Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Retrospective

Christmas is over. Whew! This is the first year I didn't decorate. It wasn't really a conscious decision not to, but more like a daunting chore looming over our heads. We kept putting it off until it was no longer feasible to do so. I'm not a scrooge by any means, but the thought of hauling down the boxes and boxes of Christmas crap, taking all day to put it up and then thinking about having to put it all away after it's all said and done was not appealing. I also didn't have to stare at each ornament wondering if I should put it away for my daughter to start her new life with.

We did make gingerbread cookies on Christmas Eve. I even made Chris help a little. You will see no deformed ones. We ate them all. Well, we eventually ate the good ones too. I used the recipe from my Fannie Farmer Baking Cookbook and they were so tender and yummy! This cookbook is one of my most loved cookbooks of all time!
We're makin' cookies up in hereSerious sprinklingDSC_0023
See the gingerbread man on the round glass plate with the very large, red sprinkled eye? That's Chris' contribution...a gingerbread man with pink-eye. If you look closely you will also see some cookies shaped like Texas. How many other states have cookie cutters?

Then there was the epic game of Risk. I have very little patience for long games but I loved that they were playing it in my home.
Fierce NegotiationsMake your move...

Christmas Day, we went to my sister's house where my 7 month old nephew was anxiously waiting for me. I am finally NOT SICK and can play with my little nephew!!! And yes, he is wearing the hat I made for him...see below.

Running? Let's just say that it takes a little more motivation to get outside in cold weather to run. Even with the perfect combination of clothes! But I don't like running on a treadmill, so it takes a little psyching myself up to get going.

Last but not least, I can show you what I have been knitting! I made a scarf and earwarmer set for my cousin, but I didn't get pictures of them before I gave them away. I was cutting it a bit close!

Ishbel by Ysolda Teague knit in Fearless Fibers laceweight merino yarn in the teal colorway. I made this for my mother and gave it to her Christmas Day. She loved it!

The shawl pin is from Nicholas and Felice and is gorgeous but I felt was a little large and heavy for this neckerchief sized shawl.

I finished my Mountain Form Slippers out of some Cascade 220 Superwash to keep my feet warm

Then I made a Cable and Seed Hat for my nephew out of some KnitPicks Swish Superwash. It used only a few yards short of the entire skein. The pattern doesn't have any identifying author/store on it. It took me about 2 days to make.

And...the last couple of days I have been working on the Urban Aran Cardigan that I am making out of Cascade Yarns Eco Wool in the Latte colorway. With all of the cables and this slightly bulkier yarn, it will be quite warm.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Here's Mud In Yer Eye!

...and on the floor, and on the patio, and mainly on the DOG!

For the most part, I love winter. I love wearing sweaters and hoodies, snuggling up under my down comforter, wearing my various hand-knitted items and drinking hot tea. A chilly breeze is invigorating, a flurry of snow and I feel like a kid again. I would enjoy these things a lot more if I didn't have a 70 pound MUDDY dog yelping and jumping to the back window begging to be in the house. The other problem is that once in the house, she keeps wanting to go outside again. You know...checking for squirrels, barking at boogey men and chasing flying birds is of utmost importance.

My dog is 13.5 years old and doesn't act a day over 8. She still runs muddy ruts to and from her water, to and from both sides of the gate. And when she runs, she doesn't just get her paws muddy, but her entire chassis. My brand new patio is now covered in muddy footprints. That patio furniture and grill I was dreaming about getting? Cross them off my list. The leisurely mornings reading and sipping tea on my back patio? That dream has drifted away like a puff of smoke.

Cleaning my dog requires me to heft her 70 pounds of squirming dog mass through my house to bathe her. A towel, you say? You may as well give me a moist towelette...a cotton is of no use. I spent the morning spreading wood chips over the muddy areas. I have never tried this before, but found the idea on an online forum. I am SO hoping this helps! A muddy buddy she is not right now...

Friday, December 4, 2009 Day!

They let me out of work early at 1pm. The roads are wet and snowing and the temp is supposed to make a quick dip below freezing to ice the roads nicely for us winter-illiterate Texans. The snow is beautiful floating down. I love the way snow dances on its way down not like the stoopid rain we usually have.

My daughter just got in her car to drive to her boyfriend's! ::strikes forehead with palm:: so I worry about her driving in this. Yes, by Canadian standards, Texans are winter wimps, but we don't have the de-icers like they do. We all act like igmos when the snow starts falling. We flap our arms and point to the sky and exclaim "look! snow!" (said in your best bubba voice) and just stand there and stare at it as if something strange like kittens or juiceboxes were falling from the sky.

