Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
It's that time of week again, and without further ado....
- Tomorrow's knitting post will probably have all of my crafting audience laughing. You should. It is funny.
- I do have two knitting things to share with you now.
- The first is that both my father and my eldest child presented me with damaged socks this weekend - both completely dismayed and begging me for a repair job. Sorry Dad, your socks are toast. Princess, there may be hope....
- The second thing relates to Dad's socks. They are made from Trekking's Natura line - a sock yarn which is comprised of both wool and bamboo. Dad's had this particular pair for probably a couple of years, and as he wears his socks constantly it's perhaps not that surprising that they developed massive holes just above the heel flap. EXCEPT....Dad was the happy recipient of my first pair of socks six years ago, and they are still in near-perfect condition. AND, Dad loves that first pair more than any of the others and given a choice he always picks them first. SO...my only conclusion is that the bamboo is a disastrous for durability in my socks. (This is incidentally not the first problem with this particular pair of socks. The cast on edge ripped last year.)
- I had started another pair of socks for my husband...knitting them in the second skein of Natura that I bought back when it first arrived in my LYS. After seeing Dad's socks this weekend, I frogged it.
- Poor hubby...I don't have any more husband-friendly sock yarns in my stash.
- He should be somewhat mollified, though, as I fixed the hole in his space invaders socks this weekend.
- Mom and I went to The Wooden Spool over the weekend, and I managed to stay away from the temptation of the fat quarters. I hate sewing...but I LOVE fat quarters!
- I did get a piece of plain fabric to practice embroidery, though. That's exciting!
- Mom helped me take apart the girls' Easter dresses this weekend, and she serged the edges of the skirts for me so that they will be better finished when I redo the dresses this week. She also picked up an extra piece of fabric at the Wooden Spool (Thank Goodness they still had some!) so that we could add to the Princess's skirt. Last year's version was almost too narrow for her to walk comfortably.
- Along the way, I got a lot of - ahem - comments about my sewing skills.
- What I would like to say about that is that sometimes a girl doesn't want to do something because that is her MOTHER's specialty and when the mother is so very good at it, she doesn't want to even remotely invite comparison or comment.
- It also doesn't help when the mother had little to no interest in teaching her as a child.
- I avoided cables for a very long time for the same reason. Mom was the queen of cables, and her fisherman's sweaters are unparalleled.
- And anyway...it is ok to not like every craft!
- I'm completely excited about the remake of Clash of the Titans. The original was a very big deal to me when I was a kid...and this one looks way cool.
- Am I the only one in the world, though, who is completely irritated by the 3-D revolution? Being somewhat prone to motion sickness in regular action movies anyway...and forget IMax....I'm afraid I would lose it if I went to a regular 3-D movie!
- Back to the important stuff.
- Spinning took a major hit during all of the craziness of the last several weeks. I'm sitting at the table next to my Tsunami and some silk and wool fiber, though, and the goal is to start this weekend.
- Also taking a major hit....my exercise schedule (haven't been back since the disastrous attempt last week) and eating healthfully.
- Rather than talking about all of that now, though, I think I should perhaps write another post this week about all of the things I've learned during this experience.
- It's Spring Break! What the heck am I going to do with the kids all week!
That's it for now....
Have a great week everyone!
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
But when the email came I just couldn't resist because my last knitting job paid for a whole lot of fun fiber.
So there is now another secret project which I won't be able to talk about for a very long time. I've only got two weeks to get this one done, and hopefully it won't eat up ALL of my time.
This time, I'm thinking of custom made shoes (through Etsy) for my hard-t0-fit feet.....
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Start a new project, of course!
I went to my LYS yesterday on a search for a better contrast color for the baby gift I'm making.
Sadly, the search for the perfect baby yarn was a bust.
However, the new Knitty came out a few days ago, and as I had fallen in love with a spring vest I decided that it would be a good idea to splurge on something entirely new and different for myself. And so I did. Four skeins of silky wool, after all, are very affordable.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Recovery is kicking me in the tush.
