Apr 28, 2007

Home Sweet Home

The Primed conference was just as informative as ever. It's always nice to get the latest updates on evidence based medicine regarding topics from hypertension to treatment of bladder reflux in children. It's impossible as a primary care provider to keep up to date with all the new research, but this conference does an excellent job of giving a well rounded report.

Kristin, a PA I previously worked with, was able to attend with me this year. She's a fellow knitter and mother of three lovely girls, so we had a lot to catch up on.

(Notice the knitting in our laps)

One of the most surprising presentations I attended was titled "Food Poisoning." The speaker presented various poison cases in pediatrics. Just for kicks - three of the six items below are deadly to children, the others are suprisingly okay. Pick the 3 you think are dangerous.

1) Clorox Bleach
2) D-Con mouse pellets
3) Visine eye drops
4) Vicks Vapo-Rub
5) Silica gel packets (the kind in your shoe box)
6) Pepto Bismol

I used to be very impressed by all of the pharmaceutical displays and "swag." Maybe it's the fact that the displays have been the same for the past four years, or maybe they're giving lame gifts now (how many post-it note holders does a girl need?), but I just wasn't too interested. In fact, now I take pity on the poor coffee barista who has made about 1500 s'mores lattes in just three days. I tell you, these doctors are greedy too. We watched a doctor try to bust his way into an asthma luncheon without a ticket. Dude, it's just a salad. Or perhaps he was "starved" for information.

I always get a kick out of the "corporate magician" for Alcon laboratories. His card tricks may always be the same, but they're still magic to me! Seriously, for one trick, he managed to get the lady's personally autographed 8 of spades in a sealed envelope in his wallet....in his pocket. Come on now. That has to be magic.

More on the conference knitting projects next time.

Apr 25, 2007

One Year!

Today is my official blogiversary. Happy day! Paper is the traditional one year anniversary gift. I also just found out that 7 years is wool - I can't wait! It has been 365 days and 162 posts. I have no idea how much people love reading about my life, but I sure don't mind writing about it. It's kind of like having an open diary....but also not so much like that because I don't have to guard it from my mom by putting a lock on it and hiding between my mattresses. Boys hide their Playboy there, girls hide their diary.

Thanks to Brian for making me a special blog header for today. And no, that graphic is not a man with a red hat sitting on a raspberry (who would dare think that?), it's the Holland Lighthouse, "Big Red." Good work Bri.

For my blogiversary gift, I'd like all of you readers out there to leave me a short comment. If you've never commented before (you know who you are!), it's not scary or hard. Just click on comments, enter your text, and click "publish." You don't have to register your name at all, just mark yourself as "anonymous," but sign your name in the text. So go ahead and type in an insult if you want, but you've gotta own up to it! I really just want to get some positive reinforcement from knowing who's actually out there reading.

I'll be on hiatus through the weekend. I'm off to Chicago (suburbs) for my yearly medical conference. I'll be much more learn-ed by the time I get home, but also hope to check off a few completed knitting projects.

Apr 24, 2007


It is time for spring cleaning, and with that comes de-stashing. Through the podcast, Unwound, I learned of several women's correctional facilities which are longing for yarn donations. These women are making blankets, hats, scarves and teddy bears for donations. They are helped by helping others...what a beautiful thing.

If you have extra yarn, think about sending a donation.

Programs currently accepting donations of yarn & supplies:

Women Empowered for Change - Alexandria, VA

Prisoners' Knitting Group - Albion, NY

Washington Womens Correction Center - Gig Harbor, WA

Scioto Juvenile Correctional Facility Community Service Program - Delaware, OH

Teddy Bear Club - Quincy, FL

Apr 22, 2007


Working on prepping the vegetable garden and waiting for some birds to find my new bath (birthday present courtesy of Chuck and Patty!)....


I had one of my forever fun get togethers with Linda yesterday. I drove down to Kalamazoo and met her at the yarn shop she works at part time, Stitching Memories. Now Linda will claim she isn't an enabler, but she sure wasn't helping when she pointed out more and more excellent yarns (clearance yarns at that). My yarn diet went to crap. But I guess that's what happens when your on a diet right? Sometimes you fall off the wagon, but then get back on for another few weeks/months. I don't do much food dieting, so this will be my similar chance for failure.

I bought the Jo Sharp book I've been longing for. The sweater patterns are modern but timeless.

I also purchased Favorite Socks. This is a collection of the best sock patterns from Interweave Knits magazine. I'm already confident I'll make at least five of the patterns.

