I’m a 3-Day Ambassador

For those of you who have been following this blog over the years, you might remember that one of the most fulfilling thing I do each year is to participate in the Komen 3-Day for the Cure. This amazing 3-Day, 60 mile walk raises money and awareness for breast cancer and is without a doubt the most awe-inspiring thing I have ever done.

Over the years I have been involved in the 3-Day I have been a walker, crew member and crew captain. I have always wanted to do more, but living in Germany has made this difficult. It isn’t possible for me to lead training walks or volunteer for Getting Started meetings. So, this year when I got an email saying that the 3-Day was looking for Ambassadors to blog about their experiences and help to spread the word I took this as a sign and quickly completed the application. Recently I got word that I had been accepted as an official 3-Day Ambassador and I am so excited about this opportunity.

Since then I have been thinking about what to say in my first post. What could I say that hasn’t been said before? This week it finally occurred to me that I should start by telling an on-event story.  There are many that I could share, but have chosen this one…. .

Towards the end of day 2 of my first event, I was tired. My feet hurt and I had blisters. I had gotten sick at lunch due to a bit of de-hydration. I still had 30 or more miles to go before I crossed the finish line. I was seriously questioning what I was thinking when I signed up and actually paid money to do this event. UGHH. Then I saw it.  The thing that gave me the motivation to keep going. The walkers in  front of me were wearing t-shirts that said “if your feet hurt, imagine what chemo feels like”.  Just like that I knew that I would keep on walking and I remembered that this journey is about the hope that someday no one would have to know what chemo feels like. 

As we approached camp I lost that team, but those words have stayed with me for over 10 years and it is those words that keep me coming back year after year. So, to the team that was with me in Boston in 1999,  thank you. Thank you for giving me the motivation and strength to finish that day and for the  knowledge that I , and everyone who has participated in a 3-Day over the years, is doing their small part because “everyone deserves a lifetime”.

I am so honored to be a 3-Day Ambassador and hope that the 3-Day entries  you find here provide you with information that helps you train and fundraise, keeps you motivated and provides you encouragement to keep going even when you want to give up. 

Come back often and let me know about your 3-Day experiences.

Advertisements

E is for Ethel

Ethel was my paternal grandmother. She died in 1987, when I was 21 and she was 73,  after a very long battle with osteoporosis  and a very short battle with pancreatic cancer.

My dad says Ethel was a bitter, unhappy woman, but I don’t remember her that way at all.

What I do remember is that for years she tried to kick the habit of biting her nails and once she did, she was never without a perfect manicure.  She had the most amazing silver streak in her otherwise dark head of hair. In her Brooklyn co-op apartment, she had an oven that between the burners and the stove had two small trays that were just wide enough for sliced bread and on which you could make the most perfect toast with Muenster cheese.  To this day, when I need comfort food this is what I crave.

As a child, I would go and stay with her for a week each summer. Just me, without my brothers. I loved that time, when for just a week I was an only child and she spoiled me rotten. I would take the Greyhound bus from Philadelphia to NY and she would be there waiting for me with a list of all the things we would do. Shopping. Lunch at the Rollin’ Rooster.  A movie or two. A trip to THE CITY on the subway.  We would visit her friends and I would watch them with fascination as they played Majong. I would sit quietly as they played their tiles and spun stories about their husbands, children and grand-children.  These women had been gossiping with each for longer than any of them could remember.  They had been through everything together. They grew up together, watched each other get married, have children and grand children and sadly bury their husbands.

My grandmother was one of  the first to bury her husband. So, while my dad remembers her as being unhappy, I just remember her as sometimes being sad.

I suppose she had reason to be sad. While she had a lot of wonderful things happen in her life, she also endured some tragedy. When Ethel was a 10 or so, my great-grandmother left her home with her younger sister for a few minutes while she ran to the store. In the time that she was gone an apartment fire broke out and while Ethel was unharmed the younger sister died. My great-grandmother never let her forget this. 55 years later, Ethel still felt guilty for something that was not her fault and happened such a long time ago.  No matter how horrible my great-grandmother was to Ethel she never stopped trying to make it up to her. Or, stopped being sad over it.

