Thursday, June 30, 2005

I'm a day ahead, yet again.

It appears I'm not the only one who can get three socks out of two balls of sock yarn! (why isn't that well known? or is it, and I was just slow to realize it?) A few people mentioned that they have made another pair from combining two "odd" balls - that's one way to get rid of near full balls of sock yarn. This somewhat new realization has me wondering if I should buy two balls of (expensive) sock yarn? The alternative is to keep a supply of solid sock weight yarn in (my) "common" sock colors for heels/toes/stripes. It might not be any cheaper, but I think I'd probably use yarn up on a more regular basis, and it'd be easier to justify adding "fun" colors/stripes to my sock yarn stash if I'm using up what I have. (but can I just buy one ball and assume that it'll get me through a pair and a half, or a pair with different toes? probably not. I'm not sure I'll be able to do it.)

Now that my mom's socks are finished I can work on a pair for myself. I cast on a sock in the LL "Jeans" colorway that Cassie sent up, but frogged it after a few rows of the pattern. In honor of the sender I thought I'd try a "feather and fan" sock. I don't have the book that the sock pattern came from, but found the stitch pattern in a book I checked out of the library (see Liz, I do use the public library! next I need to work on using interlibrary loan...) and thought I'd cast on the right number of stitches for the pattern. According to the book I have, I need 56 stitches for the pattern. I usually make sock with 56 stitches, but in this pattern (on size 2's) the sock looks too small. I frogged it and thought I'd try it on size 3's and see how that looked with the plan that if this looks too big then I'll go back to the 2's. I'd rather have a sock that's a tad bit too big with a little bit of slouch then one that is too tight and feels like it's continually cutting off blood flow to my feet.

I've also had a stream of chemo caps on and off the needles. Using the Lion Boucle is killing my hands, but it's mistake-forgiving in the decreases and the resulting hat is easy to care for and bright and colorful. The dealine I set for myself was this week, because after tomorrow I'll need to mail the finished hats instead of being able to hand them off. I'm seeing a trip to the post office in my future.

My small group met for the last time earlier this week, but I had my last (really this time, on our calendar it says "summer break" from here on out!) "class" this morning. One of our professors sees the benefit of giving us an anatomy/radiology review before we start out in the clinics, and this morning I spent three hours in the anatomy lab. The professors and doctors who told me I'd never be able to forget the smell were right. Our lab is newer then most other schools, and has top of the line ventilation, but it's hard to not smell it when standing over a dissected body that has been preserved with chemicals. The review was helpful, and I'm even more confident that I'll be able to id the basics on a chest x-ray or spiral CT scan. When we couldn't answer the questions that were asked we'd return to the bodies and see how the 3D anatomy fit with the 2d Xray.

The body is really just a bunch of tubes. Some of the tubes carry blood, some carry food, some carry enzymes, etc. The tubes all look the same (at first) on a CT, but once a few key tubes are identified, the rest of it all falls into place. (a CT takes a series of pictures of the anatomy in question (we viewed abdominal ct's this morning) in a plane perpendicular to the body. (I can't think of a good comparison other then to say it's like cutting a roll of sugar cookie dough into thin sections. The pictures we see are like viewing a cookie sheet of slices.) Being able to piece the whole thing together and follow organs through all the pictures is like putting a puzzle together, and, dare I say it, almost fun? That being said it might not be as much fun when I'm under the gun, or the stare of a not-so-happy attending who may not share my enthusiasm.

I spent more then half of today convinced that it was Friday, July 1st. I suppose this means that I've "found" an extra day this week?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

pictures from my weekend.....

I'm back in my own neck of the woods now and am trying to catch up with everything! These offer a quick review of my weekend; I'm playing around with how to upload pictures, and this post and the one below it are attempts to figure out which works better.

It was great to meet up with Liz; she is as wonderful in person as she is on her blog. In the span of a few hours I got a chance to meet her family of animals and see her house (it's amazing!!!) and we chatted without any real moments of silence. Her spinning is beautiful, and I'm proud that I was able to resist using her wheel. I think I'm going to stick with my spindle for awhile longer.....

my duck

Liz's Ducks

they quack, they waddle - they were wonderful!!!!

Liz with the pure white duck - the duck was very good natured about being picked up so I could see her up close and personal!

just a quick picture to remind you all that colon cancer is a cancer that can be prevented if colon polyps are found and removed. Vegetables and fiber are good for everyone, but great for people who want to remain healthy!

a light that Liz and I found in a trendy store. Why? really, why?

A tangilble reminder of what to hold onto; Some of the lunimaries at the track were arranged, while most were spread around the perimeter (they were personalized by people on teams).

a question about sock yarn: This is what I was able to do with one ball of "Sock It To Me" 50g/230 yrds. Is this normal? I thought a ball made one sock, but it appears that with two balls of yarn, I can make three socks. (I feel as though there is something wrong with that, but really I am curious if I'm the only one!) My mom's socks are finished, and she's happy to have them! (of course they were finished and tried on during the hottest week of the summer.......)

Sunday, June 26, 2005

happiness is.....

- a thunderstorm passing over, and bringing cooler air
- comfortable linen pants
- an almost finished second sock
- a good visit with another like-minded knitter
- my last day of class being this Tuesday

all is good in my world right now; it looks like the air will cool down enough to be comfortable for sleeping tonight, and I don’t have any reason to be up “early” tomorrow morning. I have a few things to look up and take care of for my class on Tuesday, but it’s nothing compared to the other things I need to take care of before the end of June. This has been a great weekend with my family (I realize that I may not be the norm when it comes to enjoying time with my parents and brothers; we all have such a good time when we’re all together, especially when we have time to sit around the breakfast/dinner table and chat about what’s going on in our lives, and in the world.)

