Dreams Never End

The optimistic pessimist

The “C” Word, pt. 1

It was two years ago when I personally heard the “c” word and it changed my life forever.

I don’t know if everyone is like me,but when I hear of someone’s misfortune  I try to analyze what my own reaction would be in the same lot.  In many ways this makes me very empathetic, but the flip side is feeling the need to be prepared for the worst.

Ah, that phone call.

“I am Dr. Idontknowyou, a radiologist at the clinic, and we have your test results, give me a call so we can discuss them.”

Actually, things had started several days beforehand.  I was adjusting my Fitbit on my bra and ran my hand across my breast, feeling, a lump?  That is what you think.  “Hmm, is that normal? Was that there before?”  And you keep feeling it and then you feel your other breast because surely if it seems the same on the other side, it is probably nothing.  But it doesn’t seem the same and you have put off that mammogram for seven years.  I called and made that appointment from work the next morning. I told them, “I found a lump”.

“When did you noticed it?”

“Umm, just last night, I think, I guess?”  They could get me in the next day.

I didn’t tell my husband or my daughters much, just that I was going in for “that mammogram” I had been putting off and “oh, I found a small lump but I’m sure that it’s probably nothing.”  Deep down though, there was a gnawing in my gut.

The Breast Center!  A remarkable area of my local clinic that caters to breast health issues.  Everyone there is fabulous.  From the receptionist, ultra-sound technician, mammogram technician, the nurses, the Dr’s, radiologists.  I visited with everybody that day.  And here I thought that I was just going for the dreaded mammogram.

Pam, was the expert nurse practitioner with a specialize degree in the breast.  You know those self-examines that we should do monthly?  She is the expert.  Can teach you how to do self-exam and is trained to find those lumps.  She found the lump I was talking about.

“Right here?  Is this the area you are referring to, that you felt the lump?”

“Yes, that is it.”  I thought, “It is real, Pam felt it too.”

“Well, this has much the feel of a cyst and I feel another smaller one here and here.  They can drain those and give you some relief, sometimes they come back but usually these are just cysts. Most lumps the women find end up not being cancer.”  Pam has wonderful bedside manners.

“Let’s send you over for an ultra-sound and your mammogram and we will have the Dr. meet with you after that.” reassured Pam.

“Okay, I can deal with a cyst”, I thought while waiting.  I wondered why she seemed a little stalled on that bottom area of my left breast?  I did’t feel anything there.  “Hmm.  Why is my stomach still gnawing?”

“There is a small shadow here, on your mammogram and that is not a cyst. Pam was able to feel a small ridge there and we can see it on both the ultra-sound and the mammogram.”  The radiologist informed me later.

“That’s right Pam said I would see the Dr. last thing.”

I was at the clinic for three hours.  Everyone was nice but I was tired and the place was closing down for the day.  I was given several pamphlets on breast cancer and Pam wrote down cancer.org, but advised me to stay off the internet for now. The last Dr. made an appointment for me to come in for a core needle biopsy and said she could drain the cysts at the time.  It wasn’t until days later when I was getting my phone call that I actually remembered what she said to me as we parted that day.

“I want you to know that this does concern me, and that is why we need to have the biopsy done.”  she paused waiting for my reaction.  Trying to gauge my thoughts.

“I don’t want you to be caught off guard.”  she said kindly.

“Oh,  okay.”  I was numb, I was tired and I just wanted to leave now and go and reassure my family that it was probably nothing.

I blocked out her words.

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JustLorelei67

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In the Middle

 

It will be a busy week.

I am a disciplinarian,  a bouncer, a problem solver, a nurse, a counselor, a mediator, a peacemaker, a shoulder to cry on, a mom; I am — a middle school Supervisory Paraprofessional! And every week is busy!

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This position found me. If someone had told me six years ago, I would be working in middle school, I would have unequivocally said “no way”.   My daughters had recently just made it out and we were all happy to have moved beyond those days.

My own middle school experience, actually called junior high back then, was fraught with broken hearts, insensitive friends, awkward body changes, drama and anxieties about my parent’s divorce.

Six years ago, I was working with preschoolers, before being bumped out of my position. I needed to take a position to keep my seniority within my school district. When the middle school supervisor spot opened, I accepted, but with much trepidation. Little did I know, I would be drawn to, and strangely addicted to, the microcosm of middle school.

