Archive for the ‘Explorations’ Category

Two weeks ago I was sitting in a hotel room in Salt Lake City debating on a job offer and the counter offer my current company had given me. The job offer was a job back in Montana and the counter offer involved a transfer to Salt Lake City. Health concerns, job security and happiness and quality of life for me, the husband and the pup were all whirling through my head. And then I had a sudden lurch of panic — I found a lump in my left breast. Holy hell was I mad. I had a fibroadenoma when I was 19 in that same breast and now THIS. The damn thing felt like a square of gum, like the ones in those foil packets that became popular 10 or so years ago. Anyways, I had a monster panic at 11 pm and started google searching and calling my mom. I had my panic rant and then we got down to business — we currently live in Phoenix, which has a MONSTER Mayo Clinic campus. The Mayo Clinic is possibly one of the best places I could go for a diagnosis. Turns out that the Phoenix campus has one of three breast center’s in the country. The others are in Minneapolis and Florida. I filled out the online appointment request form and finally fell asleep. Three days later  when I was visiting with people my phone rang and I spent the next 24 hours trying to get through to the appointment people with the Mayo Clinic. It is apparently a 15-30 min wait to get to their schedulers. THANKFULLY I did get through to someone and made an appointment for that Friday. I wasn’t going to waste ANY time twiddling my thumbs.

One thing a friend told me that week was the goal of taking action. Everything is worse before you take action. The act of movement releases some of the tension and anxiety. You will never move forward and onward without taking action. I would not have slept that night at the hotel if I had not taken action. I would not have felt okay about myself and my health without taking action to call the appointment office back.

So, 8 days ago I went to the Mayo Clinic with my in-laws chauffeuring me and my husband with them too. Support system? Yeah, I have one. And it’s a pretty dang great one too. This isn’t to say my parents wouldn’t have been there, but the in-laws had already planned a vacation to come see us that weekend. Talk about timing. That Friday was a total wash for focusing on anything but this medical potential panic. I met with a great nurse practitioner who pretty much immediately said, “you’re going in for a mammogram and ultrasound.” Well, duh, I could have diagnosed that much, but glad to know we were on the same page. I went out to the schedulers and asked when the next available appointment was for a mammogram — in 1 hour. It was about 15 minutes to the other campus where I’d go for that and away we went. We got there 40 minutes before the appointment but I checked in anyways and was seen 10 minutes later.

I have never had a mammogram. It has been a horrendous fear that as I get older I will need to face the breast squishing agony that women have to go through. I am not well endowed and cleavage is something that is fairly minimal on me. To think that I have to put the little I have on a tray to be squished by a plastic plate is NOT a comforting thought. Well, now I’ve experienced it and I’ve got to say, there are several positions that are uncomfortable and the rest are a full out painful experience. Give me an ultrasound any day of the week, because YIKES.  Both technicians (for the mammogram and ultrasound) were amazing women and I am very grateful for their ease of conversation and attitude towards the procedure.

The end result of all of this is that I have a benign cyst. I’m NOT enthused about this, but I am no longer in full blown panic mode. I was able to have a great weekend at the Grand Canyon and relax. I am still worried that it will need to be drained, but that is a fairly minor procedure compared to what this could have been.

I think the left side of my body is just going to cause trouble . . . door slammed on ring finger when I was 5, left foot broken at 18, fibroadenoma at 19 and now a benign cyst. . . oh, and that endometrioma that had to be drained that I blogged about too.So, dear left side, I don’t know why you need cause so much trouble, but I’d appreciate it if you’d stop getting so dangerously creative. Thanks!




Read Full Post »


There has been a lot of upheaval in the world and in my life. Right now we are facing the hunt for a new place to live and THAT is just a thrill a minute. It also means the ever enjoyable job of searching for a job or getting a transfer to a new office. While I am not the biggest fan of the job hunt, it always opens my eyes to what I feel I CAN do and what I WANT to do. I’ve recently debated on being an Environmental Planner or maybe get in to Environmental Engineering.  When I was an undergraduate I debated on going to the Engineering school, but I would have been in college for about 6-7 years and that wasn’t very appealing at the time. There are some unique circumstances there that I won’t go into now.

