Parasite in cat poop might be able to cure cancer…someday…

IMG_0983

One of my six cats. This is Priscilla, 9 years old.

If you’ve ever thought that cats are useless creatures, think again: even their POOP might someday bring us closer to a cure for some forms of cancer. The promising, er, ingredient in cat’s poop is actually a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. A group of Dartmouth College researchers discovered when that this parasite gets inside a human being, it is able to kick-start that person’s immune system. So now they are working on a safe immunotherapeutic vaccine to inject into cancer patients (by the way, this is all preliminary stuff…More testing is needed before any human trials can begin…).

Okay, without further ado, here’s one of the many articles discussing the cat poop discovery…I know you will find it a very interesting read: http://goo.gl/4xOTSZ

Oh, by the way, please do NOT try to create your own homemade toxo-remedy using the poop from your own cat’s litter box. Toxoplasmosis, the infection caused by this very naughty parasite, can be quite serious, sometimes even fatal!, for folks with weakened immune systems. (That said, I’ve always cleaned my cats’ litter boxes without any trouble whatsoever…as far as I know, anyway!)

Let’s let the researchers come up with a SAFE poopy parasite vaccine. No home remedies THIS time! :)

Curcumin gum!

When I first read this bit of news, I thought it was a joke: http://goo.gl/E1ufJA

But no, not at all. On the contrary, it makes perfect sense: by bypassing the stomach, the chewing gum system should be able to deliver more curcumin to cancer cells via the oral mucosa.

The oral mucosa is basically the skin inside the mouth, which has a rich blood supply and is quite permeable. Without going into too many details (such as first-pass metabolism in the liver and pre-systemic elimination in the gastrointestinal tract…), what happens is that substances absorbed inside the mouth enter the blood system immediately, without passing through the gastrointestinal tract where absorption is slow and subject to attacks by potentially degrading enzymes.

In a nutshell: the oral mucosa delivery system should be great for substances that are poorly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, such as curcumin.

That is precisely why I used to prepare a C3 Complex curcumin powder concoction using melted dark chocolate and honey. I would keep small blobs of this concoction inside my mouth for as long as possible, under my tongue (in an attempt to maximize absorption). I still add C3 Complex curcumin to our food whenever possible, and this fall I plan to experiment with coconut oil, too.

Well, how about curcumin chocolates…curcumin lollipops…curcumin candy canes? Hey, the sky’s the limit! :)

And, by the way, all my very best wishes to Dr. Nathan and her work! Hip hip hooray!

A near escape

IMG_6860Anyone who has been around puffins (= my favorite seabirds) knows that they don’t have an easy life, especially because of their main natural predators — the lazy, greedy and opportunistic seagulls.

IMG_6862I have seen gulls pull puffins out of their burrows, trying to make them drop their hard-earned mouthful of fish. And I have seen them chase fish-bearing puffins all around the colony. Some of these “pulls and chases” are successful, and the gulls end up swallowing their stolen goods…but others are not, thanks to the stubbornness of the puffin parents, desperate to feed their growing chicks.

Luckily, I have never seen a gull actually kill (and eat) a puffin…and yes, that happens…

Anyway, I thought I’d post three photos documenting a scene I witnessed last week on Skokholm Island (where I took almost 3000 photos!).

The photos show a herring gull attacking a puffin in an attempt to steal its dinner (well, probably its chick’s dinner). This is a common sight on Skokholm Island where the gulls, mainly herring gulls, hang around puffin burrows, waiting to attack the fish-bearing puffins that have just returned from the sea. IMG_6863

In this particular case, I am happy to note that the heroic puffin managed to fly off with its entire load of fish, after a very brief struggle. No harm done this time…

I apologize for the poor quality of these photos, but, as you can tell, my camera is not a professional one…

Still, it will give you an idea of what happened…

53!

Yep, today’s my birthday. I’m 53 years old! :) I feel a bit like the puffin in my current header photo (by the way, I took that photo at Skokholm Island, Wales, UK, last week) — young, happy, confident, strong, with my wings spread out…and with a bunch of sand eels (er…bleah) in my beak…

And to think that when, in the fall of 2005, I was diagnosed with (smoldering) myeloma, I thought I’d be dead within four or five years…That’s what my hematologist told us…

I guess I’ve proved him wrong, eh? ;)

Back then, in 2005 that is, I didn’t know much about myeloma, except that it was incurable. The statistics were really scary…and, almost ten years later, they are still scary. It was only years later that I realized statistics are useful ONLY in certain contexts (medical conferences, e.g.), but to us, individuals with myeloma at any stage, they are essentially useless…We are human beings–not numbers.

