Thursday, April 9, 2015

Yes, I’m Still Here

Wow, I can’t believe the last time I blogged was in September 2014 – where does the time go?? As we can all attest, life with young children, a career, travel, etc. makes it hard to sit down to write for pleasure. There are moments at the end of the day when my brain turns off and I just want to watch mindless reality TV on Bravo.

As I was catching up on a variety of blogs by my friends in Bloggerville, I was saddened to see that one of my favorites, Andrew Touchstone of Main Line Sportsman, died of a heart attack last October. He often left nice comments on my blog entries and always had an interesting story to tell on his site. He was only 51 and left behind a wife and three children. So very sad.

So, Mr. Touchstone, a belated toast to you. No one can fill your shoes in the web-verse.

Quick update on my little part of the world. Had another surgery in early December – preventive this time, to help stave off the occurrence of other cancers. So, now I’m healthy and happy (not sure about wise, but every day I try!) and striving to make 2015 oh-so-fabulous!

So proud of my little man. At the second grade variety show he played the keyboard and told jokes.

The kids are doing well. My daughter turned 10 in March, which is beyond hard to believe. One of her birthday gifts was finally getting her ears pierced. Her brother filmed it – I won’t share the video because she didn’t handle it very well - Eeek! She’s in fourth grade playing tennis these days. Little Man turns eight next month. He’s in second grade, playing baseball and will make his First Communion in late April.  

What else? Oh, well, I’m no longer seeing the man featured in my last blog post. But, I’m perfectly fine with that. Nice guy, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I’d rather be happy and alone than settle. I’m reminded of that “Sex in the City” episode where Carrie and the girls go to the Hamptons for a wedding. They talk of the need to have “butterflies” when you meet the right person. No butterflies, why bother? I couldn’t agree more. Butterflies are a must. (Probably too much info to share here, but who cares. Take it or leave it.)

Gorgeous flowers in San Francisco's Union Square

In late March, I attended a conference in beautiful San Francisco. After the horrible winter we had in Kentucky, it was so nice to venture to a warm and sunny locale. One of my favorite things about San Fran is the flowers. Colorful, amazing flowers everywhere. This was my second trip to SF, but I have yet to visit wine country. Maybe on a future trip out there.

The view of the Bay Bridge from my hotel room. Lovely sight to wake up to each morning. 

Hope all my friends in Bloggerville are doing well. I will try not to be as neglectful of my blog as I have been over the last year. Of course, easier said than done, but we’ll see.

Happy Thursday, friends. The weekend is almost here!

Photos property of A Place to Dwell blogspot

Friday, September 19, 2014

Where the heck have I been??

Yes, I've been a neglectful blogger. Hanging my head in shame. 

With the start of the school year and kids' sports activities, in addition to my day-to-day work load, I've hardly had time to come up for air. Hopefully things will slow down a bit, but I have a feeling that's not going to happen.

I'm blessed to say that in August, I celebrated one year of being "cancer-free." So, I continue with regular visits to a plethora of doctors, but whatever it takes to keep the Big C from returning, I'll do what it takes. 

Last weekend, I attended the Pink Tie Ball in Louisville which benefits the Susan G. Komen Foundation. We had tons of fun - it was a wonderful evening to celebrate the survivors and remember those we have lost to this dreadful disease. The clock is ticking, doctors and researchers. Let's find a cure. NOW. 

(Yes, that's my date for the event. Yes, we're seeing each other. Yes, I'm rather happy.)

The weekend before the Pink Tie Ball, I took the kids to their first UK football game. We had lots of fun, but it was hotter than all get-out. We left at half-time to seek the cool AC at a local restaurant. And we did so just in time because the heavens opened up and rained HARD in the great town of Lexington. Good timing.

So, more cross country and flag football and tackling second and fourth grade homework pretty much sums up what I've been doing lately. 

Hope all my friends in Bloggerville are doing well. Fall is almost here - can you believe it??

Photos property of A Place to Dwell Blog

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Visit to Charleston

My cousin Patsy and I in front of one of the many gorgeous structures in Charleston

Last week I spent a glorious few days in Charleston, South Carolina, now one of my favorite cities in the world. Thanks to my Aunt Kathy and Uncle Mark for hosting us (my lovely cousin, Patsy, joined me on the visit as well). It was an ideal getaway - amazing food, shopping, history, beautiful scenery and a day at the beach. And I got to check off one of my culinary bucket list items with a dinner at Husk - incredible!

The only thing I would recommend is perhaps save your visit for spring or fall. Late July in Charleston is not for the faint of heart. The humidity - lawd. My hair grew bigger by the hour. Still, it was an awesome experience. Enjoy a few of the pics I took in and around the Holy City. 

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

The campus of the College of Charleston

Angel Oak on Johns Island - said to be at least 1,500 years old. It was a sight to behold.

An amazing meal at Husk, considered to be one of the best restaurants in the United States.

A day at Folly Beach with my Aunt Kathy - a short drive from Charleston

Our last night in Charleston where we dined at another great restaurant, Leaf. 

Photos property of JMW A Place to Dwell blog

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer is Underway

I know, it's been forever-and-a-day since I've posted. Life, well, you know the drill. 

