Electrocautery – more age spot removal

SunspotIf you read one of my posts from last year (click here), you will know that I tried Cryotherapy to remove a few age spots on my face. Boo to getting old. Boo to my face now revealing the damage caused by years of baking in the sun. Boo to the word age spot too. It is also known as a liver spot or solar lentigo – I’m going with solar lentigo, sounds less old. I digress…

I recently returned to the Bay Dermatology Centre to remove another solar lentigo. And this is when I discovered Electrocautery.

Dr. Salsberg took a look at my face and suggested that we could do Cryotherapy again, or perhaps consider Electrocautery, which was her preference. Well, I don’t remember her actually saying “Electrocautery” per se, as I would have been a little intimidated if she used that word, but she described it as an electric needle. She said recovery was similar to Cryotherapy (i.e. a scab would form, which would eventually fall off) but that overall, the Electrocautery process is more precise. It would only take a few minutes. She couldn’t guarantee that either procedure would avoid any scarring, but that based on the results from my last Cryotherapy session, she felt that the chances of scarring with Electrocautery were minimal.

Electrocautery…what a scary word, sounds daunting doesn’t it? Here is an official definition:

 

e·lec·tro·cau·ter·y (-lktr-kôt-r)

n.

1. An instrument for directing a high-frequency current through a local area of tissue.
2. A metal cauterizing instrument heated by electricity.
3. The cauterization of tissue by means of one of these instruments.

The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

 

Here is my take on Electrocautery, as again there isn’t a lot of information out there (especially from a patient’s perspective):

- After a quick wipe down with alcohol, Dr. Salsberg immediately went to work. She said it would sting, and it sure did. It feels like your skin is burning (well, I guess it literally is!)

- She would pinpoint the needle on the solar lentigo for a few seconds, stop, wipe the area with a soft tissue and then repeat. It only took a few minutes to remove it.

- What I didn’t realize is that she actually removes the solar lentigo. You see, with Cryotherapy, your skin is sprayed with liquid nitrogen; the spot turns much darker in colour, then starts to blister (which looks gross), a scab forms and then after a week+, the scab falls off. In the case of Electrocautery, the solar lentigo is completely removed from the get-go; raw skin is revealed and a scab will slowly form that eventually falls off. Visually, Electrocautery is the way to go. So I have a red spot on my face for now…I’d rather have this then a dark, gross blister scab!

- I didn’t take a look at the whole apparatus or the electric needle before or after the procedure. It did however look very non-descript when I saw it hanging on the wall. I was just glad it was over. I hate any reference to a “needle” although certainly this did not penetrate the skin (only the surface).

- I asked Dr. Salsberg whether I should be using Polysporin vs. Vaseline. She said that reports have shown that both are equally effective, but it must be Polysporin ointment (I’m using the Triple antibiotic vitamin E enriched formula). She advised that I should refrain from touching the spot, and ensure I keep it constantly moist with the ointment.

It’s day 3 and so far so good! There is still some redness; not sure if that is an after effect of the procedure or a reaction to the Polysporin (or both?). And there isn’t a major scab, hope that’s OK. Here is my photo journey to-date:

Before

Before

Right after Electrocautery

Right after Electrocautery

Keep you all posted with the final results!

Day 3

Day 3

You must see Canadian Stage’s THIS

We have been seeing a lot of plays lately – we’ve come to discover we love going to them. And the latest find was an absolute gem: Canadian Stage’s THIS.

this_largeTHIS was described as a un-witty comedy of a group of 30-something’s going through life, becoming new parents, death, adultery.  But what we experienced seemed so much more raw and human than that. I’m not saying the overview posted on the Canadian Stage website was wrong, but I feel it made light of the central themes of this very powerful, yet at times humorous drama that haunted me to my core.

THIS, to me, was about the strength of loyalty in friendship and in love. THIS was about dealing with lives that ended to short and the impact to those who are left behind and feel short-changed. THIS was just phenomenal and another one of the best plays I’ve ever seen.

Once again, at the end, I had tears streaming down my cheeks based on the outstanding performance by Laura Condlin (Jane). Alon Nashman (Alan) was fantastic as well, injecting wit and humour just perfectly. I wish I’d brought a notebook to write down some of his one-liners.

