I’ve written a bunch of blog entries since the last time I posted. I just didn’t want to post them until I could formally (or actually I guess it’s informally) thank everyone who worked together and attended the benefit held for me on November 7th. It was beyond amazing, the food was fabulous, the decorations were fantastic, seeing so many people that I love come out to support me, it was beyond incredible. And can we talk about the donations? From the amazing baskets put together and donated by friends at work, and all the other fabulous baskets donated by friends and businesses (there were about 80!!) as well as all the businesses who made donations either in prizes or food – to the amazing friends who not only organized this “shin dig” as my dad was calling it, but also spent the time cooking, setting up and cleaning up, soliciting donations, putting up with my demands, and can we say boarding planes and flying three thousand miles to either sleep on my couches or in our fine local establishments? And seeing some other friends who I have not seen or hugged in months or years. And my brothers. You all conspired to give me a fantastic day, and I can never thank you enough. I was astounded by how many people came out. I know I say it a lot, but there aren’t words (or words that will be allowed usage by the chemo brain) to properly say thank you. It was a great time, and even if not a single dime was raised, it was enough to just be there with so many people I love. That’s what really mattered. (And that no nuns were offended by my shirt)
This is my best attempt to thank those who organized and donated their time and/or resources, the businesses that made donations, and everyone who helped set up and clean up and cook and bake and just make the day wonderful. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if I missed someone, either comment here on the blog or send me a text or email. I will fix it. And feel free to print this out or refer people with a link who don’t have facebook or twitter to read it for themselves. I am hoping to put a thank you in the paper, because let’s be honest, if I were to send thank you cards, Andy would find them in a stack to be mailed about six months after I’m dead, because in order to send a thank you card, I would have to make it (yes, I know they sell them, but this is me we’re talking about) then I would go full tilt on card making until I had half of them done, and then lose interest or get sick and then I would say, I’ll do it tomorrow and then it’s May and people think I am an ungrateful bitch because I didn’t send a thank you card, but really I will still be working on them. So without further ado…
First and foremost, without these people, the benefit would never have happened: Lori, Lisa R, Anne S, Heidi E, Michelle G, Lisa S, my brother Stanley, KY, Mary B, Gina, Renee, and B aka Mary Bridget. (And Louise, and of course, Erin) Also thank you to the adult and minor children who were volunteered by their parents to help out. Thank you for all of the time you put into this, and being my friends. More for being my friends, because without your support, I would not have survived this journey as well as I have for so long. You may not think you did anything major, but just knowing you are there means the world.
Next, I need to thank my amazing friends at work, too many to name here. If you could only have seen the baskets they donated for the basket auction – they blew me away – and probably raised a good chunk of change. Special thanks KY, Sue Y, and Patti M, for also making individual basket donations as well. Every unit in my office created a basket by their unit and they were incredible. The generosity didn’t end there – my CYS friends also donated drinks, made food, bought paper products, had fund raisers, and just gave moral support.
Major thanks to the California girls, Debbie, Jeanne, Catherine, Cindy and Dianne (and her boy toy) for braving TSA and flying east during the beginning of fall/winter hell. We fell back into conversation like the decade or more since I’ve seen some of you was never there. I am sorry I was still too weak to be a better hostess, but I think pizza buffet night was pretty awesome. I missed our easy conversation and endless laughter. And to my beloved hummingbird friend, and her awesome mother, thank you for choosing to stay at Chateau Pecky, some of the most curious accommodations you will ever experience – where lights turn on in the middle of the night for no real reason, and just as you fall asleep the furnace kicks on. It was a delight having you as guests in my home. I’ll get some more cancer if it means you girls will visit again. And thank you Ashley, my shark sister, and Roy for making the long journey to the ‘hood to hang out with us as did my wonderful cousin, Ginny. Sharky it made my day to see you. And to Joe, Amanda, Danny, Tom, and especially my surprise guest, Stormy, thank you too, for making the trip – you will always be like my very own children and I was glad to see all of you there. You always make me smile.
And Andy – thank you. For putting up with my idiosyncrasies, my whining, and for your diligent cleaning even after I freaked out. You know you bear the brunt of my moodiness, and I am sorry, but thank you for your help in all of this.
And thank you Stanley for the awesome birthday cake. It was delicious.