Equally painful was the sudden death of my grandfather.  One day in 1971, he got up, got dressed, took the subway into the city for work and while sitting at his desk had an aneurism and died almost instantly.  On those visits to NY, I remember lying in bed with my grandmother, listening to the radio, her arm leaning across her face, quietly sobbing. She would say that she was crying happy tears because I was there, but I knew differently.

There weren’t very many pictures of my grandfather in her apartment. I think they made her sad, but after he died she took to wearing his signet ring. She said it made her feel closer to him. On those visits to NY, while we were lying in bed together, I would always ask to wear the ring. I loved the way the gold felt on my finger and the way I could only just make out the initials it was so worn away. 

Ethel shaped the way I see a lot of the world and a lot of what I wanted for myself in the world.

My dad says that my grandfather spent his whole adult life trying to please my grandmother. I don’t know about that, as I was 5 when he died and I don’t really remember him. What I remember is that after Ethel died I was with my mom and Aunt cleaning out her apartment and we found her mink stole. My mom and Aunt wanted to put it in the pile of things to go to Goodwill, but I has having none of  having that.  My grandfather must have worked for months or maybe years to be able to afford to buy that stole for her. I don’t remember ever actually seeing her wear the stole, except in pictures, but I can totally imagine how happy she was when she got it. When she died I wasn’t in a relationship, but I said to my mom and Aunt, “someday, I want to marry someone who will work that hard to make me happy” and I never compromised. 

When I was in 9th grade, I went to Paris on a class trip. Along with some spending money Ethel gave me some advice. She said, “never let your passport expire because you never know when a man will want to whisk you off to Paris for dinner at a moments notice. ”  At the time that made perfect sense to me, although I have no idea if she wanted that for me or for herself. I also have no idea whose life she thought I would be living, but none the less, I have never let my passport expire. I have also never been whisked off to Paris for dinner at a moments notice, but my husband recently booked us a trip to Marekash and I like to believe that Ethel would be thrilled if she knew all the places I had traveled with my passport. 

I was working for Bloomingdale’s, outside of Philadelphia on a six-day work schedule when Ethel got really sick. I would faithfully use my one day off to drive the 1 1/2 hours to NY with my mom to visit her in the hospital. She wasn’t eating very much and so we would stop at the Rollin’ Rooster on our way, pick up her favorites and try to entice her to keep up her energy. My mom would tell her funny stories about what was going on with my brothers or read her excerpts from the Sunday NY Times travel section while I would carefully remove the nail polish I had applied the week before and apply a fresh coat. 

On one visit, as I took off the signet ring to rub lotion into her hands, she said “why don’t you take it for safe keeping? I don’t trust the nurses here. I don’t want it to get stolen and I know that you will take good care of it.” As I slipped the  ring on to my finger, the gold felt just as good as it did when I was a kid.

Ethel died soon after that visit and I never took that ring off until one day, many years later, it was replaced with an engagement ring from a man who worked very hard to make me very happy.

________________________________________________________________________________________

This is the latest edition in my Alphabet Memoir blogging challenge.  The idea is to work through the alphabet by writing short memoir-like pieces.  Thanks to  CourtneyCity WendyCharlotte,  JadePark , Lounalune and Contact Zone for their inspirational alphabet memoirs.  There might be other alphabet memoir bloggers out there, but I haven’t found them yet. If you find more, let me know.

All I Needed Was a Sign

It has been a very long time since I have blogged anything. It isn’t that I haven’t thought about it. I have.  Not being sure what, if any, etiquette there is on not blogging for a long time and then coming back. Do you apologize? Do you pick up like nothing has happened? Does anyone really care? I found it easier to just not blog, even though I have many 1/2 started blogs in my head.

