Julie supports sister Lisa every day.

How to add a pizzazz into every thing you do.

Next show April. Get your tickets here.

Lisa, Celeste and company
Lisa, Celeste and our beautiful mom

The theme of the next show is British Invasion, Austin Powers inspired.

As a little sister would — I like to follow my sister either in person or in this case online.

My real life sister has been up to her amazing self again by lending herself to organize fun runway fashion shows in order to increase breast cancer awareness for some incredibly brave and beautiful woman.

Today, I’m sharing a letter that she, my sister Lisa, received from one of the participants as well as a letter from my mom.

How can I get involved?

Well, I just enjoyed the experience of a life time!

written by Dorothy M.

I was invited along with 23 other ladies who have overcome breast cancer to participate in the first annual fundraiser style show for the Mary Byrd Perkins Cancer Center in Covington, Louisiana.

Yes. It was the first annual show and the organizers were flying without an airplane.

One of my personal favorites! My mom with Dorothy!
Two absolutely lovely ladies, Dorothy and Elaine.

The plan was for us to be models and the plans were big. They didn’t plan for us just to walk down the runway like the amateurs we were. Oh no!
We began with an Orientation on September 14th and my immediate thought was Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into?

There were many steps to accomplish and appointments to set. Boutiques volunteered to do our hair and makeup. They sponsored us by providing the clothing, applying the eyelashes, everything. We were gifted with bras and decorative bra straps from Oohlabra!

What most impressed me was the opportunity to meet every Wednesday night with Celeste at Creating. Celeste went above and beyond the call of duty in teaching us how to carry ourselves, walk a runway and pose for pictures. The two hours she initially agreed to almost always stretched to three.

On September 24, Celeste had the opportunity to observe her raw material and I’m sure she wondered how she was going to accomplish this feat. Jimmy asked me what the ladies were like and I said, Well, go into Walmart on a busy Saturday and get on their speaker. Request that any ladies who have overcome breast cancer come to the front of the store and choose the first 23.

That is what we are like.

We are all sizes, all ages. We stand from 5 foot to over 6 foot tall. Some have little self confidence and others seem extra confident.

The age range is from 23 to 73. Many are still getting chemo and others are putting off surgery until after our show. Melanie, our youngest, didn’t have enough length on her hair and she chose to wear a beautiful long wig.

This is what made our event so amazing. It was everyday life, every day real people, not a group of model like ladies.

As we met week after week with Celeste giving her all. We began to spring forth like a well of living water. We had a runway for our practice and at first many of us clowned around to mask our discomfort but gradually our confidence grew.

I noticed that Celeste began to relax a little. She quickly realized that since most of us were much older than the young people she normally worked with and had recently been through so much that each of us needed to perform according to our own personalities. She taught us the basics and began saying, Do what you feel comfortable with. There was one unbreakable rule: no one could get away with chewing gum!

I devoted 30 minutes every day to practicing the runway walk and the turns. There were other ladies that also scheduled practice time. We soon began to see a little smile at the corners on Celeste’s mouth.

I would encourage the parents or even the grandparents to enroll children into some of these classes in order to build the confidence necessary for everyday life. I completed a modeling course when I was around 18 years-old which made a huge impact throughout my personal life as well as in the business world.

Even though I had taken the modeling course many years ago, there was so much that I learned during this time with Celeste. I’m not sure if I had forgotten, or if things have become more refined in the last 50 years. I’m saying, 50 years very softly. Gosh, I cannot believe it.

What is awesome is that I’m happier and more vibrant now than I was fifty years ago. With age you learn how to live. Let’s just say that I’m thankful for the update by Celeste and will continue to use the new skills she taught us.

It was much more than just learning the modeling skills. These were tools to enhance everyday life.

Looking great!
Looking great!

After six weeks of extensive training we met together on October 16th at the event facility which was huge. Over 450 people were expected at our sold out event and there was standing room only. Now, the real runway was before us.

They explained the choreography to us. We would be making three appearances on that runway. First we were to go out in pairs wearing formal wear. Then we each appear separately wearing more casual wear.

Our final walk will be in blue jeans and a black long sleeve tight tshirt, which was given to us by Lisa. Lisa also gave us gorgeous decorative bra straps that we wore exposed as an accessory.

Elaine and I were scheduled first. Elaine is Lisa’s mom, the organizer of our fundraiser. I cannot give enough praise to Lisa’s organizational abilities. Talk about a lady that pays attention to the tiniest details!

