Sunday, December 30, 2007

Everyone's Favorite Hat

Raul and I visited a yarn store yesterday, and he coveted this hat:

After some holding of yarn and hemming and hawing. A skein of bulky weight alpaca yarn was purchased, and after a brief tutorial,

Raul cast-on and was off to the races like a natural knitter! Check out his progress:

And this morning, we have a finished hat!

View from the top:

Pattern: Everyone's Favorite Hat by Fibertrends
Yarn: Blue Sky Bulky weight, 50% Alpaca and 50% wool in a gray colorway.
Needles: Size 15 circulars
Comments: Raul is a knitting champ! The yarn is amazing - super soft and luscious. The pattern is simple and makes a very warm hat, and Raul's version looks just like the model in the store. What a guy.

Endpaper Mitts

Well, I took Step 2 of the US Medical Licensing Exam last Friday. 368 questions spread out over 8 hours. It was a good time that left me feeling thoroughly demoralized. But at least it's over. Hopefully. I will find out my score (and whether or not I passed) in 3 weeks. One of the test center proctors said, 'Well, hopefully we won't see you back," as I was signing out to leave at the end of the day. Thanks for the vote of confidence.

Here is a finished object that was my mom's Christmas present this year: a pair of Endpaper Mitts:

Pattern: Endpaper Mitts by Eunny Jang
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in colors sky and ash
Needles: Size 2 Addi turbo circulars
Comments: Excellent pattern (they fit!), excellent yarn. I really enjoy colorwork. My mom seemed very happy with them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Slipped Stitch Dishcloths

Several years ago, my grandmother gave me a bag full of Lily Sugar & Cream yarn. At the time, I wasn't a huge fan of knitted dishcloths - I preferred disposable sponges because, well, I had the luxury of a mechanical dishwasher, and I did not handwash many dishes. And non-disposable dishcloths struck me an excellent breeding grounds for bacteria that I would not want touching my dishes or my hands. Since then several things have happened. First, I have moved and no longer have a dishwasher. Second, med school has desensitized me, and I no longer fear bacteria. Instead, I fear stroke. And third, I am tired of all the waste that disposable sponges/dishcloths create. Enter handknit dishcloths! I found the slipped stitch pattern in Mason Dixon Knitting, and I located the aforementioned bag of cotton yarn from my stash, and voilĂ ! Handknit dishcloths!

Here are two of a variegated and light yellow yarns:

This one, I call 'Eggs Over Easy in Pepto-Bismol'. I suppose neglecting my studies on color theory has been a bad idea.

Yarn: Lily Sugar & Cream in various colorways. 2 balls will yield about 2 dishcloths.
Needles: Size 7
Pattern: Very easy to follow and quick to knit. I have made 5 of these so far, and they take a couple hours each,

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Self-Actualization: Achieved. Not!

Remember Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? Where organisms must first satisfy basic physiological needs before they are able to achieve higher goals (ie self-actualization.) My experiences in the last month have prompted me to recall this theory, primarily because I feel that strive as I might, I am repeatedly kicked back to the base of Maslow's pyramid. While traveling, Raul and I seemed to find ourselves repeatedly stranded and at the mercy of American Airlines. Such situations required that our efforts be focused primarily on obtaining food, shelter and warmth. Who has time for self-actualization when you cannot get home and you do not know where you're going to sleep that night? Saying this, I realize that I am quite fortunate that I do not routinely have to worry about not having adequate shelter or food or warmth.

Another thing that I am happy to take for granted is electricity. An ice storm hit the Midwest this week, and our block was without power yesterday and today for about 20 hours. Raul was a super sport and volunteered to brave the ice-covered sidewalks to hunt and gather up our anniversary dinner (that he was able to procure from a local Thai restaurant.) We ate dinner in our headlamps surrounded by candles, and then thought about playing games (photo below) but decided that it was dark, and we were tired and went to bed. It was 6:45pm. People must have been well-rested in the pre-artificial light days.

Life is much better with hot water and heat! Here's to hoping for a steady supply of both in our lives (along with shelter and food) so that we may get on to bigger and better things, like climbing Maslow's pyramid.

