Monday, January 31, 2005

a picture (to distract you from realizing that I don't have any pictures of me in the noro sweater because I forgot my camera): this is a quilted wall hanging that my mom made for me out of my favorite batiked fabrics. Posted by Hello

Test Mode

My needles have been replaced with highlighters and my decaf tea has been replaced with almost high octane coffee - this can only mean one thing: there's a big test this week.

I had a good morning up north and was able to relax and enjoy good conversation and a nice lunch before hitting the road and making my way back here. I thought I was in good shape for Wednesday, but a couple of "practice" tests (tests from previous years) have shown me that I still need to work out the details between a few diagnosises. The heart is a pump, with four sections and a few tubes going in and out; thus there's a finite number of things that we've learned about and need to know the details for. The things don't seem very finite now, but my hope is that by tomorrow evening this time they'll seem more manageable.

See you on the other side? or, rather, you'll see me on the other side.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Happiness is....

- No classes tomorrow
- This link (warning: it has sound. I swore I'd never be one of those people who post links to strange things, but more then once this weekend it has put a smile on my face and been a nice break from myocardial infarctions, hypertension and the statins)
- a completed pair of mittens (see pictures below!)
- Rosemary and Olive Oil potato chips (not eaten while knitting)

It's been a good day, though I haven't been as productive as I'd hoped to be. I spent a long time covering congenital heart defects when I probably should have moved on to other topics. The exam is Wednesday and then it's two weeks of Renal (the kidneys, urinary tract, etc). Cardiology is interesting, but I can't imagine spending all of the time in my practice seeing people who are recovering from heart attacks or worried about their arteries clogging. (I know that primary care/FP means seeing patients who fit both of those categories, but cardiologists (last time I checked) don't deliver babies - something I'm still enamored with and want to be able to do.)

Tomorrow I'm headed north for an appointment and lunch with my mom, then it's back here to continue studying. This is the first time we'll have three hours for the exam, (compared to the two hours we've been allotted in past systems) and my copies of past exams are intimidating. I need to make the most of my time so I feel confident when I pick a, b, c or d.

I went through my stash and think I'm going to start on my cascade sweater after my mom's is done. I was waiting for a pattern to come in, but may be able to figure out what I need to do to start (the pattern is a simple sweater with cables around the "edges.") I think I have enough yarn for a shorter version of the Clapotis and I'm close to being done with the toddler gift. Project Linus is still in the front of my project list too.

miha hee....mia whoo....mia ha.....mia haha.......

Two of a kind. (they looked washed out, but it's the best I could get this afternoon!)  Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 29, 2005

the other side! (the best part is that it fits!) I'm going to knit the other one tonight, and will post a complete pair when they're done. Back to the books for now - I have a lot to master before Wednesday.  Posted by Hello

one side of my dyed yarn mitten Posted by Hello

Friday, January 28, 2005


Today I tried knitting a mitten while reading about the pharmacology of hypertension (high blood pressure). Usually, if it's a fairly simple (read: boring stockenette) pattern I can study/read and knit at the same time. It's taken some practice, but now it's doable and preferable to just reading. (I can just knit too but the test is a few days away and time is of the essence!)

I cast on the correct number of stitches on straight needles, knit the first row while watching, then turned my eyes back to the book. Three inches later I looked back at the knitting and tried to picture it around my wrist. It looked like the cuff might be snug, but mitten cuffs are supposed to be snug. Another inch or so into the pattern and I looked over again: there was NO way this thing was going to fit. I dug up a gauge checker thing and my tape measure and checked: I was knitting tighter then the pattern reccomended. Usually I'm right on, or only a small bit off and it's correctable, but not this time.

Hypertension now has a new meaning.

Pictures of mitten progress and the new sleeve on my mom's sweater tomorrow when I can get some in natural light. Stay warm!

spiv questionaire

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer high- and/natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
I think I might be a yarn snob because I do try and avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand, unless the project I'm working on is for a child or a charity (The Project Linus blanket needs to be washable, so it's out of a Lion Brand yarn). I much prefer natural fibers.

2. Do you spin? Crochet? I'd like to (someday) learn how to spin, but for now I don't do either.

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.) No allergies to pets but I do not like strong perfumes or the smell of smoke.

4. How long have you been knitting? I learned how several years ago, but picked it up again a year and a half ago and haven't been able to put it down.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? nope

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) lavender (if it's "real") or citrus

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? yes

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? I have a sewing machine and a stash of fabric that rivals my yarn stash, but I haven't had the same success quilting while in school as I have knitting in school. The projects I do now need to be portable or easy to complete in short periods of time.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I can play MP3's; my taste in music is eclectic - anything from John Hiatt to Lyle Lovett (not country) to Tori Amos to Enya and other "folk" music (Dar Williams, and celtic anthologies). I love music sung by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and the people who have redone some of the old classics that they sang (Nat King Cole, Fisher).

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? my favorite colors are the colors of the sky just before it's dark out, or the colors of the ocean: deep and/or dusky purples, periwinkles, various shades of blues. I'm finding that I'll knit with just about anything though - and have recently been thinking about pinks/reds.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I'm single and live by myself in an appartment. I used to have the world's best hampster, but she passed away last year; otherwise, no pets.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know) I'd like to finish med school and my training in one piece; spend some time in Ireland; and not be single forever.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? I love wool: Cascade 220 and other Peruvian wools, Merino wools and I love "local" or handspun/hand dyed yarns. I also love verigated wools that have lots of different colors or shades of the same color. I like wools that are worsted, or have some substance to them.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I haven't jumped on the novelty yarn bandwagon because I don't like them. That's not to say that I won't ever use them, but they aren't my first choice for me.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s? Fair Isle, "complicated" cables and dying my own yarn with drink mix

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? I just finished my first pair of socks, and they won't be my last! I love knitting in the round (on either dpns or circulars) and also enjoy seeing a sweater evolve.

