Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm Going To Be Sick

Gung Haggis Fat Choy. Chinese New Years has come and gone. We are blessed with abundance whether we mark it or not.

I haven't been feeling well. I have had pain and fever and no time to catch up. I said my speeches and led the singing. Now... I'm going to be sick and eat soup and sit in my chair and play hookey from meetings.

I am behind on a few things.

Scotty's birthday lastnight with my mom and paw. I bought (thawed with love) a President's Choice New York Deli cheesecake. It came highly recommended from the foodie friend of a genuine foodie and didn't disappoint.

Today as I am malingering, the suet bird feeder is going nuts.


Stellar's Blue Jay

Red-winged Blackbird (what are you doing here) and speckly Starling (go away).

And under it all, the squirrels are plotting their world domination.

I don't care because I have hot soup and killer antibiotics. And I finally made a decision. Rip out the sashing I started on the aran afghan and do a bit of seed stitch, a bit of sewing up until I need a nap. Whew.

Monday, January 26, 2009


This is Scotty's birthday. Eighteen. To celebrate he is writing a French final. Woo hoo.
And Happy Australia Day.
On Saturday he did his Grade 10 piano exam in Vancouver, and then we went to "Fat Burger". We don't know what to get him. Probably an iphone. We need to be able to reach him and his regular cell phone is lost or stolen. Or hiking boots because he wants to do the West Coast Trail for grad and then tree planting.
He is level headed and creative in a safe way. He's always been a good fit for me, even as a wee (6lb 8 oz) baby.

His piano teacher is really going to miss him, but she just lives down the street.
He learned to knit when he was 8 and made a scarf for his best friend (with help) that year.
When he graduates he want to go to UVIC. He studied piano there one summer, and his friends are going there. It's a nice mid-sized place. But the ferries could kill us: expensive and unreliable. Times have changed since I spent my summers in Victoria with Aunt Anna.
I may do my nursing degree through UVIC. Hmmm. Could I crash in his dorm? Probably not.

My brutal weekend is over. I ended up at my in-laws with a fever and being abused about being the only one who showed up. Well, turn off the TV for starts. It was awful. I actually said to my FIL, "Do you want me to leave?"
I have a busy and productive life and don't need to be treated like crap when I'm supposed to be a guest. Since I was 15, I have had trouble feeling welcome in their house, and the other daughters-in-law have had similar.
Saturday: take Scott across the river to his piano exam and be proud mom. Lunch with bestest best friend and her similarly piano finished son.
Burns Dinner: help D emcee a crowd of 350. Give Immortal Memory. Much applause
Sunday: Lead worship with January Jazz and funny childrens' time, sermon, prayers-whole nine yards. Great fun and warm feelings.
Then: crap from inlaws.
Went home early and went to bed to sweat off pain and fever.
In my own family, I am the youngest and kept in my place, but at least recognized for all I have accomplished. Won't be hurrying back up the hill again.
PS Not much knitting, just worked on the cably sleeve during Scott's exam.
Next: creative writing, sewing development and general finding my pre-study life again.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Well and Truly Oriented

Not Orientated. I hate that work. The nursing orientation to the hospital was rediculously cram packed. Two days from 08-1600 with half an hour for lunch. I'm squashed. Good thing there are still learning modules or your chest tube wouldn't be running so good.
Knit my January charity sweater for the maternity unit. I loved knitting the EZ February sweater and will make at least one more this year.

