Friday, October 19, 2007

And now for something completely different...

How often do you see something like this?

Pink fried eggs? Pink crop circles? Or if you are old enough to have had one already, your breasts after your last mammogram, perhaps? (or as I like to call it, a grab-and-smushogram... if you've had one, you know why!).

October is breast cancer awareness month, and what better way to help get the message out there about getting your mammogram than to knit some flattened boobies! Which is why, when I saw this free pattern on Vyvyan's blog, I simply had to knit it up immediately! (This is a picture of it before washing and blocking, cuz I won't have time afterwards before I gift it to a friend)...

I have made Vyvyan's Nubbins dishcloths before, which are a fun, quick knit, but this one, called "Nubbins for Ta-Ta's" is more fun than a clothesline full of giant brassieres and granny panties hung out in the open! It's not every day that you see boobies on a dishcloth, ya know! Teehee. And I might add, since I had no power for hours yesterday and last night (thank you, windstorm), it is an easy knit by candlelight as well! If you need your mammogram, go make an appointment already!

On an unrelated topic, I'm so excited! I'm leaving on Sunday to attend a Floating Knitting Retreat with Cat Bordhi! I'll be spending 4 days in the San Juan Islands, floating around on the inter-island ferry, learning about new sock architecture and other fun stuff, looking at great scenery and staying in Friday Harbor!

I've lived in Washington for about 13 years now and have never been able to see more of the San Juans than just going by on the ferry from Sydney, B.C. It will be great to be able to explore, see the sights and spend some time there, along with all the knitting I can handle for most of the week.

Just week I'm toiling unhappily in a boiler room operation, and the next week I'm floating amongst beautiful, green islands and knitting til my fingers are sore! My only regret is that I was not able to get into the retreat that included Lucy Neatby as well. Maybe next time. I'm just happy to be going! Going to the knitting retreat has been in my plans for months, but now I won't have to climb into my handbasket for my return to Hell when I get back! Whoo-Hooo!

So now I'm off to catch up with laundry, errands, etc. that should have been done yesterday (again, thanks dumb windstorm). Talk to you when I get back, and hope I get lots of great pics to share!

But before I go......

To everyone who commented on my post yesterday, thank you from the bottom of my little unemployed heart! I don't often put anything that personal on my blog, and I was a little worried that I would bore y'all to sleep with it before I got to the contest winners! But my heart was warmed when I saw all the comments of support this morning. It was something I just had to get out for cathartic purposes (which worked very well, by the way...). I so appreciated that you took the time to read and send comments of support. You guys SO rock!

I am happy to report that I am feeling a wave of relief that I finally just gave it up and left, and put it out there for all to see after agonizing personally for months. I'm feeling peace coming back into me, although it will take a little time to slough off all of the negative cr*p that was thrown onto me during my time there! I guess time is the best soap for washing away that sort of grime, along with the support of friends.....thanks again.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bye-Bye NBRO.....and More Contest Winners!

Today is a happy, happy day for me, and perhaps a happy day for a couple of other people, too, depending on how they feel about being a winner in my recent little contest!

Before I announce two more contest winners, I must announce the big news that makes this such a happy day for me......I quit my job at the Nurse Boiler Room Operation!! I understand that some people may view the loss of my income as a bad thing and I'm not crazy about that part either. But there are just some jobs that aren't worth the paycheck at any price, and this was one of them.

I love being a nurse and helping others, and I love the feeling that I may be contributing to the greater good in the world in some small way, by hopefully being a nurturer and health educator to people at the times they may need those things, or providing any other comfort or support I can as a nurse. Yes, I'm one of those touchy, feely-type nurses who leans more toward being your Supportive Nurse-Mom rather than toward Super-Wonder-Nurse or Nurse Ratchet! (I'm sure we've all met up with one or two of those....).

With that being said, this job did not allow me me to be the type of the nurse I like to be. I enthusiastically took a job that was supposed to be about providing education and support to people with chronic health conditions over the phone. However sadly, what it turned out to be was all about the bottom line, satisfying contracts, how many calls per hour, how long on each call, what tasks were accomplished on each call, etc. And the worst of it was being connected to a timed dialer, timing every call and wrap time, and that pops up computer-dialed calls to the nurses, usually with the person on the other end already irritated because they've said "hello" three times with no response before we got the call, and already think we are a telemarketer.

What they also didn't tell us is that the people we were calling did not exactly sign up for this service, but rather were nominated by insurance coding that identified them as having one of the qualified conditions. Yes, all of the great little details you find out only after having started the job and your training....

Suffice it to say that what I would estimate to be about 80% of my call recipients were NOT happy to hear from me! Over the course of the past four months, I have been yelled at, called names, insulted, derided, chastised, interrogated and hung up on a daily basis more times than I care to count. Even worse than that were those who "cooperated" with the call with dripping sarcasm, or were outright hateful and evil. I must add that everyone was told that involvement was totally voluntary and they could opt out, which practically none of them could do without including at least three of the above bad behaviors! I've learned ugly things about people that I never wanted to know...

It got to the point that when every call popped up, I responded with my usual cheery and friendly greeting, only to hold my breath to wait for the likely onslaught that I was about to face. Imagine my surprise and relief when, very occasionally, that one person who really needed some help was happy to talk to me! Unfortunately, those lovely people. with whom I adored conversing and sharing and discussing their challenges to try to find solutions, were so few and far between, I can practically remember every sweet one of them....

Nurses are anything but quitters. I tried mightily, mastered the job as it was given with all of the restrictions within only a couple of months, and became skilled at finding ways to interject my personality and some fun into every call I could. I have never left a job after such a short time, and I was bound and determined to make this one do-able.

It was a good fight, but add to all of the above management and policy problems, inconsistencies and broken tools, and I just couldn't do it any more. I sadly gave my two-weeks notice and left all of the great nurse colleagues and friends that I had made while there, and my last day was yesterday. I am not the only one---the place is bleeding nurses out the door, despite the decent pay. However, I really had to fight the feeling of being a quitter or a failure to give my leave after such a short time. But a couple of weeks ago, after talking to my 5-million-and-first total and complete, rude, sadistic, ignorant, moronic pinhead on the phone, I logged off the dialer and wrote my notice right then and there. I had been sitting on the fence and that person was the last straw!

All I can say is how happy and relieved I feel now to have escaped, and how exhausted I am! I now realize that this job was sucking the soul out of me, and if I stayed I was destined to have to develop a skin so thick that I would become one of the types of nurses I really detest. I could not allow that to happen. I haven't been a nurse for long enough to become a sad and jaded burn-out who goes through the motions and has nothing genuine left to give!

Yes, my idealistic nurse soul is now free of it's chains (and it's paycheck), to wander the greater Puget Sound area in search of another place where it can contribute to the greater good and be of help to someone....

Meanwhile, my lazy body is going to watch from the couch while knitting, at least for a month or two! A knitting-time-starved nurse deserves a little break, doesn't she? Yippee! I'm free! Besides, who wants to job-hunt over the holidays, anyway?

On to more Contest Winners!!-----

After waiting for a response from the original winner of the "guess how many balls in the basket" part of the contest, Mary Ann, I have received no contact from her. Sorry, Mary Ann, but the win must now go to the person with the next-closest guess.....Sue S. Sue's guess was 82, just two off from the original winning guess.

The final winner is for my favorite post. This one took a while, as there were so many great comments, pattern links and fun greetings! I finally decided that the prize should go to The Knitorious Mrs. B! She wrote me a lovely and humorous little poem for my birthday, as well as providing a link to a free copy of the Ballband Dishcloth pattern (who doesn't like a ballband.....and a free pattern?). I also found out after looking at her blog, that she is a nurse, too! That didn't have anything to do with the contest win , but I do love to see a fellow knitting, blogging nurse!

Congratulations, Sue S. and Knitorious Mrs. B!! Be sure to send me your snail mail addresses, so I can send your prizes!

BTW, probably won't be sending any prizes out until the end of this month. Getting ready to go out of town next week, and tons of laundry and errands are calling......

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Happy Birthday to the Toe-cat!!....and contest winners!!

Sorry for the late hour of this post, but with working this weekend, it's been a busy couple of days. But not so busy that I couldn't announce two winners of my Belated Blogiversary and Birthday Big Basket of Balls Contest. And what better day to announce contest winners, than on the first birthday of the Toe-cat!

Yes, little Toebi is one year old today!!! What a character he has grown into! He loves to lock everyone in the bathroom by slamming the door closed. However, he hasn't mastered opening it again, so it's a problem when we're not home. He loves to chew on our finger like a pacifier when he wants to take a nap. He will crawl up next to us and curl up, and then use the end of one of our fingers as a chew toy for a minute or two before falling off into a happy nap. It really does make him sleepy! And he's very careful when he eats his kibbled food---if a morsel or two falls from the dish, he must go around and clean those up before he can go back to eating from the dish---very tidy!

Happy Birthday, Toebi! Extra toes and extra sweet---what more could we ask for?!!

Now without further ado, I can announce two of the winners of the Belated Blogiversary and Birthday Big Basket of Balls Contest!!!

Surprisingly, only a few people guessed even close to the actual quantity of balls in the big basket! No one guessed the exact quantity, and no one went over. The closest guess of 84 balls of cotton was made by Mary Ann, who is blogless, and also left no contact information in her comment!!

Congratulations, Mary Ann! If you are out there and read this, please email me at by October 15th with your address so I can send you a lovely prize! If I don't hear from you by then, I will pass the win along to the entrant with the next-closest guess.

So I suppose you would like to know exactly how many balls ARE in that basket! The number of balls in the big basket is......88. Hard to believe there could be that many in there, isn't it! But here they are out of the basket, so you can count them if you want to....

How close was your guess? The quantity was counted, verified and closely-guarded by the Chief Minion himself (who, I assure you, was SUCH a big help in the counting process....).

The next winner was chosen by assigning numbers to each valid entry in order of their posting, and then putting the numbers into a random number generator. The random number selected was 61. Congratulations, Stephanie Davies!! (Click on her name to check out her great blog!) If you happen to see this post, Stephanie, send your address to me at the email I listed above so I can send your prize!

There's one more winner to go.....but I haven't picked them yet. Still need some more time to decide which commenter should win the final prize (sorry, but I just haven't had enough time yet). I will try to post the final winner soon, so check back to see if you've won!

Thanks again so much to everyone for taking the time to stop by and leave your entries and comments! I appreciated every single one! Congrats again to Mary Ann and Stephanie on winning!

Have a great week, everyone! :)

Thursday, October 04, 2007


I really want to thank everyone who left comments, birthday and blogiversary wishes and contest entries over the past week. Hope you'll stop by again some time and leave your comments!

I had a nice birthday overall. Lolligagged around the house, stayed on the computer for way too long, took a shower at 3:00 in the afternoon, and then met my cute hubby and another couple for a lovely dinner at Trader Vic's. It was mostly a quiet day, but very nice, especially with enjoying a dinner out with some new friends of ours at the end of it. And reading all of your fun comments made spending most of the day alone seem not so lonely at all!

I haven't chosen the winners for the contest yet, but I'm working on it. I'm so pleased that there were so many entries! I'm still working on going through them to look at all of the links you left, as well as checking out the blogs of all of you who left your addresses. Lots of fun and talented people out there in the blogosphere!

