Sunday, December 29, 2013

I'm Grateful for People Who Send Christmas Cards

One of my ongoing resolutions has been to practice gratitude, so I thought it might be fun to have a weekly blog post about something I'm grateful for. (And hope it lasts for more than a week!)

So... today I am grateful for people who still send traditional Christmas cards through the good old fashioned mail. 

I've become very lazy, myself, about using the mail and use the convenience of Facebook, email, Smileboxes, JibJabs etc. to send my news and photos.  There's so many cool options to animate and include photos and music, all for free! (BTW, my 2013 recap can be found here!)

But I give a lot of credit to those friends and relatives who still take the time, trouble, and expense to buy, print, label, stamp, write, and mail, the traditional way. 

I've started a new tradition where I now send New Years cards back to those people I get the Christmas Cards from.  It's handy, because I can get their addresses from the return addresses of their cards and I can comment on their recent photos or news. 

So, for all you people who still send traditional cards: Yay! I am grateful for you!! Thank you!
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Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 Slideshow

It's been a good year! I kept my resolution to run at least one race in costume each month (I actually did 4 extra!).  So... as I review my 2013 photos,it turns out I have an abundance of running pictures!  I also traveled quite a bit, both for work and for pleasure.  Matt got married over the summer, so we welcomed beautiful Stella Min to our family. I'm lucky to have Meg and Chris and my two grandchildren, Diego and Reneya, living close by, which gives me a lot of babysitting opportunities! Matt started a PhD Psychology program at Florida State in August and Scotty is in his second year at Purdue and also interning at GE. I'm still single, but have lots of fun with friends and dates, so I'm never lonely. I feel very blessed!
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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Help me Help GiveForward Help Christian Hannah for #GivingTuesday

One of my resolutions for 2013 was that I was going to help spread the word of those who were doing good in the world helping others.  A "Help Me Help X Help Y" kind of thing.  The power of social media is so strong and I love to see it used for good by spreading the word of kind and generous things happening in the world.

#GivingTuesday is a movement which is all about giving back. GiveForward is a fundraising site dedicated to helping raise money for medical expenses for those in need.

Today, #GivingTuesday, is the perfect time to celebrate the tradition of giving back! And how great that it follows Thanksgiving, when we celebrate all we have been given.

For #GivingTuesday, GiveForward is working towards helping Christian Hannah get a wheelchair van.

This is Christian Hannah, the boy we’re helping:

  • He’s 14 now, born with cerebral palsy, lives in a wheelchair
  • Raising money for a wheelchair van to help him do more things

I know that all year we are asked to donate to various causes and it's impossible to help everyone. But you can help, both by donating and by spreading the word by using social media and the #GivingTuesday hashtag.  If you're a blogger, then write your own blog post or simply share the links on Facebook, Twitter or wherever you hang out in cyberspace. 

I am SO grateful for my health and the health of my kids and now little grandbabies.  I can't imagine the financial and emotional hardships a family must go through when a child has cerebral palsy. And it's such an easy thing for the rest of us to send a little bit of money and support to someone else who needs help.  

I hope you'll join me in making a donation, spreading the word, and doing a small part in making this world a better place for all of us.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Discounted Avs Ticket to Benefit Mom With Cancer

Most of us have been in situations where we feel helpless. We see people we love in trouble and we want to help, but we don't know what to do.  This month my "Help Me Help Someone" story is about a group of friends who are banding together to help their friend, Michelle Kendall, a mother of three, who is dealing with a recurrance of breast cancer.

"Discount Avs Ticket to Benefit Young Local Mom with Cancer" was the subject line of Sharon Morrill's email that she posted to the McKesson bulletin board distribution list. Sharon's email described a situation in which her friend, Michelle, had gone through much financial hardship during her first battle with breast cancer in 2012 and now is facing new challenges and indefinite chemotherapy.

It's hard to ask for money, but here's a fund-raiser in which everyone wins. Avs tickets at half-price and money still going towards helping Michelle and her family!  The details of the Avs tickers are below. Please help spread the word by posting on FaceBook, Twitter, or other social media sights. Or, if you're not a hockey fan, and would like to help directly, I've posted a PayPal link the group has set up. 

Colorado Avalanche vs. Edmonton Oilers
Tuesday, March 12th,  2013
7:00pm Pepsi Center  Discounted Ticket Pricing
:Upper level center/corner: $30 each (usually $40-$58)
Lower level corner/end: $50 each (usually $89-$112)
There are NO taxes or fees 

Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars
Wednesday, March 20th,  2013
7:30pm Pepsi Center 
Discounted Ticket Pricing:
Upper level center/corner: $30 each (usually $40-$58)
Lower level corner/end: $50 each (usually $89-$112)
There are NO taxes or fees 

To order tickets online:  Tickets can be emailed, sent via Flash Seats, or left at will-call (if you select will-call, you will need a photo ID to pick up your tickets from the Pepsi Center Box Office on the day of the game).

