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Archive for February, 2010

I am not sure how many blog posts I’ll write about Haiti… but there will be at least a couple.  It’s taking a while to process everything in my head, and with the recent earthquakes in Chile and Japan I am very emotionally drained.

 

I met up with the group in Santo Domingo.  It was nice to see familiar faces waiting for me in the airport when I arrived.  Commercial flights to Haiti did not resume until half way into our trip – so we had to bus across the border from the Dominican Republic.

 

We were stopped along the way into Haiti by a demonstration in the street by local high school students.  The government built them a poorly constructed school and they were worried about it collapsing like the schools in Haiti.  Traffic was stopped for about an hour and a half.  This did not stop post of the cars from turning a two lane road into a 5 or 6 lane road trying move around them.  The police finally came and broke it up using tear gas.  The students reconvened 1/2 a mile up the road – at which point they started throwing rocks at the passing vehicles.  One of our buses got through, but the other one did not.  We had to wait another 15 minutes or so to pass.  After that we made it in to Haiti without any problems.  Easiest border crossing ever.

025 Protest in the street

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As soon as you approach the city limits of Port-au-Prince the tent cities start popping up.  Any empty space is filled with tents.  Some people were lucky enough to have a military tent or a camping tent.  We even saw a few Shelter in a Box tents.  The median between the highway had tents lining it.  With an estimated 2 million people homeless you can’t look far without seeing a few thousand tents.  Most of the homemade tents are made from tree branches and bed sheets.  We did see a few with tarp roofs or aluminum siding walls, but those were not the majority.

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The frames for the tents

 

Looking past the tents we started to see the collapsed buildings.  Buildings half collapsed or even leveled.  Every street corner you could see something that was destroyed.  Our first stop was to the Royal Palace to drop off a missionary we met in Santo Domingo who needed a ride into Port-au-Prince.

 

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We then drove through parts of the city on our way to the OMS International Villa Ormiso Hospitality Center where we stayed while in Port-au-Prince

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We settled in and started organizing the medications and wound care supplies to take to our first clinic in the morning.

 

I’ll write about the medical clinics tomorrow and more of the trip…

Off to have delicious food with Jacie and Tracy, hopefully watch the Men’s USA Hockey team win Gold and spend sometime with an unfinished sock.

 

Stay tuned.

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I’ll write a proper post with pictures when I get home…

The destruction in the city is just unbelievable.  We drove around in the heart of Port-au-Prince and looked at all the collapsed buildings.  The ones that had not completely fallen over are spilling into the street or leaning on other buildings.   There is debris everywhere – and bodies still under most of it.  The people who died in the street have been taken care of, but there are so many buildings that were leveled during the earthquake that it will take months if not a year to remove all the debris and find all the bodies.  I tried to take pictures of some of the buildings but I know they don’t do it justice.  The earthquake destroyed so much for a country that had so little to begin with.

What amazes me most about the people of Haiti has been their ability to continue.  Houses were destroyed.   So they made do with bed sheets and sometimes tarps.  Tie a few sticks together and drape a sheet over it, instant home.  We saw men rebuilding collapsed walls.  Taking the crushed concrete out – one wheelbarrow at a time.  Hammering out the dented siding and support poles.

I’ll write more about the clinics when I get home and can upload the hundreds of pictures I have.

Just wanted everyone to know that we are safe and continue to send your happy thoughts to the people of Haiti – who’ve shown us they have amazing spirits and a love for life.

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An exception to the rule

All might Drill Sergeant Jacie let me make ONE exception to the no cast-on rule.

She’s going to let me knit a plain sock in my Doctor’s Without Borders sock yarn from the Unique Sheep.  I think I have to have it done by the time I get back…hehe.

Isn’t she the best???

See everyone in 10 days.

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It’s almost time….

I leave for Haiti EARLY Sunday morning.  We had some issues verifying flights.  The original plan involved chartering a plane from Florida, but they couldn’t guarantee the 25 seats we needed.  So the plans changed to flying from JFK and flying into the Dominican Republic and then busing over to Haiti and flying back from Port-au-Prince.  The mini side trip to see the parents while I was in Florida was cancelled.  Plane tickets were exchanged and new tickets were bought.  I won’t tell you how much because it may cause your heart to stop, and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for that.