This became even clearer to me after reading Stephen Jay Gould’s famous essay on cancer and statistics, “The median isn’t the message” (worth reading again from time to time…you can look it up easily online). He was diagnosed in 1982 with mesothelioma cancer, which has “a median mortality of eight months.” As he points out, most of us would interpret that as “I am going to die in eight months.” That is not the case. The reality is that statistical distributions “apply only to a prescribed set of circumstances – in this case to survival with mesothelioma under conventional modes of treatment. If circumstances change, the distribution may alter.”

If circumstances change, the distribution may alter. Indeed.

Stephen Jay Gould didn’t die eight months after his diagnosis, but TWENTY years later — in 2002.

Based on my numbers, I should have progressed to active myeloma four years ago. This is not a wild guess on my part: in 2005 a famous Mayo Clinic myeloma specialist told me I’d have to begin conventional treatments in 2010. Based on statistics, of course.

But it’s 2014 now. So I guess I’ve proved him wrong, too, and I hope to keep proving him wrong in the years to come…

Anyway, it’s already a very hot day here in Florence, Tuscany, Italy, and it’s going to be boiling outside this afternoon, so I’ve decided to take the day off, lie in bed with my cats (under the cooling ceiling fan), watch movies and eat cake from our favorite local pastry shop, the best in town, in my opinion. And this evening, more movies and more cake (and pizzaaaaa!) with my Stefano…

What more could a girl want? :D

Leaving for…what do you mean? LEAVING??? AGAIN???

I know, I know! It seems as though we just got back from Amsterdam and now (= on Saturday…yes, I mean THIS Saturday!!!), we’re getting on another plane. Why, I’ve barely unpacked! ;-)

This time we’re flying to London, where we’re being picked up and hosted by a dear friend, Paul, whom I met thanks to the blog years ago. Paul and I began corresponding via email and ended up meeting on one of our UK trips and becoming very good friends. He and his family have been to visit us here in Florence, and Stefano and I have been to visit them in London…well, just outside London, to be precise (such a lovely neighborhood!). Anyway, we haven’t seen them for about two years now, so that is going to be wonderful.

Then on Sunday Paul, Stefano and I will be driving from London to Wales where, on Monday, we’re getting on the boat for Skokholm Island. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, type the word “Skokholm” into my blog’s Search box (at the top right of this page, just above “Recent Comments”) and you will discover that Stefano and I are totally obsessed with puffins = hole-nesting auks (seabirds) with big heads and a large, bright orange beak. IMG_0345

In fact, our bird watching hobby (by the way, my blog header right now is a photo I took a few days ago of a baby bittern at the Parco della Piana, a bird reserve just outside of Florence) began with puffins, and it was all thanks to Paul who suggested, more than six years ago, that we go to Northumberland (UK)…And that is where we saw our first puffins, on Inner Farne Island…An unforgettable experience.

Anyway, Paul, Stefano and I will be staying on Skokholm Island most of next week, just as Stefano and I did last year. Shared compost toilets, no hot water, no showers, no Internet, etc. etc. etc. It sounds a bit uncomfortable but really it is one of the most amazing life experiences I’ve ever had…completely relaxing…magical. In a nutshell: I can’t wait to leave. The puffin chicks, called pufflings, have been hatching, and I hope to get a glimpse or (even better!) a photograph of one this year.

I know I’ve been neglecting my research and my blog in the past few months, and I’m sorry about that. My blog is very important to me, and that will never change. But one of my best friends recently said this to me: “I’ve chosen to live.” Now, she was referring to the little messes that she didn’t have the time to straighten up in her apartment, but that sentence really rung a bell with me…for an entirely different reason…

I can’t change the fact that I have myeloma cells in my body. I know that I can’t run away from this cancer, and I have no intention of doing so. But myeloma won’t and can’t stop me from living. Not now, anyway…(fingers double crossed!).

