Me & My Mini Me (a short history of some of the videos we made)

August 22, 2012 Before the VLOG we just texted back and forth and I superpower wish I had those old videos, but this is the first time I VLOGGED about Maya.

2 We had a thing about sock monkeys. This is a video I made for her September 14, 2012

3 Sept. 15, 2012 that time i interviewed Maya for my VLOG in which she shares her superpower: that smile. aka the day when Maya stole everybody’s hearts on my VLOG (not to mention the heart of my VLOG and the VLOG itself).

4. Mason Arts Festival Sept. 17, 2012

5. Oct 2, 2012 the first time Maya hijacked my vlog and i knew it was time to dust off the old resume and start hitting the pavement looking for a new job

6. Oct 4, 2012 that time I literally had to picket even for a cup of coffee when my sweet mini me Maya the Magnificent hijacked my VLOG for the Taking Down Cancer segment of the show, for a second time. Despite the loss of my non-existent wages for my VLOG “job” these were my most fave times in the history of my VLOG not to mention some of the most precious moments of my life.

7. Oct. 10, 2012 Just another time Maya took over my VLOG—had me dragged away even, LMFAO!

8. Nov. 30, 2012 Maya’s laugh on #helium. Best. Sound. EVER. in the history of the world.

9. Dec. 10, 2012 Maya aka the Claw Whisperer

10. feb 5, 2013 Hijacked again! Maya takes over my VLOG and takes down cancer #mayacraft style

11. feb 17, 2013 that time maya came with me to get my dragonfly tattoo and her mama brought mimosas.

12. March 7, 2013. that time i ran the jerusalem half marathon with maya in my heart and her name on my shirt.

13. march 20, 2013. That time i prayed for maya at the wailing wall.

14. April 29, 2013 Maya, her purple crayon, and my purple mane.

15. April 30, 2013 Maya’s Magnificent Idea: #RAK the best kinda antidote to random acts of violence.

16. July 12, 2013 Like Mama like Maya

17. August 10, 2013 that time Maya’s magnificent mama jumped on the bed to wake Maya and her sister Anna up for me.

18. Aug 20, 2013 Pink & Blues sisters. once upon a time when we got our hairs colored together.

19. Aug 26, 2013 my rainbow sock monkey twin my mini me gave me

20. feb 24, 2014 reality bites. my fist attempt at spoken word. i wrote this after my friend vanessa died. she is the inspiration for my vlog. that same week maya’s mama and i went to the funeral of a little girl. this kills me to watch it. missing v. but also knowing that i could say it all again with maya on my mind. i’m wearing the stupid cancer tshirt maya gave me.

21. april 14, 2014 the flight of lovely dragonflies That time Maya, our friend Suleika Jaouad, and I were conspiring to do an epic event for The Dragonfly Foundation. Cancer doesn’t exactly cooperate, and the event didn’t go down but damn we had fun dreaming. Suleika is a beautiful soul who has dealt with the same kinda #AML#fuckcancer that Maya dealt with. She chronicled her battle in her “Life Interrupted” column for the The New York Times. And won an EMMY for her NYT video series. Maya adored her. She was one of her sheroes. And is one of mine.

22.  June 1, 2014 A video I made for Maya cuz URANUS gas. In which she (and savannah) once again hijacked the taking down cancer segment of the show by kicking cancer’s uranus gas.

23. June 13, 2014 That time I caught up with Suleika and 1)score an EMMY 2) prove the detour sometimes IS the destination 3) muse upon the notion of sprinkling kindness.

24. Aug 23, 2014 That time Maya and I did the ALS #icebucketchallenge and Anna Awesome Sauce dropped almost all of the ice freaking cold water on my head!

25. Oct 14, 2014 This is one of my faves. Just a day in the life. Maya and me. Goofing off and sending videos back and forth.

26. Feb 16, 2015 At the Dragonfly gala with Maya and crew

27.  Feb 24, 2015 just a video exchange with maya once when she was bored in the waiting room at the dr’s office.

28.  Pie Day 2015 Maya’s not in this one but I did it for Dragonfly.

29. Sept 1, 2015 Dear Cancer, a spoken word retrospective on my 7 year cancerversary, in which I speak of my purpose of being a cancer activist, especially when it picks on kids.

30. July 4, 2016 A taking down cancer I made with Yoss and Freddy for Maya shortly after she went back to the hospital for her 3rd damn battle with AML.

31. July 15, 2016 Another video exchange with Maya while she was at Children’s in the thick of her third damn battle with AML, in which she gave me a tour of her room!

32. Another taking down cancer video I made for Maya, and also I gave her a reciprocal tour of my balcony.

33. July 18, 2016 A video I made to send Maya with a bunch of my friends at a local storytelling event in Cincinnati called Bespoken Live. It’s an evening of crafted storytelling riffing off a four letter word. Kinda like The Moth. The word of the evening was FREE.

