Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Final Exam

I sucked it up last night and wrote my final after supper. I matched my highest mark. Independent on-line courses are so strange. I started on January 15. I had until August 22, so a bit close to the wire. I know some had finished by the end of May. I had a few big set backs- mostly a serial bronchitis. Now I am glad for the breaks I took and the extra time I spent with friends and family. This was GNUR1110 - graduate nursing refresher. I have 3 weeks of Pharmacy and a comprehensive final. Then in September I start labs and driving into Surrey every week.
Now I'm going to have a little summer fun, some shopping and knitting and reading non-text book stuff. I already bought a treat with my birthday money.

Monday, July 28, 2008

What a Find

I just about squealed at Canadian Tire when I found this bag. Better yet, it was on sale for $6 and something.
It opens wide like the expensive knitting bags I have covetted (Zelda).
Secret pocket below for "tools".

Yay. Coming up: modifications and personalization.

Birthday Fun

I owe you some knitting. It's rather slow and boring, but because of a Knit Night at J's house, including a fresh salmon dinner and Evelyn Waugh movie, I'm done the back of the Braided Blues sweater. I managed to complete the ribbing on the front. I love this varied blue dye on Cascade 220 heathers.
Nora Gaughan really knows how to make something new.
Mom took us out for lunch at Minter Gardens. On the far right is her friend of many years (can't say old friend or really old friend) who has a birthday the same day as mine. We often include her and her husband. I grew up playing with her son and several other families before we moved to the farm.
These are great kids. Emily gave me a new header for my blog and together they gave me a hedgehog charm and Purdy's hedgehog chocolates (filled with hazelnuts justlike real hedgehogs) and a glass charm for my Pandora bracelet. Two of my friends want to get one now.
Friday was lunch with the book club. Diana gave me the most wonderful flowers from our favourite florist, Quick Pick. April gave me a perfect makeup case and Jean found a signed copy of "A Whistling Woman" form one of my favourite authors, A.S. Byatt.
I feel suitably spoiled and rather exhausted because we also fit in a baby shower and a fiftieth wedding anniversary this weekend. Dan came home about 1030 pm and gave me tickets to King Lear at Bard on the Beach in Vancouver for the end of August when I'm done my exams. My favourite play. Yay. Thanks for the good wishes.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me

I'm not 4 any more, but 45.
It's been a good few days with lunches and dinners with friends. There has been quite a bit of knitting. Emily made me a new header for my blog. I love it, but I need to change the color of the font.
Dan is back from the Pacific Northwest Highland Games tonight. Emily is going to camp for a week this afternoon. Summer is happening.
Off to lunch with Mom and Paw at Minter Gardens.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Chronic Studies

This week I had to delve deeply into studies of chronic pain (again). The school where I studied, Foothills Hospital School of Nursing is now closed, outdated by other education models. But our approach to pain and comfort measures was years beyond its time. As early as my sixth month in training, I was lucky to be working on a cancer unit and working with a multi-disciplinary team to focus on quality of life and even a "good death". Unfortunately this did not prepare me to work in a quasi-rural hospital in my home town.
I have experience chronic pain. I even have to be careful how much I work on a keyboard (gave up piano), garden or chop and fuss in the kitchen. I have to protect my hand for knitting.
I have recently begun to conquer the foot thing. My goal is to walk my 5km block at least 3 times a week. I may get there this week. At the end of August I hope to achieve the unimaginable- a hike up "Teapot Hill". In the past I have taken four-year olds. But in this last year and a half it was totally out of my reach. I'll certainly take pictures.

These experiences will make me a more empathetic nurse.

Everliving pain
A grey cat
Sitting on my armchair
Following me about the house
Always seeking attention.
Ready to be stroked after distraction,
Jumping up after its nap.
Companion of time.
Attending all endeavors
Familiar to the black dog.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Inspiration Friday

For now she need not think of anybody. She could be herself. And that was what now, she often felt the need of - to think; well not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated... Although she continued to knit, and sat upright, it was thus that she felt herself; and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures.