17. What are you knitting right now? I'm finishing up a sweater for my mom, a cabled scarf, a toddler sweater with intarsia, and a blanket and mittens. I do best when there are more then three projects going because then I always have something that is "easy" for knitting in class or when I study.

18. What do you think about ponchos? they look nice on other people, but I'd rather have a shawl or a scarf.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? both? I like circulars for sweaters in the round and hats, straight needles for sweater pieces and dpn's for smaller projects and socks. I'd much rather knit in the round then seam.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? all three? bamboo dpn's and circulars, aluminum circulars and straight needles (small - mid range sizes that I'd worry about breaking if they were bamboo or plastic) and plastic/bamboo stright needles in larger sizes.

21. Are you a sock knitter? if one pair down and the promise to make more makes me a sock knitter, then yes!

22. How did you learn to knit? I found a set of interchangeable needles when cleaning out a closet with my mom and asked her to show me how. I knit off and on (a lot more "off") in high school and though I picked it up a bit in college it wasn't until my first year of med school had started that I really dove into it again. Now I can't imagine not knitting.

23. How old is your oldest UFO? I just finished my noro sweater that was started October 1st. I like to finish things in a timely manor and find that if I'm choosing not to work on something then I've probably changed my mind and won't wear it, or I don't like it as much as I thought I would.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird? Winne The Pooh and I love rabbits.

25. What is your favorite holiday? Easter

26. Is there anything that you collect? collect? not really. I love photography and neat pictures (of just about anything) that other people have taken.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

knitting rambling

I thought I'd have pictures to share, but they didn't come out that great and there really isn't a whole lot to see in them (they are similar to the ones I've already posted).

My ruby scarf has a few more repeats in it, and it's moving slow, but I can see that it'll be worth it. I haven't memorized all 16 lines of the pattern yet, but it's getting easier to anticipate what is coming next. I thought I'd do a silvery/grey/gray one for the silent auction, but I've changed my mind. The donations are slowly coming in and I've already pledged a strawberry hat (pics are awhile back) and a made-to-fit and match yoga bag carrier (pattern but I'll change it as needed to fit the persons mat and let them pick the color). If donations slow down I'll consider another scarf, or perhaps something else, but for the time this scarf is taking it isn't worth it.

The red sweater for my mom has the beginnings of a new sleeve (in this case the third time really will be the charm! I'm going to leave my noro sleeves as is because they are growing on me and as Lorette pointed out - it's part of the quality of the yarn). It's going to move fast and is something I can work on while I'm studying tomorrow.

Tonight I have a huge headache and am going to head to bed early. I turned my skeins of dyed yarn into balls and want to start mittens sooner rather then later. I like the colors more when they're all balled up next to each other and look forward to my next experiments.

Ramblings about school and such

(the rambling about knitting will come later tonight - with, hopefully, pictures)

The ekg exam is over - and I'd guess how I did but how I think it went and how I did usually don't line up very well. (meaning that I can leave an exam thinking I did wonderful only to then find out that I've just passed, and vice versa) The general thinking of our class was that it wasn't as easy as we thought it'd be, and there were a few zingers. I agree with that, but thought most of it was pretty straight forward (which, again, doesn't mean anything in terms of my final grade).

It started snowing again yesterday afternoon and as a result I left early so I could travel home in what was left of the daylight. I live 25-30 minutes north of school and travel on the interstate; there were two cars off the road at different points, and three "unmarked" state trooper cars went flying by with their lights on, presumably to head to another accident. I was glad to get home and come inside but the first email I read was from the city, letting me know that a parking ban was in place for the night. I grumbled and went out to move my car from it's perfect parking spot (in what was left of the fading natural light) and then came in to settle in for the night.

I've had my eye on a few things lately (knitting things and board review things are good examples) but needed to sit down and figure out how my finaces looked for the rest of the term.

Medical students are students - and our tution isn't cheap. I've been lucky enough to qualify for a state program that helps students who want to stay and practice in-state (something I will do, at least for a little while) and a few primary care loans (hence my thinking of a double residency in family practice/NMM) but even those sources are loans that I'll need to pay back at some point. (though they do have the potential to be "forgiven" if I stay in primary care and/or in state) I also have government loans - both subsidized and unsubsidized, and loans that still stand from my undergraduate years. I am in a better place then some of my classmates who have taken out private, high interest loans, but I still am going to owe an awful lot when I'm done!

Part of my loan money comes directly to me, as a "living disbursement." The ammount depends on the year, how many months we're actually in class (we are not allotted money for the time we have "off") and what our travel expenses, cost of living, etc should be. I got a check at the start of the term that will last me through till August; but I hadn't yet sat down and figured out how much of it is already earmarked.

A change from last year is that I am now paying for my own health insurance. I turned 25 in December of last year, and no longer qualify as a dependent under my dad's health plan. I opted to use the COBRA plan because it's reasonable (after shopping around for a comperable plan that includes dental and eye coverage) and it means I can keep my current doctor and know that I am covered. This new expense takes out a large chunk of what used to be "misc. money." I'm not complaining, because I know how important insurance is! but between it and the car expenses, I'm going to need to keep track of where my money is going. (it looks like I have a lot of money in the bank right now, but by the time I figure six months rent/utilities/etc it works out to be just enough with a little left over.) Now, my poor secret pal could be reading this thinkng that I'm going to flake out and claim "poor student syndrome" but not to worry, it won't happen. I signed up knowing what was entailed, and will follow through, trust me.

