The Decision is In

Well, the decision is in. It happened just like I was told it would. Being faced with the daunting decision of whether or not to remove not only one part of my anatomy, but an additional and equally important part as well. Honestly, I hadn’t been toiling over the decision as much as a person might that found themselves in this position. I mean, I thought about it on and off, but there are always so many other things happening in my life, that my focus ends up in many different places, almost simultaneously. I guess that could be a good thing, because it doesn’t allow me to dwell on any one thing. Instead, I flit around from one issue to the next, sharing little pieces of my attention respectively, much like a bee that buzzes around from flower to flower. After all, there are so many choices. I wonder how the bees decide where to begin.

On the morning of my follow up appointment with my surgeon, I woke up and I knew immediately what I was going to do. There wasn’t any fuss or muss and I saw things with a clarity that isn’t always a part of my decision-making process and for that, I am very thankful. As I lay there calmly, looking around my bedroom, the decision floated into view as vividly as the clouds in once blue skies, that signal the impending rain that is sure to follow.

Okay, so that part is done and I am content with my decision. Well, as content as anyone in this predicament could be. However, the hardest part is still to come. Yes, I have come to a decision concerning breast cancer surgery but along with this knowledge comes the fact that I will be minus two parts of my anatomy that I have lived with my entire life. My breasts have always been a special part of my body and I’ve always valued and revered their beauty, their purpose. I can’t help but wonder what a woman does when she has this mastectomy surgery that removes her entire breast(s)? How does she feel about herself when she looks in the mirror? Does she worry about how her husband/mate, family and friends will view her post-surgery? I am now that woman with all these questions.

I’ve had my share of surgeries in my life time but this one will be the most intricately personal one by far. A woman’s breasts can instill a whole lot of pride or they cause her to bear the brunt of much shame, when faced with their surgical removal. However, I will remain alive and well as a result of this decision. Beauty may be only skin-deep, but this experience will no doubt make me a more beautiful person from within. That is what matters most, right? I’d say, the decision is in!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Life in a Bubble

For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard people complain about living in Upstate New York – Rochester to be exact. The negative comments range anywhere from the shrinking economy to gripes about the winter weather. I’ve always defended my neck of the woods and I’m always more than happy to give the ‘up’ side of living here in the midst of all the hemming and hawing.

There are many cities that are faring far worse than Rochester New York. Especially, in terms of weather. The recent news coverage of our Western New York neighbor Buffalo, has kept everyone abreast of the winter pummeling that that region has undergone. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning, and it’s nothing new. It seems that every year, weather reports outline the havoc that the winter season wreaks on our ‘sister’ city. How Rochester manages to miss the bulk of much of the snow is quite amazing. It’s almost as if there’s an invisible bubble that shields us from the worst of the winter weather, while it makes its presence known to our nearby neighbors, Buffalo and Syracuse.

I guess you could say that we experience a little bit of every kind of weather here and to me, that’s great. The four seasonal changes are second to none. I love the ‘renewal’ affect that the ‘spring’ season brings. Everything is revived and comes back fresh and new. I enjoy summer for many reasons. One being that the days are longer. Secondly, some of the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets can be experienced during this season. If I had to choose a favorite, it would be the ‘fall’ season. Nothing reflects nature’s beauty more than all the brilliant colors that the foliage takes on at this time of year; also know as ‘autumn’. Last but not least is ‘old man winter’. Yes, this season has its drawbacks, but the snow is pretty to look at.

While having a problem tire on my car addressed earlier today, I picked up the newspaper that was sprawled out on a little table where it’s last reader had left it. The front page caught my attention: Why Rochester? I swelled with pride as I continued to read. The article listed five reasons why Rochester is a great place to live, work and raise a family.

      1. It was named the third best place to raise a family in Forbes Magazine in 2010, which I was unaware of. I love it when I learn something new.

      2. Rochester’s ‘sister’ cities Buffalo and Syracuse get hit much harder by snow fall than Rochester. Just a couple of weeks ago, snow removal crews left Rochester to go and assist with some of the snow removal in Buffalo. Oftentimes, a storm will be pointed right at us. Yet somehow, Rochester seems to be positioned in a way that often allows us to escape the brunt of many storms, and thankfully so.

      3. Wegmans grocery store is one of our proudest home-grown businesses and now operates 85 stores in 6 states: New York = 46 stores, New Jersey = 7 stores, Virginia = 6 stores, Maryland = 7 stores, Massachusetts =3 stores

      4. Many Rochesterians are huge fans of the Buffalo Bills and consider the team as much a Rochester team as it is a Buffalo team. For the last several years, Pittsford New York’s St. John Fisher College has been the designated location for the Bills training camp. The Bills may not have had consecutive wins in a long time, but during the 1990s, they held a dominant streak. They were the first team to make it to the Superbowl in 4 consecutive seasons. Bills fans set a single-season NFL record of 635,889 in attendance during the 1991 season.

      5. Rochester is small in comparison to some of the bigger cities, but where it is smaller in size, it definitely makes up for in culturally diverse events. This city is big on the arts and pays homage by way of numerous festivals, concerts, etc. throughout the year. In doing so, Rochester provides a little something for all the different people that come out in droves seeking that perfect mix of cultural diversity to satisfy their varying individual tastes.

There truly is a lot to discover and experience here in Rochester and I am amazed at the things I’m still becoming aware of, even after having lived here all my life. All in all, I’m happy in my little corner of the world. Life in a bubble certainly has its advantages.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

My Blogging Family…

Hello all. I will just get right to the point. You may or may not have noticed that I’ve been pretty quiet or “off camera” lately, if you will. Life is happening to me so quickly lately, that I can barely keep up. Lots of fires burning; some big, some small. But I am can only put out one at a time, even though many are raging.

I basically want you all to know that I am still here, but very much under the weather. I am thankful for all of your readership and support and apologize for the lack of posts, but I simply haven’t been able to. One thing is for sure, out of all the rubble and ruin, some beauty and inspiration must emerge. I hope that it will be worth the wait. Again, thank you all for the tremendous love and support.

Sylvia Porter-Hall

Ahh….The Sweet Smell of Lilacs

The infamous Rochester New York’s Lilac Festival’s inspiration dates back to 1898 when 2,000 people visited the park on one Sunday in May to observe the beautiful lilacs. The numbers grew to 25,000 over the next 10 years marking the first annual Lilac Festival. Over time, viewer numbers ballooned to 500,000 in attendance for the now 10 day event. The lilacs are showcased among more than 1,200 bushes with over 500 varieties. Truly a spectacular sight!

Rochester New York’s 2014 annual Lilac Festival will take place this year from May 9, 2014 – May 18, 2014. This prestigious event is unprecedented for many reasons. Of course the gorgeous variety of beautiful aromatic lilacs at their peak bloom; drawing people from miles around. People come in record numbers to bear witness to nature’s beauty at its finest. The magnificent lilacs adorn the rolling hills of Upstate Rochester New York’s Highland Park.

This year, this annual event has achieved another milestone making it an even grander attraction on the world’s map. Lilac Festival participants came together to set a Guinness World Record! That’s right! Rochester New York’s Lilac Festival is now officially the world record holder for the world’s largest human flower by Guinness World Records. More than 2,200 people (2,297 to be exact) expressed their love and showed their support for the City of Rochester and this wonderful annual festival! But wait, it gets better! All participants will be able to access a link that has a special code which will allow them to obtain their official Guinness World Record Certificate; a symbol of their participation in this ground-breaking, history-making event! Go Upstate New York!

The Lilac Festival is an event that has something for everyone! There are horse and carriage rides and various arts & craft exhibits. There’s a craft beer garden and wine & chocolate tasting events, music concerts and more. This a family-friendly event, so everyone should be able to find something they like at this festival. I will admit that I haven’t attended this festival in a few years, but hey….there’s still time. The festival runs through this Sunday May 18th! So, if you’re in the neighborhood and looking for something fun to do, this may be a great option! So, check it out! A visit may be well worth your time!

 

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