Freia and the Knitwhit

A Blog about a Dog with some Knitting thrown in here and there

Week 2 of CERT training January 31, 2008

Filed under: CERT,Dog Training,House and Home — knitwhits @ 10:44 pm

Last week I started C.E.R.T. training – aka Community Emergency Response Team Program.  It’s an 8 week course put on by my local Fire Dept to get people trained in emergency basics.

Since they say it better on their website than I can, here’s a quick quote:

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

Living in an earthquake zone it seems like a useful thing to know. I’ve always tried to be independent, but being independent is one thing, I figured it’s much more important to be useful (as my grandmother always said) – it’s all well and good to not be a burden, but since I can, and I’m able, I’d rather put myself to some use should something come up. To look at it another way, in our town we have 7-9 firefighters on duty at any one time. In an earthquake if even 10% of our population of 10,000 are injured, trapped or need help after an earthquake, it will be a long time before those 7 firefighters make it around to those 1000 people. Currently my city has about 100 people trained in the CERT program. That adds a lot of extra hands in case of a real emergency.

Last week was the initial intro and overview – this week we got to put out fires! It was actually pretty easy – somehow I thought it would be more dramatic, but a fire extinguisher really does a good job, quickly and very effectively (for small fires, of course). We have a great fire dept with a lot of nice guys who make the course interesting. It is run in a fairly laid back way, keeping it interesting. We get to hear back stories on various fires and calamities that have happened.. some stuff that is fairly astonishingly stupid that people have done, but then other things that give you pause..

They said that the most common fire is electrical – think about it in your house – how many extension cords do you have going? Are they running under a carpet? If so, not good.. the rubbing of the carpet can wear down the cord in as little as six months.. get a longer cord if you must and run it around the room against the walls, not where they are likely to get worn and cause a hazard. Also, don’t pile on one multiple outlet to another.. check the rating (usually on the back side of the outlet) and keep it under the recommended maximum – just because there are six (or three or whatever number) of outlets, does not mean it’s safe to use them all, look at the power required for each item you’re using and don’t overload your plugs!

Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home? No? Get one. They work!

Do you know where you gas/electrical shut-offs are? Do you know how to shut them off? Find out if you don’t know. If your gas has been shut off after an emergency, do remember not to turn it back on again – leave that to the pros.

Next week we start in on two weeks of medical training, going over Triage and basic first aid (treating for shock, broken limbs, minor burns, bleeding, etc, etc). We will also be covering light Search and Rescue (something I’ve always wanted to do with Freia – though in reality the training time for it is enormous and most dogs don’t pass..), Disaster Psychology, Financial Planning and the CERT Organization system (or something like that), and Terrorism.

I must be some kind of disaster geek or something, cos I love this stuff..


Freia 1 – Foxtail 0

Filed under: cats and dogs,Chesapeake Bay Retriever,Walking the Dog — knitwhits @ 10:16 am

Wow.. the foxtail finally has come out of Freia’s paw.. I say “wow” as I thought it got in there originally in November (which is long enough.. ) but I just checked the original post and it was from July of last year.. jeez.. poor gal has had that in her paw for 6 months!!!

Her paw looks soo much better now, the swelling is gone and it’s healing up nicely..

Good Dog!


New Knitting Project – A cool Cardi-Coat January 27, 2008

Filed under: Knitting — knitwhits @ 10:25 am

I’ve had some Tahki Baby Chunky Merino floating around in my stash for eons. I don’t recall if they gave it to me or if I bought it, but I just love this yarn, it’s so soft and a really nice chunky weight and comes in a beautiful color palette.

shrugI’ve been trying to figure out what to do with this yarn forever. I was browsing around one of my favorite sites and came across this little shrug which I thought was cute, though I’m not a shrug kind of gal. Starting from that point though I figured I’d do something similar, a top-down, knit in one piece cardigan. So, longer sleeves, not quite as fitted, probably hip length (yet TBD), oh, and color-blocked. Some recent fashion mag I picked up said “color block is OUT” but too bad.. you have to work with what you got, and I don’t have enough of one color to make it a solid, and who really cares what the mags say anyway??

cardi CoatSo, I started it last night, jotting down notes as I go along and it’s coming along quite nicely I have to say. The colors I have on hand are Chocolate, Ecru, Baby Pink, Sand and Seafoam. I think I may also have a Khaki in the studio so I will have to check that later. This morning I decided also that this really needs to be a practical cardi-coat, so it will have pockets (probably Patch pockets) and yet I don’t want it to be super block-y and heavy and want it to be somewhat feminine, so I may embroider some kind of floral trim on it too or something..

I have a love-hate relationship with projects when I work this way, I go through a mental dialogue of what I like, don’t like, should I just undo it and do something else and yadda, yadda, yadda..

spygameSince I had a good movie to watch (eye candy – Brad Pitt…) I chose to plough through my inner critic and keep going. You gotta love chunky yarn.. it gives a certain insta-fix. In the two hours of the movie and then the extra hour of bits and pieces they throw on each DVD I got the collar and shoulders done, which isn’t bad for a design-as-you-go project… and now in the light of day.. I like what I see… I would love to show you more… but gotta wait for the camera from my other computer.. sorry.. I will also post it to Ravelry eventually and if enough people “fave” it then I will release it as a pattern…

Freia seems to like it.. it sure will be nice and toasty which is what I need in my refridgerator that I call a house.

under the coat

Catching up January 26, 2008

Filed under: cats and dogs,House and Home,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 1:11 am

So somehow it’s another month or more since I last wrote.. So much for my previous good intentions. My initial delay was that I’ve been unable to upload photos to my laptop directly and I lost my motivation. Then a whole host of other things happened to further derail my blogging mojo…:

Sam the CatThe demise of Sam. My cat of 15 years (I inherited him and his sister Sable when they were 3) became ill in early december and by the end of the month it was clear that it was the beginning of the end. I took him to the vet on NY eve and they didn’t have much good to say. He’d lost a lot of weight (down to 8 lbs from 10 lbs back in Feb and down from his original kitty weight of 18 lbs). He was having heart trouble, was weak in his back legs which also made him somewhat incontinent. The hardest part was that he was falling apart so quickly, which made me feel like it was an infection of some kind and that he would be “fixable”. Every day was a roller coaster, he would be better one day, worse the next, it was a lot of one step forward, two steps back. It got harder and harder to watch and became clear that I was soon to be left with no alternative but to put him down. My vet was endlessly patient with my phone calls and new ideas of what Sam could be suffering from. At the same time, I was trying to prep for TNNA in early January and hope that Sam would either hold on a few weeks for me to do the show and be back home to care for him some more, or, hard as it was to face, for him to get to the point where I would have no choice but to put him down before I went away for those few days. Three days before I was due to leave he seemed to be holding steady and I decided that I couldn’t let that I was going away be the deciding factor in putting him down or not. Of course what I wanted was for him to tell me when it was time, but he couldn’t, anymore than I could make that decision when he was still aware, purring and loving.

My neighbors next door were wonderful. They had  just gone through the same sad experience with their 21 year old cat. While I was away, they tenderly cared for Sam, keeping him warm, fed and clean, giving him love and pets. I knew he was in good hands. Then, the day I got home I could immediately see that in only the few days that I was away, he had continued to go downhill and I really had only one possible thing to do. He had almost no strength, eating was exhausting for him, and walking was almost out of the question, though he heroically tried to show me that he was really OK.

That last month I cried so many tears, just when I thought I could cry no more, they would come again. I begged Sam to help me decide what to do, or get well, or tell me what was the right thing, but what can a cat do? I held him, cared for him, cleaned him, talked to him and loved him endlessly, but ultimately life does come to an end and death is unavoidable.

Putting him down was so very very hard, but watching him fade away and start to suffer in the end was far more painful, as that was day in, day out, every minute, watching him, with him watching me work. Putting him down became the kindest thing to do, and the only thing no matter how painful it would seem to be.

My vet was truly wonderful, kind, sympathetic, respectful and understanding, and so very gentle with him (and me). This was the first time that I’ve had to put down a pet, and though it can never be a happy thing, she made it as easy as something like this could possibly be.

