Beating Cancer

My dearest, sweetest daughter, Elise, was diagnosed with cancer just five years after her Dad had passed from cancer. She had standard of care (surgery, radiation, and chemo), which made her so weak and sick she could not eat or walk on her own. But she also had integrative care from Dr Keith Block, a pioneer in fighting cancer on all fronts, Dr Neil McKinney, who wrote the encyclopedia on naturopathic oncology, Dr Erin Singh, disciple of Dr Nasha Winters who cured herself of stage IV ovarian cancer at age 19, and Dr Raymond Chang, formerly with MSK, who offers cutting edge cancer therapies from a variety of disciplines, as well as my sister, Lisa Mair, a Health Coach, Nutritionist, and Functional Medicine Practitioner. Together, we implemented an anti-cancer diet, protocol of repurposed meds and anti-cancer supplements, exercise regime, daily massage, and other healing modalities. I had poured over dozens of cancer survivor and integrative cancer care books such as Beyond the Magic Bullet: The Anti-Cancer Cocktail, Life Over Cancer, The Metabolic Approach to Cancer, How To Starve Cancer, Chris Beat Cancer and many others, and scoured to find treatments that were effective for cancers with Elise’s tumor markers and mutations, and discovered agents that rivaled chemo’s efficacy without the horrific toxicity. Although the journey was terrifying, the good news is that her MassGen oncologist had never seen a tumor shrink more quickly, and the tumor has remained scar tissue since 2020, thank God. She can walk again and even play volleyball, and is back in school earning all A’s. I plan to write a book about our experience to help other parents navigate treatment options beyond standard of care.

Lifelong learner!

As a life-long learner, I’m thrilled to be taking Travel Journalism with the British College of Journalism, Visual Marketing with SMMU, Video Storytelling and Travel Photography with NYIP, as well as Masterclasses in filmmaking, writing, and comedy with Werner Herzog, James Patterson, and Steve Martin, respectively. (James Patterson has a funnybone…he introduces himself as Steven King.) Pleased to report I’ve just passed the Travel Photography exam and portfolio review with flying colors! (See my portfolio here.)

Derelict amusement park in Berlin

We toured Spreepark, an abandoned amusement park in Berlin. It is a strange place with a bizarre history. The owner attempted to smuggle 167 kilos of cocaine from Peru to Germany in a ride (he served 4 years), and thieves have made off with dinosaur heads and even a swan boat which they took on a nighttime joy ride on the Spree River. Among the relics remaining in the park, a ferris wheel spins in the wind, a giant lockjawed cat snarls from the undergrowth, and an old theater sags in the clutch of what looks like a giant metal spider.


Favorite new words: tsundoku and puggle

As I prepare to write a book about our round-the-world travels, articles about new words are of particular interest. For example, a NYT article featured tsundoku, a Japanese word for a stack of books that you have purchased but not yet read. As The Guardian reports, 300 new words have been added to the official US Scrabble dictionary, including sriracha, aquafaba, beatdown, zomboid, twerk, sheeple, wayback, bibimbap, botnet, emoji, facepalm, frowny, hivemind, puggle and yowza. I love the food-related words, such a bibimbap, a Korean rice dish, but the cutest word has to be puggle, a dog that is a cross between a pug and a beagle.

Ominous exhibition in abandoned iron foundry in Berlin

We saw Räume 2, an exhibition in a cool, abandoned iron foundry in Berlin. We started exploring in a section with somewhat ominous pieces by Simone Haack, and that set the mood as we wandered into a dark storage room behind a woman who literally disappeared into the darkness. Was she part of the exhibition or a visitor like us? We didn’t know. My daughter rose to the occasion and photographed her friend in a manner befitting the vibe (last photo in this series). The girls were like detectives figuring out what titles belonged with which installations and what they meant. I loved the light that pooled in from high windows, the decrepitude, dark spaces, high ceilings, old wiring and fuse boxes, and especially the enormous rusted tanks on stilts and the ancient Spectrolab computer, which had figures burned into its screen from a calculation performed long before my daughter was born. Reminded me of one of my favorite shooting spaces in my hometown.


Posted in Art.

Typography Matters

In a major snafu, the wrong winner for the category of Best Picture was declared at the 2017 Academy Awards. As this freeCodeCamp article speculates, if the Academy had paid more attention to typography, they might have prevented this embarrassment. Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed. We typically read from top to bottom, so key information – in this case, Best Actress – should be at the top in a large font, and the winner’s name should also be larger than the movie title to make clear that this is about the actor not the movie. Most people aren’t overly concerned with typography, but paying a little attention to the sizing, positioning, and weight of text even in every day documents can help make information more understandable – and even avoid snafus.


V-Day Performance at the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy

To a packed audience at the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy House of Arts & Culture, Berlin’s American Women’s Club performed Eve Ensler’s award-winning play, The Vagina Monolgues. Directed by Molly Moylan Brown, the performance was funny, moving, lyrical, heart-wrenching, eye-opening…in a word, spellbinding.  All proceeds went to Terre des Femmes. To see more images by OllmannCreative, click here.


Portraits of Human Trafficking Survivors and Change-Makers

OllmannCreative contributed professional photo editing to the FAWCO-sponsored book, “Hope is the Thing with Feathers: Portraits of Human Trafficking Survivors and Change-Makers”. The title comes from an Emily Dickinson poem: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words and never stops at all.” The book illuminates the reality of woman and men who work everyday fighting horrific crimes against humanity. With words and images, photographer My-Linh Kunst, author Robon Meloy Goldsby, and project director Mary Adams join forces to shed light on the everyday heroes, change-makers, and survivors facing extraordinary challenges, and the tiny triumphs that give them hope.  Support this important effort by ordering your copy at FAWCO is  a UN-accredited NGO with ECOSOC consultative status.

Kang Contemporary

Check out Berlin-based artist and gallerist Elizabeth Kang’s website. Her gallery is just 100 meters from the Jewish Museum at Mendelssohnplatz. If you’re lucky, you may get a chance to discuss art with her and benefit from her perspective on Lorenzetti’s use of color, the experiential aspects of Cezanne’s Le Lac d’Annecy, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s edgy vision, Arman’s repeated forms, color field painting, the art scene in Berlin, and Liz’s own expression of the color experience of Renaissance master works. #powerhouse