Saturday, August 30, 2008

To the Ranch

Welcome to Rusty Springs Ranch. My sister and her husband have built fences, corrals, a barn and a huge woodpile, all in less than a year. Their property starts with a cattle guard.
Jake is a happy dog. He came with us on our rides and herded cats, calves and smaller dogs.
The chickens were delivered in June and have already settled in. Emily captured grasshoppers and threw them over the chicken wire. They danced and cackled and we kept doing it till all the grasshoppers went to another area.
There was a big wind storm (no rain like home) and a few trees landed on the barbed wire fencing over the ridge. A neighbor's heifer was in their field. So they pushed her back and there was some bringing up to standards of the fences. My sister and her husband have very high standards.The fences go on a long way. Emily and I pitched in, and we got to go on a lovely ride to "the lookout". I rode Faith again. She had a new chin strap and was a bit more calm this time. I probably was, too.
Everywhere we looked was beautiful sky, grass valleys and river gulleys. Julie rode her stallion, Chex. He is a real cow pony and has lovely babies. I hope Faith is carrying one of his, but with an 11 month gestation, it's still hard to tell.
We had a good time, but came home on our earlier time choice. I haven't had a break in so long and the boys are in Calgary/Canmore for the weekend- the last highland games of the season.
There will be lots of changes before we get back to the ranch. These kitties will be grown. They're the babies of one of the babies we met at Christmas.
I drove and Emily controlled the music from her ipod. We had a nice road trip though the weather was a bit heavy through the Coquihalla pass from the tollbooth to Popkum.
We watched movies last night and knit. I'm almost done the only begun August block for the aran afghan. Then I'm almost done the alphabet baby blanket.
I've started shawl in silk blend to carry around. But I read a whole book, walked the dog and visited with my neglected friends. This is the last hurrah of the summer.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Nurse is a Fool

D and I went to the Bard on the Beach for my birthday present: King Lear. It was a good production led by a brilliant performance by Christopher Gaze ( also the Artistic Director) as the tragic king. It was set in the not too distant future and he was a rich man in a wheel chair. A fun twist was the fool was his nurse. I'm afraid I'm very attached to a Lear production done at UBC when I was there. Cordelia was a stunning actress and they used the twist where she was also the fool, the youngest, loyal daughter who stayed with her father.We actually found Legendary Noodle this time. What fun! They make the noodles in front of you in this tiny restaurant that is actually in the top 10 in Vancouver. Unfortunately D had an MSG reaction, so we'd have to see if we can hold the MSG before we eat there again. I couldn't believe the beads were the real door. There was lots of Beijing buzz in the air.
Next door is Cupcake. It has such a festive atmosphere and great displays. But the cupcakes are no better than the ones my daughter makes. Sure I'll share just one bite.
The Braided Blues is is finished! I spent most of yesterday finishing the back and then doing the finishing. I can't believe I got it done in time to bring it up to the ranch. Nephew #4 may even be there for his birthday. He's a computer animator, living in Kitsilano. I hope he likes the sweater.

I've already cast on the Malabrigo silk in the Woodland Shawl. I found it on Ravelry and Pinar even suggested I make it one repeat narrower to get a longer shawl. I adore this personal connection. Who could help me more than a fellow internet knitter?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Over Knitting Means Knitting Over

The sign of the frog.
One of these things is not like the other. Above, the back is finished to the correct length and ready as a template for the front. But wait.
How can I decrease 6x1 and 3x6? What was I thinking when I did the back. Did I want to knit the extra 24 stitches over and over for my good health? I could be almost finished and instead I'll cast off the front and frog down the back. At least then I'll only have to knit straight up and fewer stitches to boot. I hope to make this a priority as nephew #4's birthday is just after Labour Day and I should be able to take it up to his mom' s in Kamloops next week.

