Posts Tagged ‘spring’

The River Runs Dry

Every year, it is the same. Warm, hazy days arrive and my river of words dries up. Partly it is just that this is always an incredibly busy time of year for me. Work always gets immensely busy with rate case filings, discovery, motions, and such. There has been a noted uptick in FOIA requests too. Busy times at the office.

Then the SCA gets really busy between April and May every year. Every weekend there is some event I could (or should) be going to. I like it; no, I love it. This is the perfect time of year for our outdoor events. It isn’t until June that our season slows down for the heat and for Pennsic preparations. Add in that this year, I am running Sapphire Joust, and I am eating, drinking, sleeping, breathing event coordination and planning almost 24/7.

As a result of the all of this, the knitting falls off. Happens every year. Being mostly a knitting blog, with no knitting, there is little to write about. Remember those lightning fast April socks? The ones that are so incredibly beautiful and fast? I haven’t knit a stitch on them in a week. And the truth is, it doesn’t bother me. There are only 3 or 4 inches left to knit on the second sock and I could have that done in one evening’s hard work, but I just haven’t felt like it. When I have been knitting (which hasn’t been very much), I have been working on the second Serpentine Mitt or adding some stripes to the Son of Not Noro Scarf (as though I need a scarf right now. . . or wool hand warmers for that matter). A few rounds at a time the Serpentine Mitt is coming along. I have less than 10 rows of the cable pattern left to go, then an inch or so of ribbing, then pick up and knit the thumb, and bind off. They will be done soon. Not tonight. Maybe not this week, but soon. And I am okay with that too.

Then there’s the gardening and the running. Every Spring, even before bypass surgery, I found the motivation to take more walks or lift more weights. So far, this Spring is no different. I am just running farther (3.5 miles yesterday) and faster (in 40 minutes!) than any previous Spring. The veggie garden is taking off, just like every Spring, thanks to mild temperatures and lots of rain. Every day there is some weeding, checking the tomatoes and making sure they are climbing their cages right, and every weekend, there is some lettuce harvesting.

I am still hoping/planning on running the Half Marathon in November. I won’t actually register until next month just to be sure this isn’t some passing “I want something to fantasize about aside from Sapphire” thing, since I cannot get my $65 back once I have registered. I am spending a lot of time learning about longer distance running and racing. It can be as easy, I suppose, as lacing up your trainers and hitting the pavement for more than 13 miles, but to prevent injury and to try and make my goal of 2 hours 30 minutes (2:30), I need to know a little more. How to eat for fuel. How to fuel on the run. How to care for my muscles (especially since ibuprofen is verboten for me, and Tylenol really doesn’t help muscle soreness). What does “lactate threshold” mean? Is fartlek a dirty word? (It isn’t). Why do I have so much trouble with intestinal distress and how can I ease it or prevent it? What does one think about while running for 2.5 hours (I can’t spend the whole time chanting “You’re not gonna die” to myself!)? But more than needing to “know” how to run 13 miles, I have to simply get out there and run. My mileage base is still very low. I am trying to run 4 days a week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. I really need to get up to 5 days (I want to add Sundays), but probably until Sapphire is over, more than 4 days a week is simply not in the cards. My target for starting my half marathon training program is Sunday, June 5th. In the meantime, I am just running, adding mileage, and getting used to the practice of running more days than not each week.

I have been very fortunate to stumble across the blogs of two weight loss surgery patients who have transformed themselves into very real athletes. This lady is training for an Ironman competition. She had her surgery just two months before I did. And this lady had her surgery just about 2 years before me and is a regular racer, and in fact just did her 3rd half marathon last weekend, finishing in under 2:20. So inspiring!

These ladies give me hope, particularly on days like yesterday when a 3.5 mile run felt like forever, making 13.1 seem like a pipedream.

I want to tell you how much I appreciate that you come here and read what I have to say, especially at times like this when my blog becomes a desert. I hope that you can take away something from here that is useful, inspiring, or thought provoking. And I am going to try and keep to my post-per-week challenge, even at times like these when I have nothing to offer you other than just random thoughts strung together, or excuses for why there aren’t pictures of knitting to show you. Thanks for stopping by!


