Pairs of socks knitted in 2014

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

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sock monkeys and sweater thieves

I have a small secret--I love socks. It's not really a secret anymore. They're the project I knit most frequently, and if wild socks are on sale at the local "Tarjay," I will stock up on them. When Grandpa died a couple of years ago, Mom gave me two pairs of his hunting socks. (Since Grandpa spent much of his life on a quixotic quest for the perfect pair of socks that kept his feet warm but comfortable, I've got my suspicions as to whom I might have inheirited the obsession from.)

They're not my size, so I plan to make sock monkeys from them for Shirley and my brother's little girl. As with any much-loved knitted item, they've got a bit of lint on them.

So before I could start the sewing process, I had to take out the sweater stone and de-fuzzify them. The resulting ball of lint was so impressive that I had to share it:

Currently I've got everything done except for sewing the limbs on . Dismembered sock monkeys in the craft closet? Pretty normal for this household.
And in other clothing-related issues, the Mimi has started "borrowing" my clothes several years earlier than I thought she would. She looks way cuter in that sweater than I do.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Shameless product placement

Normally I don't mindlessly babble about my shopping on the blog. However, I recently found a company that seems to be worthy of that.
Karma Naturals sells almost all of their products in both a full-sized version and a sample-size. So I ordered several samples of their products. (I have a hard time buying perfume in the store, let alone guessing if I'll like it when I buy it online.)
They shipped it promptly. Not only did my order arrive just as I'd ordered it (mixed-up orders are a huge pet peeve of mine) but they even included several complimentary samples with it.
And I love every single one of their fragrances! I'm most partial to the "Relaxation" one, which is a blend of lavender and citrus, but the others are good.
When I have disposable income again, I think I'll be picking up a lot of stuff from them!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Job hunting fun

I had a job interview yesterday, so I'm much less twitchy now that the anxiety has worn off. Job interviews and exams always make me feel anxious. I always do the best I can and then I always come out of them going "I have no idea how I did!" trusting that I'll find out in a week or two.

Some people offer "Go with your first instinct!" as a possible stragegy for dealing with job interview questions. For me, that's a bad idea. Why? Because my first instinct, while true, is generally not "diplomatic" enough for an interview situation.

When the interviewers ask "Why do you want to work in public health?" they would much rather hear "I want to practice nursing in the community setting." than "I'd like to work in a setting that has patients who can walk."

"Tell us why you're interested in mental health" is best answered with "I had a really good mental health instructor in nursing school and I thought that'd be an interesting branch of nursing to work in" instead of "Well, my family's crazy..."

"What has been your experience working with physicians?" should be answered with "I've worked with some very talented individuals who really cared about their patients and co-workers," as opposed to "Some of them combine the charm of Dr. House with the morality of the cast of Grey's Anatomy."

The fact that my co-workers seem to think I'm a shoo-in for the position makes me feel better about it. Now that the worst part (the whole interview panic) is over, the rest should be much easier.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Best drug seeker video ever!

This video explains perfectly why I like working public health better than working in hospitals. No one asks for narcotics when you're vaccinating them!
(Be sure to watch all of it--the last 30 seconds are priceless.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Enabling my yarn addiction

I lead a fairly boring life. When you get right down to it, so does most of the family. Even the ones who may have been a bit wild in the past now have respectable jobs, like being a substance abuse counselor.
The extended family does a Christmas gift exchange. Pick a relative's name out of a hat, get them a gift. You know the drill.
A couple of weeks ago, my brother in law announced that he'd gotten my name and asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I suggested a gift certificate to a local yarn store.
Then he had to ask the fateful question: "How much money do you want on it?"
Trying to be polite, I hemmed and hawed. But he persisted in wanting to know a specific dollar amount.
My sister in law knits, so I appealed to her better judgement. "Would you explain to your beloved why it's a bad idea to ask a knitter how much money they need for yarn?"
Since their household has close to 25 years worth of collective sobriety, she chose a metaphor that would be easily understood. "Baby, when you were on dope, how much of your income did you spend on it?"

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wrestling with strange toddlers for a living

I realize people want their kids to behave in public. But this week, I've gotten a bit weirded out with parents making their kids say "thank you" to me after I vaccinate them. It seems well-intentioned, but a bit heavy-handed. Because I'm pretty sure that from the kid's perspective, they've been dragged to a strange place and held down while a lady they don't know just stabbed them with a needle--not exactly something to feel thankful for.
If the kids don't hit/kick/scream too much (and how much is "too much" completely depends on the child in question) I give them a sticker. (Or an extra Band-Aid, if we're out of stickers.) Having them say "Thank you for the sticker" seems appropriate (Although the Happy Hospitalist seems to have issues in this department) but forcing the kids to express unspecified gratitude confuses me.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Finished the sweater!

