For the Love of Science and the Quest-Happy Birthday, Rosalyn Yalow!

Happy Birthday, Rosalyn Yalow!

Rosalyn Yalow

There was an old-fashioned hutch in my third grade classroom and its shelves were filled with books.  Although my mother was always generous in buying me books (I posted a bit about that here), borrowing from my classroom library was a special treat and we were allowed to take home whatever we liked.  I loved that library – and the ability it afforded me to linger over stories outside of school.

Most of the books that I borrowed were biographies: Clara Barton, Thomas Alva Edison, Helen Keller and many more.  Each hardcover book featured a remarkable life of quests, challenges, set-backs, and accomplishments.  And, although I didn’t realize it at the time, each biography that I selected included some nuggets of “science” that I would later use.

I hope that there are hutches and bookcases that exist in today’s classroom, and, if there are, that a biography of Rosalyn Yalow will be found there for kids to borrow and savor.

Rosalyn Yalow won a Nobel Prize in “Physiology or Medicine” in 1977 for her (co) work on developing radioimmunoassay (RIA) used to detect hormone, vitamin, etc. levels that were too small for prior detection methods. Her work was instrumental in understanding Type 2 diabetes.

She and her fellow winners refused to patent the process, although they realized they could be come wealthy as a result, because she firmly believed that the RIA process should be widely used to benefit all.

Unlike Barton or Keller, Yalow had a robust family life as an adult.  She was married (to the same guy she married in 1943, until his death in 1992), had nice kids, was undeterred by discrimination against her because of her religion or her gender. (See Upon graduation from Hunter in physics, she could obtain a SECRETARIAL position with a biochemist at Columbia’s medical school – ON THE CONDITION THAT SHE MASTER STENOGRAPHY!  She stayed at that job as long as she had to (a few months.) Nevertheless, she persisted.

Rosalyn Yalow is one of my heroes.

I met her when I was a university student and she had already won the Nobel Prize. She was a warm and lovely presence, encouraging all in a love of science.

Happy Birthday, dear Rosalyn Yalow!

For the Love of Great Writing – Happy Birthday, Louisa May Alcott!

Louisa May Alcott, born 11.29.1832

If you didn’t look at her year of birth, you could tell the story of Louisa May Alcott as the story of a present-day author:  Before her Little Women success, Alcott produced numerous melodramatic works of fiction, many of which were turned into plays (works with titles like Pauline’s Passion and Punishment).

She didn’t particularly like what she had written – she did it strictly for the money.  When Alcott’s Little Women was published, she built on its commercial and critical acclaim by turning into a series (Little Men and Jo’s Boys).

Sometimes, Alcott fictionalized her real life experiences in her writings.  Hospital Sketches was based on her experiences as a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War.  Little Women was based on her immediate family.  Her works showed that women – even little ones – were capable, independent, interesting, resilient human beings.

On one of my mother’s and my jaunts to Doubleday Bookstore (it no longer exists; I wrote about the store here), she bought me Little Women.  My mom gave me a choice between two or three novels, but the paper jacket of LW sported a beautiful pastel drawing of Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March – so that was a no-brainer.  It was a thick book, full of merriment, sisterly rivalries (I’m an only child so this was particularly fascinating to me), one of the girls getting published (Jo, of course), one of the girls going to Paris to study art (despite the family’s poverty), the girls staging little plays in their home (I did that with my friends), falling in love and spurning advances, the backdrop of the Civil War, parties, and personal service to others.  I devoured it.

Thank you, Louisa May Alcott, and Happy 184th Birthday!



Romancing the Procrastination

Do you doodle when you should be writing?

OK.  For National Novel Writing Month, I’m deep into Act 2, the long middle, the oh-no-one-dang-thing-after-another part and — what is that sock doing there — and should I make espresso or run out to Starbucks — is there any milk left and why can’t anyone tell me if they’ve drunk the last of it so I can go out and get more – can I send someone to get it — and shouldn’t I really make a Thanksgiving countdown “To Do” list for food prep, and ….

Asterisks - for those times when time elapses!

I took a phone call (forgot to turn off the ringer for a writing sprint), and I’ve left my heroine stranded in the Hamptons in July with a bad sunburn and she is torn because she really likes this guy but she’d rather be back at air-conditioned work in the City and – do we have any cookies in the house?

Must get back to writing… must get back to writing.  Maybe handwriting will jumpstart me.  Is there any paper in the house?  A pen?  How about the flap from a box of whatever?  You know, reduce, reuse, and recycle?

Distraction and procrastination are harsh masters.  If you look closely at the photo, you’ll see that I even became distracted from my distraction when I began to misspell “doodle.”  Misspell “doodle,” people!

That would drive my heroine crazy.  She has enough problems without me!  The guy she likes will be going back on the road soon (he’s a Minor League player) and this is her chance to connect with him.  But sunburn.  I gotta get her back to the City.  Now.

Love of La Bella Supermoon

Supermoon 2016 HaileyReede

Supermoon = Full Moon (or, technically speaking, a new moon) + Occurring at the Time of the Moon’s Closest Point to the Earth (perigee) in Its Monthly Orbit.

For some, a regular old full moon is a time of romance  –

Theatrical release poster designed by Olga Kaljakin as per Go see it - or see it again!

– or maddness, or high tides.  This one, this 2016 supermoon, is the closest, largest full moon since 1948.

Supermoons, special supermoons, 1948, Cher – distractions or plot bunnies during this demanding time of National Novel Writing Month and National Blog Post Month?

Alas, this November 2016 supermoon itself was not much of a distraction here in New York City.  The sky was intermittently overcast and rainy.  What’s a girl to do?  Hence, I supplied my own supermoon (see first photo).  And then, why not an owl?

Romancing the Process

In the 2016 USA Presidential Election, Hillary Rodham Clinton won the popular vote, but Donald J. Trump won the electoral vote and, hence, the presidency. ©HaileyReede

I had intended for us to move on in our curriculum, but in the election results came in during the wee hours of this morning.  And the declared winner is, anyone?  Anyone?

Let’s not always see the same hands.

Whether you are grieving or rejoicing in the results (no one is ho-hum, right?), look forward. There are elections next year – maybe beyond your back fence.  There’s work to be done.

Romancing 270

This is the sticker that is handed out to voters in the New York City area. At my polling place, they were out of these by noon. Huge turn-out. HYUGE!

If you have an interest in American presidential politics, right now you are glued to whatever media you prefer.  Technically, we are voting for “electors,” representatives in a group.  In order to win, a presidential candidate needs 270 of them.

Those who know me in the actual, as opposed to the virtual, world, know where I feistily stand on the issues and candidates.  But here, in Blogland, how much public political opining does a reader want or need from a romance writer?  Just in case this is important to you, I voted.

As a public service, I herewith provide a map of electoral votes state-by-state:

Electoral votes state-by-state in map form by Hailey Reede.

Have fun predicting!



Our Romance with the Renewal of Democracy

A pet accessory shop on Lexington Avenue in New York City weighs in on the 2016 Presidential election.

I pass this shop window display for pet accessories often.  What a wonderful country in which we can opine openly and passionately, and parody ruthlessly.

If you are a registered American voter, please vote tomorrow for our 45th president in our every-four-year peaceful revolution.  We need you – however you fill in the ballot.

Bring a snack.

#election2016 #politics #president #congress #amwriting #nanowrimo #nablopomo