Monday, December 29, 2008

Week in rewind

Christmas week has come and gone, and I'm feeling relieved and melancholic about that. I love the holidays, but the stress, especially this year, can get to me. I had a really great Christmas and got way more than I expected. One thing I did get was a brand new camera! Yay! Finally, no more sucky pictures. So here are a few pictures from this week:

Our stockings were all hung by the fire...

Christmas Eve dinner in our empty shell of a kitchen, trying to be as normal as possible!

Our Christmas tree in the family room.

Capturing the water vapor coming off the pool one very cold morning (we had below freezing temps)!

Fun with my new camera, a Nikon D80.

That's me racewalking at the track yesterday. Filming is courtesy of my 10yo son and his new video camera!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

5 miles at the track

OK, I didn't make it out to walk the other day. I swear it's a conspiracy! Almost every day in the past 1.5 weeks, I have gotten up and dressed to workout. And then, BAM! Something major comes up, especially with the remodel, that totally derails my plans.

Not today. I got up a bit later than usual, but specifically planned ahead of time with all the work I completed yesterday, to get out there this morning. Geez, you wouldn't think it would take me 12 days to get in a decent workout!
It was a beautiful morning to be out there too. Sunny and very crisp/cool. I decided to head over to the high school track so I could easily take off my extra layers and mitts and not worry about carrying it all for miles. I popped in my iPod, and round and round I went. Five miles, very easy, in the beautiful Solstice morning. I finished in just a touch over an hour. With the way this year has been for working out, I'm surprised I'm still in decent enough shape to do that! Honestly, it hasn't been a great year for staying in shape (and unfortunately, the scale reflects that fact). I'm hoping that since this giant remodeling job will finally be complete (it's been more than 2 years in the making), and so long as I stay healthy (chances of contracting Valley Fever a 3rd time are truly remote), I'm really hoping racewalking and staying fit in general become the primary focus of my life once again. This morning's workout felt so good, so so good. I really didn't want to stop but, alas, things in life need to get done still and I needed to get on those things today as well. That won't ever change, but I'd like to think that I could squeeze in decent workouts more than once every 12 days!!

Well, off to finish the last of the Christmas gifts that I'm knitting. A pair of socks for my brother in Regia Superwash Wool. The pattern is called Retro Rib socks. Easy enough pattern to memorize, but more purling than anything else, and I'm not a big purl fan. I'll be glad to be done with this pattern.

Here are some other gifts I knitted this year for the holidays:

These are socks for my SIL. The pattern is called Nutkins, and they are knit in Prism Sock yarns, colorway Mojave. Great yarn!

This is my mom's Linen Stitch Scarflet and matching fingerless mitts in Malabrigo Yarn, colorway Col China. The buttons are hand made lead-free pewter made by Roosterick on Etsy.

Happy Holidays to everyone!!!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

An Eco Note

Two other things rocked for me yesterday as well.

1. Our city now accepts all plastics #1-7! Due to the remodel we have had to resort to disposable plates and cups (just no room to store enough for the 4 of us). With the change in the acceptable plastics, we can now recycle all the cups and plates. Big high 5 for the City of Mesa!

2. The rain this morning refilled our rain barrels to capacity. We now have about 200 gallons of rainwater. Above photo is from this morning's storm. After about 5 minutes, this 55 gallon barrel was refilled (it was about 1/2 empty) and I had to close off the gutter. I wish I had more rain barrels!

A banner day

Yesterday was quite the day here. All sorts of new stuff came in! I finally got my main computer back a little more than a week ago, all fresh and ready to go. They did have to remove absolutely everything, and reboot it all from scratch. Thank goodness I saved all of my files. So to really make it run better, I also bought a new RAM card, and a new wireless router. Installed the new router yesterday and, yay, the laptop now gets a nice strong, consistent signal out to the guesthouse. Considering we still have a couple of weeks to go on the kitchen remodel, and my older son seems to really like being out there, it was time to upgrade the router to accommodate that need.

But the really big stuff that happened yesterday was the installation of our new kitchen window and the sliding glass door!!! No more plywood boards at night! Take a look --

As you can see in the window, there is a passthrough so I can now hand things out to those outside directly from the kitchen.

It has been raining here for the past few days, and in fact, is raining hard right now as I type this. I haven't had much opportunity to work out at all for a week between the kitchen stuff, studying for my final exam (which was on Monday), playing catch-up with all the things I needed to do, and getting ready for Christmas. On top of all of that, I've been working on the upcoming racewalking clinic that I'm hosting at the end of January. So far, participant interest has been pretty high and registrations are coming in. I expect that after New Year's and then again after the Rock n' Roll marathon, there will be a bit of a surge in registrations as in previous years. It will be lots of fun to have all those participants at my home, and I'll certainly enjoy entertaining in my new kitchen!

OK, off to get the kids ready for school and me, ready to workout. Rain or no rain, I'm walkin'!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Couple of updates on the house

Here are some pics of some of the new and nifty stuff happening with the remodel.

This is the Solatube in the pantry. It will also have a light in the tube for nighttime use, however, in this picture, that is pure sunlight alone that you see. These are a bit pricey but are great for enclosed rooms like our pantry, and they are really nice looking!

This is the new closet opening, now near the front door rather than around the corner in the hallway. Finally, a normally functioning coat closet that you can actually get into!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Brushing the dust off

Hello everyone! It's been a while and I still haven't gotten the main computer back, but I've managed to steal a few hours on the laptop. Things have been busy here at the Kneedle house!

After spending fruitless hours attempting to clean up the computer, we've had to resign to the fact that it was rather hopeless. So, I managed to save all of my important files from it, and it's been sent to the cleaners to be cleared of everything. And yes, I do mean everything, including the operating system. I was, thankfully, wise enough to save all of the disks that came with it back when I bought it, which included a complete re-boot disk that I've never had to open. So long as that goes well, I should have a running computer of my own again within a week. If things don't go well, I'll be buying a whole new computer. Either way I should be back to blogging regularly within another 2 weeks or so. Yay!

On other notes, we've also been extraordinarily busy now that, at long last, the kitchen remodel has begun! They started this past Monday, and it will be a month or so by the time it's all done. Please take a look-see at my Flickr page for the dramatic pictures. It really is something to behold -- especially the large hole in my wall leading to the backyard! We have been relegated to preparing and eating our meals in the (dust-free) guesthouse. I'm not complaining at all, I can't imagine trying to live completely in the house while all of this is going on. So my daily routine, aside from school work and trying to get in decent workouts, include covering up everything that I can with sheets and tarps to keep the dust accumulation to a minimum. And then dusting off the dust every day so we can function in the few rooms of the house that aren't completely mangled.

Other than that, workouts and knitting still consume a large part of my day. I've managed to keep a regular, albeit still very light, workout schedule. Time to ramp things up and beef up the weekly mileage, and add in some speed workouts.

Knitting wise, I recently worked up a linen stitch scarflet for my mom for Christmas,with matching fingerless mitts in mmmmmmmmalabrigo. This yarn is sooo yummy! I've also picked back up some Retro Rib socks I started in July. I'm almost to the heel flap on sock #2!! Yay, and not a minute too soon as these are destined to be my brother's Christmas present. I've yet to start the legwarmers for my nephew, perhaps this weekend if I finish off those socks.

Well that's it for now. Hope you enjoy some pics until I can blog again in a week or so!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The crash

My main computer has become infected with a virus and I've been relegated to the son's laptop, when I can wrench it out of his hands! Not really, but I will have little time to blog until we get a new 'puter up and running that doesn't need to be shared by everyone in the house.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone (in the US)! I'll be back as soon as I can.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day! Enjoy the day off if you have it, and let's not forget to thank our veterans! Thank you!

