Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yum Yum

I took the train up to NYC yesterday afternoon to meet my brother and sister for dinner and to see Rock of Ages (fun reliving the hair bands of the 80s). I took an earlier train and met my friend for coffee. As I was walking down 9th Ave., I couldn't help but notice the Yum Yum love in the area.

Do you notice something odd in this picture?


And this is just two doors down from the intersection:



Basically, you've got Yum Yum, Yum Yum Too and Yum Yum III all within 500 feet of each other. They must really like Thai food in that neighborhood!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fireworks!!!!

This weekend kicked off Philadelphia's week-long celebration of the 4th of July. One of the events included the Penn's Landing fireworks. I took a bunch of pictures, but they didn't really come out well. Instead, here's a video of this year's finale.


video

I'm looking forward to this Saturday's 4th of July concert and fireworks in my backyard. It really is hard to think of moving from this location.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tri Training Week #4

Can't believe I've been at this now for 4 weeks! Training has been going pretty good, but I'll admit I have missed workout or two. It's definitely hard to get your time in when you have stuff to do after work. And as most know, I am NOT a morning person. Even if I got to bed early and get 8+ hours of sleep, I am completely out of it if I wake up before 8. I really should try to either change my hours so I can hit the gym earlier in the evening or try to just get my ass out of bed in the morning to exercise. We'll see if either works out.

I'm still amazed at how much stamina I lost after being a slug this winter. I definitely feel like things I used to have no problem with, I'm huffing and puffing quicker. Here's how it's all going:

Swim -- I'm doing about 40-45 laps in the pool now. I'm taking it easy and trying to work on form as I go along. I usually alternate breast and crawl, but decided to add in a little backstroke on Weds. I'd do 1 lap of each and just repeat. It's amazing how much better I felt adding that in. I don't know if it's b/c I can breathe more or b/c I'm using different muscles so it gives others more of a rest. Either way, I think I'm going to continue doing medleys (sans butterfly). I think it will help for when I start to tucker out after swimming a 1/2 mile and realizing I still have 4/10 of a mile left to go!

Bike -- I love the bike. It's so calming and relaxing. I'm averaging about 13-14 miles/hour. I need to print out the course map for some of the sprint triathlons along the Schuylkill so I can work on my hills. Flats are a piece of cake, but I do need to do the hills to build up better strength and stamina. Good thing is that the bike course for Nation's Tri is from Haine's Point, up Rock Creek Parkway (maybe to Woodley?), then over to Canal Road and up to 495, before turning around to finish back at Haine's Point. I know it's been a while since I've been in DC, but if I remember correctly, that's all pretty flat!

Run -- I started C25K (couch to 5k) last week. I'm not really planning to run a 5K anytime soon, but I do want to start adding in some running to my walking for the tri. My plan is to do Week 1 (1 min. of running w/ a 90 second rest) for a few weeks before moving on to Week 2 (90 second run w/ 1 min. rest). Once I feel more comfortable w/ that, I'll add it into my walks. Speaking of which, I think I need to start walking again. I am sooooooo slow compared to 2006 when I was doing all those races.

The Philly Tri is going on this weekend. I'm headed up to the expo in a bit to check out the gear and stuff and to drop off my fundraising letters with the folks at the TNT booth. I'm volunteering tomorrow to cheer folks on at the Art Museum. Will be nice to see it all in action.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far! I really appreciate your support!!!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pleat, Pucker, a Siesta and the Queen

What in the world am I talking about? Actually, they are the projects I'm currently working on, 3 of which I cast on for this week. I do have another project that is just about finished (Butterfly top), but I can't deal w/ the seaming/sewing. I make some progress and then put it down again for a few weeks. When it's done I'll show it. For now, it's a big blue mess and not interesting enough for a progress photo.

So, onto the stuff I'm actually excited about!

Siesta

I started working on this top a couple weeks ago and should be finished any day now. This is Siesta from Knotions' summer issue, an online knitting magazine. I started out w/ size L, but then realized my boobs wouldn't fit, so I increased to make it an XL. Smart move! I don't know what I was thinking when I picked the L. I went back and looked at my measurements from when I took Joan Michael-McGowan's fit class and there's no way I would have picked the L had I actually looked at my measurements! Duh!