Olympic shawl lounging in the front room. I picked the wrong picture, the blurry one. But I, too, and taking it easy. A whole day of shopping yesterday with my best friend and our big boys. I was proud of Scott for putting up with puttering. He even had fun at Winners - a marathon with Jean always- by adopting a glass cat and wearing a sequined straw hat. We ate at Fat Burger which was universally praised. I had a turkey burger (rarely do hamburger unless it was from a single animal and I knew how it was raised), but loved the atmosphere. Jukebox!
Today is a bit of catch up with the house, etc. I may go to the wool shop tomorrow morning to knit along. It is cold and raining and my dog is sick again, so I'm not that keen on walking.
Tomorrow is also the wrap up concert for Emily's Jazz Band Camp. It's always dynamic and entertaining. We shall salvage this summer day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Finished Pharming

Yes, last night I wrote my final, several days early because in the spirit of pharmacokinetics, I had absorbed as much as I could, was aware of the half-life of this action and wanted to distribute the information to the right site. I did just fine, thanks.
Today, shopping in Langley with BFF and our big boys. Friday is the jazz camp concert, Saturday King Lear at Bard on the Beach and overnight in Vancouver. Woo hoo! On Monday I go to Kamloops to my sister's ranch for a few days and my only summer holiday, just under the wire.
Yes I'm knitting and I'll try to get back into the groove (garter ridge?). Whew. I have about a month to prepare for my labs. But not until the kids are back in school!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Moving Right Along

The mile of Habu linen tape has been wound. It's almost too hot to knit, even in the basement which is actually a cement bunker.
I did manage to finish the Fleece Artist shawl. Are the Olympics over yet?
I must make myself finish the nephew sweater (already at the armholes) and baby blanket before I start anything else. But I am allowed to swatch. I have already started a Philosopher's Wool sweater. I should put that in the basement in the mandatory knit section.
I am happily walking almost everyday, the 1 hour 5 km trip with very little foot pain. I've even gone for a bicycle ride in the evening. But we're losing our summer. The last few days it has been almost dark before it's been cool enough to play outside. This is unusual for us. Today it overcast and hung in the air like warm porridge. Everyone is edgy.
I hope to write my Pharmacology final on Friday (before?) so I have been making cards based on the objectives. I fininshed week 14 so I could have extra study time but a lot of that was eaten by family. Imagine me at the dining table with a fan trained right on me to stand the heat.

D was on call, but he managed to find the time to test drive a Porsche. This was a sweet and "affordable" Boxter, but he doesn't want a convertible and neither do I, so I didn't make him buy it. Eventhough he really needs to do this. Another one will come by.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bad Mouse, Good Mouse

It's been a rough couple of days because my computer wouldn't start, or it wouldn't stop starting. D installed a wireless mouse that went all crazy on my other systems. This is the new desktop that replaced the much-missed laptop that crashed. Finally D fixed it tonight by purging the old unrepentant chewer of good pathways and putting in a new, better-behaved mouse. I hate to be without my connection to your blogs.

Add to that he had organized a moving company to take away the old fridge. I was not consulted. It ended up being between 1 and 3 Tuesday afternoon. Except they came at 6!!! Plus I couldnt study because my computer was down and this is what was going on in the adjoining kitchen:
A 4 layer chocolate cake from scratch. My 15 year old daughter had chocolate all over the house.

Wait, it looks better than that.

So I gathered up my "stuff", rode my bike, walked the dog, did some ironing and brought out my swift. This is the 1500 meters of paper-like linen ribbon "Shosenshi" from Habu that I bought at K1Yarns Boutique in Glasgow last year this time. It's a heck of job to roll up, but the ripples shawl is not lifting my spirits. This is odd enough to intrigue me.

I did get 4 hours of studying done at the office today. I'm making study cards of each of the 15 weeks and I managed 4. So I may be able to go to IKEA tomorrow and buy a chair for the TV room. I know, dorm, starter furniture. But I sat in one a few weeks ago, you know the Poang, and I liked it. I don't want to get good furniture until the teens are grown. They may even want to take it for their dorm.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Radical Blues