We all met up (we three kids all came from three different places and converged) at the Relay. The team wasn’t as large as other teams, but added their total amount to the total and the whole event raised over $75,000. My Godmother was able to be there for a bit, and it was wonderful to see her in person. My parents spend the night at the track, and walked all through the night and into the wee hours of the morning while we kids slept in beds at home. They earned a lot of respect from a lot of people, myself included.

The second sock is mere stripes away from the toe decreases and will be finished by the time I head to bed tonight. It feels good to get a project done but it feels even better knowing that it’s for someone else. I had pledged to do more knitting for myself, but now I realize that I need to counter it with knitting for other people. For me, happiness can also be knitting for others…..

Friday, June 24, 2005

I think I'm gonna stay here with socks, but you all go on ahead....

one down, one started! Posted by Hello

As true to form, I’m a few months behind the rest of the knit-blogging world. While you all are happily knitting lace scarves and shawls, I think I’m gonna hang back a bit; I’ve fallen in love (all over again) with socks. (This means that as summer peaks and we all start to think about sweaters for the fall I'll probably be just starting my first lacy shawl; I keep thinking I'll start Kiri, and I do plan to, but for this weekend I'll admit to only wanting to work on socks....)

I experienced something that can only be described as a reverse-vortex, for lack of a better term. The knitting drew me in, and I didn’t care what progress I was making, as long as I was knitting tiny stitches round and round and round. I tried to stop last night so I could get to bed at a reasonable hour, but instead minutes went by that I can no longer account for, and the sock grew till it was finished. The hum of my laptop and the “clock” screen saver drove me batty, so I did what any knitter I know would do and turned it off.

The first sock in the pair is finished (and is the best one yet, though now I realize the ribbed section could have been much longer...) and the second was started with the same ball of yarn. I have another ball all ready to go, but the first ended at the right repeat and I couldn't help but cast-on. All of the beautiful sock yarn still in skeins or balls was enough to motivate me to cast on, and I hope to get the second one done (and gifted!) this weekend.

I love knitting socks.

I’m headed north (back up to my parents neck of the woods) to walk in the local Relay for Life. My mom organized a team in honor of my Godmother (who, though she’s a non-smoker, has lung cancer), and I’m going to walk for awhile. The team is made up of people who all know the story of what my Godmother has been through, and she’s going to make an appearance early this evening. She’s undergoing chemo right now and is doing well, all things considered. The team has raised over $1,000 thus far and I’m proud of my mom for taking on the challenge of putting together a team (while at the same time being busy with work and life).

(I hope to be back to the vitrual world on Sunday, but if not then “happiness is…” will appear once I can get back to a computer)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

a whole lot going on, but not a whole lot to show....

I’ve been spreading myself thin between all of my current projects, and thus it doesn’t feel like I’m getting very far on them! The sock is still being knitted, I’m taking yarn out of sweaters that didn’t work the first time around, finishing up some sewing projects so I can start other sewing projects and still spindling. It’s good for my transient project ADD, but not so great for completion or interesting blogging.

(Thanks for the reassurance on Kiri; I’m going to dive into it next, and will follow the directions as written, even if it doesn’t look like it will make sense!)

The Lorna’s Laces from Cassie arrived and I’m thrilled with it. The colors are great, and it’s yarn that I would buy for myself! (now that it’s actually here I think my sock knitting will pick up….)

Yesterday was my final clinical skills assessment (CSA) for the year. I saw 8 different patients in the simulated clinic, and had 14 minutes (not the 18 I thought I had) to speak with the “patients” (they’re actors, or simulated patients) and examine them before having 9 minutes to write up a note, or answer questions based on what I found. The clinic is set up like a doctor’s office and has 8 different small rooms, along with a few other common rooms; one is set up with computers so we can type out our notes and one is a “control center” of sorts. Each of the exam rooms has a camera and microphone in the ceiling, and the feeds are sent to the control room to be viewed while we’re in there, and to be taped for future review and/or further grading. We’ve had three CSA’s this year – we saw 2 pts in the first one, 4 in the second one and both led up to this last one. During the earlier CSAs we had a chance to meet with the patient we had seen and hear first hand how we had done. Yesterday we weren’t given any direct feedback, but we felt prepared for the 8 pt, 4 hour marathon.

Each of the situations is unique, and the wide range of problems spans from ethical issues to the usual “cold” and musculoskeletal problems to end of life care. In one case an older couple presents with one of them showing signs of dementia, and shows us how hard it can be to do an interview with two people in the room, each with a different story. Yesterday I was asked to evaluate a 77 year old (character) to see if he should still be living on his own, and saw a patient/character who wanted a note to get out of work for “back pain” even though he didn’t have any back pathology and he couldn’t keep his story straight. There were a few more usual cases, and overall the standardized patients were great – they kept in character and one person with “real” back pain had me so convinced I found myself helping him stand up and move over to the exam table. While I was in the room with the patients, another person who was trained to do that particular case was watching in the control room. Both the person watching and the patient grade me, and the note or questions I answered after each encounter will be graded. I didn’t look forward to going, but I learned a lot and think it’s a great experience.

(14 minutes doesn’t sound like a very long time to interview/examine someone, but I can finally say that I feel like it’s a manageable amount of time. I don’t want to be the doctor who runs into a room looking rushed and skipping over the “how are you’s” but now I’m more confident that I’ve learned how to use the time I have.)

