Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pink Carpet Premier

We had a fantastic time at the Pink Carpet Premier of Sex and The City 2!! Sold out event with a lot of women rockin' some fantastic outfits. And the shoes!! There were even some men there. 6 brave men showed their love for their women by showing up at this event--and 3 of them even stayed for the movie. Now the after party? 350+ women partying at Citrus City Grille, cosmos and "pink ribbon" martinis in hand---yeah, more guys showed up for that. Party went on until nearly 2a.m. Here are a few highlights of a glamorous, fun, heartfelt evening where over $16,000 was raised for the Pink Ribbon Place breast cancer resource center.
The top photo is Chris playing the role of Ryan Seacrest ("Who are you wearing? Which Sex & The City character are you most like?"). Above is Steve Holquin...the man, the myth, the legend...this event was his idea and without him, working together with Chris, there's no way this event could have happened let alone been the success it was.

 Four was the magic number. Ladies in groups of 4 stormed the pink carpet in their most fashionable ensembles. Work that step & repeat banner, ladies!

  Sheena Meder in her awesome party dress. I can't believe I missed photographing her shoes. She was wearing the shoes Samantha wore in the famous sushi scene in SATC 1!!

 And check out all those sponsors! (Note: Forgotten Grapes!!)

  IE Style magazine's sexy photog captured the glamorous gals and fancy footwear all evening long.
 Holly and Rory Gunnette. He was one of the brave men...and he stayed for the movie. He declines to state whether he enjoyed the movie (but he loved the event!)

  The Ladies of Best, Best & Kreiger. Rumor has it there were pre-party cosmos. Nice work, ladies!

 A full house!

 Stuffed Swag Bags on every seat!! Over 30 sponsors donated items (Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf $5 gift cards; Karen Allen Salon Aveda shampoos; UCLA hand sanitizers and band-aid purse kits; perfume samples; tableside purse holders; items; martini glasses from Vantage Oncology; Bobby's coffee drink coupons; free appetizer at Salted Pig; Chic-fil-a, CPK, MI Tortilla food coupons, nail files and lip gloss from Avon, key chains, Lavish Day Spa gift certificates, Mary Kay products, IE Style magazine, etc....!!etc...!! etc....!!!)

 Over 25 volunteers worked tirelessly to get the theater set up, food tables out, drinks out, and 400 swag bags on all the seats (people, that's a lot of stairs!) in under 15 minutes! This U-Haul backed up to the theater back door and off we ran! Some of very high heels.

And finally--showtime!! But not for us volunteers....we headed over to Citrus City Grille to set up for the after party.

 Which was also a huge success and lasted until after 2a.m. Phew. We were tired.

(And by the way...that's the violet BR08 dress I did not wear to the wedding in this blog post.)

 Let's do it again next year!! For now though...I need a nap!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's All So Casual Now

Today I go into UCLA for my one year post-chemo check-up. My final chemo treatment was April 30, 2009. In many ways, it's hard to believe it's already a year in the past and in other ways it seems almost like it never happened. I seemed to have moved far away--emotionally/ mentally--from being "Cancer Girl."

Here are some ways in which I know I have moved on:

* I'm driving into UCLA today by myself. In the last year and a half of doctor's appointments, this will be the first one I've gone to without Chris. He's really busy these days with a lot of wonderful things and there is no reason he has to give up an afternoon to be my health escort anymore. Besides, the good and great Dr. Karam will be there.

* I like my hair now. (See photo; Okay, I was on my own...self photos are darned hard to do!).

* I had a phone conversation with a business associate the other day wherein he told me he had moved from "sympathetic" to "empathetic" with my "recent difficulties." I struggled to figure out what he meant and assumed he meant "divorce" (yeah, even though mine was over 6 years ago) and was trying to tell me his wife left him or some such. But no, he meant he'd been diagnosed with cancer recently. I had a moment of "I don't have cancer; what does he mean?" And had to actually remember that I did indeed have cancer last year!

