Monthly Archives: December 2014

About Laura Hillenbrand



Some years ago, I happened upon a book entitled, “Seabiscuit.”  It was a fantastic find:  I gorged on every word; not wanting to put it down.  Who was this Laura Hillenbrand?  I had never heard of her, but her name poured out of my mouth every time I was with someone and we got to talking about books and authors.


And, several years later, the movie appeared.  I had to see it.  I was disappointed.  The story was told in a way that did not project the intimate details that were revealed in Laura’s words.

I lost track of Laura; probably because she didn’t write another book soon after “Seabiscuit” was published.  “Unbroken” was published in 2010.  I was not aware of it; if I were, I would have read it.


Now, Laura’s second best-seller has been moved to the “big screen.”  And directed by Angelina Jolie.  I will see that movie when it appears in the theaters in just a few days.  There has been so much hype about it.  I plan to read the book, and am expecting to be drawn in to the story of Louie Zamperini, competitive runner, and his experiences during World War II while serving with the United States Army Air Corps.

Laura Hillenbrand has overcome great odds in writing her wonderful nonfiction stories:  She has been a patient suffering with M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) for more than 25 years!  Unfortunately, she is mostly housebound and cannot travel; however, she has devised her special ways to write in spite of her illness.

Thanks, Tom Kindlon, for posting the link to the NYTimes-magazine article by Wil S. Hylton, on Google+.  It’s long, but well worth the read.  Laura Hillenbrand is truly an amazing woman!

Welcoming The New Sunny Day

Enjoying the sunny morning is a nice way to start the day.

Pussy Cats 3

One of the first things I do in the morning after grooming Romeo, Rusty and Patches, is to open the patio door.  They love to go out there.  Many times, Rusty prefers to perch on the windowsill in my bedroom to look out and greet the day.

Rusty, what has caught your attention out there? Rusty, what has caught your attention out there?

Rusty, are you going to tell Mommy about it? Rusty, are you going to tell Mommy about it?

Patches, it's really bright out there now.  What are you looking at?  The same thing that caught Rusty's attention? Patches, it’s really bright out there now. What are you looking at? The same thing that caught Rusty’s attention?

Patches, are you going to tell Mommy about the birds? Patches, are you going to tell Mommy about the birds?

Romeo loves to look out and hopes to find a bird or squirrel to watch. Romeo loves to look out and hopes to find a bird or squirrel to watch.

So, Romeo, what did you see out there this morning? So, Romeo, what did you see out there this morning?  (Notice that the front paws are in the same position.)  Romeo is frugal about wasting energy.

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December Represents Mixed Emotions


December has different meanings for different people.  Excitement, happiness, celebration, life expectations, new beginnings, and end of a life (lives) as we knew it.


What does the month of December represent to me?

Going back to the year 1958, December was great cause for celebration, life expectations, and a new beginning.  I married my first husband, Danny – my best friend, the father of my children.  My soul mate.  Yes, it is real.  There really is such a thing.

December means the birth of my son.  I was totally prepared for his arrival, and was joyous at his birth.

December means the month in which my now deceased granddaughter was born.

December means celebration of Hanukkah.  A time to be close to family and light the Menorah and remember the discovery of one day’s oil in the biblical temple which, miraculously, lasted eight days, to keep the temple’s light burning until more oil was found.

December means the loss of my soul mate.  It was expected, after many months’ illness, but when it happened, I had to cope with the great emptiness that his death left after 34 years of deep love.

December means the discovery of a new love, and a decision to devote myself to another.  It was a very good decision.  Bob was a special guy and very devoted to me, and I was happy with him.  We had a loving relationship and there was respect for one another.

December means the loss of my Bob after more than a year’s illness.  We were married for 18 1/2 years, and they were very good years.  They went very fast.

December is a time for remembering:  Taking stock of the past and looking forward to another year of whatever life brings.  It brings surprises – the unexpected; that’s for sure.

What does December mean to you?

A Mother Finds The People Who Saved Her Son’s Life

This is one of the most heartwarming stories/videos I’ve seen. Watch until the end. It’s beautiful.

Kindness Blog

Ten years after a tragic car accident, Kellie wants to find the heroes that saved her son’s life and thank them.

To learn more about Kellie’s story and her music, visit

Content Submission: The LOVELY Lucy Taylor 🙂

Have a friend who might like this post? Please share!

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Charlotte’s Web In Florida – Maybe Not So Quick

An article that appeared in Sunday’s Local section of the Sun-Sentinel is about an action that the Florida legislature has taken that I did not know about before.