I have never been to the Berkeley Street Theatre, but for THIS it has been transformed. Some sections of the audience are part of the actual stage, with actors often sitting amongst them as they continue to perform their roles. The TTC buses running by the theatre can be clearly seen through the theatre windows, which no longer have their shutters. This added genuine ambiance and was intentional to allow natural light to flow into the room and make the stage more “natural”.

All in all, run don’t walk as THIS is only running until April 13.

Shakesbeer: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

Shakesbeer

 

 

 

 

 

To abridge or not to abridge…that is the question. Well, this group decided to abridge, and we had a blast seeing it unfold. Shakesbeer: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), presented by the Classical Theatre Project. Imagine, all of Shakespeare’s plays condensed into 90 minutes. Blasphemy!

Held in the Artscape Wychwood Barns, a trio of local male actors took us through quick synopses of Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies like Romeo & Juliet, Merchant of Venice and King Lear. Dressed in neon tights and surfer shorts, the actors interchanged between characters in a moment’s notice, with the help of a wig or puppet. But what made this super entertaining is that it was full of hilarious moments and modern-day references. Othello was presented in a rap. Many of Shakespeare’s comedies are critiqued by some as being very similar – a good segue way to mix a dozen of them into a funny dance routine. One of Shakespeare’s plays was re-eacted through a chicken football play-by-play. There were various barfing and tooting references too. Hamlet was the big finale; without giving it away, they presented it in three different ways, including backwards, which was very entertaining.

Because we were late to the performance (oops!), we were forced to sit in the front row. Serves us right, as we were integrated into the dialogue at times. The “King” practically sat in my hubby’s lap, and at one point I slightly jumped out of my seat when one of the actors came leaping towards me and barfed in my lap. We were literally in spitting distance from the stage, dodging the occasional spittle flying at us.

IMG_1231All in all, great acting and great fun. I hate to admit that I’m not familiar with all of his plays, but Shakesbeer was a hilarious take on Shakespeare’s work, without all of the boring drama (if it isn’t your thing). Oh, where does the beer in “Shakesbeer” come in? They had local craft beer and other gourmet food stands in the hall. If we had arrived earlier we probably would have taken advantage of it more.

Live Food Bar – Juice Cleanse

IMG_1100On the heels of my friends’ week-long juice cleanse a little while ago, I decided to join in…but only for one single day. I had always wanted to do a detox, but felt that a vitamin/pill program a gross way to go about it (sorry). I had stopped by Live Food Bar recently and their welcome sign called out to me: “Why not try a Juice Cleanse?” I immediately thought, yah…why not? (damn Marketers).

$80 later, I brought home a 7 bottle juice cleanse program. Honesty, I couldn’t have been bothered to make the juices myself, or figure out the juice recipes for the day. That would have meant going to buy all the produce and chopping it up. Yep, I’m friggin’ lazy. It also would have meant the purchase of a juicer – which if I were to seriously pursue, would mean a $400-$500 expenditure. When it comes to toys, I don’t like to cheap out. So in the grand scheme of things, spending $80 was a cheap option for this one day adventure.

Here is how my juice day flowed (hee hee):

IMG_11078:30 am Chlorophyll – dark green water tasted like watery algae. Not as bad or nauseating as I thought it would be.

10:30 am Green Immunity – yummy! Very green tasting with a hint of apple.

12:30 pm Detox – also delicious! Was happy the fennel was not too strong, helped by the pineapple juice.

IMG_11092:30 pm Green Immunity

4:30 pm Refresh – strong on the lemon, tangy but tasty

6:30 pm Red Balance – beets and carrots, nice change from the greens

8:30 pm Cashew – this was like dessert, absolutely yummy!

Overall, the juices were just DELICIOUS!!! I didn’t feel as famished as I thought, except for at the end of the evening when my husband was taunting me with his Jerk Chicken dinner. Only at that point, did I have a craving for solid food…and I hate to admit it but I cheated with a few bites.