So I'll take this early day off to work on some Christmas knitting...and to stare at the snow like an igmo...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Firsts and Lasts

As parents, we like to mark the "firsts": first words, first steps, first day of school... We take pictures, make scrapbooks, keep programs and save little souvenirs of the event. Our mental archive is full of these occasions for access later.

Things that are harder to identify are the "lasts". Some lasts are worthy of celebration: last diaper, last day at daycare, last carpool. Other lasts are harder to take and a little grieving process accompanies each. Parents of teenagers witness these lasts early on with exponential increase in the latter teen years: last time she lets me have a mommy kiss when dropping her off at school, last school project I helped her complete, last slumber party...

Many times, we don't recognize the lasts when they occur. In the same pair of pants it helps cushion our grief for its loss if we're not aware of it, and make us wish we had cherished it more when it was still here.

Where is all of this coming from? My daughter's boyfriend proposed to her Saturday night. They plan on getting married next August. She will be 20. I...will be having regularly scheduled nervous breakdowns until then. This is where the of "lasts" begins. Was it a surprise? No. They have been dating since she was 15. Through school changes, college, his bootcamp and going to school in Huntsville, nothing has drifted them apart. He's a good guy: a Marine, sweet, a Christian and absolutely adores her and her high-maintenance emotional ways. I truly love him like a son. BUT...and there is always a but...she is my
roommate and best friend and I'm having issues here. (gets up to get a hanky) I fully understand my charge as a parent is to raise her so she can make it in the world on her own. I GET IT. I'm all about that. But here I sit during the holidays realizing that it will be our LAST Christmas at home together. I GET that there will be other joyous events and holidays and this is BY FAR not the end...but I get to grieve, okay? I should warn you also, dear reader, that when I take down the tree and have to put her ornaments in a separate box, I will be a basket case. I WILL, however consciously cherish this Christmas as much as I did our first, but with a few more tears.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turkey Trot

No, I'm not talking about the intestinal aftermath of eating poorly prepared Thanksgiving day treats, I'm talking about Thanksgiving Day's 5K to benefit a local charity. It was 7am, a brisk 46 degrees and as it turns out, I was WAY overdressed. Not overdressed in that I was rockin' some formal attire, but that I had too many clothes on. What is comfortable sitting still is NOT what is comfortable running a 5K. Stripping while running is a bit difficult. Sweating is easier. I made a PR! 38:30 for a 5K and I didn't walk once (except briefly at the water station...can't run and drink yet) That may not mean much to you running types, and I'm sure you could achieve that time with a broken leg and with the flu, but I was pleased.

Thanksgiving dinner at my grandmother's was fun, and I could barely detatch myself from my 6 month old nephew. We played Farkle and ate too many desserts. Unfortunately, my family is full of excellent cooks. Good thing I made the preemptive strike on calories with a 5K before dinner, I could barely waddle afterward!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Running Hurts Every Time...That's Why it Works

God must have a brain chemical devoted to pain amnesia. You know the one. The one that makes women partially forget what labor felt like? Well, he has an even more powerful one for runners.

The next day, we forget that running is uncomfortable. THE NEXT DAY! Something always hurts, taking breaths is a struggle, making the limbs obey is a struggle. We pant and gasp and walk like zombies back to our cars where we guzzle water. We get home and ice our knees or calves and moan. We sleep. Then, like the Etch-A-Sketch-for-brains we are we think "wow, the weather is great for running today". What sane person does this? (I say with an air of incredulity as if I AM sane)

The constant tearing down is what builds us up. Such an imitation of life, no? I need to write this so I can read it later for when my logical brain tries to tell me that running is too hard and I should stop.

The half marathon is in January. (insert panic attack here). I just need to finish... before the cripple cart comes and scrapes the rest of us off the pavement.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back on Track

What's worse than being down for 2 weeks with a back injury? Try coming down with the flu! THREE weeks I have been away from running. THREE!! At first, I missed running and felt an empty hole in my life, but the scary thing was...after awhile I got used to it. I got used to being sedentary to the point that when I medically improved enough to get back into running, I resisted at first. Part of my hesitation was fear of FAIL. I knew that after 3 weeks I wouldn't be able to run for crap, but the other part was...well...just...lazy. I don't want to be THAT person again. THAT shiftless blob whose arse could easily become one with the couch cushions. Add the half marathon looming over my head and there is my motivation. Don't get me wrong, my first two runs were pretty crappy compared to what I had been running, but actually weren't as bad as I had expected.

