The winners for Minti's two tickets to paradise, ahem, Blogher were announced this morning. The lucky women who were picked were Tracey from Maypapers and Heather from Rookie Moms. When you get a chance go on over to their blogs and tell them congrats. They deserve it.
Yes, I entered. Yes, I wanted to go. Yes, I'm a little disappointed that I didn't win, but its for the best. I would have had to sell a kidney to afford the airfare and hotel cost. I was, however, one of the four women picked for the runner-up prize (free Minti schwag) which makes me feel a little like the first runner-up at the Miss America pageant. If Tracey or Heather cannot fulfill their duties and obligations as a woman blogger at the conference I will be ready to step in to take their place. Just as soon as I bring in enough money from the lemonade stand I have set up outside of my house.
If you haven't gotten your fill of giveaways - and really who would? - Mothergoosemouse is having a rockin' contest over at her place. Test your musical knowledge and see if you can correctly name the songs and artists from the small lyric samples she has provided. No cheating, no collaboration and no Googling (damn her!). The gauntlet has been thrown and I welcome the challenge. But, seriously, no Googling?
Now for something completely different.
Some of you are aware that I lost my mother to cancer two years ago. Its not something I write about frequently for a few reasons. One being that even though the thread of my mother's death is tightly woven into the fabric of my being, especially now that I am a mother myself and I never got a chance to tell her from one mother to another how much I was truly thankful for everything she had done for me, its a topic that can bring people down faster than passengers in a defective Zeppelin.
With that said, I feel this is a good time to mention it.
In this part of the Northeast (and many other locations across the United States) this time of year is thought of, by me and many others, as Relay for Life season. The ACS Relay for Life (click the logo for more information), as described on their website, is:
That's what the event is on the surface, but to me its so much more than that. For 7 years, from the time she was diagnosed to the year before she died, my mother, sister and I would make a girl's weekend out of the Relay. We would pack our bags like we were going to an outdoor sleep over, which essentially it was. Junk food - check. Pillows - check. Extra sweatshirts and pants, blankets and sleeping bags - check, check, check and check. Her brother would park his camper on our designated site in the middle of the track and we three ladies, along with other friends and relatives who came and went, would stay there the entire 24 hours and walk, talk, sit in the sun and soak up some rays (I know... Cancer. Her's was colon so she didn't worry about the sun's harmful effects at that point). We'd eat junk food and play Trivial Pursuit. Someone always brought a few gossip magazines that we would pass around. And many, many stories were told.
The year my mom died our group fell apart. Nobody wanted to take responsibility for putting it all together since my mom was the spirit, if not the manpower, behind it. I attended the event for a couple of hours, but it wasn't the same. My mom was not there to link arms with me and dance (yes, we danced) around the track to the musical theme of the hour blasting through the loud speakers. The following year, the team was revived but the spirit was still missing. But, again, I attended. This time with my almost 2 month old baby. The Hubby and I brought Chicky Baby up to the local college in my old hometown where the Relay is held every year (which, by the way, is the largest RFL in the Northeast). We showed her off, walked her around the track a bunch of times, and then packed her up in the car for the 45 minute ride back home. My baby, who was colicky for the first 4 months of her life, was a doll for the hour or two that we were there. I'd like to think she was being respectful in her grandmother's honor.
I'm still undecided as to whether or not I will make the drive home to attend this year's Relay, though I know deep down that I probably will. I need to purchase some luminaries and write my mom's name on them. I'll stay for the lighting ceremony. I'll feel like crying, but I probably won't, choosing to save my tears for the ride home. I know, with absolute certainty, that I will run into more than a few people, old friends and acquaintances made on that very track, who will talk about my mom and how much they miss her. Maybe my sister will go with me and we'll reminisce about the years we spent as contributing members of this large family of people walking for a cure.
If you get a chance, I encourage you to visit a local RFL. If you go to the website and type in your zip code you'll find many in your area. It will seem funny at first, a bunch of people walking around a track, but I assure you that if you walk with them, read their team names and slogans, stay for the luminary ceremony or get there early for the survivor's walk, you won't be disappointed. And if you're the least bit emotional and/or know someone who has been affected by cancer, bring your Kleenex.
One more thing, if you decide to go and you are so inclined, spend a couple of bucks on a luminary. If you have no one to honor, feel free to light a candle for my mom. Her name was Brenda. She loved to walk and sing and dance... And she was loved.