* The first blogs I read on my blog list are no longer the cancer blogs. I still check them, because I feel oddly that I've gotten to know these virtual "friends" and I want to know how they are doing, but I no longer read for information or cancer camaraderie (I am occasionally reminded that I indeed had "cancer-lite" when I read what others have gone through and are still going through). I read the funny, single-chick blogs, the writing blogs, and the food and wine blogs first now.

* I forget to blog. There was a time when this blog was a daily sort of lifeline for me. Now, a week goes by and I realize I haven't blogged at all. Thanks for hanging in there those two of you who might still be reading the blog at all.

I haven't completely moved away from "the whole cancer thing." Chris and I both are still very much involved in The Pink Ribbon Place and in fact this Saturday is the sold-out Pink Carpet Premier event. 400 folks bought tickets at $50 a piece to an exclusive showing of Sex and the City 2 at a local theater. Guests will walk the Pink Carpet in front of a step and repeat banner of sponsor logos, while the local paparazzi snap photos and Chris plays the "what are you wearing" Ryan Seacrest role (I'll be playing Joan Rivers, I'm sure), then they'll head into the theater to enjoy a fruit and chocolate and other goodies food spread, a "swag bag" (absolutely stuffed with wonderful things from our many sponsors) and get a raffle ticket for "Samantha's Super Swag bag" (which has a designer purse, perfume, the use of an S type Jaguar for a weekend, dinner certificates, make-up, hair products, a fresh-water pearl bracelet, and allllllllll sorts of great stuff!). After the movie, there's an exclusive after-party at a local restaurant and bar. Another sponsor is putting on a tequila tasting and the bar will have SATC2 themed drinks (I'm guessing that means Cosmos!). But I have to say, this has been mostly Chris's thing. He and his friend Steve Holquin have done an amazing job of putting this whole thing together--that part of the reason Chris can't go with me to UCLA today. Too much work to do!

I'm no longer Cancer Girl and I'm happy to say I don't think about it much at all anymore. Breast cancer is now just a part of my history. I am glad to be involved in things like the Pink Ribbon Place and I'm looking forward to this event--just as me. Not as Cancer Girl. I think it's kind of a great way to celebrate my one-year post-chemo anniversary, don't you?

 (Is this one any better? I'm kinda smirking here--please don't take it personally--again, it's that self photo thing.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Still in Love

So yeah, second date with Paso Robles was as good as the first date. I'm still in love and wanting to marry it (metaphorically speaking of course). We had a fabulous trip. For the inaugural Forgotten Grapes Paso Robles trip, we couldn't have asked for a better group of folks or a better bunch of winemakers/ vineyard owners, or better weather or anything better. Okay, well, I could have had better hair...but I'm trying to just be thankful that I have hair again.

I was so proud of Chris and truly amazed at the trip he put together for this group. Really, really outstanding. So allow me to share some highlights:

On the first night, Mike Barreto of Barreto wines (that's him standing next to Chris) came to our house (well, the one we rented in PR) and whipped up a fabulous batch of paella that perfectly paired with his Spanish varietal wines. Fabulous food, wine and company.

And that's our group, left to right: Wendy, Michael, Becky, Mike, Chris, Pam and Peter. Yep, you got it. We were Peter, Pam, Michael and Wendy...were were missing John and Tinkerbell. So Becky played the part of Tinker Beck all weekend. Chris was more Captain Hook. And there was an evening of Lost Boys...but I get ahead of myself.
On Friday we toured DuBost vineyard and winery with Kate DuBost. Lovely people, a fabulous lunch, an "insider's tour" and hey, more great wine!

Judy Starr, grape grower extraordinaire and proprietress of Starr Vineyards gave us a tour of her pristine vineyards in her white chariot (aka pick-up truck). Oh right, some of us (those in dresses) were in the truck and some of us (those in jeans or khakis) in the truck bed. Beautiful from every vantage point.
Next up: Barrel tasting with Augie Hug at Hug Cellars. So much fun. And again, the wine was incredible (I cannot tell a lie; I bought 3 cases of his 2007 Viognier. It's a favorite of mine and that was pretty much all he had left. Mine. All Mine!!!).