Throughout this time, Jimmy is just trying to stay out of the way. My cousin Valda and her daughter Valerie are driving in from from Texas. Of course Jimmy will be at the event, along with my 88 year-old Mom. I better stop naming the people that will be there supporting me and the cause, as I might leave a precious one out.

Our big date finally arrived on October 17th. The night had come. Probably the 23 of us together had lost over 100 pounds in anticipation of this event. Tomorrow we will eat! We would be at the Fleur de Lis Event Center at 4:30 pm. If all goes according to schedule we were to make our first runway appearance around 7:20. We’re there early to organize our clothes, shoes and accessories.

That took all of five minutes. Then, for the first time, we really had time to just visit. During the previous weeks, we had snippets of time to get to know one another but Celeste had kept us moving. Now, however, we were upstairs away from everything. All the work had been done. We were sent food and Champagne. We nibbled a little on the food but emptied those Champagne bottles.

Suddenly we began hearing sounds from downstairs and began peaking through the big glass windows at the audience below. All of us were trying to locate the face of someone we knew. After my third trip to that window, I saw four hands waving furiously. They belonged to my tennis playing buddy and owner of the boutique that provided my hair style, Lois, and my sweet locker room friend, Karen.

Lois’s shop sponsored me and went over their goal. Karen is just one of those people you meet and connect with immediately as a kindred spirit. I happily waved back to them. Contented, I returned to my new friends. I paused at the beauty I saw. The beautiful formal wear in all the colors of the rainbow: gold and silver glistening everywhere.

I’ve never seen so many beautiful gowns and beautiful people assembled in one place. There was so much excitement in the air as we were smiling, laughing and talking. Ladies which I thought Celeste would never be able to sever from their faded, baggy jeans were sitting so elegantly. Oh, at that moment, I loved them so much that I wanted to hold onto them for the rest of my life. This was our victory party. Not just over cancer, but over so many embedded fears we had started out with.

As we were all talking and sharing stories, in walked Jennifer, the owner of Southern Bridal, who had furnished all these lovely gowns we were wearing. Jennifer had spent much time with each of us. On one side of her was Lisa and on her other side was Celeste. The three of them just stood there beholding the beauty of the moment. They looked upon us as if they were proud parents. For a few seconds we stood silent and then the hugs started. These ladies had wanted to provide something special for us and at that moment.

They realized they had been successful.

Finally, with the champagne bottles empty, the anticipated time had arrived. With everyone quiet, we made our way down the back staircase. At the bottom, we turned to the spot where we would make our entrance and saw the group of infusion nurses that had taken care of us throughout our chemo. They were going to appear onstage right before us to perform a dance skit named appropriately Infusion. The smiles between both groups and the blinking back of tears affected all of us. These nurses had been so connected to us through the darkest days of our lives.

As Elaine and I sided up to each other I admired how beautiful she was. Her tea length dress was the most beautiful color and perfect with her platinum hair. She’s had a rough day. Being Lisa’s mother, she was heavily involved in assisting Lisa with last minute chores while all I did was take care of myself. I pulled Elaine to me and as we looked into each other’s eyes we both knew everything was going to be okay. Our moment had come.

She moved beautifully toward the stage with me one step behind her. Oh, at that moment the crowd went wild, applauding, yelling and whistling.

We had entered a love chamber. Each model was given ten tickets for family and friends so there were 230 people in the audience that had walked through cancer with one of us ladies. They identified with each of us. As relaxation swept over us we did our turns and paused looking once again into each other’s eyes.

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As Elaine made her way to the left of the runway I moved toward the right. As we got to the end she stopped and with an outstretched arm in a pose and presented me. I did my turns and then swept my arm out to present her. We then passed each other at the front of the runway exchanging smiles as well as places. Together this time we did our turns.

As we made our way back we walked with a little swagger as Celeste had taught us. All this love surrounding us gave us boldness! We then stopped and with our backs to each other and shoulders touching. We took in the sea of smiling faces. The audience watched us make one last turn taking each other’s hand as we exited the stage. What they didn’t see was our high five and saying, We nailed it! as soon as we were out of view.

Sadly we could not see the other models as we were behind the scenes and had to return upstairs to change into our next outfits. Soon however the other ladies returned to the dressing area smiling from ear to ear. They also had felt the chamber of love and realized as we did that everyone was there to love and support us. This is a very rare situation and we realized the importance of soaking up this moment.

No style show whether in New York City or Paris could ever top this one.

