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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Needles & Nurses & Cells, Oh My

breast cancer awareness




I recall my first mammogram. Not fondly. The amount of pain shocked me. So did the doctor.


This was pre-Women’s Imaging Center, when I was living in Chicago. Pre-sister’s cancer diagnosis, too. My doctor was a solo practitioner radiologist so everybody stepped into her office to get their results.



After a poker-faced review of my images right in front of me, the doctor slapped both hands on her desk and demanded, “So, what do you want to know?



“You want to know if you have cancer.
   Well, you don’t.”


Hold on, Nellie. I DID NOT WANT TO KNOW IF I HAD CANCER. “Do I have cancer?” was not on my list of questions at all. I didn’t have a list of questions. The sole purpose for my masochistic visit was that I recently turned 40.

Breast Cancer Awareness Months and Months and Months

Monthly Self Exam


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.



To paraphrase the Bard, “Some are born aware, some achieve awareness, and some have awareness thrust upon them.”



Count me in that last group.



Agreed, you’d have to be headless or TV-less to duck the October deluge of heart-string-tugging ads from corporations rolling out their pink carpets, t-shirts and limited edition packaging. Breast cancer #humblebrags are thrust on all of us 24/7/3



Not that there is anything wrong with that:



Big business = big bucks = support for research, education and screenings.



Awareness and money are raised by the fully array of entities: Ford Motors, an early partner with breast cancer organizations; Comcast-NBCU, whose Chairman is married to a survivor; and even the NFL where for four weeks, attention to women’s breasts is not offensive.



When it’s over-the-top cloying or annoying, we can hit mute or change the channel until orange and black and red and green replace pink in our collective color coding. By the time we turn back the clocks, we tune out breast cancer.





Awareness hits you like a Ford Focus. Like me. Now I can’t keep my eye on the ball. My favorite fall TV shows have been bumped by non-stop, live coverage of….



My left boob.

Are You the Best Supporting Actress to Everyone in Your Life?

and the emmy goes to


And the Award for Best Supporting Actress goes to….. YOU!



You, because as a single woman, you are the best of the best at being supportive to the cast of characters you have in your life.



Whether it’s the drama queen or crazy be-atch you hang out with, the weird uncle you get stuck with, the fun aunt you travel with…. the nosy neighbor, long-suffering parent, work husband, childhood pal, incompetent boss or irritating coworker…



You listen. You ask questions. You give solicited advice or simple encouragement. You applaud, you bail out, you bite your tongue.



You help.  You show up.



You don’t expect an award, though a gold statue might look good on your mantel.

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle is the Hand that Rules the Remote

my mother myself


Last week, you voted for your favorite heroine for our “Let’s Make a TV Show” project. By a very close margin, Rachel Dennis, IT security phenom and CEO of her own company, beat out Dr. Faith Goodacre, family therapist who doesn’t believe in marriage.


Show Genre: Drama/Mystery

Heroine: Rachel Dennis, CEO

Concept: Rachel developed an algorithm to enable dynamic authentication for commenters on websites while in college. She founded and continues to run a network security company that provides credentialing and certification cloud-based services. To date, none of her solutions has been penetrated. Realizing this unblemished record is statically impossible, Rachel quietly examines her own business and finds some troubling patterns, all while keeping her clients happy and competition at bay.


The next step in the project, at least according to the internet, is developing Rachel’s backstory. Before even what she looks like, we need to know the people closest to her. Since this is, we are not giving Rachel a spouse. But what about a mom?


 We will be adding friends and other influential people to Rachel’s life next week but in honor of Mother’s Day, and in recognition of that ‘the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world,’ let’s figure out the mother-daughter dynamic—if there is one. 

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Carrie Bradshaw had a mother. We know this about the stylish Sex and the City star because, twice in seven seasons and two movies, Carrie pondered her father deserting her mother and herself when she was five years old. What was the impact and was it why she remained unmarried?



If You Want Something Done Right, Make A TV Show

Girl with a gun

“Life doesn't imitate art, it imitates bad television.” ― Woody Allen   Last summer, on a medical drama whose own death was premature but predictable, a 20-something woman was admitted to the hospital, bewildering doctors with her mysterious symptoms. Not me.     What took a team of neurologists and psychiatrists an hour-  a week in TV time – to diagnose, I nailed within five minutes.     “She has narcolepsy!”     This was one of the rare times something from my real life appeared on television.  My father is a narcoleptic. When I was a kid, the character’s strange behavior-- hallucinating and passing out a dozen times a day-- was normal in my house, even boring.     Note that this flash of my life before my eyes had nothing to do with me...

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7 Ways for a Sofa Socialista to Make a Great Second Impression

virtual socializing


Hell froze over.



You generated enough enthusiasm to shower and primp. You found clothes that didn’t cut off circulation to your extremities and were appropriate for the occasion



You ventured forth from your humble abode, leaving your safe space and your favorite spot in all the world: your sofa.



Maybe it was a conference where you bonded with a compadre over icicles in the meeting room and the line for the only ladies room.



Or a party where you found a partner to “guard” the dessert tray with you.



Or the coffee shop, the market, the bar, where you finally felt together enough to speak to the people you see everywhere, all the time.



You went, you saw, you conquered-ish.

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