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!