I do love the cables at the neckline.

I'm still not sure how the cables on the bottom will look on a pear-shaped figure. It could be flattering, or it could be horrendous. We'll see when I'm done. I will be doing 1-2 less hip increases b/c it's already long enough.

I should be casting off today, but there are some other projects that have piqued my interest lately.

The Queen

Actually, the pattern is called Queen of Beads, but I'm not into the idea of beads on my socks. The socks that have the are beautiful, but not for me to wear. As soon as I finished my Hedgerow Socks, I immediately cast on this pair which is the January 2009 Rockin Sock Club colorway and pattern. I decided to make this my commuting project on the bus and it is going so much faster than the Hedgerows did.

The picture doesn't show it, but I'm already onto the heel flap of the first sock. If I didn't cast on for the next 2 projects, I'm sure I would have finished the first sock this weekend.

But . . . .

Pleat

. . . I had to cast on for Pleat. This is from Norah Gaughan's Volume 2 pattern book. I already knit Flow from it and had always planned on knitting Pleat. I bought a bunch of Plymouth Linen Isle on sale and figured it would be a good yarn for this.

So, I cast on for this on Thursday as a new portable project that wasn't the sock. I think this is what I did Thursday night.

But, while all that was going on, I FINALLY ordered Seduce for the Pucker top I had been lusting after for the past couple months.

Pucker

The Seduce came on Friday. I swatched at dinner Friday night and immediately cast on. Since yesterday was such a dreary day, I spent it at home, watching movies and knitting. I definitely made some progress!

Pucker is from Norah Gaughan's Vol. 4 pattern book. I had planned to knit this in a color other than the one on the model, but the purple I wanted was on back order and this was the only other color that called out to me. I just could not bear to do this in red.

So, these projects should be keeping me busy over the next couple weeks. Unfortunately, they are all lightweight tops, but summer isn't really here yet to wear them. I hope by the time I finish them, the weather will have improved and I can wear them!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tri Training - Weeks 2 & 3

I don't know what happened last week, but I forgot to post an update on my tri training. Anyway, I was going strong on Week 2. I managed to stick to all of my workouts, including leaving my friends early one night to go and swim laps b/c I missed my swim workout the night before. I was quite proud of myself since I am not one to leave a social situation unless forced too. :-)

Last weekend I ran into a few problems. I manned a water stop for TNT Saturday morning and then came back for a longer ride. I was all dressed, had my shoes and my helmet on, only to find that my rear tire was flat. ???? How did that happen? So, I pumped it up and waited to see if it was just a fluke. It wasn't. Since I still haven't learned how to fix a flat (nor did I have a spare tube), I packed up my bike and drove out to Keswick Cycles where I bought the bike and have a service plan. They fixed it, but it was off and on rain the rest of the day. No ride for me.

Sunday, I got up and headed out for a nice ride up Lincoln Drive. Turns out it was a muddy ride which would have been fine on my hybrid, but a little nerve-wracking on my road bike due to the slick tires. I survived, but then did something stupid. I took a different route home, so before I was going to cross the street (no curb cut), I came to a stop. Normal, right? Sure, except for the fact that it didn't even dawn on me to unclip from my pedals! Seriously! Where the hell was my brain? So, I come to a stop, realize what I didn't do, and say, "oh shit" and fall over on my left side. Got up, brushed myself off, crossed the street and continued on my ride, cursing my stupidity.

So, not 5 minutes later, I'm approaching the intersection at Falls Bridge and Kelly Drive. I unclip my left foot well ahead of time. I come to a stop and put my left foot down. Somehow, I shift a little right as I come to a stop and put my left foot down, and . . . . you guessed it, I went down on my right side. Seriously. It was a bad day.

Got up again, brushed myself off, and continued my way home. Unfortunately, I screwed up my derailer on the last fall. That meant that after I got home and showered, I was on my way back to Keswick Cycles. What a day!