The day ended (well, um, actually it went well into the night) with Ted & Lisa Plemons at Cass Winery again. OMG--the food!! The wine!! The hilarious stories!!!

And did I mention there was a camera crew following Ted around? Right. And us. And um....let's just say we now know just how it is that those idiots on reality TV can forget there is a camera following them around.  It involves wine. And we are those idiots. (Incriminating video soon to follow, no doubt).

The chef at Cass Vineyards, Jacob, was amazing. The absolute best braised short ribs. So tender and tasty you could hear everyone at the table moaning in gastronomic ecstasy.
and  the evening turned into night, and there was wine, and there was laughter, and there was more wine, more laughter, more wine, music, more wine, dancing....and um...that's all I remember. Or at least it's all I'm willing to tell....until the next posting.

Cheers to you!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'm Off

Off schedule with the blogging.
Off schedule for my follow-up oncologist appointment (it'll happen...just not for a couple of weeks).
Off to Paso Robles for a lovely, much-needed, much anticipated long weekend. 

I will post photos, tell stories, exaggerate, blog, and of course share the dirt on how my second date with Paso Robles goes. Since as we all know, I fell madly in love and was talking marriage after the first date.

In the meantime, check out the next Pink Ribbon Place fundraiser...A "Pink Carpet Premiere" of Sex and the City 2. Chris and his friend Steve Holquin have been the main guys putting this whole event together! It's going to be fantastic and they've already sold over 200 tickets!!

Click here:  The Pink Carpet Premiere.

(and you thought that poster was about my trip to Paso Robles...)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

More on Hair (an update)

As an AOL (yeah, okay, i'm still on AOL...I'm living in the 90's) had a link to this article on what your natural hair color might mean about your health. Well, how could I not click through to that article?? I read it and now I'm doubly confused. So do I read the part about my natural hair color for my first 45 years of life ( case I need to remind you), or the "new" hair that I have?? How do I know what to worry about????!!!

Hair and brought to you by AOL. (Go ahead, click on the Hair and Health title...then get back to me with your thoughts. Oh, and it doesn't say "blondes are prone to breast cancer." Phew.) sister informs me that when reading my last blog post her youngest daughter (age 3; so only 18 months old when I was a blonde) was looking at the screen with her and did not recognize the photo of me as a blonde...but did know that the photo of me as a brunette was Aunt Teresa. So there you have it. I'm a brunette.    Wow.

And also again, for the first time today someone actually noticed that my drivers license photo looks very, very different than I look now. I was at the bank, so that's a good thing she's so observant with ID. But let the record reflect that it took over a year for anyone to make a comment about my drivers license photo not looking at all like me now. Thank god no one commented on the difference between my obvious "real" weight....and what my drivers license says. (She also said that I was very "sunshiney". Yep. I'm still laughing about that too.)

Monday, May 3, 2010

How do you know me?

It would be easy to have an identity crisis these days. That's not happening but I have been acutely aware of how others view me. I look different than I've ever looked in my life and you'd think that wouldn't matter too much, but it does. I wonder how those women who are constantly changing their hair color and style can do it. Do they just get new lives each time? Oh, wait...maybe that's why they do it!  At any rate, it's not just what one looks like, but I suppose we all get to know each other as a specific type or for certain reasons-- a friend from work, a writer friend, a fellow breast cancer survivor, a dog person--all sorts of labels and categories. Maybe that helps our brain remember people. At any rate, I think I've messed up people's categories. So here's what's been going on--in no particular order.

