Monday, December 31, 2007

Stripey Brown Socks!


I started these stupid lovely and wonderful socks in May, I think. My dad was supposed to get one for his birthday (July) and one for Christmas. But the first one went so fast, I got excited and gave him the first one around Father's Day, and thought, oh, hey, no problem, I'll have this done by July!

I finished them yesterday.

They're cute, though, huh? And very comfy. They're Austerman Step, so, with the jojoba and aloe right in the yarn.And of course what did I do, except cast on the next sock.

And, okay, I hate this yarn. I have many skeins of lovely sock yarn which I like very much. So why do I keep reaching for this one?

And that's not totally fair. Love the yarn (Jitterbug, which of course gets that Wham! song going in my head). It's the color I hate. It looks so good in the ball. Okay, that's not true. It looks so whimsical in the ball. As a sock, it just looks....obnoxious.

I'm knitting this on the Addi Lace needles I bought when I bought the yarn. They're like 40", which, for the record, is way too long, even for magic loop. And they stink. Stink. But I do like the pointiness a lot.

Maggie and I are ringing in the new year in style tonight. That style being, um, super casual. I'm hanging out with my dog tonight. Hopefully at least one of us will still be awake at midnight. We ordered pizza (it was very NY style, which, fine, but it was just okay) and will have hot chocolate (well, just me) and I'll do some reading and some knitting and Mags will nap and snuggle and we'll watch a lot of CSI. Maybe next year I'll do something out and fun and enjoy my wild single life, but this year....besides, who's more fun than my pup?

Incidentally, I'm now completely addicted to The Daily Coyote (see the link in the sidebar at right). I cannot get over how much Charlie looks like Maggie. In build, attitude, deportment. And his love of cats. Plus he's just so darn cute.

Happy new year, everyone!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Rainy Sunday

It's a rainy, rainy Sunday afternoon here in NC. Little Miss Delicate Puppy Dog is not pleased, neither by the giant puddle that is our back patio nor by the thunder that's rumbling around. I think maybe she's forgotten about her dislike for snow, though.

I'm feeling better. I'm not willing to go to "great" yet, still a little dizzy and nauseated but I'm significantly less achy and slept a little better last night. And my temp is down. I think the staying home yesterday was good for me (regardless of the fact that I would've been useless at the hospital). I even managed to go run some errands this morning. I was going to run to the Super Target, where, in theory, I could get everything I needed. But, of course, I totally forgot something that I didn't remember until after I'd left, which is my habit with Target. So I stopped at the Whole Foods to pick up milk. Which was better, anyway, because they always have local goods, and I'm always much happier to buy local. And while I was in the dairy section, I bought this:
Partly because I was running low on feta cheese (it's a staple around here). Partly because it cracked me up. Apparently this spelling is because the Greek government is cracking down on their proprietary right to call only cheese made in Greece "feta".


And as long as we're taking pictures of ridiculous things in my fridge, I also happen to think this is really funny. I have this package of polenta, right? And in the preparation instructions, is this:

Nine sixteenths? Really? They couldn't have just said half an inch?

Anyway. As I was saying.

Maggie and I spent pretty much the whole day hanging outdoing nothing yesterday (which, incidentally, is also my plan for this afternoon). Pretty much any time I got up, Mags stole my place on the couch.

We spent most of the time that we were awake watching movies on Lifetime. I got sucked in to the end of this really, really awful one called Criminal Intent. Wow, holy cow was it terrible. The acting was terrible. The plot was ludicrous. I'd watched about ten minutes of it and turned on something else, but then decided to turn it back on to catch the last fifteen minutes. Wow, it was so bad.

But by then I was sucked into the Lifetime vortex, and I ended up watching this movie about some Mormon woman in one of those extremist polygamist sects that escaped with her kids. It was formulaic, but entertaining. And then there was this movie called "Girl, posi+ive" with Kelly from 90210 (why can't I think of her name? Oh, Jennie Garth) about a girl that got HIV in high school. That one was actually fairly creative. And then I watched "The Waitress" on On Demand. I'd kind of wanted to see it back when it was in the little art film theaters, but never got around to it, and then yesterday they were advertising it and I discovered that it had Nathan Fillion in it, and well, I was sold (I adore him, even if he does have that weird hypertelorism thing going on). It was decent. Not as good as I was expecting after all the hype, and I didn't really like the relationship between Fillion's character and Keri Russell's (I think it's because I'm a doctor. There was a whole, medical ethics, makes-me-feel-kind-of-icky-inside thing to it that I probably wouldn't have responded to if I was, say, an accountant). But on the whole, worth the cheap rental.

So this afternoon I'm planning to do some knitting (I'm thisclose to having my sock finished. You know, the one I started in June) and nap through a marathon of Law and Order: SVU, which is one of my new favorite shows. Not because of the show itself all that much. I mean, it's well acted in general. The plotlines are usually fairly well written (although I occasionally find myself rolling my eyes when they blow right past the obvious solution and thinking, don't you people ever watch CSI??). And who doesn't love the irony of "Body Count" Ice-T as a cop? But really, what I love most is their liberal use of forensic psychiatrists, particularly the later episodes with B.D. Wong. That? Is the job I want. Right there. Profiling. Consulting to law enforcement. Doing actual criminology and forensics work, not prison psychiatry. Except maybe for the FBI. Really, I want to be Gordon Gordon.

Shut up, Katie, I do not watch too much TV.....

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sick Day

This morning, I did the unthinkable.

I called in sick.

I was supposed to be on call at State Hospital today, right? No big deal. And I'm on with an attending I like very much (possibly my favorite of the State Hospital medicine attendings), and I've got a decent moonlighter, it really shouldn't have been much of a deal at all. It's overcast and damp here today (even if it is 68 degrees out), so it's not like I really even could resent not having the day off.

And then...well, I was not feeling well when I got up this am.

You cannot believe the arguments I had with myself. I could probably manage. But I had a fever. But things aren't often very hectic at State Hospital, it was entirely possible I could spend part of the day hiding in the call room and possibly even get a nap in this afternoon. But I didn't feel good. But I've gone to work sicker - in fact, I went to work sicker than this last week. But my co-intern when I was on Medicine came in to work when she'd had food poisoning all weekend and had barely stopped throwing up. But I've covered for my sick colleagues on at least three occasions. But I was being irresponsible. But I was being responsible to myself - I was sick all last week, and this past week I've come home and crashed pretty much every single day. I've gotten nothing done despite the fact that I haven't been working very many hours. The only thing I think I've accomplished was passing my flu bug to my current co-intern, unless it was our senior resident who did that, because she was sick, or our attending, who was also sick, or any of the other sick residents (you know, or patients). And it's entirely possible that I wasn't quite better to begin with and either just got sicker, or I got reinfected from him (or her or him or them). But maybe I was just being neurotic. Maybe I really didn't feel all that bad.

Well, but maybe I did. I'd had a rough night. I'd been hoping to feel better all night, but still felt crummy. I had a little fever. I was sore and hot and congested and shaky going to work was not going to make me any better.

So I called the doc in charge of the medicine group, and said, I'm sick. I'll come in if I have to, but, I'm sick.

She basically said, wow. This is inconvenient. I don't have my phone list at home. I can't make the attending take call, he's on (home) call all weekend, that would be "humanly impossible" (what?) and also illegal (no it wouldn't. There are no work hours restrictions for attendings. Mostly because they don't need them). I really wish you'd called me yesterday.

Yeah. Can you imagine? "Hi, this is Kate. I'm going to be sick tomorrow. Could you rearrange the schedule now so we can accommodate that? Thanks."

Makes perfect sense.

And, I can't quite figure out why this was such a crisis. Usually, the attending is there until 5pm, when the moonlighter shows up. Who sometimes leaves at 11, or sometimes stays all night. Why they couldn't just carry the first call pager is a little bit beyond me.

