Saturday, October 17, 2009

I love surprises!

I love to get and give surprises and this year I got to help plan a very cool surprise! You'll need a little bit of background.

Amanda and I go way, way back. We met back when we both lived in Illinois. It was 4th of July weekend 1994 and we were at the same party because our parents were friends. We became friends instantly. At some point her family moved to Texas. Then they moved back, but Amanda stayed in Texas for college. This was before email, so we use to write letters! We kept in touch and we would get together at the holidays when she came back to Illinois to visit her family. (Amanda's story of how we met is different, but I'm positive my story is correct! :)

Years later we are still good friends, and she was one of my bridesmaids!


Gentilcore wedding 7/1/06 Amanda here featured on the right.


Then I get this fantastic invitation in the mail inviting me to her 30th birthday party...in Vegas! It was going to be 7 ladies and I had the chance to meet most of them on my visit. I was the only one not from El Paso, but they were super sweet and I wouldn't miss Amanda's birthday for the world.


Amanda & Esterina in Vegas.



Partying it up at Amanda's Dirty 30!


We had the most amazing time in Vegas! The long weekend was all too short.

Not two months later, I get this email from her husband:

Amanda had been feeling a little sick for the past 2 or 3 weeks. I just told her that since she was now 30 everything hurts all the time and not to worry. I had been experiencing those for awhile now and was and old pro. Things came to a head after our annual trip to Mexico during Thanksgiving when it was apparent that she was sick with a little more than Montezuma's revenge. She went to her Doctor back in El Paso on December 3rd of this year to see what they could find out. The doctor could not figure it out and ordered several blood tests to be performed. The next day the doctor called and made Amanda and I drop everything and get to the ER immediately as something was seriously wrong with Amanda.

After several blood tests we got the shocking results that Amanda did in fact have a real problem. Amanda was diagnosed with A.L.L. (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia). As you might imagine it is not easy to hear that you are being diagnosed with Cancer. Luckily we have a wonderful oncologist and the staff was really great in getting us all settled into the hospital for the treatment of the cancer...


The email continues on and he talks about her upcoming chemotherapy treatments and what her life will be like for the next few years. I was SHOCKED and called her parents right away. They were leaving the next day to be with her and I wanted to go so badly to be by her side. The next several months she was in and out of the hospital and I kept in touch from California.

I am happy to say that she is doing better now, but the next several years will be the most challenging out of anyone I know. Amanda is extremely strong willed and she is totally kicking ALL's butt! The hardest part for her is not being able to do everything she wants for her girls. Look how happy they are here to cross off Amanda's last hospital visit on the calendar they made:




So the girls from the Vegas trip and I planned to surprise Amanda for her 31st birthday in El Paso! I flew in and surprised her at the house. Then we went to dinner and as she rounded the corner, it was all her playgroup friends & husbands!!! We had a great time and it was good to see all the ladies again.




Amanda is a truly special friend and I look forward to the day this A.L.L is a distant memory. You can follow her story on Caring Bridge's website: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/amandajoy


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I love yoga!

Last night was my first class back to anusara yoga with Kenny in a few months. I'd been volunteering my Tuesday nights with New Creation Home in East Palo Alto, but last night I went to yoga and it was great to be back. I love having a good support system at work for yoga and getting to class! My coworker and friend, Jackie is a Design Engineer by day and yoga instructor and one who practices by night!

Jackie and I usually place our mats next to each other and when we do crazy poses, like wild thing, we try to extend over and tap the others leg with our foot!

One version of wild thing courtesy of yogajournal.com

Last night we were both used in an example going into a hand stand! I've never been used as an example in class. And the great thing is in anusara yoga, you're an example because you are doing something right. Now, I am far from perfect and I get instructions to improve like: tuck your tail bone in, squeeze your legs together, lift more from your arms..., but it's so much fun! After the example was over, Jackie gave me her fist for a little bump. Kenny thought that was funny.


Handstand example from yogajournal.com

We always have a good time in class. I was so spent. Savasana (corpse pose) never felt so good. I am feeling it today, but being sore from yoga is one of the best feelings ever!!! I'll probably need a wheelchair tomorrow, but I already can't wait until next week's class.

Are you interested in learning yoga? If you've never done it before, I recommend you check out the poses library at YogaJournal.com: http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/finder/browse_categories

Namaste :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Now that it's been a year

Last week was my first week long vacation in probably 1 year. Hubby and I went to St. Louis. Our friends, Brent & Jessica were finally getting married!


The happy couple: Jessica & Brent

We decided to make a trip around their wedding date to visit with other friends & family. It ended up being a whole lot of family time and very little time with friends. However, the time with friends was very well spent.


The ladies



The men

I love the fact that no one has changed. It's a really nice to be able to pick up where we left of like no time passed at all. It's a very soothing yet exciting feeling to have.


Having a good time with friends

Traveling is stressful. We had so much traveling to do, we slept in 3 different beds within 8 nights! One bed was too hard. One was too soft and one was too small. It felt like I was Goldilocks, except I didn't find the one that was just right. But our bed was perfect and I finally got the perfect night sleep last night when we got back home.

I felt like I kept gipping everyone out of time. We first carved out almost 3 days to spend at my parents and we ended up hardly making it 2 days. We were constantly going from one place to the next and always saying, "Sorry, I gotta go." Some vacation. It sucks to always be on the clock. Today was like a vacation day from our trip. I feel like crawling up into my perfect bed again...so tired. It was a great trip. xoxo.