiful lot overlooking a gorgeous lake (one slight con was that it was 40 minutes away from Duluth where our race was taking place, but other than that it was awesome), and we got to hear the stories of other LLS survivors and see how much money we had all collectively raised for the organization. It was GREAT!

The half marathon part of it? The optimist in me wants to say it was nothing short of amazing given where I was at this time last year. But the realist in me wants you to know that it wasn’t all hearts and flowers for me, personally. The run, itself, got REALLY hard after about 6 miles because I have some lingering nerve damage in my toes – a nasty side effect from one of the chemo drugs I was on during treatment. In the grand scheme of side effects, it’s SUPER minor. But when you run 13.1 miles, that minor side effect turned into something pretty nasty feeling when I was trying my hardest to run the entire course…only stopping for water breaks. I was kind of a Debbie downer at some points farther along the course when coaches would run up and ask us, “How are you all feeling?” Lindsay and Sarah had jubilant “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!” answers (okay, they didn’t say that, but that was basically the tone…which IS awesome). My typical response was, “Well I feel like I’m running on glass…but there’s nothing to be done about it, so I’m just going to keep going.” The coach would give a weird look and respond with, “Are you sure?” and I’d just nod and manage through gritted teeth a, “I’m fine. Really, it’s fine. It’ll get better when I’m done.”

And it did get better when we were done. My toes forgave me once I wasn’t pounding them against pavement continuously and I savored the moment with friends of accomplishing my first half marathon and my first race since before treatment.

And to all those who donated to the cause, thank you for your contributions!

Kitchen remodel is nearing the finish line

This one is short because I’m not showing the good pictures because I want it to be a surprise, but we are less than two weeks away from finishing our kitchen. THANK GOODNESS. Living through a remodel of this scale is not easy, and our patience has been tested many times, but we’re getting there and soon I’ll be able to show the before and after pictures. And you are gonna be floored. Stay tuned!

So I built a chatbot. Go try it out!

Okay – this is where things get a bit random. I built a chatbot! You may be thinking, “Cool! Wait, what’s a chatbot?” And that’s a great question. In the most general sense, it’s like chatting with a computer program instead of chatting with an actual human.

There are a lot of different levels of chatbots. At one end of the spectrum the chatbot can process anything you say and give you a response. Think – IBM’s Watson that has built up an extensive knowledge base and can even best human’s on Jeopardy. That is NOT what I built.

On the other end of the spectrum you have chatbots that can handle simple inputs from the user (you) and give you a pre-programmed response that has been built into the system. That’s more like what I built.

But me explaining it is probably not going to paint the best picture so go try it out. You can either use this link to get started and a new window will open up with a chat screen (that’s where you interact with the chatbot), or you can go check out the website I built for it to live on – www.AirFilterReminder.com and click on “SET REMINDER” to get it going through there.

You can also launch it in Facebook Messenger if you’re really savvy. When you’re in the Messenger app, click on the “Discover” button in the lower right-hand area of the app and then search for “Air Filter Reminder” and you should see the bot come up. There’s also a lot of other bots in there from other companies. Try them out! You’ll get to see the new wave of conversational commerce that will likely be a part of your world in the near future.

One thing to keep in mind is that this bot is in testing which means any feedback you have would be much appreciated in order to make it better in the future. The site is also pretty fresh too so there’s not a lot of content on there yet. But that will be coming in the future also.

So that’s it.

That concludes a month’s list of random updates. Hope your summer is going well!

A year ago…

Yesterday was the anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. My “cancerversary,” if you will.

Here’s what my life looks like today…

  • I haven’t seen a hospital in months.
  • I get a lot of restful sleep.
  • I take zero pills for anything. My only drug is coffee.
  • I can move a lot without getting tired.
  • My temp is never over 98.6.
  • I enjoy a couple drinks a week (always in moderation).
  • The only question I have about my health relates to how soon I can drop the weight I put on during treatment (and it’s more of a rhetorical question that can be answered by how diligently I workout and eat right).
  • A week from tomorrow I’ll be running my first half marathon in over two years.
  • Tomorrow my son turns 5.
  • My hair is short and bright blonde and most days crazy looking.
  • We have a dog.

These are all things that are very different than how my world looked a year ago.

