Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy Happy Happy!!!

Sweet 2013I loved this photo, which I found on Internet. Yum yum! Purrfect!

Well, it’s going to be 2013 in Italy in about a half hour. I’m getting ready to Skype with Stefano so we can bring in the new year together…Off I go!

Have a lovely New Year’s Eve and Day, everyone!!! Ciao!!! 😀

Yes, I’m a real person!!!

This morning a new blog reader’s message gave me quite a chuckle, so much so that I decided to share it with you all…Mainly, though, it gives me the opportunity to clarify a few points…First, though, here is the email:

I have myeloma and only recently came across “Margaret’s Blog” while researching curcumin.  The blog looks fantastic, with so much information.  I’d like to know who Margaret is, or how this got started.  Is Margaret a real person??  If so, I can’t imagine how she replies to all these questions nor how she has time to look up all these articles.  A little background please.  Thanks!!!

I replied to this message, of course, telling the new reader to scroll down my Pages on the right and click on “Living with smoldering myeloma.” The info therein needs to be updated (I’m now 51, not 49 years old, e.g.!), but it does provide a bit of background for those who haven’t been reading my blog from Day One. Another Page that new readers might want to check out is “My discovery of curcumin.”

Here’s the thing: back in 2007, when I first began blogging, I never imagined that I would come across so much information about non-toxic anti-MM substances. Not in my wildest dreams. I also never thought that my blog would become so big…to the point of being unwieldy, I know I know I know! Or so popular, to be super honest. :) So those two above-mentioned Pages were linked to each other. But that was BACK THEN…when I had only created a few Pages and had no idea that I would be creating any more. Hah.

Now, I would like to reassure everyone that I am indeed a REAL person. I’m married to my best friend, a sweet generous loving talented tall dark handsome Italian genius whose name is Stefano. We have been together for, uhm, 15 years or thereabouts…married for more than 13 years. Our six cats fill our lives with joy (and a bit of asthma, too…turns out I’m allergic to cats! Oh well!).

I have three university degrees (B.A., M.A. and Ph.D….not in the scientific or medical fields, though! 😉 ). I’ve always been a bit of a nerd…I love studying and learning new things. Always have.

And I love teaching (Italian or English). For the past five years (plus) I’ve been teaching English in a company in Florence, Italy, where I live now but where I also grew up (I’m one of those odd, purrfectly bilingual creatures…). I’ve recently also accepted a part-time, online job that has to do with English grammar. In my free time (!!!), in addition to doing research/writing for my blog, which means A LOT to me!!!, I get together as frequently as possible (at least once a week) with my fabulous, funny girlfriends…

I also enjoy cooking, reading, and watching good movies or “Downton Abbey”…and traveling (whenever economically possible…) and birdwatching with Stefano. Yes, I do indeed have a busy life. And it’s not always peachy, let me tell ya…My in-laws’ health has been steadily declining in the past few years, for example. And my parents have also had a few health-related issues. But, in my blog, I prefer to focus on the positive aspects of my life, which are many…Overall, I’m a lucky gal, a verrrrry lucky gal! And for me, the glass is always half full…Always!

I’m currently visiting my parents who live on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts, U.S.A. It finally snowed last night…So this morning, as soon as it was light enough, I went outside in my jammies, coat, boots and hat to take a few photos. That was such a glorious, happy moment for me. And in fact that is one of the positive lessons that myeloma has taught me: it’s the small things in life that bring the most happiness…like being out in the snow for the first time in years…

Yesterday I found a funny little item on Facebook (where my blog has its own Page, by the way). As follows: “Today I will live in the moment…Unless the moment is unpleasant, in which case I will eat a cookie.” My mantra. :)

A HAPPY, HEALTHFUL NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!!! 😀

Well, now here’s a lovely Xmas prezzie for us all!

This morning I read about a very interesting and important McGill University study on vitamin D and cancer and decided it would be just purrfect to put on the blog today. Here’s the link: http://goo.gl/dRR3e

Another VERY good reason to keep taking our vitamin D, I’d say. Eh! 

And, once again, I would like to thank my friend Sherlock publicly for having convinced me years ago (must have been 2006) to test my vit D levels, which turned out to be abysmally low…Without her, it would probably have taken me much longer to realize how important this vitamin is for us myeloma folks…Grazie, Sherlock! :)

Uhm, by the way, not that this bit of news should be a shocker for anyone who reads my blog, but curcumin inhibits the nasty aberrant c-MYC cancer gene, too. Another eh! 😉

Okay, time for our tortellini in brodo and salad with pomegranate seeds. Off I go!

BUONE FESTE A TUTTI! :)

Merry Merry MERRY!!!

Today I’ve been food shopping and cooking up a storm…mainly making broth (= brodo, Italian style with a few of my own variations, which include the addition of Nigella sativa, cumin and turmeric), with heaps of herbs and spices, so that tomorrow my parents and I can have the traditional Italian “tortellini in brodo.”

Yummmmmmmy!

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful Xmas day…and that Santa will be bringing you 500 kilos of catnip…or whatever else you might want…Though, come to think of it…

…What else could you possibly want???!!!

😉

Have a Merry Merry Merry one!!! :)

Skyping…

Yesterday evening I “skyped” with Stefano, who was already in bed, since it was late at night over there (Italy is six hours ahead of Massachusetts). After we’d been chatting for a while, I suddenly heard a rather pitiful little sound and recognized my Pinga’s meow/chirp. Stefano turned his iPad around so that I could see her, my sweet, lovely kitty, whose name means “turmeric” in Sanskrit…

I was so overcome with love and fuzziness that I called to her in my cooing tone of voice, the one I always use with the cats (unless they’re putting their little paws in whatever I might be baking or cooking aaaaaggggghhhhh! 😉 ). This time, though, she not only heard my voice (which had prompted her meowing in the first place) but she also saw my face…Well, let me tell ya, my poor kitty went absolutely berserk. She began running up and down the bed and batting her head into the iPad, meowing frantically…looking for me, you see…

Stefano hid the iPad immediately, and I stopped talking until she had calmed down. I felt terrible…but the selfish part of me was also happy to know how much my cats love and miss me. :)

Stefano then showed my face to Piccolo (= the “skyper” in our feline family…I mean, he really “gets” Skype). Piccolo looked at me intently, meowed softly, letting me know that he realizes I won’t be gone forever but will return to him as soon as I can…Well, okay, perhaps I’m reading too much into our “conversation,” but that is what I thought he was telling me. 😉

One bit of good news: Stefano finally has his plane ticket. He is going to arrive on Cape Cod on January 9th. He can’t get away any sooner because of his job (in fact, until a few days ago, we weren’t even sure he’d be able to get away at all, so this is such good news!). So even though we are going to be apart for the holidays for the first time since we met, many many years ago, we will be reunited shortly thereafter, which is wonderful, since I miss him a lot (and I know he misses me terribly, too)…

Until then, we have Skype, so in a way we will be together on Xmas day and New Year’s Eve…And I also hid a few presents for him in my closet at home…shhhh…

Well, it’s a beautiful sunny day on Cape Cod today, so I’m going to go out now, instead of, er, doing the editing I’d planned to do this morning. On a post, I mean. That will just have to wait a bit…Soooo, ciao…and…A Very Merry Merry Merry!!! :)

On holiday…

I can’t believe I’ve been in the States for more than a week and have completely ignored my blog. Well, okay, not “completely.” I do read blog comments, and I have replied to a few messages, but I just haven’t felt the urge/desire to write any posts, I have to confess. I’ve been running errands, cooking, getting and decorating the Xmas tree (after poking around in my parents’ garage, I found our family Xmas decorations, including a red glass ball with my name on it. My Mom decorated this ball when I was born, more than 50 years ago!, and it has traveled to Italy and back…Amazing that it hasn’t broken, in fact…I also found my sister’s glass ball, which is even older. They are now hanging side by side in my parents’ living room, next to the Xmas tree, which is too small to hold them).

Most of all, though, I’ve been spending time with my parents. We’ve been laughing a lot and enjoying our time together. Among other things, we’ve been watching, or rather, re-watching!, Season 2 of “Downton Abbey” while waiting for Season 3 to begin (January 6th!). I’ve already seen Season 3, but it hasn’t yet been shown over here in the States. My parents and I are huge fans of that BBC series…so beautifully done and acted…Incidentally, I just read that there is going to be a Season 4…what a relief! :)

And then that horrible horrible horrible massacre took place in the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. I really can’t find any words to express the horror and shock I still feel…But horror and shock are not enough. So a couple of days ago I signed a petition urging the White House to take action on the issue of gun control. I urge you to sign it, too (link provided below). I mean, if that young man had NOT had access to his mother’s weapons, this massacre would never have taken place. Case closed.

Fact: there are way too many guns in the U.S. And even if gun-restricting legislation were introduced and approved TODAY, there would still be too many guns. But…at least…it would be a start.

Here is the link to the above-mentioned petition: http://goo.gl/0bd0x And here is an interesting interview with a Harvard professor of health policy, which gives us some food for thought: http://goo.gl/YP1c0

I would also like to post links to a few articles I’ve read recently and that might be of interest to you, too. This one tells us about a (not too surprising, truth be told!) study on sulphorophane and lymphoblastic leukemia cells:  http://goo.gl/kgWle Turmeric and curcumin are also mentioned…

A liquid form of curcumin is being tested on children undergoing chemotherapy and suffering from oral mucositis, in Israel: http://goo.gl/GmuAQ I have read about this before, and I think I’ve reported on it in a previous post, but…no matter.

Last but not least, a Phase II clinical study testing curcumin on breast cancer patients undergoing chemo and radiation is about to begin (note: the study is not yet recruiting): http://goo.gl/9jwOZ. Interesting.

Stefano sent me a few photos of our kitties. I particularly loved this one, showing Prezzemolo (6 months old) about to jump on Pinga…probably…judging from the intense look in his eyes…

Back in the U.S.A.!