Meme:5 Things.
5 things in my bag:
I know this is more than 5, but it's not many. I bought a small Filofax planner. After all that great DIY Planner stuff, it just ended up too large to take to work. So I'm doing OK adapting a small one. The notepad and extra pencil can be left behind now. My wallet. My sunglasses, phone, pen and sugarfree wintergreen lifesavers. I also have a satin zip bag for tissues with a compartment for glasses cleaner, Tyleno and my ventolin.
5 favourite things in my room:
My "dog and man" chair and a half, Carly-dog, pottery mug of hot tea, knitting in progress and my computer to connect with you.
5 things I always wanted to do:
Finish my novel. Sip capuccino in a Paris sidewalk cafe. Own sheep. Study English Lit at Oxford. Have a knitting circle for charity (Common Threads).
5 things I'm currently into:
Medicine/Palliative nursing. Firefly and Serenity (!!!!). Blue wool- all my new stash is blue. Hayden Sonata No. 5 on flute. On the brink of spinning.
Consider yourself tagged. What are your 5 things?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Obama's Playlist

CBC Radio is running great programming right now. They are having a contest to choose the 49 songs to put on an ipod to give to Obama on his inaugeration.

They started with 100 songs- pop, classical, Quebecois and had the listeners vote on line. It is so much fun. These are the songs that have lodged themselves in the corners of my memories. The soundtrack of my life. We have lots of these pieces in our very ecclectic CD collection. Surprisingly, some of the good ones aren't there.
It got me thinking to what music I have invested in. I have not been to too many concerts. It's a bit of a drive into the city and I don't really like big crowds and the stadium scene. "Live" loses something when there is a quarter of a mile and several stories between you and the band.
I do like going to the Orpheum which is an old theatre.
My first concert was John Denver in about 1976. My sister Pat spent all her money on the tickets because I was (am) such a fan. I still sing his stuff with my guitar.
Then D took me to Burton Cummings at the PNE in 1980 and to Billy Joel (Glass Houses) in 1981.
At university in Calgary, we had quite a few bands come to the student union. Don't even remember much. I did go to Steve Winwood on a first date.
D and I went to Gordon Lightfoot in one of the summers between highschool and dating again at the end of nursing school. He is a great musician and we had our first waltz to his "Beautiful".
As an adult, I went to k.d.lang three times. We saw the 3 tenors at BC Place on New Year Eve 1994 (?). My MIL bought me tickets to Jann Arden when she opened the hockey rink in Chilliwack a few years ago. I think she's great.
As a family, we have been going to the Vancouver Jazz Festival for the past few years and enjoyed Winton Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr (!!!) and Dave Brubeck. I wonder what's on for this year?
They unveil the 49 songs for the 49th parallel on Tuesday. I'm really excited. It's so hard to vote for just one song. My charity knitting has begun with Elizabeth Zimmerman's February baby sweater. I know it's only January. This is a great recipe. I'm rewriting it in my own words so I can just knit it next time without interpreting. I don't know how many times I've knit this. I still enjoy it. But I really appreciate the work that went into adapting it for the February Lady Sweater. I must contact her and let her know how much I appreciate the work she did.

This is the big UFO in the room. I may have to take this shawl to Mexico with me. I took it to the Caribbean and to Texas as well. See how nicely it fits in a bag? It's just the thistle pattern from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury. But it has quite a few rows of repeat. I blew up the pattern and cut out each row onto a card. Easy peasy. Just not what I want to knit "right now" for about 5 years.
What is your monkey on your shoulder?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fair Share

We have notable light. This morning, while driving my daughter to early jazz band practice, the pink lights of daybreak came out to join us. This is something to celebrate. Also, I had my job interview yesterday and I have nothing scheduled for today. The first time in a whole year! I started studying last Jan 15.
The job interview was brutal. Patient situations. Whew. It went well. My papers are all in, but my registration doesn't kick in until March 1st which means..... knitting break!
I stopped in at the maternity unit and what they would really like is newborn knitted sweaters and sets. I had an idea they had enough of the hats already. That makes it easy for me and I hope to pass this information along to my LYS.
I was reading "Spin for Peace". blog and had an epiphany. I have been wanting to help my mom with the local fair, the Chilliwack Exhibition. But I hate the fair. How about a class for donation knitting? I have discussed with the knitting group I don't get to go to that we could make a big impact if we all entered the same class (socks, dishcloths, whatever). Now I am going to suggest to the fair board that they have a "Fair Share" class with great (donated) gifts and donate all the items to the needed groups. Chilliwack Community Services would like to benefit, I'm sure.
So I'm going to persue that. As I'm weaving in the loose ends of my nursing studies, I'm doing the same with my Philosopher's Wool Windows sweater sleeves. The main body won't have ends because of (eek) steeks. I may be brave enough to begin those today. But I do have a baby sweater to knit.