My yarn purchasing focus included sock yarn (no kidding) and yarn for baby projects. I like buying yarn for baby projects because I don't have to buy a lot. I am also getting the itch for a baby, so I'd like to start a hope chest of projects.

After emptying my wallet, we went to Panera to eat and knit. Linda always has lots of projects to share with me. She showed me her Elizabeth Zimmerman surprise baby jacket. I'm going to try to get her to guest blog about that one, so I won't say too much.
She made this Fair Isle hat in a just a few short days while at a nursing conference. It's flawless. It even has a cotton lining inside so as not to chafe your forehead. Brian looked at these pics and asked me when I'm going to make him a ski cap like that. We'll see. It would help if I had any idea how to do Fair Isle.

(Now, I hate the way I look in this picture and have officially decided to stop tanning my face. BUT, I had to show you how great this hat is, so I'm embarrassing myself for the sake of the knitting.)

The kits for the hat are available here.

She also modeled her new socks. This pattern is the Interweave Knits "Embossed Leaves Socks".

Lastly, I received two fantastic birthday gifts. Linda is the person who not only inspired me to do knitting, but also beading. Now, I've fallen away from beading, but she just keeps learning more. She made me this gorgeous bracelet. I think she called it Peyote Beading?? Linda, correct me if I'm wrong.

She also wanted to give me plenty of reasons to use the cupcake carrier from Carrie. This book was once featured on goodtobegirl's blog. I'm particularly excited about the chocolate mousse cupcakes which have a layer of coffee flavored mousse under the cupcake top.

Before we knew it, we had been sitting for close to 4 hours at Panera. Thanks for the sharing and knitting Linda! I had so much fun.

**Yes Carrie - that is my "Knit or Go Home" shirt!

Apr 19, 2007

Go America!

You kicked out Clyde Drexler and Sanjaya....you finally got it right! I was a little nervous for my boy, Blake, but he made it through.

Apr 15, 2007

New socks

I'm so excited to use the new Socks that Rock yarn Meagan bought me for my birthday. It's perfect for spring. See how well it complements my tiny vegetable starters?

I want to make the Monkey socks from Knitty.com. They even appear to be the same colorway, although the designer used a different brand of yarn. I have wanted to knit one of Cookie's patterns for a while. She comes up with a lot of creative sock designs.

The pattern seems fairly busy, but hopefully I'll memorize the pattern after a few repeats. I want to knit on these at the medical conference I'm headed to next week. My lace shawl is a little too high maintenance for a conference. Has anyone else attempted this pattern?

I love weekends.

This weekend has been fairly random for us. We had some extra time on our hands (for once) so we finished moving our furniture back upstairs and hung some various photos/wall decorations. We also ventured out to shop for carpets because the bare wood floors seemed so lonely. We went to Tuesday Morning at the recommendation of our hairstylist. I guess he's figured out how cheap we are, because this is a very inexpensive store. We were pleased with their selection, though, and quickly made a decision on two rugs. We're trying them out for a few days before we rip off the tags, though.

I really like the one for the livingroom. It's very Pottery Barn-esque at a quarter of the cost. The tan lightens the room and there is just enough green to match the walls. Now, try to use your imagination with the couch. The current couch looks horrible with the carpet, but we aim to get a new solid colored piece in the next few months. You know, being on the Dave Ramsey plan, we haven't allowed ourselves to buy new furniture. "Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else."

I like the dining room pick a lot too, but it just doesn't seem to meld well with the livingroom decor. I think we will stick that one upstairs on the landing and find something for it's place. Anyone have a recommendation?

We had a dinner party with some old friends Saturday night. We were in charge of dessert, so I took advantage of my brand new creme brulee set.

Within 20 minutes, the custard was made and set in the rammekins. It was a basic mix of cream, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk. They baked for 25 minutes, placed in a bath of hot water and covered with foil.

Of course, the most fun (for Brian included) was using the kitchen torch to melt the thick sugar topping. It was even more fun after we refilled the torch and the unstable butane was shooting flames about 12" long.

We served it with raspberries. It was delicious. Too bad when it came time for dessert at the party, their 1 year old decided to get sick and we had to watch her projectile vomit a couple times. Her mom quickly took her to the bathroom. We sat for a minute and then I said, "Who's ready for dessert?"

Carrie sent me a very funny video. For all of you Will Ferrell and/or kid lovers out there. Check this out.

