Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Historic Figures Spot "The Sock!"

I took my "sock" with me this trip, and after knitting a few inches, ripped it all out. I've started and ripped this sock so many times that if I had just kept knitting I'd have half a pair finished, but I can't decide if I like the ribbing, or if I want to try lace (lace wool socks seems like a cruel contridiction when the snow is flying) or if I should make the calf section bigger or smaller, or use another set of needles (a size smaller or larger?)? Thus, when it came time for "sock" pictures, all I had to show for my knitting/frogging was the ball of yarn. (note to me, for future travelling: when knitting Rogue it is important to remember the pattern. Lace is not good to start or work on during trips yet. Take socks (that you have a pattern for) next time.) These "socks" are going with me (I settled not-so-happily on 2x2 ribbing and I pledge not to take it out again) and with any luck I'll get to a shop to pick up yarn for another few pairs...(the yarn store trip never happened in Quebec; I'm disappointed and will make a point to get there the next time I'm that far north.)

the socks had a good time seeing the St. Lawrence River....

and Rene Levesque seemed more then happy to lend a hand for the picture. It looks like he'd have talked my ear off if I'd stayed much longer....

The socks also had a wonderful time at Quebec's Parliament Building - they fit right in with statues of famous explorers and heros! (this was the relatively "calm" side of the building. All of the statues "in action" were located around the corner.)

Yarn Ahead! (I don't remember who these people were, though I wish I knew so I could look up what they did to earn a statue. I think he must have discovered something - why else would he be pointing with such a look of shock on his face?)

Behold the power of the socks... (I could almost hear a gasp when I pulled the ball out of my bag...)

I loved these signs. The deer here in the states don't look that graceful, and they certainly aren't that happy looking. I think the southern deer need ballet lessons to be a bit more like their northern counterparts.

a gardening question for anyone who has experience with Bee Balm: my mom planted some last summer after I sang the praises of the beautiful red bloom. This summer it (like the other bee balm I've seen this summer) took off and grew several feet high. (the white line towards the top of the picture is a window that is at least 5'10" from the ground)

this is Canadian Bee Balm (at the bottom of the picture), and is the height she'd like it to be. (her hand is where she estimated her plant to be) Is there more then one variety of the flower? is it possible to get her five foot something high flowers to bloom lower next year? (I like them as is, but she's worried that they are too tall.)

there are more pictures, but getting them off my camera and to this computer (my parents desktop) from my older laptop (the new one doesn't have the software yet) is a pain. They'll be sprinkled in once I get everything switched over.

another random piece of info: one of my email servers was hit by lightening last week, and I can't get into the account until a new server has arrived and been installed (it's on it's way, but is still taking several days to get here). Thus I am still very behind on emails. I've been trying to keep up with what everyone in the online knitting community is doing, but it's going to be another week or so before I finally feel caught up. Thanks for bearing with me.

when in rains, it pours.

and now it's cloudy with a chance of showers. (or 200% humidity, it depends on who you ask.)

(there are non-knitters who know me who also read along; knitting news will be above this. I know some keep their posts stictly about the yarn and what is on the needles, but there is too much going on for me to skim over.)

I made it back from Canada in one piece and will be heading off to Utah tomorrow. I had hoped to be in my apartment tonight, doing some last minute packing and trying to get things organized before I head off again. Trouble is that my car is out of commission, and I can't get back there from my parents house; tomorrow my duffel bag and I will take one bus south, walk over to my apartment and check the mail and grab a few things before heading to a different bus staion to catch a ride down to the airport. From there I have a direct flight (direct - if you call 4+ hours on a bus to get there direct!) into Salt Lake and the second part of my "vacation" will begin.

Last fall I had a series of car problems, averaging one a month. Eventually I had a new tire, new battery, new exhaust system and new car computer. I took it in for an inspection today thinking that it'd pass with flying colors and instead found that I was wrong; it isn't safe to be driving. My two front tires are bald and that includes the "new" one I bought last fall. Apparently my alignment is off, and nothing was said to me when they put the tire on last fall. My front brake pads and rotars need to be replaced and the left from CV axel boot is cracked, which means that my CV joint might need to be replaced. (I really hope the joint is fine because the boot is a $27 part; the joint is at least 15x that.)

Add the two windows that don't go down to the list and you'll see why my wheel (ha ha ha ha) purchase is going to be put off even longer. I have a check to cover my "living expenses" for this semester coming in the next few weeks, and it will all but be used to pay off my credit cards and future health insurance payments. I hope this marks the end of things breaking/getting old/needing to be replaced. I am tired of this. Whoever is here is going to try and get it to the speciallized car place (as I'm a SnAAB and they won't just work on them anywhere) so there's hope that it'll be fixed by the time I get back.

(my brother, who is using my parents "extra" car this summer has also been having car trouble. He was hit from behind at a stop light (then had to deal with the business of the guy who slammed into him and the insurance who refused to pay to get the car fixed), has had clutch problems (that were covered under the warranty because part of the clutch had been replaced) and now is having battery charging problems.

Being in Quebec with my mom was interesting; we are as different as we are alike - that's not good or bad, it just is. I am used to travelling by myself, and choosing if I want to make plans to see things. Travelling with my friends and collegues is easier then travelling with my family; it has something to do with sliding back into the "forever daughter" role and my mom feeling as though she needs to remain in the "mom" role. We are good friends, and short trips with understood goals are fine, but longer trips are getting harder. Things might change in the future, and I won't say that this is the last trip we'll take together, but it's offered me a lot of insight into how I like to travel and explore.

I am looking forward to a change in the weather (and "weather") and I'll be grateful for calmer, cooler days.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

happiness is...

- wireless internet in hotel rooms
- a sunburn (not only was I outside all day, but it was warm enough to have on short sleeves!)
- walking around in a city with people of all shapes and sizes and ages wearing everything imaginable so that I finally feel less conscious walking around in a tank top
- seeing finished Dale of Norway sweaters in stores (on sale, but 30% off of a $350 sweater isn't within my budget right now, however I think making one is in my future)
- taking the "sock" to the Quebec Parlimanet building (pictures to come; I can't get them to this computer yet)
- a phenominal Cirque du Soleil performance (seated second row from the stage with performers flying above us)
- that the most expensive meal we've eatten this whole weekend is food from a few grocery stores eatten back in our room. (I love to explore the local grocery stores wherever I am.)
The $2 coin still throws me for a loop, I love that the "cross the street" light walker guy looks happy and think I need to remember how much fun a trip to this area is. Thus far, no trips to a yarn store; with any luck I'll be able to find one tomorrow before we head south again. If not, I'll make up for it in the future, and call it my "Quebec yarn." :-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

looooong rambling news from here...

Warning: this is long, and full of my rambling. Read on, skim through it, jump from heading to heading – or just skip it. (You aren’t missing that much, trust me. :-) )

The lace bug has bit me. I’m afraid to say too much for fear I will screw something up, but there is a shawl in my future. I’m also knitting socks – that is if knitting socks means knitting an inch or so into a sock, then playing around with yarn overs, and knit 2 togethers and ripping it all out because I don’t like how it looks with self striping opal yarn only to start again and find myself tinkering with possible lace patterns again. (that was how I knew it was time to start a shawl…) I’m taking a sleeve of Rogue with me for the car ride this weekend, and will see how much of that I can get done. (I like stockinet, but it seems that I’m ready for something less mindless now that my mind has returned. I mean no offense when I write mindless, it’s just that I’m craving cables, patterns, and (gulp) lace. It was bound to happen, I just thought I had another few months…)

The other one has arrived, and appears to be in good working condition. (I’m never sure til I have it up and running.) My “old” laptop is going to spend some quality time with my friend Katie; she’s doing graduate work and will use it so her thesis is a bit more portable. (the cow went to her lab – I hear it’s doing quite well.) I’m glad that someone will use it, and I look forward to having my own copy of her final draft!

I’ve been in wireless limbo for a few days, and am woefully behind on emails (both reading and writing) and have no idea what’s been going on in the world of knitters who blog. I hope to get caught up later tonight, after the next round of packing is complete.

Packing, moving and getting rid of things:
This is the third time in two years that I’ve packed up everything I own in preparation to move, and experience has taught me a few lessons. I’ve given up trying to fill paper boxes (that sometimes need copious amounts of packing tape to be use-able) and dug out my plastic bins (of various sizes). Most everything that the lecturers decided I needed a hard copy of has been recycled, and books that I’ll never look at again have been passed off to other med students. My breakables are safely in storage at my parents house, and this afternoon (after work) my dad is coming by with his truck so we can load up the rest of the “big” items (bed frame, dressers, a bookcase and such). My mom and dad did some work on the garage and essentially rebuilt the loft area; this will allow me to keep things there until I have a place of my own, and I need my things again.

(I have loved this apartment; it’s in a great location, has a corner view of the park across the street and has everything I could have possibly needed; as soon as I walked into this place I knew that I wanted to live here. This hasn’t been the case with people that are looking at it – every weekday in July there has been at lease one, sometimes two or three, different groups of people walking through, at various times in the 9-4:30 window of time. I get a call the night before it’s shown and have tried to be “out” while they do the walk-throughs. I was worried about how it looked for the first few days, but now I’m sick of organizing packing boxes and trying to make everything look neat and tidy. The realtors have been nice about the whole ordeal, and know that I am packing to get out of here, but still; I detest the knock on my door that means another group is here to see what it looks like.)

