Having cancer has taught me that you can't do it all on your own, and you have to accept help and encouragement from others. I have learned that there are so many people who genuinely love to give. Just when I am at my darkest moments, I always have someone add sunshine to my life, with the gift of kindness. I have learned that I don't have to do all the giving, and have graciously learned to accept the love. I have been the recipient of so many gifts, given spontaneously, when I have all but given up. This June has been an exceptionally happy time for me and solely because people have cared enough to include me in their lives. I have been celebrating my birthday for weeks, attending showers, graduations, dinners, lunches, and a fabulous trip to San Diego. I am blessed to have so many friends, and especially friends who like to eat, party and spread the love.
One of my all-time favorite places in Washington D.C. is the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia, right on the Potomac River. The whole area is so charming, and the fact that you can visit the studios of 82 working artists, is mind blowing. My sister and I visited while I was back there in May, and it was one of the highlights of my trip.
The Torpedo Factory Art Center houses more than 165 visual artists who produce artwork in a wide variety of media including painting, ceramics, photography, jewelry, stained glass, fiber, printmaking, and sculpture. The artists invite visitors to join them in their studios and observe their creative processes. You may ask questions, learn about each of their art forms, and purchase original work. I was lucky enough to meet a few artists and even though I don't remember all of them, here are a few photos of their work.
I finally got my ipad 2, just in time for my birthday, making it the best birthday present I have ever received. I absolutely love it and I am trying to wean myself from my 22 inch computer screen so I can spend more time being mobile. I have been an Apple person for thirty years, but I was starting to turn on them when I couldn't get the Ipad I wanted without standing in line at 6am in front of the Apple store in hope that they got the model in I wanted (white, AT&T). Since I refused to appear at the Apple store before 10am and this model happened to the be most popular one, it took months to get it into my hands. I finally broke down and ordered it, and for whatever reason it came a week early, just in time for my birthday.
So now instead of spending 8 hours a day sitting in front of my computer, I have great satisfaction in knowing that where ever I am, the internet is at my disposal 24/7. And I haven't even mentioned the apps.
It used to be that I dreaded June third. That day, so many years ago, when I got an eviction notice to vacate my mother's womb. Big deal. After the age of 21, who really appreciates their birthday anyway? Being an adult is over-rated and unless you are a bottle of red wine, getting older is something no one enjoys.
Cancer has changed everything. I am grateful to be able to celebrate another year and now that I have a granddaughter, I am delighted to watch her grow. Luckily for me, this year there was no surprise party, and I was able to spend a low-key day with the love of my life. I still don't enjoy the fact that I am getting older, but my annual reflection is now filled with gratitude, instead of dwelling on the loss of my youth. Attitude is everything. Bring on the cupcakes.
I guess I have recovered from my extended road trip, because I went to San Diego this weekend to watch two friends run in the Rock and Roll Marathon. Since my running days are over, and the longest I ever ran was a 10k, I was a little envious and remorseful that I had never attempted to run a marathon. I ran many 5k's for the Race for the Cure and considered that an accomplishment of major proportions. But you haven't lived until you have run 26.2 miles non-stop. You have earned your bragging rights for life. You also receive a much nicer metal.
The race started at 6:15 am on Sunday, and there were 45,000 people lined up and everywhere you looked, you saw swarms of insane runners ready to annihilate their bodies, while experiencing the mother of all adrenaline rushes. Luckily for my friends and their bladders, we stayed at a relative's condo, which was right at the starting line. You should have seen the thousands of dirty looks we got as we walked out and they immediately got in line.
The race was quite a sight to see. A grown man running in nothing but a diaper with an over-sized inflated monkey on his back, more than enough Elvis's running in white lycra suits, and hundreds of men and women in tutus. Keeping with the Rock and Roll theme, there were bands every mile, helping everyone to push themselves to the limits of their bodies.
After the race, I could see why I never had the desire to run a marathon. People going over the finish line on the verge of death, throwing up on themselves, blisters the size of lemons, cramps that caused a few to be carried across the line - all the while trying to salvage what their bodies had left. I had the pleasure of driving home, while my friends had their legs wrapped in bags of ice the whole time. But not before we went out to dinner to celebrate.
It wasn't all about the Marathon, and I did get to spend some time to enjoying the paradise, that is San Diego. What a great way to spend my birthday weekend.
It has been a hectic couple of months, and I have not had the time or energy to blog. I took a three week vacation to visit my sister and family on the East Coast. What sounded like a good idea, in reality, turned out to be way to ambitious for me to undertake at this time in my life. But now that I am back home and feeling much better than I have in months, I am ready to continue this silly little blog.
I started out in Washington, DC, visiting my niece. Of course no trip to DC is complete without visiting the White House. Obama was out of town that evening, so there was no chance of stopping by. Although DC is not my favorite place to visit, I have to admit the White House looks more impressive, since it finally houses a president I actually voted for. It is definitely better to visit in May than the hellish August, which is the month I usually ended up visiting my in-laws. EVERY SUMMER. SO minus the humidity, tourists, high temperatures and swamp-like atmosphere, it was tolerable. Like every other obnoxious tourist, I had my camera around my neck and never stopped taking pictures. I have hundreds to share in the weeks ahead.