 TNNA. The big show of the year. A lot of other wholesalers say that the Columbus (June) show is the big one, but looking at my numbers, this one in January has traditionally been the big one. I had high hopes for this show, things have been humming along at Knitwhits, been busy filling orders, and I’d come up with some new designs that I was really excited about. A few days before heading for LA I had Mia (my ex-assistant) stop by to say goodbye to Sam, and unfortunately she still had the tail end of a cold. I think my immune system was already compromised from my emotional rollercoaster with the cat, so when she stopped by I picked up her cold. By the time the show started my bug was full blown, leaving me with a cough that was completely incapacitating.. All things considered, the show ended up being unusually slow the first day, which made it easier for me in my sick state, but was also disappointing. The only good thing was that it was clear to me that it was not exclusive to Knitwhits, I had some of the biggest companies as my booth neighbors and we were all slow. It did eventually begin to pick up, with the last day feeling the busiest.

erin and i at tnnaI saw the usual cast of characters (designer Melissa Leapman, Vogue editor Adina Klein, Gina and Austin Wilde from Alchemy, Clara Parkes of Knitter’s Review, Suzanne from Hill Country Weavers to name but a very few), and some new ones knitting community rock stars (Jess and Casey from Ravelry). I wish I hadn’t been so sick, but the show was as always, exhausting but fun, with networking, gossipping, schmoozing, chatting and laughing. I had wonderful help once more from Erin (owner of Bobbin’s Nest Studio in Santa Clara). Erin – you’re the best!

Here we are (Erin and I) trying out the Sample It at TNNA.. it was a success.. almost completely sold out of my new easter egg kits (coming soon..), everyone went for the large kits which surprised me – I thought they’d snap up more of the smaller ones, but you never know.. Also, you can see us here in the new snappy Knitwhits T-shirts soon to also be available on the Knitwhits site.. You can almost see my new “do” –  My friend Heather has been calling me “Britney” but Erin calls me “punk rock Barbie”.. think I prefer the latter.. when people did actually recognize me at the show, they all loved the hair.. others would sort of give me a confused look before going “hey!!! great hair!” I’d show you a better picture if I had one, but I don’t..

 Xmas and New Years. Christmas with relatives. That’s all I’m going to say on that one. You fill in the blanks. The best part of Christmas was spending the following day with my mother, just hanging out and working on some crafty knitting stuff together.

On the other hand, New Year’s was really great. A friend and I went to a local restaurant/bar for a drink and a snack and ended up hanging out there the entire night. We met two local guys who ended up being really interesting. One of them is building a car that goes on the water and he’s working to break the land/water speed record with this crazy contraption. He may well do it.

 Other odd things. On the way to LA I drove off the road.. full on Dukes of Hazzard, crazy.. I was aiming for the exit, but missed.. woops.. fortunately I have a 4wd Volvo.. it was not a good moment, and sure gave me one heck of an adrenaline rush.. but i did a mental inventory once I was back on a road, suspension .. check, brakes… check, acceleration .. check, tires.. check..  I pulled into the gas station gave the car a visual once over and got back on the road.. swearing to never again drink Theraflu while driving.. and this wasn’t even the night-time kind, but apparently enough chemicals to clearly mess with my clarity of thought.. let this be a warning to anyone reading this.. cold meds and driving really don’t mix, even the non-narcotic ones..

To add to it all.. I managed to leave my passport and green card at the hotel in LA.. I had driven back from LA and went straight to Sam, leaving my suitcases to be unpacked the next day. Later as I went to bed I realised that I didn’t recall packing the passport or Green Card.. (I’d accidentally brought them with me to LA in my bag). I got out of bed and unpacked the bags, didn’t find them of course.. called the hotel (1am now) and the desk clerk checked the room but also couldn’t find them.. Anyway.. this went on for another two days.. I must have spoken to every desk clerk and person on the housekeeping staff at the hotel. It eventually ended well, the housekeeping manager had found the items and locked them safely away till she came back from her days off.. Replacing those would have been a major pain, so that was a really good phone message when she called…

So that’s been the most dramatic/traumatic events of the past few weeks.. My world has been off kilter for what feels like forever and  just now I am beginning to feel balanced again.