Friday, September 28, 2007


For some reason or 'nuther, knitbud Joan was unaware that chez midwife was home to not just Pearl the perfect Persian and Butt the Ear-Sucking Cat.....along with a couple of large yard livestock....but doggies too! This little snuggle bum is Spirit. He's my constant companion. Follows me around EVERYWHERE inside, outside...on the bed...on the get the idea. Total klingon. But he's very sweet. He's a Miniature American Eskimo, about 7 years old now. He was 'gifted' to me for DD as a tiny 6 wk old puppy,by a co-worker who breeds them. These pups are too adorable...hand size powderpuff! Anyway...if you get any yarny goodness from me with long white hair on it...that's Spirit's contribution.

Not any new knitting to show. Working on a project that can't be shown at this time...yarn shopping for the man's Christmas present. I'm making him the Cobblestone and thinking of using's Sierra Aran in Lichen. Any other ideas for soft,tweedy, heavy worsted-lt aran weight would be welcome.

The Alaska State Yarn Council Expo IV starts today with classes taught by Lily Chin and local talent. No classes for me...but i hope to visit the Vendor booths and see the fashion show Sat or Sunday.

Well that's all i've got for today....knit on!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Well i did it....i really really really did it. i interviewed for two new jobs. i turned one new job down...even though there was more $$$$....and no night or weekend 'on-call'. i accepted the new position in the corporation i currently work for...same mediocre pay...same awesome benefit package...same insanely enormous amount of paid leave..been with the corporation so long i accrue 12 hours paid leave every 2 weeks...crazy eh...BUT...effective october 15...i will be working for our MEDICAL SERVICES division, instead of being bossed around by non-medical folks in the BEHAVIORAL SERVICES division of the corporation. Basically what this means is i still will be able to see 'my' mental health/substance abuse patients for their prenatal, postpartum, birth control, routine women's health, STD stuff...and i'll be assigned a full panel of routine prenatal care patients..but i don't have to be on-call 24 hours/day. in fact, i'll only be on-call in labor and delivery 24 hours each WEEK including a 12 hr day shift and a 12 hr night shift...and i'll be assigned to fly out to the village of Sand Point, AK in the Aleutian chain every 3 mos or so.....I am very very excited about this new change. it will mean a lot to have medically trained support staff. it will mean a lot to have immediate access to colleagues to bounce things off of instead of always waiting for phone calls back and looking up things all the time in texts or on the will mean entire blocks of time in which i can drink wine or other adult beverages and not worry about having only one...or if so-and-so is going to go into labor or not....or if i'll have to reschedule one of DD or grandma clara's appointments. i feel like a huge weight is off my shoulders. this has been a loooooooong time coming. i'm so glad! and it may very well mean MORE KNITTING TIME...WHOOOO HOOO....

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Friday 'Date Night' and some Fingerless Mitts

oh for heaven's sake, pull your minds out of the gutters! puuuuhhhlllleeeaze!

Friday evening, the man and I took a short trip north to Talkeetna,
the charming little town Northern Exposure's ,'Cicely', was modelled upon. Less, than 2 hours from home, Talkeetna offers great sight-seeing, flight-seeing-it's the launch point for most Denali expeditions-and fishing of course! But Friday's trip served a purpose. WINE. The beautiful Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge hosted its annual wine dinner, featuring selected pairings for each of the 6 gourmet courses! We've tried to go every year but missed out on tickets for one reason or another the past two. Needless to say, we were very excited to see what Chef Felix Zollinger, featured on The Food Network, was cooking up!
The drive was spectacular! It was one of those glorious golden-leafed autumn afternoons with a clear blue sky and every color of gold, orange and garnet flanking the highway. Denali was out and spectacular, shamelessly flaunting her snow capped peaks. The temperatures were in the low 50s upon arrival, and dipped into the mid 30s during the much so that i had to get up and close the windows in our room. We arrived early enough to shower and dress 'Alaska Fancy'...which basically translates as clean jeans/slacks and a casual comfortable stretchy dress.....key word...stretchy...with all the food we were getting ready to eat. We positioned ourselves outside the dining room with the other 248 ticket holders. Tummies were rumbling, nervous laughter tinkled about, and new friendships were struck. At last the doors were opened and we were seated next to two women, both stay at home moms, who had opted for a 'girls night out'. Coincidentally, one woman was mom to a school friend of DDs, and her husband is an AirForce RN who moonlights in ICU at my hospital. There's an old saying that in Alaska, there's only 2 degrees of separation between everyone....i honestly believe it's true. The other woman's husband has worked with the man during media training exercises....Alaska is its own small small world. And, our dinner companions were highly entertaining. Having visited the bar before the wine/dinner event, the first woman was insistent that we hear all the details about her recent series of surgeries. She started out with the gastric bypass, then the tummy tuck, and lastly...her breast reduction just three weeks ago. I must admit, she looked fabulous, and told her story with a comedic flair. But the highlight of the evening was the food and wine is the menu which featured both Flora Springs reds AND whites as appropriate.

