The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Two Elephants for a Quarter....

....and other bits of wisdom. Completely free. How often do you see a deal like that? And yeah, it's probably good to remember that you generally get what you pay for.

Someone once told me that two elephants for a quarter is a good long as you have a quarter, and you need two elephants. Without those things, it's really just an outstanding debt and a backyard full of elephant poo.

I thought about this the other day, because I think that auction websites rely on the fact that people forget this truisim, and that people like me might even go one further and not only buy the elephant, but also the lot of 8 gently used wombats for sale by the same seller who will combine shipping on multiple wins. It's not pretty. And yes, I did get sucked in to buying three scrub tops with different cow patterns on them....because my backyard needs fertilizing, and I got a good rate on a loan of a quarter. Clearly, I need to start frequenting websites where nothing is for sale. (It was a good deal though...and it was cows! What could I do?)
By the way, why do they call it "winning" an auction? Personally, I'm not sure it really goes in the "win" column when you find yourself willing to pay more for an item than anyone else thinks it's worth. Just a thought.

Some other bits of wisdom I've accumulated over the years:
Cats are pointy on one end. Even if your eyeballs might fly out, it's best to hold in a sneeze when such a pointy thing is sleeping on your lap. Especially a nervous pointy thing.
Knitting a hard pattern that looks easy is like wetting yourself in a dark suit: it gives you a nice warm feeling, but no one really notices.
Never attempt to brush the crumbs off a freshly baked cake when mad at your child. My mother dumped an entire sheet cake into a sink full of soapy dishwater that way. It didn't help her mood much.

If you see a recipe called "Tuna Timbales", but you accidentally misread it as "Tuna Timebombs", it's probably best to just bail out then and there and accept that you will ALWAYS call it that whether you want to or not. And you really don't want to serve them to dinner guests. Not unless you have a burning desire to see how fast they can vacate your home.
When the bride to be looks like Malibu Barbie might have looked when she was younger and can talk for hours about the wedding plans but stumbles briefly over the groom's name, it might not be wise to bet on the longevity of the match. But, apparently, a derisive snort is not socially acceptable, either. What to do?
Have you ever really looked at a bag of mothballs? Man, can you imagine how big the moth must be?

If you ever have an unfortunate accident or disease and have to lose half of your brain, you can probably get a very high-up position working in customer service for a health insurance company. I think they pay you extra if you can make doctor's office staff whimper. I'm personally responsible for the awarding of several such bonuses.
There's more, but a person can only absorb so much wisdom at one time. I do, however, have photos for you. First, the chair fight:

The back and tush are mine and, in the name of maturity, I feel compelled to point out that I was in the chair FIRST. I was sewing. Miss was...well, whatever it is that she does besides waddle.

She did try to make the best of the situation.

But ultimately sought out nicer....

...and still nicer accommodations.

There has been some knitting going on, largely because I'm not smart enough yet to realize that the person with the bee allergy probably shouldn't sit in front of the rhododendron bushes at work and knit during lunch. You see what I mean about getting what you pay for, wisdom-wise.

Knit on...and be sure to drop by and share some wisdom of your own. Clearly, I can use it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Computers are Evil

Or, how I became the office hero by utilizing what is apparently not "common" sense.

We have a computer system at work that governs absolutely everything we do. I believe I've mentioned this. It contains the schedule, the files of all the patients, the orders for procedures and tests, patient history, and so forth. We enter prescriptions into it and, while we can print them out and give them to the patient, we more often use the computer to fax them directly--no paper involved at our end. We use it to log phone calls from patients, to leave messages, and quite possibly we are supposed to use some program called "Wee 6.0" when we want to pee. I haven't determined that yet, but it seems highly likely.

The computer is also, as it happens, an evil minded little troll who highly resents the holidays that we mortals take and sought to make us pay this morning with a little game of "screw the humans". Seriously--it was possessed. If it had had a head, it would have been spinning around wildly. Some people couldn't log in--but not all, because that would be easy to figure out. Patients couldn't be registered--again, just some. Attempting to fax prescriptions caused it to shut down the whole system. Attempting to check what medicines a person was taking caused it to throw the user unceremoniously from the system. And, just for fun, it randomly shut the program down while people were typing--preferably at a point that would make the innocent victim squeal like a little girl whose older brother just pulled the head off her doll. It wasn't pretty.

Around 8:15, a patient came in to be seen. The computer, chuckling evilly and stroking a white persian cat with one hand, decided that this person could not be put into the computer. Therefore, she had no chart. No chart--no way to enter vitals, list meds, list allergies, etc. No way to get this info to the physician. It was dreadful. Medical people were wringing their hands in desperation, and the Dr. was actually pacing, saying things dramatically such as "there MUST be a way to get this person in so my schedule stays on time!" I resisted the urge to say in a heavy Scottish accent "I'm givin' her all I can, Cap'n!" Instead, I did this:

I picked up a clipboard. I put some paper on it. I grabbed a pen. I went and called the patient back. I wrote her vital signs, her medications, and her allergies on the piece of paper with the pen. (Stop me if I'm getting too technical.). I walked down the hall (WALKED DOWN THE HALL, mind you) and handed it to the doctor. I told him she was ready to see him. He looked at me as though I had just invented cold fusion, and thanked me profusely. I swear, I would not have been surprised to hear him say "And this call it....paper?" "Yes, yes I do. And this pointy thing here? This is a pen. No, don't put it in your mouth. Icky."

I saved the office a bit later again, when I realized that no one was handling the refills because of the computer glitch. I tried something radical--I picked up the phone and CALLED in the prescriptions. I dialed the phone and I talked to the pharmacists and I told them what I needed...and it worked. People got their medication and all was well in Mudville. Or Clinicville. Or whatever.

I can see potential in this. I may have to start coming in and randomly tossing out things like "Oh, dear. The computer gods are angry. They say you haven't been appreciating their queen--that would be me. They're threatening you with paper and telephones. The only thing that will appease them is for you to bring me offerings of chocolate and foot massage. I wouldn't test them if I were you. Do you really want things to come to having to bring me expensive sock yarn? 'Cause it could happen, people!"

Scary thing is: I'm not completely sure it wouldn't work.

On another note, I finished the rose socks and started a really, really lovely NEW sock in a breathtaking Koigu with shades of teal, and purple, and blue. Very rich. The pattern is a feather and fan pattern. And there would be a photo of it right......

Except Mr. K has taken the camera hostage. I guess he hasn't heard about my recent promotion to technology goddess (or non-technology goddess, I guess that would be). Just wait until he tries to get into his e-mail tonight. But anyway, the sock is pleasing me ridiculously and I will post a picture of it tomorrow. As is typical for me, I will continue to adore it until it doesn't fit right, it seems to be too tightly woven, or I spot something I like better because I have the attention span of a tomcat with ADD standing in an alley with 300 cats in heat, a mountain of tuna, and a man driving by in a catnip wagon. It's a sad thing.

Knit on, friends. Knit on. And be nice to your paper and pencils.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


A state of sleeplessness: an inability to fall asleep, or to awaken early before adequate sleep has been achieved. From the latin, meaning "It's o'crap o'clock in the morning AGAIN and this is no longer amusing."

I don't always know why I get insomnia. It's something that sort of slips gently into my life from time to time, lovingly siphoning my brain out of my head while sanding my eyeballs and releasing small gnomes with hammers into the now empty space in my head. This time, though, I have discovered that the reason is very likely an antibiotic that my doctor put me on. I am now using my early morning hours (2:30 am seems to be my new wake up time...even if I go to sleep at midnight) to hunt tirelessly for her home phone number, in order that I may call her up to chat when this wonder drug works it's wee hours magic and share all the fun that I'm having. I will be finished with the stuff soon but, in the meanwhile, I thought I'd share with you some of the strange and interesting things that go through my mind at 3:00 am (right after "It's WHAT &*%^# time?" and " Dr So-and So, I am going to hunt you down."). For instance:

How come cats don't smell bad, when they bathe in their own spit?

The town of Humptulips (yes, that's real, I swear on my entire sock yarn collection) is named for a Native American. If it's true that many Native populations name children after what was happening either at the moment of conception or the moment of birth, what in the world was going on in this village??? And how many other innocents were named after the local flower molester?? Somewhere, are there people named Fondleviolet or Rubdaisy?

Who was the first person to eat raisins and realize they were good? And whatever possessed him/her to say "Huh. All the grapes have become black and wrinkly. Wonder if they're still good?" Cause I generally stay away from food that's become black and wrinkly.

I also wonder if the above mentioned raisin taster died a little bit later, his last words having been "Huh. The pork we were saving has become all black and wrinkly. But hey-the grapes were good."

Is "the best thing since sliced bread" really high praise? Or are the people who use that phrase really saying "Eh. It's okay. You know, kinda bready." Cause I can think of quite a few things better than sliced bread. Now, if something were "the best thing since someone finally got around to tasting chocolate instead of using it for currency", that would mean something.

If the police are public servants, how come they don't have to bring me stuff when I ask them to? And you know, they're doing a crappy job on my housework. Really letting the place slide.

If I purchased enough steel wool, could I knit myself a car?

When I was buying vitamins recently, I noticed that they have formulas for men, and formulas for women. If I took one of the ones for men, would it get terribly lost and confused in my body? Would it wander around aimlessly, muttering "Damn, I don't recognize ANYTHING!"

Why can't I leave comments on Kitty Mommy's blog? I still can't, by the way, try thought I might. I don't remember doing anything to offend it. Maybe my blog called her blog something nasty?

If you put a pair of those little cymbals in George Bush's hands, I'll bet he'd look just like one of those little wind-up monkeys that sits and bashes the cymbals together until your mom comes in and steps on it.

I refuse to take pictures with my phone until my camera is allowed to place and receive calls. It's only fair.

Grapefruit apparently grow in clusters like grapes, hence the name (although it does smack of laziness on the part of the scientist who named it). So, gooseberries then.....

Who was it who watched American football, with it's huge, padded men and violence and injury, and decided that what it really needed was a bunch of girls in skirts up to their hoo-has, waving around balls of ribbons? This seems like a leap to me. And really--were spectators prior to this invention sitting stupidly in the stands, saying "Gee, I wonder how I could express my excitement and support of my team. If only there were someone to lead me!"?

Why do they call it rush hour? I don't think 20mph on the freeway really qualifies as rushing anywhere.

I only have one ass, so I don't quite get why underwear come in a pair. On the other hand, I have two boobs and the undergarment I wear on THEM is somehow a single bra. Shouldn't it really be a pair of bra?

Why do knitting patterns say things like "sleeves--make 2"? Was there really some knitter once upon a time who made a one-sleeved sweater and poured over the pattern for hours trying to figure out what went wrong? Or did she just keep knitting sleeves, wondering where to stop?

The fashion designer who dares to declare big, doughy thighs this seasons "must have accessory" will be an overnight millionaire. Especially if he gave away donuts with all of his designs. Mmmm....donuts.

If donuts and chocolate and pizza were healthy and necessary to a balanced diet, would we all be sitting around craving broccoli?

Why do we call them "scrubs"? The first people to wear them were surgeons....who weren't doing a lot of scrubbing. I guess calling them "cut people opens" would probably weird people out.

I've often thought that anatomy is unnecessarily verbose and confusing. For instance, we could have fingers, and feet fingers. Why do we need the word "toes"?

Enough ruminating (although that word does beg the question of why we call cud-chewing animals "ruminants". Did someone really think that cows are standing out there having deep thoughts?). It is raining and I have a day of knitting and sewing planned. Then I have a night of thinking bad things about my doctor planned.

Knit on.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Things I May Not Do at My New Job

I love my new job. I do. No, really, I do. Or, I will once the training period is over. That would be the training period that was apparently designed for someone with the intellect of a clothespin and the judgement of a leaky puppy in a house full of Oriental carpets. To say I'm a bit bored is in the same ballpark as saying "I'm a bit put out that I ran out of that one of a kind yarn with only one inch to go on the sleeve of a sweater that took me three years to knit." It's not pretty. I know it will get better...but, in the interim, my new boss has kindly offered some helpful guidelines for me:

No matter how bored I get:
I may not use the medical tape to give myself a french manicure.
I may not make crank calls to the pharmacies that we use, asking them if they have Prince Albert in a can and then giggling wildly.
No matter how long it took and how many fingernails were sacrificed, none of my co-workers want a paper clip necklace.
The male nurse working in the shot room does not want his hair french-braided. Especially not his chest hair and no, the partly unzipped top showing a frightening amount of testosterone is not an invitation to do precisely that.
I may not use all the stethoscopes in the clinic to put on an impromptu marionette show. Particularly not one in questionable taste.
I may not replace all the screen savers on all the clinic computers with pictures of my cats. Or my husband. Or my husband's cats.
I may not call back the next patient by opening the door to the waiting room and shouting "Who's the next victim here?"
"Duh" is not really an appropriate response to an interminable explanation of how to do something--even if I've done it a thousand times and everyone in the clinic knows it.
Neither is "no shit, Sherlock. Did someone help you figure that out?"
I may not look up naughty things in the medical dictionaries.
I may not fax pictures of ANY body part to the head office.
No one thinks that the joke about the "head nurse" being the one with the dirty knees is funny. (think about it...and I'm so very sorry for lowering the standards of this blog with such base humor. But I'll bet you snickered.)
Having the patient blow into the spirometer may not be referred to --in or out of the patient's hearing--as a blow job.
Going up to absolutely anyone with any authority to let me do the things I've been doing for years, dropping to my knees and begging "C'mon, play me, coach! I'm ready!" is really annoying.
I may not explain the presence of my preceptor to patients with the phrase "This is Mary. She's here because the clinic doesn't want to get sued if I f**k something important up."
No, the fact that I brought homemade brownies does not buy me the right to bypass the more ridiculous parts of the training (like the video on handwashing--and no, I only wish I was kidding).
Upon learning the above, veiled allusions to what might be in the brownies that everyone ate are not one bit funny.
Laying in the middle of the hallway with a sign on my chest saying "died of boredom" is not a good use of my time.
I may not wax my eyebrows at the nurse's station.
I may not wax my legs at the nurse's station.
Doing either of the above two will not do anything to further my cause.
No, maturity is NOT overrated.
I may not practice the bagpipes to help pass the time.
No, nobody wants their face painted. Especially with highlighters.
Pulling the fire alarm wasn't funny when I was 7; it's not funny now.
I may not draw unflattering pictures of my co-workers on the table paper in all the exam rooms. The fact that I am artistically incapable of drawing flattering ones is no excuse.
I may not call my co-workers on their desk phones to ask them what they're doing. This would be true even if they weren't all seated within arms reach of me.
Sighing loudly and muttering vaguely will get me nowhere.

And so it goes. Don't get me wrong--I think I'll have a great deal of fun there once they realize that I have an IQ slightly higher than an egg white. For now, the training period stretches out before me. I think I'll go tune up my bagpipe.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Day in One Era or Another

There are some fundamental differences between men and women. Besides the obvious, I mean. For instance, when a woman says that what she did today was sort of putter around and have fun, she usually means something like this:

Or this:

Or even this:

(Like how I just worked in all the rest of those homemade scrub pictures? Oh, and the background on that last one is Mr. K's of them. I swear my kitchen doesn't have a cement floor although, given my inelegant style when it comes to challenging tasks such as holding a single egg without dropping it or pouring a beverage and actually having it ALL land in the glass--or a barrel, for that matter-- it's possible that this might be a better option.) Meanwhile, if a man tells you that what he did today was "putter around and have fun", he might well mean something more like this:

This is one of the huge trees in our side yard and I'm pretty sure it was standing upright when I left for work, so can only assume that it fainted at some point during the day. Clearly, the faint did it no good whatsoever.

In truth, the tree in question is the one that viciously tossed it's top 20 feet of trunk like a javelin at the car in December and, given that the estimates for repair are upwards of $2000, I can see why Mr. K might have held a grudge against "Toyota Bane", as it has come to be known. Here's another difference: he called and explained to me about the tree being cut down and then added cheerfully "It's a really big tree. I'm glad it didn't come down on the house." Come down on the HOUSE? Was that an option?! I think a woman would have understood that less is more in such situations, and simply said "Yep, it came down without any problem, just like I knew it would due to all my careful preparation."

So, how was your day? Aside from the fainting tree, mine was more or less uneventful. I am, of course, still training at my new job and spent much of the day learning the finer points of the electronic medical records system that this particular office uses. Instead of a paper chart, we carry around computer tablets that we type on with a little handheld stylus. This leads me to two conclusions: 1) the inventor of the computer tablet with tiny handheld stylus is a rat bastard with the vision of an eagle and the fine motor skills of someone weaned from infancy on computer games (probably has even his bathroom breaks computer programed...and let's not make any joystick jokes here, mmkay?) and 2) I am significantly older than seems possible. Check it out:

When I was a kid, the first ever computer resided in a big important building somewhere, and it was the size of an entire room. A big room. It was terribly hot and noisy and very delicate. Very few people in the world knew how to program it. Now I'm walking around at work with a little flat computer the size of a file folder on one arm that holds all the chart information of hundreds of patients. Thousands. I can fax prescriptions with it. The doctor and I can look at it at the same time in different rooms. And yet, I catch myself drumming my fingers impatiently if it takes 10 full seconds to load the file I want. At home, I panic if the internet function is down. At home, I have three computers, one of which is only a couple of inches thick. I cannot recall what it was like to not have computers at my fingertips (or stylus tip). But wait--there's more.

When I was a kid, there were no microwave ovens. Not a one. And when they did come out, a number of manufacturers tried various techniques for getting their products to look brown when they came out of the microwave. They generally looked orange. Tasted orange, too. Now if the microwave were to give out, it would be a disaster of epic proportions. For one thing, we'd have to become vegetarian due to the fact that I would likely never remember to get the meat out to thaw in time for dinner, and thawing it under my arms is both distasteful and uncomfortable. Not to mention ineffective.

I learned to type in high school, on an IBM Selectric typewriter. We used carbon paper to make copies, and we used white out when we made errors. I typed 93 words a minute with accuracy. Now, thank to modern miracles like Word, I can type about 100 words a minute, and 76 or so of them will be wrong, as well as most of the spacing. I've met teenagers who have asked me in all seriousness what a typewriter is. Or carbon paper.

We had three tv channels when I was little--channel 2 (KREM), channel 4 (KXLY) and channel 6 (NBC). We had a public tv channel on number 7 (PBS) but rarely watched it because we were too busy watching sitcoms with uproarious laughtracks (for the record, I love public television these days--I'm not a total heathen). Now I have 100+ channels, and most shows have no story or plot, but feature someone like the irritating guy down the street, now getting paid to irritate the whole country. The main impact I've noticed is that it now takes me longer to realize that there's nothing but crap on tv. Thankfully, remote controls do speed this process up a bit.

We used to have a telephone with a dial that we rented from Pacific Northwest Bell. We didn't even imagine a wireless phone or how it might work. Now I hyperventilate if I leave home without my cell phone because heaven knows I don't want to miss an invitation from my bank to look at their new mortgage program. And, even though one of the cool things about the phone was that you could talk to people far away instantly without the hassle of spelling things out with a telegram, we've come full circle now and are staring intently at tiny buttons so we can text message someone.....with the tiny telephone that we could have used to simply call them.

Anyone else feeling ancient? How about this, then: I've never owned a record in my life. Tapes and cds, yes. No records. And even my car has the capacity to play 10 of my cds without batting an eye...or headlight, as the case may be.

Okay, I can't take any more. I'm starting to feel like a time traveller, and the pleistoscene era is calling me. I think I'll go spend some time with my specially programmed, rumbling comfort station, equipped with face smearer and cervical, telescopic pat receptor technology:

It can be a bit temperamental but, once you get it going, it works for hours.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Warning: Many, Many Pictures

Which should teach Dana a thing or two about encouraging compulsive crafters. The only reason I haven't run over to macrame her a doormat (besides, I mean, that I don't know how to macrame--I'm sure I would if I had some string, a book, and a quiet afternoon) is that I don't actually know where she lives. I don't blame her for keeping it that way. But the dear girl made the mistake of actually asking me for photos of my infamous, homemade scrubs. Which is a lot like asking your Aunt Myrtle if she'll please show you pictures of her trip to the denture factory or your Great Uncle Fred if he'd mind if you took a gander at his chewing-gum wrapper collection.

In other words, OF COURSE I WILL! I'd be DELIGHTED to! But don't expect me to come wake you up afterwards. I mean, I've warned you--I think I've done all that I can.

Four separate tops...even I couldn't stomach all these prints in one. The black one with the kitty heads has matching pants of the same fabric. My other scrubs sometimes complain that that set keeps them awake.

Three more...this time the butterfly one and the tie dye one both have matching pants. And the one in two shades of pink is really two tiny floral prints. It ties in the back.

The denim ones on the right have matching pants; the pink camo is actually flannel because I get cold easily. A wise secretary once told me that this shirt would be just perfect if I ever wanted to hide in the Barbie aisle at Fred Meyer.

Huh. I seem to have choked blogger. It will not allow me to add the additional photos I had lined up. Big wuss. Okay, but I did manage to get one in of the top I made on Sunday:

I sort of semi-designed this one by modifying a pattern for a non-scrub top. Don't look too closely, as I don't want to be responsible for any motion sickness, but it does have pockets, and an empire waist, and it ties in the back. I have another photo of me wearing it but, as I've mentioned, Blogger is a big whiney baby and won't let me show you. Trust me, though. It's a bit less vomitous when paired with plain pants and it looks pretty cute on. So says the woman with the top made out of pink flannel camo fabric. Take it as you will.

I finally accepted an offer to work at a local clinic--it's 12 minutes from home with no freeway drive, it pays well, and the hours are great (8 - 5 Mon-Fri--as opposed to the 6:40am to 8:00 pm with no break mon-thurs I had before) so I'm pretty happy with it. I started today and it seems like it will work out well. Only thing is.... want to hear something ironic? Well, it's an Asthma and Allergy clinic. I rarely suffer from allergies, but from about an hour after I got there until I got home, I was having so much difficulty that slamming my head repeatedly in the sample room door was starting to sound as if it might really improve things. My eyes felt like someone had wrapped them individually in duct tape, and my ears were so blocked that I would have had more luck asking patients to check their own blood pressure than actually hearing it myself. I also thought of setting up a "guess your blood pressure" booth, but the docs weren't too keen on that idea.

All I can say is this: if it's gonna be THAT way, I'm really glad I didn't take a job at say...a leprosy clinic. Or a plague clinic. Or...well, you get the picture.

I'm going to go pack my lunch for tomorrow...with about a pound of antihistamine. I apologize for both the lack of truly interesting content (head is full of snot and some sort of stuffing that feels much like quilt batting but isn't nearly as useful) and the shortchanging you got on the photos. Look on the bright side, though: it probably saved you from a terrible keyboard injury incurred by passing out from boredom and smacking your face directly onto the keys.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

True Confessions of a Craft Compulsive

I decided that it might be time to tackle Mount Fabric. Even though I have enough scrubs to outfit an army of brightly colored nurses (think of my "magpie on crack" yarn buying just transpose that onto a set of scrubs and from there into a medical office.....yeah. That bright colored blur you see just before your retinas sizzle away is me. At my last job, I considered the day a success if Dr. S looked me up and down, stared me in the eyes for a second, and then slowly and wordlessly shook his head while walking away. A girl has to have something to shoot for.), I am forced by the sheer volume of collected fabric to create still more. I think we can all agree that my unfortunate tendency to collect the tools and supplies of whatever craft has currently caught my glittering, fevered eye would seem to suggest that I would be better off hobbyless, or at least with one that doesn't encourage this sort of behavior.

The problem, of course, is that pretty much any hobby I can think of that would interest me either produces something, or requires something, or both. Okay, there's barehanded fighting...but I don't think that's really me. (I mean, notwithstanding the time that woman thought SHE should have the last skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot yarn. Besides that time.)

What to do? Gardening? No--besides the fact that I am human plant death and all things green in a 40 mile radius know to fear me, there is the fact that I could quite easily collect plants. Seriously. I don't know just how many plants would fit in our 2 acres...but I'll bet I could find out with surprising (and alarming) speed.

Baking? Been there. At least you can't really collect ingredients, but ask me about my cookbook collection. Or worse--the size of my ass after a year of this hobby. I think...not so much.

Painting? This is wrong on many levels. For one thing, I cannot draw or paint a recognizable item to save my life. If all flowers looked like a stick with a bunch of loopy things on top, I still couldn't draw one. And, while the idea of new, avant garde methods of creating art does have its appeal (water balloons full of paint hurled at a canvas via slingshot, maybe...), let's not pretend I wouldn't collect colors and shades of paint, as well as brushes and, no doubt, slingshots. Same thing for dying yarn (without the slingshot).

Spinning. Now I have given this one some thought. Sure, I'd collect fiber to spin, and certainly I'd end up with an abundance of both it and the finished yarn. But I believe it would take me awhile to spin fiber into yarn and perhaps I could at least sloooow the accumulation down. (I know that many of you know better...allow me my brief moment of hope.)
Birdwatching would work okay...if I liked watching birds, and if it didn't seem especially cruel to lure them to my house with all the hairy serial killers.
Underwater basketweaving? Nah. I don't really need to start collecting baskets...especially soggy ones. I mean, what could you put IN them?

Now I do like to write...and I'm forced to admit that I need only a computer, or even a notebook and a few good pens with which to do it. Problem is...then what would I write about? If I can't write about my crazed excesses....what is there?
You see my dilemna, and why I am forced to spend much of today dismembering the Cloth Everest. I gotta admit, though...that doesn't sound like a totally BAD thing. Hours of toys and pretty colors--I'm a simple creature, clearly.

Now, for those of you who are wondering whether I have rhubarb wounds today, I do not. Mr. K kindly saved me from that sticky fate by not putting the new blades on the lawn mower until late last night, the result of which is:

I started a friend for it, too. I wish the pattern could be continued onto the foot, but an adventure involving an hour or two of time, half a ball of yarn, and some very colorful language have proven that the sock must twist for the design to be true. Since my foot does was a problem. Today it is raining, so the mowing must once more be delayed. (No, I did not pay someone for the rain...but I would have if I'd known where to send the check.)

Lastly, I offer some kitty cheesecake (and beefcake) for Monica and Marianne and anyone else who adores the fur people like I do. Firstly, Ed, who is clearly much smarter than the average cat:

Miss was in her usual spot:

While Grace....well, let's just say Miss Gracie is not in a posing mood this day:

Definitely a "talk to the butt" sort of moment.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Ms. K's Surefire, Can't Miss Excuses for Not Mowing the Lawn

Which is to say that it is a fine day here in Knitingaleland, the sort of day which turns a young husband's fancy to thoughts of yard care while the wife's is more firmly entrenched in more fiber-y pursuits. I feel certain that I am not the only one with this problem and so, because I care so deeply for all of you, I have taken the time to provide this helpful list. So, without further ado (because heaven knows we have plenty of ado as it is), I cannot mow the lawn today because:

1. Recent intelligence has suggested that there are alien lifeforms among us, and that these lifeforms are here with the hope of stealing all the lawn mowers on the planet in order to create a sophisticated new weapon (with mulching capacity). Do we really want to risk having our mower out where it can be seen by these horrible creatures?

2. The treasury department has just announced that, due to the continuing devaluation of the dollar, we will soon being using lawngrass for currency. Mowing the lawn would just be shredding money into little bits.

3. Unbeknownst to anyone, I am a superhero charged with keeping the city safe from nefarious villains with weird names who wear underwear outside their clothing. The sound of the lawn mower would surely drown out any pleas for help that may come, to say nothing of the fact that my cape could get shredded in the blades. Do you want the demise of innocent citizens on your conscience? Or the tumbling to earth of a capeless superhero?

4. The rhubarb appears to have become sentient and may have armed itself. I fear that it would see the whirling blades of the mower as a declaration of war and then we'd all be doomed. No one should have to come face to leaf with an angry, knife-wielding rhubarb.

5. The interesting pattern on the socks I've been knitting actually contains--in code--the formula for cold fusion as well as a cure for male pattern baldness. If I don't keep working on it, I fear my brilliance will be lost to humanity, as will the hairiness of future generations. Angry, knife-wielding bald men are not much better than angry, knife-wielding rhubarb.

6. A band of leprechauns have approached me from the shamrock bed in the back yard with a cease and desist order. They are alleging hearing damage from the noise of the mower, as well as damage to property and some post traumatic stress disorder. They are threatening lawsuits. Need I say anything about the proclivities of angry leprechauns?

7. A courier came by yesterday with a proclamation stating that I am, in fact, the long lost queen of a little known country called Fnordia. It is strictly forbidden for their royalty to have any contact with grass, and the punishment is beheading. Surely a perfect lawn isn't worth anyone losing their head.

8. There are multiple colonies of mushrooms growing in the lawn that may or may not contain clouds of toxic spores which may, with exposure, turn either or both of us into mutants. Cool though some mutant powers might be, do you really think we should risk it? I know I don't want to suddenly become "the woman with snakes for legs" or something. And really, with my luck of late, it seems highly unlikely that I'd get something cool like flying or seeing through walls, or even turning vegetables into chocolate as my mutant power.

9. Today is the 13th day of the 7th lunar cycle of the 4th planet from the red star Marvatius. It is a day of terrible luck and looming disaster. Using sharp implements seems like a bad thing, under the circumstances.

10. The outdoor cats have determined that the vibrations of the mower are frightening to the mice and voles that they would like to disembowel so as to leave disgusting little bits in the garage (the better to watch me playing "mouse organ shuffleboard" with the long-handled broom). They have organized and assure me that they will not hesitate to hold me hostage if I even think of mowing the lawn. Worse--they're cats. You just know they'd torment and play with me for hours.

11. I recently traded three stuffed cows and a cookie-dough brownie for some magic beans, which I then tossed into the yard. Given that a beanstalk should be shooting out of there any day, and given that beanstalk is certain to lead us to gold and riches (we'll forget the giant for a minute here), do we really want to risk cutting the thing down?

12. As a child, I was viciously attacked by a rogue dandelion. Must I keep reliving the trauma?

I can almost guarantee that the use of any of these will keep you from lawn duty, at least until the 24 hour committment ends. And hey, you can get a lot of knitting done in 24 hours. You'll know how well it worked for me tomorrow, if I have a finished sock to show you or just a completely disbelieving husband and some rhubarb wounds.

Carry on. I'm off to attend to the people of Fnordia.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ms. Knitingale's Busy Day

Today was the first weekday in quite awhile in which I had not a thing planned and could pretty much do whatever I chose. I envisioned quite a bit of impressive accomplishment. This is further proof that I am not always completely in touch with reality. Or even within spitting range. My intent was to:

*Clean mudroom carefully, mopping floor and scrubbing mat beneath cat food bowls with bleach before allowing it to dry in the sun.
*Do three or four loads of laundry.
*Clean clothes closet.
*Bag up unwanted clothes and shoes and take to Value Village.
*Clean crafts closet, sorting through fabric purchased last year with the intent of making scrubs since I'll be wearing them again soon.
*Remove stacks of knitting magazines and catalogs from next to the bed and vacuum floor.

My intentions are always so good. If it's true that the road to hell is paved with them, then I have a superhighway leading right down to the front gate. With an HOV lane (High Occupancy Vehicle lane, in case your city doesn't have them. Seattle instituted them so that people with a passenger could zip along in their own lane and the envy would convince the rest of us to force a stranger into our car in order that we might use the special lane as well. The problem, of course, is that most strangers don't WANT to go where I do, which I think is terribly unreasonable of them. Do they have no civic spirit??) and a scenic route.

What I actually got done was:

*Roll over at 7:00 am and glare blearily at husband's alarm clock. It is across the room so that he will have to get up to turn it off. Sadly, he is not fooling himself, and it is a given that I will be glaring blearily a full five minutes before he remembers how to get up and turn it off.
*Trip over knitting magazines and catalogs next to the bed. Again.
*Feed cats. Decide that there's no time like the present to start cleaning the mudroom and, besides, the neighbors would probably love to be treated to the sight of me in my seahawks fleece pants and holey t-shirt, spraying the cat-dish mat with a hose.
*Remember belatedly that the mat, a large rubber sort of affair, is capable of ricocheting the spray.
*Drip. And swear.
*Attempt to sweep mudroom.
*Remind Gracie again that the broom is not a ride, or a threatening cat that must be attacked. Realize that she is laying down about as much cat hair as I'm sweeping up. Wonder again why I do not have pet rocks.
*Move litter box and food dishes. Observe Gussie staring at the moved box with a worried look. Apparently a box of cat litter, when moved about 10 feet, becomes a completely unfamiliar object.
*Sweep MUCH faster.
*Go out to porch to collect cat dish mat; realize that raking up the grass clippings last week would have probably prevented what now appears to be a chia pet growing on the underside of the damp mat.
*Carry damp mop from kitchen to mudroom before realizing that I own a bucket. Spot trail of water drops on the kitchen floor (oak, and not so very fond of being wet) and use my sock to wipe it up...while holding a perfectly serviceable mop in one hand.