Sigh…I have no will power. But I wasn’t doing this cleanse to lose weight; I just wanted to flush stuff out. So did anything “happen” during my one day adventure? No. I certainly went to the bathroom a lot, but it as just to pee. I had anticipated maybe having to go do a #2 more frequently during the day (I only wish). I wasn’t as cranky as I thought I would be. And I didn’t break out – phew. I actually felt best a couple of days after the cleanse.

All in all, this juice cleanse was a yummy and good experience…one I would definitely do again.

 

NYC: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Who's afraidWe were in NYC a few weekends ago and saw THE most amazing play: “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”. I never read the book (actually play) and I will admit, I absolutely hated the movie. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton drove me batty!! But as we were celebrating the hubby’s bday, and this was his bday wish, I of course obliged.

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” centers around a dysfunctional married couple who invite a younger couple over to their home for late-night cocktails. The awkardness of the entire evening spills out in front of you, as you experience the passive-aggresive anger between George and Martha and we learn some of their deepest darkest secrets that no one would want to be a part of. Meanwhile, the younger couple try to alleviate the tension of the evening through light-hearted conversation, but unfortunately get wrapped up in the awful spiral of George and Martha’s cringe worthy tete-a-tete.

The performance by the four actors was, in all honesty, absolutely spell-binding. These names may not mean anything to you, but they were incredible: Tracy Letts (George), Amy Morton (Martha), Carrie Coon (Honey), Madison Dirks (Nick). “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” is a three-hour play, with two intermissions…not easy, light entertainment let me tell you. But after the three hours, I was transported into their painful lives, and was left with tears streaming down my cheeks. I was honestly surprised how immersed I got into the story (and no, it was not because of the wine). Even the lead actress seemed highly emotional as she was doing her bow.

Unfortunately, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” has done its run in NYC, this review has come too late. But if you do ever get a chance to see this play, and can take a gritty drama, run to the ticket office. This was well worth $100 a ticket. I’m definitely giving the movie a second chance.

 

Definitely Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd show

Comfortably NumbWe checked out “Comfortably Numb – Canada’s Pink Floyd show” at Opera House on Friday night. This was our second Pink Floyd experience, and was another one of our spontaneous concert purchases over the last few months. I really didn’t know what to expect, and had not done any research before the show. But Q107 introduced the band and indicated that this group was one of the top 3 Pink Floyd cover bands in the world. Sweet!!

P1010436The Opera House wasn’t packed; too bad for the band, but amazing for us as we were front and centre, just a few feet away from the performers. They claim a 3 hour show – really, it was a solid 2 1/2 hours of tunes with about a 20 min. intermission. I honestly didn’t recognize the first two song, but then they headed into “Dark Side of the Moon”, “Animals”, and “Wish You Were Here” and I was in heaven. The second half of their show consisted predominantly of songs from “The Wall” (an album that I’m honestly not as familiar with), but they kicked it off with “Shine On You Crazy Diamonds”, a 15 minute epic which was incredible. They focused on Pink Floyd circa ’69-’83.

IMG_1137The only female in the band stole the show with her solo during “Dark Side of the Moon”. It was a very simple set, with the music being the focal point. Many band members hail from Ontario, which is cool. This was a great show for Pink Floyd fans…although I could have done with more atmosphere and seating of some sort (my legs were killing me after standing for 3 hours), “Comfortably Numb – Canada’s Pink Floyd Experience” was excellent!

Check them out the next time they come to town! Their next stop: Gatineau, QC (click here). 

 

Robin Hood: The Legendary Musical Comedy (Hart House Theatre)

4_hht_robin-300x300A friends of ours suggested that we check out Robin Hood: The Legendary Musical Comedy at Hart House Theatre last night. He had previously worked with the creators and producers of the musical, a Halifax-based theatre company called Shakespeare By The Sea.

I love musicals…paired with Robin Hood? Sure, why not. It was time to inject some theatre culture into our daily repertoire. And boy, am I glad we went.