It does mean, however, that I need to stop searching for glorious wool yarns and books for myself. I can still have fun looking, but aside from a few purchases (a pattern or a set of needles I don't have) I'm on a knitting diet. If my budget shapes up then I'll be able to enjoy the month of July (last month without classes/school commitments for the next few years) by traveling and knitting and it will all be worth it.

Someday I will be a doctor, and my loans will be paid off/forgiven and I'll be able to enjoy an income and all the benefits that come with it, but until then (or until my next disbursement in August) I will continue to live the life of a student. (and I say that gratefully because I've witnessed many med school interviews going on this week and I'm already a year and a half into my training; I won't have to pay rent next year (clerkship housing is provided) and will be able to put that money back into my "misc fund" and I have a credit card with no outstanding balance that I can use, if needed. Life is good - it's not complaing, just putting it in writing so I remember that I need to oggle and drool and then walk away from the yarn!)

(knitting content later!)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A finished Noro Sweater

This studying interruption is being brought to you by an (almost) finished sweater:

I reached that stage of studying where I am on a roll; I can recognize most all of the different types of irregularities on ekgs and now think that there's something wrong with a "normal" and healthy ekg. So, with my eyes still in the book, I reached over and picked up my "still needs a sleeve finished or ripped out and started over" Noro Kureyon sweater and re-evaluated the mismatched sleeves. I didn't hate them, and was only a few inches away from being done. So I made the executive decision to just finish it, and see what it looked like. I've read enough about Noro to know that even if I were to rip out the sleeve and go back and reknit it (third times the charm?) there's a chance I'd come across a knot and the whole plan to have it match would be out the window (again).
I'm not sure if my own usual "want the stripes to line up" anal retentiveness is being masked by the joy of having the sweater finished and if at some point I'll regret not going back, but for now, it's done.

(I don't have a full length mirror and have to rely on the "hold the camera up and push the button and see what you get" method till I go home for an appointment next week. I'll kindly ask my mom to weave the ends in too - I hate finishing things and she's offered that if I can get a project done that far, to do the rest. I plan on taking her up on this offer again and again and again...)

Now back to your regularly scheduled radiology review......

a very, very, very bad picture of me, wearing the sweater so you can see that it really isn't HUGE (as it looks in the picture with the bear.) This picture doesn't really show that though; please take my word for it until I can get a better picture?  Posted by Hello

a finished (almost - please ignore the loose ends that need to be woven) Noro Sweater! (shown with my bear so you can see the "V" neckline) Posted by Hello

If all the other knit bloggers jumped off a bridge...

I'd jump too. But I'd wait until at least a month or two had passed, then realize what I was missing and do my best to catch up.

some examples? I love the Clapotis (that I pronounced like it rhymed with "platypus" until I read that it's "Clap-o-tea") and love seeing how people are making them in lots of different types and shades of yarn, but it will probably be another month or two before I start/finish the other things I want to get to and find yarn that I love for it. (okay, I might have found yarn that I'd love to use for one, but my fixed income student budget and the other projects have stopped me from committing just yet...)

and I've been reading about dying with kool-aid for the past few months. I've thought about trying it, but didn't know where to start, or what type of yarn to use, or what colors would come out as what and so on and so forth. Historically dying things hasn't been a problem for me. At one point in time (during my years as a lifeguard (etc) on staff at a summer camp) I was known to tie dye anything that was white and not tied down. I had waaaay too much fun with the dye, the colors, the combinations and the different techniques - and with not much else to do some evenings, it was a nice way to pass some time. (I always got complements on my brightly colored socks and people always knew it was my laundry sitting in the dryer.)

I have been doing some reading (during the small amount of time I have that isn't spent studying!) and was on the knitty site (thanks for the idea of the broadripple socks Rachel!) and stumbled across the article they did detailing how to dye with drink mix and what "flavors" look like as finished products. It was the last bit of inspiration I needed. I stopped on my way home last night and picked up some Patons Merino wool and some drink mix and set it all up. I probably had too much yarn and not enough drink mix, but all in all, I'm happy with the results (for a first time trial. Next time I'll know what to do differently) and hope to have a pair of mittens whipped up before too much longer. (they are far down on the list - behind finishing my moms sweater, finishing a small project I started for little one, and my silent auction knitting - but the joy of starting a new project is enough to keep me going on the current ones.)

I had an OMT preceptorship today and osteopathic principles and practices class this afternoon. It's a class that has a lab portion, and so I only got an hour or so of knitting done. I'm at "tricky" spots on the above mentioned projects and so in order to simultaneously knit and pay attention I picked up my Project Linus blanket to work on. It's fun to work on because I'm working on my continental knitting, but man'o'man those rows just keep getting longer! It's getting bigger and bigger and I hope to have it done by the end of February.

We have our ekg and cardio radiology exam tomorrow at 10am so tonight will be spent studying, and I'm guessing not a whole lot of knitting will get done. I'll make up for it tomorrow during our afternoon class and tomorrow night when I will sit and watch some of the movies I've gotten in the mail the past few days. Our cardio system exam is next Wednesday and I'll hit the ground running on the objectives I haven't worked on yet on Thursday. Time is going to start doing that funny thing where it moves both faster and slower then I am expecting it to; it's a phenomena that is hard to explain, but my classmates and other grad students I've talked to know what I'm talking about.

color-less Posted by Hello

color!  Posted by Hello

the final product!  Posted by Hello

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Happiness is....

- a fresh cup of Newman's Own Decaf coffee (black) and stale gingerbread men cookies for dunking
- The NE Pats up 24-3 at halftime
- knowing that my car will start tomorrow morning (and the radio will play!)
- being almost done with all of the paperwork I have to turn in tomorrow.

The weather outside is frightful. And frigid. And blustery. 'Tis part of living in New England?

