Friday, March 31, 2006

Missing Letters

Day 31: The letters j, k, q, v, x, and z are not used in Welsh.

Well then, how is my name translated into Welsh?

Willow did get her haircut this afternoon. It was funny - I told the hairdresser it was Willow's first real haircut, and they have these 'Baby's First Haircut' postcards that they fill out and tape some curls in for posterity. She's nearly four years old! The new 'do is cute - bobbed about chin length - and of course, since it is shorter, it is curlier. Don't worry, Family - I will post a picture tomorrow.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Thank You, SP6!

Look what my Secret Pal sent me!

I had to wait until I could get my camera back before I could post any pictures - sorry for the delay! From leftish to right there is an adorable sheep card, fizzy bath stuff in a multitude of colours, gourmet chocolates (with flavours like Earl Grey, Ginger, and Licorice), Cadbury Flake chocolate bars, orange and lime lip gloss, _Sheep for Beginners_ (a book telling how wool is made), some lovely, delicate sock yarn made up of 4 different shades of blue, some gel eye cool packs (gee, have I mentioned how stressed I have been lately?!!?), and underneath it all, a 'best of' recipe magazine - so many yummy things to try! SP6, thank you for spoiling me!

Day 30: The moose is the largest member of the deer family.

Obviously I know a moose is a large animal, but I hadn't realized it was a part of the deer family!

And here is a picture of the three year old... I tried to get a picture of her co-hort, the dog - but Caddie's picture wouldn't post for some reason.

This kid needs a haircut in the worst way! She has only ever had one haircut her entire life - at the hands of her paternal grandmother - and that was over a year ago. There's a salon in town that caters to little kids - maybe I will see if I can get an appointment.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Wonderful News...

Day 29: Fabric softener makes clothes more flammable.

Oh yay. Just want I wanted to read on the fabric softener bottle as I was waiting for the load of laundry to finish...

I received my second Knitty SP6 package in the mail yesterday - I'll post pictures of it as soon as I can - there was some delicate sock yarn in there in shades of blue, lots of chocolate (yum!), lip gloss and smelly bath stuff, a cooking magazine, and a start-to-finish book on how wool is made - all cool stuff :)

I need to get started on two SP packages - one for Turtlegirl, my Knitty SP6 not-so-secret downstream pal and the other for my Project Spectrum pal... I got some neat ideas when I was at a gourmet food store the other day...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Who didn't have some of these as a kid?

Day 28: Guppies are originally from Trinidad and Venezuela and were discovered by R. J. Lechmere Guppy, president of the Scientific Association of Trinidad in 1866.


People, today was truly a 'Calgon take me away!' day. Who knew that a three year old girl and 12 year old dog could be like bickering teenagers?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Inauspicious Beginnings?

Day 27: The Office of Internal Revenue (later to be known as the IRS) came into existence in 1862 to help pay the costs of the Civil War.

Andrew was surprised by this - he wanted to know how the government paid for itself before that.

This is the first year we have to pay federal taxes - despite the fact that we both work full-time and have all the relevant taxes taken from our paychecks. Oh well - we all grow up sometime, I suppose...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Red and Delicious (and we aren't talking apples!)

Don't these look yummy? I love cherries! My absolute favourites are the Bing cherries - the ones that are so dark red they look blackish-purple? The kind that will stain everything if you give them half a chance? Unfortunately, I no longer live in an area that produces cherries, so I have to pay exhorbitant prices even when they are in season.

Day 26: Michigan considers itself to be the cherry capital of the world and has a cherry festival every year.

I think I will have to go to Michigan some day - a whole island full of lilacs (Macinac Island) and a cherry festival? I'm there! Add in a fiber festival and I'll just pack up the U-Haul and move.

I've been working diligently on Jaime's baby present - but I hate knitting under pressure - and as much as I loved the ideals of the Knitting Olympics, my home was not a terribly happy place while it was going on.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Polar Bears Before and After

Day 25: Polar bears only weigh about one pound when born, and grow to be between 1000 - 1600 pounds at adulthood.