The Florida Department of Health has been “mum” since a law was approved last spring, creating an Office of Compassionate Use.  This Office is charged with working out regulations for up to five Florida plant nurseries to grow and process “Charlotte’s Web” marijuana and then make it available to eligible patients.

Paige Figi, the mother of the child for whom Charlotte’s Web was named, testified before the Florida legislature:

Her daughter Charlotte, had her first seizure at 3 months.  It lasted four hours.  Doctors later diagnosed her with Dravet syndrome.  Racked by seizures, she was unable to eat, walk or talk.

Now, after nearly two years on “Charlotte’s Web,” she can talk, eat on her own and even ride a bike.  Her story was featured in a CNN special, “Weed,” by Dr. Sanjay Gupta last year.

“We are just asking for leniency to treat these children,” Figi said.  “Doctors are telling their patients to move to Colorado.  We don’t have time to wait 10 years for a pill to go to market.”

char web

Thanks to the advocacy of patients and their families, and of lobbyists, one of which is Louis Rotundo, who represents the Winter Park-based Florida Medical Cannabis Association, the Florida legislature made the decision to push through a law.

This law is in limbo now, due to the judicial consideration of regulations of the plant nurseries.  The law, which was approved last spring, under which the Department of Health was expected to have rules in place by Sept. 30th, has been placed on the back burner.

A judge, last month, ordered the Florida Department of Health to rewrite its regulations for an oil made from the non-euphoric cannabis, “Charlotte’s Web,” that can be “used to treat epilepsy and other neurological disorders and cancer.”

The Department of Health has kept this ruling under wraps, and the Department was given until Monday to appeal the judge’s order.

The delay occurred due to the challenging of several Florida nurseries about the requirement of one of Florida’s proposed rules:  licenses would be decided by a lottery.  This challenge sent the matter into court, and Administrative Law Judge W. David Watkins in Tallahassee, threw out the proposed regulations.

At the beginning of the year, Florida lawmakers were already considering legislating a law to allow medical marijuana in the state.

“We want to be on the right side of history and medicine,” said Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, after a hearing in Tallahassee held by the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice. “The work begins today to take into account the pleas of people all around the state to do something and do it quickly, to make sure these individuals can gain access to the safest treatment without playing politics or hiding behind antiquated arguments.”

Well, it looks like quick access is a dream for the parents of children suffering seizures, and for patients for whom the cannabis oil will make their lives better.  The rule for using a lottery to decide which nurseries will plant and grow the marijuana is holding up the relief of a growing number of patients with illnesses that could be helped with the oil.



Enya – Video – Only Time

One of my favorite singers is Enya.  Here is a favorite, “Only Time.”  Enjoy!


Brain Inflammation – Its Similarity In Autism and ME

I follow “Onward Through the Fog,” a blog on blogspot, authored by Erica Verrillo, a talented person who suffers from ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis).  Her reports and research are top notch.

In this particular posting, Erica reports on the similarity of some findings affecting Autism and ME/CFS.  These findings have to do with brain inflammation.

A John Hopkins study acts as confirmation that excitotoxicity caused by chronic inflammation is central to autism.
activated microglia
Excitotoxicity has been put forth as a mechanism of ME/CFS by a number of clinicians and researchers, including Drs. Paul Cheney, Jay Goldstein, Morris and Maes, Martin Pall, and, most recently, Jarred Younger.



Llewellyn King Is Passionate In His Advocacy for ME

Llwellyn King offers his take on how sufferers of ME cannot enjoy this holiday season as others can, who are not afflicted.  Those suffering with ME are forced to bear the loneliness that the isolation of being ill with this chronic illness brings.  Socializing is drastically reduced.

He speaks of the necessity of focusing on the love that the family members, lovers and dear friends give to the chronically ill, especially ME patients.  Llewellyn is passionate as he reveals why he and others have taken up the torch to advocate for this debilitating disease.

This video is short, but certainly to the point.  Please tune in.

[Will You] Walk With Me?

A very special person, named Clarissa Shepherd, posts many knowledgeable, inspirational and supportive articles on social media about M.E.  She has M.E.  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.  M.E. patients look to her for encouragement and for information about their shared chronic illness.  Clarissa is truly an inspiration to all; not only to sufferers of M.E.  I am honored to share her poetry with my followers:

holding hands

[Will you] walk with me?
First take my hand. We’ll talk as we go.

Let’s take the path less traveled. They’ll be few that we know.