My next appearance was in a cute little short black dress with gold and silver studs. Yep, you are right — a cute little short black dress, on a 69 year-old! As my family has said many times, Only Dorothy would do that!

I sort of warned Mom about the short dress and she wondered if I could wear some leggings under it. Well no! She would have really been aghast if she knew how I avoid having panty lines.

There was a little break before our third appearance so I was able to hear all the stories as the ladies returned. Lori immediately shared that as she took her vest off to throw over her shoulder and that she  had dropped it!

We were all laughing as she reminisced about how she just squatted down and properly picked it up, threw it across her shoulder and continued walking and smiling.

Our last walk was about to take place.

I’m wearing tight jeans with rhinestones on the pocket along with the black long sleeve tee. One side is off my shoulder to feature the rhinestone bra strap. I’m strutting in five inch silver spike heels. Although my outfit is sparkling, a sadness is sweeping in as these moments are ending. The sadness dissipates quickly with the unbelievable beat of the music. I felt the rhythm of that beat working in my hips and totally milked the moments as I stepped on the stage.

I just had fun!

We then dressed in whatever we wanted to wear the rest of the evening and waltzed down a spiral staircase to the sound of heavy applause below.

Then, I saw Jimmy about twenty feet away and our eyes locked as we moved toward each other. His face said it all. He was so proud and looked as if he were about to burst. We finally made it to each other and embraced like never before. We had been through so much and this was a celebration for both of us.

All of the other ladies received the same love and admiration as they met up with their families. Jimmy and I found the rest of my entourage. I’d never had an entourage before!

I had an infusion scheduled for the next day.

I walked through the door to wonderful greetings and compliments. I saw Ginger and Lisa first as my vital signs were charted, and being with them is always a pleasure. They were so pumped up over the night before, recalling how great their former patients looked. As we went into the Infusion room, there was so much joy. I realized it had meant as much to the staff as it had to us.

I was sitting near the main desk and watched as the nurses who had been at the show shared pictures with those who weren’t able to attend. For the entire three hours I was there, the laughter, comments and praise continued. They spoke of Amy that first came to Infusion center with long, curly red hair which was still red, curly, but short. As I listened, I realized how much we patients were embedded in their hearts.

Witnessing us so very alive had given them a powerful boost. Typically we finish our chemo, go home, grow our hair back and go on with a normal life, but these nurses don’t get to see that. Then I had the opportunity to share some thrilling news with them: Laura is pregnant!

I had no idea they loved us so much.

I want to end this by saying to Lisa: With all of your hard work, this is a bonus I’m sure you didn’t expect. Not only us ladies, but the staff of Mary Byrd Perkins has been so blessed and uplifted by your efforts.

Thank you Lisa!

My love affair with Apple, Mac and highest regards for Steve Jobs. ♥ ❒ Check ✔

♥ Why is it called Apple? Mouse over this picture to see.
It just works.

It started when I was working in the 80s at ComputerLand. I was hired by my mom’s friend the year after I had graduated high school. She hired me to be her assistant.

We sold IBM PCs to banks. There were no hard drives or memory on computers in those days. We saved our data on something called a 5 1/4 inch floppy disc.

One beautiful day a cute square box with an apple on it arrived that changed our lives. I got to open it. That was truly an exciting memory.

This is the first Mac that came out around 1984 I believe.
My very first computer purchase ~ the Mac Classic. I walked out of the SJSU Spartan Student Store with this in a box in 1986. It seems like yesterday.

It was the 1984 Macintosh also called the Mac Classic. We opened it up and I saw my first mouse. I couldn’t believe it. It was like a dream come true, someone, thank you Steve Jobs, had revolutionized the computer.

We had three programs to play with: a version of Word called MacWrite, a graphics program called MacPaint and solitaire.

Do any of you guys remember Wordstar? It was pre-word and used on IBM computers. Basically, you had to type a command-U before underlining and a command-U after the words to stop underlining. If you forgot the second command, your entire page would be underscored.

Bwah Ha ha ha.
That’s nerd humor for you.

Here kitty kitty kitty.  That's me talking again to my cat. : )
Here kitty kitty kitty. Click here to see my S.J. picks.

I hung out with the technicians. We got to open backs of computers and change mother boards and printer adapters. Fun stuff yet thoroughly educational and enjoyable. One day my friend Keary programmed a tiny musical symphony.

Why I love Apple and Mac Computers.

