Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm doing a triathlon!!!!!

I had been planning this all along, but Thursday I finally got off my butt and officially signed up to do the Nation's Triathlon with Team in Training!

I've been interested in doing a triathlon for some time since I enjoy swimming and it doesn't take as much toll on your body as training for a marathon - especially if you are walking one!

Thursday night I got back in the pool after a few months hiatus and went out a little too hard. I don't think I've ever had to stop swimming b/c my arms hurt so bad. This time I did! To top it off, I was meeting my trainer right after for an hour of strength training. Yeah, I was in serious pain the next day.

Yesterday was our first group practice w/ the team and it was in the pool. I was really nervous about it. I didn't want to be the heaviest one there (I wasn't) or the slowest (I wasn't). We focused on drills instead of straight swimming. Up until yesterday, I've had a hard time swimming crawl. It's mostly b/c I've fallen into bad habits over the years and have been performing the stroke inefficiently. By doing so, I could barely last 1 lap, maybe 2, doing crawl. I've always been a strong breaststroke person so I would alternate. Well, after doing the drills yesterday, I managed to do 2x100 (that's 8 laps) in a row of crawl w/o having to take a major break in between! I was so excited!

It's funny to look at our schedule b/c they have you doing what seems to me to be so little each day. For example, today I was supposed to bike for 45 minutes. I'm normally out for over an hour. Running is scheduled for 25-30 minutes. I usually don't walk for less than 45 minutes, but more like 1+ hour. So, I'll stick to the schedule, but do more of the baselines I'm used to.

Of course, now comes the hard part -- the fundraising. I do these races in memory of my uncle who died of hodgkins before I was born. It's amazing how many lives are affected by blood cancer. If you are reading this blog, please take a moment to help me meet my goal of $3,300.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

I swear, those weather forecasters are smoking something. The forecast for the weekend called for thundershowers starting Saturday and ending w/ showers on Monday. ???? What a gorgeous weekend!

I was desperate for a haircut, so I started the weekend off in DC. Of course, the perk of getting my hair cut in DC is that I then get to go see my nieces (and my sister and BIL, of course). Alex was so excited to see me and was telling me all about aardvarks, meercats, slugs, beetles, and other insects, as well as asking more questions about volcanoes. Guess the princess phase is over!

At dinner that night, I got the biggest kick out of Leah. This girl can just shovel food down. She and Alex split a quesadilla -- Alex ate 1/4 and Leah scarfed down the remaining 3/4. The best, was watching Katie feed Leah, who was leaning into her to get the food. I got such a kick out of it, I had to take a video of it.

The next day, we went for a walk, chilled out, and then went to a playground where I thought I was going to melt in the shade! Leah and I sat back in the shade and had a bunch of fun "walking" around. She's not really walking yet, but really, all she wants to do is move around. I had to get a picture of the cute little outfit she was wearing!

I then came home Saturday night and spent the remainder of the weekend relaxing by the pool. Not only am I thrilled that summer is here, I'm ecstatic that I am not going anywhere for the next couple weeks! I'm so sick of traveling!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Martha #2

If you recall, I made this beautiful sweater back in February w/ the Manos Silk Blend in a gorgeous blue. I wore it to my niece's first birthday party and my sister fell in love w/ it. I enjoyed knitting the project and it did knit up fairly quick, so I decided I would make it for her for her birthday. I used the Silk Blend again, but this time, used a pewter/grey color that Katie picked out.

I didn't finish it in time for her birthday, but I was only a week late. I gave it to her this weekend and she loved it! It fit perfectly! Here's a picture of her modeling the finished product (in 80+ degree heat I might add):

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wait, Wait . . . don't tell me!

One of my favorite shows to listen to on my iPod is Wait, Wait . . . don't tell me!, from Chicago public radio. It's a weekly quiz show that takes questions from the past week's news. If you've never listened to it, I highly recommend it!

Well, I was in Chicago last week for a training, and they happened to be taping one of their live shows at the Chase Audutorium while I was there. I had to get tickets! I invited Jen, who makes all those great Piddleloop bags I carry my knitting projects in, to join me. Here's a picture of Jen and me after the show.