It's been a whirlwind week for me. First the elections last Tuesday, and then trying to continue in the groove that is life.

I managed to get a couple of decent workouts last week, one of which I already posted about at the track at the University. I also made it out one morning for a quick but good run one morning. This run, in fairly cold temps (around 49) worked out my lungs a bit. By the time I was finished, I was wheezing pretty heavily and coughing a lot. BUT, that completely went away within a few hours, which is great news. I'll try to work in another workout like that later this week. I suspect results will be the same for a while, but I'm looking for improvements over time. Went out for an easy 3 miles yesterday at the track again. It was a bright, sunny, but windy, kinda cold morning, even at 9am. And still, no one else using the track the whole time I was there. Weird.

I have another exam on Friday, so I'll be busy prepping for that for most of this week. I've thankfully been able to knit a bit more regularly again, as I continue to plug along on my MIL's socks. I'm on the foot portion of sock #1, and since it's all stockinette in the round, it's going very quickly. My Bunko Bucket Bag was a hit at bunko, it even got stolen from the original giftee, which is such a compliment to me!

Today, my kiddos are home from school for Veteran's Day, but it's not really a true vacation day since we all have lots to do. We will however, attempt to catch the city's parade.

Have a great week everyone!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted

for 'That One', that won! Congratulations to President-Elect Obama, and to Senator McCain for, by far, the most exciting election in my lifetime.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A couple of workouts

I'm loving this extra free time! I was able to get a bunch of stuff done this weekend that I'd been putting off for a while (mostly cleaning, nothing exciting unfortunately), and still had time to study and knit!

But first, to get to the title of my post. I went out last Thursday again for a double header workout. First, I ran 2 miles before getting the kiddos off to school, then after they were gone, went out again for 3 miles racewalking, this time no backpack! I didn't workout over the weekend, but, this morning I did go to the track at ASU that I mentioned in my previous post. It was (and has been for the past several days) a bit warmer than it should be for this time of year, but I plodded out 3 miles in the morning sunshine. The track is made of some material I have not seen before. It doesn't look new so I don't think it's some latest and greatest material. It reminded me of Berber carpeting! Blobs of rubber rather than a uniform looking surface. It was smooth and worked fine for my workout, I'm just rather curious as to what it was! Surprisingly, I had the track all to myself for most of my workout. There were a couple of ASU track girls there doing 100m sprints when I arrived, but they departed right after I got there. Then there was no one. I thought this really odd since ASU is one of the biggest (if not the biggest in terms of student population) universities in the country. How could there be no one else out of a student body of like 70k that would be working out?? Maybe they all take the scenic route along the lake? Probably.
Anyway, again, my times were not great, averaging right around 12mpm. I think I'll start adding in speed work next week as my legs aren't fazed by these 3 or 5 milers. It's time to test out the lungs again, something I haven't done since before getting ill last January. I'm still very susceptible to having lung problems due to the Valley Fever, so I plan on taking on speed work cautiously. I'll let you know how it goes.

On a final note, don't forget to VOTE tomorrow!!!!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Some promised pictures

My lone tomato plant, which has some flowers (yay! soon to be tomatoes hopefully). Too small to see unfortunately.

My lone okra plant and several broccoli plants.

My Bunko Bucket Bag!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm Back!!!!

Whew! That was a really awful week. And, after all that studying for organic Chemistry, I still only managed a 'D' on that exam, so I've dropped that class. I'm still going strong in Analytical Chemistry, so that will be my only class for this semester. Not sure why I couldn't wrap my brain around the reactions, but I tried. When the test was put in front of me, I just blanked out.

As predicted, I didn't workout or knit for that week plus. However, since deciding to drop the class on Sunday, I immediately got back into myself and picked up yarn and got busy. So, in one day, I crocheted up a bucket bag purse, which I fulled yesterday, for our monthly bunko gift swap. Once a month, a group of neighborhood girls and I get together for some fun playing bunko, enjoying a few alcoholic beverages, and gossip. At the end of the night we have a white elephant gift exchange based on a predetermined theme. This coming up month the theme is purses, so what better purse can I give than a one-of-a-kind creation of my own! I'll try to post a picture later today. I used Brown Sheep Burly Spun yarn in a multi colored colorway called 'Strawberry Patch', with a plain red border on the top. It looks pretty darned good, was very fast with a 'P' sized crochet hook, and fulled up quickly and firmly. I almost hate giving it away!

I'm also working on a pair of plain stockinette socks for my mother-in-law. She asked for some several weeks ago when she saw me working on something else. I'm knitting these up with Panda Cotton sock yarn, in a pink colorway (sorry, don't remember the name of it right now). Then, my sister-in-law has asked me to knit up some leg warmers for my new nephew, which I'm happy to oblige on that request (who am I to turn down a request to knit someone something -- that'd be sacrilige)!

I finally got out this morning for a workout after my 10 day + hiatus. Boy, did it feel wonderful! I thought I would be much slower, but actually I finished the 2 miles in under 12mpm pace, which I thought was pretty darned good. And if I had had more time, I could've gone further. After taking the kiddo to school I did another walk to the store to mail off a few Netflix movies that needed to be returned, and pick up a few items we needed. While I didn't racewalk there or back, I kept my pace at under 15mpm both ways to at least feel a bit more like a workout. It's a bit hard to racewalk with a backpack when there's a water bottle, and a bottle of mustard careening back and forth slamming into each of your kidneys. Yeah. Not cool. So I got in a total of 4.75 miles this morning, and it felt great!!!

I also discovered about a week ago, that the track at the university is located right next to the parking lot where I park. How convenient! Now that it's getting light a lot later in the morning, and I don't have my OChem class anymore, I can still arrive at the school the same time I did before, and get in a workout before my AChem class! Score! I just hope my classmates don't mind the post-workout 'ripeness' that I may exude. Maybe I'll take some deodorant with me to cover things up a bit.....

I mentioned briefly in a previous post my interest in gardening. Well, here in the desert Southwest, we garden a bit differently than the rest of the world. Nothing grows here in the summer (except okra I'm happy to have discovered), so pretty much most gardening is bassackwards compared to everywhere else. I finally ripped out my okra plants (I think 14 pints of okra pickles is enough, thankyou), and recently planted broccoli plants, a tomato plant, tomato from seed, peas, lettuce, carrots, parsnips, and a jalapeno plant. The broccoli and tomato plant are doing well (even have flowers on the tomato plant already), and the lettuce, carrots and parsnips have all sprouted. The tomato from seed and the jalapeno plant did not :(. So I've replanted some more seed, in containers this time, so I can move them around more to get more sunlight. The peas -- well, they sprouted. But, as soon as they sprouted, it seems, the birds dug up the sprout and took off with the seed!!!! GRRRRRR!!! I'm so not happy about this. I've replanted some this morning, in containers, and in the garden straight, and am trying out some measures to deter them. However, if any of you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

OK, so that's what's been going on around here. Hoping that with my time now incredibly freed up, I should be posting more often.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Coming up for air

I'm buried in my chemistry books as I have 2 exams this week. Despite studying all week long, I'm still feeling very unprepared. While I'm not totally in the dark in trying to understand everything, I've not had the 'lightbulb' moment yet, when it all seems to mesh together. Oh well.

