Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sinfully good!

Earlier this afternoon I hosted my book club meeting and for dessert, I tried a new and really easy recipe for Molten Chocolate Cake.  It’s such an easy recipe and sinfully good!  Check it out:

Molten Chocolate Cake


  • 4 squares Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 tbs. flour 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Butter four ramekins.  Place on baking sheet.
  2. Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwavable bowl on high 1min. or until butter is melted.  Stir with wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted.  Stir in sugar until well blended.  Blend in eggs and egg yolks with wire whisk.  Stir in flour.  Divide batter among ramekins.
  3. Bake 13 to 14 mins. or until sides are firm, but centers are soft.   Let stand for 1 mins. Carefully run knife around cakes to loosen.  Invert on dessert dishes. Garnish with powdered sugar, vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  Serve immediately.  

I doubled the recipe and made 8 mini cakes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bothersome Booby

I have a bothersome right booby.  It hasn’t always been bothersome, in fact both boobies where quite useful through almost six continuous years of breastfeeding.  I often referred to myself as a human Häagen Dazs machine. Neither Olivia nor Yannick took to a bottle and would wait for hours to be fed straight from the source. 

Nope, this booby wasn’t deemed bothersome until I started getting mammograms three years ago.  From the first time I visited Pennsylvania Hospital’s Women’s Imaging Center, I’ve been the last lady standing at my annual mammogram appointments.  What should be a 45 mins. event becomes an unfortunate adventure involving multiple X-rays, ultrasounds and ultimately ends with a prescription for a needle biopsy.

Thankfully, the prior biopsies have come back benign, until this year, but I’m jumping ahead of myself because just getting the pathology report on this last biopsy was a raggedy ordeal.  First, the radiologist told me that I would hear from someone in “a few days.”   What the heck does that mean and who would be making the call?  I had the biopsy on Tuesday afternoon and by Friday afternoon; I was calling my OB/GYN looking for the test results.  I finally received a telephone call the following Monday informing me that everything was fine.  GREAT!  The only problem is I got another telephone call three days later telling me that a mistake was made and I needed to make an appointment with a breast surgeon.  The radiologist explained that the biopsy revealed a papilloma. All of this sounded like Greek to me or maybe I was simply in shock, but all I could think to ask is how does one go about finding a breast surgeon?  Should I look in the Yellow Pages, Google, what?  The radiologist recommended Dr. Dahlia Sataloof, but warned that I wouldn’t be able to get an appointment for a few weeks.  She assured me it wasn’t a rush, but to get on her calendar as soon as possible. I called as soon as I hung up with the radiologist and was offered an appointment the following week. 

Once I caught my breath and tried to digest all of this, I called my ace-in-a-hole, cousin/sister, Allyson.  She’s an OB/GYN and I knew she’d answer all of my questions.  I tried to repeat word for word all the radiologist said, but once I finished, Allyson was as confused and I was.  According to Allyson, a papilloma is no big deal and on top of being angry by how all of this had been handled, she insisted on coming to my appointment with Dr. Sataloof.  Sounds good to me!

After collecting the films from my previous mammograms and folder full of ultrasound reports, Allyson and I headed to my appointment with Dr. Sataloof.  Allyson was eager to get our questions answered.  We learned the papilloma found in my right breast was a heterogeneous tumor and although the doctor is confident it will be benign, the only way to be sure is to take it out completely and have it tested because if you biopsy one part and it comes back clean, the same tumor could be malignant in another part.  Once Allyson heard “heterogeneous tumor,” she agreed 100% that we needed to get the pesky bugger out!

Four days prior to my surgery date, I received a call from Sataloof’s office making sure I understood the pre-surgical procedures and reminded me to arrive at the hospital admissions with my insurance card, photo I.D. and my co-pay. Yesterday, while I was being processed by the admissions officer, she asked for my $200.00 co-pay and because my head wasn’t on straight because I wasn’t allowed my morning tea prior to my surgery, I assumed I’d heard her incorrectly and asked her to repeat herself.  It seems I’d heard her just fine and she needed me to hand over 200 bucks to keep this train moving.  I slid her my ATM card in total disbelief.  Maybe I’m naïve, but don’t you think someone should have mentioned the co-pay would exceed any of the fees listed on my insurance card?

