Thursday, July 20, 2017


Ah, the sweet smell of newly mowed grass ... it always gets to me....
It brings back memories of our lawn after Daddy mowed it. My older sister got to mow it sometimes, and then, finally, I was allowed to push the lawn mower. It was fun. It was hard to get the mower rolling, but wow, once I got it going I didn't want to stop -- I loved making a pathway in the grass.

A twig got stuck in the cutter blades. I had to figure out how to get it unstuck. Almost immediately, it  happened again, and again -- twigs, pebbles, more twigs.

With all the stopping and starting, mowing became a big chore. I was glad when my sister told me, "You aren't strong enough to mow the lawn, Em."

Even so, that sweet-sweet smell -- it meant summer, no school, long days with me free to do whatever I was in the mood to do.

Free -- what a feeling -- that feeling as if every day were Sunday. It made me aware of time passing quickly, grass re-growing, needing to be mowed, which meant soon -- too soon -- the summer would end and the wonderful green would turn yellow and brown.

Yes, newly-mowed grass means green, sun, sweat, blue sky, sleepy wonderful freedom. I no longer remember who said I had to learn to rake it up. Raking the remnants wasn't fun -- fun was in the precious, sweet smell.

I got too-too busy and didn't see or smell any grass for a long time.

Now, I never see newly mowed grass except in television ads. Even so, I remember -- oh my yes -- I do remember, that sweet, sweet, sweet smell and it still gives me a powerful feeling that has to do with loving nature for giving us the gift of grass -- taking it away -- giving it back to us every summer.

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Want to know what the rest of your life is going to be like?  Be forewarned about the bad things and the good things?

Would you trust a fortune teller to read your palm, check out your lifeline, and tell you how many years you have left?

Well, a California company, 23andMe could help you. Since we are made of cells and there are 23 pairs of chromosomes in every cell, this company's DNA testing can give an ordinary person (like you and me) a window into their DNA.

23andMe was founded five years ago by two women, Anne Wojcicki, and Linda Avery, who have  top-drawer credits and years of experience in the field of genetic testing. Their company's DNA test kit was named "Invention of the Year" by Time Magazine in 2008.

Right now Avery is working specifically on Alzheimer's. Anne Wojcicki runs the company now. She was married, is now divorced from Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, whose Mother has Parkinson's. It's not surprising that Google invested $3,900,000 in the company.

Yes, there are other companies that do DNA testing, but none offer to get your results in eight weeks, for a $199 fee that includes a conference with a doctor. Others  charge between $1000 and $5000 for a DNA report that your doctor must explain to you.

One can't help wondering about the hugely advertised diseases. Whenever you turn on your television, you're bombarded with fearful things.

23andMe reports telltale markers for 10 diseases. Anyone who buys the $199 the DNA test kit which tests ancestry as well as health, will automatically learn about their potential for:
    Parkinson’s disease, nervous system disorder, impacts movement.
    Late-onset Alzheimer's progressive brain disorder, destroys memory & thinking skills.
    Celiac disease: inability to digest gluten.
    Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, raises risk of lung & liver disease.
    Early-onset primary dystonia, disorder creating uncontrolled muscle contractions.
    Factor XI deficiency, blood-clotting disorder.
    Gaucher disease type 1, an organ & tissue disorder.
    Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase deficiency, (aka G6PD), red blood cell condition.
    Hereditary hemochromatosis, iron overload disorder; thrombophilia, blood-clot disorder.

The FDA (Food & Drug Administration) just recently suspended its ban on 23andMe. At present, it is the only company allowed to give out genetic disease reports to consumers without a doctor’s prescription. Current 23andMe customers in the U.S. will get these reports, but due to regulations, it is not happening for other customers in other countries.

So would you buy a DNA test kit from 23and Me?

Galavanting on the Internet, I've looked at videos and comments of medical people and ordinary folks with pro and con opinions about DNA testing. I read a blog by a guy who bought the 23andME  testing kit and was on the verge suicide because of the bad news.

Are you thinking hmm...?

Would you rather keep floating along, dancing along the way you’re dancing, or would you at some point -- go ahead and find out where you’re heading? Me, I'll keep dancing. What about you?