I will try to announce the winners by the end of this weekend, but I am also working this weekend, so please forgive if I'm a little late by chance. In the meantime, for all of you who made guesses about how many skeins of cotton were in the Big Basket of Balls, here's a little teaser for you about how many balls are actually in there. Here's all of the skeins, emptied directly from that now-empty basket in the background and laid out on the floor...

The accompanying minions were not counted in the total, and no skeins were added or subtracted for the picture---just dumped 'em all out and lined 'em up on the floor....

For those of you now suffering with a case of shock and awe at the sheer size of this line-up, try to keep in mind that I've been collecting cotton yarn a little at a time ever since I used to crochet...years ago....before I even learned to knit. So what might first appear to be an uncontrollable cotton yarn obsession is actually a case of slow and insidious self-reproduction by the yarn itself! Yes, it's true! Every time the collection realizes I don't have a new color, they reproduce it themselves! And being snuggled all together in that cozy basket hasn't helped any. Of course, I disavow all knowledge of ever actually purchasing that many skeins of one type of yarn...

Were any of you close on your guess? I can say that there were no entrants that guessed the exact quantity!

Here's the latest project I just started. I had this beautiful (and impossible to photograph) skein of STR heavyweight in the stash in this very cute colorway---Little Bunny Foo Foo---and since fall has decided to start so quickly this year, what better time to knit a lovely little ruffled tea cozy?

I'm knitting it from a pattern I got at Churchmouse Yarn & Tea, while on the infamous LYS Tour last May. Yes, I know I still have an unfinished pair of socks leering at me from the basket, but with the days getting darker and colder, I thought I might start something knit on needles a little larger than size zero.

Love those socks, but a girl could go blind working on them. And I can't cast on another pair of socks until I've finished those. I have very few knitting rules for myself, but having only one pair of socks going at a time is one of them----Progress is slow enough for me on sock-knitting, but I'd never finish a pair if I allowed myself to start a second pair while one is still unfinished! I grew up Catholic, so maybe it's just some little knitting penance I've assigned to myself....or maybe I'm just weird....Either way, there's enough problems with UFO's around here without having two of one thing. Of course, the rule obviously doesn't apply to starting more different projects. (Hey, I didn't say I was a good Catholic...heh heh....). I can make my own rules only so strict if I want me to follow them.

And so I've digressed, as usual. What was the topic of this post again? Oh yeah, thanks again to everyone who entered the contest and commented, birthday, winners coming soon, and making tea cozy, which somehow led to strange, guilty excuse-making about still-unfinished socks and some insane blathering about my self-imposed knitting rules......

Be kind. My brain is a very strange place. It's not easy living here.

I'm really done now.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I'm having a blast!

Having this contest is so much fun! I am enjoying reading all of the comments so much. I'm still working my way through all of the links you've all provided and looking at all of your blogs (from those of you who gave my your blog address!).

Holding a contest has definitely made my belated blogiversary and birthday week way more exciting than it would be otherwise. The contest continues until midnight on my birthday, Wednesday, October 3rd. So feel free to enter on this post or below if you haven't already! And BTW, if you leave an "anonymous" comment, probably a good idea to at least sign your name at the bottom, as I have had a few anonymous comments with no name identifier. I really don't want to announce the winner as "anonymous #3" or some such thing. Make sure I know who you are in case you win!

I'm in the midst of my workweek at the NBRO for the next couple of days, so no pics today. But I will try to post some pics of my new project soon. It involves some Socks That Rock Heavyweight yarn, but it's not socks...Funny enough, I've had some STR yarn in my stash for a while now, but this is the first chance I've had to knit with it, just on a project that's not socks. I can say for now that it is really nice to knit with and makes a great fabric---at least in the heavyweight.

Happy Knitting everyone! And if you haven't looked at a giant basket of balls for a while, scroll down for a good look, make your best guess, and maybe win some new balls for your very own!....snork....I'm a ten-year-old....I can't stop.......I really should grow up some day.....