Friday, December 19, 2008



I dream of sleep. Deep, beautiful, long, uninterrupted sleep.

For days. Perhaps interrupted by showers. And doing my hair. Then more sleep and then more baths.

Just wanted to let you know.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

slow fingers

Babies are so exciting! I have a friend here in Arizona who is pregnant, and my first thought was of what to knit her. My mind immediately leapt to baby sweater, although after thinking about how the baby would be due in May, and how the baby would be living in Arizona, I decided that a sweater might be a little inappropriate given the circumstances. My plans were headed in the direction of knitted toys as well. And oh my goodness. Bunny with dress is about the most adorable thing I've ever seen. So cute.

Speaking of knitting gifts, I've been trying to finish up some Christmas gifts before I go back to WI in January. And as I was working on Christmas presents this morning, I was thinking about the world's fastest knitter and how long it would take her to knit the projects that I am working on. I mean, look at her go! She's absolutely amazing. When I read other blogs I often wonder about the productivity of these knitters and feel humble and slow in comparison. I certainly can't knit a hat in an hour, and I don't even want to know how sadly I would fare in comparison to this world-fast knitter. I used to tell James that they should make a show on TV similar to project runway, only make it about knitting designers. He told me that it would be slow and no one would be able to make any project within a reasonable amount of time. (He also said no one would watch it) But hey! If we just gathered up all of these world-fast knitters we could make it happen, don't you think? I would watch it.

Besides being a "slow" knitter, I am also a slow reader. In comparison, I guess. Kate was always a speed reader. I swear she could read a hundred pages in an hour. Maybe not so much, but I was always impressed. You can definitely make it through your classes with much more ease if you can speed read. And honestly, I've been a little jealous. But not too jealous. Because unlike knitting projects, I view good books as a limited commodity. There are only so many amazing books in the world, and the rest are closer to mediocre. And once you get your hands on that one amazing book, who wants to speed read through it? The best books that I have ever read, I've almost hesitated to read them, because I don't want them to be over. Because once you've read them they're gone, and there's nothing like reading a book for the first time. My favorite author has several books out that I haven't read yet, but I'm saving them for later in life, because I know he's old and won't publish many more books, and I want to savor each page.

So how is reading like knitting? Well, I guess there's a little bit of me that always wants to be the fastest and the best at everything. If I can whiz through it, it means I'm an expert, right? Well, I have come to accept my reading. But that knitting, wow. Think of how productive I could be. Think of how many new projects I could start. Think of all the yarn! Truth be told, I see knitting much differently than I see reading. There really are more projects that I want to work on than I have time for. The more I knit, the more ideas I have, and the less time I have to finish them. Here's me wishing I could finish another Christmas gift this afternoon, and realizing that most likely I will progress no farther than an inch or two.

When my fingers are cold they move so much slower. Perhaps that is my clue for the day. You know, the one time I played well in viola seminar, I warmed my hands in thrummed mittens until the very minute that I needed to play. And it was beautiful. Perhaps I should do the same here, prepare my hands for extra knitting strength and speed by prepping them with thrummed mittens. You see? In a round-about way, knitting begets knitting. Thrummed mittens beget more thrummed mittens and once I am warm, perhaps I will be able to crank those gifts out like a world-class knitter.

Hope your hands are staying warm. Let me know which adorable toy you are going to create.




She's having a girl! My friend Jessica is pregnant, and we just learned that she's having a girl! Now, I owe Jessica. I owe her big time. Not only is she really nice, but she's really nice. I worked with her this past summer, and when I got behind on my work, she took over and did about 10 of my transcriptions for me.

You really have to understand how horribly annoying transcriptions are to do in order to love her so much. Because that took days and days of her time, and she asked for nothing in return. I really appreciate it.

So I'm really excited to knit her something nice, and I'm actually going to knit her something really special, in appreciation of what she did for me this summer as well. Because I truly wouldn't have finished my research this summer without her help!

I'm trying to stay on task...I really am. It's going to be a late April baby. So I'm thinking...summer baby...knitting might not be a good idea! But toys are always good, no? Bunny? Otto? Elephant? This is cuteness overload.

I'm really leaning toward a bunny with a cute knitted dress. I think that'd be adorable.

And then I've heard that it's a good idea to give gifts for later on as well, not just the first few months, and so I thought, well maybe a nice sweater for when she's months 6-12, and not growing quite to fast, too! My favourite is the baby surprise jacket, and I think if I make it a little larger, it would be nice for growing into.

Oh my gosh! I'm in finals! I need to stop thinking about this!!!!

Love you.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

wintry visit

I was back in Wisconsin this weekend, and it was a constant flutter of nostalgia and being homesick. I was overjoyed to see my friends and family, but in a strange way I was almost just as affected simply by being in the town in which I had grown up. I was surprised by how the power of place could hold such an effect on my emotions. It made me feel small.

The reason for my trip was Sheri's wedding, and it was amazing to be able to reconnect with my high school friends and be present for this huge step in her life. It had been almost a year since I had been back, and it was good to reconnect. I love the moments where you can just pick up and continue where you left off and fill in the gaps along the way so that there is no awkwardness but rather excitement and joy.

This is a picture of Sheri and Owen (her new husband). Notice how Jesus is now between them. Ahh, the symbolism. My pictures are a little fuzzy, but the receiving line would not wait for my slow camera to work, and the Jesus picture needed to be taken.

Personally I like the rockstar wedding pictures the best.