Please call Sarah Feldman Johnston at 303-405-1376 or email with questions or for help ordering tickets.  Thank you for your support of the Colorado Avalanche and the Kendall Family!

To donate directly to help the Kendall Family:

Sharon and her friends met last night to come up with additional fund-raising strategies to help their friend, Michelle. I will update this post with additional information as I get it, but in the mean time, I did want to get the information about the hockey tickets out to as many people as possible.

For questions regarding the Kendall family please contact Sharon Morrill at 720.352.0226

It's heart-warming to see people wanting to help others and finding these creative ways of helping a friend in need. Sharon has told me she's been moved by the outpouring of support from people who want to help.  Let's join in on that... It's as simple as spreading the word about a good deal!

Best of luck to Michelle for a full recovery.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sister's Trip

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Favorite memories from our sister trip:

  1. Finding the picnic table and eating the delicious lunch at a super beautiful spot instead of at MacDonald's.
  2. Yummy Cinnamon Rolls (and feeding the homeless guy who thinks I'm scared of him).
  3. My perfect birthday presents right after I said I wanted necklace / earrings and photo stick.
  4. Everyone knowing we must be sisters
  5. Shopping and finding fun stuff
  6. Michele's internal struggle about whether or not to get the second lady and then the look of "sure satisfaction" when recognizing that they would be "sisters".
  7. Sharing our secret phobias (which will remain secret).
  8. Arriving at the perfect moment for the most beautiful sunset at the SandCastle pier.
  9. Watching Silver Linings Playbook (even though it skipped.)
  10. Geocaching
  11. Butterflies
  12. Taking endless pics on a stick
And... from my journal which is much too long for a blog post:

The very best part of the weekend...the part that couldn't be captured with the photos..was the talking. Memories of Dad... Long talks about relationships with kids and parents, heroes and religion and homeless people, everything and anything.. And, of course, the LOL. Yeah we were LWDOP (Laughing With Danger of Peeing) (I just made that one up and think it's more accurate than ROTFLMAO). We were laughing the whole weekend, even at stuff that may be a little inappropriate to laugh at, but the laughter, inappropriate or otherwise, felt really, really good.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Help me help Andi help Lexi

Andi Whaley has a goal of raising $5000 for Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America to help her surrogate niece, Lexi. She sent a link on the McKesson bulletin board to her Web page with photos of her and Lexi and I could see right away that both Andi and Lexi were special people.

 Andi has found a kindred spirit in Lexi. "We're both high energy and silly," she says and fondly describes Lexi as a "funny, spunky kid." It's obvious that Andi is very close to Lexi and that she is committed to helping this little girl in any way she can.

 Andi's been running for 11 years and her races have already included 4 marathons and a 50K ultra-marathon among other races. She'l be running the Chicago half-marathon with Team Challenge. It's a challenge to run long distances and it's a challenge to raise money. But those challenges don't compare to the challenges that 11-year-old Lexi faces.

 For those of us who have the luxury of health, let's spare a little something to help Andi help Lexi. As someone who has seen the generosity from others who helped me raise money when I did fund-raising, this year I'd like to pay it forward by helping spread the word. You can do the same.

Andi's page:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Weekend in Phoenix puts resolutions back on track

Just like every New Year's Eve, this year I had a long list of "resolutions" which included stuff like

  •  Find the good in everyone
  •  Take a picture a day of something that makes me happy
  •  Blog once a week about what I love about my job
  •  Race once a month in costume

I was going to be so Pollyanna optimistic and happy and never have a moment of anger or frustration or irritation about petty things that really didn't matter.

Well that didn't work. I think it was 5 minutes into the New Year when I had my first pissy conversation with a woman I didn't know at the party I was at about something totally inconsequential. As for blogging about what I love about my job (a resolution that got me in the company newsletter, by the way)... I feel like the Universe (or whoever it is that holds you accountable for resolutions) is testing me or something. I have had more work stress in the past couple of weeks than I've had in the whole previous year! OK, so I'm not Pollyanna after all.

But, if the first 18 days of the year were not exactly as planned, the Universe is making up for it by giving me the perfect January weekend in Phoenix, Arizona.

