Monday, April 28, 2008


I still have 2 small squares to finish, but this was my chance to occupy the floor and try to encourage myself. The squares have decided to be 30inches across. That makes a 60 inch blanket plus edging. Decent for an adult afghan.
The good news is G'ma is being discharged this week and Auntie and MIL have been able to scoop up a one-bedroom apartment in a multi-level care facility. She'll still get the good food. I'm sure that she will improve with the social stimulation and they will love her to pieces.

Talk about persistent. I tore out these red tulips 10 years ago, and just about every year since. I don't like when they open out with their tonsils showing. But the squirrels eat the beautiful pink Angeliques I planted. Here they are in the main rose bed,
Coming in the rose bed of the deck
And hiding on the edge of the front planter. I gave buckets away. I especially don't care for them with yellow ones, and, yes, they were planted together.

Finally, these are the drakes without mates who seem to have gathered for a game of ball on my deck. Just like the young men I know.

Yes, I'm also studying.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Not a Break

This was another packed weekend. On Friday the kids were out of school. Noodle Pie elected to sleep in, so Mr. Boo and I drove just over an hour to the campus of my on-line course. I needed Pharmachology books, eventhough I don't want to start the course till I've finished more of this Theory.
He did a good job with most of the driving. We back-tracked from Surrey to Langley because we like the stores there. We bought his a great suit at Mex. He needs it for piano recitals, weddings and, unfortunately, an upcoming funeral. I bought a great khaki jacket at Old Navy, on clearance while he tried on jeans. I'm getting more Scottish each year I'm married to one.
Mr. Boo is easy to get along with and we had fun tradin DJ jobs with the itunes in the car.
At home, Noodle Pie needed to get out. We ended up at LYS and she bought beautiful silk and cashmere for a baby kimono. Just a little. I talke to Susan about my plans for a Cozy wrap in Noro Silk Garden Lite as I'd seen on Ravelry. I'll get the name of the clever travelling knitter. Well, the two colorways I had picked out (more research when I took study breaks) she had 5 balls in each! What are the chances? Oh, and look, cash in my pocket book. Guess what? I'll be winding them as soon as I have this mitred blanket off the needles- and blocked and sewn together and edged. I really didn't need another project. Look for blocking pics as soon as the family leave for school and work and I can vacuum the livingroom carpet.
On Saturday I had to host a funeral at our church because the usual ladies were a)visiting grandkids and b) newly afflicted with a tortuous knee injury. The family was lovely and of course I had help. But after wearing "nice" shoes (which gave me confidence and style without high heels) I was wracked with foot and ankle pain. Friday night I didn't sleep because I think I'm allergic to the Greek restaurant. Whew. I went to bed and slept extra long. Today I lay down after lunch and finished a mystery novel - another Laurie King. Then hit the books and sped through most of spinal injuries. I may be able to write another test this week. If I'm persistent.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Celebration of Small Things

Happy Birthday Mr. Shakespeare. I'm enjoying Bill Bryson's "The World As a Stage" on my ipod, right now. I have been an actor of Shakespeare, a collector of books about him and his works, and now, I hope, a habitual theatre goer. This year Bard on the Beach is doing my favourite: King Lear. I must go. Last year was a success when I took NoodlePie to Romeo and Juliet. D. is afraid of Shakespeare because he says he can't understand it, although he enjoys it when I drag him. I should say the same about bagpiping.
I also have a shelf of Dickens: I read them all over two years when the kids were younger. And a shelf of Sherlock Holmes. Oh and several other book collections.

The giant (22 inch) mitred squares are rolling along. I am good at setting infinitely small goals so that I may feel accomplishment with each day. I learned that in Psych Nursing. The fourth square will be 4 smaller squares. This is not process knitting. But my mother-in-law will be able to visit her mother tomorrow as the ward is open from quarantine and she has to take the ferry to Vancouver Island. The older sister, who is a retired nurse (and a new widow) is helping so much with connecting with the faceless staff of the closed unit. Great Grandma is 94. She just had her driver's license removed before Christmas. Am I wrong to believe that, in the absence of respiratory and cardiac disease, and just arthritis, that she has a good chance of living in a nursing home and taking care of her own daily needs? She can stand and talk. I think she's just tired and sad that she won't be returning to her home on an acre on a lake which her husband built from logs he milled and where she raised her 4 children. I wish I could sit at her bedside and listen to her pioneering stories right now.

Back to my own studies of Rhuematoid Arthritis. I finished my chapter readings yesterday. Baby steps.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Plus Ca Change

This was my back garden on Friday. Things have been mighty cold in Lotus Land this week.
Carly loves all kinds of weather. I hunkered down to study. Luckily, my friend was available for a good long sit and knit while the kids were at school. I finished the first square of Great Grandma's mitred square afghan and started the second (variegated). We had lunch at Sherry's Carpathian Kitchen- wonderful borscht. It helped me keep my nose to the books for the rest of the weekend.
At noon today, I took the dog for a walk. This is the same place that was attacked with flurries so recently. Now it looks and feels like spring. The temperature is going from 1 to 9 degrees with promises of double digits tomorrow. I transplanted my thriving thyme to open up the raised bed for Noodle Pie, but I didn't plant my basil yet.
My home lies just beyond that grove of poplars. There's a deep river bank and a shallow salmon river. This, too, will enliven me so that I can sit and study. I'm a week behind, but not freaking out as it is my own timeline. Grandma's squares are knit so big that I think I'll just use 4. That opens up time to knit the baby blanket in time for September. I also have a little baby sweater to knit for another friend and a baby shower to plan, I hope.
I also finished "Remains of the Day". So I'm way ahead on book club and am treating myself with a Laurie R King mystery. I just have to finish so many chapters of Med-Surg, or so many hours to earn that treat.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Correcting Mistakes

I agonized over this decision. As a nurse, I know that acrylic is the right choice for hospital lap blankets, but I have just been luxuriating in the lovely Shepherd baby wool. Would I have time to knit it before we see Grandma in May? Would she like the colours? I chose a pink, a dark plum and a varigated. I can mix them in an asymmetrical pattern. I can knit something much more spectacular, but it risks being stolen, or ruined in the laundry.
And then the truth. Is Grandma even going to survive her stroke? I decided it was worth plunging in.
I cast on with wooden needles to improve the aesthetic experience. But I decided to make 5 huge squares and one square made of normal sized. 144 stitches. Obviously I wasn't thinking. The weight on the needles seriously hurt my right hand. An old riding injury, I have to be careful to protect it. So I switched to circular- which I have in wood anyway.
Then lastnight, as I was watching a borrowed copy of "Little Mosque On the Prairie", I realized I did not have a mitred square, but something much more quantum. In Mason Dixon, they have this alternating rhythm of decreases which was obviously beyond my little grey cells. I'm so embarrassed. Don't tell Lara of Math4knitters.
I ripped out (third time, ribbit, ribbit) and restarted. This time I marked the centre for simple decreases on both side, and the tension is much better. Phew. I can pick it up and knit part of a row. I can enjoy the amazing pleasure that is diminishing length of stitches each row. As if I didn't like knitting. Oh well. I'm glad I started with the pink- easier to see mistakes, I thought. So really, I was setting myself up for success. After a few false starts.

Claudia's Blog has a robin story today, so I thought I'd share my latest encounter.

This is right outside the window where I study. Thanks, Respiratory is almost finished. On to Musculoskeletal. I think I freaked the robin out when I started practicing my flute. Thanks, the Scherzo is coming along and the duets are great fun.

You can see the nest on the upper right hand corner of the window. My desk is up against this window. I put out some lovely purple yarn snippets to apologize to the fat, fat robin. Hope she and her true love return.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Figuring It Out

The answer to my computer problem was simple but beyond my capabilities at the time. Reboot. Make the camera and the laptop get along.
Carly is feeling better and got to go for a walk. It was beautiful when we left, and 15 minutes later, when we were in the field and she was off-leash, we got hailed on. She loves it and even waits for her feet to be rubbed with the beloved towel before carrying on to the (too-white) carpet. This is what we were seranaded with on our walk. Cherry and plum.
And here is a shot of the "X" in my alphabet. I'm actually able to knit in the sunroom in the morning with the news and the breakfasts and the lunch packing going on.
But great plans to usurp this success. D's grandma is in hospital on Vancouver Island after a fall and a probable stroke. She can move all her limbs, but spent a bad few days in confusion and unable to swallow. It looks as if she is now taking fluids. This is huge! If she is going to recover instead of spiralling down into geriatric failure, she must be transferred to a chair at least once a day. This can be more than the Nursing staff can handle on some wards. Plus the ward is quarantined for Norwalk virus. Some daughters have visited. One was told to come. My MIL is not allowed. They're camped in the motor home at Grandma's. They're clearing out all her unused stuff while they wait because they are sure she's not going home. It's sad, but she really does (and did) need another level of care.
So I'm going to the scary box store to find some washable acrylic to make her a lap blanket in bright colours. Grandma is from the Ukraine and loves colour. It will be part of my prayer that she will survive to move to a seniors' care centre.
My flower girl and her baby will understand.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Valiant Start

My camera is not talking to my laptop. Perhaps it's as tired as I am. Yes, studying, blah, blah.
I started the alphabet block blanket. I'm going to try to be a better Ravelry user because I really appreciate the good insights that others have shared. I was so excited about being halfway through the first row of letters. It's 187 stitches long and starts with eyelets and stuff. I'm just done row 24. Yay! But there are 258 rows before the attached border. That's OK. This chart is actually not too hard to read, I managed to download the errata and the purl rows are straight back.
In other news, someone has been dreadfully ill. All over my kitchen floor. All Saturday night. I was horrified. But my husband is a vet and wasn't too concerned. On Sunday morning we started Carly on metronidazole- antibiotic- and it seems to have helped. The other differential was pancreatitis. Not good. So she gets to go for a little walk today. I pumped up the tires in my bicycle on the lovely warm Saturday. It was my treat for finishing another Respiratory chapter. Good thing I got some fresh air before the long night of nursing pooch. I took some pictures of forsythia, daffodils and cherry and plum blossom. But my camera is being stingy. Hope D. can make sense out of it tonight.
One of my dear friends, from book club and a knitter, is in SanFransisco today. So if anyone bumps into a beautiful petite blonde at one of the great wool shops in SF, just let her know how happy I am for her through the veil of my jelousy. We're planning a road trip/ yarn crawl to Vancouver for next month. Hopefully. Not that I need stash, but I love the sensory overload.
Back to the books.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Knitting in the Wild

Li at "Life's a Stitch" wrote about wanting to see knitting on real people and babies. I agee that with all the Baby Surprise sweaters we've cranked out, we should have daily sitings. I all but ask for a picture of the child in a gifted sweater now and have a little album.
But years ago, when my daughter was about 5 or 6, we were at a little piano recital (totally wonderful Music For Young Children program) and another student had invited friends. I was totally distracted by their pretty baby girl (my own being school age). I looked at her sweater and at the mom.
"Have we met? I think I know that sweater." I asked.
It turns out they are friends of friends - this is a small town- and they had received the pink lace sweater as a hand-me-down from the sister of one of my friends.
I knit that sweater with pink wool, flecked with candy colours. The pattern was from a book I bought in Australia. I was so excited, made a new friend and got to hold a baby. Bonus.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Squeezing in Some Knitting