I mean, what exactly is it that the intern can handle that's too overwhelming for the board-certified and experienced senior physician?

Anyway. So she fusses and frets and says, well, I'll try to make some calls...but you might need to come in anyway. I don't know who I can get to cover (because, it's not like that department employs a whole pool of physician extenders and moonlighters and locum tenens docs). You might need to come in at least this afternoon, for the night. So I got up, and showered - just in case she decided I needed to come in - and at some point remembered that I was probably supposed to call the chief resident and let them know. So I got dressed, and looked up which chief was taking those "emergency" calls this month, and paged him, bracing for the same kind of reaction from him, or worse (you know, like the couple of times I had to call in sick in my old program).

He says, "don't worry about it. We'll get the shift covered. These things happen. Now, what do we need to do for you? Are you okay? Do you need anything?"

I almost cried.

But no, I don't need anything. I have the TV remote, a pillow, a blanket, my couch, lots of fluids, and my dog to take care of me. Honestly, what more could I want?

::sigh:: Once again, though, I'm forced to ask myself, what the hell's wrong with the medical profession? We don't take care of ourselves. We work ridiculous amounts of hours, we expect perfection where it cannot be had, we expect our bodies, psyches, and spirits to be more than (less than?) human. Which is very different than what we expect from our patients. Or anyone else, for that matter. Stupid.

Friday, December 28, 2007


Maggie has a thing on her foot.

The groomer noticed it this weekend. I'd noticed she'd been licking her feet an awful lot. I looked at it, I was like, huh, that looks like a wart. The groomer said, I think that's a wart (what she actually said was, "my boyfriend has a wart like that on his foot. It gets all spongy when it gets wet, too, just like hers does." Umm...).

But then I slowly turned from overeducated pack leader into a pet parent.

What if it's something terrible?

What if the dog's foot falls off?

What if Maggie has toe cancer? (Now, that one's actually justifiable, because Kedzie, my old roommate's dog, had toe cancer. And they cut off his toe! And he missed it, I think, poor old fellow. And he's also, like, six hundred years older than Maggie. And cancer of the toe is sort of a fluke thing. But still!)

So I kept fussing at her and looking at her foot. And fretting. And worrying. I think this is what Maggie thought of my whole "toe cancer" idea.

I knew she was right.

But I took her to the vet anyway. Who said, "well, what that looks like is a papilloma."

And I thought, oh, God! A papilloma??!! Like, papillary toe cancer? A papilloma! Oh, God! Not a papilloma! Oh, my poor baby, not a pap-

And then I stopped. And I looked at the vet. And I said, "So....she's got a wart?"

Maggie has a wart. On her foot. A foot wart, if you will.

So glad I took her to the vet all freaked out about a wart. So is she. Because she ended up getting four shots while we were there. And has to go back for her lyme, giardia, and bordatella boosters in three weeks. Plus, now she has to get her teeth cleaned one of these days. But on the plus side, she did get a new toy.

And she now has vet insurance. Which I've been meaning to get for three years, but, seriously, the only thing my dog has ever had wrong with her are some seasonal allergies (Maggie having a sneezing fit is about the funniest thing you've ever seen in your whole life), and apparently a case of plantar warts that she probably picked up at that filthy horrible boarding facility. Which she really loves, and will probably be going back to stay at next weekend when I'm on call. However, not having vet insurance totally bit me in the ass with my last dog. Poor Wolfie was a sick little puppy (he was, like, eight), and his final three days in the doggie ICU alone almost cost me $2K. This cheap little Banfield-only plan is definitely a better idea.

What I think is especially funny, though, is that her health insurance costs more than mine. Now, admittedly, mine is subsidized. But I don't know why Blue Cross/Blue Shield won't let me claim her as a dependant. I mean really.


Oh, and you remember how like a year ago the groomer back in Illinois looked at Maggie was like, "Wow, she looks like she's got some coyote in her." And I thought, huh, she kind of does. Well, if I'd had any doubts, they were squelched by the photos of Charlie, a coyote who's been domesticated by a lady out in Wyoming after he was orphaned as a tiny little pup. Check out the pictures, he's way cute. And could well be Maggie's littermate, if she wasn't like four years older than him.

In other news...I did finish my Bones Hat the other day. I even wore it to work yesterday and got compliments on it. Now, you'll remember that this is Take Two of the Tapestry hat. I'd made one to go with the set that I'm making, and it was really boring, and I was busy coveting the hat that Emily Deschanel had been wearing on a recent episode of Bones. So this was my template And this is what I ended up with.

Not bad. The cables are a little different, and the brim isn't designed to be flipped up like that, but all in all, I'm quite pleased with it. And it's far more interesting than the original. It's made out of Tapestry and Cascade Superwash.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What is wrong with me?


So...from the creators of NaBloPoMo comes Blog 365. Like NaBloPoMo, you commit to posting every day. Except, for the entire year of 2008.

Well, February 29th, it turns out, is a free day.

And, the rules are a little bit more flexible. Like, they allow for post-dating your postings (on the assumption, of course, that if you can't get to a computer that day you'll do some "old school blogging" - i.e., with a piece of paper and one of those writey-type things that we so rarely use anymore...which, you know, given my doctor's handwriting and general inability to spell on a consistent basis, may not be such a bad advancement - and then transfer your content to your blog). And if you maintain more than one blog, as long as you put a post up every day, you're golden, even if it's not always on the same blog. Not that I have more than just this one, but, I'm sayin'.

I, of course, read the email and went, hmm, sure, sign me up.

Why did that seem like a good idea?

I'm genuinely stumped by this. And, I don't really know why, I mean, it's not a bad idea (although, honestly, I'm not sure I really understand why anybody at all reads this thing), but, what's the point? As my best friend so eloquently pointed out in November, it's not like blogging is endangered or something. It's not like I actually get paid to blog, although there are some people who do. And I'm not like "blogging for the cure" or whatever. I'm not even a theme blogger, so, it's not like I'm trying to get my message out or anything - most of the time I just write whatever drivel dribbles out of my head. So, what's the point of doing Blog 365? Some competitive and/or compulsive tendency of mine? Some form of narcissism or self-importance? Maybe a reach for connection? An attempt at stability or control? Or possibly a need to be heard? Which, considering how much I censor myself on here...

And don't get me wrong, I ask this out of genuine curiosity, not self-critical scrutiny. It's possibly a query about what blogging really represents to me. I just wonder.

And no, I don't expect you to have the answer.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

WARS (WARS!!!!!)

I heart Family Medicine. At least for the next ten days.

So, every year at the holidays, they do this thing called WARS, which my co-intern insists you have to sort of growl, all loud and baritone, sort of like, WARRRRRRRRRRRRS! It allegedly stands for Work At Reduced Staff, or Wives Against Resident Slavery, or We Are Really Short, or We Are Really Screwed, or Work's Always Really Shitty, depending on whom you talk to. What it amounts to is that half the staff gets the whole week of Christmas off, and the other half has the whole week of New Year's off. But on the alternate week, they're on call like every other night and work their butts off.

But we don't. Because we're not really part of WARS, so, we're just gravy for them. Pretty much every morning, my cohort Mike and I go in at 8 am, which is an hour and half or so later than we usually get there, and see whatever patients are assigned to us, and then whenever we're ready we round with the attending. And then as soon as whatever work we have to do to take care of those patients is done, we go home. And while I still have Saturday State Hospital call duty, Mike takes no call at all until after the first and has both weekends off. It's a sweet deal.

I had a lovely day today. I actually had to pick Mike up on my way in this morning because he was having car trouble. We were both woefully unprepared today - we both forgot our ID badges (which of course give us access to the unit we're on) and he forgot his pager. Which, no matter, we still wandered in at 8 and managed to get onto the ward and all was well. I had three patients to see, chatted with the attending, called a consultant or two, and was done before 11. Mike finished around 11:30, and offered to buy me lunch if I drove him to Borders to pick up the rest of his girlfriend's Christmas gift. And you know how much I simply hate going to bookstores. I wandered around and read a few pages of a few different books and got a little giddy off the book fumes while he picked out a travel guide for her upcoming trip out of the country. And then we went to this nearby Indian place and I had very wet daal and vegetable curry and we had a leisurely conversation about our program and our coworkers and I clued him in on medicine at State Hospital, which he's doing after we're finished with Family, and we had a very nice time.

As a sidebar, he also told me that he's doing State Hospital Medicine with another of our classmates (obviously), one of the two other male full-time residents in our class, whom we'll call Fang (for reasons that have nothing to do either with his dentition or, say, a preponderance of tattoos. Just trust me, it makes sense). Mike can be pretty laid back, generally, but I think he still may not take especially well to all the power jockeying. He's also very tall, which will make Dr. Asshole feel even shorter than, say, I did (Mike's probably close to a foot taller than I am). And a bit more hot blooded and occasionally lacks a filter between his brain and his mouth. And both of them are pretty smart guys, seem to have a pretty good sense of people. Which, can be very difficult when Dr. Asshole starts pretending to know anything at all about psychiatry. But then again, they both have Y chromosomes, which our infamous Med Unit attending tends to equate with intelligence (or rather, he tends to equate the lack thereof with a lack thereof). I think that's going to be an interesting little bit of behavioral sociology, right there.

Anyhow. It also happens that Mike lives about three blocks from the good yarn store. So, darn it all, I just had to stop in. I bought a book of very cool baby blanket patterns and another one about dyeing yarn with plants. Because really, I wanted to sit and knit for a while, and none of what I'm knitting with currently could possibly have been purchased at their store. So I had to buy something. And then I did sit and knit. It turns out that they have a Wednesday afternoon knitting group. Ohhh, which was so nice. I mean, not my group from back home (you guys are irreplaceable), but it was just so very lovely to be among knitters. And to sit and knit in the presence of strangers without anyone looking at me like I was doing witchcraft. Ah, it was wonderful.

AND, it turns out that many of these very nice people I met today are part of a knitting group that meets every Tuesday night at 7pm at a bookstore near the hospital. I think...I think I might have found a knitting circle! Do you know how exciting that is?! Knitters! And a social group of non-hospital folks (not that I don't love my fellow doctor types, but, you know how sometimes stay at home moms need to have conversations with adults? It's kind of like that. Sometimes it's nice to be able to talk about something totally unrelated in, you know, English. Instead of Latin and/or acronyms). I'm all a-twitter. And, almost done with my revised Tapestry hat.

My Christmas was wonderful, by the way. I spent both Christmas Eve and Christmas evening with our family friends that live here in town. Their eldest daughter, who's a few months older than me and with whom I veritably grew up, was in for the holiday, which, it was so nice to see her, too. And, she and I kicked some serious ass at Trivial Pursuit. It was just such a nice time.

Oh, and for those who are worried, fear not, I won't let Maggie get cold, even if she is naked. I actually didn't have her clipped all that close, so she still has SOME fur. And also a nifty red coat. And a little sweater, if absolutely necessary. But really, the fur was so out of control. She's on really top-shelf food and has really soft, healthy fur, but, it's that husky undercoat. No amount of brushing has seemed to curtail it, either. I normally have her clipped in the spring and then in like, August, not this time of year, but she was miserably itchy, and the loose hair was getting in her ears and making them itch. And, I'm allergic to dog hair. Plus, there were like five other dogs getting clipped at the groomer that's not like winter in Chicago.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas, y'all

Happy Christmasolistikwanzakah.

And in the Christmas spirit, I give you two things. My very favorite Christmas song, a Dar Williams classic...

...and a bit of holiday amusement, via Penguinshrink.

Christmas Carols for the Mentally Ill

* 1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

* 2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

* 3. Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas

* 4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

* 5. Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and.....

* 6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Get Me

* 7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

* 8. Personality Disorder NOS --- You Better Watch Out, I' m Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

* 9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at the Froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?

* 10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - - - Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle,Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells

Wishing you the happiest of holidays - whichever ones you celebrate - and good mental health.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Fur and fun things

Maggie finally got her haircut today. She's so naked!!

And this would be why Maggie got a haircut.....

Seriously. The hair was out of control.

Maggie has a slightly different take on the day's events...

(Is that not the cutest picture, ever, of my dog? And look, now you can see her supercool Tarheels collar!)

So anyhow. When we got home from Petsmart, there was a mysterious box on our front step. It rattled! You know how I love presents, so I was very excited. Maggie also thought the present was very exciting, which made me think it must contain food and/or dog treats. Turns out, I think it just smelled like cats. Because when I opened it, it contained this:

Exciting, right? Well, look what happens when you open it:

It's yarn! And a pattern! And lavender-scented shea butter! And not just any yarn and pattern and lavender-scented shea butter. Hand-dyed sock yarn from Jen of Knitting Like Crazy. Sarah's December Nights sock pattern. And the shea butter is from Mother Earth and You, which is local to the yarn store. Yes, folks, it's one of the December Nights Sock Club Kits from Peggy's Strands of Heaven in Plainfield, IL. Sarah, of course, designed the December Nights sock. It's this very cool toe-up pattern that starts with a little knitted rectangle instead of the goofy figure-eight cast-ons everyone is always arguing about that never quite get tight enough and etc, etc, etc. So, so cool. And now I have one of my very own! Thanks, Sarah!! You totally made my holiday (sniff, sniff)!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

And as long as we're frequenting YouTube

A couple of my other favorites...

Take away the snow, make the moose a farmhouse, and change the wreath to a bag of beach stuff, and this is more or less me, on the way to the Intern Retreat on Topsail Island, shortly after my GPS navigator dropped me in the middle of a cornfield somewhere in Deliverance Back Woods, NC.

And then add a lot of hysterical screaming into the phone as my parents tried to Mapquest me from Chicago and I just kept getting more and more lost. I'm not especially proud of that moment, but did I mention the burning crosses?

(Yes, of course there were no actual burning crosses. Much like there was absolutely no chance whatsoever of me hitting the seventeen year old renal failure kid in the last post. It's called dramatic license, people, calm down.)

And, as long as we're talking holiday commercials, this one just cracks me up.



I'm post-call. Which means my brain is a little more disorganized than usual., a little frightening, all things considered. So anyway, today I bring you a mish-mosh, a melange, if you will, a random assortment of....stuff....

First off, I'm a little worried that there's something wrong with my dog. I mean, look at this irrefutable photographic evidence:

See the dog? And the hamburger? Laying, mere inches, uneaten, from the dog?

She eventually ate the meat. And some of the bun. And it's possible she may have been a little carsick, still. We went out to the Petsmart this morning. Maggie was supposed to get a haircut this morning, but, alas, somehow the Banfield here still hasn't gotten her rabies info from the Banfield back in Chicago. Who, of course, is closed today. So maybe she'll get one tomorrow, if we can coordinate all the paperwork. Anyway, so we wandered around the Petsmart for a while, bought some food, bought some of the treats she really, really likes (they're from Authority, some sort of organic carrot-y things, I think, but the point is, they're round, and so if you roll them across the floor, she gets to chase them. Which is apparently very exciting. Last week, I handed her one, and she took it....and then promptly tossed it into the air and swiped it with her paw and then chased it and pounced on it), and then we wandered over to Raleigh for post-call hamburgers from the Char-Grill. Maggie occasionally gets her own - no toppings - when I go for post-call hamburgers. And she's usually quite pleased with the arrangement. But maybe today there was just too much excitement and driving involved.

Second of all, click here. Scroll all the way down to the bottom. Click on the link under "Dating Application" and download the form. It's freakin' hilarious.

Third, watch this:

Sara Bareilles. Her first big single, Love Song, is on that Rhapsody/TiVo commercial, and it kind of caught my attention. So I poked around, and ended up downloading her new album, Little Voice, off of iTunes, which, it's cheaper than most, which is an even bigger cause for excitement, because wow. Its fantastic. Bluesy, jazzy, with solid vocals and clever lyrics. Go to iTunes. Buy it, buy it, buy it now.

This is actually my favorite song off the album, Vegas:

I love finding new music I like. And I really get excited when you take a chance on somebody and buy an album having only heard a song or two, and the whole thing turns out to be good.

And finally, a tiny little blurb about call last night. Okay, first, the setup...on call, I get to wear scrubs. Which, I usually only wear scrub pants, and a regular shirt. The nice thing about this is that scrub pants? Have a pocket. Which, you'll notice that most women's pants aren't so good on the pocket-ness. And this is especially nice because I can toss a pen and my palm pilot into my pocket, throw my stethoscope around my neck, and not have to wear my whole labcoat. But, this leaves me with an unfortunately palm-pilot-shaped lump on my ass. So...I got a call, to one of the men's long-term units. And I went up, and I'm unlocking the door to the nurses' station, and there's this guy sitting in a chair next to the door, who reaches over and TOUCHES MY ASS. Now, my impression was that he saw the unusual shape of whatever was in my pocket, and reached over to touch that, i.e., to figure out what it was, rather than actually just fondling me (like certain other patients have, a-hem. Although if they're going to feel me up, they usually go for the boobs). And you know, these psychotic folks, not so good at the impulse control.

Which is why I merely turned and gave him a very warning glare instead of decking him.

Although I'm getting better at controlling my impulse to hit the patients when they come after me. I.e., last week, when I was on psych, I went over to see the renal failure kid on the adolescent unit, because he was acting out. And he's all screwing around, and being all aggressive, and he starts faking punches at the staff (who, by the way, were two gigantic muscular black dudes). And I speak very menacingly to him. So then he starts trying to punch me.

At which point he went into restraints.

Now, technically, we're not supposed to put patients into restraints if they're in danger of hurting someone else, only if they're in danger of hurting themselves. But, you know, he's all flailing around, he easily could've smacked into the wall, cut himself....and let me tell you...he took one more swing at me, that boy was going to be hurting.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

There's only one word for this...

It's bliss.

(Missed the reference? Click here.)

And, try not to notice that the hot chocolate is in a Duke mug. It's the only one I have clean. And, it was a gift from the PA student I worked with back in August, so I actually use it quite frequently.

The sock is the second of my dad's pair of Birthday/Christmas socks, which, okay, still probably not going to finish by Christmas, considering I'm on call this weekend. And there's no way humanly possible that my mom's gift will be finished. And my best friend's? A pipe dream, involving lots of yarn that may or may not already be in balls and a pattern I'm not at all sure I can find.

Yeah, I'm not sending out Christmas Cards this year, either. I'd been hopeful, at one point,

So the chocolate in the mug is actually kind of exciting. It's Starbucks drinking chocolate. Which has been gone from their menu for a while, and I wasn't that excited about in the first place, but now it comes in chunks in bag at Target. You microwave a little milk with a couple spoonfuls of chocolate chunks, stir it up into a mocha syrup (you know, what you add to coffee to make a mocha), basically, then add more milk, and zapp-o, kickass hot chocolate. So good. know, I think I kind of like my Ghirardelli double cocoa powder a little better. And it's lower maintenance. Mmmm, what a sweet dilemma.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Warm milk and garlic

No, not together.

I'm still sick. Or, sick again. Or something. I was feeling better yesterday, but, alas, I spent most of rounds this morning trying not to pass out. Which I didn't.

But I came home, I took a little nap, I felt a little better. I did some work, I made some pasta with copious amounts of garlic. Which, I mean, garlic makes everything better. And it's well known for its antibacterial properties. So maybe it'll help. And then later I had some hot chocolate. Which, again, chocolate makes everything better. Plus, there's, like, flavenoids. And it was skim milk, so, lots of calcium, and warm tryptophan to help me sleep. And cinnamon is known for its restorative qualities. So, tomorrow, I should be a-ok. But just in case, I have tomorrow off.

I was kind of a bitch about it today. My senior resident was trying to be like, no, you get four days off a month, blah, blah, blah, something about call falling on the weekend, and I was like, no way. I'm on call every Saturday. Every Saturday for the next four weeks. Which means I get a day off during the week. Because I'm legally obligated to get one day off in seven. And I'm on call every stinking weekend this month. Don't fuck with my day off, man, I get cranky. And technically, since I get two days off for the holiday next week, they could probably make me not take a day off tomorrow. But damn it, one day off in seven is not an unreasonable thing. And Mike gets, like the next three weekends off, AND the holidays, and doesn't have to take call from the 22nd through the 4th of January, because of the holiday coverage. So, friggin', leave me alone.

In totally unrelated news, Barb's poor dog Scout had a little puppy surgery, and is now stuck in a cone collar. Poor, sweet, really cute pooch. And then, because he can scratch the one incision with his hind leg, the vet suggested that Barb put a t-shirt on him. And that cracked me up. Because Maggie? HATES wearing clothes, the little nudist. She gets really annoyed any time I try to put her in them. As evidence, I present the following picture:

This was her Halloween costume last year when we worked at the yarn shop. Boo.

And then there was Christmas.

My poor dog...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Family Medicne

When the last intern who'd been on the Family Medicine service signed out to me on Friday, he said, "Look for the list (on the computerized medical record). You're the blue team. You want the list where "blue" is spelled right but "medicine" is spelled wrong. There's also a list where "blue" is misspelled but "medicine" is spelled right - that's the wrong list."


Today was my first day on the "blu" team. I'm there for two months. It was an interesting first day. Primarily because I've been dreading this rotation. The interns that have done it already this year had a really rough time of it. Typically, there are two interns assigned to family medicine - one who takes call every fourth night with the family service (which, incidentally, is the busiest group in the whole hospital. They admit more patients than the general medicine service. I think that's weird, but probably because I came from a hospital where family practice didn't admit at all), while the other works at Big Hospital during the week and takes Medicine call every Saturday at State Hospital. But, you know, for the past few months we've been a bit short staffed, so there's only been one psych intern on the Family team. So they essentially did the work of two people. While being up for 30+ hours ever fourth night. Good times. Needless to say, the four interns who've been on over the past six months have had some frightening stories to report. You know, stuff that was kind of like the intrinsic problems at my old residency - uneven responsibilities, work hours violations, a lot of dumping on people (the systematic issues, not the let's-beat-on-Kate type problems).

But, I've got a co-intern. Whom we'll call Mike. So, Mike and I split the patients. Which makes it a whole lot better. Especially considering that I've already got to get up at 5 just to get to the hospital in time to round on 4 or 5 patients, so if I had to round on 9 or 10, I might as well just move in.

I don't think it's going to be as bad as I was anticipating. Nonetheless, it was an interesting day. I'm...okay, I admit it, I hold what's probably an unfair bias against family practitioners. It's not a particularly competitive specialty. There are a lot of foreign medical grads that tend to fill up the residency spots, and a lot of US medical grads who don't match or can't get into more competitive residencies. And while the ideal is that they have a broad base of knowledge to treat patients from birth to death and at every stage in between. But the stigma is, they're a jack of all trades and a master of none, who have a shallow knowledge base and have to refer all the interesting stuff out. know, there are also a lot of family practitioners who fit the ideal. I have several very good friends who went into family because they had altruistic notions of life-long patient rapport, who have a wide-ranging base of knowledge, who enjoy the diversity of care. But I also have one or two classmates who are FPs now to whom I wouldn't send my neighbor's cat. And one in particular who admitted he was going into Family because he was - his word - lazy. Anyway, the point being....I need to get over that. We've got some really sick patients on the service. And like I said, they're the busiest service in the hospital. So they've got to know something. And they can't all be the wacky, scattered granola people of their reputation.

Although, my senior resident did hug me as I was leaving today....::sigh:: It's gonna be a weird month.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I'm sick.

Which is so annoying.

I think it's the flu or some other viral thingamajig. I'm running a temp, I've got chills, my throat's all patchy, my joints are weirdly achy, my stomach's all grumbly. I've been fighting it for a few days, and really, it was just a matter of time. My attending was out sick a few days this month, the social worker on my team was out sick for a while, the psychologist we worked with was out sick for a good long's been going around. And while I'm tempted to say "Hmm, glad I got that flu shot, that clearly worked out well for me," it's probably why I made it this long without getting sick.

So I've dedicated the rest of the day to lying on the couch hiding under blankets trying to actually warm up (and because, dude, I start Family Medicine tomorrow, I need to be all recovered and ready). And in flipping the channels I came across the CMT Crossroads episode with Joss Stone and Leann Rimes.

On the whole, I'm not a huge Joss Stone fan. But the two of them really had great chemistry. And say what you will about Leann Rimes and her corny, twangy old stuff, the girl has pipes. I did spend most of the episode really distracted by her shoes, though. What were those about? (I loved that Stone was barefoot, too.)

I think I had more to say about that. But I don't know, I'm going back under the blankets. Enjoy the video.

Friday, December 14, 2007

What in the world.....?

I'm at State Hospital right now (I'm technically on call again, but it's short call, and my moonlighter should be here by 5, which is good, despite the fact that this makes me on call every-other-day and the students AND the other intern AND the social worker all got to work a half day today on this totally gorgeous sunny day not that I'm bitter why no not at all). And I'm walking down the hall, and I see this patient. Who is not my patient, so I don't really know what the heck her story is.

And she's standing in a doorway, braced against the door frame. With a sheet of paper on her head. And on top of that is a paper cup of water, which she's holding in place. And she's deeply engrossed in a conversation with someone who doesn't actually appear to be there.

Even by psych ward standards, that's weird.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Night at State Hospital

So.....I'm on call.

Thusfar things have been running at an absolutely breakneck pace. My medical student is also on call tonight (he? Leaves at 10. I'm telling you, Big Hospital coddles their students way too much. Yes, I admit, it was not always the most useful thing for me to sit around at 2am and watch my resident write orders, but at least we got the idea of how things work in the hospital in the middle of the night and what goes on and the difference between the big, open, during-working-hours hospital and the things that go bump in the night, if you know what I mean. I'm a little worried about how these kids are going to do when they have to be actual interns themselves. But, shocking though it may be, I digress....), and until I dropped him off with the attending doing intake, we'd spent our evening having a deep philosophical discussion on the meaning of life while I knit a sock. Which was interrupted a couple of times by the pager, sure, and once by dinner, but needless to say, it's not been one of those evenings of chaos.

So far.

I really think this cannot bode well for the rest of the night.

It's likely my very last psych call at State Hospital. Next month I'll be on call here on Saturdays for medicine, but by the time I rotate back to do either of the state mental hospital psychiatric services (i.e., men's unit or women's unit), we'll likely be far, far away at New State Hospital, to which patient transfer is slated for February. And which is like an hour away from my house, instead of ten minutes, like State Hospital. Unless I move. Which I might. But probably not by then. I dunno. Anyway, that's kind of...well, maybe it's sad. But I'm not sure sad is really the right word. It seems like a momentous sort of thing.

I'm not sure I'm going to miss it, exactly. I guess we'll see what the final setup is at New State Hospital. I'm not going to miss the bug bites I seem to acquire in the middle of the night every time I'm on call (I think there are ants in the call room, but I can't prove it. The whole hospital has an ant problem). Or the 100+ years of smelly funk that sort of permeates this place. Frankly, some of the units are sort of dumpy. But it's also old and full of history, here. There's a unique quality to this place that makes it feel like an entity all unto itself. I don't know quite how to describe it...maybe the place really is haunted, as the lore would have you believe. But it feels like that old person you see on the street, you know, the one you look at who, maybe they look a little roughed up by life, maybe their clothes don't quite match, maybe they seem a little whethered, but you look at them, and you just see a sort of ineffable wisdom, you know the stories they could tell would fill volumes and not be complete. That's sort of how I feel about this place. If these walls could talk they would pour out stories of such breathtaking depth, of joy and pain and madness and unreality and sorrow and fear, in such savage complexity, that it could overtake you. It's absolutely staggering, to think of the number of people who've passed through this place, patients and staff alike. To think of what occurred that now lays silent in these confines, happenings both earth shaking and nearly insignificant, both glorious and horrific. This place has seen so many turns of what defines "mental health", what makes up "normal", and conversely, what qualifies a person's value and worth (or lack there of). This hospital is the stuff legend is made of, and an infinite collection of things that seem tiny but are the whole world to someone. New State Hospital may be shiny and fresh and (at least for the moment) free of roaches, but what echoes in this place really needs to be honored.

Is alls I'm saying.

Hmm. Perhaps my excessively florid verbiage is a really good sign that I need to go to bed while I still can...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I'm sitting here writing this in the dark. Because this morning, Maggie and I were sitting in the living room of my little townhouse apartment, and I heard this funny buzzing. And I traced it to the breaker box that's on the wall between the kitchen and the living room. And I thought, ew, there must be a bug trapped in there or something. So I very cautiously opened it up, and no, no bug, but the circuit breaker for my bedroom was sparking. So, I flipped the breaker, called and left a message for maintenance, got a very long extension cord for my modem and router (which were on an outlet attached to the sparking breaker), and didn't worry about it.

But then I got home, flipped the switch for the lights in my living room....and nothing happened.


You know, but in dog.

So, okay, I find the little maintenance form that says "replaced breaker". And I think, alright, well, he probably knocked the living room breaker out when he did this. So I went to flip the living room breaker. Except, there is no breaker marked "living room." Plus, it's still making that buzzing noise. So I could just start randomly flipping them all, but alas....

The maintenance guy just came. And he flipped the breaker on the bottom right of the panel which was clearly marked "living room" and was obviously tripped.

Okay. Either I'm an idiot, or it was dark in here.

And he says the sparking was because the breaker stands a little bit out from the post, and so it occasionally grounds out to the box and sparks. Or at least that's my interpretation of what he said. He's going to come replace something else tomorrow, because, still sparking. But he swears it won't burn the house down.

I mean, come on. I have renter's insurance, but I don't really want to use it.

Also, I haven't had a man run out of my apartment so fast in a long time. I think he was afraid of Maggie. She did a very good job of barking intimidatingly when he came. She heard him and barked before he even knocked. Good puppy.

Oyyyyy, it was a long day today. I have a couple of the most....draining, suck-all-the-life-out-of-you kind of patients on my team. Which I'm trying very hard to keep from influencing the amount of care and time that I'm giving my more stable patients. Which is a hard thing to balance, when the squeaky wheels are coming up to you every five minutes because they're having some sort of issue. I have this one chronic schizophrenic who's just a big ol' leech, and wants to tell me something every time I walk by her, and yesterday asked to see me and when I asked her what was up (a half hour after I was supposed to have left, with another half hour of work left to do), she said, "Oh, I just wanted to get a feel for your personality."

Mmmm, right then? No, you really don't.

I have another patient who's convinced she's going to jail forever, despite the fact that we cannot dig up any current charges on her, anywhere. Today she informed me that she's absolutely certain that she's going to get the death penalty. For fraud. Because she passed just so many bad checks (which she didn't). And when I tried to point this out to her, and reiterated that we couldn't find any charges at the federal, state, or local level, she told me it was because the government was still watching her, taking their time to make a move. We even got the special counsel (lawyer who handles the commitment stuff, as the patient's lawyer, as opposed to the AG, who's our counsel) to talk to her, and she still will not budge in this delusion. She's also the woman who slit her own throat and stabbed herself in the abdomen multiple times, necessitating surgery. I have another patient who's 30 and has this very fixed and rigid delusion that her 82 year old ex-boyfriend (who doesn't exist) has a contract out on her and her family and that her neighbors (who, according to her dad, don't know who she is) are spying on her for him.