In 1986, after working at IBM, I bought my first Mac Classic at the student store at San Jose State University. The price was US$999. It was a bit of a novelty among my friends but me and my roommate got all of our reports done and WE COULD EDIT THEM.

Does anyone remember using white out on paper on a typewriter?

After university, I got my first job at big company in Los Angeles. There again, it was Mac all the way. To date, I have had and worked on

For my younger readers: This is what a computer screen looked like before there was a MOUSE!
For my younger readers: This is what a computer screen looked like before there was a MOUSE! See the Alt? Hold that with the U to start underlining! bwah ha ha ha, nerd humor again!

Macintosh ~ 1984
Apple IIgs ~ 1986
Macintosh LC 1990
Power Macintosh ~ 1994
Powerbook ~ 1996
iMac ~ 1998
Macbook ~ 2007
iphone – 2010

Talk about brand loyalty. The most difficult time in my life is when I moved to Europe in 1995 and couldn’t get support for my Powerbook to get my email going. I survived through it though. Europe has only embraced Apple in the last few years.

What I love about Macs?

Design. Intelligence. Font choice. The smile when you boot. User friendliness. The cool factor. That I have another mac or Apple and plan on getting more.

Thank you Steve Jobs and God bless.

How about you? Just how much do you love your Apple products? Are you loyal to any ONE brand?

Plug this into your cockpit.
ipad will replace books, in my humble opinion.

Also, I’ve never agreed with people who say Mac is just used for designers. I think ANYONE would love a mac product. Also I JUST had a long conversation how the ipad will revolutionize reading. I believe it will. I see kids with backpacks weighing 20 pounds and I get it big time.

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#6 My Amazing Friends also known as MAFSS guest M. Risser

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Running side by side friend.

Run the Hill by guest blogger Michele Risser

Run the hill is a phrase I use when things get hard. Run the hill is focus. Run the hill is determination. Run the hill is tenacity, strength and endurance. Running the hill is the thing you have to do to become a better runner.

On a long stretch of highway you can see the hill, ahead in the distance waiting for your arrival. There are certain things you must do as you approach it. You must unclench your fists and relax your shoulders. You must straighten your back and expand your chest. You must raise your head. Most importantly, you must turn up your music.

Stay focused.

As you begin the ascent, you must find a point just ahead of you to become your mini goal. It may be a crack in the road, a sign or a post, a tree or a flower. All you aim for is that next little goal. It is very important not to look, glance at, or focus on the top of the hill, it is overwhelming.

You must stay focused on your mini goal until you pass it and then hone in on the next crack, tree, post or flower until again you must select a new one.

As your music keeps your pace, as your eyes look forward, as your chest expands to receive oxygen and your head is held up to supply that oxygen, you begin to realize you are running the hill. Little by little, breath by breath, one leg and then the other stepping up, up, up. You are running the hill.

Jumping over obstacles.

Those things in life which are the hardest to do are the things we must do. They make us stronger, more patient, compassionate, they improve us.

They give us the experiences in life which require focus, determination, tenacity and perseverance.

Doing hard things helps us to grow. At times those hard things may seem overwhelming and so you set a mini-goal.

Perhaps solving one problem at a time, improving a fault little by little, mending a relationship, gaining knowledge, overcoming pain, hurt, anger, depression or addiction. One hour at a time, one day at a time, one lesson at a time, one achievement at a time.

Triumph

When you reach the crest of a hill and you know within a minute you are will be at the top, you must push with that one last burst of energy that is hidden deep inside of you, but is always there.

For a brief second, just an instant, you are able to see the view from the top of the hill. The view is glorious, spectacular, breath taking and not because of what you may see, but because of what you feel ~ your moment of triumph.

You will feel your strength, your determination, tenacity and endurance, all of the those characteristics that helped get you to the top of the hill.

You can do it. I believe in you.

Then, you begin to run, down, down. No longer is a mini goal needed. Your breath begins to relax, no need to concentrate on the song to keep pace.

For a moment you have a repose, a rest from the intensity of pushing yourself, from doing something physically and mentally challenging.

Even though you know that there will always be another hill, you immerse yourself in the glory of running without effort. You feel light, you are floating, you are free from the burden of climbing the hill and all you can do is look in wonder and gratitude at what is around you.

You feel like you can fly.

Becoming a stronger you.

