Proud to be included: “Outstanding reporting on #maternalmortality”

This Twitter thread from WebMD senior news writer Brenda Goodman is a terrific round-up of some of the best reporting on the nation’s maternal mortality problem. I was pleased to pieces to have my own work included on her list (#7).

When the truth hurts, but must be reported anyway

ALS patient Chris Simon

I’ve been terribly remiss keeping this blog updated. That’s because I stay very busy editing and writing for HealthNewsReview.org, where I’m the deputy managing editor, while also trying to be a good parent, spouse and citizen of Austin in my downtime. Blogging for fun has taken a backseat to life, in other words.

But yesterday I wrote a HealthNewsReview.org blog post about a new ALS drug (Radicava) that I wanted to share with my readers (if I have any left after so much silence on my end):

Facts about the new ALS drug Radicava that you’re unlikely to see in news stories

The post touches upon so many problems with American healthcare these days, and how patients suffer as a result. Ineffective, expensive drugs are becoming commonplace. The last line of defense against a crumbling system are journalists, who in this case didn’t uncover the truth about Radicava.

For the post, I interviewed ALS patient Chris Simon, who manages to keep a good sense of humor and a sunny disposition while struggling with a relentless and vicious disease. It is for patients like him that I wrote the post. I absolutely hated that I had to deliver such bad news. But as I say in the post, ALS patients deserve honesty, not hype.

We moved to Austin!

After nearly 15 years in NYC (and three in Mexico City), Brendan, Adela and I threw in the towel and moved to a place voted…

  • “the best city to live in
  • “the best city for jobs”
  • “the best city for music” (<–duhhhhh)
  • “the best city for relocating families” yet also “the best city for singles”

We’re one of many new families to the city–because Austin also is “the fastest growing city.” (Seems like we’re not unique in liking warm weather, lots of parks, a progressive, laid-back vibe, a diverse population, and more cultural activities than we could possible attend, all awash in friendly Texas culture.)

Oh, to top it off, we’ve got siblings, cousins, second cousins and dozens of friends living here, too!

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One year later, David Bowie is alive and well in Mexico City

It has been wonderful timing to be in Mexico City on the anniversary of David Bowie’s death (and what would have been his 70th birthday). Because unlike anything I have ever encountered, including in his adopted home of New York City, he’s everywhere. 

For example, on my way to the local pizzeria the other night–where they were playing The Last Town Chorus’s cover of Modern Love–the streetlights and walls were plastered with posters of Aladdin Sane:

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Why? An exhibit of original photographs known as Duffy/Bowie: Five Sessions is on display at the Museum of the City of Mexico.

Of course, I went:

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The banner advertising the exhibit. Brian Duffy photographed Bowie five times over about a decade, most of it ridiculously iconic. Here, you can see the guestbook. If you look very closely, you’ll see an entry: BOWIE > DIOS.

 

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I loved watching people interact with the photos. The visitors were of all ages, but most were in their teens or 20s–how many 69-year-old musicians have that kind of following?

 

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The clown outfit appears in the video for Ashes to Ashes.

 

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Thee exhibit also includes shots from his Thin White Duke era, Ziggy Stardust (the quilt suit) and an album cover for Lodger; sadly none of my photos of those turned out well. But, the big draw at this exhibit is the series of prints for Aladdin Sane, and the lighting (mostly) cooperated.

 

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Cringing at my reflection in the photo, as I not-so-sneakily take a photo of a young couple looking at a negative.

 

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Aladdin! Up close! You can even see how his eyeliner is smudged on.

 

But that’s not where his presence ends. One block from our Airbnb rental is the restaurant Bowie, which features smoked foods (get the smoked guacamole, btw) and cocktails not often on the menu in Mexico City restaurants.

While there, you can sit below a giant mural of Bowie, made with bottle caps:

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Beat that, New York City.

Day one in Mexico City with a 3 year old (aka, are we nuts? Quizas. ) 

The last time we were in Mexico City I was about six weeks pregnant. 

Now we’re back, for a month! With Adela, at the peak age when children throw major tantrums. Adventurous? Yes. Hopefully not disastrous too. Vamos a ver.  

The plane ride was uneventful, until Adela barfed repeatedly on her and me. Somewhere in an Aeromexico rubbish bin exists her clothes and my sweater.  

Today started off great, we went to Jardin Pushkin and checked out the new playground. Then, when she decided she wanted “Elsa ice cream” and we got her regular ice cream, a massive violent tantrum ensued. Orale,  it goes down as her worst one so far, with a stunned audience of lunch workers to gawk as she tore off her shoes and socks and writhed on the sidewalk, screaming. 

(Mommy panicked a little, I’ll be honest.)

But that was followed by a great afternoon at another playground, and a full comida corrida that cost 180 pesos, or $9 for the whole family. Adela even tried tacos dorados de papas! Now she’s playing with her toys at our lovely airbnb. 

Let’s talk about the bridge to the gates of hell (aka the Hell Gate Bridge) 

No, this is not about our president elect. Rather, the under appreciated yet awesomely named Hell Gate Bridge in NYC. This bridge is beautiful from all angles, even its underside, and creates a gorgeous frame over Astoria Park.

While rummaging through my photos, I realized it’s also one of my predomnant muses, even if it’s just a quiet presence in the backdrop.

Back story: Hell Gate Bridge is used for heavy freight and Amtrak passenger trains between Queens, Randall’s Island, and the Bronx. It gets its name from the turbulent waters that churn below it, where the cross currents frequently form massive – – and sometimes quite deadly–whirlpools. It’s a long, slender, easy to miss bridge, except for its span over the East River, where it arcs upward, a permanent sunrise.

We can see the bridge from our living room window, and it’s well known to any one who calls Astoria, Queens home. (And also to residents of Sydney, Australia, as it served as the inspiration for their Harbor Bridge.) 

Here it is among some of my photos taken over the past few months, in all its versatile, functional beauty: