Friday, December 6, 2013

the ROCK… part 2

When i think of the rock, 3 things come to mind…
1. the ROCK... the wrestler now actor.
    PS. loved his recent movie Pain & Gain

2. the ROCK… as in Alcatraz, the prison in the San Francisco bay.

and 3. wait for it...

So… I forgot to heed Kim's aka Ice's advice and purchase our Alcatraz tickets in advance, & it was sold out while we were there in San Fran. We decided to drive on, as planned, to Monterey and then had to return. How could you go to San Francisco and not go to Alcatraz? The answer is, you just can't.

Juan and I aren't gangsters or anything, but we are avid fans of prison movies :o). Shawshank Redemption being one of my favorites…"Get busy living or get busy dying." We even have this hilarious onesie for baby bear. Complete with 9 month tally!

3. & now, the ROCK, Morro Bay
Morro Bay was absolutely one of our favorite spots in California! A quaint little fishing village with this huge, yes, you guessed it right!  ROCK :o)

Arrival at hotel!
Our all time favorite hotel during our 10 day trip was The Beach Bungalow. We arrived late on a chilly night to be welcomed by the warmth of the fireplace. Whether it be a real fire or not is besides the point :o). The owner was equally welcoming and helpful. We enjoyed our included breakfast at a little place near the ROCK. As we ate outside, we were greeted by Monarch butterflies flying overhead... every 30 seconds or so… on their migration back to Mexico… I know… You couldn't make the s**t up if you wanted to :o).

lots and lots of love…
Morro Bay, CA

little lisa lollipop

P.S. Speaking of prison... and with his passing, I can not, not mention Nelson Mandela. I love him, and I am mesmerized by him!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cali love… part 1

Sorry for the delay in this long overdue post. We had some computer glitches, and it didn't feel right to post about my new love without including pictures.  Well... it's almost been a month since our return, but i miss it so much already. Pure, unadulterated, Cali love!

We first heard these words on our bike ride along the Venice Beach bike path. An older man riding his  bike with a huge California flag shouted it to us. Perhaps under the influence (if you've ever been to Venice Beach, you know what i mean), but nevertheless, his words stayed with us. Cali Love! I personally like to say it in a Barry White sexy voice :o).

Venice Beach bike ride

We went to California to find out the sex of our little pumpkin, and on Halloween we met him so to speak. As you know, it's a boy! We made a honeymoon trip out of our visit too. We traveled a total of 1,382 miles in our rental. Up, down, and around California. Each place promising to be the place where we would relocate to and spend the rest of our lives. We loved it all.

Rental car complete with bird poo
after being on the road for 12 hours

And the taste of yummy food like churros

In some ways, your senses are heightened. You can literally feel the warmth of the sunshine... I now know why my beloved Jimmy Kimmel always taunts us about the warm weather out there. Or the smell when driving past huge strawberry farms... so yummy. The artichokes farms… not so much. The peaceful sounds of the ocean and seals. And the views… amazing. I am smitten!!

lots of Cali Love to you all…
little lisa lollipop

Monday, November 11, 2013

A tribute to all our veterans...

1965, Daddy: OCS field exercise, Fort Benning, Georgia

Monday, November 11th is Veteran's Day, a day we honor all who have served in our military forces. They have served honorably in conflicts that were just and some that were not so, but they did their duty.

My father is a veteran who volunteered and served three years. He went thru basic and advanced infantry training, OCS (Officer Candidate School) and Airborne training.

lots of love and appreciation to all our veterans…
little lisa lollipop

1965, Paratroopers: Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Thursday, October 31, 2013

All i gotta say is…. Yeah Booiiiii!

All i gotta say is…
YEAH Booiiiiii!!

Little pumpkin is a boy!!!!
Happy Halloween!

lots of love and candy and chocolate...
little lisa lollipop

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy National Cat Day!

Did you ever notice there's a day      and a month to celebrate everything? Some worthy of having it's own day... while others... not so much. Today happens to be National Cat Day... which in my book is a worthy one.