It snowed a bit for me while I was visiting, which was a nice surprise. Well, besides the fact that it kept me waiting on the runway for two hours while the airport was being plowed. I got to try out my new mittens and scarf in the wintry climate. Check them out. Or, I guess just the mittens since there's no picture of my scarf on my camera right now.

I remembered what it was like to knit something for a practical purpose. I had carefully washed and blocked my knitted items before leaving so that they would be soft and shapely when I wore them. But I'm pretty sure that my hands could have dealt with scratchy and ugly just as well, as long as they were still kept warm. When your fingers start to feel tingly, you stop worrying about what is soft and beautiful and start worrying about getting frostbite.

I do have to say, however, that these mittens and scarf fulfilled their warmth as well as fashion purposes. The scarf could have been thicker, but I was working with limited yardage, so I would not change a thing. It was an exciting thing to feel as though I had knit with a purpose again and that my time had been put to good use. I was warm and snuggly in my knitted accessories and happy and full in this familiar place.

Now I need an excuse to visit you. You should to talk to me so we can come up with reasons together and so I can see you again.


Monday, November 10, 2008

umm, well, sorry about that voting thing

I think you might be angry with me if you knew about my voting this past Tuesday. I am angry with myself as well. But in my defense, I was an hour and a half drive away from the county in which I am registered to vote. And, well, I was busy 8-7, 9-10. Polls were open 6-7, so I could have left at 4:30 in the morning to vote; but, well, I didn't.

Now, despite my unexpected non-participation in the elections this year, I had actually done a bit of research on the propositions and local government offices that were up for election. It worries me that people who go to the polls may be well-informed about the presidential elections but unaware that there are in fact other people on the ballot. I think we ourselves fell into this trap at some point when we considered voting for Dr. Hedstrom in the last presidential election. I know I did wrong by not voting and I regret it. But tell me this. Is it better to be an uninformed voter, or is it better to not vote at all if you don't do the research?

Though it was the source of my non-participation, I do have to say that I am in love with living in this city. I have a ten minute commute as opposed to my normal 90 minute commute. I don't have to leave for school before the sun rises, and I get to come home at a decent hour. I feel normal again.

James is taking his EMT course and he just learned how to do IVs yesterday and is quite excited about it. I asked him to explain to me how he would find the vein and how he would do the IV, but he could not find the vein in my arm. He's starting to boast again that he knows more than you, so I think you should have a talk with him and set him straight.

The house that we are renting for the month is covered from floor to ceiling in wall paper. Lots and lots of garish wallpaper. Even on the ceiling. It reminded me of that home stay we had with the interior decorator who went all crazy with her draperies. (You know, the one with the game 'The Exciting Career Game for Boys?') I think the previous owner of this home was also an interior decorator. It makes me nervous about how these people are influencing other peoples' decorating decisions. We also have a fireplace, which seems nice, but Hazel keeps trying to crawl inside and then she is full of soot and so every time she jumps around she lets off a puff of soot. It's good for her to have a new place to explore, but she's becoming brazen and unruly with her new freedom.

Do you get to have thanksgiving off? I am having a few of my group members over for thanksgiving which will be nice. Obviously then I will be staying in Arizona for the holiday, but in the end I found that I would be able to go to Sheri's wedding, so I will be home the weekend before Thanksgiving. If you find yourself in Wisconsin for some reason the weekend before Thanksgiving, you should let me know.

Keep me updated on how you are doing.


Monday, November 3, 2008


If you're in America, go vote. If you already voted, tell someone else to vote. Check especially the outliers...the younger students who might never have voted before, newer Americans, people who have just moved to your area.

If you're not here in America, call us up. Make sure all your friends here have voted. Send off some emails. Plead for your favourite candidates. Why not? The actual candidates have done a lot worse. I feel it's totally okay as long as it's not family.

Have an older relative who might struggle getting to the polls? Drive 'em. (Call first.)

Then treat yourself to some chocolate.

We should all be represented these next four years.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

...A somewhat normal day?


I miss you. I miss my old life.

My health has not been well at all, but I have not told many people, because their lives have been crazy as well and I don't want to bother them. I've also been health-wise not good in the head, so I haven't been able to judge well what to do.

Which isn't a good thing.

Looking back on it, there are possibly a few other times I should have gone into the doctor, or called someone, or done something. But then I thought, will they make fun of me because I'm a medical student, and tell me I should know better? These are times I wish I weren't a medical student and didn't know anything and could just not feel well. Because I didn't.

Today I feel well, except for a mild headache, because apparently tomorrow it's going to rain.

Anyhow, my brain's been really out of it. Sorry I haven't written. I have been very sick. I am sorry. I hope you are doing well, and I love you.

And things could be worse. At least I have health insurance!


Sunday, August 31, 2008

a mix of things

Welcome back to the blog! I'm sorry to hear about your blood pressure and your tests and the not fun that is trying to stay healthy. I wish you the best. I'd mix my blood pressure in with yours if I could and if it would help. I don't understand what all of your tests are or how serious it is, but I'm thinking of you and sending you my prayers.

I'm having my own mini health crisis here with Hazel. She may have had a stroke, although the vet isn't sure. Her head is all wonky and tilted and she isn't behaving as normal. We got some drugs to put in her, but she's too smart for the old pill in the craisin trick. And if we try to put the pill in her mouth she bites. Through leather gloves. And makes us bleed.

I'd like to take some nice pictures, but it's storming outside and there's no good natural lighting. So these following shots will have to do.

