Monday, December 26, 2011

A final note for 2011...

Like a roller coaster ride, 2011 was filled with lots of highs & lows & scary twists & turns.  But as always, the ride comes to an end & just when I think I can't do it again, I get back in line for more.

I had high hopes for celebrating turning 40 this year with this blog mission.  And while I've enjoyed the celebrations completed so far, I allowed for too much drama to get in my way.  Well, that's not going to be allowed in 2012 as I finish this mission.

So what have I learned by doing this 40 celebrations mission?
Lots!

For starters, I am learning who my real friends are in life. 
These are the people who have repeatedly shown me support & have read the blog list & laid claim to what missions I am doing & which ones they want to join me in doing.  These are the people who love me for me & don't ask me to change.

I'm learning to share control when it comes to planning events. 
Now let me clarfy this...in the beginning when I was planning my celebrations there were delays due to letting others set my schedules.  I put a stop to that nonsense.  By sharing control, I'm listening more to what others have to say.  I'm accepting suggestions without giving up my plans.  I'm being more understanding about other people's schedules, even when others aren't so understanding of my own.

I've learned to appreciate paying for experiences versus materialistic items. 
Thank you Trisha for reminding me to do this.  I find myself wanting to shop less, but experience more.  I'm looking forward to more experiences & less materialistic items.

I've learned that no matter how hard I try, friends will disappoint me from time to time. 
Whatever.  Life happens.  I can 1-let it fester until I flip out, 2-wait to be unfriended on Facebook, or 3-talk to the person & work it out.  Luckily my real friends will get option #3.  All the #2's have already been taken care of & the #1's aren't around any more thanks to #2!

And mostly I have learned to appreciate myself a lot more.
While I have often been accused of being arrogant or even too full of myself, I correct people by letting them know this is just my overly healthy dose of self-esteem.  I feel like my self-esteem has risen a few points since doing this mission.  I'm realizing more & more that only I can make myself truly happy.  Relax perverts...I'm not talking about sex, so get your minds out of the gutter!  I'm talking about my self-worth, self-esteem & even my inner peace.  I can't go looking for it elsewhere like I would in men, food, bad relationships, stupid people...oh no, it's in me or it doesn't exist at all!  So while my 'friend' list on Facebook fell a few notches, my self-esteem rose up.  And for that, I am thankful!

As always, I love me.  I love myself for who I am & how I am.  I make no apologizes about it.  If I hurt your feelings, you must let me know & give me the chance to correct the situation.  If not, then I guess we aren't meant to be friends. 

I love everything about myself...flaws & all!
I love that I can lose & gain & lose weight & still feel beautiful.
I love my crazy insanely funny inner child & I love that she comes out to play!
I love that I can be a brainy dork or the chick who can quote movies during a meal.
I love being so neurotic about this blog that I will re-write each entry several times before it gets published. (4 re-writes on this one alone!)
I love being able to stand up for myself, even if others can't.

So which celebration has been my favorite so far?
All of them!

Who else could have gotten several friends together to chow down on some yummy Chinese food & watch as I make a fool of myself doing karaoke? 

And who has everyone wanting to do a tea party?

Midnight movies are suddenly becoming trendy...even if I haven't been to many lately, I'm getting late night texts to go to them!

My trip to Adventureland produced tons of great memories plus the best ride photo ever!  And I'm glad I shared that with my nephew Ryan!

I want to plan another brunch at 3 Brothers.  It was both delicious & fun!

What's the point of a trip to Times Square unless you ride the ferris wheel in Toy R US??  That's right...there is no point!

And you should stop in to Build-A-Bear & see what you can make!  Your head will implode with all the options!  I swear I think I need another trip there...my Marble Monkey needs a friend!

While in Times Square, stop into Ellen's Stardust diner.  Grab some vittles, but stay for the dessert!  I highly recommend a slice of the Radio City.

Lending a hand to help a friend is always a worthy celebration.  I'm glad my friend Meri is doing well with her Stella & Dot venture!

And I'm thankful for Awilda taking me to see the Mets.