I finished the Sonnet cardigan!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mass vaccinations are fun for everyone!

The new job is going well. I'd forgotten how wonderful it is to do nursing with people who aren't sick! (And the fact that working for the health department means I don't have to lift anyone heavier than a toddler doesn't hurt either.)

Because H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine is still limited in our area, we're trying to make sure all the "first responders" (police, firemen, EMTs, hospital workers, etc.) get vaccinated. So on Thursday, I got to go vaccinate the local fire and police departments at the new Lebanon Justice Center.

The vaccine comes in the same two forms as the usual seasonal flu vaccine--the nasal mist and the shot. Because of the misinformation swirling around the nation about the vaccine, we had a hard time getting people to accept the nasal mist. (The government sent us twice as much nasal vaccine as the injectable form, so we're trying to save the shot for people who can't have the nasal form.)

Therefore, much of the evening went like this:
I'd look over the guy's form (we vaccinated a grand total of three women all evening, and they were all dispatchers) and say "Congratulations, you're a healthy person between ages 2 and 49, you qualify for the nasal mist!"
Vaccinee: "But I want the shot! I've heard bad things about the mist!"
My coworker K usually took over at this point, as she's worked in the community much longer than I have. "What sort of bad things?"
Vaccinee:"You know, bad things.... All my buddies say it's best to get the shot."
K: (looks at guy's form) "It's just like the seasonal nasal flu vaccine. And you're telling me that you're 35 and you're still falling for peer pressure?"
Vaccinee: "Fine, I'll get the mist."

Watching K use the guys' fear of being thought vulnerable to peer pressure (which might be a form of peer pressure) to bully them into getting the nasal vaccine was priceless. I want to be like her when I grow up!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Retail therapy

Shirley caught a cold earlier this week, and she shared it with the rest of the family. I hope I'm over it (or have stopped coughing) before work starts on Wednesday!

While I'm very grateful that starched white dresses are no longer required attire for nurses, I've grown weary of the ubiquitous scrubs. While I appreciate the fact that they come in an amazing array of colors, the fact remains that their stain-resistant fabrics, bright prints featuring a variety of cartoon characters, and smock-inspired styling makes me feel slightly unprofessional. Next to the white-coated MDs, I feel like I might as well be wearing pajamas to work.

So you can imagine how overjoyed I was to learn that business casual attire is required at my new employers. Finally, a good excuse to get out my iron (okay, I'm lying with that one, as I've only recently realized that my ironing board is in the garage, precisely where the movers left it a year ago) and my dress clothes. Then I checked through my closet and discovered that not only did I only own one pair of dress slacks but the majority of my tops are summer clothing.

So today, in spite of my nasty cold, I somehow found the strength to go shopping. (It's amazing stuff, Shopping is. They really ought to market it as a cure for the common cold. "Feel sniffly? Try Shopping! You'll feel better in minutes!") I'm hoping some cute new outfits go a long way towards allaying my nerves about starting a new job.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I have a job!

What does it take to make me finish a sweater? (Don't get Brian started on this topic.) Since I knit mainly for relaxation and have the attention span of a heavily-caffinated rodent, I generally have between five and twenty projects in varying stages of completion.
I've been working on a bulky-weight version of the Sonnet cardigan out of handspun superwash wool since May. I'm midway through the last sleeve, and starting to run low on yarn. I'm down to the last ball, and I have a paranoid fear that I'll be five rows from completion and then completely run out of yarn.
So it has languished in my UFO bin for the last four months. But after finding out that I start a temporary job next Wednesday (and the required attire is business casual) I've been knitting on it like a mad woman.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ren Fests and good friends

We spent all of Thursday driving to Hermiston, Oregon and back to see Jon and Lindsay. Why did we spend four and a half hours in the car to drive to a strange Wal-Mart, spend an hour with them at WallyWorld and then turn around and drive four and a half more hours home? Partly because we're nutters with an unfortunate amount of free (jobless) time on our hands and a questionable grasp on the concept of "carbon footprint." (If we drive nine hours in a Prius, it doesn't count, right?)

But mostly because Jon and Lindsay (and their little dog, too) have been our friends for the last eight years. Brian and Jon survived NNU's religion department together, while Lindsay and I were in the same dorm. Then Lindsay and Jon were our next door neighbors when we lived in Nampa. When we moved to Nome for the summer with our four suitcases, not only did they drive all our stuff (and our truck!) to Kansas City, but they also let us live with them for a couple of weeks before we found an apartment.