I'm really liking the Reynolds oven bags and foil bags - two weekends in a row now I have attempted roasts (pork last week and beef tonight) and they both turned out wonderfully. I had tried cooking them the more conventional ways before to little success. And tomorrow - roast beef sandwiches! I'll have to go buy dill pickles... I am very particular about my roast beef sandwiches.

Chris - I hope things are okay for you out in Hawaii - I heard you guys were in for a huge rainstorm... don't float away!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Good for your eyes and not much else, apparently

Day 24: Ancient Greeks and Romans used carrots for medicine, but not for food.

I don't know about the rest of you Project Spectrum-ers, but I am so itching to get into the orange and yellow stuff! I am going out this weekend to get stuff for my Colorwap package and am really excited about it.

On a weird and completely different note, does anyone know how to speed up healing on a burned mouth? I ate an eggroll this afternoon that was much steamier than I was expecting and now the top of my mouth feels raw :(

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Times They are A-Changing

Day 23: In 1900, the average household had paid 10 times its family income for a house, and by the 1930s (during the Depression) it was up to over 18 times the family income. And despite the fact that most of us feel housing prices are skyrocketing, the average household only pays about 4 times the family income for a house now. **

Well, I think there are other things not taken into consideration with this statistic - most families in those days only had one income, not two - so I think you could feasibly say we are paying about 7 times a family income.

** from _The New Complete Book of Homebuying_ by Michael Sumichrast, Ronald Shafer, and Martin A. Sumichrast

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

10th Anniversary

Here is the finished Dulaan sweater on Willow - I had to roll up the sleeves to fit her, but other than that it fits. The neckline was a little tight on her - it wasn't as stretchy as I hoped, despite the fact that I bound off in rib. I also think my baby has a big head, so that may have something to do with it as well!

See that drawing in the background? The one with the big head? That's Andrew - so I guess she comes by it naturally :)

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Uh, Mom...? Remember how you told me to use dishwasher detergent to get the Sesame Chicken stains out of Willow's dancing outfit? This is what happened:

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I don't know about all dishwasher detergents, but mine has bleach in it. Willow was quite distraught at first - okay, it was kind of funny - but I told her she was going to get a new outfit soon because this one was a bit tight on her.

And I wanted to show what I did to Willow's hair tonight:

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It's finally long enough to french braid! Hair is very fine so I think I would need some sticky gel or hairspray to have it stay in place if I were so inclined... but I love playing with her hair. Really - when I was a little girl my barbies were always sans clothing because all I ever cared about was doing their hair.

Day 22: All baking powder is baking soda and cornstarch (and some preservatives) mixed together.

I'm still not entirely clear on why we have baking soda and baking powder and why recipes call specifically one or the other and they are not interchangeable, though.

And the anniversary I mentioned in the title? Today is the 10th anniversary of the day Andrew and I met in Katsutadai, Japan - at MIL The Language Center, where we both taught English.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Finished Dulaan Sweater

It's 10:53pm and I have finished the Dulaan sweater. If I can get Willow to sit still for a few moments tomorrow, I may even have a live model to show it off in. Now that this is finished, I can dedicate myself to finishing Jaime's baby present, seeing as she was so kind to remind me she only has 10 weeks left in her pregnancy!!!!

The yarn is a Red Heart one pound ball in a magenta/orange/yellow/red colourway - sure to please any 6 year old girl. The pattern comes from Ann Budd's handy sweater pattern book (you know - the one with the multiple sizes and gauges - I'm too tired to get it and write the proper name). It's raglan, knit in one piece to the armpits, sleeves knit separately, then joined again to complete the raglan. I just did the same rib as the cuffs and waist for the neck so it would stand up a bit - I hate too-tight necks. I read in the latest Vogue Knitting that the Dulaan project is ending this summer so they can concentrate on other needs in Mongolia - so I need to make sure I get this package off in time.

Day 21: (Another fact courtesy of Alton Brown) British sailors ate pickles to combat scurvy.

He had a great recipe for curried pickled cauliflower that I want to try...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Baby, It's Warm Outside

Okay, not really.

Day 20: But I did hear today that 2005 was Canada's warmest year on record, and January 2006 was the warmest January on record.