And so, like my friend, I choose to live my life…the way I want to live it. And I will do so for as long as possible…I will keep traveling…enjoying the company of Stefano and of my best buddies and of my cats…rejoicing for my niece who recently sneaked off to Las Vegas to get married to her longtime companion without telling us or anyone else (way to go, sweetie!!! So happy for you both, yaaay!!!)…watching the World Cup soccer games even though Italy and the U.S. are both out now, argh…finding happiness in small things, such as an unexpected visit from a good friend (also met via the blog) yesterday…and planning future trips with Stefano…

No, myeloma can’t stop me. And so on Monday I’m going to immerse myself completely in the wonderful, magical world of puffins and razorbills and Manx shearwaters and guillemots and gannets and…the list goes on…

Life goes on…

:-)

Braking in Amsterdam

IMG_0357We got back from Amsterdam the other night. Vacation over. We had such a wonderful and interesting time…loved the city, its canals, its houses, its houseboats, its cyclists…(In the first photo, you can see the floating…well, at one time it was…flower market, on the right.)

We walked everywhere. And when we got super tired, we hopped on a tram, if possible. If not, we’d rest for a while, then keep walking. But, I admit, walking and walking and walking got to be a bit tiring…IMG_0064

And so, after watching almost every single inhabitant of Amsterdam whiz around on bicycles (I mean, they are EVERYWHERE…there are even traffic lights for bikes, see photos), and figuring it would be easier and faster for us to get from place to place on a bike, we decided we’d follow suit. Two days after we arrived, we rented a couple of bikes at our hotel…but it was not meant to be…

We went outside the hotel to unlock our bikes and get on our way. Stefano got his bike ready before I had done fiddling with mine, walked it over to me and asked: “Hey, does your bike have any brakes? Mine doesn’t.” IMG_0084Sure enough, there were no brake levers on my handlebars. 

I later learned that most Amsterdam bikes work on the brake PEDAL system. That is, if you want to brake, you have to back pedal.

IMG_0044Now, since Stefano and I have always used the hand-braking system, we weren’t about to begin braking with our FEET for the first time in our lives in a city chock full of canals. I could just picture one of us or, horror, both of us sailing straight into a canal. Splash! Nope, forget it.

So we never rode a bike in Amsterdam. Not on this trip, anyway. However, I would like to add a note of appreciation for all Dutch cyclists. From that moment on I watched and admired HOW they braked. IMG_0999Hats off!

IMG_0595By the way, we could have rented what I consider to be a “normal” bike with handlebar brakes. But in the end we decided against it. Main reason: Stefano wouldn’t have had his camera handy at all times, and by the time he’d manage to stop the bike and whip his camera out of his backpack, any photo op would have probably vanished. Biking and taking good photos don’t really go together.IMG_0425

And so we walked. And walked and walked. Judging from the map that tracked our photo-taking, we walked along every single canal in Amsterdam, on both sides, from Singel to Amstel, and all the canals in between (Princengracht, Herengracht and Keisersgracht are the main ones, plus all the minor ones, too!) from start to end…and often back again several times.

IMG_1005We were in Amsterdam on the day (Monday June 23) of the Holland-Chile soccer match (is anybody else watching the World Cup?). I really REALLY wanted to watch the game in one of Amsterdam’s big squares, surrounded by Dutch fans…so we went to Rembrandtplein. The square was packed with orange-clad fans both inside and outside the bars, most of which had TV screens. At the beginning of the second half of the game, Stefano and I finally managed to find a couple of seats outside a bar…and had a decent view of the rest of the game. I was very excited, and my camera was turned on and ready to shoot.

IMG_1013After Holland scored its first goal, all the Dutch fans around us jumped to their feet, clapping and cheering. I took a few photographs, but they didn’t come out as well as I would have wished, as you can see. And then, toward the end of the game, the Dutch team scored its second goal. Well, let me tell you, the square went absolutely wild with joy–everyone was jumping up and down…lots of clapping and cheering and hugging. So exciting. And glorious. And, for us, a historic moment (= our first time watching a game in a public square…). IMG_0710

And just as I was ready to take my exciting, glorious, historic photos, a message appeared on my camera screen:

“Change the battery pack.”

AGGGGHHHHHH!!!

So I didn’t even get ONE lousy photo. Not one. By the time I’d changed the blooming battery, things had quieted down.

This would never have happened to Art Wolfe… ;)

IMG_1056But then, later on, on our way back to the hotel, we heard loud and joyous singing as we approached one of the main canals. And there was my photo opportunity: a boat filled with young Dutch fans waving their arms and singing their hearts out. :-)

We did all the touristy things in Amsterdam. Taking advantage of our three-day “I amsterdam card,” we visited many museums (Goya, Rembrant’s house, the National Museum (not for free, but there was a 25% discount), the Amsterdam Tulip museum, the houseboat museum, the Museum Van Loon, Our Lord in the Attic, and…oh a few others… IMG_0098

Of course, we also visited the Anne Frank House, which  however is not part of the “I amsterdam” deal. Word of advice: try to get online tickets for the Anne Frank House, or you might end up spending 1.5-2 hours in a queue, like we did. IMG_0889By the time we saw the seemingly endless queue and  thought of buying tickets online, there were none left…even for the following day. So we stayed in line. It was worth it, though, of course.

That’s about it. I can’t think of anything else at the moment…

Bellissima Amsterdam!!!

Back in Italy…and off again…

I can’t believe that I’ve been back home with Stefano and our kitties since June 5 and haven’t written a post, not even a tiny post about…ANYTHING AT ALL!!! Well, a lot has been going on, and I’ve also been trying to get back into a normal routine = almost impossible right now, as you will see in a minute…

Let’s jump right in. The day after I got back to Florence (I left Cape Cod on Wednesday, June 4, arriving in Florence the following day), I found out that my Mom had been taken to Cape Cod hospital. To make a very long story short, she had sustained a new vertebral fracture (= spinal compression fracture–she suffers from osteoporosis, you see)…incredibly, unbearably painful.

The pain had begun, in fact, a couple of days before I left for Italy. Odd thing: it wasn’t located in her back, but in her rib cage area, and her main symptoms, as far as I could tell, were occasional but very painful spasms. And she couldn’t take deep breaths. Thinking that she might have bruised or even fractured a rib, I insisted on taking her to the emergency room, but she refused. And let me tell ya, when my Mom refuses to do something, she is impossible to deal with. The adjective “stubborn” doesn’t even cover it. However, since she was still moving around in the house, we all let her be stubborn…and I left for Italy as planned…

By Friday, however, the pain had gotten so intense that she finally agreed to go to the hospital. And that’s where they found the new compression fracture.

She spent several days at Cape Cod Hospital, where, after a few days, she had kyphoplasty (= basically, a procedure designed to lessen or even eliminate pain caused by compression fractures and also prevent them from worsening…a very common procedure for myeloma patients, by the way, and that’s how I knew all about it = a fact that impressed Mom’s doctor, whom I spoke with by phone, in fact…), which gradually diminished her pain to a semi-tolerable level. She is still in a certain amount of pain, unfortunately…but it’s certainly not like it was before…

A few days after the kyphoplasty procedure, just as the hospital was getting ready to discharge her and send her off to the same rehab center where my Dad spent three weeks after his stroke, a nurse noticed that Mom’s left leg was swollen and purple. And that is how they discovered she had a blood clot. So they kept her in the hospital a few more days…Sheesh!!!

The good news is that she is now in the rehab center and will probably go home soon. Boyohboy, though, it’s been really tough to be so far away from my parents. I felt and feel completely helpless…unable to do anything but speak by phone with my parents and their caregiver and, of course, with my sister, who is in Arizona. Such a drag.

In spite of all the worry, though, life goes on. It has to. I’m working, of course, though I still haven’t caught up with my backlog, sigh…I’ve met up with a number of close friends…And Stefano and I are about to take off on a couple of trips that we’d planned (and paid for!) months ago.

Our first trip will be to Amsterdam, a city that neither of us has visited before. We’re leaving tomorrow, actually, and will be gone until next Tuesday (Stefano’s cousin, and the cousin’s girlfriend, will be moving in with and taking care of our cats). Like many other Florentines, we’re taking advantage of the fact that next Tuesday is a holiday here in Florence: it’s the city’s patron saint’s birthday…St. John the Baptist, to be precise. This gives us a four-day holiday…perfect for visiting a European city (if you live in Europe, that is! ;-) ).

(Fascinating fact: did you know that Amsterdam has MORE canals than Venice? I’d have never guessed! And no, no way, I’m not going to count them! ;-) )

And then, in early July, Stefano and I are flying to the UK to meet up with our fabulous British friend Paul (whom we met via my blog several years ago, in fact). The three of us are going together to Skokholm island (Wales, UK) for four full days, mainly to see our beloved puffins. (We won’t, er, mention the fact that Italy beat England 2-0 last week in the 2014 FIFA World Cup… ;-) ).

Then Stefano and I are flying back to the States to visit my parents in early August…

So, as you can see, I’ve got a lot on my plate right now.

I would like to add that, since I returned to Italy, I’ve answered as many blog reader queries as possible, but please don’t be too upset with me if I haven’t gotten to yours…yet. Just to give you an idea, when I got home I found 2400 unread messages in my inbox. No kidding. True, I’d already read many of them while I was in the U.S., but there were still quite a few that I hope to have the time to read at some point soon = this will be a slow process, though. As you can imagine, right now I have to give priority to my own (paid!) work AND, of course!!!, to the messages I get from my family.

If you have an urgent query, though, try writing to me again, or contact me on Facebook. But not until next week, after we get back from Amsterdam. Thanks!

Please note that if your question has already been answered somewhere in the blog, or if it is an impossible-for-me-to-answer question, I might not answer it at all. Try using the “Search” box option…it’s so handy that I use it myself!

Finally, let me mention that I really REALLY appreciate the kind comments I’ve received in this period. I probably won’t get to answering those, either, due to lack of time, but I wanted you to know that they make me feel so much better. So thanks and double thanks for taking the time to write comments and/or send me private messages. Much appreciated! :-)

Okay…that’s it. Take care, everyone!!! Ciao…or rather, tot ziens!!! See you next week! :-)

More on the modified measles vaccine: a personal story

Many thanks to Karen for posting the link to a Mayo Clinic article that contains more details about the modified measles vaccine study that I discussed briefly in my previous post. More specifically, it tells us more about the woman who had the best response to the treatment, which gives us the personal side to this story…always very nice to have. An interesting read: http://goo.gl/rUyK9j

Fingers crossed for her…and for all of us!!!

Home…and a measles vaccine tested on myeloma patients…

My Dad is finally home from the rehab center. Relief! Joy!

As you can imagine, I have been incredibly busy in these past few weeks (so much to do!), but I’d still like to apologize for having ignored the blog for so long…AND I’d also like to thank those of you who have written me private and public messages of support…much appreciated in this difficult time, let me tell ya!!!

But really, things are going very well. Dad has made a remarkable recovery from the stroke (=it was a lacunar stroke, we were informed), and, as strange as this is going to sound, in my opinion he seems better than before the stroke, which goes to show that all the exercise he did on a daily basis at the rehab center has worked like a charm.

I’m still at my parents’ house, of course, and I will be here for another couple of weeks, just to see my parents through this initial phase. I plan to be back in Florence for Stefano’s birthday…June 7, that is. Because of what happened to my father, Stefano and I weren’t together on our 15th wedding anniversary earlier this month (indeed, I confess I completely forgot about it until now!), but I really want to be with him on his birthday…

Now for the measles vaccine mentioned in my post’s title: about ten days ago I was notified by many blog readers of a possible “cure” for myeloma. So I clicked on and read many of the articles discussing this matter. In a nutshell, two myeloma patients were singled out from a Mayo Clinic Phase I clinical trial testing a genetically modified, high-dose measles virus on patients with myeloma who had been through all the usual treatments and really had no options left.

From what I read, it seems that most patients did not respond to the modified measles treatment. But the news went viral anyway, based on the case of a patient, a woman, who went into complete remission, which is amazing news, of course…or so I thought at first. According to a Cancer Research UK article (see below link), the tumor she’d had on her forehead, which had initially disappeared during treatment, did return at some point and is now being treated with radiotherapy. So I wonder what that means…hmmm…

As for the other patient, also a woman, her myeloma initially responded well to the treatment but then, sadly, came back with a vengeance (that is, it was worse than before), according to the Cancer Research UK article, which I really encourage you to read, mainly because it has a lot of details about the trial, including dosage of the vaccine, etc. AND it is easy to read.

So, what to make of all this? Not much, in my opinion. It’s simply too early, and I don’t feel very excited about it. But, certainly, it’s an intriguing study…

And now for the links:

Here’s the Cancer Research UK article: http://goo.gl/Bufh7s

I chose this Medical News article mainly because, toward the end, it links to another article discussing a study that has found a link between the “aging” gene and myeloma….certainly worth looking into when I have more time: http://goo.gl/KR0sGs

Stefano sent me this article published in one of Italy’s top newspapers, the “Corriere della Sera,” proving that there has also been international interest in the outcome of the Mayo Clinic measles trial (note: the article is, obviously, in Italian!): http://goo.gl/5OCF4M

For those who enjoy/understand medical jargon, here is the link to the actual Mayo Clinic trial proceedings: http://goo.gl/b4QzPW

That’s it for now! Take care, everyone! Ciao! :)

Diverted…

Something else happened last week (weekend, really), which could have been really devastating, especially for me. It has nothing to do with myeloma or strokes, but with flights and airlines…

On Saturday Stefano left for Italy…or so we thought. As usual, at a certain point I began tracking his flight online. No problem, in the beginning. The airline’s website showed that the flight had left more or less on time.