I feels like a new year.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's Over

The blow-up carolling Winnie the Pooh was not a tasteful choice in the Christmas lights. This is just depressing.

This is the snow I have always known. Grey and melting in the gutters. We have had a month of the white stuff with no way of dealing with impassable roads and a state of emergency called with flooding from the thaw. My basement is dry, thanks for asking.

The aftermath of the snowman. I saw about three of these. I like the hand-knit scaf.And why does no one fly south these days? Is it the economy? We have year-round ducks in our river, but we let the dog chase geese. They are dangerous and very messy. They have caused all sorts of social and health problems in the parks of our continent. I have heard them referred to as "Soup Kitchen Chicken". Still the Canada Goose is a beauty.

Bella's mittens in their natural setting. They are just warm enough for our bone-chiling cold.
My first days after finishing my studying: planning more knitting, too much piecing of the afghan (ouch) and coffee with friends and family.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Unphased By Obstacles

Well, not unphased, but able to overcome.

On my last shift in my year of nursing refresher, I opened a letter from the registration college saying my file was so dormant, they destroyed my records. Great.

I went to work to tell my instructor, and then went home and slept 3 hours.

Friday night was Scott's grade 10 piano recital and we had 60 people at the church for music and then coffee and (8dozen peanutbutter, 3 dozen shortbread and 5 dozen chocolate pretzels) refreshments. Whew. I worked that day, only 10 of 12 hours.

After the recital, 20 of the family came back to our house for Emily's 16th birthday cake and presents. Whew. I didn't get to bed until 11 pm.

Woke up at 0545 to that letter.

This is Monday and at 0830 I called Registration Services. It was a mistake. No problem. Just fill out the forms again and fax them to us. Sorry.

I can't tell you the distress I was under!

I helped with Em's girlfriend party, Saturday, which went well into the night and everything was numb.

I'm OK now. But I didn't want to blog my angst when I expected some answers today.
I did knit the Bella Mitts (Mittens, sorry Kristen) and entered them in the Ravelry files. That was fun. Jenny loves them and she can wear them in the car as her husband drives her to and from work.
I then made a second pair because I was having a 'day off' on Friday and Jean and I went to our wool shop. Their anniversary sale is 20-50% off, but you draw from a can. I got 25%, but they give me a discount every day. Not so exciting.
I did buy the pewter wool for the "Real" Bella Mitts for Emily and finished them already lastnight. I am so excited about the careful and symmetrical increases and decreases in this clever pattern.
I'll go to town and fax my papers to the RN college today.
I want to rejoice in my success, but I'm still a bit bruised from the unexpected letter.
Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Starting the New Year

I have decided to knit my nursing preceptor mittens. She loves to ski. In the recent cold weather, she started wearing her ski jacket to work. Her husband drives her to and from the hospital, and I like to wear mittens when I don't have to drive. I hope she feels my wish that her hands stay warm.

However... I couldn't get gauge to knit Jared Floods mittens from the cover of Vogue Fall 08. I kept going down needle sizes and losing time. Plus the tinier the needle, the longer

the project will take. Did I tell you I want them for Saturday? Plus I work Friday and Saturday. The twelve hour shifts that leave no time for real life.

When I made the decision to change patterns and went to Ravelry (yay Ravelry) to research cabled mittens, it was already the afternoon. It may not surprise you that I have an eclectic stash, so any pattern that caught my eye would probably be OK.

There they were: Bella's mittens. I happen to be working with rabid Twilight fans. They are also Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Star Trek geeks. This is good. I can hold my own. I haven't read the Twilight books, but I have the audio book on hold at the library and my daughter is in the thick of them.

