Sixteen-month-old grandson trampolined off a bed Sunday afternoon, hit the floor head on, lost consciousness, seized, stopped breathing (for at least 5 minutes) and required CPR by paramedics for resuscitation. After 36 hours in the ER and neuro unit at Washington DC's Children’s Hospital, he was released. All tests are negative for underlying conditions and/or permanent damage.  

So far, so good. 

Research shows that people who are grateful for what they've got in life are healthier, happier and more successful in relationships than those who do not. 
So, today,  and all days, count your blessings.

Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving. 

I'm thankful for Evan, five weeks old today, November 23, 2011,in Vacaville, California.

If you’re old enough to remember, you’ll be able to answer that question. Nothing rocked our generation more than the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

Click here for a look back at a series of posts, published in 2009, that include interviews with people on or near the scene, and some just going about their day when it happened.


This is the fourth in a series of photos I took of quotations inscribed in the granite wall behind the statue of Martin Luther King, Jr., part of the new MLK Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

King used this sentence in a number of speeches, including the commencement address for Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, in June, 1965. Here is the context in which it was used:

Yes, we shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. We shall overcome because Carlyle is right: “No lie can live forever.” We shall overcome  because James Russell Lowell is right:
Truth forever on the scaffold,
Wrong forever on the throne,
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown
Standeth God within the shadow.
Keeping watch above his own.

We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant is right: “Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again.” With this faith we will be ble to hew out of the mountain of despair, the stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood, and speed up the day when, in the words of the prophet Amos, “Justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” 

Our neighborhood is not distinguished for exotic events, but occasionally...

Today, when I drove to the local shopping center at noon, I found a portion of the parking lot was set aside for an antique auto show. I was hypnotized. Each car was more beautiful than the previous one.  Then I saw a car that was not  glamorous or highly buffed and polished. Yet you could tell it was loved and that the passersby could not resist inspecting it.

It was a 1972 Citroen Camionette, or what the British called a truckette. 12' long and 5' wide, it still showed the name and contact information of its former owner on the side of the truck: La Campagnarde, Service de Livraison, 43 R. Clignancourt, 01-46-06-72-42.

A Silver Spring resident who had lived in France for 20 years and returned in the 1980s brought the Citroen back with her.  Today, she uses it to ferry herself and her garden supplies to do volunteer gardening in Rock Creek Park.  It is reported to get 40 mpg in the city.  

Eat your heart out, engineers! 

Here's the latest from the town on what's open as of today and what's still under reconstruction, following the Hurricane Irene flood:

Open:  Apres Vous, Twin Valley Creations, Environmental Waterworks, Pettee Memorial Library, Constantin and Young Gallery, Village Dog Grooming, Wilmington Home Center, and the Anchor Restaurant, The Village Pub  
Opening November:  Meg Streeter Real Estate   
Work is underway: Cady and Dugan Law Office, River Bank Park  

Open: Down in the Valley, Quaigh Design, Wilmington Candle Company, West End Antiques/Wilmington Tile, Bauman's Paints, The Wilmington Inn, 
Crafts Inn, Incurable Romantic, 1836 Country Store, Norton House
Opening Thanksgiving week:  Bartlebys Books
Opening Soon: Memorial Hall, A Place in Vermont, Jezebel's Restaurant, McBreairty's Marketplace, Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce

Work is underway and Opening Soon: Maple Leaf Brewery, Old Red Mill, Roseate Creations, Wright Gallery, Old Red Mill/Heritage Associates 

Obviously, American grandmothers could learn a thing or two from their Russian counterparts – often called babushkas – who grew up “when rules were rules and babushkas enforced them.”
Ah, ladies! We’re in awe of both your chutzpah and your biceps. And, to think you are not only tolerated but rewarded for being aging know-it-alls! 
Go to http://wapo.st/uPHS3B for a delightful story about Russia’s annual search for the best-of-the-best grandmothers in the land.  Pick up the coveted title at your local senior center and you may travel to Moscow to compete as finalist in the Super Babushka competition. 
According to the accompanying photos, Super B herself is feted with ribbons and pins, an armful of borax and floor polish, and denture cleaner for life. As titleholder, her name is added to the list of great old ladies of yesteryear, the ones who could quiet a screaming child, whip up a borscht dinner for eight and replace brakes on the family GAZ, all at the same time, leaving nary a drop of sweat on their colorful headscarves.  
No shrinking violets here. Beauty queens need not apply. Candidates for this award  learned their skills at the feet of their own babushkas and from all who came before. Likewise, their own recipes, remedies, shortcuts and  catalog of life’s lessons will pass down as legacy to today’s and tomorrow’s Russian mamas. 
I wonder how many US grandmothers of a certain age would want this title? 
As a grandmother and mother-in-law, I find the urge to boss – I mean, share my acquired wisdom (much of it acquired the old fashioned way, through horrible mistakes and wrong-headedness) – is strong, but not strong enough to start a war with grown children gingerly maneuvering the minefields of parenthood. Instead, I try to spread my "suggestions" and "insights" through feature stories and blog posts. 
It seems a shame to let all this knowledge go to waste, doesn't it? Besides, it's always easier to accept advice from someone you don't know, for some odd reason.  
How do you rein in your underlying babushka tendencies to be the grandmother you want to be or wish you had? 

Oldest grandson teaches Nana to paint.

from utmb.edu
What if you could take a drug that would slow down the aging process?

A study reported in today’s issue of the journal Nature explains how researchers at the Mayo Clinic kept mice from aging by purging their bodies of senescent cells, which set off low levels of inflammation that spurs the aging process.

Here is an overview:
“Advanced age is the main risk factor for most chronic diseases and functional deficits in humans, but the fundamental mechanisms that drive ageing remain largely unknown, impeding the development of interventions that might delay or prevent age-related disorders and maximize healthy lifespan. Cellular senescence, which halts the proliferation of damaged or dysfunctional cells, is an important mechanism to constrain the malignant progression of tumour cells12. Senescent cells accumulate in various tissues and organs with ageing3 and have been hypothesized to disrupt tissue structure and function because of the components they secrete45. However, whether senescent cells are causally implicated in age-related dysfunction and whether their removal is beneficial has remained unknown. “

According to Purging Cells in Mice Is Found to Combat Aging Ills by Nicholas Wade,
“The experiment raises the prospect that drugs could be developed that would keep human tissues healthier longer, but it is unclear until further testing is done whether such drugs could eventually help people live longer. The finding indicates that any therapy that rids the body of senescent cells would delay age-related changes.

Senescent cells accumulate in aging tissues, like arthritic knees, cataracts and the plaque that may line elderly arteries. The cells secrete agents that stimulate the immune system and cause low-level inflammation. Until now, there has been no way to tell if the presence of the cells is good, bad or indifferent.”

Stay tuned. 

This is the third in a series of 12 quotations engraved in granite at the site of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington DC. This is taken from King's acceptance speech for receiving tyhe Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, December 10, 1964. 

I will try to post one quotation a week. Click on Martin Luther King quotations in the index on the right, for the complete set.