34. Aug 11, 2016 A video my Redheads and I made for Maya in which we take down cancer in a pool and then Amanda sings the Cancer is a Bitch song she wrote for me.

35. August 14, 2016 Maya and I made this taking down cancer video when I visited her at Children’s Hospital, right before she went to St. Jude for the 3rd bone marrow transplant.

36.  sept 12, 2016 a play it forward challenge video I made for Maya’s magnificent mama and Maya

37.  March 16, 2017 just a video dave and i made for maya cuz we lava her

38. Oct. 8, 2017 And last but not least, the video I made for her at the queen bee 1/2 marathon this year, which i ran in memory of her.

 

Sometimes The Stars Align… and Sometimes The Sky Falls

[I am reposting this #tbt in honor and sweet memory of my little warrior sister, Maya the Magnificent aka my mini me. I wrote it 3 years ago. A time part of me wishes I had the superpower to throw back this Thursday to. My sweet Maya finished her loooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnngggggg battle against #AML #fuckcancer. 9/12/03 – 10/2/17. She was only 14. #butthoughshebebutlittleshewasfierce She was 6 when she got diagnosed with AML. 3 battles. 3 bone marrow transplants. Think about it. Half. Her. Short. But. Sweet. Life. She spent her last year at St. Jude fighting for her life. Every damn day. 365. She had her 3rd bone marrow transplant the day after her 13th birthday. She spent her entire year of being 13 in the hospital fighting for her life. She turned 14 in the hospital. She finished her fight a few days after she turned 14. The last video I got from her was of her opening up the birthday presents I sent her. A nurse walked in and interrupted her and kinda rained on that parade and sweet Maya’s eyes rained a little and the gift parade ended. I don’t even know if she got to open them all and it breaks my heart but that’s not even the point. The point is, cancer is a motherfucker. And before anybody says Maya lost her battle, please don’t. Maya didn’t lose her battle; and cancer sure as hell didn’t win. Please don’t give cancer that kinda #fakenews credit. The cancer is no more. Maya kicked its ass, took down its number like nobody’s biz, took. cancer. down. And Maya is forever. She will live on and on to infinity and beyond in the hearts and memories and Maya shaped holes she left down here  This is the truth as best as I know it: Maya fought the good fight; she finished her race; she kept the faith #likeaboss. Like she told me on one of the old videos we used to make together, her superpower weapon was her smile. I am here to testify to that, her truth. Her. Smile. Slayed. It slayed me. And I know it slayed cancer. I seriously don’t know many adults that have gone through suffering like my girl Maya with such grace. And I will never be the same from the pleasure of knowing her and being loved by her. I always say she made me want to be the best version I could be of myself. And my hard truth was, I don’t think we were done. That time the sky fell.]

This is how Maya and I met.

My little warrior sister Maya the Magnificent aka my mini me

Maya’s mama posted this pic on my Facebook wall, after they saw a video I shot at a Stand Up To Cancer event we had for my 2-year cancerversary in August 2010. The video was my daughter’s entry in SU2C’s “Up To You” music video contest. The challenge was to put your own spin on the song. The top 3 would be featured on the SU2C show that September.

This was my sweet Amanda’s spin on the song. I shot the film (that’s why I’m not in it) and my sweet Mikeyy edited the video. The band behind her is the rest of The Kicked-in Fence: her brothers Matt (guitar) and Mikeyy (djembe) and their friend Dustin Boudinet (guitar). All the lovely peeps are the kinds of friends I got by with a little help from. A few of them I miss because they have since finished their own cancer battles. Which only makes this video more precious because it captures a moment when we all stood up to cancer together. It. was. magical.

Amanda got 4th place in the contest. But the point is, this is the ripple Maya caught a wave, or rather a high-5, into our lives on. After Maya saw the video, she asked her mom to take that epic pic of her giving me a SU2C high-5 and standing up to cancer with me. Is their anything more precious?

Me & Maya… or is it Maya & me?

The reason I bring this all up is because everybody’s always asking me about how Maya and I met.

So once upon a time 9 years ago, I happened to flip on the TV and catch the first Stand Up To Cancer show, while recovering from my double mastectomy and my first chemo cocktail hangover. I know this sounds super self-centered, but I felt like it was made for me TV. Like maybe somehow the stars aligned and the big dipper was pouring out the proverbial spoonful of sugar over the Evanshire. (Of course, I took it shaken not stirred, in case you’re wondering;)

[…And somehow the dots in that constellation connected Maya and me and my life will never be the same from her light shining bright like a diamond like it did/still does/always will. Fly high, Magnificent Maya. #twinkletwinkle little star…]

#WWBD? Day

It’s the night before my birthday. I’ve been feeling all the feels about getting to have another birthday, another road-trip around the sun, all day today. This one will be my 52nd. But I’d like to take 5 before I hit the gas, hit the road, chase the sunset. Cuz ever since 3 years ago today, on another day before my birthday, I got other feels that I just gotta repect. Feels that make me feel like taking a knee, to remember, to honor, my friend/doppelganger/breast cancer sister/fellow aerodynamic runner/SCAR girl Barbie Ritzco aka Marathon Barbie aka Gunnery Sergeant Barbara Ritzco, USMC.