Honestly, I thought that it was a very simple procedure, and that I would bounce back very quickly. After all, I've built a healthy lifestyle over the last eight months, and surely my body was in good shape and could easily handle whatever was thrown my way. The fact that I woke from the surgery already feeling miles better than I had just a few hours before increased my confidence...as did the fact that most of the aches and pains were gone by Monday morning.
Surgery, smergery...I wasn't going to let it slow me down one bit.
Then I started back into everyday life, and realized that it wasn't going to be quite so simple as I'd thought.
For a second day I went to the gym yesterday and walked on the treadmill for just 30 minutes. For the second day, I found myself so exhausted that I could do little but sit in front of the tv all afternoon....and that was only after I had taken a nap so that I could keep going. I didn't have the energy to parent, to cook dinner, to knit more than a few stitches every once in a while or really do anything else that would signify a functioning adult.
When I left the gym yesterday, I ran a few errands and then went to a coffee shop so that I could sit and write for a bit about the last week. I wound up in tears...and proceeded to cry off and on all day. During the worst part of it, my BKB received a semi-hysterical phone call. Perhaps I was so weepy because I was so tired. Perhaps that's normal after surgery?
I cried because I've spent 8 months telling myself "YES, I can!" and it's hard to go back to feeling like I can't again - even if it's only temporary.
I cried because my half marathon is over...and I wanted - and needed - it badly. I needed to do something wonderful that I could be proud of - something that would show that I was special to others.
I cried because losing part of my reproductive system is a loss - even if this particular part was a very minor loss.
I cried because apparently I really need those exercise endorphins, and I've missed them badly.
I cried because I'm afraid of how much conditioning I'll have lost and how much this is setting me back in my health goals.
I cried for all of those reasons...and a whole lot more.
I know that in the grand scheme of things this is just a small bump in the road....and I know that my own experiences are minor compared with those of many of my friends. Because of that, I've tried really hard not to complain.
I'm going to stay home today and take it easy. I'm going to try to be nice to myself (not always the easiest task for me) and give myself the time that I need. I'm going to do what my husband told me to do and take a nap today. I'm going to continue to eat healthy foods and will try to get outside today to enjoy some fresh air.
And hopefully, I'll be back on track really soon.
Monday, March 22, 2010
- I am feeling really good! My restful weekend was very helpful, and I believe I'm ready to get on with life.
- Proof? There are very few aches/pains/pulls/sensations of any sort leftover from the surgery. Compared with how I felt when I woke up a week ago...well, there just is no comparison!
- Having said that, I am being careful...although I am frustrated a very great deal by the need to do so.
- Evidence? I did go back to the gym today, but I only walked on the treadmill for 35 minutes (including a 5 min warm up and a a 5 min cool down). It felt GREAT to be back at the gym....but at the same time I was incredibly irritated with the need to hold back. The ridiculous side stitch that I got didn't help.
- Seriously. A side stitch for walking 2 miles. That's just silly.
- I think I've only had side stitches two or three times since this started....and I've NEVER had one while WALKING.
- I saw my trainer while I was at the gym, and she's quite frankly glad we don't have an appointment until Friday. I get the idea that she would be happy if I did nothing but walk all week.
- We'll see. I hope to be back to at least a jog by Friday. Ideally I'd like to test my long runs out next weekend.
- I come from a long line of people who push themselves too hard and too fast during recoveries. My own parents are prime examples....and so I'm trying to use their experiences to hold myself back just a bit.
- It's hard fighting nature.
- I'm trying very hard to withhold judgement on my chances of running the half marathon until the end of the month. (The race is on April 11th.) I was doing so well in training prior to last week that there still is hope that I could at least walk it - frustrating as that might be - but I'm also trying to be realistic as I lost a full 9 days of training and don't know how long it will take to get back to where I was. I know full well that I made the right decision and that the surgery was necessary. It's hard, though, when you've worked so hard for so long to reach a goal like this.
- Hmm...other things to talk about....
- I messed around with crochet yesterday! Prior to the surgery I picked up Crocheting in Plain English by Maggie Righetti, and yesterday I used it to practice some basics.
- Once upon a time I had taught myself how to crochet and actually did a few pieces - including a gigantic afghan made of granny-like squares - but it's been years and years, and I had taught myself some bad habits.
