Monday, August 30, 2004

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."
"To a Mouse", Robert Burns

I'm checking in briefly to thank everyone who commented, emailed, or sent e-cards over the past week. Your outpouring of care and concern was like a healing balm on my and DH's hurts. I'll be fine; I always am. But I worry about DH. He'd been wanting RockStar to live with him for so long, and to have it end like this has been very painful. We've had one phone call (initiated by DH), and other than that, no communication. We hope RS is in school (he wasn't as of the end of last week, and school started August 11th); I hope his mother is making sure he takes his ADD meds; is making sure he gets to bed on time 'cuz he's such a night owl if left to his own devices ... just because the kid is gone doesn't mean the worry left with him.

I was so optimistic about this summer. I envisioned myself running and having a blast training with DH, I looked forward to RockStar heading east to visit his mom so we'd all get a much-needed break from each other, and I looked forward to his return and the start of his junior year. Well. Things haven't quite worked out the way I'd envisioned. The knees haven't held up for running. RockStar's decamped for the East Coast. I know there's lessons to be learned from all this, but I'll be damned if I've figured out what they are.

My sincere thanks and gratitude to all of you for your kind words and encouragement. I'll be back soon. I am knitting through this mess. Appropriately enough, I'm knitting a throw, 'cuz that's what I feeling like doing right now. Throwing something. See you soon.

Monday, August 23, 2004

I'm taking a blog break this week. One week ago today, RockStar was due to come home to San Diego from his annual summer visit to his mother's in North Carolina. Instead, on the day he was due back, he called his father and announced that he wasn't coming back, and wanted to live with his mother again. A week of back-and-forth phone calls ensued. DH and I assured him that whatever was wrong, we'd work it out when he got home. The entire drama ended last Friday night, with a farewell email from RockStar. DH and I are stunned, to say the least. We're still picking up the emotional pieces. I need a few days to sort myself out. I'll be back in a week or so.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Another Day, Another Book
... another project I'll never have time for (sigh!). I guess I pre-ordered this from Amazon, 'cuz it showed up yesterday. I must have pre-ordered it months ago; I really don't recall ordering it at all. I like the cover jacket a lot:

And I like the Casual Cable Sweater, made of Rowan Magpie:

Got a few more inches done on the Microspun Mocha Shawl. Coincidentally, I was organizing my patterns a bit the other day and found another shawl pattern that's virtually identical to the Mocha Shawl. It's the Victoria Lace Shawl from St. Seraphina Knits.

The new KnitNet is up. I've been subscribing to KnitNet for at least a year, and have yet to make one of their patterns. I feel a bit like the March Hare from Alice in Wonderland ... always short of time! Someday (ha!), I'll get around to making one of their patterns.

Gotta go. No time! No time! Happy Wednesday, everyone.

Monday, August 16, 2004

More Stuff (I Have No Time For)
This pretty book showed up in the mail this weekend:

It's a nice book, but doesn't do more than just scratch the surface of most lace techniques. But the glove pattern on the cover is worth the price of admission! Plus, there's a nice section on Irish Lace, which I've never really understood until now.

Post Race Reflections
The AFC Half Marathon & 5K was a lot of fun, and a very good first race for me. I was a bit intimidated by the rush of runners at the beginning, and stuck close to DH for most of the race. It's interesting, my whole running style has changed in the 2 sessions I've had at the San Diego Running Institute. I kept surging past DH, then I'd slow down and wait for him to catch up. Over and over again, for the entire 3.1 miles. If I'd cut loose and went for it, I'd have been at about a 4.5mph pace. DH was amazed. He's always wanted to run faster, so he's off to see Gina at SDRI soon. The post-race mingling was fun, too. The rest of our team met up and compared race experiences, while scarfing down the complimentary bananas, oranges, and bottled water provided. Me 'n DH were the only ones doing the 5K -- DH could have done the half-marathon, but being the sweetheart he is, accompanied me during my first race :-) The other members of our team did the half-marathon. All in all, a lot of fun.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Friday, August 13, 2004

Here's where I'll be at 6:00 am Sunday! Me 'n DH are doing the 5K. Wish us luck! Have a nice weekend, everyone.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

I Don't Remember It Being This Hard
... when I was a kid. I'm talking about swimming. My smiling-but-sadistic Brazilian trainer had me swim over 1100 meters on Wednesday morning. Thursday morning, I can barely lift my arms to compose this entry. Ow. But I promised pictures of new stuff, so I dragged out the camera and snapped these goodies that arrived from Elann. First, some yummy 100% alpaca and Austermann "Caprice":

... to make this:

... and this:

Yum! And I've got about 36" of progress on the Microspun Mocha Shawl:

Rowan's Denim People showed up in the mail the other day. I especially like Brooklyn. It reminds me of the Adidas track suits I used to wear in high school:

I'm thinking some Den-M-Nit from Elann would work for this design. Has anyone tried subbing it for Rowan Denim?

OK, my arms are screaming for a break. Time for some ibuprofen and a walkabout in the office. See ya.

Monday, August 09, 2004

2 Much 2 Soon
Ay yi yi. Monday rolled around much too quickly. So much to show you! And no time to take pictures this morning. Rowan's Denim People showed up in Saturday's mail; got a bunch done on the Microspun Mocha Shawl, and, ta da! DH bought me a new mattress and a road bike and accessories! I'm feeling very spoiled right about now. Pictures of my bounty tomorrow Wednesday Thursday (arrgh!). Happy Monday, everyone :-)

Friday, August 06, 2004

Digging a Trench with a Teaspoon
That's how it feels sometimes when I view my project progress vs. future projects I want to undertake. I have so little spare time to indulge in my fiber pursuits that my finished-project-to-future-project ratio will always be hopeless skewed in the wrong direction. Ah well, I guess I never have to worry about having a project at hand, right?

I knit up about 5" on the Microspun Mocha Shawl, but since this sucker is about 80" long and I'm currently at about inch #24, I won't bore you with a picture.

Lace Me Up
I'm an old-fashioned girl at heart. Maybe it's the Lace Curtain Irish in me, but I love lace edgings on pillowcases, crocheted lace tableclothes on the dining room table, and crocheted lace bedspreads. So when these old McCalls's mags and an old Coats & Clarks booklet showed up in the mail from one of my favorite vendors, Vintage Knits, I was thrilled:

I think I may have to bite the bullet and choose a bedspread to work on. If I choose a design composed of individual squares, I can turn this into an ideal takealong project. Maybe someday, way off in the future, I'll accumulate enough squares for a bedspread or tablecloth. Ever hopeful, I am!

One Step Forward, Two Back
Update on the Running Thang -- I had an appointment with a Biomechanic Specialist(!) at the San Diego Running Institute earlier this week. Sounds pretty important and official, doesn't it? Well, the SDRI is actually a running shoe store owned by a chiropractor and managed by a very knowledgeable young woman named Gina, who is an expert in Kinesiology (body movement). The lowdown: my right leg is ... OK. Slightly knock-kneed, but not badly so. The left leg, however, is a strange animal: more severely knock-kneed, and rolling inward from heel to toe. Watching myself in a mirror as I ran on a treadmill was quite illuminating: my left knee crosses waaay over toward, and almost in front of, the right knee. No wonder it hurts!

I ran for 10 minutes on the treadmill in my current shoes (a pair of Brooks) while Gina carefully watched and made copious notes. She also spent a lot of time measuring my back, legs, feet, and hips. Based on the above, she determined that my current shoes were the wrong size, didn't help my feet track "straight" and didn't have enough arch support or room in the toe box. She chose a pair of Asics shoes and a pair of orthotic inserts for me to try. I strapped on the new shoes (which happened to also be a lovely girly-girl shade of silver with pink stripes!), and ran another 10 minutes on the treadmill. What a difference! My left knee straightened out dramatically and tracked nearly straight in front. My biomechanics still ain't perfect, but they're a lot better.

I ran another 10 minutes in which we worked on "gait training" to help my body memorize proper running form. My base form isn't too bad, but I was running at much too short a stride. If I lengthen my stride, I spend more time "in the air" and strike the ground at significantly fewer strokes per minute, thus lessening the amount of impact on my body. Makes sense, huh? I was also overusing my arms, almost in a cross-country skiing motion, which further expends unnecessary energy. The point is, if I get tired too quickly, I won't be able to maintain good form, which will lead to further injury. All in all, this was money well spent.

Why am I spending so much time and thought (not to mention $$) to pursue an activity that may not pan out? Because on the ride home from SDRI, I had a goofy grin plastered on my face from my accomplishments and the pure joy of running again. And I'm willing to fight for that. It's that simple.

I have 2 more appointments with Gina to further reinforce the gait training and learn some leg strengthening exercises. I've got my fingers crossed! I may never be a long distance runner, but if I can get myself to the point where I can safely run 3 days a week, I'll be happy. The swimming and bike riding will fill the other days.

Where is this all going? Who knows. I had a swimming lesson last night with DH's triathlon coach, who is also an internationally ranked triathlete. I told him what Gina said about my probably not being an ideal candidate for long distance running, and he slyly said, "Sprint Triathlons. Short running distance. 3.2 miles. No problem." Damn it. They're still trying to pull me into their crazy group. Pray for me, people. We're buying a road bike for me this weekend. The road to hell is paved with Asics running shoes and a Lance Armstrong bracelet:

Happy Friday, everyone.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Wednesday, Schmensday
So what if it's Wednesday? Hump Day? The middle of the week? Pah! I got this in the mail last night:

Reel me in, I'm hooked!

That's right! Three skeins of Twilleys Silky in black, and an entire Boye steel crochet hook set! Don't you wish you were me? I know I do.

All this fabulous loot came from JKL Needles, a great vendor to work with. The Silky thread is a 2-ply, 100% viscose, #5 crochet thread that I really look forward to trying. I'll be making the scarf pictured above. Much as I love the Shades of Roses Painted Scarf, the tiny threads are just a bit much for me right now. So this Black Beauty Scarf will feed my ongoing crochet jones without further taxing my poor over-40's eyesight.

Look for me in the corner. I'll be the gal tangled in black thread with an idiotic grin on her face. Happy Wednesday, everyone.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Post Vacation Haze
What is it about the first Monday morning after a vacation? It seems like the previous week is already a distant haze! Even if you have a great job to return to (which I do), it's hard to get back into the swing of things. But I endeavor to persevere!

Thanks for all the nice comments wishing me a happy vacation. It certainly was, even if it went by all too quickly. We arrived in the Pacific Northwest on Friday evening to catch the tail-end of a heat wave (103 degrees in Portland upon landing). We spent one night in Portland at a hotel -- my mother was entertaining cousins from Sweden and couldn't fit us in! The next morning (Saturday), we headed off for British Columbia. A nice if uneventful drive, ending with a loooong 2-hour wait at the border at Blaine, Washington.

Fortunately, we had a lovely destination -- Bowen Island, a short ferry ride from Vancouver, and the home of a good friend and business associate. A lovely night was spent there recovering from the 9-hour drive and border wait. Then one day (Sunday) in Vancouver visiting friends. DH had a golf/business meeting, and I hung out with a friend and caught The Bourne Supremacy in a lovely air-conditioned theater (good movie, quite different in pace from the first Bourne movie).

The next morning (Monday), off on a ferry to Victoria, BC! The Empress Hotel in Victoria was quaint, with no air-conditioning! We spent the day walking around downtown Victoria, peeking in the shops. I had given up hope of finding the famous Beehive Wools, when we stumbled across it while trying to find Chinatown. A huge shop, crammed floor to ceiling with lots of lovely yarn. Again, no air conditioning! It was a bit stuffy, to say the least. DH stayed outside. I braved the humid cocoon-like interior, and came out with this:

12 Skeins of Lett Lopi, for another Aran Poncho

Jeanette Crew's "Beautifully Wrapped" Book

Early Tuesday morning, we caught the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, WA. It was a much smaller ferry than the one we took from Vancouver to Victoria, and I got seasick on the passage. I felt much better once back on dry land! Then we drove the Olympic Peninsula from Port Angeles to Olympia -- a very lovely drive. From Olympia, we hopped on Interstate 5 & 205 back to Portland.

Once back in Portland, we spent the next 5 days chillin' at my mom's house. I wish I could say it was a blissful visit, but there's some stressful family stuff going on (finances and an impending divorce) that cast a worrisome shadow over the visit. Lots of praying going on in the family over various situations.

Saturday we flew back to San Diego, to an empty house. RockStar is visiting his mom in North Carolina for 3 weeks, and the cat, dog, and birds were all boarded at various facilities. Sunday we rounded up all the animals, and the ark was full again!

Of course I took a Road Project with me -- something easy and mindless that I could quickly stuff into a bag as needed. This free shawl pattern on the Lion Brand Microspun label fit the bill perfectly!

6 Skeins of Microspun makes this:

Two skeins worth of shawl, with a third skein just attached:

Close-up of the 4-row Ripple Pattern:

Gotta scoot! Works calls, and since I didn't win the lottery in my absence, I'm obligated to show up and see how much spam has accumulated in my email box :-)

Happy Monday, everyone!