The city extended the parking ban that was due to end today at noon through tomorrow at 7am. I'm not parked that far from my appartment and have no idea what I'll face tomorrow morning - the snow drifts are unpredictable and the only thing I can do is keep a good thought that the wind blew all the snow away from my car!

My brother's scarf is all but finished and I hope to have it in the mail to him by the end of the week. I knit it in the round on a 16" US 8 with cascade 220 and it I knit 5 1/4" blocks until I ran out of yarn. I wish it were 8" longer (it's 42" now) but I special ordered the yarn because that color yellow wasn't available anywhere locally and I don't want to wait to give it to him. My classmates will be sorry to see the "really long bumble bee sleeve project" (their terms) end, but I'm glad to have made good on my deal to knit him a scarf. I gave everyone else in my family a scarf for Christmas in 2003 - he reminded me this year that he still hadn't gotten one and I got right to work on it. Sorry it's taken so long P!

I have spent the majority of my weekend with my nose in this book. It's on loan from someone, and it's more then worth it's weight in gold for understanding EKGs. The doctor who comes in to lecture is good, but it's been helpful for me to have explainations with concrete examples sitting in front of me (vs. my somewhat illegible notes). Our test on EKGs and cardiac radiology is Wednesday and I think I'll be ready for it. (I hope I'll be ready for it!)

We have another long day of classes scheduled for tomorrow, and I think I'm going to try and get my mom's sweater sleeve started tonight so I can take it in and work on it. I've started (and taken out) the first sleeve twice, and I'm hoping that the third time's the charm. I knit tighter on dpn's then I do on circulars and the last time it was obvious where I'd switched needle types. Once I get going it will move quickly so I'm hoping to have the whole sweater done by the end of the week.

I joined the Secret Pals 4 (or as I've been calling it SPIV) group and am excited to get started. I signed up for two reasons: one being that it'd give me a reason to read knitting blogs, and two being that I love buying yarn for other people. My mom witnessed my yarn buying excitement during our last trip to the lys, and I leave the store even more giddy when the things I'm buying aren't for me. I'm looking forward to learning more about my sp and can't wait to get started.

Bruins/Bumblebee scarf: almost finished! (just needs some ends to be tied/woven in and an edge seam!)  Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 22, 2005

another 20 things about me

knitting/blizzard news to follow (after I learn all about conduction blocks and how they can be determined via EKG readings; this was compiled during breaks from the chapters on arrhythmias and hypertrophy)

61. I’ve never “really” tried spinning, but called and talked to my dad today about making a drop spindle. I’ve seen them used before, and tried using one (once!) and think that if it’s inexpensive to make one and fairly inexpensive to buy some “real” wool then why not? (I don’t have the budget or time to learn how to use a wheel….yet.)
62-67. The two teeth on either side of my front two top teeth aren’t real. When I was 10ish we changed dentists because our dentist was retiring. New dentist meant a new set of “new-fangled” x-rays (the older guy didn’t seem to believe in them) and they revealed that the teeth we thought were up in my gums, weren’t there. At all. Congenitally missing lateral incisors. Now I can look back on the 10 years I spent with
- braces (in and out of them followed by another round of “in” for a total of 3 ½ -4 years),
- retainers (a solid year with them all the time, partially to hold my teeth where they were but also because I had two “fake” teeth stuck on them and when I took the retainers out, the teeth went with them),
- bridgework (because I was deemed too young for surgery and implants after the first round of braces/retainers/etc) that occasionally fell out (one “tooth” fell out so many times I could almost anticipate when it was due to “spring free.” The worst was when I was in my first year of college in another state and had to find a prosthodontist willing to look at an 18 year old who was relying on other classmates for rides to and from his office.)
- and eventually surgery (to place two platinum screws into my jaw and a bone graft (from donated bone)) followed by the “uncapping” of the screws and eventually placing of the teeth (all together a three month ordeal and the intial surgery was the day before my 21st birthday; during the “healing time” I went on a bio research trip to the Bahamas and the swelling went down enough to see the screw tip. I called home frantic, and after my mom made a few phone calls I had an appointment for as soon as I was back in the northeast.)
- and many, many, many, many dentist/oral surgeon/prosthodontist/orthodontist appointments and smile. Literally. (I’m also prone to cavities because I’ve inherited the soft enamel covered teeth that grow cavities if you look at them the wrong way. Needless to say I hate going to the dentist.)
68. I own two rocking chairs. I love rocking chairs. (not gliders, rocking chairs.)
69. One of them is from when I was an infant; it leaves marks on wood floors, and after my parents had the floors refinished they banned it from the house. I asked/begged them to hold onto it for me, and it’s moved with me 6 times in the last 4 years. Each time I move it my parents see it and let me know they’re glad I asked for it.
70. My other rocking chair was a college graduation gift. It’s the “university chair” that is black with gold accents and has the school crest and my whole name engraved (do you engrave wood? What’s the word I’m thinking of…) into it. It’s beautiful. And it was a complete and total surprise.
71. I love Winne The Pooh. (my bear is a 1980’s “Sears” Bear and impossible to find outside of ebay. Given the choice I prefer “classic” pooh to the “disney” pooh.) I think the books are best appreciated as an adult.
72. I love the BBC and British Humour.
73. I can’t wait to get back out to Las Vegas to see the Cirque Du Soleil shows I haven’t seen yet. In my next life I hope to be a Cirque performer.
74. I’m secretly planning a trip to Montreal to see the “new for 2005” Cirque show during the four days I have “off” after I take my boards in June.
75. I’m looking forward to the show and the trip. Not looking forward to the boards.
76. I was disappointed the Red Socks didn’t win the World Series at home.
77. My stethoscope tubing is navy blue.
78. I hate to have my picture taken but love photography.
79. I am at my best in the early and late evenings and at night. I can’t even pretend to be a morning person.
80. If it were possible to subscribe to a newspaper that offered only good news, the horoscopes and a wide range of comic strips, I’d be the first to sign up.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

"Gusto" hat (Plymouth Gusto yarn); another one that I started last year and finished this year! (goal for this year? start it AND finish it!)  Posted by Hello

Magic Stipes Socks (magic strip Lion Brand yarn and pattern was a low cost investment for my first pair! I like how they turned out and would use both the yarn and the pattern again) Posted by Hello

My first pair of socks is


I'm so excited to have them on my feet right now - they're the same size (aside from the upper part being a bit looser in the first one I knit) and even though the stripes don't match, they do line up. I'm happy with them, and will wear them with pride. (another pair, here I come! after I finish the scarf, my mom's sweater and a few silent auction things...)