Photo of ice covered street:

Close-up of ice covered tree:

Nothing says happy anniversary like a game of cribbage by light of headlamp!

Monday, December 10, 2007

New Spring in my Step

Admittedly, there was a time when I did not think that I would ever be able to leave Pittsburgh, but no worries - we eventually made it to Portland and had a wonderful time. I had an entire day there to myself while Raul was off interviewing, and I made the most of it. I visited a very cool fabric shop where I found this fabric:

to make a 'Follow the Lines Baby Quilt'. The floral print will be the front (the part that I will handquilt), and the more solid print will serve as both the backing and binding around the edges. Now I have a reason to use the beautiful quilting hoop that was recently gifted to me by my grandma.

Then I meandered down to a store that I was destined to find, Clogs and More. There I was able to find a pair of shoes that Raul will give me for Christmas. Lucky him (and me)! And while in the shop, the store clerk took my old Danskos off my feet and resoled them. Talk about service!

And then we finally made it back home, and we are reunited with the cat and dog. The dog is having some GI issues (per usual, poor guy). Because we are diligent med students (and slightly hypervigilant) we noted his urine output was poor and got some IV fluids from the vet and gave him a subcutaneous fluid bolus. He is much better now.

Finally, here is a picture of Raul doing exciting things with his facial hair:

PS - tomorrow is our one year wedding anniversary!

Cobblestone Pullover


View from the front:


Close up of stockinette up the side of the body of the sweater and the yoke:

Pattern: Cobblestone Pullover by Jaren Flood in IK knits (Fall 2007)
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Superwash in color Lemongrass.
Needles: Size 7 circulars
Comments: My first sweater! The pattern was very easy to follow and quick to knit. And it is totally wearable! I made no modifications, and my sweater looks like the one in the magazine. Very excited. The yarn is very soft, 100% wool and machine washable and dryable. I have yet to wash and dry it, so we'll see how it goes. Raul is happy with it!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Update: American Airlines is not my hero

They caused me serious anxiety as they sent my bags with all my clothes (including my interview clothes) on a sightseeing trip of the Midwest. American did pony up $100 to allow us to buy undergarments, toiletries and other necessities yesterday after our bags had been MIA for over 24 hours. Their offer of $100 prompted a frantic shopping spree at Target late last night. No worries though - our bags arrived sometime in the night, and I was able to dress in my finest attire this morning. Though today during my interview day, many a resident and applicant looked me over and asked if I had bought my suit at Target. Thanks jerks.

Did you know the Pittsburgh airport has a mall inside of it? There is an overpriced Gap and two Ben & Jerry's ice cream shops.

Our flight is delayed. I hope we get home tonight. And off to Portland early tomorrow AM! Maybe I will go have a milkshake.

Goodnight and wish me luck!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

American Airlines is my Hero

Well, not really because Raul is my hero, but American Airlines is a close second today. Want to hear our story - it's a good one! We have packed about 15 interviews into the month of December - it was fun to make the schedule, kind of like a game of Tetris. But it hasn't been so fun to be the person that has to stick to it. In the past week, I was in San Diego, LA and Sacramento. Good news is that I loved the programs in LA and Sacramento as did Raul, so there is a good chance that we are California bound. On Saturday, we were supposed to catch a flight from San Diego to home, and then on Sunday we were flying from home to Pittsburgh for interviews on Monday. An ice storm with freezing rain prevented us from going home, so we flew from San Diego to Pittsburgh. So, technically we missed our flight from home to Pittsburgh this morning - resulting in mass confusion among airline administrators that required 90 minutes on the phone and the help of a super genius from American Airlines to sort out. Thank you American Airlines.

Oh, and our bags have yet to make it to Pittsburgh.

And to add further insult to injury, we are scheduled to arrive home late Monday night, and we're leaving for Portland, OR on Tuesday morning. Note to self - perceiving interview scheduling like a game of Tetris is a bad idea.

Raul's sweater is finished and fits! I will post pictures once I am home and have access to a camera.
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