The two GOOD things that came out of my sabbatical were the two knitting projects I finished!
First is the lace Elm Row lace scarf from Knitspot knit with Dream in Color Baby in the Happy Forest colorway.

The next project has been languishing on the needles for awhile while I was working on other things. Spiral Eyelet socks knit in Sunshine Yarns sock in the Chocolate Covered Cherries colorway. The pattern is free! I love free. I finally have a pair of socks for myself! The pattern went rather quickly and the lace part was easy to memorize. The socks fit perfectly!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Aunt Flo Conquered

I haven't posted about this before now, because I wanted to give it a couple months trial run before I give my final verdict. I can heartily announce that I have beaten Aunt Flo without surgery and without hormones. A little over 2 months ago I had a Novasure procedure done at my OB/GYN's office. (No affiliation, just a happy customer) If you are one of the happy peppy people who welcome your monthly girly time as a feminine renewal or a womanly catharsis ...there is no need to read any further.

I won't overwhelm you with the gritty details, but let's just say that Aunt Flo paid me a lot more attention than she used to. Exercise during that time was close to impossible and working a 12 hour shift during that time necessitated hourly trips to the bathroom.

The procedure was a breeze. They give you "milk of amnesia" (propofol) a very good sedative which knocked me out for the 5-10 minute procedure (see the website for more info). After "waking up" I actually felt fine...well, like I had about 2-3 beers, but fine. Afterwards, my daughter and I went to eat and went to the mall. (Don't worry, she drove) I would sit in the stores while she tried on clothes, but I still felt okay. After I got home, I took one pain pill and "slept it off" and didn't need anything else for pain after that.

Results? My first "period" afterward was one day of spotting. I missed my next period entirely. This was THE BEST thing I have ever done. I couldn't be happier. I still get PMS just as bad, but the bloating is a little better, and NO CRAMPS!

Aunt Flo? K-O!

Monday, August 17, 2009

On The Injured List

My lower back has been bothering me the last couple of days so I've had to take a (hopefully) small hiatus from running. Rather than trying to think I know better than what my body is telling me, I decided to heal this little twinge rather than injure it further. THAT means that I've been knitting a bit more lately.

I finally finished my Empire Tunic. Yes, I'll wait while you flood my comment box with how closely I resemble the original model. I'll wait. Ahem. Well, it does seem to make the girls look a bit bigger. Anyway, the pattern was great and it fits perfectly, but I can't say I was too thrilled about working with Tahki Jeans yarn. I'm sure it's going to wear like iron and be the best thing to wear in Texas during the summer, but it makes my hands hurt to knit with it.

My next project? Girasole by Jared Flood. Possibly more ambitious than I know what to do's just yarn.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Losing a Heifer and Gaining Two Calves

Okay, even though I live in Podunk-ville where the main Saturday evening entertainment is the lavish social galas at walmart (black wolf tshirt optional. Seriously, check the reviews on the tshirt. Too funneh), the above title is not a livestock reference. I AM referring to the newly forming lumps arising from mah pasty white gams as evidenced by the pictoral reference below. Wee-haw! Mah humps, mah lovely lady lumps...check it out! Is it wrong that I take satisfaction from flexing and touching my calves? It's like growing your own produce. It just makes you want to smile.

AND and and and I have gotten below a certain weight (which shall remain nameless), hence the "losing a heifer" reference. AND and and and I ran my fastest 2 miler last night, even if I had to walk a bit. My power song of the run? Jump by Van Halen. This well worn, high school head bangin', master-class air guitar and drum staple on my ipod did the trick. Just as I was about to walk as the music started to slow, I hear David Lee Roth's musical squeal shift my buns into motion. Go Marshmarathon, go!

