Sunday, September 30, 2007

I'm not a sock knitter

I finished the left front of the robe, then started the right front. Then I considered the stretches of stockinette and decided I needed a knitting project that was exactly opposite what the robe was. Instead of being big and simple, it must be small and complex. Something with a chart would be ideal. And so I cast on for the Embossed Leaves Socks from IK Winter 2005.

I'm not really a sock knitter. I'm definitely not into colorful sock yarn. I was for a little bit, but I never wear those socks. While I may not be a product knitter, I do want to actually be able to use what I knit. I've given away most of the socks I've knit because I don't wear them unless they look formal and sedate and fairly boring, frankly. But then Knit Picks came out with Risata, which has elastic in it. That seemed exciting. I bought some in brown, because brown is a safe boring color. And a few days ago, I decided to try knitting wearable socks again. The lace pattern is subtle enough that I might actually wear them, especially since they're elastic and machine washable. (Seriously? People who are willing to hand wash socks? Beyond me.) We'll see.

I'm still working on the robe occasionally, in situations where a lace pattern would be too much (trying to interact with other people, watching a movie with subtitles, the five minute breaks in lab while my samples are centrifuging). It'll get done eventually, maybe before next summer.

Also, a couple of nights ago, I flipped out and decided I needed to know where I'm applying for residency. So B and I went through the list of possible locations and figured out where we both would have acceptable programs. Right now I'm at 27 programs, assuming that the rest of med school goes well and I continue to be a competitive applicant. It feels good to know what my options are, to some extent. The cities on our list include Boston, Baltimore, New Haven, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Charlottesville, Cleveland, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Madison, Minneapolis, Portland, San Francisco, and Denver. It's a lot of places, but that's what you have to do.

Monday, September 24, 2007


I have data.

Knock on wood.

Not complete data, or finished data, but data nonetheless. For you science geeks, my cell transfections worked, and the receptors that I transfected into them are showing up on staining. And the hormone treatments are making the receptors respond, which is also showing up on staining. This is a very, very good thing.

There's a problem with the mounting media, so I'm getting a lot of air bubbles on my slides, too many to take good pictures. So I won't really have data until that problem is taken care of. But I have hope. I also have a meeting with my lab group tomorrow morning, so the timing of this couldn't be better.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I have never been this big, pink, or fluffy

The Leavened Raglan in bubblegum pink mohair is done. It was actually done about a week ago, but I wasn't home during good photography lighting until today. Man, that went fast. And, man, is it pink. I alternated skeins to avoid pooling, but I still got a little pooling. I guess when something is that pink and fluffy, pooling is the least of your concerns. I know I don't sound thrilled with it. I'm not. I like it just fine, but I'm not sure I'll ever have the guts to wear it in public. If time proves that I, in fact, do not have the guts, I'll give it to my sister because she's better at wearing unexpected things. However, I bet if I wear it, the kitties will love me forever. And try to eat me. Same difference.

It's been a wild and crazy weekend (relatively - consider that last weekend consisted of me, movies from the library, knitting, and lab work). I doubt it will sound as exciting on the blog, but I'll try.

My cousin Jessi is in town, so B and I went to dinner at my aunt's house Friday to see her. Dinner conversation was more...excited...than usual. She's getting her degree in elementary education in Texas, so there was talk of the state of schools, No Child Left Behind, illegal immigrants, and health insurance. My aunt and I disagree on all of those topics. Yes. That is all. No hurt feelings but definitely some strong debate. We will try not to continue these conversations tonight when we all go to dinner at a Japanese steakhouse that we always go to with them.

Yesterday, I decided to check out the Stitch and Bitch and Phoenix, a coffee shop in walking distance of my house. I heard about it on the Cleveland Ravelry group. Naturally, I was afraid to go alone, so I made Christina come with me. The women were cool, with careers including IT, chemical engineering, writing, artistry, and other avocations. One woman there is married to a med student, so she know what we were going through. About two hours in, I asked one woman what exactly it was she did. She'd referenced writing, publishing, costuming, and promoting, and I was curious how she went about it all. Basically, she does all of those, she said, but what she's most known for is the film made about her and her husband's life that won all these awards at Sundance and was nominated for an Oscar.

Um....what film?

American Splendor.

