Monthly Archives: June 2017

Excellent videos offered by Myeloma UK

I just finished watching one of the, as my post’s title suggests, one of the excellent videos offered by Myeloma UK. This one was called “The effect of myeloma on the bone marrow.” Here’s the link:,

You will find many more animations on the Myeloma UK website, explaining, in easy-to-understand language, all sorts of things, from the origin of the  myeloma cell to the genetic causes of myeloma…Plus it has interviews with patients and also doctors on all sorts of topics, including fatigue caused by myeloma, travel issues, issues for younger patients…And much, much more.

Highly recommended website!

A Johns Hopkins researcher discovers a way that may slow down or even eliminate cancer metastasis

I just finished reading a fascinating article about a very promising new discovery, which may be able to actually eliminate metastasis, that is, the spread of cancer from its primary site to new areas of the body.

And I quote: “Typically, cancer research and treatment has focused on shrinking the primary tumor through chemotherapy or other methods. But, the team said, by attacking the deadly process of metastasis, more patients could survive.” Aha. Interesting, very interesting…

The article is really easy to read, so, without further ado, here’s the link:

By the way, the article mentions two pesky Interleukin proteins, IL-6 and IL-8, which are involved in myeloma, too…and NOT in a good way, either, as we should all know by now. But the good news is that curcumin inhibits both of these proteins. Good news, indeed…

Food for thought!!!

The scolding kingfisher

Months ago, we were invited to London by good friends of ours (I met Paul via my blog years ago, and we have been friends ever since) to go see Trooping the Colour, the official annual celebration of the Queen’s birthday carried out by regiments of the British and Commonwealth armies. It is quite a spectacle…We’d seen it five years ago and enjoyed it very much, so we decided to go this year, too. Just for a weekend. Going to London is so easy: there are direct, cheap flights to Stansted from Pisa…

Anyway, that is where Stefano and I spent the first the first weekend in June. Msargaret Kingfishers fighting 1230335

Last week Paul returned to Florence with us, and in fact he was here for Stefano’s birthday (June 7th: TANTISSIMI AUGURI!!!). He spent a week with us, mostly photographing the birds in the Parco della Piana, one of Florence’s main nature reserves…It’s a great place to photograph black-winged stilts during their breeding season, for instance, but you can also find night herons and sacred ibises there, and many other species, too, of course.

And then there are the kingfishers. I absolutely adore kingfishers…such beautiful colors…And fun to watch, too…

But try to get one in flight: for me, an impossible feat.

But let’s get to my story. Yesterday morning Paul and I were sitting inside one of the reserve’s hides, waiting for some bird activity (of which there wasn’t much for a long time), trying not to sweat too much (oooof, verrrrrry hot in Florence right now) or fall asleep…zzzzzz…

Our patience was rewarded at last: two kingfishers perched on a branch over one of the ponds started to become extremely agitated. Based on our observations, this is what we think had been going on:

The adult had been diving and fishing over and over in the pond, in most cases successfully. But it was swallowing all the fish it was catching, so it looked like it was showing its “baby” how to fish. Well, okay, as you can see, the two birds were almost the same size. This was no “baby,” so from now on I will call it “Squawky.”

Even though Squawky was diving and really trying to catch a fish, it was coming up with nothing, and had to rest afterwards for quite some time, offering many photo opportunities to the two hot and tired photographers in the hide…But oh, how I felt sorry for Squawky!!!

Then at one point the tired, terribly frustrated, and probably very hungry Squawky began fluttering its wings in front of its parent, begging to be fed. And that was our stroke of luck…the photos we’d been waiting for…

After a few seconds of all this annoying fluttering, the adult began severely scolding its offspring, screeching like a pterodactyl. Squawky didn’t actually seem very perturbed and kept fluttering, with its mouth wide open.

I managed to take this photo, which, okay, isn’t so great, but it will at least give you an idea of what we saw (you can click on the photo to make it larger).

I will have to go back to the reserve some day soon to see how Squawky is getting along…Paul, who returned to London this morning, will certainly want to know, too! :-)