So, the weekend is over, I have a plan to get right back into my training as if nothing ever happened. Except, something did happen. On Monday afternoon, my left shoulder/back/arm began to kill me. I was very limited in my motion and eventually bailed on my trainer for that night. I was still sore on Tuesday and a little on Weds. That meant, no training for me so I could rest my injury. Last night, I should have done a run/walk, but I left the office too late and was wiped out.

So, today is a new day and I'm back on track. Off for a ride in a bit and then swim practice tomorrow w/ the team. Still can't believe I did all that. The good thing is I am not letting it stop me!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Finally!

I think I started these just before I left for China so I had a small portable project while I was there. I've picked it up every once in a while and then after I finished the first sock in March, I was determined to finish. Still, it took me another 3 months to finish sock #2 since I had a bunch of other time sensitive projects (a/k/a gifts).

So, these are my Hedgerow Socks knit in the Socks That Rock colorway called Tidepooling. It was the club color from Sept. 2008. I think this is the first sock I finally did from the sock club AND my first pair of Socks that Rock socks. I ended up wearing them last night in my apt b/c my feet were cold. My a/c is either on or off, so I'm usually bundled up at home in the summer. It's either that or a very stuffy, damp apartment.

Ok, here are pictures of the finished project!




I love the colors. I never would have picked them out on my own except for the sock club. Talk about outside your comfort zone being a good thing! They striped nicely and even pooled in the same spot at the gusset, with the same colors, and in the same way! If it's gonna pool, at least the pooling matches!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

EPA Dragons II

A friend just informed of a website that had pictures of the teams from Saturday's dragonboat regatta, including our EPA Dragons II boat. Here's a picture of us in the minor finals where we eventually placed 2nd.



On our way back. That's me in the "coordinating" green bandanna in the middle of the boat.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Photo "Contest" - I need your help!!!!

WARNING: This post is very image intensive.

As some of you may know, I really enjoy taking pictures, especially scenery shots. I come back from vacations and here complaints from my family about how there usually aren't any people in the pictures. I have been trying to improve on that.

I've always talked about printing out my pictures (the good ones, of course) and framing them. Trouble is, there really isn't any room and I really have a hard time selecting which photos are the best.

That's where you come in.

At work, they are having a photography "contest." Each person can submit only 1 photograph to be blown up and framed in the office and replace the really old 1980s national park shots. I think they are limiting it to 30 photo "winners." If there are more than 30 folks entering a photo, then they will judge which is best. They are searching for nature shots, mainly from the US, I think, but it's not a deal breaker from what I understand.

I need your help. Please look at the gazillion photos below (I made them small, so click on them to see the larger version) and leave a comment with your top 3 picks. I am numbering them to make it easier.

Thank you so much for your help!


1. barnacles in palm beach, fl (4/09)


2. barnacles in palm beach, fl (4/09)


3. barnacles in palm beach, fl (4/09)
4. cherry blossoms, philly (4/09)

5. cherry blossoms, philly (4/09)
6. philly (4/09)

7. long beach island, nj (8/08)
8. iguazu falls, brazil (1/08)

9. Peninsula Valdes, Argentina (1/08)
10. ushuaia, argentina (12/07)


11. isla magdalena, chile (12/07)


12. osorno volcano, chile (12/07)


13. santiago, chile (12/07)


14. telluride, colorado (6/07)


15. telluride, co (6/07)


16. telluride, co (6/07)


17. mesa verde, co (6/07)
18. mesa verde, co (6/07)


19. sw colorado (6/07)
20. million dollar highway, colorado (6/07)


21. buchart gardens in victoria, b.c. (5/06)


22. buchart gardens in victoria, b.c. (5/06)

23. san diego, ca (6/05)


24. soroa botanical gardens, cuba (3/04)


25. college fjord, ak (7/04)


26. glacier bay national park, ak (7/04)


27. gulf of alaska (7/04)


28. sausalito, ca (7/03)


29. sausalito, ca (7/03)


30. philly (5/03)


Again, these are just a few photos that I've picked out, but I do have a ton more. I know there are a lot of pictures to view, but I really do appreciate your help on this! Please leave a comment with your top 3 pics! Thanks!