I knit away in class this afternoon, checking my measurements every so often. I either got too caught up in what the professor was lecturing about or didn't realize I'd knit so far down, and at one point I checked and realized I was an inch past where I needed to be to start the toe decreases! I took out the extra rows (and nothing draws classmates to a knitting project then when they see you undoing what you've spent the last hour working on) and before I knew it, had a completed sock!

I also finished a gusto hat; I started it last year, but never got around to putting the stitches on dpns from the circular needle. It's been chilly here, and I can't have too many hats, so I finished it up and voila! It's gotten a lot of complements from my classmates, and I always let them know that it's a beginner level project and if they want to try knitting I'll get them everything they need. I haven't had any serious takers yet, but I have had a few people ask me if I'll show them the basics. I helped get someone started on a beginners swatch for another hat, but we ran out of time before classes ended (and everyone took off) and last I heard she had abondoned it. After the cardio system exam (part of it is next week, the rest is on Feb 2nd), I'm going to ask if she wants to get together again; I don't want to push knitting on anyone, I just want her to know that I'm more then happy to help her get started again.

(the yarn on the hat did something strange - there are sideways purple "v's" all around the bottom edge. It's a random color scheme but didn't look like it when I started!)

We got more snow then they had predicted last night and tonight there's a parking ban. It means that I need to be up early to move my car out of the municipal lot, but that'll get me up and moving and into school in time to review ekg's before class starts. I'm going to bring the yellow/black scarf and see if I can put a dent in it. I'd hoped to put it in the mail this weekend, but at this rate it might be Monday.

My CSA went okay; I got high points for patient interactions and listening to the patient, but I think I misdiagnosed an anemia and ran out of time explaining the different types of arthritis to a patient. I have A LOT more to learn and be comfortable with before I feel anything like a "real" doctor. Putting together what we've learned in class with what a patient presents with is harder then I thought it'd be. I'm glad we have exercies like todays to try before we're let out "on our own" this summer. (we're always under the care of a supervising doctor, but they'll expect us to know the basics and how to ask the right questions that will lead to a diagnosis.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Knitting Content

I'm going to try and split up the knitting from the non-knitting, so people who are here to only read about one or the other have an easier time. THANK YOU! to the people who have posted comments - unfortunetly I don't have a way of personally thanking you (email or blog) unless you leave that info. Sharon - the story about your son made me smile, and it sounds like he's going to give you a run for you money as he gets older. Alice - those were the exact comments I heard from people today! if only they knew how easy it is to do....

I turned the heel of the second sock in the pair, and hoped to have a full set to post tonight, but it looks like I'm going to need tomorrow to finish it. We had a lecture on pediatric cardiology, and I took more notes then I had expected to.

I had a doctors appointment today and while I was there she looked at my wrist; it's still sore, but I can't comply with giving up knitting, and she knows that. Knitting with a brace on is going to take some time to get used to (again). Hopefully I'll be back up to speed soon as I have a lot of things I want to finish/need to finish before I start new projects!

Tomorrow I'm participating in "Not a Damn Dime Day." I don't think it will change the economic structure of the US tomorrow, but I feel like I need to do my part, no matter how small it is. My own awareness of spending money had been heightened this week because of tomorrow, and that alone makes it worth it. I'm also going to wear blue, and will avoid the news and focus on classwork and my knitting.

here's the pair of socks that I hope to finish tomorrow in lecture. I'm going to pack the yellow/black striped scarf to work on too, and will post a picture of the finished things (hopefully) tomorrow.

Stay warm, and dry!

almost a pair of socks!  Posted by Hello

It's cold! (and snowing and blustery)

and chances are pretty good I'm going to have to dig my car out tomorrow morning. I have a clinical skills assement tomorrow morning and will be in preceptor dress, so I may have to get up early and go shovel it out in other clothes and then come in and change. I'll see what it looks like tomorrow.

Clinical skills assements are done in a simulated patient "lab" of sorts; standardized patients are trained "actors" who know how to present a realistic story (of an ache or pain or other medical conditon) and they answer our questions in character. The whole experience is videotaped and we're graded by our patients, the people watching our videos, and include a lot of self-critique comments. The last time we had a CSA we met with two patients, each for 14 minutes, and had 10 minutes to do a standard write-up. Tomorrow I'm meeting with 4 patients (17 minutes each, and a different set of write-ups) and the next time we do this we'll meet with 8 patients. I don't want to be the doctor that sees a new patient every 15 minutes, but I may not have much choice next year during my clerkships (time in the hospital/with patients in the office) and it's good practice for us to learn how to ask the "right" questions and figure out which parts of the physical exam we're going to need to do. I think the most nerve-wracking part is knowing that it's being videotaped, but hopefully by the third patient tomorrow I'll have forgotten all about it.

