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Posts from the ‘personal’ Category

They Say It’s Your Birthday…

Scenes from a birthday.

Mine, yes. But not just mine. My younger brother, Christopher, shares my birthday. He was born 7 years after me, to the very day.

As adults, we don’t always have the opportunity to celebrate together every year – but this year, we did. Dinner and margaritas with the family at Cantina 1511, and then over to Mom & Dad’s for presents and cake. My cake was a ‘ Sour Cream Coconut Cake’ from Tizzerts, and was amazingly delicious.

Apparently, when Christopher was born, my main concern was whether I would have my own cake each year, on our birthday. (Keep in mind – I was 7!).  Throughout my childhood, my Mom always made sure that I did. Thanks, Mom. Now, it’s up to Tristan. So far, so good. 😉

cantina1511 bdaybirthday twinsbday dinner - the whole famcamera happy peoplebday dinner abb tehcake with candles abbsmiley angeold schoolabb with knifebday cakesbday cdbbday cakes3bday me and mombday picturesikeadecor bdaymmm cakebday giftswine gifts

My favorite new present is my itty-bitty-teeny-weeny Product (RED) iPod Nano, from Tristan… Isn’t she cute? (Not Gaga!).

teeny iPod2

And quite the upgrade. Five years ago Tristan bought me my very first iPod, the 2nd gen Nano (which was only 4 GB… my new one is 16 GB!). Ah, geek love.

 

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Why I Crew

 

A little more than a week ago, I took part in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, as a Crew Member. A Team Leader of the Information Services Crew, to be exact. I have volunteered as a Crew Member before. I have even participated in the Avon (now defunct) 3-Day Walk for Breast Cancer, as a Walker.

closing4Finish lineclt closing

Why do I crew?

I crew for the woman I saw on both Saturday and Sunday crossing the finish line, her body wracked with sobs. She seemed sad, and happy, at the same time. A fellow Team Leader, Lisa, (a stranger to the woman) gave her a hug at the finish line on Sunday. I later found out the woman is a breast cancer survivor, as I stood next to her during the Closing Ceremony.

I crew for my Gram… because she has battled (and won) this disease. She had a mastectomy, and is an 18 year survivor!

I crew for myself, as a woman with a history of breast cancer in her family.

I love that I do this. I’m very proud. I do it for you.

crew walking in

The Crew Members on my particular team ranged from average to awesome. Some members of my team were FABULOUS. (Some were… meh. I could tell their heart wasn’t really in it). I received some less-than-enthusiastic responses to our early start time. (Yes, 4 a.m. is early. Yes, you knew this when you signed up. *ahem*.  You are doing this for charity. Presumably you are doing this because Breast Cancer has touched your life in one way or another. It is ONE weekend out of the whole year. Suck. It. Up. – Rant over).  So, I made the best of it – relying on those that I could count on – and picking up the slack myself.

I got 2.5 hrs. of sleep on Friday night, and then worked for 18 hours. On my feet. (Saturday night was very exciting… I got a whole 3.75 hrs. of sleep!). I was in Uptown Charlotte at 3:45 a.m. Saturday morning.  I joked that the only time I sat down that weekend was to pee. (Sadly it wasn’t really a joke).

pink hair and little sleep

I have never worn so much pink in my entire life.

pink lacespink nails

I had a fabulous time.

People ask me why I crew, raise money, and am involved with the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. To understand, perhaps you have to see it in person. Even if you don’t know someone participating in one of the walks… come out. Attend an opening or closing ceremony. Cheer for and support those who walk (and those of us who work it!).

lisa signlining up for closingboobscheerleader

I’ll be back next year, and the year after that. I even hope to WALK the event again, in 2013. I’m thinking of doing it in Washington DC…? (That way I can still Crew in Charlotte).

next year

I set a modest little goal for myself for fundraising, of $300.00 (Crew is not required to fundraise, but is encouraged to do so). This year, time got away from me. I didn’t even *try* to start fundraising until a week before the event. Ooops.

fundraising pic

Thank you to all of my donors who stepped-up to the plate last-minute, to help me surpass my goal. You guys are the best! Next year – I’ll do better. You can always do better. 🙂

Learn more about the good work performed by the Avon Foundation and the Avon Walk  at AvonWalk.org

 

