Thursday, November 27, 2008

After the Shawl

Unblocked, just a black blob. But now I can address the list of things I've been putting off. Putting off until I finished my Theory, Pharmachology and Lab classes. Then not until I finish the very challenging Black Diamond Shawl. A challenge because it was very geometric, a very long repeat and splitty acrylic. Hopefully it will find its grace when it's blocked out. Everyone else likes it. I hope the recipient likes it.
Another black blob. Carly has had a 3rd bout of intestinal troubles. She's a big dog, so it's a big trouble. She did manage to walk to the vet clinic with me and is taking water. Thank goodness D blocked her in the back room. He cleaned it up this morning, but I had to do it again. Her doughnut is washed and she's sleeping.

These are my little moss gardens. I'm considering offering them for fund raising for the camp. Pretty discouraging at the worship meeting tomorrow. I am discouraged generally about the Sunday School being ghetto-ized to the back room instead of the integration I have worked so hard on. But I don't have the time or effort to fight the fight. I start full time in just over a week. My first time in 13 years.

We had a lost key emergency. Both kids had lost their keys and just planned to break in after school. So I set up a hook for each. When they're all home, it reminds me of Mrs. Weasley's clock to determine the status of each of her kids.

Finally, I had a big baking push. 4 double batches of shortbread. I may do the rest today. Pastry and sugar cookies are in the fridge. Just roll out and bake. Overseas letters are ready to mail. Whew.

Now I have choices unlike any time in the last year. I'll make the November block for the aran afghan and then? Finishe the colorwork sweater on the needles? I also have a silk blend scarf and the dreaded thistle shawl. It can't be worse than the diamonds.
Have a safe and happy American Thanksgiving. Let the parades and movies and concerts begin.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Knot Knitting

Yesterday, in a fit of trying to be functional or successful, I made a tutu. Thanks to from the blue blog for the tutu tutorial. This is for one of D's cousin's daughters whom we don't really know. But she's a girlie girl and loves to dance. I made the waist band for her 8 year old size, but the length for a 10 year old (Lands End guidelines) because she's really tall. I bought an extra roll of tulle to make it really full. It is just knotted over an elastic waist band. With it we have the Nutcracker picture book and a Tchaikovsky CD. The good news is we will see her at the family gathering after Christmas.

We were with family on the weekend for a favourite uncle's 60th birthday. He is a great dad too and now has 3 grandsons. Such a treat to hold babies. My one sister-in-law is so stingy with her kids I have all but given up knowing them.

I have gone over the lists and stockpiled gifts - even that is exhausting. I have only a few gifts left to find and all (all) my baking. That list has been pared down, too, but I'm under the gun to get it done before I go to my full time hospital training. My preceptor instructor phoned yesterday and sounds so nice. Whew.

I had a flute practice with the singer and piano accompanist. I am so out of my league and they added another piece. It is very nerve wracking. Yet I want to do it. More practice while my shortbread bakes.
I forgot to say that the alphabet blanket was a big hit with the new mom (my flowergirl) and the green swirl pi blanket is the other baby boy's very favourite thing. (smile).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Too Soon?

I think it's too soon to start with Christmas decorations when your wreath matches your geraniums (blurry picture notwithstanding). This made me laugh.Amaryllis update: the bulb is alive. I was worried there because I seem to have a black thumb for houseplants since my babies were born. "Shut up, I'll water you later." So it was with mixed emotions I received this gorgeous flower arrangement from my mother. She is an unparalleled plant woman and gardener. I honestly took inventory to decide which plants would die first and how I could hide them from her. I am duty bound to keep it alive at least until after New Years when I will repot them and kill them separately.
It's also too soon for me to decorate.Look at the green grass and the leaves still on the trees. The temperature did take a dive today and I will bundle up for my dog walk. This is a good trail that leads to the cornfield behind my house. In my neighbourhood the fields are lined with sidewalks. The kind of encroachment I can enjoy.

And I enjoyed everything about this Pi shawl. You are witnessing gentle blocking sans pins. It is technically machine wash and dry-able, but, because it's not meant for a baby, I didn't want to stress it. I'll embroider Grandma's name on the border and hopefully be allowed to give it to her. The care home she's in isn't allowing personal items, but I suspect it is just my controlling aunties. If not, I'll give it for Christmas which was the original plan.
So maybe I am a little more ready.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

We Have Skills

Today I drove in to Surrey in terrible traffic (it took 1 1/2 hours instead of 1) but beautiful clear and warm weather, and performed my skills assessment on a case study dummy patient with some medical problems for which I was the only one to fix.
It was excrutiating!!! I would rather sing a solo in front of thousands, okay, I would really like to sing O Canada at a hockey game. But I was more nervous than I can ever remember. I feel bad, a bit, that I didn't trust my lab instructors to be fair and generous. They have been nothing else. But in the army our casualty simulations always went sour and tried to die. "No heart beat!!!"
Plus some of my classmates have had to take it again. It would have been a blow to my very fragile and overinflated nursing ego.
The best news is that I don't have to drive in to Surrey anymore! Yay! I don't remember ever really driving in to Surrey before.
I took my time coming home and from now I will do that: take my own time. To knit and read and walk the poor dog and maybe even write. Gasp.
I started whining in January and haven't stopped.
My hospital training should begin in December and go for about a month. Wish me luck as I step out of that plane. Be prepared for more whining.

Monday, November 17, 2008

We Have Pi

Lying unblocked in the November sun. She's a good size and I hope Grandma will be allowed to have it with her. It depends on the aunties who are her gatekeeper.
This is a fun and quick knit. I'm trying to collect pictures of all the ones I've done- at least 6 or 7.
This frees me to work on the black diamond shawl, the silk blend scarf I started in the summer and maybe some fingerless mitts for my flute teacher. I'm excited about trying the magic loop. Ever the cutting edge of a trend, I know.
Wednesday is my skills test. I was good with it until my classmate phoned me with some questions that seemed simple but were hard to pin down to the best answer. Now I'm nervous again. I'll read the assessment book again- outloud. But first I'll walk the dog in this pleasant light.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Recession Knitting

Angie at Purling Oaks challenged us to a quiz:

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Balanced, Secure, and Realistic.

7 Impressionist, -2 Islamic, -2 Ukiyo-e, -11 Cubist, -13 Abstract and -2 Renaissance!

Impressionism is a movement in French painting, sometimes called optical realism because of its almost scientific interest in the actual visual experience and effect of light and movement on appearance of objects. Impressionist paintings are balanced, use colored shadows, use pure color, broken brushstrokes, thick paint, and scenes from everyday life or nature.

People that like Impressionist paintings may not alway be what is deemed socially acceptable. They tend to move on their own path without always worrying that it may be offensive to others. They value friendships but because they also value honesty tend to have a few really good friends. They do not, however, like people that are rude and do not appreciate the ideas of others. They are secure enough in themselves that they can listen to the ideas of other people without it affecting their own final decisions. The world for them is not black and white but more in shades of grey and muted colors. They like things to be aestically pleasing, not stark and sharp. There are many ways to view things, and the impresssionist personality views the world from many different aspects. They enjoy life and try to keep a realistic viewpoint of things, but are not very open to new experiences. If they are content in their live they will be more than likely pleased to keep things just the way they are.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at

I"m really enjoying this gull lace again. I have done about 15cm and am ready to start the garter stitch knitted-on border.

This Bernat Satin Sport is a great bargain yarn. I like the twist, the softness and the drape. I'm not sure how it will wash and I probably wouldn't make a sweater, but I'll keep it in mind for baby gifts. I only spent $2 per 85 g/ 3 oz. I'm not even going to use 4 balls. I would recommend it if you are feeling the pinch of the global economic downturn and do not have the comfort of a well-padded stash to turn to.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Class Notes

Welcome nursing classmates.
I invited you to grab the cookie recipe and so I could tell you all what a great experience it was to meet you all and learn from and be entertained by your stories.

Raw Energy Pan Cookies

Cream together: ¾ cup butter or margarine¾ cup sugar¾ cup brown sugar
Mix in: 2 eggs1 tsp vanilla
Add and mix: 2 cups flour (1/2 whole wheat)1 tsp baking sodadash of salt
Add and mix: 2 x 170g package DAN.D.PAK Raw Energy Mix (or 1 x 400g)( 2 cups mixed sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds,cashews, almond and raisins)
Press into cookie sheet
Bake 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
Cut into pieces while hot.
Janet is collecting our emails so we can keep in touch. Eventhough we are a class of distance learners, it's been such a blessing to get together once or twice a week since September. is the website I was mentioning about nursing.
Hope to see you all again.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Our little cenotaph downtown was ringed by veterans, boyscouts, girlguides, cadets, RCMP, firemen and the pipeband.
Cold and mostly misty rainy, we joined together to recite, "We will remember them."

I got to recite Flanders Fields at church on Sunday and Emily did the last post there and at the Friday school assembly. I made the teens attend the Remembrance Day parade because I hate going by myself and they're old enough now to do their duty.

At Scotty's age, I served in the Reserve Forces Medical Corps (about a hundred years ago). We attended the big parade in Vancouver and caught the people fainting, etc. I am proud of the Canadian achievements. My uncles served during the war and our family stories are quite wrapped up in the excitement and valour.

My friend, Jean, and I watched the movie Paschendale on Friday which was super and was directed by and starred one of my favourite actors, Paul Gross. Go see it if you can. Great depiction of horrific battles and the humanity that shines through.

