Friday, September 28, 2007

Many thanks!

Thanks to all who sponsored Dad and me! for tomorrow's Light the Night Walk. Dad and I raised over $1300!!!! We both more than surpassed our fundraising goals!
I'll post pics from the walk on Sunday.

Thanks to the baseball God's who have allowed the Phillies to share first place...and I'm going to the game tonight and IT MATTERS!!! Go Phils! VISUALIZE OCTOBER BASEBALL!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Confessions of a Veterinary Social Worker, Part 2

3 weeks into the job now and I continue to be amazed. I STILL can't believe I am getting paid for this. It is still exciting and new and I'm learning so much. I guess I just didn't think that could be possible this many years into my social work career.

So here is the biggest thing I've noticed that is different. In hospital social work, most client's and their families are not particularly grateful for what you are doing with them...for instance, you don't often hear, "thanks for putting my mom in that nursing home...or...thanks for telling me I have no insurance and can't get follow up care anywhere but at a city health clinic...or...thanks for telling me this medication will cost me $3000...

But over here...people are just so grateful to have me to talk to. And I truly feel their gratitude. They send me photos of their beloved animals. They tell me funny stories. They don't know me from Adam, but they allow themselves to cry openly and honestly over the total this stranger reassuring them that they will get through this...not over it...but through it.

Also, I'm amazed by these animals. Yes I know, animals are meant to enhance our lives...but they are also just really damn the dalmation with anxiety who sucks on his tail all day when alone. Like a child sucking his thumb...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The bane of my existence

One word...Maude.

Maude is a great pattern for a shawl written by my dear pal and yarn matriarch, Courtney Kelly. Wendy tried really hard to get me to start Maude last year around Rhinebeck time...but I wasn't sold. I didn't know if I really liked the shawl and had so many other things on the knitting plate that I let it go.

Then, I found the perfect Koigu at Rosie's. I haven't seen any other like it since...I quickly snatched it up.

Then Molly died and I needed an "easy project." Courtney told me that when she and Max had lost a dog, she designed Maude and it was a grieving project for her. As I started knitting it, I could see what she was pretty simple once I figured out the little mistakes in the pattern and got going. It was soothing and healing for me while I was feeling pretty crappy.

But for some reason...I just kept messing Maude up and haven't been able to finish her. She makes me angry. I know I can knit her...but when I make mistakes and try to frog back SSK's I get bitched up and all hell breaks loose. It is depressing that after knitting much more difficult projects, I can't knit this one. While on vacation, I screwed her up again. She's been sitting in a knitting bag for about 3 weeks. I am in denial. Maybe if I don't think about her she would just go away. Sadly, she didn't. She remains on the list of projects I've started that just need to get done.

Finally today, I took her to Courtney for yet another intervention. I'm still not very confident about knitting her. I find myself bargaining with her..."please, let me get through this row without screwing up the placement of the yo...please let me purl/knit the double yo correctly..." I knit about 15 rows tonight with modest success. I have come to accept that Maude may require more trips for intervention and support from Courtney. I have come to accept that knitting Maude is a journey for me. And I came to the realization that I better finish the Mother F**ker before Courtney has her baby and isn't as accessible for intervention.

So I highlighted anger, depression, denial, bargaining and acceptance above. Many are familiar with these as Kubler-Ross "5 Stages." These stages were originially written by Kubler Ross after her qualitative study with dying people and were supposed to describe "the" stages of death and dying. They have since been applied to pretty much everything in the loss and bereavement field...much to the chagrin of many of us advanced grief/bereavement/end of life care practitioners. I've been working really hard to get people in both of my employment settings to think outside the Kubler Ross box when thinking about loss. But here I am, going right back to them to describe my relationship with a knitting project...cosmic Kubler Ross karma...maybe; but then again maybe I too need to listen to my own advice and think outside the box with Maude.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Secret Pal and Quilt Wrap...

I have been laid up with yet another sinus when I can manage to hold my head up unsupported, I've been working on the "modern quilt wrap" and digging out from PILES and PILES of laundry. My goal with the laundry is to have NOTHING on the laundry room floor when my mother arrives on Friday. I've got about 4 loads to go...

But the quilt wrap, that is another story...I'm through 12 blocks and the colors look pretty amazing...but I'm still struggling with things "lining up" just perfectly.

Here is the first row of blocks completed:

And here is the first 12 blocks or 2 rows of blocks

Vertically, the rows aren't "perfect," but looking at it on blogger, I do think it is quite breathtaking...I'll press on... does anyone think this thing is going to be HUGE if knitted as written...I may scale back a bit...

ALSO...many thanks to my secret pal! I received your package on Friday: I was lucky to have picked that day to work from home so I was here when the postman rang the bell and I got to DIVE RIGHT IN to the goodness

My secret pal decided to send me everything I needed for a lace project over the course of the three packages. In this package, she sent my (yum) addi lace needles. She also crocheted me a lovely bookmark (note to self, time to start book club reading) and also inlcuded a great knitted dishcloth which I have already used, some yummy lavender shower gel, a new tape measure (how did you know I needed a new tape measure?), some note paper and some treats for the furbabies... which Gus says, "THANKS! "

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Confessions of a Veterinary Social Worker: Installment 1

One week into the new job and things are going well. It is certainly a different way of life working for the University rather than the Health System. It is very laid the point that some of the administrative aspects of the job...i.e. getting an email, getting a logon to my computer, getting enrolled in the University's benefits system...seem to be PAINFULLY slow to happen.

But the client work is fascinating and so different then working with (chronically) ill oncology patients. The grief is acute, raw, visceral and LOUD. I mean screaming, crying, yelling---unbelieveable PHYSICAL reactions to the loss (or impending loss) of a beloved companion animal. My first ER case was, of course, a dead beagle. And, it was in the same room where I had made the painful decision to have Molly euthanized just a few months before. But there is something so different about this for me in that experience---just that, I've been there, I've experienced this and I know how crappy it feels. I helped countless people with cancer over the years, but I am lucky to have never experienced that myself or in my family. Working with people who have lost animals just seems more natural to me.

The next day, I got a call from another woman who's dogs name was Maxie. For readers who don't know, my first dog, who died just 2 1/2 years ago suddenly, was named Maxie.

So, all my fears about my personal shit...I had to face them RIGHT AWAY. I knew I would encounter a dead beagle...I knew I'd be in the room where Mols died...I knew there would be a Max...just not the FIRST WEEK!

But it is all fascinating and new and exciting and I'm (still) thrilled.

But it is lonely over here. People don't just drop by to doctors yelling at me or trying to be cute to get their patients out of the hospital. No one to dine with regularly...I mean I meet up with the HUP girls as much as I can...but we are all busy. And I'm just not used to having people around to account my activities to...and I don't have to document ANYTHING. It is just all a little bizarre to me.

But I'm sleeping better and getting lots of knitting done in the evenings. I don't find the need to just stare aimlessly at the TV for hours everynight because I am in such a rut...the rut is done.

So, farewell to the rut...and the old me...the adventure continues

Friday, September 14, 2007

Modern Log Cabin Wrap #1

While vacationing on Cape Cod, I went with mom to her knitting circle at Adventures in Knitting (Harwichport, MA). They had just gotten the "Best of Interweave" and "Folk Style" in and I thought, ya, I need some inspiration-- since I keep screwing up my damn lace shawls...
Truthfully, I thought I would love the Interweave book, as that typically is my favorite source of knitting patterns. I didn't know what to expect with "Folk Style." As soon as I opened it and saw the "Modern Quilt Wrap" by Mags Kandis I knew I had to have it.

I scooped up the last remaining copy of the book and started planning on my major acquistion of kidsilk haze. The pattern calls for 9 balls, though the actual yardage requirements for the shawl are much less according to an email I received from my knitting researcher/asset (you will understand the term asset if you've seen "The Bourne Ultimatum") Allison Kelsey.

I had also heard from a fellow knitter at mom's circle that the gold color used in the wrap had been discontinued and was pretty hard to find.

Since I was in Cape Cod, and NOBODY up there seems to carry much Rowan, I went to the internet. I purchased 6 of the 9 balls from WEBS ( and was able to take advantage of their discount program (which is awesome by the way). I got two balls from Rosie's (thanks Courtney for holding them for me!) and the elusive gold color? I snagged the last ball from Royal Yarns. FYI to anyone considering this project, there is some gold out just have to look for has, indeed, been discontinued.

So, I dove right in when I returned home. Starting this process coincided with starting my new job (yes I've started and yes I've got a lot to blog about it but not now!) so it felt a bit cathartic to begin the journeys together.

Well, let's just say my first attempt did not go well. I was not at all put off by the mitered squares...I find them easy as pie. But it just didn't work well. Here is the finished project of my swatch. The swatch is the first four squares of the project.

Swatch 1; Pre Block

Swatch 2; blocking

Swatch 1: Post Blocking

I was pretty despondent. It did not look as pretty as it did in the book! I knew there was a better way. Will consultation from Kate and Courtney at Rosie's, I made the following changes. I also augmented the pattern...I am very happy with the results:


So here's what I did:

1) Went down to size 6 needles

2) SPIT SPLICING all color changes within blocks

3) Pattern changes made the whole thing work a little better--if you are interested in these changes, please email me

I don't want to piss anyone off or violate any copy right things but I'm happy to share them with anyone who is involves slipping stitches and changing the center decreases a bit.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I'm on Ravelry!!!

I'm knittyd

Shocking I if I could just figure it out.

Happy Birthday Maggie

The baby beagle girl is three today! This is her ACTUAL birthday...not some made up day! We started the day off with a hardcore snuggle; there will be bones galore tonight. She's really grown up in the 2 1/2 years I've had her. These photos were taken over the last two weeks when we were at Grandma and Grandpa's.

I love my brother!!!!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Charitable Push

I know I've been pawning a bit for Afghans for Afghans but now I want to ask you all to sponsor me as a walker in this year's Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Even though I have moved on from oncology social work, this is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. Please consider sponsoring my walk. The link below takes you directly to my fundraising page.

Thanks! Together we can beat Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Vacation...beagle style

Gus, Maggie, have been enjoying their time together here on the Cape, but one activity seems to outweigh all other for beagles...