Monday, June 28, 2004

Balls of Thread as Big as Your Head
Don't believe me? Here's the proof:

New ball of J&P Coats #10 thread on left; partially used ball on right.

You can see I've got the first 3" of the right front started for Summer Breeze Cardi. Didn't get much needlework (or anything else) done this weekend -- DH competed in the Wells Fargo San Diego International Triathlon and we were busy getting his bike down to the race site on Saturday, then up at 5:00 am on Sunday and down to the race site. DH's "wave" (group) took to the water at 7:40 am, and the horn went off at 7:43. It was a physically demanding race -- here's the official description:

Sprint Course – 1/2K Swim, 20K Bike, 6K Run: Calm 500 meter swim at Spanish Landing Park. "Hilly" 20 kilometer bike to Cabrillo National Monument and back. Flat 6 kilometer point-to-point run finishing at Embarcadero Marina Park North.

It was a much tougher race for DH than his first triathlon in April. During the swim portion of this race he ingested a lot of sea water, which ended up making him very nauseous during the next portion of the race, the 20K bike ride. He had to pull over and wait for the nausea to pass, and lost some time there. But he gutted it out and finished the race! Here's a picture of Tom coming in from the bike ride (center of picture):

The area immediately in front of the bike entrance is the transition area where the pros racked their bikes. A few minutes before Tom came in on his bike, 2000 Olympic Silver Medalist and World Champion Triathlete Michellie (mi-KEE-lie) Jones picked up her equipment and chatted with the race announcer. She's a tall, whip-lean, soft-spoken Australian who is as down-to-earth and unpretentious as can be. I was a bit awestruck and didn't think to take her picture (drats).

Here's a picture of my sweetie after the race (he's on the left), and a good friend from his training group:

Happy Monday, everyone.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Couldn't resist creating my portrait at this site. Actually, it's not a bad likeness. I tweaked the eyebrows to sit up a bit higher, and my eyes are a bit farther apart and aren't as psycho a shade of green as that, but all in all, not bad.

Crochet Renaissance
It's really cool to see crochet garments making a comeback. With the except of the awful Better Homes & Gardens Simple Crochet mag that came out earlier this year that was chock-full of granny squares, there are some nice patterns starting to appear. Interweave Knits has a special crochet issue that will be published this fall. The latest Herrschners catalog had a nice selection of crochet garment patterns and yarn, too. Here's what I scored from them recently:

Leisure Arts, "Fashion Collection"

My criteria for crocheted garments is that the fabric has to be light and airy. I don't care for thick, stiff crocheted fabric, therefore, I don't crochet in anything heavier than a sportweight yarn (Summer Breeze Cardi is being done in #10 crochet thread). One sportweight yarn I like that seems to be making a comeback is J&P Coats Lustersheen, a cabled acrylic with a subtle sheen. It comes in a range of colors, and even comes on cones.

I ordered 3 Twilley's crochet books from Awesome Ewe today. The projects in all three books are done in either crochet thread or sportweight yarn, and look to be pretty fashion-forward. I'll post some pix after the books arrive.

Lest you think I've become a complete hooker and have neglected my knitterly side, here's another project I ordered from Herrschners:

Leisure Arts, "Sweaters for All Seasons", Peacock Yarns "Cotton Ragg"

Perfect for cool San Diego evenings! The sweater calls for 3 cones of the Cotton Ragg, and at $7.00 per cone, it's a steal! Elann's Den-M-Nit or Naturelle 8/8 would work, too.

Whew! Enough for today. I leave you with the immortal wisdom of Lenny Kravitz: "Keep the skin tight and the booty in the air." Word.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Well, Heck!
I'd planned to show you some upcoming projects, but my scans didn't turn out. Hmmph. I'll rescan & post them on Friday. But in the meantime, here's the progress on Summer Breeze Cardi:

I'm 2 rows away from continuing on with the right front of the cardi. Didn't get any work done over the last 2 days. DH and I got home from the 2nd day of our seminar, had about 20 minutes to catch our breath, and then went to our weekly session with our trainers. I ran 3.5 miles last night!

DH is entered in the San Diego International Triathlon this weekend. He's doing the Sprint distance, which is about half of the International, or full distance. But we're still talking about a 500-meter swim in San Diego Bay, a 20-kilometer bike ride (half of which is uphill), and a 6-kilometer run. My honey is such a stud! I'm very, very proud of him.

Happy Wednesday, everyone.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Got a 2-day seminar
Promise I won't go far
Posts will fall by the wayside
'Cuz we're gonna be (San Diego) bayside
Stuck in an air-conditioned hotel
Sounds boring as hell
But we're already committed
My butt's gonna be seated
Up to 8 hours per day
For my butt (and me), please pray
See you in a day or two
Don't do anything I wouldn't do.