And for the blind date...even if it left me still single!

I'm looking forward to going through the Corn Maze at the Queens County Farm again...but not till next year!

And as always I will walk at Jones Beach to save the Ta-Ta's! 

I appreciate Brooklyn a lot more having travelled across the Brooklyn Bridge.  I'm looking forward to going back to place a lock on the cables...

And my pizza mission is only 1/5 done having gone to Grimaldi's in Brooklyn.  Four more boroughs to go!

So far I have completed 14 missions.  The pizza one isn't done...yet!
I am feeling good about this mission.  I'm looking forward to whatever happens next.

I think back over the finished celebrations & I smile.  I'm thankful for the friends who came out & shared the time with me.  I'm thankful for the amazing memories & photos I have to share.  And I'm thankful I still have more missions to complete.

As this roller coaster ride of a year comes to an end, I want to thank my friends for the continued support.  I am looking forward to a fresh start in 2012.  I am asking everyone to leave the drama behind & think positive thoughts for us all.

Happy Holidays everyone!
And here's to a happy, healthy & prosperous New Year!

much love,
Traci



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pizza ~ Grimaldi's in Brooklyn

#111 - go for pizza in all 5 boros; Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx & Staten Island (Brooklyn 11/5/11)

I love pizza!
I love pizza on my pizza...if it were available!
I love all kinds of pizza....
regular
pepperoni
Grandma's
Grandpa's
Hawaiian
extra black olives
ham
sausage
mushrooms
peppers
meatballs
fresh garlic
chicken


Oh yes....you name it, I have probably tried it!

Living in New York makes you self-assured about a few things & pizza is one of them!  Don't try to debate me....you won't win.  And I don't want to upset you, but New York is home to the BEST PIZZA IN THE WORLD!

There....I stated the truth....we can now move on....

Having grown up in Queens, I proudly live in an amazing borough that has amazing pizza places all around.  Seriously...you can't stand outside of one pizza place without being able to throw a rock & hit another pizza place!  But they all do good business because everyone loves pizza.

So I added #111...the pizza mission to my list of celebrations.  I've decided to force myself to go to various places for pizza.  I figured it's time to get to the other boroughs for a change & see if they can beat my favorite pizza place.  For the record, I swear by Centre Pizza in Little Neck, NY.  They make amazing pizza!

Today we start in Brooklyn, NY & we are going to Grimaldi's.

Joining me on this tastey mission are Rennick & his daughter, Celia.  Since we started this day with the walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, we end up here on Old Front Street in front of Grimaldi's.  This is Rennick's 'go to' place in Brooklyn, but only when you have plenty of time to spare.....read on!

Ahhh Grimaldi's...the first pizza joint I've been to in New York that doesn't sell by the slice!  Oh no....here at Grimaldi's you must buy the whole pie...so arrive with friends...or just arrive really hungry!  And bring cash for Grimaldi's does not accept plastic!

Oh & one warning...be prepared to wait on a crazy long line!  I'm not telling a tall tale here...the line will make you nuts, make you hungry or drive you insane!

This is my first visit to Grimaldi's & will probably be my only visit...unless some friends from out of town beg me to take them here!  My fellow New Yorkers will not want to brave the long line for pizza.  When I mentioned this event to people, I was told I was nuts for waiting as long as we did for pizza.  Especially as a friend reminded me, 'I'm sure there were a ton of other pizza places around'.  True....but I wanted to wait.  I wanted to try Grimaldi's.

Rennick, Celia & I will brave this long line for 80 minutes to be invited in.
80 minutes.
One hour & twenty minutes.
4,800 seconds.
Or as I like to think of it...eternity.

Holy cow!
Is pizza really worth that long of a wait?
Correction...is New York pizza really worth that long of a wait?
Hmm....let me come back to that questions a little later in the blog....read on...

There we were braving the wait.  The anticipation of getting pizza made us cranky.  The desire of feeding the pizza craving drove us nuts!  There was talk of walking away...but somehow we didn't.  We stayed.  We braved it.