Situation 1:  I ran into a female attorney that I used to work with.  We actually started work at the same firm on the same day long ago (April 1, 1987). It was my very first day as a lawyer. We worked together for 4 years and since we were both tall, both blonde and both working in the same department, we were constantly confused for each other, even though she is 10 years older than me and we looked absolutely nothing alike. (After a year,  a third tall, blonde female lawyer joined our ranks, just to add to the confusion--but that's not actually relevant here.)  I haven't seen her in probably 2 or 3 years. Then last Wednesday night Chris and I were at a wine dinner and so was this attorney. I was actually talking with her husband (not the one she was married to when I knew her previously; she had traded up) and eventually figured out that his wife was someone I knew. So he taps her on the shoulder, she turns around, I say hello, how are you, all that and it becomes very obvious she doesn't recognize me. Even though her husband is saying "so you two used to work together at Best, Best & Krieger." She's nodding and politely smiling but obviously hasn't a clue who I am. Then her husband says "And I thought they only hired blondes there." And now I'm confused, because of course, in my head (but not on my head) I am still a blonde. So now we're all confused. Eventually I snap out of it and say "Oh, right, well, I used to be a blonde...." And instantly she gets it. "OH!! Teresa!! OH my gosh! You're a brunette!!"

Situation 2: I'm in a meeting at City Hall (and no, you can't fight it but that doesn't stop me) with about 15 people, only some of whom know each other. I'm seated next to a woman with a perky blond bob. A woman at the other end of the table says, "I don't know people's names, but I take issue with something someone said about the property taxes." And she points down to my end of the table and very disdainfully says, "I think it was that blonde woman." And of course, I get my hackles up because I didn't say what she was quoting. Then, slowly, dawns on me. She doesn't mean me. She has no idea and nor is it remotely relevant that I used to be blonde. She's not talking to me. She's talking to blondie next to me. Thank god I didn't respond. She would have just looked at me like the crazy person I am.

Situation 3: I got to meet one of my blog buddies. Sara in Vermont left Vermont long enough to visit the LA Times Festival of Books two weekends ago. Since Chris and I were going too, Sara and I decided to meet in person. I thought it would be so easy to recognize the "live" versions of each other from all the blog posts and pictures. Nope. Not so easy. If it weren't for Sara's friend (and mystery author extraordinare) Reed Farrel Coleman pointing me out to her (based solely on her description of me--he was not matching it to a photo) we may have missed each other. Sara was expecting my hair to be really short. I guess I haven't posted a picture lately (see above wherein I rectify that), and I was expecting Sara to be alone so wasn't looking our for 2 people. Categories. My brain needs categories. At any rate we found each other and a good time (and a drink or two) was had by all (see photo; Sara on left, me on right---in case you are confused). Later Sara mentioned that she hadn't really realized that Chris and I were writers. Well, we're not writers like Sara and Reed are (meaning the published, hard-working, people who keep their butts in the chairs and actually write daily type writers), but yeah, we write. She knows me through my blog--so most of what she knows of me is "breast cancer survivor/ chronicler/ with a snarky attitude."  Oh, right. Yep. I'm that too.

So it occurs to me...I now know people  who only know me as a brunette cancer survivor. They never knew me when, a mere 18 months ago, I was neither of those things. Meanwhile, I personally  have a hard time remembering that I'm either of those things. I'm still "blonde" in the way I'm still "Catholic" (if you asked me what religion I was that's what I would answer....but um...yeah, it's been awhile since I've set foot in church and I don't have any of the beliefs of Catholics, but it's like being just are). And the cancer survivor part? Um, what? Who, me? Oh, right. But see, April 30th was the one-year anniversary of my last chemo treatment. So that cancer thing? It's so last year. 

I suppose I'll adjust to this new me. I'll remember that "cancer survivor" is part of me now, just like "lawyer" and "wanna-be writer" and eventually I'll remember that I'm not a blonde and I no longer have to be offended at blonde jokes.
Yep, I'll eventually realize all of that. Right about when I change my hairstyle and add blonde highlights.
PS. In the top photo, I think I look a lot like my mom. And that's new too; I've never really looked much like my mom (I look like her mom...but I guess it's all a circle isn't it?). And by the way, Happy Birthday Mom!