J&L are moving. Unfortunately for us, they're moving to Alaska. Hermiston was literally the closest they would be to us in all of their 3700 mile road trip. One of the last times we saw them when we all went to the KC Renaissance Festival in 2007. I sadly neglected to bring the camera that time, but we had a blast.

Shirley was much easier to transport at that festival, as I was five months pregnant with her. On Saturday, we went to Shrewsbury. The ground was too uneven for her stroller, so she had to walk a lot more than she was used to. Here she is giving us the patented "I can't believe you took me to this strange place and are expecting me to use my legs!" baby glare.

We saw a lot of strange costumes at the Faire. I didn't take pictures of the worst one I saw, as I firmly believe that some things are so awful they should not be preserved for posterity. (Suffice it to say that if I were an excessively hairy obese middle-aged man, I would choose to wear something more than just a baldrick and a kilt made of skunk skins.)

The runner up, however, would have to be the dragon-girl in the photo below. She wore a parochial-school outfit (think Britney Spears circa 1997) with a felt dragon hood extending down her back. She and her boyfriend were so inseparable during the joust that Brian and I briefly wondered what their inevitable offspring would look like, then shuddered at the mental pictures created.

I was unable to get a picture of the two gentlemen dressed as King Arthur and his squire from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, (complete with coconuts!) but they were a far second from the best costumes I saw on Saturday. This group of cranky Celts with their trophy took the cake!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Spinning update

Ever since I got my wheel, I've been trying to figure out how to make the yarn I want, instead of the yarn it wants to make.

I had some odd bits of superwash left over from making crazy batts. Not enough individually to do anything with, but collectively I had about four ounces. So I divided each color into three equal piles and put each pile into a sandwich baggie.

Pulling random colors of roving from the bag, I spun each bag onto a bobbin,

and then plied them all together as a 3-ply sock yarn. Unfortunately, plying with the wheel doesn't allow me to put as much twist into it as I do with a spindle, so the final yarn may not be suitable for socks.
I'm not sure what my total yardage was because it wouldn't all fit on my niddy-noddy. (Arguably a very good problem to have!)

I also had a bump of roving I hand-dyed either in San Francisco or shortly after we moved from there. (It's been a bit since I went on an all-out dyeing binge!)

Wanting to make mostly-identical socks, I split the roving lenghtwise, spun half on a drop spindle, and Navajo-plied the yarn to keep the color sequences intact. I've still got the other half to spin up, but I hope the yardage will equal the previous skein.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Baby's first blade

I grew up on public assistance, and when I became an adult I swore up and down I'd never be dependent on the government again. But I'll do a lot of crazy things to make my baby's life better.

The most recent of those crazy things was standing in line for three hours yesterday at the Department of Health and Human Services to sign the Mimi up for the state-run health insurance program for children. (Because at least one member of our family should be able to get medical care without having to invoke EMTALA.)

Like an idiot, I had brought Shirley along with me in her stroller (and forgot to stuff knitting in my purse!) She fussed a bit, but otherwise was a trooper throughout the ordeal. So I told her that since she'd been a good girl, we' d go to the dollar store and she could pick out a new toy.

And she picked a 15" plastic Halloween cleaver! Not only does it probably glow in the dark and have a skull-shaped hilt, but it also is filled with fake blood that splashes around inside the blade. I tried repeatedly to turn Shirley's attention to other toys, but she would have none of it. I thought for a brief moment that I'd reached success with the pink furry cowboy hat that was just her size, but when I told her she could have it OR the knife, she tossed the hat on the floor and clutched the knife closer.

Next time, I think I'm going to be a lot more specific about what kind of toy she can have.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Every mother is a daughter...

There are as many theories on raising toddlers as there are parents, but in our house we have four inviolate house rules: No hitting, no kicking, don't exceed the "polite society volume level," and don't walk on the couch! Ignoring any one of these results in "Time Out," when we send the Mimi to her room until she stops screaming.

I called Mom today. And as we were having a lovely conversation, the Mimi began her regularly-scheduled conquest of the couch. "SIT!" I yelled at Shirley, invoking the Voice. She promptly sat, then gave me her best "I was merely investigating the compressability of the couch cushion-I can't believe you would question my baby honor by implying that anything untoward was occurring" innocent look, followed by blowing kisses. (Her new way of appologizing for minor infractions.)

Then, of course, I had to explain to Mom what was going on. "I love her, but sometimes I don't understand her in the slightest."

She chuckled. "Sounds like another little girl I know. Just wait until the teenage years!"

