We Have Amazing Bodies


I excerpted the following from an email I received today from an MD..

Sometimes you may feel (or know, like me!) like your body is beginning to creak and fail you on the outside, but have you ever stopped to consider the incredible work going on inside? What is, is pretty miraculous!

1. Your heart pumps around 2000 gallons (7571 liters) through its chambers each day. To accomplish this, it beats 100,000 times a day.

2. You take around 17, 00 breaths a day and you don’t even think about it. You can hold your breath to stop breathing but eventually your brain takes over autonomously and you have to take a breath.

3. Did you know your body gets rid of thousands of potential cancer- causing cells a day? Cancer cells are formed when their DNA is altered and this happens tens of thousands of times a day. But there are enzymes in each cell which essentially inspect each new strand of DNA and fix the errors before the cells lead to a tumor.

4. It’s estimated that 50-60,000 thought run through your brain every day, 35-48 thoughts a minute.

5. Some of the cells lining  your stomach produce acid strong enough to dissolve metal, but in reality just digest your food into a substance called chime. Why doesn’t your stomach digest itself? Because other cells produce an alkaline substance to neutralize the acid.

7. Most of your body’s energy is given off as heat during the day. You produce about as much heat at 25 light bulbs (the incandescent kind).

8. A red blood cell can make a complete circuit of your body in less than 60 seconds! Pretty fast! So it makes it around 1440 times a day, delivering oxygen to the cells and picking but the carbon dioxide. The cell lives for about 40 days before breaking down and being replaced by a new cell.

Are you impressed yet? There’s more…

9   Your hair (assuming you have any) grows a half millimeter a day. If you have a full head of hair (about 100,000 hairs), you grow 50 meters of hair every single day!


10. You shed about 1 million skin cells a day, but your skin doesn’t get thinner (except as you age) because those cells are constantly replaced by new cells coming from layers beneath them. You skin is actually your largest organ (yes, an organ) with a area of 18 square feet (about 2 square meters).

11. Our brain runs our mouth and larynx to allow us to speak around 5,000 words a day, unless you are a teacher and/or a woman. Men only speak around 2000 words a day, Duh! Research says that only 500-700 of these words are constructive and useful, i.e. contain relevant information.  I’m sure there will be some blowback from women on this – I’m not sure I trust this data.

12. Your liver is so busy, it’s nearly impossible to summarize all that it does. It manufactures blood plasma, Vitamin D and cholesterol (which is necessary in some amount), it stores nutrients, and filters 1.53 quarts of blood every minute and produces about a quart of bile for food digestion. And that’s just a few things.

Image result for free picture of liver

13. Your salivary glands produce about 1.5 liters of saliva every day, in order to keep your oral cavity moist, inhibit bacterial growth and begin the digestion of food.

14. The average man’s testicles produce over1 million sperm cells a day – what overkill, right? Those that aren’t used eventually break down and are resorbed.

15. Each of your kidneys contain about 1 million tiny filters called nephrons that together filter 2.2 pints of blood each minute. That’s 3168 pints a day, but only about 2.5 pints are expelled as urine because the nephron resorbs water.  

There’s lots more, but I don’t want to overawe you!


A Fantastic Review for Death by Pumpkin


Mallory at http://malloryheartscozies.blogspot.com/ – do check out her blog if you like cozies – gave me a five star review for Death by Pumpkin. You know what that does to a writer, right?

You have to watch this – it’s me!


Here’s the review:

An entertaining and highly intriguing Maine cozy, DEATH BY PUMPKIN is third in a series. Imaginative in premise, this mystery begins with a bang and strongly hooks the reader, and enwraps us with the characters and storyline. Rhe Brewster is an ER nurse, mother of an ADHD son, widow, and sister-in-law of the police chief of her community. She is also a part-time police consultant. The author warmly endears the characters, as murder rears its very ugly head (even though it’s performed creatively), and emotions run high (and for some, even higher). DEATH BY PUMPKIN is a mystery delineating the adage “Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer.” I’ll definitely be looking to review other mysteries in the Rhe Brewster series.


Thank you, Mallory!


Andrew Joyce and Danny the Dog: These Are a Few of Their Favorite Things


I am absolutely delighted to be able to share this topic with Andrew and his pal, Danny – two of my favorite bloggers!


Hello, my name is Andrew Joyce. Noelle has asked me and my dog over to her blog today to discuss some of our favorite things. But first of all, I’d like to introduce you to my dog, Danny the Dog.

Say hello, Danny.


Could you be a bit more enthusiastic?

