to state the obvious…

1. babies are tiny:

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(I swear to god, that sweater was “newborn” size)

2. Freshly neutered kittens hate elizabethan collars

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(not only did he throw himself around and around to wrestle this thing off, it’s full of bite marks.)

3. The Mister has returned from Japan

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(that’s our pre-thanksgiving dinner, not a consolation prize for the neutered kitten)

 

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Breaking news!

Last Minute Lucy has gone on vacation! I didn’t wait until the last minute to work on my Thanksgiving Day placemats!

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I’d like to pat myself on the back for getting these done early, but if I’m honest, I really got them done because I was procrastinating about cutting the plaid fabric for the dress. It’s got me a bit spooked. Tomorrow, I’ll put that task off again and instead make some napkins from the leftover fabric.  Since my scraps are all widths and lengths, the napkins will not be uniform, but I’m ok with that.  It’s one meal.  Next week!

See ya Lucy!

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Fiddling

I totally get why Nero broke out his violin.

Life, in particular Thing 2’s, has gotten even messier. I hate being cryptic, but it’s also something that’s tough to write about when I haven’t fully processed it yet in my own head.

Sewing, knitting, running–those are my fiddles of choice.

First up–knitting. Last Friday the Mister announced a friend he’s seeing on his upcoming trip to Japan just had a baby. Can you make “it” something? (Yes, the Mister forgot to ask the sex, and the father didn’t offer.) After ascertaining that the new baby was in fact a girl, I cast on for this:

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Oh, I’ve forgotten how nice it is to knit for babies. They. are. so. tiny! And you can finish a sweater in just a few days. Hopefully the Mister will remember to take a pic of the new baby wearing her sweater when he’s visiting.

And sewing: I’ve got it in my mind to make some new placements for our Thanksgiving table. I’ve got the fabric, but of course I’m not going to actually start the project until the night before. Because that’s the way I roll.

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I’ve also got it in my head to make this:
Francoise sewing pattern.

using this:
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Of course I’m scared to cut the fabric because of matching up the stripes on the raglan sleeve. But a girl can dream, can’t she?

And running: I’m really sticking to the “every-other-day” run. The knee is holding up, the hip sometimes aches and sometimes doesn’t, but I just don’t want to push anything. We’ve got our annual Ashenfelter 8K on Thanksgiving, and I want to give that one a good effort.

Sunday I set out for a 8-9 mile long run. It was such a quintessential fall day–crisp, overcast, and the fallen leaves just made for a beautiful trail, even on the road.

This was probably one of my better runs since the onset of September. No pressure, no goal. I wanted to do 9, but would have been happy with anything between over 8. I run with music, but this particular run fell in the middle of a new Thing 2 development, so although I had the earbuds in, I don’t remember a single song. I do remember though the calming effect of measured breathing and methodical footsteps. And feeling some sense of relief as I found some answers (or at least the path to some answers) to some questions I’d been struggling with.

Yeah, I totally get Nero’s inclination for music. But I wonder what would have happened had he decided to go for run instead.

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Roller Coaster

This past week has been one.

up up up: I walk into Tommy’s party last Saturday and a friend Allen sees me and rushes over to greet me with a “It’s so good to see you and I’ve got a present for you. Let me go get it, it’s in the car!”  I waited, mouth agape, for him to return with what I suspected was  some joke gift.  But it’s not. It’s a photo of me running in Montana.  AND IT’S FRAMED! 

I was flabbergasted. I have never known an unprompted gift-giving man. Such a nice surprise.

down down down: I hate the new sweater I’m making.  Well, hate’s a strong word. But I’m not happy with it.  Which means ripping out, re-thinking, and re-knitting. Grrr.

up up up up up: I’ve approached running gingerly as my knee continues to heal.  Most days I head out and immediately feel that slight twinge that causes me to over-think every. single. step.  Tuesday, though, I headed out, took those first few steps and…NOTHING! Except the biggest grin on my face in a long time.

freefall: a referendum in our tiny little town to install artificial turf on one of the very-overused fields was voted down. (for the record, I see the need for a better field, but did not support this referendum, for a variety of reasons). The resulting day long Facebook battle has been ugly with proponents from both sides of the issue hurling insults, name calling, and worse.  This is the 3rd time in seven years this issue has been brought to a vote and lost, and each time the vitriol gets worse and worse.  I made the mistake of posting a comment, explaining my thoughts and expressing my dismay at the un-neighborly behavior. It is disheartening to hear your neighbors and friends (?) deem your vote irrelevant because your child is not involved in athletics and you didn’t attend town council meetings to voice your concerns.  I like this town, but maybe we’ve overstayed our welcome.