On Sunday, the kids and I enjoyed the final day of the spring meet at Churchill Downs. Although, it's no longer spring, as indicated by the heat and humidity yesterday - summer is in full-force here! Luckily, my company has a suite, so it was fun to have a relaxing time with my coworkers and their kids, betting the ponies in the cool AC.
My little guy showing off his big winnings. #kentucky #startthemyoung

Churchill Charlie made a special appearance during the day. As you can see, my son insisted on wearing his cowboy boots - a true horseman. ;) 

Health update: I had another surgery in early June related to my mastectomy reconstruction. On the mend and feeling much better. I'm back at work and glad to be among the living. And, so very thankful it's not last year at this time when I was still undergoing chemo. Life is good!

I hope everyone is having a great summer, although it's flying by. Hard to believe Friday is the 4th of July!

Happy Monday, friends!

All images property of JMW A Place to Dwell

Monday, May 5, 2014

Derby Weekend Come & Gone

Well, friends, sorry it's been so long since my last post. Life has been hectic, so my blogging has not only been placed on the back burner, but completely fallen off the stove. 

Anyhoo, just a quick update. As many of you may know, this past Saturday was the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby. Congrats to the wonderful thoroughbred, California Chrome, for winning the garland of roses. Good luck in the Preakness! We're far overdue for a Triple Crown winner. 

I didn't make it to the track this year, but I was fortunate to attend a special event on Derby Eve, the Julep, which benefits the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. Last year I was treated at the Brown for breast cancer and I can attest that it's an amazing facility. They saved my life.

Here I am with my cousin, whose mom last her battle with breast cancer many years ago. It was great to see so many people at the event and to celebrate the many survivors on hand.  

On Derby night, a girlfriend and I hit the town, first heading to Proof at the 21C Museum Hotel. If you're planning a trip to Louisville, stay at 21C. Conde Nast Traveler named it one of the top 10 hotels in the world. Just look for the red penguins and the giant, golden David in all his glory. :)

Here we are outside the hotel, taking a Derby selfie in an art installation. Pretty cool, huh? 

If you bet the ponies this past weekend, hope you had a winner!

Images property of JMW A Place to Dwell

Monday, March 10, 2014

Run Jen Run

My kiddos and I at the Run Jen Run 5k in Charlotte, NC

Yes, I've been MIA from blogger land for a while now. Just so much going on and little time to sit down and write for pleasure these days. So, a bit of a recap of recent events...

Last weekend the kids and I made the trek to Charlotte, North Carolina to participate in a 5k race presented by the Go Jen Go Foundation, an organization that supports cancer patients and their families in North and South Carolina. I learned about the foundation from my sister-in-law, who is friends with the founder and her family. And because I share the founders name, my SIL would send me Go Jen Go T-shirts and other items to keep my spirits up during my cancer treatments. 

I signed up earlier in the year for the 5k, hoping I could meet Jen Pagani, the founder, whom I had only been in contact with via email. Unfortunately, Jen lost her six-year battle with cancer on Feb. 2. 

My sister-in-law and I getting ready for the big race! I actually have a lot of hair these days, but it was so cold that morning, I wasn't about to lose my cozy-warm hat.

So, I felt more compelled than ever to participate in the race. Even after spraining my ankle just a few weeks prior  (Yes, I tripped over my kids' snow boots by the back door and fell down some steps), I was determined to drive down there. I didn't run like I had hoped, mostly walked the route, but I was so glad to have been there to celebrate Jen's legacy and be among many other survivors. And it was very special to have my kids join me, since they are two of the biggest reasons I was determined to kick cancer's butt.

On a random note, I'm headed to New York City soon for a conference and would love some suggestions on where to eat, places to visit, etc. I know the list is endless, but I'm always open to ideas, especially from my fabulous blogger friends. Suggestions?

We have "sprung" forward friends - here's hoping that spring truly is here to stay and that this long, miserably cold, snowy and icy winter will soon retire. 

Have a great week!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Wishing You a Happy New Year

Hi, Friends! It's been a while since I've posted, but as you know, I've had a lot going on. Anyhoo, thought I'd give you a health update. I finished radiation the day before Thanksgiving. No more cancer treatments! I have some follow-up doctor appointments here and there, and more reconstructive surgery in the spring, but it's so nice to take a long break from the medical vortex in which I've been caught up this past year.  (And, as you can tell in the photo above with my beautiful children, my hair is growing in nicely - I actually had a trim a few days ago!)

And speaking of this past year, it's been a doozy. But, I'm thankful to be starting 2014 cancer-free. And while I was so blessed to find myself in this boat, unfortunately there were others I knew who did not win the battle. My uncle, who was also my godfather, succumbed to cancer in the fall. It's been a tough time for my dad, aunt and cousins. Please keep them in your prayers. I also lost a co-worker and friend who had become a confidant during my cancer journey. She was a breast cancer survivor, but her cancer returned  and she lost her brave fight in November. Cancer is a terrible, terrible disease. I pray that one day it will be wiped off the face of the earth forever. 

That being said, though, I discovered the "gift" of cancer this year. I've met the most inspiring people and been the recipient of AMAZING acts of kindness. Family and friends brought me meals, landscaped my yard and cut my grass, cleaned my house, held a fundraiser for me and much, much more. On Christmas Eve, two women I didn't know showed up at my door armed with presents.  A coworker submitted my name to her church group who wanted to give gifts to a mom who had a tough year. I was beyond humbled as I read the beautiful notes from other moms I did not know, but who urged me to keep up the good fight and have a blessed Christmas. 

So, friends, I look forward to my new lease on life as I head into 2014. I will embrace this year with gusto and live life to the fullest. I hope you plan to do the same. 

Much love to all of you and happy new year, my friends!

Image property of A Place to Dwell blog