This is how my life looked a year ago…

 

  • I was actually being discharged from my second stint in a hospital after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (Well technically they first diagnosed me as Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma…but the final pathology report said Hodgkin’s).
  • I couldn’t sleep lying down and had to sleep sitting up in a recliner.
  • I was on Advil 24/7 for all the pain in my back and neck.
  • I got winded going up the stairs or taking a shower or moving too much, in general.
  • My temp was never below 99.8 (a low grade fever) and I bounced between night sweats and chills constantly.
  • I hadn’t had a drink of alcohol in months for fear of how painful it would be.
  • I was grateful that I had an answer to the questions that had plagued me about my declining health for the last 6 months, but also not too thrilled that it was potentially one of the worst things ever.
  • My son was just about to turn 4.
  • My hair was long and thick and gorgeous.
  • We did not have any pets.

Obviously, my life is trending in the right direction. Which is amazing. And I continue to focus on the things that will only make this life better.

  • Spending lots of time with friends and family.
  • Making an amazing home that I love to spend time in.
  • Finding new roads in my professional path that drive me to learn more or increase my current skill set.
  • Being in control of my health and getting back to running.
  • Snuggling with puppies. Oh man, there is so much more of this in my life now and I love it!
  • Writing, writing, writing.

So yeah – in a nutshell – things are pretty good.

I had a lot more I wanted to say, but it’s a beautiful summer day and I don’t want to spend it glued to a computer anymore. Also, I have a party to prep!

As always, thanks for tuning in.

I’m writing…I’m just not writing here.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here. It’s certainly not because I don’t have anything to say. I’ve always got something to say. But right now a lot of the things I want to say are either too personal and go into a journal or have to do with things that may be outside the audience I’ve built here. Which, to be honest, it’s hard for me to pinpoint who exactly my audience is at current and that’s why I find it harder to write things on here. Are you reading because…

  • You’re interested in writing or content strategy?
  • You know me personally?
  • You’re following along with experiences I’ve had throughout my cancer treatment and now post cancer?
  • We work together or used to work together?

It really could be any of those things and that’s why I’m struggling with what to write because whatever I write may only interest a small subset of my audience.

So while I figure out what this site is and what I want it to continue to be, I thought I’d at least point you to some other things I recently wrote…like within the last 24 hours (sometimes I just have a lot of thoughts and they need to come out one on top of the other). Maybe they’ll interest you. Maybe they won’t. But I’ll let you decide that.

Thanks for checking in!

My recent articles…

LinkedIn article on the book “Deep Work” and how I’ve used it to progress my career

Medium article on how to build a product even if you don’t know how to code 

Life check in

I have a couple posts in the works, but I just haven’t had the time to sit down and complete the thoughts I have, so those will be another time. This is yet another “life check in.” …i.e. pictures of me and the fam. Enjoy!

A couple weeks ago when the weather was unseasonably warm (thank you global warming…sorry polar bears), we went for a hike at the local nature center that’s next to Lake Michigan.

 

This look? It’s not a happy look. My scalp was burning. Ahh, the price you pay to color your hair.

The finished product…lavender hair! Hey-o!

Better picture so you can see that it was actually purple…for a total of four days. Seriously. It was all washed out before the next weekend rolled around (more proof below).

I just had to take a picture of this place – it’s where we had our reception for our wedding, but it’s got new owners and the banquet hall part is now this AMAZING restaurant complete with a polka band and servers in leiderhosen. So cool! If you were there, hopefully you realize that it looks NOTHING like it used to.

He’s breaking all the rules when it comes to couches. He might even be part cat. The jury is still out on that one.

Told ya! This is literally five days after it was lavender. Now it’s platinum, and I’m embracing my inner disney villain some days.

Same picture, but this is just to prove to “some people” (cough, Jake, cough) that my hair IS growing and it does NOT look the same as it did in November.

I just want to take a moment to admire this woman’s dress…puffy sleeves and all.

Do they know dentistry? Sure. Is English their first language? Maybe…maybe not. (This was a coloring book my son got when a dentist came in to talk to their class).

Practicing with his new toothbrush. Sure, he has to open the cupboard doors and stand on the ledge to see what he’s doing, but he’s resourceful like that.

 

Whhhhhhhhhaaatttt?????

FYI…You’re supposed to read that in a tone of disbelief.

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[I basically emailed this story to my friend and she thought this was blog worthy. So here it is…as it was emailed to my friend.]

