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March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

Dear Diary,

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common neurological disorder diagnosed in young adults. Its causes are not yet fully understood and researchers continue to search for answers. MS is not contagious and does not shorten the life expectancy of those who are diagnosed with the disease. Although the disease may not be cured or prevented at this time, treatments are available to reduce severity and delay progression.

MS is a disease of the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS consists of the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord. This disorder damages the protective insulation (known as "myelin") surrounding the nerves (known as "axons"), and may also damage theses nerves within the CNS. As a result, nerve impulses carrying messages from the brain and spinal cord may short circuit, causing reduced or lost bodily function.

The effects of MS differ with each individual. Some people experience symptoms for a short period of time and afterward may remain symptom-free for periods or months or years. While others may experience a more steady progression of the disease.

Most researchers believe MS is an "autoimmune disease" -- one in which white blood cells, meant to fight infection or disease, are misguided to target and attack the body's own cells. This attack causes inflammation in the CNS, which may damage the myelin and ultimately injure the nerves.

Areas of inflammation are known as “lesions” or “plaques.” The changes in size, number, and location of these lesions may determine the type and severity of symptoms. Frequently, however, MS may be “clinically silent,” showing no increase in symptoms while continuing to show signs of disease activity within the CNS.

Additionally, areas of thick scar tissue may eventually form along the areas of damaged myelin. The term “multiple sclerosis” originates from the discovery of these hardened plaques. Multiple refers to many; sclerosis refers to scars.

Researchers have studied a variety of possible causes for MS, and a combination of factors appears to be involved. A popular theory looks at commonly known slow-acting viruses (one that could remain dormant for many years), such as measles, herpes, human T-cell lymphoma, and Epstein-Barr. After being exposed to one of these viruses, some researchers theorize that MS may develop in genetically susceptible people. Research to identify the specific genes involved in MS is also ongoing.

Some scientists are looking for a connection between MS and nutritional factors, including fat intake, as well as deficiencies in fish oil and vitamin D. In addition to food and supplements, vitamin D is also derived from sunlight, which may be involved in the development of MS. As noted in the following section, populations living closer to the equator (and exposed to more sunlight) experience a lower incidence of MS.


We have breaking news out of Northeast Baltimore where police have blocked off the 4,300-block of Harford Road in the area of Montebello Terrace.

Police say undercover officers were trying to pull over a car in that area when the driver, who police say was armed, tried to run over the officers. At least one officer fired shots at the suspects car. It's unknown if the suspect was injured.

Police are continuing to look for that suspect.

Still don't know if the white SUV was the bad guy or not...

Feb. 19th, 2009

Dear Diary,
Today I had one of those "life flashes before your eyes" moments with not enough time for my life to flash before my eyes. Small narrow street. White SUV going lord only knows how fast above the speed limit despite the speed bumps. A Curve. A parked car. And me in my little tracker. How the SUV missed hitting me head on....I will never know. The White SUV was followed by no less then 10 police cars. At this point, I am not sure if the white SUV was a bad guy running or an undercover vehicle heading toward a crime. A short while later, the neighborhood was abuzz about a police related shooting just a few blocks away. No one seems to know what happened for sure. Just the gossipy bits. The news channels haven't aired anything yet, but the 6:00 news will be on in a few minutes, so maybe I'll hear something there. I'm just happy to be here to tell about it.

Feb. 17th, 2009

Dear Diary,
Day 4 of being smoke-free. It's been the hardest so far! Not gonna give in though. I am strong enough to resist! I must be strong enough! ....arggggggg...I really want.....no no no. I think I may chew my fingers off.

A hole in my heart

Meow Meow Midas howls
Meow Meow Feed me now
Meow Meow Midas shouts
Meow Meow I want out
Meow Meow Louder than
a riot
Purr Purr He's asleep
All is quiet.

Dear Diary,
This poem was written by my son when he was in the seventh grade. One of several poetic composers written during an English unit, all of which were about our cat, an extremely vocal Siamese.

All is quiet in our home now. May the kitty gods have the heart to listen patiently to all he has to say.

Worth the bus ride?