Bombs Away

I think I am out of my “Blue Period.” Here is the evidence:
From left to right, you have the second Vellamo sock, Serpentine Mitts (in positively divine Zitron Noblesse…yum), and Freya. I never go in by halvsies on anything. I was all blue. Now I am all green. I should cast on something orange, just to throw myself off.

Not that there isn’t still a *little* blue in my world.
Not Noro
That is Son of the Not-Noro Noro Striped Scarf. Yeah, it has been on the needles a long time. It isn’t like I am desperate for a scarf right now, and it is the perfect go-to project when I need something mindless to knit. Like this weekend, I added a foot and a half to it while watching Grace and other assorted SCAdian youngsters play in the nursery at the site we were at this past weekend. It wasn’t a good time for colorwork, so no Vellamo socks, and not a good time for un-charted lace work, so no Freya, and not the time to interpret cable charts, so no Serpentine mitts.

Speaking of Serpentine Mitts, I have been relatively blog-lite on them. I finished the first mitt WAY back in the first week of March while I was doing mental battle with the Charade socks from hell. I couldn’t get a decent picture of the finished product on my hand, and it looks a little pitiful if not stretched over a model. The Zitron Noblesse is one of the finest yarns I have knit with thus far, being very fine wool and silk, and I think it was positively a steal at only $8 a ball. If I was knitting a sweater, it would get a little pricey, but if I successfully get a pair of fingerless mitts out of its silken yardage, I would do a cartwheel for that bargain.

Running continues. I am trying to keep up with my training progress on my running blog at The Mud Dauber in Training. I don’t keep up enough like I should but I am going to try. Initially, I was just documenting my training goals and efforts for the Warrior Dash I signed up for in October, but since I have expanded my goals, I will try and expand my writing (just not at the expense of my training). I will try and include aside from the training details, stuff about nutrition, the mental aspect of training (which seems much harder at this stage than actually pounding the pavement), and stuff I am learning and loving about the culture of runners.

Finally, I leave you with a very poor, blurred photo, taken at some speed, with one hand, while driving my way towards a dentist’s appointment here in the Shockoe Slip area of Richmond.
Bombs Away
Richmond, we have been Yarn Bombed. I am practically giddy at the thought. (It’s crochet, so therefore I have proof that it couldn’t have been me.)

A Spring Smile

It looks like a smile; a pretty, lime green smile.
It is a nice little wedge of spring in an otherwise gray, colorless day. The world seems like it was washed out after the storms that came through last night. Since I was up all night with Grace who was not feeling well, I too, feel fairly washed out and gray. Worn to the nub.

Tomorrow is another day; hopefully a more rested one. In the meantime, I have delicious, soft, spring green lace weight wool to bolster me up and fend off the hard edges of the world.


On a random dash into The Yarn Lounge, I walked out with 970 yards of Malabrigo Lace in colorway Lettuce.
I am positively in love with it. But it was a complete impulse buy. What will I do with almost 1000 yards of spring green love?

My thoughts run to:

Vernal Equinox, which would be a re-knit of the first lace project I ever worked, and the shawl itself came apart after Grace manhandled it soon thereafter.

Bitteroot just because it is beautiful.

Torreyana because it would be the most difficult thing I have attempted yet.

Aeolian because I have wanted to knit it forever and I adore Elizabeth Freeman’s works.

Freya because it is semi-circular and I am in that kind of mood.

Muir because it is rectangular and I have been wanting to try and tackle a rectangular wrap.

Those are just the projects that come to mind based on my queue and favorites list on Ravelry and what yardage I have. I would appreciate any thoughts, opinions, and suggestions any of you might have.

I have been bitten by the spring green lace bug, but have yet to settle on an outlet. Please help!

