Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Curing cancer, one cheap beer at a time

For the fourth year, our neighborhood and friends participated in the Crawl for Cancer (here are some pictures from last year). We had 30 people -- there are roughly 5,000 total participants -- and we usually have a team "draft" at our house the night before. This year, that also happened to be our friend Jen's 40th birthday, so we combined celebrations.

Saturday morning Aaron woke me up way too early and we biked to Ethyl & Tank for breakfast and bloody Marys:

As y'all know, I hate the "official" color of breast cancer, so I've adopted leopard print as my own. My peeps surprised me and we all had leopard print bandannas to wear.

Sunday Aaron wore his patriotic tie to church, as did one of the ministers:

I also made a Triple Berry Kahlua Crisp, from Half Baked Harvest (find the recipe here). I used red raspberries instead of strawberries. It's deeeeeeeelish.

I have no pictures from Monday. I didn't do much, but we did go to see Draft Day, which we both enjoyed. I've been a stalker fan of Kevin Costner since the summer of 1988 and he didn't disappoint.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Heart of Africa at the Columbus Zoo!

Yesterday was the opening of the Heart of Africa exhibit at the Columbus Zoo. Betty White was there for the ribbon cutting in the morning. I didn't get to see her because I went in the afternoon with my friends Michelle and Jeff.

Betty and Jack Hanna. This is the only picture in this post that I didn't take.
Source: Dispatch.

We had to walk past the polar bear exhibit to get to Africa. I love the back view of this dude sunning himself after a swim.

Heart of Africa includes a large open area for lions, giraffes, ostriches, gazelles, zebras and wildebeests.

My "old" friends might remember that I love the lions, so they get their own picture. Apparently there was some mating going on earlier in the day but we missed that.

More of the zoo:

We were also lucky enough to see some babies! The black and white colobus babies are only 3 weeks old (and apparently they're all white when they're little). And we saw the gorilla who is about a year old.

I hate the fence in there, but these guys were so adorable!

The weather couldn't have been more perfect and we got rockstar parking (because Michelle was driving, so of course we did). I hadn't been to the zoo in a long time and it was a great afternoon!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mixed Feelings

Last weekend was the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure here in Columbus. Apparently it's the second largest in the country. On one hand, I applaud any organization whose purpose is to eradicate cancer from the earth. On the other hand, I was among the pissed off people when Komen announced their defunding of Planned Parenthood a couple years ago, and I'm not a fan of pinkwashing.

But now I'm a cancer patient.

Aaron's sister Cynthia works for Bath & Body Works, part of what used to be called Limited Brands (now called L Brands) and she signed up Aaron, our niece Lauren, and Lauren's friend Molly to run the 5k. She also signed up herself and me, but we knew we were just spectating. With mimosas.

Before the race. Aaron, Molly, Lauren. It was cold.

We missed getting a picture of the girls during the run, but
caught Aaron blowing kisses. Awwwwww!

Cynthia, Lauren, Me, Molly

So as you can see, my shirt was pink and says "Survivor." I feel a little weird about that. I haven't actually survived anything yet. I certainly don't feel like I belong in the same category with most of the other women I saw sporting Survivor shirts.

My surgery date is Tuesday, June 3. That's now less than two weeks away. Eep. Ultimately I'm glad it's sooner rather than later, but it is coming quickly and my calendar is filling up with doctor's appointments, CT scans, bloodwork, not to mention work and personal things I want to take care of. Yesterday I received a voicemail message from a patient navigator asking if I had any questions. Sometimes I feel like I have no questions, maybe because I don't really want the answers, and other days I have a million questions.

I'm full of mixed feelings these days.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

More braindumping

I did a little of that yesterday, but there's always room for more random stuff.

We've been getting a lot of rain lately. I'd happily send some of it to California to help with their drought and wildfires. My friend Scott's Facebook status today just cracked me up, so I turned it into an ecard.

I usually watch Good Morning America for the first half hour to find out if there's any breaking news I've missed, but today I watched more than usual. This week the hosts met their "mini-mes." So cute! Ginger Zee's in particular was quite the spitfire! Here's a picture of my birthday twin Robin Roberts with hers (and a Stephanopoulos photobomb):


May is Lupus Awareness Month and if you've read my blog for any length of time, you know my love for Marla and her blog Luck Fupus (get it?). Marla and I "met" through blogging, and then met for real last fall. Tomorrow is Put on Purple Day for Lupus Awareness. Note to self: remember to wear purple tomorrow!

Last year, Marla made a collage of everyone's #PutOnPurple pictures.

I haven't done any bloggy linkups for awhile but today I'm linking up with Helene and Sarah about "Firsts." I'll direct you to my first blog post, which is here and explains how I got the nickname Gila Monster. And I'm also sharing my first Instagram, which of course is of one of my cats!

I'm excited for this weekend because my brother and niece will be in town! I won't get to see a lot of them because they'll be at Rock on the Range, but I'll take any time I can get!

Helene in Between

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Time keeps on slippin'.....