I finished the first Azure sock. The first one.

It looks cozy, it fits well. I'll end up giving these away when I'm done.

And then this happens.

Oh no! An impromptu James hug while I am knitting results in broken bamboo. So now I have only three double pointeds left (I had already lost one needle in the process of knitting this sock). And I'll have to wait until Tuesday to get back into town to get another set. This is the perfect time to set a project down and never pick it up again. Why is it so easy to drop a mitten or a sleeve or a sock after one is finished and not start the other one? Whatever happened to symmetry. I am trying very hard to keep myself pumped up for starting the second.

In the meantime I have started a scarf to knit while I read the many many papers that I need to read for class. It's working well so far.

I'm taking all research in education classes this semester, and they're very heavy on the reading load (heavy for me, not for you--I'm sure you're used to reading three times as much). That's where the mindless knitting will come in. However, I do miss chemistry courses. I miss the efficiency of it all. I sat through a 2.5 hour class on Thursday that was completely pointless. It was the professor's own hubris that made the class take so long, and I learned nothing. Not a thing. So in the elevator on the way out I commented to Haozhi that I missed the chemistry. To which a classmate responded, "Yeah, I know. It's easier, right? The chemistry. There are no surprises." Umm, yeah. Right. I happen to respect chemistry courses for making the most of the hour and for not wasting my time. Not because it's easy.

I think the thing that irritates me most more than anything is when classes waste my time. I don't recall ever being more irritated or outright angry than when I was in a class that was obviously pointless. And I do recall walking out of class before, but I'm not sure I can do the same in graduate school. The only pointless class that is the exception to this would be biodiversity. The knitting, the having you to sit next to and laugh with; it made it all better. I wish I had saved my journal. It was priceless, with all of the horrified and emotionally charged comments that both professors left on it. Maybe it's back at my parents' house somewhere.

Good luck with your medical tests let me know how they go.

Love you, miss you,

Thursday, August 28, 2008



Ummmm, hi!

Awkward, a bit, isn't it, coming back from such a long, long break. Anyway, I've really got to snatch off to bed, since apparently, I'm a wreak. However, I feel as if I need to give a bit of an update? Because you're my friend.

So today I got reamed out for my blood pressure.

Reamed. Like, reamed. I've never been reamed out this badly for anything in my life before. I've been trying to schedule a meeting with the headache clinic for over 6 months now, and today was my appointment. Because I had been trying a different headache preventative medication, I went off my hypertension (high blood pressure) medication.

Apparently that didn't go well.

Blood pressure is ideally 120/70 or lower in healthy individuals, and shouldn't be higher than 140/90. Today mine registered at 148/96.

So I had a lovely meeting with a medical student and the nurse practitioner, and we sat down, and it was soft and warm, and we talked, and I felt that they really cared, and we had some moments. It was a nice meeting. It was very heartwarming. I think if the medical school would have taped it, and my fellow colleagues and I would have critiqued the nurse's technique, we would have found perfection.

I sat twiddling my thumbs for about 5 minutes, reading the informative screensavers that told me that MCV means "Mean corpuscular volume" of the red blood cells, but I still didn't remember what elevated or lowered MCV suggested what diseases (which I should know.)

And then the doctor blew in with sphygmomanometer blazing. He practically ran into the room, dragging the mobile blood pressure cuff on creaking wheels and had the nurse strap the cuff on me again to take my blood pressure once more. Then it began.

I won't mince the words. Let's just say that apparently at the age of 23 I am not allowed to have high blood pressure anymore. Apparenly everyone in the neurology department and possibly the hospital has migraines, and that is not a problem. If I don't get my blood pressure down, the doctor is going to hunt me down in the hospital or medical school and shoot me.

(He told me this.)


Um. Ran to the other Doc. Told him that if I didn't get my blood pressure down I was going to die because the neuro doc was going to shoot me. Thus, my schedule.

Tomorrow: EKG, Echocardiogram, Chest X-ray
Tuesday: Renal Ultrasound (for renal artery stenosis.)
Wednesday: MRI (That's for my head. Because the neuro doc did care about that, too, I suppose.)

Gosh I hope I'm not too screwed up. At least my lab results were all fine. (Though my thyroid function tests were none too high, let me tell you!)

Love you, wish me luck. Looks like I'll be a bit busy this next week. I'll let you know what I find out.


Monday, August 25, 2008

masterpiece knitting

It's the first day of classes, I'm here at the office and have hardly anything to work on at the moment, so I thought I'd blog a post.

Remember that yarn that got lost in the mail? It came! So exciting! But, then again, I'm starting to think that it was my own mail box stupidity that kept me from getting the package in the first place. We've got one of these community mailboxes, and I guess when you get a package they give you a key to open up the package compartment. Not that I knew any of this. Nor should I have expected this either, seeing as a package was previously delivered to our house, but in a different manner. A different annoying manner which involved me having to drive to the post office. I like this mailbox compartment idea much better, only I wish I had known about it earlier.

So I am making socks with this new yarn. Socks take two. No variegated colors any more. Just nice socks. Azure socks. I'd show you a picture, but I'm at the office. No camera on me at the moment.

And the socks got me to thinking. Did you ever read the American Girl series? How about the Molly books? As I recall, Molly was in some group that was knitting socks for the soldiers in WWII. Only Molly didn't want to make socks. They were too hard. She rallied everyone together, and they each knit a simple square, stitched them all together, and sent a blanket overseas instead. Isn't this interesting? What does this suggest to our knitting community? To give up on the hard projects and take the easy way out? Or does it suggest that we should work at something that we love, irregardless of how simple it may seem?