And then I have one whom I think has multiple personality disorder (no, for real), and who is just so damaged and has such trauma stuff going on, and oh, I could just sink my teeth into her case for months. She's totally right up my alley. But I've got her for such a short time, and she managed to cut herself twice in the ER before she came to State Hospital, so we're always worried about her sneaking off and doing something. Plus she's been cheeking her meds, etc, etc, etc.

And that's only, like, half my service. I also have Eeyore, and this new-onset dementia lady who's independence I'm having to curtail (that sucks), and, and, and. It's tiring. Plus then I basically gave my medical student a free therapy session today (he's been bugging me to diagnose him for two weeks now). And, I was supposed to have lunch with my assigned mentor, right? Who thought I was a third year resident - i.e., someone who was applying to the forensics fellowship next year - and showed up with the director of the program in tow. You know, for kicks. So the whole thing ended up being very formal and intimidating. Although I did find a good new restaurant in Raleigh.

Whew. No wonder I'm so tired...

Monday, December 10, 2007


So I'm on Ravelry now. I'm not entirely certain what that means, but everyone's been telling me I need to join. It's an online knitting community. They finally "approved" me. So, wahoo. I'm there as "doctorkate".

I'm also really tired. It was a long, long day....

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Pomegranate, a haiku

Jubilant jewels
Except when wearing white shirts
Pomegranates, oy.

So this is December in the south...

I had to turn the heat off yesterday. Today, I'm sitting around in a tank top with the patio door open. It's 72 degrees out right now. Although, earlier in the week it was in the high 20s.

And I kind of miss snow. Although on Friday we had something like 70 accidents during morning rush hour because - allegedly. I mean, I sure didn't see any of it, but I guess I believe it happened - there was a little freezing rain. Our treatment team nurse got stuck in it for three hours. Yuck.

I made it to the Fresh Market today, finally. And got interesting things, like a pomegranate. I'm not quite sure what to do with a pomegranate, frankly, but I'm pretty sure I flipped through at least three recipes yesterday that discussed pomegranate.

In knitting news, I finished the Black Cherry Bag. Sort of.

Except it won't felt.

Well, it'll felt a little.

It felts enough that the mohair pops out and makes it nice and fuzzy and soft. But, you can clearly still see the stitch definition. And it shrunk more heightwise than lengthwise - like, a lot - so it's really rectangular if you don't fold in the sides, which is how I'd planned to leave it. And I'm out of ideas for making it felt any harder. I ran it through my washer, which didn't work very well. But okay, it's a front loader, I've heard they may not work very well for felting. So I wandered over to the laundry room and ran it through the entire cycle of the complex's commercial Speed Queen. And even that didn't work. So I tried the thing of putting it wet in the dryer with a big wet bath towel and running it on high heat. Which I did for a total of 30 minutes. And I got nothin'. So, I guess it's felted as much as it's going to. I'm a little disappointed. And I'm not super thrilled with how it turned out in general. It's shorter than I'd hoped. And it sheds more than Maggie right now. Ah, well....

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Huffing the book fumes

Ahhh, I love days off.

I tried to go to the Fresh Market this morning, but in my drive to get there before everyone else did, I got there before they even opened up. So I started home and then decided to stop at the Borders - which I knew was open - to pick up this month's book for Readers Anonymous (it's basically an online book club I just joined. Like a support group for book addicts, but with more books. Bill W. might not approve of our "recovery" methods, but, alas). I also had decided on the way there that I'd wander through the cookbooks, because lately I've been feeling like I needed something new to get me out of my rut of pasta and chicken fingers (not together).

I showed amazing restraint today. I managed to get out of the knitting section unladen with bounty, amazingly enough. I did not buy Son of Stitch 'n' Bitch, again, nor did I buy Itty Bitty Nursery (although, with the rate my friends are procreating these days, I'm not sure why I denied myself that one, except that I'm, you know, broke), despite the fierce temptation of both. I did eventually find our December read, The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans, which I was delighted to find was small, short, and cheap. I also did spend a while sitting on the floor (which is my favorite Borders activity) looking at cookbooks, and ultimately decided on World Vegetarian, by Madhur Jaffrey. I have a couple of her smaller cookbooks and love them. It's got piles and piles of (over 650!) good international recipes. I'm excited.

I have to admit, I've been missing my 800-page volume of The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking lately, which I've now forgotten in Chicago twice. And my current medical student is Indian, and he swears there's a good Indian store not far from where I live.

He's also taking his Step One boards today (they never would've let us start our third year without having taken boards, but whatever, Big Hospital coddles their students in a lot of ways), which he's been very freaked out about all week. Seriously, this kid (kid...he's older than I am) knows way more detail than I think I ever knew in my first two years of medical school. He's going to be fine. And so yesterday afternoon, after we'd seen all our patients and before I actually had to start answering the call pager, I made him hand over his flashcards and we spent about an hour doing Q&A. Which was a somewhat humbling experience for me (holy freakin' herd of cows, I think I've already forgotten more information than I know. Of course, what gene codes for an specific tyrosine kinase mutation is not especially relevant information to my practice at the moment. And I know where to look it up if I need it. But still). But his flashcards also smelled a bit like curry (he gave me that exact same look when I glanced at the stack of cards kind of quizzically and then sniffed them that I often get when I start sniffing the yarn at yarn shops. I just don't think this is such a weird behavior!), which just made me start thinking about how long it's been since I had decent Indian food...

I also bought Jaffrey's memoir, Climbing the Mango Trees, which looks, again, like a quick read and full of delicious language and sweet memories. I'll keep you posted. But that's all I bought, those three books, two of which I went in for. And one of which was completely paid for by redeeming the Borders Bucks I've accumulated over the past year. Very cool.

So now all I need to do is find my book stand, so I can read and knit at the same time. Add the open windows and the dog curled up at my feet, and that right there? Is bliss on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Knitty (aka, animal cruelty and cool things)

So the winter edition of Knitty is out. For those of you non-knitters, it's a quarterly online knitting magazine which is a fabulous source of free patterns that are typically well written and also free. Plus they're free. Which, if you've ever spent $12 on a stupid "professional" pattern that was full of mistakes....

There are some good patterns this month. Two patterns, though, in particular, stand out.

This one, called Jeanie, is, wow, just gorgeous. I hope to someday again possess the patience to do something like this (it doesn't look all that hard, it's just large and on small needles). And the model is just stunning, isn't she? Which, considering that these are amateur patterns with amateur photos usually of family and friends...anyway, the truly fabulous thing about this pattern is the yarn it's made from.

Dudes! Dream in Color is the hand-dyed yarn company I used to work for! They were (and still are, for the moment) a cottage business out of the shop where I worked last year. I was their entire shipping department for a while.

Also, though, I cannot believe they changed the name of their yarns to Classy, Smooshy, and Fatty. When I left the sock yarn was Gaia and the worsted was...I don't know, some other goddess, and the chunky was still in development. Smooshy sock yarn? And um, maybe that rule about how chunky girls shouldn't knit wearables out of chunky yarn is actually useful here, because I cannot bring myself to make a garment out of something called Fatty.

But, then, there's also this pattern, very unfortunately named Cables 'n' Bits:

Please. Maggie and I implore you. Never put a shrug on your dog. Ever.