I don't think this bodes well...

I had grand plans of knitting while watching my coveted documentaries tonight (yes, I know I'm a geek) - and got sucked in by this Discovery Channel program on 'Darwin IV' - a hypothetical survey of an Earth-like planet. Forty minutes into it I had to put down the knitting because I was so engrossed in the program. That sure hasn't happened in a long time!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Incipiently Spring

Look what I found today!

I was driving around looking at houses and neighbourhoods this afternoon and I found a cherry tree in blossom! This completely made my day - now if the temps could bust their way out of the 40's, I would be drunk on my own bliss.

At my in-laws garden I found purple crocuses and some impatiens impatiently coming up behind them...

Some miniature daffodils...

The first aspargus bud of the season! I had to enlarge the pic and toss in the blue arrow to pinpoint the bud - it is the little purple thing poking up:

And one of my favourite foods to bake with... rhubarb!

I haven't taken any pics of the vegetable garden proper yet, but my mother-in-law planted her broccoli and cauliflower in the garden this week.

Day 19: Streusel translates as 'sprinkles' from German.

When I used to live on Vancouver Island, there was a muffin shop called something like MMMMMmmuffins, and they had these amazing cake-y streusel muffins. I can't believe it - my mouth is watering just at the memory. I am so deprived.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Me as a Muppet

You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.
You're always willing to lend a helping hand.
In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.
"15 seconds to showtime!"
I'm surprised by this... I thought if I were to be characterized as a Muppet it would be Kermit... in control and freaking out!

Spring, come soon!

Mother Nature is teasing us. We had a couple of days last week of temps around 60'F - and even one day when it got into the 70s'F. Oh, the joy of running around outside with no coat on! Then this weekend rolls around and there is lots of brilliant sun... but the temps didn't make it to 40'F until late afternoon. I want Spring to be here so badly - I'm seeing daffodils, cherry blossoms, snowdrops, crocuses... now, some balmier weather would be nice!

Day 18: King Tut was found with 130 walking canes in his tomb, ranging from child-size to adult-size. X-ray evidence has recently shown that the pharaoh suffered from scoliosis.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Day 17: Early Mesoamericans thought green stone was alive, and valued jade and green obsidian over all other materials.

Sorry... too tired for anything else right now...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Forgot this:

Booking Through Thursday

This week's questions about self-help books are from Nicki.

  1. Have you ever read a self-help book? Not thoroughly. I've taken out different self-help books from the library and glanced through them.

  2. What do you think about self-help books in general? They don't particularly appeal to me. First off, I prefer fiction, and I have limited time to read... so when I do get a chance, it is escapist fiction.

  3. Would you ever recommend a self-help book? If I thought the book would truly help someone, I suppose - but I haven't found a self-help book that compelling yet.

Thai It - You'll Like It

I love watching Alton Brown. I record every episode of 'Good Eats' from the Food Network and Willow and I watch them together. She thinks Alton is a teacher and he is teaching her how to cook - and she isn't so far off. Tonight's episode was a new one about Pad Thai and I learned:

Day 16: Thailand translates as 'free land' and it is the only country in Southeast Asia that was never under foreign rule. Pad Thai itself was introduced and promoted during World War II - the government wanted to give people a dish that could act as a rice substitute because there were great rice shortages.

Another thing I like about this show - as I mentioned above - it is something that Willow and I can watch together and it isn't geared toward the preschool set. Don't get me wrong - Noggin and Sprout and PBS are wonderful... but there is only so much an adult can take!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Veste Everest Evidence

The Photographer-in-Residence had to leave early this morning, so I had to depend on the Photographer's Apprentice to take my picture... now, please remember she is not even four years old yet, so I'm willing to let go of the fact that her thumb is in this picture:

The second one, though off-kilter, turned out much better:

We had our American Cancer Society fundraiser today at work and so were allowed to wear jeans (in exchange for making a donation) - and my Veste Everest matched my jeans nicely.

After Willow went to bed tonight I found a few more items around the apartment that fell within this month's Project Spectrum colours of red and pink.