My third year of school is spent in the hospital and surrounding clinics; they provide housing for students and I’ll be living in one of the two houses (my fingers are crossed I’m placed in the one out on the lake…). The area that I’m going to be in is remarkably close to my parents house and some of my fellow students figured I’d live at home; I did my best to keep a straight face as I asked them if they’d consider moving back in with their parents…most openly scoffed the idea and saw where I was coming from. I love my family, and I like the house I grew up in; but the house is small, and in order to continue to love my parents I think I need a spot of my own.

My yarn is all packed up, and I have more then I thought I did. I keep going through it thinking that I’ll be able to give some more skeins away, or that I’ll find something that is an easy project. So far, that hasn’t been the case. Many of my odds and ends have been donated to the Children’s Museum, and a few skeins of “what was I thinking?” yarn have been knit up into charity hats.

My lease isn’t up until July 31st, but with any luck I’ll be out of here before then. I’m trying to get almost everything settled in other places before I gallivant, and so the pressure is on…

This Friday my mom and I are taking off for Quebec. I mentioned at one point this spring that I thought I’d need to re-do a class this summer, mostly due to my lackluster test performance early on this past term. When I found out that I had indeed pulled my average up so that I was out of the “danger zone” my mom’s first response was “We’re going to Canada.” I love Cirque Du Soleil, and the newest show is in Quebec through the end of the month. I’d waxed poetically about how wonderful it’d be to make the trip, and how much fun it’d be to see another show, and when the news came through that I was “free” this “summer” we decided to head north. I’ve looked up the French words for yarn, knitting, store, and will write down the words for wool, lace and hand-dyed. (my thoughts on how crazy it is that most of the words are masculine will need to wait for another day. I know that the gender of words is almost completely arbitrary, but I still find it interesting…) My 9 years of French should come in handy while we’re there, though I suspect some of my verb knowledge was flushed in order to make room for board studying…

I’ll be back from up north for a day or so before I head west. My childhood friend is in Utah, and it’s been a long time since we’ve had a chance to sit down and talk. She has a family and I’m looking forward to seeing how much her kids have grown.
I return from Utah with a few days to spare before I have to vacate this apartment. Hopefully there will be very little left to pack and move, and I’ll get a chance to take care of other things that need to be done before the end of the month. Then I’m off to sit on some cats in the Albany, NY area. I’m going to use the last two weeks of my “summer” (I use quotes because people like Mia and Theresa are already out on rotations – I’m lucky that I have as much time “off” as I do) reading up on topics in internal medicine. The first 12 weeks of my third year will be spent on the IM service and I want to cover some bases before my first day. I’m also going to knit like there’s no tomorrow during that time – hopefully a Rogue will be finished and a St. Brigid started and completed. (I need the state’s only copy of Aran Knitting to get to me via ILL first, but once it’s here I’m diving in!)

All in all, life is good. My body is finally getting a chance to process some things (sleep has been hard to come by, but it will pass) and my mind has almost stopped racing. I’m afraid that I’ve forgotten a lot of the knowledge that I spent the past two years cramming in, but there’s time for me to review it. People who have known me for awhile have commented that it’s as though I’ve returned to being human again; I think they’re right.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

on what is possible

(note: jeans are being held up; being someone who needs to buy "tall" pants, I detest the "cropped" look.)

two socks from one ball of yarn....

It’s possible; two socks (not matching, but that’s okay with me) from one ball of Fortissima colori (socka color), with some additional yarn ends used for the toes and heels. The small pile of yarn at the toes is 3-4 stripes worth of leftover yarn. I bought this ball of yarn, and another in a similar (but not an exact match, the woman at the counter was quick to point out to me) colorway in a “bargain” bin and intend to get a pair of socks out of it as well. (they really are the same size; the top sock was done first and I, uh, wore it around my apartment while knitting the second one…) I’ve cast on for another pair, and am going to re-swatch for Rogue later this weekend. The cool days are wonderful for knitting, and it makes a wonderful break from packing and moving.

My laptop (please know that I am tempted to write “table top” or “desktop” because I can’t ever recall a time when I’ve placed it on my lap) is aware of irony, and has been working almost perfectly since I ordered a new one. The few times it’s blacked out on me have been during email compositions, and I’m almost happy when it happens because I feel less crazy about the whole situation. The new one is ever so slowly making its way up the east coast to me (the UPS page is constantly loaded and refreshed quite a lot) and should be here Monday.

On what happened in London – my heart goes out to the families and friends who are searching for the people they love, and to those who are in hospital beds healing.

