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Archive for March, 2008

Today’s topic: Ways to save the world

My dad is some kind of secret shopper for the post office.  I’ve never really understood it, but he gets postcards from the usps and makes some kind of telephone report on the day they arrive.  It’s all very mysterious, but to me it’s clear that he’s just trying to pitch in, to help make things work just a bit better.

Something I’ve tried to do lately is find these small ways that I can contribute.  It’s not easy.  I recycle, drive a small car, patronize the library, give blood, try to give handmade (knitted!) instead of store-bought gifts when I can . . . but ways to give back are not always easy to find.

So I got excited when I saw a recent article in Newsweek about a long-term study by the American Cancer Society looking for participants.  The study is called Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3) and aims to follow 500,000 people who’ve never had cancer for at least 20 years “to figure out who gets cancer, who doesn’t, and why.”

You don’t have to have an exotic disease to participate, you don’t have to take an experimental drug and you don’t have to spend nights awake, looking at the ceiling, wondering if you’re one of the ones getting a placebo.  All you have to do is give a little blood, submit to some measurements, and answer a questionnaire once in a while.

I don’t think I’m alone in fearing cancer — it’s touched my family (although thankfully not too severely).  A close friend of The Baron’s, in her mid-thirties, was just diagnosed with breast cancer.  It’s everywhere, and there’s nothing as frightening as the suffocating, inert helplessness that settles over the waiting — for a diagnosis, for a prognosis, for treatment options and for the all-important call detailing the results of treatment.

Joining the CPS-3 might mean a little extra paperwork every once in a while.  It means submitting private medical information to a big corporate organization.  But it also means being able to do something, being able to take some kind of action, to participate directly in research into cancer prevention and treatment.

CPS-3 has been signing up participants since 2006 at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, a fundraising and awareness campaign taking place across the country.  If you’re between 30 and 65 and have never had cancer (this does not include basal or squamous cell skin cancer), please consider visiting their website to find a Relay for Life CPS-3 enrollment event in your area.

According to the website, enrollment simply involves completing a survey and signing an informed consent, providing a waist measurement and providing a small blood sample.  Future participation in the study simply involves completing periodic follow-up questionnaires.  If you’re concerned about the type of information you’ll need to disclose, you can even visit the CPS website and view past questionnaires.

The Baron and I will be enrolling when Relay for Life comes to our neighborhood this summer.  Consider joining — it’s a little thing you can do, but it might really mean a lot.

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Our wedding

No, I don’t plan to start referring to myself in the third person as The Baroness.

We ran off to the Huntington Garden, where we got engaged, with just a friend to marry us and our amazing photographer, Jennifer Rau. That night we mini-mooned at a fancy hotel with our little friend the butter swan. The next morning we headed home and began married life by hanging around the house in our PJs.

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I *heart* Knitty

There’s a special magic that happens a few times a year, when I stumble across (or, duh, get an e-mail telling me) that the new Knitty is up. I’m nervous, excited, hopeful . . . and I navigate over to www.knitty.com to spend the next hour (ok, thirty minutes) devouring the new patterns. Sometimes I try to be patient, and force myself to read through the articles first. This strategy of veggies-before-desert usually works well (although it backfired that time that my grandma took note of which mini-box of cereal I took from the multipack and bought a big box of it. Didn’t she know I’m a hoarder and was eating the crappy healthy cereal first and saving the marshmellowy goodness for last?) and it’s especially easy when my knitting-glucose comes in magazine form, a la Interweave Knits, to leaf through starting with page 1.

Today, though, I couldn’t hold myself back at all and I went right to the patterns. Usually there are only a few that catch my eye, but today I found a bunch:

First there’s Yosemite, which, in addition to being a super-cute pattern that I think I would love knitting and wearing (a rare combo!) is named after one of my all-time favorite places. Even though I’m not normally a huge fan of cotton, I immediately whipped out my Shine Worsted color card and I’m debating between Bachelor Button, Wave, Grass and Crocus. I am betting this will be one of the next projects on my needles.

I’m not normally into vests, but Honeycomb is so beautiful and simple that I fell in love right away. Not for me, but maybe for my sister Adorable, who can get away with that sort of thing? I just love the heathery texture to the fabric and the clean look of the vest against the white collared shirt. Yum.

Then there’s the Lace Ribbon Scarf, designed by

And speaking of monster projects . . . didn’t I just get Peacock Feathers off the needles? Haven’t I been fussing about how I’m not so in love with triangular shawls? Yes, yes I have. But then there’s Laminaria, floral and lovely and wistful and not at all fussy, to my eye. I do want to make a blessing shawl for my pregnant cousin’s gestating son, and while this isn’t quite right, perhaps I could knit this one while I look for ideas?

I also like the Spyrogyra Fingerless Gloves, although I’ve yet to really get on board with the fingerless glove thing. Maybe this is the pattern that will do it?

Finally, can I get a “Yay” for Knitty? I love that there are so many great (and FREE!) patterns out there. It’s been a great resource for getting new knitters excited about the craft without making that big buy-the-book commitment.

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Butter swan

Yes, this is a little swan made out of butter, and next to it is half a lemon, included for scale. I don’t know why, perhaps it was the champagne, but I became obsessed with this little guy and took about 20 photos that came out all bleached before I finally walked him into the bathroom and got a decent snapshot.

Where did I encounter such a sweet, buttery little beast? I’ll tell eventually. You’ll just have to be patient 🙂

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