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!


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.......

Friday, October 7, 2011

Marmalade Dec. 2006 ~ Sept. 2011

It's hard to string together words to express my sadness about losing my cat, Marmalade.  I always say you have to own a pet to understand the loss of one.  Especially when it comes to losing a cat.  And Marmalade was no ordinary cat.

Marmalade came into my life in 2006.  Abandoned from her previous place of residence, I don't like calling them her owners, she was found shivering outside in a bush on Christmas Eve day in 2006.  I brought her in from the cold, gave her warmth, food, water & a clean litter box.  All of which she accepted graciously.  She was instantly safe & she knew it.

I spent that night trying to find a home for her.  See, I had put my cat Buster to sleep earlier in the year.  I had him for 15 years.  He was the first cat I ever had.  I'd always had dogs in my life.  Buster was special to me.  He was the cutest little runt & he carved a special place in my heart.  After having to put him to sleep, I swore off getting another fur baby. It's too hard to say good-bye for me.  I don't handle it well.

So there I was Christmas Eve calling people trying to find a home for Marmalade.  Everyone I know who has a cat was wishing they could take in another one, but no luck.  No takers.  No matter how much I bragged about this gorgeous cat, no one wanted her.  It was breaking my heart.   I didn't want to see her on the streets.  And then I called one last friend.  I was giving it my best pitch to find this cat a home.  And then my friend asked me the best question ever....

'If she's so special, why don't you take her home?'

And then it hit me....I should take her home.  I could show her a loving home. 

And with that, I had an extra special Christmas present....Marmalade.

I remember bringing her home & getting her settled into life in Queens.  She was a little nervous at first.  Sadly, I had only a few minutes to get her settled before having to leave for work.  Luckily she found her food dish & water bowl without a problem.  And she used her littler box without any drama.  That meant all would be okay. 

When I got home that night, she greeted me at the door.  She meowed a little & once I reached down to pet her, she stopped.  Then she let out a loud purr.  That sound amazed me.  She was a loud purring cat.  It sounded like a jet engine!  And oh how she loved to purr.

A little tap on the butt & walking her to a scratch tower corrected her need to scratch at my carpet.  She did scratch the carpet every so often, but would stop as soon as I directed her to the scratch tower.  I loved how she understood my complaint & quickly obeyed.

Marmalade didn't care for toys.  She didn't like those jingle balls or the squeak toys.  She did however love catnip!  OMG!  She was like a junky on it.  It was wild.  She would lay on the floor & rub the catnip pillow on her face & sometimes she would chew on it.  But mostly she loved to just lounge & be adored.

She was social, but in a limited way.  The first time she met someone, she would come out & look at you.  Then she would give you a headbutt if she wanted to be petted.  If you weren't lucky enough to get the headbutt, she would bump up against you.  Then you were permitted to pet her.  Future visits would give you chances to stroke her.  I know she understood all the compliments about her gorgeous colors.

Marmalade always managed to make me smile.  She would headbutt me to wake me up in the morning.  She would stare at me & wait for me to laugh before she'd blink.  It was sweet.

I loved her taps the best.  She would sit next to me on the couch & when she wanted attention, she would tap me with her paw.  If I dared to ignore the first tap, the second tap would show her claws.  Nothing to draw blood, just a little tap with the claws to let me know she means business.  If I dared to let it go to three taps, then there would be blood drawn.  After learning about the third tap, I never let it happen a second time!

For the record, Marmalade was never malicious with her claws.  She never clawed someone!  She was always sweet.  She never acted out.

Marmalade waited at least three years before she dared to get on the couch!  No joke.  She would sleep on the armrest or the back of the couch, but never next to me on the actual couch.  It drove me nuts!  And then one day after living here for three years, she dared to climb up onto the couch next to me.  I scared her.  I gasped & she ran away.  Oy.  But she came back a few minutes later.  I tried to avoid looking at her.  I wanted to let her get comfy.  She did....but only for a few minutes.  It wasn't until months later that she would venture back onto the couch.  And not until I put down a blanket for her.  Her blanket.  The brown fluffy one that I bought for myself, which of course became hers.  I loved it.  I loved laying the blanket out for her.  It meant she knew she could sit with me on the couch.  It was our special time to hang out together.

So how do I say good-bye to the little Fur Diva that came into my life when I least expected it?  It's been a little over a week now that I had to say good-bye to her.  And I still can't believe she's gone.  I'm sad for the loss of her, but happy that I had nearly five years with her.  I will always look back & laugh at our times together....but I am sad about her being gone.  The silence reminds me of my loss.  It hurts.  I know in time I will heal...but right now I'm sad.  I wish I was able to do more for her.  I just hope she knows how much joy she brought into my life.

Marmie, RIP baby.  I miss you.....

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10/4/11....Tonight's notes....

Just felt like posting the updated list.  I'm still in the middle of working out the next celebration.  I might get to knock off at least three this month!  Woohoo!!!

So here is the list ~

1 - full body massage
2 - take a hike
3 - frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity in NYC
4 - Gravity Hill in Bedford, Pa
5 - learn to speak Spanish
6 - read 'War & Peace'
7 - get a tattoo
8 - take Salsa lessons
9 - take a cooking class
10 - get set up on a blind date  DONE 9/12/11 (with #82)
11 - hostess a tea party    DONE 5/22 & 5/28/11
12 - ride a Harley
13 - buy 40 different pairs of socks
14 - get a make over
15 - get 40 people together for a picnic in a park
16 - go whale watching
18 - cook a Thanksgiving dinner
19 - karaoke night w/some friends    DONE 5/20/11
20 - visit the gravesite of Billie Burke, Glenda from 'The Wizard of Oz' in Vallhalla, NY
21 - learn sign language
22 - paint my bedroom
23 - clean out the living room closet
24 - go to Niagara Falls
25 - Spend the day in Philadelphia
26 - go on a "spiritual Retreat"
27 - rodeo riding
28 - bungy jumping
29 - walk across the Brooklyn bridge
30 - go to the Statue of Liberty
31 - start a book club
32 - go skinny dipping
33 - go on a photo taking tour of Queens
35 - get a group of people to walk in the Breast Cancer walk at Jones Beach
36 - write the next great American novel
37 - go to a movie every day for one week
38 - learn to knit
39 - go to a Zumba class
40 - go to a hot yoga session
41 - try the belly dancing class at the gym
42 - visit a state/city that you've always wanted to visit
43 - try pole-dancing
44 - chop down your own Christmas tree
45 - donate to a charity you never thought you would give money to
46 - volunteer at a soup kitchen
47 - volunteer at an animal shelter
48 - go Christmas Caroling
49 - horse drawn carriage ride in Central Park
50 - ice skating at Rockefeller Center
51 - make holiday cards & gifts for 2011
52 - trip to Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC
53 - go to Junior's for a slice of cheesecake
54 - volunteer at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary
55 - go to Melba's in Harlem for chicken & waffles
56 - take a trip to the Long Island vineyards
57 - check out the Montauk lighthouse
58 - visit a cranberry bog
59 - go see a Broadway play
60 - visit Mark Twain's house in CT
61 - go to Atlantic City & lay down a $40 bet
62 - hot air balloon ride
63 - stock car racing
64 - white water rafting at the Delaware gap
65 - take a picture w/the Naked Cowboy in NYC
66 - go to Medievil Times
67 - go to a Murder Mystery Dinner
68 - go for good Cuban food in NYC
69 - go to the circus
70 - go to a football game
71 - go cayaking
72 - Fleet Week in NYC
73 - Circle Line cruise around NYC
74 - Hayden Planetarium laser show
75 - Hershey Park, PA
76 - visit a dude ranch
77 - take a photography class
78 - bike riding with Hippie Dave
79 - go on a vacation alone
80 - go to the beach looking for seashells with Hippie Dave
81 - Howe Caverns
82 - go see the Mets at Citifield  DONE 9/12/22 (with #10)
83 - rock wall climbing
84 - fly a kite
85 - archery w/Anthony
