Four Steps Mothers & Daughters Can Take To Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program.

My Personal Connection To Breast Cancer
When I was a child, my grandmother was one of my favorite people in the world. Se was sweet and funny, and smoked, and always had us scratch her back. She had wigs in her bedroom which us kids always thought was silly. And, for one week over the summer, she and my grandpa would have each one of my three siblings spend a week at her house.

When I was around 10 years old, she died as a result of breast and lung cancer. I had no idea there was anything wrong with her until about 2 weeks before she died. I didn't know the wigs in her bedroom were because she had no hair from chemotherapy. I had no idea each of my siblings weeks at her house had to be planned around her chemo treatments.

I will remember her forever, and I always think of her when breast cancer is mentioned. As a mother with two daughters of my own, I want to do everything I can to avoid all cancer, but as a woman, I am particularly worried about breast cancer. I have removed all BPA containers from our home years ago. We store food in glass containers 80% of the time. Our family eats fruits & veggies every day, and I hardly ever use canned foods.

Scientists, physicians, and community partners in the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP), which is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), study the effects of environmental exposures on breast cancer risk later in life. They created a mother-daughter toolkit ( mothers can use to talk to daughters about steps to take together to reduce risk.

Please take a few minutes to complete this survey - to help with the important work the researchers are doing.

What is your connection to breast cancer? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :) 

How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran | Book Review

How To Be a Woman
Caitlin Moran

Published 2011 | 312 Pages

Rating: ★★★★☆

Ever since our nation elected an delusional, narcissistic celebrity to run our country, I've become a whole lot more interested in politics and feminism. My quest to learn more about feminism lead me to How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. 

This semi-autobiographical book takes you through different parts of the author's life, and how those situations relate to feminism. She discusses growing up as a girl, partying, her professional life, her sex life the ridiculous amount of time women spend on their appearance, having babies, abortions, and more.

Memorable Quotes
"But, of course, you might be asking yourself, 'Am I a feminist? I might not be. I don't know! I still don't know what it is! I'm too knackered and confused to work it out. That curtain pole really still isn't up! I don't have time to work out if I am a women's libber! There seems to be a lot to it. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?'

I understand.

So here is the quick way of working out if you're a feminist. Put your hand in your pants.

a) Do you have a vagina? and
b) Do you want to be in charge of it?

If you said 'yes' to both, then congratulations! You're a feminist."


“You can tell whether some misogynistic societal pressure is being exerted on women by calmly enquiring, ‘And are the men doing this, as well?’ If they aren’t, chances are you’re dealing with what we strident feminists refer to as ‘some total fucking bullshit’.”

"If you want to know what's in motherhood for you, as a woman, then - in truth - it's nothing you couldn't get from, say, reading the 100 greatest books in human history; learning a foreign language well enough to argue in it; climbing hills; loving recklessly; sitting quietly, alone, in the dawn; drinking whisky with revolutionaries; learning to do close-hand magic; swimming in a river in winter; growing foxgloves, peas and roses; calling your mum; singing while you walk; being polite; and always, always helping strangers. No one has ever claimed for a moment that childless men have missed out on a vital aspect of their existence, and were the poorer, and crippled by it."


"Batman doesn’t want a baby in order to feel he’s ‘done everything’. He’s just saved Gotham again! If this means that Batman must be a feminist role model above, say, Nicola Horlick, then so be it."

“I am getting incredibly high on a single, astounding fact: that it’s always sunny above the clouds. Always. That every day on earth—every day I have ever had—was secretly sunny, after all.”

“So. Yes. We're all dying. We're all crumbling into the void, one cell at a time. We are disintegrating like sugar cubes in champagne. But only women have to pretend it isn't happening. Fifty-something men wander around with their guts flopped over their waistbands and their faces looking like a busted tramp's mattress in an underpass. They sprout nasal hair and chasm-like wrinkles, and go 'Ooof!' whenever they stand up or sit down. men visibly age, every day -- but women are supposed to stop the decline at around 37, 38, and live out the next 30 or 40 years in some magical bubble where their hair is still shiny and chestnut, their face unlined, their lips puffy, and their tits up on the top third of the ribcage.” 

What are you reading? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :) 

Nepotism On The North Ridgeville School Board?

This is an opinion piece. The thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

  1. the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.


First, let me state what an amazing job the current North Ridgeville School Board Members have been doing. They get along and have worked together to make some truly amazing things happen in our community. The new school is amazing, our kids are riding to school on brand new busses, my son even has his own Chromebook for school, and for this, we have the current North Ridgeville School Board Members to thank. It is really a great time to be a resident of North Ridgeville, and I couldn’t be more proud of our schools.

The school board election is an important one this year, and I hope the residents of this great community re-elect Marci Saxon. I am actively supporting her, as she has been a key player in so many of these great improvements that have been made to our schools. Her election will be the best way to continue the quality education that residents of this great city enjoy.


That's what I wish I could say, but there's more going on here. I've also chosen to actively not support Mike Makselan for important reasons I feel should be made public.