This is a doll's quilt that my Auntie Daryth sewed for Willow - it has all sorts of pink and red in it:

Here is a piece of Christmas artwork we have hanging on the closet door:

And here is a toddler's hat destined for the Dulaan package that I finished today, It is knit from leftovers of leftovers and is part Wool of the Andes and part Smart Wool. This is the doll that the above quilt belongs to.

Day 15: Here in Northern Delaware, the attrition rate of African American boys in middle school is 60%. In other words, 6 in 10 African American boys don't make it past 8th grade. That is so incredibly sad.

I heard this today on an NPR rebroadcast - it was about a small Catholic charter school that took these boys and put them through a rigorous program - 10 hours of school a day, mandatory summer school, etc. - and once completed, they are all getting accepted on scholarship to the prestigious private schools in this area.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tasty Swedes

My, I bet that title caught your interest...

Day 14: In England, a 'swede' is a rutabaga.

I learned this at my SnB tonight - one of my American friends asked our British friend what the term was as she came across it in a British cookbook and had no idea what it was.

Okay, I was going to post a pic, but it doesn't want to post right now...

Monday, March 13, 2006



My sister Jaime is 7 months pregnant right now, and I think I am experiencing sympathy acid reflux for her right now. Tums has become my constant companion...

I tried looking around for some Project Spectrum-inspired photos and found I had to engineer one. It's easy to dress Willow in red and pink - she's a nearly-four-year-old girl and those two colours make up about 65% of her wardrobe. I wore pink myself on Sunday, and wrapped my pink/coral scarf around us:

This was the good picture - you should have seen the one before it where Willow wouldn't look at the camera and I was glaring in frustration!

I was telling Willow that when she was little she used to always put her feet in her mouth and suck on her toes... and she promptly showed me she was still able to do that:

Oh, to be that flexible!

I'm sneakily planning my April Project Spectrum project - it will be something for my abovementioned sister's new baby. I don't want to take a picture of the project until it is done - so that may mean a lot of filler pictures in the meantime. It's okay - spring is nearly here and the flowers are gorgeous here when they all come out.

Day 13: There are 90 different sleep disorders, and insomnia is only one of them.

Yeah... I think I have experienced a half dozen or so...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Hoppity Hops

Day 12: Hops, the plants which give flavour and aroma to brewing beer, are a part of the Cannabis family.

Tried to look into some Open Houses today, only to find the ones we were interested in to be already sold...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Old Toys

Day 11: Erector Set games debuted in 1913.

Why are there no homes for sale in the places we would like to move?

Friday, March 10, 2006

I'm such a joiner

As you can see by the button on the right sidebar, I've joined Lolly's Project Spectrum. The colours for March are red and pink. I had recently de-stashed a box of yarn to my Mom, but since my Mom can't knit with wool, I still had a sizeable bag of leftovers. In this scarf (it's a skinny scarf about 7 feet long), there are leftovers of Manos, Thick alpaca from, Bernat Breeze, Homespun, Wool of the Andes, Paton's Allure, cotton chenille, sock yarn (doubled), and Smart Wool. The whole thing was done in garter stitch length-wise and took me about 5 hours altogether:

Here's a picture of it on me - sorry - very crappy picture of me very tired and not having mastered the set up and timer.

Day 10: Capt. Hook from the Peter Pan stories was based on Captain Henry Morgan, who may have been a great pirate... but apparently a lousy sailor. He managed to crash and/or sink three different flagships.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Missing Queens and Inscribed Books

Booking Through Thursday

This week's questions are from Cate.

  1. Do you have any books that are signed by the author? Yes. I have _Taltos_ by Anne Rice signed and inscribed to me.

  2. Do you have a story behind the autograph? When it came to be my turn to have my book signed, Ms. Rice asked me my name, and when I said 'Josephine' she told me she liked my name and there was someone in the book named that. And there was!

Day 9: Neither Queen Nefertiti's tomb nor her mummy have ever been found...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Hairy Crustaceans and Growing Girls

Well... maybe she is bigger than I thought...

I had her model my child's raglan sweater so I could put a picture in the blog - expecting her to be swimming in it. And, as you can see, it just ain't so. She can't even dog-paddle in it.

