Saturday, June 30, 2007

WOW...whadda week...

In some very very good ways. Lots of very very good ways in fact. But there will be changes and new challenges on the work front over the next several months. Let me just share some of the pics the man brought back from his early June trip to Nuiqsut. Truly...this is how I feel right now.

The blanket is made from several sealskins or walrus skins stitched together. Several people encircle and hold the blanket, stretching it taut in unison to the call or chant of a leader.

Jumpers prepare themselves.....

and try to go as high as they can......this custom is said to have originated as a method for spotting prey far away across the sea's now used mostly as entertainment and in celebrations for luck or success in the subsistence whale hunts...

the object of the jumper is to continue jumping higher and higher as long as you can without losing your balance. When you do, it's someone else's turn.

Remember..excitement and fear have the exact same chemical response in your body......

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Garden Update 6-24-07

Ya see what almost 24 hours of daylight and a week of 70 degree temps does for a garden up here!

The Mountain Bluet (centaurea montana) will need to be divided this's taking over! The Columbineis blooming in various colorways and dancing like fairy blossoms above most everything else...Shasta Daisies are just starting to are the Foget-Me-Nots and Shooting Stars....

Bets, this one makes me think of you. It's the first Maltese Cross of the season.

It's cooler and rainy today (thank goodness) and the man is finally home again...(I honestly don't know how single parents maintain their sanity!) .....I'll have some neat pics from the village to share later this week....I'm going to work on some knitting now......

Hey! You...Get Offa My Yarn! (to the Rolling Stones tune.......) bad dog!


I had to cut my season's first batch of rhubarb from the backyard patch. A neighbor gave me 2 plants about 3 years ago and they've multiplied so much. I love these colors...hey..Jayne...howzabout "Fresh Rhubarb" a worsted....hmmmmmm......i'm thinking special i need more yarn! And there's still lots and lots more that hasn't ripened yet.....

And in case you're wondering exactly how much rhubarb this's the hand for perspective....Rhubarb-Raspberry Pie anyone?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Oldest UFO-Knitting Olymics Warmup

My oldest UFO has a good story attached to it...which may be why it still sits as a UFO...I might lose the "meaningfulness" of the piece. This UFO was my first attempt at cables (which I love) was also my first attempt at knitting with a "cotton" yarn (i.e...not nice soft stretchy wool)...and my first attempt at seaming.......and the subject of my very first post/question in a knitting chatsite (Elann about 3 years ago!

You may notice and admire the sweet little cable detailing at the V-neck, sleeve edges, and "mudflap" bottom stylish n'est ce pas?

This pattern from FCEK, Nov 04, in "Sausalito" by Plymouth was so easy-peasy, yet trying to seam with the Sausalito sucked like a big monkey!

The seams looked very "homemade", not even, not nice or flat or anything. (It may have had SOMETHING to do with the experience level at the time) anyway...I posted a cry for help on the chatsite and received lots and lots of good information. Shoot, that sweet lil Bets suggested dragging out the sewing machine and stitching it up that way! Which, by the way, I thought was anathema to a knitted garment. So naive.

But first I had to "unstitch" all the seams I'd started with. In doing so.....i must have started unraveling a ball-change end instead of a "seaming length" end......because........


And at the time, I didn't have the skill set (Kitchener/grafting) to make it better. So I popped the whole darn thing into a plastic container, extra balls of yarn and all. And there it sat under my desk....for the past 3 years or so........Until Miss Libby..coughcough...otherwise known as Miss SausageFingers these days, came up with the KO warmups now I have officially 17 days to finish this bad boy. And since I still really like it....and I'm back down to the size I was when I started knitting it....I'm thinking it's very very doable and will be a nice little wearable top this fall! Thanks for the nudge SausageFingers! My goal is to be finished with this by next weekend! Happy knitting :)

Friday, June 15, 2007

5...count em' less than 12 hours!

It's been a wicked busy week back in babyland....had clinic Monday afternoon and a group Monday and admin time Tuesday & Wednesday...taught my Nursing class at the University (got guest speakers to come in from the methodone guest speakers...makes my job a piece of cake...but need to prepare their first exam for next week now!) then clocked in at noon one day for a big poobah meeting and ended up not clocking out until after 10:30 the following morning.. (yep...count em up...that would be 22 1/2 straight hours!) and yes...everyone... midwives and doctors and nurses have to punch in and out where we work...but i digress...

Hospital was an EXTREMELY busy overnight last go round.....had lots and lots of labor check walk-ins (no labor for you..go home!)...two transports in from outlying villages...and FIVE...count them FIVE laboring moms who all delivered. And NOT ONE of them had an epidural...even the two first time moms! They were outstanding...brave, strong, beautiful young women! So proud of them I was...especially the teenager! She was scared to death but she really toughed it out! And afterwards, they were so proud of filled with that sense of "womanpower" that ..."ohmygodicantbelieveijustdidthisandnowmybaby'shere" sort of grand madness and wonder that can happen with all's really all about having a good and satisfactory birth experience for YOU..I'm all for pain management, meds, epidurals, cesarean..whatever it takes to have a healthy mom/baby/family... ... but non-epiduralized first time moms, especially tend to get the midwife mojo going......

My night was spent walking, rubbing, breathing, dancing, moving bellies around, coaching, cajoling, soothing, charting, breathing, walking, flipping moms back and forth like pancakes, breathing, coaching, scolding baby daddies, breathing, dancing, charting......I think I finally had a cup of coffee and an instant noodle soup at 5am....needless to say..

5 babies..3 of them between 6:30a and 7:30a.......all healthy moms and babies.....i get such a rush from what i do. it makes me smile when i write this.

After leaving hospital, I had to go back to clinic for a bit for a pre-JCAHO walk through inspection and a going away brunch for our overnight tech who retired after 11 years of the 11p-7a shift! I'll miss Myra......I could always count on her to call me in the middle of the night if my residential moms or babies needed anything! .......She's moving to rural Louisiana to stay with her's going to be a culture shock for everyone involved I think....Good Luck Myra...Watch out for the alligators!

Upon arrival home, I realized I left my knitting bag.....and my current reading material (The Hummingbird's Daughter) in the hospital breakroom. I didn't touch either of them all night and totally spaced it after being so busy. Oh well....I "think" there might be plenty more yarn and needles etc here at home.

The man is off on another sojourn...this time a documentary for Greek TV on the impact of oil development on the indigenous people of Alaska. He's all over the state...starting in Barrow and now in Nuiqusut. They will be filming in several more communities over the next couple of weeks. And he ran off again with MY CAMERA. I had planned to get him one of his own for father's day this weekend, but since he won't be home...i think I'll just get it and keep it for my very own self :)

Hoping to catch up on some zzzzzsss over the weekend.....and none of my "private" patients are due for at least 3 weeks so hopefully will get a bit of gardening and knitting done ...oh yeah...and laundry and housecleaning......before Monday rolls around again.

Here's the garden taken on 6/10 when I ret'd from SF! Can you see how much it's grown since 6/2?
The man enjoying the sun June 10.

The creeping phlox is beginning to bloom.

The Lady's Mantle wasn't even up when I left....

Bleeding Hearts...there are no words...i enjoy them so...

Take care; and have a great, knitterly weekend! And to those taking time off....aaahhh...bliss..enjoy yourselves!

Monday, June 11, 2007

San Francisco Trip: Part 2

So......where was I? Oh yes, yes, the trip! I forgot to mention that before heading off to the Fishereman's Wharf area for "Irish Coffee".....we ate a lovely lunch at a place called "Metropol". Metropol is a great little sandwich/soup/salad place that makes beautiful and tasty food! I had a salad of roasted beets, pears, and blue cheese. Deeeeeelicious :)

The next day was Day 1 of my conference, but I was able to squeak out a teensy bit early and meet up with Marie and the Divine Miss M! Marie is as sweet, kind and funny as they come.......and Miss M.....well, what can you say about the world's cutest 2 year old? I think I will rename her to "Miss Chattybritches". Her favorite word was "No" (of course!). After Marie oohed and aaahhed over the previous day's Artfibers purchases and the KPO needles.....we headed off....BACK to ARTFIBERS to enable yet another unsuspecting knitster...hehehehehehehe! Marie was so excited! She flitted from silk to silk, cones to swatches, back and forth....oh yeah...she was definately like a kid in a candy store! So cute to watch. Miss M and I hung out and played the "colors game" (by which she was able to name all the colors of all the yarn in the store). We then carefully emptied and refilled the wicker baskets with bags of scarf kits and bags of swatch patches (and didn't those swatch patches just cry to come home with me for a yummy cozy afghan!) Miss M really liked the "big dolls"..i.e. mannequins! Especially the "big flying doll" hanging from the ceiling wearing the knitted 2 piece bathing suit! Miss M is my new buddy! (And so of course is her mom) I wish we could have hung around longer, but schedules had to be maintained!

Next stop, Theater 39 at Pier 39 for a delightful production of MENOPAUSE, THE MUSICAL, a hilarious and totally "right on target" look at the good/bad/and ugly side of womankind! Barbara, Bonnie (a CNM colleague of mine) and I laughed SO hard we nearly wet our pants! At the end, we all ended up on stage in the chorus line! Too much fun.

We then ate dinner at a place rated as having "The Best Clam Chowder on the Pier"......hmmmm....per was "not bad"! Riding home, Bonnie and I played "guess the pathology" on the strange parade of obviously ill or injured individuals getting on the public transport system. It was a Twilight Zone moment or two there for sure! It was also interesting (for me) to see how very many publicly homeless individuals there were curling up for the night in the doorways and on the seating benches in front of the buildings. What a frightening way of life.

Barbara did some personal shopping (I heard through another source that she returned to Artfibers...yet again...yes..that would be visit #3 for her) while I was in conference Friday...then we at dinner at a wonderful restaurant called THE E&O TRADING COMPANY which was just absolutely amazingly wonderful food! We had a broad selection of their appetizers. My favorite was the Portabello Mushroom satay. Definately a recipe I will try to recreate here at home! Yum!

On Saturday, my conference ended at noon....and Barbara & I had maps in hand to tour the other TWO yarny destinations of San Francisco proper. First stop....ATELIER in the lower Pacific Heights neighborhood. It was a lovely shop, made even more appealling by the friendly service and local color. While we were there a very lovely, very elderly italian couple came in to exchange yarn the woman had purchased a few days earlier. She spoke very little English and her ?husband explained that she needed a heavier weight yarn...but not make a dress for their first great-great granddaughter! They were so dressed up and so could just imagine them in their Pacific Heights home overlooking the bay...playing Tony Bennett songs and reminiscing about their Beach Blanket Bingo days.....(OK...I read too much and watched too much old TV...but allow me my license please...) Anyway, both Barbara and I ended up purchasing lovely shawl pins there...mine in abalone...hers...pewter intertwined gingko leaves! Quite lovely....but not the "different selection" of yarns that would necessitate fiber investment! Then off to coffee and further map recon!

We learned quickly that the busline right in front of the coffeeshop would zip us straight down the road to the Castro District to IMAGIKNITS....last yarnstore on our list! Now....i dunno about Barbara...but I wasn't expecting to be impressed....I mean...after wasn't Artfibers...right? But the walk through the colorful neighborhood with colorful homes and shops with colorful names.....and fabulously colorful (and very attractive) locals...was great fun....and we quickly and easily found ImagiKnits.

It was far...far...far...more exciting and wonderful than I'd expected. Truly! The friendly, helpful, knowledgable owner said that she'd worked very hard to have something for everyone...and it showed! OH MY GOD! It was YARN OVERLOAD!!!!!! The staff was easily identified by their black ImagiKnits aprons....and they were all SOOOO helful and so much fun!

