Friday, February 16, 2018

This is 39 (Month 4, Check-In 1)

Well month four has blown by quickly! I just updated my tracker and I'm sort of overwhelmed by how far into this year I already am. It's almost a quarter of the way over. Which seems bananas.

There are a few big things I've accomplished this month that I want to call attention to:

Exceed last year's Cycle for Survival fundraising ($18,476)- CHECK! I started fundraising on January 31st and set my goal to $25k in 25 days. I took on this challenge because my friend George was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma in December and this is a rare cancer that Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center allocates funding to. And when you raise $25,000 for this event, you can choose where you want your funds allocated. While I always had it in the back of my mind that I'd do this (and direct funding towards the type of rare cancer my father passed away from- esophageal), I realized that this would make a bigger difference for George now. And so my 2018 fundraising challenge was born!

Only 10 days into my fundraising, I surpassed last year's fundraising total. And as of today, I have raised more than $26k. With another $1k promised (and not in my account yet), I know that I'll be able to get to my updated goal of $28k and hopefully beyond. I'd really love to get to $30k, but we'll just see where this all shakes out. Another cool thing is that last year I had 220 donors. And as of today, my donations have been made possible by 219 donors. So I think it's safe to assume that I'll also exceed the number of donors that I had in 2017 as well.

I am unbelievably proud of this accomplishment. And I am overwhelmingly grateful for all the support I've received from my amazing network of family, friends and co-workers. And I'm very fortunate that Paula has been encouraging her personal network to support my fundraiser as well. I knew that I would work as hard as I possibly could to make my goal, but I didn't think I'd be in the place I'm in- that I'd meet my fundraising goal with eight days to go! It's a wonderful feeling, but after doing all my fundraising in a short period of time, it's weird and unsettling to have this much time to do my fundraising.

I am so happy to be able to do something that offers Paula & George hope and can sort of take their mind off of all the sad and scary elements of George's diagnosis and treatment. At the same time, I have been on the receiving end of some of the nicest notes from those who are supporting my ride. Here's one that totally made me cry: Hey Molly...I can't even begin to say how proud I am of you for the work that you do to help others. You are a true altruist. You know, when we grow up with people, you don't ever think of how you may impact each other later on in life. We spend most of our time going to classes, joking around in between, eating lunch and going to recess. Life goes by so fast. I mean seriously, I'm 40 this year and I feel like it was yesterday that I was walking the halls at Lancaster Elementary, picking on you and Katie, calling you Little Moo. I don't think I've actually seen you in person for more than 20 years (crazy, right?), yet I feel like you are a dear friend and that if I ever needed to talk or place to crash, you'd be one of the first people I call. You've brought me comfort in times where I had lost almost all hope. You've made me cry with your kind words of love and encouragement. You are a kind soul Molly. Please don't ever change. You impact lives in ways you may never know. Thank you.

I mean how overwhelmingly nice is that comment? Shoot...I just feel like doing this, while it's ridiculously hard work, is something that brings so much love into my life. And I'm so grateful.

The ride is next Saturday and I know it'll be fine. Although I am slightly scared that I haven't been on a spin bike since last year's event. Oops.

Finish the remaining stair walks from the Secret Stairs of Los Angeles book-
 I knocked two more stair walks this past month (so far). Steve and I did one boring walk and then the next day my friend Cathy & I did an unbelievably cool walk.

The walk Steve and I did had some pretty elements, but there were some long, boring stretches. And we were both wanting it to be over sooner than it was. Here's what it looked like:

One of my new favorite photos of Steve-o which was taken at lunch post-stairs
The very next day, Cathy and I went on another stair walk and I loved it! It was shorter than the day before and my favorite part was that we ended up getting dropped into the middle of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy parkland, specifically Elyria Canyon Park. It's one of the things I love the most about Los Angeles- even in the middle of the city, you can find yourself submerged in nature and surrounded by quiet and unbelievable beauty that makes this New Hampshire girl very happy! See for yourself:

Get four facials and four massages- You guys. I got my first real massage tonight. Like all deep tissue and stuff. And I actually didn't hate it! I can count on two hands (and maybe even one) how many times I've gotten a massage. Historically it just hasn't been my thing. But as I get older, I'm realizing how important this aspect of self-care is. While I make great efforts to get up frequently during the day, I'm not always successful at it. And although I'd say I lead a fairly active lifestyle, I can still go long periods of time through any given day of doing nothing. All that to say, I can feel my body aching differently than ever before. And I can see how massages (and yoga) can play a big role in making sure my body isn't so stiff and achey.

I've been gifted several massage gift certificates, so I have no excuse to go. Tonight while I was getting squished and pressed and having all the knots and kinks worked out, I kept thinking that the phrase "hurts so good" really applies to massages. My hope is that it won't be as painful in the future, especially if I keep up a regular schedule. But for now, I'm sore from my massage and can't wait to go back soon!

Tomorrow morning I'm using another gift certificate to Burke-Williams and getting a facial. Which I'm pretty excited about. Also because I get to use their amenities, which for me will include the steam room, the sauna and the hot tub.

Hike 1x/month- Four days into the month, I got my hike in. My friends Maril, Carrot (Maril's adorable Frenchie), Elise and I went on a hike in Fryman Canyon on a gorgeous LA day. It was a wonderful way to catch up with friends and be active and outdoor. I was struggling more on the hike than I had hoped. But not having been fully recovered from my stupid cold, meant that breathing was a little difficult (and I think some of that had to do with how much crap I ate in December and most of January too). At any rate, we had a lovely time!

Alright- that's it for now! I will update on the second half of the list before 2/23!


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