- What kind of bad habits? I hold the yarn in the wrong hand, and I grip the hook from the top instead of holding it like a pencil.
- The jury is still out as to whether or not it's easier to do things the "right" way.
- I started another pair of basic socks for my husband this morning. He was delighted when I told him about it.
- I'm still perhaps a shade too tired to focus on complex projects. That and I have a lot of catching up around the house to do.
- My husband is planning on attending a couple of gaming conventions in the next few months. When he asked me if it was ok, I quite naturally answered that it was. Then I tacked on something to the effect that I might sign up for some sort of art classes to make things even. I'll have to think on that a bit.
- Spring cleaning has begun!
- We will be tile shopping for the kitchen very soon!
- The snow is almost gone! (See below.)
Have a great week everyone!
Sunday, March 21, 2010
It was nice.
It was VERY nice.
I did manage to finish the center back piece of a baby gift...a project that I'm head over heals in love with right now for both the cleverness of the pattern and the fabulousness of the yarn.
But mostly I sat....and drank coffee....and occasionally ate....and watched tv (a whole lot of tv, I might add)...and baked some brownies....and read a bit....and surfed the net a bit....and sent some email....and took a nap....and that's really about it.
It was EXACTLY what I needed after last week's excitement!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
I presented them this morning to my husband - with the caveat that he could only have them if I got a picture - which he happily agreed to. Now, they did not look this crazy before he put them on. When they were stretched out to fit, though, we both had to laugh a bit because they are almost seizure-inducing in the pattern they create. You definitely don't want to look at them either too closely or for too long! Good thing they are comfy and cozy!
These are my standard Ann Budd basic pattern on 2.25 mm needles. The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the never-ending stash of Bee Stripe that I rather unfortunately bought about five years ago on clearance. (Sorry...too lazy to link to everything today.) I began the project on Feb. 25th and finished on March 19th!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The nutshell - because really, no one needs the hairy details:
Back in January I had some really strange problems with pelvic pain for a couple of days. By the time I went to see my doctor, it was long gone and nothing showed up on the pelvic ultrasound. We suspected a ruptured ovarian cyst, but I was given instructions to call immediately if it happened again so that I could come in for another exam. Well, the pain came back over last weekend with a vengeance. In fact, the pain was considerably worse this time than it had been in January - both in severity and duration - and there was little I could do to relieve it. Monday found me back in the doctor's office for a second pelvic ultrasound...and this time something showed up.
I was all for option B, which was to try to control the pain and wait and see. After all, I had a half marathon to train for! My husband, however, insisted on option A - diagnostic laproscopic surgery. I am now very, very grateful that I listened to him.
Turns out, I had a fibroid tumor the size of a walnut sitting either on or in my fallopian tube at the point where it curved above my ovary. (My Dad heard 'in', my husband 'on.') While fibroids are apparently normally not at all painful, the location of this one was causing problems - as I'm sure was it's rapid growth. So I lost part of my tube and the fibroid, but I got to keep my ovary....which was very important to me....and as it was completely benign the whole situation is now behind me.
I was home by 4 this afternoon, and am actually doing pretty well. My mother is here for the rest of the week, and will be taking the girls home with her this weekend so that I can rest and recuperate. Hopefully this will be quick and easy! (Says the girl who's never had surgery before...)
Monday, March 15, 2010
Ah well, we're not really here for the pictures on Monday anyway!
- Creative stuff first this week....that is why we are here after all!
- Progress continues to be rather slow on all of my knitting projects. It's not so great for the blog, but slow and steady does win the race.
- I'm super-happy with everything I have on the needles right now, though, and as I'm a process person I guess that's all that matters.
- There will be more on my personal process later this week as it's been on my mind lately.
- I've had my stash out for a couple of days, and I have to say that it's been fun. I love just looking at it....and resorting it....and petting the skeins....and dreaming up new ideas....and matching up projects...and napping with it....and...
- One of the things I miss the most about having my own personal space is the freedom to spread out stuff without feeling guilty about it....and then leave it out as long as I want to. My husband has been pretty generous about it this week, but I know it drives him crazy when I don't put each and every thing away every night. It is, after all, OUR bedroom.
- On the other hand, it is very important to my own creative process to be surrounded by my sources of inspiration. When my 'stuff' is spread out and - yes - messy, my mind goes free and I start dreaming up new ideas. When I have to put it away I feel a little bit sad and become a little bit too focused on 'getting things done.'
- The crochet bug is really hitting hard. I think I'm going to have to go to the library for some how-to books. Any suggestions? I don't necessarily want this to be a big part of my craft life - but I would like a good working knowledge so that I have the option.
- So here's the thing...I've been feeling lately like my creativity is rather closed off and limited. I'm feeling the need to break free of my restraints, but I'm not sure how just yet.
- I'm thinking about putting my sewing machine away for a while. The only thing I have to do is my quilt.....and I might actually take that home and beg Mom to do it with me on her machine.
- I really am not someone who loves to sew...but then you've heard me complain about that before.
- Likewise, I HATE cooking. I've long known I wasn't fond of it, but this week I've come to realize how much I truly despise being responsible for feeding the family. It's not very womanly, but it is what it is.
- Conversely, I love to bake...but that's not something I allow myself often anymore because it tends to get me in trouble.
- Some really good news - we are planning some home improvements this spring which include a new floor for our kitchen. I'm really looking forward to the upgrade, although I freely admit that I'm doing so partially with an eye towards selling the place someday so that we can find our dream home. I see some paint coming up soon as well.
- Hopefully these changes will make my house more of a home for me.
- Life - and my body - might be smacking me upside the head right now. I'm going to have to go see the doctor today because of something that happened over the weekend, and I'm really nervous about it. I'm sorry if that's a bit murky, but it's all I'm ready to share.
- My gut is telling me that my body is perhaps trying to get me to stop pushing so hard.
- I think that the scales aren't moving because I'm pushing too hard. I know that doesn't make a whole lot of sense...but there it is.
- There's a possible post on that one, too.
- I did talk to the owner of our running store about my knees and shoes. The good news - my shoes will last a lot longer, she has faith that I'm going to easily accomplish my half based on my training schedule and she gave me some good advice. The bad news - my form needs work - the type of work that can't really be accomplished between now and April 11 - the concrete trail at my favorite park isn't helping, and I'm going to have to start icing my knees.
- Down the road, I am planning on attending a running clinic...but I'm also planning on taking a bit of a break from running as my primary source of cardio.
- My trainer and I are already talking about the next challenge. As part of that ongoing discussion, Meghan is encouraging me to try something that pushes my personal boundaries a bit...something that scares me a little. It's a good discussion.
- I'm afraid of everything, and I would like to change that.
Have a great week everyone!
Saturday, March 13, 2010
And so for now, just a wee peek at what I've been working on today.First, I've started a baby gift for my trainer, Meghan. The pattern is Minni by Lena Alva, a wee sweater that I fell hard and fast for when I first laid eyes on it. I'm delighted that I know someone who needs this sweater! I'll be using Malabrigo Sock - now carried by my LYS - in the colors Archangel and Cordovan for the bulk of the sweater. (Believe me, I went through my stash with a very critical eye before deciding to buy something for this gift.) The smaller skein on top is Koigu , which I'll use for the wee little bit of contrast trim. I would have preferred a gold, but as I already had the Koigu in my stash....
Monday, March 8, 2010
Ok, I'm actually writing this during the Oscars, and they are now doing a tribute to horror films...which my husband and I happen to love8 more than almost anything else - especially the 'classic' horror films of our teens and twenties. The cheesier the better! Must stop writing for a minute....
Well I'm back, and here are my meanderings.
- My daughters think that I need to buy myself a pretty gown - like those seen on the Oscars red carpet show - and are completely unfazed by my protestations that I have nowhere to wear one. (Do you remember that Friends episode where the girls wore the wedding dresses all day?)
- I admit, I've often admitted that I wish I had someplace fancy to wear a ballgown to. I have had very happy experiences in very pretty dresses, and I love feeling like a princess.
- Which is why I'm going to wear my tiara around the house tomorrow.