Makselan’s wife is a teacher in the very school district to which he is applying to be a board member on. On the surface, it may seem like a good idea, but I strongly believe it’s not. A major part of being on the school board is negotiating contracts. Specifically, teachers contracts. 

According to Ohio Ethics Law R.C. 2921.42, regarding "Having an unlawful interest in a public contract"
(A) No public official shall knowingly do any of the following:

(1) Authorize, or employ the authority or influence of the public official's office to secure authorization of any public contract in which the public official, a member of the public official's family, or any of the public official's business associates has an interest;
(E) Whoever violates this section is guilty of having an unlawful interest in a public contract. Violation of division (A)(1) or (2) of this section is a felony of the fourth degree. Violation of division (A)(3), (4), or (5) of this section is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

According to The Ohio School Board Association, regarding "Conflicts of Interest"
There are conflicts of interest which all board members must be aware of so as not to jeopardize their reputation or that of the school district. In addition to actions and relationships prohibited by school statutes, other prohibitions are set out in criminal statutes and statutes enforced by the Ohio Ethics Commission. Please note that these statutes need to be read together. Even though under one statute there may not be a conflict, there could be a conflict under another.

Among the statutory prohibitions are:
•No member shall have, directly or indirectly, any pecuniary interest in any contract of the board or be employed for compensation by the board of which he or she is a member (Ohio Revised Code Section (RC) 3313.33).

• No member of a school board may knowingly authorize or employ the authority or influence of his or her office to secure authorization of any public contract in which he or she, a member of his or her family or any of his or her business associates have an interest (RC 2921.42).

• No board member may use or authorize the use of the authority or influence of his or her office to secure anything of value, or the promise of anything of value, to himself or herself, or solicit or accept anything of value that is of such a character as to manifest a substantial and improper influence upon him or her with respect to his or her duties (RC 102.03).
The above listing is neither all-inclusive nor does it list the many exceptions to these rules. They also are subject to interpretation by the courts, Ohio attorney general’s office and Ohio Ethics Commission.
I interpret this to say that board members are not allowed vote on their spouse’s employment contracts, and that this statute automatically voids any contract a board member votes on in violation of the statutes. In addition, board members are not permitted to vote on a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) if the board member’s family member is a member of the negotiating team.

The citizens of North Ridgeville deserve to keep the school board free of ethical conflicts. In addition, the school board is too important to have people on it who can’t actively participate. These ethical conflicts could remove Makselan from roughly 85% of the voting that happens on the school board. So, we would only be left with 4 voters for these situations, making a 2-2 split very possible for these incredibly important issues.

The obvious question is whether he will recuse himself from all discussions to which his family would personally benefit.

When asked this question on his Facebook Election page, he didn't seem to recuse himself from all contract negotiations, only ones that involve his wife specifically. He also seems to be under the impression that he will be able to participate in union contract negotiations. A husband participating in salary agreements to which his family could very will financially benefit from is a situation we need to avoid at all costs.

He then focus on how he will greatly improve communication. A post which he then deletes.

Uh, Mike Makselan's Campaign Platform? (Summarized from the deleted Facebook thread.)
  • He doesn't seem to believe it's your business, as a voter, if he is able to participate in agreements that his wife could benefit from.
  • He doesn't seem to willingly voluntarily remove himself from participating in conflicts of interest, but rather discuss such things with the school board instead.
  • He indicated that he may very well participate in agreements made for teachers as a whole, just not ones regarding his wife as an individual. He says one of his sources told him that technically, he could be involved in teachers contract negotiations as a union, but not individuals. (Though he says he totally wouldn't do that.) 🙄
  • His platform is no different than what's currently happening. He just wants "loyalty" and better communication. (Again, which he proceeded to demonstrate by deleting the entire thread.)

Fortunately, this is 2017, and I was able to grab screenshots before he deleted them.

"Respectfully it would be unfair and unreasonable to run for a position knowing that one of the most important functions you would be expected to be apart of you could not participate in. The schools need someone and deserve someone that can participate fully. I would ask that you take this into consideration as you move forward. Best of luck to you in whatever you decide."

"I don't know him, I don't know what kind of board member he would be. What I do know is he cannot legally fulfill the obligations of the office he is seeking."

When asked to comment for this post, Mike Makselan said, "I'm sorry I just don't feel there is anyway I would get a fair shake in this.  I will tell you that I am in the process of removing my Facebook page. To much drama and not worth the hassle. One of the reasons I'm not a big fan of social media to begin with.  I welcome all criticism as long as it is fair, and with Facebook to much gets lost in translation.  

I would also expect you to give full disclose in your story that you are a volunteer to reelect Marci Saxon and a supporter of hers.  I think it is important for the readers to know that."

Do you think nepotism on the North Ridgeville School Board should be avoided? Re-Elect  VP Marci Saxon. Heck, re-elect current President Kelly McCarthy. Just keep nepotism out of our schools. 

And... feel free to leave a comment below. As always, I never remove comments and welcome thoughtful discussion, comments, and, yes, even criticism.

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