I bought the tickets last Fall... "Winter getaway to Phoenix" is a "regular" on my resolution list, but I also have a long list of reasons why it rarely happens. Well this year, the stars were aligned and there was a cheap flight that would get me here for MLK weekend -- the same weekend as the Rock'n'Roll marathon / half-marathon / (and this year, the one I ran) "mini-marathon."

Just the fact that they're having a mini-marathon (5.4 miles) was pure luck. I don't think they've done that before and I'm in no shape to run any farther than that... in fact, I haven't been training at all. But I'm trying to make this year's running more about having a "good time" as in "fun" rather than "speed." Even running 5.4 miles isn't usually "fun," but it's more "fun" than running 13.1 or 26.2, and I still get all the other perks like the pre-race expo, post-race party, bands, swag, and of-course racy atmosphere.. full of excited, sweaty, in-shape runners. Another big bene of the mini-marathon is that it was only $40, as opposed to the $100+ price tag for the longer races. So I get all the "good stuff" (party, etc) for less than half the bad stuff (running) and at a much better price. I don't want to call anyone a sucker here (after all, those longer distance runners do have bragging rights and are in better shape) but the cheapskate in me is definitely celebrating the mini-marathon option.

OK, next there was the problem of going alone. Bonnie, my neighbor and running partner, surprisingly has been "all in" on the idea of racing once a month in costume. However, she was not keen about flying to Phoenix only to run 5.4 miles. (She apparently doesn't have the same logical mind as I do in thinking that races are about getting the most fun for the least pain.) (By the way, we did run the Quicker Quaker 5K in our "oatmeal" costumes last weekend in eight degree weather. Hence, I am revising my resolution to "Run 12 races in costume" and I'd just like to note to the resolution-accountability-Gods that I am ahead of schedule with two down in January.)

Going to a race alone definitely can put a damper on the "fun factor." In fact, traveling alone is not something I normally do. But, now in this new empty nest phase of my life, I'm finding there can be an exciting freedom in starting out an adventure alone and finding out who you meet along the way. So rather than the usual frenzied attempt to try and find someone to go with me, I decided to see how a short trip alone would work out.

I did, however, check OKCupid to see if I might possibly find someone who would be willing to meet me for lunch or dinner while I was out in Phoenix. My search revealed someone with a picture from 2011's Rock'n'Roll Half-Marathon, so I sent him an email and found out that he was indeed running again in 2013. Not only would he go with me to the race, he said he'd be happy to go to the expo with me, show me around Phoenix and take me to dinner! Jim was like my fairy Godfather! Handsome and gentlemanly  he couldn't have been more perfect. Neither of us was looking for romance, so there were no expectations in that department, and instead an easy friendship immediately developed. If only all my online dates could be so easy. I suppose the "safety" of knowing there were no expectations made a big difference. And it was great having someone else to share the fun of a big race and the post-race feeling of accomplishment.

It turned out I ran at a much faster pace and finished stronger than I ever would have imagined! This low altitude really makes a difference. Or maybe, again, it was the lack of any expectations for a fast race that gave me such energy. Yeah, I felt a little like a cheater for only running 5.4 miles, but Wow! It was really a good 5.4 miles. Lots of people commented on my cool rock-n-roll sunglasses and sparkly top. Even though it wasn't a super-creative costume, it definitely added to the fun-factor and has motivated me to keep up the effort of finding theme-related accessories for future races.

I still have another day here in Phoenix. The weather has been absolutely, positively perfect -- Highs in the mid 70's. I was out at the pool yesterday soaking in the sunshine. They say this is unusual, even for Phoenix, so I lucked out again. I'm going out with a Realtor this morning to check out town homes  Maybe some day I'll do the snowbird thing and spend my winters out here.

Tomorrow I will be back at work, trying again to stick with all my resolutions. I've come to realize that no matter how much I try to be happy and optimistic  I'm going to have my ups and downs. Life will throw me curve balls and I'll get hurt or mad or stressed. But I know that just around the corner is that unexpected home run like I experienced this weekend, when all is right with the world.

Sunday, January 06, 2013


One of my resolutions is to take a picture a day of something that makes me happy.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2012 Memories

Wow, it's been so long since I blogged, that I've kind of forgotten how this works. But new year, new resolutions, and this year I'm going to try and blog once a week with a photo that made me smile or something I'm grateful for. Of course, the biggest thing I'm grateful for is my amazing family. I am so, so, so proud of my kids and who they've become. And now, I have two little grandchildren living close by who I adore. So, I'm kind of breaking the rules with 12 photos (one for each month of 2012), but I need a chance to recap 2012 since I didn't do much blogging. It was a super-great year and I'm very excited about 2013.
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