But, with it being the 2nd anniversary/birthday of my blog this week I was contemplating how little blogging I had done in 2010 and how much I missed it. I missed throwing my random thoughts out into the universe and seeing who, if anyone , connected with them. I missed the validation that comes when I see the number of hits I got in a day or reading the positive comments that people left. And, then it happened…. the sign that I was so clearly, unconsciously waiting for, the sign that I so desperately needed to go to wordpress.com and hope that I remembered my password (after a few tries I got it). I should say that I am firm believer in the fact that the universe throws signs our way and that we have to be open to seeing and acting upon them. So, when some random reader left me a comment earlier this week about a blog I had written in March, 2009 I was in the right frame of mind to see this comment for what it was…. the sign I needed to start blogging again.  Thanks random reader.

Kids are Kids

One of the amazing parts of living in Germany is the fact that my husband and I get to travel to places we just dreamed we would be able to go. We both love to travel. Our favorite ways to get to know a new place is to walk for miles, eat the local food, visit the flea markets and sit for hours just people watching. In all the places we have been in the 2 1/2 years in Germany we have seen some pretty amazing things and have come to the realization that kids are kids no matter where you are.

Currently, I am sitting in our living room trying not to move for fear of sweating as the heat is unbearable and the Germans fondness for no air conditioning is boggling the brain while  I am listening to our neighbors grandchildren out in the backyard splashing,  giggling and screeching as they jump in and out of the inflatable pool our neighbors have set up. I don’t really know what they are saying, as they speak some dialect of German I don’t understand, but I know that they are having fun and enjoying the time even as their parents and grandparents look as though they are going to melt. This could be some scene out of any small town in the US on a hot July day.

Given a puddle, kids will jump in it. Given a ball, kids will throw or kick it. Given a fountain, kids will splash in it. We have seen it from NY to Istanbul.

And, each time my husband and I say “kids are kids” it is just something that has no cultural boundaries. And, it is why I believe that kids are more tolerant and resilient than us adults.

So, next time you see a puddle take a jump.

My Secret Guilty Pleasure

I suppose everyone has a secret guilty pleasure.  For some it might be sneaking chocolate. For others it might be buying sexy lingerie when a relationship is ending. Or, buying ridiculously expensive designer high-heeled shoes, even if you don’t have a “Sex in the City” life.  For me, my secret guilty pleasure lately has been watching “The Bachelor”. I am almost embarrassed to admit this, even to the anonymous blogosphere. I love the fact that if I use the dial in connection on my work laptop for one of our US locations I can download American TV shows.  This secret guilty pleasure all  started on a rainy Sunday a few weeks ago when my husband was away and ABC hadn’t aired a new episode of another show that I really like.  I thought “well, let me just see” and well, that was all it took. I watched all 5 episodes that were available and then anxiously awaited Tuesday, when I could download the next episode.

For those of you don’t know about “The Bachelor”, this is a US-based show (although there maybe other countries that have bachelors) in which one bachelor who is looking for love is paired up with 25 woman who are also looking for love.  All the girls come to live in the same house and simultaneously date the bachelor. In the first week he has to cut the group of women to 10 and then each week after that he has to eliminate another women until there is only one left. The selection of the women to go happens in what is called a rose ceremony because the bachelor asks the women he wants to keep if they will accept the rose from him. In the final episode not only does he ask one of the final two to accept a rose,  he often asks if she will accept this ring. In the history of the show, 14 seasons, there has only been one couple that has actually stayed together long enough to get married, but yet for sure there will be a 15th season.

In addition to the normal drama and caddiness one might imagine would ensue when you put 25 women in the same house, all vieing for the affections of one man, this season there seems to be even more drama…. A contestant kicked off the show for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with one of the staffers…. the bachelor sending home two girls in the same episode because he just knew neither of them was going to be his wife…one contestant who is so clearly not over her ex-husband..and,one contestant who was forced between her job and finding true love. She chose her job, immediately regretted it, wanted to come back only to have the bachelor tell her no. Oh, so much drama! And, with just one more episode left the drama will clearly continue.

Yes.Yes. Yes I know that this is dreck tv at its finest. Yes. Yes.Yes. I do think that it is sad, in some way, that these usually smart, funny, beautiful women feel the need to go on national television to find love. Yes.Yes.Yes. I know that it unrealistic that anyone would find love in 6 weeks time under these conditions, but nonetheless,  this is my secret guilty pleasure of late.

