this soldier has guts. Too bad his superiors dont.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
My best friend's daughter had her first baby last night. This kid has been part of our lives since she was 5, every holiday, most weekends, every special event in both of our families lives is spent together. I was visiting last night while she was in labor, and she asked me if I wanted to stay and take some pics...dont hafta ask ME twice girlie. ;)
Beautiful Aislynn Rae was born at 5:25 pm, weighing 7 pounds 6 ounces. She was SO swollen at birth, but even then had gorgeous long curly eyelashes and big blue eyes.
Today, the swelling has gone down, and omg..she is a PRETTY baby. Gonna be a spoiled rotten baby too, if Auntie Chelle can help it. :)
Monday, January 28, 2008
Jim and I had a date last night, we went out for dinner and also checked out the casino. Neither of us are big on gambling, but every year or so, we take a ride and give it a whirl. We generally have NO clue what we are doing, just push the button, pull the handle...hope to hear bells and whistles go off. (For the record...no bells no whistles.) Kristin watched Jesse & Ciarra while we were gone, which was very nice. She is 19 today, grown up into a very intelligent and funny young lady.
Kristin's friend Davey came over to hang out, too, he and Jesse play Guitar Hero till their fingers hurt. Ciarra is pretty independent, she usually watches movies or colors, or plays PS2 in her room. Last night, she was snuggled up with Davey on the couch watching Titanic with them. We got home towards the end of the movie, were Rose uses an axe to free Jack from the pole. I watched her watch that, cringed a little (we dont shelter her, we just..dont....expose her to grownup moveis much..ok maybe we shelter her a little, shes awfully innocent yet) She took the axe part fine, and I watched her watching the movie, kind of curious how she would handle it. It isnt brutal, graphic, or bloody. But there is a lot of death, a lot of high emotion. How would she handle it?
She was fine till the very end of the movie. She asked a few questions, why did that big boat break apart? Did all the people who fell off it die? But those people were nameless, faceless. She seemed to be rooting for Jack and Rose. When the had gone under with the ship, she excitedly called out "Jack! Come up, Rose is right there." She was relieved to see him pop up. She said "good" when Jack put Rose on the board and held her hands. But she got increasingly worried as their faces turned blue and Jack started shaking uncontrollably. I looked at her, and saw tears welling in her eyes. She asked me "Is that real, Mom?" How do you explain that those are actors, but that the story is real, and that many real people died that day? She was very sad, but you could tell she was still intently watching to see the heroe make it through. In Ciarra's world, the good guys always win. Zack and Cody always find a way out of trouble, SpongeBob & Patrick make it through their misadventures. They all live happily ever after in the stories she knows. But not in this one, and this one is so real that it made her think about her own life, her own loves, and losing them.
As Jack slipped under water, she said "Mom, why is Jack falling under the water?" I explained that he was too cold to hold on, and she told me that "Rose should not let go of his hands." I had to explain that Rose let go because Jack had died, and she needed to save herself. Ciarra turned back to watch and snuggled in a little tighter, grabbing my hand and gripping it hard. :( She asked me if Jack would go to Heaven when he died, and I told her yes. I told her that everyone goes to Hevaen someday, that we see the people we love again after we die. She said that her family was not going to die, not ever. I told her gently that everybody dies, that as long as we believed, we would be together again. She looked up at me with big tears streaking her face. And then quietly turned back to the movie.
Rose was old now, and talking to some folks about jack, the boat sinking, and her life. Ciarra had a hard time understanding that that really WAS Rose, and that she was old now. More questions. Why was Rose old, why was she a grandma now (Grandma being anyone who is old and gray) I told her that everyone gets older, that I would be old and a Grandma someday too. Bad answer, Mom. She burst out crying, and told me "No, you stay my mom, forever, you stay you here with me". I guess I am a bad mom, cause I lied to my girl, I told her I would stay this way forever, and be her mom, and not get old. I did explain that she is the same girl she was when she was a baby, just older. She said no, she was not getting old, either, she was going to stay just Ciarra. I knew that this movie was too much for her, too grown up and way too full of loss. When Rose died in her room, I told Ciarra that she was going to Heaven, and that Jack would be there, and they would be happy together again. I have never really paid attention to this movie before, but I was relieved to see them show a youthful Rose running into Jack's arms surrounded by all of the Titanic passengers. It was enough to stop the tears and quell the questions. But still, she clung to my hand, kissed my cheek, and told me that "we arent going to get old, are we mum?" We can talk about that another time, baby girl.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
we are blessed to have a rec dept that not only welcomes her, but is encouraging, tolerant, and VERY sweet to her. They teach gently, but they never baby her. I always say "this will be her last year playing..." and then she wants to play and we let her go. I am learning that she doesnt have to be the superstar out there, as long as she is having FUN...and that she is!
