Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pizza Inferno

We were hungry after our long bike ride and wanted to find some delicious pizza. Denise had been telling me for years about this fabulous place on Filmore Street - Pizza Inferno. We decided to try it, and our navigator said it was only a mile away. I forget in this city sometimes that means a mile straight up a hill. We walked for a while, and then finally caught a bus just before I collapsed.

Denise was right -the pizza and paradise iced tea was fabulous. I highly recommend it, just make sure you take a bus or cab if you are coming from the wharf area.

Biking the Golden Gate

Hmm...I'm wondering how many of you have a bucket list? You know, a list of things that you want to do before you kick the bucket. I have started making a list several times, but I never finish it. I don't know how many things it should have on it, if they have to be serious things, etc...

Anyway, today I did something that would definitely fit on my bucket list of things to do. I successfully rode a bicycle across the Golden Gate Bridge. We got up this morning and went down to Fisherman's Wharf and rented bikes from Blazing Saddles. The lady there made it sound like we would just head down the path and be right at the base of the bridge. That wasn't really the case, it was actually a couple of miles of long and winding roads, some uphill before you even got to the base of the bridge. Bryan was very patient with me as I struggled along (he rides almost every day at home) and finally made it to the bridge.

The weather was just about perfect - it was 69, sunny and breezy. I made it almost the whole way across the bridge without incident, until we got to the home stretch. There was a narrow section and there were some guys passing us. I got a little too close to the railing and completely wiped out. I think I scared the pro bikers pretty badly, and Bryan too. I was scraped and bruised, but really more embarrassed than anything. I finally got out from under my bike and fixed the seat (it went sideways) I resumed the ride. From then on I was a little skittish about cycling in big city traffic and especially on HUGE bridges.

Once we got to Sausalito (which was another mile) I was able to sit down and access the damage. I'll have a few scrapes and bruises, but I am ok. Bryan admitted his first thought was "oh no, wonder how long it will take EMS to get to us on this bridge?" He said he was afraid I broken my leg or knocked my teeth out on the pavement. Now that it is all over and I am ok; I'm sure it would have made a pretty funny youtube video.

I don't think I'll be joining Lance Armstrong and his friends any time soon, but I am glad I made it. I just hope I'll be able to walk tomorrow. I am already VERY sore.

Bucket List:
Biking the Golden Gate Bridge - Done!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

San Francisco

Today we turned in the rental car and hopped on BayAreaRapidTransit for a ride into the city. The BART station brought us two blocks from our hotel - Hotel Bijou. This hotel also happens to be two blocks from Union Square. It's a fabulous little boutique hotel that has 65 rooms, each with a movie theme. The lobby even has a small theater in it that shows free double features each night, each with a San Francisco backdrop.

This afternoon we rode a cable car to the wharf and dined outside at The Blue Mermaid. There were some musicians singing and one of them was playing a sitar. It was very relaxing, mystical music - very San Francisco. We then wandered around the bay and Bryan took lots of photos and I wandered in and out of shops. When we arrived back at our hotel from dinner they were showing Escape from Alcatraz in the lobby. I'm sure we will catch a movie one night while we are here. We are crossing our fingers for a Hitchcock!

Hiking in Big Sur, Dinner at Mission Ranch

On Friday morning we headed to Big Sur to do a little hiking. I was a bit nervous because everything I read sounded like it was beautiful, but they do have mountain lions and rattlesnakes in the area. I'm not very brave when it comes to wild animals that could cause bodily injury. Luckily we didn't encounter either. We did see sea otters, sea lions and a friendly little squirrel.

After a long day of hiking, I took a little nap and then got ready for dinner. The Mission Ranch (owned by Clint Eastwood) is one of our favorite restaurants in the area, so we had dinner there. The food was delicious and the portions were way too big, but we saved a little room for bread pudding for dessert. Delicious!

California Vacation

We arrived safely at San Francisco International on Thursday, rented a car and drove a couple of hours south to Carmel to begin our vacation. Carmel is just south of San Francisco down Highway 1. It is a beautiful drive and the traffic was not bad at all.

Carmel is one of my favorite little towns. Mike and Lori introduced us to it years ago when they lived in the area. It is small enough you can walk to everything, the food is fantastic, the residents are friendly and the scenery is gorgeous. Doris Day owns a hotel here and Clint Eastwood was once the mayor. Carmel has been called the "Monaco" of the US. I've never been to Monaco, but it is on my list of places to visit someday. If it's anything like Carmel, I'm sure I will love it too.

After watching the sunset on the beach, we had a fabulous little dinner at Casanovas and then walked around town a bit.

One of my plans on this vacation is to order smaller meals and always save room for dessert! So far it is going well. We had an awesome molten cake with ice cream and raspberry sauce tonight.

Check up time again

I had a full day of check ups on Wednesday. I had appointments both with Dr. Whitworth (oncology surgeon) and Dr. Peacock (oncologist).