Yes, they're odd looking. Monkey is my favourite sock pattern (except I think the heel is a bit high for me). These were extra easy because I made them into pedicure socks. It's easy. From the knitty pattern, I decided to knit a 5 inch foot and then do an inch of ribbing. Even I could figure this out. The first sock was knit on the plane(s) from Seattle to Ft. Lauderdale. No I did not get to shop in Seattle. I did that in 1991 when Mr. Boo was 6 months old and D. had a conference. We should go back. We go to the King County Fair Grounds every year for the Highland Games. But that's Enumclaw and too far to divert to real knitting country. These Monkey Toes are for my best friend who doesn't have a birthday until October and doesn't know I'm crazy enough to have a knitting blog, although her sister knows. They are her special green. And she has a lot of pedicures.
Here's some of the lovely Mountain Colors wool (unnumbered colour because it was a special roll end bag. The pitcher is one of my souvenirs from our trip. It says Cartegena and was produced by a women' co-op.
Stash enhancement. This is really a version of more hope than sense. I have received 2 clues from the Mystic Light Shawl. But I really don't know if I'll be able to knit it. The chances increase when I have the wool. It's Heritage superwas sock wool from Cascade in a lovely blue-red. It loves me anyway. I will get to it. The baby blanket may need to be started first. This is Shepherd wool, also superwash that my LYS brought in in several weights. The classic ivory is perfect for the Alphabet Blanket.
Then I cast on a square for the aran afghan. It's called "quail". It's not hard, but I had to rip it three times to get the 12" I want. Also, the book club was watching a movie with subtitles- not conducive to knitting. We read "The Kite Runner" last year and "A Thousand Splendid Suns" this year. We loved them so much. But right after the credits, we all had this sinking feeling that we were watching a really sad movie and maybe had gotten in deeper than we should. It worked out OK.
This basket was my big purchase in Jamaica. The people were lovely. I loved their flag pride. We have just a bit of that. The shopkeeper told me the price and I paused, so she dropped the price. I was surprised, so I paused, and she dropped the price. Apparently I'm a mean bargainer. I think I was just slow in the heat.

Orlando was crazy. I got lost in Sea World. The whole world and their small children were there to crowd me. I found it a bit overwhelming at time. Luckily we didn't have to spend all our time in Disney World. I get a bit suspicious of the mouse and how he wants my children to sell him their souls. I like Stitch.
I spent all day Saturday at the office, using the laundry facilities and studying. It actually worked out well because I brought my soup and tea and had a little office all to myself. Still, I don't know how I can get all the readings done! I've been there before, and survived. But I am still so slow and I want so badly to know all this. I vacilate between not knowing anything and remembering it all. With each chapter, I have a stronger rock to stand on.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Cabbage Soup

Yes, we're the type of people who take pictures at the table.

D. got a full bowl of icecream from our waiter, Jose.
We like puff pastry and the Baked Alaska parade.

Now I know that the Cabbage Soup Diet is not from the Mayo Clinic. It is not magic. But, you know, I can follow it and I really feel the need to detox. The formal dining room offered so many great choices. I was able to eat food that made me feel good. For breakfast and lunch in the buffet, there was a real attempt to maintain freshness and fibre. But the chocolate chip cookies after lunch became a habit.
To break the habit, I made a huge pot of soup with delectable chicken stock and every vegetable under the sun. I add different ones each day and pretty well follow the veg or fruit or milk ritual. Why does it make me feel like there's something to look forward to? I will have chicken instead of beef which no longer likes me.
Day three and I feel fine, in control and not missing chocolate or margueritas. But my head is stitched to my texts and cardiovascular diseases. Whew. So slow to get the thinking going again.

Highlights of Costa Rica

Day 5 we stopped in Limon, Costa Rica. We didn't go into the city, which was apparently dirty and disappointing. But we took a bus with 40 others on a 3 hr drive to Tirimbolina Rainforest Preserve to see chocolate in its natural habitat.

There was a walk in the rainforest with a suspension bridge. I was mostly OK because it was so beautiful. But it was about 600 m and went over rushing water.
So lush. A word I taught Julio, our naturalist interpreter (both meanings). My sister is an interpreter in our own rainforest.
Poison arrow frog. Julio found it for us. The poison is in the middle. Don't eat it.
We ground cocao beans with an ancient bowl and stone, added sugar and vanilla and hot water for the ancient drink. They would not have sweetened it. It was so strong and good. The long drive was made more enjoyable by knitting monkey socks and our funny and gracious guide. He told us about Costa Rica giving up its military to put money into health and education. They have a 97% literacy rate. Top that. He has a degree in biology and was invited to Vancouver, years ago, to teach children about the rainforest. He bought us bananas at a roadside stand. Not "gringo" bananas, but beautiful little fingerlings.