a cold day…

February 6, 2011 - Leave a Response

I was sitting peacefully writing a few letters to pen pals when I noticed that the sun is out and it looks so warm and inviting outside. Well, it is actually very cold. Quite a shock when I opened up the door to let Sprocket run around the yard, since I was expecting nice, warm sun. I am going for a ride today, but not up the mountain like I originally thought I was going to do. I don’t want to come back down the mountain and ride into the cold wind. A mountain bike ride should be good though, and Sprocket can keep me company. In my brain, I have a ton of projects going, and as usual not enough time to get them all done. Of course, I could be knitting instead of writing in my journal, I could be cleaning instead of riding my bike- but they are things that either need to be done or simply I just want to do, so I guess it doesn’t particularly matter which one I work on at a particular moment. Actually, I will probably knit after going on my cold bike ride, since knitting after being out in the cold is just a wonderful feeling. I already did a load of dishes and am about to clean up the mess of shredded paper boxes that currently litters our dining room (boxes courtesy of Sprocket the Destroyer).

My goal eventually is to get back into having at least one photo per blog post. I don’t have any new photos to share today. However, I’m slowly getting back into my normal rhythm of multiple projects going at one time, so I should soon be able to have a photo per post. Now, I must convince myself that it is a good idea to go ride my bike out in the cold weather…


playing around with wordpress.com

January 31, 2011 - Leave a Response

So I was randomly looking at various drop down choices on my wordpress.com account and found “QuickPress”. I guess I can’t really procrastinate writing something if I’m in the “QuickPress” page.

So far I’m keeping up with my general goals of “doing what I want to do”. How is that for a goal 😉 I raced my mountain bike on Saturday, in the snow like a crazy person. I came in DFL, though I could have sworn one other woman was behind me. Not that it matters if you come in DFL or 2nd to DFL… Hey, I’m just glad I made that first step into getting back into racing. Best part of all- no IT band issues! Pilates has been the ticket for this I think. Since the fall, I have been doing Pilates regularly, two times per week. There were one or two days that were missed due to illness, but in general I have been very good about going every Tuesday and Thursday, and if my instructor cancels then I do a Pilates workout at home. My instructor gives me extra homework to help with my hips/IT band, which of course I’m not as good about doing…

My mukluks are coming along. I’m stuck in this one spot in the pattern where I have to pick up stitches. I don’t know why I am avoiding this part. Picking up stitches is not all that hard. It’s actually pretty easy. I guess I just have to get over the mental hurdle and realize that I’m not going to do anything that can’t be easily fixed if I make a mistake. I need to get a move on though, because like all my projects I’m not going to have them ready to wear for the season they are intended for!

This winter I did manage to finish a pair of mittens for myself that I started last year. I thought I was going to finish them last year, but well into the second mitten I found an error that I just couldn’t figure out how to fix, which then involved frogging the entire mitten. So I didn’t start the new second mitten until this winter. I made sure I finished it without starting a new project so I could wear them this winter. Here’s the “close up”. The “action shot” is in the previous post (I’m high-fiving with the dog).

Oops, here ISN’T the photo. I don’t think I can add a photo in QuickPress, which makes sense. It’ll be in the next post, I promise!

turning over a new leaf…

January 16, 2011 - Leave a Response

or however the saying goes. Actually, in this case the leaf has been turned. I figure it’s about time I start writing again. Being a bit busy these days, I’m not sure how often I’ll actually be able to post entries, but I liked when I was blogging about my knitting projects and such.

After a bit of a break from everything, I’m finally back to my normal self and am knitting, running, biking, keeping up with my penpals, etc. Sure I could blog about why I took a break from everything, but I don’t feel the need to do so, and I figure the majority of the people who actually read my blog already know the whole story anyway.

I’m still enjoying my new life here in Virginia (3 years almost), have made some great new friends but of course still miss my great old friends from Kansas City. Those who read my blog before I temporarily abandoned it probably remember that I lost all my beloved pets in a short amount of time from each other. Well, I still miss them of course, but Zach and I have a new running and riding partner- a hyperactive Vizsla named Sprocket. He’s the craziest dog I’ve ever met, but he keeps me motivated to run and ride my bike (otherwise we pay for it because he didn’t get enough exercise…).

My latest knitting project is the Mowat Mukluks from Interweave Knits. I’m using different yarn than called for, partly to use up yarn in my stash, and partly because some of the yarn required costs too much. So I found a suitable substitute while reading this woman’s blog. I had to search eBay for the yarn since it was discontinued, but found some for a reasonable price. I didn’t quite love the color I found, but I figure it won’t kill me to use a color that I wouldn’t normally use. (More details to follow about selected yarns in separate blog post.)

a different kind of spinning

June 14, 2009 - One Response

So it has been forever since I’ve posted to this journal. I won’t make excuses, other than posting to my wordpress blog has not been at the top of important things that need to be done right now. I’m hoping I can write at least one post each week, especially since I know I have at least one friend out there who still periodically checks for my updates, so he’ll be pleased to see that I’m still alive 🙂 .

On to the main topic: I was talked into going to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival with my next door neighbor and her friend. Okay, truthfully I was invited and I said “SURE!” without any arm-twisting involved. As I was walking around the various booths and petting various fibers and furry animals, I mentioned to my companions that I have been wanting to learn how to spin for a while, but figured I’ve never have the time. Well long story short, I ended up with a Golding drop spindle and several ounces of roving and top. I would having ended up with more roving/top but I didn’t run across a natural black wool (not dyed), so that ‘s on my list to acquire some other time down the road. Like at the Fall Fiber Festival of Virginia in October…

In addition to the fiber I purchased at the festival, my neighbor gave me a rolag of blended Finn wool and alpaca that she blended herself. This stuff was awesome to work with. It was soft, lofty, easy to pre-draft and I was actually able to move past the “park and draft” method of spinning on a drop spindle a few times. Sure, my end product is all thick and thin and there are a few slubs in it, but I’m very happy with my work.  Now I just have to take it off the spindle and set the twist. I plan on making a little pouch (maybe lightly felted?) with this and some white merino wool that I’m trying to spin. That stuff is not easy to work with, and I’m glad I had a few other fibers to play with to find out that I wasn’t a total failure at spinning. Updates to follow, once I have more to show.



Below: rolag (the form it was in when given to me) on the left and the pre-drafted fiber on the top right.


Below: I’ve spun all the fiber I had.


Below: Center-pull ball of the finished product. I used a fat round sharpie marker as a nostepinne (turned wood/dowel-like thing used to make a center-pull ball).


I ran over to my neighbor’s house to show her, and I ended up with two more rolags and a couple of handfuls of cleaned alpaca fleece!! What an awesome neighbor 🙂

that felt good

December 7, 2008 - 2 Responses

I’m not sure how I managed to survive as I as did without riding a bike. Honestly, it felt SO good to go for a ride today. It was a touch cold… I’m still warming up. Thank goodness for hot chocolate! Zach and I rode to the Aldie volunteer fire station and back, with a stop at the fire station to look at Christmas trees. The Christmas tree sale is apparently their largest fundraiser of the year. We initially were going to bring the trailer along and pick up a tree today, but when we dragged the trailer out of the shed we realized it wasn’t nearly large enough for a tree, at least not without some modifications. So we just went for a nice ride, and we are determined to figure out how to bring a Christmas tree home by bike for next year. We’ll still probably get our tree from the Aldie fire station, but unfortunately by pickup truck.

I was mostly pain free for the ride. I had a slight twinge at my knee towards the end of the ride. I’ll admit that I have not been doing my PT exercises like I should be. I know that if I don’t stick with easy rides for the time being and don’t start doing my exercises I’m going to be right back to where I was three months ago. Today I watched a video of 8 week old Vizsla puppies romping through the woods, and I realized that if I don’t get my rear-end in gear, I’m never going to be able to keep up with our new puppy this Spring. Plus, my jeans are getting a tiny bit snug. So, with those two motivating factors, and the fact that I actually admitted to the public that my jeans are getting snug, I feel pretty confident that I get myself back on track. Mentally, I feel so much better when I’m active. You would think that would be motivation alone, but I know it isn’t. I’ve marked out on my calender which days I’m going to ride, run and stretch/strengthen (aka PT exercises/core strength). Actually, I have to stretch pretty much everyday. I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to not stretch daily and be able to be as active as I’d like to be.

I don’t have any photos of today’s ride since my battery in my Olympus 790 SW was dead. I wish I had my SLR with me, because we saw three pheasants. They were outside the perimeter of a hunting preserve. Smart escapees, I bet. I saw one male and two females. We actually rode quite close to them since they were on the side of the road.

all right.

November 29, 2008 - 2 Responses

I suppose I’m back. Have to start somewhere anyway! My hiatus (in writing, running and cycling) was all sort of related. If I don’t ride or run, well, I don’t have as much to write about. And I haven’t been knitting very much either, so there was one less thing to write about.

I’m done with PT, and I’ve started running again. I’m not back on the bike quite yet, but that’s mostly due to laziness and not feeling like doing the necessary bike maintenance that I need to do. A little is also due to not wanted to over do it too soon.

Other things that have kept me from writing lately- all three of our pets have died in the last 3 months. Since this is my journal, I’m going to write about it. I know I promise to keep my journal positive, but I think I just need to write about this for therapeutic reasons. So, if you’re still reading, thank you.

First, Basil the cat was no longer able to fight his liver cancer. He was strong though, and lived a full year longer than the vet predicted! Over that year he even gained back a lot of his weight that he had lost, and figured out that he actually still could hop up on the counter and steal pizza.

Three days later, we had to bring Stella the dog to the emergency vet since she was wheezing and her body temperature became very cold. It was too late though, and she died not too long after they began treating her. She had fluid around her heart and a coagulation disorder of some sort, and her heart gave out. The emergency vet at first asked about poisons, which Stella would have had no access to (at least to our knowledge), but then said that it could have a mass in her heart or any number of other things. All we know is that it seemed to happen very fast, but my guess is that Stella could have been sick for a while and just never let us know. We were absolutely devastated and shocked, as we thought we were bringing in a very sick dog, not a dying dog. She also didn’t seem “old” to us, rather she still acted like a puppy. Our regular vet called us the next day and said it sounded like cardiomyopathy, which is common in her breed. She was almost 10 years old, so I guess she wasn’t a puppy anymore.

Lastly, Jezebelle, the cat I got at the shelter with Basil (they came from the same household, but not necessarily the same litter), started becoming sick over the last couple of months. Her appetite was not good, she had diarrhea, ended up with a urinary tract infection, etc. I treated her for all these things, and despite the care, she still did not eat very much. Her liver began to fail, and at this point the vet did an ultrasound. She had already had a lot of blood work that didn’t show too much. Well, she had a mass in her abdomen, possibly her pancreas. It was too painful for Jezebelle for the vet to press too hard, so she was unable to get a good view. Jezebelle was not a good candidate for anesthesia (it would have likely killed her) and she was around 16 years old, so we elected to just care for her the best we could and make her comfortable. I learned how to do subcutaneous fluids so she wouldn’t be as dehydrated, and we gave her pain medication. I let her drink skim milk (she had stopped drinking water) which she enjoyed, and found a brand of fancy cat food that she would eat the gravy from. Last weekend she ate better than she has in months, but when I came home from work on Tuesday it was obvious that it was time to euthanize her. It was very hard to do, but it was the right thing to do. Her quality of life was not what it once was, she had essentially stopped eating and drinking, she was starting to have trouble breathing, she had become incontinent over the last week, and then Tuesday night she had a seizure or heart attack or something bad that I did not want her to have to suffer through again, even if she could fully recover from it. The vet agreed that it was the best thing to do at that point.

I am obviously devistated, but I know I’ll start feeling better at some point.

Well, there is a happy story in all of this. About a month or so after Stella died, we decided that life without a dog is just not the same, but also that it was too soon to get another dog. So, we will be getting a puppy in February. This puppy is in absolutely no way a “replacement”. Any pet owner who has lost a loved pet can tell you there is no such thing as a replacement. He or she will be a new friend for us. We had two criteria for our new pup. It couldn’t be a white bully breed dog. That would just be too painful for us and we might want to compare it to Stella, which would not be fair to anyone involved, especially the new dog. Second, it should have the potential to be a good trail dog. So, I did a bunch of research on dog breeds that would be good running, biking, hiking and camping buddies and decided on a vizsla. You can be sure there will be updates and photos as they become available :).

In remembrance of Basil, Stella, and Jezebelle.

Basil napping. Jezebelle is napping right behind him.

Basil napping again. Jezebelle is not napping with him, which is unusual. Maybe she just woke up. You can see her two colored eyes in this photo (one blue, one orange). You can also see what a butterball she was.

Surly Basil, with an almost equally surly Jezebelle. Basil was often surly. Due to the reflection, you can’t see what handsome green eyes Basil had.

And last but not least, three pictures of the lovely Stella Bean, wondering why I have the silly camera pointed at her face.

september 16, 2008

September 16, 2008 - 2 Responses

Alright, it looks like it’s about time to start focusing on knitting again. Riding and running just isn’t happening right now, so I might as well focus on my other obsession. It’s going to be Winter before long anyway. About a month ago I finished a pair of slippers for my coworker. I used this pattern and knitted them up in a cranberry colored yarn with a charcoal grey heel and toe. They were pretty easy to knit. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture, so there won’t be any pictures for this post. Currently, I’m working on a shawl for the same coworker.

I’d like to make a scarf with either an interesting knit purl pattern or a cable pattern. I’d have to find someone to give it to though since I’ve already knit myself more scarves than one person needs, and Zach already has one that I knit for him. He doesn’t want a second one, as far as I know. Of course, if he reads this and tells me he’d like another scarf I’d be happy to knit him another one. This is the year I’m going to finish his super heavy sweater. I still only have one sleeve to knit, and then it will be done. Maybe I’ll work on that this weekend. Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time that I said I was going to finish it. This time I mean it. Really.

september 14, 2008

September 14, 2008 - Leave a Response

Not to much to report as far as bike rides and runs go. Zach and I took Stella for a walk yesterday on the trails behind our house. My Nike+ says we walked for 1 mile, but that seems a little high. I calibrated it for walking yesterday and my guess is that my regular walking pace is faster than my walking the dog pace so that’s probably why it’s off. I also did a three mile trainer ride. Not very much I know, but I told myself today I was definitely stopping the ride before I noticed any issues. I did that for the most part, but did notice I had to sit up and stretch my side/hip several times. I wouldn’t have been able to do that during a real ride!

I’m not entirely giving up on ‘cross this season, but I am trying to look at the big picture. I want to be back to where I was last year and be able to race road, mtb and ‘cross pretty consistently. I did something like 43 races last season, across all three disciplines. If I can get through this hurdle, I can start focusing on training right (or at least more “right” than I have in the past), sticking with a good exercise program/cross-training to keep my muscle imbalance at bay, and stretching, stretching, stretching. Then, I think I’ll have a good season across the board in ’09. I think I’ll even be able to do more running without too much difficulty. With all that said, I am still keeping my fingers crossed (no pun intended) that I get to enjoy ‘cross this season!


September 11, 2008 - Leave a Response

I ran. I survived. I didn’t get the go ahead to run again though. bummer. However, I really did enjoy that half mile! I ended up running to the Couch-to-5k week 3 podcast. I figure I ran a little over a half mile. I ended up doing a trainer ride last night on Zach’s Tacx trainer. I managed to overdo it. Seriously, Zach had it set on the flattest coarse for me and everything. I was going along just fine, and then somehow “race mode” switched on in my brain. I still don’t feel like I was going really hard, but obviously I was going harder than I should have been going. I didn’t ride till I hurt, but I rode until I felt everything tighten up and knew what would come next if I went any further. I even stretched in the middle of the ride! I’m paying for it today. Oh well, I’ll get there. On a positive note, I think I’m really going to like my new running shoes.


September 6, 2008 - Leave a Response

I get to go running tomorrow! I can only go for a half mile, and I’m supposed to avoid the pavement. I’m hoping the trails behind the house are dry. It poured all day because of Tropical Storm Hanna. We lost power for a while too, though I’m not sure how long it was out since we were running errands most of the day.

Since I have been feeling arch pain when I run (and of course my IT band and hip) I decided I’d start out by buying a new pair of running shoes. I’ve been running with a pair of stability shoes, and I found out today that I need a pair of neutral shoes. So I now have a pair of Nike+ Pegasus 25. They have a little bit more “cushion” and that supposedly might be better for my IT band. They certainly are comfortable, so that has to count for something. Plus, they have a cut out under the sockliner for my Nike+ sensor. I definitely would not have a bought a shoe solely for that feature, but it is an added bonus.

I can’t believe how much I’m looking forward to this run. I wish it could be longer than a half mile, but I have to start somewhere.