Sunday, July 24, 2011

Off To Camp

I'm off to camp again. I go up the Cultus Lake Road, about 40 minutes, twice a week to deliver and collect Emily who is the Games Director. But this is my week and it's music week!
Blogger isn't uploading my pictures and I have to go to church and finish packing, but I'm excited about a week with young musicians.
This week was a huge discovery, orienting to the Hospice Unit. Great nurses (as always) and really personal care to patients and families. There is such a wonderful feeling at this place. The work is physically demanding, but not crazy like my other unit where I can't get everything done and juggled and charted in 12 hours. I'm going to like the 8 hour shifts and no nights, too. But now I'm weary from all things new.
Camp usually wears me out, too, so I'll have to pace myself. I have packed my knitting and reading and writing. There may be some quiet moments in the morning next to the water!
Thursday is the concert and it should be marvelous.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Making Choices

This week I have been doing orientation shifts in the Hospice. I was so stressed! I chose to seek a new position. I talked to friends who are nurses and friends who know me well. I knew I was moving in the right direction. But to choose to move away from a brilliant team of nurses who helped me return to the profession and shared such difficult work with me was almost debilitating. Yet the patient load on that unit is getting out of hand, and the work is breaking me to the point that I just don't want to be a nurse.
Leaving the mother ship is also hard. I always worked in our local hospital. As messed up as some of the administration gets, it's like a high school team and I am always proud of the care we give.
I'm changing schools, but I like to feel I'm on the same team. Yesterday I took report from one of my favourite nurses while admitting a patient to Hospice. Yes, it's really me. The story is out.
But working in a small unit that is totally focused on the comfort of the patients and the care of their families is going to help me blossom. I miss pediatrics. I miss the kiddies and their families. But each of these patients at the end of life were once someone's baby.
Next week I spend a week a camp. I'm finding the board duties to be crushing. Will I choose to step down from that? It won't help them any, but maybe my other volunteer work, my music and my dream of writing will acquire some space.
I have a birthday coming next week, and I'm feeling like I need to act like a grown up. My baby birds have finished high school and are in university. My wings are spreading and I am planning my flight path. I want to travel away from the turbulence, into the blue skies.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Project Driven

 When I say something is project- driven, I mean everything else is on hold until the project is done. I am a bit like that, but have too many projects in the works.
After baking at camp and working two horrendous day shifts at the hospital, I sat down to do some scrap booking and made a terrible mess. It would still be there, right now (more photo books to make) but Scott's girlfriend came over this weekend, so I made a ham dinner.
As well, I read all the orientation information for my new job, working at the Hospice. I am also re-reading my Hospice handbook on my own.
Am I tired because I went to the gym for the first time in 2 weeks, or because I didn't go to the gym for two weeks?
The  linen shawl is done. I made it a bit long because I wanted to block it wide. The NaturLin is softer than when I cast on, but it's still a bit like twine. I'll try to wear it lots to soften it, but it's just not that warm out.
I have 3 shifts of orientation this week. They already asked me to work Saturday, and then on next Sunday I go to camp as a nurse. Not much of a turn around. The shifts are only 8 hours, so they'll feel a bit like a holiday, except that everything is new! I'm a bit deer in the headlights right now. I'm already making lists for packing to go back to the ranch after camp. The telescope really wants a road trip.
I take Em to camp this afternoon and Scott will take his girlfriend back to the city. The house will be positively quiet.
What shall I do with that open space and time? Read? Knit? Catch up on your blogs?
I'll finish making the glace cherries for my Christmas cake. Thanks to Angry Chicken, I don't have to worry about what is in the store-bought ones. I love me some fruitcake. It's Christmas in July. Maybe that's why it's so chilly.
Another project.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I'm trying to rustle up some friends to go with me to a sock knitting retreat on Saltspring Island in October.
I can't go to Sock Summit because of camp nursing duties, but I will certainly try to go next time.
Meanwhile, my niece and yarn dyer extraordinaire is scheming to provide a great time with a great teacher on one of our treasured Gulf Islands.
Electrictree is my incredibly talented and funny niece. She makes great spinning, dyed yarn, knitting design and babies (baby). We had such a great time together at the Sivia Harding retreat in Sun Peaks a few years ago. I know this will be a great event.
The guest instructor is Barb Brown of Wild Geese Fibres and her latest book is Knitting Knee Highs.
You all will thank me when I tell you that I won't be clothing my legs in knee highs, but I could really use some help with making my socks fit better and I've never taken a sock knitting class. The only knitting class I ever took was with Sivia.
The pair I'm knitting now finally fit. It's a third attempt at Wendy's Toe Up Generic with gusset heel. The first was just wonky. The second was too loose: perfect measurement while forgetting negative ease.  These are 1/2 inch too short (on purpose for a gift) which makes me sad because I think my feet would really like them. I have my next yarn picked out for my own feet.
So, for the insight, for the meeting up with my niece and her mother (my talented and very smart second sister) and for the chance to roll around in yarn and frolick with my tribe, I am throwing my hat into the ring.
Who would like to join me?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Competing Priorities