In other news (lest this start resembling an actual knitting blog), I was on call again, last night, of course. It was a long. damn. night. I think I singlehandedly came close to doubling the census on the male crisis unit, or so I'm told. And I got three voluntary admissions, which almost never happens, least of all three times in one night. One of them was very, very drunk, and frankly, she was sort of funny. And then decided she didn't want to stay when I told her she couldn't smoke at State Hospital, but, I persuaded her to sit tight. I also picked up yet another (eye roll) borderline who "tried to kill herself" (for those of you who don't know what a borderline is, be grateful). And I think it's entirely possible that I got 15 minutes of sleep in there somewhere, although it's possible I just blacked out between 3:45 and 4am. I could not testify to the sleep in court.

Which is where I'm going tomorrow, by the way. Not to crazy people court, but to traffic court. Because I got my first NC speeding ticket about six weeks ago. I officially live here now.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Natural Selection

Oyyyy, what a day.

I get in to work this morning and discover that I've acquired four new patients onto my team, which is a LOT of new people to work up, just take my word for it. I nearly turned and ran right then. And it brings my grand total to thirteen. All of whom are annoyingly high maintenance.

But then I went to morning report, only to hear this completely ridiculous of my patients and one of Dr. C's patients were discovered this weekend sticking a paper clip into an electrical outlet. I'm not kidding. Apparently my patient had a cigarette (which is big ol' contraband on our unit - we're strictly smoke free) and so they were trying to heat up the paper clip or create fire or something - you know, so they could light the cigarette - so they stuck the paper clip in the electrical outlet. And then, when all they succeeded in doing was shorting out all of the electricity in their room, they did it AGAIN and shorted out all the electricity in the hallway.

Just. Effing. Brilliant.

The charge nurse said, this morning, "It's a miracle they didn't kill themselves."

Something like that.

Just...I....d''s a shame you can't medicate away the stupid.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


I know this rarely passes for a knitting blog, but note the addition of the "On The Needles" list on the sidebar. Really, there's an ulterior motive for this, which would be to add them as I come across them (there's a whole bag full of UFOs upstairs I haven't even tackled) and then maybe that will actually make me finish them. So then maybe I can start on all the projects that are mere balls of yarn right now.

I have a lot of yarn. But then, I did get paid in yarn for a year...

So, maybe I'll actually finish something one of these days, and then maybe I'll add a list of things that are done. But, in the meantime, here's what's actively being knitted right now...

The aforementioned hat of the hat-mitten-scarf combo. The hat is done, as I mentioned. It's a cute beanie kind of thing, but it's kind of boring. And then the inch or so of knitting on the Magic Loop needle underneath it is the beginning of one of the mitts.

Here's a detail of the mini-cables.

And then there's the Black Cherry bag. I'm nicking the pattern from a bag Sarah made (okay, so, I'm making up the pattern as I go along to kind of look like her bag - I really like the way the handles are done - which she made up the pattern for as she went along...but if it's successful, maybe I'll post the pattern). I'm a little disappointed in the way the color is landscaping, but, eh. We'll see how it looks when it felts.

I also got Maggie a new collar today, because her old one was falling apart. It's a very snazzy Tarheels collar, which will undoubtedly last until probably the fifth or so time that someone calls her "boy" or "him", and then we'll go back to a pink collar (I know it's hard to tell gender on a dog without getting sort of up close and personal. But a pink collar says, "hello, I'm a GIRL", right up front). Anyway, I tried to take a picture of it, but she was having none of that.

Ah well.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Oh, and the other thing I found...

I almost forgot in my exhausted delirium yesterday...remember how I was looking at knitting books? I didn't actually buy any (although I did pick up the Holiday Gifts edition of Interweave Knits), but I spotted this:

Leave it to Debbie Stoller to create a book that's fun and interesting and a little off center and still fill it with knitting patterns for men that men might actually wear and/or knit. Without being a book full of stupid things like beer cozies and "utility cloths" and really, really gay-man sweaters (i.e., Knitting With Balls). My very favorite pattern is the Naughty/Nice Scarf, which just looks like a shitload of colorwork but oh, how funny. Here's a picture of that (stolen from someone else's blog):

I know exactly the man I would've made it for, too, had he not turned out to be a dumbass (don't they all?). And then I would've borrowed it, and it would've come contingent with a break-up clause (as in, if we break up, custody of the scarf reverts back to me) because after all, I'd slogged through all that colorwork and charts and swearing (you know there'd be a lot of swearing). I'm trying to decide if I could get away with making it for myself, because, I just think that's hilarious. But probably not nearly as funny to the general public on a woman. Particularly one who is clearly not a stripper.

And, dude, that's a lot of colorwork.

But there are a lot of other good patterns in it, too. I've vowed not to buy it until I have a man in my clutches, er, in my life worth knitting for, but I'm probably going to cave in and buy it long before that happens. Because the, uh, knitting prospects these days are sparse.

I have too many things on the needles as it is.

In other news, I have the weekend off. Oh, how I've missed the weekends off! It's the best part of working at State Hospital. I actually cleaned today. I mean, the place is still far from presentable (there are still boxes in the front room and whatnot. And it still looks way too cluttered, but that's partially because the first floor of my apartment isn't laid out very well), but, hey, I get points for something.

I also started knitting a very simple felted bag out of some of the yarn I got at Peggy's. It's turning out well. And I finished the hat out of my hat/scarf/fingerless gloves set, and started on the fingerless gloves. I haven't gotten very far on those. And I still can't figure out what to do with the scarf. And I'm not super pleased with the hat. I'm thinking I should've done cables. Actually, I'm thinking now that I should've made this hat:

Only in brown, with variegated trim. Emily Deschanel was wearing it on Bones this week. It was one of those "you know you're a knitter when..." moments, when I paused it just to get a good look at her hat and then mentally started working up the pattern...

Oh, and happy December. I officially made it through NaBloPoMo with 30 posts in the month of November. Which, okay, that and $5 will get you a latte. But I'll try not to regress to my prior sporadic posting habits.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Things I overheard (but not while talking to myself)

Which is a reference to Alan Alda's new book, the title of which just cracks me the heck up.

I discovered this while cruising the Barnes and Noble this morning looking for knitting books (I'm still trying to come up with the perfect scarf pattern). I had a little time to kill before the hamburger place opened up (Five Guys Famous Burgers and's an east coast chain, and the world's perfect post-call, I've-been-up-all-night sort of food, which I developed a craving for sometime around 4am. Maggie? Also enjoyed her cheeseburger) so I decided to go to the B&N next door.

I love books. And bookstores. Bookstores always make me a little euphoric, especially when combined with exhaustion. I think it's the fumes from the pages or the bookbinding glue or something. Definitely book fumes. No, really, it's a problem. I have literally a thousand books or more that have accumulated over the years, and I just keep reading. I'm thinking of developing a crack habit, it might be cheaper.

So anyway. I was on call again last night. It wasn't bad. And I managed to collect three very amusing quotes:

1. "Don't try your devilish ways on me, woman!" One of the men up on long-term said this to me when I was trying to convince him to take his sedative after he started swinging at staff members. I thanked him, told him it had been an awfully long time since a man called me "devilish".

2. "Oh, and I'm a vegetarian." From a very pleasant, very manic woman I admitted overnight. This wouldn't actually be funny, except that she said it through a mouth full of chicken sandwich.

3. "Patient's father has a heroine addiction." On a chart that was faxed to me to try and get me to accept the patient. I think they meant "heroin." Those are different things. But then, these are also the people to whom "Well, when you send all the documents we require, I'll have to look at her chart and call you back before I can accept her for transfer" somehow meant "send the patient right now."

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Egh, so I'm on call again tonight.

