I had my first mammogram last fall. Mammograms can be scary. Especially if you’ve never had one. I tried to lessen its frightful image by pronouncing “mammogram” like you would if you were announcing a candygram (like in the old SNL shark candygram skit). It helped. But only a little.
I had just participated in my first “Weekend To End Women’s Cancers” on the heels of my mother-in-law's (successful...thank god) experience with the disease. I met so many people touched by breast cancer. Too many. I asked my doctor if I should be tested. She explained that Canadian women are advised to be screened at the age of fifty, unless there is a history of breast cancer in the family, in which case the recommended age in forty.
I asked if I should wait until fifty? She told me it was up to me. Then I asked the question I ask all doctors... “What would you tell your daughter?”
She said, “I would tell her to do it. Now.” She explained that breast cancer affects women (and men) of all ages, but it’s aggressive and develops quickly in younger women. By the time it's detected, it may be too late.
I made my appointment.
Two weeks later I showed up at the hospital for my virgin mammogram. Sporting a stylish gown, a friendly female technician showed me into a dimly lit exam room. She asked me some medical questions, explained the procedure and we were off to the races.
Now, the picture below might lead you to believe that I was about to stick my finger in the machine. But alas, it was not my finger that would be sandwiched between two plates like a ham on rye.
The technician laughed when I asked if her to take my photo (I assured her it would be a tasteful shot – robe on!). She said I was a first.
So here’s the lowdown (Yes, there’s a joke to be made regarding the relationship between breasts and gravity).
* Is it embarrassing letting your ladies swing in the breeze? The procedure is so technical and quick, it’s actually not. I was more concerned with covering the belly fat spilling out over my jeans, than my exposed breast-i-cess. Tip: Wear high waisted yoga pants, not tight low rise jeans.
* Is it painful? If you DON’T make your appointment during the week before your period (consult a calendar before you book!), I’d say it’s mildly uncomfortable, but not particularly painful.
* What if you can’t effectively read a calendar and you are PMSy and sore the day of? Take a pain reliever before you go.
* What if the doctor phones you to discuss the results? Do NOT freak out. Usually those calls are to say they didn’t get a “good picture” and you’ll need a redo.
* What if you don’t hear anything? They say “no news is good news” but some (me) say, “no news is most likely good news but, it could also mean lost results or somebody dropped the ball news”... So follow up with your family doctor just to be sure.
We love you. Get mammogrammed.
Addendum: My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. She has fought so hard. I'm sad to say, she is losing the battle. Broken hearted.
Tips For Entertaining From The Gourmet, The Baker and The Cocktail Shaker
Today's Tip is brought to you by Shelley...The Baker
Do your homemade chocolate chip cookies pass the “mmmm” test or do the kids eat them simply because they contain sugar and chocolate?
Ten cookie baking tips that will guarantee rave reviews from both kids and adults alike.
1. Butter. There is no substitute. I can’t pronounce half the ingredients on a tub of margarine and the outcome will pale in comparison to a cookie made with butter. Butter sticks are the easy way to ensure your measuring is accurate.
2. If it doesn’t say “pure vanilla extract” then it doesn’t get put in my recipe.
3. Replace your baking soda every four months. Write the date on the box so that you know when it’s past its prime. Baking soda has many household uses but not in a recipe after that point.
4. I like to mix up my recipe with different varieties of chocolate chips. Sometimes I use all milk chocolate, white chocolate, semi-sweet and sometimes a combination of what ever I have in the pantry. My favourite is ¾ milk chocolate chips and ¼ mini semi-sweet chips. Unless you bake a lot I don’t recommend you buy the bulk bags. Fresh is best.
5. Mix, mix, mix the wet batter (butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and eggs) before adding the dry ingredients.
6. A cookie sheet does not have any sides. You should have extra cookie sheets so that when one batch is in the oven you can start the next batch. Do not drop cookie dough onto a hot or warm cookie sheet or you will end up with a flat cookie.
7. Invest in a cookie dough spoon. It ensures that your cookies are the same size and they will be baked evenly. It also prevents the common comment “but he took the biggest one”.
8. Do not over bake. Your cookie needs to come out of the oven when the edges start to brown…..not the whole cookie. Every oven is different and depending on the pan you use will determine the results so don’t take your eyes off of them. If you do over bake a cookie it does make a nice crumble topping over ice cream.
9. Cool the cookies on the pan for 2 minutes—they will continue to bake during this time. Remove them to a wire rack until completely cooled.
10. Store in an air tight container. They will stay fresh for a week---but if you follow these tips you’ll be lucky if they last a day.
2 ¼ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup softened butter
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In small bowl combine flour, soda and salt. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Beat in eggs.
Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet.
Bake at 375 for approximately 8 minutes.
As I was getting to set to participate in my first Weekend to End Women’s Cancers, I agreed to attend a fab fundraiser called Boobfest. I wanted to bring something to the party to show my enthusiasm and decided on homemade chocolate boobs. Of course.
All I needed was a boob ice cube tray and some good quality chocolate. I called a local adult novelty store (had the number on speed dial. Just kidding. Or am I?) and was told they had penises aplenty, but were fresh out of boobs. After a quick Googling (that's what she said), I found what I was looking for. So I put the toddler in the car and threw the Chihuahua in the back—he loves to go cruising. Since it was a warm day, I parked right in front of the store so I could quickly run in and not return to a panting dog. The only panting going on should be inside the sex shop.
As I opened the door, my child let out a breathy, "Woooow!" She was like a kid in a perverted candy store. Holy harlot, there was porn as far as the eye could see. Did you know they actually sell candies to be inserted “places” thus turning people into a kind of human PEZ dispenser? Gruesome but true.
When we entered the store my daughter signed “banana” and “eat” as her eyes fell upon a bottle of banana flavoured lube. “No honey, you can’t eat that. No! That chocolate penis pop is NOT for you. Please put down those underpants, they’re not for eating. Well, they ARE but...never mind.”
While I searched for what I had come in for (and nothing else, I swear!), I heard my daughter exclaim, “Oooh...doll.” She was tugging on the toe of an inflatable girlfriend who was suspended from the ceiling. This was no G-Rated Groovy Girl. In her other hand was a large mauve dildo that she obviously nicked from the toy section or would that be "sex-tion?"
I asked the woman behind the counter for help before my girl spotted the anatomically correct male pelvis on the shelf behind her. I was able to distract her with a set of handcuffs while the sex-lady showed me to the ice cube moulds. I bought two trays, hung the pink fluffy handcuffs back on the wall (clearly in the wrong spot because the sign above stated “Anal Play”) and got the hell out of there.
After all of that, the chocolate boobs didn’t even work out! The trays were cheap and flimsy and they cracked after only one boobie batch. I guess you could say the whole project went "tits up."
Moral of the story: when making chocolates of any shape or form, purchase moulds from a candy making store or at least use something thick and sturdy. Also, if you MUST bring your child with you to an adult novelty store, bring some goldfish crackers or something.