Also, thanks to everyone for the advice on the overdrawn checks. I stopped in the bank Saturday and pleaded with the teller. I played Brian as the horrible husband who would have my hide if I didn't do something about the situation. I thought that would bring some sympathy from her. She didn't have the authority to reverse the charges until she speaks with her manager Monday. She also set up overdraft protection so this won't happen again. $5/month is a heck of a lot better than $280 in overdraft fees. Yep, that's right, we stacked up $280 in fees. Pass me another Xanax please.

Apr 12, 2007

What I've Learned...

I am now the wise age of 28 and have grown to learn, love, and be annoyed by many things.

1) I've recently discovered that it bothers me greatly when a woman refuses to work if her husband needs her to. Now, I count raising small children as work. But if the kids are grown, and the household is in need of some additional financial security, I cannot stand it if a woman tries to pull a 1920s ploy and act like grocery shopping and bills are a full time job. Otherwise, if the money is not necessary and the husband could care less - hey, more power to ya.

2) I hate overdraft fees. As hard as I try to keep an anal budget, I will inevitably screw up about once a year and this one screw up will result in a string of bounced checks and astronomical overdraft fees. I will curse at the online checking account and massage my temples until I realize there is no way to undo my mistake. I'll curse the banking system for being so greedy that they can't figure out a friendly way to just borrow from my savings when this occurs. I then grovel to Brian so he doesn't revoke my control over the bill paying system.

3) I constantly think about my metabolism. I tell my patients all the time about how their metabolism will slow with age, so they should adjust their diet accordingly. I, however, have failed to adjust my diet. I worry every time I eat dinner after 7 (which is often) and I feel very guilty each time I pass on going to the gym (but the guilt does not change my mind). I dread the day it all catches up with me.

So, those are just some random annoyances and stressors on my mind right now. Oh how cynical I have become in my "old" age.

Apr 10, 2007

Baked Goods Invention of the Week

I received the most fantastic birthday package in the mail Monday.

Carrie sent me a cupcake carrier, mix and cake tester, courtesy of Crate & Barrel. She received this same carrier as a shower gift. I could not stop talking nor thinking about it. As a matter of fact, Brian made cupcakes for his work birthday treat. As we transported them to the car, I thought again about how much I needed to purchase this carrier.

The bottom holder is actually a cupcake baking pan. The layer above that is a plastic tray with space for another dozen cupcakes. The trays are perfectly spaced so as not to smush any frosting. Excellent.

I'm excited to try out the mix. I was ensured by Carrie that Barefoot Contessa is simply awesome. I noted chocolate chunks and liqueur listed in the ingredients. I can't wait to make them. Thanks so much Carrie!

Random updates..

Easter weekend was icy and chilling, but also a whole lot of fun. We alternate Thanksgiving and Easter with each family. This year, Easter was with my parents. Whenever we holiday at my parents, we look forward to much Polish food. It was delish. Ben entertained us with a wine comparison game and honed our skills in Blackjack to prep us for our upcoming Vegas vacation.

Brian brought his Nintendo Wii. Fun was had by all (except Meagan because she is a party pooper). She has some innate fear of the Wii-mote, I guess. Patty Ann had so much fun with the Wii that she managed to shatter her ceiling fan in an overhead tennis serve.

I think the Wii had it out for that fan anyway - it's very 80s. Sorry ma, but it could use a new millenia update.

Poor Cayman was forced to wear her seasonal slippers.

Chris says she likes them, but she kind of look likes she's saying, "Don't you dare take my picture. All of my friends are going to see me in these." She actually sort of looks like Ralphie in The Christmas Story.

Brian and I also enjoyed our birthday surprises and treats. We had a triple layer chocolate cake, covered in chocolate shavings. Yum! Perfect way to return to sweets after Lent.

I also received some fantastic presents - all kitchen and yarn oriented! Meagan dared to order some yarn on line. She picked out the Lemongrass colorway from Socks that Rock. I'll start some new socks soon. The yarn is pictured in a beautiful crystal serving bowl my mother gave me. It's adorned with tulips - the well known flower of my current Holland hometown.

Chris and Ben gave me a creme brulee kit and the new book, Victorian Lace Today. I've already scoped out the KAL. As you can see, I also have the new Yarn Harlot book. (That was a treat to myself.)

Now that I have this book full of gorgeous lace knitting patterns, I'm ogling lace yarn on line. Here's a little yarn porn pic for all of you lovers out there, courtesy of Yarn All Over.

Next time I'll show you what Carrie sent me for my birthday - an impressive kitchen gadget that every baker will want!

Apr 8, 2007

Happy Brianakkuh!