We have 2 girl cats, and even though they're 5, i still call them kittens. They have brought me so much joy over the years.  Our kittens are litter mats and best friends... well they used to be BFF.  Now... not so much. They both are obsessed with eating, and Zöey is just like the cat in the video... trying to wake it's owner for food. What she also does, that isn't in the video is breath in my ear and put her ass in my face. Not so much fun to wake up to. Gotta love them.

Zöey as a kitten
Mayá as a kitten

   Old farts

OMG! National Drinking Straw Day.
That's cra-cra. Pass the cat nip!

Other upcoming holidays to look forward to... Pizza with the works except anchovies Day: November 12th, Flossing Day: November 29th.  And forget about New Year's Day, January 3rd is Drinking Straw Day. Holllllaaar! I'll be looking forward to them all... as the cheesy saying goes, everyday is a gift... especially if there's a kitty in it.

Lots of love... little lisa lollipop meow

Friday, October 25, 2013

this is how i roll...(+er coaster)

City Jet, New Jersey
My first roller coaster ride was the City Jet with my father in Ocean City. My first upside down one was in 4th grade... the Sooper Dooper Looper in Hershey Park... sounds dangerous, doesn't it.

And believe it or not... I'm riding a roller coaster right now... as we speak or as i type...on my computer... at my home. :o)  But right now, I'm on the fun part of the ride... where you can lift your arms in the air and act like it was all a piece of cake!
See... when we first started the fertility process three years ago in 2010, we weren't told that we were really getting on a roller coaster ride. And  to hold on tight. It's a ride that consumes you... emotionally, sometimes physically, and definitely financially.

We got on the ride after losing Rylan Cruz, knowing we would need help. Duh... i don't have a uterus anymore, so that's a given :o).  At first, I did all the fertility treatments/ injections, but I only had one follicle that responded. Thus even further proving how much of a miracle Rylan was. When they went to retrieve the egg, the follicle burst... and the egg was lost to the bowels... talk about a rotten egg. lol

When i tried the fertility treatments a second time in 2011, i didn't respond at all.  That was when we transitioned to finding a donor egg. After a long process... see... i'm giving you the short version :o)... we found a donor that we liked. Finally in January of 2012 we were the proud parents of 9 little frozen embryos. P.S. More to come in the future about the egg donor selection process.

little duckie: 3 cells!
Our next step was to find a carrier for our little bambino which led us to a lawyer/ agency. (More to come regarding selecting a carrier in the future.) P.S. I am also limited by law about what i can actually say/ type. :o)

After the long screening process, our first embryo transfer was in September 2012. Our plan was to thaw 3 embryos and implant 2. But only one had survived the thawing process.. so we defrosted 2 more, and only one of those survived. However, come the next morning, only one continued to grow and divide. He or she was a whopping 3 cells, but the transfer was not successful.

November 2012... we thawed the remaining four embryos. And in the end, none of the embryos were viable for transfer. Nada. Zilche. The clinic wasn't sure why we had such bad outcomes... they could only attribute it to bad luck. At this point, Juan was tired of riding this emotional roller coaster ride. And i could sense the clinic's despair. Perhaps, they didn't remember how stubborn I am... Whoops. Cross that out, I meant determined. :o)  (see March post: Stubborn as a Mule)

So... back to square one & finding another egg donor. More of a long story made short... i found one that i absolutely loved. And then... Duh, Duh, Duh... I was diagnosed with cancer. The hospital held a whole ethics board committee meeting. But in the end... it was decided that we could move forward since we had been invested in the process for three years. That was the worst part of the roller coaster... when you have no control over anything and you pee your pants... lol. That and when they spoke of my presence... at the meeting as if i were already dead. My carrier also had to sign a form with her lawyer saying she still wished to proceed with us even though i was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Seeing it in writing was even a little harder than hearing it.

Well on the second attempt with our selected anonymous donor... *"I wish i had a million dollars...HOT DOG!" (*footnote: It's a Wonderful Life) We are having another baby or baby bear :o)
Or now, we can say little pumpkin. Because if all goes well, we'll be finding out the sex on Halloween! Best Halloween EV-ER!

So with all its twists and turns and ups and downs... it has all been worth the ride.

lots of love... little lisa lollipop

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Greetings from Munich!

Soooo hilariouos!
Had to post it on the blog as well. LOVE it!

lots of love & PROST!
little lisa lollipop :o)

Friday, September 27, 2013

"Danke schoen, darling, danke schoen!"

Hi everyone!
All is well! Just officially met with my doctor the other day after last week's MRI, and all is stable! Yay! Thanks, Merci, Thank you UK, Danke schön, Bedankt, Dziekuje, Gracias, Spasibo, Terima kasih, Sakamat. And i also know Shukran and Grazie :o) But whatever the language... thank you much for all the prayers you have been sending my way... they are obviously working. P.S. that first group of thank yous are from the top ten countries reading this blog. And i apologize ahead of time for any misspelling.

Well... time is passing quickly, and we are now week 16 with the baby; we can't wait to find out the sex. We've also had reasons to celebrate... some family birthdays :o) ... Marita, Mary Frances (see M.F. post), and Karin... and Mexico's Independence Day on September 16. !Viva Mexico! And now... we are in the Oktoberfest period.

2009: Jackpot!
Unfortunately, I haven't made it to the real one in Munich, Germany, but I have made it twice to the Cannstatter  in Northeast Philly for its Oktoberfest celebration. It has beer, food, and music along with other German traditions. They also have kiddie rides and games. In fact, my sister and her husband actually won a bag of meats/ sausages as a prize. Jackpot! 

OKTOBERFEST FUN FACT:  Wiki says it's the world's largest fair, & it's usually a 16 day festival late September to the first weekend in October. But it also depends on how the calendar falls... sometimes it's longer to include October 3rd which is German Unity Day. I am learning so much doing this blog :o)... this day marks the formal reunification of Germany in 1990... almost 1 year after the Berlin Wall came down.

2009: merchandise shopping

2011: working their hats :o)
lots of love & danke schöns to all...

little lisa lollipop

Friday, September 6, 2013

Don't taze me bro!

Perhaps it was all the Halloween merchandise displayed way too early at the end of August... or perhaps it was because of the upcoming, dreaded Friday the 13th this week... but I've recently recovered from a 12 day stretch of horrible phantom pain. I know...  nobody likes a complainer :o), but for the love of God, let me complain this one time :o). Just kidding. But not about the pain part. See... following my amputation 19 years ago, I have experienced both phantom pain and phantom sensation. The latter is constant for me; I can always feel my right leg... even though it's not there. To best describe the sensation... well it's kind of like when your leg falls asleep and then it feels all pins and needly. Theory has it... it's because of all the nerve endings and the confused brain. And from time to time, I get phantom pain, which is pain in the missing limb... stabbing, crushing, or like jolts of electricity... which I imagine it is how one feels one you get tazed.

Anyhows, i'll experience phantom pain from time to time, but it usually isn't something that lasts very long. This time though, it was frequent... i got tazed every 20 to 60 seconds or so on some of the bad days. It made me awfully tired and awfully miserable. Bullocks! Not sure what caused it, but like anyone that has had cancer, the paranoia sets in. And your mind starts to wander... perhaps its this... or perhaps its that. Each day just spent waiting for it to pass and hoping the next day's sunrise will also bring relief.

Well I'm not Jewish, but perhaps I'll have to convert because come Rosh Hashanah, relief did come. What a good way to start a new year...

Happy New Year to everyone!
I hope it's a good one for you and for me.

lots of love... little lisa lollipop

P.S. These last images are from a card I sent my mom. She isn't Jewish either, but as a former public school teacher, Rosh Hashanah was one of her favorite holidays.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


It's hard to believe that only six months ago, I was told that I would only have about six months to live. Duh-duh- duuun... P.S. that was dramatic music that they play in the movies... But thank God, I'm still here and still smiling :o) - see... that's me smiling. P.S. I usually smile with my mouth closed because I had bad teeth growing up. Didn't get braces till i was in my 30s. :o)
The happy couple (2012)

Well... in looking back over these past six months, I have been busy. Let's see...  February was when I was diagnosed with cancer. P.S. again. Started chemo in March... and had a going away hair party with my coworkers. Lost my hair... and now it's back. P.S. I've been told that I have a nice shaped head :o). I guess that's a good thing. Got engaged. P.S. I said yes. Two weeks later, we were married.
D.C. - P.S. Happy 50th!