Jacie being the awesome person that she is will be taking me to the Hartford Holiday Inn at 1:00 am Sunday morning.  Yes you read that right, 1 am.  I will be taking the CT Limo to JFK and catching my flight later that morning.  I’ll arrive in the DR Sunday afternoon will meet up with the group (Oh did I mention I’m flying by myself and meeting the group in a foreign country… it’s a good thing I’ve done this several times.)  We will start organizing the pharmacy and separating out the medications.  Then we’ll head over to Haiti Monday morning.

My clothes are all washed and sitting ready to be placed in a suitcase.  I have a few odds and ends to pick up from the store tomorrow morning and then the actual act of packing.  It should not come as a shocker that I am not packed and I leave in 36 hours or so.  I am notorious for packing at the last minute.

Tomorrow’s game plane will consist of Target run/errands, followed by packing and cleaning, loving on the kitty so he doesn’t hate me when I come home, dinner with Kris, Jacie, and Tracy at Ballou’s Wine Bar (a restaurant that specializes in WINE and has fondue… hello heaven) followed up by the  Vagina Monologues at Yale.  Then a short trip back to Newington, put suitcase in car, 20 minute power nap? then off to the airport.  Who needs sleep? 

 

The Evil Pink Vest is 99% completed.  I finished all the knitting last night at SnB.  I did not run out of yarn.  I was very worried I was going to.  I did alter the edging slightly.  The pattern called for picking up 128 (well 130 with seaming… who wants to seam 7 rows of ribbing – nope going to knit in the round, sorry pattern.)  I ended up picking up 100 for each arm band.  There’s no gaping so I think it’s ok.  I am sure it could accordion in a little bit, but the point is to have it done.  I only knit 6 rows instead of 7 of the ribbing.  oooooh big change.  So now all that’s left to do is weaving in the 8 millions ends.

 

I shall leave you with the excerpt from the original blog posts about Evil Pink Vest (formerly known as Sporty Little Number)

March 17, 2007

I am working on my first sweater (well actually sweater vest). I was deathly afraid of sweaters until recently. I’ve knitted a couple baby kimonos which are insanely easy, and I’ve knit a dog sweater. So after that how much harder can an adult sweater be. I am knitting the Little Sporty Number from Sublime. I am using Sublime extra fine merino, which is to die for. It is very soft and just fabulous to knit with. I chose the pinkish/red color redcurrant. When I get back to Wytheville where my camera is I’ll try to take a few pictures of it in progress.

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March 25, 2007

Here’s my Sublime Little Sporty Numbers Vest. This is my first big people sweater, and I picked a pretty complex pattern so again it will be done in 5 years or so. I really enjoy knitting with Sublime. It’s a fabulous yarn. And here’s a close up of the cable/bobble section. Cables are one of my new favorite things to knit.sporty little number 2

 

 

Expect pictures galore in a few weeks… Send happy/safe thoughts until the 24th.

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Daily dose of fiber

My poor spinning wheel has been neglected for far too long… so after a long day venturing out to Webs and Northampton Brewery with the LSGers I decided to finish up the Merino/Tencel from Creatively Dyed

I started the roving a few months ago.  I had one bobbin filled and it sat on the spinning wheel.  I started the second bobbin.  I noticed one day that the first bobbin was fuzzy and the roving had chunks in it.  Kitty slobbered on the roving and the bobbin.  It’s a good thing that kitty is cute because I was worried that he actually broke the yarn on the bobbin.  He was this close to being a homeless kitty.

I plied the yarn last night and kitty gets to live.  There was no broken yarn, just a little fuzz.  Some of the slobbered parts had to be picked out.  One more thing that kitty needs to stay away from…

The yarn is soft and shinny – I still need to soak it.  But here it is anyway – 220ish yards or so.  The colors remind me of a spring garden.  Pinks and purples – with sections of dark green and blue. 

