Now Living in a New Blogspace…

I finally took an action I’ve thought about off and on for awhile, without actually purchasing a domain name. Seemed to me it would be a better idea to have my blog URL be somewhat coherent with the actual name of my blog, “karma and musings” – and also my screen name I use everywhere – @karma_musings. So I’ve set up a new WordPress blog – http://karmamusings.wordpress.com. Yes, I know it’s somewhat ridiculously long, but it’s better than the URL here, which was a screen name/online identity I used to use.

But? best part? WordPress allows you to export all content from one blog and import it into a new one. So, I did that! You can see everything that was/is here, over there. So, if you subscribe, or bookmarked, or in anyway kept track of this blog, please change to the new URL, k?

Thanks!

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22 at 2:22 :-)

Isn’t she beautiful?? :-)

Happy Birthday, darling.

love,
mataji

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Getcher Drop Caps Here – Fresh Daily!

o, I found this site the other day, through a Twitter link, and couldn’t resist – such beautiful graphics!

Although (*very* minor grouse), there seems to be a weird interaction with my theme, where the cap appears as above-the-line, rather than as a drop cap. Oh well. Who cares? Still pretty.

Go! Get yours!

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Henrietta Lacks

Henrietta Lacks

Update 4/14/10: Now with linky-love to the book.

I have just finished a most profound book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot, about the first line of so-called “immortal” human cells and the woman from whose body they came.

Henrietta Lacks was a young married woman and mother of five who lived in Baltimore MD in the 1940s.  In 1951, after being in pain for over a year and throughout her final pregnancy, Henrietta went to the gynecology clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital to see a doctor about a “knot on [her] womb”.

This is the story of what happened when Henrietta’s certainty that something was wrong with the neck of her womb, her cervix, turned out to be true. During the treatment for the tumor, which involved inserting a tube filled with radium into her cervix, the surgeon cut samples of both the tumor and normal tissue from Henrietta’s cervix. These were taken to a Hopkins doctor who had been working for thirty years to grow malignant cells outside the body, trying to find cancer’s cause and cure.

Unlike other human cells the doctors had worked with, which died out very quickly, the cancerous cells from Henrietta Lacks turned out to be “immortal”. That is, cells from the original sample continuously divided and replenished themselves — the cell line never died. In fact, “They grew twenty times faster than Henrietta’s normal cells, which died [after] only a few days. As long as they had food and warmth, Henrietta’s cancer cells seemed unstoppable.” [p 41.] It was the first time that any researcher ever found cells which did this.

What happened next, what the researchers did with those cells, and what happened to Henrietta’s family are all core pieces of this wonderfully-written story. After being diagnosed and treated, Henrietta went on with her life — what else could she do, after all? She alternated between days of treatment and weeks at home.

But the immortal cells took on a life of their own. They were replicated and replenished, and sent in vials and small containers all over the country and finally the world: over time they were used in cancer research, used to confirm the efficacy of the polio vaccine, used in the development of virology and in diagnosing genetic disorders, and much more.

After a number of months of treatment, Henrietta finally succumbed to the cancer. Her cells lived on, but for over 20 years, the Lacks family: Day, her husband; her three sons, Lawrence, Sonny, and Joe, who later was known as Zakariyya; and her younger daughter Deborah, never knew anything about that or that the cell line, known as HeLa, flourished and had a most profound effect on medical research and the progress of science. For much of that time as well, even very few doctors and researchers knew where the cells had come from.

Ms. Skloot expertly weaves the stories of Henrietta and her life, the lives of her children, her medical story and the immortality of the cells, as well as her own arc of discovery of the story of the cells, into a well-crafted tale moving between eras and various developments in medical science. She spent a decade researching the story of the HeLa cells and their “donor” (even though Henrietta never knew they’d been taken from her — it was long before the advent of informed consent). She developed a relationship with the Lackses, especially Deborah, that allowed her intimate access to the story and allows us, the readers, to dive deeply into the tale. In the end, the author became a trusted and good friend to Deborah and others in the immediate and extended family. Her kindness and determination to make sure Henrietta’s story and those of her family were properly and truthfully told makes this book very worth anyone’s time.