Artichoke Tart.....lovely herbed pastry crust with calamata olives, red onions, artichokes and montrachet goat cheese paired with a light and sweet Flora Springs Pinot Grigio
i gave this course five stars.....the sweetness of the pinot grigio was a perfect accent to the savory saltiness of the tart! yummm.....

Radicchio and Butter lettuce with hazelnut oil and garlic chips....paired with a Flora Springs Chardonnay. I have to confess that I'm all about the Chardonnays and this one did not disappoint. Very buttery, subtle oak overtones.....another excellent pairing. I could've gone straight to dessert from here....but i didn't...and i'm very very glad!

Parmigianino-Reggiano Tortellini with Dungeness Crab and Tarragon Butter....paired with the Flora Springs Soliloquy...the tortellini with crab was sheer heaven on the tongue...sweet, rich...everything it should be, very well accented with the tarragon and just a hint of nutmeg. The Soliloquy was nice, but i much preferred the Chardonnay to the Soliloquy, especially in pairing for this course. ok...that's a full meal for me....and after three glasses of wine...i was a happy gal.......but of course, there was more.....

next up, an interesting palate cleanser...Kaffir Lime Sorbet.....very tart and refreshing...and i say interesting because it was blended with a nice vanilla base, flecks of vanilla bean throughout the sorbet....the two flavors seemed to war with each other in my mouth...i kept searching out the sweet floral creaminess of the vanilla only to be thwarted each time by the tang of the lime......interesting, but not a favorite that's for sure. no wine for me this course.....i needed a breather to let my head clear....

On to the main course.....Pan Roasted Minnesota Elk Loin with Elderberry Espagnol, winter vegetables in 'Beurre noisette' and a Lemon and Trebbiano Risotto. mmmmm....paired with one of the BEST Cabernet Sauvignon's i've ever had the privilege to enjoy....Flora Springs Hilltop Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Folks, I am not into cabs at all, the tannins tend to give me a headache and i don't particularly enjoy the astringent feel of them in my mouth....but this one was literally incredible....almost a caramel undertone, incredibly rich and complex. I couldn't believe how very much i enjoyed this one! And the tender you could cut it with a fork.....less 'gamey' even than caribou fav game meat...and the risotto was sublime. The vegetables included parsnips and rhubarb...but were cut on such a fine dice that it was difficult to pick up with a fork...very tasty, very nice...and an excellent pairing with the cab.

Dessert, sadly, did not live up to the dinner. French Vanilla Cream Crepes with Kiwi-Raspberry filling paired with the Flora Springs Napa Cabernet Sauvignon......First of all, some of the raspberries and most of the kiwi in the crepe were not ripe....and the tartness of the unripe fruit competed fiercely with the french vanilla cream....not in a good way...and this cabernet had so much 'grapefruit and pineapple' overtones that the lovely vanilla was immediately excised from the palate. A nice shot of Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry would probly have been a better idea at this point!

