Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Work in Progress Wednesday: Holiday Decorating

I really struggle with the whole concept of decorating my house for the holidays.  I know it shouldn't be that hard, but I think it has its challenges.  Challenge #1 is that is requires more stuff.  I am more of an "everything all over the place" than an "everything in its place" person.  So the idea of adding more stuff to the place makes me a little nervous.  This challenge was eradicated by my former intern Kaleigh (you remember her)

Hi Kaleigh! 

Kaleigh informed me that when decorating for the holidays, you put your normal, every day decorations in the box the holiday decorations came out of, then when its over, bring them back out.  I know this should have been obvious, but it was seriously a light bulb moment for me.  

Challenge #2 is how to arrange it.  I read a lot of crafting blogs and you should see the way these people claim their houses look all the time.  I mean were do you eat dinner if your table looks like this?
Where does one get so many pumpkins?
Where do you put all your piles of mail and bills?

Or your purse and all the other random bags that go on tables like these?

After reading enough blogs and looking at enough pictures, I realized a pattern.  That I could just group things together as opposed to spread it out everywhere, add touches here or there, and use things I already had.  These revelations lead me to create a little bit of Halloween that actually looked good.  I was rather proud of myself when I came up with the idea to add the Harry Potter books from the shelf into all of the Harry Potter Decorations I had from my teaching days. 

I threw in the an owl candle (Hedwig) I'd bought the week before on a whim and a plastic glass I must have had from a Philadelphia party (it could totally double as the goblet of fire).

Then I took the rest of the owls, some randoms pairs of pumpkins and flowers, and some candle sticks from a wedding, bunched them all together and placed them in a couple of spaces in the room.

It's not a master piece, and this won't turn into a "decor" blog anytime soon.  But it's Work In Progress, and it's Wednesday.  So here you go!

Happy Halloween!  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Teal Tuesday - Pink and Teal - its all too real

Happy Teal Tuesday my friends!  I've been a little quiet on the teal front as this month belongs to pink and pink is rather close to my heart.  Cancer is no stranger to my family on both sides.  So far, I have three breast cancer survivors and one angel in in my family tree.  That makes us all "previvors" , the risk of cancer is all too real to my family.  See, we have a lot of girls on my mothers side.  She is one of 5 sisters, 6 out of 10 grandchildren are women, and we are currently at 3 for 4 girls in the great grandchildren department.  We knot that its just not our amazing good looks that we share.  The genes we share are strong, but not stronger than our love for each other.  So this #Teal Tuesday goes out to this crew:

The winners of the most people in the photo booth contest:

These Sisters:

This Crew:

This Team:

These Aunts:

This Angel:

And these two who started it all:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Year Ago Today/The Return to Health: Go Pink!

Today's post is a combination "A Year Ago Today" and "The Return to Health."  As I've blogged about before, TRX was a big part of my return to fitness after cancer.  I was able to Zumba through some of my treatments, but when I was ready to get strong again, TRX and Hosner Fitness was right there to help.

A year ago today, was the First Annual GO PINK for Breast Cancer at Hosner Fitness.  Usually closed on Sunday, Hosner Fitness opened for a Sunday in October to raise money for Cancer Services Program of Fulton and Montgomery County. Suzanne Hagadorn and her crew provided screenings free of charge for breast, cervical and colorectal and provide education on cancer prevention and early detection.   Last year, I was recovering from surgery #2, but came over to watch one of the classes.  It was a time that I was still very unsure of what was going on and pretty scared.  Seeing the community come out and support one another like that was touching and hopeful.

This year, I am so incredibly blessed to be healthy enough to participate.  I put on my pink shirt and "cancer sucks" headband and joined in the fun at 8 am.  They do 4,  30 minutes classes at ten dollars each.  This year over 50 people signed up for classes.

The place was all decorated in Pink, and the lights were off to give it more of a party atmosphere with DJ Mike Garrasi providing the music and lights.

There were raffles, t-shirts, snacks, and bracelets for sale will all proceeds going to the cause.

They filled the walls with 160 ribbons celebrating survivors and supporters.

And since the classes were sold out, Rob agreed to wear this while instructing......

I know there is a lot of pink this month and the seriousness of cancer can get lost in the "save the ta-tas," that horrendous motor-boating scheme and "I'm a Boob Man" mentality of Breast Cancer awareness month.  We forget that its actually about saving women (and men), not their body parts.   This event is so great and so special because not only is the community coming together to raise money for a good cause but they come together for a celebration.  They are celebrating health and strength.  They are empowering women to take control of their health, to lead a health lifestyle that helps prevent cancer or, like me and the many other survivors that work out there, return to a healthy, vibrant lifestyle after cancer.

I can't wait to hear how much money was raised or to see the professional pictures taken by Katie Ramirez. When I'm do I will be sure to share.  For now, I'll leave you with the sign each group took their picture with, made by one of our strong survivors, Karen Agresta.  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

WIP it up Wednesday: Pumpkins and More

Its been quiet here in blog land! I've been lazy and actually been eating lunch with co-workers instead of blogging at the library. Today's Work In Progress Wednesday is brought to you on Thursday, written on my phone while lunching with my co-workers.  So here goes...

