Monthly Archives: September 2016

Voting from the heart

I considered staying silent on this matter. I really did. But then this morning I watched a powerful video that I really wanted to share with you. Here it is, courtesy of ABC News: goo.gl/Wgl2lb

_1160803It’s no secret that I’m a Democrat, a registered Democrat in Massachusetts. I’ve posted about it here on the blog. This year, though, I feel more strongly than ever before about what I see going on in the U.S. presidential campaign. This year, I really fear for my country…and this has never happened to me before, not even when I really disliked the other party’s candidate.

And this year, for the first time, I asked myself: “if the Democratic party had chosen a candidate like Donald Trump, would I vote for him?”

No. I couldn’t. I would vote for someone else, even a Republican (yes, I would, if the other choice were a Trump-like character)…or I wouldn’t vote at all, for the first time in my life.

So I don’t follow party lines. I vote because it is my duty to vote, goes without saying, but I also vote because I KNOW that my candidate is going to do a good job and not screw things up for my country and, let’s not forget!, the entire world…

There are a bunch of reasons why I’m bringing up this unusual topic (unusual for a myeloma blog, that is). First and foremost, because, as I mentioned, I am really SCARED. I’m scared about WHOM we might end up electing…

But I am also OFFENDED…deeply offended by what Mr. Trump said, and by all those offhand snide and sneaky remarks he said during Monday night’s debate with Hillary Clinton. (By the way, many thanks to CNN International for re-broadcasting the entire debate, which I was able to watch on Tuesday, around lunchtime.)

It’s not by chance that I am writing this post today, that is, just a few days after the first presidential debate. Here are a few things that really disturbed me while I was watching it…

Let’s start with the housing crisis. When Clinton accused Trump of rooting for the housing crisis, in which thousands of Americans lost their homes, their jobs, their futures, their children’s futures, Trump lowered his head toward the microphone and remarked, and I quote: “That’s called business.”

In other words, he actually bragged about making a profit off the terrible misfortunes of so many Americans. I don’t know about you, but that REALLY bothered and still bothers me. It shows what kind of person he truly is…

Moving on to taxes…Clinton brought up the fact that he has NOT released his tax returns (which is simply OUTRAGEOUS and unheard of for a presidential candidate, btw). The only tax returns we know about are a couple that date to the late 1970s (I forget which years exactly, but that isn’t the point here). These returns show that Trump had paid ZERO income tax. While she was talking about that, he interjected, “That makes me smart.”

Smart????? Really? Now, I’m hardly (hah!) a billionaire, but I have paid my taxes all my adult life. On time, to boot. I have paid taxes in the U.S.A., in Canada (where I did my Ph.D.), and in Italy. It’s our DUTY to pay taxes. It’s the LAW. It’s the right thing to do. But I guess I’m not “smart.”

I would like to add that even though I pay taxes in Italy now, every year I still file my tax return in the U.S.A. (I don’t make enough money to pay taxes in both countries, but I still have to let the IRS know how much I make over here, etc.).

It’s the LAW. The law, Mr. Trump.

Now, I know that NOT paying taxes is a felony in the U.S.A. So I can’t help but wonder how a candidate for the highest office in the country can get away with saying, indeed BOASTING, that he didn’t pay any income tax. In fact, that is almost certainly why he hasn’t released his other, more recent tax returns yet…and why he will undoubtedly NOT release them before the election, mark my words. He doesn’t want us to know that he has always dodged paying taxes.

Shameful.

Are we going to let him get away with it? But, even more importantly, is this the sort of person we want in the White House? Do we think that Trump is a good role model for future generations?

Of course, I could go on and on about all of Trump’s outrageous LIES (according to all the fact checkers, during the debate he told a lie every three minutes or so…every THREE minutes!), his misogyny, his rudeness, his temper tantrums, his ignorance, his womanizing, and even his inability to speak proper English and stay on course whenever he begins a sentence…But that would lead to a very long laundry list. Besides, it’s all there on the Internet…

I would like to end my post with an appeal, an appeal from the heart: fellow Democrats, fellow Independents, fellow Republicans, we NEED to prevent this rude, arrogant, self-centered, dangerous man from getting anywhere near the White House and the Gold Codes…

I pay taxes, I don’t speculate on other people’s misfortunes, I don’t interrupt people, I’m not rude and obnoxious, I don’t call other human beings “fat” “pig” or “slob,” I don’t tell lies (EVER!)…And I vote…

How about you?