And, I am secretly waiting for Tuesday when I can download the latest episode and find out who gets the last rose.

What is your secret guilty pleasure?

Happy Birthday

Dear Blog,

I just wanted to take a few minutes to wish you a happy birthday. 1 year ago today you were born. And, from my perspective I have to say that it has been a good first year. 

When you were first first born,  I was a bit nervous about the outcome. Would I know how to take care of you? Would I have anything to say? Would anyone find what I was saying remotely interesting? Would anyone find you? 

During the year we learned and grew together to find a voice. I won’t lie, there have been some challenging times. Some days  the blogs don’t  flow the way I want them to or the fact that I still don’t understand how to add a widget to you.  But, dear blog you were always encouraging and never judgemental of what I was saying. You were there to help me celebrate success and listen to my disappointment.  You posted 38 times, received lots of  comments, made new blogging friends, participated in the Biggest Loser Blogging Challenge and provided an outlet for thoughts that would otherwise just be swirling around in my head. Thanks for that.

I know that sometimes it must feel like I have abandonded you.  I mean, no post from October-December. What is that all about? But, you are never far from my mind. Sometimes it just takes more energy than what I have to come around and visit.  I will try to do better this year.

So my dear friend,  I hope that you have a happy birthday and that this is a start to another great blogging year.

And, to all of you a very happy, healthy, joyous 2010.

P.

D is for Donuts

In the summer of 1986 I made my first truly adult decision, one that would without a doubt change the course of my life. In the summer of 1986 I was between my freshman and sophmore years of college. It was the summer that I decided not to return to college.  My parents took it like I suspect any parents would… they were not happy… they were disappointed….there was lots of screaming…discussions on how I was ruining my life….tears… but I remained firm. I was not happy at school and did not want to return. Decision made, but now….  what do do? 

I knew that I needed to do something. My parents were clearly not going to let me just hang out all day and honestly that isn’t what I wanted either. I wanted to earn some money. I wanted to gain some experiences. I wanted to be stress-free for a while.

I got a job working at a local bakery. The shop opened at 6:30 AM and I often worked the early shift. This meant getting to the bakery by 5:30AM  to help the baker finish icing the cakes,  making coffee and stacking the bakers racks with breads, sticky buns, cookies, danish and donuts. All fresh from the oven. All with their own distinct smells.

The  donuts quickly became my favorite.

No strong distinct smell to donuts, unlike the award winning rum cakes that should have been called “night out on the town  cake”, because the smell of rum when fresh out of the oven was so strong.

No muss and fuss with the donuts. They easily slid off the baking sheets and onto the display racks, unlike the sticky buns with their gooey glaze that if not taken off the baking sheet at exactly the right time required the use of a very strong knife and spatula to pry them off. 

No crumbs to clean up unlike the butter crumble danish that whenever picked up left a crumbly mess everywhere.

Each donut beautfully designed with a little surprise inside. A burst of cream, jelly,  fruit or chocolate hidden within the fluffy, fried dough. The donut, unlike the cakes we sold,  was a perfect treat for one.  The donut required no  fork to eat and could be enjoyed anywhere, anytime of the day. 

And, after working at the bakery for two years the donut was one treat I never got tired of selling, smelling or eating.

I went to work at the bakery because I wanted stree-free. At the bakery I learned that everyone has stress. At the bakery I learned to remember to smell the donuts and to manage stress. At the bakery I learned that stressed spelled backwards  is desserts. How perfectly appropriate. _____________________________________________________________________________________________

The latest edition in my Alphabet Memoir blogging challenge.  The idea is to work through the alphabet by writing short memoir-like pieces.  Thanks to  CourtneyCity WendyCharlotte,  JadePark , Lounalune and Contact Zone for their inspirational alphabet memoirs.  There might be other alphabet memoir bloggers out there, but I haven’t found them yet. If you find more, let me know.