Yes, I’m HERE! In the States! I had a fabulous transatlantic flight yesterday (read: no major turbulence! :) ) and was hugging and kissing my parents by 10:30 PM last night. By then, I’d been up almost 20 hours. I did get some shut-eye on the plane, but I spent most of my time watching movies. As usual. By the way, I skipped the ones that I’ll be sure to watch with Stefano, like the Abraham Lincoln vampire hunter one (huh?)…

Anyway, the first movie turned out to be one of THE worst I’d ever seen in my life (I finally fast-forwarded it to see the ending and be done with it): “Two days in New York.” I think Chris Rock is rather funny, but no, not in this movie. Then I watched “Hope Springs,” with Tommy Lee Jones and fabbbbulous Meryl Streep (my favorite U.S. actress). Okay, so it’s predictable blablabla, but I really enjoyed it (and was glad that my marriage isn’t anything like that!)…Great performances by these two excellent actors. Thumbs up, in my book. Finally, I watched “The odd life of Timothy Greene,” with Jennifer Garner. Unexpectedly good. So, another thumbs up…

Okay, fast forward to Cape Cod. Mom, Dad and I stayed up chatting for a while, then I took a shower (to get rid of all those nasty plane germs, yuckkkk! As usual, I had people coughing and sneezing all around me…one woman sitting in front of me, in particular…I really tried NOT to breathe, but that’s a bit hard to do for EIGHT HOURS in a row… 😉 ) and went to bed. I slept like a log until 6 AM…then I woke up, a bit confused (jet lag can do that to ya), thinking that I had to go downstairs and feed the cats. Oh wait, Margaret, there aren’t any cats here! My parents, who are huge cat lovers, haven’t had a cat since our 17-year-old Micia (our beloved Italian kitty who traveled with us across the Atlantic as a very young gal!) died several years ago.

Well, today I have heaps of things to do, the most important of which is to go get a Xmas tree and set it up! Soooo, ciao! :)

Leaving on a jet plane…

I’d planned to write a million and a half posts for the blog this week (slight exaggeration! ;-)), but I just wasn’t able to…for lack of time, mainly. I mean, I’d even planned to have my usual set of blood tests this week, but then things just began happening, one after the other…So no, no tests. I’m such a busy gal! 

And now it’s Friday (!), and I’m leaving for the U.S. tomorrow. TOMORROW!???! 😯  Yikes! How did THAT happen? How did December creep up on me like that? What happened to the fall? It’s winter (a few snowflakes fell on Florence today!). Mamma mia… 😉 

Well, okay, in a nutshell, I’m leaving Florence tomorrow for Massachusetts, my home state, so that I can be with my parents for the Xmas holidays and most of January. I’m very happy about that, of course…  

The only downer is that Stefano won’t be traveling with me. In fact, he won’t be able to leave for the States until our main cat sitter returns to Florence in early January (then he and I will return to Florence together, after the middle of January). Very stupid of us, but we really don’t have a Plan B for the cats (that is, a second, super reliable cat sitter…sounds simple, but it isn’t…), and all of our friends are going to be out of town during the holidays, so…we’re stuck…  

Well, no matter: my parents and I can celebrate a belated Xmas with Stefano when he gets there. And in the meantime we can communicate via Skype, which is THE BEST invention ever! I want to see my kitties every day…yeah!

I still have a zillion things to do today, as you can imagine, and after I get to my parents’ house I’m sure to have at least a bit of jet lag, so I probably won’t be posting again on the blog until Sunday…

Too bad, since I have so much to write about! A few new SMM studies that are worthy of attention and a bit of discussion…I found one of them particularly irritatingrrrrrrrr (grrrrr!), but…okay…I shouldn’t get ahead of myself…So I’ll stop here and go back to packing…I’m in a pre-departure frenzy mode! Agggggh! So much to do, so little time! 

Take care, everyone. I’ll be back online soon!!! Ciaoooooo! :)

P.S. Here’s a lovely, heart-warming video on dogs driving cars (nope, it’s not a joke! Wait and see…): http://goo.gl/1OxtS

 The new Simon’s Cat video, “Icecapades”: http://goo.gl/xBvUt

And now, to get us in a holiday mood, let’s watch Aunt Chippy show us how to wrap a prezzie: http://goo.gl/os3BQ (I laughed out loud…hehe…)

Gotta love it!!!

I imagine all of you know what IKEA is. Yes, the Swedish ready-to-assemble furniture/home products company.  

Well, anyway, I have a petite IKEA story…

On Friday, yes the day after I was sick (by then I was purrrrrrfectly fine…), a couple of friends came over for dinner, and I brought out some dark lager beer I’d bought at IKEA…

One of our friends asked if he could keep the beer cap.

“Of course you can…but…why?” I asked, puzzled.

“Because it’s great! Take a closer look at it,” he replied. So I did. And I laughed…(We all laughed.)

Isn’t it hilarious??? 😀