To the Lighthouse

Virginia Woolf

Last year I had a long immersion into Virginia Woolf and really enjoyed it. I would be doing that sort of intense reading this summer, except I am with my studies instead. I'm getting close to the end so I feel the tug of independence welling up in me.

Sorry about the bad graphics on the painting of Virginia knitting.

What will I read when I have the choice? I;ve just started Michael Ondaatje's Deviserado. Unfortunately, I can only read inlittle snippets before bed. I like to read in big bites. What are you reading this summer?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Summer Exploits

Fulfilling the requirements of exploiting summer, we are eating fresh cherries and blueberries, out of doors. When I was young we just spit the pits out, but this is my yard and I'll be stuck cleaning them up.

The obligatory painting of the posts. This is the sign of our house because we're tucked in behind a little house. Actually the little house is new, but it blocks the road sounds and adds to our privacy. When I was young, I painted "miles" of fence. I don't remember doing the sanding and cleaning before hand. Emily was given the task of the poles and now she's done.
This is Bacon Boy. Still without a job. Not so good. We had to try Angie's Hot Bacon Dressing f (from Purling Oaks). We don't have bacon. I was a Weight Watchers leader for years and just kept some things out of the house. When we were in Scotland last year, Scotty could get bacon on everything. So we called him Bacon Boy and now he can cook it really well (D and I have trouble). We have offered to bring a Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato salad up to Grandma's for the next clan gathering.
Another long-term project. I have been picking away at this book for over a year and I'm finished. Some of it is out of date, but I love what it says about Canadians, so I hope the others love what it says about them. I have had more than an incomplete education, but I'm not done yet. This week I'm studying Mental Health. They mean illness. When the nursing text says comfort, it means pain. That's just our spin. Last section in this theory course, hammer out the Pharmachology and I may have some time to knit.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sensory Goodness

Dream in Colour Smooshy in really blue. I do love blue. It is a semi solid and so soft. The Noro isn't soft, but it has a treasure of colours clamboring to get free.
I have spent too many hours chained to my books. Thursday is Pharmacology. But Friday will be too because I have a big exam.
Yesterday I printed out all the readings for my last Re-entry to Practice Theory section. It was seriously 4 inches high. I used every sheet of paper in the house so Dan had to bring more home. I'm already almost half way because it's really interesting. I'm so all over the philosophy of care giving.

The corn is higher. It smells so green. I didn't take a picture today, but some of it is up to my head. You know what that means: my birthday is soon. We always wonder if the corn will grow quickly enough to reach my head by my birthday. It always does. Some years we're eating corn as early as Canada Day, but not this year. I can't eat corn anyway, but I can serve it. Our rule when I was growing up was that you had to have the water boiling before you picked the corn so that it was truly fresh. We also took our bowls of icecream out into the strawberry patch.

Tonight Dan walked with me around the big block. 5 km. It's the first time since March a year ago. My feet are definitely healin and there is hope that I won't be as big as a house and as weak as an old lady. I always seem to be at the beginning end of a plan.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Finished (This Portion)

The other day I was feeling overwhelmed with being in the middle of so many big projects- especially my studies. But last night I wrote another big exam and I have only one sectionleft in the Theory course. It's on community nursing and pretty interesting.
I finished the July square for the aran afghan and took them out to have a look.
Carly liked them too. I obviously have some serious blocking to do, but I think, with seed stitch sashing, it should work out much as I planned. 12 squares, each 12 inches square. It has to be long enough for a guy who's stretching over 6'2" already.
The wools are all left over from aran sweaters I've knit. I'm collecting all the patterns in a notebook. Not that I would ever knit it again, but I'm enjoying the reflection part of this long project. I have a few choices for next month's block.

