Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase. - MLK, Jr.
Courage is being scared to death...and saddling up anyway. - John Wayne
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. - Albert Einstein

Monday, May 31, 2010


Today Cody and I are heading to Houston for my last chemo infusion.  I'm not sure what to think.  On one hand I'm really excited to be finished, but on the other I'm terrified that when they do all of my testing they are going to find something else.  It is really nerve racking, especially since I have to wait until the end of June to have the tests and find out the results.  On top of all of that the job hunt is not going very well.  Needless to say all of this stress is not helping with my sleeping.
I'll leave you with a picture of Ophelia, who got to spend a lot of time outside in the backyard yesterday...and she didn't try to escape once.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

GRAPHICS in the New York Times

The fund raising event Saturday night garnered a write-up in the New York Times - Are You Doing What You Truly Love.  In the article she asks if we are truly doing what we want to do and are we strutting our stuff down the runway of life.  Sometimes I am doing what I love, like the 2 days this week I was able to ride my bike for 20 miles.  There is nothing like flying down the road on two wheels to make you feel like a first grader again.  I'm also in the position of trying to find another job for the second summer in a row, only this time infinitely more difficult.  I have to figure out not only how to explain my absence, my lack of hair, and the fact that I can't start until September.  First I have to get to the stage of explaining.  As I prepare for my final chemo infusion, June 1st, and then surgery beyond; I'm also preparing to enter the workforce and get on with my life.

If anyone would like to help me with my resume let me know...also if you know of a job in supply chain management send it my way!  The more help I can get, the better.

Monday, May 24, 2010


The art bra show this weekend was a surreal experience.  It started off as any show should with models arriving, getting their hair and makeup done, and watching as the venue transformed from museum to fashion show.

Barbara, director of the show and auction, working on last minute details.

Samantha giving Elisa some pointers on walking the runway.

There were people lined up out the door waiting to get into the sold out show.

They were waiting to bid on some fabulous art bras, and other items that were donated to raise money for the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Central Texas.

A lot of friends and family members attended the event.  Mom, Nancy, and Linda had a great time and loved looking at all of the fabulous art work.  Dad and Diane were unable to attend because Dad was sick and did not want to be around people on chemotherapy.

Dad and Diane's "Hooters" Bra was a hit and had a ton of bids.  I'm not sure exactly what it sold for, but my friend Mark and his date bowed out of the bidding at $120.

The models mingled with the guests before the show, trying out the food, and also getting a first look at some of the fabulous items.  It was a great time spent with friends and family.

Me with my breast friend Runi.  Runi is a survivor and Pink Ribbon Cowgirl wrangler, helping all of us find out way through the survivor world.

Cody and me hanging out before the show.  My makeup is done, and I actually have eyelashes!

Photo of the bra, "Argg Matey!", that I wore in the show.

The runway show itself started out great, or it sounded great from all of the cheers we could hear in the back as we lined up for our turn to walk the runway.  Then the music stopped, something had gone wrong.  Sarah, one of the models, collapsed about a quarter of the way down the runway.  Numerous doctors at the event began to attend to her, preforming CPR, and managing to stabilize her before she was taken away in an ambulance.  Thank goodness she is okay, just exhausted and battling the demons of chemotherapy.  This was the moment when everyone, audience members and models alike, realized the seriousness of the disease that we fight.  Some of the audience members could not handle the in your face reality of our situation and they left.  Those that stayed witnessed the love, courage and strength that we, as survivors, have as we finished the show for Sarah.  Mom took a video of me walking the runway.

The evening progressed and as the live auctions began for the bras, the audience members opened up their hearts and wallets, helping to raise amazing amounts of money for BCRC.

Mom giving me a big kiss after the show!

With Aunt Barbara, who had a fabulous time!

Thanks to all of you who were able to come and support me and the rest of us in this endeavor.  Especially to those who were not there - Shelton and Diane and Carolyn and Regan.  ALL of you have made this journey for Cody and me an easier one.  Thank you.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Previews of GRAPHICS IV Art Bra Show

The show has sold out, so if you didn't get tickets we will take a lot of pictures and post.  In the meantime here are some of the previews of the show.


Preview GRAPHIC IV - We Are Austin


Monday, May 17, 2010

Job Search

Today I officially began my job search for my post-cancer treatment, survivor world.  If you know of anyone who is looking for someone in Supply Chain Management, send them my way :)

Job Search Nugget:  "Reasons for leaving last job:  CANCER."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Ride Pictures

Cody and I went for a ride this morning around Town Lake in Austin.  We only rode about 10 miles, but considering that I had chemotherapy on Monday...10 miles is pretty far.  Here are a couple of pictures from the ride.

View of downtown from the east side of the lake.

Field of wildflowers that we came upon.

I'm not too tired from the ride, but can definately tell that something is not right.  Oh well...only one more treatment left (hurry up and get here June 1st)!!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shrimp and Grits

This recipe is one of our favorites and is adapted from Joy of Cooking.  The grits can cook while you prepare the shrimp, serve the shrimp as soon as they are finished cooking for best taste and consistency.  Grits are similar to Polenta which can be used if you can't find grits.  I like the taste of Muir Glen brand fire-roasted tomatoes, if you can't find fire-roasted substitute regular tomatoes.  Add Cayenne Pepper sparingly, you can always add Tabasco sauce once cooked for more heat.