I got gauge with some really (really,really) old stash, but I didn't like the hand of the fabric. Plus she has really little hands. I went down a needle size and finally got going in the late afternoon. I'm thankful to have great wooden dpns in lots of sizes.

The first mitt is now done and the second coming along. This is not just a mitten pattern. It is brilliant shaping, use of ribbing and careful casting off within the cable.
My daughter is drooling and wants them for herself. Thankfully her hands are way bigger than mine and would never fit these smaller mitts.

The beginning of the year can be like the beginning of a project. Beginning time takes longer. You're getting your bearings and finding the pattern.

I have a new scarf. I finished it a while ago, but couldn't block it until the tree came down. I had help with the un-decorating after I packed up the tree ornaments. I needed to weave in the ends, too. This is not the shawl I wanted. But it is a great scarf to brighten up my outer wear in the crappy snowy and then monsoon rains that are continually beyond my door.

Amaryllis update. Even as the old bloom dies, a new one is trying to unfurl. Good metaphor for January.

I wrote the Immortal Memory for our Robert Burns dinner on January 24. This year I researched the scandals. 11 illegitimate children, 3 wives, poems to 80 women. I hope the crowd drinks enough to appreciate this tongue in cheek edition. I actually quote more poetry than in past speeches. I wrote 3, but only got to say one. Last year my sister did a good earnest job. The year before our minister brutalized the evening with such boredom and irrelevant dust. That spurred me on to make it more fun.

Today is my daughter's 16th birthday. We will have cake tomorrow after Scotty's piano recital. She has a big party with friends on Saturday. Unfortunately I work both days. But she is indomitable. Wish me luck on my last 2 shifts.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Time and Space

Unexpectedly, we are still having a p%&h load of snow. My little Civic with the snow tires is perfect for the terrible road conditions, but I'd rather rain and green grasses. This has gone on since I started my practicum and I'm very tired of getting out of the hospital after a12 hour shift to search for my buried car.
Emily made her annual snow(man).
A treat from my MIL, this is a fine book. I haven't even read deeply yet and I am smitten.

On boxing day I made sure that I bought enough wool at the 40% off sale to try some of the patterns in it. This is Berroco Ultra Alpaca. Sort of a light worsted weight.

I love the soft squshyness of this nashua Creative Focus Chunky. I wanted to make the Star Crossed sweater shown, but it only comes in S/M. Lot for me. I did some research and it's an adaptation of an Anthropologie sweater. Another adaptation cropped up- again small. Instead I have decided to use a pattern I had already in the cue,Slouch Rib Cardigan from IK spring 08. I'll turn the ribs into little cables and make the sleeves short because I love the deep neckline and I don't think I can change the neck shaping in other sweaters as easily.
Right now I'm knitting strips of seed stitch. The ultimate in low commitment knitting. My clock is still messed up.
This was going to be my last 2 night shifts and then I could breathe a sigh of relief and collect my "R" (for my RN). But because I had to go to my Grandma's funeral yesterday, I'm not sure when I'm done. I really wanted to have a second day shift so I could use some of my organizational skills on familiar patients and even act like I know what I'm doing.
The funeral was sweet like Grandma. All the 9 kids were there, most of the grandkids and many great-grandkids, including mine. I think my Paw apprecitated it. The Coquihalla Highway was too snowy for my sister to come. She was a great favourite of Grandpa's and the reason we were invited into the family. Today is her birthday and I'll call her and try to give her the story of the day.
I work tonight and have trouble with these stolen days. I will take my charcoal Kathy Zimmerman sweater to work and not this:

The second sleeve is coming along. But I don't see it as a travel project. Too many different balls of colour. I do and don't want to hurry up and finish the sleeve because when I start the body, I am in new territory: steeks.
First I should go back and study everything I have already read about them. Have you conquered this skill? I have learned lots of new things this year. No. It's the third day of this year. I learned lots last year. Steeks will be for 2009.