Saturday, February 14, 2009

favorite thing friday

One day last week, my sister from Massachusetts called to ask me how cold is too cold to go skiing. She was calling on behalf of her son, who was scheduled to be at ski school later that afternoon.

Since I'm a huge skiing enthusiast, I didn't have a good answer because I've braved the cold to go skiing when it's been -15 degrees. (Minus 15 degrees. Below zero. Fahrenheit.) But when my sister told me that it was 10 degrees and my eight-year-old nephew didn't have a turtle fur for his neck and face, I suggested that she keep him home and make O'Henry bars instead.

Clearly she was on the same wave length, because at that very moment, the timer went off for a batch of chocolate chip cookies she was pulling out of the oven.

The turtle fur is essentially a tube of soft fleece that you pull over your head and wear like a turtleneck. What I love about them is that they can be pulled up high to cover your lower face and ears - or - you can push them down so that they just cover your neck.

Whenever we venture in to a climate where the thermostat drops below 30 degrees, I make sure that I have my turtle fur. And whenever I go downhill skiing, regardless of the temperature, I make sure that I have my turtle fur. Nothing beats a turtle fur when you are whipping down a slope in the late afternoon and the sun is on the other side of the mountain. And you pass a snow blower that shoots icicles all over your face.

We've owned our turtle furs for at least 15 years. I have since seen similar garments made by other companies and they all appear comparable. They come in both adult and children's sizes. Infact, the picture above is one that I just recently picked up for my eight-year-old nephew that I plan to drop in the mail tomorrow ... so that he never has to miss a skiing lesson again.

But while we are on the subject of cold necks and faces...

Here are pictures of the fuzzy-scarves that I've neglected almost everything else in my life so that I could knit over the past two days. The girls love them. And considering NO ONE HAS MADE A $1.00 DONATION for these scarves, it looks like they might be staying in the family.

Thankfully, I'm not easily discouraged.

My cousin, Margaret, on the other hand.

Sweet Clementine.

She called me yesterday in a panic.

I answered the phone to hear her gasping, "I cannot believe it. I cannot believe it. What am I doing? Am I out of my mind? How in the world am I supposed to raise $4,100.00 for this marathon? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DO IT?!"

"Hello? Hello? Margaret? Is that you??"

"YES IT'S ME. How am I supposed to do this?! I am sitting here eating raw cookie dough and Hershey Kisses and peanut butter. I AM IN TRAINING FOR A MARATHON AND YET I'VE GAINED EIGHT POUNDS IN TWO WEEKS. How is that POSSIBLE?! My heart is beating out of my chest and all I can do is EAT!!"

I calmly asked if she had sent out her fundraising letters yet and she exasperatedly said, "No. No, not yet. But, I did just send out an e-mail to NINETY EIGHT people and no one has responded to me. NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON! But oh thank GOD for your reader, Amy, that donated to me last week. GOD BLESS AMY!!"

I asked her when she sent out her e-mail and she said, "Ten minutes ago. I sent my e-mail TEN MINUTES ago and no one has replied!! Have you looked at my fundraising page? HAVE YOU LOOKED AT IT?? On yours and Charlie's, the fundraising ticker has already started to move. On mine it's still stuck at ZERO!!"

My attempt at stifling a laugh was unsuccessful. So I said, "Margaret. Listen. Take a deep breath. You need to give this some time. Most people don't sit in front of their computer all day hitting REFRESH on their e-mail account. I'm sure at least one person will respond to you."

As we were talking, someone did respond to her.

A woman from Margaret's Catholic church wrote her an e-mail to say that she would not be able to support this particular cause because The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society supports the use of embryonic stem cells in finding a cure for cancer. Soon after that e-mail rolled in, Margaret heard from other people within her homeschool co-op where they also stated that they would not be able to contribute to her cause for the same reason.

Margaret met with some of these people today, and apparently it was brought up that in her efforts to raise money for a cure to cancer, she may as well be promoting abortion and pregnancies that result in the birth of octuplets.

And here I thought that the reason people weren't contributing was because of the economy!

Suffice to say, Margaret went in to an absolute tailspin.

Ultimately, I told her that she needs to relax and not take everything so personally. Yes, it is difficult to put yourself out there when you are trying to do something for a good cause and yes, you do open yourself up to judgment and criticism.

After three years of public blogging, I guess I'm use to it.

But then I told her, "Imagine how I feel? Here I am making something with my own two hands that no one wants or is willing to bid on for a single dollar!! NOT EVEN MY MOTHER!! I think that perhaps I've overestimated my knitting abilities!!"

We laughed for a minute before I added, "It probably wasn't a good idea for me to post knitting instructions on my blog a few weeks before I tried to raffle off scarves. Anyone can make them now!! Maybe I should hold off on posting how you FINISH knitting until a much later date? OR, unless people donate to the cause?! My poor readers will have scarves that are 20 feet long and they'll be thinking, 'How the heck do I end this thing? Is she ever going to tell us?!'!!"

