First, I am pleased to report that my sister-in-law, Karen O'Connor (the Olympian we all went to London to see) is okay after a bad fall on Saturday at a horse trial in Virginia. Her horse, Veronica, is doing even better than she is. Grandma Joanne said Karen injured her back seriously, but that it could have been worse and she will not require surgery, instead she will be in a "turtle" body brace for a while, and hopes to be up walking as soon as she is fitted for it. She credits her airbag vest for saving her life. Karen's husband David and Joanne are at the hospital with her, as are so many friends that she barely had time to talk Sunday, but she assured us she is on the mend, grateful to be moving all the important parts, and especially that her horse is sound. You can read all the details here at the Eventing Nation website. Today is also Aunt Dottie's 80th birthday. (Dottie is Grandma Joanne's sister-in-law.) Aunt Dottie is the woman most responsible for my so-called writing career. In 1996 I mailed her a cassette tape with three radio essays on it that had been aired in Haines on KHNS, and asked her to pass it on to someone at her church who worked at Monitor Radio. Aunt Dottie is a Christian Scientist, and she sometimes attends the mother church in Boston, and that is where the old broadcast service of the Christian Science Monitor was located. I figured that if the radio station was owned by the church, then surely the people who worked there would go that church, and that they would know Aunt Dottie. I was right. She gave my tape to executive producer Duncan Moon, and he signed me up to do radio essays every other week under the editorial guidance of Sara Terry. I worked with her for 14 months until Monitor Radio folded in favor of the web version of the Monitor newspaper. I framed my first check rather than cash it and it hangs over my desk to remind me daily how the best "connections" are closest to home, and, while it may sound silly-- that I'm a real writer. Whenever I'm struggling a bit, all I have to do is look at that check, and I think, well, Heather, give 'em 75 dollars worth. It may not win a Pulitzer, but I know I can at least can do that much. So thank you Aunt Dottie, and I hope you have a very happy birthday, and thank you too, for keeping Karen (and all of us in the family) in your daily prayers.