On the knitting front, I'm still working on the Empire Tunic. It's cotton, it hurts my hands and it's not the best stuff to knit with...but you wanna see the carrot colored wonder yarn dangling on the end of a stick taunting me to finish? With 1717 yards of squooshy woolen wonder with colors like that of the surface of the sun and just as intense...I give you...Wollmeise lace!
This is wanting to become a Girasole SOOOOOOO bad right now, as soon as I can finish this tunic. Then...I'll be knitting on this for the next 10 years!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The W-I-D-E World of Running This Week

Okay, I really need to lose some more weight if my running is to improve. Try running around with 50 extra pounds strapped to your body and run. This past week's run brought to you by Over Achievers Anonymous. I was off four days in a row. Thinking I could get some good runs in, I proceeded to get shoed up and step outside for a 2 mile run every day that I was off. Or should I say intended to run 2 miles?

Day 1 - thighs of steel carry me away! Two miles? No problem! (I lie...I still haven't experienced an "easy" run)
Day 2 - walked twice for a bit in the 2 miles with my running group. That's okay, can't win 'em every day!
Day 3 - walked three times in the 2 miles. Do ya see where this is going? Do you think I did?
Day 4 - daughter wanted to go running with me. Oh joy! We finally get to engage in the activity that she got me started into! At 0.64 miles I hit a friggin' wall. What?!? 0.64 miles? Frustrated with myself, I tried to run using mostly my thighs and butt and taking longer strides. Nope. Didn't work. Angry now I run several yards as fast as I can, legs turn to jello and gasp for dear life and walk the rest of the way. I guess it doesn't help that I was PMSing and had had spent 4.5 hours in a tire place earlier that day.

Okay, I know you're not supposed to feel like a failure for walking during a run but geez! I guess I can't do 2 miles back to back to back to back without a rest day. Sucks. Was trying to get up my miles too.

So today is a rest day (sticks out tongue). Thanks for listening to me rant.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Post Race Signup High

I was up until 1:30am this morning so I could sign up for the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. I WOULD have been able to sign up at 12:01 am like the website said, but do you think that a million and one people were also trying to access the site at 12:01am having a seizure on the refresh button just as I was? Do you think the website crashed quite a bit even in mid registration? Do you think that the powers that be could have anticipated the frenzy? Really? Like, maybe they could have used something besides a Commodore 64? At 2pm today, 13,200 people are signed up for one of the races. This is going to sell out fast.

After springing out of bed at the crack of 9:45 and doing some fiddle-fart things around the house, I decided I wanted to go for a run outside. It was 12 noon. I haz teh dumbz. Knowing it would be a craptastic run, I went anyway in true stubborn fashion fueled by the high of signing up for a major race that I'm a little bit skeerd of. I don't know what I pulled outta my butt, but I ran 2 full miles at 12 noon in Texas in almost full sun. Three days ago I felt like I could barely make 2 miles on an indoor dreadmill! The body is a mysterious thing, but I think mine should be named Sybil.

I thought more about why I'm running and have come to this conclusion: I have to find my identity apart from being someone's mom or someone's nurse. My child rearing days are coming to a close and I'm feeling the vacuum start to pull at me. What is my life about now? Working and making money to pad my death bed in old age? Yay. fun. I guess this is why people have mid life crises, although I don't think I've quite hit my midpoint. I'm just getting a head start.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Actual Knitting!

I finally finished and blocked my textured shawl! It's so soft and smooshy...of's alpaca! I used Henry's Attic Alpaca Prime. This will be great to curl up on the couch with when the weather starts getting colder. As hot as it's been lately, I can only dream! I'll have to post the links later. The last part of a shawl seems to go on FOREVER!

In running news... I made it to 2 miles without walking...outside! Gasping? yes. Legs aching? yes. But I made it. It wasn't a fluke either because yesterday I ran 2.25 miles on the treadmill. I'm due to join up with a local running club this Saturday at 6:00am for a long run. I think that will keep me motivated as well. In one week the signups for the Aramco Houston Half Marathon will be up and I plan on entering. Sooooo...this may be a bit of a mid life crisis thing...running a half marathon...but at least it's not convertibles and wild behavior (more than usual). I'm serious when I say that never in my entire life do I remember running 2 full miles before!!

As the mother of a college aged child (gosh, did I really say that?) we tend to have a bit (a lot) of denial regarding their flight from the nest. I knew eventually she would leave home, but like Scarlett O'Hara "I'll think about that tomorrah!" Well, her current plan (that she recently burst my bubble with) would place her going away to college Spring of 2010. My sweet little bundle of joy that I can actually say I ENJOY playing room-mate to (except for the clothes and crap on the floor) will be leaving the nest in LESS THAN A YEAR. So, is a mid-life crisis warranted? You betcha.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oppressive Heat + No Breakfast = Stupid Run

I woke up a little late this morning and almost didn't go for a run. I remembered that it was supposed to rain and drop the temps a little bit so I consulted with my outside thermometer that read 77 degrees. "Ah perfect" as I laced on my shoes and quickly geared up for a run.