Tomorrow afternoon is full of cardiac pharmacology. I've been trying to keep up and get ahead in pharm, but now I'm finding that waiting to see how they introduce the drugs to us is helpful. It's amazing that some of the drugs we're using have been used for years and years, and we still aren't sure exactly how they work. Friday moring we have four hours of ekg interpertation, and the professor goes in order around the room having us do our best to tell him what we see. He left off a row in front of where I usually sit, so chances are pretty good that I'll be called on to answer some of his questions; tomorrow night will be full of me reviewing what we've done so far.

(good thing I can knit and read at the same time!)

Monday, January 17, 2005

How not to replace a car battery.

the short version: I went back to my parents house to take care of a few things and go to a dentist appointment today. My car has been starting rough, and the weather is predicted to get colder (which is the opposite of warmer - what I'd like to see it do); so this evening it occurs to me that I should probably get it looked at.

the long version:

When worried about your car's battery, it's best to seek a second opinion. That second opinion is best sought during the start or middle of business hours at a reputable competitive car battery place; and should not, say, be done fifteen minutes before closing at, say, Sears. If this is the best (only) option, then it will work; but be prepared to pay more for a car battery then you've ever paid before.

I drive a "foriegn" car. Nevermind that it's 13 years old, was bought used and has over 164,000 miles on it (and will make it over 200,000 if I have my way), it's "special" because it's "from away" and needs the most expensive of all car batteries. The good news is that it has a three year warranty, and with any luck will last the rest of the time I own the car. (for those keeping track Novemeber was "replace the throttle body" month, December was "time for a new exhaust system" and now, January, will hold the "new battery" title. Any guesses for what the rest of the year might bring?) I love my car. I'm going to save the "why I love my car" post for another day, but trust me when I say that I love my car. Her name is Kennedy and I'm glad that tomorrow morning, no matter how cold it is (predicted to be between -4 and 6 degrees F) she will start. (the good news is that the battery charge test showed it was indeed my battery, and that it was dying a quick and almost certain death. The alternator and starter are fine!)

The problem with having a snaaby car "from away?" My radio has a code. Whenever the battery is disconnected the radio beeps and requests a four number "code" before it will play again. If one, says, enters the wrong code, the radio remains locked out for 24 hours, or until the battery is disconnected once again. Seeing as how I had kept the nice people at Sears there past their auto parts closing time, I didn't bother to go beg them to please just disconnect it and reconnect it so I could listen to something other then myself for the hour ride back to my appartment. So I rode in silence, only interupted by the swishing of the windsheild wipers and the downshifting of the tractor trailers in lanes next to me. It was a long ride, but I had part of Howie Day's "Perfect Time of Day" stuck in my head (thank you Sears) so it wasn't as bad as it could have been (like a teeny bopper boy band song?).

I'm hoping that the 24 hour time period expires sometime tomorrow morning and I'll be able to listen to whatever (npr, local radio chit chat or a cd?) on my way to a "health teaching" preceptorship. Tomorrow, with a fellow student, we're going to teach 4th graders that smoking is bad. It should be fun.

After the dentist appointment this morning (all clear! the reason why that's such a big deal will be explained at a future date) and before the battery escapade, I went to a local yarn shop with my mom. They're having their 56th annual yarn sale, and everything is 20% off. I picked up the Cascade quatro I ordered (it's much more beautiful then the picture shows and has purple, green and blue strands) and my first ever Lorna Laces sock yarn. My mom picked up a pattern to use with her "antique" yarn; it's at least 23 years old but there isn't anything wrong with it. I'm excited to see how her vest turns out. I am very excited to get started on my next pair of socks, but feel too inexperienced just yet to use the beautiful purple, blue, aqua, yellow yarn. Another pair or two down and I'll be ready; then there'll be no turning back.

(yarn is pictured along with my finished noro hat (a 2004 but not seamed (poorly and fast because it's cold out) till 2005) and the books my nose will be in the rest of this week. Knitting will commence again tomorrow during lecture....)

a collison of both worlds.  Posted by Hello

My Debbie Bliss Cotton Wool discount bin yarn for a (hopefully?) fair isle sweater.  Posted by Hello

Sunday, January 16, 2005

20 Things About Me

(in order to study the “100 things” is going to need to be broken up into pieces…)

81. I grew up in a capital city and then went to college in a capital city of another state. Now I live an hour or so outside of the capital, but am looking to return to that area eventually.
82. My undergrad major started out as physical therapy, but then I fell in love with biochemistry and switched over to a full-out american chemical society biochem degree. At some point in my last year of undergrad I dropped the acs certification and saved myself from a 4+ hour long physical chemistry lab. I don’t regret it.
83. When I first changed my major (during my first year) everyone assumed I’d go to medical school. I always laughed and told them that no, I was going to get a PhD, save the world from a major disease, win a nobel prize and retire by the ocean.
84. A summer internship in a chemistry lab changed my mind and I started studying for the mcat (med college admissions test) and looking into medical schools. No one but myself was surprised.
85. I shouldn’t have been surprised – my standard answer to the “what do you want to be when you grow up” question was always “a doctor.”
86. Now I’m a year and a half into med school and am looking forward to the “classes” aspect of my education to end. My next two years are spent in clincal situations with patients and I think the whole “going to be a doctor” will feel real then.
87. At this point I want to go into family practice with some manipulation; I’m looking into programs that will let me do a dual residency in family practice and neuromuscular medicine – NMM is another term for OMM: osteopathic manipulative medicine.
88. Based on my previous experiences passing out in each of them, I don’t want to work in an emergency room or be a surgeon. (read below for the latest story)
89. I love working with kids and look forward to delivering them. (such is why FP is a good idea for me: I can deliver them, care for them, and then watch them grow up!)
90. I’ve never worked in retail, as a waitress or in a job that requires I talk on the phone. Instead I’ve worked for the postal service, as a lifeguard, at a summer camp and in a kitchen. I’ve also been watching other peoples kids for over 14 years.
91. My favorite colors are all shades of blues and purples – though the very bold bright blues and purples aren’t my favorites. Instead I find myself drawn to the dusky, mutted colors and colors that mimic the color of the sky just after the sun sets before the darkness falls.
92. I started a blog because of how much I enjoyed reading everyone elses blog. I had no idea the online knitting community was as big as it is and I’m glad I’m a part of it now.
93. I’m a liberal, straight but not narrow, tree-hugging, healthcare for everyone supporting, pacifist-ic democrat. That makes me one of those left-wingers who believes in a woman’s right to choose, marriage for two people no matter what sex they are, and peace is the right way.
94. Close-mindedness bothers me more then I wish it did. I respect that everyone has an opinion, but don’t understand how people can think/vote in a way that restricts rights for people different from themselves.
95. I knit in class. I think it’s the only way I’m gong to get through school.
96. Decaf non-fat vanilla latte or decaf non-fat peppermint mocha from Starbucks (or any local coffehouse) please!
97. Right now I drink as much tea as I do coffee; it’s a balance that shifts both ways.
98. I wish my wrist were feeling better so I could knit. Reading pathology books is much more interesting when I’m working on a project. I knit as often as I can – and people are learning that I can have a conversation without paying attention to my knitting. It throws them at first, but they get over it.
99. I’m taking my knitting with me to the conference in Reno this March; I plan on knitting on the plane (while studying for boards) and during as many lectures as I can.
100. I don’t have a huge yarn stash because this summer I have to pack up most of what I own and put it into storage while I move into “student housing” for my clerkship years. That fact hasn’t stopped me from buying yarn, it just means that I don’t have a whole lot of “fun” yarns that I bought “just because” I liked it. I'm excited for a time when that will change.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

I'm further down on the sock! the non-matching stripes are beginning to grow on me.  Posted by Hello

the little bit of progress I was able to make on the scarf. Posted by Hello

Attack of the carpal tunnel

It all started when I was in high school - my wrists would be sore, and then ache, and then, after I left them alone, they'd get better. In college I'd spend many hours at my un-ergonomic desk typing (papers, assignments, etc) and my wrists would hurt and I'd wake up in the middle of the night with hands that were numb. The feeling returned, but then they ached.

Fast forward to my last year of college and first appointment with my (now) doctor, and she put two and two together and diagnosed me with carpal tunnel syndrome. I resisted seeing a neurologist for almost a year, but finally gave in and made an appointment. He then, via some fancy electrodes and needles, confirmed that I had cts in both wrists, but more significant in the right. He said I was a good canidate for surgery in my right arm, but that I was young and he'd hold off a bit. At that point I'd lost up to 15% of my nerve conductance, but he promised me it'd come back if I wore my braces (always at night and during the day when I used my hands/wrists) and asked me to return for a follow-up a few months later.

That appointment was a year and a half ago, and I never made it back for the follow-up. Oops. I haven't been wearing my braces (it slows me down when I knit and my writing looks worse then it already does). I went through a stint where if I went to bed with them on, I'd wake up with them sitting on the floor (somedays they looked like they were just dropped there, but some days it looked like I'd thrown them across the room....) and finally just gave up wearing them.

Denial is a beautiful thing until someone gets hurt. In my case it was Friday morning during a particularly boring lecture. The familiar ache had started earlier in the week, but I brushed it off and knitted away - until a pain like no other clenched ahold of my arm and wouldn't let go. I left class to try and find some advil and my whole hand was purple and swollen. My wrist was hot and swollen, and for the rest of the day I took class notes with my left hand and could only look at my knitting. I'd have given anything for the brace and put it on as soon as I got home. Just having it stay in one position was a relief, and since then it's only come off to take a shower.

Classes and days at school are a lot longer when I can't knit. I've learned my lesson and will wear my brace and will consider calling the neurologist for another appointment. I have a doctors appointment this week and will mention what happened in hopes that she'll have some additional things I can try. In the meantime, I'm going to try and stay away from the needles for the rest of today, and see how tomorrow goes. I had no idea how traumatic this would be - it's hard not to have my hands busy with something. I like seeing progress on one of my million projects and don't like that it's all stalled.

Doctors are horrible patients but I think I've learned this lesson. Knit with a brace on. Or at least knit with a brace on when the aching starts......

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Yikes - Stripes!!!

I started the second sock in hopes that it won't take me as long as the second one to finish. I have seen enough pictures of socks to know that a matching hand knit pair of socks is a beautiful thing; and so I unwound the ball of yarn until I found the repeat I was looking for, and then matched up the colors for the cast on and started knitting.

Imagine my surprise when I knit up three stripes and the pattern of my second sock didn't match the pattern of the first sock. I thought about it but was sure I'd found the right repeat and figured it was just that I was a row of brown off. Several stripes later it became evident that I'd found the wrong repeat in the yarn - and thus my socks aren't going to match. (the picture below is from yesterday, I'm a few more stripes into it now and instead of being in a green stripe, am in a blue stripe. Oops.)

My knitting for the second sock is much tighter and even, and so even if the stripes did match, I don't think they'll look much like each other (the overhang above my heel that I was worried about shouldn't be a problem this time around). I'll wear them (so long as the second one fits!) proudly and think that I like sock knitting. Who knew?

(I've been reading enough other sites to know that there are mumblings of this being the year of the sock; I knew nothing about that when I started these, and promise that I'm not knitting them to follow the flock. Instead it's more of a want to demystify the tiny needles and fun self patterning yarn. Now that I'm doing it, it's fun and I think I finally "get" why people knit these and have huge sock yarn stashes...)

