Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Robe

Isn't there a blockbuster movie of long ago with a biblical reference called "The Robe"? I may be wrong, but anyway - this post is not about that.

I am here today to expound on the virtures of robes.

As in, why is it that people (patients) do not bring a robe to the hospital anymore?

Everyday, I bear witness to this phenomenon. Scores of patients are walking up and down the halls of the hospital not wearing robes. A few might grab an extra gown and wear it backwards simulating a robe (which is a definite Glamour Don't, by the way, but I suppose it is better than nothing), but the vast majority traipse around in just a hospital gown. Some even go downstairs - and out the door - to smoke a cigarette. (That's a topic for another day.)

I would like to point out that hospital gowns are not designer fashion, are not very flattering, and they provide only a modicum of modesty. Most of the time, people are wearing underwear under them, but it's not a guarantee.

I did have one patient, bless him, who did pull on his jeans under his gown whenever he left the room. That's not much of a fashion statement either. I mean, I would have either put on all regular clothes, or thrown on a robe (that zipped or tied closed securely). The half-n-half thing is a little too bipolar for my taste, but I digress.

Just the other day, I was reminded once again about this situation - because I see it so much that it is no longer on my mind on a minute-by-minute, or even a daily basis. OK, maybe fleetingly on the daily thing.

As I was writing a progress note in a chart at the nurses station, I looked down one of the halls while searching for a word in my mind, when I saw a perfect example of this breach of etiquette: A male patient facing the opposite direction was walking down the hall pulling his IV pole and wearing a hospital gown. It was barely tied in the back, and he was giving us all a view of his tidy-whities.

"Case in point!!!" I screamed to the charge nurse and the other nurses nearby. (They've heard me ask the universe why people don't bring a robe to the hospital many times.) I just pointed down the hall and we all started laughing discreetly behind our hands.

I know that sometimes, people are too sick to think about etiquette - but most of the time, these patients are too sick to get out of bed in the first place. If they do leave their rooms, it is usually on a stretcher or a wheelchair, on the way to a procedure. The nursing/transport staff usually are good about keeping these patients covered up, but they are sick, it's a hospital; so, it's okay if they look like they are sick patients in a hospital on the way to a procedure.

Aaaannnnnd, the point: On your way to the hospital, be sure to pack a robe. Put a reminder on the back of your driver's license; so, your family will know your wishes, in the case that you are too sick to talk or think.

Merry Karma out.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

All Knitting, All the Time

As promised, this post is all about the knitting. While tooling around in the RV heading to points northwest, I spent most of this trip reading about 7 months of medical journals and free CME (continuing medical education) topics in my attempt to stay caught up with "the literature." Actually, since I am all about the free CME, my goal is to do it the month that it comes to the house via snail mail or e-mail; so, I can stay caught up and get all the hours that are required. Admirable goal, but up to now, I have been rather noncompliant...but I digress.

I did do some knitting on the trip, and I have evidence. First, there are some completed projects:

I finished the little mitts out of the yarn I scored in May at the Ranger game for "Stitch-n-Pitch." The ball bands have disappeared. I don't know what the fiber content for the gray yarn is, but I hope it holds together when washed. It is a papery-feeling ribbon with a chain of what appears to be sewing machine stitching down the middle.

Here's a little project I designed for a friend and local artist who hand-dyes yarn. The pattern will soon be available at on her website at Madeline Tosh. Check out her yarn. The colorways are fabulous, and the yarn is really yummy.

The blue is really a purple in both of these hats that I made for graduation gifts.

Still OTN (on the needles):

I bought this yarn at the DFW FiberFest last year. It's by JoJoLand and it is really nice stuff. I started the fingerless gloves in December, and have been struggling to complete them since then. There is something about the pattern that I do not quite get, but I've never made gloves before. I had knit the small part of the fingers that you do knit on the one on the right, but I decided to just frog that part and start over. I will have to ponder about that a little longer.

I am using a pattern I found on the internet here.

I bought this yarn from the DFW FiberFest this year. It is hand-dyed yarn by another local artist, The Accidental Knitter. I just loved the colorway. It's called Chili Fest. (I keep calling it Chili Feet.) It does remind one of chili peppers, but I also think of Christmas or even watermelon.

Anwyay, I had to have it, and I am making a pair of socks. I am using the Magic Loop method and am knitting both at the same time. They are just plain, vanilla, stockinette socks with a picot edge on the cuffs. I'm letting the yarn do the talking.

I had purchased this yarn several weeks ago when Louisa Harding was visiting one my LYSs. I couldn't very well be in the presense of a knitting rock star without showing some admiration for her talent, even if it meant that I would be breaking my yarn diet, now could I? It was worth the sacrifice. I didn't snap a pix of the book, but it's a shawlette out of her Beachcomber Bay Accessories Collection.

I substituted two of the yarns, and other than trying to decide if I really want to have that fringe, and I am leaning towards maybe not, I am following the pattern.

Meet the ribbon top from hayul. I bought this yarn last summer and promptly started knitting a very simple top with cap sleeves. I was using a pattern with the exact look I wanted but made out of a completely different yarn. I knitted merrily along, until I got to the beginning of the sleeve part, and things went awry. The yarn I am using and the yarn that the pattern uses are two different guages, and this situation wasn't a problem until this point. So, as I was knitting something else at the time that I had to finish by a deadline, I put this top aside. I dug it out to take on our trip, and decided to change some things around on it. Take a good look, because the next time you see it, it will be a pile of balled up ribbon yarn. I think I am going to frog the whole thing and start over.

When I complete one or two of the above WIPs (works in progress), here's a little something waiting in the wings:

I had made a pair of socks out of this colorway of Opal yarn. It is Zebra from the Rainforest Collection.

A few months ago, I threw that pair of socks, as well as a couple of other light-colored hand knit pair, into the washing machine. One fingerless mitt I had made decided to jump in with the socks, unbeknownst to me. That little mitt is navy blue. My Zebra socks are now black and gray. It was a tragic day in the life of Merry Karma, that day was.

I thought about it for a long time, and finally decided that I really did want to knit another pair of socks uising this colorway, because I really do like it very much. I still can wear the other pair, and I will. They look fine, but I *know* what they are supposed to look like, and I feel a longing in my heart that only knitting another pair can remedy.

Finally, I will show you my souvenirs from the trip:

I bought a skein of Seasilk at the Beehive Yarn Shop in Victoria, BC. I am going to make the shawl on the pattern attached. They had one hanging up in the store, and it was quite lovely. It screamed Merry Karma appropriate attire; so, I had to get it!

At Tricoter, I purchased the current Vogue Knitting and Interweave Knits. Both have some projects that are Merry Karma worthy. I cannot think about that today...I have plenty on my plate for now.

The yarn is some Blue Sky Alpaca Bulky that the kid picked out for me to make him a hat in black and gray. His school colors are black and silver - we had to wing it a little.

Alrighty then...I am finished. This post took quite a bit of time, but I've been teasing the internet with promises of posts of my knitting and it was time to deliver.

Merry Karma out.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Journey's End

We are back from our annual, family RV trip. This year, we finally made it to the Pacific Northwest. We've been trying to get out there for about 4 years now, and although we've been relatively close twice in that time, we just couldn't get there. Happily, the time was right and we were able to make it. It was a really nice trip, but it was grueling at the end. Three weeks is about one week too long, but when one is so far from home, it just takes forever.

The trip synopsis: We visited friends in Denver. We spent a day at the alpine slide in Winter Park and then it was off into Canada. We drove through Kamploops, had lunch there and stopped for a short time in the park by the river. We drove to Kelowna for supper with a quick visit to the lake. We took a windy, (as in the configuration of the road - not the description of the weather) mountain road to Whistler - a ski resort not too far from Vancouver. After having supper up there, we headed towards Vancouver. We parked the RV in a suburb of Vancouver for about 6 days. We rented a car and tooled around the city. I tried to go to Three Bags Full - a yarn shop there, but it was closed on Mondays. I did go to another one down the street. I forget the name, but it was very small and the selection was not very inspiring. We took the ferry over to Vancouver Island and stayed in Victoria for three days. I really enjoyed visiting Bouchart Gardens. I did go to a great yarn shop called Beehive Wool Shop in Victoria, and I purchased the first of my souvenirs - a hank of Sea Silk by Hand Maiden. It's a really pretty stormy sea (kind of a teal) color and it's enough to make a shawl. Knitting content and pictures will be addressed tomorrow.

After we left the Vancouver area, we headed to Seattle and spent 3 days there, but they were jam-packed days. I had wanted to contact an internet knit buddy while there, but although all the RV parks where we had stayed up to that point (and for the rest of the trip, it seems) had free wifi, it was either down or all the sites were blocked. (I found that one quite odd.) It was quite maddening not to be able to access my e-mail and my contact information. While in Seattle, I did manage to go to one knit shop (there are quite a few in the area), and it is a rather famous one in the knitting world, Tricoter. ( - I don't know how to add links in my text yet; so, pardon my ignorance.) It was heavenly. Both of the owners were there and were so welcoming and hospitable. The shop is artfully arranged, and they carry some really nice yarns. The owners have done quite a bit of designing, and have published several books of their designs. I highly recommend visiting this shop if you are in the Seattle area. It was nice to sit down and knit and talk to women. I had a wonderful, though short, time there. We left Seattle, drove by Mt. St. Helen's, and then headed to the Oregon coast. We drove along the mid-coast for about 100 miles and it took several hours, as we stopped many times along the way. Before beginning the journey home in earnest, we stopped at Crater Lake. It was beautiful. Actually, it was beautiful everywhere we went and the weather was awesome! It was cool, dry and sunny. Towards the end of our trip, we were hearing about the start of the 100 degree days back in Texas, and we dreaded coming back to that.

We got home late Tuesday night. I spent most of Wednesday washing (and not making a dent in the piles in the laundry room). I went back to work on Thursday. Our inpatient census went up while I was away, and it was a little crazy trying to catch up on 20 patients between the two hospitals. We signed off quite a few cases yesterday; so, hopefully Monday won't be wild. Since I never work on the weekend, I never know what is waiting for me until I hit the hospital. It's always an adventure.

Here is one knitting-related picture. I was sewing up some little mitts that I made, and the yarn broke:

I was not impressed, to say the least. I wonder what will happen when I try to wash these things.

I don't even know the name of this yarn. I've lost the ball band. I got this and the fancy yarn that I used for the cuffs of these mitts at "Stitch-n-Pitch" in May. A better picture is coming tomorrow.

(Why tomorrow? Because the pictures I took with my camera are not very good, and I just loaded the program for uploading pics from the digital camera to the computer tonight, and the lighting is not good now for picture taking.)

Anyway, I will leave you with a few vacation pics:

This view of a BC ferry boat, going the opposite way, shows Mt. Ranier in the background. That's as close as we got to that mountain. On the day that we were leaving Seattle and were intending to visit, it was quite foggy. We proceeded to Mt. St. Helen's instead.

Here is a picture of my son on the ferry. He tends to make friends wherever he goes. Mostly, they are of the female persuasion.

I am standing outside the very first Starbucks store in Seattle.

Kenny is standing dangerously close to the cliff along the Oregon coast.

I am standing far from the edge of the Oregon coast.

Can you believe this lake was formed after a volcano caved in? It is one of the deepest lakes in the world.

I now bid you goodnight. I will return (for real, this time) tomorrow.