We cannot avoid running the hill, we must run it when it is there before us. We must not be discouraged if it not our best run, or our strongest, or fastest or our most successful. Running the hill will be different every time, because all hills are different. The constant lies in us and the tools we use from experience, to make the run bearable, to finish. Remember that each time you run the hill, you become a stronger you.

Run the hill, run the hill, run the hill. It is what I repeat over and over in my mind as I make the climb, both in running and in life.

If you’d like more information about Michele and running you can leave a message here below, contact her on twitter, or contact her on facebook.

 

OOH, I LOVE THIS GIRL. NEW AND SHINY!

Some people have asked if they can send me a gift — are you freakin’ kidding me? Of course you can. Gifts are always welcome and greatly appreciated. New gifts will support: 1) Kiva 2) Me getting out to see my family 3) New paintings 4) You! Because you are awesome. Choose between: She’s funny $10 She’s freakin’ hilarious $20 She’s inspired me $50 Just for fun. $100.00 USD I’ll have what she’s having $500 I’ll drink the koolaid $1,000 Thanks!

MSF

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All things beautiful and kind.

Were men and women meant to live in harmony together?
Somewhere, out beyond all ideas of right and wrong doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. Rumi

Why are men and women so different? Why do men love things that are dangerous and women love things that are sweet?

I live with three men. I grew up with three women. I can’t get over how different we are although sometimes we seem so similar.

Did God seriously divide the two of us at birth? Were we truly one being as the zen picture of the two swimming circles show?

My boys like adventure films, action, shooting, guns, trains, airplanes and playing sports to name a few.

My girlfriends and I like shopping, kindness, cupcakes, decorating them, dressing up, clothes, hair and nails.

How in the world are we supposed to live in peace if we are so strikingly different?

Field Trip to Garda Lake
Field Trip to Garda Lake

I’m having a hard time these days saying goodbye to my students. I’ve gotten numerous comments from my readers, family and friends who have told me they can see how close we have become. It happens every year, I can’t help it. I love my job. I love being able to watch the kids grow.

The truth of the matter is that they are the ones who make me grow.

One day, I took two of my students to the center of town shopping. They would hand me t~shirts to try on. I would hold up a shirt and get the teenage big eyed face lights up yes, or the opposite eye rolled absolute no.

all things beautiful ♥•*¨*•✩♥

One day, I brought my two boys with me on a theater trip to the town center together with my class. The Italian professor gave me huge compliments. My boys deserved them. They behaved so well, just smiled, had fun and were part of the group. I particularly remember watching the theater performance from the box in the balcony. I had gone up there with my two boys to rest because there was a red velvet couch.

Slowly but surely my students spotted me, and came to keep me company. In the end there were nine of us in the box and my boys on their laps. My boys sat forward with their arms crossed, chin on their arms watching the entire theater performance. It was magical. ´¯`»¸¸.·☆

We have five more days together before we part ways. It this what it means to be a mom, wife and teacher?

Inspiring day — Country walks, a jog and a new bike.

♥ Good day, sunshine!.♥

It’s like when you shut your eyes, then you open them and see your kids are grown. Time flies so fast. We want to capture it and hold onto it. Especially the kids. I want to hold on to every smile they make.

They are so happy go lucky, true boys boyz. Yesterday was a big day for us in growth. My littlest found his balance on his new bike.

I watched him learn with a happy heart. He got the glow in his eye and looked at me with big smiles as he propelled himself forward wabbly and all.

{After school}
Students to me: Prof, where are you going?
Me: To get something for my son’s birthday.
Them: But you said that yesterday.
Me: For my kids every day is their birthday.

We cross the street and we are in the middle of the most beautiful Italian countryside and orchards. It makes my heart stop. I try to capture it with words but it’s bigger than me. Sort of like driving with rows of seedlings.

Violet sunset sky going down across golden hay.

It seems ridiculous to even attempt to describe the beauty.  Take a cool deep breath and close your eyes. You can feel the cool air in your lungs and the warm embracing sun over head. Coolish in the shade.

Nature’s beauty restores our souls.

I’ve been running lately a big more than usual. Last night, my boys were invited to come with me. They out ran me ~ boy are they fast. It was so cute though running side by side with my six year old, him looking up at me smiling. It truly warms my heart. My big guy going off ahead ’til the farm house.

Dinner ready, table set when I come home. Hot bath. No bubbles today.

Simplicity.

I try to catch the beauty with words but we all know it’s futile. Still, if I close my eyes I can see and breathe the fresh air and know it’s all good, it’s all beautiful, pretty, sweet, and for us to behold.