Stitches and Sutures

I'm a 25-year-old second-year medical student living in Ontario, Canada. I'm pretty sure that the only way to stay sane in medical school is to have a life outside of medical school, and knitting is one of my chosen diversions.

Location: Ontario, Canada

Friday, June 30, 2006


After a few delays (okay, QUITE a few delays), my flight finally touched down at London Gatwick and I'm here! Hooray! There was lightning in Toronto so we left over an hour late, and then there was an accident on the runway just before we got to London, so we had to circle for ages while they cleaned up the mess. We had a short scare when they told us we were going to London Stanstead to refuel and then BACK to Gatwick, but fortunately that idea seemed to disappear quickly.

I'm in London for nine days, visiting The Boy's sister and brother-in-law and our adorable little nephew, who you may remember from Christmas. Except now he's about twice as big, can sit up all by himself, is almost crawling, and smiles constantly. It is my completely unbiased opinion that he's the cutest baby in the entire universe. (Okay, maybe a teeny bit biased. But still. CUTE, I'm telling you.) I promise to ask his Mom if it's okay to put a picture up here and you'll all see what I mean. That is, if you're not blinded by cuteness.

So far, my visit has been pretty much 95% focused on the baby. (The other 5% was much-needed sleep. Overnight flights just aren't all that restful.) I didn't do any adventuring in the city yesterday as I was pretty pooped when I got here. The train in from Gatwick was fun, though - I kept meeting friendly Londoners who wanted to chat. I love talking to strangers (much to the chagrin of many of my friends, who I embarrass by striking up conversations in grocery store line-ups and pretty much anywhere else that someone will talk to me), and yesterday it seemed like every Londoner I saw was willing to chat! The Boy's sister claims that it's the Canadian flag on my backpack that does it.

This morning, The Boy's sister (let's call her "Ella", shall we?) is at the gym, the baby is at the creche (apparently that's Brit for "daycare") and The Boy's brother-in-law is at work. I am vegging out at their place. We're planning to head to "Canada Day London" this afternoon (a day early, but whatever, I'm always up for a party). The Boy arrives from Germany tomorrow to spend the week here, too. Can't wait!

Oh, and in case anyone was worried (see below): they did indeed let me on the plane with my (metal) circular knitting needles, no questions asked. Did I knit on the plane? No. But I liked knowing that I could if I wanted to!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Sad Tale

A haiku for Challenge #3 of the Amazing Lace:

Knitter: reads too much
Needles: idle, sad, lonely
Shawl: a lofty dream

I've been a pitiful participant in The Amazing Lace thus far. See, to participate in the challenges, one has to actually knit and have something to say about their project in choice. I, however, am completely stalled.

Well, not completely. I'm still working (s-l-o-w-l-y) on Branching Out. But I think I'm subconsciously stretching out the finishing of it because I know that once it's done, I won't have a lace project at all to work on.

That's right. The Icarus Shawl continues to be just a photo in IK. I thought I was ready to go, and I was itching to start it, just as soon as Branching Out was finished. Then my mom made a really good point: Icarus is supposed to be my wedding shawl. And since I haven't bought a dress yet, it's kinda hard to pick a yarn that matches the dress. I'm pretty much decided on an ivory dress, and a white shawl will look strange with that. Ivory, however, comes in too many freaking shadese for me to just buy some ivory yarn and hope for the best. So, I'm stalled on Icarus until I choose a wedding dress! (Hopefully something that will happen in July. I have been looking!)

The other reason for my pitiful lace performance of late is that I'm doing a "reading elective" at present, but my parents have been visiting for the past two days and my reading has been a little scarce. In theory, I'm supposed to spend five days reading around a topic of my choice and produce something (written) to show for my work at the end. My topic is obesity, and it's fascinating, but I really really need to read a lot more about it before the elective ends -- which is tomorrow. I've spent today reading like a fiend, and I plan to keep at it until my eyes cross tonight (with occasional breaks for things like blogging -- a girl's gotta do something to stay sane).

Oh, and guess where I'm going tomorrow?

Hope they let me bring my needles on the plane!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

We interrupt your regularly-scheduled blog programming...

...for this special post.

The Boy is in Germany (Hi honey!) on a school-related trip, which is really exciting if you're a soccer fan (he is) but very sad if you're a hockey fan (and he REALLY is).

He left yesterday. Game six was tonight. The Oilers won, 4-0. I have doubts that The Boy managed to watch the game, given that (a) the World Cup is on and it's all-soccer, all-the-time in Germany at present, and (b) it's currently 5 a.m. there and the game just ended.

Hence, highlights, including commentary from my dad. (Pardon the frightening look. He normally looks quite....well, normal. I'm not sure what happened tonight!)

The guy with the big red lips is Stephen Harper. He did some ridiculous yapping about "what the guys gotta do tonight" on TV before the game. What a dork.

Goal #2. (We missed #1. Mom and I were out shopping.
The Boy will not find this shocking. Don't worry, I didn't spend any money honey!)