Could you get on with it? You dragged me away from a Lassie rerun. She was just about to save Timmy, who fell into a well. I wanted to see how she was gonna do it, seeing as she has no opposable thumbs. You never know, I might have to save you from a well someday. Then you’ll be sorry you didn’t let me finish watching my show.

Okay. Let’s just get down to it. I’ll say my favorite things first and then you can tell the nice people about your favorite things.

Why do you get to go first?

It really doesn’t matter to me, Danny. Do you want to go first?


Boy, oh boy! You are something else. I’m sorry, folks, but Danny seems to be in a mood today. I’ll start the ball rolling by telling you some of my favorite things.

Make sure they’re not too sappy.

Be quiet, Danny. Okay, here goes. I like getting up early to see the sun rise out of the ocean. I like rainy days when I can stay inside and read a good book. I like a good cup of coffee, and happy endings in movies. Now it’s your turn, Danny.

Whoa! Are you kidding me? What are you trying to do, fool these poor people? I’ll tell ’em what you really like.

No need to do that, Danny. I’m just trying to sell some books here.

Hush. If you want to sell books, then be honest with the people. It’s my turn and I’ll use it to tell the people what you’re really like. Andrew’s favorite thing is vodka. Then there’s his obsession with beer. You should see him when he has a snootful. He’s just like Hemingway. I don’t mean he can write like Hemingway, but he sure can drink like him.

Thanks a lot, Danny.

I’m not done yet. Sunrises? Andrew hasn’t seen a sunrise since I was a pup. And coffee? Of course, he loves coffee. He puts three shots of vodka in every cup. I will admit he does read a lot, rain or shine.

You are a bad doggie, Danny. Alright, you blew my cover, but we still haven’t heard about your favorite things.

I thought you’d never ask. I love to sniff where other dogs have peed. I love our walks in the morning when it’s just the two of us. I love it when, after our walks, you give me those treats. But do you want to know what I love the most?

I’m afraid to ask.

I love you. I’m hard on you because I’m trying to keep you on the straight and narrow. An impossible task, I think. But I’ll keep trying.

Aww shucks, Danny.

Can we get out of here now? There’s an old Rin Tin Tin movie on TCM that I don’t want to miss.

Sure, Danny. Let me just thank Noelle for having us over.

Thank her for me too. It wasn’t so bad.

Thank you, Noelle.


Loved having you for a visit. Come back any time. I’ll provide dog biscuits.

About Andrew Joyce

Andrew left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until years later. He has written five books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called Bedtime Stories For Grown-Ups (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, Yellow Hair. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, 10,000 Miles: An American Journey.

Through no fault of his own, a young man is thrust into a new culture just at the time that culture is undergoing massive changes. It is losing its identity, its lands, and its dignity. He not only adapts, he perseveres and, over time, becomes a leader—and on occasion, the hand of vengeance against those who would destroy his adopted people.

Yellow Hair documents the injustices done to the Sioux Nation from their first treaty with the United States in 1805 through Wounded Knee in 1890. Every death, murder, battle, and outrage written about actually took place. The historical figures that play a role in this fact-based tale of fiction were real people and the author uses their real names. Yellow Hair is an epic tale of adventure, family, love, and hate that spans most of the 19th century.
This is American history.

About Danny the Dog

Danny the Dog is an insouciant blogger with an upcoming book. He is Andrew’s roommate and Andrew is his human.  In dog years, he’s an old man – or an old dog – but he is charming, wise and very snarky. He’s not an old dog to me!



Impressionistic Spring


More years ago than I care to admit, I interviewed at Middlebury College and took a tour of the campus with an art major. I learned a new term from that student: impressionistic spring. This is the time of year when the trees are hazy with emerging leaf buds.

We’re at the peak of impressionistic spring here – the trees have leaf buds in bronze, dark red, yellow, and every shade of green from pale green to celery to moss to myrtle to olive and celadon. The colors are more subtle than the brash shades of fall but have a dreamy quality and a beauty all their own. There are also the bright colors of the red bud trees, daffodils, and hyacinths.

Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement characterized by relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities. The Impressionists sought to capture the optical effects of light – to convey the passage of time, changes in weather, and other shifts in the atmosphere in their canvases. Their art did not necessarily rely on realistic depictions.

So who were the Impressionists? Eduard Manet, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-August Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sergeant – some of these names should be familiar.

We get the term impressionistic spring from the colors these artists used and their hazy quality. I’ve included a few of Monet’s paintings with all these gorgeous colors.