Got home from my work thing, had some thawed out sloppy joes ready to go for dinner (easy peezy). And this is an important detail for later on. But back to the evening. The dog had been in the crate all day so when the neighbors were outside and had their dog on the loose, I was like, “Be free! Burn off some puppy energy cause we have dog training tonight and I don’t want you to be a spazoid!” So he did. He ran. Hard. And fast. And so far. I mean, they stayed in the cul de sac, but like he probably ran two miles doing circles around the houses with the neighbor dog. And then they both drank a gallon of water from the small stream running through the cul de sac. Jake and I took turns hanging with the neighbors and keeping an eye on Max. At around 6:45, I let him in the house so I could wipe him down and get him to chill a bit before dog training at 7:30 (god, it’s such a late time to be doing anything, but whatever).

So he peed at the house, we left, got to dog training and I meant to make him pee again before we went in but got distracted talking to another woman in my class about how the prong collar has changed her life. So we walked down the stairs together (it’s in the basement of the place where we bring him for doggy daycare). And then like two minutes later he just starts peeing like crazy! Like the pee where he’s like walking and peeing and has no clue what to do. And we’ve seen this before. It happens when he drinks way too much water and basically his kidneys are still not fully developed so they can’t hold it all in and he just starts flushing all the water cause his bladder can’t handle it. We talked to the vet about it, she asked us to try rationing his water throughout the day…like a cup of water here and there, not a full bowl of water all the time, and ever since we started doing that we’ve had no accidents in the  house. But then I realized, oh yeah, he drank a ton of water outside. So I ran him up the stairs to go potty outside again…embarrassed that I’d have a pile of pee to cleanup and class hadn’t even started yet. I get him to pee.  He pees a ton. We go back downstairs and the teacher was there now and she had started to put paper towels on the pee spots (it was everywhere). And she said she would hold Max while I cleaned it all up and sprayed it with bleach cleaner. Fair enough. She was kind and was like, “Accidents happen. Just make sure they go potty before they get here.” So, a bit embarrassed, but whatever. He’s a dog. And we’re in a puppy training class. Like, he’s not the only puppy. It’s fine.

Then…10 minutes later it’s our turn to show off what we’d been practicing the last week. And wouldn’t you know it, he peed again in front of everyone. I was super apologetic. And she was like, “He’s probably done now. You can just continue and then wipe it up.” But I knew he would probably pee some more if I took him outside, so I said, “I don’t think he’s done, I’ll be right back.” So I took him out…again he peed a ton. I got back down. Gave her his leash and then proceeded to get on my hands and knees and clean up the second spot. This time, in front of the whole class. Embarrassed? Oh very much so. I was contemplating calling it a night after that and leaving but even I was like, he’s probably peed out that gallon by now. I’m sure he’s fine.

So then we continue. And about five minutes later HE PEES AGAIN. And this time, the teacher goes, “Ugh, he’s peeing again! What is wrong with your dog??!?! Is he even potty trained? Does he do this at home???!” Like, she was legit yelling at me in front of the class. And I tried to explain that he is potty trained, he doesn’t do this at home, he just had a lot of water and it was my fault, I should have kept an eye on him, and as I’m about to bring him upstairs again she goes, “Well you’re going to have to start bringing your own paper towels then, I can’t just keep supplying these. I mean, it’s not a rule I’ve ever enforced, but I guess I’ll have to if this is going to keep happening.” So I was shaking at this point. I brought him upstairs, he peed again…a ton more. I went back down stairs. Didn’t even have her hold him, just kept my foot on his leash while I got on my hands and knees again, and cleaned up the mess. I put the supplies back, grabbed my purse and ran out of there before they could see me cry. UGH. I was so upset and pissed! Like at first I was upset that he peed, but then I was moreso pissed that she would choose to humiliate me in front of the whole class for something I have very little control over. And also – I paid $175 for this class and you’re going on about how I have to supply my own paper towels? What in the holy hell are you on, lady? UGHHHH! I was so pissed.

Who could possibly be upset with this face?

Who could possibly be upset with this face?