I am conflicted. For one, knitting seems at the core to be a simple sport. It is repetitious. It is soothing. It is rhythmic. It's a step back in technology to a craft that has been around for, what? Hundreds? Thousands of years? So why is it that every project that I seem to want to knit is complicated, impressive, and showy? (not that I'm claiming anything impressive, just the yearning to be impressive) Is this counter to the idea of a simplistic knitting craft? What do you think?

I have a new goal; to simplify my knitting, at least for the coming semester. Take on some stockinette or simple ribbing, or easy stitch pattern. Something that is truly mindless that I can take to class and never have to bother to look at. Yet somehow this seems more difficult to me than the proposal of tackling some complicated masterpiece. I don't know why this is.

We will see how this works out. I suppose the solution is to have multiple projects at once, but it is so difficult for me to put projects on hold.


Friday, August 1, 2008

making up for lost yarns


My yarn got lost in the mail.

So I died some more lambswool.

And made a Tasha hat to replace the failure gloves that I attempted earlier.

And added a pom pon for good measure.

And created more schnibbles than pom pon.

By the way, it's rather difficult to take a self-portrait shot.

And what are these? Could they be alpacas? Why yes! To get a fiber fix James and I headed to an alpaca farm near us, square top ranch. This is a photo taken on their farm. We got a tour of the place, got to see all 31 alpacas and pet their softest alpaca yet.

Arizona even looks decent this time of year, with rolling green hills instead of the bare brown it usually is.

They had these giant dogs around the place, meant to guard the alpacas from prey animals. You can't really tell from this picture, but this dog is enormous. The owners of the ranch weighed one of the dogs while we were there--a total of 140 pounds. James made the mistake of trying to rough-house with him. Wonderful, gentle dogs, but rather powerful.

And if going once wasn't enough, we ended up visiting a second time on Sunday. James has a coworker with a wife who loves to knit, so we jumped in the car and headed out again to see the animals and buy more yarn.

And the best part? Yummy yarn. Soft. I was so enamored that I took some of the yarn to dinner. James thought it looked like poo.

And here is the product of two days' worth of knitting this delicious yarn:

Eunny's Anemoi mittens.

I am in love with the yarn, I am in love with the pattern. This makes up for my yarn being lost in the mail.

And there's something for you as well. It's not exactly the same fiber that I gave you earlier, but there will be alpaca roving sent to you in the mail shortly.


Sunday, July 27, 2008



I had a dream that I went to your parents' house for Easter and we met up and were going to do some crafting, only I didn't have any yarn and so I couldn't make anything. Which is true in real life as well. I am growing frantic with basically nothing to work on. Well that's not exactly true. I do have a six-month old mitten project that I decided to rip back to increase the length . . . but that's about it. How did this happen?

It starts with me not being you. That is, I don't stash. (James would disagree, but he doesn't really know anything about knitting.) Then we add on the fact that I happen to have recently finished the few projects that I was working on. And while I had projects lined up to start after I was done, I didn't bother to buy the yarn until just now. So I put in an order online, not yet able to bring myself to trust the "local" yarn store again after the tragedy with the previous sock yarn.

It's been two weeks and the yarn has not yet arrived. No yarn! No knitting! Withdrawal!

I am barely coping.

Plus we just moved and our house has giant house spiders. Well, perhaps not authentic giant house spiders, but they are huge and they are spiders and they do make me worry that when I sleep at night they are going to crawl into my mouth. Even if that is just an urban legend.

Did I tell you that my plan was to train for a triathlon? Isn't that ridiculous? Can you even see me doing that? Well, I've been running in the mornings with Dutch (who likes to occasionally dart into the street when he spots roadkill), although now that we've moved I don't have a route. It's probably just an excuse, because it shouldn't take too long to figure out a running path, but I am enjoying sleeping in.

You will be moving soon? Our house is lovely--despite the few bugs. I wish I was close enough for people to visit, because it feels a little big for the two of us. I also wish James was working less so he could help me put all of our crap away. I also wish my yarn would arrive.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Camera too much work


Babe! I missed you. Love the sock...interesting colors. Seems you had a bit of pooling going on there. I can direct you to this Rav page of very bad examples of pooling...yours may not be the worst.

I miss ya, babe. The summer is already looking at it's middle point and heading toward the end. Argh! And thus, I must sleep to be ready to work hard tomorrow, so you's getting no pictures. Just imagine for the time being. Perhaps someday it will not be 90 degrees outside with a dew point of 73, whatever that means. (I'm told that means it's hot. I could have told you that.)

So sorry I've been gone for so very long, anybody whos wondered. I know it seems as if I was swept up by the floodwaters and carried off down to Missouri. Thankfully, no, I'm still maintaining my existence in this sludge and mud filled town. While the water levels are still apparently in the flood range, we don't need a boat to get through town anymore.

So while I became extremely pent up in my house and Kriss, thank goodness I was still able to get to him, I first went actual crazy, then went craft crazy. I think the craftiness was to deal with the actual insanity. I was a bit inspired, and over the flood break I mostly worked on two things:

1) A recycled fused plastic bag messenger bag with an octopus on it.

2) A giant squid softie, or stuffed squid. However, when I say I made a stuffed squid over the break, most people think I cooked, which I did not. We were supposed to conserve water and electricity. So in a very greasy, hungry, smelly manner, I crafted.