I've been making some fun hats lately! Its not too late to hop on Pumpkinhead Knits and order one today

Or fine a picture of a hat online. I love a challenge.   Here are some "challenges" I've accepted the last few weeks. Will the next one be yours?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fall Nostalgia/Amnesia

I have this box in my closet from my Grammy's house.  Grammy lives in a nursing home now and we had to sell her house.  It was one of the happiest places on earth, filled with cousins to play with, historical treasures and Milky Way candy bars. My Grammy's house had a certain smell to it, and that box still has that smell.  I hope it never leaves.

Wednesday night,  I retrieved this from that box.

I had never seen one of these before but my mother set one aside for my sister and me.  We both don't remember ever what it was for even though my  Mom swears we did...probably because we were eating the Milky Ways instead of the healthy baked apples these provide.

Apparently, these are apple bakers.  Just core an apple, add a tablespoon of water and what ever spices you'd like and bake at 350 for 20-40 minutes.  I just put some of my Trader Joe's Sugar, Chocolate and Coffee Bean Grinder topping on top and baked for a little too long (as you can see from the mushy picture).  I used a Cortland Apple and it came out sweet and sour with a little hint of the coffee bean.

It's a nice fall dessert that is healthy and brings back memories (or lack of memories in this instance) for the fall.  Although after a quick Google search I found some not so healthy alternatives I might have to try out too!

And these that look MUCH better than mine!

Have you ever seen one of these?  What reminds you of fall?  Am I the only one who forgets things her mother swears she should know?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Work in Progress Wednesday - Halloween Pattern

Hey - let's pretend it's still Wednesday and I am posting a crochet pattern over at the blog "Get Your Crap Together".  Let me tell you it was hard to get my crap together and get this in by the deadline.  Do me a favor and show me how much your crap it together by going and visiting!

Have a great WIP it Up Wednesday!

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Story of Two Mugs

About two years ago, at my bridal shower, I opened up this gift from my friend and bridesmaid Colleen:

My first thoughts were (obviously) "Aaawww I'm Colleen's hero."  Instead I heard her say, "That one's for Mike, the next one is for you."

Princess?  Me?  Surely not. I'm not damsel in distress, I pay my own bills, have my own job, and survived 30 years up to that point quite well.  Independence and strength were two qualities I valued in myself.  But these were just coffee mugs so for the sake of the shower, I played along.  

Our marriage would be a partnership, 50/50, equal. Then, just months before our first anniversary I'd learn the important, humbling lesson of letting people take care me. I had many caretakers this past year, but today I celebrate Mike.

Looking back today, on the 2nd Anniversary of our marriage, I can unequivocally say that Colleen was right, Mike is the hero and I'm the princess.  I get a lot of attention for being the cancer survivor, the patient, the one in need.  But cancer and other major illnesses don't just happen to the patient.  They happen to the caregivers too.  I don't know what its like to sit in a waiting room for hours at a time, waiting for surgeons, nurses, anyone to come out and give a status on a loved one.   I don't know what its like to be the next of kin that gets told they found something abnormal and need permission to take a body part of the one I love.  I couldn't see the color drain from my face or my eyes become dull during chemotherapy.  No one questioned my need for time off or my lack of motivation to leave the house or felt I needed permission to get sick.

So today is a celebration of of this mug...the one I get to lookat for the rest of my life.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Healthy Sunday: Ovarian Cancer 5K Team Kelly - Picture Time!!!

Sunday September 15th, an incrediable group of people got together to run or walk to raise awareness and research money for Ovarian Cancer.  I feel so special and amazed that they all came together as a team for me.  My family was there, as were some of my best friends and their families and their friends.  It truly shows how cancer affects everyone.  To think that it wasn't just my friends and family, but their friends and family as well that were praying for me, cheering me on and supporting the ones I love was incrediable to see first hand.  Wearing our Team Kelly shirts, we walked, ran and laughed our way through the day.   

The day started at Albany's Washington Park where we ran into my oncologist and nurse practitioner, got to see all of the other awesome teams as well as teal swag, information tables and crafts. 

There aren't a lot of people who hang out in the 13 minute  mile zone, but my friends Thom and Joe ran alongside me      keeping time for me and cheering me on.  We finished in about 38 minutes which was good for me but very slow for them.  I totally love them for that. 

Afterward we went to Starbucks and then Across the Street Pub and I got to hang out and bask in the awesomeness of these incrediable people. We talked and laugh and at the end of it all left feeling satisfied, accomplished and loved.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Peace and All Good

It's Friday October 4th, the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi.  It is amazing how the simple life of a man born into wealth in 1182 and died in 1226 as a simple, humble servant has had a profound impact on so many lives. I once heard that he is 2nd place to Jesus in the most books written about a person in the Library of Congress.  He has certainly had a profound impact on my life and can serve as a reminder to all of us during these times when hatred, injury, despair, darkness and sadness abound.  In a time where our Congress is seeking to be consoled, understood, and loved rather than consoling, understanding, and loving the people they were elected to serve.  In a time when violence and shootings are every day headlines and the solutions to the problems divide us more than the problems themselves. Rather than loving our neighbors we lock our doors and pull the blinds.  We can go all day without a real life kind word because we are all looking at our screens.  We both glorify being busy and complain about it.  Our lives spin past us quickly and out of control.  We long for contentment, intention, and inner peace.  We think we can schedule, plan and buy it for ourselves.  Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us of many things, but today, I choose to slow down and focus on just one: Peace.  Peace of mind, peace of heart, peace of spirit.  Peace for my neighbors, my family and friends, and our world.  Take a minute to read and reflect on the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi.  Remember to pardon, love and console.  Begin by pardoning, loving and consoling yourself.