Monday, October 30, 2006

The Chilkat Range

Chilkat Mountains
Chilkat Mountains
Chilkat Mountains

Butch called. "Hey, Sarah and I are going up to the lake this weekend and we have a couple of extra seats in the plane. Wanna go?"

A float plane is a fine way to travel. It was a cold weekend and probably the last weekend of the season for flying up there. The temperature never rose above freezing. It was clear and calm, though, and stunningly beautiful. The conditions were just right for a slight deviation from the usual route home. We flew over and between mountains and glaciers that we usually fly along side. It was a real treat to get another trip up to the lake and to be on such a spectacular flight.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Letting the License Lapse

Yesterday the renewal notice for my nursing license arrived in the mail. I threw it in the garbage.

My license is due to expire November 30. To renew, I would need to pay a fee of $215, and to check two out of three boxes: 30 hours of nursing education, 320 hours of nursing employment or 30 hours of volunteer nursing professional activities. This is something I could accomplish, but I simply don't want to anymore.

It was a good choice of a profession for me. I was 19, working part time at a hospital and enrolled full time at a university when I decided to major in nursing. I really wanted to be a paramedic at that point but it seemed silly to drop out of a four year college to go get a certificate at a junior college. I also thought, correctly, that I would have more flexibility and mobility with a nursing degree and I could always work as an ER nurse.

I did work 11 years in an ER which was my favorite job overall. I also worked on post-op surgical wards, in a public health clinic for a year, in a surgeon's office, and in a tiny clinic in a very small town where I did blood tests with a microscope and took and developed lousy Xrays all by myself. I worked for the Peace Corps in Zambia. I then worked 10 more years at the Juneau hospital, in the OR, in recovery and in the Same Day Surgery unit. When I quit to go to Mexico for a year, I pretty much knew I would not be coming back.

I may work again but I am no longer a nurse. It was right for me for so many years, a way to make a difference, to connect with people, to do something important with my day but it is over. The lapsed license seals the deal.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Scandinavian Socks

These are Scandinavian Socks, by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts from the Fall 2006 Vogue Knitting. Katherine liked the pattern and chose to use the same colors as the designer. She thought it kind of funny that they happen to be her high school colors.

I used Lang Jawoll yarn from Simply Socks in black, white and red (obviously) and US 1 needles. I tried to make the heel and toe as directed but couldn't seem to understand quite how it was to be done so I devised another strategy to get the stripes in there and still have a nice looking sock.

I did make a mistake that almost caused me to rip out half of the first sock. I knit half a row of waste yarn for the heel stitches, then continued on and finished the toe. When I went back to pick up the heel stitches, I realized I had just carried my contrast yarns right through the middle of the heel. I had centered the color change down the back of the leg and the bottom of the foot so it looked good but left me with less than an inch to tie off and weave in ends. I managed to tie some knots with the smallest of ends (not easy) and then used some fabric glue to cement the knots. Katherine won't mind walking on knots; she used to come home with rubber boots filled with gravel.

She loves the socks which makes me happy as well.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Books, Blogs and Baseball

I am reading a bit more, as my enthusiasm for knitting socks has waned temporarily. I have a pile of used books but I seem to spend at least as much time in front of the computer as I do with my nose in a book. Sure, I read knitting blogs but also I have wandered over to blogs about infertility, large families, design, cancer and art. Huh? There are talented writers everywhere. I don't spend any time on eBay. I read the local paper online and the news that is posted on the web by a local radio station. So when I repeat something I got from the news, the vocabulary sometimes trips me up. "I read it on the radio."

I am also listening to a library book, via my iPod, a David Sedaris CD, Me Talk Pretty One Day. I have read his short columns in the New Yorker before and he is really funny. He has been living in France and his tales about Americans abroad and the struggles to communicate in a second language are reminiscent of our time in Mexico last winter. Hearing his high, lispy voice and his imitations add so much to the narrative. It is good stuff but I am glad he is not my little brother. His family stories are merciless.

This time of year also finds me in front of the television. You might think I am watching Project Runway (which Dave thought was about an airport, poor guy) but no, it is Major League Baseball that has captured my attention. October is World Series month, and once I become aware of it, I am up on that bandwagon. I never think about baseball at all during the rest of the year, and I really don't even remember which teams played last year or who won. It's a short lived interest, a bright light during a dark and rainy season. I find something delightful in the drama, the peek into a world that totally consumes so many people. There is a pitcher with grey in his funny beard, a twenty two year old up to the majors for the first time, the announcers explaining that the second baseman and the shortstop communicate who will cover second by an open mouth and a closed mouth. Things like these intrigue me.

I am pulling for Detroit. Why? Well, my brother-in-law, an Oregon hippie, grew up in the Motor City and he has an automotive core that he can't escape. I love that about Michael, his stacks of car magazines and intimate knowledge of motorcycle history. My only other reason for being a Tiger fan this month is Elmore Leonard. Sports fans don't have to be logical, just enthusiastic.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Love Letters

Nine year old boys seem to have some romantic appeal. The notes and letters are amusing. Another one appeared this week. I will type it rather than photograph it because the pencil has smudged and it will be more readable.
Dear Ray, I was lisning to Rily, well, however you spell his name
He said that you like Iris and I dident beleive him but now I do
yea I know your hoby is to be mean to girls
but now as before I don't like you
and don't ever follow me ever again
and why I gave you that neckalas is because I liked you
and I didn't want to let you go
but now I hate you.
But I still kind of like you.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Garter Rib Socks

"Are those for me?" Dave asked. I was knitting some socks that were not for him. But it sounded like a request to me so I made him some simple, manly socks. He likes them and wears them so much that he might need some more right away.

Yarn: Trekking XXL
Needles: US 1
Generic pattern

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Blog blahs? Dunno... I would not make a very good newspaper columnist as I would not be able to come up with subjects to write about on a regular basis. There are some finished knitting projects to photograph but two are gifts and I am waiting to present them before they appear on the blog.
I skipped Eye Candy Friday. I don't have a file full of spectacular photos and the linked together aspect of this blog event never really happened. So I will post great pictures when I can, Friday or not.
That's all for now. Back to the life of the unemployed, retired, stay-at-home parent. Cook, clean, walk, knit. It's not a bad deal.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Fresh Snow

After two Alaskan summers and a Mexican winter, it has been awhile since I have felt temperatures below 50 degrees. The clouds parted a couple of days ago, revealing fresh snow on nearby peaks. I haven't been able to capture any spectacular lighting effects so snapshots will have to do.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Project That Failed

I purchased a couple of balls of Karaoke because I have wanted to try some of the new fibers. This yarn is 50% wool and 50% soy silk, which is interesting by itself, but it also has lovely colors and long color runs. I had read about the yarn on the web and when I saw some in a local yarn store, I didn't hesitate. I brought some home.

My first attempt at a Karaoke project was to make socks. However, the knitted fabric was a little too stiff for comfortable socks. Then, without making a swatch or really looking into how the yarn performs, I made a bag with US 11 needles and dumped it in the washer. I have made about eight to ten felted projects before and didn't use a pattern or read up on how to proceed. The yarn label said "felt" right on it so I just plowed ahead.

I saw my pretty bag there in the suds and a little voice started to speak up. 50% soy? Maybe it doesn't act exactly like wool. I did a google search and read that I should knit Karaoke at its recommended gauge for felting, not to use the standard approach of large needles and super loose fabric. Uh-oh...

An hour of agitation did nothing but ruin the yarn. The bag did not felt and even the knitted cord for the handle looked awful. The only way to call this project a success would be to say it looks good from a galloping horse.