Now that the half day learning experience is over, I feel even closer to being “done.” I still have class this week and next, but the end is near!

Life is good.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

happiness is....

- an almost finished back-tack project Posted by Hello
- a successful trip to the thrift store that yielded a cotton tape sweater (that came apart easily and will become a tank-top) and a bunch of (still current!) books (that included a conversation with the other woman looking through the soft covers and concluded with both of us recommending titles to each other)
- homemade (and not burnt) blueberry pancakes
- a clean(er) apartment
- a mild and sunny day after a week of cooler and wetter days

Kiri (up in the left hand column): I’ve tried to start this on a few occasions but don’t fully understand the cast-on instructions… Does it mean that I’m knitting around the rectangle of the knit up stitches that were knit from the provisional cast-on? (I’m fairly certain this is an easy thing that I’m complicating; it’s not the first time. I think part of the problem is that I can’t see what the directions mean, and it doesn’t look right when I start it. I can start it again this week and show pictures of what I think I’m supposed to do; that might make more sense.)

Overall this was a good weekend, and I did as recommend and kept busy with projects and started a few things that I knew I could finish in a reasonable amount of time. (I’m not usually an “instant gratification” person but it worked this weekend) Most of my school paperwork is done, and tonight I’ll balance a lit search on the benefits of antibiotics before/during/after open abdominal surgery and finish up my discharge note on our fictious patient. Tomorrow is a crazy day that’ll start with an early morning clerkship orientation and end with a late evening small group meeting. In between I’m headed north for an acupuncture appointment, and hope to make a few phone calls that I’ve been putting off.

At some point I need to review my clinical skills because Tuesday afternoon I have my final clinical skills assessment; this time it’s 8 standardized patients in 4 hours. I’ll have 18 minutes with each “patient” and 12 minutes for a write-up, and once it’s done I can hang up my white coat till I start rotations in August.

I finished a needle roll and a fabric bag for my back-tack project, and later this week I hope to get a small zippered pouch done. I need to review how to put a zipper in, but once that’s done I’ll put it in the mail. Before I know it June will be over and July will be here!

Friday, June 17, 2005

in a rut (but with hope to be out of it soon!)

the (very belated) birthday sock - tonight the heel (tomorrow, the world?) Posted by Hello

I’ve attempted to put all this into words in the past few days, but it never really materialized. I’m in a pseudo- project rut, and my attempts to jump out of it have been thwarted. Putting the striped sweater aside was harder then I thought it would be, and I haven’t yet found a sweater project to take its place. (the swatching for Rogue isn’t complete yet and I think it’ll be wrapped up sometime tonight while I’m watching British sitcoms on PBS. I’m leaning towards an olive colored cascade 220, but I need to make sure I can really (and reliably) get gauge….)

I have been working on my mom’s birthday sock; back in February I gave her a ball of yarn with the promise that a pair of socks would come out of it. It was on my “afterboards” project list, and I think the first one will be finished this weekend. (She’s a very patient woman and (I think?) will be excited whenever it’s finished.) The second one always moves faster, and I hope to be able to pass them off to her the next time I’m home. (the ulterior motive is that I’ll have a clear conscience and can start socks for me after this pair is finished!)

The fabric for my back-tack project has been sitting in highly visible spot in my apartment in hopes that my ideas will stew and solidify; I think I’ve figured out what I’m going to do with it, and will dive into that tomorrow. My hope is that what I can see in my head will transfer to my hands.

After thinking about it, it doesn’t really sound like I’m in a project rut, but it certainly feels that way. Perhaps it’d be better to say that I’m in a rut, and it feels like it’s spilling over into my projects. For someone who just finished two years of medical school and is done with the boards, I’m not as excited as I could be, and it’s frustrating that I can’t explain why. I’m tired, and the things I put aside to do “afterboards” are all piling up with deadlines looming. (school paperwork all needs to be done by Monday and bills are due next week; my car needs to be inspected and my loans need to be consolidated all before June 30th…) The class I’m in now is all small group work, and we’re learning how to write doctor’s orders and chart work. (no! that doesn’t mean they are teaching me how to write sloppier then I already do!) I have articles to look up and EKG’s to review and orders to write up for our next meeting, and though I’m enjoying it, my heart just isn’t in it. My group is finding that we’re not at all prepared to be out on the wards, and we find ourselves laughing at how the info we needed to know for the boards isn’t what we’ll be doing everyday. I know that it’s a learning process, but it would be nice to feel like I’ve learned *something* practice-worthy right now! I know this will pass and I’ll find a groove again so I will be semi-content to wait this out. (I’ve also had plenty of “is this really what I want to be doing?” moments, but that’s more of a personal thing I’ve covered before. I can’t imagine doing anything else (unless someone wants to pay me to knit and spin, of course), and I’m sure that in the end it’ll all work out.)

Thank you to everyone who commented on my ode to wool; I’ve been trying to get back to people personally, but it’s hard to track everyone down. Thank you to Cassie for the chance to put my wool ode down – as I told her, the thoughts have been floating around in my head for awhile, and it was nice to have a reason to put them down. I don’t win things – it’s a rare, rare thing that I come close and so it was a shock to check my email this morning and find out that the Lorna’s Laces would be on its way up here. (another reason to get my mom’s socks done!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

My Ode To Wool

the back of the picture reads: Kristen at the Common Ground Fair, 9/25/83. I was three and a half years old.

(see Too Much Wool for more details of the Ode To Wool)

“Let’s go look at the sheep!”
I imagine my parents said
it was a family day at the (organic) fair
and I was dressed in yellow and red.

my mom snapped the picture
though I was clearly unimpressed
maybe she could see the future
to when I’d be wool obsessed.

my love for sheep and wool
has definetly grown over the years
much like the girl in the picture
who is now planning her career.

knitting with wool is familiar
it’s also forgiving and warm
the possibilities are endless
(it’s the perfect relationship AND art form!)

I knit because I love to
and with yarn my apartment is full
I may dibble and dabble with cotton,
but I’ll give my heart to wool.

(I think I liked the ducks better that day. My mom sewed my entrie outfit - and the vest is made of Gonk corduroy material. I loved the Gonks, and everything made from that material has been saved for my future kids. Note that I used to be blonde, and that cowlick (one of many) is the reason why I'll never again have bangs.) Posted by Hello

Monday, June 13, 2005

the saga of the still sleeveless striped sweater

without the flash - the grape purple is true, the other colors look a bit washed out.

with a flash - the other colors are closer to true. The not-really-working-for-this sweater color is the purple in the right hand side. Posted by Hello

Back to the knitting! (I tried to pick it up earlier today, but without the joy of AC and in today’s heat and humidity it just didn’t happen. Now that it’s starting to cool off a bit, I can reach for the needles)

The striped sweater was started with the idea of using up the cotton fleece I had stashed; I bought a new green and the antique lace to round out the swatch I did, but I thought that was a small contribution to an entire sweater. I am taller then some, and wanted the body of the sweater to be long enough for me, but those extra inches took up more yarn then I thought it would. The sleeve “coat hanger” math proved to me that I wasn’t going to have enough yarn for two long sleeves (or even one long sleeve now that I’ve re-evaluated). I thought a new color purple and a new striping scheme would solve my problem, but everything I tried looked “off.” (I’ve knit and frogged 4 times, and am sick of trying to get it started only to take it out again, and have HAD IT with untangling the 7 colors!) This past Friday I ran by my “real” local yarn store (up near my parents) and the owner was in! (I’ve missed her the past few times I’ve been to the store.)

She looked at what I’d knitted up and then said what I had been thinking; I was going to need to get another skein of each and knit the sleeves in the same striping as the body. It will look great (I really like how the stripes look) but getting another 8 skeins sorta throws my “it won’t cost much because it’s all from my stash!” plan out the window. I picked up a few colors that day, and she’ll call me when the other colors come in (it could be a few weeks, so I have time to set the project aside and let it be for awhile – that’s probably a good thing given my current frustration with it.), and buying the skeins in parts will be easier for my checkbook. I really like the owner (and she knows me by name) and I’m certain that she wasn’t giving her opinion simply because she wanted a sale; I trust her, and look forward to being closer to her store next year!

(I hate yarn store workers who follow me around and push yarn I’d never buy on me. There’s one store down here that has great prices, but one store worker insists on talking to me while I look; I’ve tried not to be rude, and don’t often respond back, but her loud and unwelcomed rambling often sends me out of the store without any purchases. My ideal yarn stores have a “browse as you please, we’ll be here to help when you’re ready” policy, and don’t act overly snobbish when they see me; some must believe I have no idea what I’m doing, or that I can’t possibly knit anything simply because I look young. Those are the people I like to be looking over my shoulder when I pull out a finished product – it doesn’t always shut them up (some have the gumption to point out what I’ve done wrong) but at least they know they aren’t talking with a beginner.)

Now I’m off to swatch for Rogue; there are a few yarns in the running, and it might take a few different needles to find the right gauge. Please keep a good thought for Mia, who is taking the first part of her medical boards tomorrow. (edited to add: her boards are Wednesday - but I don't think good thoughts go bad over time...)

Sunday, June 12, 2005

pictures of happiness

sheep, waiting to be herded by the dogs

the three dogs all keeping their distance (much was done with the dog's eyes) and the sheep all running through the ramp. They all clumped up together and needed some intervention to go through one at a time....

Woolybuns Chris with a (beautiful!!!) male baby bunny.

the bunny, not real sure about what all the people were doing there

the goods

the yarn Rosemary spun and plyed next to my spun and plyed yarn

my dad's midlife crisis

my mom's more, um,

rebelious midlife crisis? Posted by Hello

happiness is.....

- the advice Laurie sent me before the fiber frolic: "Have a delightful, guiltfree time at the Frolic. Give my best to Rosemary and Julia. Buy."
- meeting up with Julia, who re-taught me how to join fiber to create a more "seamless' join
- Liz, who is so thoughtful that she made sure to get an extra spoon so she could share her black raspberry with chocolate chips frozen yogurt with me (I owe not melting away into a pile of protoplasm to her and wish I'd been able to spend more time with the virtual local)
- Rosemary teaching me the sexy join, how to ply, and not laughing too hard while I giggled at the process
- having a bundle (it's a wee bit small to be a skein) of yarn that I made
- sheets and pillowcases that were dried on clothslines outside; I've been waiting 8 months for that smell
- my parent's midlife crisis

My time at the frolic (albeit short) was good. The sun somehow got the idea that it needed to make up for lost time and was hot enough for both May AND June, and the humidity left everyone looking like we'd all just run several miles, or as though we were glistening Goddesses of fiber. I thought I'd stick around for all of the afternoon, but wimped out after a few hours and retreated to my air conditioned car for a trip back to my parents house (where a glass of fresh brewed ice tea was waiting for me). I wish it had been a bit cooler, or less humid, and not just for me but for the people there selling things; it's hard to be excited about wool when you feel like you have too many clothes on while wearing a t-shirt and shorts. The venders all do better when it's cooler, and I'm hoping they were able to make up for lost profits today.

I started out watching a sheep dog demo. I love sheep dogs, and someday hope to fall madly in love with someone who loves sheep and sheep dogs, and maybe (hopefully?) already has both. (the joy of being single is that I can dream - I'm choosing to try and think of silver linings; anyone know how to meet a sheep dog trainer?) I could have stayed there and watched them work all day, but it was hot and I wanted to see if I could run into other people. As I was contemplating leaving the demo area a sheep jumped over the fence of the entire pen, and then a dog jumped over after it. They called the dog back in, and the sheep (after a quick glance around) took off. Everyone stood there stunned as the sheep ran off, and the guy running the demo wasn't sure how to react. In 30 years of demoing sheep dogs he's never had a sheep jump the fence before. There's a first time for everything!

In terms of wares I left with a few things (because doctor's orders were to "Buy!") but now wish I'd picked a few more things up. (I blame it on wandering around by myself, without enablers ) I met up with fellow bloggers at The Woolen Rabbit's booth and couldn't leave three "balls" of the most beautiful green roving I've ever seen. I think it's 40% angora (I'm going to double check that after other people post pictures of what they got, because I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm not sure what the fiber content is; lesson learned, always write down what it is at the time, because I won't remember it after the fair.) It's so cloudy today that the real colors aren't showing up, but the pics give you an idea what it looks like. (it's very very soft too...that's part of why I couldn't leave them there.) Kim was wonderful and patient while there was a quick spindle lesson going on in front of her area - I think I will be buying things from her for a looong time. (the soap I got is going to be hard to use because I'm not sure what I'm going to do when it's gone...I suppose I'll just have to order more?) I also got a chance to meet Woolybuns Chris and a few of her (beautiful!!!!) rabbits.

I wandered in and out of the vendor barns for awhile before buying things; I was willing to buy what caught my eye, but wanted to get enough of something to have a plan for what I could do with it. I made a point to get "beginners" roving so I wouldn't be disappointed with spindling attempts, and next year I'll probably leave with more fiber. I picked up 7 skeins of the Barlett wool for a cabled sweater for me. I was more sure of the color yesterday, and once I start knitting with it I'm sure I'll love it even more. (though it did help that my mom said I could indeed wear the turquoise-ish shade that it is!) The rabbit mug is from Amy's famed King's Pottery, and was an impulse purchase. I'm calling it my "boards are done" mug, and love using it.

Rosemary had offered to show me how to ply, and she made good on that offer. I learned how to make an Andean bracelet and used my spindle to ply the singles together. The process was magic, and I'm anxious to spin up some more so I can do it again. I have no idea what I'll do with the finished yarn, but it's not really about that, is it?

My dad keeps giving me a wary eye and saying "you're making yarn now? you can't buy it anymore?" when I'm at my parent's house. I simply say, "yup, and I think I'm going to get a spinning wheel later this summer." He's never really sure how to reply to that. This leads me to say a bit about my parent's midlife purchases, and how I feel I can justify such a purchase. My dad had motorcycles after he was out of high school, and was riding one when he met my mom (their 30th first date anniversary is tomorrow) and he rode until they decided to settle down and think about a family. He's always said he'd get another motorcycle, and he waited until we kids were more or less out of the house and on our own.

It was actually my mom that pushed him back into looking at (and eventually buying) a motorcycle; her ulterior motive is that she too is going to ride this time. Yesterday she took the state run class and came home with all her gear: a protective (think the terminator) jacket, helmet and gloves. She has a Honda Rebel bike that they bought a few weeks ago (complete with Lawless Rebel painting) and my dad has a Harley Davidson Road King. The two of them are just smitten with the whole project, and I can only look at them and laugh (and remind them to ride safe because I don't want to see either of them wind up in an ER). They are investing a lot into the gear, the bikes and such, and after seeing their whole process I think I can justify a spinning wheel. My next disbursement of "living funds" comes out in August, and even after I pay off my credit cards from this summers adventures, I will have plenty to live on. (and this gives me to the summer to look at them and figure out if/what I'd want to start on...)

Overall it was a good weekend, and not a bad way to recover from brain mush. I hope to meet up with Liz again this summer, and will see about another trek to Boston before rotations start (and life as I know it ends). We have another three weeks of "classes" (a few hours a week of small group work and required lectures) and then I'm officially free for the summer!

(in my mind summer has already started; this is affirmed with the pile of "fun" library books I have sitting here next to me. The pickings at my local (parent's) library were slim, but I've got enough to get through the next two weeks....)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

For Henry

MamaCate and MamaRys' son Henry just had surgery, and in honor of his popsicle consumption these are the jokes that I've gotten on popsicle sticks.....

What bird is always sad?
a bluebird.

what did the dentist give the marching band?
a tuba toothpaste.

(I looked for ones that a little short one would laugh at, but these are the best I could do.....)

Full Circle

the awful two days of mind-numbing questions are over, and I've been in my own sort of "brain mush" recovery period. (that means that I have no idea what I actually did today aside from taking a nap, munching, catching up on knitting blogs and napping some more) I tried knitting but without having a true "mind numbing" project on the needles, I wound up stopping and starting on the striped sweater sleeve, instead of actually increasing the length.