I must say, the live taping is way better than the radio show itself. You get to see/hear all the bloopers as well as all the pre- and post-hashing. Here's a link to the show if you've never heard it before.

This week's panelists included Paula Poundstone, Paul Provenza (comedian), and Amy Dickinson (Ask Amy column). Calling in for the segment, Not My Job, was Supreme Court reporter, Dahlia Lithwick. Here are folks getting ready for the show to start:

Here's a clip from the opening segment of last week's show with Carl Kasell (NPR's Morning Edition) and Peter Sagal:

Here's another clip, this time with Carl reading an "email from his inbox" that the caller had to guess who it was:

Afterwards, folks went up and got autographs and pictures. I'm not much of an autograph person, but here are pictures of Jen and me with Carl Kasell and then Peter Sagal.

No, Peter and Jen are not that short. I'm standing on a riser trying not to look like a munchkin next to these guys (see above)!

It was a ton of fun, and of course, great to finally meet Jen in person! Thanks for joining me Jen and for the yummy dinner on the North Side afterwards! I'm still trying to catch up on sleep after that night!

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mother's out there. I spent today w/ my family, celebrating with the 2 mom's in my life: my mother and my sister. We all met up in DC yesterday for some nice family time. I had flown in from Chicago (more on that later), bringing with me a hand-knit present for my mom.

A while back, Rosie's got in Louisa Harding's Cinnabar yarn. This is the same yarn used for the Daphne purse on the front cover of Knitting Little Luxuries. I had the book, but never really thought of making the purse. Well, as soon as Rosie's got it in, I decided I had to make it for my mom for mother's day!

Let me tell you, the finished product looks great! I am still shocked that it came out so well, especially w/ the issues I had knitting it up. The yarn had no give whatsoever and hurt my fingers to work with. Then, there was the embroidery the pattern called for on the outside. Well, I may know how to knit, but I suck at embroidery. I could not, for the life of me, get those darn lazy daisies to look right w/ ribbon. I gave up and improvised instead. I went down to AC Moore and bought some fuzzy boucle yarn that looked like flower petals w/ just a loop stitch. B/c the yarn was variegated, I had several colors. It actually came out pretty well.

The final issue was the lining. I don't sew. In fact, a friend tried to show me how to use her machine once and she immediately took me off it, offering to finish my project herself! So, with that history in mind, I enlisted Lisa's help. However, when I got there with fabric and interface in hand, I didn't do such a good job picking out the fabric lining. Lisa dropped it to the floor, turned around to her fabric stash, and pulled out the perfect fabric for the lining. It could not have matched better! Thank you Lisa!!!!!!!

I couldn't wait and had to give the purse to my mom last night (especially since she was wearing the perfect matching sweater). She loved it! I was so happy! Here's my mom modeling the purse last night:

Finally, after a beautiful day today in DC, we managed to get in a nice family picture.

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

MDS&W 2009

Yesterday, I woke up around the crack of dawn (6 AM) on a Saturday to meet up with my fellow degenerate knitters to head down to the annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival in Howard County, MD. There were 7 of us, piled into 2 cars, with lists of what we wanted to see and buy. Last year, was my first year and it was definitely crowded. We were backed up a good 20 minutes to get into the fairground. This year, however, we were backed up on the off-ramp from the highway and waited a good 45 minutes to get into the fairgrounds.

These pictures were from the end of the day, but it gives you an idea of how crowded it was. We had a good 2-3 minute walk to the entry gate.

Apparently, the festival has gotten significantly larger every year, but even more so this year due to Ravelry. B/c vendors were advertising their "deals" and others keyed folks into the Socks That Rock mill ends or that Tilli Thomas gives an amazing discount on her yarns, folks were clamoring to get there first thing. By the time we got there and parked, it was about 10.