Got to travel a little bit... finally got to see the cherry blossoms in DC, gave a speech in New York City, and recently went to Guatelmala. P.S. Loved it.
Always posing :o)
Feliz Cumpleanos

Have been able to spend lots of quality time with family. From an impromptu Oscar Party where we all dressed up to walk the red carpet...  to spending two weeks... two long weeks :o) down the shore in Ocean City. P.S. That's my   cousin Peggy working the red carpet.

Have also had good times with friends and coworkers... from the Candyland Beef and Beer, our Flash Mob dance during Alex Scott's Lemonade Day, and to now... back at work. P.S. I started watching the clock at 11 on my first day back. Is that bad? Whoops. And, Oh yeah, i also started this blog... six months ago exactly this past Sunday.

Aside from chemotherapy treatments, i also had chemo embolization to the liver, &  20 days of radiation to the pancreas bed. Have had lots of ups and, of course, some downs over these past six months. But by far the most exciting for me is this... see below...

Yes, we're pregnant! :o)
And apparently our little one resembles a little stuffed teddy bear, right! And no, baby bear is not in my belly. He or she is in our gestational carrier's belly on the other side of the country. 
I hope and pray these next six months continue to go just as well. Fingers crossed.

lots of love... little lisa lollipop

P.S. I love you, baby bear.  love, mama bear

Friday, August 23, 2013

Home Sweet Home

Hi everyone!
After talking to my father the other day and my sister today, i realized that i haven't told everyone... including you... that I am back at work. Yay... (for now :o).
I received a super warm welcome from my coworkers. Aside from all the smiling faces, I was also greeted by messages posted around the nurses' stations. They brought breakfast and treated me to lunch. It felt great to be home.

Tomorrow will be my third weekend back. And with that said, I better get my a@# to bed.

lots of love... little lisa lollipop

P.S. This blog is dedicated to my coworker Deb Mc who reads my blog religiously... and can even recite its dates and titles like Rain Man. :o)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Mr & Mrs: Wedding Video

Hi everyone!

Hope all is well. Just a quick post to include our wedding video. Here's the link:

lots of love...  Mrs. little lisa lollipop :o)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Guat's up?

Hi everyone!!
Guat's up? Clever Guatemalan merchandise slogan probably geared towards us Americans. My favorite though... Guatever! Of course, said with attitude.

So much paperwork :o)
Well... I returned from Guatemala last Sunday night. It was amazing! We worked out of an established medical clinic, and our team did a total of 70 surgeries during the week. Awe-sooomme! All of the children were beautiful, and the families were so grateful and appreciative. Even if the surgery was only for a hernia, they would thank us as if we were saving their lives. Many of the Mayan families have limited access to medical care... not to mention the financial restraints. Makes one realize how fortunate we are in the States. And not to mention how lucky we are as nurses. It was all old school paperwork... none of the high tech computer stuff that I'm spoiled with.

The food was good... and I'm a picky eater. Sometimes... the presentation wasn't the best though... check out the beans that came with my breakfast one day.
Fan dance

The weather: perfect. Warm during the day, but not unbearable. Unless you were working in a small space without ventilation. Here's Christine celebrating our fan's arrival after 2 long work days.  The mornings and nights, on the other hand, were just a little chilly.

Antigua, Guatemala
After a long work week, we headed to Antigua which is an old colonial city and absolutely beautiful. Being surrounded by the mountains and with the clouds so low, you feel like you are closer to Heaven. Perhaps that's why my prayers have been answered, and my scans this past week show that my cancer is stable and/or shrinking. Yay! Although I would love for it to be 100% clear, I'll take it! I'm taking my cues from my doctors, so if they are excited, so am I. So... I didn't need any chemo this week. Our current plan is wait and rescan late September. Fingers will remain crossed, and please keep the prayers coming :o).

I met a lot of great people both at the clinic and within the CHOP team. They are a fun, welcoming group of people whose energy never ceased to amaze me. If i looked better in the blue hats and if i didn't already have a home in oncology, I would definitely want to work with them in the surgery area.

Querido Junior
Lots of love to all of them and to all of Guatemala.
Don't cry. I'll miss you too.
little lisa lollipop


Go Green Team!