Anyway, due to the exams, I doubt I will have anything else to post regarding workouts or knitting this week. It is literally that bad!! So hopefully I'll have something fun to write for you next weekend!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday workout

Yahoo! I managed to get out this morning and do my normal 3 mile route. Kept an average 12mpm pace throughout other than the warmup and cooldown, each about .15 miles. My times are still not great, but have not built in any speedwork yet, still trying to get consistent weekly mileage down. I'm loving this Fall weather in the morning! It was nice to get out after taking the kidlet to school, rather than waking up in the dark just to workout before the kids were off to school. Up until this week, it was way too warm to get in a decent workout after about 8am, so I had to do it before rather than after taking him in.

Yay for Fall!!


Sunday, October 12, 2008

First Fall workout

Woke up this morning to find the temperature hovering at 50F!! Finally, Fall has arrived in the desert Southwest, even if only for a few days (we're expecting 90's again later this week). I got myself out there and completed a slow easy racewalking/walking workout of 5.15 miles. I was very slow, on purpose, as workouts have been inconsistent despite my best efforts to get back into a groove. I haven't done more than 3 miles since I don't know when, but this morning was the perfect weather. Surprisingly, I only saw 1 runner and 2 walkers out there this morning. Thankfully, no loose dogs today.

Oh yeah, and my new shoes finally arrived about 2 weeks ago!

Off to study and decorate the house today for Halloween. Maybe I'll bake an apple pie today as well.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rock the Vote? How about just...

voting. A few people who read my blog and know me have asked why I do not put anything political on my blog. A fair inquiry considering that the election is the hot subject of the day, coupled with the market, and the fact that I'm actually a very politically active person (at least when it comes to voting and the elections). I have purposely avoided even hinting at my political leanings in this blog. I'd like to think that I share enough of my interests already, and adding politics into this blog might turn people off, plain and simple.

I'm not going to change that with this post. But, with the elections just a little more than 3 weeks away, I thought I would put out a request to everyone regarding a few things in this election.

1. Be sure you are registered. If you're not and can still do so in your state, get it done.
2. Read about the candidates relative to your ballot. While the presidential election is the most known, really, your local politics - state representative, school board members, judges, propositions) - will have a far more reaching and immediate effect on your everyday life than who's sitting in the Oval Office. Prepare to spend some time going over those things, as they often take a bit of digging to find out the information you may need to make your decision.
3. If you're going to go to the polls, rather than complete an early ballot, be sure you know the rules. Most states prohibit wearing any shirts, buttons etc., that endorse any candidate or particular party. And while being decked out in your most flamboyant blue or red dress might get around that rule, it might be construed as being influential, and then you don't get to vote. If you want to show that kind of support for your candidate, then change, after you vote of course, into that eye-popping ensemble, stand at the required distance from the actual polls, and sing ballads about your candidate, if that suits your fancy.
4. Most important, VOTE! Don't want to hang out in the lines? Then request an early ballot. Here in Arizona, you can request an early ballot as late as Oct. 24th I believe. Check your states election board website for info for your area. Often you can request it right online, so it's really easy. Filling out an early ballot also allows you all the time you need to research all those local items that I mentioned above.

I believe one of the most precious rights afforded to us in this country is the right to vote. While it's tempting to do things that might tip the scale in our candidates favor, to do so to such a degree that you might cause someone else so much discomfort that they don't vote, is unpatriotic in my opinion. Think of how you might feel in a very (red/blue) state, and show up to the polls and everyone is decked out in the majority color, and you're not. How comfortable would you feel in this group of people? Probably not very, and this could make someone turn around and not vote at all. So let's rock the vote!


A good week?????

Indeed, it was a good week for me. Oh, not financially-wise -- we all know what's gone on with the stock market this week. We've lost a good 30% value on our retirement accounts as of right now. Good thing I have no intention of using that money any time soon.

But in other aspects, life has been good. I managed to get in 2 really good walking workouts during this week, AND get out for 3 bike rides as well. I'm still behind in my school work, but I'm not as behind as I was a week ago. Knitting-wise, I finally (!) finished working on that cardigan. I wish I could say I actually finished it, but alas, they did not give me nearly enough yarn. I would need probably 2 more skeins for the size they had me knit up. Guess they need to update that pattern a bit. So, now I've started a pair of socks for my MIL, and have a request from my SIL to knit up some legwarmers for my incredibly, adorable nephew. Every time I see a picture of him, my heart just melts... he really is that cute! I wish I could see him in person before, ya know, he grows up! Hopefully soon!

Oh, I wanted to share with all of you the wonderful hat I made with my friend Gherkin's homespun/handdyed most awesome yarn. Please check out her Etsy shop here .

This is the pattern Slanted Lace Hat by OrangeKnits , very easy pattern, even for a beginning knitter.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Quick update

Haven't blogged much in the past 2 weeks as things here have been very busy. Haven't worked out much due to my heavy homework demands and (yay) actually starting on the demolition of our kitchen! We haven't done a whole lot, but have taken out a large cabinet and, after several unsuccessful attempts, have also starting ripping out the tile floor. We met with our contractor and the cabinet guy within the past week, and things are a-go! While demolition continues, we'll be waiting about 5 weeks for the cabinets to be completed and delivered. So if all goes well (I'm not holding my breath), I should have a new kitchen by Thanksgiving. I'm thinking it will be more like Christmas, but that's ok.

In the meantime, I did harvest the rest of my okra and pickled/canned those. Also, got some raspberries delivered from Utah and canned a bunch of that as well. Here are my treasures! These will taste great come wintertime.I think I have a total of 14 pints of okra pickles and 3 quarts plus 2 pints of canned raspberries in a light syrup. Yummy!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Voting on the facts

Ah, it's that wonderful time again when we are bombarded with political ads from our presidential hopefuls about what they plan on doing and why the other guy sucks and you'd be an idiot to vote for him/her.
Actually, I really enjoy elections, having spent a good many years in the Washington DC area and even hobnobbing with some of our government's finest. Nowadays, I get to enjoy watching the catfights from 3000 miles away in my suburban Arizona home. Ah.. .the life.

In this election, there seems to be more nasty smears/rumors/etc about the candidates than in years past. Some of the claims that have been made about this or that candidate have run the gamut from misquotations, to just flat out liar-liar-pants-on-fire falsehoods. I was equally surprised that people actually believed some of them, and/or had no idea how to check out the validity of the claim. So I thought I'd post the URL's to some fact checking sites around the internet for those (as few as you may be) who read my little blog.

ETA: also check out to see a breakdown of each of their fiscal plans

Now there are a few more, and you can find those links usually on one or more of the sites listed above. But really, they all pretty much say the same thing. I urge you to not only get out and vote, but vote intelligently!!! Check out the candidates website and actually READ what they say on the various issues. Check out claims that they make against each other, especially the negative stuff as it's often been manipulated to make themselves sound better.

Anyway, hopefully by posting these here, someone somewhere can make a more educated, informed vote in this election year.

As far as the rest of my life, this past week was spent buried in my Organic Chemistry books in preparation for an exam on Wednesday (as in tomorrow), so nothing really new to report on any front. Got in a few short workouts, and have not been able to knit very much (which means I'm still working on The Cardigan).

Hope everyone has a good week!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

An interesting list

Obsconded from another blog with permission, feel free to do the same. I don't know how to cross things out, so I'm just bolding those things I've eaten.

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash (properly spelled gulyas)
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox (Home made bagels.. yum)
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Friday, September 12, 2008

Okra heaven

One of my other interests that I've yet to mention on this blog is gardening. This year, I finally expanded beyond our citrus trees to a real garden. Of course, finding something that will grow here in the summer was a challenge.. but then I found okra! What a great vegetable to grow: loves the heat, has no pests, and grows like a weed. I'm picking about 3lbs per week of the stuff I've fried them up, but we can't eat them faster than they're growing, so today I pickled a couple of pounds worth of okra, yummy!