I don’t know if she’s resting in peace or not cuz I imagine the SCAR girl reunion in heaven is still a bit lit since Barbie got there 3 years ago today. Still. Damn, I miss her like hell down here. And even though she’s still with me in spirit… or maybe it’s phantom pain, like sometimes how I feel something in my boobs that aren’t there anymore. The price of love. The proof. Of love. A beauty mark that she was here. Etched in me. Like a #WWBD? carved into, our outta, my soul. Maybe that old saying “you can’t take anything with you” is #fakenews. Cuz it sure feels like she took a part of me with her. I like that thought. The beauty mark she left on me, was also a piece of me she took with her. #partinggifts

So #WWBD? What. Would. Barbie. Do? That is the question I ruminate today, the day before my birthday, as I remember her.

Last month, I was happy, honored, and humbled to help bring David Jay’s Unknown Soldier Project to Cincinnati. One of the superpower most special parts of this exhibit, for me, besides getting the old SCAR Cincy crew together, was seeing my friend Barbie’s SCAR portrait on exhibit with The Unknown Soldier Project for the first time. Though to me, it felt more like: Finally.

On the surface, Gunnery Sergeant Barbara Ritzco’s portrait might seem to be a rather “unusual deployment” in The Unknown Soldier exhibition. Her amputation is not like the other amputations in the exhibit. Her IED was breast cancer to the chest. Her amputation was the collateral damage. Her battle with breast cancer was her unusual deployment, and one she would always say was the hardest one because it took her away from the men who served under her. Reluctantly, though, as she watched the lump grow on her chest, trying to will it away so as not to leave her brothers behind. And in the end, she laid down her life for her brothers all the same. Barbie died a couple weeks before her 40th birthday. She died planning her 20th year retirement party (with her sister who had enlisted with her). Which ended up being her sister’s retirement party and Barbie’s celebration of life. And we are proud to see her The SCAR Project portrait rightfully in this band of brothers and sisters. The following is Barbie’s The SCAR Project bio, in her own words, written shortly after her diagnosis at 36.

“Training didn’t prepare me. A weapon, a FLAK jacket and a Kevlar helmet didn’t protect from THIS enemy. 18 years active duty.  Two combat deployments. I was diagnosed with Stage IIIB Breast Cancer, after only four months in Afghanistan.

Perseverance, endurance, determination. Things that have been taught to me and instilled in me. Giving up or giving in is not an option. I have skydived, surfed, swam, cycled and completed about 15 Marathons since my diagnosis.

I didn’t set out to accomplish all these things with any real purpose.  I needed to remain active for my own sanity and dignity. Adapt and overcome. I am adapting to my new life with Breast Cancer and using it as my motivation to keep moving forward. I have been led, unarmed, to a different battlefield, in a different fight, one that is uncertain, unpredicted, and currently undefeated.

I am not going to ever get over Breast Cancer or move past it. I will live with it for the rest of my life. Remission is not a cure. I don’t believe people actually “see” Breast Cancer. They hear about it but they don’t listen. It is a terrible thing that happens to everyone else but could never happen to them. Everyone needs to understand and visually see the realness of this disease. Breast Cancer takes no prisoners. It can take anyone at any time.

The SCAR Project has allowed me to uniquely express myself and showcase how Breast Cancer has broken me down and stripped me of every feminine indicator yet I fight, unprotected, unarmed, and unwavering… but most importantly, unashamed.”

Click HERE to read Barbie’s SCAR story in her own words on The SCAR Project Blog.

Click HERE to see footage of Barbie sharing her SCAR story at The SCAR Toronto Exhibition in 2014.

Click HERE to see footage of Barbie’s SCAR portrait hanging with her band of brothers at The Unknown Soldier Exhibit in Cincinnati last month.

Anatomy of the C-word

9 years ago today was the mother of all inciting incidents for me. My doctor called and said the damn c-word to me. No, the bad one: cancer. Tonight, FB memories reminded me of a few postcards from the road #shakennotstirred #breastcancer #chemococktails #memorylane…

Here’s a recap, post by post. #nofilter

August 20, 2008: No post cuz Day 1 and I didn’t know it yet.

August 20, 2009: No post but still downing chemo cocktails.

August 20, 2010: 2 years ago today… my breast surgeon said the C-word to me. I say, F the c-word. I don’t mean to offend; it’s just what’s on my mind.

Also: Chapter 16 is a wrap

August 20, 2011: Three years ago today I found out I had cancer. The past 1096 days have been a lot of me crowd surfing like in this video. Last night I watched soul surfer and learned how to really surf. Wow. Today this song goes out to all my survivor siblings. I’m part of your crowd so go ahead, surf, hang ten even!