Sometimes I sit back and wonder if the Engineering Genetics didn’t have the right idea. But I really like Conservation Biology. I believe quite strongly in it and have continually tried to pursue a job that at least touches on that field.

Environmental Planning = I can learn a lot of it on the job and don’t necessarily need more school.

Environmental Engineering = the only way is more school from what I can see.

I have actually started watching the MIT Online course for Differential Calculus. Can you guess what it starts with?  DERIVATIVES!! Okay, so I might miss math a bit. I haven’t had to actually remember any of my maths or statistics for quite some time because the jobs I have taken didn’t need those skills.


Time to go watch some Calculus classes and see if I still want to keep going down the road of a career change.

Read Full Post »


The urge to create is sometimes like a mosquito bite — you don’t know when it happened but all of a sudden it is a raw itch that you can’t ignore. Although creativity is far more pleasant than a mosquito bite, it is also something that if you don’t listen to when it’s nagging will leave you feeling like you missed out on some amazing brain fireworks. It’s that, “You know, I was going to do… this thing… now… what was it?”

Recently I wrote a letter to my uncle. Nothing remarkable there right? Except this was a real letter with pen and ink and the pen in question was a fountain pen — it’s part of our deal for writing letters to each other. If you are going to have a pen pal, it is sometimes vital to find the right writing instrument for the job. I have several fountain pens — two are the “under $20” variety and I have used them on any kind of paper. They don’t dance across the paper in smooth swirls and dips like a recently acquired pen. I also really like that the newer pen only has a bladder, not a “it can take cartridges or bottled ink.” It changes the feel of the pen and how I interact with it. This one has a metal ‘button’ you press to fill the bladder. Another pen, a gift from my dad a few years ago, has you twist the end of the pen to fill the bladder. None of these pens are ‘works of art’ or something you’d want to insure — goodness knows what I would do with a $1500 pen!!

I guess this comes down to you have to acquire the tool that allows you to reach your potential. It’s like using a pair of “whatever was on sale” running shoes and then finally going out for a pair or real running shoes that make your feet happy the second they’re tied on. There was a guy who worked at a running store who flat out refused to sell you a pair of shoes unless you were almost instantly comfortable in your shoes. This was to guarantee a reduced chance of injury due to a poor fit in the shoe and also to help you understand that your feet do not care about the color scheme or your shoes. I tried on just about every shoe in the store and finally had to go with a trail running shoe that we had the preconceived notion would be a poor choice for what I wanted to do. My feet didn’t care, they knew what they wanted and that was how it was going to be.

When your tool challenges you to push further and achiever more, you are building those skills to achieve a goal that might have seemed unattainable and is now visible on the horizon.


Read Full Post »

New Year to Reboot

Well, it’s a New Year and also a 3 day weekend. I just got back from an 8 day vacation on the East Coast and can’t wait to go through those photos and see what kind of memories I captured. So far the highlight for me was going through family photos with my Uncle and then seeing my dad with his best friend from childhood — they were neighbors. I can only hope that when I am up there in years I will still be super close with my neighborhood best friends and we can have hilarious moments remembering the past.

Anyways, today has been a day of cleaning. One thing I will say about this desert weather is that you can open the windows and let in the fresh air rather than wanting to curl up by a fireplace and read a book.

To be rather gross, our kitchen smells like several things rotted to the point of possibly coming back to life as a more simple organism (mmm, mold).  So I have tossed EVERYTHING in our fridge that has expired or was in the goo-stage (found some carrots in a plastic bag that were just orangey-brown liquid and some salad dressing that expired last summer). I’ve also washed all.the.dishes. that had accumulated in or near the sink and around the house.

Poor pup is horrified by all of this cleaning action. He’s curled up in a ball on the couch sleeping away his stress. What a life for a pup. It’s only going to get worse Little Dude — I’m busting out the vacuum cleaner once I put away the dried dishes.

Here’s to a cleaner New Year with more responsible recycling and reusing.

