Saturday, August 15, 2015

Knitdown lockdown, Neurology, and Boards, oh My!

WARNING: Super long post! Long Rant about life-stuff in the beginning, lots of knitting content at the end. 

August has been extremely hectic as I am running around finishing quite a few tasks at the sme time. I was at a medical boards review class all of last month in Kansas, which was both necessary but also an annoyance. Everything that I had been doing had to be put on hold, and I lived in a hotel room for a month, studying from 7am to 9pm every day, eating hot dogs from the hotel and anything I could cook in a rice cooker. (Note: actually quite a lot of things can be cooked in a rice cooker.) It was nice in a way, to just shut myself in with a select few other students and teachers, and limit my outside contact for the most part to just a few letters and emails to my family and phone calls every night to my parents. My brother has been undergoing his Beast training at West Point at the same time, and in some ways my life paralleled his, except that all of my training was for mental endurance.

This month started out relatively slow as I started my Neurology rotation with an esteemed physician. He was on vacation for the first week of the rotation, so I was able to get used to the policies and procedures in his office, work on my residency applications, and do quite a bit of boards studying as well. This week, on the other hand, was extremely hectic. There were some days where I was at the office for 12 hours. There were some days where the office manager gave me time limitations, down to the minute of when and where I should be meeting with the physician versus seeing the patient. There were some days when I got home at 7pm (after starting the day at the office at 7am) and could barely keep my eyes open to do one block of questions and would sadly look at my notes and not have the energy or mental capacity to record my incorrect answers. On Friday, as I left, the office manager warned us that next week was likely to be the same. 

As mentioned before, I am taking my second set of medical boards at the end of the month, which also contributes to the craziness. The clerkship is crazy enough on its own, with the stern and sarcastic "operations manager", the highly critical attending physician, and the plethora of medical students, medical assistance, nurses, and physician assistance all vying for time and attention with the physician and trying to see a large amount of patients all at the same time, but add to that trying to study and memorize facts and do questions. In addition, I am also applying for residencies at this time, which makes things even just a bit more hectic. However, I know that these times are only as challenging as I can handle, and I am getting everything done, as much as I can. I know that these are the times when I grow, both as a person and as a future physician. I am learning to handle multiple tasks, and memorize complicated lists of patients and their health information, as well as learning, memorizing, and remembering facts and numbers and information that will be pertinent to the board exams. I know that this is going to help me in the future. I know this. I know I can handle this. It doesn't make the days suck any less. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to pursue my passion, and have the resources on hand to do all of these things at once. It it still hard work. I will get through it. Knowing that doesn't make it any easier, though. 

<Knitting content starts here> I have done some knitting and finished a couple of things, since I have been traveling quite a bit. I finally finished my Parrot socks, which are MCN socks out of Polly wants a Cracker colorway by TurtlePurl Yarns. They are so soft and squishy and overall wonderful. It was my stress knitting for most of the time I was in Kansas, just a row here and there, from the airport to the hotel and one or two rows before bed. I'm quite pleased with how they turned out: almost matchy-matchy.

While I was in Kansas, I also started my rainbow mitts, which are with the Running Mitts pattern by Heather of the Fiberista Files/Highland Handmades podcast and yarn by Leading Men Fiber Arts in the OMG Squee! Colorway. I finished these on the plane ride home, next to a hilarious and large Kansas family who were going to a drill team competition and had never been on a plane before. I loved their enthusiasm.

Works in Progress: I have the second of my Pebble Beach shawls still in the works, but since it is laceweight, it is becoming somewhat of a slog. I'm about 75% done, but I think I'll put it off until after boards because we are not getting along.  In addition, I had started my Jaala Spiro Diamonds Lace shawl with Knit Circus yarns, but a mistake somewhere in the beginning is making everything one stitch off. I don't think I have the mental capacity to deal with lace right now, so it is also going in the "after boards" pile to think about its behavior. 

New Things: When I got home from Kansas, I was in somewhat of a dither. I shouldn't be starting things, but at the same time, with Stash Dash going on, I wanted to start and knit all of the things. I tried to put myself under Knit-Down Lock-down, meaning not knit anything for the month of boards. That didn't work. I was miserable, and couldn't concentrated on studying, my mind going a mile a minute but unable to focus on my work. So I compromised, and worked on a few things here and there.  Most of what I started are things with lots of stockinette or garter, things that I can mostly not think about and knit while I study. This is what I have been working on, off and on: 

1. Book Woman Jacket: I have been eyeing this pattern for a long time from the Stitching in the Stacks book, and I figured I should start working on them now, if I am going to be going to all of the cold places this winter (Maine, Michigan, etc. More on that later.) I'm knitting this out of Eco+ Wool instead of the called for Aran weight because I have a ton of this wool and because with my loose gauge, I actually get gauge with Eco. 

2. Socks for Jay: I have been promising my brother Jay socks from the Simple Socks Poste yarn in the Ravenclaw/Cleverness colorway for about 6 months. There is a bit of a backlog on socks, so I figured since I finished a pair, I might as well start these for him. It'll take some time to finish, but since he's probably not going to be able to wear them in the army, he can have them as his Christmas present. It will be my go-to sock on the needles for a while, since he has enormous feet.

3. Trickle Shawl: I am doing this partially for the Palkal/AYNKal, but also because I have been wanting to use this baby alpaca yarn for so long and never know what to do with it. It's baby alpaca, it's special, I think to myself. I need to save it for later, I think. But at the same time, with the countdown to graduation and residency less than 1 year away, I'm starting Operation Knit All the Stash and not caring about saving the stash. 

I think that covers it all, for the most part. Hope everyone is staying cool in the summer heat, and all is going well! I'll try to check in again soon! 

Best, 
~Z

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