- I don't feel much like a princess right now. I suspect that my tummy upset all week has not in fact been some weird issue with food or stress, but that I may have had some sort of bug because my temp has been fluctuating all evening. Yuck.
- Speaking of the tummy, my BKB and trainer have me convinced that it's time to go talk to a specialist about the fact that it just isn't a peaceful tummy. I'm debating between a gastrointerologist and an allergist. Perhaps both.
- I had my first official outdoor training run today. I had hoped for 10 miles, but only made 7.5. It's the first time since starting the half-marathon training that I haven't made my goal, and truth be told, I'm a bit upset about it. Cardio wise I was fine, but my hips and knees were screaming. Rather than injure myself I just stopped - reminding myself that the great outdoors was quite different than a treadmill.
- The good news - that 7.5 miles was a good 20-25 minutes faster than the last time I ran 7.5 miles outdoors, and it was on hillier terrain.
- Even better - I'm not that far off of my goal pace! I'd expected to be a wee bit slower today, and was pleasantly surprised with how close I came.
- Yes, I'm going to go to my running store to have my shoes checked, and then I'm going to make sure that all future runs are outside. It'll be fine.
- It was a fabulously beautiful day to be running outdoors. The sun was shining, a gentle breeze was blowing, the temperature was just about perfect and the park was filled with happy people. What more could a girl want?
- Last Thursday I had the best day. I had about five people randomly exclaim throughout the day, "Wow, you look really great!" Apparently, while I haven't really been dropping pounds, I have been shrinking.
- It was a much better day than the one during my first pregnancy when I had four people tell me how gigantic my chest had become....
- Anyway, yes, the number on the scales is moving down again! Officially 35 lbs as of Thursday! Between the compliments and the scales I've been given the boost I needed to keep going!
- On to the crafting....
- I have a goal of showing off a finished Botanica Medallian Cardi at guild on Tuesday. If I'm going to do that, I must hustle tomorrow to do all of the finish work!
- It would also be good to finish up the wee monkeys so that I can show them off as well. Then I can officially put that project to rest
- Can you tell I'm bad about putting off finish work? I'll complete all of the knitting and throw the pieces into a basket for months on end. Tsk. Tsk. Bad knitter.
- I settled on a pair of basic socks for my husband to fill my time while my I allow myself to go through the knitting doldrums. I'm almost finished with the first, and freely admit that I am finding it to be a very satisfying project right now.
- I did have some quality time with the Princess border yesterday. I'm finding it's something I really need a decent block of time to focus on...but when I can find that time it still is pure, knitting heaven.
- In the meantime, I've finished the second bobbin of the blue merino.
- Which means that I need to take a break from the blue merino so that I can ply some alpaca...thus freeing two bobbins for more blue merino.
- I'm not spinning every day...but I am spinning most days, and that is very good for the soul.
- A friend of mine and I want to learn how to crochet, and I've found myself looking at patterns online with increasing interest. I'm really impressed with how nice patterns have become, and while it will never take over as my favorite craft I would like to at least have the ability and knowledge to crochet if that's where the mood takes me.
- This may not seem like a 'creative' meandering, but I am quite happy to report anyway that I'm starting to get up earlier in the morning again. That little bit of quiet before the rest of the house gets up is magical, and it is something I really do need. My husband isn't so happy that I've been in bed between 9 and 9:30 every night...but then I'm happy with the 8-9 hours of sleep I'm getting every night!
- What do I do when I get up early? I journal or knit...both very good, filling-the-well sorts of activities!
And on that note, I need to go to bed. The silly Oscars could go on for hours...and I need some sleep!
Have a great week everyone!
Friday, March 5, 2010
The last few weeks have been incredibly stressful - with my week as single parent, my daughter's party, all of my P.E.O. duties and a multitude of other, random responsibilities that seem to have cropped up from nowhere. Add on top of that the fact that we're seriously considering some much-needed home improvements...
At any rate, I just wanted to let you know that there is a reason why crafty business has been slow around here lately. I'm planning a post this weekend to describe my general state of being right now...and then hopefully we can get back to creative life as normal!
