Thursday, February 28, 2008

My last day in the OR

When I arrived at work this morning, there was quite the spread in the lounge. TREATS!!

All in my honor. Almost brought tears to my eyes.

It was a busy, typical day, but everyone was so kind to me. Lots of laughs and hugs. I'll miss them like crazy!

I've spent the last eight years with these people. We have very little employee turnover, and that's very uncommon in our industry. It's because we are family...

This is just a few of us. There were people still doing patient care that we couldn't get in the photo.

This has been the best place EVER to work. I hope I won't regret my decision to change positions.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

slogging, slogging, slogging...

What do you do when you're slogging through 17 inches of black stockinette stitch in the dark evenings of winter?

After only seven inches of stockinette are done?

Why, start a new sweater, of course!!

The yarn for Rogue came in the mail - hurray! Harrisville Highland in Azure.

I bought it on weaving cones, skeined it off, and gave it a bath to eliminate the spinning oils. It blooms so nicely, becoming a much plumper yarn.

I'm off to start a sleeve/swatch.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

cool geocaching on a sunny WARM day

Saturday, while the Girl of the House was on her choir trip, Paul and I did 11 geocaches. A new one day record for us! We geocached our way from Owatonna to Burnsville while running a variety of errands.

We ended with a very cool series of geocaches that had the most challenging hides we have ever come across.

Can you see this geocache?

It's the branch running parallel to the trunk of the tree. It's woven in and out of the other branches, holding it in place. The actual cache is a film canister stuck into the end of the branch.

How 'bout this one?

Look way above Paul's head, in the hole in the tree. We needed to use a long forked branch to snag it out.

was the most difficult one of the day.

Paul climbed the tree, then used another long forked branch to reach way over his head for the cache. It was another film canister, stuck in a piece of branch, hanging from another branch. It was at least 20 feet up in the air. If the trees had leaves on them, I don't think we'd have found it.

Today, the little dog had a bath. GotH snuggled him up to warm and dry him.

The knitting is finished on the Baby Surprise Jacket.

Now on to the seams and buttons!


Quick and silly - from a meme going 'round...


1. Put your music player on shuffle.
2. Press forward for each question.
3. Use the song title as the answer to the question.

What does next year have in store for me?
Passenger Seat - Death Cab for Cutie

What’s my love life like?
Tell Me - Stevie Ray Vaughn

What do I say when life gets hard?
Little Drop of Poison - Tom Waits

What do I think when I get up in the morning?
Cross My Fingers - Tom Waits

What song will I dance to at my wedding?
There She Goes - John Prine

What do you want as a career?
You Call It Jogging - Jimmy Buffett

Your favorite saying?
Feeling of Falling - Bonnie Raitt

Favorite place?
Falling Slowly - Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova

Where'd you go for a road trip?
Sunday Morning Coming Down - Johnny Cash

What would you listen to while driving?
Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

What do you think of your parents?
Round & Round - Bonnie Raitt

Where would you go on a first date?
Nature Boy - David Bowie & Massive Attack (Moulin Rouge)

Your life’s theme song?
Our House - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (ooh, I LIKE this...)

Describe yourself?
I Take My Chances - Mary Chapin Carpenter

What is the thing I like doing most?
When I Was a Boy - Dar Williams

What is my state of mind like at the moment?
It's Alright with Me - Harry Connick, Jr

How will I die?
Suffer to Sing the Blues - David Bromberg

Your funeral?
What's Up? - 4 Non Blondes

What will I title this bulletin?
Kashmir - Led Zeppelin

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Early Saturday morning

Girl of the House needed to be in town this morning by 6:30. She's in Northfield Youth Choir, and they are participating in a choral festival in St. Cloud today.

Nothing like getting up earlier on Saturday than you do on a weekday!

The morning was cold, 1 degree, and gorgeous.
I couldn't resist taking a few photos.

One half hour before sunrise.

Looking southeast of the house.

More than an hour before moonset, looking west.

The knitting basket awaits.
Not too much knitting last evening - the black stockinette makes me drowsy!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

17 inches of black stockinette to go, please

The fun colorwork of the band is done.

Let the acres of black stockinette begin.

Only 17 more inches to go before the fun recommences.

Did you see the eclipse last night? It was gorgeous.

Extraordinarily difficult to photograph - the temp outside was -14. Hard to take photos with naked frozen fingers...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Knitting up the hem

It's time to put up the hem.

The pattern called for using a regular cast on, then sewing up the hem at the end of knitting the sweater.

I like to use a provisional cast on, then knit the hem together with the appropriate row.