Robin Hood: The Legendary Musical Comedy is a funny, satirical musical that spoofs the famous legendary story of Robin Hood, packed with a number of entertaining musical numbers coupled with fast-paced, witty dialogue and modern pop culture & political references. The writing was truly brilliant, the singing and choreography was very well done – the audience clapped and cackled (well, not all of us…but there was a ton of laughter) throughout the show. My husband is still re-counting a number of the lines.

I’m not sure if they do this every evening, but we were also privileged to be a part of their Q&A session after the show. The entire Robin Hood cast, along with the Director and creators, attended and answered a number of questions from the audience. It was very cool to get some insight into some of the “tricks” they use to pull off some of their stunts. It was also very interesting to learn how this musical has evolved over the last eight years, starting from its humble beginnings as a short musical comedy with a small cast, to today where it honestly has the potential to become a Broadway hit.

For me, highlights of the show (without giving much away) include the back-and-forth banter and musical numbers with King John and the Sheriff. From the Q&A session, I gathered that a number of their lines may be ad-libbed – which makes each performance a unique experience for the cast and audience members alike. The Friar Tuck character was also very amusing. The lead actor playing Robin Hood kept reminding me of a mix of one of my previous bosses & Bruce Campbell (aka Army of Darkness)…in tights.

All-in-all, Robin Hood: The Legendary Musical Comedy was a fantastic experience and well worth the money. Tickets are only $25 each. Hurry as it only runs Jan 11-26 (Wed-Sat at 8 pm, with a 2 pm matinee on Sat). Click here for more details.

P.S. Ladies: to avoid the washroom lines-ups, take the elevator to “B” – there is another washroom on that floor. 

 

Build on your strengths (not your weaknesses) – StrengthsFinder 2.0

StrengthsFinder 2.0I did some soul searching over the Holidays, and discovered this book “StrengthsFinder 2.0“. I had the original version Now Discover Your Strengths and remembered really resonating with the philosophy of the book. But because I had bought the book used, I wasn’t able to answer the accompanying on-line assessment …and I never bothered to buy a new book to get the unique access code.

What got me interested again?

(From the inside jacket) “Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? Chances are , you don’t. All too often, our natural talents go untapped. From the cradle to cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths.”

Think about it…a good portion of the performance review process is about building a plan to overcome a (politically correctly described) area of opportunity –> a.k.a. weakness. When do managers, let alone us individuals, ever spend the time to hone down on our top strengths, and then build on them? It’s so easy to highlight the areas that we fall short on, but when do we ever spend the time to toot our own horn and really demonstrate “Hey, I kick ass at this”?

This other segment of StrengthsFinder 2.0′s introduction also hit home for me: “When we’re able to put most of our energy into developing our natural talents, extraordinary room for growth exists.  So, a revision to the “You-can-be-anything-you-want-to-be” maxim might be more accurate: You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of what you already are. “

Why is it that we try to mould ourselves (or others for that matter) into someone that we aren’t? What happened to being true to ourselves?

OK, enough philosophizing here…what does the book give you? Based on insights from millions of interviews regarding employee engagement and human strengths, the author & team created a set of 34 themes – the most common talents – they could glean from all of the data. Here is more about the research behind the book. By answering the on-line assessment, the program will help identify your top 5 strengths/themes along with ideas to help get these ideas into action. The on-line questionnaire only took 30 minutes; many questions I wasn’t sure how to answer, but you only have 20 seconds per question, and the point is to provide your top-of-mind answer.

Overall, I found the results of the assessment very interesting – it has certainly made me more self-aware of what my strengths are, and more aware of specific roles and responsibilities & environments that better fit my natural talents and tendencies. I would say that I agree with 4 out of 5 of the themes highlighted as my strengths. One I’m still on the fence about (only in its definition accordingly to the author, not with the name of the theme itself).

This book has helped me start a foundation from which my soul-searching can continue to build upon. This is not a U2 song, but I still haven’t found all of the answers I’m looking for yet. But identifying my strengths has been a great first step. If you don’t know where to look, you have to start somewhere. So best to start from your core, where you shine the best. I truly believe that. 

