Monday, May 3, 2010

The Unsung Hero, The Woman Behind the Powerful Man, The Legal Secretery or Paralegal, the Baby Sister

What do all these people have in common, they often go unnoticed. By description they are in the background.

Who volunteers to sit at the childrens' table at holidays? Who knows just when to call to add a positive word and conjure up a laugh. Who, although at one time was a bit of a pain in the butt, would fight to the bitter end to save you? Who has always been there to watch over our children? My Little Sister.

No longer little, a grown woman with children and grand children; she will always be my Baby Sister. So why now, when she should be accepting a little help from friends and family, does she insist on doing everything by her self, so independent-so determined. This is just her way, though annoying at times, of dealing with her battle with breast cancer.

All three of us now have had our battles with this insidious disease. This disease that can develop so gradually as to be well established before becoming apparent to ourselves or a well trained doctor.


Early breast cancer usually does not cause symptoms. This is why regular breast exams are important. As the cancer grows, symptoms may include:

* Breast lump or lump in the armpit that is hard, has uneven edges, and usually does not hurt
* Change in the size, shape, or feel of the breast or nipple -- for example, you may have redness, dimpling, or puckering that looks like the skin of an orange
* Fluid coming from the nipple -- may be bloody, clear to yellow, green, and look like pus

Men get breast cancer, too. Symptoms include breast lump and breast pain and tenderness.

Symptoms of advanced breast cancer may include:

* Bone pain
* Breast pain or discomfort
* Skin ulcers
* Swelling of one arm (next to breast with cancer)
* Weight loss

These facts from the American Cancer Society are worth reprinting but this is not really my story.

This is a story about my Baby Sister, who took care of herself for the most part, ate all the right things including broccoli, was never overweight and always got plenty of exercise. Sometimes you just can't beat the odds. But early detection and a determined spirit with an uncommon sense of humor will serve her well.

We all have to do things our own way; but Sis, we sure wish you would let us help. All three of us are independent types that prefer to withdraw from the everyday to handle our own problems in our own time and in our own way. So, we do understand you quite well!!!

You are awesome in your determination to work through chemo, I know that makes you feel in control. That is a good thing because we all need that.

However, I am reminded of a conversation I had with my very best non-family man friend when I was complaining that Hubs didn't take care of something for me. My friend quickly reminded me that I am so independent and stubborn-- did I think he knew I wanted him to do this for me. Hummmmmmm Perhaps not. My friend also mentioned that I hardly accept help from anyone and sometimes, just sometimes, If I would; that would make my friends happy to help me.

So, Baby Sis, we are here for you and love you so very much, you stubborn pain in my butt!!!

Workshops at Shandells

Dear Friend,

Since the launch of my new website I have been increasingly getting emails and walk-in visitors asking about how to pick the right size lampshade for a lamp, and how long does it take to make a shade, and can I make “this” (whatever “this” is!) into a lamp.

Starting in May I will be extending my hours (Thurs. – Sat. 11-5 and Sun. 11-3), and will also kick off FREE monthly workshops on the second Saturday of each month, to help answer some of those questions, and more.

MAY 8 AND JUNE 12 are the first two workshops, from 9-11 AM each of those days.

Topics we’ll cover include: how to fit a lamp with a lampshade, revamping a dated lamp with a new shade, basic construction of a shade, and different things you can make into a lamp.

I have limited space so reservations will be needed; please email me at thingsthatmakeyousmile [at] gmail [dot] com, or call the studio at 518.789.6603.

The workshop will also include an inside look to “the Lampshade Lady’s” world. Come see my vintage paper and fittings and trimmings collections, and learn about how I got into this, etc.–and have a cup of tea!

Hopefully those who attend will be inspired to spruce up their decors with a new shade or a new lamp fashioned from some treasure they own.

Look forward to meeting you,