Monday, August 21, 2006

With the lost DPN found I've been working on my sock. It's been a reminder about how much I hate gusset decreases. It's really pretty crazy how much I hate them. It's where I get all tangled up in the extra needles, where I get a ladder forming right in the middle of the foot, where I'm concentrating so hard on not making that stupid ladder that I poke myself with the extra needles. It's amazing how much a size 1 DPN hurts when it jabs into your thumb over and over and over. And now that I'm through them and onto the foot, I'm staring at the sock and not liking it. I did a heel flap, as usual, and I wish I had done a short row heel. I've never done one, but I think it would look so much better in this anklet. The heel flap just looks big and wrong. But I really don't want to frog the whole heel. So I think I'll just live with the heel flap and remember this for future anklets.

Now that I've ranted about my sock, it's your turn! What is your least favorite part of sock knitting?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Some actual knitting photos. My Malabrigo scarf. This yarn is so wonderful. I must use it more.

Pattern: My So-Called Scarf
Yarn: Malabrigo merino

My current scarf-in-progress is going quite well. With bulky alpaca it's knitting up quickly and it's oh so soft and fluffy. I'm loving this color! The pattern is from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, the Men's Cashmere Scarf. But it's obviously not cashmere and not for a man. But I adore the pattern.

On the sock knitting front, I found the missing DPN. On the fourth disassembly of my couch there it was. Don't know how I've been missing it all week as I looked under the cushions, but now that it's been found I'm back to the sock.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday Sky

It's a gray day, and it feels like rain.

In knitting news, I finished my pink Malabrigo scarf. It's so soft and fluffy. Then I started another scarf with the bluish green alpaca I bought a couple weeks ago. I know scarves aren't sophisticated knitting, but I love them. Especially since I'm in New England now and will need them in the winter. I also figure they will be good Christmas gifts. I've also been working on my sock, but I've run into a problem. I knit socks on 5 DPNs. So I got to the heel flap where you put aside 1 needle and just use 4. So I did the heel flap and heel turn and now it's time to divide the stitches on the extra needle and I can't find it. Must search my apartment for a size 1 DPN.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Cupcake time!

I'm loving my month in the clinic. I have a couple half days a week where I'm not scheduled to see patients and instead have "admin time." That's a gift from the program secretary... some time off. Quite nice after a month in the unit. So I have this morning off and have spent it making these.

It's a fellow intern's birthday, so I figured cupcakes at clinic were a good idea. I was lazy and used cake mix for them, but I have a technique for doctoring it that I got from my mom. It works really well and people won't guess that it's a mix. People are always asking for my cake recipe and I'm embarrassed to admit it's just Betty Crocker.

My cake:
1 box cake mix, sifted
1 envelope Dream Whip, sifted
1 cup milk
1/4 cup liquor (whatever you have on hand, I often use Jim Beam for baking)
3 eggs
With electric mixer, beat until combined. Then beat on high for 5 minutes. Pour into prepared pans and bake as directed on the cake mix box.
The Dream Whip and extra beating time makes the cake really fluffy. The liquor gets rid of the sweet artificial taste of the mix. You don't taste the alcohol itself though. It's some kind of magic. It works in boxed corn bread mix too.

I did make my own frosting though; I think it's a better use of my time. The white frosting is peppermint and the brown is peanut butter. The peanut butter tastes just like Reeces Pieces...yum! I got the recipes from Julie.

Peppermint Buttercream
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter at room temperature
3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk
1/2 to 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Green food coloring

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add the confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons of milk, and vanilla. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minute more. Blend in up to 1 tablespoon milk if the frosting seems too stiff. If you like, tint the frosting green. (I obviously didn't.)

Peanut Butter Frosting
1 cup creamy peanut butter
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Place the peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine. Add the confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, and the vanilla. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is well combined, 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting lightens and is fluffy, 1 minute more. Blend in up to 1 tablespoon milk if the frosting seems too stiff.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high
What Kind of Coffee Are You?

I don't think I'm too high strung... perhaps my friends wouldn't agree though. What I am lately is overly emotional. And very labile. At lunch yesterday we were talking about movies. A friend of mine had a really bad call night over the weekend, and the next day watched really sad movies. Because why watch a happy movie to cheer yourself up when you could deepen the depression instead? (Although I often do the same thing.) So we were talking about movies that make us cry. Glory, Saving Private Ryan, Swing Kids... And I started tearing up thinking about Tom Hanks dying in SPR. Then later on someone made a joke and I just cracked up and couldn't stop. Laughed until tears were running down my face. And it wasn't even that funny. So I'm seriously messed up lately; I think it's the sleep deprivation.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Free patterns

Have to share this site with tons of free patterns. via Unfinished Knitting

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The great thing about preemie hats is that they knit up super fast since they are so small. These were my day off project, and I'm quite pleased with them. I'm also very pleased with this yarn. It's Dale of Norway Baby Ull knit on size 3 needles. This yarn is super soft and perfect for baby items. And it has great stitch definition. I love the way the seed stitch border of the green hat looks. The hat patterns are from Bev's Country Cottage and the preemie size looks perfect for a 24 weeker. Each hat took less than half a skein and I'm looking forward to making some more, probably a bit bigger.

Because I have so much time on my hands, I've joined a knitalong. Probably a really bad idea. I see some frantic sock knitting in my future. Here's hoping for a target with small feet!

In other knitting news, I've made some progress on my Blugger socks. Actually I'm making anklets because I love wearing them with my Danskos at work. And I ordered some yarn from YarnBotanika. I haven't taken a picture of it, but you can see it here. Isn't it gorgeous?! Now I need the perfect project for it. I'm thinking lace, but nothing too complicated because then I'll never finish it. Any ideas?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Book meme!

1. One book that changed your life:
The Hot Zone by Richard Preston. I read this book in high school and became obsessed with all things medical.

2. One book that you've read more than once:
Just one? I'm a compulsive rereader. I think the book I've read the most is Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy. I read it so many times it started falling apart and I had to buy a new copy.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen OK, maybe it's cheating, but it is all bound as one book. And what better than romance to keep you company on a desert island?

4. One book that made you laugh:
House of God by Samuel Shem. Required reading for all interns.

5. One book that made you cry:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I fell in love with this book in eighth grade and it gets to me every time I read it.

6. One book that you wish you had written:
Harry Potter - I love these books. Plus I would be filthy rich and able to pay off all my school loans.

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy. I hated this book and was tortured with it for summer reading in high school. I never actually made it all the way through.

8. One book you're currently reading:
Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik. I picked it up because a friend's sister wrote it, but it's awesome. Imagine if Horatio Hornblower had dragons to help fight Napoleon. Pretty freakin' cool.

9. One book you've been meaning to read:
There are so many on my bookshelves... I really want to read Lord of the Rings but haven't been able to do it. But I'll keep trying.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wow, she's good. My horoscope from CrazyAuntPurl.
All work and no play makes Scorpio so irritated and tired and annoyed that at any minute ya'll are about to fling off and snatch someone baldheaded. I know that the work you're doing is VERY good, and this whole period from about March onward has been exhausting, and kind of rewarding but still, you're tired, and why can't you just get some peace and quiet already! but you just have to endure a few more weeks of nose-to-grindstone and then you can take a much needed rest. If it's any consolation, this entire Jupiter-infused period of your life has been really excellent for your future financial picture. Does that help? A little?

My weekend off coincided with some awesome yarn sales. Webs was at the sidewalk sale and Northampton Wools had all cotton for 25% off. So I went a little nuts. OK, a lot nuts. My loot...

Some amazingly soft alpaca. I don't think you can appreciate the color fully in the picture. It's a beautiful bluish green. I've been wanting this yarn since my first trip to Webs, and I finally broke down and bought it. Now to find time to knit it.

Pale pink KidSilk Haze to someday make Branching Out. It's been calling to me. Not sure why since I can't seem to make any progress on Charlotte; I really have commitment issues.

What's a trip to the LYS without some sock yarn?

A variety of colors of superwash merino to make baby hats for the NICU. If anyone longs to make baby hats and blankets but is without babies of their own, I suggest donating to your local NICU. Each baby has a handknit hat and blanket in his crib or isolette. It's just such a nice thing and the parents appreciate it. If you're wondering how big to make the hats, there's a huge variation in size so anything would fit someone. The babies go from big 11 lb babies whose moms have diabetes all the way down to 1 lb premies with a head circumference of 21 cm.

No trip yarn shopping would be complete without some gifts for my secret pal. She loves cotton, so she really lucked out with the current sale. Hope she likes it all.

In other news, I got my Flip Flip Swap package over the weekend. Check it out!

I'm especially excited about Knit Picks Main Line which I've been wanting to try. Thanks, Kathy! I love it!

And now a confession - I've been a bad knitter. Sorry, Gina, I've made very little progress on my Blugger sock. It was my on call project and this is all I got done in 3 calls.

Pretty pathetic, I know. But this is project number one now, so I'll get to it!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Time for a celebratory margarita

I've survived my first month as an intern. Even bigger, all my patients survived my first month. That totally deserves tequila! So how does the NICU look from this side of the month (with a little bit of a buzz)? Pretty good actually. I realized as the month went on that I was enjoying myself and learning a lot. The schedule was grueling and I've been tired since July 1, but I didn't hate it. I didn't even dislike it. To sum up the month...

Things I will miss about NICU:
- My fave on call attending who lets me make decisions but doesn't mind being woken up at 3am because a kid isn't behaving.
- Going down to the delivery room and not getting in a panic when the baby isn't acting right.
- Going down to the delivery and finding a baby who is perfect, handing him to mom with a "congratulations," and leaving him in the normal nursery.
- Getting called to do a procedure and getting it done right.
- Getting called about a problem and knowing how to handle it.
- Chatting with the awesome nurses during the night.
- Riding in the ambulance to an outlying hospital to pick up a baby.
- Hanging out with the other residents and making the whole thing fun.
- Being able to laugh at the hard nights. "So how was your night?" "It was fine... except all the babies are broken!"
- Being so sleep deprived on a post call morning that everything is hilarious and laughing till I cry over something that isn't even funny.
- Finally sending a baby home after over 2 months in the unit.
- Taking care of the cutest babies, esp Michael who loves to be carried around during evening rounds.

Things I won't miss about NICU:
- Not seeing my bed every fourth night.
- Getting up at 5am so I can be in house by 6am.
- Weekend? What weekend? (Or as one of my fave interns as a med student put it, "Know what today is? Saturday. Know what that means to me? Nothing!")
- Being woken up after an hour of sleep and feeling like throwing up and/or passing out when I sat up to answer the phone.
- Feeling car sick in the ambulance on the way to pick up a baby. (Paramedics are really nice about turning up the AC and handing me a bucket, though.
- Staying up all night changing meds and vent settings every hour trying to avoid sending a kid to Boston for higher level care or surgery.
- Going down to the delivery room and finding a baby who is really sick and having to take him from his parents.
- Being called a liar by a parent who then demands to speak to the attending because I "can't possibly be a real doctor."

Not too bad, though that last one still makes me mad. When the OB record warns of mom's psych history, tread carefully. I think the good stuff outweighs the bad, so I'll have fond memories of this month. And I'm looking forward to doing it again next year (sick, I know).

Knitting content to come.