Monday, March 1, 2010
At any rate, let's get right to it!
- I have found something I want to knit!
- The beautiful skein of yarn you see above is a wee small splurge...the one thing I purchased after that crazy evening of fake shopping at The Loopy Ewe. It's a skein of Hand Maiden's Swiss Mountain Sea Sock, composed of silk, merino and seacell, and I'm crazy in love with it! I'm a bit surprised that I fell for this colorway - called Fleur - but you just never know when inspiration is going to strike.
- I've wanted to try some of Hand Maiden's yarn forever....but most of it is so expensive that I've had trouble justifying it - especially since it would be an online purchase. (Meaning, of course, that there's always a bit of a risk ordering online that the colors won't be exactly what you had thought they would be.) This one skein was reasonable, and I decided to go for it.
- When the yarn arrived, I opened the box to find that it was even more beautiful in person than I had dreamed it would be. AND, as soon as I saw it my knitting plans just sort of magically fell into place. Why? it took all of two seconds to realize that this yarn would go perfectly with some matte chocolate beads I have....
- To make up one of Sivia Harding's Heart to Heart Beaded Scarves!
- All of this has made me realize that part of the problem has been that I'm trying to force my current stash into projects - and have been for a very long time. No, I can't justify buying anything new right now...but perhaps I need to stop pushing so hard, and perhaps an occasional new purchase would help.
- Also on the knitting front...On Friday night I went through all of my Interweave Knits magazines, going back to 2003. What I learned is that there are very few projects in there that I have any intent on doing....and that I should probably start purging magazines.
- At the very least, I think I'm going to go through them again and put anything and everything I *might* knit into my Ravelry queue and then box up the magazines to put them away somewhere.
- There are a few issues which really jump out at me as being laconically good, but by and large they could go away and I wouldn't miss them.
- I did find the pattern for the mitered square heart that I wanted to use at Valentine's Day for the girls...but was too lazy to go looking for. Maybe next year!
- I also found one very red cardigan that made me gasp in pleasure. I remember falling in love with it a couple of years ago when I went through Mom's IK's during a visit home...and it still speaks to me.
- Speaking of red cardigans...before I got married I had a store-bought red cabled cardi that I called my "Beth Sweater" after my boss at FAO Schwarz. Beth was a striking woman who predominately wore neutrals...except for one gorgeous red cardigan that she always wore when she needed a boost. Mine served the same purpose for me, and though it's long gone I still miss it.
- Mom always said you should wear red when it rains.
- Gram's favorite color is red.
- I digress.
- Yesterday I ran 9 miles on the treadmill - still way ahead of schedule. The great news is that I'm picking up a bit of speed, finishing in 103:40. The bad news is that for the first time my body wasn't happy when it was over. My knees were stiff all day, and still ache a bit. Also, I believe we've now hit the point where I'm just going to be exhausted for the rest of the day after the long run. Sean and I both felt like that after our long-runs/walks back in 2007, and trust me when I say that's our least favorite part of the whole process.
- Also on the exercise/healthy lifestyle front...I had a bit of a temper tantrum last week after being chastised by my trainer over the amount of sugar that had crept into my diet since we increased my daily calories. (Not with her...I waited until I got home.) The nutshell - I had an epiphany that afternoon about the roll of chocolate, coffee, and sweets in my life, and I honestly just don't know what to do about it. If I'm really, REALLY honest, my dependence on those very bad-for-you things goes to my very core, and asking me to give them up is like asking me to chop off a limb. It basically amounts to being asked to give up the one thing that has consistently given me pleasure and joy throughout my life.
- The good news is that it's going to be in the mid-50's this weekend, so I can take my training outdoors! That's VERY important, and I'm looking forward to it.
Speaking of exercise, I need to leave for the gym in about ten minutes, so I had perhaps better wrap this up.
If you have a moment, go visit Kate at Needled and send some love her way. Kate is a young woman - about my age - who recently had a stroke and is in the process of recovery. For those of you familiar with the knitting world, she's also the designer behind the Owls sweater that has been so popular in the last year or so. I know Kate can use all of the support we can send her!
Have a great week everyone!