 When I went to Twist of Fate, I gathered up my hopes and dreams and my belief in the manipulation of time and space, and bought some pretty yarns (yearns) for some lovely projects. The Koigu was on sale! It would be wrong to resist! I bought enough for another linen stitch scarf, even though I have yet to knit the first one, or even fall in love with it enough to think about knitting multiples.
 The linen scarf is still in its experimental stage. I have figured out my repeated mistakes at the end of the good rows, but still feel I am knitting with twine, a bit. In the case that I really love it, I have another shawl's worth now from Blue Ridge Yarns. This would make a nice hostess gift for the friend we are visiting in Africa next year. If it softens when it blocks.
 I've been thinking about a blanket for my chair in the TV room in the basement. I have a terrible affinity for neutrals. I like the aesthetic, but I find it boring to work on. I like the idea of a throw that fits into the neutral furniture. I plan to make a Vintage Crochet Blanket from this luscious wool and alpaca. I made a crocheted blanket for my side of the bed and I like its heft.
And then, because I am probably a teaching granny square crochet class in the fall, I figured I had better have a sample. Enter the crayon box of superwash DK merino. I will try to put into action some of the inspiration I am getting from Completely Cauchy. But I already feel out of my colour comfort box.
I am ticking along on the linen scarf, just turned the heel in the cowboy socks and spent a good few hours on the black shawl yesterday.
I want to finish something! I want to count it in my Stash Dash. But is knitting knitting? Should I just work on one thing? It's too dark in the basement for the sock. What about the nephew sweater?
I took some time out to make a scrap book of Emily's grad and felt so good at completing something. Then I spent a few hours at the camp making apple crisp for their dessert. I also played a John Denver song at church. This is not wasted time. I have a job interview tomorrow that I have to prepare for.
But what about my 5k Stash Dash? I wish I could hide and knit somewhere until I have an F O.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Meanwhile, Back On the Ranch

After the wedding and the grad and the class reunion, I took a few days at my sister's ranch. It's about a 3 hour drive east and the change in scenery and duties is a breath of fresh air. Her calves are out with their mothers on the range, but she adopted some tinier ones.

 We went for a walk and the horses had to see what she was doing. They act like the dogs, following her every move. The fields are almost ready to cut for hay. They make big round bales in the interior, not the small square ones we have in the valley.
 The old grain shed tugs at my heart. Once this was a big grain field, but the climate changed decades ago. It's so green around, it feels like it's changing back.
 The border collies are always on duty. They stay outside and look after the place. I trust Jake to make sure I know where I am and I don't get lost.
The wild roses have never been so spectacular! They did a lot of brush clearing and removing dead trees this year and it made perfect conditions.
We didn't get to catch up with our niece, cell phone service being what it is in the hills, but we did go to the close out sale of Twist Of Fate and I bought two blankets worth of wool. One is all neutral alpaca for my TV chair, and one is multi-coloured superwash merino for a granny square experiment. I am inspired by Completely Cauchy, but don't expect anything so awesome. My crocheting is fine, but my sense of colour is pretty monochromatic. I will definitely be going outside my comfort zone for this one. Pics to follow.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Happy Canada Day, Eh?

Today is a national holiday to celebrate everything Canadian. I have had some memorable Canada Days, especially in the Reserve Forces Medical Corps when I was a very young Corporal, and in the Chilliwack & District Pipe Band, playing tenor and bass drum at the fair grounds. But today will be quiet to catch up on some of the craziness that has been the last few weeks.
Today D is piping in the Abbotsford parade, the town next door, and then at Harrison Hot Springs, where my sister has her cabin.
She's at the cabin, so we won't have her birthday party today, as we have done many years.
I pick Em up at camp in the middle of the day, drop her at home for laundry, sushi and a few days rest, and then I'll beetle over to my friend's for a video fest and a good sit and knit. We were going to go on a yarn crawl, but we really feel the need to get some of the wool worked through. It is one of the pleasures on knitting, no?
This morning I ripped out the two charts of the Summer Mystery Shawl (that I have redone in a better yarn) because I failed to put a centre stitch in this time? Have I been stressed, you think? So now it is ripped back, and set on the needles with the centre stitch marked, and in the time out bag. It is a good rule to leave projects in the ready phase, instead of needing huge fixing and never getting out again.
Now, at the movies, I can work on the nephew sweater, the second cowboy sock, the linen shawl or maybe even the neglected lace weight sweater. I am, unfortunately, inspired by the Knit Girllls 5k Stash Dash to try to work on things that I will actually finish and will count toward my total. But it's just July first, and not even summery yet, so I will have time to finish at least one or two of these projects, which will probably give me enough.
I was in my LYS yesterday to pick up more linen and found some great raspberry alpaca and silk by M&K to mix with my Misty Alpacas sock weight multi colour to make the My Wish shawl. I'm so excited how this raspberry brightens up the dark multi. The proceeds for the pattern go to The Knitting Triathlete's cupcake mafia team for Make A Wish Foundation. I am knitting it as a fringe member of the Camp Loopy Ewe. I thought I could knit it at camp, too. The Loopys are already onto a cabled sock or mitten. But I'm using my own stash, mostly.
I'm starting to get antsy that I don't have any baby knits in the gift drawer. But I really do need to get some of these items off the needles. Now I will take this quiet moment in a surprisingly empty house to work on the difficult black Flaming Flowers shawl.
I wish for you a weekend of pleasure. A weekend of safe enjoyment. Tomorrow is my 30th high school reunion which will probably be a quiet affair. Not much response.
I may be able to post from Rusty Springs Ranch after I arrive on Sunday. It's a 3 hour drive into the interior of the province to the lovely semi-arid hills and the enjoyment of my sister's ranch. The drive will be made more enjoyable by taking podcasts with me. The Knitmore Girls are taking a summer hiatus, so I'm working through their early shows to the present. I can't remember when I started listening to their podcast, but I missed the early days.
I will be bringing my guitar and ukelele to my sister's, some badminton and perhaps a frightening amount of snack food. But we're partying, eh?
Happy Canada Day.