I actually think that considering we haven't sent out our fundraising letters yet, across the three of us, we've done remarkably well. As of today, we have raised over $1,500.00 in the past week. (There are a few checks that came in that will be added to the accounts). So for those of you who have donated, thank you a million times over. (Especially you, Amy. If not for you, Margaret would be curled up in a ball with empty tubes of cookie dough clutched in each hand.)

The question does still remain why Margaret needs to raise more money than Charlie and I, combined. And until the official answer is provided to us next week from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, we have a two-part theory.

First: the fundraising goals are set by each chapter. Since there is a higher participation in the San Diego chapter than in the Greenville (South Carolina) chapter, Margaret is required to raise more.

Second: the race is in San Diego. So for people living in this area, they do not need to cover air travel or have accommodations, provided. I'm fairly certain that is at least part of the reason Margaret's fundraising costs are higher than ours, but although a certain percentage does go toward travel, 75-80% of the money raised goes directly to research and patient care.

Since tomorrow is Valentine's Day ... and Margaret's 45th birthday is on the 16th ... if you are feeling any love for this cause, please drop your donation in to her fundraising account.

Please keep in mind that I make this suggestion only to help my cousin out and in no way to guilt people in to bidding for one of my meticulously hand knit scarves.



  1. Hi Jen,

    Your enthusiasm is amazing. I don't know where you get your energy.

    Count me in for the raffle. It has been a long cold winter in New England. THe extra layer would certainly come in handy. {Although those scarfs do look fine on the girls.}

    And, yes it was too cold to ski last week. Baking cookies was a much better idea.

    Margaret can count me in as well. How can it be that she is the same age as her mother?

    Perhaps you will all gear up for Boston next year and follow in Grandpa's footsteps. I am certain we could muster up a cheering squad.

    Keep up the good work and Happy Valentine's Day to all.

    Peg O

  2. I'll buy the scarves if you throw the girls in too! :D (I wouldn't DREAM of taking the scarves away from them!)

    ~Cindy! :)

  3. Jen, please know that I'll be able to donate next payday...all our spare cash has gone to the Red Cross here in Australia to help all the families devastated by the Victorian Bushfires this week!

  4. As soon as I get my head out of the toilet for a while I will make some donations :) Hope your family is feeling better. Your scarves are lovely and they look so soft and cuddly. I would love to be wrapped up in one right now. Oh my aching body!

  5. Jen- Have you considered accepting PayPal? I was going to contribute to Margaret with some of my PayPal dough, but you guys aren't taking PayPal! PayPal is anonymous too, you know. Then if someone wants to contribute without anyone knowing they are supporting "abortions and octuplet moms" nobody would know!

  6. You have aged her by five years, but thats ok, maybe people will feel bad for a senior citizen. The cause is so great, I am so proud of the three of you. Does any one realize how far a marathon is????? The runners are not professionals you know, niether are they Theologians, read the list of Cancer victims and pray Catholic or Muslem that it doesent happen to you or a loved one.
    Run, run run for life. Aunt Grace

  7. Our family made a donation, and I would love to be entered into your raffle! You go, Jen!

    It's 32 degrees here... I'm dreaming of a fuzzy pink scarf!

  8. Jen~

    With twins on the way (thanks IVF#5) and two toddlers at home, I'm saving every dime, but your drive and energy is admirable and my small donation to your sister is the least I can do.


  9. Okay! Let's clear up some things...I read the entire blog!;-)

    First of all... I am not 45!! You added a year... or 10!!
    Second ... Everyone knows I don't discuss foot size or AGE!!
    Third ...I may have panicked...a's $4100.00! and I am really out of my comfort zone here! (asking for donations,need some chocolate just thinking about it)
    Fourth ...I feel like I should be wearing a dunce cap... Thank God you rode up on your White Horse to help me!! ;-)

    AND LAST of ALL...YOUR READERS ARE AMAZING!!!!!!! I've gotten donations from people I don't even know!! What a generous group of people! Thank you so much!!! So AMAZING!

    Love, Marg. ;-)
    (thanks for building a good dose of endorphins - You really are funny!!)

    PS Ran this morning @ 7 am! ;-)

  10. I am only putting energy towards summer weather......if I buy a beautiful scarf I may jinx myself. Sorry I have just been busy.
    But now that the girls in sunny south cali have beautiful scarfs you are going to have to make me one. My bid is 10 bucks!

  11. Baby its cold outside! I hope you send a scarf my way (although your girls do look like they are enjoying them!).

  12. I would love to donate for your race. As someone who has done IVF and has loved ones who have survived cancer and been killed by diabetes, I just do not understand not supporting trying to cure these diseases with all the tools our scientists have.

    BTW, I was 10 minutes into a yoga class this morning when the childwatch person from my gymn came to tell me that my 15 month old son was melting down and it is POURING rain today so no exercise is happening over here. My hat is off to you training with so many little ones and keeping at it even though you get knocked off course by sleeping feet, rain, and vomiting toddlers. I sometimes feel that life after children is like being a boxer you got knocked over and again and again and you win if you're still standing at the end.

    And I would love a fuzzy scarf, a red one, if you have one:)
    Cali (from way back on the Resolve boards)

  13. Thanks for the tip --- I grabbed two TurtleFur items from the Chicks that is getting liquidated here. Can't wait to use them this weekend.