Since then Ive been doing a bit of knitting with my handspun llama on this lace scarf. However, you can see a few problems highlighted in the picture. I messed up where I was in the repeat and added to many holes. This automatically makes it not state fair worthy. In addition, I dont know that I really like the pattern all that much. Thoughts, comments, queries?

All in all, my life was pretty boring! Ive started exercising a lot for me, which is about an hour a day. Kris and I revel in each others company. Wed never actually been together for a full week before where neither of us had to study. Its delightful. And Im crafting! My next plan is to finish the octopus bag and work on some grocery store reusable fabric bags. For these Id love to use decorator fabric with a night tight weave and sturdy hand, but theres not much selection for the price at the Jo-Anns here, and while I love the Japanese cottons from Home Ec, I just cant handle $18/yd for grocery bag fabric.

The sheep and wool festival that my cousin and I were going to be at near Des Moines was unfortunately cancelled. Which was disappointing, obviously, since I was planning on hanging out and learning some new information on my favourite fiber activities. And then our college reunion was canceled/rescheduled, so Ive just been lying low, trying to get healthy. Spending too much money on athletic wear in the hopes that it will help.

So I told people that Id do a few things this summer since I had timeand Ive definitely not gotten to them yet, but Ill list them so far, just to hold myself accountable:

1) Write up a good, solid, complete pictorial instruction on how to dismantle and frog sweaters

2) Write up the pattern for my reversible cable scarf that Im callingPhase Shift, which I think would be much better if I just turned it into an instruction on how to change regular cables into reversible cables. (Which I dont know how to do yet, but Ive got some ideas.

So there you go. Thats how I am, take it or leave it.

As my instructional Yoga DVD says, Namaste,




Last time I heard the floods were invading and Iowa was practically underwater. I hope things are a little dryer now? As your floods disappear our monsoons are setting in, although this is more of a relief for us. So far we've seen more clouds than rain, but even that can be something to enjoy.

I finished my first sock.

Yes, this is most likely the ugliest sock yarn one could find. I don't understand how something could look so appealing in a ball of yarn yet so horrendous after being knitted up. It appears to be camo for the foot. Perhaps I would find sock knitting more addictive if I had more appealing yarn. For the time being, until further notice, I believe I will leave the variegated yarn where it belongs--on the shelf.

We will be moving into our new home in a week, and in anticipation of the move, we have been looking for a bundle of bunny to keep Hazel company. This is the fluffy fur ball the stork dropped on us:

It really is turning into an animal farm here. But seriously. This is it. This is where I draw the line. The only reason we considered getting a second rabbit was because James kept complaining that Hazel wasn't a mini lop. And because rabbits are supposed to be much happier in pairs.

So this is Pickles. Adorable, tiny, loves to be held. . . But messy. And persistently un-litterbox trained. And sick. The day after we got her we noticed she was sneezing. And sneezing and sneezing. To the vet we went yet again. Now we've just recently taken her out of quarantine and attempted a better introduction between the two.

What did I expect? Frankly, I was hoping for sweet bunny love and suitable snuggling partners. And it wasn't completely out of the question to hope for such things. They had been introduced briefly with no detrimental outcome. They had even been stealing illicit kisses while Pickles was still behind bars. All good signs, no? We took them to neutral territory, out of the apartment--what else could we have done?

So two little bunnies, hopping around while two proud parents looked on. It didn't take long for them to make a nest together in the corner of the room. Calm, snuggling, peaceful--I thought we had hit gold.

We left the room. They were happy! There was no reason to keep a constant eye on them! But then, oh no. We hear scurrying several minutes later and rush in to find Pickles, sweet little pickles chasing Hazel, nipping her on the rear. Nipping and pawing and no longer happy. Knocking over food and water bowls. No longer the perfect pair that we thought they would be for each other. And now? No more bunny kisses between the bars of the cage; now they are little nips. Separated again. Unhappy.

And Pickles still is not litter box trained. She's peed on James twice.

I am consoling Hazel at the moment with many pets while Dutch is forcefully licking her face. You'd think vegetarian animals would be more peaceful. I guess lettuce does not breed harmony.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

If you're in Iowa City

If anyone reading this is in Iowa City right now, please go help sandbag if you can. We need all the help we can get. The floods are going to be even higher, and it's still raining. Right now they look to raise up 5 feet more. Our walls aren't high enough.

Thank you so much for all your help and concern.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Apocalypse Now?


Apparently, one of the secretaries in Family Medicine, where I work this summer, was trying to get a refund for a dictaphone she'd returned that was the wrong size. She called the company in California to try and speed up the process since the end of their fiscal year is coming up. However, the man at the company said it was pure chaos at the returns department right now. Curious as to why so many people were returning their machines, she asked what was wrong. He replied that people thought it was the end of the world, and wanted to return the machines.

Ummm, I just want to say something. So far in the last 3 weeks Iowa has had F5 tornados and what they call 500 year floods, flooding that has the probability of occurring once every 500 years. But have you seen us complaining about the apocalypse? Who's complaining about the end of the world?!