The world events that have transpired this week have caused me to pause and think about where I am, how lucky I am and how hard it can be to live in certain places in this world. I don’t believe in living in fear and despise that it could become commonplace. I understand that life should go on and if it doesn’t then the terrorists have “won” but I also think it’s time that we stopped and looked around and pondered if there is a better way. I am a pacifist by nature and birth, and cannot comprehend what would drive someone to kill innocent people who have nothing to do with the larger problem. If I spend too much time thinking about the big picture I become increasingly frustrated; thank goodness there are places like The Seeds of Peace Camp (an organization that brings kids from countries at war together, so that they can learn who the “enemy” is, and see that peace is possible; the overall program is amazing, and is more complicated then I can explain in a few sentences; each year the news profiles kids who are getting ready to leave, and they have a hard time saying goodbye to people they grew up “hating”) and programs such as Doctors Without Borders. There are people doing great things – they just aren’t usually headline news.

I have always said that I will be a mom, be it through pregnancy or adoption. My mom and I have had discussions about bringing kids into a world that seems to be focused on turmoil; the overwhelming conclusion I always come to is that this world will continue to need open-minded thinkers and people who know love and how to set examples of unconditional love. I can’t predict the future, nor can I “mold” my someday kids to be who I want them to be; however, if my intent is to raise them to be free thinking individuals who can make choices and decisions for themselves then I will be happy to watch who they become, and I will have fulfilled my goal.

“Knit on with confidence and hope” (EZ)

Friday, July 01, 2005

it'll be quiet for awhile....

my laptop is dying a slow death.

Last night the screen started streaking black, and the streaking got darker and darker, and now I can only see my screen if I have an internet window open. (though it keeps threatening to turn into a black screen with the occasional back-out now...I think the end is near for my screen.) I can't explain why it works better with the internet running - all I can say is that this isn't fun. There isn't (and never will be) a "great" time for it to go, but considering I needed it until classes were over (yesterday) and I'll need it when I start rotations in a few weeks, this isn't a bad way for it to go.

My frustration is with how I am going to get it fixed. I had heard good things about the Geek Squad, and after looking over their price list and what they offer I found the perfect solution: an advanced laptop repair. It's $299 and in the description says things like "have you dropped your laptop? spilled coffee on the keyboard? got a blank screen?" None of those things happened, but if they can fix all that, then they should be able to replace my screen!

It sounded too good to be true, because it is too good to be true. That service - even though it's listed on a pdf file and put out on the web, doesn't exist. The people at the big box store I went to had never heard of it, and couldn't help me. They actually didn't believe I was speaking the truth until I asked them to look it up online - I, the non-computer geek, had to walk the "certified" geeks through their own website to show them what I was talking about. Once the file was opened the pimply teenage-looking guy with glasses falling off his nose simply said that he had NO IDEA what that meant, and he'd need to call someone. Three people later, and a few phone calls ("no one is answering" they said) they could only, collectively (meaning ALL the self-professed geeks there) come up with a lame excuse that it must not be a service offered HERE.

(as if HERE is the edge of the techno-advanced earth and I, because I am NOT a geek, have no idea what I am talking about....)

So I came home, and called the 1-800 phone number, figuring that a national number (and a whole host of new geeks) would know what the website said. Nope, it was news to them too. I had to, again, walk the geek on the phone through their own website so I could point out where the service was offered.

She told me it didn't exist and that they don't actually offer an "advanced laptop service." (as in, they don't have a payment code for it, they don't have a description for it, they know NADA about it.) I calmly pointed out that it's false advertising to offer a product that doesn't exist, and asked her to please speak with a supervisor (or let me do it, but she declined to transfer me) to let them know about this, er, glich. She then asked for information on me, so she could submit it for "tracking purposes" and curtly said "Thank you for calling us, we are here to serve you" before hanging up on me when I said No. The last thing a company who can't keep track of their services needs is my phone number and other contact info.

The next big decision is if it'll be worth it to pay (according to the HP website for my laptop) at least $538 for a new screen (no shipping/handling included, no installation included) or if it's time to buy a new laptop. Either way I'm going to spend what I was going to use on a spinning wheel to get this fixed/replaced, but I need to really sit down and weigh the pros and cons. I'm, at this moment in time, leaning towards getting a new laptop, but that may change.

I'll be in the loop as long as the internet screens stay clear, but at some point I think I'm going to disappear. I've got a lot of travelling planed for the next few weeks, (Quebec for a weekend to see the new Cirque show, a trip to Utah to see friends and (hopefully) meet up with Margene, and the first two weeks of August I'll be spending in the Albany, NY area house/cat sitting...I think there will be a trip to Boston again too (yes Laurie, I'd love to sit and spindle/smoke fiber crack with you!)) and so chances are good it'll be pretty quiet here.

(I'm still knitting socks, still contemplating a Kiri, haven't gotten much past swatching for Rogue, and have a few other sweaters that I've considered diving into. I'm still spinning, and this morning wondered what pink fiber was doing on a construction truck - it took me longer then it should have to realize that he had bits of fiberglass insulation strewn across the bed of his truck. Do you think it'd spin?)