And thank you Lori and Denise for your part in making me able to allow people in my home again.
Now for the list of donors and businesses:
- Anthony’s Pizza in Frackville
- Friendly’s in Pottsville
- Capitol Food Market in Shenandoah
- Kowalonek’s in Shenandoah
- La Casita de Familia in Shenandoah
- Lucky’s Corner Deli in Shenandoah
- The Pizza Shop in Shenandoah
- Who’s Place in Shenandoah
- Vernalis’ Restaurant in Shenandoah
- Boyer’s Food Market in Shenandoah
- Walmart in St. Clair
- Melissa’s Hair Design in Shenandoah
- Little Venice in Shenandoah
- Francesco’s in Shenandoah
- The Lyric in Shenandoah
- Pet Brothers in Shenandoah
- Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville
- Dunkin Donuts in Pottsville
- Angie’s Hair Salon in Shenandoah
- Kay Lex Salon in Shenandoah
- Park Restaurant in Shenandoah
- Boran’s Bakery in Shenandoah
- Antz’s Refrigeration in Shenandoah
- Chris Ozcoustic Oslar in Ringtown
- William Penn Fire Company in William Penn
- Gaultier’s Distributor in Shenandoah
- Denise D in New Jersey
- C&L Creations in Shenandoah
- Green Loving Naturals in Pottsville
- Liz Noon at Trio Salon in Pottsville
- West Street Pub in Shenandoah
- Kidspeace in Pottsville
- Kathy H at Access Services in Orwigsburg
- Eddie M
- Kayleigh L
- Brenda S
- Olive Garden
I tried to put hyperlinks for the people/businesses that I could – please give them a click if you can, and if you are local – please support them as you can. Again, I am so grateful for their generosity.
Additionally, the Shenandoah Knights of Columbus gave me a very generous check, as did the Chris Antz Memorial Fund. Thank you to my long time friend Denise D. who donated Flyers tickets and to Kellie for my Fuck Cancer shirt. Also I received very generous donations from Jeanne and from Catherine’s massage therapist who wants me to go to Ireland as much as Catherine does. Well, ladies, we’re going!
Most of all, thank you to all the people who came to the event, or shopped and dropped. Thank you to ever person who made a donation, whether it was to me directly or to Gina’s Pennies for Pecky drive. I was astounded at the monies that were raised. I can’t thank each of you individually, because frankly, there were so many people at the benefit or who just made donations, that I can’t name them all. But know that whether it was pennies or T-bills, your contributions made a difference, and if you attended, I hope you had a great time, ate a lot of good food and enjoyed the people, I know I did. Until I had to go puke outside. But that was over pretty quickly.
I, of course, have a shit camera on my phone, so I didn’t take pictures. Andy used my dad’s camera, but all of the pictures he took were blurry. So I am posting what I have received from friends, Thank you for taking them. There are pictures of the baskets, me, my cake, my friends, the tables and some of the people who attended. I wish someone got a shot of the food…it was incredible – roast beast, fried chicken, chicken parm, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, scrumptious filling, blind pigeon casserole, polish meatballs, italian meatballs, pierogies, baked ziti, porketta, chicken and dumplings, hot dog, salads, veggie pizza, subs, meat and cheese trays – there was food for days. And then there were the bacon wrapped bang bang meatballs that Michele made especially for me. And banging they were.
Anyway, I started this at 9pm and it’s close to 3am. Wow. I just want to say one last time that I am so grateful for the amazing generosity, love and friendship that was so obvious from everyone involved in, and attending the benefit. I really really really appreciate it, more than you know, and you are making it possible for Andy and I to have experiences that we would otherwise not have if not for your kindness. Yes, the benefit raised enough money for Andy and I to do the only thing I really had on my “things to do before it’s too late list” – go to Ireland. There was also enough money for me to splurge on a 32” flatscreen. (yes, you read that right, 32”), get a new vacuum that does not spew the dust back out as soon as it sucks it in, and to make sure our electricity remains on for many more months.
I only put first names and last initials if necessary to allow people privacy. I’ll be happy to add your last name if you want. Enjoy the photos, and Happy Thanksgiving. I have so much to be grateful for – a roof over my head, the day with my son, food in our fridge, no one blowing up our house and the love of amazing friends. Thank you for everything – the laughs, the texts, the couches to lounge on and watch football at your house, etc. etc. I can’t describe what that kind of support feels like. Love to you all and a pleasant day with the people you love. Stay tuned for several posts in the next few days. Sleep a happy sleep. I’m off to attack the ham before I pass out. I got a turkey to stuff in a few hours.
