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Thursday, October 20, 2005


Today is a Gift, that’s why they call it the Present…

I saw this statement on a bumper sticker on the way downtown yesterday and gave it the usual harumph that escapes my lips when I see (but sometimes enjoy) a clever twist of meaning that might leave an annoying mental aftertaste.

You see phrases like this all over the Boonie Towns of the Midwest – usually on church signs. I’m convinced there must be a clearing house somewhere, probably a website, that the member responsible for the sign can go to find these nuggets. I saw one sign in a commercial district where a vacuum cleaner place was next to a religious bookstore and their’s read “Cleanliness is Next to Godliness.” WOOT!

Yesterday was not much of a gift, in my opinion, and when I found myself at 5pm still at the Northwestern Med Facility after getting there at 8-in-the-morning, I was ready to throw in the cryin’ towel. Instead, I pulled out my knitting – Sock #1 from above is going to get a mate! And I pulled out a Secret Weapon, which in combination with same was sure to stun and vanquish the haze of boredom that lingers in any waiting room on the planet.

But especially this one. Knitting alone was just not enough. This was the female waiting room for CAT scans – and some of us were working on drinking a huge quantity of liquid. While you are wrapped in the thinnest of cotton gowns, you are treated like a queen by the kindest of attendants and served not one, but 3 containers that look like the little milk bottles of yore. You drink one every 20 minutes and then you get rayed. Something is wrong with my guts and my doctor needs to know more.

This liquid is beyond description – methinks they probably have tried to improve the texture and taste over the years, but medical people – you aren’t there YET. For someone like me who shudders when even the smell of Pepto Bismal reaches my nose, this was going to be interesting. It was thick; it was chalky; it was insane.

Of course, it had to be done, so I settled in with my Sock, cracked my first bottle open, poured it into the lovely styrofoam glass (why is it that hospital plastic and styro products are always first class?) and then set it down to let it breathe. Now was the time to launch my secret weapon – “the Constant Gardener” by Le Carre – whose paper spine was massaged into limp flexibility and held open with a hair clip flat on my lap.

Now I could Knit, Read, and Honk Down that barium cocktail like nobody’s business. My roomates politely sipping from their bottles either nodded appreciation by raising their drink or just stared, stunned by having to witness this display. (Or maybe, it was just the White Socks and Black Loafers with the Hospital Gown…) But it worked! I made it through the bottles with nary a flinch…

And that was the Gift after all – the Knitting (and Reading) once again rescued me from a Present that was too hard to unwrap by myself…

for Socktoberfest, here’s a little Present that illustrates how I knit my socks, presented by the wonderful Trish…

and, if you want to knit and read, here’s a page from my current at-home selection, from a book published completely online…


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