Monthly Archives: August 2009

Have You Had Your Mammogram?

Gentlemen, you may still want to read this, but I’ll understand if its too ‘squicky’ for you. (I’ll also try to refrain from rolling my eyes.)

Ladies: If you are over 40, I certainly hope you’ve had your mammogram. I just did and I’m going to tell you all about it. Think of it as a kind of public service announcement. One that may allay any fears.

First thing to know is that the American Cancer Society has announced that it’s an annual screening now — according to my technician, it used to be 3-5 years between screenings (depending on your physique and family history). But the ACS started seeing a rise in breast cancer in women in their 40s, so they got more aggressive about screening.

The second thing to know is that early detection is the reason to have a mammogram. Long before you can feel anything wrong in your monthly self-exam (you DO do that, right?) a mammography can indicate areas to be concerned about.

In my family the women have — frankly — lots of fibrous tissues in our breasts. Its entirely benign, not generally painful, and not something you can fix. Over the decades I’ve been doing my self-exams I’ve gotten used to my unique shape and internal textures, so I know all about those fibers.And I’m not terribly concerned.

How it went for me:

I arrived 15 mins before my appointment to check in. They verified my insurance and other vital information (like: was I taking any medication, including vitamins and hormones). I sat for a few minutes. Right on time I was called, with two other women, into the dressing room. There I was given a jacket in a soft fabric that slightly warmed and told to take off all my clothes above the waist. One surprise: I was given a wipe to remove my deodorant.  This is good for people to know, bring your own to replace that which you wipe off, or do without.

Behind a curtain I changed into my jacket. Aside from the pink pattern, it was quite nice. It was fabric, for one thing, not paper. It was soft. It wrapped across my chest and had ties both inside and out on the seams, making it practical for tying on either side. I know it seems silly, but that jacket embodied more respect for me as a human than I have ever experienced in a medical establishment.

After a brief wait I was introduced to my technician and taken to  . . . THE ROOM. It wasn’t that frightening. Here’s a picture of the machine:

Mammography machine

The third thing you need to know is that mammography technology, like many things, has evolved. The machines are often described as ‘softer’ and the time it takes to take that picture is faster.

You will have your breasts squished, however. Deal with it. The compression is necessary to even out the breast so it can be completely visualized. Apparently it also means they need to use less radiation (and I am all for that).

A normal mammography is two pictures of each breast — top to bottom and side to side. So your breasts get pressed pretty flat in the former and then smooshed tightly for the latter. It wasn’t that awful. (Apparently breast size makes no difference.)

One thing you really want to keep in mind: do NOT, not ever, schedule this exam the week before your moontime. In fact, if you can schedule it for the week following your flow, that is ideal.

So, ladies: have you had your mammogram?

Florida = Prejudice

I have a number of politics/freedom related posts to upload, but here’s a quickie.

The ACLU reported today that the Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in an ACLU lawsuit challenging Florida’s law banning lesbians and gay men from adopting. This was a response to Florida’s challenge to the 11/25/08 ruling by the Juvenile Court that a gay couple could adopt. (The full post is here.)

I want to draw your attention to something in particular:

Despite these admissions by DCF, the agency responsible for child welfare in Florida, the State’s lawyers put on expert witnesses who offered an outlandish menu of justifications for the exclusion. They argued primarily that the exclusion is warranted because gay people are prone to problems like psychiatric disorders, drug abuse, and unstable relationships. They also asserted that gay parents cause their children to be gay and that gay people should be excluded from adopting because society is prejudiced against them and their children might be exposed to that prejudice.

What if the word ‘gay’ was changed to ‘black’ or ‘asian’? Or ‘elderly.’ You would hear the howls of outrage from coast to coast. (Never mind the incredible circular logic of that last sentence.)

I’m beginning to think that an ongoing test of discrimination is to replace descriptor nouns with similar ones for a diferent population.

Snarking on Spam

This was caught by my (absolutely rocking) Akismet spam filter:


Did you ever think about creating your own blog? There are many great platforms, but by far the best is WordPress. It is fast to set up, however the themes just never fit my specifications. I searched for a simple solution to this problem and realized that there wasn’t one. I then had a template custom made for my needs and was so happy with the outcome. I then decided to build a website that would show the world how to easily hire an expert in wordpress design.

(link to ‘wordpress design experts”)

Because, you see . . . spam is still sent by idiots, to trap idiots.

Memo from HR

To: All Employees
From: HR

Re: New Management Style

The owner of this company has told HR to increase productivity by eliminating unproductive behaviors among employees. We have therefore developed a new mandated management style which is spelled out in the Micro Management Policy, effective immediately.

Micro Management Policy

Employees are to comply with all management orders, no matter how contradictory or unreasonable the employee feels it is. Management always knows better. Complaining about management, even in the breakroom, is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated.

