CDC Recommends Baby Boomers Tested for Hep C

For reasons not yet understood, 75% of adults who currently have Hepatitis C were born in the years 1945 through 1965. Therefore, the CDC has recommended that all adults who were born during these years are tested for Hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C is dangerous because a carrier can show no symptoms for many years, and never know he is carrying the disease. The disease can become active and cause cirrhossis, liver damage and possibly liver cancer. Up until now, there haven’t been many options in the treatment of Hepatitis C. Doctors have treated patients with interferon and ribavarin, but treatment was effective in only 50% of treated patients. Other patients couldn’t receive treatment due to the side effects of these two drugs.


After sequencing the genetic makeup of Hep C, there are now more available treatments. The drugs used are direct acting anti-viral drugs, drugs that target the Hep C virus directly, rather than harming systems that are important to the everyday health of the patient. Two new drugs, telaprevir (Incivek) and boceprevir (Victrelis), are still used with interferon and ribavarin, but it is believed that they will be able to be used with other direct acting drugs, eliminating the need for the older drugs that did more harm to the body.

For these reasons, the CDC has created the new recommendation. Testing those born in the years noted will help prevent more than 120,000 deaths from the disease. It is not known if all health care plans will cover the testing, so you should check with your insurance company.



Review of “21 Secrets” online art class

“21 Secrets” is an online art class, compiling the lessons from 21 artists. One of my frustrations with these classes is that everyone has a list of supplies a yard long, and each author goes into long explanations of what they use, and why. It would be more useful if one person made a video about journals and usual supplies, then each artist simply add their favorites in a short video. I have picked a few of the classes I have already gone through and reviewed them. 

 “Acceptional Art,” by Kitty O, is about accepting where each of us is in our art journeys. That sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? But I never got that from the class. The class opens with a video of the artist being cute, making faces, wearing accessories, to some music about 21 Secrets. Yes, it’s cute, but not what people are paying for. I thought that I had wasted my time when I saw that. The big lesson is about ripping up pictures from things important in childhood and gluing them into the journal. I honestly was very disappointed in these lessons. Perhaps the concept should be developed further before inclusion in a paying class.

 I enjoyed Danielle Daniel’s class “Unearthing,” not for the concept, which I found hard to put into effect, but for the technical instruction. She actually explains how to construct designs, which is very helpful! She has a professional tone, and I found her easy and pleasant to listen to. The concept of unearthing your dreams for inspiration was difficult for me to do, as I have crazy, jumbled dreams, and they usually involve me fleeing water, so I am not sure how I want to use them in my art! Not her fault, of course, just not a good fit for me. 

 The name of Jodi Ohl’s topic “Diary of a Highly Effective But Inconsisent (sp) Journaler,” bugged me for two reasons: the first was that I don’t like self-congratulation. And the second reason had the English teacher that I am twitching: do NOT spell the title wrong when you are getting paid for a workshop. I am assuming the owner of the blog, Connie Hozvicka, put the subtitles in, and of course mistakes do happen, but she misspelled the title of Ohl’s workshop. This is a paid product, not a free blog: it’s like Tolstoy’s editor spelling his masterpiece “War and Peaze.” Please, people! Can you be professional??? I tell my students all of the time, if they cannot even spell their titles correctly, no one is going to take them seriously. I paid real money for these workshops, so I would have appreciated a real editor!

 OK, rant over. The workshop was actually very good. Jodi Ohl is a very talented artist, and her journals were inspiring. She is a talented teacher and she gave lots of direct instruction. Definitely one of the better workshops offered. Dreaming In Color, which sells LuminArte products including the glorious Twinkle H2O watercolors and silks Acrylic Glazes, has another workshop by Ohl, the Twinkles on Yupo. I may purchase and review that.

Look for reviews of the Twinkle H2O paints and the Silk Acrylic Glazes soon! Also, I plan to purchase and review a workshop by Dina Wakley, “Masterful Art Journaling.” It is supposed to be excellent, and as it is quite pricey at $65, I would like to see if it is worth the cost.