I’ve never been a fan of roller coasters. It’s time to get off this one.

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Falloween!

We’ve had a bit of a delayed fall–temps have been so lovely all season. Yes, the leaves have been on fire with color, but we haven’t even had the chance to turn on our heat yet (nor have we noticed it). This week, though, that all changed as temps slowly began to drop, Halloween festivities set in, and the light (and daylight savings) flickers.

With two older Things, Halloween has much less fervor, and I actually got to drive around a bit to see some local decorations.  This house, with it’s Tim Burton-themed pumpkins, was my favorite:

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They’re even more spectacular all lit up at night.  What I loved about this display was that it was in no way just an orange and black re-visioning of a Christmas display.

If by chance Halloween wasn’t the perfect fall day (overcast, temps in the low 50s), then November 1 surely screamed “LATE FALL” with chilly chilly temps and a brutal chilly rain all day, making it the perfect day for sewing.  I haven’t sewn anything since summer, but had recently purchased a new skirt pattern that I was eager to try out.

My grand idea was to sew the skirt in time for this party we were attending later that evening.  And in a perfect world, that’s not an unreasonable expectation.  In my world. however, it is.  Especially when apparently the pdf pattern didn’t print out to scale, so the first attempt at this project would have fit a teeny teenager.  Another trip to my fabric shop, I got as far as re-sizing and recutting the fabric, and rethought my outfit options for later in the evening.

Lucky for me, today’s extra hour was put to good use–a new skirt, complete with zip and lining.

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It’s hard to see in the pic, but the front of this skirt has a cute diagonal seam. The Mister can’t quite wrap his head around this.  The skirt wasn’t tough to make, but the instructions were rather sparse.  I made a lot up as I went along, including adding 3″ to the length!  I guess I shouldn’t expect much from a Finnish company; they’re not really known for being loquacious.  I will wear this toasty outfit tomorrow.  And I’m going to figure out how to print this out correctly so I can make a better fitting one in this cute fabric I picked up at Purl Soho Friday.

The sweater is the one I finished last week.  You can see I opted for the turtleneck instead of the mock. I ended up wearing it to the party we went to Saturday night.  I think I was the most petted guest; nearly everyone there reached out to touch the fuzzy.  There must be something about fuzzy texture and pregnant bellies that inspire people to just reach out. Thankfully though, most folks just patted me on the shoulder or back–no belly petting!

I’ve got a crazy project line up for the next week, as I’ve got to make some hats for a work special event, and then get started on Christmas gifts.  I’m glad night is coming earlier; it’s a good excuse to hunker down.

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Winner Winner

chicken dinner

After several weekends of too many errands, too much sickness, too many obligations, too much work, this past weekend was nearly perfect.

First, although the Mister was out of town for a karate event, Things 2 and 3 and I packed up the mini for a trip to Allentown, PA to visit Thing 1 for his college’s Family Weekend. It was great to see him, meet some friends, enjoy a football game, take in two leisurely meals without…wait for it…any sibling squabbling! I think they actually have missed each other!

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We took some selfies at the game (which his team obligingly won). Thing 3 was not enjoying the mid-day heat.

Sunday I was hellbent on testing my knee.  It had been 11 days since my last run, and I promised myself I’d turn around if there was any pain whatsoever.  And there wasn’t! Well, actually, that’s a lie. There was (because I’m an old lady and parts of me creak), but not in my knee!  Better yet, after the run I was not hobbled or limping, so I’m chalking that experiment up as a success and will proceed cautiously forward!

I’m so glad to have gotten out because looky at what I saw:

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Autumn in all its glory!  This year the colors have just been amazing.

To celebrate my return to running (and the additional calories it allows), I made a batch of my fail proof molasses cookies, intending to pack along some to Thing 1, however, they’re almost all gone, so he’ll have to wait.

You know it’s a good weekend when all that karma spills over into your Monday morning.  I got into work today with a pile of boxes awaiting my return.  Just look at what the first box held:

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Seven lucky seafarers are going to get just about the most beautiful handknit socks I’ve ever seen.

Oh, and on tonight’s menu: homemade applesauce, roasted veggies, and you guessed it: chicken!

 

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Mocking

Oh, there it is, every day. Just sitting there. With its plaintive digital readout, emitting a random squeak when it’s jostled to make room for placemats or newspapers or the butter dish.

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I’m not going to go all zen on you, but I swear, every morning when I turn on the dining room light, I instantly feel a pang of guilt; it looks so lonely and dejected sitting there all by its lonesome. (grumble grumble freaking’ knee grumble grumble)

But although the watch mocks, I’m taking a page from Run Colby Run, and resting. I’m foam rolling, and stretching and strengthening my quads (lots o’ squats). Helping me out with this rest is the wonderful not-quite-the-flu-but-equally-as-miserable thing that’s knocked me flat out for the past few days. Intense and sudden sore throat (which, and I’m still trying to decide if this is a coincidence, came upon me immediately after my 4th sip of my first ever pumpkin-flavored beer) followed by a 38 hour headache from hell (at one point I had to put my head on ice, I kid you not, and a word to the wise, don’t fall asleep with your head on an ice pack in your bed. It results in really cold and wet pillow.), crazy nausea and the most intense body aches which made sleeping nearly impossible. After two days I felt human enough to make it to work, but after two days of that, I had to head home early today (Friday) with a slight relapse.

The silver lining? A quickie (knit, that is). Another type of mock, as in mock turtleneck.  That big ball o’ yarn? It’s become this:

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Ah, but the neck.  Originally I had thought tall standup turtle neck. But when I finished the sweater, the neck was too wide and floppy.  I thought I’d pull and Elsa and let it go, but it bothered me (before I even had a chance to wear it), so I ripped out the neck, decreased the number of stitches and and am now conflicted: tall standup t-neck or shorter mock?

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Here I am at mock length.  I need to decide quickly. I have an outfit all planned out based on this sweater for Wednesday.  And I still have to block the sucker.

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Squeaking by

I finished Ravello today.  This is what’s left over:

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As a result, one sleeve is a skosh shorter than the other.  About 4 rows shorter. Nothing a good blocking can’t fix.

Here’s the end result (please don’t notice the shorter sleeve):

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I’m happy enough with it. The body length is good and long.  I’ll make do with the wonky sleeve (it’s my right sleeve so I’ll just keep moving that arm a lot, so noone can catch the discrepancy). Not so sure about the boatneck though, my fear of guillotines and vampires notwithstanding. I will definitely need some sort of cowl to make this sweater wearable in the winter.

What I’m super-duper proud of is that I actually finished Ravello even as this was singing its siren song:

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I know exactly what I’m going to do with it, and (spoiler alert) it will not leave my neck exposed.

The knitting is helping me keep my mind off my knee–it’s still a bit wonky and achy when I walk.  I did 5 miles last wednesday, which felt ok during the run, but really hobbled me afterwards.  Another visit to the PT and it’s feeling better, but still achy.  My GP’s practice recently brought in a sports med doc whom I saw before Hartford.  Her diagnosis was the pes anserine bursitis, and she ordered x-rays to make sure nothing else was going on.  I got the x-rays done last week, and she’s called me in to discuss some osteoarthritis in the medial compartment.  Of course I googled that, and it’s not so promising.  But I’m not going to get worked up until after I see her (next week).  So instead of spending the next week with Dr. Google and worst case scenarios, I suspect I will have another finished sweater.

The frustrating bit to all of this is that IT’S. FINALLY. FALL. Finally. My favorite running season.  And again I’m on the sidelines.  Hopefully not for long, but even one day feels like too long.

Time to break out those needles.

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H is for…

Hartford

Where I bought this Huge ball of yarn

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(stay tuned, the resulting project will be fabulous, I promise)

and ran the Half marathon!

I approached this race ambivalently.  After the awfulness of Jersey City and the resulting appearance of some pes anserine bursitis (ick), I wasn’t sure if I was even going to run up until Friday night.  The weather report was dreary (chilly rain all morning), but I dutifully picked up my bib, bought myself a cheap jacket and brimmed hat for the rain, and spent the rest of the afternoon at my trade show booth weighing the pros and cons of running the race. Pro: just a fun run, no pressure. Con: knee still twingy, don’t want to injure it further, bad weather. Pro: the excitement! hotel right outside of the finish line! Con: the weather. I decided to run, despite the weather, and to switch to a walk/run if the knee didn’t hold up.

