It’s a sign

sign 1: you’re not in Kansas any more…

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Nope, I’m on my yearly trek to Paducah. In fact, I’ve just returned. I’ll be frank–I love Paducah. I love saying it. I love visiting there. I love that some people know it’s in Kentucky, and others ask if it’s a foreign country. And I love that this was the first time (out of 3 visits) that I’ve been able to run outside. It was a bit tricky. Paducah is on central time, so the sun rises slightly later than it does in NJ, but I was bound and determined and armed with a map.  Day 1 run: outside at 6am. Route is 3.8 miles. Temps: high 30s (F). Route: near my hotel, and dark.  The dark sorta creeped me out a bit, so Day 2 run I set out at 6:30ish. Same route. Same temps. And you know what?

DARK WAS BETTER!!!

Why?

Two words: road kill.  That there are no pics? You’re welcome.

And two more words: creepy cemetery.

On Day 2’s run, I got to see everything that was invisible in the dark, like the 9 pet and wildlife carcasses that I somehow didn’t step on on Day 1. And the cemetery sign that was most likely used in some horror flick.

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If this had been a movie, the stupid teenagers would have ventured forth.  I, being a smart adult, ran a sub-8 mile in the opposite direction.

That sub-8 led to an achey knee and hip.  And this:

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I think I qualify.

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Don’t you hate…

when a great blog title and post fodder comes to you whilst asleep, and you actually wake up to tell yourself to remember it, but then you can’t the next morning? That happened two nights ago, and I’ve been postponing posting hoping that my idea would reappear magically, like the Roku remote did after a week’s sojourn.

But it hasn’t, so…here’s randomly some stuff that’s been going on that’s not at all tied together with a theme or clever title:

I’m on day 2 of a 30 day yoga challenge. It is not going well.  I’ve discovered that I’m not “bendy”  (stealing a fellow runner’s clearly scientific terminology). Nor do I breathe well. And I’m not a fan of spending so much time on the floor.  All of this has convinced me I must proceed. Because (wait for it)…it will be good for me.

I decided to start this yoga challenge to improve my running over winter. The Mister and I ran our town’s annual Thanksgiving 8k, and I wasn’t so thrilled with my time.  It was 2 seconds off my PB (pb: 45:45, this time: 45:47), but it’s only the 2nd time I’ve run this race, so I was hoping to see some improvement.  I think I could have pushed a bit harder, but I didn’t.  That being said, it was a good day for a race: chilly, with snow flurries, and it’s nice to head off to a race 8 minutes before the start (we live that close).

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Why do animals hate their Elizabethan collars so much? Luna went off the Tuesday before Thanksgiving with the Neuter Scooter (a service provided by the far-away yet reasonably priced non-profit vet that picks up and drops off your pets for neutering and spaying), and would not have anything to do with his collar.

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We were hoping the neutering might calm him down a bit. It did. For a New York Minute, and then I made the mistake of putting the collar on him and watching him throw himself around the house headfirst until it came off.  You can’t really see from the picture, but not only did he shake himself loose, but he chose to continue to bite the thing into uselessness.

Sunday I was determined to get through a sewing project that’s been marinating for over half a year.  A vintage pattern WITH. ONLY. ONE. SEAM. Easy peasy lemon squeezy–only one seam–that should take all of, hmmm, maybe 30 minutes to sew?

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It took nearly 7 hours. It was one hell of a seam. It wasn’t the seam that did me in, it was the perplexing pockets.

I wanted a shorter skirt, and I had this sorta snake-skin looking metallic fabric.  But the pattern envelope cautioned: not suitable for stripes or plaids.  Of course, that’s all I have. So I plowed ahead, throwing caution to the wind. Maybe the trouble I had with the pockets was karma biting me in the…pockets.  Again the insides are a mess, and I had to considerably shorten this (I think I took 10″ off the length). But, it fit perfectly in the waist and hips, so I’ll figure that pocket thing out and re-do in a non-stripe or plaid fabric.

I participated in a really fun blogger driven wine exchange–and got some yummy port and champagne on my doorstep Thanksgiving weekend.

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This will be wonderful over the holidays.  I know nothing about wine, and when I went to get my bottles to send off to OKLAHOMA (!), I was completely flummoxed–especially since everything was promised to “go great with turkey.”  That wasn’t very helpful marketing.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with some advice: having two can openers is a good idea. Especially when one breaks. Otherwise you’re left trying to pull a McGyver as dinner stew is clamoring for its plum tomatoes.

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November ended in a flurry. Can’t wait to see what this month holds.

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and even more obvious…

Why do all these things surprise me so much? I should know this by now:

1. sewing is so much faster than knitting

I whipped up these three cowls as gifts while my turkey was cooking yesterday. The two with the fleece-y insides are for a coworker and his partner who just married. I know, not a typical wedding gift, but I’m not sure of the decor in their home, and I figured everyone needs a warm neck.  The purple-y one is a voile paired with an organic linen, more of an indoor use cowl, for yet another coworker.  (And yes, Thing 2 did me a Thanksgiving solid, modeling at my bequest without even complaining. Young necks, and faces, are so much more photogenic).

2. Picking out phone cases can be stressful.

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I went with this one, but dithered for nearly two weeks–does it say “crazy cat lady” or “oh, clever design?” (btw, I’m going for ‘clever design’). I don’t know why/how I was so paralyzed by indecision. At one point I have nearly 70 designs in my shopping cart. #tryingtoohard

3. How is this race not yet sold out?

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Who doesn’t want to run for what are arguably (but not really) the best. donuts. ever?

 

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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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