I got up this morning, canceled my credit and debit cards (can't find my wallet), put on some grubby clothes, and went down to the union where I filled sandbags for a few hours. They served us some lunch (Yummy! Thanks President Sally Mason! She was there bagging with us, too.) and then I changed and ran off to do an interview. To interview someone. I mentioned this to President Mason, and she told me to give her name as a recommendation. I told her that probably wouldn't work since I was interviewing another person. My hair was the worst to tackle before the interview. It was...interesting. Not pretty. But luckily, I was in a hotel for lunch, so I grabbed a comb from them and looked and smelled decent after I wiped myself down with baby wipes and a bit of scented lotion.

Anyhows, I interviewed, then went to grab Kris from work. We went back to his place, he changed, and then we went back to the sandbagging until 9 pm tonight, at which time I suddenly realized my arms wouldn't do anything anymore. At that point we decided to leave since I couldn't even lift my hands above the level of my waist.

Enough talk. Here's a few pictures. I was working today, and didn't take a single picture of the floods. However, here's a few places to peek. This is Iowa City.

I don't want to steal The gazette's photos, but I will point out that the guy on the far right in the 2nd photo is Steve, who does Maintenance work at the University. Really nice guy. Kris and I ate dinner with him, and had a great conversation. He's going to look for my picture on the wall once I graduate medical school.

These are aerials.

The Coralville dam and spillway has flowed over, which means it's coming into the city here now, and the US Army of Engineers can't control how much water is coming anymore.

This is Decorah.

If you don't know Decorah well, just know that this is a crazy, crazy amount of water coming down. I can't even express how much. If you look at the picture of the bridge alone, that's just in the middle of the water....that's how wide the river usually is.

The images below are from Parkersburg when my mom and I went to visit my great-uncle there (my maternal grandmother's brother). My mom grew up in Parkersburg, so she knows lots of people there. We were both horrified. Just in case you can't tell, all the trees are stripped of all their bark. All that rubble and boards...those used to be houses. We didn't walk through it much, so here's a bit of the line of destruction right next to houses that are falling down, next to houses that have flowers still with all their petals.

But on this half of town....there's nothing left.

My second cousin had just moved here the week before the tornado hit. He was renting a house and lived with his wife and baby. They didn't have renter's insurance yet. The house is gone. They've found almost nothing from the rubble. They've lost everything except their lives.

But that's enough. We'll pick it all up, get it all together.

Sorry I've been away, we just can't get away from picking up pieces and trying to keep everything together here. I'm still okay, so I'm trying to help everyone wherever I can. I'm safe.


Friday, June 6, 2008

back to the brown

Hey A,

It's been too long!! I've been out of state, on vacation, to celebrate Mark's graduation from high school, to swim at the beach, and revel in the palette that is Florida. I have never appreciated the beach as much as I did last week. To see colors that were not brown! To see never-ending water! Ohh, that was the life. James wants to move back to FL once I'm done with these higher education shenanigans. One thing is for sure. We are getting out of AZ as soon as possible. I don't even care that this is Indiana Jones territory. I don't wear a fedora, I don't have a horse, and I'm tired of the dust.

My only qualm with the vaca was being stung repeatedly by jelly-fish tentacles and being pushed head-first off of a balcony. Besides these minor incidents, I was happy as a clam.

Speaking of clams, you've got to be soaring with the fact that Kris is your new neighbor! I am concerned, however, that even in your free time you continue to be sleepy and tired. You must work on this. I suggest taking the summer off and sleeping through the whole thing. Well, perhaps not.

My Aunt-in-law warned me that pretty soon everyone I knew was going to start having babies. She may just be caught up in her own grandmother thing, because I'm not really sure I know of anyone who's close. Although I played a fun game in my head where I tried to guess which of our friends would be first. Your thoughts? Anyway, I figured it could be a good excuse to take you up on your suggestion of knitting a baby sweater. You know, start the stockpile in case there are any winter babies in the coming years. After playing with her two grandchildren for a week, I'm shocked that anyone has enough energy to become a parent.

Well, it's certainly Friday and although I just got back, I'm clearly not task-oriented since I'm spending my office time blogging instead of researching. You will have to remind me if your office job for the summer is similar to what you did last year or something new. I've decided that doing the research is not as interesting as coming up with the initial research plan. Perhaps that's how some people feel about knitting. I'd rather just put this project on hold and start a new one.

Say hi to Kris for me. Take care! Sleep in!

Miss you,

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tap tap tap...Is this thing on?


Hallo? I am sleepy and tired, and have had a bit of a crazy last few weeks. If you couldn't tell from the fact that I haven't posted anything. However, I am still here. Barely. Very tired, going to bed.


-Passed 1st year of medical school
-Kris graduated
-Saw parents
-Slept lots
-Went shopping, bought lots of clothes that fit my body since I've gained weight (from passing medical school and not moving)
-Visited Kris
-Kris went to New York, spent night almost in Bronx (better than in airport, still sketchy hotel)
-Amy went to work, realized once again that she could never do a desk job for more than a summer
-Visited home
-Grandpa turned 90
-Watched fireworks
-Visited Parkersburg, am still in shock
-Picked Kris up from airport
-Stopped for food at Culvers, and couldn't leave: car broken, won't start
-While car broken, moved Kris into new apartment for summer (in same city as me!)
-Tried car again, Yay! Turning on of car means I can drive it back to house
-Got Kris ready for first day of life after undergrad
-Kris, in sleepiness, accidentally locked door so that roommate couldn't get back in house later
-Went to appt (doctor's)
-Went to work, got bad migraine
-Wanted to leave work, but didn't, still got nothing done
-Gets call from roommate, locked out of house
-Gets picked up by brother-in-law, pick up Kris, go home and let roommate in house
-Makes brother-in-law check house for burglers or strange people in fit of paranoia
-Kris and BIL look at car
-BIL quickly diagnoses problem
-Buy fuel pump
-Kris and BIL install fuel pump, Amy brings beer and brownies for happiness
-Men rinse off since BIL was doused in gasoline while installing said pump
-Everyone goes out for Mexican
-Car works
-Amy collapses at home and types up summary before sleep

Sleepy and tired,

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Warning! Spoiler!

