Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

A number of years ago, I read a book called The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.  It's a fascinating story of how a young black mother in Baltimore was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1951.  She was treated with the radiation treatment of the time at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and subsequently died.  Because she was poor and black, she and her family were not treated quite the same way as an affluent white family would have been.  Some of the tissue removed from her body during surgery was saved for experimentation.  There was no consent given or asked for - as would have been the case with any patient at the time. 

During the course of the examination, it was discovered that the cells from her tissue continued to live and reproduce after other cells would have died.  This amazed the researchers, and the cells continued to thrive and reproduce. This makes them of incredible use in developing new treatments and drugs - think drugs against polio, pneumonia, AIDS, etc.  Johns Hopkins gave these cells to any legitimate research facility.  And the cells still live. 

But Henrietta's family knew none of this.  Until they started to hear rumors about it and got false information, and were contacted by unscrupulous hucksters looking to make a buck.  Then Rebecca Skloot learned something about the story and decided she wanted to know about Henrietta Lacks as a person and about her family. 

This is where the story begins - and the search is fascinating.  Recently I heard that Oprah Winfrey was making an HBO movie based on the book. I subscribed to HBO just to see this movie and watched it this afternoon.  As always, the book was better, but the movie does capture the intensity of the feelings of both Ms Skloot (the white writer) and Henrietta's children.  I'd certainly recommend both the book and the movie.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Five

  1. Nothing much going on around here.
  2. I played duplicate this afternoon, and we came in next-to-last.  The gal I play with on Friday is really not very good.   Like a lot of players, she doesn't really understand playing defense, and I seldom know what she means with her bidding.  Oh, well, I'm certainly not perfect, and hate to criticize.  We'll keep on.
  3. While we were there this afternoon, we had a really hard rain shower - and got about 3/4" of rain in my gauge in about half-an-hour.
  4. I'm going to a birthday open house for a friend tomorrow evening.  Her house is hard to get to - up a steep driveway and a set of steps.  Her children are going to run a golf-cart shuttle from the street up and down the driveway.  That'll work.
  5. More rainstorms predicted for over the weekend and much cooler temps on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Come again!

Today was a lovely spring day of rain.  The rain this morning was a slow "farmer" rain - pretty much constant, but very light.  And, by suppertime, there was an inch of water in my rain gauge.  Since dark, there have been several hard rain showers with accompanying lightning and thunder.

The drought has been so long and prolonged, I can only paraphrase
Rain, Rain - Come again!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Not much

I didn't play duplicate tonight.  My usual Monday partner has out-of-town company and the temporary partner had to cancel, too.  I didn't want to go without a partner, so I'm taking a night off.  I sat outside (under my new umbrella) for a little while after supper this evening.  It was lovely.  I even figured out how to get some music on my phone, and enjoyed some tunes from the original casts of old movie musicals. 

We've been promised rain all day, but not a drop around here until about 8:30 tonight.  And not much then.  I hope the showers will come back during the night.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Quiet times

My weekend was very quiet.

The foursome here decided to get in some bridge yesterday afternoon, and that's always nice (if not particularly challenging).

I got my laundry done this morning.  Margaret came over this afternoon for a little while.  She needed to return some unused flooring (she and Jesse have redone their family room and master bedroom with bamboo flooring).  She picked me up and we headed off to (gasp!) shop.  The place she needed to do the return was closed today, so that was a loser.  But we went on to a warehouse place here called Southeastern Salvage.  She got a couple of small area rugs, and I was looking for an umbrella for my deck (which I didn't find there).  Then we went to Big Lots and found an umbrella and base there.  When we got back here, she put that together for me and put up some more hooks for planters on my railing.  She had brought some hanging baskets of Mandeville - the only thing that really thrived on my hot deck last summer. I'll get a few bedding plants for some other planters, and that'll do it for my "gardening".  We went to eat at a favorite Asian place, and now she's gone home.  She does take good care of me (as do all the girls). 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

13 April 1908

Today would be Pink's 109th birthday!
Not much going on today - just Silver Sneakers, bridge here at the Terrace, and fighting with the squirrel.  I did get him twice, though.  I managed to hit him with the water gun, although that didn't accomplish much.  But the maintenance guy here had hooked up my hose with the pistol-grip nozzle, so I was ready for Mr. Squirrel the next time.  And I really got him one time as he thought he was sneaking up on me.  He didn't come back after that.  But I bet he'll be back tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Finish with flourish!

It's been interesting this spring to be sitting in my chair sitting in my chair in the mornings, watching the sun come up.  The earlier rising is to be expected, of course. My windows (and chair) face generally southeast, and I am surprised by how quickly the sun is moving to the north.  As it comes over the ridge, it shines in my eyes and I have to pull the drapery to cover it.  I'm having to close it more and more each day, it seems.  Just a little celestial observation.
The very quiet day finished with a flurry of activity.  I had a date for dinner with Carol and Stephen.  The restaurant we had picked turned out to be closed on Tuesday night, so we went to Plan B and went to another nearby location.  We hadn't visited since before Christmas, so we had a lot of catching up to do.  A fun time! 

Shortly after I got home, Tina called.  We hadn't talked in several months, so again, we had a lot of catching up to do.  That's always special, too, and it'll be great to see her when we go to the beach. 

As I was finishing my conversation, my cell phone rang.  It was Margaret.  So I verbally hugged Tina and hung up.  Margaret was working on our flight reservations to get to Juneau for our Alaska trip in August.  That took a while, but now that is done.  And we talked plans for the family trip to Hendersonville and Kentucky in May.  2017 is turning out to be a busy travel year.