The Sound of Silence

The past few weeks have been very heavy weeks. I broke my Post Per Week goal last week, but I had noticed that the flow of words was drying up in the previous weeks. It was hard to know what to say in the face of Japan’s triple disasters, war in Libya, the Middle East and North Africa erupting into turmoil and violence, and the very quickly rising costs of fuel and food at home. Then, we lost not just one but two bulwarks of the Society. I have been hip-deep in working out the details of Sapphire Joust XII, as well.

Like every spring, knitting takes a back seat to the SCA, my garden, my actual job, and other random things. I am still plugging away at my March SCSC2011 socks. Thankfully, one is off the needles, but I cast it off on March 11, eleven days ago, and I haven’t even reached the heel of the second sock yet. Like I said at the beginning of the month, I had a bad feeling about this pair, and whether it is a self-fulfilling prophecy or not, they might not get finished by April 1.

I do have a question, and I would appreciate any advice/thoughts any of you might have on this. I have some nice running gear; specifically a nice Underarmour-type long sleeved shirt, some nice runner’s tights, and then a myriad of other less-fancy gear, but much of which has the same moisture-wicking qualities woven into it. I like this stuff and I want it to last, but contrary to the popular myth, girls do sweat, and this girl tends to sweat a lot. And with my propensity for wearing a hippie-type of deodorant, I tend to *ahem* stink up my gear. I have noticed that just washing my stuff does not completely dispel the funk. Ordinary Febreeze after washing did “perfume” everything up really only hiding the smell, but I am highly sensitive to perfumes and see the above comment about hippie-deodorant; it’s just not how I roll. I know there are “sports detergents” out there with special enzymes in them designed to help fight the funk and also to help make your special Dri-Fit/Underarmour/high-tech (read: expensive) fabrics last longer. What I want to know is has anyone tried one of them? Did it work? How much did it cost and where did you get it? I am willing to try it if it will make my gear last longer, since that stuff can be expensive to replace (unless I am lucky enough to get it on clearance or lightly worn from the thrift store), but not if the general consensus is that it is just a gimmick.

There has not been a whole lot else to report. I am learning to cook new-to-me cuts of beef since we went in with 4 other families and purchased a whole butchered cow. I made braised short ribs last night, which were quite tasty, but not something I have ever eaten in my life, so it was difficult to know what I was doing, having no context for how they are generally cooked and eaten. I did a London Broil-style flank steak two weekends ago; I was sincerely surprised to learn that London Broil is NOT a cut of meat but a method of cooking. Each week, I am trying a new cut. I think next week we will try the sirloin tip roast; any suggestions?

I keep thinking I should write something more profound. I have lots on my mind, but none of it is really relevant or anything more than unhappy speculation, which I tend to save for putting pen to paper. So that’s all I have for now. I hope to get back to at least one post per week. The Daily Post topic suggestions from WordPress are pretty uninspiring, so if you have a topic suggestion, leave me a comment and help my brain become de-tongue tied.

A River Walk

We had some serious rain over the weekend in the region, which has translated into minor James River flooding. I decided to take a short hike down to the “wrong side” of the Richmond flood wall, which is to say, outside of those protective concrete boundaries, to get a better view of just what is going on with the River that Runs Through It.
The Christopher Newport Cross
The Pipeline Overlook Warning Signs (in case you thought walking over a 4 foot wide walkway that was under rushing water was a good idea).
One of two Great Blue Herons who were fishing for their lunches.
They were relatively unimpressed with me, even if I was thrilled to get within 20 feet of them. Blue herons are some of my favorite types of birds. They really remind me of growing up in the Tidewater of Virginia, in between the marshes and beaches of Hampton. I have always thought they were incredibly elegant and I love their coloring. It made me really happy to get this close to them today.
Walking on the pipe. It is literally only (comfortably) a one-person-wide walkway, and several times I had to sidle sideways to pass other people. I forgot that to get to the walkway, you have to go down some steps, then climb a ladder. This is best done in tennis shoes. I have chunky 3-inch high heeled, calf-high boots on today. It was an adventure. Anything for a good photo.
The River was quite energetic. And muddy.
A pretty gull of some type or another. I have always thought of sea gulls as winged rats, but I liked this one’s coloring. He had a surprising wingspan of probably nearly 4 feet which he displayed when I came a little too close to him.
I am on the Riverside of the floodwall. That is the symbol of the Army Corps of Engineers, but a few SCAdians I know will see it completely differently.
Railroads abound in this area. I actually have to walk over them to get back to the city side of the floodwall. If I hadn’t seen Stand By Me at an impressionable age, this wouldn’t even be noteworthy enough to mention.
Speaking of trains, I don’t know what is the deal with the vintage looking rail cars sitting there, but they certainly were pretty.
A pretty view of the Turning Basin I rarely get, since I am usually walking along the Basin rather than passing over it. It made for a very pretty and well-spent lunch, and I am glad I ventured out onto the River.
(This one is just so we don’t forget this really is generally a knitting blog.)

