Crashing and Burning on the Information Superhighway

I’m so sick of the swine flu, especially the debate surrounding the vaccine.

Twenty-four hour news media, social networking sites, weblogs and YouTube are all flooded with information, or in many cases, misinformation, about the vaccine. It reminds me so much of that broken telephone game we used to play in Brownies. It started with a fact and an opinion. The end result is a garbled mess of the two and it doesn’t seem to occur to anyone to listen to health professionals while they attempt to clear up the confusion. Why bother when Bill Mahar has already tweeted against it?

The problem is too much information. It’s everywhere and we don’t seem to know how to filter it. We put so much stock in the people who have found a voice in the media. We listen to entertainers, bloggers, and unqualified friends and neighbors who have no business passing off their opinions as gospel. We trust them based solely on the fact that they have an opinion and a medium to express it. Meanwhile, we tune out the real experts, the people who could put our fears and concerns in perspective. It’s driving me crazy to hear people around me making important decisions about their health based on information from weak sources. Not once have I heard someone say, “I’m not getting vaccinated because my DOCTOR told me not to.”

As for myself, I’m a bit of a skeptic when it comes to pharmaceuticals. I take them sparingly, as I believe that exercise, nutrition and sufficient rest are the keys to good health. I’m a huge supporter of preventive medicine and naturopathy. At the same time, I appreciate the benefits of modern technology. I’ve actually never had a seasonal flu shot because I rarely get the flu. H1N1 isn’t the seasonal flu. This is a fact that doesn’t seem to be getting across as clear as our nation’s health officials would like, and while I’m not qualified to advocate for or against the H1N1 vaccine, here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself as you decide whether or not to inoculate yourself and your family: When was the last time you thought about Polio? Do you ever worry about your children contracting smallpox? Do you know what Diphtheria is? What about Pertussis? Of course not. Thanks to vaccinations, here in Canada, they’ve been long forgotten as a threat to public health. For our grandparents though, they were real and scary, just as the H1N1 virus is for us right now.

So, go out and get the H1N1 shot. Or don’t. It’s your choice. Just make sure your decision is based on qualified information, not what you heard in the supermarket check out line, on Facebook or what Kanye thinks (has he weighed in on this yet)? In the meantime, eat your veggies, wash your hands and get plenty of rest.

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Button Napkin Rings

After sorting though my stash of buttons, I found that I had a lot of small, plain white and cream buttons in various sizes. Too plain to use in my other projects, these have been accumulating at the bottom of my button box for years.

Over the weekend, I found a use for them:

Napkin rings.

I made them simply by stringing about a dozen random buttons on some elastic thread and then fastening it off with a knot.

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Rub A Dub-Dub, A Puff For Your Tub

Last year I had found a pattern for crocheted bath puffs and whipped up a bunch for Christmas gifts to go along with some homemade bath salts and sugar scrub. I had been planning to make more for my Etsy shop and a few more for gifts but I hadn’t been in a crochet mood until recently.

I wasn’t really happy with the original pattern I’d been using. It seemed to use a lot of yarn, which made the puff look nice aesthetically but I found it a bit heavy when it got wet. After a few tries I’ve settled on this pattern. I used just under a ball of yarn and it only takes about an hour to make. It’s a great project for a rainy afternoon.

7.0 mm Crochet Hook
1 Ball of oz. Light Weight Cotton Yarn (3 of the standard yarn weight system)*
½ metre of coordinating ribbon


To begin, chain 4, sl in first loop to join.
Row 1: tr 30 to 40 times in loop. Chain 4 to turn.
Row 2: 6 tr in each tc. Chain 2 to turn.
Row: 3: 2 hdc in each tc.
Fasten off and weave in the loose end.

Thread ribbon though the original loop and tie a knot or bow (or both).

*I recommend using a light weight yarn for a few reasons. First, the heavier cotton does not seem to lather the soap very well. In fact, you’ll find that the cotton puff doesn’t lather nearly as well as the nylon puffs, but that’s just the trade off for using a less disposable product. The other benefit of using a lighter yarn is that it will take less time to dry. Nobody wants a terminally wet and smelly puff hanging in the bathroom.

Also, if you want something a little more luxurious, there are some lovely bamboo and soy yarns available these days. I made this pink puff from the latter and feels soooooo wonderfully soft.

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