Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Book Review

Nanda gave me a book for Christmas that was a fun little read, especially since I received it a week early and I got to procrastinate during the hustle and bustle, instead indulging in a day of laying around reading. It’s called Zen and the Art of Knitting, and it’s by Bernadette Murphy. As it says on the cover, it explores “the links between knitting, spirituality, and creativity.”

The author begins by discussing how she learned to knit and what knitting has meant to her personally, and then tells the stories and anecdotes of several knitters that she met during research for the book. Sometimes I feel like this obsession with knitting is a little bit…odd. Non-knitters sometimes have a terrible image of the craft: that of an old grandma, sitting in a rocking chair, and knitting in silence for hours at a time. Boring! With that kind of image, no wonder people are often surprised to learn that I knit. They often say, “I don’t have the patience for it,” or even, “Don’t you get bored sitting still for so long?”

This book explores why people love to knit. How do they stand to sit still knitting for so long? I completely relate to the answers the author discovers. It is relaxing. It is impossible for me to stay angry, uptight, or worried while I am knitting. The simple act of moving my fingers along the needles removes tense thoughts from my mind and I can think of so many other things. Sometimes, I don’t seem to think about anything at all. The author and many of the people she interviews consider knitting to be a form of meditation. They discuss that in today’s climate, we are so busy, that it can be difficult to meditate even if you have the time to try. It is hard to concentrate on meditating when you feel guilty for not spending your time on something more productive. But when knitting, you are producing something and the repetitive motions of the knitting become one’s mantra. After a while, you don’t have to think about the stitches anymore: it’s as if they are knitting themselves. Your mind is freed to either think or to not think, which is a very liberating experience. And I’m so glad to find out that other knitters feel the same way!

Also, knitting is a way to be creative. Again, we live in such a busy society that often there are not a lot of opportunities to fulfill the need to create. But there are an unlimited amount of items that can be knitted. A simple scarf can be made in hundreds of ways and with hundreds of different colors (possibly within the same scarf)! A knitter can take a pattern and make it his or her own. And it is such a portable hobby that it can be taken almost anywhere, so that the knitter can get that fix more often.

Besides this, knitters seem to enjoy showing their love and appreciation of their loved ones by knitting for them. They enjoy learning new knitting skills. They love to experiment with colors and fibers. Some embrace the feeling of connection to their mothers and grandmothers that comes from sharing the same craft.

I can relate to all of these feelings, and it was so nice to read about other knitters and why they knit. It is truly an incredible craft and one that I feel blessed to have learned. Instead of feeling like a crotchety old grandma knitting in her rocking chair, I crave my knitting as a way to relax, to turn inward, and to tap into that creative reserve that I don’t indulge in as often as I’d like. Though I have never considered myself a highly creative person, I think that everyone has a need to create. That’s one reason why I loved working in factories before I went and received an education! I loved seeing the end products of a day’s hard work, knowing that I made the objects from beginning to end and tested them to confirm their functionality. Sometimes I fixed broken products that had been returned from customers. It was immensely satisfying to say, “I did that”. That is a real reward of knitting, and of crafting in general.

Thanks again, Nanda, for my Christmas present! What fun to combine two of my favorite hobbies: knitting and reading! And I look forward to reading Rick’s book when he’s done....

Monday, December 26, 2005


Think I'll have a drink before my afternoon nap.

Is Christmas over yet?

Not for me, it isn’t! We’re done celebrating at mom and grandma’s, but have not seen dad or the P-town fam yet. We’ll go to dad’s tonight. And we’re going to P-town this weekend. Christmas on New Year’s? In Pawhuska, Oklahoma? Sounds like twice the alcohol to me!

Rick got me Last-Minute Knitting for Christmas, breaking our promise not to purchase gifts for each other this year. Because we give so much money to our credit card companies every month and consequently reside right above poverty level, we decided not to exchange gifts this year. Or rather, we decided to use Rick’s freelance money to buy a couple “us” presents. We bought two rugs, one for the living room and one for the dining room, and two ottomans, to make the house feel a bit more home-y. That was supposed to be it. But Rick used a bit of his allowance money (Embarrassing confession: a couple months ago, we put ourselves on allowances to try to save money. Movie of my life story: Broke-Ass Mountain.) to buy me a little something extra! Cheater!

That’s okay, because I bought him I Heart Huckabees!

But I didn’t wrap the present! And Rick didn’t wrap his!

What can I say? We’re just a sneaky, lazy, broke-ass couple.

P.S. Big tangent ahead! Speaking of alcohol, Rick and I now have a liquor cabinet.
Okay, it's really a cabinet in our living room that already held DVDs. But now it stores liquor in it now because so many people left their drinks at our party! Thanks, party people! Love you! Merry Continuing Christmas!

Your Prairie Knitter, who is enjoying winter break so much that she took a picture of her alcohol. Though poor in money, she is rich in love and liquor!

Friday, December 23, 2005



Had to post this pic before signing off for the holidays.

It's Rickus, dazzling me with his flowing mane of...raffia.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Dreaming of skipping Christmas in favor of New Year's

Christmas crafting continues, as does the Christmas countdown. (That was some serious alliteration, yo). Most of the handiwork is done, I just need to get everything wrapped. Oh, and the yarn ends on grandma's hat. Dang yarn ends. I finished that hat a month ago, but left the yarn ends because...I HATE weaving in yarn ends. So, gotta do that too.

We usually spend Christmas Eve at Grandma's house and then try to fit everyone else in after that. As the child of divorced parents, I have to figure out when to go to mom's, when to go to dad's. And that doesn't include seeing Rick's family. This year, I don't have anything figured out past Christmas Eve. I'm working the 23rd-27th (how rude of patients to get sick during the holidays!), and we can't get up to Pawhuska, Oklahoma on days that I work, so it looks like we may not get to P-town til New Year's Eve. We won't get to watch Adain open his presents, but on the plus side, that gives me a little longer to actually buy his present! Just because the crafts are done doesn't mean the shopping is!

Deadline approaching! Yikes!

I'm sure it will work out despite all of my disorganization this year.

That reminds me. I'm thinking about making a list of New Year's Resolutions this year. I'm all about lists, but I haven't made Resolutions (with a capital "R", of course) for some time. I'm hoping that posting them out in the open, in this somewhat public forum, will help me to keep them. Or at least give me a place to review them and see how my progress is coming. Because in my current state of clutter and chaos, I will simply lose any list that is written on paper. Instead, my resolutions will be easily accessed in the January archives. First on the list: GET ORGANIZED.

Happy Holidays. Next year, when I'm organized, I swear I'll get cards out to everybody. And on time, too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


These are the pictures of your party???

I am so not a blogger. If I were a true digital diarist, I would have taken lots of pictures of the 21st annual Christmas Party, right? I mean, many of the guests were people I see once or twice a year. And there we were, all in the same house, drinking it up and having good times. Did I take any pictures? Of course not.

I did, however, take three pictures before the party started. Here they are:

So, in the years to come, when I look back on the time we hosted the Christmas Party, I can check out my photos and think: Man, that was one hell of a cheese ball. And what a gorgeous hummus and pita arrangement. Hmm, I wonder who came to the party?

Thank you to everybody that did come. It was our first big party in our house and we had a great time. And most importantly, I was able to get drunk for the first time in months. Maybe that's why I forgot to take pictures, you think?

P.S. Still no Christmas shopping done. Christmas crafting to occur later today. If I feel like it, that is....Mwhahahaahaaa!

Thursday, December 15, 2005


And there was much rejoicing in the hizzouse.

School is out and it’s time for fun. Oh yeah.

Rick and I are hosting a Christmas party this year. And not just any Christmas party. It’s the 21st annual Christmas party for a group of friends from Pawhuska, Oklahoma, where Rick spent his high school years. This group and many additional friends have been getting together for 21 years at various locations. Rick and I haven’t actually been to one of them in about 6 years or so, but we’re hosting this year’s this Saturday.

Which means I have got to get my house clean! I haven’t done ANY cleaning for the last few weeks. All right, I’ve barely kept the house straightened up for the last three months. I used to be such a neat freak, but I’ve turned pretty lax since I started back to school three years ago (yes, that’s right, it’s going to take me 6 years to complete a freakin’ Associate’s degree-no need to think about that now!). In the last year or so, it has become so bad that I have lost bills and not realized that I hadn’t paid them (twice! Ouch!), and I frequently lose keys, shoes, and more under piles of dirty clothes. Here is a picture of our guest bed which needs to be cleaned off by Saturday:

And here is a picture of my desk, which does not have to be cleaned off and so probably will not be cleaned off (I’m hoping that outing myself on how ridiculously cluttered and unorganized I have become will motivate me to do something about it…like hire a maid):

Actually, I’m taking a lot of pictures today because I just realized that during the great study-fest of November and December 2005, I have not taken many pictures. My blog is almost all words. There has been no knitting to photograph *pout* and I lost my camera under a pile of dirty clothes for a while.

