Sisyphus reinvented

You’ve probably heard of Sisyphus, the mythical king who was punished for his evil behavior by having to endlessly roll a huge boulder up a steep hill.


Punishement of Sisyph by Titian via Wikimedia Commons

Apparently, so had Stuart Kettell, a 49-year-old videographer from the West Midlands, Wales. Stuart recently hiked up Wales’ highest peak, 3,500-foot Mount Snowdon, pushing a  Brussels sprouts … with his nose! After four days on his aching knees and 22 Brussels sprouts, Stuart successfully met his goal to raise money for cancer support. (Do you think the current ice bucket challenge has a fund-raising challenger?)

Stuart has a hankering for bizarre fundraising: he’s run 26 miles A DAY for A WEEK in a hamster wheel, lived in a box for a week, and walked 500 miles on stilts. His next challenge? Walking across the English Channel along the seabed. “People definitely think I’m mad,” he told the BBC, “and I’m beginning to think it myself.”

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I can’t even imagine doing these fund raisers. Who thrives on creating hardship like he does time and time again? I don’t get it!

  2. Nancy Coughlin says:

    I don’t get it either. And the ice challenge is too much. If anyone challenges me on that one, they get dropped off my Christmas card list.

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Oh so very pretty!

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a 500-mile journey between friends

Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray are lifelong friends who have “pushed” the boundaries of friendship.

Justin, who helps and inspires others with disabilities through his website,, has a rare, progressive autoimmune disorder that’s left him wheelchair-bound. But it hasn’t stopped his passion for travel.

“I’ve found that traveling is THE BEST way to experience other cultures, forge new and exciting relationships, and gain a greater understanding of yourself,” says Justin. “Yes, there are many challenges that come with that but, in the end, the experiences and memories my family and I now share has made all of my efforts worth it!” In the last 20 years, Jason has visited Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada, as well as many states throughout the U.S., Hawaii, and Alaska. Justin, who lives in Meridian, Idaho, with his wife and three children, has dedicated his life to sharing practical “how-to” information with other disabled travelers.

Patrick is a registered nurse and Program Manager for St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise, Idaho. Patrick and Justin were born just one day apart and have been best friends for more than 38 years. “We travel together; we live life together through our ups and downs; and most importantly, will do anything for each other,” says Patrick.



When Justin saw a travel show about hiking the mountainous 500-mile El Camino de Santiago Trail in Spain, he approached Patrick with the idea. Patrick’s immediate response? “I’ll push you!” Watch a beautiful, inspiring, 6-minute video about the journey to the journey (warning: hankie alert!):

In July, Justin and Patrick completed the grueling 35-day trek.

And because they believe “there’s more to life than just sitting around complaining about the challenges we all face,” they partnered with a documentary crew who came along on their journey, capturing “every joy, struggle, challenge, landscape, and the AMAZING people we met along the way!” They’re now raising funds to finish and distribute their film at with the goal of inspiring others to realize that nothing is impossible.

“Our journey showed that if you jump out in faith, then with the help of community and with love, amazing things happen.”


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I have a very close friend here in town that walked the Camio two summers ago alone. She walked the entire 500 miles in about 2 months! Her account of the many wonderful pilgrims she met along the way and the incredible scenery are fascinating to hear. Walking the Camio was a personal goal of hers ever since her son got leukemia. Once he was in remission, she found the money and space in her life to walk this trail and spend the time in renewal and thanks.

  2. Connie-Killarmey says:

    I loved this!! As a person living with MS, I have had to change the way I do a lot things, but I don’t have to stop them completely! I have so many goals left on my bucket list! LOL! I know so many who just give up altogether!! Support like Justin has from his friend Patrick just makes my heart joyful!!

  3. Heartrending yet uplifting at the same time. It brings to mind ” but for the grace of God, go I ..”
    How totally brave of Justin to do this wholeheartedly . Even more so, how unselfish and immensely loving of Patrick to say : ” I’ll push you” and really mean it ! Just so inspiring.

  4. Liz Adamshick says:

    What life is all about. The reason we’re here–to support one another. to cheer on another on. to love one another so much that we lose ourselves in service. to feel joy. to love enough to risk the inevitable grief that goes with it. and to wake up and love again. Thank you Justin and Patrick, for the glimpse into the fullness of your friendship. Your wives and children too, for sharing you with us.

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Dolphins have rights, too!

Earlier this year, spurred by proposals to build new marine mammal parks in the country, India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests banned the use of dolphins as public entertainment, citing:

“Cetaceans [dolphins, whales, and porpoises] in general are highly intelligent and sensitive, and various scientists who have researched dolphin behavior have suggested that their unusually high intelligence as compared to other animals means that dolphins should be seen as “non-human persons” and as such, should have their own specific rights and it is morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purposes.”
– Ministry of Environment and Forests, India

India has a history of making legal commitments to the animal world. In 1976, it not only added an article to its constitution “to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country,” but the article also instructed the public to “have compassion for living creatures.” In one court case about the rights of circus animals, the High Court of Kerala said, “If humans are entitled to fundamental rights, why not animals?”