I have witnessed students go from an immature, quiet, bookish six grader, to an outgoing, boisterous, disrespectful, blue-haired seven grader, to a self-assured, high-school-ready, mature eighth grader!  I swear it is like watching a science experiment. A real metamorphosis. Amazing!

There are things that are difficult. It is hard to see students be unkind to one another, it is difficult to see them make bad choices,  and six hours a day is not enough to change some of the challenges they face at home. There are many factors I have no control over .

But I love my job!  There is never a dull moment and the time goes by quickly.   I enjoy getting to know the students and interacting with them.  Remembering little details, how did the track meet go, how was the dance competition, did the presentation go alright, is your grandma out of the hospital? So many ways to get to know them and let them know I care.  I am lucky, I get to know my students and build a relationship with them for three years.

Some days I spend a lot of time disciplining, other days I can enjoy their joie de vivre.  I tell my students, ‘I am here to help you figure things out and to help you make good choices’. And at the end of the day, I hope that I can make a difference.

Be well!  JustLorelei67

 

 

 

 

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For The Love of Felines

I have known for many years that I am a cat person.  You know how some people are dog people, some are cat people and some people own both?  Growing up we always had pets; dogs, cats, fish, turtles, guinea pigs, even brine shrimp, a.k.a sea monkeys. The common thread throughout my life, whatever the circumstances? I have always had a good feline to celebrate and console my life’s ups and downs.

When I was very small, a buff colored female cat adopted us. She showed up at our doorstep and stayed for the next 20 years.  We named her, The Old Orange Cat. Sometimes we referred to her as the mother cat, although she never had kittens.   Friendly, furry, tough, good mouser, sweet, steadfast and loyal.   These memories of her cemented my love of cats.

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Sadly I don’t have access to a picture of her,   I found this image however, and it’s a good likeness!

Here are my current felines friends!

Screenshot_2015-09-02-05-34-37Friday – a.k.a., Frankie a.k.a, Big Frank  

Friday will turn sixteen in March and has a keen sense of reading our emotions.  He has been the poultice to many a broken hearts and dream throughout the years.  Many times his fur was tear-soaked as he comforted my daughters anxieties and fears. I think he has a sixth sense and seeks us out when we need him most.  Friday is a real sweet fellow. Recently, he’s slowed down with arthritis, but he is a love and we hope he will be around for a good while longer.

Snapchat--6804539087054573522  Chester – a.k.a, Chet, a.k.a. Boy

Chester is a young eleven years.  He has the energy of a kitten.  We rescued Chester from the animal shelter.  He is the “funny boy” in the house. Always getting into mischief, ending in some precarious situation. Sometimes perched in the crawl space between the upstairs and the basement or squished between the wall and the furnace. The term “curiosity killed the cat” fits well for Chester. Good thing he has nine lives!

Cats have been some of my most loyal friends. I’m an introvert, I spend a lot of quiet alone time. As of late, they make good writing buddies too!  Felines fit into my life purrfectly!

 

Cheers!  JustLorelei67

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Surprise Impressionism

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Water Gardens at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory – St. Paul, MN 2015

This is my favorite photograph that I captured last summer.  It was really only a snap but it turned out to be this lovely impressionist looking picture!  The way that the water rippled just right and the reflective image of the lily dancing on the pool. It reminds me of the impressionist painter Monet.  It’s the perfect picture to help chase away the winter doldrums

 

 

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Winter Break Is Over

Crazy as it seems I actually am just coming off of my last day of winter break. I work in the school system and am fortunate to have Christmas break in December, winter break in February, and spring break in April.

A majority of people that I work with traveled to some warm, sandy beach, pass the tropical drink location. For me, with two girls in college, I had a stay-cation!