Dad celebrating goal #2.

Here comes goal #3! Look out, Carolina! You're in OIL country!
(That's what the signs on TV say, anyways.)

Things are really getting exciting!!!

CELEBRATION!!! (Goal #4, I think.)

That about sums it up. :-)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Better Late Than Never

Presenting…Team Stitches & Sutures for The Amazing Lace 2006!

Well, it took me some time (five days past the deadline, to be precise), but I have finally assembled my team for TAL 2006. And I must say, I have a good feeling about this. Just like the Edmonton Oilers, we’re going to catch up and surprise everyone! (Though I’m not sure we’re quite as far behind as the Oilers are at present. However, the tide is about to change for them, I’m sure of it. Really. It has to, or there will be a lot of grown men crying around here!)

Back to the topic at hand. With true Canadian pride, Team Stitches and Sutures has decided to model itself after a curling team. (A primer on curling can be found here, for the uninitiated.)

First, the skip. That would be me: Nikki. Aspiring doctor (graduation is in 343 days, but who’s counting?), soon-to-be bride (357 days, but again, who’s counting?), starving student, and sometimes-knitter (who would rather do a lot more knitting, but I’m sure you can all see why that’s challenging sometimes). I’m no Sandra Schmirler, but I’m hoping to lead this team to greatness.

Now, the second: good old Branching Out, from Knitty. My first lace project ever. We’ve been playing together for a while, BO and I, and we know each other well. We are a well-oiled machine. And I’d say we have about 15 grams of KidSilk Haze left to go before we finish our 10th end. I can always count on BO in a pinch – predictable, dependable, and just challenging enough to keep the opponents guessing. (Fortunately we’re usually on the same side these days.) I’m hoping to graduate BO to the Finished Object (FO) team soon.

And finally, the third: Icarus Shawl, from Interweave Knits Summer 2006. Many players tried out for this position. Each had its own traits that would have contributed wonderfully to our team, but in the end, Icarus won out. I found her yesterday and knew right away that she was just what we needed. The yarn (more KSH, same colourway – we’re into a nice unified image here) – is patiently waiting. As soon as BO is a FO, Icarus begins training.

Finally, our opponents (or are they teammates in disguise?): Dr. Stethoscope and Mr. Pager. Our team finds it difficult to practice when the skip is absent or distracted or – worse yet – sleeping, and unfortunately Dr. S. and Mr. P. seem to conspire to make these conditions occur more frequently than we would like. They have their benefits, though, in small doses (the means to an eventual income which or course enables the purchase of more yarn being the most obvious), so we haven’t banished them entirely from the rink. We just keep a close eye and a tight leash on them.

Look how they shamelessly sidle into a beautiful display and contaminate it! The nerve of placing oneself on top of a freshly-purchased issue of IK! It's offensive, I tell you!

And so, the games begin.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

You know you’re in a small town when….

  • It takes less than 15 minutes to get to work in the morning. And that’s walking. Less than 5 if you’re driving, and that’s assuming that both of the streetlights are red.
  • Every one of your patients asks you where you’re staying and doesn’t see this as prying.
  • They all say the same thing, “oh yes, the beautiful house with the nice garden!” And then they tell you about their friend/old aunt/cousin who lives in the house across the street/down the street/around the corner.
  • All of the old houses in town (which is most of them) have little historical plaques stating when the house was built and who lived there. My favourite is “John Smith, Gravedigger, 1832.”
  • Your preceptor knows at least 50% of his patients in some non-work-related fashion. (The best example of this was today, when he told me that a little old lady who we saw at the nursing home used to be his dog sitter.)
  • You start to make these connections, too. The woman whose warts you just treated is the grandmother of the baby whose croup you treated last week in Emergency. The man with the heart attack is the father of the woman who owns the B&B where your classmate is staying. The man with prostate problems owns the pub you drank at last night.
  • The air has that fresh country smell – cut grass, and clean air, and just a hint of manure occasionally. I love it. Yes, really.
  • You go out for ice cream with your classmate and in front of you in line is the local obstetrician with his wife and son.
  • He buys your ice cream for you.
  • Your preceptor lends you his car so you don’t have to walk home from Emergency late at night.
  • Although your preceptor works overnight, you’re heading home because there are no more patients and your preceptor thinks you “might as well sleep in your own bed,” since there likely won’t be more than two or three more over the course of the night.
  • The car he lends you? A mustang convertible. New. And he doesn’t even remind you to lock the doors or drive carefully.
  • The next morning, he jokes that the whole town is going to be talking about him sleeping over at your house the night before, and you realize that even though he’s thirty years older than you, he’s probably right!
  • A sampling of the cases you see in Emergency include “kicked by horse,” and “trampled by cow.”
  • Every single patient asks you if you're enjoying yourself and looks absolutely tickled when you tell them you love it.
  • You just love every minute of it. Okay, maybe that doesn’t mean you’re in a small town. That means you’re me, doing my rural family medicine rotation in a small town.

I want to be a rural family doctor.