India is the fourth country to ban captive cetacean shows, joining Costa Rica, Hungary, and Chile.

Scientists have studied dolphins extensively and have concluded that they exhibit self-awareness, use tools, cooperate to solve tasks, recognize themselves in mirrors, and even possibly communicate to each other using individual names.

In 2011, the American Association for the Advancement of Science authored a “Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans”:

1. Every individual cetacean has the right to life.
2. No cetacean should be held in captivity or servitude; be subject to cruel treatment; or be removed from their natural environment.
3. All cetaceans have the right to freedom of movement and residence within their natural environment.
4. No cetacean is the property of any State, corporation, human group or individual.
5. Cetaceans have the right to the protection of their natural environment.
6. Cetaceans have the right not to be subject to the disruption of their cultures.
7. The rights, freedoms and norms set forth in this Declaration should be protected under international and domestic law.

“This is a huge win for dolphins,” says Ric O’Barry of the Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project. “Not only has the Indian government spoken out against cruelty, they have contributed to an emerging and vital dialogue about the ways we think about dolphins: as thinking, feeling beings rather than pieces of property to make money off of.”

Sign the declaration and join a global call to have rights formally declared for cetaceans at

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Three cheers for India for leadership on this important issue! All of the issues we have had here in Florida’s Sea World just goes to show you that keeping Killer Whales in captivity is wrong. Totally wrong. And can you blame them for drowning those people? Can you blame them for striking back? Hardly. I hope one day these sort of entertainment places will be banned here in the US along with Greyhound racing and all other means of animal exploitation. Don’t even get me started on Ringling Brothers and their wild animals here in Sarasota! Don’t even begin to justify the whole elephant and tiger thing as somehow OK.

  2. My half-sister is a marine biologist for NOAA and her specialty is Blue Whales. There are so few left in the world that they are named and she knows them all by name as well. She would be thrilled to read this declaration of rights, which I am sure she is aware of. And my family will totally agree with this understanding of Cetaceans and their emotions and intelligence.

  3. Deborah-Anne Caramico says:

    I am very moved by this article & the movement it is about. I have always been drawn to want to be around these creatures. I am glad that they are being recognized (finally) as sentient beings, that has always been a feeling deep in my soul.

  4. Connie-killarney says:

    Ditto Winnie!!!

  5. Donna Kozak says:

    Okay, sooo now what is India doing about the treatment of elephants ? It is sad and very shameful how these intelligent animals are subjected to much cruelty throughout the world – by the way, my husband just informed me that today is National Elephant Day !! He just heard it on our local radio station (we live in British Columbia, Canada).

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I am loving the cuff on these jeans!

  2. Connie-Killarney says:

    Great for us short gals!! LOL!!!

  3. Kay (Old Cowgirl) Montoya says:

    Now that one really brings back memories to this old Cowgirl’s heart. The best ones always bring a tear or two. Thank you.

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Zoo Jeans

Jeans designed by lions, tigers, and bears?

Oh my!

Just watch …

Puzzled? Intrigued? Fashionably fascinated?

Well, I’m sorry to say that you won’t be able to buy a pair of “Zoo Jeans” any time soon, but I couldn’t resist telling you about this unique idea for “giving back” devised by the Mineko Club, a group of volunteers who joined forces to support the Kamine Zoo in Hitachi City, Japan.

“Zoo Jeans are the only jeans on earth designed by dangerous animals,” boasts the project’s website. “We first take their favorite playthings—old tires and giant rubber balls—and wrap them in sheets of denim. Then we return them to the animals and let nature run its course. The animals roar, gnaw, and claw at their toys, and when they’re done, we gather up what’s left of the damaged denim. It is from this unique fabric that we make the jeans. So, the wild rips and tears in Zoo Jeans have been created with pure animal instinct.”

How chic is that?

Unfortunately, for those of us who would love to sport these killer knickers (I mean, who wouldn’t want to brag about the tiger bites in her jeans?), the three original pairs were auctioned on Japan’s Yahoo Auction site earlier this month, raking in over $1000 per pair.


Photo by Keven Law via Wikiemedia Commons

All profits from the sale are slated to support Kamine Zoo’s efforts to preserve the captive animals’ habitats as well as the World Wildlife Fund’s campaigns to conserve lions, tigers, and bears in the wild.

If I hear of a second Zoo Jean sale, though, I’ll be sure to share!


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This is the most creative fund raiser I have ever seen! Pure genius!

  2. Connie-Killarney says:

    I had to get my hubby-Rex in here to read this! He is just amazed and excited! We support the WWF and as many Animal Charities as we can!
    We have always had 2-16 Tabby cats, our whole 41 years of marriage. What a great way to be as close as possible to the “BIG CATS” !!

  3. CJ Armstrong says:

    Hmmmmm . . . interesting I must say!

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