August 20, 2012:

A year of living sincerely – Day 1

Also: Country strong.

https://youtu.be/STvnp0phjMw
RUNKEEPER
Also: Cheers and thank God for 1461 days!
August 20, 2013:High freaking 5 everybody! Well, it’s been 5 years since I got that damn phone call with those nasty damn words that I had cancer. Except for the incredible mercy of God, I don’t know how I got here…how I get to be here… but here we are… and what. a. CrAzYRiDe it’s been!

Last year on August 20, to celebrate my 4-year cancerversary milestone, while simultaneously kicking off the countdown to my fab 5-year cancerversary/not-a-chemo-cocktail-party (THIS FRIDAY NIGHT Y’ALL!!), I started a video blog of “A Year of Living Sincerely” in honor of my beautiful friend V and her www.thelivesincerelyproject.com.

Last night I posted episode 206 about the Little Miami 1/2 marathon I ran on Sunday. It was my 4th half, and my first to run in under 2 hours! My finish was 1:56:43, which placed me 4th in my age category! That finish seems rather apropos to how I’m feeling today.

Also: Getting party supplies for Friday night’s not-chemo-cocktail party!!

Also: My beautiful friend V and me.

August 20, 2014: Hello FB loves! So, today’s my 6-year Cancerversary aka #shakennotstirred day—what, what?! (Go me, BOO cancer!) Anyway, so here’s some thoughts, a couple chapters from my book, Shaken Not Stirred . . . a Chemo Cocktail, about the way this day went down 6 years ago when we heard the C-word, a link to the Kindle version of my book which is FREE today AND TOMO, and a link to the “Cancer is a Bitch” song by my Redheads.

Also: Love, love, LOVE me some Jennifer Pastiloff. Looking so freaking forward to Labor Day Retreat with her in Ojai, Cali. David Evans is sending me as a gift for my 6-year cancerversary (which is TODAY–yay me, BOO cancer) and my birthday (which is next month). I never ever know what to ask for, and it always drives Dave and the Redheads bOnKeRs that I don’t make lists from them to make their lives easier, lol. But THAT’S how much I love me some Jen Pastiloff. I actually made a cancerversary/birthday list. With one thing on it. BAM.

I LOVE this excerpt from an article of hers. Hell I pretty much love everything she writes. But this one seems timely. Hell it kinda seems timely all the time.

This.

“Here’s what I say to you, to me, and to anyone that cares to read this: The long and the short is this: stop judging so much. People are doing their best. You are doing your best. You will keep getting better. You will keep rising to the occasion. You will keep meeting yourself in the coffee shop or bar and telling yourself what your Highest Self would do now. What Love would do now. And now. And now.”

And this.

“I will love harder.”

That’s really all that matters, isn’t it? LOVE.

Word. That word. Love. The end.

August 20, 2015: Do you know what today is?
7 years ago TODAY
My doctor called and said that bad c-word to me.
No, the really bad one…cancer.
But 
Here I am
7 years later…
I GET TO STILL BE HERE!
Cuz today is my lucky day!
#lucky7 #luckyme
I’m the luckiest duck!
And p.s. #fuckcancer

http://

Also: Hi 5K! #postcardfrommymorningwalk #recovery #comeback I would’ve done 7, for my #lucky7 year cancerversary, if my insides would have promised me they wouldn’t fall out. But they wouldn’t put it in writing. #toughlove.

I burned 199 calories at an average pace of 23:31 per mi.
RUNKEEPER
Also: So…to celebrate my upcoming #lucky7 year cancerversary, the Kindle edition of Shaken Not Stirred . . . a Chemo Cocktail will be FREE over this looooooonnnng and happiest of weekends of Aug 20-24, 2015. Please help me give the big middle finger to cancer, and download the crap out of my book! Please share and have your friends help me #flipoffcancer. And, if you feel like leaving me a #NotaLoneStarReview you will not only make my freaking day, but you will most DEF win at life, in my book. Click HERE.
August 20, 2016: No post cuz I was with the Grace project on the road-trip to Houston.
August 20, 2017: 9 yrs ago today my doc called and said the damn c-word to me. No, the bad one: cancer. Lifting a glass 2 my health & a finger 2

 

Sending Love & #goodjoujou To Olivia Newton John and Flipping Off Cancer

                              20 years:(
                            #fuckcancer

I have my quarterly oncology check up coming up next week.

THIS. is just another reason why, once the #pinkmonkey has jumped on your back, the damn pink monkey is always on your back. Always.

Practically everybody knows the stats that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. But the collateral damage from all the pink is that too many peeps believe we are done (even though pink means rare) and breast cancer is now a “manageable” thing. That just because we who are the 1’s in 8 have a whole month dedicated to us, that breast cancer is the good even lucky kinda cancer to get. Cancer is an insidious bastard and there are no good kinds. Even if you get a whole month filled with bottomless pink buckets of fried chicken dedicated to your cancer like I get with mine. Even if all the chicken BREASTS in the buckets don’t seem the most sympathetic kinda “support” for “aerodynamic” breast cancer peeps like me. But I digress.