All in all, i give the evening a 9/10.....with a point off for the dessert crepe. Everything else was divine! We spent the night in our comfortable room and returned back home early Saturday morning. And i was able to finish my Knit1Tea2 swap buddy's handknit gift of fingerless mitts from my huge stock of OnLine Linie 124 of my favorite superwash wools. I made a size medium....sure hope she likes them!

ok...anyone know how to move the pics down to where they are SUPPOSED to go.....changing the browser has gotten me a little confused here!

Box is taped and ready for mailout in the morning!
I have another overnight at hospital tonight so maybe will get time for my 'prayerful square'.
Have a great knitterly day everyone and let's catch up later this week.........i still need to get yarn for Joan's Entrelac-tober!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Voyager in Action

Thought you might enjoy seeing the Voyager in action as it were. I wore her to work today and received many nice compliments, and she kept me warm and cozy until the sun came out this afternoon.

I'd love to show you my progress on the Monkey socks, but not much there due to super secret knitting for my Knit1Tea2 downstream buddy. I need to finish that up tonight so it can be mailed off by Monday. Pics after mailout! more later this weekend!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Travel, Ravel, a Wedding & some Monkeying Around

It's awfully nice to go....and well....I'm back :) As some of you may remember from a few weeks ago, we had received a wedding invitation from one of my cousins who lives in Kenai. Kenai is a very nice small town right on the Kenai River, about a 3-4 hour drive from Anchorage. Her wedding was in Laughlin, Nevada.....just a few hours from Las Vegas. The man and I decided it would be a perfect opportunity to take a little family vacation (we haven't had more than a couple of alone together times other than a few overnights in the camper at a campground less than an hour from home in the past 4 years!) Our DD had another commitment, a very successful memorial fundraising barrelrace and kind friends offered to keep an eye on everyone. Another plus, my very favorite Aunt, Uncle and some of my cousins also planned to attend. I saw a few of them a couple of years ago on my last trip to Oklahoma, but others I hadn't seen in 11 years.... It would be an opportunity to reconnect, and what the heck, it's Vegas baby, there's always something to do!

I had just received my RAVELRY invite and had no time to do anything but reply to a few friends and look at how my "notebook" and "bookshelf" and project links work. I can't wait to do some serious uploading this weekend. I can see myself using this for all sorts of project ideas and information links. Even the man was impressed with it and clicked around a bit (and that's sayin' a LOT!) couldn't believe it was a public service donated by some really nice knitting folk...again...impressed. Anyway, I decided to pick a portable project and following the crowd, I chose the Monkey sock pattern from Knitty and some Tofutsie from stash. I made it this far before we hit Seattle.

The flight to Vegas was shorter but rather bumpy...and my accursed air sickness hit again. Oh well, glad it was a short flight. The man and I checked into our hotel, The Monte Carlo,
and grabbed some lunch, did some walking around, and called it an early night. The next day, we went to see Bodies the Exhibition and the Titanic Artifact Exhibition (the man is quite the Titanic buff). Both of these, I felt, were very interesting and overall worth seeing. Later, my favorite aunt & uncle and cousins showed up!

My wonderful Uncle Paul & Aunt Gloria. Shhhhh....don't tell anyone, but Aunt Gloria loooooves to gamble!

My baby cousin Mandy (the youngest of "my generation" of cousins) was married on Saturday on a Celebration Riverboat Cruise on the Colorado River! It was a really nice time and wonderful to see everyone. When I was a little girl, Mandy's mom, my Aunt Frieda, used to dress me up and take me to church on Sundays. On Saturday nights, though, I'd sleep in the bed between her and my Aunt Faye and listen to them talk about all those "teenager' things. When they would talk about things they didn't want me to ask about or repeat inadvertently (usually boys or sex or something), they'd let me listen to the transistor radio with their earphones! I told DD that story and she asked "what's a transistor radio?"......generation gap! When I was older, Mandy's dad, Uncle Larry, fixed me up with one of his younger friends and we dated for a while. I wonder whatever happened to Tootie? (yes, that was his name...)

Uncle Larry, Aunt Frieda, new Cousin-in-Law Ted, Cousin Mandy, Ted's mom.

You may have noticed that my cousin Mandy is stunning. It's true. She's even prettier in person. And she's sweet and spunky as she can be. That's my baby cousin................ pics are out of order and I'm too lazy to change them, the night before the wedding, my Aunt Gloria, Uncle Paul, Cousins Holly & Sara, and I went to see Cirque du Soleil "O" (go to the link for "O" under Discover our Shows and watch the video for a temptation!) at the Bellagio. First of all, the Bellagio is incredible! The Chihuly glass ceiling is gorgeous. I felt very much like a peasant accidently walking through a sumptuous castle gawking and turning to see everything! Cirque Du Soleil's "O" was enchanting as well. I could easily see it time and time again because there's no way your mind and eyes can attend to everything happening around the stage! Seriously, if you have time, check out the link to it! New life mission...see all the Cirque Du Soleil shows. Just loved it!

Cousin Sara, Aunt Gloria, Cousin Holly & Me at the Bellagio getting ready to see "O". Hey Barbara, recognize that shawl from San Francisco? Sigh......I lost it somewhere in the parking lot or casino the day of the wedding, so lightweight it slipped from my arm or bag and I didn't even know it was gone. Oh well. At least it wasn't one of my knitted ones, right?

Like, I said, the photos are out of order. The Colorado River was pretty choppy on the wedding day. There was a casualty. One of the flower girls, (the next generation....I guess that makes us a second cousin?) got a little seasick. Poor sweet girl!

Now, I don't know if this picture is blurry because the boat was moving or blurry because I'd had a few too many champagne toasts, but this is bride Cousin Mandy with her older brother and sister (Twin Cousins Lori & Shawn). Lori is mom to seasick flower girl. All in all it was really a lovely wedding and nice to spend time and renew relationships and reconnect with folks. I guess that's what it means to value family, making the effort to maintain the connections...regardless of the outcome. Maybe they'll head north to visit now that Alaska has claimed two of Lynnie's Granddaughters (as we are generally referred to by the very elderly in the family).

It was really a nice trip, but Vegas is not someplace I want to spend more than a few days. Too stinky with cigarette smoke, too surreal with lovely women dressed like hootchie mamas drinking cocktails in casinos at 6:30am.....too much stimulation. There was one true disappointment ,however. I LOVE roller coasters...or I think I used to LOVE rollercoasters. I haven't been on one in over 15 years! But I promised to ride the roller coaster at the top of the Stratosphere with cousins Holly & Sara. This roller coaster is 900 feet above the ground.
Here's a lil' YouTube link of someone else's ride:
Sadly, the roller coaster was demolished over a year ago...and far more extreme rides were erected in its place. Not for me. So we all went over to NewYork NewYork for the rollercoaster there. Let's just say....maybe it was a hot flash at the end, maybe it was the two marguerita's in the couple of hours preceding the ride....maybe I'm just too darn old for this stuff anymore...but my knees were shaking and my legs were wobbly as I got off after the ride, and I was ugly sick within about 15 minutes. I think that'll be the last time I pay $14 to throw up thank you very much.

I did get quite a bit done on the Monkey sock all considered. I turned the heel and am cruising on the gusset right now!

I'm needing to go do laundry and take stock of what groceries are needed....knit amongst yourselves til I get back!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Happy Autumn

We're officially making the change into fall around here. The air has a definite nip to it at night. I had to get up and close windows last night and put an extra blanket on the bed. There's termination dust (visible snowfall in the mountain tops)on the Chugach Range as well as the Talkeetna mountains visible from my windows. The High Bush Cranberries are ripening nicely with a brilliant splash of scarlet leaves, the birch leaves are turning yellow and falling in golden swirls from the trees. The somewhat spicy, somewhat skunky smell of fall hits my nose as I shuffle through the undergrowth. I love the change of seasons...I treasure the jewel of Alaska autumn. It is so very brief, hardly a month before it will all be covered by snow. Definately time to pull out the deep colors and soft woolens. (Gee, can you tell I've been reading EZ's Knitters Almanac? She puts me in such a poetic mood! Can't believe I've been knitting this long and just finally obtained a copy of it!)

I'm heading to the hot weather for a family wedding (yeah...decided to go after all) and little vacay for a few days. Received my Ravelry invite today too! Almost missed it in the wash of other emails! I look forward to joining in the fun when I return. Still have no idea what project to take with me...maybe the unfinished Luna?...maybe some Monkey Sox? maybe both....I'll pack later this morning. I'll be out of touch for a bit. Hopefully will have lots and lots of photos when I return. Hope the rest of the week brings everyone lots of goodness. Knit on!

Monday, September 10, 2007

"Isn't That Just the Berries"

I have NO IDEA what that means...but the lil' grandma Clara says it all the time, along with "lawzamercy" and "good grief charlie brown"....but it seems fitting to say something about the wayward Coachella.....

otherwise known as crap, crap, crap!

1) Great yarn sub for Berocco Suede. Check: Artfibers Ballet (discont'd.) 25%nylon/75% microfiber
2) Gauge. Check: 18st/4"spot on size 9s just like the pattern called for. (I never get row gauge so adjust accordingly)
3) Read through pattern and viewed other folks' interpretations. RACHAELLA was so bella!
4) I even tried it on once I was 10 rows below the armholes...just like the pattern says....and to assure appropriate length
5) I knit my freakin heart out this weekend because I want to wear this in Las Vegas Wednesday.
6) What I forgot to take into account...............i'm down from a 14/16 this time last a 10 (and 8 at last week's clothing sale shopping spree).....and guessed it....I made the wrong freakin size again. I like my clothes loose. Some folks even say baggy. I know this top is supposed to have negative ease. I figured if I made the 37" size it would be clingy and accent the curvature...did I measure the boobage on myself? Of course not! I've been the same size for years right? Did the fact that my bras haven't fit right (i.e. I'm always tugging them back down) for the past 2 months or so even enter my brain....of course not! Well guess what. I measured "the girls" afterwards....hah! 36" negative ease there.....

Maybe that's why the cowl hung down so low that wardrobe malfunction was guaranteed. I tried a quick fix....see the cute little crochet'd cord drawstringing the neckline up to a less censorious length.....but it really is just overall too big. CRAP!

So...the good news...1) I know I am now down to officially a size medium for most things. 2) I now know exactly what my measurements are....and they came as a delightful surprise....3) I know why I need new clothes....4) I LOVE the way the fabric knits up and the pattern in the correct size will be gorgeous and very wearable ....5) I have enough yarn left to make another in the correct size....6) and I'm going to gift this one to busty work buddy Barbara D.
You learn.

Now....I need to figure out the travel knitting....maybe it's time to start on the holiday giftees eh?

Friday, September 07, 2007


Initially, I thought this top from Knitty's summer collection was really cute....but only for those of "less mature" figures due to the form fitting below the cowl and sexy racerback. However.....I saw knitbud Rachael's version (HEY LOOKIE...I figured out how to fix my link from text problem...thanks MINNIE! No more hillbilly was totally a browser issue! Now, that Rachael is a gal after my own heart. A curvy girl like myself, with boobage.....and the Coachella looks STUNNING on her. With that in mind, and thinking to myself that I'd really like a sexy little warm weather top to wear on a little vacay to Las Vegas....I pawed through the stash looking for some Berroco Suede or reasonable facsimile thereof........

I found some wonderful discontinued Artfibers Ballet...a luscious, suedelike microfiber.....that didn't work out as the original sweater I'd knit it up in......but for Coachella.....she is bella.....

The pattern is worked top down and although rated as "tangy", it's really only a bunch of increases and decreases and once you're past the bust (with shaping directions for the more generously endowed)'s speedknitting round the body tube....which is where I am now with it...whoohooo! It's coming along wonderfully I believe, and with any luck and free time...I'm going to have another finished object this weekend! It'll look great with a little jean skirt in you think it would look too terribly dorky over a tissue thin purple long sleeve t-shirt for winter? ennn...we'll see when it's finished...

I just checked on Ravelry again...trying not to obscess...but there are less than 400 people ahead of me in line (hi Joan...waving up to you...) and if it all goes according to recent history....I should get my invite Tuesday or Wednesday........and I will be OUT OF TOWN AND COMPUTER RANGE.....AARRRRRRGHHHHHHH!!!! Isn't that just the the lil Gramma Clara would say....i guess it'll wait for me until I get back.
Knit on!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

What A Whopper!