Happy Monday, everyone.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Had a root canal yesterday. I've had a number of these over the years, but this one was a little more involved ... the root tip was curved, so the dentist really had to work to get job done. Left me feeling pretty sore:

I don't think I've ever had that much novocaine in one visit ... I was numb from my lower eyelid to the bottom of my upper lip, and widthwise from my ear, all the way across the entire left side of my nose. Very strange feeling! Got the shots at 7:45 am, and the novocaine didn't completely wear off until about 4pm that day. But I feel tip-top this morning. Got some crocheting done on Summer Breeze Cardi; pictures tomorrow Saturday.

Go brush your teeth!

Monday, June 14, 2004

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo
Cause tonight, i'm gonna see my ma cher a mi-o
Pick guitar, fill fruit far and be gay-o
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou

Spell "fillet" with one "t" and you've got my current obsession -- filet crochet. Here's my progress on Summer Breeze Cardigan (formerly Filet Crochet Cardi):

New additions to The Stash That Ate San Diego:

Plymouth Turino 100% Silk from Elann. Boy, am I sorry I didn't buy more of this ... they're sold out.

Turino Silk is slated for this -- Just One More Row's "Pacific Grove Pullover"

Also ordered Fiber Trend's "Spirit of the Southwest" Shawl pattern:

I've got a few hanks of laceweight 100% merino that would work for the Southwest shawl. Just need more time ... more time ... aargh!

Musings on Motion
Check it, peeps. I've just completed my 5th full week of training as of Sunday. On that day I ran for 45 minutes, then walked for 30 more. 75 minutes of forward motion. When I started my training, I couldn't complete an entire 400 meter lap at the track. Amazing. I owe it all to my brilliant coaches, two inspiring young men from Brazil with a total of about 8% body fat between both of them, and my wonderful husband, who cheerfully grinds out up to 2 workouts per day, 6 days per week. I'm just drafting along in DH's wake and following the instructions of Felipe and Ricardo, my trainers. I haven't really lost any weight, but I can feel everything tightening up. Way cool. Not bad for a 42yo broad whose general philosophy is, "Why walk when you can stand? Why stand when you can sit? Why sit when you can lie?" Or something like that :-)

Happy Monday, everyone.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

My Daily Checklist Before I Go Out the Door

Car Keys: Check.
Purse: Check
Cellphone: Check
Nipples: Check

You think I'm crazy? Oh no, my friends. This is an example of just one more thing we women need to check before we head out the door. Are your nipples properly positioned?

My first encounter with skewed nipplage occurred during Tom's Triathlon Weekend. I was waiting from my Honey to cross the finish line and was idly checking out the crowd (you've never seen such a buff assemblage of people in your life. It's scary). So I was looking around, and happened to glance at a very pretty, very tall young woman standing and talking to a friend. She was dressed for warm weather, in a t-shirt and skirt. But something was … off. It took me a few seconds to figure it out. In a nutshell (or is that nipshell?), her nipples were … well … cross-eyed, for lack of a better description. Instead of two forward-aligned little beads atop larger bumps, they were distinctly inward leaning. Very much in need of a front-end alignment. "Poor girl," I thought to myself. "She has no idea." Here's how she looked. Pardon my less than Vogue-worthy fashion-sketching skills:

Fast-forward to the workweek following the triathlon. Me, in the ladies restroom. Hands washed, hair fussed with, shoulders back, standing tall, and … oh. I seemed to be having a bit of a nip-event, myself. In keeping with my positive outlook on life, my presentation was that of Cock-Eyed Optimist:

I suppose this phenomenon could take on political overtones. For instance, Democrats vs. Republicans:

This gal seems a little down today. Give her a smile and cheer her up, OK?

And just what kind of picture are you presenting when you step out into the world? Yup, something to think about.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Ode to a Blog at One
A year ago, you were but a cyber-twinkle in your mama's eye. I fed you words and pixels at least 3x per week, and oh, how you grew! Your mama got you a comment program, and you began to chitchat with other blog owners. And what a large world you found! New friends from all over the place, and all so nice. You have a slightly younger sister who is Fun and Silly and often Very Wise.

During your first year there were awkward entries, late entries, silly entries, and angry entries. Entries about nothing, and entries about Very Serious Things. Love and pain, laughter and sorrow, confusion and clarity, fire and flood, knitting and crocheting.

Now you are in your second year, and continue to grow and change before my very eyes! Happy Birthday, Little Blog.

