Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Holidays

    Yesterday was Christmas, and today marks the beginning of Kwanzaa. The Solstice (Yule) was earlier in the week, and Hanukkah took place early in the month.  
    But as hundreds of thousands of families around the world celebrate, hundreds of thousands of other families are struggling to get through the season.  For them, this is the first holiday season after the loss of a child or parent, or being jobless or homeless.  Take time to remember those who are struggling this season, and help them through.  It might only take a kind word, to let them know that you are thinking of them.  

Blessed be this holiday season.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Winter Break!

    Ahh, winter break is finally here.  I finished my final exams yesterday, then flew home.  It was an interesting set of flights, with all the hectic fun of holiday travelers.  I will be enjoying reading more Kathy Reichs novels and spending the holidays with my family.
   Enjoy your season.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act Passed!!

  The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act passed the House of Representatives today!

  What does this mean? Researchers will get desperately needed funding to study pediatric illnesses, including childhood cancer.  This $126 million comes from tax form donations to the National Party Convention Fund.  So, this money is coming from the politician fund, which is awesome, because they don't need more money.  Thank you to everyone who emailed, phoned or otherwise contacted their representatives.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


   Today marks one year since Brave Ariel earned her wings.  From her mom:
"RIP Ariel Gariano, you came into the world at 12:10pm on Aug 19, 1998. On Dec 10,2012 at 11:26 pm you breathed your courageous last and I pray you, your soul, your heart, are basking in the glory of the next world. My heart and soul vanished that late Monday night when you breathed your last in my arms Ariel Rose. Your heart beat on so strong, so determined, even though you couldn't breathe to feed it precious air any more. Your blue eyes remained closed as though in slumber, your chest stopped rising and falling and still the beat of your heart under my fingers was clear and strong like the wings of a bird fluttering, preparing for flight. Your lions heart still pounding as 3 nurses listened at your side stethoscopes drawn as they stood protectively around you...all of us helpless to do more than stand witness to your final moments in the body we all so dearly loved. In the middle of your chest, rested my hand, feeling your heart fight on, hard at first, than softer beats. than slow whisper beats, and finally silence. Thank you Haleema, Chuck, Vicki, Garin and Cat, for letting me be her Mom and helping me hold her and cradle her to the very last. Thank you for the smiles, tears and love that showered her in those final moments. 
I just can't comprehend the world has gone on, moved forward an entire year without her. That Fentons and Zacharys, and Chinese Restaurants the Bay Area over, could still function with a profit without Ariel Rose seems incomprehensible. How can there be a Thursday night bingo, without a fluffy pink shakedown artist waiting in the wings of 5 South amusing her nurses, bouncing between bingo and baseball, and chili cheese fries at the oddest moments. How did Disney and Pixar make a single cent without Ariel pushing their products before the production team even decided on a name (as the child waited with baited breath for BRAVE when it is was simply, The Bear and The Bow). And how can Pokeman battle in this world without Ariel and Noah at the helm. And won't Jake Garcia and Pat Swift simply revert to mere muggles without their wizarding spell quizzes and surprise OWL testing, reminders that Latin isn't just for medicine anymore. And 'little Anne' along with her Romo plush tiger, don't travel with her everywhere. anymore. And no Ariel, I still don't know if Big Anne has seen an otter yet (which drove you nuts), though you still can remain proud you at least introduced your doctor from Wisconsin to salt water taffy in the ER. Otter nagging and taffy lessons all on that very same night, you showed a young wet, homeless man, that not all angels have wings, or hair. and instead of celestial song, they sometimes wheeze and cough blood, as you pressed into the hand of this lost and bewildered stranger, begging him to find shelter and get food. No matter how sick, no matter how much you hurt, you always worried about others, family, friends, and sometimes, no all times, strangers most of all. I must sound mad rambling like this but I don't how else to voice my frustration. They say time heals all wounds (an enormous lie) the say the pain of absence gets easier, but it's another lie. I don't want to get better and I don't want the pain to ease, I want you back Ariel. I want my beautiful girl whose tinkling laugh contained the sound of a thousand fairies, and your mischievous grin bore the mark of a thousand imps. I want my angel faced girl who wanted a pet tiger instead of a puppy. who only liked princesses that could rescue themselves. I want the child who brought me to my knees in sheer humility at her quiet moments of kindness and her wrath at any injustice or intolerance. I want my girl who believed in underdogs and miracles, because she believed in, NO she IS magic. I want the child, I didn't deserve, who laughed and loved and fought and cared for all, not when it was convenient, but with every breath she took. And most of all I want the one thing that can calm my soul, the feel of your arms around my neck, the words 'I love you Mommy' said in my ear followed by the disgusting feeling of a tongue licking the side of my face as you dissolved into giggles yelling "LION CUB KISSES! LION CUB KISSES". Oh how poor Dr Julie in Infectious Disease would be horrified by our favorite prank. I miss you my lion cub with a longing that can't be put into words. How the Earth continues to turn on it's axis without your immense heart on the land to keep it moving, I'll never know. I love you Ariel Rose to infinity squared - Mommy"

Kids First Research Act

   Tomorrow (Wednesday), the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act will be voted on by the House of Representatives.  It takes the money raised from donations to presidential campaigns on income tax forms and uses it for research of various pediatric diseases, including cancer, autism and diabetes.  It would allocate $126 million over the next ten years.
    The act is named after Gabriella Miller, who died October 26th after an 11 month battle with an inoperable brain tumor at age 10.
   Consider calling your state representative to ask them for their support of the bill (HR2019).  Here is a list of representatives who sponsor or support the bill:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Ecole Polytechnique Massacre

    Today marks the anniversary of the massacre at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989.  On that day, Marc Lepine entered the Engineering classrooms at the college with a rifle and shot 28 people.  14 women were killed:

Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department
Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

   The rationale Marc Lepine gave was that he was against feminism.  These women were killed because they were women.  Because they decided to study in a non-traditional field.  While we hope the world has come further than this in the past 24 years, women are still often thought of as second class, or looked down upon for choosing a technical career.  Never forget these women.