This sweater has a ten row hem, so after knitting ten rows on the front side, I put the provisional edge on a needle and do a three needle knit together for the eleventh row.

It's a bit futzy to begin, but once you've done a few stitches, it's very slick.

Best of all, no sewing up the hem later!

I cast on the carry around sock project last night.

Toe up socks, 64 stitches around on size 0 needles, garter rib stitch.

I'm enjoying this Alpaca Sox yarn - it's very soft. The colors are pretty, too.

Another freezing cold Minnesota day. 4 degrees for the high, -13 for the low. At least it's sunny!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Body of Osterdalen is cast on!

A provisional cast-on, 278 stitches around.
A ten row hem, a purl turning row, and Dale of Norway Osterdalen has the beginning of a body.

I like to knit the name of the recipient and the date into the hem.

Here's the sock yarn I picked up yesterday.
Classic Elite Alpaca Sox - 60% alpaca, 20% merino wool, 20% nylon in the baby blues colorway. (I have another skein in the Emeralds colorway stashed away.)

Time to cast on another pair of carry around socks!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Shiny little blue zircons

No school today - President's day!

We had a girls day out. Girl of the House got her ears pierced. Or perhaps, I should say, re-pierced. They'd been pierced in kindergarten, but due to lack of interest, she let them grow shut. She chose the blue zircons - what Claire's passes off as the December birthstone.

We each got a new pair of shoes. (I will be ready for this new job!)

We did one geocache. We were thinking about a few more, but the windchill was sub-zero.

So we went to see Enchanted. We both enjoyed the movie. (But isn't $11.50 for two matinee tickets an obscene price? And then, add popcorn and an icee to it - we walked out with 75 cents change from a twenty - YIKES!)

We went to JoAnn's and got buttons, embroidery floss, and sewing thread for our crafts. GotH wants to make a few button bracelets. We stopped at Half-Price Books and left with five books. We hit PetSmart for Chip-puppy food and visited with the rabbits, gerbils, ferrets, mice, rats, guinea pigs, snakes and lizards. Gotta see 'em all!

We hit Knitter's Palette and I got some sock yarn. I was looking for some washable wool, but nothing quite suited. We went to Penzey's Spices for Cajun spice mix for the jambalaya we want to make.

Then we stopped at Leeann Chin, and brought supper home. Yay Leeann Chin!!

Sunday, Paul and I got out and finished placing our three part geocache in the Carleton Arboretum. We though it had been appropriately placed last weekend, but when we went to publish it, the second stage was too close to another cache. We hiked out and moved it. It was a nice enough morning, we saw many skiers and hikers. We felt a bit stealthy, trying not to be observed.

However, we weren't as stealthy as the beaver who's been eating up the trees down by the river. This looked to be fresh beaver dinner. We also saw one sneaky deer, hunkered down in the tall grass, pretending he was invisible.

When we came home and made brunch, this deer decided to join us. She walked right up to the bird feeder outside the kitchen window and started to snack on the sunflower seeds. This feeder is about eight feet from the house.

Baby Surprise Jacket continues. Not too much more to knit!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

100th Geocache

We had company in the front yard and driveway this morning. There were a total of five of these beauties.

Girl of the House had her summer soccer tryouts at Shattuck/St. Marys school today. While she was there, Paul and I grabbed a few caches in Faribault.

When she was finished, we hit Dairy Queen for a fun treat. Then we headed back to the Cannon River Wilderness Park for our 100th cache. It was only right that she should be with us for our milestone find.

We started geocaching on Mother's day 2007. One hundred caches in nine months makes us happy!

I went shopping with my own personal shopper (a co-worker of taste with an honest voice) last evening. I now have at least one week of clothing to wear for my new job. And a nice solid base to grow on.

So, there wasn't much knitting. But the Baby Surprise Jacket did grow a bit on Thursday evening. Let's see how much we like the yellow stripe, eh?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

How much SALT do we possess?

I went to make some lentil soup for supper last night. Going through the cupboard, a sudden question arose. "Holy cow, how much salt DO we have?"

I pulled it all out to have a look.

Yes, we have six kinds of salt in our cupboard! And that doesn't include the salt grinder on the table.

Rock salt for the grinder, kosher salt for cooking, the old classic Morton's salt (dated as opened in 2004 - does salt go bad?), iodized sea salt, canning and pickling salt, and finally the salt grinder brought in from the camper for the winter. Yikes!

So we had some yummy lentil soup with smoked sausage for supper and waited for the big snowstorm they promised was coming.