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Well no, actually it wasn’t really because I  didn’t do any sightseeing in my own town. So it was more like a “my time is my own, and therefore I will do whatever the hell I want all week”.  Yes, that kind of staycation.
The first few days I worked to get some KonMari method organizing done.  If you don’t know what I am talking about, eventually I will devote a blog  post to my pursuit of tidying and simplifying my home. This weeks tidying was my books and papers.  I also cleaned and organized the refrigerator.
I devoted one whole day to preparing income taxes and the FAFSA financial aid form for college.  I had my teeth cleaned.  I enjoyed preparing some wonderful meals that normally I wouldn’t have time to do.
I visited with my husband, cuddled with my cats, Skyped my daughters, stayed up too late, drank too much wine, and enjoyed some great coffee houses. I read some wonderful blog posts, by great writers and attempted some writing as well.
It was a great break and I am grateful to have had a moment to refresh before jumping back in with my middle school students.  I know tomorrow will be challenging, we have a new coworker to train in, a brand new lunch procedure we will be rolling out, lunchtime Zumba activities get underway, and to top it off there’s a full moon!   Jumping back in with both feet!
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That’s okay it was a great break, a staycation filled with a little work, a little play and it was my time, my way and I enjoyed it!  I hope you can enjoy some of your own time too.
Be well!  JustLorelei67
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Lemon Water 101

One lemon has 17 calories, 2% potassium, 1% protein, 1% calcium,1% iron and a whopping 51% of your daily vitamin C! Not to mention they are tasty and smell wonderful!

I have read many claims about the benefits of drinking lemon water.  My brother sent me some delicious organic lemons,  so I decided to put this into my morning routine.

It has been four days of drinking a morning glass of iced lemon water.  Although I enjoy it iced I have read many articles suggesting you drink it at room temperature or slightly warmed.  I am not sure I will enjoy it, but will try it warm eventually.

I have picked five things that I am going track to see if I can notice any effects.

  1. Weight management and craving control – I don’t have weight to lose but will see if it helps to maintain weight and stave off cravings.
  2. Improved skin condition – The claim is that vitamin C is good for your skin and tissues in both aging and also as an antioxidant.
  3. Aid in digestion –  I have struggled with digestive issues, partly from the anti-cancer drug tamoxifen that I am taking.  We will see if this helps.
  4. Strengthen your immune system – The vitamin C should help.
  5. Energy boost – Who wouldn’t like that in the morning? Energy even before my first cup of coffee!

Warm lemon water vs. cold? According to my researched,  either will provide health benefits! If you decide to try a lemon water regimen you should know there are some warnings about tooth enamel damage.  The suggestion is to drink the lemon water before brushing your teeth, evidently your teeth are protected by the morning tooth fuzzies! Who knew??

I will keep you posted!

Cheers! JustLorelei67

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Sunrise On Lake Superior

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I thought that I would miss out on the sunrise this morning when I saw this huge cloud bank at the horizon.  Suddenly a fireball appeared and the sunrise did not disappoint!

 

Lake Superior is a beautiful sight every morning.  The -7 degree temps did not keep me or half a dozen others away from chasing the 7:07 a.m. sunrise! The perfect way to start the day!

Cheers! JustLorelei67

 

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A Puzzle of Games

Winter break is here and decided to take a break and work on a jigsaw puzzle.  The first time in many years.  I started it a couple of days ago and it is a great thing to do in between cleaning and errands.

I woke up this morning thinking about the puzzle.  The picture features classic board games and it is called “Games We Played”.  Here it is I am sure you will see some of your favorites in the picture.DSC_0374

A Puzzle of Games, isn’t that a great analogy of life? At the same time that we are trying to make the pieces fit we are also in the game.

What is Life  about?

Hands Down it’s the craziest Battleship Operation you’ll every man!

Happy Days will come, but many times it will be more like Roulette.

Life will not always be a Candyland or a Hi-Ho bowl of Cherry-O’s.  Instead, a series of Chutes and Ladders, somewhere Lost In Space only to end up in a Twister.

You may get caught in a Mouse Trap and not have a Clue.

Days spent being Sorry and Mad maybe stuck in a real Traffic Jam.

I think we’ve all been to a few Donkey Party‘s (don’t be an ass), just remember it’s all Spin the Bottle. It will take a lot of Concentration to assess the Risk in the Dating Game,  maybe you’ll bypass the Old Maid.

One day, however, when you’ve tired of flipping Tiddly Winks, you’ll toss a coin in the Wishing Well. Bingo!!! The Domino effect may occur!

Who knows if it’ll be a Dukes of Hazzard, a Jackson Five, or an H.R. Puffin Stuff kind of life?

At the end, Hands Down it is your Life, your Monopoly, your jigsaw puzzle!

 

Cheers and best of luck fitting your pieces together!