OK, everyone! Let's have cake!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Lace Curtain Irish
That's me, kids. Descended from the Auld Sod and prettying up life with a bit 'o crocheted lace. My celtic forebears would be proud. Although it ain't curtains, it kinda looks like it:

It's the Filet Crochet Cardi. Worked in one piece from the bottom hem to the armholes -- you can just start to see the pattern forming. This silly project has been amazingly soothing. Filet crochet is so easy. It's just double crochets forming mesh and block patterns. Mindless, and necessary at the moment. And not insanely tiny like my poor neglected Painted Roses scarf.

The Body Politic
DH is doing much better. Thank you for the get well wishes! It's a "recovery week" in Triathlon Land (lighter workouts), so that's helping.

Just Call Me Nadia …*
… 'cuz it's all about the balance (beam), baby.
First off, I want to thank everyone who commented or sent emails. You came through again, my friends. Whenever I falter, your kind and encouraging words lift me like a gentle updraft and enable me to start moving forward again. Bron, Sharon, Marie, Nancy, Sharlene, Laura, Teresa, Mariko, Amy, Doreen, thank you. Marcia, your blog b*tchslap was very necessary. Thank you.

Back to The Word. Balance. The state I constantly seek, but rarely attain for any length of time. I know I'm not the only one who has trouble with balance. Unless one exists in a vacuum, it's an issue. Work, family, health, finances, "me" time -- it's like catching greased pigs in a pen. Grab one, and 3 others run squealing off in separate directions.

This blog is another balancing act. Balancing knit content (required as a member of the Knit Blogger's Web Ring) with the personal blather. Keeping the personal blather a bit cleaner than I'd like so as not to offend. Not that I'm holding back a load of profanity, but I can be quite, well, blunt in real life. My blog persona's edges are smoothed quite a bit for public consumption. Wondering whether it's worth the effort. Wondering if I have anything worthwhile to say, or am I just filling up cyberspace with a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Deciding that maybe it is worth it, based on some really nice comments from readers. Wondering if I ought to start a second, gloves-off blog with no knit content and unfettered thoughts. Sharlene wrote me a thoughtful email urging me to really consider being myself in my current blog, rather than splitting a part of me off into another blog and possibly facing burnout trying to maintain the two. Good advice, Sharlene.

So here's the deal. After some thought, I've decided I don't want to create a Two Blogs of Eve situation. The answer doesn't lie in balancing 2 blogs, but adjusting the balance of the existing blog in a way that works for me. Clint Eastwood had a great line in the movie Heartbreak Ridge: Adapt, Improvise, Overcome. On that note, I'm going to gently take the (knit) gloves off over time and say what I want. I may not always have a nifty knit project to blab about, but I'll do my best to occasionally have something fiber-ey to satisfy the purists and webring requirements. Are you with me?

*Nadia Comaneci: First gymnast at the Olympics (1976) to receive the perfect score of ten (which she repeated 6 more times), she also won three gold medals (individual all-around, balance beam and uneven bars), a silver medal (team all-around) and a bronze (floor exercise).

Monday, June 07, 2004

Add the Foundation & Walls and You've Got a House
Poor DH has shingles! Fortunately, it's a mild case, but painful nonetheless. We learned more about shingles this weekend than the average bear. For instance, did you know that shingles: 1) are a reactivation of chicken pox suffered as a child; 2) are brought on by emotional or physical stress (DH's triathlon training); and 3) the word "shingles" is derived from Latin and means "girdle," referring to the reddened blisters that erupt in a band around the torso. We had a really savvy Urgent Care doctor who is attacking this with a multi-pronged approach of five different medications (thank God for health insurance): 2 antivirals (oral & topical), a steroid, and 2 painkillers (oral & topical). Two days of these meds and lotsa attention from moi, and DH is already feeling better. But there's no way he's putting on a neoprene rubber wetsuit for at least another week :-)

Amy's Affliction
ennui (noun) Listlessness and dissatisfaction resulting from lack of interest; boredom: “The servants relieved their ennui with gambling and gossip about their masters” (John Barth).

At the risk of incurring the Wrath of Webster, I'm adding a new word to the Knitting Lexicon. It's one that accurately describes my current state. I'm calling it Knitui -- a state of listlessness and dissatisfaction due to a severe lack of interest and boredom with my knitting projects.

I've been suffering from Knitui for over a month now. With my (and Marcia's) bloggiversary coming up I've been reading my initial blog entries. The tone of these early entries was quite peppy and chipper, compared to recent mundane missives.