I came home with just a bit of Malabrigo 50/50 merino wool/silk in a (6 bags only) one of a kind colorway that totally appealled to my "elitist" streak. I don't remember what Barbara got.....I was totally wrapped up in my own private yarny heaven! If I lived in SF....I think I'd be hanging out a lot in ImagiKnits :)

But then it was time to head back to the hotel as Barbara had a plane to catch. We rode an "antique" cable car back to Union Square and said our "au revoirs"!

I headed back to the hotel room. I was POOPED! I did have a date to meetup with the fabulously talented and elegant RACHEL to hear THE WHORESHOES and THE DEVIL MAKES THREE at THE GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC HALL.....and I honestly waffled for about an hour as to whether or not I should bail and give this old girl's bod a rest.....but then I said to myself..." don't go out to play like this very often...and you can sleep when you get home....Now put yer big girl panties on and get OUT and play!"...So I did! I took a cab as advised by the hotel staff as the GAMH is in a part of town known as The Tenderloin....and conveniently located right next door to a live sex show performed by "the most beautiful girls in San Francisco"...I dunno...I didn't go in to check it out. Upon arrival at the GAMH, I tried to call Rachel but just got her cellphone voicemail. Due to the music level pouring out on the street, I figured she couldn't hear her phone, so I wrapped my SUNRAY a little bit more firmly for courage (akin to "girding my loins") and purchased my ticket, got my wrist stamped....and headed to the bar for a little more liquid form of courage. The adorable barkeep poured me a stout in large heavy glass and I proceeded to survey the territory for a familiar face! Hey, there she was up in the balcony! And she looked EXACTLY like her photos in her blog. I headed up to the balcony tables and introduced myself! GULP! Now...I have to say...that Rachel is as glamorous and beautiful and friendly and witty and articulate and and and she is in her blog...absolutely what you see is what you get with sense of duplicity or other weirdness....she quickly offered me up a chair, and began to introduce me around to her sister and other friends. As I was shaking hands with one person, she then says..."and you already know my friend Kira"....and I turned to find...KIRA from Artfibers....who I'd obviously spent quite a bit of time with recently! She said "I knew from how Rachel described you...knitblogger, midwife, Alaska...that it would be you coming tonight"! HOW FUN! I must say that these folks made me feel right at home! And the MUSIC! Holy Cow! I was totally wonderfully delightedly TWANGED by the time I left (well past midnight). The concert was OUTSTANDING! I danced and clapped my hands so much they were numb. Almost good ole hoedown music....but with a more tongue in cheek approach! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO....a good time was had by all! At one point though....when looking down over the balcony and trying to figure out why there was so much smoke puffing up through the air.....and seeing some big ole fatties flaring up and being passed around......I had a momentary time warp....(ooohmygodi'mamomandagrownupprofessionalwomanforgodssakewhatamidoinghere)....but I was having such a good time that I quickly got over myself! And I got to meet the Whoreshoes in person and shake hands with them and talk a bit with the talented and tangy Lala (banjo picker extraordinaire!) It was a perfect cap to an already EXCELLENT trip. I'm so glad I went! Rachel, Lala, Kira, Rachel2, are awesome! mmmmmwwwwwaaaahhh! And hey, if you didn't check out Rachel's blog...GO THERE....and see the beautiful stole she knit and wore to the concert! She's just so GLAMOROUS!! And Fun! Thanks so much for the great time ladies!

(Me & the World Famous Rachel!)