No sooner do I say it and it changes

The weather that is: after mentioning the lingering monsoon in yesterday's post, we had a dust storm/thunderstorm blow through yesterday from the west, changing the overall jetstream direction and, voila, dry and cool this morning. As in 69F cool at 6am!! Brrrrr! Well, not really brrrr, but very noticably cooler. We'll see how daytime temps are for this weekend with this drier air.

Made for a great workout this morning that's for sure. I completed my normal 3 mile route in 37:48 this morning. Not great time as far as past performances go, but good enough to be the fastest I've done this route since before I got sick in January! Wootness!

Tomorrow is a rest day, will enjoy the company of my knitting buddies in the morning and lots of homework in the afternoon.

And to keep with the thread line: My new shoes still haven't arrived yet. There. Now that I said it, maybe it will change!

Have a great weekend everyone!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

A little relief...

...goes a long way. After a very trying weekend of attempting to get caught up on my classes, unsuccessfully, I decided to drop the lab portion of my Organic Chemistry class. There was just no way to stay caught up in the lectures and complete the lab report, and upcoming pre-lab assignments. Something had to give, and so the lab went.

Wow, what a difference. For one, now I have an entire extra day to get things done rather than being in the lab -- AND -- I have less to worry about getting done in more time. Whew! Even still, this week I've spent hours going over problems and memorizing the nomenclature (naming molecules/compounds for those who aren't familiar with the word) for this chapter. I'm still not completely caught up, but at least now I feel like I actually understand what's going on in my classes. This may mean a delay by a year in completing this degree, but that's ok. I'm likely to go on for my Master's anyway, so it's not like I wouldn't have been in school still anyway. Luckily, I have the luxury to take my time in getting this degree. I just don't want to be in school forever just for the B.A though, so hopefully I can handle the lab next year with my other non-lab classes. We'll see.

We're also getting relief here in terms of temperatures (yay!). This week, all of the high temps are below 100!! Some of you may be scratching your head at that statement, but for here, it's a bit unusual. With the departure of the humid monsoons, we normally get a week or so of very high temps, like around 110 or sometimes higher, right around this time of year. This year, it seems the monsoon is lingering which is great for keeping temps at a far more comfy 96-98F. Even with the added humidity, it's ok, since the sun is not so bright, and we're getting breezy winds (that are actually kinda coolish). I was stunned this morning to turn on my shower spiget and actually have to wait for the water to warm up. Typically, we don't have any cold water all summer into October. What a delight to feel cool, tepid water from the tap this morning.

The slightly-freed-up schedule and lower temps have made workouts all the more easier this week. I even did a short but sweet fartlek workout on Sunday which was fun. Just about 1/4 mile bursts at under 10mpm pace (9:32 - 9:53), which is great as I haven't seen paces that low for well over a year now, before getting sick last January. I haven't done consistent speed workouts since Spring of 2007 and am looking forward to really cooler temps so I can get those back in regularly.

I'm most excited, however, to finally have gotten my husband out walking. We went out for our first 'walk' this morning. I didn't want to push him really, but couldn't resist doing so just a little in the middle of the walk. We walked for 2 miles in 34 minutes. He claims I'm trying to kill him. I'm chuckling under my breath (not really, he could still hear me), but I don't want him to get discouraged, so I'm going to take it very easy on him until he gets more into the habit. Then I'll push him!!

Knitting wise, I'm still still still working on that cardigan. I'm now about 1/2 way done with the first sleeve, so not much more to go. I have sock yarn that is just screaming at me to be dyed, knit, etc., but I'm being good and resisting until I can get this monkey off my back. I must say though, that it's turning out really nice. The pattern is very easy, and the yarn (Southwest Trading Company's Therapi) is fantastic. Soft, smooth like buttah!

So that's the update for this week. Hopefully next week I'll have a pic of the finished (!) cardigan.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Just an update

Quick update. I've been able to get back into a better groove this week with workouts. Of course, having Monday as a holiday helped out with that! But the best part, it's cool enough in the very early mornings to get outside to workout!

Monday: 2.25 (about) racewalking, after which point I ran into my friend Carol whom I haven't seen in a long while. I walked with her and her dogs the rest of the way home, so a little over 3 miles covered.

Tuesday: this is technically a rest day since I have to leave for class so early and don't get back til much later in the day. However, I walked from my car to class and back rather than taking the shuttle, and I know that distance is at least .5 mi each way, so I'm taking advantage of that little distance on those days.

Wednesday: a planned 3 miles racewalking became only 2 miles after encountering a loose dog on my path and changing directions. Oh well. These things, while annoying, happen sometimes. Not sure of what my pace really was as I didn't wear my Garmin and had to switch to regular walking right in the middle so as not to get the dog's attention. I do know that it felt like a great workout and I was pushing a lot during the last .75 mile or so.

Off to shower and to school. Thankfully today is just 2 lecture classes and I'll be home by lunchtime. I have tons of homework/reading to do, not to mention the lab writeup and research paper that I need to start today as well, so it will be a busy day.

OTN: STILL working on the SWTC cardigan, almost done with both front panels. Hoping to finish that tonight during baseball, and maybe even casting on a sleeve (I told you this kind of project just goes on and on).

Have a great day everyone!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stitch 'n Pitch!

Some pictures (courtesy Amanda, thank you!) from this past Sunday's Dbacks game, which was our annual Stitch 'n Pitch game. Several of us went together as a group (even carpooled together). We enjoyed some really fun food and great laughs.

From left to right: Tristan, me, Amanda, Krysten and Michelle.

Oh yeah! Can't forget my special socks I made just for the occasion!

Life's been hectic this week with the start of school for me, but I'm managing it. Haven't worked out since Friday, so trying to get in a treadmill workout this evening. After this week, I can leave a bit later for my classes, so shouldn't have much problem getting back into the regular schedule by next week.

The nursing home situation with my mother-in-law is not working out too well. We're looking into placing them into an independent living apartment close by and hiring helpers for them instead. I think this would be much better for both of them given how the past week + has been like so far.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Just an update

I promise, I'll try to keep this one brief. I know my posts can be rather lengthy, I hope none of you that might be reading my little ol' blog mind.
So, since my last post a few things have happened. My in-laws were successfully moved here on Saturday. The transition has been a little bumpy, but pretty much as expected. My mother-in-law was not happy about being directly placed into the nursing home, as she claims no one told her that was going to happen right away. I know she was told this for months now, and obviously the medications she is taking is causing some cognitive problems. This of course, complicates the whole transition process, but it is what it is. Thankfully, it's a really nice nursing facility and I think that as she gets more used to the surroundings and the people there, she will have fewer problems/episodes.

I've also found some new drive and dedication towards my workouts. Having the Olympics going on right now definitely has played a part in that revival. Speaking of which, I just watched the Women's 20k racewalk last night and was really happy with the coverage from CNBC. Finally, some commentators who at least educated themselves on the sport, and made the race exciting and interesting to watch. For me, I could watch racewalking without any commentating, but obviously for others less interested in the sport, let's face it, watching 40 women racewalk an oval for 90 minutes is not exactly exciting. I imagine someone else feeling how I feel when I watch tennis. I love to play tennis, but can't stand to watch it. These commentators tonight at the 20k walk did their best to not simply constantly repeat themselves, and kept it entertaining with various stories of other athletes (I had no idea Claire Woods and her bronze medalist fiance were getting married 4 days after the closing ceremonies). Oh, and no snide remarks about the sport itself (yes, that's directed to you Bob Costas). So, kudos to CNBC!!! I'll be writing them a letter congratulating them on their fine commentary and coverage. I'd like to encourage you to do the same please.