There's a lot to be said for making a reasonable commitment. I could have knit the whole thing full-bore. But with 12 blocks, it was obvious to just pick away at it. Scott doesn't graduate till June, so I have time to make the sashing and stitch it up. The first thing I did (after gathering the aran stash) was buy a basket that I like to look at. It is part of the art in my sun room.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Summer Festivals

Saturday, we got up early and drove 2 hours south across the border to Mt. Vernon, Washington for the Skagit Valley Highland Games. It's a beautiful site next to the river. There were about 20 bands there, dancers, caber tossers, fiddles, harps and clansmen and women. I hadn't been to a games all last year.
The band has been like an extra family while the kids were little. Scotty played pipes from the age of 6 and Emily drummed from even younger. I was a tenor and bass drummer and instructor in the youth band. We travelled and camped and played music ensemble. This is the band tent. Some very valuable shade (mostly for the pipes) and cool water.
This is my Dan warming up "in the circle". That's the drum I played. It was glorious. But, like a family, there are always strange dynamics. I'm happy to have moved on, but still able to share a day with them. The kids rejoined their pack of the usual suspects, played soccer, jammed on guitars, drum pads and chanters and enjoyed themselves, too. When it's just one day, and neither of them are competing, the pressure is off.
And there was knitting.
When Scotty was a baby (I've decided to do away with the cloak and dagger code words. The kids are big and I was starting to feel silly) I knit a big project of the "perfect" aran sweater. Unfortunately it was a very big sweater, and Dan has lost some weight even since then. This is the front panel and I hardly need the chart after 15 years. It's like sitting down to the piano and playing "The Entertainer". One of the few pieces I fully learned, my fingers remember most of it and the music comes, not from my brain, but flowing out. That's how this pattern feels. No counting, just conversing with the stitches on the needles. It's tempting me to make another smaller one.

Friday, July 11, 2008

In the Midst

I'm halfway through the alphabet blanket. I swear it wasn't sideways when I uploaded it. I'm OK with this long project. Back to knitting it infront of the TV. I'm just second guessing if it will be used or if it will disintigrate like my Pacific Coast Shawl (sigh).
I have to finish one chapter today and then one more and I can write my 7th and second-last exam. My brain is sore and refusing to absorb any more information. I am panicking that I won't get the last section done in a month. In the beginning they only took 2 weeks! I'm not sure I want it so badly now, but damned if I'm going to do all this work for nada. I hate the idea of juggling IV's and patients and post-ops. I don't want to work in the hospital.
So I started block 7 of the aran afghan. This one will be from my first real masterpiece- a sweater that D refuses to wear. I made baby Scotty a matching one. Now I'm doing the afghan for a grad present next year. He applied for a job at the local movie theatre. I hope he gets it and gets to work with nice people.

Early birthday present. Picture also skewed- no I wasn't drinking this morning, although my brain is sore from studying. It's Knitter's Stash by Barbara Albright. A brilliant book that I've taken out of the library many times. We were in Barnes and Noble before we picked up the kids. Was that a week ago? He's away on my birthday (again) at a highland games in Seattle. Not even near Seattle, really, but that's what we call it.

We're all going to the Mount Vernon games tomorrow. I'm looking forward to my first one in two years. Last year my feet wouldn't allow me. I'm not drumming anymore, my kids aren't in it and I don't have any students. Why bother the long noisy day? But this is a great games, the town has 2 great wool shops and our friends host a BBQ after. Good old friends. Ones we have travelled with in the band for so many years. It should be a good time. I'll be designated driver.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


I picked some of my lavender. There are 12 bunches drying. I hope to make eye pillows for my friends. They are supposed to ease headaches. I logged on to Not Martha and found out that the best time to pick is when just a few flowers are blooming. That meant right away.
I used to have many more plants, but my dog thinks they are tasty.

I can't believe I haven't shared this with you. From the Saturday that I took the kids to the airport in Bellingham. I went up the I-5 to Fairview which is so picturesque. This is three skeins on Manos silk blend in a wildflower colorway. I have 450 yards. I bought a store pattern for a neat asymmetrical shawl, but I'm not sure that's what it will be. Right now I'm happy just to gaze at it and dream.
You don't want to know about the hours of crunching the books. I'm panicking because I must be done by 15 Aug. Which means I should sign off now.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Summer Social

What a busy weekend. After turning every down and turning everyone away during the week so I could study more, I had a houseful. Saturday was the baby shower. We planned it months ago to coincide with the new mom's finishing work and still waiting for the baby. I think it's important to distract the mom and let her know that we care about her and not just the baby. Well, baby came early- at the end of their last prenatal class when they were touring the maternity ward. Baby was small and beautiful and we even let him come to the shower.
This time it was just ladies, mostly from the vet clinic. Some had never met this great new mom and we didn't want to have to make manly food or giant portions or listen endlessly to cow surgery stories. What I thought would be a small gathering was closer to 20. I picked some of my roses. The dish is from Greendale potteries- crystal created in the kiln, and a woderful hostess gift. Gee thanks.
One of my friends brought these delights on a matching antique platter. Wow.