Be well, and create!

Blood Test May Detect Pancreatic Cancer

The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer strikes fear in the hearts of those who are familiar with it. Since pancreatic cancer is so difficult to diagnose, by the time it is found, it has a 5 year survival rate of less than 5% and is at Stage IV. 

Researchers at John Hopkins believe they have found a way to detect it earlier. The researchers were able to find 2 genes that were present in the blood of 81 patients who had early stage pancreatic cancer, and not in the blood of those who didn’t have the disease. This could be a very important finding that could have a significant effect on the  survival rates for this cancer.


Sticks and Stones in Schroon Lake, NY

We visited this relatively new restaurant for the second time last night. The first time we sat outside and were in a rush, so I didn’t pay enough attention to the food to really make a decision about it. This time was different. We arrived at about 6PM on a Saturday night. The restaurant was almost full, but we were escorted to a booth near the bar. It was chilly, so I asked if I could close the window, and the waitress instantly closed it for me. She was wonderful all night! Attentive without being annoying, she took great care of us!

The booth made my husband happy! He is tall, and the booths are higher than the average dining room table, which makes it comfortable to sit there. I am only average height, and I was comfortable too. The waitress recommended a dark ale to him, and he said it was wonderful. The appetizer, a chicken with sesame fried linguine and peanut butter sauce, was outstanding!! It was tangy and tender, and the noodles had a taste from my childhood that I can’t put my finger on. We shared a bowl of seafood chowder that was outstanding.

My husband had the glazed salmon for dinner. This wild caught salmon gleamed with moistness as he pulled it apart with his fork. He was practically salivating as he ate it! I had the wild mushroom ravioli in a vodka sauce – the sauce was delicious, but not overpowering, the ravioli were perfectly cooked! The grand finale, an apple crisp heated up in the wood fired oven, smothered with vanilla ice cream, with caramel sauce drizzled over the top, was one of the top 5 desserts I have ever had. Unbelievable. I can’t wait to go back and try their other desserts.

The decor is Adirondack with some nice touches: the aforementioned high booths, carved bears, and original artwork by the talented Adirondack artist, Dorothy McDevitt. At 71 dollars without tip, we felt the money was well spent for a fabulous meal!!

We will be back, Sticks and Stones.

Sticks and Stones is located just south of the village of Schroon Lake, on Route 9.

Historic Adirondack Homes


In the Adirondacks in New York state, there are many historic homes that are victims of neglect and disuse. One of these homes, the historic Merrill Magee house in Warrensburg, has a huge, old pool. This pool is one of the most interesting and impressive pools I have seen! It is about 60 feet long by 25 feet wide, and is a concrete form. On the sides of the deep end are topless mermaids, created from tiles. The pool is in terrible shape, and I always fear hearing that it is going to be filled in and destroyed. It was built in 1927-1928, and is thought to be one of the oldest surviving inground pools in New York state.

I am always looking at historic properties and wondering, “What are their stories? How did such a beautiful property fall into such neglect?” I know that the answer is usually lack of funds, on the part of the homeowner and the town, which cannot pitch in to help preserve the property. Without funding, many older homes end up falling apart and eventually torn down, replaced with multi-unit housing or something new, something that doesn’t possess a “soul.”

I have always loved old homes and architecture, and would love to be a part of creating some type of funding to help restore parts of our history that cannot be replaced once it is gone.

Be A Tightwad – Don’t Waste Your Money on This Book!

I read the good reviews of The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn on this site, but decided to begin my tightwad ways, so I took it out of the library. After reading about 5 pages, the book languished on my bedstand, costing me 5 cents in overdue fees because I forgot it was even there. I am so glad I didn’t waste my money on this book. I have several issues with it:

1. Organization: Amy Dacyczyn’s book is horribly organized!! On the cover are enticements such as “Tightwad crafts and hobbies.” I was interested in this topic, so imagine my surprise that neither craft nor hobby was listed in the index!! I couldn’t find it, so I gave up looking after about 10 minutes. Same for some of the other cover topics. And since the book is based on newsletters, there is no rhyme or reason for the listing of the topics.

