Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Triathlon Tuesdays

As most of you know, this past August David and some of his friends did a triathlon as a team. Being there and seeing all those people left me feeling a bit inspired and I thought, "I could do that". I have decided that next summer, I would like to do the same triathlon, the whole thing, myself.

I have not officially committed to it...haven't paid a registration fee or anything, but I've told enough people about it that I'm as good as paid. Besides, it seems more realistic than the other crazy goal I had about the same time which was climbing Mt. Rainier.

I've decided that I will devote my blog on Tuesdays to updates on getting ready (I'm not at a point yet where I feel like I can say I am "training") and other miscellaneous information.

The triathlon I will be doing is a sprint distance. It will be a 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, and a 5K.

Where am I at?

Swimming: I can swim a 1/2 mile...doing the breaststroke, which is not the speediest way to get through the water. I start swimming lessons on Sunday to help me with getting better at doing the crawl. Wish me luck!

Biking: I can bike 12 miles. How fast I can do it is another story. My average pace this summer was usually between 10 and 12 mph. I'll be working on bumping that up.

Running: I run about an 11 minute mile and can keep that up for a 3 miles, more or less. However, that is from a fresh start. Not after swimming and biking. I'll need to work on my speed there too.

So, the good news is, I know I can do each individual piece of the tri in some way. I've got about 10 months to work on my speed and my swimming. Check back next week for more updates!

Monday, October 26, 2009

What Season Is It Anyway?

This weekend David and I headed to Chippewa Falls for Fall Cabin Weekend. On the way there it felt more like Winter Cabin Weekend. The snow was falling thick and heavy as we entered Wisconsin, the fields of cows were covered with the fluffy white stuff, and soon we fell into that quiet sort of driving where the driver is concentrating and the passenger is trying to be as little of a distraction as possible.

We did make it though and had a lovely time. Saturday morning was blustery and a little damp, but the weather was fine for football and walks. The fireplace had a warm glow all weekend. And when the nine children under the age of seven that were there all took their naps at the same time, a peacefulness came over the cabin. Rest and relaxation. Perfect.

I also finished up these little hat's for David's twin nephews. This is the only lousy picture I have of these! Before I got a chance to take another we had wrapped them up and were off to the baptism.
David and I did this back in April or May. He knit one hat (blue) and I knit the other (green). I then made the squiggles for the tops. Then they sat, scrunched up in a bag, until October. I added the squiggles to one hat, all the while cursing. All I could think was that I had had it with the squiggly topper. I've watched a video a couple times on how to combine them into one big pom and still found it fiddley and fuddly and a pain in the knitting needle. I set the other hat aside until later. Then I hid in my room and tried a different method for combining and attaching, and voila! It was done in about 10 minutes, completely painless, and I think I may make more of these (when more babies are born)! Isn't it nice when you figure something out that's been bugging you?

About two weeks ago I got an e-mail from someone on Ravelry asking me how much I wanted for the Tahki Donegal Tweed in gray that I had in my stash, leftover from my dad's sweater. I just told her she could have it. I believe in yarn karma and I doubt I'll use it. So I told her I would just pop it in the mail (to France!) and she sent me the nicest message on Friday. Here is a snippet:

"I frequently feel unsure and anxious about the future of the planet/humankind, but these random gestures of kindness among strangers and distant people make me feel less fearful about tomorrow."

It makes me feel so good and I agree with her. If only we all could practice a random gesture of kindness once in awhile, imagine what could happen.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Say Cheese, Tunnel Bean!"

This weekend I went with my mom, sister, and the Little Guy to Chicago. I did take some knitting with me, but didn't get much done. I know...there are a lot of people out there who somehow manage to get lots of knitting done in the presence of a three-year old, but I am not one of those people.

We visited with family while there, visited the DuPage County Children's Museum, and took a train ride downtown to Navy Pier and then over to Millennium Park to see "Cloud Gate", known to most people as the Bean. We told the Little Guy we were going to see a great big jelly bean, and I was a little worried he'd be disappointed that it wasn't a big yellow or purple or red bean.

I need not have worried. He went nuts for the bean. As soon as he saw it, he shouted, "It's a tunnel bean!" and wanted to go under the bean. He ran in circles, hopped around on his little legs, shouting and laughing the entire time. Pretty cute.

Then he wanted to take pictures. Lots of pictures. He would stand and point the camera at the bean and yell, "Say cheese, tunnel bean!"