Get it. Read it. I highly recommend it.

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Support the Avon Breast Cancer Walk; Eat at Unos!

On Monday, March 29, you can have a great meal AND support my participation in the Avon Breast Cancer Walk, easy-peasy! :-)

Just print out either the Wrentham Outlet Mall Unos voucher (pdf) or the Harvard Square Unos voucher (pdf), give it to your server when you order, and up to 20% of your bill will be donated to the Walk on my behalf. Cool, huh? They’re good all day, so stop by for lunch, dinner, or anytime in between.

They make great Avocado Rolls, my friend Siri Devta Kaur tells me :-) (She’s walking too, in case you didn’t guess. But she’s nearly at her goal on her fundraising, so use my vouchers instead, k? ;-) )

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Happy Ada Lovelace Day 2010!

Lucky me, last year I happened upon the first “official” celebration of Ada Lovelace Day, and wrote a post at that time to honor a woman in technology whose work I admire, Molly E. Holzschlag, of molly.com.

Thanks to another great Technobabe :-), Deborah E. Finn, who sent us links this morning about it, I again have the chance to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day, for the second year.

There are many many women working in technology these days, who lead the way, educate others, share their knowledge and great personalities. How to choose just one??!

So I think today I’m going to point you all to the wonderful women of BitRebels.com – Diana Adams, Misty Belardo, and Andrea La Valleur-Purvis. These great women, whom I also follow on Twitter (@adamsconsulting, @mistygirlph, and @divinefusion) all post some new and interesting things nearly every day to the BitRebels site – some are directly technologically-related, some not, but all are fun. Check them out today!

And? Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

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I’m Not Going to BlogHer’10

What? Why would I even, you ask? Because seriously? I’m obviously not really much of a blogger anyway, am I? Almost all of my random, sharable thoughts appear on Twitter, and sometimes Facebook. So, why would I even be thinking about going to BlogHer in the first place?

Because, first of all, for the first time (I think, at least since I’ve paid any attention), it’ll be in New York City, which is sort of in my neighborhood. New England and New York are the same neighborhood, right?

And, that’s where all the cool kids will be. There are a number of people I’d love to meet in person, beginning with Trish from Notes from the Bunker (who I’m Twitter friends with), and Jenny The Bloggess (who doesn’t know me from a hole in the wall, but is one of my favorite ongoing reads). I’d like to meet Catherine, Her Bad Mother, whose blog I’ve followed for quite some time, and whose marvelous pictures of her daughter really cheered me up a lot when I was going through bad job times a couple years ago. It would be fun to meet Tracey of Sweetney.com. There will probably be some interesting men there too who I follow on Twitter and whose blogs I read – Shawn of BackpackingDad; Karl Erikson. There will undoubtedly be other people there too whose blogs I’ve read and enjoyed, who are probably a great deal of fun in person.

But. I’m not one of those folks. As I said in a Twitter conversation the other day, thinking this through with the help of a friend, I’d be the weird hanger-on who recognizes everyone but no one knows. Where’s the fun in that? Yes, I’d love to be part of the “in crowd”, even on the periphery. But really? I think it would be a huge waste of time and money. It’s not like I’d suddenly become BFFs with anyone.

What made me come to this realization was getting a notice from a friend in Houston, with whom I used to live in our Sikh community (ashram) there, about an annual Women’s Weekend they’re planning in April. On the beach. In Galveston. Fun! And yes, many of the women there I wouldn’t know either, but I do know I’d be welcomed with open arms by both my old friends who’ll be attending, and those I haven’t met yet. I wouldn’t feel “on the periphery” if I attended that weekend.

Just seeing the subject line of that email pulled me right up and made me remember who and where I am, and WANT to be. So thanks, Guruatma Kaur jio!

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