Here is a picture of all the Christmas shopping I have accomplished:

That’s right. It’s the Ipod that I bought the day after Thanksgiving. And here is how I'm going to wrap it if I don't get a little of this Christmas spirit I hear people talk about:

Sigh. It looks like I’m going to be one of the masses, still shopping on Christmas Eve, wondering how it all came so quickly….

But right now, I just don’t care about Christmas! I’m out of school, off work, and have some drinkin’ to catch up on!

Love, your Prairie Knitter Grinch who Wants to Be Drunk in Celebration of No School

Monday, December 12, 2005


50/50 fall girl

A couple years ago, Rick and I went with our friend David on a trip to bag the high points of North Dakota and South Dakota. You see, Rick is on a quest to visit the highest point of all fifty states. David and I, and several others, tag along when the peak seems like one we mere mortals can handle.

During that trip, I acquired my superhero name: Fifty-fifty fall girl. It's not much of a super hero name because it's not much of a super hero power. I spent a lot of that weekend falling. I fell on rockslides, I tripped over tree roots, etc. etc. But it was not very predictable falling. It's difficult to tell when Katie might fall and when she might not. Often, I will fall when there is nothing to fall over. Thus, my power is that of distraction. I may or may not fall at any given time and distract the evil villain.

I bring this up because 50/50 fall girl struck again last night at work. I was charting on my patient in the computer when I remembered that there was something I needed to look at in her paper chart in the room. Unbeknownst to me, one of an array of computer cords had snuck completely around my foot so that when I stood up and started to run off, WHOOSH! It knocked me off my feet and I went flying into the air.

Into the wall that was directly opposite me about four feet away. So I went flying through the air, hit a wall with my shoulder and both knees (how, I don't know), and collapsed onto the floor into a crumpled and confused heap. In front of three of my co-workers.

I just hope the evil villians were stunned into distraction. I sure was.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Much better now. Thank you!

Thanks for all the comments and emails wishing me luck the last couple weeks. I needed the support! It seems that my A&P prof didn't realize that we only had a few weeks left of class after Thanksgiving until, oh, after Thanksgiving and he has been piling on the work since then. But my recent tests have gone well and I am recovering from the sleeplessness. Just one week left of this semester and I can have a life again! *shamelessly doing the cabbage patch*

Special thanks to Nanda for her silly knitting links. No one has to worry about getting a hand-knit
spaghetti hat from me for Christmas, as I don't know how to crochet. But I would love to make Shaun of the Dead dolls.

And since I've been looking at weird knitting patterns lately, I thought I'd share my favorite "what a complete waste of time, what kind of crazy knitter dreams this shit up; holy crap, I am just like this nerdy biology-geek pattern-writer, aren't I?" pattern of all time:
the digestive system!!! It's at (I can't seem to link to it for some reason, which is almost 100% likely to be user error).

I'm particularly impressed with that pancreas (the seed stitch totally looks like the bumpy surface of the pancreas!), and of course the bright green gall bladder. I've seen a lot of bile in my day, but never anything THAT green!

You know, I used to think I was weird for loving anatomy so much. I can look at pictures in my Gray's Anatomy for hours (thank you, Rick!), I LOVE dressing changes--the bigger and nastier the better. I have taken four A&P classes, and I'm not done yet--I know I'll eventually take the two cadaver courses available. Can't help myself, you see. I even think I would enjoy teaching A&P someday, except that I can't get in front of a classroom without turning beet red and getting all sweaty and stuttering like Professor Quirrell with a Voldemort under his turban.

But even being the anatomy geek that I am, I haven't knit a digestive system, for crying out loud! Or any other system, for that matter.


I'm thinking a functional knitted heart would be right up my alley. Complete with valves, pulmonary vessels, and the conduction system, of course. Ooh, and the coronary arteries could be made with I-cord, perhaps with an infarcted area, to show what a heart attack looks like.

"See kids, what can happen to you if you smoke and eat bad? You're coronary arteries will harden and get blocked, cutting off the blood and oxygen supply to the heart muscle, until it looks like this! No, smartass, your heart muscle isn't really a stockinette pattern. You're supposed to be looking at the infarct! The infarct, I say!"

Probably a good thing I don't teach, after all.

P.S. Thanks again for all the well-wishes. Hopefully, I can get a bit caught up on emails this weekend. The Christmas knitting is almost done, and then I can start some new projects. After all this knitting for other people (I don't even like Christmas!), I plan to re-enter my normal selfish mode and only knit for ME! For awhile. Guess Rick is right--that Gryffindor scarf might take a couple more years!

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