And waited, and waited... The big snow storm went to the North and South of us. We got about a half inch.

See, I TOLD you there wasn't going to be any more snow for us!

The Baby Surprise Jacket grew a bit more.

I guess I'm postponing casting on for the body of Osterdalen.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Let's try this again...

So - the handspun superwash was going to become the Babies & Bears sweater.

I LOVE the Babies & Bears. Fun and fast to knit.

I knitted away, pleased with the look and feel of the yarn.

However, it was going to be HUGE!

So I started over.

Now, it's trying to become a Baby Surprise Jacket, another fun and fast baby sweater.

So far, so good...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Another freezing weekend

Another of weekend of call (my last - yay!) completed.

And it was pretty darn cold. Here's a graph from Carleton College showing temps Saturday morning til Sunday afternoon. That's a high of 24 to a low of -17. From a gorgeous snowy sunny morning to the deep freeze...

Sunday morning around 8 - at a temp of around -17 (windchill -35) - just before I went out the door to work. The sundogs were gorgeous. We had never before seen a full circle of sundogs. They looked more like a rainbow.
I finished Paul's Mountain Colors socks. I like the texture of the waffle weave.

Done toe-up, they have a plain stockinette foot and the waffle weave makes up the cuff. Mountain Colors Bearfoot is a great sock yarn. The mohair content helps it fluff up. It's superwash wool, so it can be machine washed. We just lay them out flat to dry - doesn't take long.

I finished the second sleeve on the Dale of Norway Osterdalen.

Can YOU tell which sleeve is unblocked? Of course, you can!

Now to cast on 278 stitches provisionally for the hem of the body...
Paul got a great mushroom growing kit for a Christmas gift from his brother & sis-in-law Harlan and Coleen. Portabellas! He harvested Friday, and we ate them all weekend. They were incredible! And they are s'posed to continue to produce a few more crops.

You can see H&C's mushrooms here. They had an excellent crop too!

Thank you Harlan and Coleen!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Off to the RV show

Thursday evening we were off to the RV show in Minneapolis.

Normally, we would attend on the weekend, but I'm on call this weekend, and must remain within 20 minutes of the hospital. (Hey, it's my LAST weekend call!!!)

We really enjoy walking around, looking at the wide variety of campers and all the necessary accessories. We're not really in the market for anything new, but it's fun to look!

We came across this wild race-themed sales area. Yes, indeedy, this is what EVERYONE needs to drag along in their camper. A rug, an awning, several recliners and chairs, a table, a grill, even a race themed collapsible storage bin. Frankly, it hurt my eyes. Now it can hurt YOURS, too!

We always like to think up a little activity to spice up the evening. Our mischief that night - all of the campers/RVs have stereo systems, some more extensive than others. In the campers we entered to look around, we tuned the stereos to 93X and turned the volume WAY up.

It was great fun to stand back and watch the next people entering the camper/RV. Didn't matter - $10,000 or $300,000 RV - they cringed a bit, explored the RV, and never even turned the volume down. I imagine a few sales people were puzzled later, when they entered their RVs to loud head-banging music. I like to think a few of the young ones had a bit of a giggle.

After our evening of mild subversion, we stopped for supper at White Castle for a rare treat. While waiting for our Slyders (hey, one of their brochures told me how to spell those burgers), we discovered White Castle has informational brochures! (The worst of these was, of course, the nutritional information brochure!)

I got lots more black stockinette done in the truck during the drive.

Pretty soon I can move on to the colorwork!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The things you see...

A few days ago, I finished plying the superwash merino. Personally, I think it looked much nicer on the bobbin as a single. The colors got all smooshy in this two ply. It would have looked better if I had navajo plyed - the colors would have been more consistent.

Still, it's a pretty yarn. Don't know if it will be the originally planned baby sweater, or maybe a couple of nifty hats. I'll have to keep an eye on it, see what it tells me.

Late this afternoon, Paul and I went into the arb and placed two geocaches. We won't publish them until there is new snow to cover our tracks. (Not much of a challenge to find a cache when there are tracks leading directly to it!)

We saw some interesting things.

Out in the middle of nowhere, way off the path, someone has put up a tree swing!

In a quiet little spot along a little used trail, someone made a skiing snow angel.

I love that you can see it was a skier - he held his poles while making the angel.

As the sun was setting, we had this view to the southeast.

Carleton College has a big wind turbine, just peeking over the snowy field.

Looking to the southwest, we caught the tail end of the sunset.

We came home to a bubbling pot of vegetable beef soup. We opened a couple of beers, made some dumplings, and warmed ourselves up.