Employees will be required to wear a bracelet with a monitoring microchip. This microchip will allow management to monitor employees at all times using a new computer program. The program ‘listens’ for foul language, key words (like the names of managers), and youtube videos. It also tracks employees movements. Employees who attempt to remove their microchip or hide it in a bar of soap like Tom Hank’s character did in the movie The DaVinci Code will be terminated immediately and escorted off company property.

As an adjunct to the microchip, and because management does not trust employees, all employees will need to keep a detailed log of their daily activities. These logs need to include every single action performed during the course of every work day regardless of how small it is. That means that if you have to blow your nose, it must be logged. If you need to get a cup of coffee, log that (including the time spent asking for permission to leave your desk).

Any time an employee wishes to leave their desk, they must ask permission from management. This includes mandatory meetings, breaks, and leaving for the day. All time spent away from your desk during work hours must be recorded. This data will be used to determine individual efficiency as well as to set standards for future activities. (For example, if a trip to get a cup of coffee averages out to 5 minutes, we will create a policy that allows for 4 minutes to do so.) Management will use this information to make a determination if employees are wasting time. Time wasters will be subject to discipline up to and including termination.

As part of this new mandated management style, employees are no longer allowed to speak unless spoken to by a member of management. To distinguish management for employees, all employees will be required to wear a purple cape at all times while on the company premises.

Any employee found without their purple cape will be terminated. Employees who accidentally spill their lunch on their purple cape and make a stain, will be required to immediately report to HR and will be required to buy a replacement cape (current price $50). The stained cape may not be removed until after the new cape is securely donned.

HR is looking forward to the increased production that will result after implementation of this policy.

(original created by Miss Blu and posted at SHRM.)

Three-Fruit Cobbler Recipe

J brought home very late season strawberries and they just didn’t didn’t look good enough to eat outright. But along with some grapes and blueberries in the fridge I felt like trying to make a cobbler. My camera was handy, so y’all get to see the process.


2 1/2 cups mixed berries (sliced)
1 cup sugar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons sugar
1 pinch ground cinnamon


1.  Lightly grease an 8-in-sq baking dish. Place the grapes and berries into the dish, and sprinkle with 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of flour. Dot with the tablespoon of butter. Set aside.


2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 3/4 cups of flour, baking powder, and 6 tablespoons sugar. Rub in the 5 tablespoons butter using your fingers, or cut in with a pastry blender until it is in small pieces. Make a well in the center, and quickly stir in the milk. Mix just until moistened. You should have a very thick batter, or very wet dough. You may need to add a splash more milk. Cover, and let batter rest for 10 minutes. (My hands were messy at this point, so no more pictures for awhile.)

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spoon the batter over the fruit, leaving only a few small holes for the berries to peek through. Mix together the cinnamon and 2 teaspoons sugar; sprinkle over the top.

4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool until just warm before serving. This can store in the refrigerator for 2 days.


Would you like a closeup of the bubbling edge? Sure you do.


Dinner Theater a la Teatro Zinzanni

As a surprise for my mom, and a way to have fun for my birthday, J and I took her to see Teatro Zinzanni last night. It’s my third seeing, the first back in ’99 with it’s original presentation (and Ann Wilson [of Heart] as the chanteuse, “Love, Chaos & Dinner”), and the second in 2002 or so (with J., at their temporary Belltown location “Dinner and Dreams”). Both of those times I saw the same emcee (Kevin Kent), which is interesting because the cast, and show, changes over time. They have world class performers doing acrobatics, juggling, magic, stage comedy (not stand up), singing, dancing, and — for lack of a more precise term — stuff. The menu is created by Tom Douglas and is of a fairly high standard.

We had so much fun! Laughed until we cried, ate good food and drank great wine (they do a wine flight of 2.5 oz pours — one for each course, five in all — for $35), and had a nice time chatting with the other people at the table. General admission is in booths along the outer ring.

The setting is a gorgeously restored spiegeltent (mirror tent) constructed at the beginning of the 20th century. There are only eight tents left in existence, one of which is at the sister Teatro Zinzanni production in San Francisco.  and The current emcee, Chef Caesar, leads us through the “All Dressed Up with Some Place to Go” event and we thoroughly enjoyed all of the acts. Most especially Les Petits Freres, Ming and Rui, and The Vertical Tango.

A word about that last one: the title is literal. Take a 50 foot pole, about 6 inches in diameter,add your partner, and  wrap your hands, feet, legs, arms around in in various combinations we you tango up and down, the pole.  Oh, and do it in time to music. Its incredible. Want to see? (Link opens a youtube video.)

Just for fun: here’s Ming and Rui (this one is for you Jeremy) and one of Vita Radionova, the company contortionist.