Check out what's in my backyard . . .

Every year, pro cyclists descend upon Philly for the annual Philadelphia International Cycling Championship. The men ride from the Parkway (start/finish is right outside my door), up Kelly Drive to Manayunk where they then climb "the Manayunk Wall" -- a 17% grade -- and then before they come back to the art museum, they then climb Lemon Hill. (check out the course map and cool locator map here) The men finish back where they started and do the whole 14.4 mile circuit again -- 10 times! That's right, it's a 156 mile race! It is one of the longest single-day races in the U.S. The women only do 4 laps, for a total of 57.6 miles.

The man who won the race did it in 6:24:04! Insane! It took me 8 hours to ride 100 miles.

I took off this morning for a typical bike ride up to Lincoln Drive, but made it a point to stop along the way to watch the cyclists go by and cheer them on. Below are a few shots and videos I took along the course.

This video was taken by Falls Bridge on Kelly Drive.

video

Here are a few shots taken at Lemon Hill, which is across from Boathouse Row.

Lemon Hill
Front-runners (at 12:30 pm)

This guy just got his flat fixed before heading up Lemon Hill

Finally, this is a video of the pack as they come around the bend and up Lemon Hill.


video

EPA Dragons

Yesterday was the annual Independence Dragon Boat Regatta here in Philly. There were a good 65 teams this year competing. We entered 2 boats from EPA -- EPA Dragons I & II. It was a cloudy start, but ended up being a beautiful day. Much cooler than last year's close to 100 degree temperatures. Both our boats ended up racing in the same heat in the first round. We were up against NBC10 and another team. We totally smoked NBC10.

After the first heat, we were up against ourselves again in the semifinals for our class. Our other boat managed to win that heat (placing it in the major finals w/ a chance to medal) and our boat was neck and neck for 2nd. The judges seemed to go back and forth whether we were 2nd or not, but finally determined that we missed 2nd by less than .3 seconds (or something like that). That put us in the minor finals.

In the end, our boat came in 2nd in the minor finals and our other boat came in third, giving it a bronze medal.

As you can see in the video below, it's a total team effort. However, the race is a short 2.5 minutes. The rest of the day (I was there from 8AM to 4PM) was spent chilling out along the river watching the boats. Really was a great day for it.

Below are some pictures of other teams. B/c our 2 boats were either in the same heat or right after each other, I wasn't able to get any pictures of us. :(

Hope Afloats -- team of breast cancer survivors

Hydro Warriors -- Winners of the Mixed Finals


On their way back after the race

Here's a video of one of the races. I'm not quite sure what happened in this race (one of the boats might have hit a wave or lost alignment) but whatever it was, it slowed them down significantly.

video

As you can see, the day was a lot of fun. I didn't manage to get a group picture this year, but maybe someone will forward it around to the rest of us. If so, I'll post it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tri Training - Week 1

So far, so good. I switched the training schedule around a bit to accommodate my schedule. For example, Mondays aren't a good off day for me since I have my trainer that day. Instead, I'm making Weds. my off day. That way, I can meet up with my knitting friends and dinner.

I have been pretty much on schedule except for last night, when I didn't do anything. Should have, but I didn't get home until after 7 from work and was wiped out. Today, I was off so I spent 25 minutes in the pool and then 45 minutes on the track at the gym. Aside from my shin splints at the beginning, I felt pretty good. I wasn't wiped out from my drills in the pool which was a good thing.

I think the hardest thing for me will be the transition b/w the swim and the bike. I don't dry off/cool down so well. That means that it will be real hard to get my bike clothes on quickly after the swim. I'm sure they'll give us pointers this summer.

Group practice is in the pool again tomorrow, but I'm going to have to miss it. Instead, I'll be up early for the Independence Dragonboat Regatta. Our first heat is at 9AM and includes NBC10. So, watch for us on the news later in the day. Both EPA boats will be in the heat and you can't miss us in our GREEN shirts. I plan to ride my bike up so I can get in a little bike time during the off hours (most of the day).