I wish I still lived in Boston 

Lit Crawl Boston – Boston Book Festival
I grew up in the Boston suburbs and graduated from Emerson College when it was still in Back Bay. At 22, I left Massachusetts to spread my wings, moving first to Northern Virginia, then exploring the state New Jersey, eventually settling in Monmouth County (exit 117 😉).

Recently, I’ve felt a strong pull to be back in Boston. Several times during my illness (which started in 2009), different scenarios have been posited for moving back to Massachusetts. The bottom line is I haven’t been well enough to move: all of my doctors are here, and I’ve got a great team – that’s a challenge to put together and it wouldn’t be prudent to start over (especially now that I’m making some progress).

Nevertheless, I still feel the pull of the history and opportunities. I dream of going back, not as an invalid, but ready to make a contribution. My job now is to get well so I can make my dreams a reality. 

2nd Annual Lit Crawl!

  Get ready for a night of literary mayhem and merry making. The 2nd Annual Boston Lit Crawl is Thursday, October 26th from 6:30-9:30pm! This evening of fun is free, and it all takes place along Newbury Street and throughout the Literary District.  

 Check out the schedule and sign up for your favorite activities. 

 P.S. Be sure to add Literary Balderdash, a game show presented by GrubStreet and Brookline Booksmith, to your Lit Crawl itinerary!



Essay, Suddenly Seymour 

I had my IV antibiotics earlier today (administered at a local hospital per insurance requirements), came home and slept for several hours, then woke with “Suddenly Seymour” rattling around my brain. Several hours later it’s stuck in a loop. I watched the movie (Little Shop of Horrors), the day of the eclipse, so a week ago yesterday, and hadn’t consciously thought about the song since then. What strange things our brains are!

Though, it certainly would be nice to have someone (compatible and sane) declare him/herself in a ballad. 

One of these days I’ll start dating again… Perhaps I’ll be able to find my (kaboom) Seymour. 

Hurricane Harvey 2017: Texas, Trump, and SMH

I’ve been sharing a lot of information about Hurricane Harvey on Facebook. My heart or a out to everyone in the path. Watching from the area Hurricane Sandy devastated lives, I have seen what destruction can be caused, to individual lives, property, and entire communities. 

The preident’s response, though not a surprise is still shocking to me. 
Over the last year or so I’ve read with interest how Holland manages their water and plans for storm surge like this. I have wondered what citites, states, or federal agencies have taken any of that knowledge into account when planning or allocating resources. This is a fascinating article from June NYT: 


The two paragraphs quoted below, from a NYT article today, highlight the incongruity of Trump, his denial of climate change, “This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps,and our GW scientists are stuck in ice,” https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/418542137899491328

and his insisting on cutting the very programs he his now praising. For more on this:

“Wow,” he tweeted on Sunday morning. “Now experts are calling #Harvey a once in 500 year flood! We have an all out effort going, and going well!” An hour earlier, he noted, “Many people are now saying that this is the worst storm/hurricane they have ever seen. Good news is that we have great talent on the ground.”

“Mr. Trump did not wait long to start doling out praise. On Saturday, as relief efforts were just gearing up, the president tweeted to the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, “You are doing a great job — the world is watching! Be safe.” Quoted from:  Trump to Travel to Texas With Torrential Rain Still in the Forecast https://nyti.ms/2vARM5q

Picture from: https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/tropical-storm-hurricane-harvey-rain-flood-forecast-texas-louisiana


Essay on Lyme and Tick Borne Disease 

A friend sent me this article:

Scientists Have Developed A Shot That Could Offer Complete Protection Against Lyme Disease


Unfortunately, there are two things that make this headline and subsequent article a non-starter for me. 

First, in the past five (or more years), there have been many wonderful medical innovations, “2-3 years out”, that have never been heard from again; second: “The downside, however, is that this shot would not protect from the host of other diseases that ticks carry, including powassan virus, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and ehrlichiosis.” From NIH.gov, “We report here the successful application of MLVA for strain discrimination among a group of 41 globally diverse Borrelia isolates including B. burgdorferi, B. afzelii, and B. garinii.” To expand… One tick may carry many diseases, sometimes for convience called Lyme, but also many other names, I personally like to use “tick borne disease” (TBD).