Friday, January 25, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
I am told that this precious and beautiful little boy who I can honestly say I love with all of my heart has found a family that wants to bring him home!! I am SO happy, so relieved, SO grateful. I intend to continue sponsoring his adoption, if I can. And I hope to be able to be in touch with them someday, maybe I can meet him one day and thank him for allowing me to heal. Loving Aleksa has been good for me, my heart is healed a bit from the pain of Alex. I think allowing myself to open up and truly allow these strong feelings has been a good thing. He is so special, I can only imagine how he will bless his new family. Hooray for you, little man. may all your dreams come true.
I've been tagged! Shannon at GabisWorld has tagged me to list my LOVEs & HATEs. Oh boy, here goes:
I love my family so passionately
but I hate doing their laundry!
I love my dogs Blue and Bella
but I hate having animals underfoot in the kitchen
I LOVE my Patriots
I hate that in 2 weeks, the season is over :(
I dearly love my best friend Wendy
and hate that she lives 30 minutes away now
I LOVE girl scout cookies
but hate that they are SO fattening
I love to sleep in
but hate that Jim is an early bird and I wake up alone most days
I love that Ciarra has Down syndrome
but I hate that she has these damn sinus infections all the time.
I love blogging
and hate that I dont have the courage to write..for real
I love Maine
I HATE the cold winters
I love to hear Hunter Michael giggle
and I hate when he cries
I LOVE apple dumplings
and hate that they take SO long to make
I lovelovelove football games my son plays in
I hate poor sportsmanship..all too common
I love to stay up late
I hate being overtired
I love being an American
I hate the divisiveness in our world
I love babies
I hate abortion
I love Jim
I hate worrying about him all the time
thats all, I guess...
I am going to hafta tag some folks tomorrow...bed calls.
Friday, January 11, 2008
I have not yet "bragged" on my team...GO PATRIOTS...but I say we all place bets, all proceeds go to Meredith's adoption fund, lets be a part of getting those kids the hell OUT of Dodge...anyone in? $50 bucks says the Pats win.
C'mon, you all KNOW the Patriots are gonna win. They're the best team EVER. ;)
it's simple...if you bet on the correct team, you get to keep your money (unless you feel generous) if you lose, you pay in via Paypal to their fund. Easy as...16 and OHHHHHH. :)
PS ANY AMOUNT. Betcha your blog cant raise as much as my blog. C'mon people, lets fight. This ones worth it.
that little Sergey of Reece's Rainbow has passed away. He was sent to the Institution in the middle of last year. 80% of children dont survive a year in those places. May God hold him and love him and tell him he was loved.
My blood ran cold reading this. It seems incomprehensible that this lively and beautiful little boy would have ever been sent to a place which would care so little for him that he would die within months. My heart aches for him, and even more for the children that remain.
Aleksa is still out there (I checked) and still facing the same fate. May God take mercy on these innocents. And may I somehow, in some way, find an answer to why He is pulling me to these children every waking moment of my life for months now.
My thoughts are also with my friend Meredith, who is on a mission to get to her child quickly, before her fate is sealed in the Institution. God speed, dear friend.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Reversal Of Alzheimer's Symptoms Within Minutes In Human Study
PET Scan of Alzheimer's Disease Brain. (Credit: NIH/National Institute On Aging)ScienceDaily (Jan. 9, 2008) — An extraordinary new scientific study, which for the first time documents marked improvement in Alzheimer’s disease within minutes of administration of a therapeutic molecule, has just been published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.
This new study highlights the importance of certain soluble proteins, called cytokines, in Alzheimer’s disease. The study focuses on one of these cytokines, tumor necrosis factor-alpha(TNF), a critical component of the brain’s immune system. Normally, TNF finely regulates the transmission of neural impulses in the brain. The authors hypothesized that elevated levels of TNF in Alzheimer’s disease interfere with this regulation. To reduce elevated TNF, the authors gave patients an injection of an anti-TNF therapeutic called etanercept. Excess TNF-alpha has been documented in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Alzheimer’s.
The new study documents a dramatic and unprecedented therapeutic effect in an Alzheimer’s patient: improvement within minutes following delivery of perispinal etanercept, which is etanercept given by injection in the spine. Etanercept (trade name Enbrel) binds and inactivates excess TNF. Etanercept is FDA approved to treat a number of immune-mediated disorders and is used off label in the study.
The use of anti-TNF therapeutics as a new treatment choice for many diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and potentially even Alzheimer’s, was recently chosen as one of the top 10 health stories of 2007 by the Harvard Health Letter.
Similarly, the Neurotechnology Industry Organization has recently selected new treatment targets revealed by neuroimmunology (such as excess TNF) as one of the top 10 Neuroscience Trends of 2007. And the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives has chosen the pilot study using perispinal etanercept for Alzheimer’s for inclusion and discussion in their 2007 Progress Report on Brain Research.