There's more, but it's just sad. And that was just one task. Cleaning the clothes closet didn't go too badly, if you allow "not too badly" to mean that I find it nearly impossible to part with anything because I just know that the minute I toss it, someone will come along and offer me one million dollars for a pair of red high top sneakers with a bleach spot on the top of the foot. The crafts closet was another story.

It's kind of amazing how "a few pieces of fabric purchased on sale because they would make nice scrubs" can somehow metamorphosis into piles of fabric to rival my yarn stash. And it's further amazing that I apparently thought I would have about 6 months to sew night and day in order to use up all this fabric. I also must have thought that the local hospital was going to have a naked nurse crisis and come to my door for help. There's really no other explanation. In truth, there's no explanation at all for the Elvis fabric in teals and oranges.....especially given that I don't drink.

I made it to Value Village with my reluctantly-parted-with clothes and, because I had semi-accomplished a fraction of a couple of things, I decided to stop at Bath and Bodyworks for a bottle of my favorite lotion (White Tea and Ginger...mmmmm). Nothing like rewarding yourself for doing a half-assed job. (Think what I might have gotten if I'd done a whole assed job!) I take some pride in the fact that when the perky sales girl pointed out that "everything on that wall is buy 3, get 1 free", I simply said that I knew and walked out with what I came in for and not one other thing. (Let us not dwell on the fact that they are lately given to fruity scented stuff, and that I always think I smell like yogurt when wearing raspberry body spray. Resisting counts, even if it's something I didn't want. And yes, it IS logic like this that has put me into the position of wearing Elvis scrubs.).

I did move the magazines next to the bed, but I suppose that accidentally kicking them across the room doesn't count. It seems like it should.

I'm hoping that tomorrow might be a tad more productive. (Oh, quit laughing. I might wake up with a Martha Stewart thing going on....and no, I don't mean I think I'll be going to jail.) Just in case, though, I think I should make a more manageable list:


I can always cut the knitting time slightly short if I feel overwhelmed.

ps: there are a couple of you whose blogs I've visited in the last couple of days but been unable to leave a comment. Kitty Mommy, you're one of them--I click comments, and nothing comes up. I'm not ignoring you, I promise. I think Dana might be one of them as well. I'm thinking about you, I promise.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"Huge Lot of Small Bottoms"

It will surprise none of you to know that I may have just the teensiest, slightest bit of a sort of collectors personality. That is, I could clothe Alaska with stuff knitted from my yarn stash, and if scrubs were people, I'd have about mid-sized country worth upstairs in my closet, capable of forming a small, colorful government. It's a sad thing. In my defense, I do more window shopping than actual shopping these days, somehow gleaning some strange pleasure from looking at dozens of similar pictures of yarn or scrubs that I most assuredly do not need. I'd like to think some inner voice is triumphantly showing off my stone willpower and ability to resist temptation now that I've realized how much stuff I don't need. I'd also like to think that thighs get firmer with age, boobs migrate upwards with each birthday, and those wrinkles around my eyes are the next big fashion craze. Hope springs eternal.

In any case, this sad hobby of mine leads sometimes to cruising around on e-bay, looking at yarn and scrubs. I know. It's not normal. To be fair (or to give the she-devil her due), I've purchased quite a few wonderful scrubs quite cheaply on e-bay in the past. You know, when I needed them. Back when there was just a couple of states worth in the closet as opposed to the whole damned country. ANYWAY, so I was wasting my time looking at crap I won't buy the other day when I came across an entry posted by a woman who was apparently looking to sell several pairs of scrub pants without the tops. And this is where I saw the title at the top of this post--because that's how she headed the auction: "Huge Lot of Small Bottoms". I'm pretty sure she didn't re-read that. At least, I hope she didn't. But wouldn't it be cool?

Imagine if you really could purchase a large number of small rumps to change out for your own (sort of like RJ and his magical johnson), like when you'd like to wear those snug jeans and you just ate an entire pan of brownies and three m&ms for dinner (not that I'd know anything about that). If there were several in the lot, you could change them out to suit your mood. You could have a jeans ass, a shorts ass--I'm seeing possibilities here. (Yeah, I'm also losing my mind. What of it?) I may have to start browsing e-bay more often, see if I can find a "huge lot of slim thighs". Preferably an even number, I think. And really, I could make do with just a couple of pairs. One to wear while one is being know.
Shaking off the fantasy....I mentioned those aging types of things above, and that was another thing I was thinking about today. (Give me a break--it was the last day of CNA class, the teachers were in their office having given us no assignment other than to partake of the potluck we had been asked to bring, and I was trying to think of anything that would prevent me from putting a ziploc bag over the head of the barbie-type who was giggling shrilly every few minutes at a level that had dogs howling on the outskirts of Mukilteo. And we weren't even IN Mukilteo. The bag initally had brownies in it, so it would have been a nice, chocolate-scented suffocation, at least.) What I was thinking was that there are many things about growing older that no one ever tells you. For instance, no one mentioned to me that there would be a time when I would bend over to dry the underside of my hair and start picking up hair off the floor while down there because I know I won't want to bend down again. They also didn't mention that I'd get so distracted by the hair that I'd end up holding a warm blow-dryer on my shoulder for five minutes and then wonder why my hair wasn't dry. And where that odd looking burn on my shoulder came from.
Another thing: they never mentioned that the day would come when I would get out of the shower, dry off, put on deodorant, towel my hair, comb my hair--and then be unable to recall whether or not I put on deodorant. Or that I would be so inordinately pleased when I found a solution to that problem--specifically, to purchase a clear gel deodorant with so much alcohol in it that even if I didn't shave like Jack the Ripper on a caffeine high, it would still sting so much going on that I would start wondering if getting repeatedly bee-stung might not be less painful and possibly nearly as effective (how much can an armpit full of beestings really sweat, after all? It's not like you could put your arms down or anything.). Then, even if I make it five full minutes before starting to wonder if I put the stuff on, I have the lingering pain to assure me that I either applied deodorant, or set fire to my armpits. Since I rarely set fire to my armpits, this seems to work out fairly well.
I also don't remember being told the bit about how being really tired in the morning is more likely to mean I turned over in my sleep and made something hurt at 4 am than to mean that I was out partying and being admired into the wee hours, and just made it home in time to swipe a brush through my flawless hair and throw on some lipgloss before dashing out to the whistles of several handsome men. Oh, wait. That wasn't me even when I WAS young...must have been a Cover Girl commercial. Or a "feminine product" commercial because, in television land, no one ever has as much fun doing ANYTHING as women do when menstruating.

Forgive the wandering today. I think the four hours of sitting in class doing nothing but watching my brain run out of my head through the holes left by the abovementioned shrill laughter may have burned out a few synapses. I did, however, manage to get some knitting done (and isn't it fortunate that I had it with me....and didn't allow myself to think too long or hard on the possibilities inherent in five shiny things with two sharp points apiece?). The outcome:

Flushed with the success of the Panda wool/bamboo yarn worked in the Panda wool/bamboo sock pattern, I gave this startling new technique another try with some Tofutsies and a Tofutsies pattern. No go, however. Apparently the knitting goddess was just messing with my head that other time, because the sock ended up with one side completely white and the other completely blue. Sock segregationism--not so much what I had hoped to create. But I love the pattern, so I tried it again using this lovely Fleece Artist merino sock in subtle shades of rose with tiny bits of leaf green. I love it. Quite a lot. It's the reason the laughing barbie isn't picking brownie crumbs out of her nose right this very minute, so I think she would probably love it, too. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Malibu Barbie and the Man with the Velcro Genitals

Okay, I am guilty of teasing you mercilessly. And not entirely fairly, if it comes to that, because the truth is that Malibu Barbie and the man with the velcro genitals have little to do with one another, besides having come into my life via my CNA class. In fact, the man with the velcro genitals cannot truly be called a man, if I am honest, in that he has two sets of genitals, one of each type and therefore can only really accurately be described as a little gender confused. With spotlessly clean private parts. Allow me to explain.

For those of you blissfully unaware, CNA stands for Certified Nursing Assistant (not Certifiably Nuts Afterwards, as I have come to believe) and although CNA's can work in hospitals or doing home care, the vast majority of them will work in nursing homes. The training, therefore, is aimed at teaching all of them how to do this and how to pass the test to get the license to do this. This means that much of our time has been spent learning how to feed people, move people from bed to wheelchair, take vital signs, etc. And, in the absence of real patients upon which to practice (because being old and infirm is challenge enough), we practice these skills on one another. We take turns ambulating one another, doing fingernail care on one another, etc. However, no matter how dedicated we might be, none of us are particularly interested in being the "patient" for such things as catheter care and peri care (the cleaning of the....private area on a patient who, typically, is incontinent). And, if I'm to be honest, if anyone in the class actually was interested in having 20+ giggling girls staring at their delicate area in a room with huge windows, I not only wouldn't touch them without gloves--I'd demand a shark cage. And maybe a cattle prod.

ANYWAY, this is where RJ comes into the picture. I do not know what RJ stands for, but he is a lifesize mannequin with molded plastic hair in a distinctly male style, no breasts, and two sets of extremely lifelike genitals that attach to him/her via a strip of velcro. The teacher, a long-suffering woman named Debbie, informed us the day we met RJ that she could not leave the male portion of his anatomy on him because it kept getting stolen. Leaving aside for the minute what anyone would want with a lifelike plastic teaching penis and testicles (okay, okay, I know--but remember me saying that there's a "marital aids" store right next door to the school? I guess I should be more understanding, having never been so broke that I had to steal my fake genitalia...but still), there really is no punchline I can possibly add to the reality of our middle-aged teacher--who happens to be a grandmother-- wandering around with a fake member in the pocket of her cheerful, flower-print scrubs. It would just be gilding the lily, wouldn't it?

That same day, she started with the female parts and carefully demonstrated all the steps necessary to perform peri-care. Then she gently loosened the velcro, whipped the penis out of her pocket (see? I told you it didn't need a punchline), stuck it firmly onto AJ, and proceeded to demonstrate the technique with this new plumbing. Then she went on to demonstrate proper urinal placement (seems obvious to me...if something yellow is dribbling out, put something under it--yes?). We all watched dutifully, and listened as she explained that "you have to watch these old men. They'll sit there with the urinal for two hours and never pee a drop." And then proceeded to grab urinal and organ with one hand and yank them off the mannequin with a ripping sound that had even us female students crossing our legs in sympathy. Which is when I learned that it is a bit disruptive and not as funny as I think it is to say loudly "Is that why you ripped his johnson off?"

To be fair, Debbie earned my everlasting affection at that point by holding the misappropriated manhood aloft and saying loudly "Well, he said he couldn't go....I'm going to go empty it for him!"

Besides the obvious lesson of "don't let Debbie remove your urinal for you if you're a man or, if you have no choice, pee as quickly as you possibly can", I have learned many other things in these five weeks. For instance, it can be fun to torment Malibu Barbie and her assorted henchgirls.

(A note here: I am aware that most 20-somethings--certainly all of them who read this blog--are in fact intelligent, pleasant women whom it would be my privilege to call friend. I am not referring to those types here, as few of them managed to make it to my CNA program. Clearly, they were smarter than I and found a way around it.)

I know you know the girls I mean. I'm referring to the ones who came to learn about caring for the elderly wearing oodles of sparkly make-up, tons of expensive jewelry, and an up-do sculpted meticulously into place with the addition of some glitter gel. The ones who, at the end of a very moving film about HIV, have nothing to show for the experience but a pile of fingernail polish that they peeled off in little strips because they evidently found it significantly more compelling--" I wonder what's under this pink stuff here....oh, look! Another fingernail!" . The ones who--and with my stash as my witness, this is a true story--had the following conversation:

1st girl: "Gee, after hearing all this stuff, I don't EVER want to grow old."
2nd girl: "Yeah, but, you know, I guess it's, like, a privilege or something to grow old. 'Cause, you know, some people like, die young and whatever....."

This was the moment when I started praying for a rain of brain cells, secure in the knowledge that we had plenty of empty receptacles in which to catch them, and there would not be a single puddle on the floor about which to worry once the heavens cleared. One of these women turned to me after the peri-care demonstration, twisted her face into a pretty mask of "eww-ness", and asked worriedly "do you really have to DO that? It's not very often, is it?" I will likely burn in hell for the pleasure I took in pointing out that if you work in a nursing home, you will likely have 10 patients all by yourself, most of them (if not all) will be incontinent, and you will need to check and change them every two hours. I'd have asked her at that point to do the math...but I feared her pretty little head would explode.

In the end, though, I can honestly say that RJ has the cleanest genitals in town, I know how to make a bed you could bounce a quarter off of (even if half the students in the class would have to rack their brains to figure out what the shiney silver thing was), and it is very nearly over. The class is throwing a party/potluck tomorrow. I am bringing brownies. Then, I am going home and quietly sobbing with relief.

p.s. They also don't think it's funny when they tell you that you're going to "practice these skills over and over until you're sick of them" and you respond by waving your hand wildly in the air and shouting "Ooh! Oooh! I finished early, then! Can I go home?" Go figure.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Just a Quick Moment of Horror

I tried to warn you, didn't I? Yes, indeed, this is the from one of the newer scrubs catalogues, those purveyors of yet another addiction in my life (I won't tell you how many sets of scrubs I own but, suffice it to say, if handknit scrubs ever become in vogue, I may never have time to leave the house again). I'm not entirely sure what this look is saying (other than "urp"); perhaps something along the lines of "Dr. Jones, he's our man--if he can't do it, NO ONE CAN!!!" or "This is why cheerleaders shouldn't have access to the meds closet". If this woman is not attempting to rally the squad around her as she performs some sort of nasty task in a painfully perky fashion, then she is thinking murderous thoughts about the agent who booked her for this damned catalogue shoot, and wishing she'd had the foresight to hold a pom-pom in front of her face so she never has to explain this. Did I mention it has matching pants (the scrub top, not the poor woman's face)?
Really, uniform designers. We try so hard to keep medical folk from doing're not helping.
Must run to Knit for Life, but I wanted to share this so I don't have flashbacks alone. I'm a cruel woman.
By the way, I love you all more than I can say. I was so delighted and suprised to find how many of you were glad to see me back. I think I had fallen into that "I'm not good enough so I'm going to go eat worms" thing. You guys are much better than worms.
Another by the way, you'll be pleased to know that I did not purchase the cheerleader-on-drugs scrubs. However, it is possible that a Pepe Le Pew in love scrub top may have mysteriously appeared in my cart. And maybe the Tweety one, too. Crap. I obviously can't blame wool fumes for this one.....maybe it's brain damage from having my hair pulled back too tightly all day?
I'll write more tomorrow, after another edifying morning with Malibu Barbie and the man with the velcro genitals (bet you'll be back to read tomorrow, won't you?).

Sunday, May 13, 2007

So......where were we?

Okay, so I thought I would resume blogging by scanning in a copy of the letter I got from the nursing program. That's what I thought when I went on hiatus. Which suggests, now that I look at it, that I thought I had a pretty good chance of at least scoring an interview--an odd level of confidence for someone with the self-esteem issues I collect (I have several back issues and possibly a couple of subscriptions). Proof, if ever you need any, that the universe enjoys a good laugh as much as anyone.

I got the letter a week ago, and I opened it in the front yard with trembling hands, and then I quickly skimmed it for the key words. It was apparent almost immediately that "unfortunately" was probably not a good key word to find. I decided fairly rapidly that it was unlikely to be part of a sentence like "unfortunately for the other candidates, your application was far superior" or "unfortunately, the english language limits our ability to tell you just how cool you are". And, true enough--it wasn't either of those. It was, in fact, more of an "unfortunately we cannot offer you a position in the program, thank you very much, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out" kind of thing. (I might have embellished the last part a bit. Just a bit.)
I'd have scanned it in anyway, but it would have required uncrumpling it and digging it out of the recycle where I buried it--turns out that even in moments of extreme distress, I am still able to "think green".
If any of you lived close by, you would have felt the whooshing of the roller coaster as my emotions ran around on the track over the next several days, only no one was giggling or anything. Thankfully, no one lost their cookies, either, but I would have liked a little bit of giggling. Truth is, it's been hard. And I want to say that I'm so grown up and so self-actualized (ah--THERE'S the giggling) that I am philosophical about the whole thing and that I always view the loss in a healthy and mature fashion, focusing on how much I've learned and so on and so forth. Sometimes, for brief seconds, it's even true. Sadly, it is also true that I have moments of anger, of pain, of angst, and of thinking the entire committee are a bunch of poopyheads and wondering how in the world the uber-tanned 23-year-old in my CNA class with the $300 handbag and seemingly no real interest in anything medical because it's "icky" managed to get in while I did not. Seems that they're accepting Malibu Barbie this year, but not me. (Yes, I've had moments of nastiness, too. I'm not proud of them.)

Mostly, now, the worst is over. I hate it that I didn't get in, and I feel like a failure and I feel embarrassed and I feel like I let down everyone who loves me...but these feelings are coming less and less. They're being replaced by the knowledge that the universe invariably manages to lead me where I need to go and that this is not the sort of crisis that warrants as much attention as I'm giving it. People are dying all over the world....this is a mere bump in my incredibly blessed road. Granted, it's a bump that really pisses me off...but still.
Truth is, I've been thinking a lot about passion. I've always said that nursing is my passion...but I'm starting to see that it's really not. It is, in fact, a vehicle for my real passion. The real passion, the one that feeds my soul and assures me that I have a reason for being in the world, is that ability to connect with people. To help hold their fear or their pain or their anger. To make a difference, not necessarily in their lives--a lofty goal, that--but at least in their right now. In their hurting. Nursing would be a great way to get to do that, but it isn't the only way. For right now, I've decided to go back to work for awhile and rethink things. I can't reapply for another year anyway, so I'm excited to go back to my passion, to feed that thing inside of me that absolutely demands to be fed and, quite frankly, has been starving for the better part of a year. I may reapply, I may not. But I will make the decision knowing that what I am and what I can give is enough--no matter how I end up giving it.
I went to my old employers looking for references and both of them have asked if I'd like to come back. The inner child is clearly expressing herself in my desire to relay this info to the nursing committee while saying something terribly mature and eloquent, such as "SEE?? SOME people appreciate and want me! Nanny-nanny-boo-boo, you poopyheads."
Assclowns would be a bit more satisying, I admit. Probably a bit more dignified, too.
Lest you think I've done nothing but wallow in the pit of assclownery (a good word, I think), I offer this:

I think you saw the beginnings of the reddish one on your left; the next one in (the teal) is made from Panda Wool/Bamboo blend in a pattern from their website (I know--ME, using the correct wool for the pattern. I had to sit down a minute myself). Next, the pastelly one that really does beg the question of what happens to my brain in the presence of wool fumes. I mean, it's pretty and all...but also probably the least "me" kind of yarn I've ever purchased. Gave me a run for my money, too, possibly realizing that it was in the hands of someone who didn't truly appreciate it and might well make it into a toilet tissue cover or something. In the end, I designed the pattern myself and that's the sock you see above. To tell you the truth, I was so aggravated at that point that the toilet paper hat with the little ruffle was starting to look pretty good, so the fact that it's even sock-shaped is a sort of triumph. Lastly, the purple one whose mate is almost done (I'll be finishing it today). I love this one quite a bit. It's from a free pattern called "Saucy" and it's a surprisingly quick knit.

I told a dear friend that I felt a little funny about calling myself Ms. Knitingale, seeing as how I didn't even make it to the interview stage of the nursing school application. She said (kindly) not to be ridiculous and I started thinking: maybe "nurse" isn't just a profession. Maybe it's also a state of mind. Maybe a person who will be there for you when you're afraid or in pain is a nurse of your soul. Maybe someone who takes joy in making a connection when you most need it, is a nurse of the heart.

I'd like to think so, anyway.