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After the merino/tencel was done I opened up  the True Blood Batts from Corgi Hill Farm.  I blame Jacie on why I now I own these… she is an dirty enabler.  It is a merino, silk and firestar blend.  Red with little wisps of dark purple and sparkly.  Up until now, I’ve only spun from top.  I’ve spun a few silk blends, but never was really happy with them.  This batt is made of awesome.  I can’t say enough good things about Corgi Hill Farms – they have great products, fast shipping, and there’s always some sort of goody with your order.  Go order something fabulous from them and blame Jacie – it’s what I do.  I have a camel/merino dark green/blue batt waiting too…

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This is SOOOOOOO not my color… 🙂

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The SnB is having a Super Bowl party tonight.  Thanks Kristin for hosting our little shin dig.  There is pork cooking in the crock pot to made into pulled pork….mmmm.  I’ll also be making 7 layer Taco dip.  I’ll be cheering for the Saints today.  Good food/friends/times.

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I try not to be negative… no one wants to be around that.  If you know me – you know I had a really hard last year.  Being miserable is not fun.  And just because this is what struck me in the car this morning during my 40 minute commute.  I will eventually solve World Peace during the drive – but this morning it was thankfulness.

 

1.  I am thankful for my friends – Boyfriend commented that I have WAY too many genuinely awesome/good people friends.  And he’s right.  I have a lot of genuinely awesome people in my life.  It took me a while to learn how to find them.  I’d love to tell you the secret but I am not even sure exactly how it’s done.  I can tell you I was not so good at picking out friends in High School.  When I joined Kappa Delta in college I found a WHOLE group of people that were awesome.  They each brought something unique to our group.  We were different but had common goals and morals.  Each time we brought new sister in – they shared a little bit of that.  I’m pretty sure they taught me how to find super awesome people.  Sometimes it’s chance that puts two people in the same place at the same time.  But whatever it is… I’m thankful for all my friends.  Thanks for being awesome and always there for me.

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2.  I am thankful for Furball.  That cat loves me.  He may be a giant whore cat – and he may only love me for food.  But whatever, how can you have a bad day when he greets you at the door and then curls up on you.  He is is the sweetest thing on four legs and it makes everything better.  There’s nothing better than a purring cat.  Salem is the loudest purrer EVER – so it works out well for us.  He may be obnoxious and eat yarn and knock stuff over and climb on my face when I sleep, but he’s always super cute and lovable.  He lets me torture him and carry him around like a baby.  He never ceases to amuse me – when he falls off the bed, when he kneads the air out of pure happiness, or when he’s completely content in a ball on blanket sleeping in a sunbeam.  He’s a great cat – even for those non-cat type people.  I already know I am half way there to becoming the crazy cat lady – I’m cool with this.

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What are you thankful for? – other than you are NOT knitting the Evil Pink Vest, because seriously that would make me thankful.

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Why on earth can I not read directions??  They are just typed words.  To be honest the pattern is not that difficult so why can I not follow them?

I managed to mess up the arm shaping of the evil pink vest AGAIN.  This time I read the WRONG directions.  Yes there are two sets of arm shaping.  One for the sweater version and one for the vest version.  Guess what directions I did? Guess what I realized this morning?  That is was all wrong.  And not even just a little wrong, like a few stitches off… NO IT’S A 20 STITCH DIFFERENCE.  AHHHH!!!!!  20 stitches.  I can’t even pretend to fix that.  So out came the needles for the 8th time or so and I frogged back 20 rows or whatever I had already done and started the arm shaping AGAIN.  This is attempt 3 of the shaping and we won’t even mention how long it took me to get the transition from the ribbing to the stockinette in order because that was just a disaster and a half.  I believe this vest was placed on the earth to test my patience, and it sure is exceeding those expectations.

Sporty Little Number may be renamed Evil Pink Vest.. I can’t abbreviate it looks too much like EBV which is Epstein Barr virus – and then I get all nerdy and medical and nobody wants that.  Anyway Evil Pink Vest is well the devil.  It has been just one trial after another since I started it over 3 YEARS AGO.  I cast on in 2006 (the 4 year mark is in March). It has managed to light a fire that has me determined to finish it now.  I will master the Evil Pink Vest – and I will bask in it’s glory and it will be wonderful. 

Now if I could just manage to get through the last few sets of directions.  This morning while waiting for the snow to clear I reknit the shaping and I am about 28 rows from binding off the back.  Then I need to figure out if I have enough yarn for the edging or if I need to buy more.      

Evil Pink Vest you may have won the battle … but I am going to win the war.