Go ahead and dye your hair blue. I'm OK with that. You're 15 and I respect your need to be creative, edgy, special, quirky, whatever. But, no, I'm not going to make an appointment with my hairdresser and spend $100 so you can look like a radical. I will not bank roll your revolution. It's too Paris Hilton for me. Besides, Roberto, bless his Quebecois heart, does not stock freaky colours. Other kids do it in the basement. I think Auntie Leanne will even do it for you. She cares about hair.
That's how I figured out how I have enough time to knit. On our trip, shopping at Wallmarts and Outlets, she washed, blowdried, curling ironed and straightening ironed every day. I only use hairspray for a wedding. She does wedding hair every day. Then she did her daughter's hair (also 15). This must be because she likes creating somehthing beautiful. Maybe if I had any adeptness at hair I would enjoy it too. I still think I would spend the time reading.
My sisters don't knock themselves out on hair and makeup and made sure to tease me, the baby, whenever I forayed into that sphere. But they do knit. Pat gave these to me yesterday when I saw her at the fair (more posts to come). She came over on an overpriced and price-rising ferry from Saltspring to share the day. I must admit I sent her a copy of the White Witch mittens from Knitting Daily. But not to beg. It was because they suit her so well. But they fit me. I was not embarrassed to grasp them back from my neice and nephew muttering, "mine, mine, mine, mine." This is our diamonds, designer shoes, etc.
Olympic knitting got out of the gate yesterday as we watched another episode of Lost. Six rows, actually 3 repeated with a jog. I should be able to do the 24 inces wide as there are probably 8 already. But it's a lot of mohair. And tying off ends. This was bought to be the 50th birthday present for same sister Pat because I couldn't find what I wanted. But I ended up continuing the search and knitting her Print o the Waves for last October. This poor sad cousin shawl has cowered inthe basement of rejection ever since. I'm wondering if, when it's finished, I will love it or have a flash of someone who will love it. Or maybe it will go back into the basement until that time coalesces.
It is ripply, pretty, though and a break from the two big projects I'm trudging through.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

A Family Affair

Mom hosted the apple pie contest at the fair.
My oldest sister, Debbie won third place. she came first last year. She also sang with her guitar old tunes "Can She Bake a Cherry Pie Billy boy" "Johnny's Too Late at the Fair" and others.
My niece camre from Kamloops and had a great time with my daughter and my youngest nephew.
Paw was there and my sister from Saltspring who eluded the camera. It was the most fun I've had at the fair in many years.
To help us celebrate BC's 150th birthday, my friend Shirley (on the right) gathered some friends from United Empire Loyalists to serve the pie. I especially like the llamas.
It's a really small fair with lots of cows, so this was a very fun part of it for me. The spinners and weavers were there, too and so friendly. I think I want to learn to drop spindle. Pat could teach me, or my niece. But where would I be, then, with a whole other obsession?

Jiggedy Jig

We spent two days in Burlington/Bellingham/Tulalip doing girl-bonding. The Seattle Prime Outlets open at 10am, but that's OK, there's a Starbucks to make waiting easy. We stayed and shopped until about 5. Whew. I was OD'd on teen stores and shoes- for sure. We did find some great items at decent prices. New shoes for nursing- starting to feel real.

But the real fun was Michaels and Wallmart and Target. Aren't we hick? We survived because I had the minivan. Because we stayed 2 nights, we had a much higher duty-free limit. We're just not up to lying and cheating. This was better. Plus two nights out to dinner and time to play in the pool.
My best find was a clear bag with leather handles at Ross. They have some of the same stuff as TJMAx (at home it's Winners). I don't usually have the time or patience to shop in those discount stores, especially if they're all grotty and messy. But they do have good bags.

In the bag? My Olympic knitting which I'd better get doing: Fleece Artist Soft Wavy Wrap. Let the doping and slander begin. (What if we spent as much energy and money on "Teacher Olympics" or "Nursing Olympics" or areas of expertise that could actually serve for the greater good of the society, instead of glorifying sport? Oh, and the entertainment argument doesn't work on me because I'd rather see Shakespeare. Sorry, it's just my thing.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Away Down South

Emily and I are going to Burlington to shop with SIL and neice. This will be our third year and thanks to Grandma for the hotel (go Airmiles). I am out of my league with their uninterrupted focus on clothes. But they humor me by dropping me at a book store. I don't know if it bothers them because we have that kind of relationship. I shouldn't start off with trepidation, but it can be hard for me to live on the slick surface.
However, I may score a great handbag and maybe a new book.
Oops. I tried to add a new blog to my sidebar and they were all wiped out. Right now I'm not smart enough to fix it in the time before we leave. I'll have to try to remember how I did it when I get back. Drat.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Take it in Big Bites

Cultus Lake United Church Camp (CLUCC) is wonderful separate space only 30 minutes into the mountains. I nursed up there for 10 years and hope to go back next year with my shiny RN. Emily just spent a week at Teen Camp and stayed in the cabin our church sponsors and fixes up, Dogwood. Deer are common at the Nurse's Cabin. I saw them right next to the Rec Hall.