1 in 8. That doesn’t seem like a lot if you are in a room with me. And I don’t mind taking that bullet one bit for you. I love you and hope you never have to join this damn exclusive club.

But here’s the thing. Whenever I’m in a room with 9 of my fellow 1 in 8’s, stats hit the fan like #shithitsthefan. To the point: 3 out of 10 of us who have been diagnosed with breast cancer will recur and become metastatic aka #stage4. There is no cure for stage 4. And there is no stage 5.

30%. Not manageable. Not good. Not lucky. Yeah, it’s better than a coin toss. Unless you already rolled a 1 out of 8. Like I did. And like my 9 friends in the room did. That’s why the odds don’t always feel like they are with us. That’s why the pink monkey always is. On our backs.

I was so superpower sad to see that Olivia Newton John has, after 20 years remission, recurred and gone metastatic. #fuckcancer She will be in my prayers, with all my other friends who also have to fight that fight every damn day of their lives for the rest of their lives.

That’s not OK with me. And the #truthbomb is that until we do something different with the way we fight breast cancer, 3 out of 10 of me & my gang, regardless of how aware we were or how early our diagnosis, will experience recurrence.

Now, I’m not against awareness, at all, so don’t get me wrong here. But it seems to me the shift that needs to happen in the way we fight breast cancer is a shift toward the other end of the spectrum, not taking away from awareness, but a laser beam kinda focus on #metastatic cancer, on curing the kind of cancer that kills. Would 30% be too much to ask, if you or someone you knew was in the 30%? Cuz here’s the current situation is that, of all the monies raised to fight cancer, only 7% goes for Metastatic research.

7% #wtf?! #amiright?! #notok #stage4needsmore #moreresearch #dontignorestage4 #thereisnostage5 

Dear Universe

Last week I threw down my epic DONE list. This is most def a practice I wanna keep on keeping on at the end/beginning of a year. Not a report card from each year’s resolution throw down, but just a moment of reflection and celebration, making much ado about crossed off things. To start this tradition and the year off with a #bang #kaPOW, I threw down 51 things on my epic DONE list to reflection/celebration my 51 trips around the sun.

I wasn’t going to do 51 things on my epic TO DO list of this happy New Year’s Resolutions (or Intentions or Goals or Whatever term floats your boat and/or doesn’t get your goat). I was going to narrow it down to 17 cuz that’s what the poet inside of me wanted to do. But the #fomo-aholic in me obvi wanted to cast wider. Luckily #fomo me also waxes poetic. Instead of narrowing down my dreams, when I started throwing them down, I noticed they kinda fell into 3 categories: Places I wanna go, things I wanna do, and the person I wanna be. So I decided to do 3 lists of 17. And then I did the math and LMFAO off at the #divineirony.

So without further ado . . . my 51 things . . .

To Go

  1. Plan and save for and save the date for my Buen Camino/Don Quixote pilgrimage in Spain
  2. Albuquerque Balloon Fest
  3. This winter a winter get-away; by next winter a winter home-away-from-home
  4. Have an affair with my creativity #everydamnday but also a writer’s retreat
  5. Check out a drum circle
  6. Nowhere Else Festival
  7. Take the scenic route whenever possible
  8. The the stairs whenever possible (and especially if I ever get back to the Eiffel Tower and the stairs are open for biz)
  9. Girls Night Out
  10. Catch all the sunsets I can
  11. Say YES to adventure
  12. Talk to strangers
  13. On the Road with Grace project (Cincy, Colorado, DC…)
  14. Metavivor Die-in protest on Capitol Hill
  15. Next time I’m in DC, to run the 6-mile running tour that my friend Barbie #RIP #fuckcancer told me about that we wanted to run together #WWBD?
  16. Ride my orange is the new bike on the Loveland bike trail #crosstraining
  17. Step up to the microphone (speaking, storytelling events, open mic, poetry slams, etc)

To Do

  1. Finish #shittyfirstdraft of my Route 66 book
  2. Enter my route 66 pix in more photo contests/art shows and have another solo exhibit
  3. Take Jeremy Cowart’s photography and lightroom/photoshop courses from his See University
  4. Finish editing pix/setting up Smug Mug
  5. Record #SHAKEN so Taran can someday hear it in my own voice
  6. Alice in Wonderland writing workshop
  7. Learn to make an origami crane
  8. Learn Qi Gong and/or Tai Chi
  9. Run 500 miles
  10. Do a Tri
  11. Learn to play my uke and my red guitar
  12. Publish a book of my poetry
  13. Flesh out St. Udio’s dream
  14. Build my tribe and love them hard
  15. Make candles out of glass bottles I’ve been learning to cut #upcycle
  16. Learn to etch rocks with my dremel engraver
  17. Work on my Mail Chimp/Postables and make my own thank you/thinking of you note cards, #postcardsfromtheroad, etc send more snail mail