The cacophony of cicadas (say that ten times fast) should have been the first tip-off to how hot it was going to be. If you don't know what a cicada is, watch any movie set in the South during the heat of summer when folks were fanning themselves on the front porch drinking lemonade and melting into their rocking chairs. In the background you will hear this undulating chattering noise from cicada bugs. The chatter increases the hotter it gets...but I digress...

I remembered that I had forgotten to eat something as I approached the track but decided to soldier on. After a half mile, my legs decided not to cooperate as I was breathing in huge chunks of hot, humid air. The cicadas were now giggling at me and telling their little buggy friends. I dropped the Ullrey podcast like a hot potato as I could not keep up, and walked the remaining mile back to my house to ABBA. Dumb run dumb run dumb run.

In better news, I went to go see my sister and new nephew! I apologize to any bitter infertiles out there, but I leave you with my too cute nephew holding up his head. He is one month old today!!!

Power song of the day: "Fake It" by Seether

Monday, June 22, 2009

A New Member of the Mile High Long Club!

I finally made it! I ran an entire mile without walking! I don't think I have EVAR done that in the history of my life even in school. In PE, I was usually one of the ones walking at the back complaining about having to run. Even in my adulthood I would joke that I couldn't run because my pantyhose might catch on fire.

It was actually quite amusing this morning. I walk up to the track where 3 large football playa dudes were doing drills in the middle of the field. I meekly ask one of them "will it bother you if I use the track?". The biggest guy pipes up and says "go 'head on and get your exercise on!" (exact quote). As I rounded each quarter mile loop, the biggest guy counted them off for me "ONE!"..."TWO!" He didn't say three or four probably because he was into his own training at the time. When I finally finished the mile, I let out a whoop and kept walking and he retorted with an "alright!" The rest of the run I couldn't run past quarter mile because the sun was starting to beat down on me and I forgot to bring water. I didn't care. I just ran a mile!

I also went out and got a new "do" today and got about 8 inches of hair chopped off! Instead of a long swinging ponytail, I will have a ponytail nubbin. Then I went by Victoria's Secret where they were having a big sale, then went and joined my knitting friends. It was a good day. Oh! And I found the best T-shirt to go with my blog. I still need to lose a little more weight so it doesn't fit like a sausage casing. Perfect for Marshmarathon!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Run = Suck today

Today's run sucked big time. My calves just would not cooperate and out of 2 miles I only barely trotted for 5 minutes. This pain was not working itself out by walking, so I listened to my body and went home. suck suck suck. I totally overdid it yesterday. 

My sister had her baby (my first nephew) 6/1/09 and I went to see them yesterday. I blame the holding-a-newborn-baby endorphins for making me do something stoopid and running for 3 sets of 8 minute runs at a bit faster pace than my usual despite my calves protest. Did I think I could ACTUALLY progress as quickly as THE ULLREY wanted me to? Obviously not. I just hate to waste a day off from work by NOT running! suck suck suck.

But lookee!! My first nephew!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Why I Run (or try to)

What started out as a challenge from my daughter to run a marathon, has blossomed into a compulsion to run. It's hard to explain, since I was previously a self-proclaimed loather of all things athletic. I used to be content to sit on my couch and watch the boob tube and knit and make fun of people who exercised. "yeah, I don't run because my pantyhose always catch on fire" or some other quip of its kind. However, when the dishes in the sink are even trying to reach their own height record and the laundry can create its own dead lift maximum, I find myself wanting to set my own personal records. Will I be faster today? Will I run longer today? The laundry and dishes and even the TV will be there when I get back.

Lacing up my shoes, I start to feel the adrenaline surge and I feel powerful. I step outside and breathe in the outdoors. It is easy to forget the dishes and laundry and work and have this moment for myself. I leave the phone, the internet and others behind me. The only person who needs me, is me right now. I am untethered. As I jog or walk, I feel the lifting breeze around me. Even at 85 degrees I am not uncomfortable. The scent of a backyard barbecue wafts around me and I wonder what the occasion could be or what they are cooking. As I round the corner, the fresh cool, clean smell of a nearby yard sprinkler invigorates me as I run through the halos of rainbows and smile to myself. I turn down my music player so I can hear the mockingbirds at play watching me from nearby trees. 