Oh. Naturally. We're knitting with Joyce Brabner, Harvey Pekar's wife. We flipped. For those of you who don't know, Harvey Pekar is a graphic novelist and one of the biggest names to come out of Cleveland. Joyce is pretty cool even without her Harvey affiliation. She does everything, and she does it with energy. Naturally, she's Unitarian. And she goes to the church that I very occasionally go to. Once we discovered that, she encouraged us to try it out again (new minister!). She's kind of a force of nature, so Christina and I found ourselves promising to see her this morning at church. And we did. And the new minister looks like Harry Potter, which is fun.

Church was fine; I'll probably go back. The real point of the story is that just by going to a knitting group out my back door I met a really cool lady and started maybe getting back into UU stuff. Not bad for a lazy weekend.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

LYS I don't hate

There is a yarn store in Cleveland Heights that I hate. It is full of fluffy, expensive, impractical yarn for rich people to make ugly scarves with. Nothing is priced, so you have to go ask a salesperson to look up the price for you whenever you are interested in something. Inevitably, it's a little more expensive than you'd like, but you suck it up and decide to buy, say, 5 skeins for that shawl/sweater/whatever you've been thinking about. However, they do not actually own more than 2 skeins in any given color. Because they only expect people to make scarves. Or maybe hats. And they're rude the whole time you're there, because you want to knit a sweater, shawl, pair of socks even, and you are not made of money. I always leave unhappy and frazzled.

For a while, because of this store, I've been buying yarn online. KnitPicks and I are friends. Recently, a yarn store moved to within 3/4 mile of where I live (Susan Yarns at the corner of Taylor and Cedar). It had been in a smaller location before, slightly further away. Yesterday, I walked down to the new location, partially for the exercise and partially to pick up new 4s so I could continue the robe. I walked in and it was calm. The Australian owner was available, but he wasn't pushing you. The stock isn't extensive, but about 60% of it is Aussi Wool in different weights and tons of colors. And they have more than 2 skeins of each color. They also have a good selection of lace hand-dye that is gorgeous. There's an obligatory box or two of fluffy scarf yarn, but you can tell that this store's bread and butter is basic, beautiful, reasonably priced workhorse yarn.

In part because I was feeling lonely what with B out of town, and in part because I wanted to reward this store that didn't make me crazy, I bought yarn. I bought 400 g of worsted weight periwinkle wool. It might be for Nora Gaughan's Twisty Turns shawl but who knows. Also, I bought 100 g of superwash merino sock yarn in a variegated gray color weight. Typically, I like my socks to be one color, but the softness of the gray appealed to me. Also, it has a little bit of nylon in it to make it more durable.

And, yes, I bought needles. Although I'm more excited to finish the Leavened Raglan (I'm on the sleeve decreases), I cast on the left front of the robe and knit two rows to be fair. At least now I have the materials, even if I don't have the focus.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Frustrating morning, and I've only been up 3 hours

This crisp Saturday morning, I got up at 7:45 because I had a long protocol I wanted to do in lab today. It wasn't something I had to do over the weekend; it could have waited until Monday or Tuesday. However, since my projects have not been going so well, I wanted to make a weekend offering to the bench research gods. I rolled into lab around 9:15 due to more kitten play time than really necessary. By 9:20 I realized that the so-called Master Key to the labs only opened about half of the rooms I needed. And I couldn't really make do with what I had: my slides that I was going to stain were behind one of the locked doors.

At first I decided to take this opportunity to go to the gym. Then I realized that I ate so much goat cheese and roasted garlic last night that my GI system was still not entirely pleased with me. Okay, fine, so I'll go home, pick up toppings for pizza along the way, and come back to the gym later in the afternoon. I had parked in the parking garage near the lab, the one that is free for 30 minutes and $2 for 30-60 minutes. Having been there for 45 minutes (I ran to my other lab briefly to check on my cells - still alive!), I was going to owe $2, yes? I drove up to the attendant, ticket and 2 singles in hand. When I handed them to her, she glared at me and said, "You have to use the card reader." There is a machine for when there is no attendant. You pop in your ticket and pay a flat rate of $5 to exit the garage. I looked at her and said, "And pay $5?" She looked at me like I was a moron. "Yes." I glared back, "But you're here." Apparently the machine for calculating how much a person owes was broken. She could still hit the button to allow people to exit, but she could not calculate how much people owed. After some arguing, she decided to call her boss down to deal with me. He accepted my ticket and $2 and let me go. It isn't as though the time you enter isn't printed on your ticket or that the fee system is complicated. She just refused to deal with it. I kind of wanted to point out to her boss how difficult she was making my already frustrating morning, but I let it go.

