Tuesday, February 28, 2006
This is too much to ask for a damn associates degree.
Last week, my Microbiology professor informed the class that for today’s assignment, we each need to bring in a stool sample to do testing on. And it has to be our own. Well, technically, it just has to be an adult’s—I’m sure he wouldn’t know whether or not the sample was mine or Rick’s. Except that there was no way in hell that Rick would provide this sample for me. He loves me and all, but there are limits.
So…yeah. At 5:30 tonight, I’ll be sitting at my lab station with my clear plastic container of shit sitting in front of me, trying not to look anyone in the face because they just caught me furtively glancing at their poop. Which, let me reiterate, will be sitting in front of us. On a table.
Keep me in your thoughts while y’all are enjoying your dinner tonight!
Sunday, February 26, 2006
And it's a gold for...Oklahoma!
I finished Hatmione on Thursday! SO EXCITED! My first (finished) Harry Potter knit! For the gold! Must stop using the exclamation point now!!!
Pattern: Hermione’s cable-and-bobble hat from knit.atypically.net
Yarn: one skein Cascade 220 in a bright green color (oops! Should have kept that label!)
Needles: 16” size 6 circulars and size 6 DPN’s
I LOVE this pattern! The cables and bobbles are addictive. There are no errors in the pattern, at least that I can see. By no errors, I mean that I didn’t have to change anything to get the desired result. That said, I think I’ll do less ribbing the next time I knit this hat so the brim will be a little shorter. My brim is much longer than the hat in the pattern picture. It’s thicker and warmer this way, but the brim covers up about an inch of the pretty pattern—and I worked hard on those cables, dammit! I want everyone to see them! Also, the pattern calls for an extensive blocking to make the hat large enough for an adult head, but…um…it fit me just fine straight off the needles. Guess I have a small head. Hmm, this might also account for the two-inch too-long brim...
But I still love the hat. More pictures!
A big thank you to the Yarn Harlot for uniting some 4000+ crazy-ass knitters from around the world for the last sixteen days. I think I should start treating every knitting project like it's for the Olympics--apparently, I work a little better with a deadline. Um, on small projects, that is. And, oh yeah, I haven't done any homework in a week. But that's okay, Hermione will let me copy her scrolls, right?
Must go to bed now. Happy Sunday, everyone!
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Rick and I did some mega shopping last night at PetsMart. The cat now has a bed, a carrier, a scratch post, some toys, a brush, and some food treats. And I received some allergy prevention goodies as well: a hand vac and some cat shampoo! So, Rosemary, I'll probably be taking you up on yesterday's offer to help this cat get a bath!
As far as names go....it's still up in the air. The first day she came in the house, I made a joke because of the little blue bell that she has around her little blue collar. I said, "Oh, isn't it sweet? We can call her Bluebell!" It was said in the buh-duh-Bump variety of jokes. You know, like hee hee, Bluebell, hee hee. Yeah--I'm that funny in person.
Rick, however, said, "I like that name." So she has alternately been called Bluebell and Kitty and "Oh no, she's walking on the laptop keyboard again!" for the last few days. Rick also keeps calling her "Babies" and "Kitties" in a high-pitched voice normally reserved for baby...humans. I haven't figured out why he calls her by plural names. But somehow I think Bluebell is going to stick, and isn't it only fitting that a sugar addict like myself would name a cat after ice cream?
We have made an agreement that we will not refer to our ages in capital letters, because it only makes the age look older. I will do this one more time, just to demonstrate the effect. "Dang, Nanda. You're TWENTY-EIGHT years old now?"
See how that works. Yeah. We're not going to do that anymore.
I've known the Nanda for ten years now. We met while working at Blockbuster Video in Norman (the east side store!) while we were going to college (she graduated, I didn't). That year, she studied with me for Zoology exams, took me into her home when the dorm kicked me out for spring break, and introduced me to Rickus. She even convinced me that Rick had indeed become my boyfriend when I wanted to keep calling him "this guy I'm dating".
Nanda has been there for me many times in the last ten years. She is the supportive friend that everyone should have. She doesn't knit but she shows interest in my knitting (she wants to smoosh her face in my yarn, for crying out loud!). She can't stand needles or hospitals, but she is excited for me that I love my job (which involves both on a daily basis). She is one of my biggest cheerleaders when I bitch about the fact that I've been going to school for ten years and am still working towards my Associate's degree! Every time I'm happy about something, she's happy with me, and every time I'm sad about something, she tries (and usually succeeds) to boost me up. She's just really good at being a friend.
The Nanda has fantastic taste in movies and restaurants, likes to balance pillows on her head, created a beautiful little girl, and shares my inability to get drunk without whispering to everyone around us, "I'm drunk!", and then giggling. It is so nice to not be the only one doing that.
Thanks, Nanda! Hope I didn't get too gushy--I'm not even drunk this morning!
HAPPY twenty-eighth BIRTHDAY!
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
I need some advice, guys!
We gave her some food and let her back out when she wanted to leave, but she just kept returning over the next few days. She’s not one of the regular strays, and my neighborhood cat lady says she has never seen this cat. She’s obviously been someone’s pet because she has a collar, doesn’t run from people, and appears happiest when curled up on a lap getting a massage. So I’ve been wondering whether or not she just happened to get out of someone’s house and is lost. At the same time, however, she appears to have a bad flea and worm problem, doesn’t have a name or phone number on her collar, and hasn’t been spayed. So, my next thought is that even if she has owners, they don’t seem to be too good, and maybe we should go ahead and keep her. I mean, let’s say that I put up “Lost Cat” Photos and am contacted by her owner. Why should I think that this time she would be taken care of properly?
So my ethics questions are: What should I do? What comes first, the cat’s welfare or the owner’s right to their cat?
A further complication is how much I like this cat! I’ve never had a cat before, but I’ve fallen for this one. And I fear that my desire to keep her for myself might be clouding my judgment.
We’ve kept the kitty inside for almost two days now, and she seems to like it here. We bought her a food bowl and a litter box. She likes to play with my scrap yarn and has already chewed the end of one of my new DPN’s. My allergies haven’t been as bad as I thought. Usually, not very long after petting a cat, my eyes start to swell shut, I sneeze uncontrollably, and I start to develop red splotches anywhere on my skin that had contact with the cat! Not so this time around. I wash my hands after (almost) every petting session and am not letting her into the bedroom—I don’t think my allergies could handle a cat-hair infested bed. So far, this strategy has worked surprisingly well!
The tentative plan is to keep her. While I feel some guilt about keeping the cat without making an effort to see if she has other owners, Rick feels like her previous owners have already had their chance. Rick has lots of experience in this department, since his mom keeps anywhere from 10-20 cats at a time, so I’m inclined to defer to him on this one. Chronic list-maker that I am, I already have my to-do’s for the cat. I plan to schedule two appointments next week, one with a vet for the kitty and one for me with my own doctor for some prescription antihistamines and corticosteroids—I know the allergies will get worse over time and I want to be prepared! I need to get a scratching post, a collar with our names on it, worm and flea medicine, some cat toys, a cat bed, etc., etc. Next thing you know, I’ll be planning out her secondary schools and writing her applications to college!
I’d appreciate any feedback about this dilemma. I’ve never been in a situation like this and want as many opinions as I can get to help with the decision. I know there are several cat-owners that read this blog. Please let me know what you would do, what you think we should do, etc. Thank you in advance!
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Baby, it's cold outside...
I only have six rows left. Which sounds like I'm really close to finishing, except that now that I'm decreasing and have had to move the hat to my DPN's, it takes me about an hour to knit a single row.
Shall I repeat that for you? An hour. For one row. On a hat.
My name is Katie, and I am a remedial knitter. :)
I'm not so remedial, however, that I can't tell that I'll be done with this hat with just six more hours of knitting. It looks like I'll take home a gold after all! Winning isn't really that important, though. The important thing is that I've learned how to cable and bobble!
And that I'm going to win an Olympic medal! Sort of.... *giggle*
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Olympic hopes nearly dashed!
Second, can I tell you about the multicultural group of people that I work with at the hospital? I love working with them. Last night, I was the only native-born American among them. I worked with a guy from India, a guy from Ghana, and a girl from Korea. What is always fun about mixes like this is that we inevitably spend way too much time talking about food. Which is my favorite subject, you know! Last night's focus was on what I had had for dinner at Taj and on whether or not kimchi is good.
A co-worker from Bosnia who works in the ICU dropped by for a visit last night. This girl and I like to crack ourselves up cussing people out in Croatian while everyone else looks at us like we're idiots (I learned quite a few Croatian phrases when I lived in Idaho). Before long, we were calling my other co-workers "little shits", "big shits", "fat dirty pigs", and "puppy poo" and they couldn't understand what we were saying. Good times.
A patient called for me and I went to see what she needed. When I came back, the Bosnian nurse had found my knitting (yes, I took my hat to work to try to sneak in a few rows!). I thought she was just looking at it, but as I glanced again, I noticed that she was KNITTING ON IT! I couldn't believe my eyes. Before I could stifle myself, I had shouted out, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" Rather startled, she responded, "I was just seeing if I remembered how to knit."
Which, I must say, she did not. She was knitting in the funkiest way I'd ever seen and was leaving terribly disfigured stitches in her wake. Horrified, I snatched my hat out of her hands and explained that I was using a pattern for the hat and the Pattern. Must. Be. Followed.
Thankfully, she had just begun this, so I only had to tink back about ten stitches. Still, it made me wonder. What kind of person sees someone else's knitting and just picks it up and starts knitting on it? I mean, you wouldn't know if there was a pattern, what that pattern was, or if your tension was anywhere near the actual knitter's tension! I began to wonder if it was a cultural difference. My personal bias led me to think that a Southerner would never have done such a thing--it's just not courteous!
The truth is that I probably just over-reacted over my damn hat! But wouldn't you if your Olympic dreams had flashed before your very eyes? *hee, hee*
Thursday, February 16, 2006
I'm finally getting somewhere with this hat--thanks to Rosemary, who suggested a little knitting in public last night. If I hadn't left the house, I probably would have found some chores to do instead of working on the Olympics--I am such a procrastinator, I even procrastinate when it comes to things I want to do. Instead, we hung out at Will's Coffee Shop on 43rd and N. May, which turned out to be a pretty cool little place with good cafe mochas. It used to be Will Rogers Theater, but has now been split into the stage area and a small coffee bar with a few booths and tables with cushy chairs. I saw Hum in concert there in 1996, but hadn't been back since it was turned into a coffee shop. It brought back some memories. Like the one of how my mom had forbidden me to go to that concert because only one friend and I were going. She thought it wouldn't be safe. So I lied and told her that another friend was going too. Unfortunately, before I could tell Sonia to cover for me, my mom saw her in Wal-Mart and asked her how she had enjoyed the concert. You can imagine how the shit hit the fan after that. It was a good concert, though, and was worth the subsequent grounding (though not how bad my mom felt about being lied to--sorry, Mom!).
While at Will's, I was able to finish up the ribbing on Hatmione and start the pattern/chart section. And I made a great discovery: cabling is fun! I am now addicted to this pattern and started knitting as soon as I woke up this morning. I started eating my Valentine's candy at the same time.
Mmm. Chocolate and cables. Good times.
I start bobbles on the next row. Wish me luck!
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
yarn yarn yarn
So it was quite a surprise when he gave me a gift certificate to Gourmet Yarn for Valentine's Day, among other gifties*. Though he may not understand my obsession, he continues to indulge it. Gotta love that!
Thanks for making me smile on Valentine's morning, Rickus. I love you!
Okay, gushy part over. Now for a Knitting Olympics update: I was able to knit 5 rows yesterday between lab and lecture, which brings my total to...
let's see, I might need my calculator here...
ah, yes! I'm up to seventeen rows! And it only took me six days!
*term lovingly lifted from Nanda, who did the same from Lucky Spinster
Sunday, February 12, 2006
progress...of a sort
So for Self-Portrait Sunday, here I am in the car, two rows in.
I had planned to knit on the way home too, with the light turned on in the car. But I was a bit too tipsy to risk it. I had not planned on becoming tipsy--it's not really the Olympic spirit, you know--but at dinner I ordered a coffee with Bailey's, amaretto, and Tia Maria (whatever that is!) just to warm up a bit. Let's just say it warmed me up A LOT! And it wasn't the coffee that did it. In fact, after several of us tasted it and came to the consensus that there was about a teaspoon of coffee in it, I renamed the drink "Long Island Coffee."
So here's my progress from the hour and a half trip to Tulsa:
There will be more Olympic cleaning today, followed by some Olympic studying for a test on Tuesday, but I plan to finish up the day with some Olympic knitting and movie watching!
Oh, and I learned a very important lesson yesterday. Do not attempt to pick up the new yarn bins one-handed.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Instead of casting on yesterday, I decided that it was high time I start cleaning out the spare bedroom/office/area where all the crap went as I organized the rest of the house. Remember back in November when I talked about how cluttered my desk was? Well that clutter spread to underneath the desk, over to the spare bed, and finally in front of the spare bed on the floor. It's time, peeps. It has to be done.
And yes. Now that you ask. I am crazy.
Because now, I am not only juggling work and school, but the Cleaning Olympics as well! Today, I have managed to successfully transfer all the crap that was on the desk to the living room for further examination. That's right--now I have two dirty rooms instead of one! And even though I haven't put yarn to needles yet, I had a great time organizing my stash earlier today, which will now be stored under the spare bed in these handy dandy containers.
And now that I think of it, I did make a little progress on my Hatmione today.
I bought the needles!
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Oh, the horror!
This made my morning...which must make me sick and twisted! But I already learned that earlier this week when I laughed my ass off during The Aristocrats.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
hog of a storm
Of course, it’s pretty rare that we actually needed to use it for shelter. Mostly, it was a place for me to play! The cellar was made of concrete and came up about 4 feet out of the ground. It had a large metal door that could be raised with a pulley. I spent who knows how many hours playing outside the cellar, taking my child-sized lawn chair to the top and pretending it was my castle. I also spent a lot of time jumping off the sides when Mom wasn’t looking.
But I also loved going inside the stormcellar. The metal door opened to a long ramp leading to a small area, maybe about 8 ft by 6 ft. This is a pretty unusual construct for storm cellars, but my grandfather was paralyzed, so it needed to be wheelchair-accessible. Grandpa, however, was not one to shy away from a storm, and I doubt that he went down in the cellar one time in the forty years he owned it.
I wasn’t allowed to play inside the cellar. I think my mom, who is over-protective by nature, envisioned me being snapped in half by the big metal door slamming down on me. So being in the cellar meant TORNADO and DANGER and I LOVED the drama of it. If the tornado was close enough that my family stopped looking out from under the roof of the porch and actually decided to get in the cellar, THINGS WERE LOOKING BAD. There were two benches to sit on, and everyone in the neighborhood knew that Helen and Leonard had a cellar. When they saw that we were headed there, they’d come over too. Once we must have fit about 10 people in there for an hour or so, everyone tense but talking lightly as we listened to the storm outside.
Of course, we always took a portable TV so we could keep updated on the tornado’s progress.
Everyone in Oklahoma thinks they are a weather or tornado expert—usually they think they are both. We needed the TV to follow the storm’s whereabouts, predict its movements, and just generally commentate during the whole dang thing. Now when a tornado occurs in central Oklahoma, our normal television broadcasting comes to a screeching halt. Because, HELLO, it’s time for our local weathermen to shine! They bring out all the fancy equipment, have storm-chasers following the weather on the ground and in helicopters, and basically spend the next hour or so scaring the shit out of everybody, saying, "Okay, this is the real deal, folks. Now is the time, if you have a storm cellar, you need to get in that cellar NOW. If you don’t, you need to get to a central area in your home with no windows. The tornado is moving into your town RIGHT NOW!"
Everyone stuck in the cellar showed off their knowledge of tornadoes. The storm chasers film coverage of the storm, and we’re right there with them predicting the movements.
"That sure is a nasty wall cloud. Very dark."
"Is that a finger? I think that’s a finger!"
"I think that finger is turning into a funnel! Oh my goodness, it’s a funnel now!"
"Look! Power surges! There must be another one back there!"
This stuff can be addicting. In fact, there are crazies besides those employed by the news stations that go storm chasing for fun. Me, I prefer to stay home and watch it on TV, occasionally going outside to scan the sky myself. I’m dedicated to Gary England’s coverage (no wishy-washy Mike Morgan for me!), because he is absolutely the most outlandish weather forecaster we have. He is the first on the TV predicting hellfire and brimstone and he stays on the longest. A couple hours in, his tie is loosened and he looks like a war reporter who’s been at ground zero for days. His are the most apocalyptic warnings, mixed with bizarre tidbits that I remember long after I’ve forgotten the tornado: "It’s a hog of a storm out there, folks."
I used to sit in the cellar with all the grown-ups and imagine the worst going on outside, all the while knowing that it couldn’t REALLY be all that bad, or the adults wouldn’t be having such a good time. It was actually a fun and safe place to think about tragedies, to envision them even, without really being scared. Tornadoes were to me what scary movies are to other people—a fun way to scare yourself without really scaring yourself. (Unfortunately, scary movies actually scare me so much that it is not fun AT ALL, but that is another story).
When Gary England would report that our town was safe and that it was now moving into THE NEXT TOWN, YOU SHOULD GET IN YOUR CELLARS IMMEDIATELY, we would go ahead and emerge from the small, cramped cellar. Every time, my grandparents’ home was safe. Sometimes limbs or whole trees came down, but never any that were large enough to do real damage. And every time, my grandpa was sitting in his wheelchair on the patio, grinning and shaking his head at us. We had missed a hog of a storm.
Monday, February 06, 2006
Good Books and Blankies or How I Learned to Stop Pouting and Love My Loveseat
I was feeling pretty darned lonesome as I contemplated the little space my world had consisted of for the previous few days; hence my post on the limited view from the loveseat! A more acurate self-portrait would have depicted a pouting Katie with a caption reading "Self-Pity".
Going to work made me feel a little better; I think it was the endorphins from running my ass off while working. At one point I thought of my post earlier in the day and remembered how much I actually LOVE small spaces. When I have a good book, my soft snowflake blankie, and a big mug of hot chocolate, for instance, the same loveseat is one of my most favorite places in the world.
In the last twenty-four hours, I’ve thought of several small spaces that I have loved, some that I miss to this day. And I think that I’ll write about some of them this week when I’m sitting on the LOVESEAT OF NEVER-ENDING HOMEWORK (as it is heretofore known) and just don’t feel like studying!
Because I don't procrastinate enough already, you know!
Sunday, February 05, 2006
welcome to my world
I have taken over the ottoman/coffee table in the living room. The loveseat in front of it is mine, too. I study there (currently Microbiology and Pharmacology), I empty my pockets there after work (an assortment of items including a stethoscope, scissors, tape, pens, alcohol swabs, lip gloss, saline solution, and med drawer keys), and I knit there--when there's time.
The bright side to having this small world right now is that when I can't find my knitting scissors, my work scissors are right there.
Friday, February 03, 2006
a guide to somewhat less guilty eating...
Most people know that factory farms are not good for animals or for the environment. The animals are treated pretty cruelly. Chicken, cow, and pig farms are some of the biggest water polluters in the country--millions of tons of feces flow into our water supplies from these guys. And of course, all of these animals are pumped full of antibiotics and steroids to make them grow bigger and meatier faster and to keep them from getting sick in the adverse condition of living in their own feces.
So, I thought to myself, “Self. Fish probably aren’t that bad. I mean, it’s not very friendly to catch a fish and then let it die through asphyxiation, but it can’t be as bad for the environment.”
Boy, was I wrong. Different fish are caught/trapped/farmed in different ways, some of which are very detrimental to the environment. One of the worst examples I can think of at this moment is imported shrimp. For every pound of shrimp, 3 pounds of unneeded fish are caught and thrown back into the ocean, usually after they are dead. This is causing the endangerment of certain species as well as pollution from the underwater mountains of dead fish (U.S. shrimp is farm-raised, and though not stellar environmentally, it doesn’t have this bycatch problem). Some fishing companies use equipment that digs up the ocean floor for their catch, destroying habitat. And some fishing companies continue to fish for species that are quickly becoming endangered, though they are not on an official list yet.
This is all pretty daunting and depressing, especially for an environmentalist and animal-lover (I was a vegetarian for 11 years because I don’t like the idea of killing animals, for pete’s sake!). But I have now found several websites of organizations that research and monitor fishing companies and provide information about what is and isn’t ocean-friendly. The most comprehensive and informative that I’ve found is the Blue Ocean Institute. Their guide to which fish are okay to eat (from an environmental standpoint) and which are not has been a great help to me, because it is often such a confusing subject.
For instance, it is not environmentally friendly to eat Atlantic salmon, which is farmed. These fish are raised in netted pens, so their waste flows out and pollutes the surrounding waters. Wild Alaskan salmon, on the other hand, are one of the most environmentally friendly fish to eat. Another example: using long-lines to catch mahi mahi often kills seabirds and sea turtles as well, while pole- or troll-catching methods do little damage to habitat and don’t result in bycatch.
This list has helped Rick and me decide what fish to eat, but there is still a lot of work and a lot of doubt involved with each purchase. We have never seen a label on a package of mahi mahi regarding whether the fish was long-line or pole-caught. And it’s hard to remember when you popped in to the grocery store whether Atlantic or Pacific halibut is the good one. Over the years, I’ve realized that it will always be hard to eat in an environmentally friendly way. Just as a person can never be 100% vegetarian (since companies sneak the weirdest animal parts into foods--cow bones in Jello being one of the more well-known examples), a person will never eat 100% environmentally friendly, either. Still, it’s worth the effort. Please check out the Blue Ocean Institute’s list if any of this interests you.
I’m still looking into health benefits of fish, how often it’s recommended to eat it, etc. etc. So I’ll probably post another long-ass essay about that when I figure it all out—feel free to let your eyes glaze over and hit “Next Blog” if I bore you to death. Writing all this out helps me figure out what I think about this whole new part of my life, so it probably isn’t interesting to too many other people!
This I can tell you right now: if you eat the beer-batter-fried fish at Kilkenny’s in Tulsa (which I hear is very, very good), you will cancel out any health benefits you may have received!
Thursday, February 02, 2006
no time for love, Dr. Jones
Okay, that was a little bit exaggerated. I have knit a few rows on the sock. The good thing about sock knitting is that if you only have time to do 19 stitches, it's okay. You're not going to get confused about what's going on when you pick up your knitting later. But notice that it's still a singular sock. In fact, I don't think I can even call it a sock yet. As a one-inch long tube of knitting, it may be an arch warmer or an ankle band!
I have noticed out in blogland that other athletes have been swatching in preparation for the big day. I haven't even bought my needles yet. I did grab some yarn, though. Here's my Herm-own-ninny wool:
I wonder if it's against the rules to practice techniques that you are unfamiliar with before the start date. For instance, could I practice cabling and bobbling on my swatch? Oh, who am I kidding? I'm buying needles today, but we all know this Procrastiknitter will be starting her SWATCH during the Opening Ceremony.