This photo was taken almost 4 years ago, and although its true that memories fade, and although you can't see my face in the picture, I'm pretty sure I was smiling. The dirt alone was enough to make a person cry, for heaven's sake, never mind the blisters, but I was grinning from ear to ear. I took this picture of my feet on the second day of the Boston 3-Day For the Cure, a 60-mile walk aimed at raising money and awareness to combat breast cancer. This was the first weekend in August, 2007 and it was 104 degrees. I don't think anyone's feet were made to sweat that much - so, yup - we got blisters - and heat rash - and sun burn. But no one that I encountered over those three days - and there were about 2,000 of us - no one, was whining. Why? Because the people of "The 3-Day" are a rising tide that inspires and lifts us all. I had never before been around that many strong, selfless, gracious and determined human beings in one place. The spirit of The 3-Day is infectious and I hope this blog will continue its spread. Maybe by talking about what I go through to fundraise and train for a 3-Day event, I can help people stay motivated and committed. I am proud to be associated with this cause. I am grateful I have the strength to walk. And I'm filled with joy that I can do it with such a great group of people. So I'll buck up and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Feel free to join me. But remember; no whining allowed!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The End of Another Year

Toward the end of last year, I e-mailed an old friend that I only talk to a couple of times a year. I wanted to give her a concise update of what had been going on in my life lately. This was before I was a blogger and Facebooker. I created a list that I felt hit the highlights. She got a kick out of it and also got some good information. This year I decided to do a similar list but found that it didn't mean much without the context of the prior list. I offer them both below for your perusal and entertainment. Perhaps it will give you an opportunity to reflect on the past year and spend a few minutes savoring the moments that meant the most to you. Don't dwell on the moments when you weren't your best self - just resolve to make 2011 an even better year!

2009 Thus Far

1) My 9-year-old discovered YouTube.
2) I have a 9-year-old now.
3) Converted to Catholicism. Officially as of April 11.
4) Wondered, often, if God’s grace is so vast, that he doesn’t care whether I’m Catholic or not.
5) My Mom almost died. (Immunodeficiency; Not the Catholicism thing above - - - at least I don’t think so)
6) Signed up for photography class.
7) Flew to Tennessee for my favorite Aunt's 75th birthday party.
8) When I got back, I committed to my third 3-day, 60-mile walk (first in Boston, then DC, then Atlanta)
9) On the flight to Tennessee, my left eardrum ruptured.
10) Constructed a vertical expansion of the garage to accommodate a lift for stacking cars; yes, stacking.
11) Got a speeding ticket.
12) My auto insurance premium doubled.
13) Learned four chords on guitar. Well, five, but I really can’t finger F major properly yet.
14) Did a happy dance at realizing my Dad had surpassed his “expiration date” i.e. lived longer than at one time he thought he might.
15) Currently in process of applying for a grant to study solar thermal and photovoltaic retrofits on historic and architecturally significant buildings.
16) Registered my youngest son for kindergarten.
17) Lost my equilibrium. Literally. Subsequently there was much falling down, throwing up and passing out. Much better now though. Haven't bumped into anything at all lately.
18) Sought treatment for said equilibrium loss at an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist where I ran into the American film actor and Oscar nominated James Woods. (He was in Oliver Stone's Nixon) This was ironically not my first run-in with Mr. Woods. I previously encountered him shopping at Providence Place Mall with his elderly mother who turns out to be a giant pain in the ass and who probably best explains why poor James has had two failed marriages and has been single for the last 15 years.
19) Treatment for said equilibrium malfunction involved five different medications that, when taken together, produce exceptionally vivid dreams, including a very dirty one about my priest. Try going back to spiritual formation class after that.
20) Was forced to host a “Soupy” - making party. Didn't want to but had the best kitchen counter for the job. Apparently many Italian Americans in Rhode Island have held on to their pre-refrigeration meat-preservation traditions. We made 40 pounds. Soupy is a dry, dense sausage much like soprasetta or pepperoni. Very spicy. Cured in casings as a pair of sticks and eaten - oh never mind. But if you know anyone who needs large quantities of red pepper, latex gloves or natural meat casing material, I've got some lying around.

A Follow up to “2009 Thus Far”

1) Became the mother of a Middle Schooler.
2) My youngest son started first grade and received a record 2 “Caught Being Good” certificates in one day!!
3) Became proud, part-owner of a $300 Jeep that has cost me well over 2 grand.
4) Did some hiking at Natural Tunnel and in the White Mountains.
5) Rescued Rich and Christian in my trusty Toyota Highlander from their doomed Tuckerman’s Ravine trek at Mount Washington when the trails proved impassable.
6) Watched my parents enjoy one of their most robust years in recent memory.
7) The chief “Soupy-maker” mentioned in last year’s tribute passed away. . . .
8) Experienced none of the foul equilibrium-based problems referred to in 2009 and thus experienced none of the interesting med-related side effects.
9) In medical news, though, had surgery to eradicate a cyst on my right wrist, which has worked out fabulously. Heavy duty pain meds did produce one beautiful Opus-filled hallucination and temporarily made the "West Virginia Ninja" the funniest thing on the planet.
10) Zero flights, zero speeding tickets, zero religious conversions, zero celebrity sitings (unless you count the Governor of Rhode Island who appeared at a little league game. His grandson’s team was playing Christian’s team. He spent most of the evening waving off mosquitoes.)
11) Started a blog. Maintained the blog. Found that I enjoyed blogging.
12) Participated in my fourth Susan G Komen 3-Day for the Cure and was honored to be chosen as a flag bearer at the opening ceremony. Genuinely one of my proudest moments.
13) Convinced Grayson to be in the Christmas Pageant at Church. He was cast as an angel. Perfect.
14) Did not receive the grant I applied for last year. But -
15) Did become the boss at work when my former boss retired. Did not want to be the boss but realized I was too good at my job to NOT be the boss.
16) Designed a lovely flyer for the Cub Scout Food Drive. “Scouting For Food” is one of my favorite events and we picked up over 5,000 pounds in our Town.
17) In other altruism-related news, purchased multiple copies of the local newspaper when Christian’s picture appeared on the front page to honor his class’s leading role in a school-wide community service project.
18) Did some reading about creativity and the brain and found that my favorite definition of creativity is, “The ability to abandon the problem.”
19) Turned 42. The ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything.
20) Came to realize that I have been blessed. Trying to now figure out how to retroactively earn those blessings.