I'm still knitting the pi shawl. Now every row takes as long as the whole centre added up. But my Grandma has been moved to a higher level care facility and is not only frail and dizzy, but has added not eating. I hope to finish the blanket in time to offer her some comfort.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Bad Habit

Dear Mr. Habit,
I don't like your new book, "It Itches". I snuck it into a gift order when I was at the bookstore, hoping to have a little treat for myself, but my husband plucked it out of the bag. He laughed out loud and walked out of the room with it. Then he showed a few pictures to my teenage son who took it downstairs.
When I retrieved it, I slid it under a tome of poems at my bedside. But what colour is the cover? Hugely bright bile green.
My daughter spied it and laughed all the way to her room. She is 15, and I need not underline the fact that most of the objects in the house, including dirty dishes and my scarves have been thrown into that vortex so as to defy the normal mass to space ratio. I may never see it again.
Maybe I should buy one for my friend and "borrow" it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Simple Answers

The rain has begun. But Bill Mason, the great paddler said, "There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing." I had the opportunity to walk without rain, but ended up on the phone, Monday, catching up and organizing my week. Carly-dog loves going out in the rain. She is part Labrador and that is a wild and wet area of Canada.
This is what happens when I'm out of the house. The other pictures they took of themselves are funnier, but I like the smiles. Emily has cut Scott's hair since the summer. This marks a step away from the last year or so of animosity.

And I found a simple answer to my lace pattern problem. Couldn't find my own (borrowed, lost?) so I stopped at the stores on the way home from my class and bought a metal board with magnetic strips. I used to use one form cross-stitching. Well, immediate success. Like my curtains, I just need time to ruminate on a problem and find the simplest answer. I am encouraged that I can knit this now, even with other people around.

Here are the curtains, a few shots of the TV room I repainted last year, and the chair I sit in to knit infront of movies.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Cant' Tear myself Away

I am loving this pi shawl. I am so excited about the next set of increases at 48 rows. Sam from Lime& Violet was right. Her blog is: . She suggested using small hair elastics to count rows. Here I have them every 10. I can cut them off after. My Noodlepie daughter has cut her hair really short and these were never used.

All Saints Day is for planting Amaryllis. A few years ago I sang a song by that name. I gave my voice teacher an amaryllis. For a few years we were travelling in January and my mom would babysit the plant getting all the bloom. This year she bought me one. It may backfire on her because we're not travelling until February. Watching it grow (like corn) is one of the treats of our holiday season. I know, bite my tongue. But I'm going to be working full time shift work during Christmas so I need to be organized.
Which brings me to these lavender-filled eye pillows for my book club friends. They are meant to help relieve headaches. I figure if I can get them to lie still for a while, that'll help anyway.
The present that stalled is the black lace shawl. Yawn. I'm having trouble getting through a full row. I did work on it last night and prove to myself that it's not too difficult. I'll put it in a different knitting bag (why does that work?) and I may get a metal chart holder like I used to use for my cross stitch, just to keep track of the row.
My sister has joined her daughter, my niece on Ravelry. It's weird getting messages and passing on information. They are such knitting on the net newbies. I still have not unveiled my blog, but they may find it from my Ravelry page. Say hi if you drop by. The blog has been a not very well kept secret for 2 years now.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Camp Leaves

We ahave a very special place at Cultus Lake: the camp. For many years I volunteered as a nurse there during the week of my birthday. I was a new grad there, pregnant (twice) and brought my babies up. I love teen week and staff training week. It's about 6 acres right on the far shore of the lake with a 99 year lease that is almost up.
I mentioned last year, when my daughter was a camper, that I hoped to nurse this coming year. I was told we may not have a camp. So I finally volunteered to go on the board. It will be a significant part of my life in the years to come. I have been waiting for a long time to have this choice.

Through this woods is the nurses' cabin. It has heat and water and a bathroom. But it is still rustic. I have my own rituals: bring shortbread and colouring books and puzzles. Work on some writing and reading. There are no electronic music sources allowed. Eventually I started bringing my guitar. I enjoyed meeting the nurse team leader again who brings flowers in a crystal vase, lemon pie and gives all medications with chocolate milk. Up close, this cabin is on the edge of the property, closest to the lake. Often there is a deer in front in the morning. It is so quiet that I spend quite a bit of time worried that I have missed an emergency or the flow of camp schedule. Maybe they'll let me carry my cell phone, though I don't think we can get reception up in the mountains.

There were a lot of leaves!!

D came with the youth group (who didn't show) and worked eventhough his back was a bit re-injured.

We had a hot lunch of soups and stews and cookies. It doubled to clean out the larder.

Then back to work. Emily and I were a team, developing blisters and wearing out our hands and backs. She's on fire to fund raise to save the camp. I'm scheming.

We picked up most of the leaves. They are piled in the back woods to compost. This year we may bag and sell some of the compost. I'm going to try to researchmoss gardens. It was a long day with lots of laughter. When I came back to my car, the maples had carried out their revenge on my car.