Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Making a silk purse out of... silk yarn.

Girlie has discovered that knitters enjoy making stuff for people who appreciate it. :) She liked her scrubby hemp facecloth* enough to request a complete set of them. I found this silk skein on clearance in Seattle, and its pinkness - brighter than the pic reveals - told me I had to pick it up for her. The finished purse is lined with a mottled pink cotton fabric and has an interior key loop. The handle is a velvet cord knotted by Girlie herself. No sow's ears involved.

* She finally let it dry long enough to get a good portrait! She says the stitch reminds her of those sweaters that Irish fisherman used to wear, with the design identifying which village they're from (in case of an overboard disaster).

Monday, July 23, 2007

Road Epiphanies

I was cruising down the road, soaking up the scenery and local color, and I realized how much I loved my current freedom. Being self-employed meant I could take a week off – unlike Matt, and it’s HIS car! – and even extend my trip a few days just because I was having so much fun.

Then I started thinking about med school, and how it would negate that freedom for the next 7 years. Worse, it would take mine just as Matt was recovering his. That made me reexamine my original reasons for wanting to get that MD. There are 4 big ones:

1) Medicine is fascinating! I love learning about physiology.
2) My worst nightmare has always been missing a diagnosis on a patient. Back pain can be a pulled muscle… or a kidney infection, or bone cancer. I wanted to be able to identify the true cause of problems.
3) I wanted lots of money so we can travel the world and have funky cars.
4) I had a problem being the “doctor’s wife.” My ego wanted a title of my own.

Once I examined these reasons closely, I came to some interesting discoveries.

1) Matt & I always discuss our cases, and we have bookshelves of texts. There’s nothing stopping me from learning.
2) I know enough now to catch red flags. I may not be able to diagnose, but I don’t think I’m going to let something slip by without a referral.
3) We’re already doing that! And on an anemic budget, too, thanks to some creative financing. Once residency is over, Matt’s income will triple. And of course I’ll have my practice. I don’t need millions. If I can do one big trip a year that’s good enough for me.
4) I don’t know when it happened, but sometime over the past year I grew up. I’m over the ego thing. Maybe it’s because I got that silly 35 on the MCAT – proof positive that I could have done it if I wanted to. But I think it’s more that I just love my life so much that the status is irrelevant.

So… no med school for me. This means I can stop waiting for my life to start – I can throw myself into my practice and take care of my body, house, husband, etc. I can learn about lighting in photography, and maybe even make a Fair Isle sweater. I can study advanced acupuncture (5 Elements!) and spend time snuggling on the couch.

I feel more relaxed, now. How about you?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I'm home

Yesterday was just good solid drivin'. I found some excellent front doors. Elkhart, Indiana (that's where I was) to home in 12.5 hours. Continued writing love songs to each member of my family, including cars & cats. When I have some more sleep and can think straight(er) I'll figure out now to create a link on here to a file, in case anybody wants to sing along.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


I just turned around: Now this is the most interesting thing I've seen today. Black velvet... yeah baby!

Somewhere in Indiana

I honestly don't know what town I'm in. The motel is owned by a tiny Indian lady. The office smelled like yummy curry. She gave me a cable for the internet! The room has nothing identifying in terms of establishment name. The pizza delivery flyer doesn't offer an address. The yellow pages cover most of the state. The room was $35 if that gives you a hint as to the booney-ness.

Anyway - not so much fun today. Monotonous terrain. Southernly heading, so more sun in the eyes. Heavy traffic. Still, though, a so-so day on the road is better than workin', eh? The most interesting thing I saw today is the bathroom here. Mint tiling and bottle opener on the wall.

Home tomorrow, hopefully. *crossed fingers*

Rochester, MN

The trip continues to be outrageously fun. No music (too much wind noise to use the Discman, Alex, thanks anyway!) and no CB (imagine that, something not working on a London Taxi) for 4 days of driving has provided a grand opportunity for some serious thinking and equally profound landscape appreciation. I regret that my cell phone takes absolutely wretched scenery pics, so you'll have to do the drive yourself. I've been re-writing more song lyrics. So far I've covered "A Few of my Favorite Things," "Cecilia," "We Will Rock You," "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," "Always a Woman," "Turn the Page," and a few more. Of course I'm texting Matt and sending him a constant stream of pics, everything from kittens to purple glass doorknobs. Girlie sent me this from home: I feel like a GI!

The Corn Palace of Mitchell, SD is this bizarre Taj-Mahal-sort-of-thing that is redecorated with a new theme every year since 1892. Google "corn palace" images for a glimpse into the wierdness.

These wonderful people, Judy & Don, offered not only a place to stay, but a phenomenal dinner (chicken on the grill, salad, the best corn on the planet) and some great conversation on engine sounds and world travel. Their '62 Triumph motorcycle looked great next to Preston. Judy & I met through MS3. She also spins, weaves, and does fused glass. She even gave me one of her terrific flamey beads on a necklace after I worked on her hip. J&D: I publicly reinforce my invitation to come see Philly and stay with us. Cheeeeeeesesteeeeaaaaakkkssss!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Oacoma, SD

Not much milage today. I played tourist instead. Deadwood was fun - I took a tour and saw the cemetery. For lunch, it was Wall Drug and a buffalo burger. I met a giant rabbit there. Then I discovered 1880 Town: An entire mini town with about 20 buildings you can wander around in. Plus a museum. Plus a bunch of Dances With Wolves props. Plus for $5 you can dress up in their period costumes and take pics of yourself all over the town. Plus I got to pet Buck, the horse who played Cisco. Pretty neato. Again, these are all cell phone pics, so bear with me!