Sweet summer release! The season of lemonade, of bare feet and peonies. Time to travel, read, and protest kangabots. (That’s right, they do exist)
I had a plan to up my gift-knitting productivity, to finish this gift for you by the end of the month. That plan only lasted two days. Instead, I broke down and I’m posting a hint of what it’s going to be. I couldn’t decide which picture was better.

In the first picture, it’s so dark you can barely make it out. Yet the picture shot by flashlight ended up a little smudgy.

Perhaps the poor quality of both will lend itself to an air of mystery. Or not. Since you’ve been looking up lace projects you may already know what this is. But, well, there you have it.
I’ve been contemplating what I like so very much about lace. For one, there’s the longevity of the project. Tiny stitches. I enjoy the general lack of shaping involved and the lesser importance of checking gauge. There is something satisfying in realizing that it is a long-term project and that it was not meant to be knit in a day. It’s relaxed. It’s alright if it takes a while to finish. When I realized this, I decided that it wasn’t worth destroying that valuable aspect of knitting lace to rush to finish your project. And so instead I’m spoiling the surprise.
So welcome to summer. For the both of us! I hope the cicadas are singing through your open window and I hope you are catching up on a semester's worth of sleep. James went missing this week, so maybe I'll give you a call later on. Congrats on passing all your exams.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Help a sister out

Hey, everyone. K and everyone else. I know you're out there. I know people read this. I need some opinions. I'm working on the design of a sweater right now, and I'm up in the air with what I should do.

Here's the basic design.

Well, okay, I haven't exactly made the decision on the ends of the sleeves yet, but I'll figure that out when I get there. (Yes, I drew this on the back of my immunology notes.)

I'd like to make this in a simple allover stitch, and we've got two choices.

Number 1: Moss stitch

Number 2: Double Seed Stitch

Click for big. Here's both side by side.

Help me out. Which do you all think would be best? Leave me a comment.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

If only I could shrink myself


I've been knitting lots, but just haven't the time to tell you all about it since there has been so many tests. I could go on and on about their unfairness, but wouldn't it just be so much more lovely to look at a baby sweater?

This is the February Baby Sweater from Knitter's Almanac by the ever wonderful Elizabeth Zimmermann. Obviously I've changed this from the typical stitch used, because looking at that stitch pattern, I'd have to do more counting every two rows. Here, with the feather and fan stitch, I only had to count every 4 rows, and even then not very much.

The feather and fan stitch was changed to a 12 stitch repeat. This, however, necessitated a change in the total number of stitches for the body and arms. In order to keep the proportions correct as possible, I added quite a few stitches. I don't remember how many, precisely, but I could count it out if I needed to again. The yarn is my own handspun which you can see here, and it makes the entire sweater very cushy and light.

Pattern: February Baby Sweater, Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Pink and Blue makes Purple handspun, ~350 yards
Needles: Knitpicks Options circulars sz 5
Mods: Switched out stitch patterns for feather and fan, including sizing changes
Size: 22" chest circumference
I just need some really cute buttons. And someone small enough and cold enough to wear it.

Since it's Iowa in the spring, the weather is delightfully bipolar. Some days it's absolutely beautiful outside, and the birds can't stop singing.

Some days it's jumping between pouring and tornado sirens. (And earthquakes? What in the world?
So even though it's quite lovely to watch and photograph, my head hasn't appreciated this as all, as you can well imagine. I've been working with on and off headaches for the past 3 weeks.

At least there are bewitching clouds.

Struggling through finals,

Sunday, April 20, 2008



Apparently you are under the impression that I've been spinning lots and lots of things! Spinning everything I can find! Spinning my own hair when I run out of fiber!

Ummm, no. You pretty much just saw the entire collection of my spinning for the last year. There's just a bit more yarn coming up, but other than that wool, what you just saw whas it.

Yeah, I know. That's a lot less impressive.

However, it is absolutely gorgeous and 68 degrees Fahrenheit outside today with lush green grass and clear blue skies. I feel like I'm in some Lifetime TV special with my perfect weather, perfect grass, and blank, sterile suburban neighborhood. I'm not saying I want a crime rate, but a few random ugly garden gnomes wouldn't hurt.

So you've been asking about my wheel? I love my spinning wheel.

This is a Fricke S-160-ST. I have no idea what the S-160 means, but I know that the "ST" means single treadle. I'm not going to go into the details, you can find that here, but I can tell you why I wanted and got this wheel, and why I love it.

You see that dark wooden stick? That's the handle. I love that. I so need that. And opposite the handle is where you stick the oil. That's pretty sweet, too, because I would definitely lose the oil without it literally stuck to the wheel.

There are 5 different speeds, giving me a really good wide range for my beginning spinner-ness. This treadles and spins really smoothly and easily for me because I'm not treadling at super high speeds to try and spin a thin yarn like I was with a previous wheel that only had lower ratios. (Sorry this is so blurry. You can get a good view of the grass. I know you miss grass down there in Arizona.)