A mile into my run, I hit my stride and focus on my rhythmic breath pairing with my footfalls on the pavement. I challenge myself. "Just a little bit longer" or "a longer stride" or "if I could just make it to that telephone pole". Although I still cannot run a full mile without walking a bit, I am feeling stronger with every day that I try. As I make the last stretch for home, I feel like a horse that makes sight of the barn at home and step up my pace for this last bit of the run. The clouds over the houses are alight with a pink and orange glow from the rising sun. I walk up the driveway to my house and although I have worked up a good sweat and my legs feel spent of most of their energy, I feel mentally lighter. I can now approach the rest of my day with a renewed focus. This is why I run.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Skinny Bitches Just Don't Understand

I could come up with the lyrics to go with Fresh Prince's "Parents Just Don't Understand" song, but nah... I'll just have a little rant about skinny bitches who have always been skinny, don't know what it's like to have trouble losing weight and who look down their skinny noses at us overweight women.  This rant brought to you by the letters F and U! 

I have nothing against thin people, just thin people who think fatter people must be lazy or lying about what they eat/don't eat. Some of us really struggle with this. 

How many times have I heard "just eat less and move more" or "calories in, calories out"? Way too many times to bitchslap someone about. Face it. Our bodies are not machines that leave the factory at a set point to burn a set number of calories per activity. Our bodies are meant to withstand famines and physical hardships and still stay alive! Metabolism is not a fixed variable. As females, our hormones actually encourage our bodies to deposit fat on hips, thighs and breasts so we can get pregnant or stay pregnant.

Many of my family members are overweight. Is it because we hork down McDonald's every day? No. I'm sure heredity plays a huge factor. I like to think that my Nordic fuel conserving ancestors could fall off of their Viking ship while their fat kept their body afloat and alive for 2 weeks without food on the high seas. 

My body just happens to be great at fuel conservation. I did 17 miles last week and ate pretty healthy and did not lose an ounce. But you know what? I'm going to keep at it. "Can't" is not part of my vocabulary right now. Difficult? yes. Trying? yes. &*%$@? yes. I'm not making excuses for being overweight, but am trying to understand WHY. That's the only way I can try to improve it. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Spirit of the Marathon should be required viewing for all runners and wannabe runners. This movie is truly inspirational and presented from the perspective of elite runners and everyday people like me. I dare you to watch it and not have a little tear in your eye or at least a swelling of pride and inspiration. 

Best line from the movie "People run the marathon to prove that there is still triumph and there is still possibility in their lives". This could not ring more true to me right now. 

I share with you the theatrical trailer. The movie is a free instant view if you have a Netflix account. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Aunt Flo is a Ho - Ask Me How I Kno

Ah yes...was it a coincidence that predictions were correct? Was it Murphy's Law? Leave it up to Aunt Flo to make her visit EARLY. Geez. I have half a mind to have the baby maker yanked! (Just half a mind, though...owie)
Well, today is a rest day on the running front. SOME rest day! Working 12 hours today and the first 7 were non-stop. I almost want to run just for the stress relief! Am I weird for missing my run on my rest days?
The good news is, two of my knittahs have started to run lately also. Bad news is, one of them fell during a run last night. Lets hope it doesn't discourage her for good.

Monday, May 25, 2009

You Can't Have a Superhero Without an Arch-Enemy

Superman has Lex Luthor, Batman has the Joker...and Marshmarathon has the dreaded Aunt Flo. Having dealt with her for a number of years, I know how she operates and can almost predict her entrance, but it doesn't make it that much easier. 

As with any arch nemesis, Aunt Flo usually sends some of her henchmen ahead of her to stir up trouble and weaken her foe before she attacks:

Bloatrix - has mighty powers of fluid shifting and retention and can slow things down to a measly crawl. She also has the power to split seams, pop buttons and cause sausage fingers.

Dirty, filthy, lying scale - has the powerful ability to change the gravitational pull of the Earth only when you step on a scale.

Gobble-lins - affect appetite centers of the brain, especially the chocolate gland in the cerebellum causing food cravings of massive proportions. 

The Emotionator - perhaps the most evil of all the henchmen with the ability to swing moods so fast, it makes grown men cry. 

I think all four  were working on me today. I was so apathetic about going for a run this morning, that I stopped at 2 miles. My pace was crap, my "runs" were crap and my calves had no energy to push off. I was even talking smack to Ullrey on the Week 4 podcast. He would pipe in with "this next run is only 5 minutes, you can do it" to which I retorted "screw off!" After 5 minutes he would say "Great job! Now walk for another 90 seconds and we'll follow it up with a 3 minute run". "The hell you say" I spat...then tried to do it anyway. Sometimes a little verbal defiance helps with physical obedience. Ullrey to me is like Alfred to Batman. I don't always heed his wisdom.

Feeling a bit deflated, I went and bought groceries and an apple fritter (nom nom). Feeling guilty about the apple fritter, I decided to give it another 2 miles around the neighborhood to work off the donut. The first mile was great and the second mile was crap again. Oh well. Tomorrow will be a rest day (if you consider working a 12 hour shift a day of rest)

Power song of the day: "I Ran" by Flock of Seagulls

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Work It! I'll put my thang down flip it and reverse it...

There's nothing like a good Missy E song to get you in the running mood. What started out to be a rest day turned into a running morning. The weather was perfect with a nice breeze before the rain that I knew was coming. Despite 4 hours of sleep (I dunno why), I got out and did 4 miles and week 4 of the Couch to 5K podcast by Ullrey. Again, I should remind you dear reader, that when I say 4 miles, I end up walking most of that. Also, before you get jealous that I am on week 4, remember that I have been doing this for about 2-3 months. Yeah...I'm a little slow.

So, what's on my list of running necessities nowadays?
  • chapstick - preferably with SPF protection
  • sunglasses - for looking cool  for protecting my retinas
  • ventilated hat - to catch the sweat before it runs into my eyes and shade the sun
  • iPod with Nike plus - for tracking my time, pace, mileage. This thing is so cool. I've seen mods for affixing the shoe pod in non-Nike shoes so you don't have to buy the special Nikes. At any time during your run you can press the center button on your ipod and a voice tells you how far you've gone and time and current pace. Accuracy? Meh. It's close enough for me. At the end of your workout she will tell you your stats. If you happen to have run your longest or fastest, you may get a verbal "atta boy" from Lance Armstrong or Tiger Woods.
  • Tech clothing - is becoming verra verra cool. Most days I throw on a comfy T-shirt and above the knee yoga pants, but on hot days a moisture wicking "tech" shirt is great! I also bought some "tech" socks that are supposed to keep your feet drier than cotton. Wouldn't you know they have some wool content? Duh.
  • Road ID - (no affiliation) You may laugh, but as I get my aged, ample rear on the track, I think about what if I have a heart attack or get hit by a car or pass out? This little bit of geekery has my name, birthdate, emergency phone numbers, blood type and allergies engraved on it. Kinda lame, but gives me one less excuse for running.
On the knitting front, I am getting SO CLOSE to having my house as it was before hurricane Ike. Just in time for this next hurricane season! I thought I would share some before and after pictures of my lovely room. BEFORE:
Insulation everywhere

You can see part of the ceiling hole in the upper left corner of the picture


I just love my new cabinet for yarn! It is the Linnarp cabinet by Ikea. It is a solid wood cabinet (except the back) stained red and is the perfect size. I'll bet you can't tell what my favorite color is!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Adventures of Marshmarathon and KnittyKnurse

WAIT! (insert superhero fanfare) What was that that just zoomed past at 4 miles per hour? Faster than a speeding tricycle, more powerful than a loco moron, able to leap small curbs in a single bound. Is it a gnat? an ice cream truck? NO! It's MARSHMARATHON!!!  Yes, Marshmarathon...a strange ample woman who has an alter-ego with inflated delusions of running a marathon, with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal infants. Marshmarathon - who can change the course of mighty running tracks, bend nickel plated knitting needles with her bare hands, and who, disguised as Knitty Knurse, mild mannered nurse who knits with other mild mannered knitters...FIGHTS A NEVER ENDING BATTLE...OF FLAB, APATHY AND TO HAVE HER OWN WAY! And now, another exciting episode in the adventures of Marshmarathon...

Yes, I changed my blog title, so don't get all confuzzled. I just wanted it to reflect more of who I am now rather than "Knitterly Diversions" which is a milk-toast, golly-gee-willickers sort of title that I didn't care for much when I created it anyway!

What's behind the new title? My daughter talked me into an INSANE thing called a marathon in about 8 months. I had only been jog/walking sporadically for about 2-3 months when this idea popped up. I'm going to try to post semi-regularly to keep you apprised of my progress (or lack thereof). 

I've been quite apprehensive about telling anyone about the prospect of a marathon because...well...I don't really look like the "runner" type. I'm a bit...more..."ample" you can say. Some days I feel like the female running version of the Stay Puft Marshmallow man...hence the name "Marshmarathon".  I still have not told anyone in my family, except my daughter (whose crazy idea this was from the beginning). I wanted to avoid any negative comments or looks of incredulity. If you see me in person, please resist the urge to giggle and point. I'm fine being your source of amusement as long as I'm not aware of it.

I've been training more seriously for 3 weeks, jog/walking 4-5 days per week following a combination of Couch to 5K using podcasts from Robert Ullrey and Hal Higdon's plan for running. My hopes? Lose some weight, improve my time, and finish a marathon without dying.

I have bad days and good days and will regale you with tales of both. Today was a good day. It's good to start a new blog focus from the perspective of a good day. I was able to progress to week 4 of the Couch to 5K program! Woohoo! I even improved my best pace, although I'm not ready to reveal my pace to you guys. I'm only in competition with myself at this point. 

SO...stay tuned to this space for continued tales of Marshmarathon and KnittyKnurse!

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Week's Best

Best quote this week: "I'm impressed with the potential you see in me." ~Michael Scott from The Office.

Best thing I got this week: A roof! I've been waiting for 4 months to get a roof and I finally got one!! The crew showed up right before I left for work and by the time I got home the roof was finished and every scrap was cleaned up like they had never been there. It was like the roof fairy had come! But 4 months later? Was I bad? Too bad it was almost dark when I got home. It will be like Christmas when I can wake up in the morning to go outside and look at my roof. For those without ever having hurricane torn holes in your roof, you will never (thankfully) know...

Best comment made to me this week: one of my co-workers has noticed my weight loss! 15 pounds today!

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Years Resolutions

Normally, I don't make resolutions...mainly because they are so resolute! I tend to think of it like pirates think about the topic of parley - more as a guideline than a rule.

1 - blog more. nuff said

2 - not have too many UFO's going at once. I tend to get overwhelmed when I have too many and don't get around to actually finishing much. I'm not going to set a limit because cast-on-itis can hit at any time.

3 - spin more. Well, since I just got my spinning wheel, this shouldn't be hard to achieve.

4 - Get this house decluttered when I finally get my third bedroom back from the devastation of Ike. I plan to make it more of a creative studio than a junk room.

5 - Get back into running. I always enjoy it, I always feel better after having gone running, then why do I avoid it???

6 - Worry less and enjoy the little things in life

7 - Go on a trip with my daughter. I would love to go to Hawaii. I guess that means I need another resolution. See next...

8 - Lose weight and eat healthier. Yeah, this turns up on my resolution list every year, but it's been a resolution I've been working on. I only gained 2 pounds over the holidays which is a record for me!

9 - Knit a little every day. Even if it's just 5 minutes

10 - Knit more from my stash. I seem to have gone into a yarn buying binge lately! I'm not going on a yarn fast because they just don't work and I end up binging...just like food.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Knitting Year in Review

19 projects were finished in 2008 (listed below) and I became the proud owner of a Majacraft Rose spinning wheel! The wheel is the Christmas present to myself this year and I am still getting used to the whole process. The yarn is a little wonky but that just gives it character, right?

Anyway, I hope to have more knitted items this upcoming year. My queue is full!

To begin:

You Snag by ms. pixie riot

Calorimetry by Kathryn Schoendorf

My So Called Scarf by Allison Isaacs

Silver's Sock Class by Kristin Bellehumeur

Chevron Scarf by Joelle Hoverson

Knitted Lacy Round Cloth by Rhonda White

Mug and French Press Jacket by MK Carroll

Tribble by Abigail - 1870pearl

Baby Sweater on Two Needles (February) by Elizabeth Zimmermann

February Hat I used instructions from:
using the gull lace pattern from EZ

Mary Jane Booties by April Cromwell

Gust by Anne Hanson

Broken Rib Tea Cosy by Pamela Henderson

Clapotis by Kate Gilbert

Felted Cable Bag #143 by Patons

Brea Bag by Norah Gaughan

En pointe -tossut by Ilu

Monkey by Cookie A.

Evangeline by Michelle Szeghalmi

And a partridge in a pear tree...