Archive for February, 2012


There are perks to this whole CaRMS chaos.  People feel sorry for you.  People try to inspire you and show you that they support you and they love you.

People make you quilts.

In Halifax, my sweet girlfriend Erin and her momma made me a beautiful quilt with lovely earthy colours.

CaRMS-y quilt

So pretty

The best part of this quilt?  My friend Erin is a midwife and she gets obstetrical nerdery.  SERIOUSLY.


Can you read that?

That says penis. and fetus.


and station

and there’s embolism and forceps and syphilis and penicillin and so many more.

I have a quilt that has syphilis on it…Secret syphilis…which of course is the very *worst* kind.


and it’s cat approved.

no syphilis here. only cats.


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I am currently in the middle of a 3 week whirlwind tour of 10 Canadian cities, interviewing for residency positions. This painful and nerve-wracking (not to mention crazy expensive) process is glamourously called the Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS) “tour”.  Myself, along with ALL of the other medical students in the country who are graduating this year, having applied in November for our prospective residency programs, are now criss-crossing the country for a series of interviews, meet n’ greets, and socials, all in hopes of securing a spot in our desired schools/disciplines’ residency programs for the next 2-5 years. As per the name of the ‘tour’ this process is supposed to be a “match” ie. students have some input into their preferred schools/programs by submitting a rank-listing, while schools do the same (ie. if they interview 60 students for 5 spots, they rank everyone 1-60 on how awesome they thought you were). Frankly, it’s all really moonbeams and fairy dust and I don’t really understand how this whole mess works other than I submit a list of programs that I’d be willing to move to/participate in and some magical computer in Ottawa spits out a name on March 6th and then I go wherever it tells me to in June.

For my tour, I’ve applied only to Obstetrics and Gynecology programs. I applied to 13 programs, got 10 interviews and turned down 2 of them (one because of bad timing- overlap with another interview, and one because they got back to me really late in the game and I’d already spent too much money on plane tickets and good riddance). As of today, I’ve participated in 3 interviews: Halifax, London, and Hamilton. They’ve all been pretty good and I think that I’ve shown myself off pretty well, considering my socially awkward tendencies and the strangeness of the CaRMS beast in and of itself.  I have an interview tomorrow in Ottawa, followed next week by interviews in Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Vancouver. Really, all programs in Canada are excellent. They’re all a bit different and a whole lot the same. Ultimately, I would be happy to match to any program that I’m interviewing.

So, anyhoot, what’s a knitter to do when faced with 3 of the most stressful weeks of her burgeoning medical career?

Knit of course.

10 days before CaRMS tour started, in the middle of my General Surgery rotation (read: up at 5 for 6am rounds, home by 7pm each night, call 1 in 3), in my infinite wisdom, I felt the best way to show myself off to these interviewers was by presenting myself in a handknit vest. Nothing says amazing like answering “what do you do in your spare time?” with pointing at one’s chest and proudly pronouncing “this!”.

So I went to the library at took out a neat book called Craft Activism and bookmarked Kirsten Kapur‘s Craftitude Vest

and then it begins

where all my best knitting happens it seems- on call.

One of the great things about a short deadline is there is no room for dilly dallying.  Project monogamy is a must.

all vesting all the time

I knit doggedly



i sit on your sweater

perhaps cat-edly is more appropriate

After blocking everything out front and back, I realized that I had marfed up the very last cable at the top of the front.  This realization was of course on Friday night around 23hoo…. and my flight for halifax was leaving at 5am on Monday morning.


I am the stupid cable that shows where Kirsti obviously fell asleep and kept knitting

So after wailing, crying and pleading with myself that it was “fine” and “no one would notice the difference”, I went to bed.  Actually, it’s more like Mike put me to bed because I was pretty much hysterical.   I couldn’t seem to explain to him that with my life spiralling out of control, I *NEEDED* this sweater to work.  If I couldn’t control the sweater and complete it in time, then I would surely fail at CaRMS, fail out of medical school and end up living in a cardboard box. Nothing like extremes when dealing with botched knitting at midnight.  Saturday, I woke up took a deep breath and ripped it back.

Oh G-d. Oh G-d. Oh G-d.

insert hyperventilation here

And everything was okay, really.  I managed to re-knit everything by Saturday night and sort of steam block it out.  I stitched together the seams and picked up the arms and neck and had it all soaking in a tub by Sunday afternoon.  I dried it out in front of the heater over night and it went into my bag in the am.  And it fit! and it looked sharp! and I. MADE. IT. WITH. MY. HANDS.

dear internet- this is my belly

nothing says professional like handknit vest when EVERYONE else is wearing a suit

Cable fixed

I may not look like everyone else, but I'm happy and comfy and DAMN proud of myself. (note- I am NOT wearing a t-shirt and jeans with this vest to my actual interviews- that would be super unprofessional).

Documented over on Ravelry.

I have to say, one great thing about such a cramped deadline is that there was no room to languish.  If this project had been done under ‘normal’ circumstances, I’m pretty sure it would have sat in a cupboard for months (or years) until I “had the time” to sort it out.  Not to mention how long I would have procrastinated sewing it up and finishing it.  I’m actually happy that I had to “deal with it now” because I did deal with it and now I have an awesome, unique vest!

Here’s to hoping it’s just one of the kooky thing that makes folks remember me and think that I’m awesomesauce, so that when March 6th rolls around I’m not planning moving to the 8th choice on my list!

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