Monday, June 02, 2014

This is America, Right?

No, I don't mean "Right America." I'm just curious. And I'm befuddled. Seems that the Food and Drug Administration is also befuddled.

Here's an article in this month's Reader's Digest. Look at it. And tell me if this doesn't worry you at some level. I know, we all try to minimize our need for prescription drugs. And truly, I know that it's better to try to get healthy without relying on Big Pharm.

But there are some things that don't respond well to "au naturel." Heart disease. Some forms of diabetes. Cancer. The list is long. 

And we have a crisis in medications. Here. In the USA. The most expensive medical system on the planet. And the FDA is telling us, "We can't compel the drug companies to do this or that."

Really??? Lemme see: FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. What exactly is it that you do, then?? 

There are people dying right now who don't have medical care. And, according to the information in this article, there are people dying right now who DO have medical care. Because a drug company no longer makes the drug they need, and there's no alternative to give them. 

The woman in the article (one of several scenarios) has a condition that has caused her to have a Vitamin A deficiency. That causes blindness when it's bad enough. The drug she was taking, Aquasol A, was manufactured by a company called Hospira, an American generic drug manufacturer. Well.... there were "manufacturing challenges" that caused this company to stop making this drug. That has a chain effect, folks. Because now, NOBODY has access to Aquasol A. Nobody no where no how... The company "recognizes the critical need" for this drug. (Nice of them...) But it hasn't managed, in a few years now, to find a separate manufacturing company so that the product can come back to the market. 

It gets better... The FDA, apparently, can't fix the problem of shortages because they say they can't compel manufacturers to make sure they produce enough or have an alternative, should something go awry. This woman's case went all the way to the Supreme Court, who refused to hear it. But her lawyer found that a version of the drug she needs is available. In France. 

But the FDA won't provide a compassionate-use exemption. 

It's like a circular firing squad. 

Speaking of Which...

No guns in God's house
This is what greeted us at church this Sunday. And I get it. I truly do. According to the laws in our state, now that the NRA has beaten out of us our last "good thing we got right," we now have to post signs where guns aren't allowed. 

Skip all the discussion about how this won't stop "a bad guy with a gun." Frankly, if you're at our local Chipotle and dressed out in your AK-47, I'm not certain whether you are a GOOD guy or a BAD guy. And I'm not going in there to find out.

Skip the discussion about how incredibly stupid-easy it is to get illegal guns. 

Just consider this. Our church is a 125-year-old building. This is screwed into the side door. Another one just like it is screwed into 125-year-old limestone. 

As far as I'm concerned, I get the issue of WHY. I don't get the issue of HOW. I mean, wouldn't there have been another way to post this at the front of the building, instead of defacing it? 

One of my choir buddies, a "lifer" at the church, is livid. I know that it's important to comply with the law. And I know how ridiculous it is -- if someone wants to come in there and shoot us up? Seriously. A sign's gonna prevent that?? 

I just wish there could be a better solution, instead of whacking into such an old and glorious building. 

And Speaking of Which...

I now work in the safest campus building in the entire world. Truly. Because for the next several weeks, my campus is host to police supervisory training. And my parking lot is blessedly full. With cop cars. 

Yes, they are allowed in my building with their guns. They're sworn officers. This is the first time since they were here last year that I've been able to just leave my building unlocked. 

I'm not in an unsafe area, by any means. But it's a long, stretched out building, and we've been told by campus security that we have to have a secured entry. Well, courtesy of the nearly 50 officers here today, I've got a secured entry. 

They book with me every year. I have to get up at "Oh My God" o'clock to be here for them, but it's great that we're able to provide the space for the training. 

The only downside is that cops bring donuts. So it's been a serious struggle. Not just any donuts but donuts from one of the best places in town. Not a franchise place, but a real mom-and-pop donut shop. 

The Garden Grows...

Hummingbird garden
Both of them. The front garden has been refined a bit, Hubby washed and scrubbed each of the hummingbird feeders to within an inch of their lives, and the flowers are blooming nicely. 

We saw a few of the little stinkers, but not recently. We're hoping they'll be back. 

The glass birdbath (in the back there, toward the day lilies) has been a good attraction. We have to get a bubbler in there, though. The twirly birds from the maple tree haven't helped. 

