Pairs of socks knitted in 2014

  • Roxanne's socks
  • Brian's Cascade socks
  • Shirley's lacy socks
  • striped Meredith socks
  • striped stranded #1

Saturday, August 30, 2008


It's been a lousy month. We were blind-sided by church politics and will be moving soon. So while we're trying to sort out where we're moving (The front-runner is Corvallis, Oregon because it's close enough to Brian's family that we can hang out with them yet far enough away that we have a bit of distance.) I'm making a list of blessings.

A lot of people at the church have gone out of their way to show support for Brian. And perhaps responding to my "denial is bliss" approach to church politics, most of the church members haven't changed how they treat me or Shirley.

Dad's doing better and at a rehab hospital.

I don't have to work at [Fill in the Blank] hospital! Ever since the day when I had a 78 year old man who'd had his gallbladder out and he was my healthiest patient, I knew that my current job was leading to nursing burnout. (Out of any given five patients on my floor, at least one will be on hemodialysis, three will be diabetic, two will be incontinent, four will be obese, and all of them will be so weak that they can't walk safely unassisted.) Since the last move demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that working until just before the move is not conducive to sanity, I gave my two weeks notice two weeks ago. While I've got a lot of boxes to pack, not having to go spend ten hours a day at a job that makes me feel like a failure at nursing is a huge blessing.

The RNs at [Fill in the Blank] hospital have a contract! After two strikes, fifteen months without a union contract and God only knows how many ineffective negotiations between the administration and the union, [Name of Corporation], the California Nurses Association and the hospital have come up with a new contract that they both can live with. (Because irony is a cruel mistress, the announcement that they'd reached an agreement came the exact day I turned in my letter of resignation.)

I received a new box of wool! Carol over at the Sheep Shed Studio offers a pound of mixed-color Cotswold locks for $12.50! I used my mad money to buy a couple of pounds, sorted the colors according to the color wheel, and have been spinning my way through the red-orange-yellow locks. (I still have a bag of pink-purple-blue-and blue-green-yellow to process.) It's pretty much endless entertainment for twenty five dollars.

At first, the locks look like this:

Then I beat the locks with a flick carder to open them up and remove the bits of vegetable matter. (Apparently sheep hang out in places where there's grass. Who knew?)

I spin serendipitously, grabbing small handfuls of each color out of the box. Then I ply it with itself. The final yarn looks like this:

I have no idea how much I'm going to end up with for a final product. So far I've got about 250 yards and about half the box left. Should be enough for a hat and mittens or something like that.

The Mimi has figured out how to put large objects reliably in her mouth. While this means that we have to keep her in the play pen (another huge blessing, as Jim just gave it to us) while we're packing, it also means that she's growing more able to amuse herself without someone holding her.

Friday, August 29, 2008


I just read the most heart-warming tribute to nurses--and from a MD! You can check it out here. The Happy Hospitalist's words made me feel incredibly proud to be a nurse--and even more determined that my next nursing job will have adult patients who can walk, talk intelligibly, and take care of their own bathroom needs.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Babysitting and funeral-crashing

Brian and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary on Friday. Since I had to work Friday, I tried to find someone crazy enough--I mean willing--to watch Mimi on Saturday so we could celebrate together.

Most of the people who have watched for us before were on vacation or at camps, so I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find a sitter. Out of sheer desperation, I asked Mary, one of the ladies from church. She replied that she'd love to watch Shirley, but had to go to a funeral Saturday.

So I resigned myself to a Mimi-filled weekend. An hour later, however, Mary called back. "I talked to the kids, and we'll just take her with us to the funeral."

Then she proceeded to tell me that we could just leave the kid with them all day and "you can pick her up after your dinner about 8 or 9pm," and that she didn't want paid. At this point, I wanted to hug her, and offer to do all her laundry for the week.

Brian and I had a lovely day doing touristy things in Santa Cruz. When we retrieved the baby from the Lam's, I asked how their day had gone. "She was great--she didn't cry once!"