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Where did the month go?  Yes, I know, I went to New Orleans and Paris, saw penguins, went to a hockey game, saw Chicago, raised $1,500 to go to Haiti, and did a bunch of other stuff.  But it still feels like January flew by.

 

Looking at the calendar now February will not be any more relaxing than January was for me.  At least no one can say I didn’t live up my extra time this year.  So far the month looks like a Webs trip with Jacie and Karen for LSG’s 2nd Birthday, Superbowl party at Kristin’s house, seeing the Vagina Monologues with some awesome women (and maybe wine and fondue before hand), a bunch of Kappa Delta stuff in Fairfield, a week in Haiti, possibly another hockey game, and that’s all I can remember right now.  Life is busy – and I love it.

 

On the knitting front – You’d think with a doctorate degree that would mean I could read directions for knitting a vest.  We’ll you’d be wrong.  I am not sure what it is about the Sporty Little Number vest – but we just don’t get along.  Maybe it’s because I tried to decrease at SnB when I am clearly distracted, or not had enough coffee yet.  The good news is… I am at the arm hole shaping of the vest, after only ripping out the decreases once.  I think I even tried to make notes and save them from the first time I made the vest.  I keep looking at the front and reminding myself WHY… why do I torture myself so much.  Because that vest is going to be beautiful.  Now put the big girl panties on and keep knitting.  Really it’s not that bad.  I bet you could even get Jacie to seam it for you.  So really inner self… stop being a baby.  Just finish the vest already. 

Jacie…did I do a good job at yelling at myself??

IMGP2550 Just in case you needed a reminder on how pretty the front is…. the back is completely different and I am too lazy to take pictures right now.. so there.

 

A little rant about the back of the vest….Really who writes a pattern with all those bobbles on the front and back.  That can’t be comfortable.  I am sure it looks pretty, but realistically that has got to suck.  Every move … bobbles poking you in the back, WHY????.  The plan for this vest is “work” clothes.  Bobbles under a white coat.. no thank you.  So where the bobbles are … I kept the cables (they are not nearly as annoying) and added a third cable between them.  I had originally planned on just the two cables but there was too much space between them, it looked a little funny.  So now there’s three cables – one panel is right twist and the other is left twist.  I will take picture sometime… just not now.

 

We had our Secret Snowflake on Saturday at SnB.  Yes, we do know it’s the end of January and Christmas was a month ago.  We are super busy people, and we had other plans (Paris/Hockey).  So we exchanged gifts this week.  Lilian was my secret snowflake.  She wanted numbered stitch markers.  Have I told you the awesomeness that is etsy yet.  Because really, I’m a little in love.  Type in “numbered stitch markers” and bam.. 10 pages.  Ok maybe not 10, but it was that easy.  I also brought back some sock yarn from Paris.  The only sock yarn I could find in Paris.  I would be a sad knitter there.  No Malabrigo and one skein of sock yarn.  Paris you may have delicious food and wine… but I have yummy yarn.

 

I was Kate’s secret snowflake.  Kate got me the Shaken not Stirred scarf kit – in what we think is Fuzzy Navel color.  It’s redish and awesome.  It comes with little beads for the olives, and a fun martini stitch marker.  I am not sure I’ll ever use the stitch marker.  Because if you don’t know me — I lose stitch makers.  Just about anytime I decide to make something that needs them I lose half of what I started with.  I fling them off on accident or lose them in chairs.  Most of my friends have a lovely collection of my stitch makers now.  The martini is too cute to lose, it would make me sad. 

 

I’m off to the doctor’s office this afternoon to get all my meds for Haiti.  I think I’ll get a tetanus booster – I can’t remember when my last one was.  Pretty sure it’s about 7 years old.  There’s cases of tetanus in Haiti right now and I’d like to not get it so left arm I hope you are ready for the pain.  I’ll also get my antimalaria meds, cipro/flagyl incase parasites/bacteria decide they think I’d make a good host, and maybe HIV prophylaxis for good measure.  I need to review the CDC recommendations before my appointment.  We are still waiting on the flight times to Haiti to be finalized but I leave for Florida in less than 2 weeks.  Keep sending us happy thoughts and what not.  I know others in the group are still raising money and trying to get shifts covered for work. 

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A Life of Projects

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