As I said, we all had our priorities. I went straight to The Fold's booth for the Socks that Rock mill ends. From what I heard later in the day, folks had lined up around 8AM for these, so by the time I got there the mill ends had been well picked over. Even still, I did find 4 skeins of mediumweight and 1 skein of silkie. I had not planned to buy "regular" skeins b/c I have a coupon for 10% off through the sock club. Of course, while there, you get caught up in the mayhem and I ended up buying 3 "regular" skeins of lightweight STR that I knew I wouldn't probably buy other than the fact that they were hanging in front of me. I also almost bought a skein of Lunasea in the luscious silk, but managed to resist as they were ringing me up.

You'd think I was done after that? Ha! Not even close!

After my STR purchase, I went straight for the main barn to buy some of Tilli Thomas' Beaded Plie yarn for my mom. Last year, as thank you to all of her customers, she discounted everything 50%. I made my gloves out of her Milan yarn last year. I had told my mom about this yarn and she wanted a nice stole that she can wear to the theater over a black suit or something. I think she's even going to try and make it -- her first big lace project! Well, by the time I got there (around 11, maybe?) Tilli's booth had definitely seen some action. Due to Ravelry, tons of folks new about her discounts and had gotten there before me. Still, I think the color I got, with the great sheen of the silk, will look fabulous over a black suit. I hope she likes it!

After those 2 purchases, I began to wander around the fairgrounds. I no longer had something I had to buy so I could just peruse everything. I found this great sock yarn, Creatively Dyed Yarn, and managed to control myself and only buy 1 skein of their Calypso sock yarn. At the end of the day, when we were all showing off our purchases, it turns out my friends also found that yarn. Marissa and I were on the same wavelength and even bought the same colorway. Cool, huh?

While wandering through the tents I also found Blue Ridge Yarns. They had a beautiful pattern for a beaded shawl out of their Kaleidoscope yarn. I found a colorway I really liked (waterfall), but they didn't have the 3 skeins needed for the project. They were really great and offered to send me the 3 skeins, from the same dye lot, and honor the festival prices. They were really great and helpful. So, I don't have pictures to show, but I will when I get the yarn in a week.

Another great vendor that everyone loves is Brooks Farm. I had bought a bunch from them last year, and hate to say that it is still in my stash. However, Lisa just knit up this shrug in a solid color of Mas Acero, and I was hooked. I wanted a solid color and I only had variegated. So, I ended up buying a sweater's worth of this beautiful blue to make a sweater. Their colorways were beautiful. I found another variegated colorway that I just had to get. I don't know what it is, but every colorway I was drawn to today was a green/gray/purple combo.

I was wandering around so much that I didn't have time to eat. I think I finally grabbed a hot dog that I could eat and walk at the same time around 2:30. One treat during the day is I got to see an old camp friend and her kids. It's so nice to be able to catch up.

Some other odds and ends included buttons for my sister's birthday present, another Martha in Manos Silk Blend, festival t-shirt, and this magazine that includes a vest pattern that I think I'm going to make my dad. Not sure if he'll like the stripes, but we'll see. Also, I finally got to "meet" Carol from Black Bunny Fibers today.

After all of that, I don't know how I managed to drive us all back to Philly. I was wiped out! However, before we left, I made sure to get a group photo (clockwise from top left: Rachel Regina, Marissa, Lisa, Sherry, me, Rhonda and Andrea).

Oh, and one last thing. Aside from the yarn and fiber vendors, there were tons of livestock for sale, for show, etc. You could buy fleece that you just saw the guy shave from the sheep. I'm not really into that, but figured I'd take a few pictures to get a feel for the day. Finally, here's a few pictures from the festival (clockwise: recently trimmed sheep, lots of food vendors, baby lambs, example of the crowds in one of the barns, Brooks Farm tent).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I had no idea

Back in the 80s I used to love watching Fraggle Rock after school w/ my boyfriend. Who knew that the Doozers knit! A little trip back in time for your viewing pleasure.

Today was MDS&W and this is about all I can handle posting. How I'm still awake, I don't know. I'll be back to post a recap and pics of the huge haul I brought home another time.