We have LOTS of big babies in Alaska. In fact, our average is approx 1 lb larger than the average weight in the rest of the US. It's not just in the Alaska Native population either. People from other ethnic backgrounds have normal size babies (6-7 lb range) then move to Alaska and have 8-9 lb babies. I've had first time moms deliver 10# babies with relative ease. I have one mom who I've caught 3 babies with, the first 10# 4 oz, the second 10# 8 oz, and the last...11# problems (no..she wasn't a gestational diabetic. In fact, she was my record holder.........until tonight.
I've known "V' for the past several years. I took care of and delivered her sister just about 3 years ago. I adore this family and was thoroughly honored and tickled pink when "V" asked me to be her midwife. She did everything the right smoking, no drinking, healthy eating, drinking tons of water...passed all her prenatal tests with flying colors every gestational excessive weight gain... By 30 weeks, we knew this would be a big her due date I was estimating 10# (and I'm pretty darn good at guessing baby weight when I can lay hands on a belly)...and "V" wanted a natural birth, to go into labor on her epidural...and knowing her....if anyone could do it, she could...
"V" started having contractions off and on by Sunday...(41 and a half weeks)...and consented for induction on they say, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that.....
By this morning, she hadn't slept in almost 48 hours....even with some nice medication...just a little doze between contractions...yes...she was having the dreaded back labor......
By noon.....she accepted an 5pm, I knew we weren't going anywhere except the 7:30...we all agreed it was time for a C-Section...(baby did great throughout so no one was in any hurry.} sooo......My doc guessed about 9-9 1/2# after laying hands on...I was thinking 10-10# 4oz.....
In the C-section, we got his head, chubby cheeks and all out...and started pulling shoulders...and body...and more body...and HOLY COW.......he was crying before his legs were out....not a little squalky baby cry either...a deep robust full throated cry.......

11# 10.5 oz (yes, you read that right...eleven pounds and ten and a half ounces).....22" long...........big old congratulations are in order for "V" and her entire family! Mom and baby are doing great. And now the midwife is going to bed too....I think everyone earned a little rest today.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I'll Take You on a Voyage

The "Voyager", by Benne Ferrell & Shui Kuen Kozinski, a free pattern from I started this true "knitted lace" (i.e., no resting or purl rows, all pattern, all the time) waaaaaay back on August 11 and have worked almost exclusively on it until yesterday (Sept. 2)! It's a well written pattern, easy to memorize the repeat sequence, easy to look at and figure out exactly where you are...and stitch counts for each row are given in the written instructions, chart is also provided.

The feisty yarn is Cherry Tree HIll "Silken Mohair" (70% mohair, 20% silk, 10% wool) in the "Old Rose" colorway. I purchased one skein of this yarn 2 years ago at our local Fiber Festival. I don't remember who the vendor was. Each skein has 424yds so I knew I wouldn't have enough for a full shawl, but fortunately, YARNMARKET had another skein.

The instructions begin by telling you to wind up approx 30 yards, leaving it attached as a dangling ball of loveliness, doing a provisional cast on with waste yarn, then coming back at the end and using the dangling ball for the feminine picot bind-off. I didn't think to take into account that I was using worsted weight yarn (instead of the fingering weight in the pattern), and big old honking size 10 needles (instead of the 8s called for)......and this is all I had left of the 30yards for the bind-off....

Seriously, cutting it close here......

And here the completed Voyager lies resting before her final task...........

A nice cool shower and soak in Eucalon..................


Wowza does that pattern open up or what!

Sorry, it's not quite dry yet...........Pearl says..."pet the cat instead"..........

I'll update later (maybe....."V" is FINALLY in labor....Happy Labor Day folks!).....nope...false alarm again...induction tomorrow! (no one should have to be 41 1/2 weeks pregnant....seriously)

so soft, so supple all her lacy goodness.........

where will the Voyager end up?..............