P.S: The photo above, on the right, by the way, is of my absentee ballot, which I received yesterday. I am about to fill it out (voting for Clinton, obviously!) and send it off.

Watch and wait. A new blood cancer website

keep-calm-and-wait-and-watchI have a VERY important and exciting announcement to make today:

We finally have a NEW website dealing with the issue of watching and waiting for blood cancers. It discusses issues that are very near and dear to us, particularly “cancer-protective nutrition” and “supplements with CLINICAL evidence.” YAY!

“Watch and wait” doesn’t mean we have to sit back, do nothing, and just wait for the inevitable to happen. No way. There is a lot we can do, as I think I have shown in all these years…The worst thing is to feel helpless, but–as we can read on the homepage of this website–there is absolutely no need for that…

Here is the link: goo.gl/2y6FVn

If you go to “About Us,” you will find that one of the four founders of this great project is Dr. Terry Golombick (j’adore!!!). Incidentally, I owe a big-time apology to her, since I should have written this post a couple of months ago, more or less. But a lot has been going on in my life, and it’s only now that I feel that I can return to blogging on a more regular basis. Still, I apologize, Dr. Golombick!!!

Last but not least, I’d like to thank Dr. Golombick for having included my blog in the section devoted to curcumin.

Such an honor!!! :-)

Watch and wait…wait and watch…but be proactive…always! And, er, be calm, too,,, 😉

Normandy, August 2016

_1140683Continuing with my August holiday posts, I decided not to go for the standard format, that is, “on August 10 we did this, on August 11 we did that, blablabla,” which would turn out to be super boring, but rather jot _1140750down my thoughts about some of the places we visited…a bit similar to random diary entries.

So here goes…

_1140684When our friends arrived from Italy a few days later, we left Paris, and our Normandy adventure began.

The town of Giverny was our first stop. Giverny is famous for one of its inhabitants, Claude Monet, one of my favorite painters ever!!!, who lived and worked there from 1883 until his death in 1926. His house and gardens are absolutely fabulous. Lovely archways with climbing plants, beautiful flowers and plants everywhere, and of course the famous water lily pond…my photos don’t do it justice…

I should add that Monet’s house is also lovely…as are bthe paintings in Monet’s study. But the gardens and the ponds…mmmh, so pretty…well worth the visit…_1140822

The town of Vernon: stop there mainly to take a photo of the 16-century flour mill still hanging over the Seine river (photo no. 4, on the right). It was built on top of the first two piers of an ancient bridge. Before you leave, don’t forget to take some photos of the Medieval town center of Vernon, too.

The stop we made at the 12th century Moulin d’Andé, see goo.gl/2Z287d, (photo on the left, below…and yes, the two mills look very similar, don’t they?) turned out to be one of the highlights of our entire trip. We arrived at this ancient mill in mid afternoon one day and happened to be very thirsty. So, in my rusty but, I hope!, cute French, I asked the ladies in the mill’s office if we could possibly have something to drink. _1140842They very kindly told me that normally only their paying guests are allowed access to the tea room but that they would make an exception for us (we left some money in one of the boxes before leaving).

It turned out, as you can see from the above link, that this is quite a lively cultural center. As luck had it, we had its quaint little tea room all to ourselves, and one of our friends, who is a jazz musician, was able to play the piano for us. Absolutely delightful. We also visited the mill…inside and outside. I would love to stay there someday, as a paying guest I mean…It was so peaceful…I could easily see myself lying on a lawn chair by the river, reading a book, as some guests were in fact doing…

If you ever plan on stopping at the town of Les Andelys, which was next on our itinerary, let me know. I can recommend an excellent bed & breakfast. The ruins of its castle, the Chateau Gaillard, are definitely worth checking out…plus, it offers a great view from above of the Seine River and valley._1150025

Lyons-la-Foret (photo on the right). A very pretty little town, worth a quick stop (my photo depicts its main square, dominated by the 18-century timber-framed covered market place)…Have a wander around…the town isn’t very big, and offers plenty of pretty photo opportunities.