Oh well - it will still go into the Dulaan pile as planned - but for the completely opposite reason that I was envisioning! The yarn is an el cheapo acrylic humungous ball I bought in Canada last year - really - I don't even know if I even paid $5 CDN for the 1 pound ball. I just liked the brightness of the colours.

Oh... and please don't look at the disheveled bookshelf behind her. All I can really say is we haven't caught up on the housework since I was sick.

Day 8: French divers have found a hairy blond lobster. I kid you not.

I understand why it is furry - the creature is blind, so I am sure the hair acts as 'feelers' for it to find its way around... but still... very odd.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Creamy Green Goodness

Just a quick one tonight...

Day 7: Avocadoes are 16-22% fat, float, and the word is derived from the Aztec word for 'testicle'.

Aren't you glad you asked?

Our little SnB is taking off - there were five of us there tonight!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Cisterns and Knitting

Day 6: There are huge underground cisterns (huge rooms that once held water from Roman aqueducts) beneath Istanbul. Modern-day Istanbul was built on top of these cisterns and it looks like there are massive temples underneath the city.

You can see some pics here:

Scroll down a bit on the above page and click on the different pictures. Apparently when the Ottomans took over Constinanople and renamed it Istanbul, they didn't have much use for the cisterns as they preferred running water and thought the still water in the cisterns to be unclean. They sat unused and undiscovered until the mid-16th century.

And I do have some knitting content ;) I am about 80% finished a raglan sweater that will most likely be for the Dulaan pile as I think it would be 2 years away from fitting Willow. I divested myself of about 35 skeins of different yarns and mailed them to my mother - she will be happy to receive them and this leaves me with less to pack in a few months.

I'm seriously considering being a latecomer to Lolly's ( ) Project Spectrum. I'd be hard-pressed to come up with something red and pink by the end of the month - but I am intrigued. It would be cheating a bit to pass off this raglan sweater as my monthly project - although there is a lot of red and pink in it (as well as orange and yellow). I just want to be included - now that the Olympics are over I've lost that sense of companionship and camaraderie and want it back.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Blooms, Blossoms, and Dragons!

Day 5: This year's Philadelphia Flower Show is its 177th show.

For someone like me who grew up in Western Canada - a place not very old... in fact, the town in which I went to high school celebrated its 100th anniversary *after* I graduated from high school. What I am trying to say is, I'm amazed that something like this has been going on for such a long time. I also believe not only is it the oldest flower show in North America, but the biggest in the world.

This will be a picture heavy post - and you can click on these pictures to see the photos more clearly. The theme of the flower show this year was a tribute to Mother Nature, so there were many fairies, animals, and curiously enough, table settings at many of the exhibits.

Willow's new home. Trust me, she wasted no time in claiming it as hers. And this is a real house - meant for a child's playhouse. Andrew is only standing about 5 feet in front of it to give you an idea of scale.

This was a very cool exhibit - everything was in yellow which obviously made for a very bright scene. I loved the vases - as you can see, this one was filled with golden delicious apples. The arrangement behind and to the left had a vase full of lemons as its base.

Some goregeous rosy-coral rhododendrons. My father-in-law has over 140 azaleas and 100 rhododendrons in his yard and I find my appreciation for them gets deeper every year.

I took this picture for my Knitty SP6 because her handle is Turtlegirl76. This picture was part of an exhibit using the Beatrix Potter artwork and style as its inspiration.

And for Asami, here is the only Japanese woman I saw at the flower show. I'm just kidding - there were many Japanese tourists. If you will look closely, her lower half is just mesh and you can see through her.

And lastly, here is the dragon I promised you - made entirely out of plants down to his marigold eyes.