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Taste of Home

I was born and raised in Illinois, and my extended family lives there to this day. My parents still own our former house there (which my Dad built, and they now rent out). My Mom goes back about every 8 weeks or so to help out my Gram. I get back as often as I can, which let’s face it – isn’t often enough. I love it there. I was raised in a small town that had a population of less than 2,000 when I was growing up. No stoplights. No fast-food restaurants. (They now have both). My best friend/neighbor was homeschooled, did not have a TV, was in 4-H and had a horse named Nettie. There was an apple orchard in our “neighborhood”  (which was made up of a private lane with 7 houses on it). Nowadays when I imagine living in that environment , it gives me the shakes. No thank you. I’m a city girl now. But, back then – I loved it. It was quaint and perfect. Let’s just say, my IL roots run deep.

My Dad had to be back in IL for work (his company is based there) for a couple of weeks at the end of September, and as he drove up there (crazy man!), he offered to bring home anything that we wanted.

Ooooh!

After hearing all of my requests… he might have regretted offering.

First I asked him to get me some Schlafly Pumpkin Ale.  It is unavailable here in NC, and I’ve heard it is one of the kings of pumpkin beer (which I adore). Done and done.

 schlafly pumpkin ale

Second, he brought me a huge bag of apples from our neighbor’s apple orchard. That’s right, I grew up across from an apple orchard. Benny & Shirley gave me my first job (when I was in single digits!)… picking up the apples that had fallen from the trees. I distinctly remember… I could choose to get paid $3… OR… get a gallon of their homemade apple cider as payment. I always chose the cider. I was a foodie even in the 1980s!

peck of IL apples

I also asked my Dad to hunt down some canned pumpkin. I had just gotten wind of the pumpkin shortage, and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find any down here in Charlotte. Libby’s Pumpkin is based in Morton, IL  – where something like 95% of the canned pumpkin sold worldwide is processed. And most of that pumpkin is grown with 50 miles of the processing plant there. Morton is just a town over from where I grew up, so in a way canned pumpkin has always seemed a bit like a “local product” to me.

Well, he is accepted this challenge… and then some. This is what my current pumpkin stash looks like today, thanks to my Dad hunting down every can between Illinois and North Carolina…

29 cans of pumpkin

(It has grown even since my last post).

He also brought me a stash of my Grandpa’s old canning jars. I have become obsessed with Ball jars over the past couple of years, and am constantly collecting them. I’ll have to buy new rings and lids for these, but otherwise I’ll be set for a long time!

grandpa's jars

My Gram and Grandpa used to do a LOT of canning back in the day. I really wish my Grandpa was around today to see just how interested I’ve become in all of his old loves… (gardening, canning, etc). Unfortunately he has been gone from us for 14 years now. It’s hard to believe it has been that long.

It was such a treat to get these goodies from Illinois… Thanks, Dad!

I’ve eaten at least an apple a day, since receiving my stash – and I swear I’ve hardly made a dent in my supply. Yum.

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Snip, snip!

Last Monday, I went to get my hair done… and lost about 4 inches!

 newhair2newhair4newhair3new hair1

I’m loving it, but it’s taking me a while to be successful at styling it. I really don’t enjoy the round brush/blow-dry routine before work in the mornings, so that is taking some getting used to. (or not, when I skip it!). However, armed with a new hairdryer (long overdue), new round brush, new products, and some giant velcro rollers – I now feel ready to tackle it. Bring it!

I feel different after I get my hair cut. This time around, I’ve even found myself playing around with different jewelry, particularly earrings. I’ve gone a little nuts in the past couple of weeks buying things for “me”… clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. Truth be told, it’s been lovely.

It’s no secret that the first 6 months of this year have been rough. Frankly, downright difficult, health-wise. But things are getting better. They are better. I still don’t feel like myself, but I’ll get there.

When I let my hair get long, it’s easy to forget how much I like my hair cut shorter these days. Time goes by, I get busy, and forget to get a cut. When it gets long, I get laaaaaaazy with it. I whip out the flatiron and call it a day. I also think the shorter hair fits my age better, right now. I look young *always*, but with longer hair, even more so.  In ten years I will probably be happy to look “young” again, but right now I’m a proud to look like a happy and healthy 32 year old.

This weekend Tristan and I head out of town for a fabulous long-weekend getaway for our 5th Anniversary! I can’t wait!!

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