To Be

  1. Bringing good energy with me wherever I am #goodjoujou
  2. Fit (Hit the mat/road/gym #everydamnday) (Runkeeper app, Moonjoggers #chasethesun challenge, Yes Fit app)
  3. Heavily meditated (Insight Timer app)
  4. Eat and drink mindfully (My Fitness Pal app)
  5. Hydrated (iHydrate app and water bottle)
  6. Chill on the carbs, superchill on the glutens
  7. Fit back in my fave pair of blue jeans (My Fitness Pal app)
  8. Organized (Evernote app)
  9. Intentional (my carpe the fuck out of the diem worksheet)
  10. Lost in a good book but also writing one #everydamnday
  11. Reading poetry but also writing it #becausetheworldneedsmorepoetry
  12. Curious #followthewhiterabbit
  13. Creative #thewarofart #makeartnotwar
  14. Seeking/building community
  15. Cancer free and celebrating my 9 year cancerversary on Aug. 20
  16. Not Dizzy
  17. Leaving a beauty mark that I was here #belove #theartofkindness

What are your resolves, the intentions you’ve set, the goals you are aiming for, the dreams you are dreaming for 2017? I’d love for you to share them with me so we can cheer each other on!

Here’s mine in a picture. My 2017 vision board, that I worked on during January which I spent with my sweet Redheads and sweetest #taranthewonderbaby! in Colorado. It’s hard to tell from the picture that the base of my vision board is a clock. Which I promptly threw away the batteries and set to 6 o’clock. (Bonus points for anyone who gets that reference!) Anyway, it’s a cool retro superBIG and clunky clock I picked up at a Thrift store cuz I wanted a legit frame for my vision board and also #upcycling things is super fun. I have my vision board hanging out right in front of of my writing desk in my office aka the #rabbitroom so I can keep the intentions I have set and the dreams I’m dreaming for this year always before me. I also have it set as the wallpaper on both my phone and compy. Staying in the game is the hardest part, yeah? How do you stay in the game and manifest your intentions?

Fight the good fight. Finish the race. Keep the faith. ~ 2 Timothy 4:7

 

Check(ed) 1-2-3…

This is not a test. This is not about a cute little penguin eating an ice cream cone either. Although since his name is Frank, I’ll follow suit…cuz let’s be frank… If it were a test, I gimme an A. (I thought about giving myself an A+ but that would be boring and leave no room for improvement.) But like I said it’s not a test. This is life. My life…so far.

This is that time of year where we’ve all been throwing down our New Year’s Resolutions/Intentions/Hopes/Dreams/Goals/ToDo’s/Much Ado’s/Whatever you wanna call it, it’s chill just like that scoop of pink bubblegum ice cream Frank’s #nomnom-ing on. I took my own sweet time and worked on mine during January, via a vision board project with my daughter while I spent her birthday month with her in #taranthewonderbabyland aka Denver.

This is not that post. Stay tuned for that post.

This is the prequel to that post. If you know me at all, you know I love me a To Do list like nobody’s biz.

But one of the things I love most about To Do lists, is they help me get shit done cuz I get superkaPOWer motivated checking things off. That Been there, Done that feeling… #amiright?! It got me thinking that maybe a little pause, and dare I say a little celebration, is in order. In honor of the Done list. Which I feel is a more fitting ceremony than merely crumpling up said list and tossing it in the nearest trash can.

So here’s to the Done list that I’ve been there done that these 51 trips around the sun.

In no particular order, here’s a quarter of a century of some of my fave things (in the history of the 51 times I’ve surfed the sun) that I’ve crossed off my To Do list…