It's too bad that when we visited Grandma she was feeling too poorly to tell stories from when Mom was a toddler!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


The Mimi woke up at 0615, threw a fit for twenty minutes when I tried to change her out of her soaked outfit, and is now reading quietly to herself on the couch. I love my daughter, but some days I don't understand her in the slightest.

Job-hunting continues. I've pretty much ran out of clinic and outpatient jobs to apply to (I'm kind of done with in-hospital nursing for now) but I realized it's been four years since I had anything to do with long-term care nursing and health care has no doubt changed since then. I've been trying to do "informational interviews" with the HR people from various facilities in the area (like the unemployment office suggested) but so far no one has returned my phone calls.

So I've also been asking nurses I know if they know any nurses who work in long-term care I could call to get a better idea of what their work day is like. And asking friends and neighbors what their experience has been with area facilities and "is there anywhere you wouldn't want to send a loved one to?" (Because if there's a place like that, they probably treat the staff just as bad as the patients.)

So far, I've heard everything from "Elderhome Gardens is great--I spent a few weeks there after my hip surgery" to "Ye Olde Nursing Home is nice, but the staff there always seems rushed," to "Casa de Bluehaired Ladies should be burned to the ground, and all the ashes should be swept up and dropped into an active volcano!" I bet there's a story with the last one, but I'm too scared to ask. I'm definitely not wanting to work there.

Friday, August 21, 2009

In praise of modern dentistry

I had my wisdom teeth out on Wednesday. Since they've been troubling me for the last four years, I figured I might as well get them yanked while we still have insurance.

And now that the puking has stopped, I'm a much happier person. (Trying to get the part of my brain that was all "Oh my GAWD--there's lots of blood in your vomit! This is BAD! BAD! BAAAAAD!!!" to stop hyperventilating and talk to the part that was saying "No sh*t there's blood in your vomit--accidentally swallowing the blood your mouth incisions are oozing is what's making you vomit! Drink lots of fluids and you'll be fine." was much harder than you'd expect.) I am getting bored with eating soft foods, but not stupid enough to try the Doritos corn chips I'm craving.

One thing I didn't expect is that the swelling makes it hard to project a proper "Mom Voice" (you know the one I mean) when yelling at Shirley for doing dangerous things. And the narcotics make it really hard to sustain "The Look" for longer than a half second. "Don't shtand on the coutsch!" accompanied by a silly grin just doesn't have the desired effect.

However, I have learned from my previous experiences with narcotics that this is not the week to begin new craft projects. Why?

As we were packing up the San Francisco house, I found this random piece of crochet:
Not only does it appear to be made out of my odds and ends of sock yarn, but I have no memory of making it. The best we could conjecture was that I made it when Shirley was first born and I was on lots of pain killers. (Out of desperation, I wound up adding shoulder straps and a ruffled hem and called it a sweater dress.)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Worlds bestest husband!

I've wanted to go to the Sock Summit ever since the Yarn Harlot sent out the inital post about it. Unfortunately, the budget wouldn't allow for that this year. But it was only two bucks a person to get into the Marketplace, where Brian selflessly minded the Mimi while I wandered around in a fiber-haze.

It was total sensory overload! So much to see, so many wonderful yarns and fibers to pat. So many things calling "take me home with you!" Only the knowledge that our budget is very limited kept me from draining the checking account right then and there.

The Mimi likes people. Doesn't matter, who or where, she likes people. Needless to say, she had fun meeting a lot of new people Saturday.

I love batts and "sparklies." There's just something about the smoothness of the various fibers combined with the fact that I'm simple-minded enough to be amused by not knowing which color will come up next that makes them incredibly mesmerizing to spin. Unfortunately, angora fiber gives me a rash--and almost every custom batt I saw contained it in some percentage. And nothing takes the joy out of spinning or knitting something like getting an itchy rash from it. That's why even the most bored and financially insolvent spinner feels no need to spin fiberglass insulation.

So I was incredibly excited to find this superwash/angelina/recycled silk batt from Enchanted Knoll Farm. Sparkly and angora-free! (And when I showed it to Brian at their booth, he said, "Why do you think I was at their booth? I wanted to make sure you noticed it.")

I found that with enough patience, my wheel will do laceweight. I love this fiber, and I'm having so much fun spinning it that I want to get the most possible "mileage" out of it. I bought 8 ouncess, so I'm envisioning a glittery shawl. (Or I could do a laceweight February Lady sweater, but that's been done by so many people at this point that it's become the knitting equivalent of shopping at the Gap. While I'm busy conforming to everyone else's ideas of cute and beautiful, I might as well go plaster my car with Hello Kitty stickers and paint it pink. )

The colors turned out a lot more subtle in the yarn than they are in the batt. Brian was pleasantly surprised by this. After six years of marriage, it's still a mystery to me how two people with such completely different tastes in fashion and color can live together happily most of the time. He loves earthtones, blues, grays, greens. If the color occurs in nature, he likes it. And while it's not as bad as the proverbial "blind showgirl on an acid trip," there's no denying that I prefer the more saturated end of the color spectrum.
Although my attempts to replace my current drive band (which is several yards of doubled, highly twisted sock yarn) with flexible aquarium tubing didn't work, the wheel spins like a dream. It only has one ratio, but is very sturdy. I can transport it in the car to and from Monday morning spinning without having to disassemble it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

pictures that amuse me

For years I've been confused by the Protestant tendency to label churches "First Church of Denomination" even when there's only one church of that denomination in the town. But finally some congregation has gotten honest! This is the Second Baptist Church of Cheyenne.

Wyoming was the first state in the country to allow women to vote. I think their State Seal is much nicer than Washington's. (Washington's has the picture of George Washington, and not much else.)

Also at the historic Governor's Mansion museum, (the above seal is the carpet in the office) we saw this amazing log cabin quilt. I am in awe of the maker's color sense!

The Western Wyoming Community College has a permanent exhibit of dinosaur fossils!

All through driving through Wyoming, we saw these bilboards for buying fireworks. Aparently you can buy fireworks year round in Wyoming, not just for Independence Day.
On our return journey through Nampa, we discovered that in the three years since we'd been there, our beloved university had acquired a large water feature and life-size bronze elk statue. (I wanted to get a picture of Shirley riding the elk, but wiser heads prevailed.)

And at long last, we got to introduce the Mimi to the last of the three Shirleys she's named after. Shirley Lee-Warner was like our mom away from home when we were in college.

Photos from Wyoming trip

We drove 2550 miles in six days! I took a lot of pictures, mostly of things that amused me.

Like the Pioneer Post ginormous playground in Pendleton Oregon. Oh, to be six again!

Alpha Omega Services was a Christian book store and gun shop when we lived in Nampa three years ago. It appears that they've decided to go with just the weapons and gunsmithing, although I notice their window also advertises free Bibles. It is Idaho, so I guess they know their market!

These interesting rocks were in Utah. Utah was the land of lousy drivers, scarily clean gas station restrooms, and undrinkable water. The rest stops we were at all had signs from the health department saying the water was "nonpotable" due to the high coliform bacteria count. This might just mean that the health department checks the water more often than in other states, but still is worrisome.

Grandma had surgery Saturday and by all accounts is doing much better. It was good to see her. Shirley kept running up to random nurses and hugging their legs trying to get them to pick her up. Social baby!

We got to see our dear friends the Mwiingas. Nathan and Tasha have grown a lot since we were there in 2006!

I'll post more random pics in the next post, as the photo upload function is annoying me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


We're in Wyoming at the moment, visiting Grandma. (Can't find the camera adaptor thingy to upload pics again.) We'd planned to visit her at her home in Wheatland, but she's fallen sick and is at the big hospital in Cheyenne.
Grandma is doing better, but several things have struck me about Cheyenne. First off, darkness makes it very difficult to tell that there is a railway hub a block and a half from your motel. Trains have been going by every twenty minutes or so. I can sleep through a lot of stuff, but that's a bit much!
The hospital here is fairly new--one of the plaques commemorated construction in 2003. It's also designed so the patient floors have an identical layout. Grandma got moved from the sixth floor to the fourth floor, but kept the same room number and location on the floor. Her new room looked exactly like her old one! If I hadn't walked down with her as the staff wheeled her bed, I would have been really disoriented.
All was going well with our visit until Shirley got bored. She started crawling on the hardwood floor, and then she started licking it! I know what gets spilled on hospital floors, and watching that made me really queasy. Needless to say, she got a bath as soon as we got back to the motel.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Really, Oregon?

I had job interview yesterday for a place I really want to work, and am otherwise wading through the maze of unemployment.
Does anyone else find it ironic that the Oregon Department of Employment's website for filing unemployment claims is I suppose it's more encouraging than or, but really!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Electronic mayhem

We don't get Shirley many toys with batteries. The way we see it, she makes enough noise as it is, so why would we want to add to it? However, that doesn't stop the assorted aunties and uncles from giving her toys that make any number of interesting noises.

Like this adorable tea set. It comes with two cups, three treats, and a plate. At least, I thought it was adorable until Shirley figured out how to push the button and make the tea kettle sing its little song every ten seconds. "I'm a little teapot, ready for some tea..." The song is starting to haunt my dreams! Hope the batteries die soon.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

That time of the month

Yes, it's that time of the month, the one where I lay on the couch with a hot pad and whine a lot. Adding to the whining is the fact that lost my job on Thursday, so now I'm trying to find a new job, one that offers benefits, but isn't in a nursing home. (Just because I've got a lot of experience trying to get little old ladies with severe dementia to take their pills doesn't mean I want to do that all day!)

Shirley has learned a new word: no. To be more precise, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" I hear this a lot at meal times, as I'm trying to help her hold the spoon. She desperately wants to feed herself, and has taken to screaming "no!" at the top of her lungs at any perceived attempts to hinder her independence. Usually this means she's holding a spoon in one hand and stabbing it into the plate while using the other hand to shovel food into her mouth. Watching her eat is not for the faint of stomach!

On the plus side, however, it is nice to be able to spend time with Brian and the Mimi while they're awake and it's daylight outside.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Billy's wedding pictures

I haven't posted since right before we left to drive to Coeur d' Alene for Billy's wedding. As a surprise for Billy, we arranged for our college buddy LeeAnn to car-pool with us. We also had Brad's fiancee Carin riding with us, as well as the Mimi.

All was well and good until the Mimi got carsick all over the backseat before we'd even picked up Lee! (How can someone who doesn't even weigh 25 pounds yet acheive that level of projectile vomiting?!) Thankfully, this turned out to be a one-time occurrence.

Lee's date Josh had to work and couldn't go to the wedding, so she found a "new date." (Don't put a garden gnome on your wedding registry unless you want something like this to happen.)

After seeing Billy and Sabera married and dropping people off with their respective rides/airports, we headed south to visit Mom and Aunt Tig.

We also visited Palouse Falls. It's most spectacular in March or April when the spring floods are in full force, but it's lovely any time of year.
The canyon below the falls:

Seeing this really makes me want to take up oil painting again, but I'll have to stick with yarn and other non-toxic art mediums for now while Shirley is in the "It's pretty--I wonder what it tastes like!" stage of development.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Actual conversation with my pharmacy

For the first time in my adult life I have a health insurance plan that covers therapy. Needless to say, I've been using many of my sessions to try and trouble-shoot (as my mental health person also has prescribing rights) that fine balance between antidepressant side effects screwing up my life and depression screwing up my life. Since we can't change my wacky schedule, we've been trying to do other things to help with the insomnia.

(This is a vast improvement over my previous system in which I'd go to my primary care doc and complain that Ihateeverbody wasn't working. Wherein he'd sympathize and give me a shiny new pen emblazoned with Noyougotohell and tell me he'd heard good things about its efficacy for depression and did I want some free samples to go with that scrip?)

And when I filled my prescription for a sleeping pill this week, I had the following conversation with the pharmacy intern about side effects and drug interactions:

Me, skimming through attached pharmacy handout: "It says here not to take it with GHB. Isn't that illegal?" (To your average layperson, GHB is best known as a date rape drug.)
Intern: "Well yes, but you're not supposed to take it with it."
Me, succumbing to morbid curiosity: "So what happens if you do?"
Intern: "It can be really sedating."

Extra points to my beloved pharmacy for placing a label on the bottle that says "Warning: May cause drowsiness."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I thought they were on vacation

I thought that, just as pretty much everyone else in the northern hemisphere is appreciating summer by slowing down and doing less, so would the Yarn Pixies. Apparently I was mistaken.

Last night, as I was trying to sleep and failing miserably (I'm going to go back to referring to myself in the first person plural, like I did when I was pregnant with Shirley. Except that this time "we" refers to "me and my sleep disorder.") I was accosted by the Yarn Pixies. They suggested that I could design a surplice-style wrap sweater that was loosely based on those tie-to-fit baby sweaters.

And being gullible and unable to sleep, I took them up on it. So, I'm trying to design a new sweater. Unfortunately, I won't know if it turns out at all like the pictures in my head or the drawings in my notebook until it's finished. But the yarn is amazing and sooo soft, and I'm starting to realize just how much I have under-appreciated the tactile qualities of well-done garter stitch. Beautiful aqua silk yarn to work with, and a lengthy vacation coming up.... yippee!

Monday, June 1, 2009


I had to work Memorial Day Weekend, except for Monday. But because I work night shift, I got paid 7.5 hours of time-and-a-half from 0001 to 0730 on Monday for working Sunday night! Very nice.

Monday was also Brad and Carin's engagement party in Eugene.

I still question Carin's sanity at wanting to marry my brother-in-law, but I'm very happy for them. I was less happy to attend their party, as I got home at 0800, and then woke up at 1130 to ride to Eugene for their party. Fortunately, by the time we arrived, my Pepsi had kicked in and I managed to get through the party without saying too many stupid things.

Then on Wednesday, we piled in the car and went to Crater Lake. Shirley was very happy at getting to climb on a new bed.

We'd planned to meet with friends of ours from San Francisco, but they weren't able to come after all. This was the view from our window at the Lodge:

In spite of the 70-plus degree weather, there was still five feet of snow in places. So we bundled up the Mimi and let her experience lots of snow for the first time in her life. All went well until she ate some.

Apparently snow that's been on the ground for Lord knows how many months doesn't taste very good!

While we were on the trip, I also started on yet another version of the Sonnet cardigan done with my bulky weight handspun yarn. I've got the body completely done and I'm working on the sleeves now.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dyeing mishap

I decided that what I wanted for my birthday was some purple silk yarn. Alas, I have no money in the yarn budget. But I do have a large cone of teal silk yarn. So I over-dyed it with a lot of red, and the initial result was a lovely eggplant color.
Then I washed it. It bled. And bled. And left purple spots all over the bathtub. And now it's back to teal. :( At least it's much softer after a good bath!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Can't sleep

Not like this title is a surprise to anyone, right? At this point, between working nights and new antidepressants and the nasty cold that's been going around our family, I might as well buy a glittery lavender cape and change my name to "Insomnia Queen."

So time to list some major blessings that have happened recently:

Grandma got out of the hospital about three weeks ago. Last I heard, she is back to her normal self, including playing the harmonica.

I passed my six month employee evaluation at the hospital with flying colors! After the lousy experience I had working at Mills-Peninsula, it was very nice to have my supervisors tell me that they thought I was a good nurse and were pleased with my performance. Incredibly affirming!

I have a spinning wheel! (As always, I'm too lazy to get up and snap a picture of it. ) Brian's parents got me one for my birthday next week. It's a Clemes & Clemes modern style-spinning wheel. Mostly indestructible (always a plus with the Mimi around) and works like a dream.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Work weirdness

Work has been weird lately. I foolishly said yes when the staffing office asked if I wanted to pull extra shifts this week without looking at my schedule. Therefore, I've worked five out of the last seven days.

The staffing office canceled me for a few hours here and there, so it thankfully wasn't the full 60 hours that my 12 hour schedule would usually cause. Still, I'm very grateful that tonight is my night off.

Every so often the e-mails I receive from my higher-ups make me want to go "WTF?" Especially these two that I read Friday night:
Email # 1 stated that one of my co-workers is in the process of gender reassignment and therefore will now be known as something completely different, starting immediately. (Unexpected, but it is The Zeros.) SO BE SUPPORTIVE, YOU DUNDERHEADS!
Email #2 stated that there would be NO non-work related Internet use while at work. No, it doesn't matter if it's your lunch break. Infractions will be dealt with severely.

How can they possibly be so encouraging and empathetic towards my friend's sex change and yet intolerant of our need to check e-mail at 0315 on slow nights?

And how am I doing with these things?
The co-worker seems much happier and more relaxed, so for shis sake, I hope the rest of this change also goes well. As I told shim, "We love you and we love working with you, but pronouns are going to be a bit awkward for awhile." S/he seemed to take this well.
Last night was so crazy busy I didn't get a chance to chart until well after midnight, so the Internet policy wasn't a temptation at all.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Screaming with Mimi

We watch a lot of children's DVDs in our house. Not only is it (probably) safer for Shirley's emotional health than watching our Jet Li movie collection, but I'm also trying to get better at my Spanish skills (After years of practice, I believe my competency is now at "extremely verbal toddler" insead of "sedated parrot.") through watching them with the Spanish language track switched on. Lately, I've been working my way through the "Garfield and Friends" series.

Fans of the series may remember the segment "Screaming with Binky," in which Binky the obnoxious clown ("El Payaso Binky") comes onstage and yells "HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY KIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDZZ!!!!!!" at the top of his lungs while the other characters try to maul him. Just the sort of mindless entertainment that made the sugar-infused Saturday mornings of my childhood such a trial for my mother.

Last night, we were able to experience "Screaming with Mimi." Immediately after dinner, Shirley was unable to cope with the unfortunate reality that she had drained her bottle of milk and commenced to show her displeasure vocally. When time out in her crib didn't work, I decided that since she wasn't going to be happy regardless of the situation, I might as well go ahead and give her a bath. In retrospect, this plan may have been a mistake. My left ear is still ringing slightly from her wails.