 

Then I got home and just could not stop thinking about how pissed I was and how she just called me out in front of all those people. Like, I will never go back there and I will never show my face again, and also…my dog isn’t broken, okay? So he can’t hold water like other dogs, he’s still a puppy and he deserves the same respect you’d give other dogs, you massive tool! I called to talk to the manager today about getting a full refund and couldn’t even stop myself from crying then. Like, they need to know how unprofessional this woman was. There are so many other ways she could have dealt with that. I wouldn’t have even been upset if she was like, “it looks like maybe this isn’t a good night for you two. What if we try this again next week. Maybe try limiting his water intake a bit more next week and we’ll see if that helps.” Like…there are ways you could have handled this that still address this issue and not make it seem like I’m this incompetent owner. Mother f’er.

So yeah, I talked to the owner’s daughter…and the trainer is just someone that works there part time. She told me getting a full refund wouldn’t be a problem, but that she wanted me to talk to the owner and tell her what happened so that they can deal with this appropriately. I still haven’t told them the full story, but I will definitely let them know this woman maybe needs some lessons in how to treat paying customers. I’m not asking for her to be a meek and mild woman when it comes to the actual teaching. Like, if you want to be the Gordon Ramsey of dog trainers, that’s fine! But…just for things that are in my control. My dog’s bladder? So very much not in my control. Well, I mean, limiting water is in my control but what’s not in my control is I can’t actually tell him how to hold it better. You get what I’m saying.

So then, I’m lying in bed, still rattled by all this. And all of a sudden I get massive heartburn and an upset stomach. Cue the sloppy joes coming back in the picture to make my sleep all the more awful. UGH!!!

Fun, right?

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What?

Life as I know it (February edition)

I haven’t posted in a while, and that’s because life is just go, go, go right now. Which is totally fine with me. So here are some pics from the last couple weeks.

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Me and half of my “market” ladies at a winery tour in LaCrosse. Needless to say, it was amazing.

 

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I swear I didn’t do this. It was all Max. But doesn’t he look like some little old Russian grandma?

 

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Me trying out a new lipstick I got in the latest birchbox. It’s…bold. Not something I’d wear to work, but maybe I can find a fancy occassion to wear it. Also – so many dark roots and scraggly eyebrows (I refuse to pluck them).

 

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Jackson when he’s actually enjoying his swim lessons. Which is a rare sight, some weeks.

 

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Captain Jake and mini captain Jake. This boy loves his costumes.

 

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I call this the “puppy ball.” It’s where the pup usually resides while I’m working from home.

 

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It’s been years, but we started a new puzzle. This one is 1,000 pieces. Wait, 999 because Max ate one.

 

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Jackson helped with valentine’s day gifts this year. Getting pretty good at writing his name. Had about 16 chances…so the “n” got less squished the more he wrote it.

 

So that’s it. Happy Friday!

World Cancer Day

Saturday was World Cancer Day. I know this because I follow a lot of cancer survivors/fighters on Instagram. I didn’t make a fuss of it on Saturday, but I did just see a really great video on the Today Show that gave me a little hope for the future for others that have to deal with these life-threatening diseases.

Click the image to go to the video…

 

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Gene therapy may still be a ways off for all cancer fighters, but it’s getting closer and closer, and that’s my feel good story of the day.

Happy Monday all!

#leroyremodel is a go. Again!

cartoon

Well it’s that time of the year. The time where Jake and I plot out what we’re going to remodel in our house. We got the bug way back in the summer of 2015 when we renovated a large majority right when we moved in. But we had a couple big areas we held off on for financial reasons. Then as we renovated each area I took before and after pics and documented those areas on instagram with the hashtag “#leroyremodel” (I kept all those pics and write ups even after I deleted my instagram – see examples at the bottom of this post).

Last year, in the spring of 2016, we renovated our master bathroom.

This year? Going big.

Go big or go home, right? We’re remodeling our kitchen and getting all new floors throughout the first floor…with the exception of the family room that faces the backyard. That will stay as is for the foreseeable future.

We’re gonna tear down walls.

We’re gonna have an island.

We’re gonna have all new cupboards and counter tops and appliances.

We’re gonna spend a BOAT LOAD of money. Oh yeah. Lots of money being dropped on this.

But we won’t get into that now. Let’s just focus on the transformation.

No more three different types of flooring.

No more dining room that gets used only 2 times a year.

No more being separated by silly things like walls.

No more lusting after HGTV’s latest dream kitchen CAUSE IT WILL BE OURS!

So yeah, that’s what is happening. Not yet, but soon. Right now we just finalized the contractor we’ll be going with. Next up – the design phase.

Examples of #leroyremodel…

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day50ish

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