Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Because I needed another reason to hate Smithfield Foods...

So now they're probably in some part responsible for the swine flu pandemic. Nice one, guys.

I actively boycott Smithfield Foods products and all subsidiaries (and Paula Deen too... She's their celebrity spokesperson)... not that I ever bought all that much pork in any of its various forms, but now I'm quite conscientious about it.

For those who are unaware of Smithfield's dubious reputation,, check out this Rolling Stone article (be aware, there are graphic images) about the atrocious way they operate their facilities inside the US where there's supposed to be regulations to stop this flagrant corporate irresponsibility. God only knows what they do in other countries where health, safety and environmental laws (not to mention, laws for the humane treatment of animals) are not even up to our standards (which are obviously too low if Smithfield gets away with these things).

Smithfield refutes many of the claims made in this article (interestingly not my favorite part with the quotes from the guy who started the company about just how much he laughs at the EPA investigators)... However, it is interesting to note that due to at least one of the health concerns detailed in the Rolling Stone article - water contamination - North Carolina had enacted a moratorium on hog "concentrated animal feeding operations" (CAFO's or "factory farms") in 1997, which was extended repeatedly until 2007 when it was allowed to expire... Not that the moratorium was particularly effective. South Carolina, Virginia and Quebec have also passed moratoriums limiting CAFOs and the methods employed at such facilities, and I know that Florida has laws detailing the amount of room a pregnant sow is supposed to be allotted (so they can't be kept in crates barely large enough for them to breath in, forget about moving, as they had been until the referendum was passed). I honestly don't know what's being done about curtailing dirty hog farming in those states right now, but I'd be willing to venture the answer is "not enough."

Random update...

Moved my doctor appointment up to today (well, yesterday now) because my acid reflux went a little nutz Sunday night. Still no closer to really having that under control, thanks to prescription drugs being crazy expensive and health insurance choosing not to cover anything since not having it won't kill me, but it was still good to discuss the findings (or not-findings) of the ultrasound I had last month in greater depth. Nothing to worry about there, and the chances that the pains are being caused by something life-threatening like some sort of cancer or serious like chronic appendicitis are pretty well diminished to as near to non-existent as possible without a hell of a lot more scans (just to be 100% sure)... so that's good.

Also the bursitis is improving as quickly as can be expected... It's just something that takes months and months to heal. He gave me some more tips to help it along. The stretching has been helping. I also need to minimize how much I drive as much as possible and adjust my car's seat a bit so that as little pressure as possible is put on my hip. I might also buy one of those posture support things for my car and one for home use and another for work because most of those "ergonomic" chairs at work are ironically painful to sit in, even for a few minutes, but not as painful as standing for over 7 hours straight. I need to get a new computer chair for home too. Really, really need to do that. I've found that using a straight-backed dining chair to sit in while spinning also helps because it's higher and straighter than my computer chair or any of the chairs in the living room. I might be able to return to more regular spinning... although not at the pace at which I used to work, where I was spinning about 6 ounces a day or more. Half an ounce a day, max, if I'm careful and cautious about it. But that's much better than nothing at all.

My left-over lung yuckiness from my cold is almost entirely gone. YAY!

Also, I've officially lost 10 pounds in the past year! \o/ This is a very good thing. I don't want to loose weight quickly, I just want to be headed in that direction - loosing, rather than gaining - without having to be working out like crazy or depriving myself of things I want to eat. It's working so far! Also, my doctor was able to discuss this with me, and express that if I could loose another 20 over the next few years, he'd consider that a perfectly healthy weight for me, BMI be damned, without offending me at any point. He's the first medical professional I've ever seen who has managed to do that. Kudos to him.

On to another random observation: I'm really liking Cupid on ABC. It's on late, at 10pm. But it's kind of a delightful light sort of show. A nice balance to all the heavy drama I tend to watch. If you haven't seen it, give it a chance if you would. It's cute... Fairly predictable if you know anything about Classical mythology, but still cute.

I'm coming out of my warmer weather induced desire to knit with nothing but cotton and now I want to make a shawl. Lace. Soon. I've got a hankering because several times this winter and spring I've wished for a proper shawl for times when a sweater is just too much and bare arms are just way too cold. Laminaria maybe? With cheap merino lace yarn from KnitPicks, I'm thinking? I would do the Danish Wrap Shawl that I've been wanting to make forever but I don't yet have the variety of appropriate handspun yarn I'll need for that, so it will have to keep waiting.

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's been forever since I posted...

Don't know why. I haven't been knitting as much as usual, and lord knows, I haven't been spinning (much - it's been rather miserable not being able to while surrounded by beautiful fiber). The bursitis in my hip is still giving me issues. I see the doc again on Friday. Hopefully he'll suggest another treatment that might be more effective. I have spun a little, just to test the waters. It hasn't seemed to make the pain any worse than casual driving does as long as I don't do any more than 30 minutes of spinning, which is about how long it takes me to do one bobbin's worth. I've been spinning the lovely Corri-Mohair blend I got in Greensboro at Gate City Yarns.

On the knitting front, I've not done too much since early March. Mostly granny's favorite dishcloths. I did finish the dresses for my niece. Pictures, such as they are, are on my Ravelry. I need to get more pics from my sister with the baby wearing them, but that might have to wait for a few more weeks until they fit her better and its warmer in Virginia.

I've also been working a lot. I'm still waiting to hear from the state about my eligability for certification. Could be several weeks still until I hear back. I know that there will be a lot of classes I need to take, plus internship and at least two subject area tests. Could probably arrange to take the subject area tests over the summer and get them out of the way. The qualifying scores are ridiculously low from what I've been told.

I got a book of children's fairytales (like cleaned-up-for-delicate-modern-children Grimms' stories) in Latin and I've been translating that with only the benefit of the glossery for help with the vocabulary. No help with the grammar. I think I've been doing an okay job. I should probably try to remember to take it with me to lunch with my Latin prof tomorrow (if we're able to go to lunch) and have her look at it. The reason I'm doing that is because I think a good deal of the Latin subject area exam is translating random passages with only the a dictionary for help with the vocabulary, so I thought this was a pretty good way to test myself... Although what I really need to do is get Caesar's De Bello Gallico, Cornelius Nepos' De Illustribus Viris, the Aenied and Metamorphoses, since those are what will actually be tested on the real exam. And I need to brush up on the particulars of Latin grammar so badly it's not even funny... But it will be good to know that I'm doing alright with translating without using a grammar guide.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Vacation update... short and sweet...

My mom, my sister, my niece and I went up to Floyd, VA yesterday to go antiquing and we bought a rocking chair, some paintings and some dishes for the cabin, and it was snowing up there. O.O First time I've ever seen *snow* falling from the sky. It was bizarre! It wasn't cold enough to accumulate on the ground though - only 34 degrees. Today, I hung out with my sister at the bead shop she works at part-time. Tomorrow, I'm going down to Greensboro to go to the yarn shop there. It's irresistable! Truly...

Friday, April 03, 2009


I'm driving to VA tomorrow for Spring Break. Lots to do around here before I go. No time for anything else it seems...

I'll be back no later than the 13th.