The scarf below is being knit with Cascade 220 from HelloYarn. They were great and shipping was fast AND affordable! ($2 an order!) I'm still waiting for the elann yarn to get here, but the discounts for the peruvian wool should make up for the slow (I'm cheap and didn't fork over the extra dollars for priority mail and that might have been a mistake; though I've learned that it doesn't really matter how you send something, there's always a chance it'll take longer then it should to get where it's going. Remind me to tell you that story sometime...) shipping. I'm knitting it in the round and will seam off the ends when it's done. I am MUCH happier with this scarf and hope to have it done within the next week or so.

I've spent my evening reading about and trying to interpert EKG's. They're like reading a code, and eventually, after looking at enough of them, a pattern develops. We've got another two weeks of the heart to go, and I have a lot to learn before the test so my knitting may be spordic.

the stripes don't match! Posted by Hello

The Bruins scarf (or bumble bee stripes?) for my brother in Boston  Posted by Hello

Monday, January 10, 2005

my first sock is done!

I dug out my sock today, and was closer to being done then I had intially thought! I wasn't happy with the way it was turning out, but decided to finish it up and use it as a "first time experience" to learn from. I am still looking for a different pattern, but I'll make the second one of this pair from the same pattern so they'll "match." I've heard stories of socks being mate-less, but I'm anxious to cast-on this one and get started on it!

The yarn for my brothers scarf came today, and I cast on using a circular needle so I could knit in the round and have a flat scarf at the end. I had a few inches done, but wasn't happy with how it turning out. I'm not very good at controlling the tension consistantly when I knit with the yarn in my left hand and so I ripped it out and will start it again tomorrow. I'm ta'ing for the first years tomorrow, and will be able to knit during their class (before lab). Ta'ing means preceptor dress, and I have my new flannel skirt and a sorta-kinda matches grey shirt laid out for it. We're also seeing patients on Wednesday for the cardio listening lab so it'll be two days in a row of "professional" dress. (at some point I'll need to look nice every day, and I laugh when I think about how I plan outfits ahead so I won't run out of clothes or wear the same thing now; at some point I'm going to need to give it up.)

My white coat isn't as wrinkle-free as it should be, but I'll fold it over my chair in the morning and do what I can to smooth it out. I don't like wearing it, because I don't think the short white coat makes me a doctor; and when I have it on the line "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV" runs through my mind.....

a front on view of my first sock; I was so excited it looked almost done that I tried it on before I finished off the final toe stitches. They were easier to do then I thought, and aside from the bunchy-ness of the spot above the heel, I'm happy with it. I'm going to cast on for it's mate sometime later this week. (I promise - I'm so happy with this one that it will have a mate!)  Posted by Hello

a side view of my first sock! I think my tension was too loose above the heel - so it's a little bit baggy. If I point my toes to my nose it's perfect!  Posted by Hello

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Happiness is....

-being able to park my car and leave it for a few days in the same place, thus dodging the parking ban
-being able to watch the snow plows and other heavy machinery moving snow across the street
-having friends who are on their way to another part of the state come by for a quick "hello" and "how are you?" chat
-being able to sit and knit whenever I wanted this weekend
-fresh vegetables with dinner
-Burts Bees Beeswax Lip Balm
-clean sheets and all of the blankets piled high
-figuring out how to post pictures!

I think Sundays are a good day of the week to take stock in what happiness is; it helps me to realize that I have a lot to be thankful for, and helps me to change my outlook for the week.

The pictures below go with a few of the past entries; the kitty pi was actually done with Pattons Merino wool and Reynolds Lopi, not the superwash I posted earlier. (I realized after knitting a bit that the superwash wouldn't felt, and chalked it up to being overtired and took it out.) I did add fun fur and was happy with how it came out! (I heard from Levi's owner that he's still using it, much to both of our surprises!)

A few weeks ago I taught myself how to knit in the "contential" or "picking" style. I originally learned so I'd be able to attempt fair isle knitting (with the Debbie Bliss cotton/wool) but have found that it's easier on my wrists for everyday knitting. I'm still not as fast or as acurate as I was "throwing" the yarn, and it's hard for me to hold two strands on dpns, but I know that eventually it'll be as easy and second nature as "English" knitting is.

I haven't had any luck finding a fair isle pattern, so my next step is to see what the bookstore has in stock. I read some reviews of "Traditional Fair Isle" and that might be the book I've been looking for.

This week my yarn from elann and helloknitty (I think that's the name?) should arrive. I started my brothers Bruins color scarf last year, but the yarn is stiff (100% bulky acrylic) and not very comfortable. I found cascade 220 yarn in the right colors (bright yellow and black) and ordered it - I've used cascade 220 and quatro in the past, and have been pleased with the final projects. (I love my quatro scarf so much that at my local yarn stores anual winter sale I ordered enough to make a sweater out of.) I also ordered sock yarn, which serve as a good motivator to get my not-yet-completed first ever sock done.

(I know there are many terms out there for people who have a half dozen projects going...I think I fit into that category.)

there's a cable design there, it's just harder then I thought it'd be to photograph! I'm going to make one of these scarves in gray/grey/silver for the silent auction at school. (it's much nicer looking in person) Posted by Hello

where I'm at after a day of knitting (off and on) on my mom's Christmas sweater sleeve. I think I knit tighter with dpn's, and will have to rip out a few rows and go back and intentially knit looser so the sleeve doesn't get too small too fast. (I HATE metal double pointed needles and that may be part of the problem; but I wanted to work on it, and they were all I had for the size.)  Posted by Hello

my project linus blanket; the multicolored and pink squares were done on vacation, the yellow was started on the plane and finished in class, and the green was started/finished in class last week. I've just started on the blue for the next row. (it's more square in person!)  Posted by Hello

two strawberry hats - one is a 6 month size, one is the 1 year size. Both knit up quick - each one took an evening. Posted by Hello