Dear Diary,
For over 23+ years the hubby and I have nearly been inseparable. I've had a few over night's in the hospital. And once spent the night with cousin in PA for Grandfather's funeral. Other than that, I've never been away without him. Until now. My youngest daughter and I stayed with my Aunt and Uncle at the beach for a few days. The sun. The sand. The sound of the waves crashing was music to my ears. My aunt is only 10 yrs older than I am and we have always been close, but life gets crazy once your married married with children. We don't see each other much. So the time spent with them was precious. It was really strange being without the hubby. We'd be on the boardwalk enjoying the sights, doing a little shopping and I'd find myself looking around for him. Then telling myself, you idiot he's not here. The weather could not have been more perfect. The sun shinning away. A beautiful breeze off the ocean. The waves were calm, much to my uncle's disappointment and my delight. I'm not much for having waves crash over my head and knocking me head over heels. Paid the price for sitting in the sun, a million little bumps all over my body. Kinda like hives. But my TAN LINE! I always look a little healthier with some color. Here's to hoping we can return again this summer. This time with hubby in tow.

Who needs a ball!

Dear Diary
I discovered a new use for the old Lacrosse sticks taking up space in our sports bin. We are currently in the process of re-doing the dining room. Fresh paint, etc. Spent Sunday and Monday tearing it apart. Moving all the china and crap out of the room. Yesterday, we hung the Oriental rug outside and beat the hell out of it with the lacrosse sticks. Broom broke. Had to use something after all that work getting it outside and hanging it between two trees. Too bad I wasn't in a super pissed off mood. Would have been a great way to relieve stress.

Saying goodbye can be so difficult

Spent yesterday just outside Gettysburg, PA at the Lake house. With the grandparents now both deceased, I knew this day was coming but hoped against hope my aunt would keep it. The asking price was beyond what we could have afforded right now as well as other deciding factors and my aunt/uncle for financial reasons couldn't hold on to it for another year for us.Even with the decline in the housing market, it was only a matter of days and they had 3 contracts to choose from. So yesterday I said my goodbyes. Goodbye to the house I spent every summer weekend and many a winter weekend in from the time I was 2. Goodbye to the lake I nearly drown in a million times over.
Goodbye to the minnows who swam between your legs. Goodbye to the ducks, geese and herons quacking and honking to be fed. Goodbye to the daddy long legs who were always a staple around the house. Goodbye to the sound of the waves gently slapping against the pier and wall. Goodbye to the cattails I wasn't allowed to pick but did anyway.

I'll always have my memories (at least I hope I will). Learning to water ski. The slow boat rides at night while in my pj's. Fresh fish for dinner. Jumping off the pier. More importantly all the time spent with my family. Grandparents, aunts, uncles , cousins. Staying up past midnight playing dominoes. So busy playing on the big black inner tubes you don't realize you've floated out near the middle of the lake and you frantically paddle closer to shore to avoid the boats. And the laughter when the waves from the passing boats would have us rocking. The girly shrieks when a dead fish came too close. Lazing in the sun or in the loft reading a book.

All good things must come to an end. I hate that!

Babies cry.....duh!

Dear Diary,
Last night we received a phone call from my 4th child. I call him my 4th child though he isn't mine by birth. He was the nextdoor neighbor kid. You know the ones. Neglected and ignored by their own parents. Marmicmeldad and I have been the only parental influence and guidance in his life. We've fed him, clothed him, a roof over his head when his mother and sister moved out leaving him with a stepdad who said you can't live here and him with nowhere to go. He is now 26 and recently his girlfriend gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Marmicmeldad is going to be the godfather. I'm not Catholic or would have been the choice for godmother. 2 weeks ago, 4th child and girlfriend decided to have a Memorial day weekend party. Arrangements were made for his mother to keep her granchild for the night. The 2nd time she was asked to keep the little guy overnight. We were invited to the party, but had prior plans and so could not attend. 11:30pm the phone rings. 4th child and girlfriend are toasted. Could littlest come to our house? The baby (2 months old) was being fussy and crying so the granmother wanted to give him back. She couldn't deal with it. She did the same thing the last time she was supposed to keep him. Had him for a couple hours and then took him back when he got fussy. Of course I said yes. *shakes head* Babies cry. Babies get fussy. You know that going in so why say you'll take the baby and then change your mind once they start to fuss a little bit? She was insist about bringing him back, til 4th child told her to take littlest to me. Miraculously, the baby was all better. I was so disappointed.

Jan. 8th, 2008

Dear Diary,
Heading out this morning into the sun
Riding on the diamond waves, little darlin' one

Warm wind caress her
Her lover it seems
Oh, Annie
Dreamboat Annie my little ship of dreams

Going down the city sidewalk alone in the crowd
No one knows the lonely one whose head's in the clouds

Sad faces painted over with those magazine smiles
Heading out to somewhere won't be back for a while