2. Tone: much of what Ms. Dacyczyn suggests seems to be because of mean-spiritedness and lack of experience. She goes on and on, using anecdotal evidence, about how today’s kids are so jaded they don’t enjoy a walk in the woods or making cookies. So untrue!! Most kids love to do these things – their parents don’t have a lot of time, so they don’t do it often, but as a teacher I can tell you that children talk about these times in school with their classmates showing great excitement. She uses what she calls “Creative deprivation” so that her kids enjoy the one JUNIOR ice cream cone they get a year! I was by no means spoiled, but you don’t have to make a huge deal of out ice cream! It is an innocent pleasure, and part of childhood, to love and eat ice cream! Most of her ideas seem like she is depriving her kids so that she can write about it and make tons of money! I would hate to be her kid – especially if I was the one who had XXX in all my clothes to show I am the third girl! Yikes!! And if I want philosophies on effective child rearing, I certainly wouldn’t listen to someone so cheap that she deprives her kids to make a point. I’ll listen to someone who has a clue about child-rearing.

3. Ideas – many of her ideas are impractical and useless. I am sorry, Amy, I don’t want to donate my body to science to save on my funeral costs. And the ideas readers send in – there must be a contest to see who can come up with the most ridiculous way to save a penny! Lots of winners here!!

So between the lousy organization, the meanness of how the author treats her poor kids and the useless ideas – be a tightwad and do NOT buy this book!!

Nancy Lee Dunn

Keeping the Flame Alive

Many couples look at each other after a certain number of years and say to themselves, “Is this all there is?” Aging, graying, we don’t look the same as we did 20 years ago. Often, the sexual flame is gone, as is the ability talk to each other. If you have children, conversations have revolved around their needs for so many years that you don’t know what else to talk about. How do you rescue this relationship? How do you find things to talk about? Sorry to disappoint, but I am not going to give you tips like you would find in Cosmopolitan such as “The five most effective sex toys to liven up your marriage?” No, I am going to give you much more practical advice, advice that will help your marriage grow in the long run: take some classes together and learn something new.

What saved my marriage entailed taking some classes with my husband, which meant we spent an extended period of time with each other, learning something new that we were both excited to discuss. And in my experience, communication is the key to keeping the flame alive.

I had been taking pottery classes for about two years when I suggested to my husband that he try it. Once a week, we would meet for a light dinner, and then go to class together. Although we worked on different projects in different rooms, it was nice to both be there, hanging out with the other students, learning new skills and having fun. We did join forces for one project: we decided to make tiles for our bathroom walls. He rolled out the clay and cut the tiles, and after they were bisqued, I glazed them. We have a lot of pride in our new bathroom, created by both us of, sprung from many conversations of what we wanted.

Another class we take is jewelry class. We have to travel 1 1/2 hours to get to class, so we have extended time in the car together. This gives us a chance to relax and chat. During class, we learn a lot that we talk about later. After class, we go to the small city nearby, have dinner and then spend some time in the local bookstore. We have set up a small studio in our basement for jewelry making, so many evenings we are down in the studio, working on projects, listening to music, and just spending time together.

Communication is the key for keeping the flame alive, and learning new skills gives you and your spouse something different to talk about, and the opportunity to see him or her in a new light. My husband is a very good designer, of both pottery and jewelry. I never knew he was so creative and had such a good eye for design. I see him differently now, which adds to the spice in our marriage. This simple practice has really cemented our bond, because we have new, shared interests. It doesn’t have to be art, it can be anything you can share: sports, either participating or watching, travel, shared projects. Just make sure that what you share involves some learning, because that gives you a lot to talk about and share, renewing how you see each other and the spice in your marriage.