There is no single cause for this state of Knitui -- it's more the natural cycle that has always occurred with my crafting. When I focus on a craft, I focus on it wholeheartedly. Knitting was my passion about 20 years ago. This period lasted about five years, and died a natural death as I discovered other crafts (sewing, embroidery, quilting, silversmithing). Each of these new crafts generated a period of single-minded focus, resulting in many lovely finished projects. During periods of "non-crafting" (one craft dying a natural death; another yet to make itself known), I would simply read more to fill the void.

About a year ago, I rediscovered knitting and dove in head first, madly building a stash and churning out a number of nice knitted stuff for lucky relatives. The first project chronicled on my blog was the Must Have Cardigan knit for my mother's birthday last July. It's ironic that the most current project is the Neckdown Summer Cardi for Mom's birthday this year.

During the ensuing year I blogged about a lot more than just knitting content. I shared my joy and bared my pain, and received so many wonderful comments from readers. The advice, input, feedback, and humor kept me going on many a trying day.

I don't want to abandon my blog, but I also don't want to bore anyone (including myself). I need to make a decision, soon.

Happy Monday, everyone.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Snack on This!
Yum -- Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino from Patternworks. From left to right, shade numbers are 426, 807, 121, 501D, and 514, aka the Wild Berry colorway for Charlotte's Web. The pattern is MIA in my (very) unorganized garage, so I broke down and ordered another copy. It's currently enroute. I'm going to force myself to finish Neckdown Summer Cardi before starting Charlotte (ha ha -- we'll see if I can hold myself to that promise!)

But I consider myself lucky. I'm not as firmly caught in Charlotte's Web as Kerstin. Poor thing, she's up to her lovely eyebrows in not one, but three more Charlottes. She's posted a delicious Bahama Mama colorway on her site today. The road to hell is surely paved with Koigu yarn. What a way to go, eh?

Happy Friday, everyone.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Comments, Oh Comments, Where Art Thou?
This is getting old. SquawkBox, get it together, puhleez!

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Don't Swoon, It's June!
Had a nice Memorial Day weekend -- hope you did, too. Didn't do a whole lot, overall. Got a bit sunburned on Sunday while running, but I *think* I'll narrowly escape peeling (fingers crossed!).

Still can't get Neckdown Summer Cardi finished! It's becoming an approach/avoidance thingie. I need to force myself to sit down and devote an hour a night until it's done (ha!).

In my efforts to avoid finishing NSC, I started this:

It's a free project sheet from Michael's, in #10 crochet cotton (ecru shade), and a sane steel crochet hook size of No. 4. I'm finding that although I like the look of motif crochet (see March 8th entry), I much prefer filet crochet as far as crochet enjoyment. Sarra, don't even ask about Shades of Roses Painted Crochet Scarf! (entry from April 14th). I *may* have to frog it -- I have 2 extra filets on either side, and I'm concerned about running out of (expensive) thread. Sigh.

But It Looked Good at the Yarn Store ...
File this under the "What Was I Thinking?" Department. Got to go to the wonderful Common Threads yarn store in Encinitas on Saturday. Lovely drive up the coast. DH went to Nytro in Encinitas to check out wetsuits for ocean swimming (that triathlete thing ...); RockStar got to pillage the used CD bins at the famous Lou's Records store (also in Encinitas) and found 4 "totally awesome" thrash metal CDs by mega-obscure bands.

If you're ever able to visit Common Threads, you'll find a lovely little yarn store (complete with a kitty snoozing in the window!) filled floor to ceiling with yarn displayed in color-coordinated bins. So in the "purple" section, you might find Berroco's Zen stuffed in a cubbie right next to Cascade 220. Aesthetically quite pleasing, but you might do as I did and fall in love with a yarn that looks gorgeous next to its fuzzy neighbor, but once you get it home, by itself, it morphs into something totally unexpected and not exactly ... ugly, but more ... puzzling:

Berroco Glitz in lovely shades of green, gunmetal grey, and bronze. Loved it in the store, surrounded by lots of other shades of green, but am not thrilled with it at home. But I did score a No. 4 steel crochet hook at Common Threads! In fact, they have the entire range of steel hooks, which is pretty amazing, fine crochet work having fallen out of favor with most needlecrafters, and all.

Toeing the Line
I love jewelry. Real jewelry. Gold, gemstones, diamonds, all of it. However, having champagne tastes on a beer budget means I don't get to indulge my gem jones very often (sigh!). But I did treat myself recently to a summer goodie:

It's a toe ring! Gold, with 2 teeny diamonds. I love it! It makes me feel classy, but with an edge. A bit femme fatale-ish. Works for me :-)

Happy sorta-Monday, everyone!