All That Genetic Stuff: RNA


What I am going to tell you about RNA is very, very simplified, but I think it will give you the gist.

RNA or ribonucleic acid is much the same as DNA, a chain of nucleotides, but the sugar is always ribose (not deoxyribose), uracil replaces thymine, and RNA is usually single-stranded. RNA is essential in coding, decoding, regulation and expression of the genes coded in the DNA.


Structure DNA and RNA molecule – Copyright: Designua, Image ID: 124474282 via Shutterstock

There are several types of RNA: mRNA, rRNA, tRNA, and non-coding RNA.

1.  mRNA – Messenger RNA: Encodes amino acid sequence of a polypeptide. mRNA synthesis involves separation of the DNA strands and synthesis of an RNA molecule with the action of an enzyme called RNA polymerase. One of the separated DNA strands is a template.

mRNA carries the genetic code copied from the DNA in the form of triplets of nucleotides called codons. Each codon specifies a particular amino acid, but one amino acid can be coded by many different codons or groups of three nucleotides.

There is some processing of mRNA before it moves from the nucleus to the cytoplasm of a cell.

2. rRNA – Ribosomal RNA. When combined with ribosomal proteins, rRNA makes a structure called a ribosome. The ribosome is the organelle where the mRNA is trranslated.

rRNA constitutes the predominant material within the ribosome, which is approximately 60% rRNA and 40% protein. Ribosomes contain two major rRNA subunits – the large A acts as an enzyme, catalyzing the bond formation between the amino acids. rRNA sequences are of ancient origin and are found in all known forms of life.


 This is a three dimensional reconstruction of a ribosome, where blue is the small subunit and red is the large.

3. tRNA – Transfer RNA is the physical link between the mRNA and the amino acids that go into a protein. It does this by carrying an amino acid to a ribosome, as directed by a three-nucleotide sequence or codon in the mRNA. As such, tRNAs are a necessary component of translation, the biological synthesis of a protein originally coded in the DNA.


4. Non-coding RNA (ncRNA) is a functional RNA molecule that is transcribed from DNA but not translated into proteins. In general, ncRNAs function to regulate gene expression at the transcriptional (DNA to RNA) and post-transcriptional (RNA to protein) levels, and there are a lot of them, more being discovered all the time!


Hopefully you didn’t find this too confusing. I use to teach a more detailed version of this to my non-biology majors, because they would be living in a world where they will be confronted with these terms.

Book Review: Tales from the Garden by Sally Cronin @scg58 #children #fairy tales


tales-from-the-gardenTales from the Garden by Sally Cronin is at heart a book for all ages. I read several excerpts of the book in posts on Sally’s blog (Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life — https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/) and decided to read the entire book.

This is a collection of imaginative stories giving life to the various stone creatures that inhabit her garden: lions, eagles, dogs, dwarves, butterflies, young boys and beautiful girls, and of course the world of fairies living under the magnolia tree.  All of them come alive at night and there is a story about each of them – how they came to live there, how they contribute to the busy life of the garden.

The author imbues each of these creatures with a charming personality and a backstory that reminds the reader of long ago folktales. The writing is smooth with a gentle quality and effortlessly provides lessons in responsibility, loyalty, love, and respect.  This adult was transported back to her childhood and was left smiling and a little bereft after the last page, reminding me of The Borrowers, one of my early favorites.

I highly recommend this book to the parents of young children – it will be on the list of books that I give each year – and I hope all who read this review will indulge their inner child and get a copy for themselves.

Ten stars if it were possible!

About the author

sallly-croninAfter working in a number of industries for over 25 years, Sally decided to pursue a completely different career and began studying nutrition and the human body, ultimately opening  her first diet advisory center in Ireland in 1998. Over the last 18 years, she has practiced in Ireland and the UK and has written columns, articles and radio programs on health and nutrition.

She published her first book with a Canadian self-publisher in the late 90s and since then has released eight others as part of her own self-publishing company. Apart from health, she also enjoys writing fiction in the form of novels and short stories. All of her books demonstrate her humor, charm and love for her subjects.




Guest Post: Rosie Amber – These Are a Few of My Favorite Things


I am delighted to have Rosie Amber’s here for a guest post on her favorite things!


These are a few of my favourite things – family trees and history

Ever since we had a lesson in school about family trees, I’ve been hooked on genealogy. I remember going home and working for weeks on the homework project, interviewing family members, writing to others for details and asking the teacher for a really long piece of paper to share my family tree with the class.