Here's how I know how fast time is flying: it's already season finale time on TV! What the what? And there have been some doozies. No spoilers here, but if you watch The Blacklist, Scandal, Chicago Fire or Revenge ... holy shitballs!

It's pretty remarkable that I've seen The Blacklist finale already, because it's one of the shows that Aaron and I watch together, which usually means we're weeks behind. But we did a little binge watching and got caught up on that one.

During that marathon, I noticed art imitating life (or the other way around). One of the episodes was about a criminal called the "Kingmaker," who helped politicians by killing off their opponents. Now, this episode was shot and aired way before Monday, but that also happened to be the day that Clay Aiken's opponent in the North Carolina congressional primary died suddenly. Hmmmmm, did Clay hire the Kingmaker?


***Disclaimer: I am not accusing Aiken of anything! And if you go to his website, the only thing you'll find right now is a statement of sympathy and suspension of campaign activities for the time being.

In another "art imitates life" moment, on last week's Good Wife, Alicia defended a business mogul (Tom Skerritt) who couldn't stop putting his foot in his mouth, reminiscent of the recent shenanigans of one Donald Sterling, owner of the LA Clippers. What a tool.

You all know I have a TV obsession, and so do a couple other bloggers I read. Jana at The Townhouse Pioneer recently wrote about multitasking while watching TV (I'm doing it right now) and Christina at Easily Entertained has posts this week about the network Upfronts, when next season's lineups are announced.


This week in breast cancer, meet my new friend:

I officially apologize to anyone I may have made fun of for experiencing hot flashes. They seriously suck. (I've been thrust into menopause because I can't take hormones anymore due to my diagnosis.)

This past winter, during the polar vortex bullshit, I spent most of my time in front of this:

Why can't we make this happen?

And if anyone DOES make it happen, I expect royalties.

Another thing cancer fucked up: I could be in Australia right now. I had the opportunity to go to Melbourne with a friend but I ultimately decided that I didn't want to be so far away from home and Aaron for so long. It was the right decision and I don't regret it, but I'm pissed that I had to make it at all.


Meanwhile, last night I rocked it out at karaoke. Besides my usual "Killing Me Softly," I also sang these:

Karaoke 20140513 by Gwen Carmack on Grooveshark

(You kind of have to skip the first 90 seconds of "All That Jazz."

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Weekend Whatnot

Technology is not my friend lately. My computer and my phone both seem to be conspiring against me. Thus, this Tuesday post about the weekend. And really, it's mostly about Saturday.

Saturday was the Cap City Half Marathon. Several of our neighbors and many other friends participated, including Aaron. His official time was 2:01:55 -- not bad! As for me, I was a faithful cheerleader, with mimosa in hand.

Near the finish! 


Group shot. There are many versions of this one, but I had to post this particular one because of the apparent disembodied legs on the right.

After a hearty brunch and a nap (spectating is hard work, y'all), we went to Mike & Amy's for Kentucky Derby festivities. Aaron and Mike both grew up in Kentucky. Aaron cries every time they play "My Old Kentucky Home." I'm not a whiskey drinker, but I had a token mint julep (OK, half of one). And we wore hats, of course!

I hope you all had a great weekend. Welcome, May!

Friday, May 2, 2014

This week in Gila's head

Well, not totally. You really don't want to be in my head right now. But here's some of the shit swimming around there lately.

Last Saturday we had garden cleanup day. For those who don't know, there are some empty lots next to our house and for the past 5-ish years we've had a community garden. I wish I had a "before" picture because it was pretty bad, but here's the "after:"

And then yesterday the recycle dudes showed up to pick up all the yard waste:

Last Friday we went out to dinner with friends to The Table (they don't seem to have a website yet). They do everything in-house, including baking bread and desserts, and smoking meats for their charcuterie selection. (Random thought: spell check suggests "charioteer" instead of "charcuterie." Who the hell uses the word "charioteer?") We enjoyed every last bit of our meals, including dessert. Seriously, save some room.

Those who know our cat Clover know that she has short little legs, so she doesn't jump up on higher surfaces. Well, yesterday I was stunned when I heard one of the cats jump on the built-in entertainment center and assumed it was Bella but instead saw this:

I have no idea how she did this!

In cancer news, I have a surgery date, although I'm not quite ready to share that with the world, but if you ask me privately I'll tell you. Let's just say it's sooner than I thought it would be. I'll let y'all know closer to the date. I have decided to definitely do the bilateral mastectomy, so we've cancelled the MRI because there's no reason for it. Meanwhile I'm now consumed with reading breast cancer blogs and websites. I'm a new member of a club I would never have chosen. A close friend recently lost his sister to this bullshit. And today I have two friends undergoing procedures related to breast cancer. It fucking sucks. (Oh, by the way, here's my blanket apology for the increase in cursing that is bound to occur. Cancer does that. I usually try to rein in my real-life potty mouth when writing on the blog, but that will likely change. Sorry Mom, Mom-in-law, and anyone else who might cringe at the word "fuck.")

I haven't been very good about responding to comments on the blog, and I'm sorry about that, but please know that I read them all and appreciate every one.

Have a great weekend!