“Lyme borreliosis is the most common vector-borne disease in the Northern
48 Hemisphere and is caused by spirochete bacteria that belong to the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu
49 lato species complex. These tick-boren pathogens are transmitted among vertebrate hosts by
50 hard ticks of the genus Ixodes. Each Borrelia species can be further subdivided into
51 genetically distinct strains. Multiple-strain infections are common in both the vertebrate host
52 and the tick vector and can result in competitive interactions. To date, few studies on
53 multiple-strain vector-borne pathogens have investigated patterns of co-occurrence and
54 abundance in the arthropod vector. We demonstrate that the abundance of a given strain in the
55 tick vector is negatively affected by the presence of co-infecting strains. In addition, our study
56 suggests that the spirochete abundance in the tick is an important life history trait that can
57 explain why some strains are more common than others in nature.” Source: http://aem.asm.org/content/early/2016/11/07/AEM.02552-16.full.pdf
According to the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), (of which one of my doctors was past president): “THERE ARE 5 SUBSPECIES OF BORRELIA BURGDORFERI, OVER 100 STRAINS IN THE US, AND 300 STRAINS WORLDWIDE
This diversity is thought to contribute to its ability to evade the immune system and antibiotic therapy, leading to chronic infection.”  http://www.ilads.org/lyme/lyme-quickfacts.php

So, articles like this I simply find frustrating….

And please, *never* follow the CDC guidelines or the website, in my personal experience, they are woefully, almost criminally inaccurate. Look for articles written by people who have actually experienced tick diseases, they tend to have a much better “boots on the ground” view of the subject. 

“Rex Tillerson ‘taking a little time off’ amid rumors of tension with President Trump” ** editorial essay/shared 

“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be “taking a little time off” amid rumors of a rift with President Donald Trump…”

“Secretary of Defense James Mattis is also out this week — according to the  mPentagon, he is away on “personal travel.””

Sailors preparing their lifeboats? Tillerson was my response on a poll who would be the next to leave. Either of his own volition or “you’re fired.”

And nothing like threatening a cabinet member while speaking in front of a group of boy scouts. That’s a way to highlight sanity.

I don’t think Sessions will leave unless fired; he’s the one with his finger in the dyke holding the nuttiness at bay, as best as he can. Hard to believe he’s the one I’m looking to to save the country.

I feel about these men (because let’s face it, they are all men), the way I felt about Spicer, the people Tr*mp first appointed, back when they probably believed he meant his campaign rhetoric: terribly, terribly sorry for the mess they got themselves into.

However, Scaramucci and anyone else who comes into the administration contradicting their values, I have no pity. Anyone appointed going forward who doesn’t try to rein in this bully, they know (or *should* know) what they are getting themselves into at this point. They should sink with the ship. Along with the “king” or whatever title he has given himself in his head – because he certainly hasn’t been acting like a President of the United States.

Oh, and don’t get me started on these loyalty oaths.

I’m blaming this blog on my migraine.

“Rex Tillerson ‘taking a little time off’ amid rumors of tension with President Trump” @eacrunden https://thinkprogress.org/tillerson-taking-time-off-oh-boy-9bb164507df8

Edit July 31: I was wrong, it was Comey who exited first… So many great articles about all of this at The Medium.

FB message to Mark Zuckerberg ** essay 

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

Hi, I have a suggestion for a future Facebook update. 

Now that I’ve passed 45, I’m getting more death notices than wedding invitations. I think it’s wonderful for family and friends to keep up Facebook pages of the deceased; it’s great to be able to revisit pictures and memories, and post messages. A virtual burying site, if you will. But it’s kind of creepy getting getting birthday notices for these loved ones who have died.

Is it possible in a future update to change a status to “in memory of” or some other language?  A death date can be entered and if birthday notices are continued, it would be noted the the account is now a memorial account? Even being able to to search by death dates amongst our friends list isn’t a bad feature, not everyone gets notified. 

I hope I’ve relayed my ideas coherently. This has been discussed with friends and they agreed it’s a good idea. Granted some of my friends are a little macabre, no more so than getting a birthday notification for someone who passed away three years ago or someone else who recently took his or her own life.

As our parents and schoolmates age and eventually die, it’s nice to have the page there; it would also be nice to honor them in this, or similar fashion. 

Thank you for your time, 

Sincerely, Leigh Mann

(Yes, I actually sent this, though I just corrected some minor typos. I was spurred to action when I was sending a happy birthday message to a high school classmate, and discovered he had died in an accident. But I’ve had this idea rattling around in my brain for several years. Glad I took action. No idea if it will be followed up on, but I know I put the idea out there.)