I'm sure I made some sort of slack-jawed face at this remark. It took a bit before intelligible sound came from my mouth. "Not even during the funeral?!"

"No, and everyone said they'd never seen such a good baby. But don't worry--we didn't hold her all day long. She sat on our laps for some of it."

(Brian and I would consider that "holding," but pointing that out seemed in remarkably bad taste. The important thing is that she was in a good mood for going out in public.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Perhaps I should mention that my patient who died was a Do Not Recussitate patient and therefore checking to make sure she was "really dead" was the right thing to do. If she'd been a Full Code I would have started CPR, pushed the big blue button in the wall, and had someone go grab the crash cart.

Monday, August 11, 2008

can't sleep

It's been a lousy week, and it's only Monday! (Although to be fair, my week started on Saturday due to my work schedule.)

I have a cold. My brain feels as though it's stuffed with cotton, and my nose is running constantly. Yesterday, I started coughing so hard I threw up in a patient's bathroom. Haven't done that since I was pregnant!

One of my patients died on Saturday. Although it was expected, it's never good when the CNA says "She's not breathing and I can't get a blood pressure on her." And while she was totally past caring, putting my stethescope on her still chest and listening for the required full minute to make sure she was truly gone was possibly the most awkward thing I've ever done in the name of nursing.

My father is having a bad congestive heart disease flare up and is in the ICU at one of the big hospitals up north in Spokane. We're not particularly close, but it's hard not to worry.

And to top it off, I've been dealing with idiot doctors all weekend.
[Said doctor, after I called about really lousy blood pressures in a patient:] "She's probably orthostatic, just watch her."
Me: "But her blood pressure goes down to 71/38 when she's sitting up--do you want to do anything else?"
Doctor D.: "No, just watch her."

Me: "The patient hasn't had a bowel movement since the third, and milk of magnesia isn't working."
[Different patient, same attending physician:] "What do you want me to do about that?"

But the disturbing doctor quote of the month comes from Doctor G., who's one of the hospital's vascular surgeons. He's a brilliant surgeon, but his order sets are somewhat lacking. He's notorious for forgetting to write an order for a diet after the patient's surgery, leading to calls from the nursing staff wondering "what do you want us to feed the patient?" Apparently we'd called him recently, because I had the following conversation with him a couple of weeks ago:

"I'm a surgeon. I do surgery. When my cell phone goes off, I assume it's because someone's bleeding out."
As I stood there, attempting valiantly to keep my poker face plastered on, he apparently mistook my silence for agreement, for he continued on. "If they need a diet order, call the hospitalist. Or just write something. I'm a pretty relaxed guy--write something and I'll sign it!"

Saturday, August 2, 2008

stuff in the mail!

Two weeks ago, as I was in mid-whine about cramps and periods and "why don't heating pads have a setting hotter than high?" I received a lovely prize package from Barbara.
Not only did she send me a Baby Surprise Jacket kit, but also a (signed!) copy of one of her books. It didn't make the cramps go away, but it really helped with the whining.

As promised, here is a picture of the finished Tour de Fleece silk: (Yes, I realize that it is wound around a picture frame. One of these days I'll get around to making/buying a niddy-noddy, but this works fine for now.) 215 yards of silk, now wound on a bobbin (known as a toilet paper roll in other households) awaiting something to ply it with.

On Thursday, we were awakened by the Screaming Mimi. Some time between her 0615 feeding and sunlight hitting the living room, she had managed to kick off all of her covers. After waking up cold and with a full diaper, she announced her displeasure to the world. Brian changed her, and handed me the 13 pound ice pack to warm up.

She cheered up promptly, but this is what I look like without caffeine.

In other news, the neighbors had a yard sale last month. And for under ten dollars, I managed to pick up an eight quart enamel stockpot, and a 12 quart one. With lids! I'm going to use them for dying fiber, (hooray for non-reactive cookware!) but they do a good job of amusing Mimi as well.