Now I get some knitting time for my troubles. Also, I must contemplate these Harmony needles further. I don't love the colors, but I hear they are pretty fabulous otherwise.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Wow. After years of, "I haven't knit on anything bigger than 7s in ages," snobbery, I am loving how fast this Leavened Raglan is knitting up on 13s. Man. I started last week and I already have both the front and the back done. Also, we have discovered Biscuit's favorite yarn. Ganymede's is Malabrigo. He will seek out and steal anything made of it: hats, fingerless gloves, camera case, sweater, mittens (I like Malabrigo too...). Biscuit is now enamored with the yarn for this sweater, this mohair/wool/acrylic blend from the 70s that my aunt gave me. She loves it more than anything. Hopefully I can finish the sweater without her consuming to much halo.

And here is the sad, neglected, little After Dark robe back. It is curling in that oh-so-stockinette way, but you can use the 5 month old kitten guide to see how long it is. I do like it. I just can't find my 4s. I may make it to the yarn store sometime this weekend, or I might order the new wood Knit Picks needles. We'll see. I had hoped to finish it before it got cold, but we all know how those hopes go.

B is in Portland for his 10 year high school reunion, so I have the house and kitties to myself. Mostly, I'm using the time to get more lab work done, but I've also been watching movies. The combination of Netflix and the library means I have access to movies that I should watch but always forget about. Specifically, I've watched Auntie Mame and Philadelphia this weekend, and All About Eve is sitting next to the TV waiting for a watching. Auntie Mame was a favorite of one of my high school friends. I found it entertaining, but dated and long and requiring a little much suspension of disbelief. Philadelphia, however, was awesome. I was too young to see it when it came out, but it's clear even now how groundbreaking it was, both in the acting and the content. Tom Hanks is incredible, as is Denzel. Not that it's saying much, but I cried multiple times. If you can overlook the giant cell phones and sprayed within an inch of their lives bangs, I really, really recommend it.

Friday, September 7, 2007

At the age of 88, Madeleine L'Engle has passed away. There's a really nice article in the New York Times here. She is/was, hands down, my very favorite author. I read everything of hers I could find at the library or bookstore, and I think part of that is why I can't really get into any piece of fiction that doesn't have a slightly awkward, intelligent female protagonist now. Her work was story, science, and spirituality all at once.

Also, I finished the back of my robe. When I went to cast on for the left front, I couldn't find my size 4 needles. So...instead of looking harder or buying some, I started a new project: Fall 2007 IK's Leavened Raglan in this bubblegum pink variegated acrylic mohair my aunt gave me a bunch of a few years ago. The whole effect is both awful and wonderful. We'll see how it ends up on. It's on huge needles, so it's going very quickly (the back is already done). Pictures of both the robe and sweater backs soon.

My parents arrive in four hours for the weekend, so I have some cleaning to do. And since we're going to Fire, I have some showering and looking decent to do (i.e. not the same jeans I've been wearing to the lab all week).

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Berried Treasure

Since Kristen is on call on Monday and the boys are running 22 miles tomorrow, we celebrated labor day early. We went raspberry picking! Raspberries are way cheaper and yummier if you pick your own, and it was a low activity way of being outside.

Brandon picking berries.

Me picking berries with Jamin in the background.

Jamin and Kristen.

Anna and Christina.

Benjamin was in New York for the weekend, but I bet there will be some leftover berries for him, considering the quantity we managed to pick.

It was a cute farm, very well run, with a subtle pirate theme. Many signs and posters suggested that we were hunting "Berried Treasure."

When done, we had one of our standard, very yuppie picnics (cheeses, hummus, veggies, roasted zucchini, white bean and kale casserole...) at the berry farm. To top it all off, Christina brought pie crusts in ramekins and whipped cream. The results, as you can imagine, were delicious.

And one more, because they're so pretty: