Prickly love

Reading: House on Fire by William H. Foege. Dr. Foege was in the news just this week discussing the continued efforts of Sierra Leone in controlling ebola. This book is about the efforts that led to the end of smallpox globally. (His wife deserves a Nobel for her support of his endeavors.) It is an excellent, nerdy, public health read. I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

Also: The Violinist’s Thumb by Sam Keane, who wrote one of my favorite books of all time, The Disappearing Spoon. This book is also nonfiction, about DNA and how and why some of us are so much better at things like, say, playing the violin, than others.

And for fun: Ahab’s Wife. I’m only 30 pages into this one, but we have a hot date scheduled tonight in the bath tub. That’s the way I roll. I schedule dates with my books.

Knitting: More baby sweaters. I’ve got a purple one on the needles now for a little girl turning one next week, and another one in the works for an adorable toothy two year old named Bexa on deck. Bexa’s will include a hood and I’m going to try to find buttons like these because they seem fun.

Gardening: Lots and lots of vegetables. The patio wall should be completed this weekend and I’ll get more tomatoes in next week too.

Cooking: I am going to make a batch of this stir fry sauce this weekend because it sounds like a wonderful way to use some of the garden greens, and add a dash of something interesting to a quick meal of brown rice.

Also: the director of the state health department left this week. Will Humble was a great person to work for and he will be sorely missed. In a sea of political silliness, Will was a beacon. A Berkeley-trained epidemiologist, he had the rare talent of being able to break down big, complicated health issues into pieces the average Arizonan could understand via his blog and also the media. I’m sad he is gone and hope to keep him as a friend.

And finally: if you are the praying sort — keep Cape Town in your thoughts this week. Table Mountain and many of the outlying areas are on fire; forest fires have led to the hottest day on record for the area. Cape Town remains my most favorite place on earth. It is a magical place to visit and so full of history, with Robben Island right off shore.  Sending love and courage to those fighting the fires, and the millions of folks sweltering in the surrounding townships.