The city of Rouen–the capital of the region of Normandy. Ahhhh. I fell in love with Rouen immediately, in spite of what happened to me the night we arrived (keep on reading! 😉 ). Rouen has a lovely cathedral (the Notre Dame cathedral, see photo on the left), and _1150071interesting ties both to Joan of Arc and Claude Monet, but no, I’m going to skip the history “lesson,” since you can easily find all that information online. 😉

My photo on the right, below, which I took the day we arrived in Rouen, shows the city’s 14th-century astronomical clock, the Gros Horologe. Lovely. But here we get to the point: I don’t have any truly amazing memories of Rouen, unfortunately, because that is where I became quite sick with my “familiar” 24-hour virus, a virus that I’ve already described here on the blog. This lovely virus normally goes into “attack mode” when/if I get overly tired and/or stressed out. It hadn’t hit me in a long time, though, so I wasn’t expecting it…_1150083

But, in retrospect, I should have been more careful. After all, we had been walking on average about ten kilometers per day. And it was also unusually hot this summer both in Paris and in Normandy. This is an important detail because I don’t do well at all in the heat…never have, never will…absolutely hate it. I’m a cold temperature person… :-)

So yes, yes, yes, I should have rested a bit more instead of being on the go all the time. Easy to say now, after the fact. But, after all, I only missed one day. I mean, I was fine by the time we left Rouen, but that obviously means that I missed most of our planned tour of the city, which was a huge bummer. Of course, Stefano and our friends told me all about what they had seen and where they had gone, and I saw some of Stefano’s photos, and besides–once I felt a bit better–Stefano kept me well supplied with crunchy, buttery, delicious croissants. So, hey, it wasn’t all bad. 😉 Anyway, so much for Rouen…_1150204

Oh, I wanted to note that I’ll be skipping a few of our less interesting stops, such as a couple of abbeys we had a look at as we wound our way up from Rouen to the coast of Normandy. _1150191

We spent one night in Etretat, a small town right on the coast. It is best known for its “falaises,” that is, its famous white chalk cliffs and its three natural arches, which are quite a sight, including the one on the left, above, which Guy de Maupassant described as an elephant’s trunk, if I am not mistaken. We walked all around the falaises and took heaps of photos. Very pretty. Very crowded, though…

_1150275We also spent two nights near Dieppe, a bustling port up the coast from Etretat. I love my photo on the left of an illuminated sign on a building, “Tout Va Bien” (meaning: “Everything’s fine”). It’s actually the name of a restaurant located right on the port. We didn’t eat there, though… But, speaking of restaurants, we had a couple of our best meals in Dieppe…fish-based, of course. Dieppe’s most famous dish is called the “marmite dieppoise,” basically a fish stew. Not my cup of tea, to be honest, but I had other types of fish, which were excellent.

From Dieppe we went on to Le Havre just to visit the museum of modern art (André Malraux)…worth a stop, for sure. The rest of the city, well, can be skipped…just my opinion!

Okay, I think I’ll stop for today. I still have a lot of photos to go through, and it’s hard to pick the ones to publish on the blog, I must say. I have one more post to write, methinks, then I’m done with the holiday and can get on to other, more serious matters. :-)

Antidepressants seem to weaken bones

I just read this bit of news: it looks as though antidepressants have a negative impact on bones.

A Columbia University study found that people who took Prozac for at least a year were at a higher risk of bone fractures and depletion. So if you are taking “some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI),” especially any containing fluoxetine, you should definitely have a look at this “New Scientist” article: goo.gl/gYr8hs

Note that not all SSRIs have a similar effect on bones…

Holiday romance

_1140887It was late in the evening, a few days before the end of our French holiday, and we were in our hotel room in Saint-Malo. Stefano turned to me and said:

You know, I wouldn’t have traveled so much and seen so many wonderful things and places if I hadn’t met you.”

:-)