The lead author of the study, Edward Tobinick M.D., is an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles and director of the Institute for Neurological Research, a private medical group in Los Angeles. Hyman Gross, M.D., clinical professor of neurology at the University of Southern California, was co-author.
The study is accompanied by an extensive commentary by Sue Griffin, Ph.D., director of research at the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock and at the Geriatric Research and Clinical Center at the VA Hospital in Little Rock, who along with Robert Mrak, M.D., chairman of pathology at University of Toledo Medical School, are editors-in-chief of the Journal of Neuroinflammation.
Griffin and Mrak are pioneers in the field of neuroinflammation. Griffin published a landmark study in 1989 describing the association of cytokine overexpression in the brain and Alzheimer’s disease. Her research helped pave the way for the findings of the present study. Griffin has recently been selected for membership in the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, a nonprofit organization of more than 200 leading neuroscientists, including ten Nobel laureates.
“It is unprecedented that we can see cognitive and behavioral improvement in a patient with established dementia within minutes of therapeutic intervention,” said Griffin. “It is imperative that the medical and scientific communities immediately undertake to further investigate and characterize the physiologic mechanisms involved. This gives all of us in Alzheimer’s research a tremendous new clue about new avenues of research, which is so exciting and so needed in the field of Alzheimer’s. Even though this report predominantly discusses a single patient, it is of significant scientific interest because of the potential insight it may give into the processes involved in the brain dysfunction of Alzheimer’s.”
While the article discusses one patient, many other patients with mild to severe Alzheimer’s received the treatment and all have shown sustained and marked improvement.
The new study, entitled “Rapid cognitive improvement in Alzheimer’s disease following perispinal etanercept administration,” and the accompanying commentary, entitled “Perispinal etanercept: Potential as an Alzheimer’s therapeutic,” are available on the Web site of the Journal of Neuroinflammation (http://www.jneuroinflammation.com/content/5/1/2/abstract).
Author Hyman Gross, M.D., has no competing interests. Author Edward Tobinick, M.D. owns stock in Amgen, the manufacturer of etanercept, and has multiple issued and pending patents assigned to TACT IP LLC that describe the parenteral and perispinal use of etanercept for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders, including, but not limited to, U.S. patents 6015557, 6177077, 6419934, 6419944, 6537549, 6982089, 7214658 and Australian patent 758523.
Adapted from materials provided by University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
I was thinking today about the moments in my life that have impacted me the most, changed my direction one way or another. I imagine myself, halfway through my life, as a roaring stream rushing over rapids. The rocks that form the rapids are the trials and tribulations of my life. Their sharp edges and dangerous currents are smoothed and softened by the strength of me. At this time in my life, I allow gravity to lead me to my resting place, and I follow along where it takes me. But still, I am strong and powerful, and I leave my mark.
I am not detoured by the undercurrents, just jostled around a bit. My path is fairly clear, it lays before me invitingly, calm and serene, some lake...somewhere out there...waiting for me to join it's calmness and rest gently amongst the trees and rocks of its banks.
It is amazing to me in some ways that I can even see that place, off in the future. It has not always looked so clear to me. Certainly, the beginings of my journey were much more turbulent and rocky.
Although I started out just a trickle of a stream, a joining of two of life's forgotten people, the culmination of a love that would not last, I have managed to make my way here, to this place of relative stability. In retrospect, they each threw their share of stones and boulders into my path, even before I was born. Poverty, hatred, alcoholism, drug abuse, imprisonment. I spent much of my early life looking at all of the neighboring brooks as they babbled happily along, nurtured and fed so fully, wondering what I had done wrong to be needing to strike out on my own carving my own way, alone in the wilderness. At every turn, another pebble broke the surface, divorce, loss, anger, overwhelming grief. And still I gained in strength, at every fork I gathered and forged on. I managed to gain a hold in the earth and grip it for all I was worth, and I left my mark in many places. I even managed to foster three new little brooks of my own, each branching off to their destinations hopefully, joyously, well-fed and nurtured. I came from nothing, I may never be anything that mattered. But I will have fought hard to get where I am, fought hard to overcome a rotten start. My children will never look back and say I put myself first, or loved them anything less than with all of me.
I am tired now. I wish for the stones and twigs and clay beneath me to soften their grip and allow me a more peaceful path to the finish line. I am tired of fighting the current. I have hurtled the hills and I long for the valleys. I take stock of those around me who are ready to slow down, too. I am happy to see that some have made the trip in one piece, and some new faces have even joined me on my travels. The lake is ahead, the rapids are slowing, the fight is going out of me. Peace, placidity, the reverance of calm waters, are ahead. I am ready to be enveloped by them, swallowed whole, taken in. Ready.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
but it is reprehensible (at best) to allow our American flag to lay on the GROUND such as is depicted in this picture. Someone in the Hilary campaign ought to explain to the powers that be just what that flag stands for.