Out of Focus

As we drove northeast on Beulah Road this morning, I noticed some of the trees along the street had those tell-tale red buds already showing. It occurred to me that it is March 1st, my unofficial first day of Spring. The Lenten Roses (hellebores) have started blooming, and even though they are running late this year, the daffodils are not far behind.

I am feeling somewhat restive, a funny word that means the opposite of what it sounds like it would. Anxious, impatient, barely under control. I blame a combination of Spring Fever, startitis, and the lingering pain and associated painkillers from the latest dental disaster. There are a thousand things I would like to be doing, and none of them require being in Downtown Richmond, ten floors above street level.

Playing with Grace. Sleeping. Knitting. Gardening. Sewing. Cleaning. Anything aside from proof-reading, editing, typing, e-mailing, and processing official Virginia business. I have to pay the bills, of course, but this is the time of year when I genuinely wish I did something else that paid the bills.

I have a little confession: I cast on the March socks a little early. You could say I cheated, but when April 1st rolls around and they aren’t done (I have a bad feeling about this pair), you will understand, right? I have also cast on the Second Not Noro Noro Scarf. And I cast on a pair of fingerless gloves. Diagnosis is of course “startitis.” A knitter’s intense desire to start anything that floats across her knitterly brain, but no strong drive to finish anything.

Never mind that I have a hat that just needs earflaps and a pompom. Or the sweater that is half finished. Or the sweater that needs a sleeve and a collar. Or the scarf that is half finished. Or . . . the list could go on and on. And I want to finish all that stuff, too, but I want to knit all this cool new stuff.

And I want to write.

And I want a new linen dress for SCA purposes.

And I want my garden to get going.

And I want to sleep. A lot.

The point is, I am highly unfocused, just like this blog post. I cannot even finish a sentence before I am on to something else. Forget a whole paragraph.

Anyway, so the March socks.
Pattern: Charade (Rav link, sorry. The creator’s blog seems to be gone.)
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll – Colorway: Shoreline Twist (discontinued)
Needles: 2.25mm (US1) (sort of, I am missing a needle, so there is a US0 in there too)

I am not terribly excited about the socks, as much as I could not resist casting them on a day early. I dislike the colors more than I thought I would. The brown and blue twisted yarn sounded good in theory, but I am not thrilled with the result. And then there is just the “barely together” aspect of this whole project. I am missing a needle. The yarn is discontinued. I don’t even love the pattern like I thought I would. The detail in the pattern comes from a single slipped and passed over stitch ever 4 stitches, every two rows and I find passing slipped stitches over that frequently to be somewhat tedious. Everything about these socks already feels like “meh” and I have only knit about 3 inches so far.

I hadn’t realized what I was getting myself into when I picked this pattern randomly for a masculine looking sock for the 2011 Sock Club. So, chances are good I am going to need every one of the 32 days I have allowed myself to slog through the socks. At least they aren’t intended for a huge pair of feet. These are my father-in-law’s Christmas socks, and I am grateful he has relatively dainty feet. The scary part is that I am actually knitting for Christmas and it is March 1st.

I am not sure whether it is scarier that I am planning ahead this far or that I am actually having to consider whether 10 months is enough time to get all my knitting done for Christmas.