28 February 2006

Sleepless in Portland

Since I'm at work today, there will be no pictures of cute alpacas, no pictures of knitting projects, and definitely no chorus line of sheep. I did start a new knitting project last night, but it's top secret and cannot be discussed at this time. I may also tonight cast on for a pi shawl, but I didn't last night. I tried to get a bit of a nap when everything slowed down, but true to form, I had a 5:30 walk-in. Also true to form, it was something that should have been seen last night when the owner first noticed the problem - a dog with porcupine quills embedded in her muzzle, probably for 20+ hours. Such is the nature of my work.

On top of that, today I get to try to sleep here at the clinic. I don't sleep well if I'm not in my own bed. Often I don't even sleep well if I am in my own bed. And to make things even better, the clinic roof is being replaced, so the roofers are busy ripping off the old shingles right over my head. Joy.

Anyway, so you don't feel totally cheated in coming here, I offer you this (with a tip o' the hat to mamacate):

You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.
You're always willing to lend a helping hand.
In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.
"15 seconds to showtime!"

27 February 2006

Oh Frabjous Day!

Today is a HUGE DAY (and a red letter day, apparently). Today I shall be putting in the mail my last payment on Madelyn. Aside from the huge sense of completion at having her paid for, it also means that I will now have a LOT more money available for paying off debt. I'm very excited. See me smiling? :-D

This is Madelyn. Ain't she purty?

Aside from that bit of news, I also got three books from Amazon today: Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac and Sheila McGregor's Traditional Fair Isle Knitting and Traditional Scandinavian Knitting. I have some laceweight alpaca, so I'm contemplating a pi shawl.

In the not-so-smile-inducing category, I got a call from work yesterday asking me if I could fill in for a coworker who's injured his back. Ever the team player, I agreed to do it, but this means I will now be working the next two nights in a row, which means sleeping on the couch at the clinic rather than spending two of my nine available sleep hours on the road. It also means that instead of working four 15 hr shifts in 7 days, I will be working five 15hr shifts in 8 days, at the end of which I have an appointment for a routine checkup with a new doctor, then a hurried rush to Boston to fly to South Carolina to visit my grandparents. My grandmother has not been well lately, giving my previously vague plans to go for a visit a bit more urgency.

26 February 2006

A Few Photos

Once I finished snowblowing the driveway (The mittens are soooooo warm!) and because it's such a lovely day out, I decided to snap a few pics of the boys. I should mention that the farm we live on is not ours. We rent a house on the property, and most of our 'pacas board elsewhere. Two of David's boys, though, do live on the farm. His Kozmo is the second from the left in the photo below.

This is David's boy, Ravi Divine. This photo just doesn't do him justice. His fleece is really a beautiful maroon.

And this is my dog, Rosa, saying hi. She doesn't show a great deal of interest in the 'pacas other than sniffing around to see if there's any poop she can get. The boys are fascinated with her, though, and always rush to the fence to sniff her.

Unlympic Effort

When I say I'm a gonna do something, then I'm a gonna do it. I got all of about 4 or 5 hours sleep - partly because I wanted to get these mittens finished and partly because the sun bouncing off the snow is making the house veeeeerrrry bright - but I got up and knocked out the last tiny bit of the last thumb, just so's I could finally take a pic of these puppies.

They are so comfy, and I am so pleased with them. I would be wearing them right now if I could still type with them on. And the best part is that I didn't kill my wrists in the process of making them. This is no small thing, as this time last year I was in quite a bit of pain and not able to knit at all after my holiday knitting. Since that time, however, I have learned to knit more loosely (using smaller needles to help maintain gauge), and I no longer use straight needles, as circulars place less strain on my wrists.

Anyway, a little bit about the yarns used in these mittens: The inner layer is Alpaca With A Twist's Baby Twist yarn (disclaimer: David is a design consultant for this company, so I won't say I'm totally unbiased, but I do know that it sells like nobody's business). It's 100% baby alpaca DK weight, so very soft stuff and very nice to work with. The outer layer is yarn that, as I mentioned before, I found at Rhinebeck. I did some poking around because I couldn't remember the vendor's name and was able to determine that I bought it from Stonesthrow Farm. It doesn't appear that she has a website, but there is some info on the farm here.

At any rate, she had the booth next to ours, but we were so busy that I didn't have a chance to wander over until the end of the festival, when everyone was taking down their booths. She still had a basket of handspun yarns on a table that hadn't been put away, and I found two hanks of this yarn. The wool came from two of her sheep - border leicester/blueface leicester crosses who are half sisters, one brown and one white. The white wool she dyed a really deep, bright red. The red glimmers and glows and just has an incredible luster, and the brown just helps to bring it down to earth and anchor it perfectly. Since it's handspun, it has thick and thin areas, and the wool is just scrunchy and has a great handfeel. It's just so wonderful that I couldn't believe that nobody had bought it and knew there was no way I could go home without it. I also knew that it was going to be made into something special just....for....ME.

Best of luck to all the olympic knitters out there. Only three hours to go!

Snowbody's Home

Okay, cheesy. I know. It's late, so lay off. But when I got home from work this morning and went to bed, the ground was bare and brown. When I woke up this evening, it looked like this:

According to the National Weather Service, we were supposed to get 3-7 inches. When I snapped this pic, we had about 9 or 10 inches with the snow still coming down lightly. It was almost to the top of my 12" high boots. It's beautiful, light, fluffy stuff, which will hopefully make it easy to clear the drive tomorrow (Okay, technically today. Like I said, it's late.), when we're expecting my father to deliver a bookcase that was promised as a Christmas present. Of course, he hadn't started when I spoke to him Friday evening, so we'll see what happens. :-)

Another pic that will be coming soon is of my Knitting Unlympics project. I decided not to sign up for the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics because I wasn't sure my wrists would hold up (I made a preemptive Michelle Kwan decision). Still, I love a challenge, so I decided to pick up a UFO I'd set aside to finish holiday knitting - a pair of double layer mittens with baby alpaca on the inside and a lovely yarn I bought at Rhinebeck on the outside.

Right now, it's bedtime, and I still have half of the last thumb to finish, but it shall be done, and I shall post photos. I promise.

25 February 2006

100 Things About Me

Because it seems to be de rigueur:

1. I was born at 11:35PM.

2. According to my parents, I liked to stay up late even as an infant.

3. I watched Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. I don’t remember it, as I was only 3 months old.

4. My favorite Angel was Sabrina.

5. I grew up in rural South Carolina.

6. I love the sounds and smell of the ocean.

7. Before I decided to become a veterinarian, I wanted to be an archaeologist.

8. I decided to become a veterinarian at age 12.

9. I learned to read at the age of 4.

10. I started 1st grade at the age of 5.

11. In 6th grade and in 8th grade, I made it to county spelling bee finals. I don’t remember which words I misspelled.

12. My brother knocked out one of my bottom teeth on Christmas Eve, 1981. It was 19 years before I got an implant. I still rarely show my teeth when I smile.

13. After I studied in Spain in 1988, I found that my spelling got worse.

14. While I was studying in Spain, I began forgetting English words.

15. I think that everyone should be able to speak at least two languages.

16. I went to my senior prom.

17. The theme song was “Cherish”, by Kool & The Gang.

18. I didn’t particularly enjoy high school.

19. I spent the summer after I graduated from high school with my paternal grandparents in Maine. When I came home, my parents had turned my bedroom into a storage room, and I had to sleep on the couch for three weeks before I went to college.

20. I started my undergraduate career in South Carolina because my mother didn’t want me to move out of state. At the end of my first semester, my mother took a job in Maine.

21. I could have completed my undergraduate degree in three years if I hadn’t gone to Spain.

22. I moved to Minnesota for vet school because all the northeastern schools were really expensive.

23. I came out of the closet while I was living in Minnesota. The Twin Cities are very gay-friendly.

24. My last relationship lasted 4.5 years. Before that, none had lasted more than two months.

25. I have always been the dumpee.

26. I was too trusting in my last relationship.

27. My spinning wheel is the best thing I got out of my last relationship.

28. I met my current partner, David, just after I moved back to Maine in June, 2005. I was told by mutual friends that I should meet him.

29. David remembered that we’d had a blind date 12 or 13 years before in Minneapolis.

30. I’m really, really bad at remembering people.

31. My dad’s parents were married 59 years before my grandfather died. My mom’s parents have been married 69 years. It makes me a little sad that I’m unlikely to get to spend that much of my life with someone.

32. I think that I would like to adopt a child, but I don’t know that I’d feel incomplete if I don’t.

33. I love dogs, but at heart I’m more of a cat person.

34. My grandmother taught me to knit and purl when I was 9, but I didn’t start knitting seriously until I was 33.

35. I knit continental (yarn in left hand).

36. As a child, I liked trying to spin thread from cotton balls. I still do sometimes.

37. I love visiting cities, but not being able to see the stars at night makes my heart ache.

38. I lived in cities from the age of 21 until just a few months ago.

39. My roots in Maine go back over 350 years. My roots in South Carolina go back over 200 years.

40. Even though I grew up in the South, I don’t like hot, humid weather.

41. I love the sound of snow falling.

42. I love the sound of snow scrunching under my feet.

43. My favorite color is blue.

44. My favorite number is 4.

45. I always prefer even numbers to odd.

46. My ancestry is Scottish, Irish, English, a very tiny drop of Seminole, and anybody’s guess as to what else.

47. I have been asked by several people if I’m mixed race.

48. My favorite facial feature is my eyes.

49. My hair is thinning on top, but I’m not terribly distressed by it.

50. I prefer to wear sandals in the summer.

51. Foot fetishists really seem to like my feet.

52. I find the whole concept of fetishes strange.

53. Bondage freaks me out. Even the thought of being tied up is enough to give me an anxiety attack.

54. I'm claustrophobic, but not so much that I can't be in a closed room.

55. On April 9, 1997, I was in a head-on collision. Until that time, I had never had a broken bone, but it was my third whiplash injury in as many years.

56. Since that time, I have had constant back pain.

57. I would rather have chronic pain than an addiction to narcotics, though I suppose it would depend on the level of pain.

58. I have inhaled, but I decided not to anymore after a very disturbing trip to the Mall of America.

59. Two alcoholic drinks is my usual limit.

60. Rieslings are my favorite wines.

61. I make excellent salads.

62. I stopped eating all land-based meats in June of 1993 after a school trip to a slaughterhouse. It was a kosher slaughter day when I was there.

63. I stopped eating seafood at the beginning of 1995 when I was living in Charleston, SC.

64. When I do surgery on fat dogs, I think they smell like raw steak.

65. I’m a fairly good soft tissue surgeon, but it’s not something I really enjoy.

66. I don’t do orthopedic surgeries, but I do make lovely splints.

67. I still eat eggs and cheese, but I feel a little bit guilty about it.

68. I have not kept in touch with anyone from my high school or from college.

69. The first video I ever bought was “My Fair Lady”.

70. I didn’t think I was susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder until I lived in Pittsburgh.

71. I have lived in 6 US states – South Carolina, Tennessee, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

72. I have visited every state in the US except for 3 – Alaska, Hawaii, and Arkansas.

73. I will visit Hawaii in July of 2006.

74. I can’t think of a reason to go to Arkansas, other than being able to say I’ve visited every state.

75. I’ve also visited 5 Canadian provinces – Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia.

76. I enjoy listening to Quebec radio and watching Quebec TV, even though my French is really poor.

77. I wish I got to use my Spanish more.

78. I would consider emigrating if it were economical to do so or if the political situation here got too scary.

79. Ideologues of any stripe make me very nervous.

80. I was raised Presbyterian, but I now consider myself Buddhist.

81. I don’t believe in an afterlife. I feel this makes our time here that much more precious.

82. It infuriates me when journalists refer to “Intelligent Design” as a theory. It is, at best, an untestable hypothesis. That it cannot be tested renders it scientifically worthless.

83. When I die, I want to be cremated and my ashes scattered on Frenchman Bay in Maine.

84. Someday I want to visit the Shetland Islands.

85. In the winter, my toes are usually cold.

86. I am skeptical of many holistic medical practices, but I have found that acupuncture helps my back pain.

87. I wish I were a better writer.

88. I used to play flute, but I have not - with a few rare exceptions - for 18 years.

89. I don’t like okra, but I will eat it in my grandparents’ homemade vegetable soup.

90. I love grits – preferably with butter, salt, pepper, and cheese; never with sugar.

91. I love boiled peanuts (Southerners know what I’m talking about).

92. I have spent most of my career working in emergency clinics.

93. I don’t see myself spending my entire career doing this.

94. I want to be able to retire at 60.

95. Within the next 10 years I want to have a farm and spend most of my time with my alpacas.

96. I’d also like to have a small flock of sheep.

97. I have moved 20 times in my life. I’m hoping my next one is my last.

98. I’d love to weigh 170# again, but I’d settle for 180#.

99. I have one gay cousin and one elderly lesbian relative on my father’s side. I don’t know of any others in my family.

100. Most spinners looked at me like I had three heads when I talked about learning on alpaca, but I’ve found it fairly easy to work with.

24 February 2006

But why?

Because, just because.