Thursday, November 29, 2012

ethical flu vaccine

Children of God for Life announced today that a new flu vaccine, Flucelvax produced by Novartis uses a morally produced mammal-based cell line rather than chick embryo. 
“We are extremely pleased to see Novartis advance in the market over those such as Sanofi Pasteur who are developing influenza vaccines using aborted fetal cell lines,” said Children of God for Life Executive Director Debi Vinnedge. 

Novartis, along with several pharmaceutical companies had taken license in early 2001 to aborted fetal cell line PER C6 and there was public concern that this cell line would replace the current and slower techonology of using chick embryo to produce influenza and H1N1 vaccines.

But Novartis changed direction and unlike some of its competitors chose the option of using a tested and safe mammal cell line that would not infringe on moral concerns. Vinnedge says she is thrilled they are the first to bring the new technology to market.

Tim worked with Debi Vinnedge while writing an article on the current moral debate over vaccine production published in Angelus Magazine (Feb 2006) This issue of manufacturing vaccines using stem cell lines derived from aborted human embryos is one that affects every Catholic parent. Currently the MMR, Hep A, and chickenpox vaccines versions made in a immoral manner are only available in the US. Hopefully Novartis will see great economic success with its new Flucelvax vaccine and expand to create moral alternatives for the above problematic immunizations.   

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

busy as a beaver

The past few weeks I haven't had the energy or inclination to blog about anything. The election results were so depressing that I didn't turn on the computer except to check email or turn on the radio except to get my daily dose of encouragement from Rush. 

I finished the lap quilt I was working on and started a Christmas twisted pinwheel table runner that we worked on at quilt group. I am currently free-motion quilting feathers in the pinwheeels and pebbles in the background. Hopefully I can have it finished by December 25th. 

I also offered to pick out fabrics and put together bags for the group to make a calendar quilt for the town's library and just getting it all organized and cut out took several hours last weekend. All 12 blocks were taken home so my portion of the project is complete.  While waiting for end to the school dance I picked up some machine quilting books at BooksAMillion, which I will put under the tree for me from the kids. 

We are finding the ongoing transition from homeschooling to Catholic school a challenge for the older two children, the amount of homework each night is sometimes overwhelming and the lure of Minecraft on the laptops they are given is too much for Will to resist most days. Mary is more conscious of time management in terms of getting her work completed, but her issues are the lure of fashion status and the increased facination with the opposite sex. I guess all this should have been expected with puberty, but I find it very hard on the parents.

I'm still running every day, but hoping to take a short break after I give blood tomorrow. Last week I caught a cold and it hampered my race pace on Sunday's Turkey Trot. I did shave off 23 seconds off last year's race, but still didn't come home with a free bird. A friend mentioned that my name is mentioned in a local newspaper article about the Sub5 series and suggested that I might be up for "most improved" runner at the awards dinner in January. My goal for next year's series is to win my age bracket again and to run in all the races, including the County Half Marathon, the Cobscook 10K, and the Machais Blueberry Run which all involve spending the night in a hotel the night beforehand. 

Homeschooling the boys is proceeding along at a fast clip, Timmy is on lesson 20 in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and will be moving up to 1st grade by the end of next week. Charlie is 3/4 of the way through history and science for 3rd grade and is slowly working on memorizing the times tables. 

All in all, the last month has been the equivalent of a hamster on a wheel, running faster and faster just to keep up. The reason for this is the number of children (6) times the number of activities (piano, theater, Scouts, swimming, and altar serving) makes logistics and driving all over midcoast Maine inevitable. Luckily theater and swimming are over for the winter, but basketball for Mary and cross country sking for the little ones is just about to begin...    

Friday, November 02, 2012

new york marathon hogging resources?

I've been through several hurricanes, sleeping in a narrow hallway during Gloria in 1985, living in the dorm at Virginia Tech with no working bathrooms (for only 24 hours and it was so gross I drove 300 miles home until the issue was resolved) and seeing the destruction in the forest wrought by Hugo in 1989, and losing power for a week (our neighbor somehow procured us a generator after 24 hours) during Isabel in 2003. I know gas lines, but I can't fathom the devastation I have seen in pictures from New York and New Jersey.There are people dumpster diving for food, waiting in lines for 6 hours for gas, begging for water, food, and clothes. People's toilets aren't working and they are using the hallways of their apartment buildings as bathrooms. So why is Mayor Bloomberg insisting that this weekend,of all weekends, New York host the NY Marathon?  

People who read my blog know that I am a serious runner and that I run in a lot of races. I understand that people have trained 6 months for this race, but there are other races, there are certainly things more important than one's personal satisfaction in finishing a 26.2 mile run. Supposedly there is a Facebook page already going of racers who are boycotting the race they already paid to enter, I say good for them. 

Rush Limbaugh was raving about this issue today, I would have called in, but I was running at the time. I did compose my call in my head instead, "Rush, not all runners are liberal health nazis, one of the reasons I run is so I can drink a 32oz Cocacola without guilt. I've lost a total of 120 pounds of weight from my last 3 pregnancies running everyday at noon sharp listening to your voice of reason for an hour or so. I noticed an ad for the NY Marathon in a magazine the day after Sandy struck and mentioned it to my husband. He said they would certainly postpone the race, while I thought they would cancel it and refund every one's entry fee. But going ahead with it is just foolish, why use resources that people desperately need just for a race? I can see the residents taking their frustration and anger out on the runners and some people getting hurt. It is just a race, cancel it for this year and then have a big hoorah next year to show how everything is back to normal. It isn't the Olympics or anything."         

warm and cozy

Yesterday I washed my latest completed quilt, "Sweet Apple Crisp" a slightly enlarged version of a pattern in American Patchwork and Quilting magazine, with a big glug of vinegar to prevent any leftover red dye from the flannel backing from staining the top and laid it on the floor to admire and inspect for any remaining thread that needed to be clipped.

I had to pick out several of the original leaf wreaths from the Snowball blocks, as they were not perfectly the same and this made the quilt look odd. Instead I turned them into vines with spirals that mimicked the spirals in the four-patch blocks.  For the outer border I simply quilted over the vining design on the fabric rather than superimpose a design over it. I'll take it for show and tell at quilt group on Monday and see what the ladies think. I'm pretty happy with the results and I'm sure it will keep someone's toes toasty this winter.