The next (or should I say later that same) morning....was an EARLY check in at the airport....and another uneventful plane ride (for those that know me...nope...didn't get sick at all...coming OR going...which is a small miracle in and of itself...maybe i've outgrown it? ) back home to a SURPRISE....CLEAN HOUSE....and happy cheerful family welcoming me home! Like I said...It was Great to GO....and now it's Great to be Home........and I'm already planning my next trip in October! Look out Virginia :)

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

I'm baaaack...but not yet totally unpacked. This was absolutely, hands down, one of the VERY VERY BEST TRIPS I've taken in years! Why, you may ask.....well...I give the credit to the knitbuds. They were awesome, amazing, absolutely incredibly warm, funny, generous get the picture......
Everything I'd hoped to accomplish on this trip was accomplished! I spent time in just about every single "district" of SF! Took every single form of public transportation available. Shopped at great thrifty girl stores (and found a treasure! Whoo!)....Ate Dim Sum for the first time (which was on the MUST DO list!)........shopped for and acquired gorgeously pettable yarny goodness.....met up with the worlds greatest knitbloggers (Barbara, Marie, and Rachel! whoot!)....and attended not one but TWO, count them TWO....cultural events (cultural by my limited Alaska perspective...haha) AND the conference sponsored by UCSF for continuing medical education was overall excellent. Good speakers, timely topics.....18 more hours of CME..Will definately do that conference again....hmmm...maybe next year :) But I digress....

I arrived in SF at 6am Tuesday June 5th after an unremarkable 5hr direct flight from Anchorage. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to check into my room at the Grand Hyatt Union Square so early, so quickly stowed my gear and enjoyed a refreshing nap until about 11. Then it was up and about for some lunch and touristy action. Had a lovely penne pasta salad and an adult beverage at the "something and Elephant" pub...(adult beverages and all ...forgot the whole name) I mapped out my course for the day...Destination: MISSION DISTRICT for reportedly wonderful thrifty goodness.

The Mission District was as expected...totally city different languages but predominantly spanish and different asian dialects. I spent time in three or four thrift stores and a fabric warehouse that also had RedHeart yarns for $1 or less/skein. I was frankly not as impressed by the thrifty goodness as I'd hoped to least..until I spotted THE JACKET! Now...I am a total sucka' for vintage (early 60s) classic stylish threads. And it fit wonderfully, no holes,no loose threads, no stains, perfect lining...just classic pizzaz! The brand is "Maggie-Chase Originals" which I googled...but no luck. My sense is that while it's not "designer"'s a very well made piece for an upscale department store brand of the times. Feels like a heavy rayon blend...under the roses...oh..yes..the roses. Ribbon roses...covering every square inch of the 3/4" sleeve, waist length jacket! This jacket is a deep rich solid black, the lighting in the pics is to show the textural details!

Oh yes...this will be a dressy wardrobe staple :) Oh yeah...and it was only $4.99!

By the time the purchase was made, I was getting hungry again, and it was getting dark, so I purchased fresh cherries ( 79 cents/pound) and mangoes from curbside fruit stands (far far less expensive than here at home) and headed back to the hotel for a workout and good night's sleep.

The next day Barbara arrived! I waited in the lobby until I spotted her (recognizing her from her chatsite and her blog photos)! I must say she is just as cute as her picture. Sparkly blue eyes and the kind of bright smile that just lights up a room. She has so much energy that "bustling around" is a good descriptor for her. Warm, kind, generous spirit that she is, we hit it off immediately. After she unpacked, we headed on over to Artfibers! I'd been there on a trip about 3 years ago, but this was Barbara's first Artfibers experience. I don't think she was disappointed! I was on a mission for silk. Period! I dunno how the cashmere jumped into my basket...but it came home with me too! Along with a fabulous sweater pattern by the lovely and charming Kira of Kira K Designs (who waited on us her very own self in Artfibers)!

Do ya think we might have scored a bit of yarn? oooohhhhh yeeeaaaahhh!

I came home with 3 LS tops worth of their Thai Siam and Chai Siam Tussah Silk! A gorgeous garnet/rose color, a sagey-olivey color and then a brown/grey/taupe variagated that I'd not have purchased without CBMs infuence! Whoot! Along with a half pound of light as a feather 90% cashmere/10% silk........and a small tasting of their variagated mercerized cotton tape...(THIS STUFF KNITS UP LIKE A WET DREAM...IT'S AMAZING! Definately will be getting MORE of that via mailorder soon!)