The Fuschia are blooming, too. And so are the herbs that I specifically planted for the birds and the bees. I still have some UFOs in there - not sure if it's a really cool weed or something I planted and failed to label last year. I'll give 'em a few more weeks to pan out and see what I have.

I do have what appears to be a record crop of Purple Coneflower coming back. At least I hope so. Otherwise, some monstrous weed has taken root. Probably planted by those evil, conniving squirrels. 

I don't know why they'd be mad. Sure, they can't get to our birdseed, but the sparrows are incredibly compliant in flicking seed onto the grass. The porky squirrels are not suffering, let me assure you.

Veggies galore
The veggie garden is also coming along. The herbs are loving the trug, though I still think they'd be a little better off with slightly more sun. But since they're behaving nicely, I guess I have to let that one go.

Radishes... we're gonna have radishes! I have to check out a pickling recipe, I think. I've heard you can roast them, which I'll try. 

Left-to-right, in the raised beds, we have tomatoes/cukes, then carrots/radishes and finally, that right-side bed is all lettuce. We have lots of lettuce seed left, so we'll be able to have that continually through the season. 

We'll have to thin out those radishes; and Hubby didn't even plant them all. 

The trug - that's just to give you a visual of what it looks like. There's basil, thyme, tarragon, parsley and rosemary in there. 

I have French lavender and 3 kinds of basil in pots in the front yard - that's just to let the birds and bees enjoy it. Also, sage. I'm using some of that basil and sage, anyway, but in order to have something for Mother Nature, I deliberately chose to let those basil plants go to seed. Their flowers will help the bees, and we get the additional benefit of some pretty plants that will potentially attract birds, too.

I'm hoping the cucumbers come out in force. God help me for saying that!! Will be doing pickles again. And if the herbs cooperate, probably some more basil jelly. Maybe tarragon jelly if I can figure that one out.

As far as pickles, I'm getting requests already for my "famous, hand-diced pickle relish." So I suppose that'll be the majority of the crop. We still have pickles from last time I did this!

And maybe, since there are only a few tomato plants, we might get more than 3 tomatoes. I'm serious. THREE tomatoes. Only. That's a bummer...


The second sock of the KAL is coming along. It's like the world's longest gusset, but I'm about 2" from starting the toe decrease. 
KAL Part Two

My friend R, from choir, wants to learn to knit socks. She's just going to be doing this pattern, the Plain Vanilla, and on DPNs, because that's the way I know how to knit 'em! Hoping to do that a little later this month. 

Will go back into the "WIP list" and figure out what to do next after I finish this final sock. I know I want to knit more socks, but I also want to finish some of the WIPs, as well as some of those projects listed alongside the blog. I do have some Monkey Socks stashed. I mean, they're already on the needles. And Teal #2 is staring at me. I can feel it. Right through the project bag.

I had wanted to have the February Lady Sweater done to wear this season. I've got the yoke complete. I know I can't knit lace unless I'm somewhere quiet. So, also, with the stashed baby sweaters. The blue one is almost done, at least the knitting. I want to start the lavender one. And from the extras, I want to do hats or something. 

Speaking of extras, anyone have something creative to do with leftover sock yarn? Perhaps a "crazy sock" made up of all the leftovers, no matter what color? Any ideas are welcome. 

Random Picture...

So the Icelandic poppies came back, bigger and better than ever. I confess, I was a little worried about them, after this brutal winter. But then I thought, "Icelandic." They should be able to stand this.
Icelandic Poppy

And they have. It's loaded with blossoms and takes up a big chunk of the "Trapezoid garden" - so-called because I mimicked the curve in the sidewalk. It actually resembles Home Plate... This is another plant that I've had for truly over 10 years. I haven't seen these cream-white blooms anywhere else. I'd love to get a few more, if I could find them. 

I'm sad because our across-the-street neighbor - there's something odd there. Usually, his garden has won our informal "who's is nicer?" contest. It was usually between 3 of us on the block, and till he came, I have to say, my garden was the most colorful. 

I say this because he had a huge bed of the bright orange poppies. I haven't seen him out there, and the garden has gone to crap. I don't know if he's ill or if he's moved out. His son is there. But he didn't inherit the green thumb, for sure. He can barely keep the grass mowed, much less give the flower beds a much-needed weeding. 

Anyway, back to Sock #2. It won't get done if I'm typing! 

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