After ten and a half hours of sleep, she's a much happier person, thank God.

Grandma is also doing much better. She's been moved to "the head case floor," and if all goes well should be going home this weekend.

Friday, April 17, 2009

He is risen!

I love Easter. Probably it has something to do with my childish joy over any holiday that involves special church services, lots of loud singing, and Marshmallow Peeps, but Easter is my all-time favorite holiday in the entire church year. (My favorite personal holiday is the Winter Solstice, but that's just because it means that the light will come back and my seasonal depression will get better. And since God apparently chose to make me with seasonal issues like this, I trust that God understands. It's strangely difficult to find cards that say "Happy Winter Solstice," so I usually settle for "Happy Holidays.")

It's spring-time, flowers are blooming, wildlife is reproducing (A note to the neighborhood feline population: Please try to modulate the volume on your late-night serenades and lover's quarrels. The cuteness of your eventual offspring does not outweigh the disturbance you are currently causing in my sleep.) and God has conquered Sin and Death and Hell! Jesus is risen from the dead, HOW COOL IS THAT!?
I had planned to spend the previous week in Wyoming visiting Grandma, as the 9th was her 80th birthday. However, due to "budgetary shortfalls," we're having to delay the trip until August, when the passes will be clear enough to drive. (I haven't had the heart to tell our trusty Toyota that it's got a four-cylinder engine, but the fact remains that it's mostly fiberglass. I refuse to drive in snow and ice unless it's absolutely unavoidable.)

So we spent Easter weekend with Penny and Dave. After a very disturbing midnight cryptic text message from Mom (which I followed up with multiple panicked telephone calls after I checked my messages at 0500) I found out that Grandma had fallen, gotten a subdural hematoma, had emergency surgery, and was in ICU in Cheyenne.

And as of yesterday, she's still in ICU. Granted, of all the things which can possibly be interpreted as "bleeding on the brain," a subdural hematoma is one of the easiest to fix, but brain surgery when you're 80 is still...brain surgery! I'm trying to turn off the "nursing panic" that comes from having the letters "RN" behind my name and knowing what could go wrong, but it's still hard.
(Extra points to the ICU nurse I first talked to on Sunday when I couldn't get ahold of any of the family. "I can't tell you anything because of the HIPPA act and the privacy laws, OK?"
"I know that," I said. "I'm a RN in Oregon and can you just tell me how many drips she's attached to so I can know if I need to fly out there right now?"
She chuckled. "Okay, I'm not telling you this, but your grandma's awake, talking to us, and doing much better than before the surgery.")
So I'm doing what I usually do when family members are sick and I can't sleep and I'm worried--knitting. I've got about 1200 yards of handspun in a pink/orange/brown/ colorway (And about 2 more ounces of my own "crazy batt" to spin up more in case I run short.) and I've started the gauge swatch for Sonnet. Thank God for nice easy mindless knitting.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Night off

I have tonight off work, and my sister in law Meegan was crazy enough--I mean kind enough--to watch the Mimi overnight tonight. Brian will be out at a meeting until late tonight, so a traditional date night is slightly out of the question. I'm thinking I'll bake some cookies, watch random things on Netflix, and spin more yarn. Currently I'm trying to spin enough lace weight yarn for a cardigan. 600 yards down, much more to go!

In other news, I joined Ravelry, but have no idea what to do there. Any tips?

Friday, March 27, 2009


Last week, one of the nurses who works in ICU was ill enough to be hospitalized on our floor. Being a nurse himself, he had several more questions than your average patient, and made the nurse taking care of him telephone the doctor several times in order to get them all answered.

"Co-workers make the worst patients!" she finally blurted out in exasperation--twenty minutes before she herself had a small seizure at the nurse's station.

Hope they're both feeling better when I work tonight!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Chocolate-covered baby

Last Wednesday was Shirley's first birthday. I know some parents do full-out birthday parties for their one year olds complete with guests, etc, but we're not "some parents." (They've been canceling my shifts at work lately, so we're much more broke than these possibly-mythical "other people's parents.")

So I baked cupcakes, we sang Happy Birthday to her and then proceeded to photograph her reaction to oodles of refined sugar. (You'll have to imagine the ecstatic baby squeals throughout this process.)

"What's this, Mom? It doesn't come in a jar labeled "Gerber," so I'm not sure I recognize it."

"Oh well, anything this gooey can't possibly be bad!"

"No one told me food could taste this good! What have you been feeding me the rest of the year?"

"Is this what you mean by the words "sugar rush?" I think I like it!"