My handsome husband turns 29 today.

He is a great man with so many successes to account for in 29 years. I am so lucky to be his partner and to share in the adventures yet to come. Happy Birthday Bri! You're my #1!

Apr 5, 2007

Blake is my man

I am sure all of you American Idol fans out there have been as annoyed with Sanjaya as I currently am.

His lackadaisical performances and intolerable hair styles have got to go. I have heard about this website that urges people to Vote for the Worst, and decided to investigate. Howard Stern has been an avid supporter.

A recent update on the site states:

"Another week of Sanjaya, and this is great, because Sanjaya is now tied with Scott Savol and Kellie Pickler for longest running VFTW American Idol pick. If we can get him through next week, he'll be the all time record holder. And next week is Latin week. Sanjaya, please sing Shake Your Bon Bon. Please. We'll bake some cookies. Also, Michael Buble outed himself as a Worster when he said he was voting for Antonella. We'll need to get him the updated memo on Sanjaya, but thanks for the help, Michael! And is it not obvious that the producers are just sticking Haley in the bottom every week so people get mad at her and forget about Sanjaya? Lame tactic, producers."

I had no idea that this website was one of the reasons singers like Kevin Covais hung around so long. I figured the grandma's were voting for him.

Matt drew my attention to an excellent ode to Sanjaya. I bring you the Sanjaya Anthem.

P.S. Check out Carrie and Matt's new blog on the sidebar.

Apr 4, 2007

Wishful Thinking...

I held over Carrie's spoiler comment until today....

She's right. The "tummy surprise" is the lamest name I have ever heard given to a dance move. It's a west coast swing move where the guy swings the girl to his front, so his stomach is to her back. He holds her by the waist and pulls her to his right, left, and then spins her back around. Cool move - dumb name.

And for all of those who really thought I may be pregnant, I would never be so casual as to just announce it to you over my blog. I haven't lost all sense of personal touch. Well, maybe 90% of it, but not all :)

Now to dinner. Bri's making turkey burgers.

Apr 3, 2007

Tummy Surprise

What is my Tummy Surprise?

(I'll give you the answer tomorrow)

A) Belly button piercing
B) A baby
C) My new dance move

I'm the project manager for the Junior League event today. I have already hard boiled five dozen eggs for the girls to decorate. I hope everyone does there part and brings a couple dozen. We have decorating kits a-plenty.

I hope kids show up being that it's their spring break. Of course, these kids aren't exactly going on expensive vacations, so I think we'll have some girls there to spoil for Easter.

Random Easter facts I put together for a game:
*Easter occurs on the first Sunday after the first full moon of Spring.
*In Midieval Europe eggs were forbidden during Lent. They were either boiled or preserved, then enjoyed on Easter day.
*76% of Americans believe chocolate bunnies should be eaten ears first.
*It takes 6 minutes to create a marshmallow peep.

And for those looking for some fun - have you ever heard of Peep Jousting?

"The messy and largely self-entertaining game, "Peep Jousting" is played with a microwave. One takes two Peeps, and licks the right-hand side of each until sticky. A toothpick is thereby adhered to each Peep, pointing forward like a jousting lance. The Peeps are then set in a microwave, squared off against one another, and heated up. As they expand, the toothpick lances thrust toward each opponent, and the winner is the one that does not pop and deflate. "

Game on!

Apr 1, 2007

Kiss the Bride

This Saturday I celebrated the last few days of single life for my friend Carrie. She is a great friend I made in my sorority days at Western. In true Carrie style - she rocked the casbah for her bachelorette party. The city of Chicago was taken by storm. Well, it actually was sort of stormy out if you want to be literal. We started the night with gifts, sangria, and excellent hors d'eouvres. The true party women then boarded a trolley and headed out to find trouble. (Note: all incriminating photos will be spared for the sake of future job prospects for the bride)

We first stopped by the piano bar, Howl at the Moon. Carrie found a comfortable spot on the stage, and jello shot syringes to share with all. She had some signature tambourine moves.

Next stop Durkins. I found it a little crowded. We were in and out of there pretty fast. We found time to feed Carrie a few shots. This shot didn't go down very easy.

Last stop on the trolley ride - Carol's. This was my favorite bar due to the live country band. The "Chicago boys" Dave and Mark showed up just in time to spin us around the dance floor for a while.

I had a great time with Carrie and got the chance to get to know some of her friends (and sisters) better. She is a true friend who has finally found her true mate. She always feared growing old with cats - we always knew she would have everything she wanted. Can't wait for the wedding!