80 minutes!!!!

The line is filled with New Yorkers & tourists.  You can hear the distinct accents.

One note to Europeans & other tourists on the subject of personal space.
Learn what it is & learn that you should respect it.  Please don't stand on my heels or be up against me.  There really is no need for me to keep hitting you.  As a New Yorker, I tend to flail when I talk, so if I hit you, I shouldn't have to apologize.  You should move back after the second hit.  If you can abide by this, I promise not to give you wrong directions!  Thanks & welcome to New York!

80 minutes!!!!

At some point during this crazy wait, Celia & I will spot the little store right next to Grimaldi's.  It's called Jillian & Julia's.  They sell clothes & souvenirs.  Celia will ask to go in & look around.  After getting the okay from Rennick, we leave the dreaded line.

Inside the store, Celia & I will try on some scarves.  Celia is also quick to try on some hats.  What a little diva!  I love it!  After making a purchase, we get back outside.

I know...you want me to say Rennick moved to the front of the line by that point...no, no luck.  He barely moved a foot!

For the record, I'm surprised he didn't run when he had the chance!

When you're hungry & waiting on line for food, you start thinking about bailing.  Oh trust me...there was a moment when I thought I would cave & run from this long line.  It seriously was the longest wait I have ever had for food! 

And let's face it....there are plenty of other places for pizza in Brooklyn.  Grimaldi's is not the only place for pizza!  So why are we suffering on this line?  Why haven't we bailed & gone someplace else?

Have I mentioned that I am a Taurus & I am highly impatient?????

During this time, Celia will attempt to read her book.  Rennick & I will chat.  The people around us will be engrossed in their own chats.  But all of us have one thing in common today....we were all willing to brave this line for some Grimaldi's pizza! 

I just wonder who else is going to blog about it?

After what clearly was an eternity of waiting...80 minutes...we receive some good news...the next available table for three people is ours!

I felt like sobbing tears of joy.  Even tears of relief!  I almost kissed the nice man who announced the news.

But then the rug was pulled out from under us!

The next table for three people will not be available for about another 20 minutes!!

Seriously...why didn't we bail 70 minutes ago????
Who's bright idea was this?
Why are we still standing in this line?

After the last 20 minutes of waiting, this nice gentleman comes out & points to us.  Our table is now...truly ready!

Tears of joy are streaming down my face.  I must wipe away the tears.  I don't want my mascara to run.

As we are led to our table for three now seriously ravenous people, I am instantly overwhelmed by a delightful aroma.

PIZZA!!!!!

Let me tell you folks, there is nothing more pleasing to a New Yorker than the smell of great food when you are starving...make that New York food!!!  Even now as I string these words together, I can smell that Grimaldi's pizza.  And even while chewing Trident Spearmint gum, I can taste that pizza still!

The tables are thisclosetogether.  Seriously folks...personal space?  Where has it gone?

There is then the discussion of what we are going to order.  Luckily that discussion is nowhere near as long as our wait to get in!  It's decided we are going to have a pepperoni pizza.  No problem...Love it!!

While we wait, as the pizza is being made, Rennick will remind me to look at the celebrity pictures on the wall.  From where we sat I saw Vince Vaughn & Danny DeVito.

Oh yes, I must point out...according to Rennick, Grimaldi's is a 'glorious institution'.  And yes Rennick, you are right about that!

While we wait for our food, Rennick is amazed to hear Guns N Roses playing.  Apparently someone in Grimaldi's is a fan as they played the whole CD!  This makes Rennick happy. 

And then finally...after 80 minutes of that dreaded long line...we are served a beautiful pepperoni pizza pie!

Again, tears overwhelm me.

I am starving.

I love pizza.

I am happy the wait is FINALLY over!

And then that first bite...mmmm...so warm...so delicious!!!

Made with fresh mozzerella, basil & pepperoni on a delightfully thin crust this pizza is amazing!  I must savor ever bite, but I am tempted to jam it into my mouth & grab the rest!  But I cannot.  I must share with two other hungry people at this table...which is fine.  It's the whole point of this celebration.