(P.S. Currently 30% off at Chapters Indigo)

 

 

Ramen tour continues at Momofuku Noodle Bar

I wouldn’t say I’m becoming a ramen expert, but over the past few weeks, I’ve certainly had more than my fair share of ramen noodles. The number of ramen shops popping in Toronto is outrageous, and being a noodle lover, I just have to go check them out. If you haven’t read my earlier posts, check them out here for Raijin Ramen & Sansotei Ramen, and here for my review of Santouka Ramen.

My next stop was Momofuku Noodle Bar.

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Momofuku has had tons of hype since it arrived in Toronto a few months ago. To be honest, the reviews have been mixed, but I’ve been dying to go, even to their “cheap” noodle bar…just to say I have experienced the menu from infamous New York chef, David Chang. So I finally made my way over the holidays, and luckily got a great seat at the counter.

I ordered two of their signature dishes. The Momofuku Ramen was OK, the broth seemed nicely balanced in taste. But I thought the noodles were too soft, and I like a slightly more cooked egg (vs. a practically raw yolk with little egg white). The pork was way too fatty for me; I’m sure many ramen/pork fat lovers were crying “sacrilege” as I peeled away the fatty bits. The kimchi was a nice touch though.

IMG_1090The serving was a bit small, so luckily I ordered another side. The pork buns were very disappointing. Again, the pork was too fatty, and overall it was very bland. And talk about expensive: $10 for two buns. Banh Mi Boys totally kick their ass in this area.

Lastly, service was terrible. I was there on Jan 3 around 1 pm, it really wasn’t that busy. It took forever to place my order. It doesn’t help that the waiters are dressed in regular clothes, so I kept confusing them with dining customers. I didn’t find the wait staff that friendly or hospitable either.

After spending $32.49 (including tax and tip) for the ramen and buns, I will take a pass. Honestly, Momofuku Noodle Bar is more hype than it’s worth.

Next stop: Ryoji (opening Jan 15!)

 

The Ramen craze in TO (part 2)

I’m starting to understand that this Ramen craze is all about how creamy and rich the traditional “Tonkotsu” broth is, from boiling pork bones, fat, and collagen over high heat for hours. [Sorry if that sounds gross, but that's how it's made...accordingly to Wikipedia.] This makes the broth cloudy white, with a consistency and taste similar to rich milk and butter. Sure you can get other versions of broth like Miso” (soybean) which is apparently just as hearty, or ”Shio” (salt) or “Shoyu” (soy sauce) which are both clear…but I believe “Tonkotsku” is the benchmark. And beyond that, it’s how tender the accompanying pork is – it should melt in your mouth – and then how perfectly al dente the ramen noodle is. I’m still not sold personally, but I do love a bowl of noodles.

IMG_1069So my journey of discovery continued the other day at Santouka Ramen (91 Dundas St East). I decided to go early at 11:30 am and luckily I did, because by 11:45, the place was packed with a line-up starting to form out the door. The menu is extensive, and a little overwhelming, but thankfully they have good descriptions so you know what you’re ordering. Although I said I wouldn’t do it again (given how gross I felt after Sansotei), I went for their signature dish: Tokusen Toroniku Ramen but asked for it to be less fatty and salty. Good to know you can order it this way.

 

IMG_1067The toppings were served on the side, and what makes this dish extra special is that the meat is simmered pork cheek (jowl). This is very rare, therefore quantities are limited – first come, first served. Well, I will agree that the pork melted in my mouth…super tender. It was kind of fun to dress up the soup noodles as I wished with the accompanying black fungus, green onions, bamboo shoots, and some orange ball (if I remember correctly, seemed anise-like). It was a tasty dish for sure, but once again, I felt like a lump of potatoes afterwards. This broth is just too rich for my palate. And at $16 a pop, well I don’t think I’ll be having this on a weekly basis.

How did Santouka Ramen compare to others I’ve tried so far (click here for my other review)? Well, it was good but I’d still have to say Sansotei Ramen is in the slight lead. Why? Well, at first sip, the soup was incredible where I actually thought to myself “wow”. And the skin of the pork was sooooo yummy, and I’m not usually a skin type of gal. So despite the fact that I find Tonkotsku too heavy, I still give Sansotei Ramen my stamp of approval.

Next stop: Momofuku Noodle Bar.