Norma, the nurse practitioner in Dr. Whitworth's office reminded me to celebrate my 2 year survivor anniversary. She said that reaching the 2 year mark after diagnosis is a big step. It always makes me feel better to hear encouraging news from my doctors and their staff. Dr. Peacock also said my exam and lab work looked great and she may let me graduate to coming every 6 months beginning in July. She also reassured me that the random shooting pains I have in my chest are still just nerve endings regenerating. So I'll be patient and try not to complain; getting some feeling back in that area would be nice. It's strange to have a chest that feels like it's asleep all the time.

Bryan and one of my friends have already started talking about having a dinner celebration in June to mark my 2 year survivor anniversary. Having such supportive family and friends really does make a big difference in my journey. I love you all!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yes they exist and yes, you need some too!

It doesn't matter how old we are, sometimes we need a boost. Whether we are interviewing for a new job, asking our boss for a raise, presenting a new idea to the board, or just trying to make it through a stressful day - having a secret weapon can make all the difference. I have found just the thing.

Can you imagine how invincible you will feel wearing these under that power suit?!

A good Egg

Sophie Spears has been one of my biggest supporters during my breast cancer battle and every day since. Look at the beautiful egg she made me for Easter this year.

Thank you Sophie!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bridesmaid dresses

I've been resistant to being a bridesmaid. I just felt like I was a bit too old to play that part, but Lisa's heart seems to be set on being surrounded by family on her wedding day and we can't deny her that. So we've been bridesmaid dress shopping for several weeks without much luck.

Then last week, Linda, Jenni, Lisa and I met after work for another round of shopping. We tried on several dresses, but just couldn't find the fit that worked for all of us. Then Lisa suggested we stop in Ann Taylor really quickly, because it was 20 minutes until they closed. We walked in the door and there was a rack by the front door of dresses in all our sizes and in one of the colors Lisa had chosen. We all felt it was a sign, grabbed the dresses and ran to the dressing rooms giggling. They all fit pretty well, so we each bought one and breathed a big sigh of relief.

Now on to the groomsmen attire - what should they wear?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Preparing for a much needed vacation

Bryan and I have been busy planning our 25th anniversary trip, only it's about two years late. We will actually celebrate our 27th this year. Two weeks before our 25th I had my bilateral mastectomy and was not in any shape to go out and celebrate. Then last year was all about catching up. So we decided we really needed to do something fun this year. We looked at several different options, but in the end we chose San Francisco. It's one of our favorite places to visit.

We will fly into San Francisco International, rent a car and head down to Carmel and Big Sur for a couple of days before heading back to stay in the city. Carmel, California is probably one of my favorite little cities on earth. The residents are friendly, the food is awesome and the landscape and scenery is beautiful. I love being able to walk down to the beach to watch the sunset and then head to dinner just a block or two away. We plan to hike some in neighboring Big Sur while we are there as well. Then we will head back to the big city by the bay for the rest of our trip.

I've been looking at hotels for our trip and while I always enjoy staying at a Hilton, Omni or Marriott, my favorite hotels by far are the boutique hotels. The rooms are not always as big and they may be a bit older, but they have character and I've always had great service at smaller hotels. I love the Kimpton family of hotels in Chicago, and in San Francisco there is a group called Hotels Joie de Vivre . They even have one with a movie theater in the lobby that shows free double features nightly with a San Francisco backdrop - like Vertigo, which happens to be one of our favorite movies.

It's going to be a great trip!

Movie Night

Saturday night Bryan, Jenni and I went to see "The Runaways". This is an indie film that debuted at Sundance and is based on the book "Neon Angel" by Cherie, the lead singer of the band. It takes you back to 1975 and the beginning of the musical career of Joan Jett, Lita Ford and Cherie Currie. These girls were 15 years old when they were traveling around the world and living a very fast paced life. It always amazes me that people lived through the haze of the 60s and 70s and are still able to play and write songs. I would think their brains would be fried. I think these are the people who's genes scientist need to study - what makes them able to withstand all the abuse and carry on?

They did a great job at casting the movie. Dakota Fanning plays Cherie, and Kristen Stewart plays Joan. The resemblance was very close.

The movie concludes with Joan in a radio station with the release of "I love Rock and Roll". Now that's a song that has definitely stood the test of time.

Little Girls day out

Anna, Morgan and Emri spent the night with us on Friday night. Chassi was running in a race early on Saturday and Josh and Bryan were working, so it was just me and the little girls. Friday night was full of dolls, tea parties and coloring. Emri was up bright and early (7am) on Saturday and she started in with the "why" questions right away. I had forgotten how funny and then exhausting it can be to answer the same questions over and over. I begged her to lay back down for just a little while, but she would have none of it. By 8am we were all up and eating breakfast. At 10:30 we loaded up and headed to Murfreesboro to watch Michael's ballgame and celebrate his 6th birthday.

The birthday party was at "Lanes, Trains and Automobiles" a new venue not too far from Linda's house. Everyone enjoyed pizza, bumper cars, video games and bowling; they even had a ramp so Emri could bowl with the group. She was so sleepy she wandered around with her blanket when it wasn't her turn to bowl.

Thanks for the fun day - Happy Birthday Michael!