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NKOTBSBNBN

14 Jun

I may have mentioned this previously, but, as a painfully awkward teenager, I was the world’s biggest New Kids on the Block fan.  For real.  I had all the standard tee shirts, painters caps, special editions of Tiger Beat, and pins, along with some snazzy homemade pillows (thanks, Mom!), and a giant poster of Joey McIntyre above my bed.  (He may have been my un-official first kiss).  At one point, I told my dad that the New Kids would be bigger than the Beatles.  I don’t think he’s stopped laughing about that one, and it was a good twelve years ago.

I don’t remember if the New Kids faded out or I lost interest in them first, but either way, I refined my taste in music.  I had a brief affair with NSync and OTown, went to college and listed to Dave Matthews Band like everyone else, and had a bad boy phase with Eminem.  But my love for the New Kids (now adults like me, and known as NKOTB) never really ended, it just took a back seat to other obsessions (currently, O.A.R.)  Come on, who doesn’t love when “Hangin’ Tough” comes on the iPod?  And you know you get choked up during “Please Don’t Go Girl,” you just won’t admit it.  I even met Danny Wood (admittedly my least favorite New Kid, but still a New Kid!) at the Komen Race for the Cure a couple of years ago, and may have swooned.

Okay, I definitely swooned.  And, as an aside, Danny is a pretty big Komen supporter, as he lost his mom to breast cancer.  A New Kid and a good guy, what more could you want?

So, when my college roommate told me she had an extra ticket to NKOTBSB (that’s New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys, together, for those who live under a rock) at Fenway, I jumped at the chance.  The last time I saw the New Kids in concert I was 12, and with my mom and brother (who will lie and say he didn’t love it, but he did).  NKOTB + alcohol + Fenway = perfect, right?

The concert was pretty great.  Uber cheesy, but what else would you expect?  I was obviously there mostly for NKOTB (not that I don’t love me a little BSB too, I’m an equal opportunity boy band lover – see OTown comment above), but I caught a ride from the party I was at during the day with some younger girls who were there for BSB, so there was a good mix of people, 99% female, in the crowd.  (And yes, I drank at a party all afternoon before the concert.  I’m pretty hardcore, if hardcore means 5 beers over 5 hours).

Both groups started the show together, and I don’t know what the “mash-up” (I learned that term on Glee.  Maybe I should do more adult things) was, but it involved Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” and I didn’t like it.  I love Coldplay, and it just felt wrong.  It got better from there, as both groups took turns on stage, going through all the classics.  They also pulled out all the classic moves: pulling girls up on stage and handing them roses while they sang and the girls swooned, lots of shirt ripping and ab flexing, and a slightly overdramatic “Please Don’t Go Girl” by the ever-hot Joey Mac.

Then the rain came, and it came hard.  I looked like a drowned rat within minutes, and was not really drunk enough to enjoy it.  But the show went on, and the boys (men?) took advantage of the rain by stripping more, and using the stage as a slip and slide.  I wish I had more pictures, but I was afraid of drowning my camera or iPhone.  It was seriously that wet.

Oh, the NBN in the title?  Naughty by Nature was there, and sang “Hip Hop Hooray” while wearing Naughty Kid on the Block tee shirts.  I’m not 100% clear on why they were there, but they were awesome.

The final song of the night, performed in Bruins jerseys, was the NKOTBSB single, “Don’t Turn Out the Lights,” which I didn’t think I knew, yet seemed to know all the words to.  Weird.  After chanting “NKOTBSB” for a few minutes (did I mention I turned into a screeching teenager sometime after the first song?), BSB sang “Everybody” and NKOTBSB sang “Hangin’ Tough” on the Green Monster, then they mashed it up (thanks again, Mr. Shue from Glee, for that helpful new term!)

Despite the rain, and lack of cabs, and running to catch the last train home, it was an awesome night.  “They” say a picture says a thousand words, and I’d say this one pretty much sums it up:

For those of you not lucky enough to be there, here’s a clip of “Hangin’ Tough” from bostonherald.com.  Come on, tell me that doesn’t make you want to wave your arms from side to side?  (Baby put your hands up)

(Oh, and I heart Joey Mac.  For Evah).

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Komen Weekend

27 Sep

As you know, I’ve been running the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Boston for the past five years.  The race was this past weekend, and once again, I was proud to be a member of Team GDT.

Team GDT started in 2004, and has been through a lot of changes.  We grew in number of members, and, most importantly, number of dollars raised to find a cure for breast cancer.  We went from an e-mail chain of details to a full website for members as well as donors.  We had so many people last year that we practically had to rent out a restaurant for lunch, and I believe we may have permanently scarred the staff at the hotel we stayed at near the race start.    We got so large that at times it began to feel impersonal, but we knew purposely reducing our numbers would cause us to raise less for Komen, so we figured it was a good problem to have.