Once I checked in, I headed straight to the Women’s Imaging Center where additional X-rays were taken, local anesthesia was given and two medium-sized needles were placed and remained in my boob to indicate for the surgeon the location of the small tumor.  All of this occurred before 9:15am and from the Center I was taken to the outpatient surgical unit.  More papers to sign, a briefing with Dr. Sataloof and the anesthesiologist and then we waited for my turn in the surgical queue.  Finally, at 1:30pm Dr. Sataloof came and apologized for the wait and assured me that I’d be going into surgery in about 10 minutes.  A surgical nurse came for me, I bid Loverman adieu and walked (whatever happened to being ushered in on a gurney?) to surgery.  

To be honest, I don’t even remember laying down on the table, it seemed the moment I got a hit of whatever knockout juice they provided; I was in la la land and felt absolutely no pain!  I started to come to before it was all over and remember hearing Dr. Sataloof saying that I may need another hit but I flagged her off and started telling the surgical staff and anyone else who’d listen about Miss Olivia’s accomplishments in the school’s science fair.  Like I said, no pain. 

Dr. Sataloof packed the wound and tightly wrapped my chest with an ace bandage.  After she finished, I tried to swing my legs over to the side of the table in an attempt to get down and as she caught me and asked me to lie back down, I explained I thought I was supposed to walk my butt to recovery since I walked it into surgery.

Post-surgical instructions include taking it easy for the next couple of days, no driving for 24 hours and no heavy lifting.  Loverman and I stopped and picked up my prescription of Tylenol w/codeine on our way home to wait for the pathology report.

Although, the road to resolving my bothersome booby hit a few bumps, my experience is no comparison to the horror stories I’ve heard throughout this endless healthcare reform debate. I’m confident all will be fine and I am so thankful for having adequate health insurance and the sincere prayers and well wishes from my family and friends.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I finished reading Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez about 48 hours ago and the story is haunting me.  It’s Perkins-Valdez first novel and let me tell you, she totally nails this little gem of historical fiction. 

Wench is set in the mid-1800’s at a vacation destination near Xenia, OH, which was frequented by well to-do northerners, white slave owners and their slave mistresses. The resort did exist and Perkins-Valdez crafts an incredible story told by Lizzie, the wench of a Tennessee slave owner, Drayle. In fact, the land that housed this resort is now the land where Wilberforce University, the oldest private African American university, is located.

Although Lizzie enjoys the respite of leaving life on the plantation and spending time with the other wenches (Reenie, Sweet and Mawu) in Ohio, she loathes leaving her two children fathered by Drayle in Tennessee with the other slaves and Drayle’s wife, Fran.  She uses this time with Drayle to plead and plot for their children’s freedom. 

I’ve read plenty of slave narratives, and I guess until I read Wench, I processed these stories, the details and brutality of slavery on an intellectual level, but throughout the reading of this book, I had visceral reactions to the absolute degradation these slave women endured daily.  Perkins-Valdez made me feel and understand in a way I never did before, the total lack of control the slaves had over every inch of their existence. In one brutal scene, her owner in front of the hotel guests, free Black employees and other slaves rapes Mawu. Mawu was singled out for this public humiliation because Lizzie disclosed to Drayle, Mawu’s plans for escape because Lizzie was afraid what the slave catchers would do with Mawu if caught.  Lizzie’s backward rational was rooted in sincere concern for Mawu.   Perkins-Valdez seamlessly explores the complexity of the relationships these women have with the wives of their slave owners and the other slaves on their plantations.