Low-Country Grits
3 cups Water
3 Tablespoons unsalted Butter
½ teaspoon Salt
¾ cups Grits (not quick cooking)
¾ cups Broth (water for breakfast grits)
1-2 cups Heavy Cream (substitute half and half or milk, not skim)

Bring water, butter, and salt to boil. Slowly stir in grits, reduce heat to low, and cook about 10 minutes until the grits are very thick and have absorbed most of the water. Slowly stir in broth, simmer about 10 minutes until the grits are thick and have absorbed the liquid. Stir in cream (¼ - ½ cup at a time) until desired consistency is reached (think thick oatmeal). Cook 1 hour, add a few tablespoons cream before serving if too thick.

1 ½ lbs Shrimp (peeled and deveined, shells reserved)
2 ½ cups Water

Bring water and shells to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Strain liquid into bowl, pressing shrimp shells to release their juices. Discard shells and reserve liquid.  You can substitute 1 ¼ cups chicken broth and skip this step.

4 oz Bacon, chopped
1 medium White Onion, minced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
1 14.5 oz can Fire-Roasted Tomatoes, diced
¼ teaspoon Salt
⅛ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
¼ cup Heavy Cream
2 Tablespoons Parsley, chopped (more for presentation, if desired)

Cook bacon in large skillet until fat is rendered, 5-7 minutes. Stir in onion and cook until soft and light brown, add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook until pink, about 3 minutes. Slowly stir in reserved shrimp liquid or broth, then add tomatoes, salt, and cayenne. Simmer until shrimp are cooked through and mixture slightly thickened. Stir in cream and heat until just hot. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

Serve shrimp mixture spooned over grits and sprinkle with more fresh parsley, if desired.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

4th Wedding Anniversary

Today is our 4th Wedding Anniversary, we never thought it would be like this.

We've completed fifteen rounds of chemotherapy, with ONE left (right before my birthday); this summer we will begin our journey through mastectomy, reconstruction, and life afterward.  Hopefully by this time next year I'll have hair, actually I'm hoping to have a little hair by Christmas, regardless I'm sure I'll post when the little shoots start coming out after my last round of chemo.  Followers could even start a pool to see when I'll have hair...or not.

Last night Pavla drove me to my photo shoot for the Graphic IV Art Bra calendar shoot.  Even though I felt pretty beat up, tired from the anti-nausea meds and chemo, it was a lot of fun.  We all had our make-up done, and I got to wear false eyelashes and have eyebrows.  The world looks so different through eyelashes!  It was so much fun to hang out with the girls and not think about the one thing that brought us together.  I don't think I've laughed and had such a good time in a long time.  Our shoot was pirate themed and looks great.  Everyone has to buy a calendar for next year.

This is Cody's campaign photo, he's decided to be a write-in candidate.  LOL!!!

Carolyn and Cody posed for their Mother's Day photo.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Social Schedule

Lately my social schedule is very full, so I haven't been writing as much.  Mom and I got back from Max's graduation safely, driving 11 hours back to Houston in one day.  I then got up and drove the 3 hours back to Austin.  Since I've been back I've had lunch with the Pink Ribbon Cowgirls, a Kick-Off party for the MammaJamma bike ride in September, today I have a photo shoot for the Art Bra calendar, and Max stopped by on his way to get his stuff in Arlington, TX and take it back to his new home in Enterprise, AL.  Keeping busy is the best thing that I can do right now.  It is tiring but keeps me trolling the internet, constantly searching statistics trying to second guess myself and my treatment decisions.  As my "breast buddies" in cowgirls say, "Bad idea."  So I keep my mind and body busy, hoping that I've made the right choices.
Monday I have my FIFTEENTH round of chemo...only ONE more left!!  After that I start right back up with my social schedule with a photo shoot on Wednesday (BIG thanks to Pavla for agreeing to take me) and the Art Bra show on Saturday May 22nd.  

Monday, May 3, 2010

Secret Mission

My secret mission was to drive from Austin, Texas to Fort Rucker, Alabama, in order to surprise my brother who is graduating from the Army's Warrant Officer School on May 4, 2010.  He is then going onto Aviation School with the intent of flying helicopters.

The journey would take us through Louisiana, along I-10, where we spend the first night with Stephanie and Frank Chalona in Independence, right outside of Hammond.

Stephanie made a wonderful dinner of crawfish pie! It was fantastic.

Their two cats kept all of us company as we watched the rain fall from the porch, and contemplated the ever growing oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico.

What a mess?!! It is going to ruin the fragile eco systems of the area. Sunday morning we got up early to continue our journey across Louisiana, through Mississippi, and into Alabama.

At a McDonald’s, where we got coffee, I was reminded that we are in the South. A stranger held the door for me while I threw away some trash and then made it into the restaurant. He told me, “A lady always goes before a man.” Nice.

In Alabama we caught I-65 outside of Mobile and headed up towards Atlanta. On the way I managed to exit the interstate, and mom being the stellar navigator that she is, forgot to mention that we needed to stay on the interstate. We got to see a lot of the Alabama country side.

Max and Sarah were surprised that I managed to come all the way from Austin for his graduation from Warrant Office School at Fort Rucker. For lunch we met Dad and Diane at a pizza restaurant, and it was surprisingly good for Alabama.

Mom had to have her picture taken with the Boll Weevil monument in the middle of Enterprise, AL.

The Boll Weevil is the unofficial mascot of Enterprise, AL.  Even the radio station is WVVL.

Monday night we are going to a dinner reception with Max’s class at the base, and then the graduation ceremony on Tuesday. It should be a lot of fun.