Read Full Post »

Razor Unwanted

While I was in the shower today I had a thought — I only shaved my legs for 7 years. I started in July when I was 15 and stopped by the time I was 22. It wasn’t worth the cuts, porcupine spine hairs and skin irritations. I don’t have the world’s darkest or robust leg hair so it isn’t like I can compete in a Wookie Fur competition.

I had a Mani/Pedi before my brother-in-law’s wedding and the salon guy gave me all kinds of grief over how I don’t shave my legs. Not shaving your legs isn’t unclean or filthy or even lazy. Hats off to the millions of ladies that do this every other day with whatever method they prefer, but it isn’t something I care to deal with. If I were a competitive swimmer I’d feel different. It’s like having short nails.  I have short nails because I played the piano for about a decade as a kid and cutting them was trained into me. You can’t play the piano with nails — I tried.

We all make our life choices and do what feels right for ourselves. Some of us live for denim and a t-shirt, others want monthly Mani/Pedis. I enjoy wandering past the makeup section of Macy’s and no one gives me a second glance. Now I will admit to enjoying wandering the shops and looking at all the dresses, shoes, purses and jewelry. . . I’ve spent hours doing just that, but my wardrobe certainly shows the less girl side of things.

Now excuse me while I go put on my ball cap and flannel shirt to go enjoy the evening air.

Read Full Post »

Moving, quite honestly, SUCKS. The packing, sorting, trashing/donating and general stress is less than ideal. Thankfully this time we are not also trying to sell our house.  As I am currently between jobs so this means that I am the main packer and sorter so I am trying to stay motivated and organized. Good thing we kept our non-trashed boxes from the last move. . . read label on box, find items, put back into box.

Little Dude is NOT a happy camper about all of this and has decided that the tape dispenser needs to be snapped at whenever it is in use. He will come running into whatever room you are using it and gets very very irate at it. I think it must be the sound because he just sniffs at it and looks at me like, ‘Now what?’ when it isn’t in use.

We are also ditching our futon. Not moving with that giant hunk o’ junk again, nope nope nope. It’s been the home to our winter gear — snowshoes and skis for the past 5 1/2 months and it’s just not going to find a happy place in our new place.

I’m sad neither one of us found jobs in the current locale, but onward and downward (in elevation)!!! Adventures await us and I am ready to see what will come of this move. It’s not Death Valley, but it sure ain’t the Pacific Northwest either. Also, who gets nosebleeds when they drop 4000 feet in elevation? Apparently I do. . . That sucked. A LOT. Actually it mostly dribbled. TMI? Oh well.

Read Full Post »

What a city does to us

We love ethnic food. Even Little Dude gets excited when he smells something other than burgers. Okay, he gets excited for onions, so he probably isn’t the best judge. Anyways, now that we live in a city with real restaurants and tons of options that don’t hurt your digestive system. Sorry Helena, but that sushi place on the west side of town terrifies me and I regret ever having eaten there. And I won’t even begin on what L&D does to a person. *twitch*

Yesterday was Christmas Eve and while a lot of places, like grocery stores, closed early, a lot of restaurants were open. I went to a very nice Christmas Eve service that was similar but nothing like the one I grew up attending. There was still a candle lighting and we all sang Silent Night and I kept true to form at keeping my candle burning until everyone else had blown theirs out. Anyways, upon arriving home The Hubs decided he was super hungry and wanted to go hunting for food… at 9:30 pm. So off we went. Lo and behold, one of our favorite Indian Food places was open. So we grabbed what we could from the buffet and ran home to eat it. Little Dude was thrilled until he realized he wouldn’t get any.

*Note: If a buffet location says, “Here is this container for take out, take what you can,” I WILL pack it to the gills and have food for 3 meals rather than just 1. You don’t charge $17.99 for a buffet and not expect me to go a bit overboard with the packing. I come from a long line of over packers so this is the same kind of game — here is your case, now fill it to the gills.

I’m having leftovers for lunch and for dinner we’re making Chicken Tikka Masala. Depriving us of good Indian Food for almost 6 years has left a hole in our souls and we’re filling it with tasty goodness.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »