Dress in Blue Day: #Joestrong

Today is Dress In Blue Day to raise awareness for Colon Cancer, so to honor my friend Joe Clark, his dad, and all of the other people who have had to go through this, I will be wearing blue and posting pictures throughout the day with the tag #JoeStrong

I’d love to see your face there too.

Don’t forget to go to my bestie’s blog Crusade or Crumble at Cocktails and Chemo to see a news feature on the Clark family.

Looking back:

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Sister Wives: Savvy and Mommy’s trip to Orlando

The second week of December, Savvy and I headed down to Orlando for some much-needed girl time with my sorority sister Amanda and her daughter Mira.

Parenting tip #1: You are not allowed to bring your beer on the plane with you during family boarding.

Parenting tip #2: You will get some judgy looks if you then chug said beer, throw it in the trash, and hand the TSA agent your boarding pass.

Parenting tip #3: Lip gloss works as an effective, if messy, distraction tool on a flight. Toddlers in tiaras take note: rosy, voluptuous cheeks as an added bonus.

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The next day we had lunch in downtown Disney and strolled around the shops with the babies. Savannah must have sensed that there were some photo opportunities coming up because her posing game was en pointe.

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Spa Day at the Ritz for Amanda’s Birthday:

The Ritz Spa was the perfect venue choice for our girls day out in honor of Amanda’s birthday. We kicked off the morning with mani/pedis then headed over to the Ritz for a champagne toast on the terrace, followed by massages, followed by poolside drinks in the hot tub, followed by dinner al fresco at Rocco’s Tacos, followed by an Uber ride home from an Armenian smoothie-shop manager, followed by tv in bed in our jammies by 9pm. It was pretty much the dream.

Meanwhile Savvy and Mira were being pampered and having dance parties with not one, but two nannies. This is how they roll…

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“Bows up tell me how I’m lookin, bae”

Feeling Ritzy…

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Girls just wanna have champs.

I will note that this was the first time I have ever received a professional massage from a man. He called my name and I turned around to discover that he was what I can only describe as my dream version of myself as a beautiful-yet-masculine gay man. He was tall and fit, slender but not skinny. His hair had the most natural-looking unnatural blonde highlights. He had dreamy big brown eyes, a light golden tan, perfectly puffed lips, and not a wrinkle in sight. He was prettier than me on my prettiest day. I have no doubt the men all love him and the women all want to be him.

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Christmas Mani never looked so good.

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Refreshed and ready for tacos!

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Sunday was Amanda’s actual birthday and we spent the day with some of her family and friends at DisneyWorld. Savvy and Mira won’t remember it, but it was a warm December day that started in the Magic Kingdom and ended in Epcot at the Candle ceremony, a Christmas program narrated by the dad from Scandal. I found it unsettling to hear him reading these beautiful words, surrounded by a huge chorus dressed in robes because all I could think of was, B613.

(*whispers* “SCANDAL!”)

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Disney magic…

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Disney heartburn.

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Disney food coma.

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Disney diaper change.

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This is the play area where you wait “in line” for the dumbo ride while they give you a buzzer like at a restaurant. Genius!

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We took the girls on the iconic Dumbo ride. I still remember my first time at age 4!

We were in Orlando for five days, most of which were spent telling stories and talking about memories of Joe while laughing at our silly babies who were instant best buds. They were so sweet taking turns brushing eachothers hair and giving hugs and kisses. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what the week would hold, I just wanted to “be there.” What I found was that the moment you step into Amanda and Joe’s house you can feel his presence in a really comforting way. There are beautiful little signs all around…a plant spontaneously blooming, a shooting star in the sky, and of course a gorgeous little baby girl!

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Follow the Clark family at CocktailsandChemo.com

A #JoeStrong Nation

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Photo Via JMeyersForeman

If you could illuminate a map of the sadness across the world tonight, I think it would look like a spiderweb; interconnected and gleaming with energy emanating from one source. We lost our friend Joe. He is gone and we are left here, each feeling alone and at the same time united in our grief, united in our memories of him, sympathy for his mother who has lost too much in her life, love for his wife and child who will carry his legacy in their hearts and on their backs forever.

When he fought, we tried to fight too in the only way we knew how. We feebly sent thoughts and prayers and pictures and cards and messages of hope in every form. We visited and put on worried smiles. We wanted to rescue him but we didn’t know how. When he grew weary, we grew weary with him. He is gone but he has left a legacy of light and bravery in the world that is equaled only by the grace, dignity and courage shown by his wife Amanda.

Together, they weathered a devastating storm. By all accounts, everything should be ruined from the torrential rain and the gale-force winds, but when you look at what is left, a beautiful Mira-cle baby, a legacy of strength, a community of people aching to do something, anything to make things more bearable, you can start to see the light coming through the droplets that have collected in our web. We are forever connected by one incredible man.  He made us feel welcome, safe, funny, important, and loved.

To his family, there is so much to be said and yet nothing at all to say.

The lumps in our throats are nothing in comparison to their feelings, but here we are, hearts hurting and wanting to help.

So I want to end this night with an excerpt from a poem by Alan Seeger which is said to have been President JFK’s favorite poem. It’s in honor of our friend who faced his life with bravery and humor, even as it was being unraveled out from under him, in honor of his family who will always hold their heads high knowing what a meaningful life he led, and to anyone reading this who has been touched by their story. May we all be so brave and strong as Joe Clark.

I Have a Rendezvous with Death

I have a rendezvous with Death

At some disputed barricade,

When Spring comes back with rustling shade

And apple-blossoms fill the air-

I have a rendezvous with Death

When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

God knows ’twere better to be deep

Pillowed in silk and scented down,

Where love throbs out in blissful sleep

Pulse nigh to pulse and breath to breath,

Where hushed awakenings are dear…

But I’ve a rendezvous with Death

At midnight in some flaming town,

When Spring trips north again this year,

And I to my pledged word am true,

I shall not fail that rendezvous.

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This sweet picture of Amanda and Joe with my Avery was taken two nights before their wedding, exactly three years ago tonight. I love the happiness in their smiles. I will always think of him this way.

Goodnight, sweet friends.

Orlando Sentinal Obituary

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