Spearfish, SD

Preston continues to perform flawlessly, aside from his sluggish hill climbs.

Low points: Hitting a bird and driving 100 miles looking at blood and brain.

Having a fuel pump explode, showering Preston and me with diesel. Both of us required baths / costume change. And we were charged for the fuel.

Attempting sleep in the parking lot of a Best Western, having found No Vacancy for the past 1.5 hours. Giving up and driving another hour.

High points: Sharing a rest stop with a flock of jealous hot-rod octogenarians.

Seeing a fox and a Peregrine falcon (that may have been Day 1).

Writing alternative lyrics to 4 songs - details later.

Finally getting a shower, rinsing off the sweat, grit, and diesel. Sliding into a cool, firm bed with an abundance of squooshy pillows. Perfection.

Today: I'm so close to Deadwood, I can't resist dropping by.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Alberton, MT

Here’s the post I was writing in my head (when driving for 6 hours straight your mind seeks something to focus on):

“My three favorite things today: Alia’s mix CDs, Preston, Rain-Ex. In no particular order. Roadtrips are the perfect way to enjoy the stunning beauty and diversity of our continent’s landscape.”

Then it started raining harder. I loved Rain-Ex the most now. I honestly didn’t need my (inoperable) wipers, thanks to the multiple coats. I considered pulling off, but I could see just fine and Missoula was an hour away… I wanted to get that far, at least.

Then the lightning got really close. Heather, remember that epic storm we rode Victor through on I-10? The one surrounded by three hurricanes? This one wasn’t as fireworky, but it was certainly as blinding. And Preston was leaking not only on both my feet, but from a few places overhead, too. The first possible hotel was definitely getting my business.

Then the hail started. Both windows down, of course, to keep the windscreen defogged.

Passed a number of “no services” exits, and finally landed here, in this cute oh-so-Montana River Edge Motel. After wading through a puddle up to my knees I checked in, drenched head to toe. There’s no internet or cell coverage, but this place really is adorable. The staff (owners?) let me use their landline to alert the media that I was still alive.

What a fun day! I hope it’s drier tomorrow, though. :)

Note: Posted 1:30am when I was inexplicably able to get a WiFi signal.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It was only a matter of time: Cat-Cam

Mr. Lee has been fitted with a tiny camera that snaps a peek into his world every few minutes. Sheer brilliance!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Why do my plans always have to change?

Preston's wipers don't work. Pulling over on the side of a dark, rainy highway in midnight Montana doesn't appeal to me, so they have to be repaired. And some jerk stole the faceplate of the stereo along with the rear DVD, so I might get another jukebox installed while I'm at it. We're going to have to replace it at some point, and having music for my journey sure would be nice. Possible escapeage of the gravity of the PacNW Black Hole on Monday afternoon, but Tuesday seems more likely somehow.

Pics: My friend Holly, who has become a juggler and hula-hooper extraordinare (at the same time, folks!). Alex's giant millipede Ichabod exploring the wilds of my arm. Preston outside Pike Place market. Pardon the cell-phone pics, please!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I'm off to see the Wizard...

... or at least visit the Emerald City! I'm flying out to Seattle tomorrow to collect Preston and see my WA friends. I had hoped to swing by Portland on the way back, but it's not going to happen this time. I need to get back here pronto. In addition to missing my little family, my return is accelerated by my acupuncture practice taking off. I'm going to teach a seminar on "Easy Advanced Bodywork." I'll be sharing some osteopathic techniques that don't require anatomical knowledge. Let me know if you want to reserve a space.

But before that happens, I'll be driving back on the Yellow Brick Road. You may recall my previous London Taxi cross-country trek in Victor, with Heather. This adventure will be similarly hot (still no A/C) but a bit more lonely. Fortunately, a fellow MS3 knitter, Judy, is putting me up for the night in Minnesota. How fun is that? I'll be armed with a pile of books on CD and a CB to keep me company. I'll post when I have access, and of course I'll have my phone. See you soon!

Thursday, July 05, 2007


If you knit, you need to do this. It's a mystery. Nobody knows what it is. But over 4,000 of us are doing it, in 6? 7? languages. Chart and written form available. And it's free.

Just do it. You'll be sorry you didn't sign up when the door slams shut this Friday at midnight.

You know you want to.

Resistance is futile.

No Sheep For Me!

I love Secret Pal Swaps, and the No Sheep For You book / blog / swap has been a great way to expand my fiber horizons. I get into engineering special little packages to suit my target, and I adore (of course) the prezzies in the mail. It's always interesting seeing how others see me when they assemble the surprises, too. Today is no exception. It's not the first time I've wanted to send stuff UPSTREAM, too, but WOW... I really hit the jackpot with this one! I knew I was going to like her because she was teasing me relentlessly with emails. She really drew out the suspense, mailing on the last day of the month!

Check out the mountain of cheerfully wrapped goodies... and what the mountain yielded when mined. Lindt truffles, Harry & David Moose Munch, Jelly Bellys, Lantern Moon circulars (I actually said "Oh my GOD!" out loud), a funny cat book, a kitty bookmark (doubly apropos because I'm riding high on the wave of paperbackswap.com), knitty stickies, a cute card... and...(drum roll)... 2 skeins in lush Caribbean blue cotton, and 2 soy silk in a rich purple that refused to photograph well.

Holy Cow. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Also - here is the silk spun up as a 4 ply. Each single was basically thread. It's now worsted weight. I have 107 yds, plus 37yds of Navajo plied single that I had left over. Project ideas, anyone?