  1. Wrote a book
  2. Ran a 10-hour endurance run and netted 35 miles
  3. Ran the #Route66 marathon and world’s shortest ultra
  4. Road-tripped Route 66
  5. Road-tripped California Highway 1 in a convertible
  6. Road-tripped from Vegas to Grand Canyon in a convertible, saw the Grand Canyon, ran the Grand Canyon half marathon trail run
  7. Watched a sunset at Joshua Tree National Park while listening to U2’s Joshua Tree album. TWICE
  8. Met my creativity guru Liz Gilbert TWICE and she remembered me, also she commented that I write like a dream on my FB
  9. Met my writing gurus Anne Lamott and Jasper Fforde TWICE
  10. Met my photography guru Jeremy Cowart TWICE
  11. Did a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, ran the breathtaking Jerusalem ½ marathon, was Kosher for 3 weeks while spending time with my beloved Achoti
  12. Drove down to the Keys and had a Cuban sandwich and some Cuban coffee
  13. Stood on a corner in Winslow, Arizona
  14. Checked in to Hotel California. Heard the mission bell ring. Didn’t check out
  15. Created my #postcardsfromtheroad #Route66 photo exhibit, one of my pics made it into an #americanroadtrip art show at a gallery in NYC, won photographer of the year at ADC’s ACA academy awards for artists, had my first solo exhibit at the 86
  16. Raised my sweet Redheads, homeschooled them for 16 years #bestjobEVER
  17. I am Gigi #hearmeroar #bestjobEVER
  18. Produced SCAR Cincy exhibit, SCAR exhibition consultant, created scar blog, produced SCAR BAMA at Freedom Center
  19. Produced Angelo Merendino’s exhibit in Cincy
  20. Grace project roadtrip sidekick and assistant
  21. Dante pilgrimage and tour in Florence
  22. Saw Rafa play on clay (in Rome sweet Rome)
  23. Ran my own half marathon from Missouri through Kansas to Oklahoma on july 4, 2014 during my route 66 road trip
  24. Ran from Illinois to Missouri across the chain of rocks bridge TWICE
  25. Painted desert
  26. Took down 24 chemo cocktails and (so far so good, 8 years later #yearoftheoctupus) kicked cancer’s ass
  27. Won city districts with my tennis team with me on court 1 my first season back after cancer
  28. Got a volleyball scholarship to college
  29. Got up on stage and told a story at Bespoken Live (a moth-like storytelling event) (3 X so far)
  30. Hiked Ocho Rios in Jamaica
  31. Participated in peaceful protests on Capital Hill
  32. Got tats (12) (so far)
  33. Been COMPLETELY bald down to all but a couple eyelashes
  34. Saw Niagara Falls
  35. Drank a shot out of a test tube at Frankenstein’s Pub in Edinburgh
  36. Bought a copy of The Little Prince from a cashier who was brushing her teeth at Shakespeare’s & Co. in Paris
  37. Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam
  38. Read the Beatitudes on the Mount of Olives. Broke bread and spilled wine there with my friend and fellow pilgrim on my journey to the Holy Land and back. We walked the Via Dolorosa together.
  39. Train-tripped through the Alps from Munich to Rome
  40. Followed in Audrey Hepburn’s Roman Holiday footsteps, vespa-ing about Rome (until the “Vespa Incident” in which the brake didn’t break and I did a Wiley Coyote into a wall and broke my face)
  41. Got red clay on my tennis shoes at Roland Garros in Paris
  42. Snorkeled in Cozumel
  43. Saw Wicked on and off broadway
  44. Walked into THE Cheers Bar and everybody yelled JOULES!
  45. Did a Mayan mud hut sweat lodge ritual aka Temazcal and had the most incredible Mayan massage IN THE WORLD aka Kukulkan in Cancun
  46. Road-tripped up the coast of Scotland
  47. Hiked Hadrian’s Wall
  48. Created my own Not-a-Chemo-Cocktail (for my book release party)
  49. Drank a ½ pint in THE Rabbit Room of THE Bird & Baby aka Eagle and Child Pub, where the Inklings used to hang out
  50. Saw THE wardrobe (at Wheaton University)
  51. Liverpool. Magical Mystery Tour. Hard Day’s Night Hotel. Cavern Club. Amanda and I closed down the club, singing and dancing our hearts out with the Beatles cover band.

I know I probs missed a few epic moments but I tried not to overthink it too much and just go with the flow of my own little brainstorm. #postcardfromtheroad #memorylane #epicmoments #done

What’s on your DONE list?

#GoodJouJou

#GoodJouJou

(Ode to 2017)

A haiku. A word.
My #mantra. Lit a candle
Made a wish. Didn’t

Blow out the candle-
Watched it burn bright in the night-
The flickering flame

Of the night, a year.
Final bow. A prayer; blew
A kiss. One. God be

With us. Another
Kiss. Hello new year new day-
Jesus take the wheel.

Help us do justly
And love mercy (which triumphs)
And to walk humbly

With God and us all-
ALL God’s children. All of them
Precious in God’s sight.

Where does peace on earth
And goodwill to all begin?
Once upon a time…

A Refugee. Now
me: rebel with ancient hope-
This force is with me.

It moves me. Whispers
Beloved. Go…do likewise.
Be love. Be a light.

Light the night, the world,
Another’s candle. Like good
Energy. Bring it.

The Blizzard of ’78

Yesterday it snowed and somebody posted this picture of the Blizzard of ’78 and I was like, “Seems like yesterday cuz I remember the Blizzard of ’78.” Except there wasn’t that much snow yesterday.

I was in 6th grade during the Blizzard of ’78. We had a whole week of snow days from January 25-31 during the Blizzard of ’78. You’d think I wouldn’t remember that kinda detailed #postcardfromtheroad #memorylane kinda info 38 years down the road. Especially when you throw in my chemo brain and/or the “Vespa Incident” head injury. But the reason I know all this, is cuz I just dug up my baby book. Which I just now realized my Mom stopped filling out when I was in second grade when my sister was born.