So now I will post that question again...is New York pizza really worth that long of a wait?

Hell no!  I will never wait that long ever again for pizza!  New York or otherwise!
I can't validate waiting that long ever again!  I did it once...like the whole New Year's Eve in Times Square.  It's a right of passage as a New Yorker to do certain things...but then once done, they don't need to be done again!

But seriously, I can't lie...Grimaldi's pizza was awesome!  Very fresh!  Very delicious!  And yes, I admit it, very much worth the wait!

I will only wait in that line again if Rennick & Celia join me again!  After all, Celia & I can disappear & shop & leave Rennick to hold our spot!  Sorry Rennick...had to throw that in for a good laugh!

Rennick, thank you for getting me to do this.  I actually enjoyed the company & yes, seriously, I would brave a long line wait again with you!

Celia, thank you for the laughs today.  I'm glad I got to share the day with you & your dad.  I hope you two will be available for another celebration sometime soon.

And now for the photos on the day....











This celebration is not considered completed...yet.
I have four more boroughs to visit for pizza.  And I'm looking forward to it!


Once again, feeling good about this celebration mission.  I can't believe I'm still getting people talking about these celebrations.  I'm definitely looking forward to the next celebration...whatever it may be...

#29 - walk across the Brooklyn bridge

Done!  11/5/11

I love being a New Yorker!  I love taking advantage of all that surrounds me living in New York.  The parks, the museums, the zoos, the restuarnats, the people...I love it all!  And I love having five boroughs to choose from.

Ahhh....the five boroughs that make up New York City.  Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, da Bronx & Staten Island...all five broughs with distinct features & attractions.  All five offer a lot to New York & tourists everywhere.

Today I will venture into the second largest borough of NYC...Brooklyn. 

Joining me today is an old friend & a new friend;  Rennick & his daughter, Celia.  They will meet me in Manhattan for the walk into Brooklyn.

It's a gorgeous sunny fall day & this is the perfect day for this walk.  The sun is gracing us with its appearance & warmth.  I love fall in New York.  With the trees turning beautiful shades of red, orange, & yellow there is a chill in the air, but today is still perfect for this celebration.  And what better view than that from the Brooklyn Bridge?

After getting lost due to lack of paying attention to where I was going on the E train, I will eventually meet my guests by City Hall in Manhattan.  Rennick introduces me to his daughter, Celia.  She is adorable!

They were standing near these police officers on horses, Mounties as we call them here.  Celia was busy clicking away taking picture after picture of the cops on their horses.  I joined in! 

Our day kicks off with a history lesson from Rennick.  And since I love acting like a tourist, I will not interupt his lessons.  He points out that the rather large building behind us is in fact the main booking building for New York's Finest.  And he points out across the way where the jail cells are located.  Thanks Rennick....now I know which two buildings to avoid in that area!

After some chatting, we head off to an amazing icon structure....the Brooklyn Bridge.

Opened May 24, 1883 the Brooklyn Bridge is one the oldest suspension bridges in the United States.  It connects Manhattan & Brooklyn by spanning the East River.  It was the longest suspension bridge in the world from its opening untl 1903 & it's the first steel-wire suspension bridge.  In 1964 the Brooklyn Bridge was designated a National Historic Landmark & in 1972 it was designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

Initially designed by German immigrant, John Augustus Roebling who was injured when a ferry pinned his foot against piling, his son Washington Roebling will take over the job.  Sadly, Washington suffered a paralyzing injury as a result of decompression sickness.  Washington's wife, Emily Warren Roebling, took over & relayed her husband's notes to the engineers on the site.  After 13 years, the Brooklyn Bridge was completed & ready for the public.

On May 24, 1883 a total of 1,800 vehicles & 150,300 people crossed what was then the only land passage between Manhattan & Brooklyn.  Emily Warren Roebling had the honor of being the first person to walk across the bridge.

Fun fact...on May 17, 1884 PT Barnum helped put to rest doubts about the bridge being unstable by leading a parade of elephants across the bridge.  Jumbo, one of his most famous elephants, will lead a parade of 21 elephants over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Throughout its time span, the bridge has carried horse-drawn carriages, trolleys, cars, pedestrians & bicyclists from Manhattan to Brooklyn or Brooklyn to Manhattan.  These days there is a line down the middle of the walkway.  One side is meant for pedestrians & the other is meant for bicyclists.  FYI....the bicyclists will gladly yell at you for crossing the line & coming into their way!  They might even run you down!  Hey...this is New York folks!

One morbid notable event...Robert Emmet Odlum, brother of women's rights activists Charlotte Odlum Smith, was the first person to jump from the bridge on May 19, 1885 (exactly 86 years before my birth).  He died from internal injuries after hitting the water.

So today we are blessed with this gorgeous fall weather & I am blessed with the company of these two wonderful people.  I am also thankful for my Canon camera that is going to help capture amazing shots on the day.

Rennick once again plays the part of our history guide....he points out the new Freedom Towers going up where the World Trade Center once stood.  For a moment I am silent.  I am remembering the horrible events of that day......



As we make our way along the walkway, we stop to view the South Street Seaport.  I haven't been down there in ages.  I might have to add that to the list of things to do.  I'm sure there are great photo opportunities there for me.  From the bridge I will take some gorgeous pictures of the Seaport.

And what's this?
Padlocks on the Brooklyn Bridge?
What? 
What the heck is this about?
And thus begins my creative flow....here it comes...
I thought they were there so you could wear the key on a necklace & when someone asks you what the key is for, you could proudly say, 'I have the key to the lock on the Brooklyn Bridge'.
Please note....I am seriously thinking about getting a lock to put onto the bridge!!!

After some research, it turns out I am, well....wrong.
I know....I know....it doesn't happen often, but it does on these rare occasions such as this one, happen.

Turns out this padlock on the bridge is a tradition that started in Italy.  Apparently the idea comes from this book by Italian author, Federico Moccia.  He wrote this book called 'Tre Meti Sopra il Cielo'.  It's about lovers who put padlocks onto a bridge & toss the key into the river.  The book was made into a movie & thus Italians took to putting padlocks onto the Ponte Milvio in Rome & they would toss the key into the Tiber River.  This symbolized the union of the couples bond.

Whatever.
My version is better!

So the Brooklyn Bridge is now littered with padlocks, some with names & dates on them.  And they are everywhere!  On the cables, on the benches, on the railings.....

Is this art?
Is this graffitti?
Is this vandalism?
Is this romantic?
I'll leave it to you to decide.

Celia & I have decided we want to get padlocks & put them on the Brooklyn Bridge.  She states she wants a purple one.  I don't care what color I get.  I just want to wear the key around my neck just so I can tell people I have the key to the lock on the Brooklyn Bridge!  Come on....my version is more creative!

Rennick however feels this is all vandalism & he'll have no part of it.  Luckily for him we won't find any padlocks for purchase....at least not today.  Oh well....maybe next time I'll remember to buy a padlock before walking over the bridge...

Upon reaching the first archway, we are being tourists by reading the Brooklyn Bridge fact timeline on these plaques.  It's a bunch of fun educational facts.  I should have read them all, but I only read a few.  I'll read them all another time....

We press on.

There are a lot of people walking today.  And everyone is going in both directions.  There are a few bicyclists, but I am staying out of their lane, so they ignore me.

Once we arrive in Brooklyn, I'm looking forward to our next stop.  But I am thrilled to be greeted by Brooklyn.  I am excited about what awaits us.  I am happy to be in the most diverse borough in the world.  And I am thankful that I waited till 40 to do this walk.

Once again....I'm feeling great about these 40 celebrations.  I don't think at 20 or 30 I would have appreciated all this fun.

With this celebration completed, I have done 14 of the 40 celebrations.  26 more to go.  Hard to believe it was a little over a year ago when I started this blog & started planning these events!

















 










Friday, October 28, 2011

#35 - get a group of people to walk in the Breast Cancer walk at Jones Beach

DONE 10/16/11


Thank you Trisha, Nicole, Stephanie & Ryan for joining me on this celebration.

This is one of the most important missions I do yearly. It's important to me since my Aunt Flo was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer. It is because of her that I started walking. It is in her memory that I walked today. And it is in her name that I will always walk!

Aunt Flo is my favorite person in the world. She is the one person I was able to be completely honest with. She knew more about me, than anyone else. She was the most fun, outgoing, smart, beautiful, friendly, caring person this Earth was ever home to. She had a way of making a room come alive. She would always make you feel important. And she never forgot a birthday. She would give you the shirt off her back, or in most cases the shoes off of her feet. She would always bring groceries to my home when visiting & then she would offer to cook. She knew how to cheer me up & make me smile.

Her death was the first death in my family to hit me hard.
We watched her get worse instead of better.
It's hard when someone you think so much of, is sick & there is nothing you can do to make them better.

You get angry.

You feel cheated.

You might beg for more time.

Or else you pray for their suffering to end.

With Aunt Flo, I prayed for more time. I prayed for a miraculous cure.
But I also wished for her suffering to end as I hated to see her in pain.

This was not a woman who did anything wrong or had a mean bone in her body. She didn't deserve this.

No one deserves Breast Cancer.
Or any type of cancer.

I hate cancer so much, I hope cancer gets cancer & dies!

It's sad that we have to do these walks. It's hard to believe we have the ability to give men better errections with drugs like Viagra, or that women can fewer periods with some drug, or that we have an APP for buying these drugs.....but we can't cure cancer? Seriously? Where do our priorities lie? Why isn't our government funding these research groups a bit better? Let the government hold a bake sale or have a walk yearly to get money for stupid things like weapons of mass destruction.

Okay...I'll put the soapbox away....for now....
....back to the walk....

The walk today will be a great one. Probably one of the best I've ever done. Five miles along the Jones Beach boardwalk on a clear chilly fall New York day is just what I need.

So it's with Trisha, Nicole, Stephanie & Ryan that I will walk.
It's in memory of Aunt Flo & Cousin Carrie, in honor of Bonnie, Debbie, Sara & Lisa that I walk today.

I love the walk at Jones Beach. I love the people that come out for the walk. I love the sea of pink walking along the boardwalk. Mostly, I love the feeling in the crowd. The pride. The love. The togetherness. The fun. The Survivors. The patients battling their cancer!

Pink.

I love the color pink. Always did ever since I was a little girl. As a grown woman I know sporting pink = Breast Cancer Awareness. I know I'm going to wear pink proudly every October until we have a cure. Until we beat it.

There will come a day when I will wear pink & not think about Breast Cancer....there has to be....

So today I am gearing up all in pink to join the walkers for another year at Jones Beach.

Party City is amazing. Every year they have tons of fun stuff for the Breast Cancer Walk. This year I have decided I want to go over the top. I want more pink. So I will find it. I ended up buying bright pink hairspray, bright pink disco mardi gras beads, light pink beads with a whistle, a light pink feather boa, a light pink marabou feather hat, & a bright pink light up ring. Trisha will get me a pink ribbon scarf.

On the morning of the walk, I will use the bright pink hairspray. Oy. What a mess! My bathroom looked like a pink bomb exploded in it. It was crazy! Sadly, it was not only messy, but hard to get a good color on my hair. Lesson learned for next year....pass on the hairspray!

Plus the bright pink hairspray will prevent me from wearing the marabou feather hat! Oh well....I'll save it for next year.

After letting the hairspray dry, my hair gets put up into a ponytail. I wear my black yoga pants, a black T-shirt & my bright pink hoodie. This is pretty much the yearly outfit for this walk. Then I layer on the pink bling. The goodies all bought in Party City.

I'm feeling good.
I'm ready for this walk today.
I'm ready to make a difference.
Time to walk.

Trisha & her kids have never done this walk before. I love newbies to the walk. It means more people showed up & hopefully they will touch others to walk in the years ahead.

I explain how people get all dolled up in pink for this walk.
I also explain how we are to cheer for Survivors when we see them in the walk.

Stephanie is the first to point out a Survivor & we cheer for her. We will cheer for several other Survivors during the walk. God bless them for making it out!!!

The American Cancer Society does a great job at this walk every year. They do a lot for the Survivors who come out & walk. The Survivors get T-shirts & medals & other goodies. They deserve it. They earned it!

So when you do the walk & you see someone in a Survivor T-shirt, give them a shout out. They've been through a lot & would probably appreciate the love.

Here's what I love about the Jones Beach walk....there are vendors everywhere. Medical companies come out & offer health screening. Positive Promotions comes out every year & sells Breast Cancer items so you can show your support. And Canon comes out. Their staff raises tons of money. And there are vendors offering raffles. And vendors offer free food. Stop N Shop always brings out tons of free water for walkers. And there are tons of volunteers from every walk of life here. High school cheerleaders come out & amp up the walkers. And there are firemen, police, & military groups that come out as well. Not to mention various groups of people walking as a team for Breast Cancer patients.

I love the family teams. The ones who make up a name for their family member for whom they walk. I love their T-shirts. I love their stories. I love that they showed up. They always have the most fun during these walks.

I love the companies that come out & walk as well. I always cheer for Canon....mostly because I love my Canon camera! Which by the way, has been used for all of my digital photos posted in this blog. I love that Canon does a lot for this walk every year. They have huge fund raisers & the company matches what their employees donate! I respect that.

The walk this year is a great one. Another year of walking to make a difference. Another year to remember why I walk. Another year to raise money & awareness on this cause.

I use the time during the walk to reflect on my reasons for walking. I think about the women who have touched my life. I think about the two that I have lost & the ones that remain. I think about them as I am in a sea of pink. And then I think about all the people who are walking & for whom they walk.

It makes me smile.
Even for all the sadness we have shared without knowing each other.
We are here now.
We are together in a cause.
We are walking.
We are in pink.
We are making a difference.

At the halfway point, there is a fence up.  People leave something behind in honor or memory of the person for whom they walk.  As always, I leave behind my sticker.  I never take it home.  I take the time to say a prayer for those who lost their battle & ask for strength for those still battling.  Like everyone here today, I pray for an end to Breast Cancer.

So while I am sad for the loss of my Aunt Flo & my cousin Carrie, I am happy to have had them in my life. I am thankful every day for them. And I will forever be thankful for them.

Aunt Flo, I know you are smilng down on me from Heaven. I know you & Marcia are getting ready to sit front row center to see Elvis tonight. And then you two will hit a Bingo game going on. Win big babe! Win big!

Cousin Carrie, I am so sorry you are gone. You were taken away too soon. I wish all the best for your girls, my little cousins. It is an honor to have had you in our family.

I am thankful for my friends who have battled their Breast Cancer & for their strength to keep battling it.
Bonnie, Debbie, Sara & Lisa....I am so inspired by your strength ladies! I will always walk for you...any time...any place!

While this mission is something I do yearly, I added it as one of my 40 things thinking I could get 40 people to join me for the walk. And while I didn't get 40 people, I got 4 amazing people to get out & walk. I had more fun with these 4 people than I could have had with another 36 people added!

Trisha, I know I always brag about my 'nieces' & 'nephew'. I should also brag about you. You are Super Mom! You & Brian are raising these kids with a great set of morals & values. Keep it up!

Nicole, my winged angel, you are becoming such a beautiful young woman! I'm so proud of you!

Stephakins, my wild child, thank you for reminding me it's okay for this 40 year old to have fun! I love ya kiddo!

Ryan, my little buddy, thank you for making me laugh & smile! I adore that cute smile & those chubby cheeks, which I have stopped pinching...FINALLY!

Overall, this has been a great celebration. I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I get to blog about it. Now maybe next year I can get 41 people to show up!

And with this celebration completed, I have done 13 of 40 things from my list. I am looking forward to whatever is next.......


And now for some photos on the day.......