I checked back about an hour later and discovered that his flight had been “diverted” and was on its way back to Boston.

Diverted? DI-VER-WHAAAT???

I immediately called the airline (which I won’t name…pointless to do so, since I imagine that all airlines react in the same manner…) and was told absolutely NOTHING…something similar to this: “I’m sorry, m’am, all we know is that the flight has been diverted and is returning to Boston.” During that first phone call, I burst into tears and began shaking (I never shake, by the way…And, FTR, my common sense kicked in after about 20 minutes, so I stopped shaking…but boyohboy was I scared…).

In addition to tracking Stefano’s flight on the airline’s website, I also used a website called Flight Beware (= not its real name, in case you’re wondering)…A handy Flight Beware graph showed that Stefano’s flight had turned around more or less around Halifax, Nova Scotia.

But…why had it turned around? WHY??? What had happened?

For three hours I tracked Stefano’s flight on every tracking website I could get my fingers on.

For three hours, more or less every 15-20 minutes, I called the airline, hoping for some news. And every time I got the same, standard, almost robotic answer: “Sorry, m’am, we don’t know what happened. Thanks for calling THE AIRLINE.”

Thanks for calling THE AIRLINE??? You’ve got to be BLOODY KIDDING!!! I know it’s part of the airline reps’  training (and in fact I resisted the temptation to get angry and/or growl…after all, none of this was the fault of the poor rep!), but really, under special circumstances such as these, the airline should really prepare their reps to handle things in a more reassuring way…and GIVE US SOME NEWS, for crying out loud!!!

Now, according to the airline’s website, Stefano’s flight should have landed in Boston at 8:01 PM. And that is precisely when Flight Beware–which, until 8:01, had been tracking the flight closely–suddenly displayed “no result.” NO RESULT???

I admit that I panicked and began calling THE AIRLINE almost every five minutes. Worst case scenarios popped into my mind, even hijackings, since the airline reps were refusing to tell me ANYTHING…

At 9:30 PM,, a reasonable rep finally let me know that the flight had landed…an hour and a half earlier…uhm.

Then, just a few minutes later, Stefano called. He’d just gotten through customs and had been informed that he was to spend the night in Boston. RELIEF!!! Happy dance!!! :-D

He told me what the airline reps hadn’t: about two hours into the flight, the pilot announced that a RED light had gone on, that it was therefore too dangerous to proceed and that he was turning back toward Boston (thank you, Mr. Pilot! If I could, I would hug and kiss you, every member of your family, and your next door neighbors…Grazie!!!). So it was some sort of mechanical problem…obviously not a big one.

And this leads me right into the main point I’d like to make: what possible security rule would have been violated if, shortly after 8 PM, an airline rep had told me that my husband’s diverted plane had landed safely back in Boston? Why did I have to wait another hour and a half to receive this information? I can understand that the airline reps would hesitate to inform me of a mechanical problem while the plane was still up in the air, but why couldn’t i have been told that it had landed?

Believe me, when it comes to airport and airplane security, I’m the first to approve. I take off my shoes before being told to do so, I don’t mind waiting in line for ages (lots of people get irritated when there are delays, but I don’t), I’m super careful about liquids in my hand luggage, etc.

Speaking of liquids…I follow the security rules, even when they don’t make much sense…like when, a few years ago, a customs official threw away my organic hand cream because it was in a tube that was more than 100 ml…And here let me bring up a pet peeve of mine, just quickly: if I’d put that very same hand cream inside a few 100 ml bottles, it would have been okay. Same cream, same quantity. Yet, as I recall, you can bring a couple of your golf clubs on the plane with you. So yes, I don’t understand some of the rules…But fine, whatever, no problem, lesson learned, won’t make that mistake again.

As you know (see previous post), last week wasn’t the easiest week for me and my family. And then, what happened on Saturday evening with Stefano’s flight…well, I don’t know how I managed to get through all those scary hours, not knowing what had happened to the love of my life…my best friend…my handsome brilliant soulmate…

Well, this experience highlights the need for airlines to revise their policies concerning customer “assistance.” In some cases, exceptions should be made…providing, of course, that no sensible security issues are in danger of being violated.

But this is just my opinion, as usual. And hey, the most important thing is that my Stefano is fine. He spent the night in an airport hotel in Boston and left for Italy the following day. He’s now safely back in Florence…with our cats.

Nothing else really matters…

It’s just a story…

Luckily…