I really love going to the flower show - it gives you an early glimpse at all the tulips, daffodils, cherry blossoms, hyacinth, snowdrops, and other flowers that will soon be breaking free of winter's hold. After we were finished walking around the flower show, we had another treat - lunch in the Reading Station Market!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Not So Labour-Intensive, Apparently

After 3 straight hours of the Rugrats this morning, I was desperate for something different. I told Willow we were going to watch one of my shows (i.e., documentaries) and she protested. I looked through all the documentaries I had stored up on the DVR, and for one reason (Samurai swords? Too gory.) or another (Caligula... oh, let's wait about 15 years before she needs to know any of that) I discarded them. Then, I found one that was interesting enough for me and palatable for her and it was about the Nasca geoglyphs in southern Peru ( )

Day 4: The Nasca lines were not gouged or carved into the earth. They were created by simply moving the volcanic rock on top of the yellow clay off to the sides.

Archeological teams have proven that even some of the larger geoglyphs could be created in 48 hours even with the tools available to the Nasca people. And it is interesting why the lines have lasted so long - the heat of the day warms the clay and creates a heated barrier against the wind - so the stones don't mess up the lines.

Friday, March 03, 2006

It's Friday, I'm in Love

I'm so happy to have this weekend. I realize I had a short work week on account of having the stomach flu earlier, but I am so looking forward to just having fun this weekend. No maddeningly trying to finish a knit piece!

Day 3: You can buy bandaids that are cunningly disguised as ... strips of bacon ( )

I'm not sure why you would want to do this... but there you go.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Get Lost in a Good Book

Don't you wish more people would do that?

Day 2: Today is World Book Day ( )

For some people, at least. There seems to be a bit of confusion over this. I heard this fact this afternoon while listening to CBC One out of Toronto. I looked it up online to find out more, and found out that UNESCO also designated April 23rd as World Book Day. Me? I don't care as long as people are reading them!

So, in the spirit of World Book Day, what are you reading?

I would like to say that I am currently reading something in-depth and thought-provoking, but in truth, I am reading this:

Not a bad book - but a little on the fluffy side. I am reading this romance novel to let my brain rest a bit after finishing this whopper in 36 hours:

I love S.M. Stirling's books! I think I have mentioned this before, but I am all about the future dystopia. This is the second book in a trilogy that is a sister series to another trilogy by Stirling. The original trilogy (Island in the Sea of Time, Against the Tides of Years, On the Oceans of Eternity) concern a Nantucket that goes back in time - to 1250BC. It's a fascinating story of a small group of people with 20th century technology (that is slowly degrading and in limited supply) who have to make their way in an Bronze Age world. The second trilogy (Dies the Fire, The Protector's War, Meeting at Corvallis) concerns what happens to the rest of the world - mainly Oregon/Washington/Idaho and the UK in the second book... the clincher being it wasn't the same thing that happened to Nantucket. The rest of the world experienced a permanent power outage - something primal in physics changed - not even explosives or guns would go off. Stirling has a talent to draw me into his worlds like no one else - and he is the only author I will buy hardcover with no qualms at all.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lenten Resolutions

As an liberally-minded Anglican/Episcopalian, I realize I am not bound to keep a Lenten resolution - however, I like the idea of keeping to something for forty days and forty nights. There have been the years I have sworn off various foods (chocolate, coffee, junk food in general...) and even in these somewhat 'light' resolutions, I have learned things about myself. For example, the year I gave up chocolate meant I couldn't drink Cafe Mochas - my caffeinated beverage of choice at that time. So I switched to Vanilla Lattes - ostensibly just for the season - but I haven't gone back to Cafe Mochas since.

I wanted to have a non-food related Lenten resolution this year, and the idea I came up with should be fun. You have all heard the saying "You learn something new everyday" before. We probably learn this new thing and promptly forget it. Well, maybe not forget - but that nugget fades the with the advent of the next new thing. What I am going to do for the next 40 days is not only learn something new each day - but record it. Maybe you will learn something, too.

Day 1: Three of the top 10 selling drugs in the USA are anemia-treating medications.

I work in the pharmaceutical industry, so don't be surprised if many of my bits of info are about drugs. This fact about anemia drugs surprised me. I would have expected (and they were represented) blood pressure drugs, statins, and mental health drugs to take up all of the top 10 spots, but it just wasn't so. I discussed this with a coworker and it was her opinion that these drugs get prescribed for many things other than run-of-the-mill anemia - most importantly, for people recovering from chemotherapy. In any case - that is my factoid of the day.