Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Downhill Slope

We're in that weird time between Christmas and New Year. Usually this is the time when I sit back, sleep a lot, and generally do whatever I want to do before the bustle of the new year starts. This year is no different from previous years, except for the fact that I'm doing a lot more knitting and less sleeping. I got to see both sets of family this Christmas, which hasn't happened since I started working. Being off work has its advantages - but I'm looking forward to the extra paycheck starting the middle of January.

I finished the Irish Hiking Scarf.

When mom saw it, she casually mentioned that her birthday was coming up. So, I've cast on for another one. This is my first knitting project with a deadline, and I'm not taking it too well. Especially since the last one took me longer than I have left to make this one and I spent a fair daily amount knitting it. I'm sure she'll love it though, which helps a lot since this scarf is not the most intellectual of projects, so I'm focusing on putting a lot of love into it. I know mom will appreciate it because she used to crochet. She 'gets' the stuff that's behind a yarny gift.

The knitting gift I got myself for Christmas is the On The Town Knitting Bag by Silver. This is the Abracadabra version, and I absolutely love it. It was big enough for the 2 skeins it took to make the IHS, but wouldn't hold much else. It'll be perfect for the millions of socks I'm planning still to make.

The January Knit-In is this Saturday, and I had planned originally to take some of the newly perfected Carmel Pies (see a future post!). But, since it'll be the new year and no doubt everyone will be trying to eat more healthy (including me), I've decided instead to take some fruit salsa with cinnamon chips. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Well, I actually did it! I had a straight-A semester, my first since junior year of high school. Interestingly, I also haven't worked this hard since junior year of high school. Told you I was masochistic.

I've found that studying is a lot like losing weight. Everyone knows what to do: read the assigned reading, do as many NCLEX questions as you can, and don't ever get behind. Just like everyone knows to eat right and exercise to lose weight. The tricky part comes with actually investing the time and effort it takes to do what you know you need to do. This requires a whole load of self-discipline and willpower. You've got to be motivated to do well in school. Unfortunately, there's no way to induce yourself into being motivated, it's just something that happens. You have to just plain want it, and that's where I get tripped up sometimes with losing weight.

Don't get me wrong, I really want to be healthy and beautiful, but sometimes I just want a quarter pounder more. I've gotten much better at 'just saying NO' to those nasty things. Just like I've gotten better at just sitting down and studying. The tutoring I do in nursing school has really helped me stay on the ball and keep up with the readings a lot better because you never know when someone will ask you a question about it. Likewise, the meetings for WeightWatchers have also been a huge help in keeping me on task. Even if I don't speak much in the actual meeting, I like to have something to be proud of for that week - even if it's just that I still haven't had a quarter pounder (13 weeks now, and I used to have one every day).

I really wish I'd taken "before" pictures of the weight loss. Maybe that would help me be able to notice little changes that are bound to have happened since I've lost 23.4 lbs. I'll make sure to get one soon though - I mean to go all the way this time and want it documented!

On the knitting front (which is actually nothing like losing weight or studying, thank God), I finished Sock the Second!

Then I figured out I had nothing to knit.

After bothering the hubby until he got to the point where he'd let me do anything as long as I shut the hell up, I went to buy 2 hanks of Cascade 220 (reasonably priced, I'll add) and cast on for the Irish Hiking Scarf.

I decided I wanted to try cables, since I love their look and they look really hard to master. Unfortunately, they're butt easy (Completely Skippable Technical Explanation: All you do is take the stitches for the cable that winds in front, put them on a cable needle or DPN to chill for a minute, knit the stitches for the cable that goes behind, then go back and knit the stitches that are chilling on the cable needle/DPN. Duuuh). So the scarf is rocketing along and it needs to last me until I get some Christmas money! So I'm treating it like the fine wine I picked the color of the yarn to match: taking it a few rows at a time instead of having a 4 hour Buffy watching knitting marathon.

In other news, Ross and I have finally decided it's time for another dog. We put in an application with American Boston Terrier Rescue on Tuesday, and hopefully we'll hear something back soon. In the meantime, it's time to do some major cleaning since ABTR does a home visit to see what kind of conditions you live in, and I have to bleach everything that can be bleached of Sophie's just in case she had a virus or something. Then, Ross and I are going on a marathon shopping spree with his bonus from work and will replace what we had to throw out. It's going to be fun, but a little bittersweet as well. I haven't seen Sophie's stuff since Ross put it away after she died, and it's bound to trigger some memories for me. But, I'm ready to love and spoil a new dog, especially one from rescue and give it a second chance.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It Gets Bloody

Never expect knitters to be quiet and submissive. And never expect not to get hurt when there's yarn on the line in a game of Dirty Santa. The Knit-In last night was fantastic - I'm so glad I got up the courage to go! Everyone there was very polite to me and I didn't feel like an outsider at all. Nor was I the only one my age there. My gift wasn't opened until towards the very end, but it did get a good reception :) The gift I got was a "Fiber Travel Guide" that has the listings of all the yarn stores in each state. I know Paula, my stepmother-in-law, will absolutely love it since she travels all over the US whenever she comes across the pond from England. And, since she's the one responsible for getting me into knitting in the first place, I think it's appropriate I give her a knitterly gift.

Still not done with Sock the Second, but did make some good progress on the gusset last night at the Knit-In.

My Nursing final is Tuesday, and to make an A I have to get an 80% or higher on it. My average for all of the previous exams is around an 86, so theoretically this shouldn't be a problem. I'm still nervous and will study anyway, though.

In lab we finally did venipunctures. The cool part was we got to practice on each other! This lead to some hilarity, as you might imagine (all photos are by Sarah Shurtz, not me):

I am so proud of myself after getting blood!

Needle goes in...blood comes out! We're little vampires-in-training.

Sarah, me, Ali, and Shelby pose after our blood draws.

The Smurfs invade CiCi's after our last lab of the year.

I have to say, after all that I had heard about some nursing instructors in general, I was afraid I would get a 'bad' clinical instructor that never taught, only criticized. I'm so glad I got who I got for clinicals, and that she's the same one who will be teaching Med-Surg next semester. Despite the fact that I felt I already knew the 'Foundations' of nursing, I have unexpectedly learned a lot this semester, and not all of it was curriculum-related. I've gotten exponentially better at working in a group, as well as found out that I like teaching and helping my fellow students in tutoring. I also learned that I haven't lost my studying ability, I had just chosen not to use it since Junior year of high school.

Nursing school is a challenge; one that is occasionally painful. But I guess I'm masochistic enough to love the fact that I've been challenged academically for the first time in a long time, and that I'm rising to the occasion. We'll see how I handle next semester!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Semester One of nursing school is winding down, and that means we've reached the point where I start doing a ton of math to figure out how much I can slack off and still pass. Now, normally I'd be ecstatic that I only have to make a 25% on the final exam to pass, but for some reason it's important to me that I shoot for the A. When I was doing prerequisites before getting in to nursing school, getting A's was nearly mandatory since nursing school is so competitive. But with the prereq's, I didn't give a crap. Now that I practically have free license to get all the C's I can stand, I find that I want to be better than that.

I'm not saying that C students aren't good - there's certainly some I know that will be running circles around me in clinical - it's just that I love nursing and, despite all the crap and hard work it throws at me, I love nursing school too. I also feel like the bar's set high for me, not just because my mom made (mostly) A's in this same program, but also because I feel the instructors expect it from me since I am a tutor.

So, instead of taking Christmas vacation early, I guess I'll have to make use of my ATI study guide and the practice exams. At least until Tuesday :P

I'm also knitting like the wind (compared to my previous knitting endeavors) trying to get Sock the Second to the point where all I have to do is knit around and around so I can take it to my first Knit-In at GYC on Saturday and not have to be thinking too hard trying to pick up stitches and such. The heel's turned, I just have to spend tomorrow working on the gussset.

I'm a little nervous about the Knit-In. I don't know anyone and I'm horribly afraid of feeling out of place because I'm relatively young as well as childless. But, I've spent the past two days racking my brain trying to find the *perfect* Dirty Santa gift so I make a splash. I'd heard tell that Starbucks is selling a cable knit looking coffee mug, so I made the trip and lo and behold, I found it. It's so perfect for a knitterly get-together I could just die! The limit's $15 tho, so I had a little more cash to spend, so I got a Starbucks gift card to go with it. Then the dilemma became the presentation, and I had a stroke of genius:

I knit a little pouch to put the gift card in! I have now officially made my own design, since making a gift card pouch is apparently so mind-numbingly simple that no one bothers to post patterns on Ravelry. I bought Wal-Mart cotton yarn for it (sorry MG) and let me tell you, I have now gained an appreciation for the 'good' yarn at GYC. Cotton is horrid to knit with - it's just...sticky. I'll keep it around for little projects like this though (does this mean I have stash now???), it does come in handy.

Some lucky GYC knitter will be taking this home Saturday:

Don't you wish it was you? Hell, I do!