The knitting I attempted to get started on the way was the gray sweater shown here from Rebecca. I've got more of the mohair than is necessary, but the yarn for the little nubs are a problem. It's ggh Stars, and the color is anthracite. I got it in white, which looked weird. Then I got something similar in black, which looks just as weird. Of the tens of thousands of people on Ravelry, only 21 have ggh Stars in their stash, and only two have the color I need, and they both seem to be using it. This project may be on hold until I can find another substitute. Now that I've gotten started, I really want to make this sweater!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Snow and A Sweater

At long last, here is Flair. And a bit earlier than I would have liked, the first snowfall of the 2009-2010 winter season.

That would be the Little Guy in the background shoveling his swing set.

Pattern: Flair, from Knit and Tonic. I found the pattern on Ravelry.
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted, Garnet
Size: Small
Needles: Size 6 circs from my grandma's interchangeable Boye set for the body (I'm sure they are older than I am), Size 6 DPNs bamboo for the sleeves
Started in July 2009, Finished October 2009. I am slow.
Buttons are from the Yarnery.

What I liked: I love the Malabrigo. It's wool, but it is so nice and soft I can have it against my skin. This sweater is a raglan, top-down which I love, love, love. No seams! The sleeves are done in the round, so no seams there either. It's an easy, cute pattern. I'd recommend it if you need something easy to work on, or are working on a first sweater.

What I don't like: Well, I messed up the spacing on the buttons. And I had a little mix-up on the button bands with my seed-stitch, which makes it uneven in one tiny little place. All things that no one would notice unless they looked really close, and that would be inappropriate (while it is being worn anyway). I wish I had made it a little longer and maybe a size bigger. I feel like with the length, it flairs out a little too much in the back.

What I changed, by accident: Well, since my gauge was off, I made the size small. As a result, it is too small to be a double-breasted sweater as the pattern calls for. I'm okay with that. I also made the sleeves shorter than the pattern calls for and I like them this way.

My sister wore this to work on Friday and got a lot of compliments on it. I haven't blocked it yet, and I may not bother. It might help straighten the button bands though. Here is a front view.

One last picture from my weekend, taken while waiting for our pizza at Davanni's!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Go Twins!!

I just got off the phone with my sister and she told me to update my blog. Problem is, there isn't much to update. I'll give it a try though.

I finished the knitting on Flair last week. It is amazing to have an almost finished object. Saturday afternoon D was kind enough to take me button shopping. We went to the Yarnery, where I laid the sweater out on the floor and set different buttons on top. The buttons I really liked were $2.75 each, which seemed a bit extravagant to me, so I settled on some square, ivory colored buttons that were only $1 each. I think I'll sew them on today, then block the sweater.

With the money I saved on buttons, I bought Made in Brooklyn. Such lovely patterns, such lovely photos. The woman who rang up my purchases asked me if I read his blog, and I said yes and commented on how I love the pictures. She then informed me he is a photographer. I had no idea. That explains a lot.

Button buying was just one part of a very busy weekend. Friday night D and I headed to the Guthrie to see The Importance of Being Earnest, a play I have seen before and could see many times again. Oscar Wilde was a genius. We made a night of it and stayed at the aloft hotel right by the Guthrie. It's a hip little hotel with a tiny swimming pool. At first I thought we should have brought our suits and swum laps but that would have been difficult. Instead, I settled for a lychee martini at the bar while we checked in on the Twins game.

Sunday we trekked down to the course for the Twin Cities Marathon to cheer on our friends. We saw Michael run by at mile three of the TC Ten Mile. The same spot was mile 19 for the marathon. We missed seeing Kyle and Kym, but it was so amazing to see all those people go by who had been running for 19 miles so far. Across the street, there was a woman who kept yelling, "Welcome to St. Paul!" even though St. Paul was still a couple miles away. She obviously needed a geography lesson.

And then it was off to the "last" Twins game in the Metrodome, which we all now know was not the last game. We had a great time! An exciting game, a great post-game farewell to the Dome presentation, lots of people. The only downside was that they ran out of scorecards. After waiting in line for 20 minutes to get one, there was some...un-sportsmanlike language on my part. I was then annoyed when two seats down from me was a couple that between them had three scorecards, and they didn't even have them open! They weren't even filling them out! Did they even know what they were for?

Now there will be at least one more Twins fame at the Dome! Go Twins! What an amazing last month they have had!