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Monday, June 12, 2017

Erin's Day for ALS Awareness

The 11th seems to come around more quickly these days. And I missed a blog post. But bear in mind, I did not forget. 

Life just got away from me this month, and I didn't get to do the level of research I wanted to. 

But I'm happy to report that Erin's UZN Chapter had their annual barbecue in the Bronx, and they displayed a sweet tribute (see above). Next month's post will include information, but for now I remember my sister. Please visit and donate if you can.

Did you know? Caldwell B. Esselstyn, MD was Lou Gehrig's personal physician after his diagnosis. He founded The Rip Van Winkle Foundation (dba The Lou Gehrig Society), an organization devoted to identifying and promoting policies, techniques, and programs that prevent disease. Visit for more info.

Ren. 1977-2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Becky Flade Takes Us Back To Trapper's Cove & I Want To Move There

Weird title, I know. 

But when you get to know an author's literary town and the people in it, you end up wanting to have coffee with all of them. And yes, Trapper's Cove, MN has seen it's share of drama and danger, as proven in Fated Souls and Fated Hearts. But its delightful quirk and charm have left this girl ready to pack up her silver hatchback and head the hell on out. 

Fated Desires, Becky Flade's latest offering from within the borders of this tiny, peculiar town, introduces us to Jenna Gavin, a divorcee who ends up there by way of a search for a new life and new beginnings. Add in a sexy young baseball player named Gabriel and... well, you can imagine the rest. One of my favorite things about romance novels is that you are guaranteed witty banter, new love, butterflies and, if you're lucky, a smattering of steamy sex scenes. And I'd lay my rep on the line to say that Becky, for me, has never disappointed. 

Details, you need details. Well, Mama's got you:

Fated Desires

Jenna Gavin is searching for a fresh start and, more importantly, for balance. Her heart, and perhaps the hands of fate, have led her and her son to Trappers' Cove, Minnesota. Settling in the small, quirky town, she's not in the market for a casual relationship but finds herself in one with the young widower next door.

Former shortstop, Gabriel Foxx, is drawn to his difficult new neighbor. The more the prickly divorcee tries to keep him at arm's length, the more determined he is to break down her walls. He can't avoid the passion Jenna inspires and his friendship with Finn has him yearning for family, but Gabe won't allow himself to feel more.

When friendship grows complicated by stronger emotions and mutual desire just isn't enough, will love be worth the risk?

Fated Desires

The Bio of Miss Flade:
Home is where the heart is and I make mine with my very own knight in slightly tarnished armor in southeastern Pennsylvania. When I’m not busy living my own happily ever after, I’m writing about someone else’s.

Contact Details (cuz trust me, you want to find her):

See Fated Desires on Pinterest  

Now enjoy the following excerpt from Fated Desires!

She had drifted closer to him. Or him to her. Jenna couldn’t be sure. But it would take only a shift of balance to touch her body to his. Life was about balance. And the shifting of worlds. In the space of a day her world had changed for better and for worse. She’d spent the previous nine years trying to find her balance again.

Jenna felt the familiar kick of desire. She’d never understood the girls who spoke of butterflies and stirrings. For her it was more akin to a donkey kick—pleasurable, sure, like the first jolt of caffeine in the morning and as sure and swift and strong. Her pulse sped up and she knew the vein in her neck would visibly pulse; it did when she was angry and when she was aroused. Gabe was sure to notice it. As she noticed his heart pounding against her palm in a rhythm she found seductive.

She raised her gaze from the back of her hand. His mouth was aligned with her own. She hadn’t realized how close in height they were. All she had to do was…shift.

“This is the longest conversation we’ve had.” Her voice was husky; she heard it, knew he would. He shifted, imperceptibly but she sensed it.

“Maybe this,” his voice was husky too, “is why.”

She thought she knew what he meant. The tension between them was awareness.

“The day we met I wanted to get close enough to see what color your eyes were. They’re gray. Like storm clouds. Perfect.”

Jenna could feel his breath on the flesh of her lips and her nipples tightened.


Finn’s shout was punctuated by his feet drumming down the stairs. Gabe brushed his lips over the curve of her cheek, his eyes conveying amused regret, and slipped out the back door, barely making a sound. Jenna grabbed the counter and breathed. She needed to settle herself before her son found his way to the kitchen.

What the hell?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Erin's Day for ALS Awareness

Four months today. You're everywhere. In the eyes of your kids, in the hearts of your family and friends, and certainly in the eyes of your granddaughter. I wish I were an old hag writing this at the end of my life about a friend who'd already lived a long and full life. Instead, I'll be celebrating my next milestone birthday without your physical presence. And the one after that.

You were supposed to be one of my bridesmaids, if I ever got married. I might have been your maid of honor, had you made it until summer well enough to marry the man you loved. Since your diagnosis, we were all prepared to band together and take one more road trip - your last ride, as it were. You were all for it, but looking back I think you knew it wouldn't happen. I would have wanted to know what you knew but still... thank you for sparing me. I know why you kept so tight-lipped about the severity of the situation.

I said I'd honor your memory, and I meant it - I've been thinking about this blog post for days now.
Erin, in one of her hand-knitted sweaters. So truly talented!
How can I continue to bring to light the awful nature of the bastard disorder that took you from me, from us all? I struggled to figure out where I'd go with this one, as I usually do when I sit down to write. Then I read an article through a link posted by a wonderful guy who has been fighting ALS successfully for quite sometime. A new drug was approved for treatment - the first in twenty years, it said. Then I thought back to the links we sent each other when we were waiting for the goddamn doctors to diagnose you -- I thought for sure it was a trial we had discussed. Whether it was or wasn't doesn't matter. What matters is a new drug was approved. This is incredible news for those who are here, and I know that. But again, I was seized by a selfish human moment.

Filled with anger and sadness, I cried all the way home. I stayed the fuck off Facebook, because I couldn't deal with anything else. In the moment, it wasn't fair. Had the drug been approved sooner (because who knows how long it took -- what was it you'd said? They're quick to stuff us with man-made preservatives and additives that'll rot us from the inside out, but they can't see their way to give us a cure for anything.), would you have made it? Would we have gotten to keep you for weeks more? Months more? Years more?

I'm having a real problem, even now, understanding the ways of the world and why things happen the way they do. I struggle to stay present, to push forward. I miss you. Our crew - the Snack Pack? - isn't balanced without you in this world. We feel you and we feel your absence at the same time. It's surreal. And just when I think I can't cry anymore, the tears come. And yet, because I know it's what you'd want, I will keep fighting the good fight.

The Link:

A new drug, Radicava, became the first drug in 20+ years to be approved for the treatment of ALS. I feel like, despite the victory, we should all be concerned that this amazing new treatment will cost $145,524 a year, according to the manufacturer. I wonder if such an organization exists that helps those suffering with funds to cover the cost of treatment, or at least to aid in paying household bills. It's not a cure, but an effective treatment used to prolong the lives of those fighting.

Readers: A new treatment is great, but there is still no cure. If you are so inclined, please donate to the ALS Foundation to help further research. Visit ALS.ORG for more information.

I love you, Ren. 1977-2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

Erin's Day for ALS Awareness - Fighting ALS is a Full-Time Job

for further information or to donate to the research that can help locate treatments and, someday, a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), please visit -- and please continue past the end of the article for a brief memory of my soulmate Erin, the amazing woman to whom this post and future posts like these are dedicated.

The ALS Association: Fighting ALS is a Full-Time Job

Make your donation at
The ALS Association symbolizes the hopes of people everywhere that Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis will one day be a disease of the past - relegated to historical status, studied in medical textbooks, conquered by the dedication of thousands who have worked ceaselessly to understand and eradicate this perplexing killer. 

Until that day comes, The ALS Association relentlessly pursues its mission to help people living with ALS and to leave no stone unturned in search for the cure of the progressive neurodegenerative disease that took the life and name of Baseball Legend Lou Gehrig.

As the only not-for-profit voluntary health agency dedicated solely to the fight against ALS, we direct the largest privately-funded research enterprise engaged to uncover the mystery of a disease that affects as many as 30,000 annually. With more than 5,600 people diagnosed each year - an average of 15 new cases each day - our mission is urgent. The search for answers knows no bounds. 

The ALS Association's far-reaching efforts extend to Capitol Hill and some of the world's finest research laboratories. To date The ALS Association has supported over $80 million in ALS research. We've brought the ALS community the historic Medicare waiver of the 24-month waiting period and a 100% increase in funding since our advocacy campaign began. 

But nowhere does this battle reach deepest than in our work with ALS patients and their families. We embrace thousands of those stricken with the disease with the world's most comprehensive program of care and services. Our nation-wide network of chapters coordinates services with care and compassion - making a difference in the lives of people with Lou Gehrig's disease. Our hallmark of quality is exemplified in centers and clinics that deliver advanced care and meet The ALS Association's rigorous criteria for certification.
Our accomplishments are made possible by the generosity of others. From the smallest donation to the largest gift, donors touch the ALS community with hope for the future. This terrible disease knows no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries. It can strike anyone at any time. 

Despite the mysterious nature of ALS, breathtaking advances in science, medicine and technology are shaping a future of unparalleled hope for those with ALS. The ALS Association is at the forefront in this new world, encouraging young scientists to combine new thinking with these advances to unlock the mysteries of ALS - to push the envelope in therapy and scientific research. 

The ALS Association is waging the war against this killer 24/7. Every 90 minutes, an American dies of ALS. Time isn't on the side of those afflicted. Fighting ALS is a full-time job. 
The following article can be found in its entirety at

We were #squadgoals before Taylor Swift claimed it - we rolled together strong, we uplifted one another and, whenever one of us was in crisis, we'd walk from anywhere to be wherever the other needed us. We embraced the darkness together, we embraced the light together, and we laughed and loved everything in between. We gathered around beer, music, projects (shared or solo)... but mostly food. (smile) So, we called ourselves the Snack Pack. And wherever we were together, we were the center of attention. We made everyone around us part of our crew, and we loved to make everyone around us laugh and smile. The three of us that remain vow to keep Erin's light shining, and to keep spreading the love we used to when we were a quartet of magical sisters. 

Long Live the Snack Pack.