Last night, for some reason I was thinking about this call I had in I think January or February of my OB internship. We used to do these horrible q2 weekends - so, I'd get there on Friday morning at, like, 4:45 or 5, be up most of the night, leave at noon or one on Saturday, then be back at 6am on Sunday, be up most of the night again, and leave at noon or 1 on Monday. I'd typically have two of those weekends in a month, then have one weekend where I'd be on Saturday, then one weekend off. It was awful. But anyway, during one of those q2 weekends, I had a really rough night on Friday. Didn't sleep at all, had a couple of hectic deliveries, and then was expected to do a C-Section the Saturday morning when I could barely still talk. So I left I think around 11 or noon, and it was snowing. A lot. But I couldn't care less about anything but hugging my dog and going to bed. And what was awfully nice, I got home, and one of my neighbors had already shoveled my driveway.


So Mags and I napped, hard, and I woke up at like 4 or so all deliriously fresh-woke, and realized that, a, it had snowed another two feet, and b, on top of that, they'd plowed my street and plowed me in, so I had a pile of snow at the foot of my driveway that was almost as tall as me. Great. I went out, and shoveled off the top two or three feet, and then decided I was too damn tired and didn't really care. So I put the Jeep into four wheel drive and just backed over the pile of snow at the end of the driveway again and again until it was flat enough that I could get over it again in the morning. And then I went back to bed.

Yeah, I don't know why I felt it necessary to share that story with you just now, either, really...

So can I just say, women? Are crazy.

The women's unit has been an adventure, for sure. I have to go to court today to testify that my one patient needs to stay despite the fact that she wants to leave. And one of my other patients is threatening to sue me. And then, I'm walking down the hall, right, and this very loud, vulgar woman who's apparently pulled all of her hair out is talking to the tech. And the patient makes some innocuous comment about me, and so the tech says, "Isn't that the woman who you were saying earlier was really pretty?" Which, aw, that was nice of her to bring that up...if, it turns out, somewhat misguided. Because the patient says, "Yeah, she's real pretty. She also has the biggest ass I've ever seen in my life."


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Texas Memeing

My cousin, Danielle, mom of Annalise, tagged me with this. I didn't even know she had a blog! Wow.

It is a pretty fun one, though. You answer the questions, and then do a Google Images search for the answer, and post your favorite picture that comes up. Cute.

1. What is your age at your next birthday?- Thirty.


2. Place I would like to travel- Chicago (I'm still a little homesick)

3. Favorite place- Hilton Head Island, SC.

4. Favorite objects - Books.

5. Favorite food- Italian

6. Favorite animal- Dogs

7. Favorite Color- Red

8. Nickname- Doc Johnson

(This was the only clean picture that came up, interestingly enough)

9. Birthplace- LaGrange, IL

I'm tagging Barb and Sarah. Have fun!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Soliloquy, with stick figures.

So yesterday was my very first day on the women's unit at State Hospital. And then I was on call. It was a rough night. I know this not because I was a fair and accurate judge of how well I handled things last night, but because this morning, when I went in and retrieved the stethoscope I'd left in Screening and Admissions, the admissions guy said, "It was crazy last night!"

And, indeed, it was.

It was supposed to be a quiet night. When I came on, there was, like, one patient coming in. The big explosion of patients? Happened after midnight. Why, why, why does it seem like a good idea to anyone to send crazy people out in the middle of the night? It's just disruptive to everyone, especially the patients, but also, me.

Fortunately, I only had to leave the building once, to go to the Adolescent unit and sign a seclusion order for this kid that got mad because another kid called him dumb because he didn't know what 12 times 12 was (Barb, are you feeling better about your math skills?) and so he threw a fit and hit himself in the face and got blood everywhere and then proceeded to start jumping up to the ten foot ceiling and breaking the light fixtures. I was about to either sign him to the Bulls or put him in restraints (it was a toss up) when the injection of Benadryl we'd given him finally kicked in and he calmed the heck down. But it was one of those things where just when one of us outside the door would get nervy enough to say "Well, I think he's finally slowing down" he would start screeching like a banshee and trying to break stuff again.

See? All you could do was throw your hands up and roll your eyes. No, I have no idea why the stick figures seemed like a good idea. It was something I came up with while I was trying to stay awake in morning report this morning. It should tell you something, though, about my mental state at the moment...

I also spent an awful lot of time doing this last night:

Which, as you can clearly see from the expertly rendered drawing, is almost getting to bed. Here's how that would've been captioned if I could've gotten the text box feature to work on Paint:

Me: Ahhh! Finally! I get to go to bed! Maybe my head will actually touch the pillow this time before the pager -


Me: Oh, *^*$##@$$ it!

Which also led to several episodes of me, trying to fill out paperwork at four AM, and dozing off.

See the pen in my hand? Seriously, if anyone can read anything I wrote between three and six am, I'll be amazed.

I finally got to bed, for real, and got actual sleep, between 6 and 7 this morning. And at 7:10, I rolled over and looked at the clock and thought, ahhhhhh. The attending comes in at 7. Which means I don't have to admit anyone else who comes in now, because he -

My pager: BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!!!

Me: Oh, sonofa--

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back to reality

Today I start yet another brand-new service. I'm on the women's unit at State Hospital. Which, I'm told, is very different from the men's unit at SH. And I actually wouldn't mind going back to work today except for the fact that I'm ON CALL tonight, and I truly dread my psych call at SH because we don't sleep. I can only hope that the holiday weekend filled us up and that we'll be on delay for, like, everything. But that's so not going to happen. Why? Because I'm there tonight. Oh, and then I'm on call again on Thursday. So if we're full tonight we'll have room again by Thursday. This is going to be a rough week.....

On the plus side, I usually can post from SH, so maybe I'll toss another entry in tonight if I have time. Meanwhile, wish me sleep.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

And apparently I'm whiny, too

So, I'm home. And very tired. And on call tomorrow. And I have no food in the house. And I'm so not ready to be back to the real world. Alas...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Insisting that the world keep turning our way

(If you missed the reference, click here. And be ashamed of yourself! That's, like, the ultimate road trip classic.)

So I'm in Charleston. The one in West Virginia. There's two out here, you know. Allegedly that confuses a lot of northerners, or so I'm told. I was hoping to get all the way to Beckley, WV, but, I got kind of a late start, and you know, that extra hour seemed like it was going to be a lot longer tonight than it will be tomorrow...and it's still a mere 5 hours to home, now, so hey.

I'm in the Hampton Inn. I've only stayed at this chain once before, when I went down to NC to look for apartments. On my way home, I was going to stop for the evening, and then decided, nah, I'll just keep going, but as long as I'm off the highway, I should get gas. And I started filling up my tank, and the nozzle promptly fell out of the gas tank and danced around a little until it shut off, soaking me with gasoline from about mid-thigh down in the process. Fortunately, I was travelling, so I had a spare pair of pants right on hand. I threw the old ones out in the gas station restroom, but figured I still ought to get to the nearest possible shower and decontaminate (did you ever see that episode of M*A*S*H where Klinger threatens to immolate himself, and then Colonel Potter realizes he just has water in the gas can, and so while he's inside "negotiating" with Max, Radar switches it out for a real gas can, and Max walks back out, all dramatic, and pours this gasoline over his head, and realizes the switch, and says, "Hey! Wait a minute! Somebody put gasoline in my gasoline!", and then runs flailing into the nurses' shower screaming "Stand back! Stay away from me with that cigarette! Nobody light a match!!"? I felt a little like that...). And, the Hampton Inn just happened to be behind the gas station. And it was one of the nicest places I've stayed, I have to say. The desk agent even upgraded me to a suite after I told her about the gasoline incident (I figured I ought to explain the smell as well as my immediate inquiry about laundry facilities). And the bed was insanely comfy. This room is equally nice.

Fancy. And under $100. If only there was room service, I might just move in.

The rooms across the hall, however, are still being renovated with the carpet all ripped up and the doors off their hinges and mattresses still in bags strewn all over. So it's a little bit of a war zone outside my door, and the place sort of smells like paint. But the rooms over here are, like, all new and shiny.

I'm really tired, in case you missed that. I'm not sure I actually have anything very profound to say tonight, actually. So maybe I'll go investigate the insane comfyness of that bed...