October 2013 Instagram

On this New Year’s eve a collection of Instagram photos from October….pre-baby! Lots of happy doggie snuggles here before she arrived!!

Recommended :: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is pretty far outside of my reading norm but a friend lent it to me and encouraged me to read it – I found it engaging and interesting. Read on for the synopsis but I’d recommend this book as a little something different!

The Amazon synopsis reads :: “Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.

Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia—a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo—to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.

Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother’s cells. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Did it hurt her when researchers infected her cells with viruses and shot them into space? What happened to her sister, Elsie, who died in a mental institution at the age of fifteen? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance?

Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.”

Old Favorite :: Shepherd’s Pie


I blogged this delicious Shepherd’s Pie recipe about two years ago but lately it’s been in regular rotation so I thought it was worth re-visiting as we head into this post-Christmas weekend. It’s a hearty and delicious recipe and great for leftovers. Jeff always feigns offense because I love mine with ketchup and tons of salt and pepper mixed in – he says I should eat it as the Chef (him!) prepares it. However you like it this is yummy!


Crafting To Dos!

To say my crafting stash is a little large would be an understatement but somehow searching and buying fabric brings me so much pleasure – I love the colors and imagining what things will be. That being said as I prepared for baby to arrive I was motivated to tame the enormous and growing pile in our living room of crafting items and organize them in some way. I ended up putting everything away other than in progress projects which stay upstairs in our guest room until I’m ready to work on them. The goal is that our dining room table won’t be constantly overtaken by crafting….we’ll see if it works! I’m happy to say that since I took photos of these projects some have been completed – hooray! My goal is to try and not really start anything new until these are done – we’ll see if I can resist the siren call of a new project!
I love piecing quilt tops but really don’t enjoy the actual quilting and binding (i.e. turning it into a finished piece!) so here are three quilt tops that are waiting to be put together. I find it tough to spread out at my house because of all the dog hair so maybe I’ll bring these to crafting weekend and see if I can get ’em done!
Some extra netting for produce bags for the grocery store, a cute knitted Thanksgiving turkey (missed that holiday again this year!), a holiday gift bag that needs mending, and a fabric book I want to rip out and do over with some batting in it this time
A scrap quilt of blues (much further along now) and the NINE pairs of pants that I cut out this summer while crafting with Sarah – also happy to say those are further along too!
Some coasters I promised a friend waaaaaay too long ago, Fia’s Tooth Fairy Pillow (FINISHED!!!), some fabric books, and a “bapron” pattern that Kathleen and I were going to do together…..last summer!
Maybe while we’re at the lake this week with Grandparents to hold the baby I’ll tackle some of these – time will tell!

Merry Christmas 2013!

I hope everyone has a magical and joy filled Christmas. I’m not sure Norah has caught on to this whole Christmas thing yet (!!) but it will be sweet to celebrate her first Christmas in our home and our lives. What a year! One of the few things I didn’t cross off my list before she arrived was creating my annual collage for my holiday card but thanks to a few long naps the tradition didn’t go by the wayside – it’s such a fun way to remember the past year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours from us and our little elf!