I love the stories, the unanswered questions and the search for new links. I would love to share a cup of tea with so many of these relatives and hear their stories first-hand.

My grandmother’s father, born in 1878, was said to have walked from Oxford to Reading in search of work when he was a young man. He found a job on the railway, and worked his way up to be Station Master, becoming a strong union man.

When I married I was delighted to inherit a whole new family, and this one deserved its own long piece of paper. We’ve managed to reach back as far as the early 1700s, but are currently stuck. A branch of the family moved from Hail Weston, which was then in the county of Huntingdonshire, but is now part of Cambridgeshire, and came to London.

To be able to trade in the city a man had to become a “free man of the city” and a member of one of the city’s Guilds. Our relative became a member of the Guild of Joiners. His certificate of “Freedom” was obtained in 1774.

bermondseyLater generations lived in Bermondsey, London and owned many properties, they were wharfingers, lighter men (flat bottomed boat workers used to transfer goods from large ships to docksides) and granary men along the Thames. One member leased some land to Bermondsey Abbey so they could extend their graveyard on a 999 year lease. We believe the family business was forced to be sold by a family split and we have the original sales catalogues from 1886.

Some of the family moved to Hampshire and began farming, and although the generations have moved farms, we are still farming in the area today. My husband’s great grandfather had polio, yet he fathered five children. A descendent from the wife of the aforementioned great grandfather in time married a very distant relative of the youngest child of the great grandfather’s fifth child.  Confusing?!  Not knowing any family connections, the couple bought the very old farmhouse which we moved my husband’s mother out of just two years ago. As my brother-in-law still farms the surrounding land it seems fitting that the farmhouse will remain in the “family”!

Other interesting characters who have popped up in the tree: a brother who went to be a sheep farmer in Australia in the early 1800s, but the heat was too much; he later moved to and died in Tasmania. Another family member served in India as a soldier.  He wrote home about an interesting man named Ghandi who was making a lot of noise…. We had a gentleman who part owned Mabi & Todd, makers of Swan Pens. Another worked for the Bank of England in the late 1800s. We have certification for another who was made a “Special Constable in the City of London” for a two month period covering the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria. Apparently this was common practice during times when large crowds were expected in the capital.

In amongst the family papers was a memoir from a family friend about “Old London Town”. On his 70th birthday in 1884, Mr F Fitch looked back on his life.  Here is a segment from his memoir:

“In 1814 London had scarcely emerged from its medieval character. The inhabitants lived in their places of business. The houses, many of them were of ancient date, overhanging the pathway: in some instances projecting floor by floor until the upper stories overhung the roadway itself. The “cries” of London (tradesmen crying their wares) were then a reality…


Old London Bridge was still in existence, with its quaint recesses, small arches and long timber abutments (This was the bridge built after the great fire of London. The “Rennie” bridge would be built in 1824) As also were the waterwheels under the bridge, by which a part of the city was still supplied with Thames water. These obstructions prevented the flow of the river, so that as the tide ebbed rapids were formed, and navigation stopped for hours.

The first novelty in vehicular accommodation for passengers was started by Mr Shillibeer, and called after him “Shillibeers Omnibus”. It had three horses drawing abreast.”


By 1884 Mr Fitch believed life had generally been transformed.

“Indoors we have gas and the duplex oil lamp for light: in our streets gas and electricity. Cabs, omnibuses and trams take place of the lumbering hackney coach for town travelling, and steamers take the place of rowing boats for the Thames. Railways take us in a few hours where the journey took us many days. We send a message by the telegraphic wire, even beyond our own country and we talk with our neighbours by the telephone. Progress is not stopped. It may go on, and probably will go on with accelerated speed.”

Thank you for joining me today as I sit here surrounded by paper, photos and pieces of precious history.


rosie-bw-softRosie is of course the power behind Rosie Amber’s book Review Team, to which I and a number of other authors belong. You can find Rosie and read our reviews at  https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/

She’s also on Twitter: @Rosieamber1

and on Facebook:


What Ships Came to Plymouth After the Mayflower?


Most people know the story of the Mayflower and the first Pilgrims, but I doubt many know ‘what happened next.’ It was not all good.

Because the Plymouth colony was financed by London-based Merchant Adventurers, who expected some return on their investment, other ships sailed to the New World. In the fall of 1621, the Fortune became the second ship after the Mayflower to make the voyage. Fortune was much smaller than the Mayflower and transported only 35 settlers to the colony, arriving – as had its sister ship – in November, one year later. The ship had been unexpected and it brought no supplies, straining the resource of the colony. It did bring useful settlers, many of whom were young men. The Fortune stayed only three weeks, returning to England with good tail winds in December, and loaded with furs and other goods.