That morning the rain was more drizzle-ish than downpour, and given the convenience of my hotel, I stayed inside until 7:45 for the 8am gun. And we were off! The knee warmed up about mile 2 and while it ached a bit, it wasn’t painful, so I kept going.  I was determined not to look at my watch, and just enjoy the run.  At the half-way point I was at 1:03 (9:39 pace). So far, so good.

I slowed a bit in the 2nd half, taking a bathroom break, and then a photo-op at mile 9 in Elizabeth Park, and then tackling some long, but not particularly steep, hills. The rain grew steadier at this point, and my arms and hands were cold, but nothing too major.

Around mile 11, the rain really started falling more strongly. It was hard to see (I was wearing my prescription sunglasses as I forgot my contact lenses. Yes, I came prepared.), and I was completely soaked through and ready for a warm shower.  Finally, the last downhill to the finish line appeared (mile 12-ish).  Everyone was picking up steam (it’s so great to finish on a downhill!).

And then at mile 12.5, the young woman running next to me collapsed!  I only saw this in my peripheral vision, and at first thought she had gotten sucked into one of the many potholes, so I stopped to make sure she was ok. But clearly it hadn’t been a pothole. She was scarily pale, muttering jibberish, her eyes were all rolly and she couldn’t hold up her head. Another runner stopped as well. We created a barrier around her (so she wouldn’t get trampled) and that runner went off to find an EMT or police officer.  There weren’t many spectators on our side of the road, but one made his way across the street and held up his umbrella over us (it was really raining hard at this point), and we waited. The young woman kept trying to get up and finish. She was determined to get her medal. While the spectator held the umbrella, I worked on keeping the young woman seated. Another spectator went off to find a cop. Finally, a cop and EMT got there, and I went to finish the race, after about an 18 minute delay.

Wow. It’s extremely tough to get your mind back on the .6 miles left in the race after an unplanned cool down and sorta scary event.  But I finished–2:27.

With the weather and unplanned delay, though, I didn’t linger going through the chute–I collected my medal (and one for the young woman which I left with the medical tent for when she arrived), my water bottle, and looked around for some food, but couldn’t find any, so I shivered my way across the park and back to my hotel and within an hour was at my booth in the convention center.

I might do this race again; the course was pretty great. We ran through some awesome neighborhoods and Elizabeth Park was amazing. The city did a fantastic job of finding a route that really showed off the city well.

Funny how each race has a take-away, isn’t it?  Overall, this wasn’t the greatest run (cold rain tends to put a damper on things), and it wasn’t the “fun run” I had really wanted. But I’m glad the weather and my gimpy knee made me re-think my strategy, because I would have hated to have actually debated stopping for the young woman who fell (because, let’s be honest, if I were going for time and close to my goal, this would have been a conundrum).

Onwards and upwards!

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my inner geek

Today was a day all about channeling my inner geek.  And to play the role of the admiring friend stuck in the realm of “omg, I knew her when…”

Today was the unveiling of the Edgar Allan Poe statue in Poe Square in Boston.

For those not in the know, Poe was rather itinerant, but Baltimore lays the most claim to him. However, New York, Philly, and Sullivan’s Island (South Carolina) also have a stake. Boston, however, was his birthplace, and a city to where he traveled regularly as many of his works were published there.  The Poe statue was the result of a grad student’s asking her professor on the eve of the bicentennial of his birth why there wasn’t more of Poe in Boston, and that professor’s diligence in trying to rectify the situation.

And this is where my inner geek just went “squeeeeeee”

  • this was an amazing grass-roots, public art project. Paul Lewis (the aforementioned professor and VP of the Poe Studies Association) galvanized the city of Boston to name a square, commissioned the Poe statue and basically got this entire project to fruition. Kudos to people with vision.
  • the pre-unveiling ceremony and ceremony itself were rife with poetry and music. Poe was a writer who fell in the “art for art’s sake” camp,  and to hear his words read aloud is just always magical.
  • it is absolutely amazing to see a friend recognized for her talent.  And it’s about time the world got to see this too.
  • Robert Pinsky. Former US poet laureate. ‘Nuff said. (I’ve always been a huge fan girl of his).

Here are some photos from the day. During her presentation, Steff walked us through the (laborious) process of bringing a model statue to life-size.  Let’s just say it’s a process.

This was a good day.

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