On the knitting front (boy this update is getting long), not as much happening. Still working on my Dbacks socks, but I'm on the foot section of the 2nd sock and I'm hoping to wear them to this Sunday's Stitch 'n Pitch game at Chase Field. I'll post pics as soon as they are done. Also, making some progress, albeit really slow right now, on the SWTC cardigan. It's taken a back seat to the socks for the rest of this week for obvious reasons. We'll see if I can't pick that back up next week.

So here is my update on this week's workouts:
Did nothing over the weekend.
Racewalked at a slow pace on the treadmill on Monday for 3 miles.
On Tuesday, actually went outside for a 3 mile racewalking workout, then did 30 minutes of water aerobics in the evening.
Rested Wednesday just cause I had too many other things to do.
This morning, went outside again (!), for a bit of a faster racewalking workout.

Temps in the morning this week have been nice, right around 80F, and low humidity. It's still a little warm for my liking for a truly fast or high quality workout, but I'll take it!! My time this morning is the fastest I've done for 3 miles since June, so that's good. Tomorrow's plan includes 3 miles on the treadmill or outside at an easy /moderate pace. My new shoes are still not here!

Don't forget to watch the Men's 50k racewalk today on at 4:30pm (PT) . They will have a live feed of the event on the website, and then TV coverage will be tonight at 11pm (or midnight for some time zones) on USA network. Go Phillip!! Go USA!


Friday, August 15, 2008

Chugging along

Sometimes that is what it feels like when I'm on the treadmill. Just chugging along. Same speed, same cadence, same, same same. OK, so what can I expect on the treadmill right? It's by far my least favorite way of getting in a workout. Aside from the lack of scenery and fresh air, I'm always a bit anxious on the treadmill. I've watched people fall off of this thing, including one time earlier this year where a woman fell off and landed right on her face. She knocked herself out, had a seizure in front of me, and really scared me to pieces. I still have vivid recollections of those scenes every time I hop on the machine myself. Not exactly great visualization for a decent workout. I persist only because I know it's a temporary thing, and in the not-too-distant future, I'll be out at the track, or better, on the roads putting miles behind me.

So today's workout was again, a 3 miler at a consistent pace on the treadmill. My left hamstring is awfully tight for some reason (too much stretching the other day?), so I took it especially easy today. Tomorrow is an off day for cardio, so I'm hoping to get out to the canals on Sunday for a nice 6 miler. Pray to the weather gods for no thunderstorms!

On the knitting front, I finished knitting sock#1 of my Dbacks socks and need to get the black 'D's on them. I also finished the back of the SWTC cardigan. It's the largest piece of the 5 pieces that make up the garment, so hoping the remaining pieces go quickly. I really want to get it done and return it to SWTC to get this monkey off my back. My new sock yarns from San Fran arrived and I'm itching to get those on the needles. Also, I'd like to feel free to spend some time dyeing and getting my Etsy shop up and running before I start school again on the 25th of August.

My husband is in Maryland completing the final preparations for moving the parents here. They will fly here tomorrow morning. I'm nervous, anxious, and at the same time, feeling impatient for this whole thing to happen. I'm anticipating that the first several weeks will be chaotic and difficult. My hope is that things will go smoothly, but I'm not holding out hope for that. I just hope it's not any worse than what I'm anticipating. Time will tell.

Congratulations to all those who competed last weekend in Spokane at the Master's Nationals!! And also to all of the athletes at the Olympics!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Better than expected

So school started yesterday for the kiddo's and things are better than I expected. Last year was filled with the torture of getting them up and ready to go every morning. Whining, complaining, nagging. And that was just from me! This year, different story. I know it's only been 2 mornings, but both mornings, the kids got up on their own, got themselves ready, and even got themselves breakfast this morning. I'm a bit in shock and thinking this can't possibly last the whole week. But in the wee corners of the back of my mind, you know what I'm hoping for! All year baby, all year! I can dream, but I won't hold my breath....

Anyway, today started out with a 3 miler on the treadmill. New shoes haven't arrived yet, so I threw on my old trusty Chinese racewalking shoes. I love them, but they have the support of a ballet slipper. I try to save these for intervals on the track and actual races on the track only. They served me well this morning in a pinch. I am a bit sore, as predicted from the weight workout yesterday, but nothing too noticeable. I wasn't fast on the treadmill, but was consistent throughout the whole workout, keeping the same speed all the way through, and not stopping once.

On the fiber front, I got busy winding skeins of undyed sock yarn from the cones I purchased last month. Gecko yarns won't be hitting Etsy until at least the end of the month as I just haven't had time to devote to winding and dyeing. But when it does open, I will have plenty of great colorways to offer. I'm almost done winding the 20 or so skeins that I want to open with, and dyeing is the quicker/easier aspect. I should be able to dye all of them over the course of 3-4 days which will happen next week. Squeee! I can't wait!

I've still got my Dbacks socks on the needles, as well as the SWTC cardigan. I'll be continuing progress on those today too. Once I double stitch the Dbacks "D" on the one pair, I'll post a picture for you all to see.

The in-laws are moving here this week. My husband is flying out on Thursday and will fly back with them on Saturday. My mother-in-law's room at the nursing home is all ready for her, and we are adding a few things she requested like a recliner chair, and a sewing machine. Yep, she can still get up and operate a sewing machine! I'm a little anxious over taking on this responsibility and keeping their presence here from effecting our lives too much, especially for my kids. But I think we've hashed out a lot of predictable problems as much as we can and we're as ready as we're going to be. It would be nice to feel some reassurance from his sisters regarding what we can expect from them as far as visiting the parents and care of them when we're on vacation and such, but it's become obvious that they can't be relied upon for any reassurance at all. Such is life.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Short and sweet

I'm busy watching the Olympics, and so have little time to blog today! But did manage off-road workouts of 30 minutes moderate to vigorous swimming in the pool, and 30 minutes of core and weights this morning (again, fairly moderate, I expect to be a bit sore tomorrow). Going to try for a short road workout tomorrow morning, something easy as my shoes haven't arrived yet.

Here's to a great week!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New Shoes

Haven't worked out since Tuesday. Have been having some major back pain since Monday's workout and still am stiff and in a fair bit of pain.

As I was putting on my shoes on Tuesday, I realized that the bottom of the shoe is peeling off. Geez, I thought, they aren't that old yet are they?? I checked and well, I did buy these back in December or January. That's not really that long ago considering the meager miles I've done this year, but apparently, long enough ago to have my shoes falling apart. I guess wearing them during our 10 day vacation didn't help out either. I'm not sure if the back pain and the shoe condition are actually related, but in any case, new shoes were obviously in order. So I await their arrival while I take NSAID's for the pain and inflammation and get massaged regularly from my very supportive husband.

Even knitting is suffering due to this back pain. I just can't sit in one position very long without feeling pretty uncomfortable. I'm working on a few projects, but not making as much headway on anything. Kinda stinks as almost everything I want to work on are Christmas presents and I feel a little bit of pressure to get through them more quickly. Oh well.

So, not much actually happening here.

Other than that, I'm enjoying watching the Olympics, particularly on our new HDTV! I've discovered how to connect our laptop to the TV so I can watch streaming videos of the events that don't get shown in full on the TV broadcasts. I'm hoping I can catch the full racewalks this way as well!! GO USA!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Some WIPs and Fos

Here are some promised pictures of some projects.

These are my finished Mirrored Nutkins in my own handdyed/handpainted yarn. This colorway is called Indian Summer.

These are the Retro Rib Socks I'm making for my brother-in-law In Regia Color Stretch. I don't remember the colorway. They are hibernating for a few weeks while I work on the next 2 projects pictured.

These are for my Diamondback socks. I'm about halfway down the leg of sock#1 right now. This is also handdyed yarn.

This is the SWTC Jaded Rib Cardigan done in their Therapi yarn. Don't love knitting cardi's but do love this yarn.

I've got a 3 mile workout planned for today, but since it is already 9am, I will be hitting the treadmill or pool running again for that. Last night we had some easy, rolling thunderstorms come through our area and this morning, while cooler, is very humid. Of course, the sky is clear this morning and the sun is just blazing down so an indoor workout is in order. About another month and I should be able to consistently be outside again for workouts!

Tonight, husband and I are buying a new TV!! Just in time for the Olympics too!! When my in-laws move here next week, one of our TV's will need to be moved into the guest house for my father-in-law. The most obvious one is the one in our kitchen due to it's size. Since we will be remodeling the kitchen starting in October, we had already planned on buying a nice HDTV to replace the one in the kitchen anyway. However, with the start of the Olympics, I told Mr. Kneedle that we should go ahead and get it now rather than wait until next week when his father arrives. Yippee!!


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Today is a rest day. At least on the workout front of my life it is. Yesterday's workout consisted of 3 miles on the treadmill, racewalking at about 4mph, but at a 2.0 incline. I've decided that Tuesdays and Saturdays will be my off days due to my rapidly approaching start of school on August 25th. I have to work around my school schedule, and I think those days are best. I can hardly believe the summer is over already! My kids start school next Monday! Ack! I'm not ready!

I am, however, looking forward to watching the Olympics which start this Friday. As a child, I loved watching the gymnastics events the most. I was a gymnast until I was 14, at which time I managed to break my hand twice and rip my knee innards apart in the course of 1 year. I pretty much decided after that that my body just couldn't handle it anymore. I was a pretty good gymnast despite the fact that I was so tall. The only event I couldn't do was the uneven parallel bars. I was so tall that you couldn't get the bars far enough apart for me and still have the lower bar at a high enough height for me to not hit the ground when I hung from it. It was my favorite event to watch, so I was very disappointed when I discovered that I couldn't actually compete in that event.

I still enjoy the gymnastics, but of course, nowadays, I really enjoy watching track & field, and especially the racewalks. It looks like this year, NBC will have highlights of the racewalks rather than showing the entire event live. What a shame! And not even during prime time (which is when the races are actually occurring for those of us on the West Coast of the US), but rather, sometime between 11pm and 1am or something like that. I know race walking is a bit of an obscure sport here in the US, but come on, this is the Olympics! Can't they show all of the events live or at least in full at some point in time?? Sheesh... I know marketing talks, but can't we put capitalism aside for the Olympic games! Please.

Oh well, guess I'll have to try to catch glimpses of Joanne, Phillip and Kevin (our 3 US race walkers) during time-outs of the basketball game.

Knitting wise, I'm still chugging along on the back of the SWTC Cardigan, although now I'm a bit more than halfway done with that piece. Hoping that switching to stockinette stitch will speed things up and I can get it done today. I'm taking the kids to see "Get Smart" today, so maybe I'll take it with me. I've not yet tried knitting at the movies, but can't hurt to try right?

I've also put aside the Retro Rib Socks for a short time so I can cast on my Diamondback socks. It's really simple: I dyed my own yarn in a color that is as close to Sedona Red as I can get, and will knit simple stockinette socks. Then I'll double stitch the 'D' symbol down the leg once they are done. I'd like to get these at least started and maybe almost finished for the Stitch n Pitch game here on the 24th.

So that's it for today, hope you all are having a great day and a great week!

Next post: new pics of the Nutkins, and maybe some WIPs as well.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Inside track to Beijing

Just FYI for those interested, an acquaintance of mine (more of a friend of a friend, although I've met him before), is competing for the US in the Men's 50k Race Walk -- Phillip Dunn! He has a blog on blogspot for others to follow along on his trek. I've added the link to my favorite blogs on the right, go check out his blog and let's all cheer him on!

Tempered by fire

That's what they say is the best way to purify a metal, or other substances. It improves it, brings out the best in whatever that substance is right? It's not altogether different in some of the aspects of my life either. Racewalking, knitting, family issues. The same concept can apply to all of these.

This morning I got up very early and was out at the track by 6am. It was still hot. Really hot. Freaky hot for so early. I managed 4 very slow, just plain ol' walking miles on the track. I'm still not yet reaccostumed to this heat. For just plain ol' walking (ok, I did one lap racewalking really slowly, but really it doesn't count for much), I finished in exactly 1 hour. But I know that getting out there, even in this heat, even just plain ol' street walking, will help in the long run. As those new capillaries are forming in an effort to cool my body off, I know they will still be there once the cooler temps arrive, and I start speeding up again. All those capillaries will be available to shuttle oxygen rich blood to those working muscles. So while I wouldn't call today's workout a quality workout, hopefully it will add in a quality workout later down the road.

Yarn-wise, I'm being "tempered" by working on a project for a yarn company (South West Trading Company). It's a cardigan, one of my least favorite kind of projects. This is the kind that must be knit up in pieces, and then sewn together. So while each piece is not exceptionally large, it still feels never ending. Once I'm done knitting one piece, there is still another piece to cast on and knit. Then another. Then another. Then another. And even after that, then I have to knit the buttonband. And the neck border. And piece the thing together. And add a button... and ... and... you get the picture.

This type of project really tests my resolve and perseverance to stick with something this long. Especially when it's not even for me or a gift for someone special in my life. My motivation? Well, in payment for all my time and work, I'm usually paid in yarn from the company. This time however, rather than receiving a same quantity of the same yarn from the project, I'm going to request a fiscally similar quantity of their undyed sock yarn for my upcoming business. I think that makes really smart business sense! So I press onward with it. If I plan my day out well today, I might even get piece #1 done today.

Nevertheless, I simply cannot bear to only have this project active in my world. So last night, after working 5 inches of said cardi, I cast on Retro Rib Socks (Evelyn A Clark) in a Regia variegated yarn. These will be a Christmas present for a male member of the family.

So the plan for today: finish the back of the cardi; continue working on the Retro Rib Socks (maybe make it to the heel flap); and wind at least 5 skeins of yarn; watch the baseball game at 1pm; and lastly, attempt a crockpot method of making my Panang Beef dish.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Short but sweet

My apologies for the rant in my last post. Just sometimes, things need a way out, and right now, this blog is it. So, for today I'll keep it really short.

No workout today, just couldn't fit it in.
Did finish my Mirrored Nutkins today. I'll take a picture tomorrow in the daylight (flash really doesn't do justice to the colors in knitwork).
Working on a swatch for the SWTC Jaded Cardigan. If I get gauge, I will cast on tonight to get that started.
In-laws will be moving here likely sometime before the 12th. Husband found a nice place, although it is in the nursing care section as they (nor anyone else) seems to have spaces available in assisted living. Given the problems we've had getting the final approval for assisted living in the last several places, this is the best bet to get them here sooner rather than later. We have little paperwork to get completed for this place, so hopefully everything will be expedited this time. The relatives are still breathing down his neck, but husband is just ignoring it knowing he's doing everything he can already.

Plans for tomorrow include a short workout in the morning, followed by chainsawing a large portion of a tree in the backyard that is hanging very low recently and rubbing on the roof. Then off to knitting in the morning, a movie with my son in the afternoon, and possibly another in the evening with husband. That'll be a nice treat. We haven't been on a date in a couple of months.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Hoping on Monday I'll have a bit of an update on my upcoming Etsy shop opening.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Taking those first steps. Again.

I finally made it out for a real racewalking workout. First one in about 3 weeks and probably only the 2nd one this whole month. While not exactly like starting at square 1, it did sorta feel that way. As I pulled on my shoes this morning, I was almost nervous about this workout. Like I was doubtful about my ability to even go the (relatively speaking) short distance of 3 miles, let alone racewalk the whole thing. I got my iPod on, and as I stepped outside and warmed up a bit in my driveway, I realized that I had forgotten my Garmin. On second thoughts, I decided to leave it at home and just use the chrono on my regular watch. Did I really want to see how slow my pace was? Nah. Not that having the watch mattered much either. I'm apparently so out of touch with my workouts that I forgot to even start it. And I didn't even notice until I was about 2 miles into the workout. Freudian slip perhaps?

I ended up not racewalking the whole distance afterall, but mostly due to the heat which I've become unaccustomed to since Greer. Afterall, 3 weeks in temps that rarely went above 80 and were mostly in the 60's makes the blood a bit thicker. At 6am this morning, it was already approaching 90F here. I will need to re-acclimate to the conditions here before attempting anything too intense. Luckily, by the time that happens, temps will start coming down anyway with the approach of Fall.

I have not raced in well over a year now. I'm thinking that I should jump back into some events to help keep me motivated and accountable. I do know that when I was racing all the time, I was in great shape, and rarely if ever missed any workouts. I don't feel as competitive as I used to, but still enjoy a fun event, especially if shared with friends. I'll have to take a look at some local race calendars and see what's coming up in the Fall. And this year, I intend to participate in at least several judged racewalks in the winter. Last year, that was also my intention, but that nasty Valley Fever took me down for pretty much the whole Winter and much of the Spring.

On the needlefront, I'm almost done with my Mirrored Nutkins. I have just finished the gusset decreases on sock #2 so I'm in the home stretch. If I actually finish those today, I may finally cast on for the SWTC Cardigan that I've been meaning to start on. I'm meeting up with the knitting GRRRLs tonight which I'm so looking forward to. Haven't seen most of them in 3 weeks, and some, I haven't seen in over a month due to being away on vacations.

I need the destressing right now due to some family issues that have come up (again) with my in-laws. We are trying to move them over here, but are having serious problems with a location to place my MIL, who has Parkinson's. More than once now, we have located a place that is within a reasonable distance from our home, that has space, and looks acceptable, and were given lots of assurances that they could take on the care of her. However, when it came down to the final assessment, they say no, that she needs nursing care. And then we are back to square 1 with finding another place. Of course, this occurred again on Friday while we were on vacation. There was little we could do being away from home, over the weekend, and traveling via train. We jumped on it on Monday (mind you, we came home on Monday at around 3am), but despite all of that, some of his other family members are just breathing down my husband's back and b*tching at him. I don't think they really have a clue as to how much time and effort it takes to secure a place for their mother. I really feel for my husband who's taking time away from his job (which I sure hope he doesn't lose due to taking all of this time away), trying to balance everything, trying to shield me and the kids from the effects of all of this, and dealing with the complaints from his other family members. After taking on the extra $1600/month mortgage on this house that we bought for the express purpose of being able to take care of their parents, giving up private education for our kids, welcoming them into our home for the rest of their natural lives, agreeing to the commitment to take care of them for the rest of their natural lives, you'd think they'd be a little more appreciative. Or at least say thank you. We have not asked them to help out with the additional monies we will surely be spending just to have them here, let alone asked them to contribute to the additional mortgage we've taken on for their care. We've not asked them to do anything other than come here once, maybe 2x per year, so we can go on vacation. They won't even agree to that. My husband has flown out there no less than 2x per year every year for the past 5 years. Not to mention the combined 30 days they've spent here, with ME taking care of them, over the past 20 months so that they could be free from worrying about them over their vacations. You'd think they could at least give up 7 days per year between the 2 sisters. Nope. Instead they heap abuse on him and treat him horribly. And then they wonder why I don't want one of them in particular to ever come to my house. Yeah, like I would welcome someone in my home who has been sickly disrespectful to my husband. Not. My husband should be sainted for doing this, and putting up with all the abuse without retaliating. He's a better person than me.

OK, that's probably about enough for now!! I intend to have a great day with my kids (only 11 more days til school starts, I'm not looking forward to it, summer should be longer). Hope you all have a great day too.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Working it out

Returning from vacation is like backing a corkscrew out of the cork of a wine bottle. Everything is in reverse and I'm trying to put things back in their places. But, if the vacation is a good one as ours was, my perspective has changed a little since we were here last. After living in such tight quarters and out of luggage for 10 days, and always being aware of catching trains or buses on time, suddenly I feel that there has been disorder in our life prior to this vacation. And that needs to change a bit. While I'm enjoying relaxing on the super rigid time schedules, I do recognize that we do need a bit of time organizing in our lives. I need to make time, or schedule tasks, throughout my day, rather than leaving those things to fall in wherever or whenever I feel like doing them. Nothing to rabid, just a little sense of predictability might be a good thing for us.

So today, I got up, again too late to do a racewalking workout outside, and biked to the store for the few items I had forgotten or needed since grocery shopping on Monday. Yesterday's workout consisted of pool running and lap swimming for about an hour. I wasn't really timing myself, but rather, gave myself a window of time and focused on having a quality, rather than quantity workout.

I also need to spend more time focusing on my upcoming Etsy shop, and so, need to devote at least some time everyday working on winding skeins, and dyeing them so that I'll have enough product at the get-go to make it worthwhile for people to check out my shop. There's no sense in opening a shop with say, 3 skeins for sale.

Of course, multitasking is a must. I love watching baseball games and can certainly knit, do some cleaning, or wind skeins of yarn while doing that.

It's all a learning process, but I'm in a good place right now to make these changes since I've been out of my normal element for several weeks now. So here's to making things more productive but more enjoyable!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

For more pictures....

of our train trip... rather than post them all here... take a look at my Flickr page... a link is on the right hand side of the page. They are all in a set labeled "California Train Trip" (or something like that). I'm still not done uploading them all, still have about 100 pictures to get in there, but there's plenty to see already, hope you enjoy them!

On the knitting front, I've finished one of my Mirrored Nutkins and now feverishly working sock #2. Have yet to start the SWTC cardigan, but perhaps will cast on for that sometime today. The cardigan is knit up in their luscious new yarn called "Therapi". It's a wool/silk blend, with some jadeite in it also. Really is lovely yarn to work with (when is silk not lovely to work with). Does split ever so slightly once in a while, but really not often. It doesn't felt well, but can be spit spliced (someone explain that to me). I'll post some pics later this week if I do cast on so you all can take a look-see.

So the next few weeks will be very busy here in the Kneedler's household: recouping from our trip; school starting for the kids on the 11th; starting up my business; and my in-laws will be moving here from Maryland. My mother-in-law has been suffering from Parkinson's for the past 15-16 years, so she will be moving into assisted living or a nursing home. My father-in-law will be living in our guest house for the time being, although I suspect that won't last more than a year or so due to his recently degrading health as well. Thank G-d for knitting and racewalking to keep me some sanity, I could use all the help I can get!!

Speaking of racewalking, that has been missing a bit in my life this past month. Honestly, I think I've walked once so far this month. With the vacations, there just wasn't much opportunity or time, so that has fallen by the wayside for several weeks. But I knew that would happen, and now that we're home again, I'm ready to get my training up and running again. It's very hot here this week, and workouts will need to be very early in the morning. I'm thinking I should start with some 30-60 minute workouts in the pool instead with the flotation belt on. Pool running is a great alternative here in the desert when 'quality' road workouts are nonexistent once it gets too warm (which is anytime after about 8am). I'm looking forward to going to Dave's advanced camp in October, so I better get my butt in gear for that. Then in late January, I'm hosting a regular racewalking clinic here at my home. If you're interested in learning to racewalk, Dave's weekender clinics are second to none. See his website here to learn more: Dave's World Class Racewalking

Back in May I had mentioned that the kids and I were looking to lose weight over the summer. I'm happy to report that we were successful!! I lost about 10lbs, my older Boy lost something like 15lbs or maybe more, and the younger boy lost about 8lbs. Not a huge amount on the grand scale of things, but definitely steps in the right direction. Surprisingly, I didn't gain any weight on vacation despite eating crap pretty much the whole time (although we did make efforts to control portions and make smart food decisions). I guess all that walking around and lugging around the huge duffle bags and backpacks all the time helped out too. Yay again for train travel!!

Lastly, just wanted to mention again how cool it was to travel by train. Not only did we get to see scenery not available from the concrete highway, but it was actually a very eco-conscious mode of travel. It is 17% more efficient than air travel, and 21% more efficient that traveling by car - on a per passenger per mile basis. Awesome!! In addition, when in our various locations, we used the local mass transit, especially in San Francisco, every chance we could. We rarely sat in a car for the entire 10 days, which is awesome for a family vacation for 4 covering more than 1000 miles.
I found that using an Amtrak pass was the most economical as well, and highly recommend that anyone thinking of traveling via rail consider getting one. One price covers all your rail needs over a set period of days. And it's usually far cheaper than buying each rail ticket on its own. Check it out here: Amtrak passes


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

San Francisco!

Thought I'd share a few pics from San Fran so more day here then it's back to So Cal.

AT&T Park for a Giants Game

Cool Jellyfish at the Aquarium

Gate to Chinatown

Me knitting on the train to SF

Our tour bus powered by Biodiesel!! Yeah, baby!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Angels and Red Sox

Just a quick pic of the older Boy and the Kneedle's Mama - at the Angels/Red Sox game today. It was a beautiful day, warm but breezy, and best of all, the Angels beat the evil Red Sox machine AGAIN! Yay Angels! We were surrounded by Red Sox fans (gawd, they are everywhere aren't they??), but we screamed back to all their rally cries and now I have a raspy voice....

Clicking of rails and needles

So we've finally made it to So Cal. Our train was 2hours late picking us up at the Maricopa AZ Amtrak station the other night, and arrive almost 4 hours late into LA. It was a long, but enjoyable trip, the kids seemed to like it too! So while we had a sleeper room (actually 2 roomettes as they are called), I couldn't sleep all night. The noise and swaying were a bit hard for me to get used to right off the bat. I did catch a few cat naps along the way thankfully later during the trip. And a really good night's sleep at my mom's has me completely caught up. I kept myself very occupied with knitting during the trip, which made me very happy. Matter of fact, I could've just kept going on the train until I ran out of yarn!

OK, so here's a few pics of our trip so far:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Socks pictures

As promised, I'm posting pics of the socks I was working on in May. My mom's Tidal Wave socks in Plucky Knitter BFL fingering, colorway is Persian Rug. The green ones are my Mini-me Detonators in Tofutsies.

Picture of Mirrored Nutkins didn't come through in the previous post, so here they are:

Vacation, Vacation, Vacation

Just returned from a fantastic knitting retreat weekend in the mountains of Arizona! It was great to get out of the heat and hang out with my fiber obsessed friends.

And now, I'm getting the family ready to head out for our annual vacation. This year we're taking the train! With gas prices so high, and airlines even more expensive and unpredictable, we figured train would be the most enjoyable and give us the most bang for our $buck$. We're taking the train from AZ to California, hanging out with my mom for 2 days, catching an Angels game, and then heading up to San Fran and Yosemite for 4 days (also catching the Stitch n Pitch Giants game while we are there). Then heading back down to So Cal, and to Legoland before heading back to AZ on the 27th. All this travel for less than $1000 for the 4 of us!!! We're using the California Rail pass on the Amtrak, so affordable it can't be beat.

Of course, all this rail travel will provide me with lots of knitting time (big fat grin)! But with limited space in our bags, I'm only taking up 3 projects: a pair of socks already in progress; a cardigan, and yarn for another pair of socks just to have something small to constantly be working on.

In progress are my Mirrored Nutkins in my own handdyed yarn:

When I return from vacation, I'll be working on getting my Etsy shop up and running with my handdyed yarns. At least now I have a name for it: Gecko Yarns! So keep a lookout for updates on that. Right now, I'm in the process of getting all the yarn off the cones and into skeins and dyed up. I'm hoping around August 15th, I'll have 15-20 skeins ready to put up in the shop. Of course, I'll give a sneak peek here first :)

Off to do laundry and get those suitcases packed for our trip!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A new home..

...for my blogging pursuits!! My yahoo page was just not doin' it for me, so here I am. So, here I plan on posting all things knitty, crochet-y, and racewalking-y. And maybe a few other things that happen to pique my interest as time goes by.
This week has been a re-grouping of sorts in my life. My kids will be out of school on Thursday, and all of us want to shed some pounds that have crept up on us over the course of the year. I've had to make some changes in our normal menu options and went grocery shopping to fill the fridge and pantry with more healthy, weight-conscience selections. At the same time, I was throwing away foods that no longer fit into the plan... yep, chips, cookies, it was all there. That's OK, I know we'll get to enjoy some of those things again. It's kind of refreshing in a way though, to throw off those old habits as I was throwing away the items. Kind of like when you started at a new school, or got a new haircut, or finally started wearing contacts and off came the glasses. A chance to re-invent yourself in a small but meaningful way. We should all do that every once in a while during our lives - re-invent a small part of ourselves to become more of what we envisioned ourselves to be, right? Knitting is a lot like that too. You start with a bunch of yarn (or just fiber if you spin it too) and you loop it a million times over to re-invent this jumble of string into something functional, beautiful.. just simply better than what it once was. The nice thing about knitting though, is you can frog the thing if you don't like how it works out!!!
Currently, I'm working on 2 different pairs of socks. The first is a pair for my mom, knitted with this fantastically hand-dyed yarn from the Plucky Knitter in a pattern from SWTC called Tidal Wave. I'm almost all the way down the leg. It's hibernating right now so that I can work on a pair of Detonators, the pattern from Sock Wars III. I purchased 2 skeins of Tofutsies for Sock Wars knowing full well I only need 1 for a pair of socks, but I had plans to do them 2 at a time on 2 circs. I did get to eliminate my target before I was eliminated, but had just a ton of this yarn leftover. So I cast on for a pair for myself, only they're more of a mini-me verion -- fewer repeats of the pattern on the leg. I'm almost done with those. I'll try to get some pictures up on my next post.

What's on your needles this week??? Anyone thinking about Christmas presents yet?? (Ack, did I really say that - Christmas?)