The orifice is a delta orifice. I had no idea what this meant until I opened the box. For me, this means I don't have a hard time pulling the yarn through to spin it, and it works out really well for me. Everything is nicely adjustable to get exactly the tension and speed I want. It's a triangle like the greek letter delta!

In my opinion, it's a beautiful wheel for the price, which is absolutely one of the best out there for an all-over excellent wheel.

Do you recognize the wool? It's the black llama that I got from Syvilla way back when I was making thrummed mittens. Syvilla's always got the good stuff for a fiber junkie like me. I've got to give her a call over commencement weekend when I'm visiting Kris so she can hook me up with some more of her Norwegian goodness.

Tell me about study knitting...I had to put down the needles because I was knitting so much=studying so much. My entire left arm was starting to hurt and go numb. I'm not a doctor, but I'm a medical student, and so far they've taught me that's bad.

Stay tuned for later when I show you the lovely baby things I've spun and knitted, and learn that perhaps if you're blood pressure is running high, that you shouldn't eat that whole bag of salty chips along with a frozen dinner.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Same Old


Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but if feels like I've been working on the same old same old for far too long. Look at you though! Spinning away. No wonder you don't get any sleep. All those hours at the spinning wheel.

I'm afraid that when my classes end so too will my productivity. As in, my knitting productivity. Possibly 90% of my knitting is done during class; and not just the mindless knitting either, anymore. I'm becoming a careless student and a craftier knitter. Which is okay with me. It just makes for bad learning habits. Plus that over-arching fear that once the classes end I won't have a daily time slot to pick up the needles.

In other news, I picked up this handy bread book last week and was delighted to find recipes and technical instructions and delightful tastes. This is the most technical bread tutorial I've ever seen. I mean, the thing has graphs, and calculations for what temperature your water should be, and it wants me to figure out the rpm of my mixer. Mmm, tasty bread though. I've been frustrated by the graininess and short life-span of the bread that I've been making recently, and I think I may have found a solution to both those little troubles.

So while the knitting is feeling momentarily stagnant, the bread is coming out of the oven. And nothing smells better, not even fresh yarn.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Professional Sleeper


You know that I'm not getting enough sleep when I get home after my test yesterday, sleep 3 hours, do a little work and play a little games, then come home and slept another 13 hours.

Anyhow, now I'm awake, and I'd like to show you all the spinning I've done the past few months, because I really haven't found a better place to fit it in.

I think that I've showed the Ultraviolet Blue before, but I just wanted to throw this up for comparison with my newly spun Plum Wine wool. These are made from the same wool, but the Plum was spun on my new Fricke 160 wheel, which I absolutely adore. Someday when I can take pictures outside (it's been storming the past 4 days) I'll tell you a bit more.

Plum Wine, 4 oz, ~164 yds, mystery wool origin from Syvilla Tweed Bolson.

Then I bought some of this beautiful Iowan-grown wool from Home Ec in Iowa City and dyed it with Kool-aid. That wasn't so gorgeous, so I then overdyed it with food coloring. You can tell I didn't just have my regular acid dyes with me.

This is the craziness that resulted, except imagine a bit more red and purple. I just happened to capture the wrong color side. Here are the singles I also spun on the Fricke.

And the lovely 2-ply yarn.

I really liked this yarn. Home-grown Iowan (just like me), 4 oz (slightly less than me), about 358 yds. Unfortunately while dying it I removed most of the lanolin because the water was too hot, but it's very soft and springy. I'm not so fond of the red streaks throughout. You can especially see them while it's knitted up.

So I provisionally cast these on and knit the hand of the glove first, which I truly love. I adore making gloves.

Then I cast on about 41 stitches and began making the cuff back and forth in seed stitch, knitting 2 stitches together every other row to connect these to the glove. However, after I finished that, I decided I didn't really like the sizing. The bottom of the cuff was too small, and the wrist of it was too wide. Now I've been experimenting with knitting two together at the wrist 2/3 rows and throwing in short rows at the bottom portion. I'll let you know how it's going.

I plied you some yarn, which I think you received and enjoy.

Karaoke 50% soy silk, 50% wool, ~1 oz spun on my spindle, 2 plied on the wheel.
Also spun on the spindle and plied on the wheel we have the most delicious chocolate yak wool.

I loved this. Loved it, still love it, adore it, hope I can someday have a large sweater made of it. 4 oz. of pure yak down, spindle spun and 3 plied on my wheel.

Last but certainly not least, hand-dyed and handspun on the Fricke merino wool, about 7 oz. I absolutely love this stuff, and was able to spin it so much softer than the last batch of merino on my spindle. Of course, the first merino was also the first wool I've ever spun, so I'll excuse myself on that one. This was really interesting, because the original roving was pure hot pink with deep blue patches. No purple. When it was spun, these blended rather nicely, to make some hot pink, a little blue, and a lot of purple looking yarn.

When I wet set this, however, it bled on itself, I think. The funny thing is, the water didn't show much bleeding, but when it dried it was far, far more purple and magenta than before. I also think I might have beat it up a bit too much while setting it, because the three plies all felted against each other a bit. However, since this is destined for a baby sweater, that'll probably be a good thing. Those babies. They can be rough.

Berry Mush, ~7 oz Merino roving, hand-dyed by me, unknown yardage. Probably about 350 yards.

Whew. There you go. I'm probably going to have to go internet silent again this week, since I'm completely behind in the class we've got a test in, but at least I'm somewhat caught up on sleep.