Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thank you

So, it's Thanksgiving tomorrow, and even though I'm not going home this year to have my mother go around the table and make everyone say what we're thankful for, I'm thinking about it anyway.

This has been a year of major changes for me, and I'm actually thankful for a lot. I'm thankful that most of that bad stuff is behind me, and I'm thankful that I'm stronger now because of it. I'm thankful that I know how resilient I am. I'm thankful for all of the fun, crazy, random adventures I've had this year. I'm thankful for all of my friends who got married this year, who allowed me to be part of their special day, and gave me a reason to travel so much! I'm thankful my travel bug came back, for my friends and family I've traveled with, that the world has opened up for me again.

But above all, I am really really really so thankful for my friends and family, and everyone who supported, stood by me, and had adventures with me in many different ways this year. Thank you for everything: for letting me stay with you, lending me things I needed, listening to me, talking to me, helping me move (twice!), choosing me to move in, visiting me in NY, letting me call you at all hours, calling me from across the country to check in, giving me advice, taking me out to dinner, helping me pack and unpack, making me laugh, being with me when I cried, telling me how proud you are of me, telling me how strong I was, picking up the slack for me at work, letting me go a little crazy, letting me be self-absorbed, listening to my stories, having random adventures with me.

I hope you all know who you are, and I hope you all know how much you mean to me, how much I value our friendship. I am truly blessed to have the friends and family that I have. Thank you.
(I'm also thankful that my mother won't be asking me to sing "This Land is Your Land" this year in front of my whole extended family and guests. I love my mom, of course, but I'm afraid I'll probably be doing the same things she does when I have a family someday. Somebody stop me!)

So, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I'm staying in NY for the first time for Thanksgiving, am watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade from the new Time Warner Center at a special private viewing party for employees and guests (I won tickets in a work raffle). Then on to a friend's loft for a nice Turkey Day dinner for six. I made cranberry salsa last night, the rest of the food will be made tomorrow. I'm baking an apple pie, too--still debating whether to bother to make the crust from scratch.

Oh, I love food. I'm thankful for good food and good company. I'm prepared to be full for a week. Hope you are all happy and well. Now everyone, let's go around the table and share something that you're thankful for...

November 23, 2005

Monday, November 14, 2005

Run run run run run run run run

**Retrieved from Friendster blog**

Watching football as a child with my family (usually just the Superbowl, I think), I always remember my mother cheering someone breaking away with the ball by chanting, "Run run run run run run run run run run!!!!"

Last Sunday, 11/6, was a momentous day--the Robert's Snow auction started, it was a good friend's birthday, and it was the NYC Marathon. And Rose! Rose ran it! She said "It was the most exciting, difficult, and rewarding day of my life." I can believe it.

I watched the race from the West side of 1st Avenue and 73rd, right near our apartment, in front of Session 73. Lots of early beer drinking going on (not yet for me, I was jittery on ice coffee)--it was a gorgeous, gorgeous day. It was so exciting watching the runners and cheering them on. We were at mile 17. I loved reading people's names on their shirts and cheering them on. "Go, Moe, Go!" "You can do it, Kristin!" "Good job!" There was a group next to us cheering on members of Team in Training who were running for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

I was surprised at how many of the runners were still peppy and energetic and smiling, pumping up the crowd, giving us all high fives. Others were focused, tired, looking straight ahead, looking down, many were walking. Yet no matter how miserable they looked, they couldn't help but crack a smile when we cheered them on by name.

We saw people running in costumes--Elvis, ballerinas, elks, rhinos, one guy walked by in full Storm Trooper armor. A runner dressed as testicles ran by. Huge smile on the testicles...uh.."face."

We finally spotted Rose running, making a beeling towards us--when she reached us, we threw sparkling confetti at her. She looked great--big smile on her face as she said, "This is so miserable." An older man, one of the runners, stopped near us. He grabbed a beer from someone on the sidelines and started drinking it. A few minutes later, he crouched down and smoked a joint! Then asked a girl to get him two more bottles of beer from the bar. She did. He ran off with them. "Check the listings tomorrow! You'll see, I'll finish!" Crazy.

Chilled on our terrace with beers in the afternoon waiting for Rose to come home. Savored the rare Spring-like sun. Rose returned, tired yet triumphant, wrapped in the tell-tale silver wrap, medal around her neck. She finished! Amazing. Then onto the Banshee for beers, then a pasta dinner. We ate pasta with her in solidarity.

Watching the marathon made me consider doing it someday, even though it never appealed to me before. I mean, 26.2 miles! Rose finished under 6 hours. I imagine I'd take at least 5. That's a helluva long time to be out there. But as I get older, I'm starting to realize that I need these challenges, these goals. Then again, I went jogging on Sunday morning along the river--just a quick 3 mile run--and as I ran the last mile, I thought, geez, could I really run 26 of these?

My dad was in town this past weekend. We had a great time, saw Fiddler on the Roof, walked everywhere, ate a lot. We went to breakfast on Sunday with Lisa and Rose. And I decided right there at that breakfast that I would enter into the lottery to run the marathon, and if I got in, that would decide it for me. I'll run if I get in. I can't believe it! But hey, I've been looking for something new to add to my list of things to do before I die, so I'll add "run a marathon," and then cross it off the list in a few years. Dad said he'd come watch if I ran it.