JustLorelei67

 

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Attitude Adjustment Day

Yesterday was a low  point for me.  Now it isn’t because it was Valentine’s Day, I am no hater, it is just that this was the day that the “mean reds” crept back into my mind.

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That feeling that the world is closing in on you and it really makes you feel hopeless. It is where the pessimist in me shows up. The anxiety is about all the things you cannot control in your life, but wish that you could.   In this day of social media we are reminded daily sometimes hourly of what others are accomplishing and winning at in life.  I think it really makes it difficult to perceive things in there actual state.  All things look rosy, it’s the way everyone wants to be portrayed.  Everyone posts their best! With even their worst looking pretty damn good!  Although I know this to be true, I have to say it does add to my mood of the “reds” and then of the “blues”.  This only adds fuel however, to the mad, sad, anxiety I am battling.  It is not the cause of it.  Today I decided, I need to come up with five things to be thankful for right now.  A different blog perhaps, I will be more forthcoming with what specifically is darkening the corners of my mind, but today these are the things I will focus on to adjust my thinking.

  • My feet have touched the floor for the day, which means I can choose to do something productive.
  • At this time I am cancer-free and have been for 1 1/2 years.
  • I have a warm house and food in my fridge.
  • Both of my parents are still living, as are my brother and two sisters.  I have a husband and two daughters.  Although family is a huge anxiety ridden stress, I wouldn’t want to not have any of them here.  With more time there can always be a change in them and in me too.
  • I am writing this blog on a Monday morning, when I would normally be headed to work but I have the week off for winter break.  I can get this attitude adjustment at the top of my week and maybe the rest will feel more hopeful.

For today I will remember to have a heart of thanksgiving.  If I can recite my list in my mind then my mood will come to pass.

Seeing Audrey Hepburn in the Gif made me smile!  I love Breakfast At Tiffany’s and any other movie of  Audrey Hepburns.

Be Well –

JustLorelei 67

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Ten Favorite Foods

 

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I am a self-proclaimed foodie.  Food brings people together, holds tradition and memories and is a life-sustaining need.  So for today these are 10 of my all-time favorite foods. I have included, obvious from the picture, all food not just ‘what’s for dinner’.  Although, I will admit I have eaten a cookie or two for breakfast, lunch or dinner on occasion. And you have too!

Minestrone Soup –  This makes my list because not only is it tasty, but I love the process of making it.  All of those fresh ingredients herbs and veggies that need to be chopped and diced it is therapeutic for me to make and healthy to eat!

Bread – Pretty much bread of any kind but I particularly love crusty baguettes, focaccia, or a good hearty wholewheat sandwich bread.  I know this is definitely not a weight watchers favorite.  But I am a carb lover!

Spaghetti and marinara – Carbs aplenty here too!  I love pasta of any sort actually, but really enjoy a good chunky veggie sauce with the longest spaghetti noodle possible, and a good dosing of fresh Parmesan cheese.

New York Strip – For the meat lover in me, there is nothing as tasty  as the perfectly done tenderly prepared steak.  I will take that medium well please, with a sour cream topped baked potato!

Cheese pizza –  Whether it is the very thinnest of crispy crusts or a thick pan style pizza, I love it all.  This would be a perfect meal paired with a tasty garden salad and a rich, dark micro-brew beer!

Spinach salad – Fresh baby spinach along with fresh sliced strawberries, just screams springtime!  I also like a bit of blue cheese and some toasted pecans.  If you top it with a nice lite vinaigrette it’s so yummy!

Coconut Shrimp – This is one food I confess that I haven’t actually prpared on the list, but I have ordered it out many times.  Jumbo shrimp crusted with delicious coconut flakes, dipped in some pineapple dipping sauce, what’s not to love? Tropical and so delish!

Frosted sugar cookies – The picture here are my own cookies I made for Valentine’s Day. These have an extra bit of vanilla in the cookie and  almond flavored icing. To me, the flavors together are the the perfect dessert after any meal.

Bread pudding – Here is another high-carb addition, this time a dessert.  I do not have it often but think that it is wonderful. A real comfort food.  I make mine with raisins and a warm whiskey sauce to top it off!

Brownie – Really? Yes, probably the best all-around, perfect last bite, or possibly even the first bit sometimes.  I love the thick cut, extremely chewy, pecan laden variety!

What are some of your favorite foods?  I would love to hear from you!

Cheers JustLorelei67

 

 

 

 

 

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