26 November 15 | Categories: Philosophizings, Picture Perfect, Profound Insights, Random Rambling | Tags: amazing, benefit, cancer, flying monkeys, friends, funny, gratitude, support, thanks, thanksgiving | Leave a comment
Today is my blogiversary. Three years of captivating writing. I would continue with holding your rapt attention with my insights, but this blog will honor three special people, as my pitiful begging on Facebook to get to 50 real followers was made more attractive by the pledge to honor blog follower number 50. The actual number 50 was AMF###. I don’t know who you are behind that number, but since you subscribed to my blog I do know this:
AMF### is a wise and insightful person. They are perceptive, they recognize brilliant writing and are selective about the blogs they follow. Most days they are busy living a busy life, doing important things and being kind to people. They do fun things for fun. They like to eat when they are hungry and enjoy things like sports, or movies or books, if they like sports, or movies or books. They don’t like to be in the spotlight so their gravatar profile is very mysterious and makes you wonder who they are. They are humble. And they were clearly touched by my heartfelt plea. Dear AMF###, thank you from the depths of my soul, and if you ever choose to tell me who is behind this curious moniker, I will laud you with more of the praise you deserve. (UPDATE: Number 50 was the delightful Ashley, lover of glitter and unicorns and special person extraordinaire; she of rustling up christmas trees, decor, toys, clothes, food, housewares, and the like for the needy, she who holds the invisible gavel and maintains order with the unruly agency morale committee, outshining her job description, lover of literature, future coauthor of the great grant that will let us become agency ambassadors of knowledge and resources, game player, trivia queen, bright spot in so many days, slayer of bears, she who has a pithy quip at the ready in most instances, and just about the most resourceful person I have ever known – and, she is all of the things previously written as well…amazing!)
Shannon, you were number 51. I want to thank you too, because well, I know who you are. Shannon is a very smart, passionate, enthusiastic young woman who I had the pleasure of getting to know as a student of mine at LVC. She always has a smile, and throws herself into the causes she is passionate about. She is very concerned with women’s issues. She likes cats, and is a bit of a foodie. She is also everything that AMF### is above. Thank you Shannon, and it’s nice to see you being a successful young woman.
Then there’s Jeanne. Jeanne has been a supporter of me as a person and a mom since I met her. She and her family are amazing people, the kind of family we all wish our families to be, but they never are. I was blessed to be friends with her amazing daughter Debbie, aka hummingbird (I left out the usual adjective that begins with f and rhymes with ducking) and as a bonus got to adopt Jeanne and her family as my surrogate family for the last, oh, 25+ years. Jeanne, you are the best surrogate mom and grandmother a Pennsylvania immigrant to California that a woman and her wily son could have. The times I spent with your family, before Andy was born, and after are very precious memories for me, and I treasure all the support and wisdom you have shared with me. You gave Andy and I happy holiday memories to model our own on, and I know I couldn’t have gotten through the hardest days of my cancer struggle without knowing you were in my corner. Plus, she’s a killer scrabble player. Thank you Jeanne for being part of my life (and Andy’s, even though he’s shamed me and is becoming a dirty hippie, listening to jam bands and shaming me, even though I raised him to listen to better music – next thing you know he’ll be bringing home hacky sacks and becoming a vegan! The shame!)
Thus ends today’s blog entry. I am in killer pain that naps did nothing to abate, so I am reluctantly going to end the day with pharmaceuticals – which I would like to add – have been managing to do without for at least two weeks. As an added bonus this week, I received a little reminder in the mail I have a CT scan this week, oh goodie! Early anxiety. And important fact for today. Manatees weigh less than walruses, thus I have a goal this year of being less of a walrus, and more of a manatee. And if you were following my list of resolutions on FB, and wondering if I have kept them…YES! I have eaten no cauliflower, checked my phone once a day and every other resolution I made. So far.
Thank you to everyone who reads, subscribes or deletes the email that contains my blog. I appreciate your support in whatever way I get it. I’m grateful. Sleep well my pets.