Unlike the other slaves, Lizzie doesn’t allow herself to really dream of freedom. She dreams of it for her children and sees her lot in life as Drayle’s mistress as their real opportunity to achieve both an education and freedom.  When confronted with the opportunity to flee, Lizzie cannot fathom leaving her children in slavery.  Deep down, when I allow myself to imagine being in Lizzie’s shoes, I know I’d probably follow her footsteps back to my children. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Pros and Cons of My Kindle

I was squirreling away my pennies, saving to buy myself a Kindle when Loverman beat me to the punch and gave me one for Christmas. To say I’m enjoying it would be an understatement.  It’s sleek, sexy and best of all, it fits perfectly in my pocketbook.

I thought maybe I’d miss the physicality of books, but so far, I don’t.  I also thought I’d miss trolling the aisles of Barnes & Noble and Borders, but not yet.  I also don’t miss the small piles of books cluttering my side of the bed, and oh!... did I mention that Kindle books are a lot cheaper than hard/soft book copies?

The first book I wirelessly downloaded was The Thing Around Your Neck by Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  I first learned of Adichie after checking out her TED address on the danger of a single story.  Chimamanda must have spent some amount of time in Philadelphia because a few of the stories are based in Philadelphia or a suburb of Philly.  Once I finished Adichie's most recent offering, I downloaded her first novel, Purple Hibiscus.  I finished it today and now I’m in mourning. I’ll miss the main character, Kambili, terribly.  I guess I’ll just have to move onto Adichie’s 2006 release, Half of a Yellow Sun. 

These books were so good that I often found myself reading late into the night and to be honest, as much as I’ve enjoyed reading books, I have discovered one huge drawback of my sweet, sexy Kindle---- once you finish the book, you don’t get the satisfaction of sharing your copy with a friend.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Longing for the Good Old Days!

Olivia caught me off guard the other night while we were sitting next to each other in my bed, me on my laptop, Olivia watching TV.  I was trolling through Facebook, not paying attention to what was happening on the TV when my girl asked me about a commercial that she’d just seen.  “Mom, what’s that stuff?” I looked up and asked, “What are you talking about?”  She went on the describe one of those annoying KY Jelly commercials that air all times of the day.  I feigned ignorance, and continued staring at my computer screen.  A few days later we were sitting on the couch and the same commercial came on and Miss Olivia pointed it out, reminding me that this was the commercial she was talking about the other night.   I didn’t want t lie, so I simply told her I wasn’t sure what KY Jelly was and I’d have to look it up. I promised to get back to her when I found out.

Back in the ‘70s when I was a kid, you never would’ve caught a sexual lubricant commercial on television before 10pm, or better yet, it probably would have never hit the airwaves at all.   I often find myself longing for those good old days, when it seemed easier to shield children from the overt sexualized, dysfunctional, coded messages flooding our airwaves.  I miss TV mothers like Carol Brady and Florence Evans.  Olivia regularly checks out TLC and feels bad that Jon & Kate Plus 8 divorced.

Loverman and I had a good laugh at the spot Olivia put me in over that damn commercial and he went on to tell me that when he was younger and asked his mom to explain things, she would often tell him to go and look it up.  Looking it up for Loverman would sometimes require him to go to the library, scour the card catalog and sometimes ask the librarian for assistance in understanding the Dewey Decimal System before he found the answer.  Oftentimes, Loverman said the thought of having to put forth such effort would diminish his need to know.  Now, when we tell Olivia to look it up, she grabs her netbook and googles the answer she’s looking for in less than 10 minutes.   Boy, have times changed!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


It was less than a year ago Yannick announced he wanted dreadlocks like his daddy and sister.  I gave him the same speech I gave Olivia years ago when she made the same pronouncement, “It’s a huge commitment, you’ll need lots of patience while it grows long enough to twist and once it’s ready to twist I don’t want to hear any complaints about how long it takes to groom-----o.k.?” Yannick readily agreed and stoically endured the daily chore of picking, brushing and combing what may be the kinkiest head of hair I’ve ever encountered.