Things changed this year, for a variety of reasons, many of which I can’t even accurately express.  It was a combination of reasons, and it was just one of those things.  Many previous team members ran races elsewhere, continuing to raise money for Komen.  The race location changed, the captains changed, the team change.  I don’t like change.

But one thing didn’t change: Team GDT raised a bunch of money to kick cancer’s ass, and that’s all that mattered.  And I realized that change is not only okay, it can be a blast.

The new race location (the World Trade Center in Boston, which I’m all too familiar with) was great, as was the hotel.  The course was very nice, despite the light smell of dead fish (I was just happy it wasn’t  ninety degrees), and, while I didn’t get a PR, I did shave 1.5 minutes off last week’s disastrous race (PSA: Don’t run after 6 margaritas and a shot of tequila.  It’s not pretty).  There was a great expo with awesome red velvet cupcakes from Talbots, and some fabulous teams.  There were too many people running with “In Memory Of…” signs, but also so many survivors in pink shirts who kick cancer’s ass on a daily basis.

In addition to the typical fun the Komen weekend brings, I got to fulfill a childhood dream by meeting Danny Wood of NKOTB, who is a big Komen supporter.  I even talked to him while my friend took two pictures of us(one with my cell so I could immediately send it off to my jealous friends) and sweated my ass off.  He didn’t say anything spectacular, but he sure smelled better than I did.  And I ate a cheeseburger stuffed with mac and cheese, so I’d say the weekend was a win-win.

Moral of the story: Change is good, Cancer is bad.

PS – Thank you to all of my very generous donors!  If you want to donate,  you still can via Team GDT or the Komen Mass website.

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Its That Time of Year Again!

5 Jul

Team GDT is gearing up for Komen!  We have an official fund-raising goal of $50,000, but I secretly think we can hit $100,000.  Our auction site is up and running at www.teamgdt.com, and there are some really great things there already, with new stuff every week.  And, as always, our cookbook is available and makes a great gift!  (You can find the link on our site).

I think most of us are in agreement that cancer sucks.  I lost my grandfather to cancer a few years ago, and it was something I’d prefer my family never have to go through again.  I just watched my friend’s future husband lose his dad in almost the same way, and I wish my friends didn’t have to go through that either.  I’m sure all of us have our own stories about how cancer has affected our lives, and Komen is making some great strides in finding a cure.  As always, any donation will help.

You haven’t heard the last from me on this subject!  But, please, take a second to check out our site and see if anything looks good enough to bid on.  Shop for a cure!

Happy Days

30 Sep

Last weekend was the Komen Race for the Cure in Boston. Once again, Team GDT was the largest non corporate fundraising teams, per capita. We raised over $87,000, which is more than we raised in the past three years combined.

We also had a fabulous weekend together, which isn’t easy to accomplish with 50 women. But we all seemed to get along and just have a good old warm and fuzzy time together. The alcohol helped!

The best moment of the weekend was watching the survivor’s victory lap prior to the race start. I don’t know how I’ve missed this truly moving experience the past few years. Its simply amazing to me how strong these women and their families are. I think the part that touched me the most was the man who pushed his wife in her wheelchair, not only for the lap, but for the entire race. That’s true love.

The happy day from this weekend was that the Red Sox clinched the AL East for the first time since 1995. Yay! I missed the celebration, as I was busy drinking beers by a bonfire and biting my tongue for various reasons. But we were lucky enough to go to Fenway for the next to last game of the season. It meant almost nothing, but we won, the Indians lost, and we got home field advantage. Double yay! The postseason is never easy. I’m off to the store for Tums & Coffee!

Its the most wonderful time of the year

21 Sep

No, silly, not Christmas! My birthday!

I love my birthday, because its the one day of the year that its all about me. Well, and the Nana, seeing as though its her birthday too. But, for argument’s sake, we’ll say its all about me! Because this may very well be the last birthday I celebrate, as I will soon slip into the realm of thirty somethings, I decided we should do this in style.

Last weekend J & I went to see Wicked. It was wicked good! J was a bit overwhelmed by all the singing, so I had to remind him, “Duh. Its a musical.” I also ran a race with my dad. It was technically a 5K, but half of the people went the wrong way, making it more like a 6K. Imagine my surprise when I hit mile 1 at a whopping 14 minutes, after hoping for a 9 minute mile! Luckily, I was not planning on breaking a course record, nor was I planning on qualifying for the Olympics (this time at least) so all was good with the world. We then had dinner & sangria at a fabulous restaurant in RI, kicking off my week of non stop eating!

My birthday itself was lovely, complete with munchkins, sushi, ice cream cake, Mexican & margaritas. I may have technically had 3 desserts that day, but who’s counting?! I got lovely presents from J, including earphones that stay in my ears, and windshield washer fluid. So romantic! I also have balloons all over my house. Festive, but it smells like a condom in here, and they make vacuuming a royal pain in the ass!

Tonight I am headed to dinner with friends (more food!) and this weekend is the big Team GDT weekend (yeah, more food). I’ll be sure to give a full report, but I’m fairly certain we were the top fundraisers again this year. Go team! After that, I guess its back to the daily grind of watching the Red Sox in the post season and waiting to turn 30. I’m not sure what scares me more!

The high and the low.

15 Sep

First, the low:
The only word to describe the Sox/Yankees game last night is painful. At a time when these games mean so much, the collapse of the Red Sox is not acceptable. Especially in a game where we had Petite’s number, and a decent lead. One bad, awful, gross inning later, and we’re done.

J made a good point about the Yankees yesterday. In general they play good baseball, but when their opponent has a weakness or makes a mistake, they exploit it, take advantage of it, and run them into the ground. Not a bad quality to have.

Let’s just hope the rest of the weekend goes a little better for the Sox.

Now, the high:
A few weeks ago, I blogged about Team GDT and our fundraising efforts for the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure in Boston. Today is the last day donations can be counted for the team/individual challenge, and I couldn’t be prouder to announce that Team GDT has raised over $80,000 this year alone. That’s $30,000 over our goal, and more than the first three years of participation combined. Unbelievable.

This is a fabulous group of women, and every year, I am even more honored to stand at the race and be a part of their team. The race is next weekend, and its sure to be a great, bittersweet time.

By the way, Team GDT has also published a cookbook, with all proceeds going to Komen. You can see it at www.teamgdt.com, and you can also donate through the link as well. Every dollar helps!

I Run For Life

16 Aug

(Warning: Mushy Blog Ahead)

As many of you know, I’m part of a really special group of women called Team GDT. In 2004, the team was founded by 9 women from an internet message board who wanted to run a 5K and raise some cash for breast cancer. Today, our team has over 60 members, and to date, we have raised over $117,000 for the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure in Boston.

I joined the team in 2005. I wanted to run a 5K, I had met some of these women and they seemed normal, plus the race was near me, so if they turned out to be crazy I could easily hightail it home. It was a lot of fun and games, and we were raising some cash and having a good time with everything, when one of our team members told everyone she had breast cancer. That really put our goal into perspective, and we ramped up our fundraising efforts to become the second largest fundraising team per capita.

Every year, the number of loved ones of team members who are battling or have lost the breast cancer battle seems to grow. And, frankly, it sucks. Its never easy to hear about a 28 year old with cancer, or a mom with two kids struggling through chemo. Sometimes the task is daunting. We try and raise every dime we can, yet people are still suffering. Its hard not to get frustrated, but its important to remember that this will be a long journey, and every dollar counts and helps. Like some rapper on my iPod says “Life ain’t a track meet — its a marathon.” As is the battle against breast cancer.

So, for the past two Septembers, I’ve stepped up my fundraising efforts, bid on crazy auctions (causing J to say “You spent how much on jam?!?”), and hounded, er, politely asked, my friends and family for any extra cash they have. And I meet my team in Boston, and drink and eat and laugh with them, as they are no longer invisible people who I was apprehensive about meeting, but true friends who I love to share my days, and a weekend in the fall, with.

And on Sunday morning, I watch the survivors in their pink tees line up on stage and be recognized. All ages, all races, all walks of life. All surviving this awful disease. I run behind hundreds of people honoring their loved ones. Their moms, their aunts, their best friends. People that are missed every day when they’re gone, and heroes every day they are here.

I’m in awe of the survivors, many who run this race faster than I, a healthy 28 year old, could ever run. After their bodies were subjected to things no human body should have to suffer through. They stand song, and run or walk as hard as they can, happy to be alive on a bright fall morning, happy to be here with friends and family for another day.

I’ve often wondered how strong I would be if I became ill. Would I just lay there and take it, or would I fight with every ounce of my being? There are days I hate running, but how would I feel if someone told me I couldn’t run anymore? The people who stand in their pink shirts on race day are true heroes.

Its so easy to get wrapped up in the fun of this race weekend — seeing old friends, wagering on who will raise the most money, eating all the free samples, trying to beat your time last year. But its hard to forget the survivors, and even harder to forget those we’ve lost to this awful disease. They really put what we’re fighting for at the forefront of our minds.

I run for a lot of different reasons — to blow off steam, to lose weight, to feel healthy. But on September 23rd I will run for life. For the lives of every man and woman affected by breast cancer. And I hope to one day not have to do it anymore.

“If you ask her why she is still running
She’ll tell you it makes her complete
I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me, my friend
I run for life”
— Melissa Ethridge
If you’re interested in learning more about Team GDT, look here.
Or, go to http://www.teamgdt.com/.