86 - go to the Halloween parade in the village
87 - go to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria
88 - go line dancing
89 - Governor's Island
90 - ride the Staten Island Ferry
91 - ride the Roosevelt Island tram
92 - go to a midnight movie show w/Tracy wearing your jammies   DONE 7/15/11
93 - go to the Noguchi Museum in LIC
94 - go to the King Manor Museum in Jamaica
95 - go to the Fisher Landau Center for Art in LIC
96 - go to the Sculpture Center in LIC
97 - go horseback riding
98 - ride a mechanical bull (Johnny Utah's in NYC)
99 - Mystic Aquarium, CT
100 - stop to see the sun rise and sun set on the same day
101 - go trick-or-treating with Nicole, Stephanie & Ryan
102 - plan a surprise party for someone
103 - ride the Cyclone & see the Freak Show in Coney Island
104 - midnight bowling
105 - plan a girls night out
106 - try a new hair color
107 - hostess a come as your favorite character/celebrity party
108 - go to the Museum of Sex in NYC
109 - be a nude model for an art class
110 - disco rollerskating
111 - go for pizza in all 5 boros; Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx & Staten Island
112 - tour the Brooklyn Brewery
113 - plant a garden
114 - get a drivers license
115 - go vegetarian for a week
116 - find out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop
117 - go to Adventureland   DONE 7/24/11 with #155
118 - sail in a rowboat on the lake in Central Park
119 - sail a toy boat on the pond in Central Park
120 - make a boat out of materials found in nature & see if it floats
121 - go to Five Guys for breakfast, lunch & dinner so you can say you had 15 guys in one day
122 - go on the ferris wheel in the Toys R Us in Times Square  DONE 8/20/11
123 - go to Alice's Tea Cup in NYC
124 - go to the Top of the Rock
125 - paint a realistic flower
126 - spend the day in NYC with the Iglesias' & O'Connors
127 - take a Hudson River cruise
128 - buy a telescope to see the stars
129 - bounce on a trampoline
130 - make a paper mache artwork
131 - go for a helocopter ride over NYC
132 - go to a concert
133 - get new clothes
134 - go through the Corn Maze at the Queens County Farm ~ see if you can get out in 40 minutes or less DONE 9/18/11
135 - grow out your hair for Locks of Love
136 - go for breakfast at the Belmont Race Track
137 - go to Build A Bear    DONE 8/20/11
138 - go to a Cirque deSoleil show
139 - go see 'TheLion King' on Broadway
140 - go see a foreign language film
141 - Madame Tussaud's in NYC
142 - Magical Nights magic show & dinner in NYC
143 - take a jewelry making class
144 - go to Dylan's Candy Bar in NYC
145 - visit the Lous Armstrong house in Corona
146 - go see 'Blue Man Group' in NYC
147 - do a zip line run
148 - take Sara to White Castle
149 - have a party at Laser Bounce
150 - go to Ellen's Stardust diner in NYC   DONE 8/20/11
151 - go for banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery in NYC
152 - go to a tea house with Raul
153 - lose 40lbs
154 - take a pottery class
155 - plan a brunch at 3 Brothers   DONE 7/24/11
156 - hostess a Tupperware party
157 - go to Lucky Chang's in NYC
158 - go to Mudd Works in Great Neck & have a party there
159 - hostess a Stella & Dot jewelry party  DONE 8/21 & 9/2
160 - go for tea at the Plaza
161 - find a second job
162 - ride a subway line you've never been on
163 - give up Facebook for 40 days
164 - go to Puerto Rico
165 - walk the Great Wall of China
166 - have a cake party with the girls
167 - go for Indian food with Awilda
168 - 1984 with Awilda & Denise
169 - buy a new bag
170 - buy a hat
171 - have a wine party
172 - have a slumber party
173 - have a Super Bowl party
174 - go to Bingo night with friends
175 - go apple picking
176 - go pumpkin picking
177 - start a Joy of Cooking monthly dinner club
178 - hostess a Rocky Horror Show at home
179 - learn to play Mahjong