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Monday, January 24, 2011

An update and a thank you

It's hard to believe that over four months have sped by since my last post. That just goes to show you how quickly time flies when you are busy living.

I wanted to update everyone on how everything went: I realized today that I never did that. I left the blog just hang here like a forgotten piece of laundry. There was work to be done yet, but no one seemed to be doing it. Turns out, that someone was me!

Well, our 2nd Tour de Pink ride was phenomenal to say the least. There was some flooding which made it interesting, multiple rest stops without port-a-potties (which was of particular concern to me!), detours and diversions, but no major incidents. I can honestly say Brad and I flew through the route. There were some very tough climbs, but overall we rode even stronger than last year. Maybe a little too strong, in fact. We hit the finish line in New Jersey so early that nobody was there to take our picture (that was a real bummer)! We even spent part of the time riding with the big dogs, a group of seasoned cyclists who I never would have dreamed I could ride with. It was truly awesome, and made for some very special memories I will never forget. One of my favorite moments of the ride was after we had finished and were changed out of our bike gear and into street clothes. We were busy scarfing down mounded plates of barbecue when our friends finally rode in and one of them deadpanned to me "I really hate you right now." Priceless. The trip was awesome, moving, inspiring, and truly wonderful in every way. It was a special treat to have Cory along for the ride as he volunteered at the rest stops. We all had a great time together, even though we were missing Erin the whole time. It was also great fun to ride with our buddies from Duluth. It was especially wonderful to watch them experience the ride for the first time: it is truly lifechanging, and nothing else compares! Here's a photo of the Duluth contingent after the Fox & Friends show:



I also thought I'd give a little update on our Duluth Tour de Pink. Suffice it to say it was really hard and trying at times, but incredibly worth it. Where we once hoped to only break even, we ended up netting over $50,000 for YSC Duluth support and educational programs. This is all due in no small part to our incredibly enthusiastice riders and volunteers, and tremendously generous sponsors. Needless to say, there will be a YSC Tour de Pink Duluth 2011. It's already scheduled for September 17th, 2011! I hope to see you there.

Finally, I had to take a minute and write about the amazing intimacy that is possible in this huge, hyper tech world we live in. When you hear stories about how this country is going to the dogs because we're all hooked on the internet and electronic gadgets, and nobody has real, meaningful connections anymore, I want you to think of this story. If you have been keeping up with this blog you may have seen the post months back called "For Michelle". If not, here's the link. I was writing about Michelle Weiser, who worked for Giant bicycles. Without her, so much of my success over the past year never would have happened. Well, none of it would have, really. Because of a donated bicycle I rode with Brad and my friends for the past two years in the East Coast Tour de Pink. Because of the bike she gave me I held the first of what may be many YSC Tour de Pink Duluth events. Because of that bike, I have kept this blog and met many wonderful people as well as explored my thoughts and feelings about cancer and life. Because of that bike, I'm still riding (even if it is just in my basement for the winter), riding and training for the next Tour de Pink. In the original post I mentioned that I did not know if Michelle was married or had a family. Last week I received an email from someone very close to her, who assured me that she had a very close family who loved and cared for her very much, and was with her to the end. He wrote to thank me for the post and said that my portrait of Michelle was "astute". High praise, indeed. Needless to say, I am humbled. It's hard to express how amazing it is that this person found my post about someone who meant the world to them and took the time to write me. The world is an amazing place full of truly immeasurable gifts. All you have to do is put yourself out there and live it. I am grateful for all that is good in my life. I am grateful for the challenges. But I am so grateful for the people, the moments, and the stories that are what give my life meaning.

Staying in the game

In the previous post I added a pic of the scrapbook page I made for Scrap for Survival. To put it simply: Blech. I don't like it. I was especially irritated with myself about it since I used some of my favorite papers on there. And they're gone, gone, gone...sigh.

It was clear that page #1 was too busy for use on a printed page or on a webpage. So, I spent another four hours making page #2. I tried to be clean, spare, and more graphic. Again, I used some of my favorite things. I definitely like it better, though. See if you agree...



I know what you're saying: "How in the heck could this take four hours to make?" Answer: 1. You don't know me that well, if you have to ask that question :) 2. I am here to tell you it is awfully hard to scrapbook a page about something when you're not trying to capture a memory, but advertise something. Yipes. Anyway, as I said, I like this one much better, and so did the powers that be at YSC. Still...we are not using it. I basically wasted all of that time, effort, and awesome paper on nothing...instead we are going with an actual graphic I created. Take a look:



I have no idea where the dark lines around the two edges came from. Hmmm....let's hope they're not there in the final printing! I definitely see a theme from the page to the graphic. It's funny how we ended up with something so simple after all that mental and creative wandering!

At least I got to spend time in my work room, and while there, I got to scrap a page for real!!! I am totally in love with this kit from Studio Calico and all of the awesome goodies it contains. (Heck, I'm in love with every kit from Studio Calico!!! They're incredible!) But, I have a surplus of kits waiting to be used and my goal is to use them all up. Not a bad goal, if I say so myself :) I get to play with great supplies AND do something I love. That's not hard at all!

For your visual pleasure (I hope) here's the page I made about Cory's time playing baseball. He only played for one season, and we made some great memories. I was so proud of him for doing what he wanted, even though he was inexperienced and older than a lot of kids on his team. It's one of the things I truly admire about him. He doesn't let anything stop him from doing what he wants; he doesn't get embarrassed or worry about sticking out. Cory knows how to live life. Hence the title "In the Game". Like the journaling says, he never sits on the sidelines, and that makes me very proud!







Here's to everybody getting into the game!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hmmm...


I don't know, what do you think? Instead of a logo to advertise the Scrap for Survival, I made this page. I don't know...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

FINALLY!



I finally was able to do a little scrapbooking. I finished up a couple of LOs I started at my friend's crop AND I successfully scrapped a LO two nights ago! It feels good to stretch the creative muscles!

These are some close-ups of the 2 page spread above. I love these pictures from when Cory spent a week at a camp in Wolf Ridge with Brad and his schoolmates. I especially love the picture of him with the chickadee! (Thanks to Julie for the awesome quotation that tells the whole story!)




These are some of my favorite pics of Whiskers. This scrapbooking kit from Studio Calico had the perfect papers to go with the photos. Of course, I had to engage in some time consuming scissor work :)





I had a lot of fun scrapping these pics of Erin's first long driving experience...all the way to the cabin. Too bad she still has to put up with her brother, no matter how cool she tries to be!




I got a new portrait lens for Christmas. Hopefully there will be some awesome photos coming soon!!!

Evidence of a Life