Let’s try to remember, where we first began.
What were you doing? Where were you in your life?
What kind of person were you? I can see you as you go.

It started so innocent. Seemed only a short jaunt.
This new path that we’re on, seems as some kind of a taunt.

Look behind us. Friends are lagging as we travel.
They don’t seem to want to go with us.
We must stop working, end a career, halt our life as we go.

Do you feel afraid, unsure, confused?
We’re going down a winding road now. Hold my hand tightly.
Do you miss who you were? The road is a slippery slope for us now.
We must cling together as we go.

See over there. The doctors, tests, medications?
We’ll get to know this stop well. Do you need to rest?
We can stop and take it all in. Seems so unreal.
This can’t be where we should be.

There’s hardly anyone on this part of the trail.
We must move forward, somehow.
Together we can go on.

We’re learning, as we’re on this new journey.
We barely recognize who we were
and have forgotten where the path began.

I feel your grip stronger.
You’re learning to twist and turn with the path we’re on.
Finding your way through the weeds which have grown.
There are not many people we know with us now.
They stepped off the beaten path.

You seem to be growing, into your own, as we walk.
You understand more, feel more, care more, appreciate more.

What we’re leaving behind, doesn’t seem to be as important,
as what we see ahead of us.
How creative you’re becoming, in the way you’re learning to walk.
How courageous and compassionate you’ve become.
Who is this new you?

You’ve found so many things inside you,
that you never knew were there before.
Our road is still difficult, yet more passable now.
Can you see the clearing ahead?

I feel your grip lessen, as you learn to maneuver the winding trail.
Pain, sorrow, fear, anger, they’re falling away a bit now.
There’s a bench at the end of the path. Let’s sit a bit.

You’re not the same as you were. A bit worn, yet brave as well.
I feel a rebuilding of your spirit. It can be seen in your smile.

There are new faces looking at us. New people who understand.
I feel they’ll be important, for our future, as we find our way.

Although our journey is rocky, we’re following through.
This path less traveled by me and you.

It Wasn’t the Smoke Alarm After All!!

Last night, I went to bed, anticipating a good night’s sleep, as usual.  It started out quite well.  Until…..


What the ……!

The clock glowed “4:30.”  I jumped out of bed – not easy when you’re my age!

My first thought was my security alarm.  “Something is wrong with it,” I thought.  And I ran to the keypad and checked the display.  Everything seemed to be OK.

I looked around the house; checked all the digital appliances and the computer APC battery backup.  Everything seemed to be alright.  Back to bed after that rude awakening.

I had a little difficulty falling back asleep, but I finally managed.


Oh no!  Not again!

Got out of bed again, this time more slowly.  (Good thing I had my chiropractor appointment coming up in the afternoon).

Checked everything again.  Nothing seemed to be amiss.  Back to bed, with hopes of getting back to sleep.

Didn’t happen.

A couple more times the screech resounded.  Finally, I guess I dozed off, because the next thing I knew, it was 7:30.

I impatiently waited until 8:00 and then I called Dale, my handyman.  Advised him of the problem, and asked if he would stop off at a store and get a couple more 9V batteries.  I figured if one is going to be changed; let them all be changed:  I had only one in the house.


Dale was very good about getting here quickly, especially because I explained I was having trouble with that loud screeching every so often, and my cats were very much on edge.


All went well, and he left.

Not an hour passed, and guess what?  Right!


Could you believe?

Dale was summoned again.  This time, I asked him to pick up a new smoke detector from Home Depot and change out the old one; after all, it’s been more than 10 years old, and maybe that was the problem; not the battery.

He was so good about being called again – after all, he took time away from another job to help me out.  My call was an EMERGENCY!

After installing the new smoke detector, Dale tested it, and the red light kept flashing.  What is the matter now?  He decided to take a look at the installation instructions.  He found out how to fix this problem.  He had to hold down (or up?) the button for a good 5 seconds; which he didn’t initially.  That worked!  No more screeching.

Finally, I believed my life was given back to me on a smoke alarm platter.  I felt so peaceful, and figured Patches, Rusty and Romeo were also very relieved not to hear that awful noise.

So, I went about my business in the house, and began to think about getting lunch ready.  I started to take things out of the fridge, and…….


Aha!!  Let me digress.  During the summer, our local Mr. Fix-it did me a favor and installed a carbon monoxide detector above the door leading into the garage.  He told me in about 7 years or so, the batteries will need to be changed.  Good.  I then promptly forgot about it.

That was a very fast 7 years.