Image result for Pictures of the ship Fortune

Fortune was captured by a French warship and ended up back in London in February of 1622, but without its cargo.  The Merchant Adventurers thus lost their investment for the time being, but some of the passengers on the Fortune would come to play major roles in the history of the colony.

The leader of these passengers was Robert Cushman, who had been the Leiden agent for the Mayflower and Speedwell. He sailed with his son Thomas, whom he left in the care of William Bradford, when he returned to England. Thomas would become the husband of Mary Allerton, the woman whose life I am attempting to recreate. Although Bradford stated that there were thirty-five persons on board Fortune, the names of only twenty-eight persons arriving on the Fortune received lots of land in the 1623 Division of Land.

In 1623 the ships Anne and Little James were the third and fourth ships financed by the London-based Merchant Adventurers sailed to the New World. Anne carried mostly passengers, and the much smaller Little James carried primarily cargo, with a few passengers. After a stormy three-month voyage, Anne arrived at in early July 1623, with the Little James a week or so later.

Pictures of the Anne


Image result for Pictures of the ship Anne

Between them, 90-odd new settlers arrived, along with about thirty others who were not part of the core emigrant group. Some of this emigrant contingent would be judged unfit for the hardships of colony life and be sent back to England.

Little James was sent with the specific purposes of bringing back furs, but things did not go as hoped, so she sailed around Cape Cod as far as what is now Rhode Island, seeking Indian trade relations. Unfortunately, the captain did not have the quality trade goods that the natives wanted in exchange for furs and he was supplanted by very active Dutch traders, who could pay the natives a better price.

When Little James arrived back from Rhode Island and anchored at the entrance to Plymouth harbor, a storm ripped her anchors and drove the ship toward a dangerous sand bank. The crew had to chop down the mainmast and cut away rigging to save the ship. The company was forced to provide Little James with a new mast, and refit her with anchors and rigging. Throughouit the freezing winter of 1623, the crew had to exist on short rations with only cold water to drink, when alcohol was the drink of choice at the time. Discipline on Little James collapsed completely. In the spring of 1624, her captain took the ship to Maine where the crew mutinied and sent the captain back to Plymouth in a small boat. Ultimately, the Little James wrecked during a storm in Maine and once again the colonists made the repairs to make her seaworthy. William Bradford decided to send the ship and its angry crew back to London.

The Charity, which arrived in March of 1624, brought three heifers and a bull, the first of any cattle in the colony.

https://www.nps.gov/jame/learn/historyculture/images/jsmith-apva.jpg   According to Captain John Smith of Jamestown fame who visited in 1624, there were about 180 people, some cattle and goats, and many pigs and poultry living in Plymouth. There were 32 dwelling houses stretching for about half a mile, and above the town on a high hill was a fort built with wood, loam and stone, containing cannon. The colonists had also made a saltwork, in order to salt and thus preserve the fish they caught to send back to London.


What Happened to the Mayflower?


The Mayflower is an iconic ship in the history of America, but did you know it never returned to the New World after it left the Plymouth Colony on April 5, 1621?

mayflower-historyHer captain, Christopher Jones, bought the Mayflower in 1607, together with several business partners. She was a cargo ship, capable of carrying up to 180 tons, and at different time carried lumber, tar, fish, French wine, Cognac, vinegar, or salt.

The home of Master Christopher Jones inHarwich, England, where a replica of the Mayflower is being built for the quadricentennial in 2020.

After returning from a voyage to Bordeaux, France, in May 1620, the Mayflower and its master were hired to take the Pilgrims to Northern Virginia.  This was the first recorded trans-Atlantic voyage for both ship and Jones although several crewmembers had been to the New World before.

 The Mayflower arrived back in England on May 6. Christopher Jones took the ship out for a few more trading runs, but he died a couple of years later in March 1622.  His widow, Josian, inherited the Mayflower, and the ship was appraised for probate purposed in May 1624. At that time it was referred to as being “in ruins” and was only valued at 128 pounds sterling. The Mayflower was almost certainly broken up and sold off as scrap.

A sad end for this historic lady, but at the time the Mayflowers’s place in history had not yet been recognized.

 mayflower-barnThe “Mayflower Barn” in Jordans, England, was identified in the 1920s as having been made from the remnants of the Mayflower.  The evidence is entirely unconvincing, but that has not stopped it from becoming a tourist attraction nonetheless.