Anyway, the reason I dug up my baby book when the white death reminded us all of the Blizzard of ’78 yesterday, is because I was talking to my Mom a few months ago on my birthday (September 27, in case you were wondering) we were trying to remember what time I was born and I have been too damn lazy to have the Hubcap go into the other room and get the box down out of the closet in the #rabbitroom aka my office.

Until yesterday’s “snow day” when I remembered the Blizzard of ’78 and that my English teacher gave us a blizzard of homework aka the old “snow pack” trick, which included keeping a journal during the snow daze. I still have my snow daze journal from the Blizzard of ’78. Stuffed in between the mostly unused pages of said baby book. So after he brought me my usual coffee in bed, I asked him to rax me the box so I could finally solve the mystery of the time of my birth. But also, I wanted to see my snow daze journal from the Blizzard of ’78.

(Btw, I was born at 7:04 pm, in case it was driving you as crazy as it was driving my Mom.)

Jan. 25 – I had to go out and get some logs for the fire place and I was coming back and fell in a hole that had snow up to my waist.  I looked up to my mom who was warm inside and she snapped a picture of me.

Jan. 26 – I got proposed to today. Yes, my sister and I were coloring and all of the sudden she stopped me and said, “Joules, are you gonna marry me?” I tried to explain to her why I couldn’t but she was too dumb to understand. I watched her all day and was supposed to get five dollars but my mom won’t give it to me yet.

Jan. 27 – Another boring day, nothin’ to do because I have to watch my sister. (Now my mom will owe me 10 dollars.) My friends Monica and Lynn cam over to see if I could come out and I couldn’t because of you know who. But tonight will be fun because I’m spending the night with Monica.

Jan. 28 – Freedom! I don’t have to watch Jennifer. My mom still hasn’t paid me. My friend Monica came and asked me if I could go and my mom said I could. We went and got Lynn. We went down to the creek and jumped in to see where it was the deepest. Monica jumped in one place that was past her waist. We had to help her out.

Jan. 29. – Same as Jan. 28. No, my mom still hasn’t paid me. I might make her pay me a dollar a day that she doesn’t give me the $10.

Jan. 30 Guess what? Yes I have to watch Jennifer, hmm $15.00! Well this is going to be boring.

Jan. 31. Wow, what a lucky break. I don’t have to watch Jennifer. We’re going to go to my grandma’s. When we got to my grandma’s I went over to my friend’s house. Her name is Julie, and she got some warm clothes on and we went outside. We went to the woods to find a way to cross the creek. It’s water hadn’t frozen. We found a log that stretched across the creek, so I decided to cross it. I was right in the middle and it started to crack. I got off that log and am not goin’ on it again.

Feb.1 – I think I went to school that day. That WAS boring.

_______________

All that to say, I don’t thing my Mom ever paid me that $15. Which is whatever. Cuz the main thing about this old journalistic endeavor of mine that STRIKES ME is that it was the first time in my herstory that I wrote something and got egged on. It would not be the last. And so it goes.

Dancing With Myself Is One Thing

 

This dad ROCKS. And so do THESE DADS.
Speaking courage into their little girls hearts, souls, minds, spirits like that.
LoveloveLOVE.

I’ve been thinking a lot about self-talk lately. My friend Renee and I were even talking about it the other morning over pancakes. I had blueberry, and she had the most ginormous apple strudel bread pudding of a panCAKE that I have ever seen. To be fair, it didn’t even look like she put a dent in hers by the time we left. I’m sure her family has been eating on it for days. Anyway, Renee’s ginormous apple strudel of a panCAKE isn’t really the point I’m trying to make here. As I was saying, the subject of self-talk came up while she tried to chip away at the aforementioned ginormous apple strudel of a panCAKE… and the thing that occurs to me as I’m sitting here being all amused at the memory of Renee and her ginormous apple strudel of a panCAKE, in the midst of my musing on self-talk, is that the self-talk talk we talked about, had nothing to do with pancakes. Even though we talked about how pancakes don’t help muffin tops. Mine, obvi being blueberry. But I digress. (Or do I?)

I don’t know about you but I know I can be so freaking hard on myself. Especially when I let myself down. Like when I got close to fitting back in my fave jeans but then Thanksgiving happened and now I’m the proverbial 3 steps back. Like I haven’t run since it’s gotten cold outside so that just compounds everything cuz not only do I have to actually get out there in the freaking cold to get my running streak back, but sitting here mad at myself isn’t helping me fit back in my fave jeans. And don’t even get me started about when I actually do something stupid, like I sometimes do. Like we all sometimes do. But I seem to forget all the stupid shit you do cuz #lovecoversamultitude and all that. Except for I forget to apply it to myself. What about you?

When you stand in the mirror, what are the things you hear?

What do you need to hear?

Comment below, and then shoot me your contact info
and I’ll drop you a line to hang on to.
#xoxo