Anyway, Rose is going to do it again next year! Anyone else want to run with us? Or at least enter the lottery? If I run it, I hope my mom will come and cheer me on. Run run run run run run run run run run!

November 14, 2005

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Amazing Grace

**Retrieved from Friendster blog**

Most of you know about Robert's Snow: for Cancer's Cure from last year, or because it's in the signature of all of my emails, but I don't think I've been talking it up as much this year as I was last year, so here I go again.

 My oldest friend in the whole world, Grace Lin, is a children's book author and illustrator. Some of her books include THE UGLY VEGETABLES, DIM SUM FOR EVERYONE, OLVINA FLIES (named after me), and the upcoming YEAR OF THE DOG, her first novel, which I had the pleasure of editing and is being published at Little, Brown.

This is how the fundraiser started in Grace's own words from the website: 

How it all started 
When Robert and I were married, the skies poured out a river of rain. Our wedding day was wet but it couldn't dampen our happiness. So, when Robert's aunts told me that rain on a wedding day meant good luck, I believed them. However, it seemed that the superstition was horribly false. 
That winter, Robert was diagnosed with bone cancer (Ewings Sarcoma). The treatment was grueling and Robert was left listless and weak.  
One night, I began to tell Robert a story. It was a children's story about a mouse that wasn't allowed in the snow, just like him.  
Robert became interested and it became our pet project. I titled the story Robert's Snow; and as the story grew, so did our hopes for the future.  
Nine months later, Robert was declared cancer free. Robert's Snow was accepted for publication. We felt that our good luck had finally arrived.  
But, in March 2004, Robert's cancer returned. We were devastated. Our doctor told us that Robert's best chance for long-term survival was a breakthrough in cancer research.  
So we decided to help the doctors the best we could. Because Robert's Snow had meant so much to us the first time, we decided to use it as an inspiration for a fund-raiser. We recruited children's book artists to paint wooden snowflakes and auctioned them off–the proceeds going to cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. 
The response was tremendous. Robert's Snow: for Cancer's Cure "snowballed" greater than we ever dreamed. In the end, we raised over $100,000. And this sparked a blizzard. Because of the great interest, we produced a book Robert's Snowflakes which highlights the 2004 snowflakes. And we began work on Robert's Snow 2005, which we hope will be even more successful.  
Robert and I are still immensely touched by the outcome of our project. And I've realized that rain that fell on our wedding day was a sign of good luck after all. Every one of Robert's Snowflakes is a gift of love, community and kindness. Few couples have ever received better presents. Now we share them with you. 

I was on the Robert's Snow committee last year, and it was a wonderful experience to be able to be involved in such a unique project and help raise so much money. This year I took an expanded role of Artist Liason, helping to choose the artists and keeping the communication lines open with them. I can't speak for anyone else on the committee, but I feel that I haven't done as much as I could or as I hoped to. I have the usual good excuses--I'm busier than ever at work, I've had some distracting things happen in my personal life, I've been traveling more than ever this year. But really, Grace is so much more busy, and has so much more going on in her personal life, too. She is the heart, soul and manpower of this project, and what she's done with this fundraiser is absolutely amazing.

The kick-off event was this past Thursday at the Locco Ritoro gallery in the "artsy fartsy" SOWA district in Boston. It was an amazing space, and the snowflakes looked wonderful on the wall. Volunteers really stepped up, donating the space, got tons of food and drink donated, helped set up, and during the event volunteers poured wine, sold raffle tickets and books, took pictures, served food. Jarrett was the emcee and was his usual gregarious, charismatic self. I still have his mantra for promoting the raffle echoing in my head: "One-hundred sixty-five dollars worth of books! That's CRAZY" he screamed over and over. I'm surprised he still had a voice the next day. Three raffle girls circulated, selling tickets. Ki-Ki stuck by the snowflake wall, dedicated in her role as "snowflake handler"--wearing white gloves, she showed people the backs of snowflakes. Linda, Anna, and I were snowflake handlers, too. In total, we think between 200 and 500 people came throughout the night, some coming from as far away as Chicago, Vermont, New York, and Virginia.

For me, the best story of the night was this 12-year-old boy, Chad. He came with his mother all the way from Virginia specifically for this event. Chad lost his father to cancer when he was 8-years-old. He found out about the auction last year, and bid on and won one of the snowflakes. This year, the artist whose snowflake he won, Marion Eldridge, dedicated her snowflake to him and even featured him on the flake. Chad also won the silent auction for illustrator Katie Davis's snowflake. And when a raffle winner won for the second time that night and graciously gave up her second prize, the raffle ticket she drew was Chad's. So fitting.

The auction is about to begin. There will be 5 consecutive 8-day E-bay auctions with the first one starting today, November 6 at 5 pm PST, 8 pm EST. The last auction ends on December 11. So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go to and look at these wonderful pieces of art. Even if you're not a children's book fan, I think you'll appreciate the works of art that each snowflake is. And please bid on your favorite snowflake.

Because at the root of this all is Robert. He's doing well, in good spirits, but the cancer is still there, and the money we raise may very well help cure him. I was Grace's roommate when she met Robert. I was there during their somewhat tumultuous courtship while Grace waited patiently for him to make up his mind (sorry, Robert, but you know it's true!), I was there on their beautiful wedding day that flooded rain. They deserve a lifetime together, a long future together, a cancer-free life. You never know what it is that will tip the scales, find the cure. So please help me spread the word about this auction.

November 06, 2005