Well, the little boy’s patience has finally paid off.  On Thursday night, while I was chatting on the phone, Yannick was sitting on my lap watching television and I mindlessly began twisting his hair.   At some point he realized what I was doing and in a conspiratorial tone whispered, “keep going.”  I had no intention of spending the rest of my evening twisting his entire head, but I had to admit the small patch I’d completed looked great.  When I finished with my phone call, I got up to put the phone back n the dock and Yannick dashed off to check out what I’d done in the mirror.  Olivia and Loverman both offered enthusiastic encouragement and I thought, “what the heck,” this was as good as time as any to get the job done.

Once finished, I was amazed at how wonderful he looked with his head full of little twists. They fit him perfectly. He grinned at himself in the mirror trying to catch a glimpse of his head at different angles.   We briefly discussed his new hair maintenance regime, including wearing a bandana to bed to minimize the accumulation of lint, getting up early enough for me to twist each lock and last but not least, keeping his friends hands out of his hair as much as possible. 

As expected, Yannick was up lickety split Friday morning, stopping first at the mirror to see how his hair faired through the night.  He got dressed, sat on the floor between my legs allowing me to tidy up his hair and as he went out the door on his way to school, I saw a handsome boy, completely satisfied and confident with his new look.  

Friday, December 18, 2009

She Did It!

She did it!  Miss Olivia placed 2nd in her school’s 5th Grade Science Fair and to say Loverman and I are pleased, as punch would be an understatement.

It’s mandatory for all 5th grade students to participate in the school’s science fair.  The kids are provided with an outline detailing the 10-week process and to be honest I was intimated when I first reviewed it. Loverman and I have artistic spirits.  Science isn’t really our thing, but being that this project represented a huge part of Olivia’s science grade, we knew we’d have to dive in with our girl to support her through this process.

Olivia decided to stick close to home with her experiment.  She wanted to learn if dog saliva prohibited bacteria growth better than cat saliva. She swabbed the mouth of our dog, Zoey, and our cat, Max; mixed each sample with a bit of Yannick’s toe-jam and after just two days, we witnessed the explosive growth of bacteria in the Petri dish with the cat saliva.  Let’s just say, you really don’t want to be licked by a cat. Olivia tracked the changes in the Petri dishes daily and we took lots of photos.  Once finished with tracking the results, Olivia had to create a display board that illustrated her process and the results of the experiment. 

The display was due on Mon., Dec. 7 and the science fair was scheduled for Weds., Dec. 9th.  Olivia meticulously wrapped her display in a huge trash bag before heading to school on its due date.  I felt good when I saw her confidently walk into school with the project and I couldn’t wait to hear how it measured up to the other projects.  When Olivia got into the car after school, I was bursting at the seams in anticipation.  She seemed pretty nonchalant about how her experiment stacked up to her friends’ projects, in fact, she was genuinely impressed by the efforts of most of her classmates.  It looked like I’d have to wait until Wednesday’s science fair to see for myself.  When we finally got the science fair, I saw quite a few of interesting projects, but Olivia’s definitely stood out and was one of the better-executed projects.  We learned later that evening that the winners of the science fair wouldn’t be announced for a few days, but I was very confident she’d get a good grade.

At the end of last week, I began to think the school would never announce a winner and pretty much put it out of my mind.  It wasn’t until Olivia came beaming into my office on Wednesday that I thought maybe she had received word about the science fair.  She proudly presented me with a bright red ribbon emblazoned with 2nd Place Winner.  Whohooo!  Olivia gave me the details about how the winners were announced and how hearing her name being called caught her by total surprise.  She even mentioned how some of fellow students were “haters” and tried to undermine her win by making snide remarks. 

Whatever!  There’s absolutely no shame in her game… Miss Olivia worked hard and is deserving of this win.  It’s not just that she placed, but it’s also great she’s being recognized for putting forth a lot of effort and doing her best, especially after a few disappointments this summer and hearing me and Loverman go on and on about how winning isn’t important all the time--- this affirmation of her efforts will go a long way in bolstering her self-confidence and let’s be honest… it’s so much more fun to win at least some of the time!