When Barak Obama was talking with British MP David Camer0n, a snippet of their conversation was overheard. You've got to have time to think. Cameron calls the diary chalked up in 15 minute increments the "dentist waiting room". So true.

I spent several hours yesterday, amidst my family, but fighting off the distraction, to get my Pharmacology reading and work done. At the end I handed in a paper, posted an opinion and then wrote a quiz in 1 minute 43 seconds (got all 15 questions right). It's the immersion.

The big bite of time you get on a holiday- at the beach house, next to the pool, on the beach, even on the plane- is what I'm really craving now. It can take a big chunk of time just to ease into the true thoughts. A good book can help crack the insect chirrup of daily life. Or a quote like that above.

Busy, do.

In the evening we go downstairs and watch videos and I knit. It's at least one hour in a chunk. Not the best use of time, but we finished the first season of Lost and have only 30 minutes left in the seventh and last season of Star Trek: Next Generation. Is that an accomplishment? We already watched all of Enterprise and have Deep Space Nine in the wings.

It's a better foil than reading to break from all the text reading I do. Plus I get to knit.

Are you as bored with my knitting as I am? I have the letters done, the first border and part of the provisional cast on border. Next: pick up 187 stitches on each side. This will require lots of little markers. What goes into 187?

I don't even dare to dream of what I'll knit next. Something for myself? I tend to just not finish them. Oh, but I've committed for the Olympics.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Unlimited Potential

My daughter bought this large journal for me on a class trip to the Vancouver Art Gallery. It has great paper, no lines, no coil binding. Perfect. Even a bit daunting. She gave it to me as a Christmas present, but I felt I needed to finish the one I was using.

On my birthday, I opened it up, and I'm enjoying the new relationship. I have been journalling since I read Harriet the Spy when I was 8.

I sure enjoy the type of journalling I get to do in this blog. I like to feel that others are maybe reading it and I'm part of the community I so admire.

But there are fears and hopes that are too personal (yet?). We have always had a big rule that you don't read another's journal. D is too snoopy, so I have to hide it sometimes.

I shall try to write more poetry because it is a sorely neglected part of my self. I don't have to post it, but I need to squeeze it out.

I knew I would have a bit of a number struggle to make the 100 stitches of the front of the Braided Blues (nephew#4) sweater up to 173. Managed OK. Now start the cabling. No, start again. Why are there 4 stitches here? If I pick up in these two spots, will I be over? No?

Emily made this little guy for the back of my birthday card. Hopefully I have learned to not say it outloud.

Thanks For the Scoop

Angie, at Purling Oaks challenged her readers to try this quiz. I usually find them on "And She Knits Too". I can't eat icecream anymore but I used to work at an icecream store in Calgary. If it was 30 degrees below zero, people would come out by the car load. It was fun. I made the best shakes and got to play the old honky tonk piano when it was quiet. I have contact dermatitis, a red skin rash, to chocolate icecream. Try explaining that to your nursing instructor.

Here are the mods I promised to share. My heart was seriously beating a blue streak as I played with paper and glue. Creating with something just make it pretty. It has been so long since I just made a big mess. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I'm liking it.

The "Jobmate" tag came off easily with a seam ripper. The red ribbon was too wide for my pink polkadots, so I framed it with an ivory grosgrain ribbon. My little pink Swiss Army knife was the starting point for the colors. It has a very keen little pair of scissors. (We decided the perfect little knife would have scissors, nail file, book light and corkscrew). I covered a neat little notebook with pink scrapbook paper. Oh, and the brads- perhaps a little too Barbie, but I was after whimsy.

The other side has a cool new mini scrap book in the shape of a luggage tag. We have a serious scrap booking store in town. I have set it up but haven't printed the little pictures yet because the replacement printer doesn't work either. Now Dan wants to buy me a new one. Just something simple that works, please.

I have shamelessy planted pink and white flowers in my garden. It gives me great pleasure and makes every bouquet a song. This is a mallow that was a gift from one of the pipers for my 40th birthday. I disappeared one year, but now it's happy in its dappled light under one of the spruce trees.

When I can extend my aesthetics, without being teased or criticized, I, too, feel harmonious with my habitat.