Here are a few little teaser photos of some of the Artfibers yarn haul!

The Cashmere....

The Silk...(Butt says..."i'ts not catnip...but I'll still give my seal of approval")

After about 2 1/2 hours at Artfibers....we hopped on a trolley and over to a seaside pub that "Invented the Irish Coffee"...again, the name escapes me at this time......where we chatted and knitted (or rather.....attempted to knit....and frog.....Irish Coffees and understand!) It was interesting to watch how they manually turn the trolleys on "lazy susan's" set into the pavement, once they've come to the end of the line!

But now, I must get ready for work! So, I'll share more about the rest of the trip later this week!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

See You Next Week!

I know there won't be time tomorrow so I'll leave with a brief garden tour (you'll be amazed at what will be blooming two weeks from now!) and introduce you to a new little family friend.

This is Freckles! She's a 12 week old Red Heeler pup that belongs to DD's friend. She's been hanging out with us a lot and is the sweetest, wiggliest, lickiest pup ever! She runs and plays with the big dogs until she just wears herself out.

Here are my perennial beds as of June 2nd.

The first tulip finally bloomed! Hope the squirrels didn't eat the rest of the bulbs.

One of my favorite groundcovers.

Bleeding hearts are getting ready to bloom!

Here's one of three window boxes I made for grandma Clara's windows for Mother's Day. She enjoys them from her bedroom and the kitchen windows.

I transplanted these woodland violets from a very shady spot and now they are thriving in a different bed. But they've all come up white...nary a violet or purple to be found. The Mountain Bluet should be just starting to bud when I return next week. And yep, Those are old horseshoes from DDs boys edging the beds. A few more years and they'll go all the way around.

I don't know what this flower is called. I bought the plant for the window box because of it's foliage...but these lipstick red flowers are an added bonus.

CBM, Marie, Rachel....I'll see you in San Francisco!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Summer's Here...Where's My Camera?

It's Barrel Racing Season Again!

The Grrrrl came in first with a "green" horse night before last. Then she traveled a little further (she can wrangle rides and trailer hauling/horse hauling better than anyone I know...but then...that's horse people for you I've noticed) to scout out the competition in another region. And she joined National High School Rodeo (which offers college scholarships and stuff! whoo!) which competes a couple hours away in Soldotna. She's already working her butt off. I'm thinking it's going to be a busy summer. And sadly, she left "my" camera on the dashboard of the friend who gave her a ride the other night, so no new photos until the weekend.

In knitting news......I've been knee deep in the frog pond. Old UFOs have been ripped and rewound. T gave me the nudge I needed to repurpose some lovely yarns that didn't make it to FOs. Thanks T! I also found when inspecting these UFOs that my personal standards for both yarn and mistakes have really skyrocketed over the past two years. My knitting now is a lot "cleaner, neater, etc". It made me a lil' proud of myself. And now I have about 5 (yes...five) new sweater's worth of fabulous yarns ....including some gorgeous turquoise may have a moment of envy...cough, cough. I'll display when the camera comes home.

Speaking of home....I'll be here for 3 more days after today...which is part of my enormous amount of current business....and then...WHOOOOOO....I'm heading to San Francisco for a continueing med education conference..I LOVE MY CME...not only do I learn a lot.....there are hours of guilt free knitting time....and I'm in a nice hotel in a fun city. I'm taking a few extra days for a personal mini-vaca....just cuz I do this...and it keeps me sane...somewhat. But, even MORE FUN....I'll be meeting up with CBM and Marie and perhaps another elannite or two! AND visiting one of my favorite yarn stores EVER....ARTFIBERS. AND EXTRA FUN TOPPING....the night before I leave, I'll be meeting up with Rachel & Lala from Yarn-a-GoGo at the Great American Music Hall to see "And Devil Makes Three" and "The Whoreshoes"!!!!!!!! I have SO MUCH to do before I leave. And a wedding to attend with the family tomorrow! Well, any luck, there'll be pics by Sunday! Gotta run.