(the test was awful; we all left each session wondering where the questions came from; and why certain concepts were repeating (some showed up in each of the 4 test books) and others, especially the ones that we'd all been told were classically seen, weren't. I found myself picking the one option I had heard of before, even though it was a pretty good chance that it wasn't the answer. ("who knew E. coli could cause so much?" was often how I justitifed my answer...) It was also exhausting; I didn't use the full four hours for the test blocks, but instead was done after three hours. That was more then enough time for me to get through it and feel like I'd been running a marathon. The loooong mornings had my stomach growling and the afternoons left me drained of just about everything. Two long days like that isn't natural.))

The best part of the time at school was that I finally got around to picking up the grades that had been in for awhile. I made it through all of my classes and won't need to spend my summer working on anything; it shouldn't be as surprising as it was, but I was worried about one that was cumulative and included some too low then I am willing to admit grades from January. I did well enough on the last test to pull it off, and feel good about ending the year on a good note.

There have been a lot of references to "the other side" or the "dark side" when people mention spinning on top of having a history of knitting. Though I understand the words chosen, especially now that I have an interest in spinning, I prefer to think of it as coming full circle, rather then taking or switching a side.

I, like most people (I assume), learned how to knit first. I saw the colors of the 100% acrylic yarn and thought of what I might be able to make with them. My progression moved to using 75% acrylic yarn with 25% wool, and eventually 100% wool because it's what I liked knitting with. I still use 100% acrylic from time to time, but it's not what I'd take with me to a deserted island. As I discovered the world of 100% wool the types of yarn out there - bulky, aran, worsted and such - meant something, and the colors that were possible (Noro Keuyron is and was one of my first wool loves) blew me away.

Eventually I shifted into wanting to try making those colors myself, and with the help of some artificially colored drink mix I was able to handpaint yarn that I felt I had "created." That kept me busy for several months, and what I loved was how I never knew how it was going to turn out. Some would say that I enjoyed the "control" aspect that comes with choosing the colors and where they went; most would agree that this is part of my personality because I'm in a field that has an obsession with control. I might agree with them some days, but otherwise I think I'd actively disagree; I like creating, not controlling, when it comes to my yarn. It's a fine distinction but I think those who have tried it know what I mean. (I'm failing to point out that trying to control the dye may result in more problems then simply creating will....)

My interest in spinning was for a few reasons; people speak of it with an understated (or simply stated) passion, and in my mind it takes the creative process back a few steps. The weekend at Cate's house was a cincher because watching Sara, Risa and Cate spin was mesmorizing. I wanted my hands to be able to do that. (add Claudia and Rosemary to that list, then if you're in doubt that spinning is for you? meet up with any of those women and be forever inspired.....)

Now that I understand the jist of how spindling works (that does not mean that I'm turning out lace weight singles yet, trust me - but I like my thick and thinness and know that it's a process!) I want more of it. I know some try spinning and don't like it, and some try it and find that it's not
what they thought it would be, and I can see how that's possible.

I see it as a points on a circle, and instead of having sides, there's a continuim. It starts with a sheep (for the wool circles) and ends with a finished product (or can finish with wool, depending on how fast I'm knitting). This makes more sense to me then sides.

If you're coming up to the frolic and want to know how to avoid the toll for getting onto 295, let me know and I'll let you in on the local's secret. (it isn't a big deal, but isn't marked on the highway and I think knitters/spinners deserve to save the 60 cents.) I am headed to my parents house tomorrow and will be at the frolic on Saturday; I'm quiet, but would love to see you if you'll be there too!

right now there's a major spring thunderstorm on its way in....time for me to turn off the lights and watch nature's show.......

Monday, June 06, 2005

bored with boards

A conversation had earlier this afternoon with my brain:

brain: you realize I’m full, right?
me: oh no, you don’t fill up. I just have a few more things I want to review.
b: no, really, I’m full and I’m tired and I’m done with this studying gig.
m: just hold on a sec, we’re almost there! This is a team effort – you can’t give up now!
b: team? Ha! that headache coming on? It will only get worse. Stop while you’re ahead.
m: but I have a list!!! I need to review the clotting cascade one more time! And which interleukins go with which cell types, and then I wanted to draw out the micro chart again!
b: do you want me to dump everything you’ve shoved in over the past few weeks?
m: no! no! no!
b: good. Go take a nap. Call it a day.

A midafternoon shower and a longer then I’d have liked nap later, my brain is back, and I think I’ll be able to work in a few more concepts before falling asleep tonight.

for those that got here via google, or had questions about how this works….my boards: two days = each day has two 4 hour blocks, each block has 200 questions. It’s one of the last pencil and paper exams, and in the future will be one day on a computer at a testing center, instead of being held at school.

And finally, a poem for written for tonight……..

all across the United States
t’was the night before day one.
I’m off to bed (with books under my pillow)
my alarm set to be up with the sun.

an old med school roommate of mine
used to eat fish the eve of a test
I’ll eat tuna for breakfast
if it’ll get me more points then the rest.

my #2 pencils are sharp,
I’ve got 3 forms of ID
at the door they might take my thumbprint,
just to make sure that I’m me!

no breaks once the exam begins
so for hours in one spot I’ll sit.
(I’d feel better about the whole thing
if only they’d let me knit!)

some have lucky underwear
or socks they haven’t washed
me? my striped sweater is unfinished,
but in each pocket there’ll be something I swatched.

I knit them while I was cramming,
these last few days and weeks
in hopes what I studied will eeep back out
(this system beats socks that reek!)

thanks for all the previous comments
the good thoughts and wishes you’ve sent
if I could send you each a sheep I would
to me it’s that much (or more!) that they’ve meant.

(this is the end of my board rambling; even I am sick of hearing about them. Thank you to everyone who has read and followed along - knitting and spinning will return, with a vengence, later this week!)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

happiness is......

- the sun shining, the windows open and wearing t-shirts
- being able to laugh at things
- taking care of a cat that loved sitting on my lap/chest/shoulder even though she had just met me
- The Tony Awards
- knowing that "afterboards" is coming soon
- that it's only 2:30 in the afternoon and I still have another useable 18 hours to study/cram

I've had several moments in the past two days that have left me able to do nothing but laugh. It could be that I'm overtired, and probably has something to do with my waning motivation, but when I got to this question (in a practice set) yesterday, it was all I could do to regain my composure:

"The supracallosal portion of the hippocampus is called the:
a. indusium griseum
b. subiculum
c. calcin avis
d. fimbria"

I know that the hippocampus (in the brain) is important for memory (esp. long term) and know the general area it's refering to when it says "supracallosal," but those possible answers? they look greek. I know that Avis is a car company, and sub- usually means "below" and "griseum" could mean gray, and I thought a fimbria had something to do with the ovary/fallopian tubes; but none of that knowledge helped me answer the question. (the answer is a, and I haven't made time to actually look up what any of those terms mean.)

Another one I found myself rolling my eyes at, and then sighing/laughing?

"What are the names of the three distinct segments of a spermatazoa?"
I picked "head, center and tail" which while close to the correct answer, wasn't close enough. The correct answer is "head, midpiece and tail." I can't explain to you how happy I am to know this - it's as though my life were previously incomplete.

If these are the sorts of questions they're going to throw at me, I'm up a creek with no paddle....or stuck in a fully stocked yarn store with an amazing sale and no credit card. Screwed essentially. I understand the idea of a standardized exam that every osteopathic med student in the US takes and has to pass, but I can't believe that my score on this exam is actually relative to what I know.

Taking care of Scully the cat served as a nice break; she wasted no time in claiming a spot on my lap, and then inched her way upward until her head was nestled up near my neck. She purred the whole time, and later I realized even drooled a bit on my shirt. Studying with her around was pointless - whichever hand was holding the book was the hand she needed to be pet with, and when I set the book down she did the only logical thing: she sat on it, and refused to get up. I didn't spend as much time at her place as I wanted to because I didn't get a whole lot of studying done, but I always left feeling a bit more human. I can't wait to have a cat (or cats) of my own.

People who have spoken with me in person have gotten used to hearing the term "afterboards." It represents life after Wednesday at 5:00pm EST, and doesn't include mass ammounts of studying. If I need to (heaven forbid) take the boards again in October I'll bring the term up again, but otherwise (hopefully) this is a one-time term that will live up to my expectations.

Enjoy the pictures of Scully and I; they are heavily edited with a "cartoon" effect (Cara, I'm sorry. I really really really am sorry) because I look like a pasty white girl who has been stuck inside for too many months and has both pms and test-stress induced breakouts all over my face. It isn't pretty. I also look like I have a double chin because my posture hasn't been up to par and I'm very slouched on the couch; seeing these pics will be a good motivator to get my butt in gear and start walking/working out again! (as much as I like my camera it's a bit heavy for one handed pictures. I need to work on it.)

Scully and I, the unedited pic

vs the edited pic. (I might look like a cheese puff but at least my skin looks clear!)

my hair is pulled back into a (very messy) pony-tail/bun combo thing. Today it's braided and looks much better....

there's that double chin thing! Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 04, 2005

what's in your freezer?

the contents of my freezer.

(this is a studying for boards study break; thus I make no promises that it will make sense, or keep you entertained. There is no knitting content, even though my striped sweater is sitting on the floor next to where I sit to study. My brain is almost mush, and after a few more question sets I’m headed to bed.)

The true contents of my freezer: (there’s a lot of frozen meat in the back – I buy it on sale and then shove it in for when I “plan ahead” for dinner. (hahahahahahaha!) There’s enough in there for me to get through the next two months, but it probably won’t stop me from buying during future sales…

On the left: frozen green beans. I love frozen green beans, and no matter what my mother says they are 10x better then canned green beans. This particular bag is a bit freezer burned, but when I’m hungry for the beans it doesn’t matter. They’re especially good with almonds, or quickly thrown into a skillet with garlic….

Next up: Frozen crème brulee from Trader Joe’s. I bought these on a whim because I love this simple egg dish, and because during my trips to TJ’s I find myself throwing anything that looks good into my basket. It’s scary that way. These are good, but after I got them I discovered that though my oven has a “broiler” setting it doesn’t actually have a broiler. This makes broiling the top tricky, and instead cooks the whole thing. The actual desert is packaged in a ceramic ramekin – I can’t bring myself to get rid of it. I think it’ll be donated to charity when I start the “Kristen is moving….again” packing.

On the other side of the middle is another TJ’s purchase; these lime fruit things are good, but they sort of melted on the way home and are nearly impossible to eat off the stick. They taste a bit sweet to me, but are truly a “lime” composition. I love limes. I think the box of 4 cost me $2.50.

On the right: my favorite thing about summer. Yes, I love ice cream, and yes there is more to summer then popsicles, but boy oh by these are good. They are so good that I will not confess to how many of them I ate today (though that might have something to do with studying….see below.) Each popsicle has three flavors – sure they are artificially colored, but they are made with fruit juice and don’t taste artificial. They’re small enough that eating two is just perfect. The best part? They have riddles on the sticks. The fancy-smancy ones from TJ’s do not have riddles on the sticks. The box of 28 (4 free!!!) cost me $2.50. I might need to make a run to the grocery store to buy more of them on Monday.

(Q1: What happened to the cow that went for a drive?)
(Q2: Who eats at underwater restaurants?)
(Q3: What’s more dangerous than pulling out a shark’s tooth?)

I think I’ve gained ten lbs in the past week – even knitting while studying hasn’t stopped me from my seemingly insatiable hunger. I’ve tried being outside, drinking tea and always having a glass of water at my side, but that isn’t helping. It isn’t the chewing motion – I tried gum and all it did was give me a headache - and if I didn’t know any better I’m sure I would have started smoking this weekend. (I’m sure some of my classmates who have quit will come in smelling as though they just lit up; I’ve never smoked, and don’t intend to start, but I can see how it would be desirable every now and then.)

Instead of cursing the weight (I tried that, it didn’t really help), I’m taking it in stride, and seeing this as a last hurrah of sorts. When I graduated from high school I was in great shape – I had been active in sports and was swimming regularly to keep my lifeguard skills up. Four years of college added up to a 15-20 lb gain, and I didn’t get it all off before I started med school. This “summer” is the last long break of time I’ll have for the next several years – and it’s time for me to get back in shape. I’ll finally have time to get back on the yoga mat and when the weather is nice I can hit the trails and the beach for walks. Getting into a routine of being active now will make it easier to keep it up when my rotations start, and I’ve found that anything I do always works better when I actually want to be doing it. I really want to be back in shape.

(I’m not great at keeping track of fat/calories, but I’ve gotten rid of the crap food and am stocking my cupboards with food that is good for me. Keeping the processed stuff out is an easy way for me to stop from eating it!)

(A1: He got a moo-ving violation.)
(A2: Scuba diners.)
(A3: Giving a porcupine a back rub.)
see?? They are very much worth $2.50!

Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I'll admit, it sounds crazy.

because after re-reading what I wrote, it sounds like something a crazy person would make up. I won't defend the crazy part, but if I were going to make it up I think I'd come up with a better story - one that included dancing frogs, or flying pigs. Really. This is the copy of the report that should clear everything up. Should. Posted by Hello

practical things, I wish someone had told me.

car accident, one

car accident, two

car accident, three

When you head to you car one morning (early in March) and see that part of your rear bumper is cracked, consider filing a police report. I just figured someone had hit me trying to squeeze into a tight spot, but no….

A month and a half or so after that day, my parents got a phone call from an insurance company, I’ll call it company F. The nice people at F wanted to know if we had plans to file a claim on behalf of ourselves because of the accident. My mom asked what in the world they were talking about and got the whole story. (see pictures – it was an awful accident with three cars left undriveable, and the one who started it all didn’t have a license and was driving and un-insured car.)

The police supposedly left something on my car, but by the time I got to it, it wasn’t there (or was never left, depending on who you talk to…). The green guy behind me has the nice insurance company (F) and is doing his best to get another car.

The problem car (the “brown” one) is completely at fault but has no money or insurance to use to pay the people with totalled cars.

The guy in pink? He’s has decided to sue everyone on the police report list, and because my car is (technically) owned and registerred under my parents, they got a collections agency bill for over $2,000, because I was a part of the accident.

Why, you may ask, are we being sued? Who knows. What we do know is that up until today my “report” was unfinished, because they didn’t have my liscence number (and, two months later they still had made no effort to contact me OR my parents). My dad did try to go by there to get a report, but because he wasn’t the last one to drive it, he couldn’t get a copy of it, and couldn’t give them my info. Now that the report is “complete,” we’re hoping that this will solve the problem, but right now it’s a tangle of three different insurance companies (mine company and the guy behind me are the only ones playing nice) and a mess of “who was where, when?” My car was simply parked, and my bumper is cracked.

If you are parked on the street, and during the night something happens to your parked car – a dent, a cracked bumper, etc – consider calling the police station to inquire about if there was a larger accident, or to see if something on your street was reported druing the night/day/time you weren’t watching it.

Another thing? The company that keeps asking what you have in your wallet? They can take up to a month to complete a balance transfer; and just because you are seeing the “balance transfer” ammount on your statement doesn’t mean that they’ve actually sent the money to the other company. Right now I have an ammount of money on BOTH of my credit cards, and it’s been that way for over two weeks; neither company can tell me where the money is right now, and say I should wait another 5-10 days before calling them back. In the meantime, my balance periods are coming up, and now instead of just having a lump of money on my higher interest credit card, it’s sitting on both of them – gaining intrest by the day! (I could choose to stop payment on the transfer, but they’ll send fees after me, and there’s no guarentee that it’ll take less then a month to complete the transfer if I try it again….)

I’ve done some knitting, but the few rows I got done on the sweater sleeve aren’t very picture-worthy. Back to the books I go…..
Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

T-6 Days.....

less than a week til the boards
a big 2 day test
time to prioritize topics (cleaning's not one
and this apartment's a mess)

there are piles of papers
and notecards and books
my highlighters are drying up
studying's not as easy as it looks!

the practice tests are finished
my scores all over the place
I make plenty of mental notes
and then against time I race

there's OMT, neuro, pulmonology,
cardio, anatomy, physio and bugs,
don't forget biochem and pathology,
histo and repro and life-saving drugs.

food? frozen dinners and chocolate
with cups and cups of strong tea
I buzz through the nights,
only stopping to pee.

my biggest test worry?
my own greatest fear?
that the knowledge I've got
will fall out my ears.

Things here are busy, and knitting/spinning (or knins and spits as I've called it several times) are taking a backseat for another few days. I'm not sure you all want to hear about studying for boards, so I think it's going to be quiet here, at least through the weekend.