On Sunday we had friends from "the city". Their little boy was fascinated by my Scott's playing Rachmoninov. I always am, too. The little guy liked our big back yard and our big black dog.

And there was knitting. On the way to the Bellingham airport (about an hour) I was able to start the cabling on the Braided Blues sweater. I expected to drive, but D missed the kids and offered to do the driving. Win-win. They had an awesome time building a house for a single mom in a migrant labour camp.

The stocking stitch was so fast, but this sure slowed me down. Plus it's a bit hard on my hands. But I've decided to knit the cables on the front and the back, too because who am I to second guess Nora Gaughan? I love this Cascade 220 heathers that I got half price on Boxing Day.

Our TV is in the basement and we gather as a family in the evening to watch vids. We had two episodes of Lost to catch up with the kids- perfect for getting back to the alphabet blanket. I will show you when I finish this row of letters.

No socks. Gauge crappy. I'm going to try to use my last ball of Mountain colours- red to make monkeys. But I want them just a little smaller than the pedicure ones. The jaywalkers are just a titch short in the toe, so they'll go to my cowboy sister for her January birthday. No I haven't started knitting for Christmas. Actually, I don't think I shall anymore. Nothing more than hats and scarves, anyway.

I'm preparing my Olympic knitting. I will be resurecting a UFO in order to retrieve my needles. August 7th is the start date. If I can get enough studying done, I can devote myself to that awkward sideways beautiful blue mohair fleece artist shawl. I hope when I 'm done I'll know what to do with it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Cool Basement

Another past afghan. This one won first prize in the fall fair when I was a member of the Women's Institute. I should let sam (of Daily Chum) know about that. 1990? The needle point cushion is from Beatrix Potter and stitched up quickly when my kids were rugrats and fascinated with Lego.
The alphabet is coming now. Sometimes Ihave to ask D to rewind the video because I'm working with a chart. I love the Shepherd baby wool and the Addi's together. The cushion was an experiment to see if I could live with the green all over this house when we were waiting for our bid to be accepted. I did live with it for 8 years. But I'm much happier with my butter and cream colours.

The other knitting is the beginning of a fixation monkey and the ribbing of a plain back- acre of stocking stitch again. Thay are in my bag, but have not been invited anywhere. Too much studying.

Signs of Summer

She was fashionably late, but we're enjoying her company. This is the picture from my bedroom window, including screen.
I only just changed the bedding from suede-like covering,

to embroidered linen. Seriously, it was too cold last week.
The afghan on the bottom of the winter bed may be one of the best things I ever knit. Eventhough I crocheted it. D. and I have different internal temperatures and it has been a marriage saver. He's so warm and I'm so cold that we would have ended up in different rooms. We were given a blue and pink acrylic ripples one for a wedding gift,
but I grewout of the colour scheme. This one was one of my first real wool projects.
I have given a few afghans as wedding gifts.
When it's really hot, we hide in the basement and watch videos- great knitting evenings.

We Have a Winner.

I'm the winner to have connection with real knitters over the internet. I never would have seen the new trends or pushed my self to go beyond my abilities.
The wool and the sheep will be sent to Angie writes a wonderful blog and shares all things Wisconsin.
The stitch markers go to the first blogger I ever read, and the one who introduced me to the Yarn Harlot, local knitting stores and all of the knitting web. Li lives in North Vancouver. It's about 2 hours away, but I rarely get there now that Mr.Boo doesn't play soccer. She has a great family and knits some marvelous stuff.
These are the first two blogs I always read, at the top of my bookmark list. I'm so happy to let them know how special they are to me. Maybe someday we can have a "meet up".